Progressive politics, ideas & culture

September-October 2004

Hear This: off the beaten track

Lisa Whittington-Hill

The Hidden Cameras, Mississauga Goddam (Evil Evil) Cover of The Hidden Cameras, Mississauga Goddam (Evil Evil)

Seeing Toronto-based art-folk band The Hidden Cameras perform is a lot like having sex. You never forget your first time. The band’s shows include tighty-whitey clad go-go dancers, unconventional performance venues (churches, porn theatres) and a revolving roster of members whose numbers rival the Polyphonic Spree. And while it’s hard to imagine an album better than their critically acclaimed debut, The Smell of Our Own, with its much-hyped “gay folk church music” sound, Mississauga Goddam is. The album features more of the indie-folk-poetic-pop fans of the debut album fell in love with, and frontman Joel Gibb has returned with more cheeky, sunny songs about sexuality, spirituality, oh, and enemas. You could be having your worst day ever and this album would soon lift your spirits.

Stirling, Northern Light (popguru)Cover of Stirling, Northern Light (popguru)

I was lucky enough to catch Toronto-based quartet Stirling’s performance at this year’s NXNE festival. There was definitely a buzz about the band—and there should be. With their Brit-pop influenced sound, Stirling should get some of those column inches NME keeps devoting to the same old Canadian bands. With their debut album, Northern Light, Stirling continues to build on the swirling atmospheric sound found on their two previous EPs, The View From Here and The Idea and The Deed. Standout tracks like “The Art of Burning Bridges” and “Turn up the Dark” perfectly highlight frontman Matt Booi’s expressive voice and the band’s unique melodic sound.

CBC Radio 3 Sessions Vol. 1 (CBC Records)Cover of CBC Radio 3 Sessions Vol. 1 (CBC Records)

I have to confess that I’m addicted to all things CBC Radio, so I was happy to have my habit fed with this compilation featuring some of the best CBC Radio 3 sessions from the past few years. The Can-con compilation is like a who’s who mixed-tape of Canadian indie rock royalty. It starts strong with the guitar rock of Sloan’s 1999 song “Losing California” and ends with the folkie twang of Oh Susanna’s “King’s Road.” In between, there’s plenty of good ground covered, including great tracks from the likes of The New Pornographers, Kid Koala, John K. Samson, Buck 65 and Hot Hot Heat.

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