Label Fantastic! Releases:
Wax Mannequin: The Red Brain
Wax Mannequin – The Red Brain – Album Guide
The Red Brain begins with “The Obelisk,” as Adeney’s deep, inviting voice is trailed by the steady strum of a guitar, jangling riffs, and the warm glow of an organ. Struggling with a Brian Wilson-esque feeling of not being made for the times, he sings about how “we turn a blind eye to looming existential threats in order to maintain chaotic, quasi-functional
domesticity.” In its choruses, the song travels to a far-distant future where obelisks are constructed to laugh at humanity’s plights, highlighting Wax Mannequin’s fantastical, sci-fi world building.
”Wrong About You” is inspired by Adeney’s experiences as a student and elementary school teacher of language, arts, and drama. Barreling ahead with a soaring guitar solo, triumphant piano melody, and chorus of multi-tracked vocals, he turns his focus onto a student that is alienated for not appearing to thrive. Yet once the child returns home, they are able
to deftly model the consciousness of those around them using metal wires found on the floor. “Sick Boy” (originally written by Raghu Lokanathan) completes this thematic trifecta with Adeney’s additional lyrics about “kids, classrooms, and noticing our mistakes a bit too late.”
The album embraces a wide range of stylistic forms with the stately strings of “The Red Brain” colliding with the corrosive folk of “Even Then,” where Wax Mannequin sounds like Neutral Milk Hotel with an extra dose of psychedelic fuzz. “Reasons We Came” turns its spotlight on the tumbling drum fills of percussionist Bradford Lambert, as its rhythmically
chanted lyrics discuss the action and energy needed during times of transition, warning how blind optimism can cloud our vision. “Love Is A Hunter” is Adeney’s dramatic cover of a song by Coax Records founder Rae Spoon, while “Things to Do With Rage” reworks an empowering anthem about channelling frustration into constructive acts of creativity, originally appearing on Wax Mannequin’s debut album 23 years ago.
“Not The Worst It Gets” drops Adeney’s electronically processed vocals into a sparse pool of echoing pianos and subaquatic beats. While closing the album with a message of hope, it maintains the melancholy realism at the heart of his lyrics. “For me, the end of a depressive cycle is tranquillity,” he says. “Concepts that were incredibly burdensome become
objects you can set down and contemplate before they pass into dust.” Yet in moments like these when we are bogged down by our own problems, he reminds us how easy it is to ignore the challenges of everyone else around us. “There’s a peaceful numbness at the end of that turmoil,” says Adeney. “Eventually you deny your own pain and the pain of others,
so there’s a bitter tranquillity in that.”
- Jesse Locke
Bird City : Winnowing
Bird City is the banjo/tenor guitar project of Jenny Mitchell, a Guelph, Ontario-based songwriter who previously performed as Jenny Omnichord and fronted the band The Barmitzvah Brothers among her many other musical projects. Mitchell crafted the debut album by Bird City, Winnowing, over a three-year period with producer/engineer Scott Merritt at his Guelph studio, with a host of notable friends contributing. These included Bry Webb (Constantines), Nathan Lawr (Minotaurs), J.J. Ipsen (Jim Guthrie, Two-Minute Miracles), and Merritt himself on a multitude of instruments. Tying it all together is Mitchell’s musical vision of creating out-of- body experiences through stark fragility, no matter how many instruments are on a track. With Winnowing, Jenny moves beyond her quirky Omnichord persona, playing these exposed and poetic songs of paranoia, heartbreak and self-examination developed for nearly 15 years. Although she likes to describe her work as “tiny songs,” Winnowing is a towering achievement from an artist long considered one of Canada’s unsung treasures, who is poised to at last get the recognition she deserves.
Blimp Rock: Sophomore Slump
“How do you make a dream come to life – do you go get a master in dreams?” This sophomore release from our Marketing Team darlings “Blimp Rock” is no slump. It’s a dreams maker. It’s full of so many gems, so many new and wonderful un-represented song subjects like the power of staying in at night because “there’s no waiting in line, and the cover is a blanket” and how it feels to be a sensitive boy, to find yourself in the doghouse, to interact with your own overactive imagination and overwhelming brain activity. The list goes on and on. Follow Blimp Rock and their campaign: it’s worth being sold on.
Shopkeeper: Terror Blessed
Shopkeeper is a collection of three of musicians who have been filling Guelph with incredible music through many other projects, mainly Bill Killionaire, Esther Grey, and Alanna Gurr and the Greatest State. This record was recorded with heart, heart break and patience by lead songwriter Scott Haynes over the course of 2014 at
Pinball Sessions studio in Guelph Ontario. The title reflects the content – it is possible to take an epic bout of pain and turn it into magical things. It makes us happy to know we’re not the only person who has been sad before. Though riddled with references to some sort of personal trauma, the songs are hopeful, they are by no means depressing, but rather an awesome sonic experience of enjoying pain together. Truly a masterpiece.
Tyson: Casio Fiasco
CASIO FIASCO is LRL06, co-presented by us and “Little Room Labs” Be prepared to fall in love with this album’s multi-coloured strange-pop landscape. tyson has really pulled up his studio socks with this one, showing off his reverberating ankles and his keen sense of sonic adventure. you’ll sink with him to mean, dark places; you’ll dance with him through the neon fog of anxiety; you’ll float with him to soft, pink cloud castles.
MAN MEETS BEAR: WAAGAASKINGAA
Waagaaskingaa is the 18th and newest album by Man meets Bear, recorded in Kitchener, Ontario. Soren Little Brothers, the songwriter and only musician appearing on this album, is a professional ecologist studying the Great Lakes and their synergistic connections to the land and atmosphere. Waagaaskingaa explores some of the ecological concepts which come up in his research, as well as the mythology of Ontario, presenting a lattice of biology, spirituality, Ojibwe language, and other aspects of the Ontario landscape. The cover art is “Northern Painting 25/Northern Lake II” by Lawren S. Harris, a member of the Group of Seven. The distinctive Ontarian expression of theosophy inherent in much of Harris’ work provides a fitting counterpoint to the themes of Waagaaskingaa, and as such, the artist’s family gave permission for this image to be used as the album cover.
Pink Moth: Eclipsed
“We are very excited to release our new album ‘Eclipsed’ into the ether. It’s been a long road; from the writing in Berlin to over a year of production and recording in our Toronto studio. We couldn’t be more excited to share it with you!”
Dr. Henry Adam Svec: LIVINGSTON: Artificially Intelligent Folks Songs of Canada
Featuring work produced by the sentient database LIVINGSTON, Artificially Intelligent Folk Songs of Canada, Vol. 1 is the culmination of years of research in both Canadian folklore and computer science. What if we had a digital machine that could access the entirety of Canadian folk music and generate new yet hyper-authentic compositions from the source data? Thanks to this exciting collaboration between Canadian song collector Dr.Henry Adam Svec (The CFL Sessions, Folk Songs of Canada Now) and Czech programmer Mirek Plíhal (Všechny Milí Lidé), there is no longer any need to wonder. You can download the album here: http://folksingularity.com/
Esther Grey - “Buttermilk” 7″
Esther Grey, a band hailing from the dark basements and attics of Guelph, releases sounds that will warm you like the unsettling presence of a hulking spook in furs, pressed close behind. A transitory sensation, made manifest by the tips of this quartet. Led by the animated vocal medium Steph Yates, accompanied by Tyson Brinacombe on drums, Nathan Campagnaro on bass, and Dan Paillé on saxophone. The misery of the elderly finds company with these old souls; tapping in celebration to the buzz of flies tooting upon wax-paper-wrapped combs. On stage and in little laboratories, these persons stretch shadow projections of spirits, humours and hemlock by the metered flicker of cartoons. You can purchase their 7″ Buttermilk here: http://esthergrey.bandcamp.com/
Blimp Rock: “Blimp Rock”
Capitalizing on the accessibility of pop music, Blimp Rock has created a sound that is proud to please. With witty lyrics that have been distilled from countless revisions and a painstaking passion for telling the truth, the lines of Blimp Rock are at once fantastical and strangely profound. In between verses, memorable lead guitar hooks not only put the “Rock” in “Blimp Rock” but they may just put the “Blimp” in it as well. Blimp Rock, the band’s self-titled debut, was recorded and mixed by producer James Bunton (Evening Hymns, PS I Love You, Diamond Rings) and was performed by Robyn Letson (Sweet Home Wreckers), Claire Whitehead (Forest City Lovers, The Crybreak), Jess Tollefsen (Rouge), James Bunton and Peter Demakos.
Released April 23, 2013, visit the Band Camp site to buy the album today!
Jenny Omnichord: “Days of Hard Drives: Excavating Ten Years of Jenny Omnichord”
This year marks the tenth year of Jenny Omnichord! So to celebrate she learned to silk screen, dug through the ancient hard drives, and put together a twenty track collection of cover songs, rarities, and previously unreleased material. There’s a duet about school bus driving featuring fellow school bus driver Richard Laviolette. There are songs about “table scoring” and hot dogs restaurants. There are covers by such celebrated artists as The Guess Who, the Pixies, and Construction and Destruction. There is even an educational song about Ice Worms, so highly regarded it is featured in the Wikepedia article “Ice Worms in Culture”. If ten years has taught Jenny anything it’s how to set up quickly, play first, and be pretty darn charming.
Released March, 2013 Visit the band camp site to buy the album today!
Pauly and the Blowbots “Stone Boner”
Paul Almond is awesome! On this record he is backed by the Blowbots, who are Richard Laviolette on drums, and Jenny Mitchell on bass. The music is like a punk version of Daniel Johnson. It’s a hi-fi recording of a low-fi basement band. There are songs about nymphs, diarrhea, dragons and dinghies.
Released October 2011
The Barmitzvah Brothers “Growing Branches”
In July of 2011 Jenny contacted Geordie, John, and longtime Barmitzvah Brothers guitarist Tristan O’Malley in order to record an album dedicated to the imminent birth of her second child. The band had gone on hiatus in 2008 – giving each of the three youths time to follow their own course both as people and musicians. John vied to become the subject of a Bruce Springsteen song by marrying early and becoming a factory worker moonlighting as a rock musician; Geordie worked hard towards international pop superstardom, recording and touring with Islands and his own band the Magic; and Jenny commenced her career as Jenny Omnichord, solo touring musician and hardworking mother of the little son, Otis.
But similar to her album of duets for Otis, Jenny wanted a special album to welcome her second baby into the world. Over the course of a week, Jenny, Geordie, John, and Tristan reunited at Andy Magoffin’s House of Miracles in London Ontario to record “Growing Branches”, a series of songs celebrating the music of the Barmitzvah Brothers as well as babies, mothers, little sisters and older brothers.
The band released “Growing Branches” digitally on Zunior on September 16th 2011, on the day Jenny gave birth to her first little girl, Arrow. It marks 10 years since the Barmitzvah Brothers’ first record, 11 years as a band, and just for fun it is being released on 11/11/11 as 11th release on Label Fantastic! There are 24 different album covers, and each CD comes with a different selection of four band and family photos.
Released September 2011 Visit “The Shop” to buy the album today!
Inspired by legendary Canadian folklorists Staunton R. Livingston (The CFL Sessions) and Edith Fulton Fowke (Folk Songs of Canada), former performance artist Henry Adam Svec has decided to buy a field recorder and hit the road. The archive Folk Songs of Canada Now is the fruit of his first song-collecting journey across Canada. Discovered Folk include Al Tuck, Geoff Berner, Mathias Kom, Jenny Omnichord, Laura Barrett, Rock Plaza Central, Sunparlour Players, Olenka Krakus, Andy Magoffin, and more. The freely accessible archive also features painstakingly detailed explicatory notes and a rigorous introduction to some of Svec’s more non-conformist decisions as a folklorist. Folk Songs of Canada Now acknowledge’s the support of the Ontario Arts Council.
Released September 2011 Visit http://www.folksongsofcanadanow.com/ to download the album for FREE!
Skeletones Four “Gravestone Rock”
Gravestone Rock is the follow-up to AAAAAHHH!!!, a 2009 collection spanning a decade’s worth of Collins’ songs, in which he played and recorded every instrument himself. He’s a very talented man but he values the camaraderie of his band of brothers, all lifelong friends who were raised in Guelph. Collins gathered them together, mostly at his grandparents’ farm in the picturesque country side within Caledon, ON, and then he set up some mics and pushed some buttons to capture the Skeletones Four’s latest songs for Gravestone Rock. Mastered by Harris Newman and available on 180 gram vinyl, the record’s a beaut—a raw but pristine document of a challenging pop band, making timeless rock songs with unassuming confidence.
Released August 2011 Visit: http://theskeletonesfour1.bandcamp.com/ to pick up the record today!
The Burning Hell & Wax Mannequin Split 7″ “Hear Some Evil”
Some new songs from a couple of Label Fantastic! favourites. Released May 2011
J.J. Ipsen and Paper Crown “Entertainment Ordinaire”
J.J. Ipsen is FINALLY done his long-awaited full length, “Entertainment Ordinaire” Featuring a few songs you may have heard on previous EPs and several amazing new hits, this album is what would happen if you blended Ron Sexsmith and Rufus Wainwright with ELO and the Zombies. It’s very super lovely. Released April 2011
Spring Breakup “It’s Not You, It’s Me”
A second course of breakup songs from Canadian heartbreak chefs Kim Barlow and Mathias Kom of The Burning Hell. Several of these songs are based on actual breakup stories Spring Breakup has collected, and with everything from sparse, lonely banjo plucking to Jamaican mento to epic rockers with wailing guitar solos, It’s Not You, It’s Me tries to do sonic justice to the spectrum of lost love and heartache. Released February 2011
Jenny Omnichord “All Our Little Bones“
Jenny Omnichord recorded an album with 13 of southern Ontario’s most interesting and noted producers. Next was an album of duets which she released the day she gave birth to her son Otis. This spring, Label Fantastic will release Jenny’s third album – and it’s backed by a band! The amazing Justin Nace recorded and produced it at the House of Miracles in London and Menalon in Toronto. She grabbed Tristan O’Malley (her band mate from the Barmitzvah Brothers) to play bass, hired Andy Magoffin’s favourite drummer Mike Brushey to play drums, and fellow label mate JJ Ipsen to play keys, arrange horns and strings and basically just add awesomeness. It is an album about impending babies, arrived babies, and coming to terms with changes and aging and the afterlife. Released May 2010