Indie Rock

Album Review: The Family Almanac's Eponymous EP

The Family Almanac’s self-titled EP, out earlier this month, starts as it promises: “Dream I’m In” is like a sleepy sequence from a foggy Sunday, or a pleasant hangover morning in the Gorge. Vocalist and keyboardist Elizabeth Pixley-Fink gentle voice delights in the mood. The EP carries us to sleep, or to the edge of it; that is a place where the band’s music might do instead of sleep.

The slow, soporific mood carries on through the short EP. The first half of the record, including a stuttering jam by the band’s other vocalist Blake Mason, sound like the warm and sultry tunes of ‘70s harmonizers like Steely Dan and the sonic landscapes of Fleetwood Mac. 

The fourth song on the EP is “White Sugar”, a slow, bluesy ballad with doo-wop echoes in the background. The song builds to a beautiful chorus, about as loud as the band ever gets. But the sleepy tone is back for “Susie”. If the skin started to cook with “White Sugar”, here it is enjoying the shade once again on a hot day. 

The last track is another by Family Almanac’s male vocalist. “So It Goes” is a bouncier track than the rest, played with as much urgency as the band musters on this EP. 

Recently I had the pleasure to see the Family Almanac play a house show (the perfect venue for their lighthearted soft rock anthems) and found a lot to be excited about. With its talented members, Family Almanac has plenty of leverage to evolve in the future. I only hope they will release a longer album soon for those lazy Spring mornings when their sounds can start the spinning of my mind with ease.

- Eric Togethoff

   

Live Sunday: Cool Ghouls, Mope Grooves and Dogheart at The Know

Hailing from San Francisco are the Cool Ghouls.  Their salty guitar riffs reek of the Pacific Ocean and their harmonies will lull you like the waves of the bay.  In a time when every band seems to be “psyching out in their garage”,  The Cool Ghouls' sophisticated sound separates them from being just another band with reverb and a sick record collection. The song centric style of their sophomore release, A Swirling Fire Burning Through The Rye, makes for a great collection of recordings and stellar live performances.  The album flows seamlessly through ten tracks despite the band's three songwriters. The sound is reminiscent of early Grateful Dead, golden-era Creedence and The Velvet Underground, yet is fresh and modern. Recorded live to tape by Sonny Smith of Sonny and Sunsets, the band's live energetic vibe is beautifully captured. After touring the states a few times over and playing their hometown with heavy hitters like Nick Waterhouse and Of Montreal, it's only a matter of time before we see these California dudes make a national television debut.  Be able to say you 'knew them when' and see Cool Ghouls live this Sunday at the Know. Local punk crooners Mope Grooves and Dogheart open the show, fixing for a good time to be had by all. 

M. Rowan 

   

Jonesin' and the Hurt

I couldn’t have picked a better day to listen to this folk rock group, Jonesin' and the Hurt. Turning them up on the car stereo as the rain hits the window, we have no worries with their latest album Why Not?. The Entire album puts a bounce in your step with rustic roots. “Please Give Me” took my mood and transformed it with nice harmonies over a smooth groove. Get to see them touring Toronto the entire month; but, you’ll never know when you might run into them rockin' out on the corner. Check them out April 3rd @ the Bovine Sex Club.-Kris “Big City” Gies

 

   

Vast Robot Armies

There’s a bit of a mystery surrounding Toronto prog rock band Vast Robot Armies. Are they space-robots? or something? Their latest record “Little Creatures” out early this month is an epic adventure. “Revenge For Nerds” sets the tone with some space-aged guitars that guide you through the intergalactic journey on the Vast Robot Armies spaceship. The vocals remind me a bit of the Meat Puppets with more of a rounded edge. This record will keep your head in the clouds wondering where you’re going to end up next. And that is the question…when will Vast Robot Armies appear for a live show in Toronto? Like their facebook page and download their record and the message will arrive when the planets have aligned. Whoa.-Kris “Big City” Gies

   

B e a c h C r e e p

There’s probably a couple of times I could have been considered a Beach Creep…but I wasn’t as cool as the band Beach Creep from Toronto. Extraordinary DIY, Beach Creep is indie divine with gentle voices and artistic guitars. They released their latest EP “V” in January of this year. It opens up with trippy intro “Peas and Lentils” then leads into “Sprout”, which has nice vibes, the kind that make you feel like everything is going to be okay. “Old Shoes” caresses delicate vocals over subtle guitars that carry heavy harmonies. Beach season is just around the corner so make sure you do your bicep curls…then buy this EP from Beach Creep’s bandcamp page and relax in the sand. If you missed them @ The Cavern Bar on Friday, stay tuned on bandcamp for more show details. -Kris “Big City” Gies