Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cold weather fronts but hot music blowing in from Canada

It is way too long since some "ink" covered these pages, well a long summer - 90 days of 100+ F degrees (39+C) - finally succumbed to cold fronts (headin' down from Canada) and givin' us actually pleasant weather during the day time. But instead of frolickin' in the sunshine, some interesting music blew in from north of the border and kept me glued to my new laptop. Some of it has to be shared, that's what I'm gonna do in this mixed bag.

One of the bloggers I follow on MOG is "In Hiding", without her (she's Canadian) I never would have found out about underground indie/folk artist Jennifer Castle from Toronto. After releasing two albums ("Live At The Music Gallery" and "You Can't Take Anyone"), she released "Castlemusic" on the Indie imprint Flemish Eye.

Jennifer Castle - "Poor As Him"

Besides being a quiet fixture in Canada's folk underground, Jennifer Castle is also a prolific collaborator on other people's records, like The Constantines' "Kensington Heights", the hardcore punkers Fucked Up's "Year of the Pig" and "David Comes To Life". She also worked on albums for Ryan Driver, Eric Chenaux, Wooly Leaves and Doug Paisley, for instance on his song "No One But You"

Back in Canada, after playing at the CMJ festival in New York, I can hardly wait, till she makes it down to Texas (maybe SXSW) to a) hear her well crafted songs and b) enjoy her high-registered voice. For more info connect with her on facebook or listen to an hour long podcast by CBC Radio3's Vish Khanna's breakfast club.

While on the website for CBC Radio3 I also discovered the band Yukon Blonde from Kelowna (BC). Originally known as Alphababy, they changed their name in 2008, moved to Vancouver and released an EP "Everything in Everyway" two years ago. A full self-titled album on Nevado Records followed last year, and now they just released another EP "Fire/Water" and are touring extensively (60+ dates) through Canada and the USA. An Austin date for the indie-rock/Americana quartett is scheduled for 12/9 @ Emo's. Listen to their track "Fire" and watch the just released video for "Water".

Fire by Yukon Blonde by Nevado

"Wind Blows" from their 2010 release "Yukon Blonde". A new album around the main songwriter Jeff Innes (voc, gui) and his band mates Brandon Scott (gui, voc), Graham Jones (drs, voc) and John Jeffrey (bs) is supposed to be released in February of next year.

"I'm a crazy bird lady, storm chasin, red lipstick, red boot wearin, guitar slinging, singer songwriter gal", that's the self description of Toronto songstress Lindi Ortega on her Twitter profile. Thanks to the German journalist, Carolin Neumann, who posted Lindi's "Little Lie" on her google+ profile, I became familiar with the "crazy bird lady".

Lindi Ortega - Little Lie from Last Gang Records on Vimeo.

In my original share on google+ I stated "Nice little ditty - reminds me a bit of the collaboration between Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on "Raising Sands" or on his recent revival of the "Band Of Joy". Lindi's music video for her song "Angels" - completedly shot and directed by Ortega herself, on an iPhone 4 (using the nexvio 8mm app) - just won Best Music Video in this year's "iPhone Film Festival".

Ortega released a four song EP in 2009 on Interscope/Cherrytree records called "The Drifter". It was met with critical acclaim, according to her biography, Toronto’s ‘Eye Weekly’ gave it a glowing four star review and called it “The perfect EP” and “A terrific teaser”, UR Chicago Magazine remarked that Lindi’s voice “undulates with absolute splendour”, and Feminist Review said of Ortega “If you heard her singing in a bar, you’d probably be forced to put down your beer." In June of this year, Lindi Ortega released a full length album "Little Red Boots" on Last Gang Records, which contains all three songs performed in the above videos.
Doing some research, I also stumbled upon a cover version of her country man's, Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".