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FIRST AND FOREMOST!:
Woodpigeon’s SONGBOOK is coming out in the UK and Europe via The End of the Road Records. If you pick it up via Rough Trade, you’ll get a free 6-track EP too. How can you go wrong? It’s our first record. We’re proud of that.
here’s a nice review of the album from NOW MAGAZINE out of toronto:
NNNN – CRITIC’S PICK
Like Calgary’s answer to Sufjan Stevens and his travelling symphonic circus, prairie collective Woodpigeon have a penchant for long-winded song titles (Home As A Romanticized Concept Where Everyone Loves You Always And Forever) and jingly, ramshackle chamber-folk concoctions driven by banjo, glockenspiel, a sprawling choir and quivering male vocals. Though there are sonic similarities, the writing on Songbook suggests repressed longing and romantic fantasies rather than Stevens’s hyper-detailed short story narratives, but Mark Hamilton’s delightfully whimsical metaphors and imagery (a love song about ninjas! Superheroes sacrificing good deeds for love!) work perfectly in tandem with Woodpigeon’s shimmery songs. And though the music works well in watercolour shades, when the loose-knit ensemble puts some muscle into rocking out, as on the driving Jonathan Ashworth Rollercoaster, they make a strong case for why Woodpigeon might be the next great Canadian breakout band. — SARAH LISS
and another from THE EDMONTON JOURNAL:
woodpigeon, led by Calgary musician/journalist Mark Hamilton, creates lush, romantic music that combines bright, delicious pop with gorgeous echoey harmonies and oddball orchestrations including some lovely guitar, banjo, shambling drums, a glockenspiel, piano, melodica and horns. But, it’s not nearly as unbearablly twee as you might imagine. Comparisons with Belle and Sebastian are fair, but with less Little Lord Fauntelroy and more of W.O Mitchell’s dark innocence. With tracks like ‘home as a romanticized concept were everyone loves you always and forever’, and ‘a sad country ballad for a tired superhero’, it’s like you’re listening to a prarie city’s inner monologues. 4/5 — MARY SASANO
A new self-released accompanying record TREASURY LIBRARY CANADA is out as of 1 August 2008. We’ve only made 1,000, and you can grab one for yourself here, or in digital format via zunior.com, where it comes with a bonus CD of out-takes and remixes. Think of this as album 1.5.
our lovely friends at I(heart)MUSIC said: “Much like Songbook before it, Woodpigeon’s new full-length is a masterpiece of orchestral pop. Tracks like “Emma et Hampus” and “Piano Pieces For Adult Beginners” show that Hamilton and his cohorts have a knack for writing lush, intricate songs that are complex without being so much so that it’s a distraction. Alternatively, you could also say that the band is able to take folk songs (like, say, “Bad News Brown”), add all sorts of instrumentation and vocals over top of it, and still retain an overarching feeling of straightforward, unadorned simplicity. In fact, the band is so good at balancing ornate, intricate melodies with simpler ones that they’re even able to go from one extreme to the other in one song (“I Live A Lot Of Places”) without it sounding like a stretch at all. Obviously, I don’t want to overstate the idea that Woodpigeon are criminally overlooked. After all, they’ve managed to get noticed in England enough that they have a label there and they’re touring there in the coming months. And, I mean, on top of that I was able to find out about them even though I’m nearly 4,000 kilometres away. But I’ve always had the feeling that if Woodpigeon were from a city on the eastern half of the continent, they’d be absolutely huge. As it is, they’ll have to not only settle for being Canada’s best-kept secret, but also — with the release of Treasury Library Canada — a best-kept secret who have released two flawless masterpieces.”
how nice is that? we hope you dig the record as much as we dug making it!
But oh, we’ve been busy. There’s another record on the way, and it’s called DIE STADT MUZIKANTEN. Here’s a short video Making-of that’s really cool in those awesome Making-of ways of showing you just about next to nothing at all. We’ll let you hear the whole thing in early 2009. We promise.
some things you should know:
1. hey! hey you! take a listen to woodpigeon performing live, and then keep your eyes peeled for when we’re in your part of the world:
CBC Radio 2 Combo To Go, recorded live at the Jack Singer Concert Hall in Calgary, alongside our friends the Voicescapes vocal ensemble.
CBC Radio 1 Fuse in collaboration with Jay Crocker.
2. Written in Paris, Berlin, and Edinburgh, Houndstooth is a sweet, minimalist, short-player from Woodpigeon that acts as an audio diary to a beautiful trip overseas. Recorded with Jane Vain and Aaron Booth, it’s WP’s little gift to all our friends, far and wide.
Here it is:
01. in praise of the west midlothian bus service
03. potsdamer platz (stomp, stomp, stomp)
04. ladybug ladybird (home demo)
05. the return bus ride home
06. thoughts on the one who got away by the one he left behind
* track 4 recorded by mark at home / track 6 recorded by aaron booth, who also sings.
and here’s a grand review of it from FFWD magazine:
Moving away from blissed-out orchestral pop to quiet and refined folk, Woodpigeon raises the stakes on Houndstooth. The six-song EP is a departure for the band – moving from big and complex to small and more intimate. The first two tracks in particular (“In Praise of the West Midlothian Bus Service” and “Oberkampf”), showcase strong, deliberate vocals and effective harmonies and meld hymnal-like swells to create these modern lullabies. Recorded beautifully by another local favourite, Jane Vain, the band has never sounded more crystalline or precise. Track six, recorded by Aaron Booth, emphasizes the band’s confidence in the new material and showcases the lyrics and intricate acoustics – allowing the song to build and retreat effortlessly. By shedding the bells and whistles (literally), Woodpigeon allows the listener to hear its growth in every plucked string. By keeping things simple and stripping down its sound, the band has managed to show on Houndstooth that big things really do come in small packages. 4/5 — KIRSTEN KOSLOSKI
3. this is what SONGBOOK looks like in japan:
the awesome lirico has put it out, and we couldn’t be happier. there’s even a booklet of lyrics in japanese.
4. we have a couple of 7″s too:
for the b-side of death by ninja (a love song), the late, great remote kid wrote a song in response. the flip-side of that was good but you can do better features our pals the neighbourhood council singing some swell harmonies.
5. somehow we managed to get up early enough to play live on cityTv Breakfast Television on december 2007 (that’s our producer arran fisher on the clarinet). this song’s called spire-house.:
6. finally, cameron chapman of the haritoshan film ministry has been making a documentary on us since the very beginning – during the recording of our album SONGBOOK, live shows and events, and even capturing the entire 2007 mini-tour of the UK on camera. here’s an early glimpse of it – a live performance of ‘songbook’ the song…
7. we’re also all about the side projects. if you like what you’re hearing, you might also like SPREEPARK, PIGEONBOOTH, and/or THE BRENDA VAQUEROS. we sure do and it’s kind of like an inner-band race to see who can make the most albums.
8. i think that’s about it, really.
a veritable alphabet of things:
c. comfy couches
d. desert plains
e. educated guesses
f. flying fish
g. golly gee
k. ‘killing moon’
l. love (and the lack thereof)
m. mark like cake
n. new haircuts
o. original paperback editions
p. philosophers with hard to pronounce names
q. quiet things
r. (pre-)requisite guests
t. tickling of ivories
u. undergarments and those they fit quite nicely on
v. velvet undergarments and those they fit quite nicely on
w. white paper
x. xylophones (although we only have a glockenspiel)
y. yemen sounds nice this time of year
z. zzzzzzz… oh, to sleep.