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Music & Arts news from Southern New Brunswick

Month: March 2012

Mark`s Review Corner

A Brief Word On Nostic
By Mark Carpenter
March 29, 2012

Hello everyone; apologies for the late entry this week. I wanted to take the opportunity to urge everyone to go see Penny Blacks, the subject of next week’s column, when they perform tomorrow night at Bourbon Quarter. I’d also like to remind everyone to send me, not just your music, but any suggestions or tips on Saint John or New Brunswick artists you think are worthy of coverage. I’ll give ’em a listen and we’ll take it from there.

Ok, this week’s entry is on a single song I was sent by SJ hip-hop artist Nostic. I’ll lay my cards on the table: my taste in hip-hop is largely confined to the classic work of 80’s legends like Run-DMC and Public Enemy, the stuff I heard in my formative high-school days. I also liked the Beastie Boys, and a few others springing from that NYC tradition. As rappers hit the bigtime and went commercial or obnoxiously gangsta in the 90’s, my interest in hip-hop per se wore off to the point where it was almost non-existent. Every so often, though, I hear a track I like, and it reminds me that there’s a whole world of underground hip-hop out there that I ought to explore. It’s not typical for music critics to admit their ignorance of this or that genre, particularly one that dominates pop music so thoroughly. One risks being outed as an old fogy or terminally unhip or stuck two decades ago, or what have you. But what the hey, it’s my column.

So all that is to say that when I listened to Nostic’s “Elevated” (Feat. Joseph Koven), I at first tuned it out, as my ear doesn’t usually decode contemporary hip-hop that well. The rush of words, the piano loop, the rhythm clap: all seemed very typical. Where I’m trained as a listener to pick out the nuances in a rock song, even a fairly generic one, a hip-hop song usually has to have a very aggressive hook, or inflammatory lyrics to grab my attention (this being the signature attack of rap music in its early days). However, a second close listen, and the song began to grab me. I began to appreciate the relentlessness of the piano, and how the guitar drone insinuates itself in at about the 2 minute mark. The track has the kind of dark urgency that is precisely the kind of thing I often look for in music, and it confirmed something I’ve felt more and more as I age. Taste is something that is learned, and it becomes possible to appreciate all kinds of music (and all kinds of art, in fact) if you open yourself up to new ways of listening, of experiencing the work. I haven’t listened to Nostic’s previous work yet, but I definitely will.

As usual, send your feedback and your links to markcarpenter926@gmail.com. Cheers!

This weekend: Penny Blacks & Bolivia, Local 107.3 Fundraiser

Friday night the Bourbon Quarter crams two large bands on one tiny stage. Penny Blacks performs with guest Bolivia, a five piece folk-pop group from Sackville, N.B. Bolvia is pleased to entertain you with lovely five-part harmonies and a delightful mix of instruments including cello, mandolin, accordion, ukulele, guitar and toms. They should be a fantastic compliment to your local loves Penny Blacks. Showtime is 9PM and cover is 8$. Advanced tickets suggested due to limited space.

The Somerset Pub is graciously hosting CFMH Local 107.3’s spring fundraiser on Saturday at 9PM. This production is a bit of a revial of the Foolapalooza shows that some may remember. The Smiths will be headlining following a reading by Allen Ginsberg (it’s a long flight from the great beyond, I tell ya), and other special special musical guests. Cover is 5$ but additional donations are accepted.

Local 107.3fm Top 30 For the Week Ending: Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Here are the latest Local 107.3fm charts for the week ending Tuesday, March 27, 2012.

This Week/Last Week/Artist/Title

1 re Adam Mowery St. Joseph’s Mechanical Penthouse
2 re Baby Eagle & The Proud Mothers Bone Soldiers
3 re Rose Cousins We Have Made a Spark
4 re Cousins The Palm At The End Of The Mind
5 re Lee Ranaldo Between The Times & The Tides
6 re David R. Elliott Blue Sky Country Gold
7 re Zeus Busting Visions
8 re Mike O’Neill Wild Lines
9 re B.A. Johnston Hi Dudes
10 re Brent Mason Old New Borrowed Blue
11 re Wild Hearses Ruins
12 — Paradise Animals Paradise Animals
13 re Paper Beat Scissors Paper Beat Scissors
14 — Maximum RNR The Black and White Years
15 re Trust TRST
16 re The Megaphonic Thrift The Megaphonic Thrift
17 re Seven Story Redhead Uptight/Downlow
18 — Ballgag ‘N Chaingang Ballgag ‘N Chaingang
19 re The Just Barelys Mad Bits
20 — Boxer The Horse French Residency
21 — The Vibrating Beds Sing The Blues
22 — Ketamines Spaced Out
23 — Cygnets Dark Days
24 re The Sturgeons The Wood Shop
25 re River CanCon Light Up To Burn Out
26 — Topanga Oceans
27 re Bella Clava Holy Crow
28 re Boys Who Say No Contingencies
29 re Phèdre Phèdre
30 re The Barmitzvah Brothers Growing Branches

Mark's Review Corner

January Through December Part 3: September-December and Adam Mowery’s St. Joseph’s Mechanical Penthouse
By Mark Carpenter
March 18, 2012

Hello again. This week, my final installment on Clinton Charlton’s project, January Through December, for which a song was composed and recorded for every month of the year 2011. I’ll also be reviewing a great new album by Adam Mowery, St. Joseph’s Mechanical Penthouse.

September: “Nothing To Say”
This track is actually an older Charlton composition, but its plaintive guitar and its theme of change, the necessity of moving on so perfectly matches the time of year it seems to have been written with the month in mind. September is when we accept the cooler temperatures, the shifting colours, and learn to embrace the end of summer and the start of fall. That’s what this song evokes beautifully. The track also has possibly Charlton’s best vocal on this project, tender, regretful, and caustic all at once.

October: “Sleeping Molly”
This track, composed and played on Charlton’s favourite battered guitar, is another lovely instrumental, The guitar’s evocation of perfect domestic contentment is counterbalanced by the ominous SK-1 keyboard, like the autumn wind whistling at the window.

November: “Never Gonna Let You Down”
This song reflects Charlton’s songwriting at its most charmingly casual. With a full band driving its swinging tempo, its friendly communal vibe is in contrast to the solitariness of the previous entry, and also belies the circumstances of its creation (or more accurately, the circumstances by which it almost wasn’t created.) Charlton’s writeup is one of the most interesting on the site for what it reveals about him as a songwriter. It seems that despite the melancholia of his work, he is at his least creative when he is depressed. (Another rebuke to the simplistic idea that artists’ work must always mirror their mood by definition.) The track was composed very quickly as a means of combating a writer’s block brought on quite possibly by the change of season – and really, who isn’t brought down by November weather? Nothing like a recording session with friends to bring up your spirits, and the result should lift you up as well.

December: “I’ll Be A Bird”
Now for the finale. This track is not a Christmas song, but its theme of death and rebirth is perfectly suited to the strange mixture of moods many of us feel during the holiday season, the festivities co-existing with the grimness of the onset of winter. The track builds subtly, with Charlton singing with great ease. Not an epic finish, but very, very moving. A fine way to wrap up the year.

That’s not all, of course, for Chris Braydon, a collaborator on many of these tracks, has opted to continue the project. He has posted two songs so far, for January and February, called “Sun In My Eyes” and “Friends”, respectively. I’ll be reviewing these in a future column. For now, all songs are available at http://www.januarythroughdecember.com/

On to Adam Mowery, a veteran musician, originally from Saint John but currently residing in Halifax. His latest album, St. Joseph’s Mechanical Penthouse, hit Number One on CFMH, and is holding currently at Number Two. You can see why: it’s great!. Mowery works in a genre of lo-fi power pop that is all about wearing your influences on your sleeve; in that sense, he is a flag-bearer in a tradition going back at least as far as Alex Chilton, filtered through the likes of Guided By Voices and East Coast artists such as The Inbreds and possibly dozens more. The thing is, like GBV’s Robert Pollard, Mowery has a knack for melodies that sound familiar and fresh at the same time. An infectious pop-rocker like “Needle To The Heart” can on first hearing seem simultaneously like a song you’ve always known and like the song you’ve been waiting years to hear.
St. Joseph’s showcases not only Mowery’s prodigious skills as a tunesmith, but also his knack for interesting sonic environments. The album is permeated with ambient sounds recorded on the streets of Saint John, creating unusual lo-fi textures that really reinforce the overarching sense of place. This married to the unforced exuberance of uptempo numbers like “Intentional Fallacy” and the wistfulness of acoustic numbers like “Soft Features” makes him a more than worthy successor to Joel Plaskett. Mowery’s album is set to be the soundtrack of my spring and it should be yours too. Here’s a link to the site: www.itsadammowery.bandcamp.com
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That’s all for now. As always, send your feedback and your links to markcarpenter926@gmail.com. Cheers!

Local 107.3fm Top 30 For the Week Ending: Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Here are the latest Local 107.3fm charts for the week ending Tuesday, March 13, 2012. Tune in next week to the Local 107.3fm Top 30 live on Tuesday mornings from 8-10am to hear selections from this week’s charts.

This Week/Last Week/Artist/Title

1 2 Cousins The Palm At The End Of The Mind
2 1 Adam Mowery St. Joseph’s Mechanical Penthouse
3 4 Baby Eagle & The Proud Mothers Bone Soldiers
4 3 B.A. Johnston Hi Dudes
5 6 Find the Others Find the Others
6 5 Mike O’Neill Wild Lines
7 7 Paper Beat Scissors Paper Beat Scissors
8 — David R. Elliott Blue Sky Country Gold
9 8 The Just Barelys Mad Bits
10 9 Greg MacPherson Disintegration Blues
11 10 River Light Up To Burn Out
12 — Zeus Busting Visions
13 12 Brent Mason Old New Borrowed Blue
14 13 The Famines The Complete Collected Singles
15 — Seven Story Redhead Uptight/Downlow
16 — Wild Hearses Ruins
17 15 Born Gold Bodysongs
18 16 Phèdre Phèdre
19 11 Ballgag ‘N Chaingang Bang!
20 18 Honheehonhee Shouts
21 19 Rae Spoon I Can’t Keep All Of Our Secrets
22 — Lee Ranaldo Between The Times & The Tides
23 20 Cannon Bros. Firecracker / Cloudglow
24 21 Rose Cousins We Have Made a Spark
25 22 Trust TRST
26 23 The StandStills The Human Element
27 — The Sturgeons The Wood Shop
28 25 Bella Clava Holy Crow
29 28 Holiday RamblerThere Is No End To The World, And Nothing Can Shatter The Earth
30 30 Army Girls Close to the Bone