Tag Archives: Little

Little Birdie – Show Review

When Orit Shimoni, the face of Little Birdie, first grazed the stage at Inglewood’s Ironwood family day evening, she shared stories of adventure and laughter with jokes which ranged from her childhood to missionaries. There was an immediate atmosphere of comfort, as if she and the crowd were simply old friends sharing on a cold prairie evening. A small, intimate crowd gathered for the witty humor and acoustic ballads of Little Birdie. She kicked off the night with some light-hearted, warm tunes for some easy listening, though as the night progressed the depth and complexity of her music escalated. A few of her ballads included: “let’s get persecuted”, “sadder music”, and “farmer’s daughter”. The amusing highlight of the evening was “happy song” which sailed the crowd into an imaginative world of aliens and ships. The lyrics of the music she sung were fascinatingly relatable. The audience had a taste of a near-Johnny Cash experience. A friend of Shimoni’s once accurately described her music as; existential blue grass, a perfect fit. Since the rest of her band were unable to join this tour, it turned out to be a solo gig. Regardless she fostered an environment of warmth, ease and swaying melodies all on her own, like any talented musician would. Her tales of her Berlin and via rail adventures were reflected in her chosen songs of the evening. Her deep, melodic voice and finger-picking drew the crowd in nearly instantly and kept them there until the very end. She not only mastered the art of storytelling that evening though also sublime entertainment, which left the crowd left to only wait for another visit from the memorable Little Birdie.

I Am Machi – “Mammal Pants”

We hear a lot about band chemistry: how well members work together, how in-synch they are and whether they seem like a good fit. So when we hear the words “husband and wife duo”, we immediately assume there will be some real chemistry in their music. In the case of Edmonton-based I Am Machi, our assumptions are proven right and their debut EP Mammal Pants shows that some couples really do make sweet music together.

Jileane and Nathan Stokland discovered their musical and romantic chemistry while playing together in their first band, A Little Project. Now married and enjoying their wedded bliss, the duo has created I Am Machi and a fantastic four-track EP. It’s not what you might expect from a married couple; the general stereotype for “couple rock” is acoustic folk, not a very heavy or noisy rock sound. I Am Machi is different. In two words, they rock. With Nathan on guitar and Jileane on drums, the band is small in size but huge in sound, combining sweet guitar riffs and drums to create a really solid and passion-filled album.

The album doesn’t waste any time in getting to the good stuff. It kicks off with the opening track “8-8-4, Oh My!” and this is where we get our first taste of the band’s solid rock feel. Guitar, drums and vocals all come together without any effort, and there’s some super band chemistry at play here. It takes a really good partnership to be able to play this well together, and whether a result of the members’ relationship or something more deep-rooted and natural, it’s something special that can’t be ignored.

I Am Machi brings a distorted, garagey feel to their music, something they call “noise rock” but is a lot more than that. They sound perfectly imperfect, casual and unpolished without being sloppy, and this skill really deserves a lot of credit. They’ve got big sound and lots of diversity in their music, a sign of some major talent and huge potential as future stars. The band names Wintersleep and Mother Mother as major influences, and they definitely have the same sort of feel in songs like “Dance Like a Russian Sailor!” and “Snakes and Ladders”. You might also hear some Bloc Party in their instrumental bits, and even a slight hint of Tool or Chevelle in their heavier moments. This could be due in part to Nathan’s voice, which is almost a lighter, more upbeat version of Maynard James Keenan, sprinkled with Chris Cornell or Dave Grohl or something along those lines. The point is Nathan’s voice is fantastic — and it should be added that so, too, is Jileane’s, who contributes to “8-8-4, Oh My!” It would be great to hear more of her (hint!) on their next album, which, by the way, can’t come fast enough.

There’s something really, really special about this band. I Am Machi is a band to watch and Mammal Pants is an album you really need to hear; lucky for you, you can! Listen to it on Soundcloud or download it for free from NoiseTrade, and then go follow them on Facebook and Twitter, mainly to see what they’re up to but also because they’re funny and weird. I Am Machi is an incredible addition to the Canadian music scene, not to mention an inspiration to married couples everywhere.

I Am Machi - "Mammal Pants"

The Lost Lovers Brigade – “Little Skeletons”

Regionalism is strong in Canada, and the same can be said for Canadian music. Province to province and coast to coast, music takes on different influences and driving forces, making for regionally diverse sounds and unique genres. West coast music, for example, is often recognized as having more folky roots and ties to nature. With a nostalgic feel and rootsy undertones, Vancouver’s The Lost Lovers Brigade is a perfect representation of West Coast folk rock: mellow, intelligent, and hauntingly beautiful.

Like many other Vancouver-based bands, The Lost Lovers Brigade doesn’t fit into any specific genre, and their 2011 release “Little Skeletons” is a collection of 11 songs with a variety of influences and a clear coastal BC flavour. It has a real “hippie” vibe, a sort of dreamy, acid-washed mix of folk and indie rock that brings up images of flowy guitar sing-alongs by the ocean. Lead singer Elisha May Rembold has a beautiful and haunting voice, and the mourning tone of her voice is perfect for the emotional and heartfelt lyrics that make up each song. She’s almost theatrical in her singing, not in that she’s fakely dramatic but in the sense that her voice perfectly matches the emotions of each song. This is what makes the album so beautiful and easy to become lost in, and what puts Rembold head and shoulders above so many other vocalists.

It’s not just the lead vocals that stand out, however. Beautiful harmonies abound, and the contributions of the other pieces (including the usual guitars and percussion but also the very cool organ and tambourine) have an equally powerful effect. It would be interesting to hear more of these other elements, as they seem to bring something really special on their own.

There really is nothing typical about this album, and that’s what makes it so good. It is worth listening to a few times, at different times of day, both in the background and with full attention. The Lost Lovers Brigade has been a highly sought-after commodity in Vancouver, and “Little Skeletons” shows why this is so. Listen to and buy the album on Bandcamp (only $10) and then become wonderfully lost in the sounds of the West Coast.

The Lost Lovers Brigade - "Little Skeletons"