Montreal based twisted pop act Little Scream has dropped “Dark Dance”, latest track from her forthcoming second album, Cult Following, available May 6 in Canada. Alongside previously released “”, “Dark Dance” marks one of the album's most overtly pop moments: an '80s-influenced dance song vaguely inspired by Leonard Cohen's “I Can't Forget” and Margaret Atwood.
Describing the track's origins to , Laurel Sprengelmeyer (aka Little Scream), says, "One night I found myself dancing alone down an alleyway, singing in the dark. The further I walked down it, the further I sunk into my memory until I felt like I might actually step into my past when I emerged on the other side. This song was born there, it starts in the present and each verse moves further into the past. The main loop in the song is from an iPhone recording I made -- it's a very lo-fi gentle thing that I got really attached to, everything else was built around it."
“Dark Dance” follows in the footsteps of the previously unveiled “” in all its emotional heft, and “”, which features a guest appearance from TV On The Radio's Kyp Malone as the voice of a Magic 8-Ball with the power to give eerily specific answers.
At this juncture it is difficult getting a read of what caused music pioneer Prince’s untimely passing at 57. Did he stay up 154 straight days – was he addicted to hard core opiates – I suspect we’ll get answers to this and more about the reclusive artist’s other life soon.
Much has been said about Prince’s stage fright and uneasiness around people. I’ve thought about this being a musician who has played a side role in many bands – some front line, others just common neighborhood gigs. There is a strange bubble that slowly wraps itself around those who climb up the tower of success. One top-ten recording can quickly elevate and suddenly all eyes point your way.
I remember interviewing Diana Krall in 1998 and her expressing how intimidated she felt playing in front of a large audience there to see her – a far different setting than hiding behind a piano in a hotel lounge. Suddenly, all eyes on are on you. In fact, examining your every move, the cut of your hair, the fit of your clothes, your mannerisms and possible gaffes.
Barbara Streisand waited 27 years before performing live fearful of forgetting lyrics – Sinatra dealt with the same anxiety. Cher had well placed large screen monitors for lyric security during her last world tour – I saw words scribbled all over the stage when Phil Collins played Toronto a few decades backs – this stuff is unnerving.
Any good chef will tell you the secret to cooking a perfect meal is taking your time; low heat for a longer period of time. It’s the same with a music career. Slow and steady wins the race. Jordan McIntosh is breaking out big time right now and it may appear to some that he is an “ overnight success” when in actuality he has been carefully making his in the complicated music world; choosing the right people, making the right moves, the right records and touring with the right acts.
Actually Jordan was “chosen” by Canadian industry heavyweight, Jim Cressman of Invictus Entertainment. “I went the Canadian Country Music Awards when they were held in Ottawa as a seat filler. My seat was right up in the front and we caught the attention of Johnny Reid, who was hosting. When Johnny saw me performing at one he mentioned seeing me to Jim Cressman at a meeting they were having. Long story short, Jim called me and offered me a slot on the roster. I believe I was the first artist Jim ever signed sight unseen. So I owe a lot to Johnny Reid.”
I actually first saw Jordan when he was attending the Canadian Music Week festivities at the Royal York in Toronto a few years ago. He was sitting in the concourse area with a couple of sidemen, singing hos songs and saying hello to passersby. “That was an album I had out on Iroc, an independent label. I’m amazed how many people say they saw me there.”
They're back!! The baddest babes on da block aka power duo Pack A.D. unleashed latest single “So What” in celebration of their signing with Cadence Music. The thing's a blast of calibrated distortion, massive drums and Becky Black's rabble rousing vocals. Perfect Pack A.D. The single is expected to appear on the as yet untitled upcoming album.
The Pack A.D. is one of Canada’s “must-see” bands. Be it a massive stadium or the slightly seedy bar where everybody’s shoes stick to the carpet, the Pack A.D. have owned every spotlight and stolen every show they’ve ever played. Becky Black and Maya Miller are relentless and riveting, playing with the kind of fuck-off freedom that makes everybody in the room vicarious rock stars, even if it’s just for the night.
Shredding and pounding their way through every song, the Pack A.D. swallows you whole inside their fearless Franken-blend of heavy psych-pop/garage-rock. Their lyrics are wild nests, human and complex; darkly funny disclosures about depression, indictments of digital excess, grief-stricken fire bombs, sly crusades against stupidity, all the while refining their own potent brand of aggro-rock. If you haven't heard the Pack, think two UK acts, the contemporary Savages and aggro veteran P.J.Harvey.
When Greensboro, North Carolina soul-bluesman Roy Roberts was just a kid he tried piano lessons for a while but just couldn't suffer the indignity of it all: 'I'd be sitting playing and it felt sort of '……a girls thing' to me, If you know what I mean. I'd be able to hear my buddies outside in the yard playing and hollering, having a great time. So I gave that up,' he explains. A few years later, however, the young, budding musician discovered guitar, taught himself how to play and was out on the road gigging, a jobbing musician with a hunger to learn and develop as fast as he could. 'I think I was about 18 years old when I went out on the road,' he recalls, 'playing with Stevie Wonder, then known as Little Stevie Wonder.' And Roberts was still a young guy when he first met up with a guy who was to become his professional music mentor, taking him under his wing and teaching him the musical ropes - the late Solomon Burke.
'I joined Solomon's band and he sure took good care of me. I was always, and remain, the kind of guy who plays what is wanted of me. I don't do none of that "…..I only play what I want to play stuff," like lots of the guys around these days. If they're paying, they get to call the shots,' he says, with an evident disdain for the shameless self-promotion of many younger sidemen and band-members these days.
When you piece together the history of contemporary North American music, you discover composer/pianist Otis Blackwell is the rightful owner of the title, King of Rock 'n 'Roll. Throughout years, Blackwell's hit songs have been recorded by Elvis Presley - 'All Shook Up, Don't Be Cruel, Paralyzed, Return To Sender, Please Don't Drag That String (Around), One Broken Heart For Sale', Jerry Lee Lewis 'Great Balls Of Fire, Breathless, Let's Talk About Us', Little Willie John and Peggy Lee 'Fever', Dee Clark 'Just Keep It Up' and Jimmy Jones, Del Shannon and James Taylor, 'Handyman'.
I caught up with the mystery man in Nashville in 1987. Blackwell was walking about placing promotional flyers on tables. I just happen to witness and out of curiosity take the last one. After reading, I approached the humble man and asked if one day I could interview him. Bill King: You've been in the studio working on some new projects. What type of sounds are you recording? Otis Blackwell: Actually, I've been finishing up three albums. I'd been in Nashville recording and a fellow in Baltimore is helping me start a little record label. How is it up there?
B.K: Warm and rainy.
O.B: It's been raining like crazy here.
B.K: It can be a problem year after year in southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. After the drought of '88, this must come as a surprise.
While Old Man Luedecke spent last winter in his backwoods cabin recording studio working on his latest record, Domestic Eccentric, this winter he left the confines of that cozy shelter for the highways of Canada, playing a string of tour dates. Spring is here and he is once again touring a JUNO Award nominated album, returning to Toronto for two dates on April 13 and 14 at Hugh’s Room with Tim O’Brien. To give viewers a glimpse of all that he leaves behind, Old Man Luedecke recently revealed a video for “Chester Boat Song”, filmed at his Chester, Nova Scotia cabin, in the heart of a cumbersome East Coast winter. “Let this video be a warning about how much snow we had in Nova Scotia when we made the album!” he claims.
Since then, “it's been a great year of touring and album making.” Recently, Luedecke was the recipient of a Music Nova ScotiaAmericana/Bluegrass Recording of the Year Award for "I Never Sang Before I Met You" and got invited to go play banjos and have dinner with Steve Martin, “which I haven't recovered from."
Submitted by Pat Blythe Photo Credit: Pat Blythe A Girl With a Camera
During my time working in, and learning about this industry we call the "music business", I have met an incredible number of people, many who have become a very important part of my life, particularly those whom I seek out on the stages of the various clubs and bars in this fair city. So I've decided to take some time to discover the people behind the music.
Last week I sat down to have a chat with Julian Taylor. As I've clearly stated to many people, I don't "do" interviews. So, no specific questions in mind, just a great conversation about his Taylor's new, upcoming album Desert Star, the current club environment, the difficulties and challenges for young bands/artists these days, DJing, writing, genres and in which "box" does Taylor's music "fit". Numerous articles have already been written about Taylor's musical history, a 20-year veteran of the industry, so I don't feel it bears repeating here. If you need background info, look up Staggered Crossing or his last album Tech Noir. There's loads on the internet.
Jim West has been at this since 1983 – thirty six years of music, music, music, - jazz and blues and everything of artistic merit in between. Although the distribution wing of the business ended several years back the recording side continues to thrive today. I culled a couple paragraphs from the Justin Time website and merged with an interview I did with Jim in 2003. The significance of this – then, business was booming – jazz was thriving and CDs a hot item. Enjoy.
“As the old expression goes, "Time flies when you're having fun." Well, time has sure flown by. Nearly thirty years of some really outstanding recording sessions and over 375 total productions. It's interesting to note that our first three signings - Oliver Jones, Ranee Lee, and the Montreal Jubilation Choir [arranged and conducted by Trevor W. Payne) - are all still recording with us today. We are very proud of this fact, and, on a personal level, I'm extremely pleased to consider them all wonderful friends.
We're also proud to have worked with some of the greatest musical talent in the world: the late great Oscar Peterson, David Murray, Dave Van Ronk, Paul Bley, Kenny Wheeler, Rob McConnell, Carmen Lundy, Jimmy Rowles, Sonny Greenwich, Bryan Lee, Diana Krall, Hank Jones, D.D. Jackson, Hamiet Bluiett, Billy Bang, Fontella Bass, Susie Arioli, World Saxophone Quartet, Frank Marino and David Clayton-Thomas - and this is by no means an exhaustive list, nor does it address the thousands of featured artists on our many recording sessions.”
The second annual Jesse Winchester tribute show Seems Like Only Yesterday was held last weekend at the legendary Toronto listening venue, Hugh’s Room. Founder and creator Bill McKetrick, a talented musician/songwriter/singer in his own right, put together a diverse and talented lineup for this event. As he explains, "The Jesse Winchester Tribute concert is a labour of love for everyone involved. Both a love of the man and a love of the music. All of us consider it an honour to be able to continue the tradition of Jesse Winchester at Hugh's Room, where he was the first person to perform when the club opened in April 2001, and performed every April until the year before his passing. The participation of his son, Lee, is just that little extra bit of connective tissue that makes the whole event even more special."
And a special night it was, the show started with a poignant and moving version of Jesse’s beautiful “Defying Gravity.” What made it so special was it was sung and played by Bob Cohen, longtime guitarist for Jesse. Bob had actually never sung solo as his mastery on anything stringed was his job with Jesse. But he delivered the tune with poignant grace and you could have heard a pin drop. Bob and I worked together in bands in Montreal before Bob joined forces with Jesse. He introduced me on this night and I got to do an old favourite of mine “ Payday” backed by Bob and the multi talented David Woodhead on bass.