That Snowman Seems Familiar

Sorry for the lapse in posts, it’s been CRAZY around here in the run up to the holidays. Work got pretty crazy as we rushed to build a bunch of apps for a new platform launching early in the new year, Natasha had a career change (and flew to Vancouver!) and we had in-laws come visit us in Ottawa for the holidays. This on top of our usual Christmas Rush with a heap of birthdays and visiting that we traditionally get around to this time of year. Exhausting.

Somehow, early last week, I managed to find an excuse to get outside with the nice wet packing snow and construct a snow person, who, with his scarf and hastily constructed spectacles (made from two rings cut from a PVC pipe and some bent hangar wire) looks vaguely familiar… ๐Ÿ™‚ Two points to Gryffindor if you can figure out who he’s supposed to be.

We took a few walks around the neighbourhood this past bit and I’ve kept my eyes open for other snowpeople, and it seems that, at least in size, I have all the 7-year-olds on our street beat. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Happy holidays! Hope to be writing more again soon!

Kathryn Calder – Bright and Vivid

So obviously my flood of music reviews is looking more like a trickle at the moment, but I’m finding it tricky to sort through all my thoughts so I can articulate what makes an album great before I recommend it. Typically with music I go by gut feel – love it or hate it. I definitely have a lot of respect for music writers who manage to put these things into words without sounding overly poetic and sentimental. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m excited about sharing this find: Pretty much my favourite album from all of this past year was “Bright and Vivid”, a solo departure for Kathryn Calder who’s more commonly seen behind the mic and keyboards for Canadian indie rockersย  ‘The New Pornographers’. It’s a bright and poppy album with lots of rich fantastic layers of instrumentation and vocals, a bit of a maritime feel, but with undertones of a kind of dreamy melancholy.

Kathryn did a series of interviews when the album launched where she revealed that, during the course of creating her past two albums (both released in the same year), her life was detoured by both of her parents passing away. I can definitely hear it in the music. On the first listen it feels light and fun, but the more you listen the more you discover the deep and moody undercurrents in both the lyrics and instrumentals. It’s really that complex interplay between up and downbeat that makes this album so intriguing to me, and keeps me coming back to listen to it over and over. Every listen is different for me – still.

This is a fantastic album to listen to in the car on a late night drive, or curled up with a warm tea watching the rain. The lyrics are deep but charming, and Kathryn’s got a great voice and vision, and every song on the album is a solid part of the whole. It’s a really amazing body of work from an artist I didn’t pay nearly enough attention to before she went solo.

This is another tour I regret missing when it came through Ottawa – but I had a few friends attend her concert at Raw Sugar, and to a person they tell me that it was a fantastic show. I’m hoping she finds an excuse to make her way out here again sometime soon, I can’t wait for her next visit.