More music this week

Jill Barber.
The Kicker.
Shai Hulud.


Sorry gentlemen – as much as Jill Barber’s charming, bright East Coast smile is impossible not to fall in love with, she’s a married woman.

And the 30-year-old Halifax native has translated that chapter of her life into her newest music, due out in early 2011.

“I draw my inspiration from whatever I’m going through emotionally in my life – and a lot has happened since my last record,” Barber said in a recent interview with Planet S magazine. “I turned 30, which was a big thing, and then I got married.

“I think a lot of people would maybe be expecting this new album to be a very happy record – (because) I’ve never been happier in my life,” she said. “But I think this album will be less happy than the last one, because that was my ‘falling in love’ record. On this one, I’m more aware of what I have that I can lose.”

The smooth, sultry jazz songstress has more going for her than just her irresistible tunes reminiscent of the jazz burst during the Roaring Twenties.

She’s also promoting her book called Baby’s Lullaby, a project that came about by accident.

“A publisher had approached me about using my lyrics as text, and they seemed to think it would make a good book,” Barber said.

See Barber live Friday, Nov. 26 at the Burton Cummings Theatre. Michael Kaeshammer will also perform. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster. Visit

—Matt Preprost


“You know how some people have stage fright? I have the exact opposite of stage fright,” says Mike Koop. “I just can’t wait to get on stage, and I just can’t wait to play as hard as I can.”

Anyone who’s ever met the curly-haired, energetic 39-year-old knows it’s true.

Over the past 20 years, Koop has played guitar and sang in a long list of bands including The Bonaduces (which featured Doug McLean of The Paperbacks), Dud (which featured John K. Samson on bass), Red-Eyed Morning, Cheerleader and Buick Six.

In the late ‘90s, Koop started The Kicker. The power pop band released its debut, First Word, Last Place, in 2001.

Although largely inactive in the public eye for the past few years, the band – which now includes Curtis Brandt, Lucas Penner and Jason Wolfe – has been together all this time.
“I will never let (The Kicker) die,” Koop says. “As long as I can convince those guys to play with me, I will keep going, because they’re great players, it’s a great band, and we need to make our albums. We have two or three albums that we need to make.”

But before they do, Koop will release a solo album, Music Is Worthless, under the moniker Mike Koop’s Multitude of Sins.

He describes the record as “alt-gospel” – original songs with a classic gospel feel, filtered through rock, punk and alternative music.

“It’ll be familiar to people right away, but it’s different than what you’ve heard before,” he says.

The Kicker opens for The Details this Saturday, Nov. 27 at the Lo Pub. Koop releases Music Is Worthless on Friday, Dec. 3 at the Exchange Community Church. Visit for details.

—Aaron Epp


While most bands are concerned with putting something new out every two years, New York metalcore titans Shai Hulud are content to continue touring behind 2008’s Misanthropy Pure.

“When somebody told me a couple months back that it’s been two years since Misanthropy Pure came out, I couldn’t even believe it,” guitarist Matt Fox said by phone last week, just days before embarking on the tour that brings the four-piece to Winnipeg on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

“I can’t even fathom that thought. The songs seem so new and so fresh to me.”

“Metalcore” seems to be the term de jour used to describe any number of bands, but many regard the 15-year-old Shai Hulud as one of the forefathers of the genre.
Misanthropy Pure, the band’s third record, is an impressive, aggressive blend of hardcore and progressive metal.

Fox says the goal for the record was to make “the hardest, most raging, pissed off” album the band had ever written.

“And that’s what it is,” he said. “We had a goal and we really accomplished it. For the first time in our musical lives, we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish. We were in control.”

Read more from this interview – including Matt Fox talking about his love of Winnipeg punks Propagandhi – right here.

Catch Shai Hulud live on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at the Royal Albert with Lionheart, Withdrawal, Counterparts and Hundredth. Visit and expect a new Shai Hulud record in 2011.

—Aaron Epp

Published in Volume 65, Number 13 of The Uniter (November 25, 2010)

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