Archive for July, 2011

Colin Stetson live review – The Grid (6.28.11)

July 31, 2011

A few thoughts on Colin Stetson’s appearance at the Music Gallery for the TD Toronto Jazz Festival.

Stetson plays a unique sort of avant-garde jazz that’s an overwhelming and intensely physical blend of free skronk, psychedelic drones and Mozart-esque melodies. All of which is played by Stetson alone, usually on an imposing, howitzer-looking bass saxophone, using a circular-breathing technique that let’s him play for upwards of 10 minutes at a time without stopping the flow of notes to take a breath.

It’s the sort of sound that’s both frightening and captivating—the first chord of show opener “Awake on Foreign Shores” is a primal one, like a territorial dinosaur announcing its presence, and raises the hairs on the back of my neck. This tune segues into “Judges,” where throbbing, bubbling bass notes evoke the most precise Daft Punk subsonic groove—and you have to remind yourself that this is just one dude and a metal horn.

Read the entire review here.

Danger Mouse – The Grid (5.19.11)

July 21, 2011

My first music column for the newly minted Toronto city magazine, The Grid, in which I explore the Gladwelliean genius of Danger Mouse.

Before he became bona fide pop royalty, New York–based Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse, made a name for himself producing albums for indie-bands Sparklehorse and Gorillaz. He also created the legendary Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up The Grey Album in 2004—one of the biggest viral mash-ups in history—which had music critics swooning and EMI’s lawyers shaking their fists. But it’s what he does with his popularity that’s really interesting. Rather than spending time cementing his personal brand, he chooses projects that are challenging and unexpected, and often ultimately very successful. Now, he has teamed up with modern Italian film composer Daniele Luppi to create Rome, a glossy, indie-rock take on the spaghetti western soundtrack, proving that nobody is better at turning obscure artists and/or musical tangents into pop gold.

Read the entire article here.

The Joke’s Over (Neon Windbreaker profile) – Eye Weekly (3.23.11)

July 21, 2011

In which I travel to Austin, TX and cover a Toronto joke band called Neon Windbreaker who’ve managed to get serious enough to play a bunch of shows at SXSW. Much commentary ensues.

Read the whole story at Eye Weekly here.