Stew Gunn Band The Winter of Our Discontent

Orangeville’s Stewart Gunn wows fans of elaborate, challenging pop with this emotionally charged EP, which chronicles a disintegrating relationship. The original ’90s incarnation of Stew Gunn Band featured Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury (guitar) and Royal City compadres Jim Guthrie and Simon Osborne (drums and bass, respectively), all following Gunn’s inventive lead. After his band left Guelph, Gunn performed sporadically before finding good, strange bedfellows in rural Orangeville and joining amazing rock’n’roll outfits the Haymakers and the Faceless Lazers. Back in charge, Gunn’s heartfelt songwriting and spacey psych aesthetic are more refined on dark, introspective recent fare. A master at writing hooks, Gunn presents sad tales like "November 26 (You’re Not Going to Break Me No More)” with a knowing wink, as if skipping stones across a frozen river. His poetic gifts shine throughout, as "January 2 (The Dart)” vividly captures the push-pull of love with the poise of Elliott Smith. Traces of Pavement, the Flaming Lips and Syd Barrett turn up as well, but each informs a real original in Stewart Gunn. (Independent)