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Luke Doucet/Fembots/Whitey Houston/Shout Out Out Out Out


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This Tuesday, October 18 at The Grad Club - Exclaim presents 'Four For Fall' featuring Luke Doucet, Fembots, Whitey Houston, and Shout Out Out Out Out!

Tickets $10 advance at Zap Records, Brian's Record Option, Destinations, Renaissance, Grad Club and online at www.rockcrew.ca

You don't have to read a book to know that finger printing is only compulsory for criminals. But first they must be caught, and let's face it, Luke Doucet is the ultimate catch. Yet with nothing more than his weathered axe and a pocket full of songs, he continues to outwit his pursuers, living very much outside the law.

Those are Luke's prints all over town, great inky smears on the sides of buildings and along the frames of doors. All of them clues to what he means to do, what he always does, what Luke truly is: a magician really. A thief of his caliber can be nothing less. He casts his songs like spells, opening your chest as if by its own volition, stealing your heart right out of its cage.

On two cold nights in January, hundreds of people waited for hours in the freezing cold to squeeze into Toronto's Rivoli and see Luke play his stellar two drummer band featuring Blue Rodeo's Bazil Donovan and Glen Milchem, and Paul Brennan (formerly of the Odds, Big Sugar and more). This powerhouse quartet put on a show worth listening to in repeat, and Six Shooter Records proudly unleashes it to a salivating public. "Outlaws [live + unreleased]" features new songs as well as fan favourites from his solo and Veal repertoires.

Luke Doucet gets around. Singer/songwriter, producer, guitarist, Veal ringleader. Sarah McLachan, Blue Rodeo, Chantal Kreviazuk, Oh Susanna, Delirium, Danny Michel and many more have all lured Luke into joining them onstage and/or in the studio. His debut solo album Aloha, Manitoba received rave reviews in Canada and the US and was recently released in Europe and Australia on Hot Records. After touring to promote the acoustic Aloha, Manitoba, Luke greased his hair back, puffed his chest out and hit the road with Nik Kozub & Chang to spread the word about Veal's The Embattled Hearts. After months on the road, Luke holed up in the studio to lend his production talents already evidenced on NQ Arbuckle's debut Six Shooter release, "Hanging the Battle-Scarred Pinata", to Melissa McClelland's "Stranded in Suburbia" for Orange/Universal. He's just finished producing NQ's follow up, while also working on his own solo record, due out in 2005.

With a stronger lyrical focus and a richer, more collaborative sound, The City is a story of stories – a sometimes affectionate, sometimes angry ode to the FemBots hometown, its buried past and uncertain future.

The FemBots began as a home recording project of Dave MacKinnon and Brian Poirier. Their debut, Mucho Cuidado (2000), featured songs written and performed on power tools, toys and broken down thrift store instruments. The duo quickly carved a unique space in the Toronto music scene bringing their post-industrial folk songs to the stage using tape loops and reel-to-reel machines mixed with often frantic live performances. Their critically-acclaimed second release, Small Town Murder Scene (2003), pushed the weirdness and angularity of their debut into the background and adopted a more atmospheric approach that bridged the gap between the extremes of their sound. The result – an album where murder ballads float above a collage of found sounds and somber instrumentals break into festive sing-alongs before crumbling into mechanical noise.

Following the release of Small Town Murder Scene, the FemBots spent two years touring North America. Somewhere along the way the duo expanded to a full band.

The FemBots began work on a third record at their Junkshop studio in the spring of 2005. Casting off the cut and paste approach of their previous efforts, they brought together some of Toronto’s finest musicians including: Jason Tait (Weakerthans) on drums, & vibraphone; Greg Smith (Weakerthans, Martin Tielli) bass; Julie Penner (Bob Wiseman) violin; James Anderson (Singing Saw Shadow Show) banjo, singing saw, wine glasses and typewriter; Nathan Lawr (Royal City) drums; Mark Hansen (Ron Hawkins and The Rusty Nails) drums; Krista Muir (Lederhosen Lucil) vocals on The City; Lawrence Nichols (Lowest Of The Low) harmonica; The Crying Out Loud Choir; Jeremy Strachan, saxophone; Joe Shabason, saxophone; and, Bryden Baird, trumpet; with horns arranged by Paul Aucoin (Hylozoists, Sadies).

The resulting album, The City, unveils a rich, authentic, sound that builds upon the FemBots earlier work while moving in new directions. Banging piano chords, catchy choruses, soulful vocals, swinging guitars, woven string and horns push the stark black and white vision of their earlier albums into full technicolour bloom all the while remaining true to the emotional core of the songs. At its heart The City is an homage to the band’s hometown – its victories and failures, told in vignettes of everyday life (So Long and My Life in the Funeral Service), odes to lost neighbourhoods (Demolition Waltz), and laments for a place whose history is being buried under waves of condo development (History Remade). However, the FemBots are not jaded, their love for their city also comes through clearly on this album. At times raucous and loud, at others mournful and haunting, The City is the FemBots most personal album to date.

The FemBots have drawn comparisons to Califone, My Morning Jacket, and Wilco but their sound is not easily categorized. Neither alt-country, nor indie rock their music is perhaps best described as ‘Americana’ placing a strong emphasis on songwriting and lyrics while allowing room for experimentation. Influenced by a wide range of music - from Rock ‘n Roll, Blues, Soul, Country, and Folk - they continue their genre bending approach, honing a new style from the old. With each new album the FemBots transform in ways unforeseen, yet strangely familiar.

f this is a dude ranch, where are all the dudes? cuz all I see is haters that I?m chasing out of town!"

Shout Out Out Out Out = two drummers + four bass players + two samplers + five synthesizers + five cowbells + two octapads + one vocoder. Shout Out Out Out Out plays volatile dance music.

Shout Out Out Out Out is made up of nrmls wlcm label bosses Nik Kozub and Jason Troock, Whitey Houston members Lyle Bell and Gravy, sketchy casanova Will Zimmerman, and a lil' spazz named Clint Frazier. They are a live spectacle, leaving jaws dropped and dance floors filled with their chaotic blend of epic bumpin'. Hell yes, let us do the electro rock and dance the night away.

Whitey Houston is an Edmonton based rock and roll duo comprised of Bassist/vocalist Lyle Bell (sometimes known as Whitey) and Drummer Rob Hoffart (always known as Gravy). The rock duo have known each other since the mid 90's, playing together frequently and finally making the decision to continue as a 2-piece after the disintegration of their previous effort Slow Fresh Oil in the fall of 2000. Already complementary as a rhythm section, the two revamped their set-up and sound in an attempt to maximize their sonic possibilities. Their efforts yielded a previously untapped musical synergy anchored by Bell's inventive stereophonic bass chording and Hoffart's increasingly blistering tempos. It was pure, feral rock and roll complete with the right mix of swagger, humour, and arm windmilling. Fuelled by both Bell and Gravy's audiophile and vinyl loyalist backgrounds, the new sound pulled from diverse influences, from the garage soul of The Pretty Things and The Sonics to the arena rock pomp of Thin Lizzy, early AC-DC and Motorhead. Obscure 60's R&B screamers, '77 punk and 80's metal, all were absorbed into the mix that would produce Whitey Houston's particular brand of frenzied rock 'n roll.

Presented by CFRC 101.9 FM - www.cfrc.ca

www.fembots.net

www.lukedoucet.com

www.whiteyhouston.com

www.nrmlswlcmrcrds.com

www.exclaim.ca

www.gradclub.ca

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From today's Queen's Journal - http://www.queensjournal.ca/articlephp/point-vol133/issue14/arts/lead2

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2005

FemBots release gem of an album

By Brendan Kennedy

It’s always nice to see a hardworking band hit their stride and be rewarded for their effort.

With the release of their third album—The City—on Paper Bag Records last month, the FemBots are at last garnering the kind of attention that has seemed to come easily to some of their PB label mates, but has always (up to this point) appeared just out of reach for the veteran Toronto scenesters. The City has been receiving high praise from our country’s indie tastemakers, scoring several four-star (and five-star) reviews and spurring eager music critics to include it in early declarations of Canadian albums of the year.

And good for them.

From Mucho Cuidado’s found-sound collage freakout, to Small Town Murder Scene’s inner-city, death-country balladry and now The City’s nostalgic longing for a lost history, the FemBots have been making some of the weirdest, spookiest, coolest and most original music in ... well, anywhere.

The FemBots are Dave MacKinnon and Brian Poirier. While neither are robots nor femmes themselves, they are the mad scientists behind the band’s experimental urban twang.

The high school chums played together in ’90s alt-rock bands Dig Circus and Hummer before starting the FemBots simply as a recording side project and outlet for the ideas that wouldn’t fit in with their other bands. Since then, though, their crazy ideas have grown into three great albums.

They make country music for city dwellers that conjures up images of rickety record players and screeching tape reels coming alive in the middle of the night, as if the ’80s kids’ show Today’s Special were set in a pawn shop instead of a department store.

With The City, however, the band has made their most accessible record yet: more verse-chorus-verse, less Teddy Ruxpin tape player.

“When people think of it as being a dramatic shift from one record to another, it’s maybe because they don’t see all the stuff that goes on in between those records,†MacKinnon told the Journal by phone before kicking off their cross-Canada tour on the East Coast.

“What happened from Mucho Cuidado to now, is that somewhere along the line we started touring with a larger band and the sound we’ve arrived at now has been a natural outcome of that,†he said.

But MacKinnon and Poirier have always been more than just a couple of noodling button-pushers. Amid Mucho’s and Small Town’s beeps, whirls and answering machine messages were campfire singalongs like “Ice Cream†and orchestral alt-country rockers like “Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist.â€

And it’s not like the ’Bots went CMT on us or anything. The songs on The City still possess the same haunting quality of the band’s earlier work, and there’s still singing saws, xylophones, wine glasses and typewriter noises, but this time they flushed it out with horns, strings and vibes instead of thrift store noisemakers.

“We never hit a point where we sat down and said we wanted to make a record that was easier on people than the other ones might have been,†he said. “It’s just the way it happened.

“The records kind of take on a life of their own once you’re midway through working on them,†he said. “A lot of music happens accidentally, and even if you’re the one creating it, you don’t necessarily know what it’s about or why it’s working the way it’s working until much later.

“And God knows the next one might be all annoying grating noises.â€

Not only is The City the FemBots’ most musically accessible record to date, it’s also the most lyrically developed. In The City, MacKinnon painfully laments what he considers to be the incremental destruction of Toronto’s history.

“One of the central things in a lot of the songs on this record is trying to catalogue the history of our city,†he said. “Toronto is always trying so hard to be world-class and wants so badly to be recognized as a such a great city, but in order to get to those places, we’re really willing to whitewash over our history—especially the less glamorous parts of it.

“As a city, it does have a long and very interesting history, but the majority of people that live here have no clue what it is and there’s so little visible remnants of that history—we’ve just destroyed it.â€

While MacKinnon and Poirier are the main composers and ringleaders of the band in the studio, on stage the FemBots appear in a variety of incarnations—drawing from a rotating posse of percussionists, bowers and noisemakers—making almost every show different from the one before.

At tonight’s show at The Grad Club, MacKinnon and Poirier will be joined by The Weakerthans’ Jason Tait and Greg Smith on drums and bass, respectively, as well as Julie Penner on violin and Paul Aucoin on vibraphone.

There are too many bands in this country that quit before they ever hit their prime (*cough* Thrush Hermit *cough* Fur Packed Action and basically every great band from the Maritimes, save Sloan), unable to deal with the stresses,—both economic and emotional—of touring this vast, mostly empty landscape. So, it’s great to see a band like the FemBots hang in there long enough for things to start paying off.

“We’ve been doing it long enough that for us it’s always been that as long it’s getting a bit better every year, then that’s really the best thing you can ask for,†he said.

“It’s a pretty modest goal, but the reward is in the work, so as long as you’re able to do the work, then that’s really all you can ask for.â€

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