Enjoying Amity Beach’s “Bonfire Etiquette,” Ontario Pop Band’s New Album

Bonfire EtiquetteGoing to a music festival with dozens of acts on the bill, and getting to hear and see personal favorites–maybe bands you’ve only heard on record, or bands you’re getting to see live for a second time–is a distinct pleasure, but another joy not to be overlooked is making serendipitous discoveries of new bands, new music you’d have never heard and enjoyed otherwise. In 2011, the first year I attended NXNE, that happened when I heard Winnipeg band Imaginary Cities for the first time, with dynamite lead singer Marti Sabit; in 2013, the same thing happened for me with Sudbury, Ontario group Almighty Rhombus, a brother band whose sound I found lots of fun; in 2012 one of my discoveries was Amity Beach, a band from Grand Bend, Ontario whose enthusiasm, energy, and hooky tunes I really enjoyed that June night. This was part of the post I wrote the next morning:

Last night’s musical performances were everything I had hoped they would be. Early in the evening, at 8 PM, I went to hear a set by a little-known band called Amity Beach. They were a young five-piece from Grand Bend, Ontario, 18-year olds who play their own songs and some great covers. Afterward, at the merch table I met the dad of the lead singer, who gave me their EP and told me of the band’s origins and how they’re writing and recording their own music. I enjoyed learning about their process. 

Amity BeachAmity Beach

I’ve enjoyed their EP, especially the opening track, “Jake’s Version of Paradise.” I didn’t like all the songs uniformly, but what was good on the disc was very likable. My first impression of them is affirmed now by their first full-length album. It’s called “Bonfire Etiquette” and it’s terrific. They’re definitely evolving as a band, with a fuller sound and a higher calibre set of compositions. I’m really enjoying the new batch of ten songs (nine original, one cover). I hear a bit of Arkells in their sound now, especially the punchy rhythm section that opens the first track “Sunday Nights to Infinity.” The feel and sound is all their own, though, with uptempo, slightly staccato arrangements. Their vocals, mostly by Geoff Baillie, are also getting better, with him singing his own lyrics about off-balance modern moments mixed with persistent striving. My faves are the opener; “Crown Victoria,” with a sort of car+relationship lyric (it’s not an ode to the automobile make & model that dominates the New York City yellow taxi fleet); “Born in the Daylight,” with female backing vocals, and “Comet Stop,” the album closer, with the rueful line, “All we have in common is we made the same mistakes.” The vocals and guitars guitars are stronger, with added accents from horns they play themselves, and bright keyboard sounds. Amity Beach may have a new hand or two on deck, as I think I see some unfamiliar faces on the photo that goes with their new album. At any rate, they’re continuing to grow, and very impressively here.

Band photoThis is a link to “Born in the Daylight” from their soundcloud.com page. I hope you like it, too. I recommend the whole album, which you can sample at their tumblr. Really gets better the more you listen to it.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI

Great Show by Said the Whale at Mercury Lounge

7 Tyler, BenSaid the Whale from Vancouver, BC, was in town Tuesday night and having previously enjoyed their good energy live show, I was excited to see them again, this time at the Mercury Lounge on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. True to form, they played one of the best sets of music by any band in NYC over the past several months. They were tightly focused on steaming through their under 3-minute hook-laden tunes–drawn from all their prior albums, such as “Camillo,” and “Emerald Lake, Alberta,” and from their new album, “Hawaiii (with a third ‘i’) with its hit single, “I Love You,” a narrative about the discovery of a grown sibling heretofore unknown–yet they still had spontaneous fun on stage, making jokes with each other and relating to the audience. Drummer Spencer Schoening provided a resolute backbeat while also sounding some really great tone with his consistently interesting drumming; Nathan Shaw’s bass was full of creative thumping; Jacelyn Brown provided all the right accompaniment and back-up vocals (I do wish she’d sing lead on a song one of these days, as she does a great job in a duet on their song, “Loveless”); while Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft sang their hearts out and played tasty guitar licks. The band was even called back for an encore, a relative rarity in small Manhattan clubs where 40-minute sets, at the longest, are usually house rules. It was amazing. The Sadies are in town Friday night, and I hope to be there at Mercury Lounge for them, too. Meantime, here are pictures from Said the Whale’s great show, including a couple at the end I took of gig buddy Steve Conte with Tyler and then one Steve took of me with Ben.

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#elexn42 #ToPoli 60 MInutes 1993 2015 elections 2015 Federal Election 2016 presidential election @CBCRadio3 Abraham Lincoln Acadia Adolf Hitler Agent Orange Alice Munro Amanda Lang Amelia Curran Amity Beach Amtrak Anderson Varajao Antonine Maillet architecture Arctic Ocean Arkells AUX TV Ben Caplan Beverley Slopen book-to-film adaptations Born Ruffians Boyhood Brain Cloud branding exercises Brandon Downing bullying Cabot Trail Calvin Reid Canada Canadiana Canadian authors Canadian bands in NYC Canadian Blast Canadian elections Canadian indie music canadian indie rock Canadian indie rock n' roll canadian politics Canadian rock n' roll Canadians abroad Canadian vacations cancer CANlit CANRock Cape Breton CBC CBC Books CBC Music CBC Radio CBC Radio 3 CBC Sunday Edition CBS Chicago Cleveland CMJ CMJ Music Marathon CN Tower coffee Cold War Colm Toibin comedy Communion Music Corb Lund corruption covert agents cowboy culture Crime Writers of Canada cross-cultural writing Daniel Canty Dave Bidini Dave Van Ronk David Margolick Del Barber depression dialect Doug Ford drunk driving editorial services Edward Keenan Edward Robb Ellis Elizabeth May Elliott Brood Ethan Hawke Ewan Turner fair housing Farley Mowat Fence Books flickr folk music Franconia College Frazey Ford French FridayReads Gaspé Peninsula George Elliott Clarke George Washington Bridge Gill Deacon global climate change Grant Lawrence Greenwich Village Harlan Pepper Henry Tandey Hidden Pony HIGHS hockey Hollerado Honourary Canadian Howard Engel humor Ian Tyson indie music In Flight Safety Ireland Irish music Israel Jan Wong Jian Ghomeshi Jill Barber Joe's Pub journalism Justin Trudeau Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer Kevin Donovan Keystone XL Lee's Palace Lee Harvey Osmond Lee Lorch Leonard Cohen life after corporate publishing Linda Ronstadt Lisa LeBlanc Little Red Lighthouse Little Rock Nine live music Lo-Fantasy lower east side Lt. General Roméo Dallaire Marc Maron marijuana laws Matt Andersen Mayor Bill de Blasio Mayor Rob Ford McGarrigle Sisters Megan Bonnell Mellow Pages Memoirs mental health treatment Mercury Lounge methane M for Montreal Michael Barclay Michael Enright Michael Ruby Miles O'Brien Mo Kenney Monomyth music festivals music marketing National Film Board of Canada Neil Young Neil Young. Third Man Records Nevado Records Newfoundland New York City New York music venues Noah Nobel Prize NXNE Olympics Ontario Ottawa Jazz Festival Paperbag Records Parks Canada Percé Rock Peter Warner photojournalism podcasting poetry political mindsets President Obama prosthetics PS I Love You PTSD PublishersMarketplace.com Publishers Weekly Pumpkin Pie Q Quebec racial bias Rah Rah Random House Canada road trips Robert Henry Adams Rob Ford Rockwood Music Hall Rolling Stone Rural Alberta Advantage Ruth Gruber Sadies Said the Whale Sam Roberts Band SaskMusic SaskMusic.org satire Scott Young sex education Shawn William Clark Shore Fire Media short stories Siberia sister cities spy novels Stephen Harper Stephen Marche St Louis Stompin' Tom Connors Strombo Show Strumbellas suicide prevention summer vacation 2014 Swiss Water Syrian refugees Talonbooks Thanksgiving The Ballad of Crowfoot The Deep Dark Woods TheGreatGrayBridge.com The Orchard The Revenant The Strumbellas This is That Toronto Toronto Book Awards Toronto mayoral election Toronto Star Torquil Campbell traditional music Turnip King Ugly Duckling Presse upper Manhattan Vancouver Vietnam W.B. Belcher war memorials Wigrum Wilderness of Manitoba WWI