Tag Archives: Feist

Feist & K-OS Featured On Polaris Podcast EP14

Polaris Podcast EP7 was live from Ottawa.

The focus of Polaris Podcast episode 14 was two albums that had received Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize hall of fame designation — Feist’s Let It Die and K-OS’s Joyful Rebellion.

For this episode we interviewed expert Polaris jurors Karen Bliss and Tabassum Siddiqui.

This and other Polaris Podcast episodes can be found on iTunes, Google Play or Spotify.

But if you can’t be bothered to go that far you can listen to it right here:

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Feist Makes Stellar Return at Star-Studded Toronto Show

Feist

Feist

LIVE: Feist
October 8, 2011
Glenn Gould Studios
Toronto, ON

Something strange has happened since Feist made us dance around with our iPods to The Reminder back in 2007.

And that strange thing is Florence and the Machine, Lykke Li, Lights, Jenn Grant, Dum Dum Girls, Warpaint, St. Vincent, Ohbijou, Rebekah Higgs, Bat For Lashes, My Brightest Diamond, Lavender Diamond, She & Him, Priscilla Ahn… The list goes on, but basically, in the time Leslie Feist has been out of the spotlight, her place in the musical hierarchy has more than ably been filled by a revolving cast of diverse, dynamic, world-class women who don’t resort to parading around in short shorts to peddle their art.

It would seem, then, that the position of Queen of Indie Rock has about as much job security as being a wife of Henry VIII.

That said, at an exclusive concert held Saturday (Oct. 8) at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio, Feist showed that with her new album, Metals, she maintains dominion over a loyal legion of followers.

The show — taped as part of the CBC’s 75th anniversary celebrations and set to air on CBC Radio 2 on Nov. 2 — wasn’t about royal courts so much as it was old-time radio variety programs — even if there were was a non-stop parade of guest musicians who came to swear fealty to the petite singer.

Biggest among these names was Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy. They sang “You And I,” their duet from 2009’s Wilco (The Album), and their performance was one of the simpler renditions on a night that saw most Metals songs amped up significantly and many older Feist numbers rendered barely recognizable.

Feist and Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste did a quick run-through of his band’s AIDS charity song “Service Bell” before he helped out on Metals track “Cicadas and Gulls.”

Country crooner Doug Paisley temporarily brought us to the Grand Ole Opry with his song “Don’t Make Me Wait,” and theoretically, Joel Gibb of the Hidden Cameras and Feist’s take on the traditional “The Wagoner’s Lad” should have done the same thing. Unfortunately, that one mostly just felt awkward.

Probably the most natural union was the one between Feist and former Constantines singer Bry Webb. Considering Feist’s longstanding ties to Webb, the Cons and the Cons’ old foundation-building label Three Gut Records, the pair’s takes on the Metals track “The Bad In Each Other” and the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton classic “Islands In the Stream” felt effortless, even if Feist seemed a bit intimidated with Parton’s parts.

For all the excitement of having a gaggle indie stars in the building, Feist was at her regal best when the men weren’t interfering.

She was accompanied, in various permutations, by a string section, keys, drums, the backup singing trio Mountain Man and Happiness Project/Broken Social Scene member Charles Spearin, who seemingly played every instrument known to man throughout the night. It was this setup that brought out the best in the Metals songs.

In recorded form, Metals often comes across as too soft and gauzy. There are seemingly random choral stabs and clompy percussion bits rising out of that murk, but you’re frequently left wishing for the return of the finger-snapping, shimmy-shaking Feist of old.

Live, though, these songs are transformed. The melancholy “Comfort Me,” which may turn out to be the secret gem of Metals, started slow before roaring to life, becoming a percussive beast filled with multiple people drumming and Feist and the Mountain Man trio stretching themselves vocally. The song exists almost completely outside of the known Feist musical template, and if you ignored the fact that the central figure on stage was a beloved Canadian songbird, you could have momentarily thought you had stumbled into an …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead show.

Songs like “Bittersweet Melodies,” a relatively innocuous piece on Metals, got made into something far more vital with the help of Mountain Man, and their accompaniment added greatly to the set. Then there were those drums — played by two, three, or even four people on any given song.

Let It Die breakout single “Mushaboom” and Metals tracks “Caught a Long Wind” and “The Bad In Each Other” all benefited from this newer, heavier, more primitive treatment. And in an age when a little extra percussion has become a common musical hallmark of Feist’s contemporaries (Lykke Li’s single drumstick dance-drumming, in particular, comes to mind), it felt as though she was using the skin-beating for sending a message, not following trends.

These were not drums for dancing so much as they were drums of warning — war drums. Feist may have been as personable and sweet as ever Saturday night, but there’s a darker streak to her music now. And that thumping, pounding, smashing racket her cohorts were making was telling us something: Leslie Feist has returned, and she won’t be giving up her crown so easily.

This review was originally published October 9, 2011 via AOL Spinner.

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Aaron’s Top Albums Of 2007

Joel Plaskett Emergency's Ashtray Rock

Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock

This is my official Top 10 album list for 2007:

10. Magnolia Electric Co. The Black Ram

Picking just The Black Ram was a bit of a technical cheat as this record was part of the three-album, one-EP Sojourner box set Magnolia Electric Co. released that year. That said, of the four discs it’s definitely the one I listened to the most. In fact, the title track, “Will-O-The-Wisp” and “A Little At A Time” all rank in my Top 25 most played songs in iTunes. What this all probably means is that because I was pretty deep in my Magnolia fandom at the time, as a conscious act to not look like such a fanatic I ranked this album lower than I felt it deserved in my heart. In truth it’s probably a top five record.

9. Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare

If I’m to be completely honest, I still don’t feel I know this album all that well. I was mostly enamored with the song “505” and had approached the band with more open ears on this album because the hype train for the Monkeys had receded to the point it where wasn’t annoying anymore.

8. Two Hours Traffic Little Jabs

I listened to this record a lot for a month or two and it fits solidly in a Can-Rockpop lineage that includes Sloan, By Divine Right, Limblifter, Zuckerbaby and their ilk. Since then, though, Two Hours Traffic have become extremely irritating to me. This is because of the disproportionate amount of times iTunes tries to play their songs when I’m listening in “random” mode. I have thousands upon thousands of songs. I’ve got the full Neil Young and Bob Dylan discographies. And yet, with peculiar frequency iTunes tries to serve me up songs from this album. The only reason I can guess for this is that one of the band members had a computer engineer cousin who worked at Apple and was in the department that developed the iTunes random algorithm. It’s the only explanation and it’s definitely tempered my enjoyment.

7. Buck 65 Situation

Buck 65 seems to suffer from a bit of Rodney Dangerfield can’t-get-no-respect-ism and Situation is a pretty good example of this. A concept album focused roughly around the year 1957, the songs on Situation deftly traverse topics like crooked cops, Bogart and obscenity trials. The fact that the subject matter is so unlikely — not just for a rapper, but for any type of modern music maker — just makes Situation all the more intriguing.

6. Neil Young Live At Massey Hall 1971

This show may represent the most perfect version of “solo Neil.” It’s a historic document and a brilliant setlist. In cold scrutiny, though, it’s probably not a best of 2007 album. This ranking probably says more about how much I’m willing to jockey parameters because of my Neil love than anything else.

5. Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala

Night Falls Over Kortedala is an entirely fine album, but this #5 rank is almost entirely attributable to one song, “And I Remember Every Kiss.” A soaring orchestral ballad, the song captures all the fire, all the intensity, all the passion of that nervous, electric first kiss.

4. Cuff The Duke Sidelines Of The City

Someone recently told me Wayne Petti basically tries to copy The Inbreds’ Mike O’Neill when he’s singing. Fascinating, right? And it explains why I like Cuff The Duke. I don’t listen to this album anymore, though, and I don’t remember why I had it ranked so high.

3. Feist The Reminder

The sort of person who can remain unmoved by “My Moon My Man” is the sort of person I would look upon with great suspicion.

2. Amy Winehouse Back To Black

“Me & Mr. Jones” was really what hooked me on Back To Black. Here was this jazz singer going on about Slick Rick, plus ones and “fuckery” (which has since become a core swear word for me), all with an air of stumbling, drunken tragic romance. I was won over immediately.

A lot of the songs and albums and artists I love have something I’ll define as “turbulence of the soul.” The world, for them, is just a bit tougher, a bit more painful and a bit more difficult than it is for the normals. It was clear from the first listen of Back To Black that Winehouse was one of these people and it reflects beautifully/uncomfortably in these songs.

1. Joel Plaskett Emergency Ashtray Rock

A teenage love triangle that breaks up the band and breaks up a friendship. It seems like such a small narrative to build a concept album around, but Ashtray Rock, like a less morbid Quadrophenia, works perfectly. You feel there when the drunk teenagers party down at the Ashtray Rock and when you’ve got nothing more to say to these people… well, it’s like a grayscale closing scene capturing the back of the jean-jacketed protagonist walking down a slushy sidestreet. Alone.

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1

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Polaris People For The Week Of July 26 (Feist! Drake! Broken Social Scene!)

Feist

Feist

The latest edition of my Polaris People column is online over at the Polaris Music Prize website.

This week we found out about the solid Feist is doing in Alberta, watched Drake start at the bottom and checked out a new Broken Social Scene song.

To read the column go here.

P.S. In other Polaris news we’re trying to start a Kathleen Edwards drinking game and Q Magazine is now on it.

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Polaris People For The Week Of May 10 (Dan Mangan! Chad VanGaalen! Feist!)

Chad VanGaalen

Chad VanGaalen

The latest edition of my Polaris People column is online over at the Polaris Music Prize website.

This week we check in on how Chad VanGaalen‘s animation sideline is going, get travel tips from Dan Mangan and learn about another headlining Feist event.

To read the column, go here.

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Feist Holograms And Arcade Fire Babies, Spinner RIP Trivia

Feist and the Holograms

Feist and the Holograms

Feist recently performed simultaneously in three cities in hologram form. Also, Regine Chassagne and Win Butler of Arcade Fire gave birth to a baby boy last week.

While these two news stories were both of tremendous interest to the indie Can-rock gossip community, they have a dubious distinction as well: they’re the last two stories ever published on the now suddenly-dormant Spinner website. Yeah, it’s true. AOL Music very promptly shut down the site on Friday.

So now I’m the answer to a trivia question nobody will ever ask, “Who wrote the last story ever on Spinner?”

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Polaris People For The Week Of April 19 (Feist! Arcade Fire! Ron Sexsmith!)

Feist

Feist

The latest edition of my Polaris People column is online over at the Polaris Music Prize website.

In this one we find out about a big free Feist show, learn more about Arcade Fire‘s new album and watch as Ron Sexsmith covers Kim Mitchell (technically Max Webster).

To read the column, go here.

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