It’s been just over a year since we spent a few long, scotch and coffee filled days at the revered House of Miracles (when it was still in London, Ontario) recording Tortoise with Andy Magoffin and special appearances by Anna Atkinson. To commemorate that milestone here’s a little slideshow of all the photos from that session set to the song “Handcar.”
I put it all together using the Avid iPad app while stewing on finishing touches for the animated “People” video that is coming very, very soon (I promise)!
A while back we decided it was time to update our band photos. The old ones were great, but it’s been over a year since they were taken and, with the new album coming out next month, we figured some freshening up was in order.
It helps that we can count some very talented photographers amongst our friends, including Karol Orzechowski of Decipherimages.com.
Karol had one stipulation: he would shoot us the way we wanted, as long as we indulged him in a second round of shots as a black metal band (I’ll let you pick which set is which). Suffice to say that we ended up liking the latter the most and had to include them—that’s a real medieval weapon of Laura’s, by the way (she’s full of surprises…)*.
You might recognize the teeth paintings from the Tortoise album cover we posted recently. It’s from a series that Laura was working on. Two of these shots will grace our album art (if you can pick which ones, drop us a line and I’ll give you a prize).
* I wore very poorly chosen footwear for this outing and ended up getting stuck down a hill in the Don Valley. I was left to crawl my way out of the snowy landscape, battle axe in hand. It must have been quite the sight for those potentially watching from their condos…
There are shows that are tough; there are shows that are fraught with problems and technical difficulties; there are shows where no one is there to play to. There are also shows where not only does it all work out, but you have a damn good time too. Saturday night at The Central was a prime example of the latter.
Our good friends in Tiny Mountains were celebrating front-man Robb Mirsky’s birthday and were kind enough to ask us to play. The Central is the perfect little spot for such a shindig—big enough to fit a small crowd, but small enough to be cozy, with great beer on tap and good eats too.
The first club show with my new Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin, this was also one of the first shows we’ve actually played with our trusty Roland Jazz Chorus JC-77 amp—felt good to have a reliable and loud tank up on stage with me. Of course, my homemade pedals were acting up as always—no fault of their own, mind you. I simply forgot to plug good ol’ Santa Wahs in at all. Technical difficulties keep us mega-rockstars humble.
As always, Laura was rock solid and even got a few verbal jabs at me between songs (she owes me more than a few by now). This was also the first show with her kick drum mic (a great Craigslist score), something we’ll be using a lot.
Photographer Karol Orzechowski (http://decipherimages.com) almost caught a tambourine to the chin in my exuberance, but still managed to take these great shots:
Quick update: we’re back from recording at the House of Miracles!
We made the snowy drive late Saturday night for a few days of recording with Andy Magoffin. Our car was so crammed full of gear I thought it might burst, but we still managed to fit Anna Atkinson between guitars in our backseat.
Suffice to say, we had a great time in the studio and we’re incredibly happy with the way the album is coming together. Here are some quick teases and tidbits for what you can expect:
– 8 of the 10 songs were predominantly recorded live off the floor.
– In contrast to …Makes Ghost Noises, acoustic guitar is the main instrument on only one track so far (in fact, that’s the only song it appears on at all at the moment).
– Our 6-string banjo is the lead instrument on 2 tracks (one of which being “Laura’s Song” ).
– Anna Atkinson is the 5th Beatle. She contributes viola, accordion and backup vocals (not to mention that she and Laura sound amazing together).
– The word “raunchy” was thrown around a lot in describing the guitar sound.
– I sound like I’ve never said the word “fuck” in my life.
– Laura’s biggest screw up might be the albums best moment.
Stay tuned for more important updates concerning the release of Tortoise (a word Andy had a lot of fun saying, by the way) as well as a tour to support it! In the meantime, here are photos from the session (we brought a video camera too, but I forgot to pack any tapes…).
The idea was simple: pare down the excess (re: no light rings or huge pedal board) and collaborate with our good friend and ultra-talented multi-instrumentalist Anna Atkinson. The result consisted of a quick set by each act before joining forces for what Anna called “the mega set.” “Mega” in this case meaning unrehearsed and haphazard—something that in the wrong atmosphere would have crashed and burned, but in the dimmed lights of Broadview Espresso, amongst an attentive and interactive audience of familiar faces, was welcomed with an air of mischief and fun.
It wasn’t fun and games at first though, as our trusty Korg Polysix seemed to have a mind of its own, bending notes all over the place (turns out it was just cold from having spent the night in the trunk). Thankfully, one of the many perks of living across the street from the venue was being able to run back and grab our Roland Juno 106 as a stand in*. Also, just like the previous show, we didn’t write a set list and forgot to play “Young Enough,” a song we had actually rehearsed with Anna prior (look for a new version of that tune at some point).
Thankfully, the slap-dash set seemed to still go over well (our new Twitter friend Matt, who also helped us name “Little Dragon Slayer,” tweeted: it was probably one of the coolest musical experience I’ve had. follow him–he’s clearly a smart dude).
Speaking of Twitter…one of our favourite online personalities, Louise Andre, took some great photos:
We arrived at The Mansion in Kingston early*. Early enough, in fact, that they were actually building the stage (there was a circular saw under the merch table most of the night). Once it was all setup everything looked great. The crowd filtered in and eased our doubts of playing to no one.
Our set seemed to go over well. Of course, wearing light-rings and having a blinking sign helped to get people’s attention (as did my beard…here I was about to shave, but audience catcalls about my facial fur have me thinking twice). Volume wasn’t an issue this time around either, as I was armed with a larger extension speaker for my homemade amp (and I didn’t drop the it like last time).
“Dusty Bones” (to be recorded soon) has been our go-to opener lately—with a folky first half that abruptly turns raucous, it’s sort of a condensed version of what you can expect from a Dog Is Blue show. Although, we might want to actually start writing set lists beforehand, as we got lost in the excitement and forgot to play a few of our other new favourites.
As for Bellevue…ahh, Bellevue. Great people in an even better band. Playing with them back in November at the Silver Dollar was such hoot that we were very happy when they asked us to join them for this show. Their set was amazing—upbeat and tight while showcasing some great new songs. They had us dancing at the merch booth.
Rounding out the bill was the talented and authoritative Sticky Henderson (who commanded the stage like a veteran and launched a campaign against the 3(!) noisy snare drums behind her), and Brad Sucks—self-proclaimed “one man band with no fans” (who actually had a band and a bunch of fans) whose tight sound had his diverse fan base rockin’ out at the front of the stage.
*We actually got to Kingston around dinner time. Trying to be healthy, we ate salads at a pub down the street. Unfortunately, these “salads” were really just piles of cheese with the odd piece of lettuce thrown in that sat like soggy bricks in our stomachs.
This photo was taken at 7am on Oct. 3, 2010 at Project 165 in Toronto’s Kensington Market. Holding the camera is gallery/venue founder Ryan Ringer*. We had played at 2am that night as part of Nuit Noir II (an all night art/music event that happened to coincide with Nuit Blanche) and were deliriously ready for bed.
It might just be our favourite band shot yet.
*Fun fact: I traded Ryan a vegetable steamer for his winter coat. Hidden inside the lining was a small bottle of moustache glue. Supposedly it’s expensive and he was very happy I found it.