Published May 26, 2010When not keeping time as the drummer for Women, Calgary multi-instrumentalist Michael Wallace stays busy with a variety of projects. Partnering with Nicole Brunel, the two have started Calgary's amazing all-ages initiative Comrad Sound and discovered a new musical side of themselves with their hazy, washed-out indie trio Friendo, who this week will embark on a North American tour and celebrate the reissue of their debut album Cold Toads.
The group, rounded out by drummer Henry Hsieh, released Cold Toads as a cassette through BART Records in 2009. As Wallace explained in a recent Exclaim! interview, for all three members, writing songs was a necessity as they learned their respective instruments.
"I was just trying to learn how to play guitar, and so was Nicole," Wallace says. "We started putting songs together and it was fun. Playing shows is actually weird because it wasn't fun for a long time. I was so nervous because I sucked so much at singing and playing guitar. But it's just become a lot more fun, and then going on tour becomes the goal."
That goal has been met with an enormous North American tour, which kicks off today (May 26) with two shows in Calgary: an all-ages show at Comrad Sound and an 18-plus affair at the Ship and Anchor. From there, the band will travel all over North America, with Canadian stops in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg. Fittingly, the tour concludes with a homecoming show at Sled Island.
The tour coincides with a vinyl reissue of Cold Toads through the Secretly Canadian offshoot St. Ives Records. The label focuses on limited runs and handmade art, so the Cold Toads LP will be limited to 250 copies and will feature hand silkscreened art.
After that's all said and done, Wallace promises that despite Women's busy schedule with a new album due out this fall, this will not be the last we hear from Friendo.
"We have some sweet plans," he says. "We're going to put out some singles on a few different compilations and seven-inches. One is a Flemish Eye singles club, that's going to be a series of a whole bunch of awesome artists. I don't know how much I should say about it but Friendo was asked to be a part of it. We're also doing a split LP with Women and a few UK bands."
5. "Hailey Oman"
6. "New Sibley"
7. "Young Fellows"
5/26 Calgary, AB - Ship & Anchor
5/27 Vancouver, BC - TBA
5/29 Seattle, WA - Comet Tavern
5/30 Portland, OR - Rontoms
6/1 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
6/2 Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland
6/3 Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
6/5 Dallas, TX - Lounge on Elm Street
6/6 Austin, TX - Emo's Jr.
6/8 Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
6/9 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
6/10 Washington, DC - Black Cat Backstage
6/11 New York, NY - Cake Shop
6/12 Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie
6/13 Brooklyn, NY - Grasslands
6/14 Allston, MA - O'Brien's Pub
6/15 Montreal, QC - Green Room at Mile End
6/17 Toronto, ON - The Great Hall (NXNE)
6/19 Detroit, MI - Magic Stick Cafe
6/20 Newport, KY - Southgate House Parlor
6/22 Chicago, IL - Schubas Tavern
6/23 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
6/24 Fargo, ND - The Aquarium
6/25 Winnipeg, MB - Royal Albert Arms Hotel
7/1 Calgary, AB - Sled Island