rueben degroot

(So Long) Charlotte

 

Kingston-based Rueben deGroot is one of the musicians featured at Artfest this long weekend in Confederation Park downtown, and one that you should definitely make an effort to see. Originally from Vancouver, his sound combines blues, jazz and folk for a full sound, with enough rock to get you grooving. He has played lots of shows around Kingston, most recently opening for Sarah Harmer at the packed outdoor show in Market Square and is also in the lineup for this year’s Wolfe Island Music Festival. Catch him Sunday from 3:30-6:00 and in the meantime check out his recent EP Rocket Surgery here: http://ruebendegroot.bandcamp.com/album/rocket-surgery.

– Maggie

Schedule
For anyone who has been lucky enough to experience a Kingston summer, you know that we’re lucky to have a town that’s full of cool events all through the warm and sunny months. For those of you who are still figuring out how to spend some time discovering the city, here is a good place to start: This coming Canada Day long weekend City Park downtown will be taken over by Artfest Kingston and you should most definitely go check it out.

Artfest is a showcase of artists and artisans from a variety of craft and art media that includes paintings, sculpture, photography, pottery, jewelry and so much more. Due to popular demand they also are featuring live music throughout the weekend on to stage set -ups in the park. Here’s the schedule of performers for the weekend, and check back here throughout the week for some feature posts on a few of the artists!

Wandering around looking at beautiful things, likely while eating gelato, and dancing barefoot in the grass sounds like a pretty sweet way to spend a Saturday afternoon right?

– Margaret

inside llewyn davisHang Me, Oh Hang Me

Every once and a while directors find a way of incorporating a movie soundtrack that doesn’t just complement the film, but instead features it to such an extent that it becomes a piece of art in itself. If any of you haven’t checked out the Coen brothers’ newest film Inside Llewyn Davis, definitely do so – or at least check out the soundtrack. The film follows the story of a struggling folk singer in the sixties named Llewyn Davis who finds himself struggling to succeed musically, as well as financially. He finds no approval in the opinions of his musical peers and critics, which forms an outlet in his beautiful music. His music is largely appreciated by us as the film’s audience, but less so by his audience in the film. The character of Llewyn Davis is fictional, but largely inspired by the singer/songwriter Dave Van Ronk who wrote the original version of Hang Me, Oh Hang Me. T Bone Burnett, who you may be familiar with as he produced the soundtrack for O Brother Where Art Thou, produced the soundtrack for Inside Llewyn Davis. It features new actor/artist Oscar Isaac who performs his own rendition of Dave Van Ronk’s original Hang Me, Oh Hang Me, among many others. The song is featured in the opening scene of the movie, and perfectly sets up what is to come. You can almost hear the long nights of whiskey and cigarettes that make up the sad story that is Llewyn’s life. So often the most beautiful and sincere pieces of art seem to stem from suffering and the contemplation that that brings. This isn’t the only gem on the soundtrack. Others like Please Mr. Kennedy sung by Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver from the show Girls, as well as Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) sung by Marcus Mumford from Mumford & Sons are just as worth the listen.

 

Tim and Maddy

NECK DEEPOver and Over

Table’s Turned

Crushing Grief

 

Seeing as it’s the end of the semester again, and ultimately the end of another school year, I thought I would reflect on some of the music I have been listening to throughout the past 8 months and share a gem I have been keeping to myself.

Hailing from Wrexham, UK, bringing all of the stage dives and high fives with them across the pond are Neck Deep. Boasting over one million plays on their YouTube and Vimeo accounts, two EPs and one full length under their belts (heh heh), and being slotted to play the entirety of the Vans Warped Tour 2014, these guys have made a splash in the punk music scene in the last two years. Did I mention that they have also only been a band for two years? What started as a bedroom project between vocalist Ben Barlow and guitarist Lloyd Roberts, the cheaply produced 2012 EP Rain in July received so much facebook and YouTube attention that the band decided to see where this project could take them and made full time commitments to their music.

After cutting their teeth playing numerous shows across the UK, the band managed to fund themselves to play a string of weekend shows in Florida last summer to satisfy American fan’s appetites for their brazen and forthright variety of pop punk. The band managed to cause such an uproar that within a month they signed an international contract with US label Hopeless Records and an LP was slotted to be released by 2014.

Well, here we are, moving into spring (finally) and the band’s first full length Wishful Thinking is out and things have never looked better for the lads. They’re just finishing up their first full American tour, are about to embark on their second full UK tour, and are slotted to play a number of festivals this summer. Hell yeah.

Continue reading

In my life, there are some things that I can’t live without: Bacon, Netflix and home cooked meals, just to name a few. One of the most important things, however, would have to be my iTunes Library. Without my music, I would probably go insane – I mean, 8tracks playlists and YouTube videos can only take you so far, you know?

My iTunes library is sacred to me, perfectly organized and put together to fit all of my musical needs. It is a collection of songs, artists, and albums that have been amassed since I was 14. In fact, my library even has the semi-magical ability of transporting me back in time – just by playing a certain song, I am brought back to specific memories, times, and places. Everyone has those certain songs that they associate with different parts of their lives, and very often this can be an extremely euphoric feeling. To be honest, my iTunes library probably speaks volumes about me as it can tell the whole story of my adolescence just by shuffling through the songs. Just as some people have pictures to tell their stories, I use songs.

On top of all that, my iTunes library also has a rather extensive amount of playlists, many with very embarrassing names. Despite this, I refuse to change them, because no matter how stupid they may sound, there was a time in my life when those names seemed somewhat appropriate. Just to name a few, there were the very deep and moving “The Little Things”, the sleep inducing “Sleepy Siesta” and, my personal favourite, “Kitchen Krump” (cooking is more fun when you’re dancing, right?).  In fact, I currently have exactly 35 playlists, some with better names than others, but to me, each of them serves a purpose and is made for specific situations. I like to be prepared for anything, what can I say? There are playlists for camping, playlists for studying, playlists for pre-drinks, playlists for post-drinks; hell, I even have a playlists for making playlists.

Music is important to tons of people, and we all have different ways of collecting and organizing it. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got a kick ass record collection, some old school tapes, or that collection of CDs amassed in the 90s. For me, I just happen to use my iTunes library. But, hey – that’s not to say I don’t still have my Walkman kickin’ it back home right next to my Outkast CD…

– Eric Lazure

John Butler Trio

Crocodile Tears- Little Hurricane

Better Than- John Butler Trio 

 

Unbelievable. While I have been fortunate enough to have attended a handful of shows with my parents in the past years, I had never heard my mom ‘woop’ before tonight. The headliner, the esteemed and glorious John Butler Trio, warranted quite a flock of ‘woops’ from Mrs. Jean Mill, however those are not the ‘woops’ I am writing about now. The ‘woop’ in particular was the first I’d ever heard from my mother, and that note of endorsement, that vote of confidence, that whistle of approval occurred during Little Hurricane’s opening set this Sunday evening at The Commodore in Vancouver.

As risky as it can be taking your parents (or grandparents!) to a show, it will also be the most rewarding. Of all of the things I am intrinsically indebted to my parents for, my appreciation for the skilled execution of live music and for the tireless commitment to one’s art (whatever that may be), is what plucks a chord in my heart tonight. Having just returned from this incredible evening, my mind is racing with highlights. Continue reading

There are thousands upon thousands of music blogs, and they differ enormously in terms of scope, amount of content, areas of focus, and overall quality. Here at the Vault, we have chosen to concentrate our efforts on two aspects of music: NEW and LOCAL. Both of these aspects are subjective, and we exercise flexibility. I would consider any album released in the last year to be relatively new, and often my definition of local extends across Canada (a country of which half I’ve never seen). But these aspects were chosen carefully, discussed thoroughly, and the rationale behind them is more than just my passion for truly independent music.

If you are not living in the Kingston area, it may be somewhat unapparent, but the true emphasis of The Vault is on live music. Concerts. Shows. We as a group have a great enthusiasm for live shows, and often go to shows solely on the recommendation of a friend. Kingston offers a surprising number of opportunities for live music, and where it lacks, we attempt to fill the void by putting on our own shows with musicians we feel deserve recognition. Live shows are not only where bands make the majority of their revenue, but they are unique experiences: Some bands suck live, while some can create soundscapes and transitions that put their recorded work to shame. Every venue has a vibe, every crowd has a feel, and the energy is totally different every single time. Our utter enjoyment has lead to us seeking to fill rooms, for a mutually beneficial arrangement in which a band finds new fans and a fan finds new bands. Continue reading

Quality audio production is often under-appreciated and not even recognized by the general public and many music fans. It really is a complex and intricate art all on its own, separate from writing or playing music in any sort of way.  That being said, there are many post-production techniques that can be added to recordings that can make or break a song.

cubase-le-4-screenshot-big
(Photo taken from jlyricz.webs.com)

This is one of many computer programs (Cubase being shown here) that gives the user the ability to digitally manipulate and edit audio files. You can adjust the different frequencies of the files, resulting in harsher or softer sounding levels across the spectrum of low, middle and high frequencies that can be detected by the human ear.

You can also add effects on top of recordings varying from something as simple as reverb to pitch correction and auto-tuned sections of audio. Post-production really has a huge influence on what any song can sound like. Without the ability to digitally “enhance” sound, there would be no new wave movement in the 80s, there would be no techno; almost certainly there would be little to no electronic music at all.

With all of that being said, sometimes producers get a little too ambitious. They want to makes their own contribution to a song or album, heavily imposing on the raw essence of a song with different types of post-production techniques. When a song is written with heavy effects and filters in mind, it often works with the song instead of against it. In other situations, this is not always the case. Post-production is really a double-edged sword in that sense.

Here are several studio recorded songs alongside live performances of the same song. I will not point out any specific intricacies or my preference for each case. I want you to listen to the differences while considering everything I mentioned before. Continue reading

fun

It’s a cool thing amongst avid music consumers to dislike the big, popular “indie” bands. I’m talking about the artists that get a lot of radio play whose initials aren’t JT and who don’t lick hammers in their music videos.  Every bro with a beard and a flannel shirt switched from loving to hating Mumford and Sons when their second album came out last fall. And is you were to ever admit to falling under the spell that is the combination of gorgeous harmonies, thoughtful lyrics and an easy hook perfected by The Lumineers then expect a few eye rolls and disgruntled sighs of disappointment.  As someone who genuinely loves and appreciates all music (including Miley’s latest album) I just don’t understand. Good music is good music, so why are we so afraid to associate popular with good?

This is something that we do only with music. You won’t lose your street cred for crushing on Ryan Gosling.  Everyone watches Breaking Bad and the Office—actually, it’s not cool if you don’t.  As a society we are especially weird with food because having an appreciation for bad quality or unhealthy food is celebrated while making healthy choices tend to be shamed.  People cringe if you tell them you’re watching what you eat and ordering a salad instead of a burger often leads to teasing.  We can drool over Ry guy and spend a day binge watching Breaking Bad because just like a greasy slice of pizza it’s easy to consume. It brings us pleasure.  Music is the same, it’s meant to be enjoyed.  As humans we created it to tell stories, share emotions, entertain us and ultimately make us happy. Popular bands like Mumford and Sons, Fun., The Lumineers and even The Beatles create music that is comparable to pizza or milkshakes—it’s hard not to like.  Continue reading