Janine Stoll
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Janine Stoll

Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


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"Review: This is where we bury it"

"Toronto-based songstress Janine Stoll’s latest release is an album full of gorgeous porch songs. Bringing in elements of jazz, Afrobeat and classic lounge, she is reminiscent of Canadian contemporary Feist, and at various points the country tinges hint at Kathleen Edwards. Stoll’s voice and approach is refreshingly mature and rich. Each song weaves delicate tales of love, lust and life without going overboard with total cheese (like so many of her contemporaries). Tracks like “Kitchen Table” and “Empty Bottles” are a testament to Stoll’s talent and ease with songwriting. This is where we bury it is a beautiful album, with Stoll’s songs being the perfect accompaniment to a lazy Sunday Afternoon."
- Exclaim! (September 2005)

"Rating: NNNN"

With her quiet, silky voice and Joni Mitchellesque fingerpicking, Stoll will likely suffer a few Sarah Harmer comparisons. While it's true that both rely on hushed, poignant vocal delivery, Stoll proves the gutsier lyricist, going for the bad-relationship jugular with naked detail. She tries to face down the spectre of romance gone wrong without flinching – from coital slide-backs (Lay Your Hands On Me) to the dark moments between when a lover stops trying (Leaving Autumn) and is gone for good (Disappearing Act). While a long list of musicians are credited on the album, Stoll seems to prefer using intimate cabaret-sized arrangements on each track, which heightens her vocal presence and makes This is where we bury it an even more commanding listen. Janine Stoll plays the NOW Lounge Saturday (November 5). - NOW Magazine (November 3rd to 9th, 2005)

"Review: This is where we bury it"

Toronto is just oozing with musical talent these days, and one artist to keep your eye on is singer-songwriter Janine Stoll. Steering clear of today's highly disposable pop sound, Stoll offers a little of everything-from African rhythms (Stoll often sings with Toronto afrobeat band Mr. Something Something, and seems to borrow a little of their fusion style here) to jazz and funk, to folk ballads and even a country song. There's also an a capella piece done in a layered vocal style similar to American folk heroine Ani Difranco. More substantial than her 2001 debut release, This is Where We Bury It lacks traditional folkie-style restraint and offers mysterious, intriguing, and thought-provoking songs track after track. Stoll recorded the album at World Records Studio, a century-old home-turned-studio in High Park affectionately known as the Gingerbread House, and you can hear some of that old-fashioned warmth in her music. - The Varsity (Toronto, 11/14/05)

"Review: Everything You Gave Me"

Everything You Gave Me is the first acoustic effort of independent singer/songwriter Janine Stoll. Stoll is a supple balladeer whose raw vocal wanderings set against harmonic guitar-strummings make great theme music for your introspective mood.

This is a disc you want to listen to on an overcast day as you stare blankly out your bedroom window, chamomile in hand, ears perked and attentive as you absorb the music. And no, you don't have to be staring out a window to appreciate the album. But believe me, Stoll's harmonic subtleties and vocal variations demand a reflective, pensive mood; a mood often induced by a still and transparent frame.

Each song on the CD seems to be its own window into the netherworld of Janine Stoll. Sprinkled with Torontonian references, Everything You Gave Me is a seemingly autobiographical project, at times sorrowful ("Crazy Ride"), at times brooding ("Young Girl"), but always beautiful. Stoll is an artistic songwriter and an eloquent lyricist whose talents as a live performer have transferred faithfully to this, her first full-length record.

As a musician, Stoll has a strong hold on her craft, with a range comparable to Alanis, a rawness not unlike Ani and a uniqueness setting her apart from both. She is a rising talent worth looking out for and this album paints an accurate portrait of her sound, her style, and her self. - Imprint Magazine (Waterloo, June 2002)

"Review: Everything You Gave Me"

Janine Stoll is not just an indie music artist, she's also behind www.indievoice.com, which helps a lot of artists. This young lady... my gosh. Her music is pretty simple - ordinary strumming, for the most part, but the lyrics.... son of a bitch! Maybe she'd get the order of Canada someday, if she weren't so naughty. She's a poet man. She's the new Leonard Cohen, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Lucinda and Victoria Williams.

She's got these amazing stories of love, sex, religion, wild youth, life on the streets of Toronto. Such creativity and imagination. I'm devastated. It's like when you read a poem, and think, "DAMN, I wish I had written that!" She does it EVERY TIME. And she's not one of these people who write lyrics that make you go, "Okay, so what's that all about?" The story is always clear, and it's a good one, but the interesting thing is... there's always a bit of ambiguity - you never know the whole story. Thus, you can play it out in your mind in so many different ways.

Go on - read these lyrics on her website, and I'll interview her in our next issue. - Spill Magazine

"Review: Elusive beauty"

March 2006

Toronto musician to descend on Ottawa in support of new album
In a word, Janine Stoll's sophomore album is breathtaking.

It is something fresh compared to the much less-developed sound from her 2001 debut, Everything You Gave Me. Don't get me wrong, the songs still contain an appealing raw quality reminiscent of her first album, just more grown-up. Her eclectic afro-beat-funk-jazz-bluesy fusion makes her sound unlike any other. The songs are accessible and arresting, the lyrics are poetry. She sings of family, love, sex and leaving, but they're not your typical "my-heart-is-breaking" songs. This is the best portrayal of these themes I've heard in long time. The words are beautiful, conveying a sense of poignancy and, at other times, urgency. Stoll's velvety voice washes across the melodies so naturally, melding impeccably with the beats and rhythm. The trumpets, piano, saxes, clarinets and vocals melt together, creating harmonies that can only be described as lush. I tried to pick out a few favourites to recommend but found it impossible. Each and every one of her 13 songs is inherently fresh and attractive. After just one listen, it seems only natural to go back and do it again, then again. This is the work of an artist who knows her craft and does it exceptionally. This is where we bury it is purely original, slipping through our need to categorize what the music really is. It's elusive and haunting, tinged with a quiet sadness that never whines.

If Stoll wanted a solid record, both lyrically and musically ingenious, she didn't just succeed — she excelled.
- The Charlatan, Ottawa ON

"Turning up the heat: Janine Stoll puts it all into This is Where We Bury It"

"Erotic I am not," cracks a cool and collected Janine Stoll in the polyrhythmically pop "Novel" as she clings to the sweet, percolating Afro-beat flow and low-end funk fusion like a warm sonic security blanket.

"I think I'm afraid of you/ but the fear makes me hot."

Mere moments later the temperature rises appreciably as the sultry songstress, consumed with desire and prepared "to lose [her] heart," digs into the late night Parisian jazz of "Lay Your Hands on Me," her voice swirling like slim ghosts of smoke fading into the evening air.

"Just do it," she purrs, "before I change my mind."

Which she does, often, along with her perspective in general. Vulnerable and cautious one second, bold and brazen the next, Stoll - Toronto's tough and tender maven of sweet carnal folk - examines the many sides of her personality from the inside out on her striking sophomore effort, This Is Where We Bury It.

"I didn't want to follow the run-of-the-mill top 40 pop equation," says Stoll, mulling over her creative intent. "I wanted to do something that was unconventional, that had a lot more texture, roaming through different genres of music."

She had plenty of help conceiving that texture along the way. In addition to cultivating her own work, Stoll is a member of no less than three ongoing musical projects: The Ladybird Sideshow (a quartet comprised of fellow tunesmiths Melissa McLelland, Erin Smith and Lisa Winn), a more intimate duo alongside the aforementioned Smith, and the six-piece Afro/groove merchants Mr. Something Something, to whom she lends her vocal talent "and dance steps" when the spirit moves her.

Naturally, everyone turns up and tunes in on This Is Where We Bury It. Produced by Mr. Something Something's John MacLean and recorded at World Record Studios, otherwise known as the Gingerbread House (a basement in an old century home in High Park), the 13-track set ebbs and flows much like a personal passion play, as Stoll skilfully takes on fear, family, fidelity and desire at every stage - the playful beginnings, the sometimes conflicted mid-life commitments and the autumn years - with a sense of wide-eyed wonder and contempt.

"I write songs about what weighs heaviest on my conscience, and my emotional state," explains Stoll, adding she tends to favour themes of love both lost and found, and wanting to escape.

"In terms of tracking, and positioning them on this record, everything was very carefully placed. It is kind of a journey, from the lighter songs, to sexier songs, to stripped-down tunes about family dynamics to more ambient turns. I just don't want to paint myself into a corner creatively."

-Steve Baylin, April 2006
- Ottawa XPress

"Review: This is where we bury it"

"Janine Stoll just flat out blew me away with her second CD, This Is Where We Bury It. The CD contains a delightful mix of afro-pop and singer/songwriter ballads, with themes of love, sex, family and restlessness. Janine is truly an original and prides herself on putting forth her purest musical gifts, foregoing the temptation of squeezing into one of the many convenient boxes the biz has created for singers with her many attributes."
- Andy Frank, CIUT FM


Solo records:
"This is where we bury it" (2005, World)
"everything you gave me" (2001, Stollen Records)

"Ladybird Sideshow: Live at the Orange Lounge" (2004, independent)
"Erin Smith and Janine Stoll" (2004, independent demo)

Vocal work:
"Melissa McClelland: Thumbelina's One Night Stand" (2006)
"Ember Swift: The Dirty Pulse" (2006)
"Mr. Something Something: The Edge" (2005)
"Erin Smith: Swagger" (2005, Burbon Baby)
"Mr. Something Something: self-titled" (2004, World)
"Lisa Winn: Out from Under" (2003, independent)
"Erin Smith Band: Downtown Smog Crown" (2001, Nimue)



Gifts as alarming as the talent given to Janine Stoll are rare. She is a painter of melodic lines and a sculptor of words. A self-effacing beauty and modest old soul, Stoll has been crafting songs since she was a child and singing since her tongue had the ability to wrap itself around words. It wasn't until she picked up a guitar at the age of 16 that the legitimacy of her talent could be truly appreciated and celebrated. It's been 10 years since then and Stoll has become a respected and envied musician among her peers. She is prolific without being redundant. She is honest, but not self-involved. She writes with wit, but not abandon. Her songs are fearless without being alienating. Her music is deep without being pretentious. And her voice has the range, lack of inhibition, and raw emotive power that no trained musician could achieve. Yet with all of these gifts, Stoll still maintains an endearing vulnerability.

Set apart from those seeking superstardom, Stoll has more interest in being uncompromising when it comes to her art. She'd much rather be personally fulfilled and purged than cater to the specific tastes of mass audiences who would prefer to put her in a box or censor her. This defiance and integrity has garnered the respect and esteem of many, and sometimes makes her the object of harsh critique. But music fans would be hard-pressed to walk away from Stoll's music feeling complacent. The stark truth and beauty in Stoll's words and melodies are undeniable and are a welcome relief from the inundation of empty power ballads and the carbon-copy fluff that pollutes Top-40 radio.

Stoll has two solo releases thus far: everything you gave me (2001) and This is where we bury it (2005). everything you gave me is a stripped-down collection of Stoll's earlier, edgy material. Recorded at Chatham Garden Studio in Hamilton, Ontario, the album took form under the guidance of producer/engineer Mike Birthelmer. Just Stoll and her guitar, live off the floor, this collection of 11 varied and beautiful songs displays Stoll's gift for turning stories into poetry and setting those poems to music.

A giant leap from the stark, bare-bones production of everything you gave me is Stoll's most recent endeavour, This is where we bury it. These 13 songs were recorded at World Records Studio near Toronto's High Park in an old-century home warmly known as the Gingerbread House. Musician John MacLean offered up his unconventional approach, acting as producer/engineer for the album, bringing with him the vast talents of his afro-funk outfit Mr. Something Something. This band of world-class players applied their knowledge of afrobeat, funk, and jazz to Stoll's acoustic gems. With guest appearances from other local talents, This is where we bury it is an arresting collection of highly listenable and unconventional music that defies categorization. This record is a journey of unfaltering beauty. Each song in its uniqueness has the ability to achieve 'favourite' status, though the record finds cohesion in the exceptionally strong writing and arrangements. Improvisation and hours of coddling by dedicated folks volunteering their time make this record one that Stoll is very proud of.

The Toronto music scene is incestuous. Artists helping other artists and everyone working on each other's projects is the norm. Stoll is no exception and has several side projects apart from her solo career. In 2002 the Ladybird Sideshow was brought to life by the critically acclaimed talents of singer-songwriters Melissa McClelland, Erin Smith, Lisa Winn, and Janine Stoll. The Ladybirds knew one another and played shows in support of one another for years before deciding to collaborate and tour as a group. Each 'bird writes her own songs that are brilliantly treated with impeccable four-part vocal arrangements. A live show is not to be missed, as these occasions are rare and the performance is stunning. So much love and humour shared between these four ladies is touching and often hilarious to witness. Each Ladybird is a unique and highly talented performer, but the variety of musical styles, the energy, and the skilful collaboration is what makes the Ladybird Sideshow so unique. Available on CD is Live at the Orange Lounge, a live in-studio concert recorded at Toronto's renowned Orange Lounge by acclaimed producer/engineer Daryn Barry. You can also often find Stoll collaborating with Erin Smith as a funkified and super-cute duo ? two powerhouse vocalists with a good deal of bounce, wit, and personality. Their great six-song demo offers proof of their draw.

Stoll is also actively involved in her side project - The DoneFors. Guitarist Paul MacDougall, bass player Liam Smith, drummer Brian Lahaie and Stoll on guitar and voice come together to form this delicious ensemble. Visit www.thedonefors.com to check 'em out!
Currently Stoll is busy promoting This is where we bury it, playing live, eating raw vegan, k