Golden Smoke
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Golden Smoke

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada
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"Golden Smoke S/T Stoner Rock.Com Review"

Golden Smoke – Self Titled
Reviewed by Matthew Tranker (StonerRock.com)
Somnambulist Sound System
Released January 1, 2008


Golden Smoke is from north of the border - Canada to be exact. This band formed in 2007 with the aim of jamming some psychedelic-inspired grooves. Golden Smoke is another one of those bands that is able to be retro in a convincing manner.

This is an all out ‘70's sound, with a warm, live production. There is an earthy quality to Golden Smoke’s music. The guitars aren’t too distorted (with the right amount of fuzz) and the presence of an organ is a plus. Just six songs make up this release, all averaging around five minutes. Golden Smoke covers many different shades and sounds. They go from dreamy to heavy with the greatest of ease. The songs are catchy and memorable - the groove 1:40 into “Ecstasy Blvd” is worth the price of admission alone - and the musicians are tight and talented.

Overall, this was a good listen; everything in this release was top notch. Fans of Witchcraft, Black Mountain, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club should all take notice. I look forward to hearing future releases from this fine Canadian outfit.
- StonerRock.com


"New Music Canada Track of the Day: Wednesday, September 26th, 2007 "Golden Smoke "Be Alright""

It's late. Like 4 a.m. There's something that is irretrievably lost at 4 a.m. Maybe you're a bit gone on your intoxicant of choice, and you're at a house that you've never been to before. It look likes it may be a biker's place. Lots of Hawkwind, Doors and Pink Floyd flags hanging on the cinder block walls. You're kind of scared and you're not even sure why. How in the hell did you even end up here? You don't belong here at all, but you don't want to leave because this place makes you feel dangerous.


That's what Golden Smoke's "Be Alright" sounds like.

From the cymbal swell into the slow, deliberate intro, to the dark slow Leslie Hammond B3 organ, to the 70's verb on the voice, to the wicked bluesy guitar breaks, to the tumbling drum fills when the song gets going, to the explosive anthemic repetitive chorus, Golden Smoke has re-captured a bygone musical era. Not in any sort of kitschy way, either.
by Craig Norris - CBC Radio 3


"The Entirely Habit-Forming . . . GOLDEN SMOKE SEARS EARDRUMS WITH PSYCHEDELIC ASSAULT"

The band: Golden Smoke
The Members: Chris Laramee (vocals, guitar), Chad Munson (guitar, vocals, organ), Terry Mattson (bass, vocals, organ), Simon Tesfay (drums)
The music: myspace.com/goldensmoke

Showcasing former members of Blood Music, Sunndown, Slow Thrills — and even featuring the backbone of The Junior Pantherz — it’s not too much of a stretch to call Golden Smoke a supergroup of the Saskatoon scene. Always pushing the envelope of both songwriting and pure sonic joy, Golden Smoke’s blistering live set has peeled the paint off local venues and ushered in a new era of psychedelic doom and space rock to our neck of the woods — and they’re planning on spreading the assault across Western Canada in the new year.

But before that happens, they have a brand spankin’ new album coming out this month, which fans can get their greedy little hands on for the first time at Golden Smoke’s CD release party on December 21st at Amigos, where they’ll share the stage with friendly rivals The Vicious Crystals. Planet S caught up with these midnight tokers to talk about all things Smoke-related.

PLANET S: How would you describe that Golden Smoke sound?

CHRIS: To quote Lemmy, "Everything louder than everything else," and then some.

CHAD: There’s a lot of blues and psychedelia in there, mixed with bits and pieces of traditional ‘60s rock and early ‘90s British stuff. We try to go for the energy of the MC5 and the soul of Wilson Pickett, blended with the bliss-outs of the first Verve album. Oh yeah, [plus] a good dose of ‘70s downer rock!

PS: What are the details on the new self-titled record?

TERRY: Well let me tell you a story: we recorded it right here in Saskatoon. It consists of six tracks, totaling 40 minutes or so. We did it in 27 hours — it was kind of a marathon session. We recruited our friend Ben Hettinga for maximum psychedelic results. What he did blew us all away. You'll see.

PS: Are there any underlying themes in the music?

CHRIS: Dope's for dopes and stay in school y'all.

CHAD: I can't speak for the lyrics, but musically I'm always trying to write something that seems to evolve and grow using dynamics and volume — density. The spaces between the notes are just as important as the note before and after it. Music doesn't seem to have any punch or kick to it if there’s no dynamic.

PS: You’re all seasoned veterans on the Saskatoon music scene. What do you think you do differently as a result of your experience?

CHAD: I think after being in numerous bands where we never really got off our asses to do anything, I see things way more seriously now. The possibility of touring and making records seems more realistic than it ever had before. I'm making sure it's not all for nothing this time.

TERRY: I have learned not to rush anything musically. Not tempo wise, but in terms of composing and arranging. And I’ve learned not to take what we have for granted.

CHRIS: To keep moving forward. Don't look back in anger.

SIMON: [I’ve learned] nothing.

PS: What sets your live show apart from anyone else?

CHRIS: One word: Intent.

TERRY: And we do hit it harder than most.

PS: What are your plans for the future?

TERRY: [A] tour in the near future. [We’ll] probably do another recording in the new year, and the ultimate goal is to release a 7" [record] too.

CHAD: We’re [also] in the process of planning a western Canadian tour in February 2008 to Victoria and back.

PS: What can an audience expect from the big December 21st show?

TERRY: They can expect to buy our album before, during, or after the set.

SIMON: Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset superman, diarrhea.

CHRIS: Mild tinnitus.

TERRY: [And] slight vertigo.

by Craig Silliphant - Planet S


"The Mighty Maple (excerpt)"

MUSIC · DEC 31 2009

The Mighty Maple

CAN-ROCK HAS HELD ITS OWN OVER THE PAST DECADE
by James Brotheridge, Chris Morin and Craig Silliphant

BEST CANADIAN ALBUMS

Going into 2010, the phrase “Montréal is the scene” has officially been retired — and thank god. Canada is still a hotbed; we’ve just got some variety.

The past ten years have featured a glut of critics’ darlings coming out of La Belle Province with much-loved albums — most notably Arcade Fire’s 2004 album, Funeral. They were one of a bunch of collectives around, including The New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene, but the first full-length from Arcade Fire captured a beautiful, anthemic moment that they’ve been trying to recreate ever since.

Canada has always done rock ’n’ roll well too, and this didn’t change during the Naughts. Death From Above 1979’s only full-length release, 2004’s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, caught a flurry of creative and sexual energy. Each of the 11 tracks by the bass-and-drums duo made it sound like they could burn out at any moment, which they eventually did.

Garage-rock took a leap ahead with the release of Ode to Joy. The 2003 album by the Deadly Snakes was dirty — and yes, deadly, killing with walls of punk noise (“Trouble’s Gonna Stay Awhile”) and slow-tempo numbers (“There Goes Your Corpse Again”) alike.

A Canadian institution in the making emerged in Ladyhawk, whose 2006 self-titled debut was a yelping, worn ode to all that four-piece guitar rock could be. The album rides a beautiful edge between complete failure and absolute success — and ends up much closer to the latter.

Some great albums from some bizarre iconoclasts made their way into people’s rotations as well. Buck 65 was always equal parts MC and rambling storyteller, but he embraced utter strangeness for 2005’s Secret House Against the World, which found him paired with Chicago experimental instrumental group Tortoise — with wonderful results.

William Shatner proved that his music doesn’t always have to be a “Rocket Man”-esque joke on 2004’s Has Been, where collaborators like Ben Folds, Henry Rollins and Nick Hornby helped him reach the greatest emotional depths of his career.

Wax Mannequin, a solo artist out of Hamilton, wasn’t as well-known as those folks, but his 2007 album, Orchard and Ire, detailed bloody battles between animals and robots — major points for that. If that wasn’t enough, he finds a strange sincerity among his surreal tales.

The Constantines are a legacy in the making — an undeniably hardworking live band with album chops to boot (which are best seen on 2005’s Tournament of Hearts). The album that closed out Canadian record label Three Gut was a tonal masterpiece, mining all their greatest strengths: blistering atmospherics (“Draw Us Lines,” “You Are a Conductor”), slow-boil teasers (“Hotline Operator,” “Good Nurse”), and outright sweaty rock (“Working Full Time”).

The Weakerthans have been constant tour mates with the Cons, becoming in the process an almost legendary double bill. 2000’s Left and Leaving expanded their punk roots rather than denying them, better accommodating singer John K. Samson’s literate lyrics. These heart-wrenching tales are both specific to their Winnipeg roots and universal, a true credit to Samson’s lyrical ability.

Joel Plaskett can boast the same thing. The Nova Scotia artist’s second album with the Joel Plaskett Emergency, 2003’s Truthfully, Truthfully, stands as the best Canadian album of the decade. Three-piece rock-out bliss meets sweet sincerity and a genuine gift for insight into the small-scene. From the blistering rock posturing of opener “Written All Over Me” to the lamenting closer “Heart to Heart with Lionel,” Plaskett and Co. made a classic, timeless album, through and through and through. /James Brotheridge

BEST CANADIAN BANDS

Leslie Feist has emerged as one of this decade’s most successful — and important — Canadian artists. Not only has the Halifax-born chanteuse released some of the most compelling indie rock around, as heard on her wildly successful albums Let It Die and The Reminder, Feist possesses a universal appeal — a trait relatively unknown to most Canadian musicians.

Feist, who got her start in Broken Social Scene, toured on the indie folk rock circuit before hitting arenas — and in the process, she cemented her fan base over several generations of rock fans. Although she has managed to avoid the dreaded ‘mom-rock’ label, Feist’s song “1-2-3-4” — already a megahit made huge by her corporate sponsors at Apple Computers — became a child’s anthem when the singer rewrote it for Sesame Street.

Winning five Juno awards in 2008, as well as receiving nominations from the American Grammy Awards and the BRIT Awards, Feist has all of Canada (and much of the rest of the world) in the palm of her hand. Now if only she’d get back to work on her own material.

Toronto indie icons Broken Social Scene also became an extremely influential group on the Can-rock scene during the past decade — not so much on their own merit, but more for the fact that they helped launched the careers of Metric and Stars, in addition to the solo careers of Kevin Drew and Jason Collett. Although their albums are pockmarked with undeniable misses amongst the hits, their style captured a musical zeitgeist.

Arcade Fire is another band whose overall role in representing Canada excuses their good, but less than groundbreaking, albums. Riding a tsunami of media frenzy when the Montréal scene exploded, Arcade Fire brought several of their talented friends along for the ride — including Snailhouse, Wolf Parade and Belle Orchestre. In doing so, they made Canadian music better.

Honourable mentions: Ohbijou, Bison BC, The Sunparlour Players, Chad VanGaalen and Japandroids. /Chris Morin

BEST SASKIE BANDS

The rise of the Internet and advancements in recording technology have helped Saskatchewan bands of the last decade spread their voices to a far greater audience than in years past. A lot them are breaking barriers and becoming ambassadors of the Saskatchewan scene across Canada and around the world. It’s impossible to name-check every amazing Saskatchewan band from the last decade in a short space, but both Saskatoon and Regina have had a few that beg mention.

Saskatoon has had some great bands that caused heads to turn. ‘90s buzz band The Junior Pantherz, for example, have been active on and off during this decade, and have spawned several other ambitious acts, like Violent Kin.

Carbon Dating Service sported almost a dozen members and threw down music without walls, cramming into an old school bus to travel around singing like the Muppets.

Another late, great Saskatoon act was Golden Smoke — members of which have existed in several different incarnations under many different names, owing to the incestuous nature of the prairie scene. Golden Smoke featured members of Junior Pantherz and Blood Music, and used their psychedelic roots to craft their unique brand of space rock.

And of course, one of the biggest bands to come out of the province this decade has been The Deep Dark Woods. With their haunting, roots-country sound, they’ve toured the nation and appeared on such shows as ‘Q’ with Jian Ghomeshi.

You can follow the evolution of the Queen City scene by starting with Despistado, a now (sadly) defunct indie band that picked up a bit of steam before collapsing like a dying star.

Then came Sylvie, a synth- and guitar-driven indie pop act that featured a member of Despistado, and garnered a significant amount of attention. They’ve toured out west and in the United States, getting rave reviews in publications like Exclaim! magazine.

Rah Rah appeared next, featuring several members from Sylvie and former members of Despistado and Geronimo (there’s a trend here). Rah Rah is a thrilling, handclap-drenched slice of heaven who’ve also been putting the Saskie music scene on the map. Along the way, they’ve been getting tour buzz for their exciting stage show — and their song Duet for Emmylou and the Grievous Angel spent a week as a high-profile free download on iTunes.

Let’s not forget Library Voices, a 10-piece collective whose literate pop has won a CBC Bucky Award, appeared in The New Yorker, been mugged twice, and had their van broken into once.
-Craig Silliphant


- Planet S Magazine


"Golden Smoke S/T Prairie Dog Review"

GOLDEN SMOKE
GOLDEN SMOKE
SOMNAMBULIST SOUND SYSTEM
4.5 / 5

The self-titled six song EP from Saskatoon outfit Golden Smoke could technically be called stoner rock, but it’s really so much more. A closer listen reveals a myriad of influences; from droning doomsayers SunnO))); to the thoughtful space rock of The Verve; and the psychedelic swirls and soul of Funkedelic. But beware! Its grandiose and shamanistic nature may cause brain imploding religious experiences, especially if you’re taking the right drugs. Golden Smoke’s embraces the full sonic spectrum --- when it’s mellow, it’s a serene and melodious daydream --- but when it thunders, my God, it shakes the foundations of the Earth with its devastating and hedonistic orgy of sound. / Craig Silliphant - Prairie Dog Magazine


"Golden Smoke S/T Beatroute Review"

Composed of some of the more talented mainstays of Saskatoon's music scene, Golden smoke's members have been playing in bands with different monikers on and off for about ten years. In this, their most recent iteration, they find a balance between their love of muddy, sub-Melvins sludge and more expansive post-rock. Apparently, if you grind those up you get something sort of like an ultra-heavy version of mid-70's psych.
On "Miami", ringing guitars, ambiguous lyrics, and a crashing rhythm section defend a tenuous position between melody and texture. "Be alright" starts as fuzzy, ominous, graveyard blues, before turning into a frenetic guitar meltdown.
In an indie rock landscape that oscillates between 1967, 1978 and 1991 every couple of years, it's always refreshing to hear someone explore more forgotten sounds. In this regard, it's possible that Golden Smoke play the part of curator a bit too much, but it's a minor quibble.-
-Mark Watson - Beatroute Magazine


"Golden Smoke S/T Chartattack Review"

GOLDEN SMOKE Golden Smoke (Somnambulist Sound System)
We're not blowing smoke up your ass when we state that Golden Smoke are a primordially weird outfit — n the nicest possible sense. Their menacing blend of stoner rock, psychedelia and space rock is hard to categorize, especially since it doesn't really sound like any of the above, making their self-titled EP hard to pin down. Six tracks all clock in at well over five minutes each and this Saskatoon-based band rely 100 per cent on their riffage, building each song up on consistent, pummeling guitar parts paired with weary vocals and plodding drums. "Holy Morning" is the high water mark, primarily because of a wonderfully sludgy guitar solo that inhabiting the second half. It just struck me that Golden Smoke might actually be a grunge band, so if you're looking to branch out from your Screaming Trees and Dinosaur Jr. CDs, you might want to take these guys for a spin. Cameron Gordon - Chartattack.com


Discography

Golden Smoke- Resurrection City- CD- May 2010- Somnambulist Soundsystem

Golden Smoke- S/T- CD - 2008 - Somnambulist Sound System

- Distributed by Scratch Records and Stoner Rock.Com

Streaming radio play on CBC Radio 3
"Be Alight" Was chosen as New Music Canada's Track Of The Day Sept. 26th 2007

Photos

Bio

For fans of: Black Mountain, Dead Meadow, Lou Reed, MC5, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Peter Fonda

Formed in 2007, fashioned from the wreckage of doom inspired post-rock outfit SUNNDOWN, GOLDEN SMOKE have wasted no time opening spiritual voids and blowing even the most calloused of minds right out of the gate with their contagious waves of heavy psych and ragged soul inspired rock. Their debut record for Somnambulist Sound System hearkens back to the hedonism and decadence of old, to a more classic and majestic damage, where volume, sex, pain, and light spiral out till you meet the floor, because if you don’t black-out, you aren’t doing it hard enough. A now rare strain of Rock n roll swaggering outside of the sphere of ironic fluff that this generation has been left to settle with, Golden Smoke have been erected to drag your mind out of the plastic and in to the gutter, out of indifference and into the bliss, out of the cold and in to the violating neon where everything’s alright again.

The individual members of Golden Smoke have impressive track records in their own rights, enjoying a great deal of success in a number of different genres and groups, but have crossed one another regularly dating back to the late nineties in western Canadian cult acts Blood Music, This Island Ugetsu, Watercolor Movement and the aforementioned Sunndown. The Band consists of Drummer/Multi-Instrumentalist Terry Mattson (Front man of indie-rock royalty THE JUNIOR PANTHERZ), Chad Munson (formerly of Victoria’s AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY, also known as Foal to those hip to the minimal electronic scene), Vocalist and Guitarist Chris Laramee and Bassist Charles Lemire (Vicious Crystals, Blood Music).

Golden Smoke released their debut Self Titled album December 2008 on Somnambulist Sound System and played shows extensively promoting the album sharing the stage with such Indie Rock luminaries as Pride Tiger, Ladyhawk and Quest For Fire. Autumn 2009 the band started work on their sophomore effort "Resurrection City" with Engineer/ Producer S.J. Kardash (Violent Kin, The Bloodlines). "Resurrection City" saw the band leave some of their smokey psych dirge behind, in favor of an acid burnt Stones vibe. After the completion of the record the band dissolved.

After a year of silence Golden Smoke have regrouped with Shelby Gaudet filling the low end duties. "Resurrection City" will be released via Somnambulist Sound System May 2010.

- When the track “Be Alright” was chosen as CBC Radio 3’s track of the day this past September they had this to say about the band: “You're kind of scared and you're not even sure why. How in the hell did you even end up here? You don't belong here at all, but you don't want to leave because this place makes you feel dangerous…..to the dark slow Leslie Hammond B3 organ, to the 70's verb on the voice, to the wicked bluesy guitar breaks, to the tumbling drum fills…..Golden Smoke has re-captured a bygone musical era. Not in any sort of kitschy way, either.”