For their fifth album,
Elliott Brood wanted to
We like this Elliot Brood video but don’t be fooled, this is no ukulele act. They’re just having fun and making great music!
You are in for a treat on Friday night when Elliot Brood, one of Canada’s top Roots music acts, hit the stage at Bo’s Bar and Grill.
2008’s Mountain Meadows was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize, and the band’s last record, Days Into Years, won a 2011 Juno award for Roots Album of the Year, both co-produced with John Critchley. Now was the time to smash the precedents, break the mould. To withdraw to a farmhouse in Bath, Ontario, hammering out nine songs in two weeks.
For the first time, Elliott Brood decided to hand over the reins to a producer: Ian Blurton, who has helped make roaring records for the Weakerthans, Skydiggers and Cursed. And for the first time, the group’s two songwriters decided to mine the bare histories of their own lives: penning verses about the ends of relationships and the tests of adulthood, long drives, childhood retreating in a rear-view mirror. “Work and love will make a man out of you,” the Constantines sang; and so here is Elliott Brood’s Work and Love, their most personal album to date, the sound of a grown-up band searching their hearts for all they’ve lost and gained.
Casey Laforet, Mark Sasso and Stephen Pitkin recorded Work and Love in the cold spring of 2014, as the ice was coming apart on Lake Ontario. They deserted their families and holed up in the Tragically Hip‘s Bathhouse Studio, scarcely emerging – waking and playing and playing and playing, one song a day. The magic usually happened some time after midnight, when they were “just tired enough”. Blurton would come out and lure them into a new place: a different, even truer landscape. They called him “the Wizard”. Blurton the Wizard and engineer Nyles “the Mad Scientist” Spencer, filling the corners of songs with burred effects and tape loops. Elliott Brood had “played it safe” for four records, they claim: Blurton sharpened their sound, weathered and interrogated it, forced the three musicians to confront their own habits. And it made for a full-length that gestures toward the Hip and the Cons as much as it does to Richard Buckner and Whiskeytown. Adding dimension to select tracks on the album, the band is joined by Aaron Goldtein (City and Colour, Daniel Ramano) on Pedal Steel and John Dinsmore (Kathleen Edwards, Sarah Harmer) on bass (for “Each Other’s Kids”).
These songs are loud and quiet but mostly loud, and always reaching toward something. First loves, lost loves, fuck- ups and young men’s just desserts. Laforet has called Work and Love a “lament for youth”, but it’s also a eulogy for the moments that came just after, on the doorstep of manhood. It’s music of remembered abandon, new burdens, and those nights, years ago, when the moonlit fields seemed to go on forever. It’s Elliott Brood at their sheerest, facing forward and backward at the same time.
Formed in 2002, Elliott Brood (the name, a bastardized homage to the fem fatal character in the 1984 Baseball film The Natural) united teenage pals Sasso and Laforet over their grown-up love for Neil Young, The Band and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Pitkin was an accidental miracle: he fell into the group after working sound at one of their earliest concerts, offering to record their first EP. Tin Type was a college radio hit and soon this compact trio was making some big noise. Across five subsequent albums, sharing vocals and trading instruments – each of the band-members seems to play everything – Elliott Brood have become one of the premier acts in Canadian roots music. Work and Love is out October 21st, 2014 on Paper Bag Records.
Here’s a vintage piece of video from a performance at SXSW 09. This will be a great night of Canadian Roots music from one of our country’s finest.
To find out more about some of the great things going on at Bo’s Bar and Grill CLICK HERE.
CP NewsAlert: Debby Friday wins Polaris Music Prize
TORONTO — Debby Friday has won the 2023 Polaris Music Prize for the album “Good Luck.”
The Canadian Press
Fake Drake won’t be eligible as Junos add AI guidelines to prevent robot takeover
The Juno Awards have introduced new “AI Eligibility” submission guidelines for music creators to specify how much artificial intelligence technology can be used in recordings. A video camera is silhouetted as people gather for a press conference for the 2023 Juno Award nominee announcement in Toronto, on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
By David Friend in Toronto
The Juno Awards say a controversial “deep fake” song featuring unauthorized sound-alike vocals of Drake and the Weeknd won’t be eligible at next year’s celebration of Canadian music.
The organization’s president Allan Reid said that newly introduced “AI Eligibility” rules lay out the basics of how artificial intelligence can be used in making songs — and the popular mashup of the two famed Toronto singers doesn’t meet the requirements.
“It’s ‘Drake and the Weeknd’ — but that’s not them,” Reid told The Canadian Press.
“That is not their voices; those are AI-generated voices.”
Before submissions for the 2024 Junos open on Monday, leadership has clarified that eligible recordings can use AI, but that it can’t be the “sole or core component” of the project.
Exactly what that means is still up for some interpretation, Reid conceded. He described this as “very much a learning year for us” with the established rules as “a baseline” to work from.
“We want to make sure that we have humans being recognized,” he said. “We can’t be awarding an AI project a Juno.”
The new criteria come as the music industry contends with a fast-evolving technology that’s flooded the internet with “deep fake” songs which use computer-generated voices that mimic the real artists.
“Heart on My Sleeve,” a song created by a producer who calls himself Ghostwriter and who to Reid’s understanding is not Canadian, rattled the music industry earlier this year with its convincing performances by fake versions of Drake and the Weeknd.
Its release led record industry giant Universal Music Group, distributor of both Canadian artists, to issue takedown notices to music streamers. They released a statement calling unauthorized AI-made songs “a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law,” while the Grammys recently clarified the song would not be eligible at its awards show.
However, not every case is unauthorized.
More recently, Vancouver-born musician Grimes issued voice-modelling software that allows fans to add her to their music, as long as they split the royalties with her.
Reid says both examples could lead to different outcomes at the Junos.
“Heart on My Sleeve” would’ve never been eligible for the awards, he said, since its creator isn’t Canadian and neither vocalist was involved. The song also wasn’t commercially released since it was unauthorized.
Grimes is a somewhat different case, he added. Her vocals are AI-created and therefore not technically real, which means they’re not eligible. However, if the human producer who used her voice software is Canadian then the Junos would take “a deeper look” at the case.
Submission forms do not directly ask if AI technology was used in the creation, said Liz Morgante, senior manager of the academy’s operations. However, any projects that raise questions will be reviewed by the Junos music advisory committees.
“There’s no question AI is going to revolutionize how music is created,” Reid added.
“And with the rate that things are changing … it’s hard for us to predict where things will land in the future, which is why we need to take initial steps and learn as this evolves.”
The Juno Awards take place March 24, 2024 in Halifax.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2023.
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