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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Grickle Grass Festival goes down Saturday May 25th.   This year's line-up is compiled from a great knowledge of the national music underground, and bands on the cusp.  It marks a new benchmark for the musical curation.  Take a bow, Out of Sound's Adam Sturgeon, Savannah Sewell and the mojo working Grickle Grass team.  Here's a Hot Dog preview of the invading acts scheduled to appear.   


In dreams as Heaven approaches we hear the call of soaring voices - like angels.  The sailing guitars clink celebatory sips while the drums manically keep the ship moving forth in those deep rumbling waves.  And then we stop, and look to one another with smiles on our faces and recognize that we've got Each Other.  Here.  May 25th at the Children's Museum.

This band is ready to challenge for the crown.  These word of mouth bands, and this one in particular, are the ones to see.  These guys don't get flogged around in your face supporting MP3 players or Burgers, you just hear about them because your friend was there when they ripped it up last time around.  This is nothing new, before we had Each Other they were Long Long Long, a group discussed every bit as much as Mac Demarco before Pitchfork and the World took notice.  The World will undoubtedly take notice of Each Other, but before then come see them up close at the Children's Museum.  Further Listening.


Listening to Odonis Odonis is like running through an impressive collection of LPs.  You got the Jesus and Mary Chain's 'Psychocandy', a Phil Spector compilation, a Ventures collection, all the Pixies albums, Ministry 'Land of Rape and Honey', 'The Mind is a Terrible Thing To Taste', and 'Psalm 69' to name but a few.  And your guide along the way is a tasteful sifter the likes of the late great John Peel (we'll call him vocalist/leader Dean Tzenos).  A lot of bands have great collections though.  Odonis takes inspiration and forges onward with a live show that backs up what they roll out from the studio.  Their late 2011 album 'Hollandaze' not only registered them a buzz worthy album, but united three of Toronto's leading independent labels - namely Buzz, Daps and Pleasence Records.  As 2012 drew to a close and a new year was birthed Odonis took their act on the road, playing NYC alongside exploders METZ and the hottest band in Toronto (and the country) the Soupcans.  Their ascension has been all deserved word of mouth talk talk, and even more action.  To those in the know on the OO there will be no surprises on May 25th at Grickle Grass.  Just the expected overjoy and loss of time and space in the World of Odonis Odonis.  Further Listening.


In the never-ending search of new music, and the modern age technology that gives us instant access to anything and everything, Wtchs are a true anomaly.  Because of the overload we tend to yay or nay acts faster than we can truly process the music.  Wtchs find their way back to you.  This isn't the kind of thing on record that necessarily punches you square in love.  It takes some patience.  Catching these cats live, at an early gig at Sweet Magic, I wasn't sure what to make of this.  I thought maybe the Garage was too clean.  Try two, learned me further fruits of their labour in the way of 'wait, is this a Garage Punk band or a sludge metal band?' The question isn't so much important to their genre allegiance, as to note: the pieces of this puzzle fall together only with open ears.  Try three, I was ready to be blown away, and was.  Try four, was the killer. You'd assume practice makes perfect, and bands to get better each time out.  This isn't always the case.  Too often bands lose creative steam, and the energy, as their chops precede the original intention.  Wtchs, I can honestly say just get better and better and better.  Take it slow, be prepared to be entranced and drowned in 'the sound'.

'The sound'?  Pop accessibility at the core, some early Misfits and Cure poke around in the feedback.  And then the buzz kicks in, and Jag and Junk swap spells to remove the roof.  Dave 'the Ace of Bass' is steady, never showy, he's the welcoming committee.  And Tori! Tori! on the skins for the win!  This may just be their year.  Note: Wtchs are one of the coolest bands in our provincial radius, not only because their music rules, but they're some of the nicest people you'll hopefully meet in the Grass.  Further Listening.


Legato Vipers bridge the gap, or surf through, between the underground and the mainstream.  It's hard to imagine any crowd, no matter what age or level of musical exposure not rocking out to this quintessential Canadian unit.  The Vipers, named by the legendary Don Pyle (also the Producer of their debut), carry the torch of their accomplished producer and his legendary Canadian band Shadowy Men From A Shadowy Planet (see the music of the Kids in the Hall).  They gaze the '60s and the Big Surf Sound, but this is no cover band, they rock o-riginals.  They've also become noted for their unique live situations - no stranger to hockey rinks, and sometimes accompanied by a burlesque show.  They're also some of the hardest working musicians in the province, with members playing key roles in other acts such as Bry Webb's band.  They'll challenge for best performance of the night, but more importantly they'll be dug by all who see them.  Further Listening.


Rich Aucoin is a leader.  He is the leader of the Good Times Brigade.  He's not content to set up his gear and offer music for anything but a great time.  He's not satisfied until everyone in the room is raging with a smile.  Rich started his mission from the East Coast and beautiful Halifax, and his name spread like wildfire as he visited every stop from here to there accomplishing what he clearly set out to do.  You'll hear great things about Rich concerning his music, and you'll hear great things about Rich concerning his person.  In times of turmoil and uncertainty you can rely on Rich to bring a break and reminder of what we set out to accomplish when the schedule is clear and the night is young.  Further Listening. 


Grickle Grass organizer Adam Sturgeon calls this 'everything Top 40 should be'.  AKUA is unmistakably Pop music.  A kind of pop music that begins in the Soul with the intention of reaching others right where it hit the performer.  There's beats to move the body submerged in haze with a voice bellowing up underneath and into the central control of excitement.  An air of familiarity within the music allows for easy accessibility.  The belief is on Saturday May 25th you'll be shake-shake-shaking to the music and entranced by the toast of this lovely voice.  Further Listening.


Crafted from great attention to the tradition of Roots music in each of its forms, Grey Kingdom delivers songs of the land and times.  Spencer Burton aka Grey Kingdom voices a listen up session for those that still think a song can make change or raise awareness.  Not in some kind of staunch political way, but rather let's spit and take a couple notes and form our own ideas.  I'm not sure if it's Spencer's big beard or sense of calm thought and delivery, but this is like the wise heads-up stories your Grandfather might pass along.  Listen up and learn something.  Or switch off and glide in the atmospheric ride - like the outside world doesn't matter past your wheels on the open road and the ol' tape deck.  We're lucky to have a true worker, with a belt raised high from the accomplishments stacking up underneath, living here in the Forest City.  Ask him what's what.  Take some notes.  Spencer's got something worthwhile to pass along.   Further Listening.

Local singer-songwriter Marty Kolls, and her acoustic truths, has been added to the updated line-up.  Tickets for the Festival can be found here

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