Cherry Chapstick

Cherry Chapstick hail from Kingston, Ontario and consist of Julian Flavin, Evan Mullen and Nigel Ward. The trio celebrated the release of their debut EP Silencer last weekend at the Wolfe Island Music Festival where I had the opportunity to meet up with the guys and talk about what’s going on.

The band were open, humble and really excited to be there; in my mind all of the necessary hallmarks of great musicians or great-musicians-to-be. These guys have been playing together for a few years – in fact, they met back in high school, but have only existed as Cherry Chapstick for the past three months. Three months isn’t long, but while the rest of us were playing in the sun, the trio have been busy writing and recording an their excellent EP, booking shows and winning lots of hearts.  Including mine.

The music is incredibly well-mixed, well-balanced shoegaze or electronic indie dance. A couple of tracks have a touch of a disco beat which have won me over heart and soul. The band cite Fred Falke, Daft Punk, the Radio Dept, M83, French House, and the 80s in general among their influences. In short, they’ve got taste.

For now, Chapstick are going to be taking an eight month hiatus come September (something about education and future careers), but will be back sooner than we know it with a full album that will be knocking us off our feet and taking our breath away. “We’re planning for World Tour oh-eleven,” Evan told me, and I’m going to hold him to it. By then they’ll hopefully be able to incorporate some new sounds including one from a crazy synth Nigel told me about that “sounds like a tiger or a chainsaw, just more major.”

Cherry Chapstick – The Drop
Cherry Chapstick – Silencer

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— , August 17, 2009    7 Comments

The tenth annual Wolfe Island Music Festival is happening in Kingston, Ontario this weekend. Interestingly enough, it will take place on Wolfe Island, one of Kingston’s most beautiful places and probably the world’s most perfect spot for a small indie music festival. I’m obviously biased, but if you’ve ever had the chance to catch the free ferry that goes from downtown Kingston right through to where the Cataraquai River empties into Lake Ontario, across to where the ferry docks right on the island’s main street, well, you’ll know what I mean. Add some excellent music to the mix, some drinks, some camping and some good friends and there’s actually nothing better you could ask for. Actually.

I’ve only made it to the festival once before, but I am still forever talking about the experience. It usually runs for two days – the Friday and Saturday of the second weekend in August – and features awesome Canadian indie bands. Last year I had the privilege of catching Handsome Furs, the Abrams brothers, Land of Talk, the Acorn, and Plants and Animals among many others.

If you don’t have plans to come pitch a tent over here for the weekend and kick back with a cold one, bring your laptop outside (if it’s not raining) and chill out with my Wolfe Island Musicfest ’09 playlist.

Sarah Harmer

Sarah Harmer

To start is Sarah Harmer. A Kingston local, she’s always sure to turn up at a rocking indie show as a guest drummer or vocalist. This weekend she’s got her own gig at the General Wolfe Hotel and it’s sure to be breathtaking. This is the first Sarah Harmer song I ever heard, and once I heard it I was hooked for life.

Sarah Harmer – I Am Aglow

Ohbijou

Ohbijou

Next is Ohbijou, who will be playing on Saturday, set up in the island’s baseball diamond while we lucky listeners will either be getting baked in the sun or drenched in the rain. The forecast doesn’t look too good, but nothing will keep me from catching these phenomenal Toronto-based musicians; especially not from their soulful layers or Casey Mecija’s unique vocals. This track is from their latest release, Beacons.

Ohbijou – Wildfires

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— , August 7, 2009    4 Comments

Plants & Animals

I just checked out Montreal’s Plants & Animals this weekend at the Wolfe Island Music Festival and couldn’t have been more pleased. A bit Wolf Parade, a bit Apostle of Hustle, but undeniably their own, Plants & Animals is definitely becoming one of Canada’s indie bands to watch. They released their debut album on Secret City Records this February, which was announced in July as one of the contenders for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize.

Plants & Animals – Bye Bye Bye
Plants & Animals – Good Friend

The winner of Polaris will be announced on September 29. The 2008 shortlist is as follows:

I’m rooting for Two Hours Traffic because they’re pretty much my favourite Canadian band right now, their album rules, and they’re the underdog. Any other favourites?

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— , August 15, 2008    2 Comments