This weekend, Women are playing at Winnipeg's Lo Pub, with Library Voices and Old Folks Home. The headliner's self-titled debut, produced by fellow Albertan Chad VanGaalen, was one of my favourite albums from 2008. Since it came out, Women have been everywhere, filling out venues in across Europe and NA. And yet, this is their (correct me if I'm wrong) third show in Winnipeg in less than 12 months. I'm glad they like us. There's no presale, so you better hurry on over because I'm positive this is going to sell out. 8:00pm. Damn, that's early. How did these guys become so popular practically overnight? Oh yeah - that's right. That link right there leads to one of the most crystal-clear pop songs from last year: brief and saccharine. And one of them's a Reimer!
I CAN WONDER WHAT YOU DID WITH YOUR DAY
I first saw Julie Doiron perform when she opened for Feist as part of Winnipeg's 2005 Juno celebrations. It was great show. Two solo sets from two of my favourite female songwriters. I was smitten. The only problem lay with a bunch of idiots who wouldn't shut up during Doiron's introspective set. She was quite irritable actually and obviously thrown off by their disregard for her performance. A couple years later she'd release 2007's brilliant Woke Myself Up, which marked a turning point of sorts for her. Just prior to Doiron's work on the album, she began to reconnect with her old band, Eric's Trip (required listening for Canadian indie kids), and started to revisit a heavier sound. The reunion led to a handful of tours and a new studio relationship with former bandmate Rick White, who has returned for I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day. In the past, I've made the common mistake of confusing Julie Doiron with Cat Power's Chan Marshall. “Blue” and “Lovers of the World” from I Can Wonder... are perfect examples of their similarities. Both songs feature a lazy, graceful vocal approach that wanders over fractured guitar chords and sparse percussion. These days, however, Doiron's work isn't only superior, it moves well beyond those comparisons. Her vocals will forever possess that frail, almost defeated, spirit – which, often as not, is exactly what makes her more upbeat songs work so well. It's that kind of bittersweet sentiment that fills out Doiron's latest effort. Her penchant for introspective ruminations on the most ignorable parts of everyday life is still very much alive. She's still just as endearing as ever (I also recently discovered that "endearing" just happens to be the name of her label) and the grungier sound of a song like "Spill Yer Lungs" suits her quite well. Blending past and present, I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day isn't only one of Doiron's strongest albums to date, it's further proof that she's currently among Canada's best songwriters. Recommended listening, indeed.
+++In other exciting Canadian music news, I'm going to be interview Bryan Webb of the Constantines for Stylus Magazine this Saturday. Judging from the interviews I've seen him do, I've got to ask the right kind of questions or there are gonna be a lot of awkward pauses.