Ohio is not just farms littered with radioactive cows and hidden alien remains in Wright Pattersons' Hanger 18!
Though these curious events could contribute to the mass of hidden diamonds of obscure creativity that seems to prevail in the music of Ohio, spanning and crossing genres from the synthesized art rock of Devo to the passionate pop shades of low-fi, painted by bands like Guided by Voices. The Black Canary contend to carry the invisible flaming torch towards a new year and new audience of music tastes.
If you want to understand The Black Canary, first you must understand pop music's glorious past. This is a band bent on marrying art and popular music, fusing ideas as well as instrumentation of the late 1960's while at the same time, tying these moods of modern grace and melody to turnstiles of atmosphere and hooks. One could only define such a sound as retro futuristic, an all encompassing hybrid of pop's faded echoing sensibilities and the space created in sound to allow these hauntings to occur and transform. Last year the group achieved local and regional notoriety by being voted by the local Columbus music press as a Band to Watch for 2007. The band also participated in last years Virgin College Mega Tour, was a CMJ artist of the week for March 2007, was included on the June 2007 CMJ New Music Sampler and showcased at the 2007 CMJ Music Marathon in NYC.
*Selected to perform at 2007 CMJ Music Marathon 10/18
*CMJ/Sonicbids Spotlight Artist of the Week 3/23-3/29
*CMJ selected The Black Canary to perform on the 2007 Virgin College Mega Tour Emerging Artist Day Stage
*Selected by Rolling Rock and Original Sessions for National Band Search Showcase NYC - September 2007
*Selected for performance showcase at the Midpoint Music Festival - September 2007
David James - Vocals. Guitar. Keyboards
Melissa Malinky - Bass
Eric Buford - Drums. Percussion
CMJ New Music Monthly Sampler May 2007 Issue
Betrayal Of Hearts LP Released 9/2008 (Orangutang)
Vampire / Sing - Vinyl Single 4/2008 (Orangutang)
Columbus Alive 2007 Music Compilation (Mansions)
Disc Makers 2007 Midwest Heavy Hitters Compilation
Viewgirl and The Redifussion - CD Single (Orangutang)(2006)
Trifecta - 3/6/08
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At some point the bumper crop of great local bands is going to dry up and you're going to kick yours...At some point the bumper crop of great local bands is going to dry up and you're going to kick yourself for having missed so many shows. One way to start catching up is to attend this single release party hosted by one of Columbus's undervalued dynamos. The Black Canary plays indie pop in the textbook sense only, filtering icy cool European soundtracks from the 60's through Portishead, the darker Stereolab moments and the far reaching sensibilities of orchestral pop. Thankfully, the musicians' chops match their ambition, as they make such a difficult-to-master collection of sounds their own.
Cover Story: Midpoint Music Festival 2007
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It's rare that a band can look back to the distant past for real inspiration (rather than retro nove...It's rare that a band can look back to the distant past for real inspiration (rather than retro novelty) and look ahead by translating that inspiration into something unique. Columbus Psych Pop quartet the Black Canary (hey, wasn't she a DC Comics/Earth 2 superhero?) has managed that difficult wirewalk, producing a sound that is experimental and innovative while appropriately referential to Psych's rich late-'60s history.
Dig It: Pink Floyd shoegazing instead of Wall building.
CMJ Festival Guide 2007
60's art-pop sound that would have perfectly soundtracked an Andy Warhol party. -CMJ
Interview with The Black Canary
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If there ever were a band that did not quite fit into the Columbus music scene today, or even 10 yea...If there ever were a band that did not quite fit into the Columbus music scene today, or even 10 years ago, it would be The Black Canary. Fortunately, that can often mean only good things.
I think what I appreciate about the band specifically are the chord changes. You mix a bit of hypnotic trance rock from the 1960's, with the echoed soul of today, and you've got The Black Canary.
This Friday, March 7, The Black Canary will hold it's 7" single CD Vampire/Sing release show in Columbus at Ravari Room with Flotation Walls and PWAH-favorites Afternoon Naps from Cleveland.
On a side note, if you've ever seen them live, their drummer is pretty kick ass.
I think what I have appreciated so much about The Black Canary is its individualistic fortitude. The band sticks to its guns and creates a sound that is unique to their spirit. It is music difficult to create live, but they succeed on sheer determination.
Here's singer/songwriter David Whitehead offering some insight into their music and personality:
PEOPLE WITH ANIMAL HEADS: You guys have a very specific sound. Sort of a trance 60 french pop thing... What drew you toward the music you create? It almost seems like the kind of stuff a musician just has to ignore everything but his own muse for, if you know what I mean?
DAVID WHITEHEAD: I absolutely adore french pop but I may be the only one in the group with a photo of France Gall as my screen saver! I think the whole thing started when I was really young and was laid up in a hospital bed in California from some hip surgeries. Everyday on KTLA Los Angeles they would show repeats of The Monkees and I really grew to love their songs. When I got out of the hospital I bought all the records I could find and their album Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. was the record I think I absorbed the most. It’s actually the first pop record to use moog synthesizers and it seemed like many of the tracks like “Words” or “Love is only Sleeping” had this haunting thing to it which later I realized was just lots of reverb and echo. As my obsession with this sound persisted I was of course drawn to the early Phil Spector records as well as the later Beach Boys stuff like Pet Sounds and the Smile demos. I still think music is art and should remain art and I blame that for my attachments to the sounds and productions of that era. The stuff is gold. Anytime I walk into a studio to set up mics I still think of Brian Wilson.
PWAH: What are the overall plans. This single release first and then the full-length later on?
DW: We really felt we needed to get something out for people to chew on. I mean this literally. Our fans are hungry people! This will be year two and all we’ve had to offer them was a free single of some demos we had laying around for a while. Hence the Vampire 7” single. We decided to put a cover of ours on the other side because I’ve always loved the band Blur and Sing is probably my favorite track of theirs. Our actual album, Betrayal of Hearts has been in the works since we got back from CMJ last October and is close to an end as close can get. It’s being mixed bit by bit and may actually be done this month. If I didn’t just jinx it..
PWAH: Where have you been recording?
DW: I think the best kept secret in Dayton would be Refraze Studios. It’s about the size of a school gymnasium and is probably about the closest you’re going to get to an actual Abbey Road experience. They have a to die for Trident board which is one of the main reasons we’ve tracked the album there with the exception of vocals and some minor overdubs like acoustic guitars and bass that were done in our own space here in Columbus. The live stuff like drums, strings and pianos were all taken from studio b at Refraze. As for the mixing we’re heading up north to Ante Up Studios in Cleveland. They have a great refurbished Neve console I can’t wait to get my hands on.
PWAH: When it comes to your music, what are some themes that the songs explore lyrically?
DW: I really like imagery and maybe more so the imagery in fairy tales and how the clouds in the sky of the day could have double meanings. Lyrically when I started writing songs I was heavily influenced by Syd Barrett and became quite attached to the way he layered his images and over worded the rhyming schemes. I tend to attack things from an outsiders frame of reference for which I feel I have the reference for. Kings losing thrones, kids taking back their voice, trying to love two people at once, stepping out of shadows, drowning in someone, the ebb of relationships, the trumpets of self realization and the great speech that no one hears which I think could be more about a band and its audience.
PWAH: Where did you guys grow up and how do you think that has affected the music you play? What do you think of the current midwestern music scene? Are there some specific bands you think people should get to know?
DW: I think all the members in the group have spent the majority of our lives as Midwesterners and I think it’s effected us all in different ways. Me and Eric lived in Dayton for many years and both of us at the time being young musicians in high school, had the opportunity to catch bands like Guided by Voices and Brainiac at their apex which was a huge inspiration to us. Kind of like what Eno says about how any musician who ever bought a Velvet Underground album started a band. GBV was definitely the midwest VU.
As for the Midwestern scene as a whole I believe it’s a healthy young baby. We don’t have the commercial overhead of the coasts so we tend to be a little more creative here and all with a complete lack of urgency. Once again competition is lighter so it leaves some breathing room for goals. That is if they ever want to get around to making any. Personally I’m just tired of Ohio being the punch line in every movie.
The Black Canary Wins SonicBids Spotlight
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The winner of this week's CMJ SonicBids Spotlight is four-piece Ohio get-up, the Black Canary. Voted...The winner of this week's CMJ SonicBids Spotlight is four-piece Ohio get-up, the Black Canary. Voted the band to watch in 2007 by the Columbus Music Press, the Black Canary incorporates late '60's instrumentation with pop hooks reminiscent of Guided By Voices. The band will be playing a handful of shows this spring, with two dates in their home state.
In my ears and in my eyes!
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Like most music writers in town I had a certain level of dispossession about reviewing yet another n...Like most music writers in town I had a certain level of dispossession about reviewing yet another new local band release. Enter the Black Canary, Viewgirl and the Redifussion single released on their own local label. There was a buzz around town about this for so long that I knew eventually it would drop into my lap. Traditionally Columbus music is safe, taking very little risks or deviation from certain established norms hailing back from the early era of its indie rock past. As I listened, I heard a new music... a new era, a music unlike anyone in Columbus has seen or heard in our part of the country. Viewgirl arrives immediately and dangles around your head, almost challenging the listener to decipher its dreamy code of organs and pianos put to a beat that sounds as if was lifted from some sixties time machine. The Redifussion pushes the listener even farther through echoing melodies of heavenly landscape, giving tension and release throughout. I noticed after the eleventh time I listened to this track that there wasn't even a chorus! Did I care, not in the least! These two modern day pop songs could easily run away to radio and take over everything our ears have been subjected to here in the states for the past ten years. Is this a good thing? Are we even ready? This single to me is the Penny Lane/ Strawberry Fields of local releases this year. Imagine, if this is the single.. what's the album going to sound like?
Song of the Day 3/1/07
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About the music It has been said of Nick Drake that you could turn the volume up all the way and it...About the music
It has been said of Nick Drake that you could turn the volume up all the way and it would never be loud. The same can be said for the more relaxed song (the redifussion) from the Canary's two-track debut. Its liquid organs, raspy vocals and delicate percussion never reach above a whisper, breezing past rather than assaulting listeners. To borrow from Sly Stone: "Pretty, pretty, pretty as a picture."
Why to know it
Because this band says more in two tracks than most do in 12. They play Carabar March 30.
The Black Canary performs all originals with a 45-60 minute set.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.