More music this week

  • Brian James

  • The Hoots

  • Jicah


In April, singer-songwriter Brian James released five digital singles under the name Brian James and the Tigers.

The diverse and poppy tracks are just the first wave of a planned series of singles to be released sporadically from James and Grammy-nominated, Juno-winning producer Jordan Jackiew.

The two have been working together since the latter mixed the first EP by Quinzy, a band James used to play in.

Since amicably leaving Quinzy a few years back, James has worked with Kerri Woelke, had a brief stint in Jicah, toured with Matt Epp and Bryce Pallistar, and amassed a large collection of solo material.

As someone who formerly considered himself a “studio guy” (as opposed to a “live performance guy”) the comfort and controlled environment of the recording space is a safe haven.

“You can do something a thousand times the way you want,” James says. “But the older you get the more you realize that spontaneity is cool.”

The concept of releasing singles online combines spontaneity and freedom, without James and Jackiew being tied down to the idea of an album.

“There’s different expectations behind an album,” he says. “It’s almost like you’re not allowed to release anything for a while afterwards.”

Additionally, it allows the duo to work with a variety of people, including Quinzy’s Sandy Taronno, pop singer Bean and musician Jeremy Rusu.

“We’re just striving to get this musical community together,” James says of the collaborations.

“If you’re just steadily releasing music then there’s less expectation with that. I want my slogan to be, ‘let’s see what he’s doing now’.”

Right now, he is working on the next batch of tunes and has just released his first video for the single, Crazy Love.

- Nicholas Friesen


The Hoots are hitting the road to “tour the universe” (OK, Western Canada), but not before bidding its city farewell at a tour kick-off show.

The band’s first trek to B.C. begins Thursday, Sept. 1 at the Lo Pub, where The Hoots will be joined by Three Imaginary Boys, a.k.a. Sloop John B, who hails from Victoria.

Also on the bill are Zombifyus, an electronic duo from Saskatoon who shared the stage with Chad VanGaalen earlier this year, and Paper Beat Scissors (relocated Brit Tim Crabtree), who recently recorded his debut album.

The Winnipeg foursome, who lists The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Stooges among its influences, has a sound that is reminiscent of Joy Division, with a more dynamic vocalist.

This show guarantees to be a noisemaker, with the boys describing their sound as “a vicious racket with its arms around your children.”

The group has made a strange, but economical (and sustainable) request for this show, asking showgoers to donate new or used logo-free T-shirts to be screen-printed and sold as merch along the road (alongside the self-titled EP from I’m Trying Records).

Join The Hoots along with Three Imaginary Boys, Zombifyus and Paper Beat Scissors at the Lo Pub Thursday, Sept. 1. Visit

- Kaeleigh Ayre


One of Winnipeg’s most exciting and chaotic bands is making that bold move that every group ponders (no, not Toronto). 

Jicah will be packing up and moving to England.

The band, which consists of Micah Braun (guitar/vocals), Maciej Haczkur (guitar/vocals), Joey Penner (bass/vocals), Alex Campbell (keys/vocals) and Jeff Bruce (drums/keys), inked a deal with 369 Management (who also handle Kasabian and The Fratellis).

“It was kind of a no-brainer for us,” Bruce says. “They (369 Management) are moving the band out there to tour, release a record and promote the band in Europe. We’re extremely excited about the move.”

It’s fitting, since Jicah formed out of the ashes of Winnipeg’s brief love affair with ‘60s mod pop, which spawned such artists as The Morning After and The Telepathic Butterflies.

The British influence was only a starting block for the genre-defying sounds that Jicah would create (check out the group’s amazingly named 2009 record For Promotional Use Only for further proof).

Though Jicah has always been an important fixture in the Winnipeg live scene, it’s important that our city learns to share.

Blow them goodbye kisses on Friday, Sept. 2 when they’ll be playing with Attica Riots at the Pyramid Cabaret. Visit 

- Nicholas Friesen

Published in Volume 66, Number 1 of The Uniter (September 2, 2011)

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