Little Scream has been the stage name of singer-songwriter and visual artist Laurel Sprengelmeyer since 2008. Iowa born, but Montreal based, her style has been described as a blend of folk, pop, and art rock.
Her sophomore album Cult Following (2016), featuring guests Mary Margaret O'hara, Sufjan Stevens, and Sharon Van Etten, received a Band-of-the- Week nod in The Guardian which called it “a quirky, affecting, richly detailed album that deserves more than its title.” NPR's Fresh Air said it "...summons up an array of landscapes roiled by clouds of emotion, storms of fury or the blue sky allure of tranquility". It was included in best of 2016 lists by the Globe and Mail and Bust Magazine, the latter which gave it a 5 star rating.
Little Scream has appeared as a vocalist and / or guitarist on recordings for The National, The Barr Brothers, Will Butler, Michael Fueurstack, Hey Rosetta, and Saltland, among others, as well as appeared on two Red Hot compilations, and charity singles to benefit the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Standing Rock. She co-produced her own records with Richard Reed Parry, and has recorded and produced albums for LILA and the folk duo Driftless Sisters. She is also a vocalist and keyboard player in Richard Reed Parry's Quiet River of Dust. Welcome to R&S.
Montreal-based art-rock ensemble Corridor will channel you into a strange space and a trippier time as their highly ambient and spacious sounds fill your mindspace. The band’s debut LP, Le Voyage Éternel, was unleashed in 2015, followed by Le Viol de Sharone, the year after. Their new album, Supermercado, is due out on May 26th on Michel Records (Canada), Requiem Pour Un Twister (France) and Citrus City Records (US). “Défiant la classification facile de post-punk, le groupe promet de présenter sur cette troisième offre un amalgame de jangle pop et de art-rock pour lequel il s’est fait reconnaître au fil des sorties précédentes,” writes Voir magazine. Et c’est vrai!
Un Blonde was created by prolific songwriter Jean-Sebastien Audet. His idea was to turn himself into music. He does it well - through creating gospel folk music with a powerfully haunting and peaceful sound. Audet is only 20 years old and has been a songwriter since his teens, never stopping to produce music that is unique and hard to pin down. In 2016’s ‘Good Will Come To You,’ the genres of R&B, gospel, and folk are melded together to produce an album that is filled with a soulful celebration of life. Gentle and captivating, it’s hard to describe exactly what Un Blonde does. But however you describe it, it surely is beautiful.
Franglais punk lyrics shouted to an off kilter beat and soprano sax spewings - is it art punk or free-jazz? Whatever you want to call it, Fet. Nat. is étrange -- a darkly, Dadaist kind of étrange . Not surprising the band’s many influences include Anarchisme, American wrestling, and Kung-fu movies. It’s most recent album, Please Stop Saying It's So Beautiful, came out last summer, following on the heels of Poule Mange Poule. We caught Fet. Nat. at Wavelength’s winter reprieve. Audience participation was high thanks to handy signage with lyrics like: “Placer toi”
R&S friends and alumni,Hooded Fang, return to energize our late night stage & take us over the edge of weirdness. Venus on Edge, their latest, pumps out pulsing beats by April balanced by Daniel’s smooth, soothing vocal delivery. Surf tones often wash over and ground the sound between off-beats and sections of frenzy. Hooded Fang will make you want to not go to bed and stay up late. Pitchfork.com: “The new record also turns a page on proto-punk completely in favor of weirder turf: industrialized dissonance, sci-fi surf-punk, and tweaked-out guitar frequencies that ring out like a biohazard lab activating the meltdown siren.”
Pick A Piper is a collaborative electronic-dance-pysch project by Caribou drummer Brad Weber. The band combines dance-music structures, polyrhythmic percussion, atmospheric sound design, loopy melodies with a focus on electronics and production technique to create a sound poised between the organic and the synthetic. Check out Pick A Piper’s recently released album, Distance. Coming to R&S as a duo, Brad and longtime friend Angus Fraser will be creating their fusion of live drumming and electronic recorded music deep in the forest at R&S’ late, late night dance stage. Brad is also going to spin a DJ set on Saturday night.
North Bay's Hannah Shira Naiman’s banjo-grounded songs conjure the Appalachian mountains, drawing on her roots in Toronto’s old time folk music community to share powerful tales of hope and loss. With a sound that’s been described as a cross between Gillian Welch and Sarah Harmer, Naiman crafts original songs that ring with influences of Ola Belle Reed, The Carter Family, American oldtime, and traditional English ballads. Naiman grew up around folk music as her celebrated banjo-playing father, Arnie Naiman (who will join her at R&S), and award-winning children’s musician mother, Kathy Reid-Naiman, brought her to numerous folk camps and festivals every year. Naiman’s acclaimed debut record Tether My Heart earned rave reviews for its strong musical backbone including one from Penguin Eggs’ Mike Sadava who wrote about her “high calibre of songs, her clean clawhammer banjo playing, and her singing that is clear as a bell.” Her newest record Know the Mountain, was released last October crossing from sweet waltzes about fishes and birds to dark murder ballads and haunting instrumental reels.
Like so many poet-cum-folksters, the Soo’s Jackson Reed was born in the wrong era. Quiet and demure on the outside, Reed’s songs playfully interweave stories about Vietnam, summers of love and wallflower boys with jangly guitars, snappy drums and an unvarnished voice. Reed’s debut The November Gales received a 2017 NOMFA nod for Best Album, and for good reason: there’s a feeling the songwriter opened up old wounds in the EP’s four tracks. On single “Goodbye Endless Summer,” Reed laments “I want to take a trip / Just to prove I exist / See the world with my blue eyes / And I won't be so quiet.” Catch Jackson being not-so-quiet at R&S this summer!
Mike Mikus is a madman: off-kilter, off-centre, just left of grounded. Look no further for proof than Mikus’ video for “Drowning Crown” which sees the frontman strip naked and parade around his hometown of Sault Sainte Marie. Borne of The Pixo Control, Mikus’ music is undisciplined and on the edge. The magic in all of this is Mikus’ ability to harness his strange energy into a collision of 90s-inspired grunge rock and flippant lyrics filtered through his compelling bray. Is it exciting? Hell yes. Is it pretty? No--but what sort of punk is?
Toronto’s Pony (with Sudbury expats) is here to shake your hips and shake your tree. Recalling The Primitives, The La’s and Veruca Salt - the band calls themselves “glittery power pop.” Pony offers tight grooves, flowery vocals and all the appeal of a guilty pleasure band without any of the guilt. All you really need to know comes from the band’s official bio - “[Pony] is the band that would play on a high school roof at the end of a 90s teen movie.” Pony sounds like the taste of cold cream soda in the sun - refreshing, sugary and just a bit whimsical, ya know?
Walrus started out as the apartment-based recording project of two brothers from Halifax. In less than a year the band became a four-piece psych outfit. Exclaim! describes the band’s sound as mix of “gentle, Brian Wilson vocal melodies and orchestrations with out-of-the- blue punk thrash parts that keep listeners guessing” adding that it “conjures late '60s cloudy folk-pop” with some sharp edges. In 1016, Walrus released an EP, Goodbye Something, on Madic Records/Arts and Crafts and just completed a cross Canada tour with Wintersleep and Evening Hymns. Watch for their newest release, Family Hangover, out in June. This summer they’ll be touring Canada again, playing the first Gridlock Festival in Halifax, NXNE, Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival, and will be ending the summer with 4 nights at the Shore Club with Matt Mays.