Today (March 11, 2016) is the official release date for the Minotaurs new full-length “Weird Waves”. Pick it up here – Static Clang bandcamp or from the band themselves at the following shows;
April 7 – E-Bar, Guelph
April 8 – Central Public School Gym, Kingston
April 9 – Drake Underground, Toronto
May 6 – This Ain’t Hollywood, Hamilton
May 7 – Heartwood Concert Hall, Owen Sound
MINOTAURS’ wild and wonderful Weird Waves, an album described by its architect as an “apocalyptic-psychedelic afro-folk epic” —probably the only one you’re likely to hear in 2015. When main Minotaur Nathan Lawr first transitioned from folkie singer/songwriter to rhythmic bandleader on 2010’s The Thing, it was, in some ways, an extension of his work with innovative dub/punk/electronic band King Cobb Steelie in the late ’90s, with whom he toured when he was just out of high school. Here, however, Lawr dives off the deep end and surfaces with the most accomplished, experimental, and rewarding album of his career.
The 1970s afro-rock influence that was initially MINOTAURS’ raison d’etre is still strong, but Lawr was also listening to a lot of psychedelic soul legend Curtis Mayfield, German mind-expanders Neu, and the sonic fuckery of Sun Araw (not to be confused with interstellar electronic jazz pioneer Sun Ra, though he’s undoubtedly in the mix somewhere as well). Weird Waves was constructed from studio jams with his killer live band, and then tinkered with at home, where Lawr added keyboard, drones and random sounds. “That way, I can just follow my instincts and not explain anything to anybody. It can be slightly peculiar: things entering and leaving at odd times. That’s really interesting to me as a listener. There’s a lot more room, it’s more relaxed.” What could have been an insular, claustrophobic record is far from it: the energy of the live MINOTAURS is solidly at the core, while Lawr’s inescapable melodic gifts are still in full force—even if they’re just one texture among many heard here.
Nathan Lawr grew up outside Guelph, Ontario, where he still lives now. He was a pivotal player in the explosion of Canadian music in the early 2000s, being a key member of Royal City and having played with the Constantines, Jim Guthrie, Fembots and King Cobb Steelie. He was last heard on Bry Webb and the Providers’ 2014 release, Live At Massey Hall. Weird Waves is his seventh album, and third as Minotaurs. Lawr’s status as a musical MVP easily draws others into his vision: Minotaurs is, by design, a big band that has included, at various points, guest vocalists Sarah Harmer, Tamara Lindeman (Weather Station) and Ruth Minnikin; drummer Don Kerr (Rheostatics, Ron Sexsmith); bassist Kevin Lynn (King Cobb Steelie); Paul Aucoin (Hylozoists); saxophonist Jeremy Strachan (Feuermusik) and trombonist Steve Ward (Caribou).
Off-stage, Lawr created the Canadian Artists for Civil Liberties, and his political concerns bleed into his work—not through sloganeering, but through thoughtful self-examination: “Am I just the oil in a cheap machine?” he sings. Of course, music and dance are therapeutic antidotes to an existential crisis. MINOTAURS want you to surf these Weird Waves to a place of peace, a calm amidst all storms, an island of sanity in a world that needs some—badly.
released March 11, 2016Recorded by Andy Magoffin at the House of Miracles, Preston, Ontario and Jeff McMurrich at 6 Nassau, Toronto, Ontario. Additional recording by Nathan Lawr, Dustin Seabrook, and AJ Johnson in Guelph, Ontario
Produced and Edited by Nathan Lawr
Mixed by Jeff McMurrich with Nathan at 6 Nassau
Mastered by Noah Mintz at Lacquer Channel
Drums, keyboards, percussion, vocals: Nathan Lawr
Bass: Kevin Lynn, guitar on Gold Rush Lady
Guitar: Dustin Seabrook
Additional guitar: JJ Ipsen, bass on Weird Waves
Piano, keyboards: Thomas Hammerton
Baritone Saxophone: Jay Hay, flute on Underground Age
Trombone: Steve Ward
Trumpet: Dan Gooch
Congas: Amadea Ventura
AJ Johnson: drums on Gold Rush Lady
Tamara Lindeman: vocals on Underground Age and Gold Rush Lady
Ruth Minnikin: vocals on Echoes
Lisa Conway: vocals on Weird Waves
Jonas Bonnetta: mellotron, drone, vocals on Blind Luck
Jeremy Strachan: horn arrangement on Gold Rush Lady
Anna Ruddick: bass on Gold Rush Lady
“You” is the new full-length release by Picastro, out March 11 on Static Clang.
Since its creation in Toronto in 1998 Picastro has continued in many forms with its current band members consisting of Liz Hysen, Brandon Valdivia and Nick Storring. Picastro has toured extensively over the past 10 years in North America and Europe and have appeared on BBC radio, VPRO (Dutch national radio) and the venerable WFMU.
Recorded by Jeff McMurrich and mixed/produced by Nick Storring and Sandro Perri the album features 10 songs and includes guest appearances by Evan Clarke, Tony Dekker (Great Lake Swimmers), Alex Lukashevsky as well as Colleen Kinsella and Caleb Mulkerin of Big Blood/Cereberus Shoal infamy.
Preview the lead-off track “Mountain Relief” below.
December 12, 2013 is the official release date for the new digital EP “Goodbye Arcadia” by King Cobb Steelie. Featuring Mike Haliechuk (FUCKED UP) and Nathan Lawr (MINOTAURS) along with a remix by THE STRAGGLER.
We’ll be celebrating the release with a show in Toronto at the Piston on December 12 with openers Laura Barrett and Bile Sister. More shows to be announced soon.
Preview the first track “Dead Heart Colonies” below. Available for order here.
The official video for Jim Guthrie’s “Difference A Day Makes” from Takes Time. Directed by Geoffrey Skrajewski (www.geoffreyskrajewski.com).
Sept. 5, 2013 – Waterloo, Ontario – Starlight Social club with Bidiniband and I am Robot and Proud.
Sept. 13, 2013 – Guelph, Ontario – River Run Centre with Joel Plaskett, Bidiniband
Part of the Eden Mills Writer’s Fest – http://edenmillswritersfestival.ca/
Sept. 21, 2013 – Toronto, Ontario – Christie Pits, afternoon show! – Bloor Ossington Folk Festival
Sept. 28, 2013 – Guelph, Ontario – more info TBA
Jim Guthrie’s “Takes Time” has made the Polaris Prize long list! To find out more info and see the complete list head over to the Polaris Prize official site.