17 ways to blow your wad this week

Record Store Day is behind us, but your bank account demands to be drained on 2 excellent new records and 15 awesome shows and DJ gigs, starting tonight.

I hope all of you wax addicts got out last Saturday on Record Store Day and supported your local brick-and-mortar shops. It’s easily the biggest day of the year for local music merchants, but hopefully you’ll be encouraged to darken their doors on a more regular basis. To help inject the spring into your step up to your local wax shack, here’s two titles currently resting in the “new releases” bin.

First up is the stunning new release from the kings of quiet, Low’s The Invisible Way (Sub Pop). The combination of Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker’s songwriting chops are further finely honed with their angelic harmonies burrowing even deeper into the ol’ ticker. With production handled by Uncle Tupelo/Wilco strummer Jeff Tweedy, the twang comes closer to the fore, but in the tradition of their last effort, C’mon, Low continues to slowly coast down dark, lonely and quiet Laurel Canyon roads with the engine turned off. Things remain as sparse as ever, leaving more room to sling their melancholic lyrical pearls that will cut even the most callous to the bone. The Invisible Way will proudly offer itself up to be your new favourite Sunday afternoon listen. If you’re just jumping in now, you’ll definitely want to start digging back into Low’s solid discography. While yer there, don’t forget to make a stop on one of their most beautiful collections of musical moments, 2005’s The Great Destroyer (Sub Pop). Quiet is still the new loud!

Another great soundtrack for a perfect Sunday afternoon is the collaboration between the John Fahey-styled 12-string guitarist James Blackshaw and pianist Lubomyr Melnyk; their record The Watchers was recently released by the always-stunning experimental label Important Records. Being a huge fan of Blackshaw’s rapid but morose finger-picking, I knew this would deliver before I even cracked the cellophane, but it’s the emotional heft of Melnyk’s ivory tickling that surprises and really sends this. Playing live off the floor, the two improvise within a compositional structure and never step on toes while expertly choosing when to give solid support and when to shine out. Blackshaw has certainly earned a reputation as a talented composer, using repetition and restraint for added tension, as well as knowing how to play with shadow and light. But as an improvisational player, and with Melnyk as his worthy foil, new inspiration in his playing emerges. Melnyk’s strength is letting melodies careen and cascade out of his rapid hammered arpeggios as anchored drone keys keep everything grounded. In fact, Blackshaw’s name will shine brightest on this marquee, but it’s actually Melnyk’s serene and constantly moving arpeggios that will have you coming back for repeated listens. Fans of improv, John Fahey and modern composers Terry Riley and Steve Reich are definitely going to find some solid gold in these grooves.

Although the CD version will be widely available, we all know that CDs are reserved for babysitters and Publi-Sac delivery creeps. The better bet would be to hightail it to your local indie store and demand the limited edition vinyl.

The gigs that’ll flip yer wig:

Tuesday – Ba-boom! My pick for the show of the week happens tonight: Killing Joke at Café Campus with Czar. The last time Killing Joke came to town to play one of the last shows at the long-gone Just for Laughs venue, they jettisoned way beyond expectation and absolutely thrilled. This time around, Jaz and co. will be dedicating the set-list exclusively to their singles, dating from ’79 to ’12. This is guaranteed to blow yer puny puny mind to smithereens.

Unfortunately, my grizzled mug won’t be making the Killing Joke scene, as I’ll be holding down my monthly residency at Casa as part of the weekly DJ night We Sold Our Souls to Rawk and Roll. Show up after the show and let me know what a hump I am for missing what very well could be the show of the year.

Metal miscreants will want to catch Death to All at Club Soda, but definitely show up early to catch Ancient Riffs.

Wednesday – Il Motore will host ex-Mika Miko band Bleached with Hunters. Don’t be tardy and make sure you show up early to catch locals Femme Accident. Check out the review of Femme Accident’s debut record here.

Thursday – If you really want to start your Thursday on the right foot, do yourself a favour and tune in to WFMU and click on the live stream for Diane Kamikaze’s Fun Machine. Kamikaze’s show continues to be one of the best to ever hit the Inter-airwaves, but this Thursday should prove to be one of her greatest. Kamikaze’s guest DJ is none other than current Stooge and former Minuteman Mike Watt. Yowza!!! The Fun Machine gets rolling at 1 p.m.

FridayThe In and Outs release their second slammer, Zero Gravity, at Quai des Brumes, but really sealing the deal are openers Dead Messenger. If you dig the power-pop that used to sit on labels like Bomp and Stiff, pick up Dead Messenger’s sophomore album Recharger at the show.

For a night of cinematic post-rock, head down to Casa and catch Akron, Ohio’s If These Trees Could Talk with Milanku, Atsuko Chiba and Cloudhopper.

Tucked away in Little Italy/Mile End (nope, not going to write “Mile Ex,” just ain’t gonna do it!) is the Drones club. This quaint little playground for drunks will host Los Angeles’s Colleen Green, ex-Drunk Dial and Hand Cream and current child actors Weird Séance, Bitterfruit and Dopplebanger, with DJ Tamika (co-host of Royal Phoenix’s Cousins night) in the selector position.

Celebrating the premiere of the film Montreal Underground will be live musical performances from real live musicians like American Devices with BraEEEEc and Leamers at Aux Chérubins. As with the Drones Club, do your own cyber-sleuthing for the exact address, ya turd burglar.

Saturday – Truthfully, I’m a bit too jaded and ancient to be excited about the Casualties show at Cabaret Underworld, but making this gig worth yer squeegee money are openers and Canadian punk rock legends Dayglo Abortions. If this is getting you all hot under yer dog collar, go directly to Punk Books and order up the great Chris Walter-penned biography Argh Fuck Kill: The Story of the Dayglo Abortions. It includes hundreds of photos and is just filled to the brim with utter debauchery. A romping and raucous read that you won’t be able to put down as the Dayglos make cock-rockers Mötley Crüe appear as dangerous as Beach House fans.

For some pummelling West-Coast-bud metal, catch the return of Bison B.C. with Teethmarks at Il Motore.

Sunday – Fans of abacus rock will be celebrating two great nights in a row of some serious shredding and post-rock chutzpah. The first stop is with Philadelphia’s the Joint Chiefs of Math, Pittsburg’s Edhochuli and locals Girl Arm and La Jetée at Stack Your Roster HQ. Ask a pocket-protector-adorned math-rocker for the address or just follow the backpacks.

Monday – Continuing the mathy two-fer will be the return of one of the most creative bands ever to bend a time signature, Tera Melos, with This Town Needs Guns and Gulfer at Il Motore. If you want to check out just how good math rock and cinematic post-rock can get, check out their amazing 2007 split release with …By The End of Tonight, Complex Full of Phantoms, on Temporary Residence, or their brand new jammer on Sargent House, X’ed Out.

For some serious songwriting and crooning, check out the genre-defying sound of Josephine Foster with support from one of the best singers in Montreal, Molly Sweeney, at Casa.

Across the street at Sala, improv and experimental jamz will rule the roost with monster players Oren Ambarchi, no wave aficionado Weasel Walter, Mary Alvorson, Peter Evans and Aaron Lumley. ■

Current Obsession: Country Teasers, Destroy All Human Life


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