musings from boston

screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Hamilton Ontario

Introducing… WTCHS

What begins as a deceptively simple gothic minimalist dirge slowly builds into a hypnotic oddessey that travels through exotic goth, free jazz, industrial, experimental noise soundscapes. With a barrage of sound that ebbs and flows like insistent ocean waves, just four words and a few subtle variations on “you own your bones,” the attentive listener is teased, confirmed, queried, seduced, challenged, stirred to action, soothed.” The repetition with its gradually evolving complexity is as revelatory as a classical Phillip Glass or Terry Riley piece. This is headbanging, cleansing, trance-enducing, life-affirming, meditative music of the highest order.

“You Own Your Bones” is from their debut album She Walks, She Creeps, which comes out on October 28 on Sonic Unyon. The vinyl release is limited to 500 copies worldwide, and you can order that or a digital copy (vinyl comes with a digital copy as well), directly from Sonic Unyon. The song was recorded in one take, and is their first new music in more than two years after various line-up changes. The video was filmed and edited by Mitch Fillion, and the music was recorded and mixed by Sean Pearson at Boxcar Studios.

In an Exclaim interview, this Hamilton, Ontario band explained the gestation of their album. “Recording this record become our therapy. We didn’t care about how long or when it was going to be finished. The urgency, the chaos amongst the songs are real. It was our anxieties, our demons that sit amongst the endless layers of frenzied guitars, using suitcases for drums at times, mellotrons, and a brass section to create something that was boiling on the surface. It’s like we were given a second chance, a much needed change to bring an ounce of peace to our aching, tortured souls.”

“acceptance, acceptance of yourself and others amongst the chaos of the universe. you answer to no one but yourself.”

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Introducing… Kirk Starkey

There’s no instrument quite as elegant and somber as the cello. Imagine an entire orchestra of cellos. Let yourself get lost in the unfathomable depths of “New Sudbury” by Kirk Starkey. It’s part of his instrumental song cycle titled Songs of Sudbury.

He describes the album as a “personal memoir of loss and reconnection.” It is a reflection of his birthplace of Sudbury, a mining town, the loss of his brother and a reclaiming of his past. It is, as he says, “the tracing of fragments that barely exist, and the search for meaning when it’s not clear there is any to be found.” His cello playing is deeply personal, expressing so much without any lyrics whatsoever and conveying a wealth of emotion in the various tones and subtle shadings.

Starkey, based in Hamilton, Ontario, was trained as a classical cellist, and he has worked with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Twin Within, Capella Intima, Bud Roach, Valerie Tryon, Paul Marleyn and Suzanne Shulman, among others. His playing has been heard on various television programs, and he produces recordings of acoustic music in special locations. His Songs of Sudbury album will be released on July 22.

Listen also to his previous album, Little Gidding, released in 2011.

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Introducing… Basement Revolver

Having a rough day? So is Basement Revolver, though this Hamilton, Ontario trio chooses to express their misery with mesmerizing dreamy pop music. The sounds and stories flow freely with chiming-to-churning guitars, purposeful percussion and haunted angel vocals. Their debut EP, set for release on July 15 on fear of missing out records, comprises four songs of various moods. “Family” starts out like a slow dirge, with Chrisy Hurn’s evocative vocals, but then builds in intensity, using the loud/soft dynamic to great effect. A lost (or stolen?) love seems to be the subject of “Johnny,” as the unfortunate ex continually repeats the hypnotic phrase “It’s a really bad time right now,” though it all sounds so pretty and serene on the surface.


“Lake, Steel, Oil” also begins quietly and peacefully though somewhat melancholic, with a mildly disquieting presence that bubbles up from underneath, slowly building to its epic crescendo (“These days are numbered, so don’t waste them on slumber”). Stunning.

“Words” is also steeped in sadness, though these disturbing thoughts are conveyed with a voice like a clear waterfall over glistening boulders. As Hurn describes it, the song came to her while she was finishing her final university semester. She had begun to feel disillusioned with the daily slog from home to school, all the papers she had written and her honors psychology thesis. “It all began to feel meaningless,” explains Hurn. “No matter what I said, in the end, words are just words, they can be stringed together to form something powerful but without context they become as mundane and incontrollable as one’s commute to and from school. Similarly, a paper is just a paper, a degree is just a degree, and there is so much more to life than the plans and the empires that we build for ourselves.”

Basement Revolver, a pretty yet powerful trio of accomplished musicians, is Chrisy Hurn (guitar and vocals), Nimal Agalwatte (bass and synth) and Brandon Munro (drums). It’s a considerable amount of fury, social observation and musical sophistication for a band just starting out. Definitely one to keep an eye on. Their debut was recorded at TAPE Studios — engineered, produced and mixed by Adam Bentley & Jordan Mitchell and mastered by Warren Hildebrand (Orchid Tapes).

If you like what you hear, the limited edition cassette-only EP can be preordered from Big Cartel. You can also preorder it digitally from iTunes. If you’re in the Ontario region of Canada, they’ll be performing through the summer. See dates below. And tell them to cheer up! (just kidding).

Upcoming Shows

7/14 – Montreal, QC – BAD LUNCH
7/15 – Ottawa, ON – Black Squirrel Books & CafĂ©
7/16 – Hamilton, ON – (RELEASE SHOW) The Casbah
7/20 – London, ON – Call The Office
8/7 – Hamilton, ON – Seven Sundays in Gage Park
8/18 – Kingston, ON – The Mansion Kingston #
8/19 – Peterborough, ON – TBA #
8/20 – Sudbury, ON – The Townhouse Tavern #

& – Tearjerker
# – The Almighty Rhombus
% – Grey\\Water
* – Dan Edmonds

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