Indie Folk-Rock from Toronto and Calgary

Sadly, many music listeners only know Toronto-based Great Lake Swimmers for its terrific kid-friendly song, “See You On The Moon” now featured in an Honda Insight commercial.  The track originally appeared on the Canadian compilation See You on the Moon: Songs for Kids of All Ages.  The band produce some of the most beautiful alt-folk/rock/indie around, and have been doing so since 2003 over the course of four excellent albums.  Their mild hit song, “Your Rocky Spine,” featured on Showtime’s sublime show Weeds and on various other recent compilations, is a memorable opus about physical affection and desire.

Great Lakes Swimmers’s newest release, Lost Channels, ranks among its best, reminiscent of early R.E.M with its folk-rock and jangly guitars/banjos structured in three-minute nuggets of outstanding song craft.  Lead-off track, “Palmistry”, relates palmistry with loneliness–“Won’t you come and read the future, turn it on/Won’t you tell me how I will not feel so lonely?”  The band has managed  to expertly connect its lyrics with its often stark instrumentation and lovely vocals.   Amazon.com just concluded its digital $2.99 sale for Lost Channels, but it’s still only $7.99 in 256 kbps DRM-free MP3–and well worth it!

Not to be outdone by its folky indie Ontario breathren, collective Woodpigeon from Calgary, similarly brings together folk-rock and indie, while making heavy use of jangly banjo, glockenspiel, choirs, long song titles, and Sufjan Steven-eque wispery vocals.   The band’s recent double CD, Treasury Library Canada c/w Houndstooth Europa should be enjoyed by any Sufjan  fan and anyone appreciative of indie music that captures the earnestness of folk.  The original single CD was originally only sold at concerts, but its brilliance required an official release with Houndstooth Europa, a 10-song bonus CD, thrown in for good measure.

Great Lake Swimmers :: Palmistry

Woodpigeon  :: Piano Pieces for Adult Beginners

Simply phenomenal performance of “Your Rocky Spine” from the CBC’s Studio Q:


1 Response to “Indie Folk-Rock from Toronto and Calgary”

  1. April 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    Feelin’ Woodpigeon! Lead vocals are very reminiscent of Brian Molko’s, who was from Placebo and whose music is nothing like this. Regardless, what you upped from WP sounds solid.

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