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Nocturne in Halifax

This past Saturday was Nocturne in Halifax and, yes, it was terrific. I didn’t get to explore too much, but what I did explore and what I have heard from others has all be incredibly positive. That to say, if you missed the event make sure you check it out next year. It’s worth it.

The highlights from my Nocturne evening included a glass blowing demonstration down on the harbour-front and music on the Dartmouth-Halifax ferry. Let me stress that these were only two of many, MANY exhibits and events. The glass blowing demonstration took place at The Glassworks down on George Street near the harbour. There was a guide giving an oral account of what the glassblowers were doing, and you could walk through the building to see the different stages of the crystal-making process. It was pretty impressive and intriguing. There are some fields of work that I always wonder about and this is one of them. They must really love what they do, creating such lovely pieces of unique art. The other quite memorable event of the evening came from boarding the Halifax-Dartmouth ferry. Everyone on board was so enthusiastic and my timing was just-so that I was able to catch a band I had been hoping to hear for the first time – the Smoking Contra Band. They were seriously so great! I’m so glad I saw them, even if it was only two songs. I’ll definitely be doing my best to check them out again at one of their upcoming shows in Halifax, and I recommend, if you’re in the area, that you do the same!

Oh! And I almost forgot! On our way home, crossing over the Citadel, we stopped by another exhibit. We were unaware that there was even something to view in the Citadel, but walking inside we found this representation of the constellation Ursa Major. Standing underneath, it was a representation of the bear experimenting with and being tempted by the boundaries between the sky and the earth. What a better place to test this than the Citadel?

I hope you all had a great Nocturne experience!! I’m very much looking forward to next year.

My Morning Jacket: LIVE!

My Morning Jacket was SO GOOD! SO GOOD!

They played a closing show last night at Ottawa’s Bluesfest, but we started the night much earlier, arriving a few hours before the big event to check out some other bands. While we headed over to see the Dirt Bombs, who were great, with their two drummers, we were early enough to see some of the band before them, Trampled by Turtles. I was impressed by both and both were, as you’ll see when you click on the links and give them a listen (which you’re obliged to do), are very different. The former garage/punk/rock, the latter bluegrass. I dig!

Following these two sets we headed over to the main stage and, like I already said, it was SO GOOD! My Morning Jacket has a pretty extensive repertoire of music, including studio, live and compilation records. They played a great (and mind-blowing) set last night that covered a range of music from multiple albums. I really appreciated this – some new some old, all fantastic. It was a show, a production, that I think everyone in the audience really enjoyed.

Want to know what they played and make your own awesome playlist of My Morning Jacket tunes? Click here!

Fingers crossed that all of the above make their way back to Canada in the near future!

(*Photo courtesy of Kevin James Ochal – thank you!)

Canadian Music Fridays: Pink Mountaintops

This week I want you to listen to the Pink Mountaintops. You can do so here, or here, and even here.

This band is Canadian (yes!). They have a rough sound, enticing vocals, and instrumental elements that range from loud to louder to lovely and rockin’. The mixtures between these varying degrees of lovely and loud are quite astounding. Take the song The Gayest of Sunbeams, for instance. You take one listen to that and you’ll know perfectly what I’m describing. This band is unique and may very well take up a void (perhaps you’re not getting enough “space pop” or “psychedelic”??) in your musical diet. 

Have you heard of this band before? What do you think?

Try them out. Have a listen. And, as always, enjoy!

Canadian Music Fridays: Land of Talk

I went to a Broken Social Scene show back in 2008 and opening for them was a band I’d never heard of… that band was Land of Talk and I was blown away. The show was a combined, fantastic 4+ hours of musical awesomeness. The lead singer from Land of Talk, Elizabeth Powell, sang for Broken Social Scene – she did an amazing job (and also kicks ass at playing the guitar), just as she does with her own band.

Land of Talk is a three-piece band with a pretty unique sound. The vocals are soft, but bright and the music itself is just rockin’. They’re Canadian and very talented.

Be sure to check ’em out. Be sure! Or maybe you already have?

Canadian Music Fridays: Luke Doucet

It’s time I did a post on a band I’ve seen live… Since it can really change your perception of their music, for better or for worse…

This week’s feature is LUKE DOUCET and the White Falcon! Yeah! The band came to Ottawa in 2010 and it was a great show. It definitely made me appreciate the music more and, obviously, want to go to his future shows. Luke Doucet’s essentially from all across Canada. He’s played in a number of groups, been many places, done many things. Read the bio, which highlights an event from every year of his life and makes you feel like you haven’t really done much. His latest incarnation in Luke Doucet and the White Falcon is a true testament to great Canadian music.

Luke Doucet will be playing in Ottawa again at the end of the month, on April 29th, at Prairie Scene. If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out. There are also a lot of other great bands playing this event, which also showcases theater, dance, literature, comedy, film, culinary, and visual and media arts from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Listen. Go to a show. Buy a record. Be happy O_O

Canadian Music Fridays: Dan Mangan

Listen up!

Dan Mangan, while already well-known to some (actually many), is only relatively new to me (I know, I’m slow on the pick up). I’m one of an increasing number of followers catching onto the numerous infectious tunes this originating-in-Vancouver artist has been putting out.

To date he has released two albums – Nice, Nice, Very Nice (2009) and Postcards and Daydreaming (2005) – as well as an EP, Roboteering (2009). Robots make for good musical subject matter, I must say. Dan Mangan has several collaborators on his records, including Justin Rutledge and members of Elliot Brood and Hidden Cameras, as well as during his live performances. I have yet to see a live performance myself, but there’s one coming up in Montreal that’s tempting.

The music has a nice big, folky, bright-sometimes-mellow sound with excellent, unique vocals. Take a listen and you’ll see what I mean. It’s the kind of music that makes you want to dance about… it at the very least deserves a good foot tapping – listen to Sold and you’ll be a living example of what I’m talking about. But don’t stop there, keep listening. You won’t regret it.

Fridays are great and so is Canadian music

The title is pretty self-explanatory. I like Fridays, as do most, and I like Canadian music, as should most. I’m therefore going to put both together and make Fridays Canadian Music Fridays.

This week’s showcase: Attack in Black.

I couldn’t resist starting this new weekly trend with Attack in Black. They are honestly one of my favourite Canadian bands and their record Years has been played so many times in my house that we had to get a second copy for back up. You know, just incase it should one day fail to play sound other than static. The four-piece group is from Welland, Ontario and are classified as “alt rock”.

Why do I love Attack in Black and recommended them to all reading this? You don’t have to be in a particular music-mood to turn this band’s music on (though that’s not to say there won’t be a time when you feel you have to listen to them)… At any time and in any place turning on this music is a good idea. A very good idea (go do it now). While I’ve only really gotten into the band seriously over the past year or so, others who did so before me haven’t turned back. I’m sad to say that I missed them in concert when they came to Ottawa last year, so I can’t comment on their live performances. I do hope this will change soon, though, with upcoming summer music festivals. Fingers crossed!

Anyway, I’ll keep this short for the first of Canadian Music Fridays. Listen. Enjoy. Let me know what you think.