Archive for the ‘Alexisonfire’ Category

[CANCELLED: October 7, 2020] City and Colour / Katie Pruitt [rescheduled from May 16]

indexIt really seemed like October would be ample time for things to settle down and for concerts to start again.  It’s really disappointing to see that it’s not yet.  At least as of June, Green had cancelled his entire fall tour.

I’m also fascinated by the posters below.  This rescheduled date was not part of his original fall tour.  Katie Pruitt is not with him for any other shows–although he did initially reschedule the shows with her.

City and Colour is Dallas Green, the clean singer from Canadian band Alexisonfire.  I liked them a lot (especially his parts).  I’ve also enjoyed some of his solo stuff, which tends to be more folkie.

I’ve often thought it would be interesting to see him live.  He seems like a decent guy and I imagine is shows would be enjoyable.  But I have to say that i am shocked that he could headline Franklin Music Hall.  It just seems way too big for him.  Do more people in the States know who he is than I realize?

Anyhow, I had tickets for Tenacious D on this night, so I wasn’t going anyhow.

I’d guess he’d be more of a Boot & Saddle-sized performer.  So, good for him.  I wouldn’t want to see him in such a large place, but maybe someday he’ll come somewhere smaller.

Katie Pruitt is a folk/country singer from Nashville.  She has a wonderful song called “Loving Her’ that she released for National Pride Day (with a great video).  She veers a little too much into the country twang for my tastes, but if she can get country music to embrace the LGBTQ community, then, I’m all for her.

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[POSTPONED: May 16, 2020] City and Colour / Katie Pruitt [moved to October 7]

indexCity and Colour is Dallas Green, the clean singer from Canadian band Alexisonfire.  I liked them a lot (especially his parts).  I’ve also enjoyed some of his solo stuff, which tends to be more folkie.

I’ve often thought it would be interesting to see him live.  He seems like a decent guy and I imagine is shows would be enjoyable.  But I have to say that i am shocked that he could headline Franklin Music Hall.  It just seems way too big for him.  Do more people in the States know who he is than I realize?

I’d guess he’d be more of a Boot & Saddle-sized performer.  So, good for him.  I wouldn’t want to see him in such a large place, but maybe someday he’ll come somewhere smaller.

Katie Pruitt is a folk/country singer from Nashville.  She has a wonderful song called “Loving Her’ that she released for National Pride Day (with a great video).  She veers a little too much into the country twang for my tastes, but if she can get country music to embrace the LGBTQ community, then, I’m all for her.

city color


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december 11SOUNDTRACK: CITY AND COLOUR-“Strangers” (2019).

a3590330773_16City and Colour is Dallas Green (get it?).  He was part of the rocking band Alexisonfire.  He went solo about fifteen years ago and has settled into the sort of indie folk troubadour life.

His voice has always been gentle, but he seems to have leaned into it even more while he is solo.

“Difficult Love” comes from his soon to be released sixth solo album A Pill for Loneliness.  It’s upbeat with a simple, but catchy melody.  The verse has a great flow (his voice sounds really great) and the chorus pushes it along even more with a lovely falsetto turn on his voice.

The bridge leads to new heights as Green really shows off what his voice can do.

It’s still hard to believe that was one of the guys responsible for a rocking song like “This Could Be Anywhere in the World” (although Dallas was the “clean” singer in Alexisonfire, so it shouldn’t be all that surprising).

[READ: September 25, 2019] “Post and Beam”

Usually I find Alice Munro’s stories to be straightforward and powerful.  This one felt a little convoluted to me.  I had trouble even following the beginning because so many names were introduced in somewhat unusual ways.

The story is about a woman named Lorna.  Lorna is married to Brendan and is talking to her friend Lionel.  Lionel was Brendan’s former student.

It’s confusing because the story starts with Lionel talking about his mother’s death.  Lorna had met Lionel’s mother a few months earlier and she called called Lorna “my son’s belle amie.”  Lorna didn’t know what she was implying and didn’t want to find out.

Lorna told Lionel about her own childhood.  She lived in a house on a farm with her father.  In the neighboring house were her grandmother her aunt and her cousin Polly–who had no father.  Lorna thought that Polly had no father in the way that a manx cat had no tail. Lorna describes her as “more…competent.” (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CITY AND COLOUR Live at the Sasquatch Festival, May 29, 2011 (2011).

City and Colour have a new album coming out soon.  So it’s kind of surprising that this seven-song show is three songs from their previous album, two from their first album, a cover, and only one new track (“Fragile Bird”).

This is the first time I’ve heard City and Colour live with a band (most of the recordings I have by them are just Dallas Green solo).  It’s nice to hear how powerfully they work together (giving some of those songs an extra push).

Despite the brevity of the set (and the amusing banter about airport etiquette) you get a pretty good sense of what the “pretty-voiced guy” from Alexisonfire can do on his own.   I found the cover, Low’s “Murderer,” to be a really perfect choice–one that suits the band and their slightly-off harmonies, rather well.

I’m looking forward to their new release–“Fragile Bird” is another beautiful song.  But in the meantime, this is a good place to hear what they’ve been up to.

[READ: early June 2011] 2011 Fiction Issues

Five Dials seems to always generate coincidences with what I read. Right after reading the “”Summer’ Fiction” issue from Five Dials, I received the Fiction Issue from the New Yorker.  A few days later, I received the Summer Reading Issue from The Walrus.

I’m doing a separate post here because, although I am going to post about the specific fictions, I wanted to mention the poetry that comes in The Walrus’ issue.  I have no plan to write separate posts about poetry (I can barely write a full sentence about most poetry) so I’ll mention them in this post.

The main reason I’m drawing attention to these poems at all is because of the set-up of The Walrus’ Summer Fiction issue.  As the intro states: “We asked five celebrated writers to devise five guidelines for composing a short story or poem. They all traded lists–and played by the rules.”  I am so very intrigued at this idea of artificial rules imposed by an outsider.  So much so that I feel that it would be somewhat easier to write a story having these strictures put on you.  Although I imagine it would be harder to write a poem.

The two poets are Michael Lista and Damian Rogers.  I wasn’t blown away by either poem, but then I don’t love a lot of poetry.  So I’m going to mention the rules they had to follow. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: SHAD & DALLAS-“Live Forever” (2010).

Shad and Dallas Green (from Alexisonfire) recorded an EP called Two Songs and the profits go to Skate4Cancer.  The A Side is the new song “Live Forever.”  Shad is a great rapper, and make no mistake, this is a Shad song.  Green sings the hook-filled chorus (and an intro line).

Shad’s rapping is great and his rhymes are clever and interesting (he even does a fast double-time section which I’d never heard him do before). But the music itself is kind of bland.  I listened to it three times and I never really got into the flow of it.

I rather hope that sales are good (for the charity’s sake) but I’m afraid I’m not that excited by the track.

[READ: January 23, 2011] “Choynski”

I recently noticed that I had reviewed a whole bunch of stories from The Walrus.  So I wondered just how many stories there were in previous issues of the maagzine that I hadn’t posted about.  The magazine only started in 2003, and I still have all the issues (yes, that’s right…  I bought Issue 1 on the newsstand), so it wasn’t that hard to figure out.  In the early days, not every issue had fiction in it.  I started calculating and discovered that there were only about 25 stories to go.  So I thought, why not go back and read them all, eh?

This story was in Issue #2, and I have to say, good for them for picking David Bezmozgis to be their first author.  His issue bio reads that his first short story collection Natasha will be published in June.  And if you check now, you’ll see that Natasha won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book.  Not bad.

There are essentially two stories in this piece and they tie together quite nicely.  The first arc concerns the narrator’s dying grandmother.  She is an old Russian Jew whose English isn’t great so she tries to speak in Yiddish to make up for it.  Her family understands but few others (like her doctor) know what she’s talking about.  As the story progresses, her family tries to keep the truth of her condition from her, but she is no dummy.

The second story concerns the narrator’s attempt to learn more information about Joe Choynski.  Choynski was being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (Old Timers division) and the narrator was going to the ceremony.  In trying to learn more about Choynski (considered America’s frst great fighting Jew), he enlists the help of Charley Davis, an old man who knows more than just about anyone else about the Choynski.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: CITY AND COLOUR-Live @ The Orange Lounge EP (2010).

City and Colour is Dallas Green from Alexisonfire (he’s the one with the good singing voice as opposed to the screamy guy).

This EP contains 6 songs, 4 from his last album Bring me Your Love and the 2 hits from his first album Sometimes.

As with his previous live release [Live CD/DVD], he sings these songs solo.  Each song is done on acoustic guitar.  But unlike that Live album, this disc does not appear to have been recorded in front of an audience.  There is no cheering, no banter, just him and his guitar.

If you’re a fan of Green (and you really like his voice) this is a great release.  There are several spots where he sings in if not acapella, then with very quiet musical accompaniment so his voice is pretty naked.  This is a limited edition EP (apparently) but it’s a really good introduction to the man and his music.

I must say though that I never noticed just how obsessed with death he is!  This recording style really highlights all the times he says death or dead.  Huh.

[READ: September 12, 2010] “Love in the Ruins”

This was the darkest of all of Wells Tower’s Outside magazine pieces.  And although it has some humor, for the most part it was a sad lost-love letter to a city that he once knew.

One year after Hurricane Katrina, Tower went back to New Orlenas to ride his bike.  He had lived in New Orleans for a short time before Katrina hit and he used to ride his bike for long stretches across the Mississippi River levee.  He decided to revisit it to see what it was like after the disaster. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: ATTACK ATTACK!-“Stick Stickly” (2010).

I discovered this video (again, considerably later than the controversy for it) because my friend Rich said he didn’t know there was a genre called “crabcore.”  A search for crabcore suggests that it is a goof “genre” named specifically for this band and the goofy way they dance around.

This song starts with very heavy riffing and some growls and screaming and then jumps quickly into an auto-tuned very catchy chorus (they sound like a more polished and poppy version of Alexisonfire).

Then comes the verses which are screamed very loudly and heavily followed by a bridge (?) that is even more cookie monster-vocals like (with a strange cartoon effect thrown at the end of each line of the chorus).  It’s almost like commercial death metal, and I kind of liked it.  They’re pushing boundaries

Then there’s more chugga chugga heavy riffing and the song is reaching the end and then WHAT? the songs shifts gears into a keyboard fueled discoey dance song.  First it’s hi energy and then it slows into a mellow auto-tuned bit that proceeds to the end.

What the hell?  I’m all for a band pushing the boundaries of genres, but holy cow.  And just to add one more gimmick, they’re a Christian band as well (although you’d never know from the lyrics, whatever the hell he’s singing about).  This is no “Jesus is My Friend,” let me tell you.

So yea, I don’t really know what to make of it. The video makes me laugh with their all black outfits and synchronized everything–and that may be why they have replaced it with a new video which is much more boring.  I assume they’re just anther trendy band that will disappear soon enough (there’s a lot of snarky fun at their expense at this definition of “crabcore“).

I don’t have a clue what the title is supposed to mean, nor half of their other titles on the album: “Fumbles O’Brian” “Renob, Nevada.”  I listened to some samples of the other songs and they seem far more dancey/discoey than death metal, so I’m not really sure what’s up with the rest of the record.

But whatever.  In the meantime, enjoy the silly video

[READ: July–September 10, 2010] K Blows Top

I heard about this book through a great interview on NPR in June of 2009.  It sounded like a really funny book and I was seriously considering reading it.  Of course, then I forgot about it.

About 8 months later, the library received a huge donation of books, and this was right on top, just begging me to read it.  So, I saved it for myself and decided it was about time to crack it open.  Several months after that I finally opened it and was totally hooked.

I didn’t know much about Khrushchev before reading this.  I knew vaguely about “the shoe” incident, but that was it.  In fact, the whole beginning of the cold war era was a bit of a mystery to me.  Since I lived through Reagan, I never felt compelled to find out what had caused the 80s.

But I’m super glad that I read this.  The book follows Khrushchev’s visits to the United States when he was premiere of  the Soviet Union. Carlson combed through tons of newspaper reports about his visit here (ostensibly to visit with Eisenhower, but more just to enjoy himself in the American heartland), and pulls together a fascinating story from a number of sources.

But more than just an interesting look at history, this book is very funny. (more…)

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I listened to CBC Radio 3 briefly when I had Sirius Radio, but I just learned that I could listen streaming online.  In addition to playing (as they say) Independent Canadian Music, they also have a really multifunctional website where you can input any band’s name, read about them and listen to bands’ tracks.  And of course, you can also listen to their live streaming station as it happens (you can even play recently played and even upcoming songs).

Since it’s a CBC station there are no commercials.  And since they are from the CBC they focus exclusively on Canadian bands.  I’m not sure how literally to take the Independent part; however, they don’t include Neil Young, Rush or The Tragically Hip.  But you can get City And Colour (and even AlexisonFire) and even Vancouver’s own 3 Inches of Blood!.

So let’s say you want to hear some tracks from Metric, a band you’ve heard good things about.  Type in their name, get to their page, and play away.  As far as I can tell, the band uploads songs and videos for you to stream.  And, unlike other streaming sites, you can listen to the same tracks multiple times.

If you like your music Canadian and independent, this is the place to be.  Check it out!

[READ: January 29, 2010] Festering Romance

Recently I complained that the Oni graphic novel Wet Moon had the worst title I have ever heard.  And then I found out that “wet moon” is actually an astronomical phenomenon, and I retracted that complaint.  Regardless, this graphic novel now replaces that one as the single worst title in the history of books.  Festering Romance?  Surely not.

Merriam Webster gives us this: 1. To generate pus  2. Putrefy, rot  3. To cause increasing poisoning, irritation, bitterness.

So, okay, the 3rd definition might work, but you have to overlook those first two really radically inappropriate definitions first. (And if you’re afraid to read a book with that title, rest assured, there is no festering pus of any kind in the book).

This terrible title does a huge disservice to what is a really, really great comic, and apparently the first self penned releases by Renee Lott. The artwork is fantastic (more on that in a moment) and the plot was really moving.  I enjoyed it enough to have already passed it along to someone else. (more…)

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alexisThis is a disc in which the Alexisonfire guys play 2 Moneen songs and the Moneen guys play 2 Alexionfire songs. (Plus two originals from each band).  I picked this up when I ordered AOF’s Crisis, because according to MapleMusic, they couldn’t ship it outside of Canada.  I figured it must be some kind of rare thing, until I saw it on Amazon, so I just ordered it there.

The “selling point” of the disc is, of course, hearing these guys play each others’ songs.  However, I don’t know the originals, so it’s hard for me to comment on the covers.  Regardless, this is a fun collection of two bands respectfully playing each others songs (albeit in a fun way).

Knowing what I do about the two bands, it’s interesting to see the different styles that they bring to the songs.  AOF’s growl-y singer brings a hardcore edge to Moneen’s more emo tracks, and conversely, Moneen soften up AOF’s songs with their math rock leanings.  Plus, there are a few surprises as well: “Passing Out in America” (done by AOF) has a great a capella section where the guys sing what I assume is a musical passage in Moneen’s original.

The Maplemusic listing and cover suggests that this is called “The Switcheroo” although my copy doesn’t state that on it.  Maybe that’s what couldn’t leave the Canadian border.

[READ: November 1, 2008] “Opera”

This story feels like an excerpt, although I’m not sure that it is.  There seems to be some things missing, which are only noticeable because of the things that are not missing.  For instance, Michaela is off the boat from Ireland, but it doesn’t say where she presently is or where the story is set. The other character, Lola has no characteristics that mark her as being Irish (it doesn’t say she is, for instance) yet she uses the most general Irish slang when talking to Michaela: calling her “hen,” saying “in wee pieces” and “on you go.”  None of these phrases are as Irish as say “caid mille failte” but they do give a bit of lilt to the character.  But Lola’s background is basically left out, she may be Irish, she may not. (more…)

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I was watching the Juno Awards one night and saw that Alexisonfire were going to be on. I’ve been curious about them for awhile, and was thrilled. And, wow, what an impact. First off, I’m very surprised that a band that is this aggressive would be on the Juno Awards (but the Junos are far more interesting than the Grammies). However, when the song “This Could Be Anywhere in the World” started, and the lead singer was growling away, I just wasn’t that interested…it was a bit too death metal/hardcore. But then Dallas Green sang these beautiful counterpoint vocals, and I stopped what i was doing and took notice. The rest of the song bounced back and forth between hardcore noise and melodic harmonies. And it was amazing.

I’ve heard a lot of bands mix styles, some successfully and some disastrously, but this mix of aggression and beauty is really something. I’ve listened to this album a bunch of times now, and I’m still not sure that I really like the growly vocals of George Petit, but I think without them, the harmonies of Green wouldn’t sound quite so good.

So what you get is some complicated songs that lurch between a trashy hardcore feel and a more streamlined poppiness. The two sides play off each other so well, it makes the whole collection shine. There’s a 3rd vocalist who pops in once in a while and he adds a nice flavor to the mix although I’d say mostly it’s his harmonies that work so well.

Lyrically, the band is pretty angry. “Mailbox Arson” should give you a clue to the tone; however, the lyrics are well considered even if they’re not fully understandable.

I’ve not heard the previous Alexisonfire records, but I’m led to believe that Crisis is a huge step forward, so maybe it’s not worth backtracking .

[READ: June 11, 2008] Cheat.

This came as part of my Oni shipment a few weeks ago. I didn’t know anything about this story either, but I took the risk as it’s a typical slice of life story. I was surprised at how there was very little in the book that moved me. It was a very simple story of two couples who, as the title says, cheat. It all seemed a little too easy and obvious (there’s only 4 characters after all) . There were some nice minor twists, but sometimes they came across as jarring rather than twisty. (more…)

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