The Royal Basement


The Royal Basement is a blog/podcast focusing on music, art, baseball, cats, and other wonders of life, based in Seattle, Washington, USA.

The Royal Basement is a division of Kentucky Chrome Industries.

Filtering by Tag: toronto

The Royal Pick for October 20, 2014: SLOAN at the Tractor Tavern

It's easy to use the term "Beatle-esque" to compare any group with multiple songwriters and a decent grasp of vocal harmonies to the Fab Four, but it's definitely not an unfair comparison with Toronto's Sloan. Having just celebrated their twenty year anniversary as a band, Sloan has a surplus of gems in their catalog that they could easily rest on; they've been around long enough to know their strengths and define their sound, but they're still ambitious enough to push at those boundaries and continue to re-define their own rich legacy in the pop universe.  

Take, for example, Sloan's new double LP (Commonwealth). Taking a conceptual nod from Kiss' solo albums, each member of the band takes on a side of the LP, with results ranging from pristine, baroque pop to gauzy shoegaze to the expansive 18 minute long "Fourty-Eight Portraits", which builds from the clanging clatter of machine shop parts up into a rolling, spacy boil and glides along through multiple mini-movements that form together seamlessly. While a lot of power pop artists have dedicated their careers to being fantastic at one particular trick, Sloan is a four-headed monster of songwriters. Those four distinct voices and approaches to pop songcraft compliment and conflict with each other, but hearing a band 22 years into their career embrace that struggle (especially with the segmented nature of Commonwealth) is a rare and beautiful thing indeed.

Basically, if you miss this show, you're a knucklehead. 

Also, please tune in next month for an episode of the Royal Basement podcast featuring Sloan!

Sloan plays at the Tractor Tavern in Seattle, WA on October 20, 2014. Tickets are $15. 

The Royal Pick for October 15, 2014: Bahamas

For those of you in the Seattle area, my Royal Pick for tonight is Toronto's Bahamas and Basia Bulat at the Columbia City Theater. I've written about seeing Bahamas here and here, but still can't get enough of the classic but playful folk-pop that the band makes. If pedigree is your thing, main Bahamanian Afie Jurvanen was an integral part of Feist's live band, and drummer Jason Tait (one of the most impressively versatile and musical drummers I've ever seen) has been manning the kit for The Weakerthans for many years. Jurvanen is an absolutely incredible guitarist, and when he's given a chance to let loose, his playing is dexterous without overstepping the needs of the song itself. As a band, Bahamas seems to never be satisfied with one specific arrangement, and makes a point of constantly tinkering with stripping songs down to necessary parts or adding sparse details to make the songs (and the musicians behind them) really shine. 

Put your eyes/ears on a live cut from their newest record (Bahamas Is Afie) and an extended live set that finds the band covering Alan Jackson and Nirvana in the same sitting. Well played, Afie. 

Bahamas and Basia Bulat play at Columbia City Theater in Seattle, WA on Wednesday, October 15th. Tickets are $14. 

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