Archive for the ‘Indie Music’ Category


August 25, 2011

The release dates of Tracts is rapidly approaching and the songs have rounded into form. I am incredibly excited about this collection. It may seem like bluster but I really believe these are the among the best songs to ever come out of The Alder Fork. The track listing (in no particular order) is: Random Places We Meet, Who Wants To Know, Space, Ghosts and Mysteries, and Summer Running Down.

I also want to mention that I will be releasing a second collection of 5 songs at a later date. The Lost Spoons will feature 5 acoustic song. One is the familiar Twenty-Five from The Lights I See You In Shadow. The other 4 songs are brand new and two have never been heard before by anyone.

More details about both are coming soon.

Do You Really Want To Know?

August 16, 2011

Please join us in this public service announcement, with guitars!

Joe Strummer

This blog began with a long series of posts dedicated to the release of a new album by a new group. I thoroughly enjoyed writing about The Lights I See You In Shadow and the history of my music. I have returned today to begin a new series on a new collection of recordings by The Alder Fork.  Over the past few months I have been working on a number of songs with no real plan for what to do with them. I am in the early stages of creating a new band, The Histrionics, with some friends, which means The Alder Fork is at risk of vanishing. This EP of 5 songs, called The Long Spoons, may represent that last new material from my solo project for awhile. It also might not, such are the whims of my musical career (If you really want to know about how I have evolved musically go back to post number 1 and start reading).  The release date is September 17t, with more details to follow. In the coming days and weeks I will be making posts about the tracks and other related material. It should be another fun ride.

Everything Tangible

March 2, 2010

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The Mass Romantics

Cardinal Patrol

Taking on any kind of creative project under a deadline is an immense challenge.  Max Woghiren, aka The Mass Romantics put together a 7-song collection during the month of February.  He says that he fell a little short of his actual goals, but is satisfied with the output.  He should be more than happy with this solid group of songs. Once again, The Mass Romantics blend indie-rock style with Beatles-esque melodies. Indeed this album spans generations of musical convention featuring pieces such as Songs We Lost that mimic The Doors and Genesis, two fairly different bands.  These influences are implicit for Max rather than an overt effort.

The album starts out in triumphant fashion with the moving I Know That You Are a Decider.  He really shows his influences in a genuine way without succumbing to blatant copying.  This quality is very hard to find in popular music.  The second track The Fiction may give you flashbacks to the mid-90’s.  It is homage more than an exact copy.  Max has always been a skilled melodist, and on Cardinal Patrol he has really expanded the texturing of his songs.

Although each of the tracks is enjoyable, We Fall Together was my personal favourite. Coming in at 3’28 it is the second longest song on the album. It has an inexplicable quality that is both goofy and moving.  It also demonstrates Max’s influences in a compelling fashion.  In my mind I was transported to another place, particularly during the instrumental interludes.

Lyrical composition is a great strength of this collection. In the past, Max has been known to deride his writing. Cardinal Patrol, despite being written over only 28 days, is filled with compelling and well-written songs.

Max pays particular attention to creating an atmosphere on this album.  Monotony is the biggest risk in an album created in a month, but although the songs have an overarching textural quality, they each operate within it differently.  This is especially remarkable because the songs average about 3 minutes in length. That is not a lot of time to make an impact. Max is willing to change time and explore tangential ideas in even the shortest songs.

Overall, Cardinal Patrol is an album well worth checking out.  Although it is not available in wide release it is hoped that The Mass Romantics will be confident enough to let the world hear.  These songs are moving and dramatic.  It is 22 minutes in an alternative world where the vibe is solid and ideas are free.  There is no fear in these songs.  This is The Mass Romantics best album to date.

Oh, Canada

September 16, 2009

A new episode of the podcast is available. This week I talk with Amanda Putz about her new (or actually new again) show, Bandwidth, on CBC Radio One (Saturdays at 5pm).  We also discuss the Polaris Music Prize.  This ever more prestigious Canadian music award will be handed out at a gala event on Sunday evening.  The short list of nominees is:

As always Amanda’s passion for Canadian music knows no bounds. She is among the most knowledgeable followers of our indie scene. The first episode of Bandwidth is available from the North by East West blog.

Continuing Coverage

September 13, 2009

In the aftermath of last night’s festival, great little pieces of the evening are trickling out.  First up we have a video, courtesy of The Alder Fork drummer Martin, of the band’s opening number Coast to Coast. Enjoy!

The Review Is In

July 24, 2009

Jade Sperry, a photographer and blogger of note, was kind enough to review my album.  She sums it up quite nicely by saying, “Overall, I found this CD to be powerful, haunting, visionary and imaginative from The Alder Fork and comes highly recommended from this writer.” You can read this review in a few place depending on your fancy:

NXEW Blog (poke around this one for awhile)

Jade Sperry Photography

Jade’s MySpace Page

If you have arrived here thanks to that review you can find all kinds of info about the band, including how to buy the album, here.

Music Music Music

June 19, 2009

Hi fans of The Alder Fork.  If you’ve had a chance to check out my new album on Amie Street, I’d be ever so grateful if you could sign up for an account (or log into your existing one) and “rec” a song or two. It would really help spread the word about the music. It’s especially helpful if you say things like, this song reminds me of so an so.  That’d be fantastic. Just follow this link and you are all set.

As of right now you can also listen to and request the entire album on New Music Canada.

On another note the album will be hitting iTunes very shortly, so if that’s your preferred musical supplier you will be able to get it there very soon. An announcement will appear here when that happens.  The hard copies of the disc will also be available in the next few days.

As always I very much appreciate your support of my endeavours!

Marching Marching

June 15, 2009

Face the monsters bring them to tears it’s all you need to hear.

Laura Smith

I Spy A Monster

A new episode of the podcast is up. As always it is available over there –>. My special guest is Laura Smith who is currently touring across Canada in support of her recent album Sea of Stars. If you get a chance to check her out in Toronto at C’est What on Wednesday at 10pm or Cabin on Thursday at midnight, you won’t regret it.  For more information about Laura check out her site.

I Awake To Muddy Streets

May 23, 2009

Today, The Alder Fork presents the first in what will likely be a series of video experiments.  This one is based around the song Piling Snow.  The theme of the song and the video is isolation.  I am planning to do more videos around my various songs, hoefully addressing the them of the lyrics in each one (without being too literal).

It’s A Process

April 19, 2009

As a prelude to my next album, which is only a few weeks away, I want to take a few moments to break down the evolution of a song that will be reappearing on the new disc after being on The Lights I See You In Shadow. The Mountain began life as a variation on a true story.  I was walking along the top of the escarpment in Hamilton one summer day and thinking about my life at that point. When I sat down to reflect on that experience the words came very naturally.  The lyrics are:

I walked along the mountain
On glass and fog and gold
I could see where you were
Underneath the stars

I knew that I should change
I never thought I could
And on and on and on and on
I’m still waiting

I crawled down from the mountain
Into the ancient wood
Where time did not move
Not a second to lose

I knew that I should change
I never thought I could
And on and on and on and on
I’m still waiting

You built a castle there
From trees and solid rocks
Though your sight was lost to me
I could reach out

I knew that I should change
I never thought I could
And on and on and on and on
I’m still waiting

I had to take some artistic licence in the description of that day, but much of it is true.  I was actually looking over the city to a place full of trees where someone I cared about (at the time) was more or less hiding from me.  Certainly that was how I felt.  Although the song seems dark, and is mostly about hopeless longing, I think it maintains a positive spin.   I know that I should leave, I never thought I could, but on and on and on and on and I’m still waiting. Yes the overall theme of the chorus is how the situation is inescapable, by acknowledging that the situation is unhealthy, the protagonist has taken an important first step.  In reality, I did get out of the troubling spiral I had fallen into.  The song doesn’t betray the ending, because it hadn’t happened when the new version of ths song was prepared about a month later.

The music was inspired by the work of Peter Gabriel, and began as a bass line and synth string song.  It was very free form and lacked most of the parts that became the current piece.  I remember that it was basically the same two minute part repeated twice to make a full song.  The melody was quite random and the guitar was the only bit that really overlapped.  When I sent it out to some of my musical collaborators they said,”it needs more variety.”  The complete overhaul meant creating a chorus and bridge.  The piano became the foundational portion of the song and the other layers built on top of it.  I managed to maintain the bass line from the original, but abandoned most of everything else.  I found the ideal guitar tone to create the type of atmosphere I was looking for.  The new album is all about atmosphere.

The Mountain was the first song to be completed for TLISYIS, and was in fact the impetus for completing that album.  I have chosen to resurrect it because it will fit in quite well with the new project, and I think there is a bit of room to improve it.  Although the song is fairly simple in its arrangement, there are some little spaces I’d like to play with before putting it back out in the world.