Bone Soldiers

February 7, 2012 | Posted in: Baby Eagle, Steven Lambke 0

“I dealt myself the winning hand: the lizard and the bleating goat, the eight of bones. But if I could choose the type of beast that I would most happy be, I’d be a man, my love, short, fat, and strong.” – Hurricane Weather

If there were such a position to be held, Steven Lambke would be the rock and roll poet laureate.  Putting in ten years as a guitarist and vocalist in The Constantines, releasing three, now four records as Baby Eagle, and co-founding scrappy independent label You’ve Changed Records (Daniel Romano, Shotgun Jimmie, The Weather Station), Lambke’s output has been ceaseless.  No wonder that Bone Soldiers, his fourth record as Baby Eagle, abounds with military metaphor.  It is the work of a veteran.  Loud, brief, and incendiary, it’s both a return to his punk roots and a continuation of his increasingly sophisticated work with lyrics.  As with the critically acclaimed Dog Weather, the record is a perfectly interconnected narrative.   Lines that casually mix thorny questions of purpose and meaning with rich imagery and seemingly minor incident.  Gorgeously bent guitar solos face up to Lambke as grinning narrator, wheezing, shouting, and whispering his way through a rich stew of rhythmic precision and pop decadence.

Decamping to Toronto’s vaunted 6 Nassau with Constantines producer Jeff McMurrich at the helm, Lambke enlisted an all star team of friends and bandmates to be his Proud Mothers; Will Kidman (The Constantines), Ian Kehoe and Spencer Burton (both of Attack in Black), and Nick Ferrio (of his Feelings).  They recorded the whole thing live off the floor in a couple days at the tail end of a long tour.  The band sounds determined, bound in lockstep by time and meter yet taking every opportunity to slip out the sides, falling over into freewheeling solos, simple melodies with a few notes out of place, like a square that’s been hit by a hammer.  At times gentle, at times joyfully deranged, the disc never fails to be vivid, as Lambke talks duty, dischord, and tangled connection.  ‘We know love is a mongrel thing; a mix of chance and cross spirits’, he shouts in the pop laced Marching Orders.  By the last song, the crackling Hurricane Weather, we can hear the accumulated hum of four amps, brothers and bandmates standing in a room, listening to a final note of feedback oscillating and wobbling to its foreshortened conclusion.

– Tamara Lindeman

New Release: Marine Dream – “Marine Dreams”

New Release: Marine Dream – “Marine Dreams”

December 5, 2011 | Posted in: Marine Dreams 0


Marine Dreams is a record of modern pop songs written by former Attack in Black bassist, songwriter, and lyrical contributor Ian Kehoe. A debut of precise athletic force, Marine Dreams serves as a testament to the idea of songwriting as a craft by unexpectedly destroying the expectations we have in songs. So strange and unlikely is the emotional space it occupies, Marine Dreams appropriates the sound and scope of bubble gum pop songs if Werner Herzog wrote bubble gum pop songs. These songs are grandiose and intricate in the midst of their seemingly idiotic simplicity. Two drum kits. Dreams of Greece. Violent reactions. Astral planes. Rock and Roll music.

The album was recorded in two sessions in Welland, Ont at the home studio of Daniel and Ian Romano with musical contributions from all former Attack in Black members.

New Release: Daniel Romano – “Sleep Beneath the Willow”

New Release: Daniel Romano – “Sleep Beneath the Willow”

December 3, 2011 | Posted in: Daniel Romano 0

This album was recorded stereophonically. The vocals were reproduced through a Sennheiser 421 microphone; rhythm, Royer 121; piano and organ, Royer 121, violin, Royer 121; and guitars, Royer 121. The session was first recorded on Ampex audio tape at 15 inches per second.

Sleep Beneath the Willow mixes timeless songwriting with late ’60s AM country arrangements baring the influence of artists such as Lee Hazelwood and Wichita Lineman/Galveston era Glen Campbell. The album is constructed around flourishes of fiddle, honky-tonk guitar, banjo, and sweeping harmonies courtesy of a trio of Toronto singers; Misha Bower (Bruce Peninsula), Tamara Lindeman
(The Weather Station) and Lisa Bozikovic. The songs tell stories of regret, sorrow, love, and yearning; the stuff of life. They tell of ex-wives, bluebirds, and finding the strength to do the right and proper thing. It’s a big, warm sound.

Approaching his music like a true craftsman, Daniel produced, engineered, and performed the majority of the instruments on Sleep Beneath the Willow. It was recored to two inch tape in his home studio in Welland, ON.

New Release: Shotgun Jimmie – “Transistor Sister”

New Release: Shotgun Jimmie – “Transistor Sister”

December 2, 2011 | Posted in: Shotgun Jimmie 0

World traveler, collaborator, under-dog, hard-working man, Shotgun Jimmie stakes his claim for the hearts and minds of millions with Transistor Sister. A much anticipated addition to a growing discography, following the solo debut The Onlys (Delorean) in 2007 (featuring the CBC Radio 3 and college radio chart-topping single “Bedhead”), and the much loved Attack in Black backed Still Jimmie (You’ve Changed) in 2009, Transistor Sister sounds a new confidence in Shotgun Jimmie, a confidence earned by the mile, by train or by busted up mini-van, on countless Canadian crossings and a couple of recent tours overseas.

Transistor Sister was written on tour in Europe and you can hear Jimmie in this new environment, telling the people he meets about back home, what it looks like, what falling in love there feels like, how we think about things like songs, and peace, and love. It’s a good way to see the world; packing light, a bunch of two minute blasts of pop perfection (“Late Last Year,” “Suzy,” “Transistor Sister”), a few all out anthemic rock hits (“King of Kreuzberg,” “Swamp Magic,” “Peace and Love”), and a couple of stellar collaborators: Ryan Peters of Ladyhawk and Lightning Dust on the drums and harmonies, and Jay Baird of the Feist live band and Do Make Say Think on bass and flute.

Transistor Sister is also the first Shotgun Jimmie album recorded in a fully operational professional studio, at Riverport NS’s The Confidence Lodge by Diego Medina, but it maintains the experimentation and spontaneous sense of creation of the best home recordings. Run down the stairs, slamming doors, grab a weed whacker from the shed and mic it through a wah pedal. It just sounds better doing it than it has before. The album was tracked and mixed in a couple of weeks at the end of August 2010, hurricane season, as the unusually warm waters off the south shore crashed and waves broke.

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