February 7, 2024 | Posted in: Jon Mckiel 0

Jon Mckiel returns with a highly anticipated new album, the long-awaited follow-up to his underground classic Bobby Joe Hope!

The songs of Jon McKiel are born of the bruised marshlands of remote New Brunswick, from the craggy shores of the Atlantic coast; places where nature is a powerful wonder and the made-world is in slow decay. His new album, Hex, is a bloodshot pop record steeped in our dystopian present, tempered, across its ten tracks, by an existential umami. It’s the follow-up to 2020’s cult favorite Bobby Joe Hope, which Aquarium Drunkard called “an unlikely masterpiece” and Gorilla vs. Bear listed as one of their favorites of that god-forsaken year.

After two solid decades of refining his practice, during the creation process for Bobby Joe Hope, McKiel unlocked new sampling techniques, fundamentally changing the way he makes music. Hex sees that practice extended into even more evocative terrain. Performed and produced again in close collaboration with JOYFULTALK’s Jay Crocker, the duo offer up another collection of songs as disquieting as they are comforting. Expertly evoked by Paul Henderson’s twisted collage on the cover, Hex is equal parts flower field and burning building.

The music moves subtly between moods, carrying themes of fate, doom, family, love and distrust in the digital age. The eponymous lead track is an eerie, subterranean banger whose looped percussion and dirt-nasty bassline bring to mind low fi hip hop flipping early 70s Gene Clark. Elsewhere, on ‘Memory Screen Pt 1’, McKiel’s nostalgia-drenched vocals bring to mind more sounds of the 1970s that appear sonically wider than the largely mono “Bobby Jo Hope”. Then there are moments like ‘Under Burden’, whose skittering drum machine and saccharine synths suggest the cult works of that other Bobby Brown. The album also features McKiel’s first cover committed to tape, a haunting version of a tune called ‘Concrete Sea’, as sung by Terry Jacks (of ‘Seasons In The Sun’ and Poppy Family fame). An earlier version of the cover first cropped up on Aquarium Drunkard’s Lagniappe Sessions wherein Mckiel contextualized the selection: “This is actually a song from my childhood. Jacks was at the forefront of ’60s and ’70s-era musicians who were using their platforms to speak out or sing about environmental issues, eventually leaving music entirely to pursue a more peaceful and natural way of life, something that I deeply relate to. The chorus hook has been in my head for about 25 years…”

Regardless of mood, the songs are all adorned with the world-weary poetics heads have come to expect from McKiel. In his music, what might otherwise be construed as paranoia or pessimism, is softened by a genuine sense of longing and tenderness. His lyrics combine natural elements with bits of fantasy and lucid dreamscapes, all tangled with the transmuted horrors of our thoroughly modern present. When McKiel sings of “memories cooked down into usernames” or how “the color of time has gone from green to grey”, the listener is carried to the heart of our grim realities. When he suggests that “one song could kill the king”, we’re reminded that there may just be some dusty magic out there worth believing in.



Still Life
The Fix
Under Burden
Memory Screen pt. 1
Lady’s Mantle
Concrete Sea
Memory Screen pt. 2

All songs © Jon Mckiel 2024 except Concrete Sea by Terry Jacks
Recorded and Produced by Jon Mckiel and Jay Crocker
Mastered by Harris Newman
Performed by Jon Mckiel and Jay Crocker
with Nicola Miller on saxophone on HEX

Artwork and design by Paul Henderson – The Centaur, paper collage, 16 x 20 cm, 2023



January 10, 2024 | Posted in: Daniel Romano 0

Can you describe your song-writing process?

DR: In order to bring about the good song there is a certain amount of magic to be summoned. Though there are a variety of ways to achieve it, allow me now to break down one of my favourite methods: Without food, take to your post with the hungry wonder of the morning. Getting down to it, allow everything to begin slowly– thought, breath, moment– until you’re buried, little by little in a celestial blackness where all common ideas dissolve into ash and all that didn’t serve you is gone. It’s in this original darkness that the virtues of your heart begin to ignite.

Come hither dialecticians! Come into the darkness to discover light! Creativity is technique, study, and process, and above all, a commitment, to the self and the self’s relationship to the world. So, too it is an opening, or the result of an opening, to the gifts the world and the world cosmos bring. One conceives as one receives. Magic, yes, but magic summoned actively.

Daniel Romano has been busy. Count the many hungry mornings at the post. Since the release of the massive, singular, La Luna in those long ago days of autumn 2022, full brilliant albums have been made and set aside (maybe two, maybe more), vast landscapes have been crossed and re-crossed, the maps redrawn, songs remade nightly with passion and gusto.

Now here, in the depths of northern winter, arrives Too Hot To Sleep, simultaneously a transcendent document of the spirit, and a swaggering, street level blast of power-pop and Stone’s derived rock ‘n’ roll; a surprisingly direct shout down of the corrupt politicians and techno fascists that police our bodies, pollute our world, assault our connections; a reason and occasion to dance, to sweat together at one of The Outfit’s legendary live shows wherein everything comes faster than the next, no breaks, no outside, there is only now, there is only all of us here together, alive. A public offering of each to each.

Count the many hungry mornings. Count the many and the one. Here the rock band is a self-contained creative unit: making music, design, art, and film. Making image and sound at its most primal, immediate, and sophisticated. A synthesis of influences from in and out of time. See the videos the band has created, for Field Of Ruins (wigs and costumes), Chatter (props and close-ups), Where’s Paradise (skateboarding and landscape), State Of Nature (symbol and story). See the icons and emblems emblazoned on T-shirts and jackets, secret signs for those who know, declarations of membership and understanding. Hear the blend of voices in service of the song.

See the darkened barroom. The stage lights rise. Here we are, together, go!


Too Hot To Sleep
You can steal my kiss
Where’s paradise?
State of nature
All of thee above
That’s too rich
Field of ruins
You saw me in sunshine
Too hot to sleep
Generation end

Daniel Romano’s Outfit – Too Hot To Sleep

Richard Laviolette 1982-2023

Richard Laviolette 1982-2023

September 6, 2023 | Posted in: Richard Laviolette 0

We said goodbye to Richard Laviolette today.

Richard was in touch with a deep magic, a deep, brave, river of song. He was a beautiful, kind, funny person. I don’t separate those things. He was my friend.

Richard was the first artist we worked with at YC, outside of our immediate founding circle. I had played shows a few times with Richard and loved his “A Little Less Like A Rock…” CD. It was beautiful and mysterious and intimate, in its hand sewn sleeve, its depiction of ants and universes and neighbourhoods and alphabets. When he gave me a CDR of All Of Your Raw Materials at a house show in Guelph, I loved it instantly. This is a defining album for me, a lesson in love and courage and community. It is an album for life.

Everything I can think to say today about love and loss and the way to celebrate life through music, Richard has said in one of his songs. They burst with life and mortality, with guts and glory, with love, justice, honesty, and a beautiful mischief. These songs were expressions of the particularities of Richard’s life and his voice, and they were songs that found embodiment in that particular body, and in his voice, but they always, magically, transcended these specifics. It’s been beautiful to hear his songs picked up by other voices. At the tribute show in Guelph last week Cormac thanked Richard for sharing his living with us and for sharing his dying with us. This is a profound gift.

Thank you for sharing your songs with us Richard, thank you for your voice. Thank you for your joy and your grace. Thank you for your friendship.

We had the great honour of releasing two of Richard’s albums on YC, All Of Your Raw Materials in 2010 and Taking The Long Way Home in 2017. There is another, final record forthcoming, a last record Richard worked to complete in these past months: All Wild Things Are Shy. Much of Richards other work has recently been uploaded to his Bandcamp Page. Hollow Hooves, Soundtrack To The Life of A Car, A Little Less Like A Rock A Little More Like A Home, and more. Here’s the link.

Our love to all who loved him. Sing loud. Sing together. That’s how we do it, i think, that’s how we can do it.

We love you Ricky.

– Steve

“Following the onset of Huntington’s Disease symptoms this past fall and their rapid worsening since May, Richard chose to receive MAiD (Medical Assistance in Dying), and he died peacefully this evening on September 5.”

Photograph by Colin Medley.

YCTV: Sappyfest and Hillside Special Report

YCTV: Sappyfest and Hillside Special Report

August 11, 2023 | Posted in: Fiver, Julie Doiron, Shotgun Jimmie, Steven Lambke, YCTV 0

Summer is festival season in the music world and YCTV correspondents Shotgun Jimmie, Julianna Riolino, and Nathan Doucet are here to take you behind the scenes, deep into the methods and the magic, into the grind and the glory of Sappyfest in Sackville NB and Hillside Festival in Guelph ON in this brand new episode of our immensely popular and hard hitting journalistic series. The SAPPYFEST & HILLSIDE SPECIAL REPORT features family, flour, festival survival tactics, fear pointing, june like bugs, tick costumes, what are we doing, it is what it is, young lions, strawberry ice cream, secret shows, special guests, all-stars, modulations, sneaky mirrors, impending doom, memories, not remembering, top notch, 100%, and lots of love to Richard Laviolette. Don’t miss it!

Jon Mckiel: “Deeper Shade” acoustic, tour dates!

Jon Mckiel: “Deeper Shade” acoustic, tour dates!

August 9, 2023 | Posted in: Jon Mckiel 0

YCTV presents a special acoustic performance by Jon Mckiel! Jon performs “Deeper Shade” from his absolutely magical 2020 album Bobby Joe Hope live at his home in Baie Verte, NB. Camera and sound by Colin Medley.

Catch Jon Mckiel performing as a duo with Jay Crocker (JOYFULTALK) live at the following international engagements:

Aug 11 – Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
Aug 31 – The Cavendish Arms, London, UK
Sept 1 – End Of The Road, Dorset, UK
Sept 5 – Off61, Montecarotto, Italy
Sept 8 – La Serre dei Giardini Margherita, Bologna, Italy
Sept 9 – Mazzini 66, Ravenna, Italy
Sept 10 – Baravai Antieatro Romano, Terni, Italy

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