Tag Archives: winter music

Jonathan Becker; making indie-Canada proud

Last night the Olympic closing ceremonies took place in Vancouver (okay, we may have been absolutely addicted to the olympics this year, as if you couldn’t tell..), featuring acts from Avril Lavigne, Hedley, Simple Plan, Neil Young (He’s the MAN, according to me dad) and Nickleback. Let me set a scene for you. I was at a bar (a sheep bar, of course) having some wings and beer with friends, trying to enjoy the last national moments of gold medal victory. And all I could feel was shame. Absolute shame. Let me just say that, no matter how proud I am of my country’s athletes, it will not make up for how MORTIFIED the popular music scene here makes me feel. Sure, I guess we have a few great bands out there, but let me tell you, Canada’s music scene is not at all justified with the before-mentioned acts. The indie music scene here is PHENOMENAL. We LOVE Canadian music, both wolf and sheep. It’s great. It’s really really great – just not when it sounds like the devil is raging inside of Chad Kroeger. Perhaps its just not our cup of tea? But that’s the beauty of having your own blog: It your opinion!

So, what about that amazing Canadian indie music scene? We’ve already featured a few artists (Destoyer, Metric – okay, not indie, whatever -, The Balconies…) that make this county proud. But there is a LOT more where that came from (trust us, we have a lot in store for you guys in our tiny animal brains). One of these artists, that is quite new to our ears, is Jonathan Becker who hails from Ottawa.

Jonathan Becker was kind enough to send us his self titled EP (which has some wonderful artwork, as shown) for us to chew, digest and regurgitate (as always). Here’s the the verdict!

This EP is, as the artwork suggests, perfect for the cold weather. Two things come to mind when asked to describe Jonathan Becker’s music (beautiful is a given on this blog); perfectly simple and perfectly cold. The only thing you will hear in the short but sweet 15-minute EP is a man, his guitar, and his heart. What more do you need to make chillingly beautiful and haunting music? Jonathan’s voice has a way of captivating the listener while he sings passionate lyrics ever so gently.

And what do I mean by cold? All music makes us feel a certain way, and this EP has such a coldness to it, that it actually makes the listener feel warm. Just as there is something comforting about songs about struggle because they make us feel less alone, there is something about this cold and lonesome music that makes me feel like I am snuggling with someone under the warmth of big, puffy bed sheets.

won’t you warm me up
won’t you warm my skin
this town is frosted over, come october
the next six months seem to last forever
i need a way out, i need something
at least ’til winters gone
at least ’til spring

Warm Me Up – Jonathan Becker

Kind of perfect, right? Now you see what we mean by cold? We are sad to bring you such perfect winter-time music so late into the season. Too bad that this artist came to our attention quite recently. By recently, I mean before we made our 2009/10 winter playlist – otherwise, he DEFINITELY would have made the cut onto our seasonal playlist.

One thing is for certain: it is HARD to be a solo artist out there in the big bad world that is the music industry. However, this man does it well though, and we sincerely wish him the best because he deserves to be heard.

Sit back and literally relax as Mr. Beckers waves take you someplace far, far away,
– the wolf and the sheep

Jonathan Becker’s Myspace (head over and listen to “waves”! go go go!)
Jonathan Becker’s site
Buy the EP here!

Justin Vernon; go shine this mother-fucking light

justin vernon

Before Justin Vernon was in Bon Iver he was quite the busy man; he had a solo project going on, and he was also in a band called DeYarmond Edison (but thats for another day). His pre-Bon music certainly has a different sound to it; the infamous howl (that we seriously love way too much… where the hell does it COME from?!), for example, did not seem to develop until the Bon Iver/alone-in-a-cabin-in-the-wood days.

There are two albums that Justin Vernon put out under his name; Self-Titled and Hazeltons. In the dark and gloomy days of winter, this under-produced music will make you feel warm and happy (Okay, maybe happy is a little far fetched…). Don’t start getting turned off yet, as I am using the words under-produced to describe a sound which is extremely raw and hallow (the best kind of music, in our opinion), making it perfect for winter listening. It does not want you to take it too seriously, it just wants you to listen.

The Self-Titled album includes seventeen tracks, including a haunting 12-minutes of no words; just trumpets and guitars and all that great stuff (We Will Never Die).

this is tougher than I thought
holding you, the grace I’ve caught
cause you’re made of everything I want
and I am ringing you out
like a morning bell, I am ringing you out
like the kitchen rags of God, I am ringing out out
like my voice across the hill, I am ringing you out
like water on your feet,
and you are everything to me

Ring Out

Don’t we all just wish Justin Vernon wrote that about us? Who wouldn’t want to be the grace he’s caught? Hey… maybe in another life..

If you can not get enough of Bon Iver and must hear more, then go on a hunt for some of Vernon’s solo work (you might have to use your claws to dig deep for this one)!

– the wolf & the sheep

Tigers on Trains; new demo on myspace

Tigers on Trains. Simply put, we love this band.

We fell in love with them fast and hard.

Their latest full length album, Grandfather came out this past August, as their fan-base increased at a rate which was probably exponential. This is due to the youtube-brand new-fiasco (Google it?). At least, that’s how we shamelessly discovered them (Ok, maybe there’s a little bit of shame considering we didn’t discover them earlier .. But whatever, it’s great music). The two guys, Mason Maggio and Christian Van Deurs, have also started a new project, called The Republic of Wolves. Their first EP (His Old Branches – check it out if you know whats good for you and your ears) dropped last month with a beyond smooth landing.

Along with the simplicity of our love for this band, so is the strumming of their guitars – which must be endowed with magical powers  – in practically all their songs. All of their songs, new and old, have a serious folk sound – so much damn strumming and nothing else! No piano, no drums, just strumming along. For someone like me who is tone/pitch deaf and overall musically retarded (what am I doing writing a music blog?), their songs do not tend to differ from each other musically. But this simplicity  just WORKS for Tigers on Trains. That is because the beauty of their music lies within the lyrics and the simple raw transition of emotion into instrumental sound. These men have the ability to isolate a moment so beautifully that the music is all you care to hear.

There is now a new demo on their myspace, Canossa:

And sure enough we spent the day

Dreaming of ways to make the past come back

We drew the sky up on the wall

You drew the sun and I drew the clouds

That’s when I realized I was casting all this shade

Or listen to Canossa on their myspace .

As for us, we are still trying to wrap our heads around how two guys that are this young (they must be at least under 25), are capable of thinking such complex thoughts and creating such beautiful words and music; It is at the level of someone who has gone through life and figured out all of the great questions of what it means to be alive. They must have a hell of a life filled with a mountain of heartache!

My last thoughts for you; trust me when I say that that best way to spend a lonesome snowy day is in bed under a warm blanket while listening to Tigers on Trains.

Tigers on Trains – Interview

– the wolf & the sheep