The June music round up

Slattern

What hath Mike Petkau wrought?

When the local music svengali brought Slattern (the solo project of Julia Ryckman, formerly of The Gorgon) and Waking Eyes frontman Matt Peters together to write and record a song in a single night along with Lloyd Peterson as part of the Record of the Week Club in 2008, no one could have guessed it would lead to further collaboration.

Peters was the recording engineer for the five Slattern songs that appear on a new split 12” Ryckman is releasing with Saskatoon’s Lipstickface.

“I really connected with (Matt) and wanted to work with him on this recording,” Ryckman says. “I really value his advice – he always has good ideas about what to do with the songs.”

Still, Peters wasn’t sitting in the producer’s chair for the project. That spot went to breakcore producer and Scottish expatriate Fraser Runciman.

“I needed someone who really knew the sound I was going for,” Ryckman says. “Slattern definitely has a foot in the noisier kind of rock music. Because I generally use really simple keyboard parts and generic drum loops, I always just try to do something really emotional with the vocals.

“It’s not pretty, but it’s kind of gorgeous in its own way.”

Slattern and Lipstickface release the 12” with a show on Saturday, May 29 at 9 p.m. at the First Legion of Canada (626 Sargent Ave. by Maryland). Runciman (a.k.a. Fanny) will also perform, and there will be a debut screening of Slattern’s Baby Love Hurts video.

Visit www.myspace.com/slatternxxx

Lowtalker

Symptoms and Cures, the new Comeback Kid record, doesn’t come out until at least September. But fans looking for a little bit of a fix in the meantime can check out a new band featuring CBK guitarist Casey Hjelmberg and bassist Matt Keil.

In 2008, the pair formed Lowtalker with their friends Stu Ross and Branden Morgan, both of Milwaukee-based metalcore act Misery Signals. Lowtalker plays the Royal Albert on Wednesday, June 9 in support of Strike Anywhere, Bane and Touche Amore.

“CBK and Misery Signals were on tour together and Casey and Stu started jokingly writing songs together,” Keil explains by phone from Minneapolis. “They got five or six down on tape before the tour ended, and then they got me involved. It was not premeditated at all … It all started with just a lot of hanging out and writing stupid songs and not really expecting anything.”

The group recorded its debut EP, People Worry About Everything, last December. The drums were tracked in an old theatre and everything else was recorded in Ross’s bedroom in Milwaukee.

The compelling collection of six urgent punk rock songs was released by FC Records on May 18.

“It’s not such a far cry from our other bands that CBK and Misery Signals fans won’t like it,” Keil says. “We’ve spent years playing in these bands, so our individual sounds are tempered by that. It’s definitely a more melodic rock band than we’ve done before, but it’s not night and day from our other bands.”

Visit www.myspace.com/lowtalkermusic

From Giants

“I’m really bad with my words when I speak them,” Jaymie Friesen says. “That’s why I sing them.”

The 22-year-old Steinbach native is the lead singer, guitarist and driving creative force behind From Giants, a band rounded out by Eleanor Janzen (vocals), Chad Kroeker (drums) and Friesen’s brother, Trevor (bass).

The group will release its debut CD, Wake Up Oh Sleeper, on Wednesday, June 23 at the Park Theatre. Bucky Driedger and Matt Schellenberg of The Liptonians open up, as well as Miss Mandy and the Bandits.
Friesen wrote most of the 12 songs on Sleeper while travelling. She lived in Cambodia for a year, where she worked for an organization that rehabilitates girls who have been trafficked or sexually exploited.

“I think for me the album’s this journey, or thought process, that was documented in song form because it’s easier to express (myself) in songs than in other ways,” Friesen says. “I think a lot of the songs are about humanity and spirituality, and all those kinds of deep, dark questions.”

“But I think this album also has a lot of uplifting stuff. I didn’t want it to be a dark-sounding album and I don’t think it is.”

The band’s sound is firmly steeped in the folk tradition, with a definite pop influence. Friesen and Janzen’s gorgeous harmonies are weaved throughout each track.

“I’m really bad at describing my own music,” Friesen says. “I hope it’s not generic folk pop. I hope it has hints of all sorts of different genres in it.”

Visit www.myspace.com/fromgiants

Published in Volume 64, Number 26 of The Uniter (May 27, 2010)

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