Latest Cry releases "Symptoms / Signs" Today!

Today, Latest Cry (a collaboration between myself and Martha Meredith of For Esmé) releases its debut EP called "Symptoms / Signs".  It's been a while in the making, so to have it out into the Internet world today feels great.  It is a collection of songs that contemplates what it means to be living in the age that we do; living with this illusion of connectivity that we constantly find ourselves immersed in; considering what we need to do to get out from under it.  

You can give it a listen / purchase at our BANDCAMP page and it'll likely pop up in a stream or two in the next few days as well.  Or, you can listen / purchase it below.  Enjoy! - jB

"The Model Apartment" Opens Tonight

Tonight at The Greenwin Theatre at Toronto Centre for the Arts, "The Model Apartment" opens.  Directed by Tanja Jacobs, and starring Eric Peterson, Clare Coulter, Lisa Norton and Tony Ofori, "The Model Apartment" is a play written by Donald Margulies that is set in Florida in 1988.  A summary of it reads:

"When Max and Lola, two Holocaust survivors from Brooklyn, uproot their lives to Florida, they find their new condo unfinished and are forced to spend the night in a 'model apartment' where things are not always as they seem.  In this brilliant and bizarre Drama Desk-nominated black comedy, Max and Lola soon realize that if they ever want to truly escape they must first confront the demons of their past."

It runs from tonight until May 29th, so get your tickets while you can HERE.  It's an important play, and a project that I feel very fortunate to have done the composition and sound design for.  (Mika Posen performed some of the string arrangements - she's fantastic as always!)  A group of incredibly talented people have worked to bring this show together, and in my opinion, it is a show worth seeing - and worth thinking about for long after the show itself is over. -jB

.@donovanwoods Donovan Woods Releases "Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled"

Today is the official release day for Donovan Woods' "Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled".  It's a good day.  And it's a great album!  Donovan is known for his songwriting for good reason - he writes stellar songs.  The recording of this album was about a couple of things : first, making sure that the songs didn't get lost in the recording process, and, second, making an album that sounded like one that we wanted to hear.  For an artist like Donovan, one with the ability to exist in so many different realms of the music world, be it as a songwriter in Nashville, or an independent solo singer and acoustic guitar player, or a writer of pop songs, or as an alt-country artist, or a hilarious entity in the Twitter-shpere, it can be hard to know what exactly the genuine article is supposed to sound like.  To Donovan's credit, he was clear that he wanted to make an album that just sounded like him - not worrying about where it all fell into as far as categorization once released and send out into the world.  And to that end, i think we were successful.  I hope that anyone who listens to the album can hear the sound of a genuinely talented artist and songwriter actualizing his songs in a way that he wants them to sound.  And I hope that the sound of his honesty and intent is an enjoyable listen for all!

"Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled" is also full of incredible talent playing on it : Jon Hynes is responsible for the bass and electric guitar work, and has been the catalyst for making this album happen as it did.  Robbie Grunwald covers the keyboarding duties, providing piano, organ and wurly parts that do just the right things.  Aaron Goldstein does some fantastic pedal steel work, as he is known to do, and Miranda Mulholland gives us some heartbreaking violin lines.  Robyn Dell'Unto shares some whispery and intimate backing vocals, and there is some fantastic string arranging by Drew Jurecka, performed by Drew, Rebekah Wolkstein, Kathleen Kajiloka and Amy Laing.  And a good portion of the tracking was done by John Dinsmore at Lincoln County Social Club, which always sounds fantastic.

In any case, it's an album that I think is worth a listen.  Check it out on iTunes by clicking THIS or clicking on the image below.  Enjoy it, and look out for more to come from Donovan in the future. - jB

.@vivekshraya Vivek Shraya Releases "Girl It's Your Time"

Today, on the day of her 35th birthday, Vivek Shraya releases "Girl It's Your Time" backed with "A Good Man".  Both are accessible pop songs - easy to grab onto and sing in the shower - but they hold deeper meaning and more powerful ideas than the pop realm often encourages.  It seems like the challenge of this age of music making and artistry is to take important, pertinent and often heavy ideas of self and society, and wrap them up in an accessible and engaging package, which for the listener are easy to swallow and digest.  Vivek is one artist who continues to successfully use and develop this concept in her craft, and who makes music that is in equal parts catchy and thought provoking.  You can listen to the songs below, and then purchase them - all proceeds from this release go to Supporting Our Youth's Trans_Fusion Crew program. Enjoy these songs - and look forward to what is still to come from Vivek in the future! -jB

Donovan Woods - "Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled" Pre-Order Today!

As of today, you can pre-order Donovan Woods' upcoming album "Hard Settled, Ain't Troubled".  It's going to officially be released into the world on February 26th, 2016, but if you pre-order it, you get two tracks off the album now.  And that's just good news!  

Exclaim! has an article about it up, which you can read HERE.

You can also check out the next single off of the album, called "The First Time", below.  And there is a trailer video for the album below as well which is nice to watch, and also gives a hint of one of the other tracks on the album.  Lovely! - jB

"Caesurae" Released Today

Today I've released a collection of sonic experiments entitled "Caesurae".  I describe them this way :

"These tracks are the sound of spaces filled, of nothings turned into something, of the journeys becoming destinations in their own right."

They are sonic experiments in processing, in manipulation and in evolving sounds in new and interesting ways.  They are designed to be listened to on headphones, but that's not vital.  They aren't "songs" in the traditional sense, but they (hopefully) will elicit some emotion or emotions in the listener.  And I believe that they are an enjoyable journey in their own unique way.  

You can get "Caesurae" HERE, or listen and then purchase below.  Enjoy!  - jB

@josfortinmusic Jos. Fortin Releases Fairweather Walker

Back in the summer of 2013, I spent some time in Peterborough at Artspace Gallery.  For a few days and nights, I worked there during the days, and slept there during the nights.  I'd stop at Night Kitchen as many times as possible for delicious slices and espressos.  What I was working on was an album by Jos. Fortin called Fairweather Walker, which as of yesterday, is out into the world (you can get it HERE).  

Fairweather Walker is the 2nd album that Jos. and I worked on together, and it's a wonderful collection of songs.  Jos. has a way of shaping melodies and lyrics that instantly sounds familiar, but takes the listener to places that they haven't already been.  The arrangements on the album are stellar, as are all of the players (which include folks like Ehren McCracken, Dan Fortin, Mika Posen, Shaun Brodie, Aaron Hoffman, Sylvie Smith and Charlie Phillips).  Fairweather Walker captures the intimacy of a man at home alone with his guitar, but also the sound of that man's expansive and boundless imagination.  I'm definitely too close to the album to be unbiased, but I think it's worth checking out.

There are some really special moments on this album - I for one feel like the song "June" captures what it feels like to be in Peterborough, ON on a fall day better than any other song in existence.  "When I Meet My Maker" takes the listener on a sonic journey that few singer-songwriters take us on these days.  And there are many other moments of joy and beauty along the way that are worth taking the time to experience.  

Jos. is releasing the album in a pay-what-you-want form up on his Bandcamp site - head on over a take a listen and, if you like what you hear, toss him some dough and take a download.  And enjoy. - jB

VOTE.

Today's the day when we can do an amazing thing here in Canada, something that we often take for granted.  We can vote.  So, take advantage of that fact, and get out and vote today.  It's fun - you get to spend time under the fluorescent lights of your local community centre for a few minutes, see who else is in your neighbourhood, shoot the shit about the shops opening up and the buildings being constructed on your street, and, most importantly, impact the change you want to see in your country.  

I don't know who would come around saying that it's a perfect system - it's not.  Not yet, at least.  But perhaps part of changing that system is placing a vote for the party who you think will best lead the charge for change in the system.  Non-participation isn't the answer - participation and action, even the simplest of actions which includes putting a ballot in a box, will lead to the change you want to see.

If you have any questions, check things out here : www.elections.ca

And if you're thinking of not voting because it doesn't matter, why not take a look at the following page, and scroll down to the bottom, and read about what each party thinks about that, and go out and vote today based on that? thethunderbird.ca/elxn42/millions-of-canadian-votes-dont-matter

Do it.  Enjoy it.  Savour it.  Change it.  It's going to be a great Monday!

- jB

"Sugar" by @foresmeforever Released Today!

Today, For Esmé release their album "Sugar" into the world.  It's an exciting day!  

This is an album that as been in the making for quite some time - from the initial ideas found in Martha's demos, to the development of those ideas and their structures and sounds with Dave, Nathan and Martha, to the recording of a boiling kettle, to long debates about whether songs sounded enough like the childhood memories they were based on, to Chris Isaak references, to neighbours appearing in the living room, to choirs of strong women, to as many cornetto con frittatas as is possible - it's been a fantastic journey!  This is a collection of songs that I think can be enjoyed on the surface, with poppy beats, sounds and hooks to satisfy initial listens and the needs of a dance party.  But if you choose to go deeper, there is much to explore.  The lyric content is timely and relevant - these are the thoughts and words of someone struggling to comprehend and navigate a generation of humans who is yet to fully understand who they are and what they are capable of.  As a result, the lyrics speak to both the endless potential for joy and hope, alongside the trappings of a world gone mad with narcissistic social announcements.  The musicality is strong and innovative - there are melodies that you can grab onto and carry with you, performed with both precision and emotion, and thoughtful supporting parts and sounds that compliment what is in the sonic spotlight of each track.  it's a wonderful balance, and one that makes for an interesting listen, whether your focus is in the center or periphery of the sonics.  

These thoughts all come from a very biased place - I am indeed quite close to this album.  But I think it's one that's worth checking out.  And you can do so below, or from the For Esmé Bandcamp page.

And there's an album release TONIGHT AT THE DRAKE IN TORONTO if that's of interest - should be great!

In any case, have a great Friday.  - jB


Anandam DanceTheatre at @SBNuitBlancheTO 2015

Tonight is SB Nuit Blanche in Toronto, and it's going to be a night filled with many things to see, hear, do and experience.  One of those things is Anandam DanceTheatre's Glaciology which is taking place down on the Queen's Quay heading west towards Lower Simcoe Street.  Glaciology's journey along the Queen's Quay will take 12 hours, and will be made by 50 performers in the form of one mass human glacial body, shifting and sliding its way along the city's shore boulevard.  The Globe & Mail calls it one of Toronto's Sweet 16: What To See At Nuit Blanche This Year, and I think that they're right on the money.

I created the audio score for the piece, and it's available for streaming or download via Bandcamp or via Soundcloud.  Check it out, and head on down to the Queen's Quay for the night.  Or the morning.  You can pick what works best for you, anytime between 7pm and 7am.  That's the beauty of SB Nuit Blanche! Wonderful. - jB

In discussions about art...

In discussions about art, the only thing worse than the need to be right is the need to be nice. - jB

Trailer Out For Loon Choir's "All Of This And Everything Else" Album

Also up now on the Internets is a trailer for the new Loon Choir album, titled "All Of This And Everything Else".  I worked with Loon Choir on it over the past few months, tracking it in Ottawa at Little Bullhorn and at the band's home base / rehearsal space.  It's a thematic record with lush arrangements and big and full instrumentation, with messages of protest, dissent and unrest all surrounded by beautiful and soaring melodies.  Quite the combination!  The album is out on Friday, September 18th, 2015 through the Loon Choir Bandcamp Page.  For now, you can check out the trailer and the video for "Bug", the first single from the album, below. Do it! And enjoy! - jB

Trailer Out For Evening Hymns' "Quiet Energies" Album

There is a trailer up on the Internets now for Evening Hymns' upcoming album "Quiet Energies".  The trailer shows some video footage of the recording sessions, most of which were done up at Jonas' farm at a place called "Makers' Acre".  It was a fantastic time - a wonderful bunch of people out in the country, recording songs and sounds and making the magic happen.  And the result of it all is an amazing album that I am really proud to have been a part of!  The song that plays during the trailer is called "House Of Mirrors", and it's one of 8 new songs on the album.  "Quiet Energies" will be released on Friday, September 18th, 2015 on Outside Music.  You can pre-order it here if you want!  Check it out - it's a good one.  - jB

"Closet Genius" by Kat Burns for Girls Rock Camp Toronto.

My friend Kat Burns (of KASHKA and Forest City Lovers fame) released an album called "For The Birds" 10 years ago.  In celebration of this anniversary, Kat had some of her friends do covers of the songs on that album.  I was one of those friends, and with the help of Joshua Van Tassel and Dave Thiel did a cover of the song "Closet Genius".  You can listen below, and when you purchase the album, all of the money raised goes to Girls Rock Camp Toronto, which is a really great organization doing great work.  Wins all around!  Enjoy! - jB

NICE TOPS.

Those are some nice tank tops, yeah? - jB

Last night I won a Dora Award...

Light night were the 2015 Dora Mavor Moore Awards which recognize outstanding achievements in Toronto theatre.  Amy Nostbakken and I co-won the award for Outstanding Sound Design/Composition in the Independent theatre category for the work we did on the amazing production of the Quote Unquote Collective's "Mouthpiece".  Amy did the composition work (and incredible work it is!) and I did the sound design.  And together, we won the award.  So, that's good news!  

And when you get the chance, be sure to go and see any future stagings of "Mouthpiece".  It's a powerful, important and entertaining piece of theatre.  Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava have created something very special.  - jB