Archive for the ‘City and Colour’ Category

[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.

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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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SOUNDTRACKDALLAS GREEN-“The Gift” on CBC Kids’ Mamma Yamma (2012).

I have no idea what Mamma Yamma is (well, obviously it’s a kids’ show on CBC–Wikipedia tells me, “Mamma Yamma, who is played by puppeteer Ali Eisner, is a yam who represents Ontario as the owner of a fruit and vegetable stand in Toronto’s Kensington Market” so now we know).  It’s pretty low budget and quaint and actually rather funny.  Also, (given the few links I’ve seen on YouTube) it must host some pretty hip Canadians.

On this episode Dallas Green (who is City and Colour) sings a little tribute to Mamma.  here’s a brief intro and then he starts singing.  As one of the comments says, “Dallas Green: Phenomenal musician, terrible actor.”  And that’s pretty accurate.  If you can get through the awkward introduction (although I have to say Mamma Yamma is pretty funny…check out the clip with Jian Ghomeshi!), the song is really nice.

Dallas has a great voice.  Usually his songs are kind of angsty, but this one is really nice.  Not too many Dallas Green songs have the lyrics, “with jelly beans and sprinkles from front to back.”  I just hope that the kids aren’t running out to buy his proper album based on this.  It’s a rare treat for City and Colour fans.

[READ: November and December 2011 and January 2012] The Secrets of Droon, Books 13-SE#1

Even though I waited 12 books to talk about Droon the first time, this next section of books seems to have a definitive “arc” with SE #1 serving as a kind of transition. Book 13 introduces a new bad guy.  And although he doesn’t last all the way through to Book 16, Sparr is noticeably absent for this arc.  But just because Sparr is still missing, that doesn’t mean there’s a lack of trouble in Droon.

With this book, the series grows more magic based.  One of the first reviews I’d read of the series negatively compared it to Harry Potter.  I didn’t quite understand that since (in Books 1-12) the only magic came from the people who lived in Droon; the Upper World heroes didn’t have any.  Well, since book 12, Eric has gained magic and there is a bit more of a Harry Potter element now (remember HP was published in 1997, and really hit its stride around 2000).  I have no idea if Tony Abbott intended to give his main character magical powers from the beginning.  It’s possible, as there was magic in Droon, but Eric’s magic does add a new element to things.  He doesn’t use it often, it just seems to supplement things.  And remember, it’s not like wizardry is the point of Droon, the point has always been that the kids can work together to solve their problems (notice just how often Galen has to go away and can’t help any of them).  And, of course, this series is aimed at a younger group of kids.  Consider it a gateway book. (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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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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ccliveCity and Colour is the solo project of Alexisonfire singer Dallas Green (get it?).  I was really impressed by Dallas’ voice within the noisy metalcore of AOF.  And I wondered what his solo stuff would sound like without the dissonance of the rest of the band.  I saw this disc was available from Maplemusic and it was considerably cheaper than on Amazon.  A live record isn’t always the best venue to check out an artist but in this case, I figured his solo stuff probably translated fine live as well.  (Still haven’t actually heard a solo record so I can’t say).  The set is also not entirely solo, as he calls out an accompanist for a few tracks (the DVD gives more information about who he is).

In AOF, Dallas’s voice is strong and powerful and yet totally catchy.  His voice is the reason that I like AOF so much.  So I was a  little disappointed in the live release because he seems to be holding back.  As I said, I haven’t heard the original discs, so I don’t know how it compares.  But on some of the songs, he seems too restrained.

The songs are all very catchy, and the between-song banter is fun (it was excised from the CD but is available on the DVD) .  But as I said for some of the songs it’s almost as if he’s inhaling rather than exhaling when he sings.  I guess I find it weird for a punk rocker to be so restrained.  Despite that, several songs do stand out as excellent.  “Comin’ Home” (there are two versions on the disc), “Save Your Scissors” (the second version on the disc is especially fun because the crowd sings along).  And lyrically Green is very interesting.  “Comin’ Home” has some nice name-checking of cities around North America (poor fans in Lincoln, Nebraska, though).

Despite my reservations about his singing, his voice still sounds great.  I’m interested in checking out a studio release to see how it compares.

[READ: December 18, 2008] The Tales of Beedle the Bard

There’s two funny stories about this book:

1) At my library, we received a notice from Scholastic Books that this book COULD NOT be put out before the release date of December 4.  We had to sign a release form promising it would not go out any sooner.  We all laughed about that because, while we knew that Book 7 of the Harry Potter series was going to be HUGE (and we had the same release form to sign for that book) we also knew that this was, at best, an esoteric addendum to the series for die-hard fans only.  (As of this writing our copies haven’t even arrived yet, and there are only eleven holds in our entire system). (more…)

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