Purveyors of: Fuzzed-out, melodic, grungy-glam-rock. File next to: 90’s Canadian Indie-Rock, Flaming Lips, J Mascis, and Lou Barlow. Playing: Sunday Nov. 2 at the Magpie.
I’m listening to Kurt Marble’s first three songs released under the package, Demonstrative Extended Play, and I’m awash in déjà vu. I can swear I’ve heard this before. Maybe in a half-remembered dream? Maybe in a past life full of over-sized clothing, all-ages shows, and MuchMusic’s The Wedge hosted by Sook-Yin Lee? I begin searching through my old CMJ sampler CDs trying to find that vocal, that guitar tone, that ethereal blend of fuzz and melody that set my teenage soul afloat so long ago. I begin a playlist. I include Spoon, Sebadoh, Blinker the Star, Pure, Nada Surf, Yo La Tengo, classic Flaming Lips, Hum, and Failure — but nothing’s quite right. Kurt Marble is like these things, but he is not these things. The best I can come up with is: Kurt Marble makes music that sounds like you wish the 90’s sounded like. Like a rose-coloured sonic-Instagram filter: modern subject, retro-aesthetic.
I first heard Ben Frost through a neighbour friend in Kensington Market who was obsessed with Iceland. It was 2009 and the album was named BY THE THROAT. For once, the all-caps didn’t seem excessive. Frost’s music grabbed me by the proverbial jugular – all bone-chilling Arctic drones and black-metal doom-biance. My friend soon moved to Iceland, as Frost himself did from Australia in 2005, and the harsh beauty of the tiny island nation – basically just one big glacier-capped volcano in the middle of the North Atlantic – must make for a powerful muse. My own visit to Iceland two years later is still a lifetime high, with natural sights such as the Gulfoss waterfall, Dimmuborgir volcanic region, the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and the actual goddamn Northern Lights, ranking high alongside an inspirational visit to the Greenhouse studio, run by Frost’s collaborator and Bedroom Community label head, Valgeir Sigurdsson.