Published May 26, 2015Summertime means more music festivals and concerts across the country, and Steam Whistle Unsigned is getting in on the action. Look below to find out where you can catch upcoming performances as part of the ongoing concert series: an up-and-coming underground festival, and footage from a Steam Whistle Unsigned concert you might have missed. Keep up to date on every Steam Whistle Unsigned show by visiting steamwhistle.ca/unsigned.
(with ACTORS, Blank Cinema)
Thursday, May 28 at the Cobalt, 917 Main St., Vancouver BC
There's a line at the start of "Working Man's Blue," the last song on Yukon Blonde frontman Jeffrey Innes's debut LP as High Ends (pictured above), that goes: "Bands are fun / When you start up / After a while / It just becomes work."
Unsurprisingly, it was a sentiment shared by Innes himself, who, after two years touring behind Yukon Blonde's sophomore LP, Tiger Talk, wasn't prepared for another album. Or at least that's what he thought.
"It's like people who work 9 to 5 jobs and they get their one vacation in two years," he says, "and they're just like, 'I am so bored!'"
With time pre-booked with producer Colin Stewart, Innes decided to step back into the studio and work "on some music with no real purpose in mind."
The result was Super Class. Originally envisioned as a "collaborative sounding" LP with various singers, Innes wound up recording the majority of the album's vocals himself, and recruiting friends from Gold & Youth (Jeff Mitchelmore and Louise Burns), Ladyhawk (Darcy Hancock) and others to help flesh out its playful, pastiche feel.
Fans of Innes's rockier side may be initially thrown off by the album's synth-loving, Simple Minds-esque sound, but they'll have to get used to it; as Innes tells it, High Ends' experimentation had an impact on the new Yukon Blonde album (On Blonde, out June 16 via Dine Alone Records).
"Maybe the High Ends record convinced everybody [in the band] a little bit more that with our style of music we can pull off synths and still sound like us," he says. "We're more proud of it than anything we've ever done."
Catch High Ends at The Cobalt (917 Main St.) in Vancouver BC on May 28 with ACTORS and Blank Cinema.
For more information on the show and upcoming Steam Whistle Unsigned events in your area, click here, or visit Exclaim's concerts page.
Samantha Savage Smith
(with Doug Hoyer, Astral Swans)
Friday, May 29 at Broken City, 613 11 Ave. SW, Calgary AB
It took four years for the release of Calgary singer-songwriter Samantha Savage Smith's follow-up to her 2011 debut. In that time Smith has kept busy, performing around Canada as a solo artist and in local bands like Lab Coast.
"It's good to play other people's songs, because when you're a songwriter and you're just doing your thing… you kind of get used to that," she says.
Her latest album, Fine Lines (out now via Pipe & Hat), is directly inspired by her time playing guitar in other bands. Filled with subtle guitar lines and nuanced arrangements, Fine Lines is an airy and acrobatic album that sounds more spacious than its predecessor, and more lyrically accessible as well.
"Some of the songs are a bit more obtuse," she says about its relaxed tone. "It's just a broader opportunity for anyone to interpret a song the way they choose to."
SOUND SÉANCE I
(with Suuns and Jerusalem in My Heart, Wrekmeister Harmonies feat. members of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and more)
June 12-14 at Geary Lane, 360 Geary Ave., Toronto ON
Toronto's Geary Lane has kind of a bad rap. "It gets called the ugliest street in Toronto," says Invocation TO's Jason Pollard, "but we see the potential."
That's why, in association with Montreal's Suoni Per Il Popolo, Pollard is putting on the first-ever SOUND SÉANCE music festival. Featuring the tagline "An Awakening of Experimental Music in Toronto," Pollard hopes to help foster and expand an overlooked community with its first edition, and he's got the people to back it up (visit Facebook.com/invocationto for the three-day event's full lineup).
"With this space my idea was to sort of bring experimental music up from the underground into a more interesting, palatable place where any old Joe could see all the talent we have," he says. With such a great venue and performers, he just might.