Plants and Animals
PLANTS AND ANIMALS
Saturday, May 12
Tickets: $10 adv and dos
Plants and Animals are a Canadian indie-rock band from Montreal, composed of guitarist-vocalists Warren Spicer and Nic Basque, and drummer-vocalist Matthew 'the Woodman' Woodley. They are signed to Secret City Records.
The first seeds of the band were originally planted on Canada's salty-aired East Coast in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Young Warren C. Spicer and Matthew 'the Woodman' Woodley had begun playing together in high-school bands. The sea winds eventually carried them through the vast plains of Quebec to Montreal (a journey they would come to know intimately as the years wore on). It was in the now hallowed halls of Concordia University's music department that they would come upon Nicolas Basque, a strange francophone native that shared their musical inclinations (and a trappeur's finely-tuned taste in cuisine). It wasn't until then that the three boys became men, signified their union with a name, and that Plants and Animals emerged from the wildlife.
In 2003 they bat out an instrumental menagerie of song-like folk-beasts, and put some of them to tape in the form of a recording that local label Ships at Night would later release. By 2005 the three young men were taming the sprawling wilderness of their sound and sculpting real songs, as Spicer also lead the way to a (hitherto unheard of) vocal domination of their materialas if he had been possessed by the ghost of some recently departed soul singer. During this time Spicer and Woodley would occasionally stop by to care for some of the neighboursTimber, Socalled, and Katie Mooreand play. All the while, the Halifax-born were jamming and pruning with Basque, harnessing the band and its songs like a wild horse.
When Canasta throws around the term "long-awaited" to describe their upcoming album, The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather, they aren't just whistling Dixie. Considering the band has been a stapleperhaps even the unspoken centerpieceof Chicago's orchestral pop contingent this millennium, it's hard to believe that this is just their second fulllength. But Canasta doesn't profess to be any sort of lightning rod for the muses. As unsexy as it sounds, the members are probably better described as pop craftsmen/women. Their composition process may take time, but it elicits serious pride in the end result.
Boasting a sixperson lineup, Canasta has always augmented the standard rock set-up with piano, keyboard, violin and trombone. But despite an everchanging roster that has included fifteen members (!), founders Matt Priest and Elizabeth Lindau continue to keep the orchestrations meticulous, the lyrics thoughtful, the melodies unforgettable and the sound uniquely "Chicagoan." But don't get the impression they spend all their time cooped up in the studio and rehearsal space. Since forming, they've managed to live out one rock n' roll dream after another. They've toured the countryhitting CMJ and SXSWand back at home, headlined the legendary Metro and held the prestigious Schubas residency. They've gigged with killer bands like Wilco, Grizzly Bear, Devotchka, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Menomena, Sloan, Kaiser Chiefs, White Rabbits and The Delgados and even played a set for President Obama. Their songs have made their way into TV commercials, a movie trailer and NPRs programming and theyve sold out pressings of both their debut EP, Find the Time, and full-length, We Were Set Up
which brings us to the new album. It's a record that earns its lengthy gestation period and demonstrates a big step forward in songwriting. This album's louder moments are darker, denser and more dramatic than those found on past recordings, with harderhitting drums, boomier bass and a swarm of buzzing synths. But conversely, its prettier moments are sparser and more heartbreaking, with vocals bordering on a whisper and the audible creaking and squeaking of piano pedals, guitar frets and violin strings. And along the way, the record flirts with elements new to the band, borrowing from the likes of disco, shoegaze, spaghetti western, gospel and blueeyed soul. But in their hands, it never spirals out of control; it's unquestionably still a pop record at heart. The album, the band's first for upstart label RWIM Chicago, will be released this Spring. And despite the wait, Canasta's confident that once folks hear exactly what they've been up to, all will be forgiven and 2010 will emerge as THE YEAR OF THE FAKEOUT! (Typing that last part was every bit as fun as I'd hoped it would be.)
Little Legend will be releasing their new E.P.! Attend this show and get yourself a free copy.
The Frequency (View)
121 W. Main Street
Madison, WI 53703
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|