Wednesday, May 20, 2009

a whole bunch of Canadian bands you should know - Open House Arts Collective

It's been almost a month since I received the Open House Arts Collective compilation cd in the mail - a lovely little surprise from everybody's favourite music blogger, Sean. Sean was understandably excited about this release, and as a passionate supporter of his local music scene, could not wait to spread the word about this local effort.

My only excuse for not reviewing this cd sooner is that my impressions of it keep evolving. I finally figure out just what it is that draws me into this collection of twelve songs from a diverse but united group of musicians from London, ON, and then I have another listen and yet another layer peels away, and I realise I have only scratched the surface. The dozen songs on offer are a compilation of rich musical texture, layer upon lucious layer of sound in which you hear something fresh with each listen.

The Open House Arts Collective seems more like a family than a loose collective of musicians who have banded together to support each other. For one thing, they all seem to either play in each others' bands, tour together, or produce each others' music, and you can sense the camaraderie and mutual respect among the artists. And Open House does also function as a recording company for its members. Yet, despite the free mingling of musicianship, at no point does the mix get stirred too much that the sound becomes generic. Instead, each song on this cd retains a beautifully unique and eclectic sound.

The OH! Compilation cd does have somewhat of a distinctive Canadian sound to it. Don't ask me to define that precisely because I don't think that anybody really can, but suffice it to say that at times I hear snippets that put me in mind of Great Lake Swimmers, or John K Samson, or Laura Barrett. But then I think I catch a glimpse of Louis Prima amongst that, and all assumptions are out the window.

That's not to say that there is anything remotely derivative about any of these songs. Quite the contrary. Each track is solidly unique, impeccably produced, and while the musicians may arrive at their sound through a variety of influences, each artist contributing to this cd owns their music, utterly and without apology.

The musicians contributing to the OH! Compilation cd are:

Davita G
The Lava Lamps Band

A Horse and His Boy

The State Bird of Idaho

For Love or Money

Aaron Lozynsky

Bryan Pole

The Late Miss Mary Kingsley

The Whipping Wind

Handsome Dan and His Gallimaufry

The Samuel Musical

Olenka & the Autumn Lovers

Keep an eye and an ear out for these names. I suspect you'll be hearing a lot more from them in the future.


Wandering Coyote said...

My God, I've never heard of any of these guys before...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I had heard of only a couple of them before, Wandering Coyote, but I believe we will all be hearing about them in the not too distant future.

rachael chatoor said...

Sounds like an awesome progressive idea, I will certianly look out for them, and the CD as well~!

mister anchovy said...

It's interesting to see this kind of collective effort develop.

Sean Wraight said...


Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and observations on the OH! CD. It was indeed out of a sense of civic pride that I shared said music with you. Even moreso I sent it along simply because the thing is just so darned good!

In all honesty, I always hold out a little trepidation when it comes to compilation CD's. You know the drill, a couple good songs and the rest leave a something to be desired. Not so with this one... In each and every song, there is a sense of earnestness and a certain palpable excitement. Thes guys sre in it because they love their craft. And man does it show!

Again, so awfully nice of you to do this Barb. It means a lot to me to get the word out for this endeavour because I support it wholeheartedly.

You'll be first on the list when OH! Compilation II sees the light of day!


Barbara Bruederlin said...

It is a really fine cd from an admirable collective, Rachael. And it makes me wonder why more musicians don't become involved in collectives. It really is a matter of the whole being larger than the sum of the parts.

I find the whole thing rather intriguing, Mr Anchovy. A very Canadian approach.

Sean, it was my great pleasure to talk about this compilation, and I thank you so much for passing it along to me.
I understand your hesitation about compilations in general, and you are right when you say that many ride on the strength of a few songs. Quite the contrary with the OH! compilation. My favourite song keeps changing and I think I have now pinpointed 3/4 of them as my new fav. That's rare.
And you know I admire your support of local music, as it's something dear to my heart as well. Looking forward to OH!II!

Allison said...

I have yet to put this in the stereo, but that's only because the new Sunset Rubdown came out. ;) Easily distracted, you know. Great review though, I shall have to put it on tonight!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I have to warn you, Al, it's a cd that changes and grows on you. I crave completely different tracks now than when I first started listening to it.

Gifted Typist said...

Very interesting. I'll keep and ear tuned for these bands.To what shoudl I tune my ear, btw? As in radio stn.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I can't even tell you if they are getting radio play, Gifted. Quite possibly college radio. But they have samples on their myspace.

Ricky Shambles said...

I've heard of a couple, but only because in Cincinnati while we are cursed with terrible radio, the whole US is blessed with Sirius and CBC Radio 3. I love it much more than the US Indie station. Thanks for posting this - more to explore!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You're doing better than a lot of Canadians at "spot the Canadian band", Ricky Shambles. Well done!

I find I don't tend to listen to Sirius/XM all that often, but Radio 3 is pretty consistently great.