Streaming Cafe

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Kim McMechan & Norm Strauss - Dual Artist Album Release

by Malcolm Petch
How many local artists do you know who have recorded and released 14 albums? Yep, that’s what I thought.

But Kelowna’s Norm Strauss fits that bill. In fact, he’s part of a dual-artist album release this month along with Kim McMechan, showcasing his newest full-length recording, Twelve-Track Mind.

While Norm is definitely part of the local scene, he’s at least as strongly (if not more so) a part of the global scene, traveling regularly to Germany and other European destinations to do tours and recording. You could just as readily find Strauss in a house-concert setting as you could on a big stage during a huge festival like the annual one that happens in every year in Cologne, Germany.

Strauss’s latest disc was recorded for the most part in his home studio out in West Kelowna, with snippets and pieces being recorded at a few other studios in the region. When it was time to be mixed, however, the data was all sent over to Germany, where it was mixed and mastered in a studio just outside of Dresden. The studio itself is set in a little hamlet called Rhorsdorf in a ‘schloss’, which translates as ‘castle’, although the facility is more like an extremely large manor house or family estate. Strauss went over to oversee the album’s mixing, and then hit the road for a little tour in support of his new project.

Freshly back from that jaunt, Strauss will be marking the Canadian debut of his newest work at Streaming Café on November 19th at 7:00 p.m. C’mon out, hear the new music, and pick up a copy of this new album!

Alongside Norm that evening will be another local artist, singer/songwriter Kim McMechan, who also has a new album to unveil titled Paper Sun. McMechan’s album was produced by Canadian heavy-weight Colin Linden, who (it’s rumoured) also played on a track on Strauss’s new album.

Though she’s only ‘officially’ got one album under her name listed on her website (2006’s Little Grey House), McMechan is no stranger to the world of music and recording. Several of her early songs were popular around the world, being recorded by different artists.

Kim started her musical career on the piano (well, she says it was actually in front of the mirror as a ten-year-old with a hairbrush for a microphone) but has concentrated more on guitar in recent years because her piano was so heavy to lug around. An avid poet and photographer as well as a musical artist, McMechan has been spreading her artistic influence over an ever-widening canvas for quite some time. She is also a writer and editor, so the fact that she receives rave reviews for her ability to craft meaningful and authentic lyrics should come as no surprise.

The chance to record with Colin Linden came as a result of winning a FACTOR grant, and Kim headed into the process with eyes and ears wide open. She reports that the album is now finished, which we sincerely hope is accurate, because her show with Norm Strauss is on November 19, not all that far away!

Come join us for this McMechan / Strauss dual-artist album release event. It promises to be a great evening of music!

Here's a FREE track from Kim's new record.

Norm's new album...


by Malcolm Petch
In the tradition of the Traveling Wilburys and other super-groups (or fun-groups or project-groups), BuffaloSwans showcases a number of individual artists who decided to come together as a band.

CBC’s Jon Siddall describes them this way: “Buffaloswans make music you feel you always knew, like a beautiful old friend you keep meeting for the first time.” That’s a great quote; it gives one the sense that sitting in a Buffaloswans gig for the first time would be a truly enjoyable experience, with none of the mind-numbing sensations that can come from an evening of never-before-heard music.

Indie engineer and producer Scott Bell is the hub around which Buffaloswans have formed. As a producer, Bell had contributed in one fashion or another to projects by most of the folks who now make up the band, so when he started feeling like he wanted to get out from behind the console and make a bit of his own music, these were the people he naturally invited to be involved. That recording project from 2006 gradually morphed into a gigging band, and Buffaloswans became a fixture on the Vancouver scene. Joining Bell in the official Buffaloswans line-up these days is JamesLamb on lead guitar, Stephan Mihajlovich on percussion, Steph’s sister Jobi Mihajlovich on keys and BGVs, and James Green on bass.

Yes, some of those names are familiar to long-time SC fans. James Lamb has been with us before, both as a solo artist and as a supporting cast member for other artists. And James Green – well, the name might be known, but we want to assure you that this is not the James Green who is running for mayor of Vancouver as an indie candidate in this month’s municipal elections.

The music of the Buffaloswans is natural and straightforward. The instrumental/vocal arrangements (and use of reverb) are strongly evocative of CSNY, Roy Orbison and other artists of their era; the earlier reference to the Traveling Wilburys is not so far off the mark. As they say on their reverbnation page, the Buffaloswans sound can be found “frolicking somewhere between the dusty vintage past and the psychedelic rafters of the future”.

October marked the release of the band’s second album, The Body Electric, following their self-titled debut album (i.e. Buffaloswans) from 2007. A lot of bands don’t even exist for that long, so to have an album that took a year to record coming out four years after their first album shows that there is a good deal of stick-to-itiveness in Buffaloswans. And yes, that’s right: The Body Electric took a year to record, with the final pieces of the puzzle being trombone, fluglehorn, french horn, saxophone, bass clarinet and cello, all tracked in the first week of May at Ogre Studios this last spring. The album itself was mixed later that same month, wrapping up a year of production work, and all of those ingredients finally saw the light of day (in public, anyway) just last month.
And now they’ve taken it all on the road. Fresh on the tail-end of a romp through southeastern BC, Buffaloswans will be gracing the stage of Streaming Café on Saturday, November 5th at 7:00 p.m. (596 Leon Ave Kelowna).  If you’ve managed to read this blurb before Saturday, then c’mon out and check them out in person! If you can’t make it down to the Café, or if you’re reading this after the fact, then tune in to the Buffaloswans on our website, either live on November 5th, or via post-show videos on the bands SC performance page. 

Video Overview of November Shows

by Michael Donley

November is going to be a great month of indie music at the cafe.
Once again we've put together some clips and info so you can get to know the performing artists.

NOVEMBER 5th – Buffaloswans
Frolicking somewhere between the dusty vintage past and the psychedelic rafters of the future, Buffaloswans are a 5 piece beast from Vancouver, BC who play in the fields and forests of Cosmic American Music.
In this video the band the band puts down their instruments for a good old fashion sing-along.

NOVEMBER 12th – Sheree Plett
Sheree Plett returns to the Streaming Cafe for her fourth appearance with the release of her brand new album Hello Night. Her unique vocal texture and endearing songs always always remind us why we love her so much.  She is joined by husband Eisenhauer and production whiz and artist in his own right Jonathan Anderson (Jonathan Inc.).
Here's a clip from Sheree's Sept 2010 performance at the cafe.

NOVEMBER 19th – Kim McMechan & Norm Strauss
Both Kim and Norm perform at the cafe to celebrate the release of their new albums!
This past summer Kim McMechan, thanks to a FACTOR grant, recorded her new album Paper Sun with Canadian blues legend Colin Linden.
Norm Strauss releases his 15th full-length solo recording (holy crap!) Twelve Track Mind.  He returns to Kelowna fresh off a tour in Germany.

Saturday, November 26th. there will be no show. The Streaming Cafe staff and crew are taking off the night to be carefree and boisterous.

As always if you can't make it out to the cafe to watch these shows in person, they will be streamed live to our site @ 7pm (PST), where you can send in questions via our live chat.

Movember...roam proud!

by Malcolm Petch

Dine Alone Records, home to artists such as City and Colour, Hey Rosetta, Alexisonfire, Attack in Black, and SC faves Yukon Blonde and Grey Kingdom, are up to something this month.

Yep, it’s Movember, and Dine Alone Records are donating their collective faces to raise awareness of prostate cancer Canada.

The label has created a Network page where artists, other labels and fans can join in – and the consolidated efforts will add all the collections together, giving the network a huge amount that will have been raised. 

“This is a cause that Dine Alone has always felt passionate about,” says Joel Carriere of DAR and Bedlam Music Management, “and we hope to make this our most successful year ever.”

Artists who have already set up teams and joined the network include Yukon Blonde, City and Colour and The Coppertone. The Coppertone is offering some cool incentives based on donations, and, as an example of what can be done to help, The Sheepdogs (Bedlam Music Management artists) have formed their own team and will be donating $1 from each ticket sold to their November 26 show at Copps Coliseum.

Never heard of Movember? Surely you jest. “Mo” (slang for moustache) and November come together each year for Movember, a challenge to men everywhere to change their appearance (and the face of men’s health) by growing a moustache. The rules are simple: start with a clean shave on the first of the month, and then grow a moustache for the entire month. Guys taking part in this commit to growing a moustache for 30 days. (I can’t find any info on what guys who already have facial hair should do, nor what ladies who want to participate should do…). The moustache becomes the ribbon for men’s health, the means by which awareness and funds are created for prostate cancer.

Dine Alone is also planning to run auctions throughout the month of Movember for items including test pressings of City and Colour albums previously unavailable to the public (limit of 10 copies), an Alexisonfire Old Crows / Young Cardinals printer spread, a signed Matt Good canvas, a signed book from Nikki Sixx, and a Universal Music bundle that has, among other things, box sets from Nirvana, Sound garden, and Airborn Toxic Event.

“We are asking for people to s upport our efforts by making whatever donation they can in support of Prostate Cancer Canada,” says Carriere.

If you want to participate, or learn more about the auctions when they open up, you can join the Dine Alone Network at http://bit.ly/danetwork and/or you can join the Dine Alone team directly at http://bit.ly/damovember

If you think you’ll look funny with a stache, worry not: you can still catch all the live shows at SC this month from the comfort of your own livingroom without ever having to go out in public – check us out at streamingcafe.net

Happy Movember