Welcome to Trent, and welcome to Peterborough.
One of the best things about this community you just became a member of is it’s fantastic local music scene. This is a shortlist of a few of my favourite local bands.
I would have liked to talk about several more, but given that my co-editor is in one, the chair of our board is in another, and my roommate is in a third, I opted to highlight bands that wouldn’t get me into a conflict of interest situation. So check out I, The Mountain; Blues in the Bottle; Watershed Hour, and …
The Lonely Parade
The Lonely Parade puts the indie back into indie rock.
Not only do they have the fun upbeat feel of what music reviewers would describe as “indie” rock, but they also seem to embrace that DIY attitude that “indie” rock so often lacks. My first exposure to the band was through some home-recorded songs they had posted on their bandcamp. In an interview we conducted with them they played us even more home-recorded demos that had literally been tape-recorded.
When they’re not doing it themselves, they keep it at the community level. Last year they took part in the Local Youth in Music project hosted by Trent Radio and, through that project, were able to put out their first album. I haven’t stopped listening to it since it was released.
The songs are all delightfully varied, but if nothing else ties them together it’s their catchiness. I can’t tell you how often their songs get stuck in my head, but it’s more often than not.
It seems I’m not the only one. Their album was the number 1 most downloaded on zunior.com for a while (okay, it’s free, but still).
In addition to this, and more remarkably, The Lonely Parade were named the 2014 Emerging Artist at this year’s Peterborough Folk Festival.
Despite their local superstar status, you can still check them out downtown all the time, usually for an incredibly reasonable price. Your next opportunity to do so will be September 4 (along with another favourite of mine—Watershed Hour) at the Spill. Doors open at 9:30. The cost is $5 or pay what you can.
In the mean time, you can download their album Sheer Luxury for free on zunior.com.
hello babies (no capitals) are hard to explain.
It’s hard to call them experimental because, well, they have a great rebuttal for that. In an article by Anthony P. Gulston in Volume 47 of Arthur he wrote: “ To describe their music as experimental would suggest that hello babies are experimenting on stage, but they do “know exactly what [they’re] going for, and how to achieve it,” says Bennett Bedoukian [drummer].”
On stage, hello babies give the appearance that they’re moving around, playing music randomly, but, having seen them about five or six times, I can confirm that everything they do is intentional.
Perhaps the best classification for them would be simply “weird.” But even that fails. In the article quoted above Wes Grist, the bass player of the band, said “a lot of people have this presupposition that weird is synonymous with bad.”
And if it is, it shouldn’t be in this case. Many of hello babies’ songs either border on beautiful or are indisputably beautiful. They also incorporate amp feedback, miscellaneous electronic sounds, a theremin, and … actually I have no idea. I’ve seen guitarist Dave Grenon make horrible noises with a rewired children’s toy, for example. I believe he incorporates a short-wave radio now as well.
Yet through it all you find yourself wanting to dance and sing along. There are (occasionally) beats you can grab on to, or that grab on to you.
Well, sometimes. I’ve also seen these guys clear out a bar after a folk artist’s set. They might not be for everyone.
I feel like I’ve done nothing to illuminate this band. I actually feel more like I have no idea what this band may be about. If it helps, I think I can get away with saying they sound somewhat like Xiu Xiu or Deerhoof.
If nothing else, I recommend you take a risk and see them live. Most of the time their show’s proceeds go to support a local charity like the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre or Niijkiwendidaa Anishnaabekwewag Services Circle, so there’s at least that.
Fire Flower Revue
I first came across Fire Flower Revue by checking out the pile of CDs we get sent to review. We get way too many to ever review, and I’ll be honest, I was just looking for some to take home with me.
I came across a CD case that was almost totally white with a blue picture on it. It turned out to be the aptly titled “white & blue album” by this band.
The album was a great mix of many disparate, often opposite elements. The songs were clearly electronic, but they were done in such a way that they felt completely organic. Many tracks contained weird elements, but overall the final product was nothing short of beautiful, lovely-to-listen-to music.
Vocal tracks and were included alongside instrumentals. The instrumental tracks never felt empty, even though they bordered on minimalist. I nearly fell off my chair when I learned that not only was this music a delight, it was also local!
Unfortunately they don’t play very often in Peterborough. Shamefully, I’ve never managed to see them.
Look at me go, for all I know they could be terrible live and do little more than play the songs on a Macbook Pro while dancing. But somehow I doubt that would be the case. The music is too well put together, too carefully orchestrated, for something like that to occur.