A Wayward Word's Worth

March 2, 2011

The Soundtrack Of Yann Tiersen’s Freedom

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 5:04 am

Composer for films like Amelie scores his own life’s journeys on new album. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Feb. 24 2011

He was literally breathing in the grit of the Gaza strip.

Yann Tiersen had agreed to play for children of the besieged city after a French embassy bureaucrat arranged a gig for the lauded composer and songwriter. After he drove through the blockade’s checkpoint he wasn’t struck by any typical nightly news montage of smouldering rubble or smoking gun barrels —  his first impression was much more silently subtle, aside from the bumps in the unpaved road that prompted him to name his next album Dust Lane.




Plants and Animals drifts to La La Land

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 4:00 am

Montreal-Maritime act sharpens its creative process. By Kyle Mullin for Calgary’s FFWD Magazine, Feb. 17 2011

Warren Spicer once read a book about the Kon-Tiki raft that Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl had built and boarded to cross the Pacific more than half a century ago. He didn’t expect, however, to land at a hotel bearing the same title during a tour stop between San Francisco or Los Angeles nor did he expect that a key track on his next album, La La Land, would carry its name.

Serendiptious, maybe. But, as Spicer explains, he has never been the master of his tunes’ trajectory — the guitarist simply travels where the tide takes him.

“We didn’t name [the song] after the Kon-Tiki raft, although I guess we were on our own raft… on [that] tour, floating from one place to the next and hoping that we would be able make it home,” he says with a chuckle. As he explains, it was that very trek that had burned that band out, inspiring a song that will no doubt be a highlight on its current tour, landing at Republik on Thursday, February 24.

“I just jokingly sang about the Kon-Tiki when we were jamming and it fit the vibe…. It had more to do with the word than all the things associated with it,” he says. It’s a seemingly trival seed that bore one of the climactic tracks on the album. “Things that aren’t necessarily that important can still become songs, because once they’re a song maybe they can connect and do different things. You don’t have to know what it’s about to get something from it.”



McLean has soft spot for ‘Vinyl’

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 3:57 am

Ubiquitous storyteller brings studio stories to the stage. By Kyle Mullin for New Brunswick’s Telegraph Journal, Feb. 8 2011

Stuart McLean sets his favourite album, a batch of Bob Dylan B sides from the box set Biograph, onto his turntable and watches the record’s grooves blur as it spins. He waits for the needle to drop so he can dig into its layers.

“You can’t just have a playlist, you have to flip the record over. It asks for sort of a Buddhist-like attention,” the Vinyl Café host says.

Music fills the room as he packs a suitcase to embark an exhaustive nationwide tour, taking his radio stories on the road to venues such as The Fredericton Playhouse on Feb. 27 and 28, Saint John’s Imperial Theatre on March 1 and 2, Moncton’s Wesleyan Church on March 4, and Miramichi’s James M. Hill High School auditorium on March 10.

“The music itself has a warmer sound (on vinyl),” he says. “And it also has all those scratches and pops and hisses, which you put on the record yourself from spinning it over and over again, so in a sense you get to collaborate with the artist – your record is different from everybody else’s, it’s different because of you.”

McLean always works to spark a similar creative matrimony with fans while on tour – he says the audiences’ live reactions help mould the narratives far better than any technique he could use in a sterile studio.


McLean has soft spot for ‘Vinyl.’



Bursting Bubble Rap

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 3:52 am

Buck 65 works to break through any comfort zone holdups with his latest, 20 Odd Years. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Feb. 3 2011

The taxi door slams with a hollow thud, like the bursting of giant bubble wrap. Rich Terfry, better known as Buck 65, fishes his pockets for the fare before handing it to the cabbie through the passenger window.

“When touring I find myself in taxis a lot and having conversations with taxi drivers,” Buck says as the cab speeds away. “In that job you have to be able to deal with a lot that the average person doesn’t in terms of violent people, potentially crazy people, definitely drunk people. They’re really taken for granted.”

Buck made a deliberate effort not to ignore those cabbies during a studio stint that was part of one of his most prolific recording spells — over the past two years he accumulated enough tunes to release a recent string of EP’s dubbed 20 Odd Years, before bundling them into an album of the same name. He gave one of the remaining recordings — “The Oath,” about an immigrant taxi driver — to the producers of a War Child compilation.

“It came from the idea that there’s an oath a taxi driver takes, either literally with his company or in some spirit,” Buck says. “It’s like when you sit in a taxi and see the passengers’ rights, that’s basically the promises that your driver is making to you.”

Buck 65 has hopped into many cabs since he was first inspired to write that ode to the traffic’s unsung heroes nearly a year ago — most drivers reaffirmed the sentiment, but one seemed to make a deliberate effort to buck against it.



Be Nice To Your Siblings

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 3:45 am

There’s bound to be a few spats in this social scene. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Jan. 27 2011

They aren’t songs so much as the very sound of sibling rivalry — pleading choruses, kneaded drum beats, upbeat tempos that fail to hide heated lyrics. The indie extended family that makes up Broken Social Scene will wring out those tense tunes at the Freezing Man festival on Jan. 29, revealing an inspiring contention can even hinder forgiveness in every sense of the word.

“Forgiveness is just an 11-letter word. Yours to choose or refuse,” says bassist and guitarist Andrew Whiteman, one of half a dozen devoted members in an otherwise rolodex line up, of the sentiment behind the troupe’s latest album, Forgiveness Rock Record.  “The title was debated hotly for awhile, but it couldn’t be denied,” he says of the scrambling democratic process that even scorched the new record. “As a group, our multi-headedness almost prevents ingestion. It means never really knowing. Anything.”

That uncertainty is as present as ever on Forgiveness Rock Record, a lean, 14-track affair that paired the once gregariously-gorged line up down to a handful of key players for the first time — Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Charles Spearin, Sam Goldberg, Justin Peroff and Andrew Whiteman.



Real Disoveries Come From k-os

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 3:40 am

MC flips between singing and rapping — not so much on the cursing. By Kyle Mullin for Edmonton’s SEE Magazine, Jan. 27 2011

Gruesome rhymes or gritty beats were never k-os’ biggest influences. For him, rap’s most notorious noise came when the songs hit the street, literally, because his Jehovah’s Witness minister father threw the tapes out the window.

“When I was young I’d use his car, then when he’d take it later he would listen to the cassettes I had littered on the seat,” says the renowned Canadian MC, who is now putting the finishing touches on his own new album and will take a break from the studio to perform at The Freezing Man. “Dad had a rule that after the first swear word he heard he’d throw the tape out the window, so my Public Enemy and KRS-1 tapes, everything was gone by the time he got back from work. He would be just as gangster as these rappers. That was tough, but, he was passionate about it and that made me passionate too, it made me think ‘Wow, I gotta find some music that my dad can listen to.’”

That sentiment has stuck with k-os throughout his career and straight to this very day. All of his albums, (including his upcoming fifth release, Black on Blonde, slated for later this year) have strictly clean lyrics. He doesn’t see that as holding back — to him, it’s the most freeing release.



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