Thursdays Canadian Triple Play

The Boxcar Boys - Hindustan (from the album - Cicada Ball).

Background - The Boxcar Boys create their distinct, energetic and at times maudlin sound by weaving together a captivating bevy of folk traditions, Dixieland jazz and Klezmer performed with a good ole time New Orleans spirit. Their presence on the Canadian music scene over the last 5 years, including 2 full length albums Don’t Be Blue (2011) and Rye Whiskey (2012) has earned them a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination as well as a place on EJazzNews list of Best Canadian Jazz Bands.

This Toronto based six piece is comprised of clarinetist John Williams, violinist Laura C. Bates, trombonist Karl Silveira, accordionist Kelsey McNulty, sousaphonist Rob Teehan and washboard player Justin Ruppel.   The band’s close-knit dynamic is clear on their third full length album, Cicada Ball which will waltz you across genres with whimsy and humour and dip you back in time. The title track of the album is a sonic interpretation of Cicadas giving up their tireless singing in the heat of the summer to instead throw down and party.  In the spirit of celebration, the Boxcar Boys included some talented friends on selected tracks throughout the album including Lotus Wight on vocals and cello banjo (Sheesham and Lotus), Adrian Gross on mandolin (The Slocan Ramblers) and Michael Eckert on dobro (The Double Cuts).

The album launch and official release party will be marked by a hoedown and concert at the Burdock Music Hall in Toronto on September 11th. Canadian bluegrass super-band, The Slocan Ramblers will ready the stage and warm up the dancers. The Boxcar Boys will follow this release with an east coast tour in mid-late September including a performance at the notorious Deep Roots Music Festival. Upcoming tour dates include:

9/11 - Burdock Music Hall (Toronto ON)
9/19 - Boscawen Inn (Lunenburg, NS)
9/20 - Parrsboro Music Hall (Parrsboro ON)
9/22 - Baba's Lounge (Charlottetown PEI)
9/23 - Red Herring Pub (Saint Andrews, NB)
9/24 - Cafe Cempoal (Halifax, NS)
9/25 - 9/27- Deep Roots Music Fest (Wolfville, NS)
9/28 - All City Music Program (Halifax, NS)
9/29 - The Townhouse (Antigonish, NS)
9/30 - House Concert (Cape Breton ON)

What's not to like about this band and this album. It's refreshing, timeless, has a blend of styles that can charm your socks off, and the musicians create something quite sublime.


Grounders - Bloor Street And Pressure.

Background - This spring, the Toronto-based band - Andrew Davis (vocals and guitar), Daniel Busheikin (keyboards), Mike Searle (Bass) and Evan Lewis (guitar) - released their first full-length album, a collection of dense and intricate pop music under the gauzy veil of krautrock and psychedelia. In the time between releasing the Wreck of a Smile EP in 2013 and laying demos for their debut album, Grounders rediscovered their love for classic pop music, an appreciation that had waned over the years as they became obsessed with circumventing the conventional. They listened to pop staples like David Bowie and Devo, and revisited old favorites like Velvet Underground, Neu! and the Zombies. When Grounders finally came up for air, they had a newfound love for pop and a glut of ideas for a debut LP.

Meanwhile, Meditation for Dummies and David Lynch's self-help guide Catching the Big Fish, on transcendental meditation and the creative process, were passed around the van while touring through North America. As Davis's interest in meditation increased, his lyrics began to reflect his search for serenity and inner peace. The album came to life in two distinct spaces: Davis's bedroom in Toronto's sleepy High Park neighbourhood; and a spacious two-car garage packed with vintage gear from various pawn shops and second-hand stores across the country.

After recruiting DIANA's Kieran Adams to handle drums, the band headed into the studio with longtime pal Marcel Ramagnano (Born Ruffians, Absolutely Free) to record. Months of tracking, tinkering and layering later, Grounders enlisted the incomparable David Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Holy F) to give each song the bombastic, fried analog treatment he's become known for.

Tour dates:

8/21 Sudbury @ The Townhouse
8/22 North Bay @ Raven and Republic
9/10 Toronto @ The Silver Dollar 
9/14 Winnipeg @ The Handsome Daughter
9/15 Saskatoon @ Vangelis
9/16 Edmonton @ Wunderbar
9/17 Calgary @ Broken City
9/18 Revelstoke @ Harvest Festival
9/19-9/20 Victoria @ Rifflandia
9/22 Vancouver @ The Media Club
9/23 Bellingham @ The Shakedown
9/24 Seattle @ Rendezvous
9/25 Eugene @ Luckey's
9/26 Portland @ White Eagle
10/1-10/2 San Francisco @ Culture Collide Festival
10/8  Los Angeles, CA @ Culture Collide Festival
10/11 Denver @ Moe's
10/13 Chicago @ Schubas
10/14 Pittsburgh @ Spirit
10/20 Boston @ Great Scott
10/23 Moncton, NB @ Plan B
10/24-10/26 Halifax Pop Explosion

There is a real indie rock feel going on here, no harm in that, for me what sets the band apart, as demonstrated on the featured track, is the delicious guitar sound that works off so well against the vocals.


Nick Diamonds - Witch Window.

Background - Nick Thorburn (aka Nick Diamonds) is a Canadian musician, composer and producer best known for starting and co-fronting the cult indie rock band The Unicorns when he was still a teenager. The band's first full-length album Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? was named one of the Top 10 Albums by Pitchfork in 2003, receiving critical praise from around the world. After only one year of touring, the band imploded on stage in Texas in 2004, due to internal friction. Thorburn immediately went on to form the band Islands, signing with Anti- Records and eventually releasing 5 full length studio albums and touring the world, with appearances at festivals as diverse as Coachella, Primavera Sound and La Route Du Rock. 

Over the years Thorburn has released more records, collaborating with various artists on projects like Mister Heavenly (with Honus Honus of Man Man), El-P, Human Highway, Reefer, and others. While City Of Quartz is Diamonds' first solo release since 2011's highly-praised I Am An Attic, he's kept busy fronting Islands, playing 2014's reunion shows with his first band The Unicorns, and contributing the theme and original music to the hit podcast "Serial."

Tour Dates:

8/22: Montauk, NY @ Sole East   
9/4: Tucson, AZ @ The Flycatcher
9/5: Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge
9/6: El Paso, TX @ Bowie Feathers
9/8: Austin, TX @ Holy Mountain
9/9: New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa
9/13: Washington, DC @ DC9
9/14: Allston, MA @ Great Scott
9/15: Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade
9/16: New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
9/17: Philadelphia, PA @ The Boot & Saddle
9/18: Hudson, NY @ The Half Moon
9/19: Montreal, QC @ Rialto Hall (POP Montreal)
9/20: Toronto, ON @ The Mod Club Theater
9/23: Fort Wayne, IN @ The Brass Rail
9/24: Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
9/25: Cincinnati, OH @ MidPoint Music Festival
9/26: Champaign, IL @ Mike and Molly's (Pygmalion Festival)
9/27: Iowa City, IA @ The Blue Moose Tap
9/29: Denver, CO @ Hi Dive
9/30: Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court
10/1: Boise, ID @ The Watercooler
10/2: Seattle, WA @ Barboza
10/3: Portland, OR @ Bunk Bar
10/4: Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt
10/6: San Francisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
10/7: Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place
10/9: Los Angeles, CA @ Culture Collide
10/10: San Diego, CA @ Bar Pink

There is something playful in the music that contrasts head on with the lyrics in the featured track. It's got so many hooks that playing it again is unavoidable.