It’s been over three years in the making, and Label Fantastic Founder “Bird City”‘s debut album “Winnowing” is finallyALMOST HERE!!! It will be released October 27th – Stay tuned to labelfantastic.com and coax.com for release details!
Well friends – guess what you’re looking at? Remember our friend Henry Adam Svec, the songwriter who drew our attention to projects such as “The CFL Sessions”, “Folk Songs of Canada”, and “Folk Songs of Canada Now”? Well here’s what happened: Henry FINALLY moved away from London, and ended up in Fredericton. And while there, he developed an OBSESSION with donairs. Photos of donairs, sound-collages, even a donair-themed radio show. THEN Henry moved down to the United States. And while some of us might have expected the result to be something innocent like “Folk Songs of America Now”, that’s not exactly what Henry had in mind. THIS was his vision:
Henry has made a VIDEO GAME ABOUT DONAIRS. And it’s totally bizarre. It’s totally Henry. I should have seen this coming, but I’ll admit that I really didn’t. Congratulations Henry. Here are the details:
The donair has been gaining steam. Invented by restaurateur Peter Gamoulakos in the 1970s, when he was having trouble selling the traditional gyro to his Maritimer patrons, the sweet, milky beef wrap was named an official food of Halifax in 2015. Now the dish gets its own interactive digital game, entitled Donair Academy.
Created by Henry Adam Svec and Chad Comeau, Donair Academy lovingly and nostalgically hearkens back to the RPGs and digital encyclopedias of the 1990s, such as Final Fantasy and Microsoft Encarta. Players can explore the historical, gastronomical, and acoustic dimensions of this culinary artifact, which is a fascinating compromise linking Turkish, Greek, and Atlantic Canadian tastes. One struggles to describe the experience (surprising? enlightening? surreal?). In a sense, perhaps playing the game is just like eating a good donair.
“One never knows when donair knowledge will come in handy,” says Comeau. It is hard to elaborate further without giving away the game’s provocative conclusion, so the interested reader will simply need to play to find out how. But the game also probes bigger, more universal issues, using the Halifax donair as a springboard. “We wanted to make a game that mixed several dimensions of donair history and culture. Education, canonization, mobilization, mastication—it’s all in here,” says Svec.
Donair Academy is the first collaboration between writer and performer Henry Adam Svec (The CFL Sessions, Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada) and game designer Chad Comeau (La vie d’Arcade, Granny Games). Each having worked as Media Artist in Residence at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton (Svec in 2014-2015 and Comeau in 2016-2017), the idea first came to light when Svec encouraged Comeau to make a game about donairs on his Facebook page. What began perhaps as a joke has finished as reality. Also featuring a tense, dramatic soundtrack by WL Altman and Andrew Penner, Donair Academy is available for free online at www.donairacademy.org.
If you’ve visited us here in the past little bit, you would have noticed the site was glitchy. Thanks to our pal Edwin over at Relaxe Ave Recording it’s now fixed! What a guy! He’s currently working on Wax Mannequin’s new album (out this fall!) and in his spare time he just ever so casually SAVED LABEL FANTASTIC!’S site!!! What a guy. Check out his studio, he’s a gem.
The new Bird City record (the first official Bird City record) will be released this autumn on Label Fantastic! and Coax Records. In the meantime, Jenny has teamed up with longtime pal/Constantines’ front man “Bry Webb” to accompany him on a bunch of his tour of small Ontario cities. Bry is going LOTS of places, you can check out his post on facebook to see his full list of dates, the ones featuring Bird City are listed below. Bry is carving out a beautiful reconnaissance mission of small town venue connections, quite a magical feat, and if the shows goes well hopefully many Label Fantastic! artists will return to these towns. If you or your friends are near any of these places we’d love to see you out at the shows!
Bry Webb w/ Bird City:
13 – Manitowaning (Manitoulin Island) – Debajehmujig Creation Centre
14 – Peterborough – Artspace
18 – Owen Sound – Heartwood Concert Hall - w/ Long Branch
19 – Sudbury – Fromagerie Elgin
20 – Durham - Garafraxa Cafe
25 Kingston – Next Church
26 Stratford – Montforte
June 18 – Grimsby – The Pumphouse
It’s here! ”Saturn Return” by Old Cabin is officially released! You can stream the album right now at Exclaim!
Here’s the rundown: “The album opens with the previously shared addiction tale “Where Did You Go,” which is immediately followed by an accompanying suite cryptically titled “!?!” From there, we hear the stories of “Joe,” as well as “And Annie,” before Barr grapples with the absurdities of life on “I Got You,” and finally — and perhaps most powerfully — the aftermath of residential schools on “Don’t Leave Me Behind.”
Rich with layered characters and heavy themes, the album is am engaging exercise in modern musical storytelling told through a distinctly Canadian lens.”
It’s a great record – we were lucky enough to witness Jona perform it in its entirety on the Golden Bus earlier this month. Be sure to keep an eye on his tour schedule. If you’re out in western Canada, check out one of these upcoming dates:
Old Cabin is crossing Canada on tour! In celebration of “Where Did You Go,“ the first offering from his forthcoming EP, Saturn Return, available later this summer via Label Fantastic!
Listen to the sprawling track HERE or below.
Catch him in a town near you! Dates are as follows:
June 25 - Peterborough, ON @ The Garnet
I am SUPER pleased to announce these two new releases.
One is a once-in-a-label-lifetime type of fantastical release, a compendium of 24 songs and beautiful art pieces that attempt to render a portrait to illustrate the mythological legendary “Mulagi”
One is a beautiful vinyl from one of my favourite bands from the BLOCKS Recording club era in my teen years.
We get to release a book/album about a legend, and an album FROM a legend. This is a magical day.
Here’s some info about each – I hope your day is as great as mine is now! Try to make it out to a release show near you!
The Ecstasy and the Void: an introduction to the Occult of Mulagi - The White Funz
Publication Studios Guelph and Label Fantastic! are proud to co- present The Ecstasy and the Void: An Introduction to the Occult of Mulagi, the world’s first compendium of the apocryphal lore and mystery surrounding the Serbian folk-hero, Mulagi. Sayings, fragments of stories, and unearthed poems have been brought to life in twenty-four original artworks by twenty-four original artists from across the globe. Having brought the folk history of the British Isles to life with the popular Devon Folklore Tapes series, Scotland’s The White Funz were hired to score an original soundtrack, coming full circle to unite the artworks and written words of Mulagi. Twenty years in the making, this unforgettable release is both challenging and rewarding, comforting and perplexing. But as it has been said since time immemorial: To pass across the desert, streams turn to mist. To find a way to Mulagi, desist, desist, desist.
Pick up a copy of this beautiful book and cassette volume at the Kazoo! Showcase Friday October 30th @ Ebar, Guelph
Showers of Happiness - Hank
‘Showers of Happiness’ is the 4th album by Hank following on from 2009′s ‘The Luck of the Singers’ (Blocks Recording Club). Mixed and mastered in Kitchener, Ontario by Norman Blake (Teenage Fanclub) with sleeve and label artwork by his daughter Rowan Blake. 14 pop songs, 38 minutes. Featuring Lex Vaughn (Lesbians on Xstacy), Magali Meagher (The Phonemes), Chris Cummings (Marker Starling), Tara Azzopardi (The Pining) and many more!
Pick up a copy of the vinyl at their release show this Sunday October 25th @ Jane Bond, Waterloo
Today! One of my favourite bands of ALL TIME has given us a second full-length record to fall in love with. If you had asked me three years ago if my favourite band in 2015 would be a MARKETING TEAM I would have thought that an extremely unlikely circumstance. But marketing WORKS folks, at least when you’re marketing Blimp Festivals. Check out their new album, check out their vintage office supplies, check out all things Blimp Rock at: http://www.blimprockenterprises.com/
Here’s a word from the team themselves:
“ATTN: People of business!
We have a very important announcement for you today.
Blimp Rock will be releasing our second album, entitled “Sophomore Slump” on April 7th.
“Let’s All Stay In Tonight” – the first single is not so much a rejection of the nightlife, but an endorsement of the indoors. It is a ‘call to couch’ for those of us who enjoy cheese plates, early evenings and small groups of people. Listen via Soundcloud, Bandcamp or watch the video.
As both a band and a marketing team, we have focused on funding our $700k festival that will take place on a blimp floating over Lake Ontario. We plan on reaching our goal by releasing albums, touring as a relatively unheard of Southern Ontario rock band, and selling vintage office supplies such as rolodexes, fax machines and floppy discs.
After the runaway success of “Lake Ontario Lifeguards (L.O.L.)”, expectations ran high at the BRE offices for a follow-up. Will we ever surpass the hype of L.O.L.? Was the first record better? Can we ever raise $700 000? Regardless, Blimp Rock has made a second album.
However, it is a good idea to get our sometime, so Blimp Rock will also be embarking upon a “Powerpoint Tour of Ontario” starting April 11th.
Each show includes a Powerpoint presentation on our business plan, followed by a rock concert.
We’d be very appreciative if you shared the news with your associates.
Thank you for your business,
Blimp Rock Enterprises”
Apr. 11 – Guelph, ON – Kazoo! Fest
Apr. 16 – Oshawa, ON – The Moustache Club
Apr. 17 – Hamilton, ON – Homegrown Cafe
Apr. 18 – Maynooth, ON – The Arlington Hotel
Apr. 19 – Peterborough, ON – The Spill
Apr. 24 – Windsor, ON – Phog Lounge
Apr. 25 – Toronto, ON – The Dakota Tavern
May. 1 – Ottawa, ON – Raw Sugar Cafe
May. 2 – Montreal, QC – Le Cagibi
May. 8 – St. Catherines, ON – Mahtay
May. 9 – Midland, ON – The Boathouse
It’s true! Jenny Mitchell of Label Fantastic! has been assisting in the booking of her tours for years, and has now taken the reigns to do it officially and efficiently. Her first official booked-entirely-by-her tour this past November for Bird City and Shopkeeper was a huge success – fifteen shows in fifteen days, from highly respected bars, to alternative art spaces, to the basements of teenagers in the suburbs. They had somewhere to stay every night, they made all of their money back and then some (including close to $1200 in flight costs) with tons of homemade meals along the way. For two bands that have NEVER toured before it was an incredible feat. The next hurdle is music festivals! We are soooooo excited to represent so much amazing talent, it will be fun to see how many festivals think they’re as great as we do. We’ll see!!!
Bird City (of Jenny Omnichord, Barmitzvah Brothers) is venturing out of her hidden musical home life to hit the road to the east with Guelph’s best all-star-under-the-radar heartbreaking band Shopkeeper. Shopkeeper is fronted by songwriter Scott Haynes and surrounded by Steph Yates (of Esther Grey) and Alanna Gurr (of Alanna Gurr and the Greatest State) They will have a brand new record for the road and they are honestly one of the most amazing bands you almost definitely haven’t seen yet. Bird City has pulled together a 16 song 14 year retrospective collection of bedroom recordings, new unreleased material, and tracks of Bird City-like moments from previous projects. They’ll have these albums for sale, and probably other magical merch. There are about eighteen shows in 16 days, stretching from Southern Ontario to Newfoundland and back again. Some of these folks have never played some of these cities so we reallllly hope you can make it out. Here are the shows so far (all are Bird City and Shopkeeper unless otherwise stated. Other bands mentioned are additional to Shopkeeper and Bird City):
Saturday November 8th: The Tranzac, Toronto Ontario w/ Jose Contreras!!!
Sunday November 9th: Wasted Space, Oshawa (Next Winter Festival)
Monday November 10th: Grumpy’s, Montreal – Chick pickin’ Mondays (Note: This show is Bird City, Alanna Gurr and Steph Yates but NOT Shopkeeper)
Tuesday November 11th: House show, Rothesay NB
Wednesday November 12th: Jazz Guys, Sackville, NB w/ Julie Doiron!!!
Thursday November 13th: Gus’ Pub, Halifax NS, w/ Cactus Flower and Nap Eyes!!!
Friday November 14th: Prescott St. House show – Shopkeeper, Jenny Omnichord and Max
Saturday November 15th: Early evening show at Fixed St. John’s, NL – solo performances by Scott Haynes, Jenny Mitchell, Steph Yates and Alanna Gurr
Sunday November 16th: The Ship, St. John’s, NL w/ Alanna Gurr backed by Green and Gold!!! w/ Bird City, Rube and Rake and Lady Brett Ashley
Monday November 17th: The Rose and Thistle St. John’s, NL w/ “Imposter Grey” – a special St. John’s version of Esther Grey!!! Ilia Nicoll and Shopkeeper!!
Tuesday November 18th: The Levee, St. John’s NL, w/ Bird City, Shopkeeper and Green and Gold!!!
Thursday November 20th: The Capitol, Fredericton, NB w/ CFL Sessions (Henry Svec)
Friday November 21st: Le Cagibi, Montreal, QC w/ Swag Train (Renee Deschenes)
Saturday November 22nd: Raw Sugar, Ottawa ON, w/ Richard Laviolette!!
Sunday November 23rd (MATINEE): The Garnet, Peterborough ON w/ Nick Ferrio
Sunday November 23rd (evening): The Cornerstone, Guelph ON
To keep updated as to any amendments or additions you can follow the event on face book at https://www.facebook.com/events/767925283269265/?ref=br_tf
Shopkeeper is a band of song singers assembled in the Ontario music hub of Guelph, Ontario. Scott Haynes (Bill Killionaire, Dutch Toko) formed the group in the fall of 2013 to showcase sets of minimal folk rock songs he had composed the previous summer. Steph Yates (Esther Grey, ex-Hinidar) was recruited to play the drums, and Alanna Gurr (Alanna Gurr & The Greatest State) was added on bass.
Bringing compelling vocals and emotive instrumentation to Haynes’ songs, these three musicians have built Shopkeeper into a powerful live act, drawing emotion and engagement from audiences in their short time as a band. Songs of love, loss, and longing are brought to light not with dreary seriousness to reinforce the gravity of the material, but with a triumphant spirit. Feelings of helplessness seemingly near breakdown give way to exuberance and epiphanies throughout.
Shopkeepers debut album will be released on Label Fantastic! and Little Room Labs on November 18th!