THE WOODEN SKY
Toronto’s Gavin Gardiner first started The Wooden Sky as a home recording project, but after three LPs and a handful of EPs filled with indie and country rock-tinged gems, it’s become much more.
Now a five-piece that has toured all over the darn place, The Wooden Sky just released its latest, Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun. Produced and mixed by Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire) and mastered by Peter J. Moore (the Hard Core Logo soundtrack), it takes a big approach to the minimalist sound.
“We had a pretty clear vision of where we wanted the record to go and what we wanted it to sound like,” Gardiner told the Rocksucker blog earlier this month. “That being said, it certainly expanded and revealed itself more clearly as we progressed. One idea would lead you to another and before long you’d find yourself on a new journey.”
The album’s title is a bit of a mouthful, but Gardiner assures that it has meaning.
“It just sort of appeared in my mind while we were driving through the States to do some shows in and around New York,” he says. “I sat with it and the more I thought about it the more I thought it really embodied what I had been writing about on this record. This idea that everything means something different to someone else, a feeling of empathy and suddenly realizing that each person is on their own journey and has experienced a lifetime of happiness and sorrow.
“It’s a simple idea, but overwhelming at the same time. Understanding that we each exist in our universe and we may never really get to know what exists inside.”
Catch The Wooden Sky with the Sunparlour Players on Thursday, March 29 at the West End Cultural Centre at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13 plus fees at Ticketmaster.
- Nicholas Friesen
Montreal’s Laurel Sprengelmeyer goes by Little Scream, which you likely know as the project that delivers ethereal yet heavy pop symphonies. Little Scream’s tunes are equal parts Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips with assertive female vocals and Elliott Smith acoustics with those same vocals cranked down to a hush.
“I had never envisioned being a solo artist, but that’s just kind of how it worked out in the beginning,” Sprengelmeyer told Verbicide Magazine last year. “So I would often find myself singing to fill in the parts where I had imagined other instruments would come in. A lot of the vocal parts in my songs stem from that experience of performing where I was trying to approximate other instruments with my voice. So that performance experience definitely fit into the shaping of the songs.”
Upon the record’s release, Pitchfork gave it an 8.1 out of 10, calling it “a wide-open exploration of Sprengelmeyer’s sensibilities, the introduction on which she’s able to explore both her most spare and extravagantly orchestrated impulses,” while we at the The Uniter wrote that it “sends chills down your spine with its vocal density, while maintaining the slower, less instrumentally focused aspect of the record.”
Suffice to say, the reaction to the disc has been positive.
Sprengelmeyer isn’t just Little Scream, though. She’s a painter (the album artwork is all her), and filmmaker.
According to a recent post on her website, she’s currently working on tunes for the new Little Scream disc, which will include such topics as “the cruelty of children, non-denominational devotional stuff and people who are preparing for the end of the world.”
The last topic is also that of a film she’s making with keyboardist Kaveh. Creativity - once it starts, you can’t stop it.
See Little Scream opening for Plants and Animals at the West End Cultural Centre on Friday, March 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 plus fees at Ticketmaster.
- Nicholas Friesen
Published in Volume 66, Number 25 of The Uniter (March 28, 2012)