Jason Bajada
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Jason Bajada

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The best kept secret in music


"Jason Bajada - Puer Dolor"

Jason Bajada’s Puer Dolor album is so sweet. It’s gentle and comforting. It’s a little too cheerful for dour indie folk, but not overly polished and, frankly, too pretty to be lumped in with the young, white male singer-songwriter explosion. The Montrealer’s solo work is acoustic guitar-based with support from bass, drums, mandolin, strings and spare harmonies. These songs gently flow from one to the next, with the exception of "Metaphysical Flash" and "Ellie’s Song" which jump off the disc and are almost irritatingly addictive. Bajada’s voice is hushed and contemplative — with lyrics to match. Word has it that his live show is phenomenal.
- Shannon Whibbs - Chart Magazine

"Jason Bajada Album Review"

Comparisons will likely betray the indie folk-fused pop magnificence of Montrealer Jason Bajada's debut record, Puer Dolor. But it's worth a shot. Think of Badly Drawn Boy's penchant for tender, heavenly arrangements complete with sobering cello and delicate guitar-strummed melancholy, and you're getting close. Think engaging Jim Bryson-ish wit and charm and you're getting closer. And think of an album that never ceases to delight, from start to finish, and you're there.
- Jennifer Tattersall - Ottawa Xpress

""Puer Dolor" Review"

If you come from a town with an art college and at least a couple of open-mic night venues you’ve probably seen someone like Jason Bajada perform. Sensitive and slightly rumpled; early to mid-20s; passionate about his record collection; playing sets that blend originals with obscure indie covers, British folk and the occasional ironic ABBA song. All of this may be true of Jason Bajada as well, but on his debut album he still manages to distinguish himself. For one thing his songs are full of shifty little reminders of classic indie pop rather than out-and-out crib notes. They also serve as a reminder that songs can be moody and emotional without having to shout or wield tear-soaked handkerchiefs. The maturity of songwriting and understated but effective arrangements, featuring spare percussion, effects and cello, has more in common with old-timers like Elvis Costello and Go-Betweens than any current alterna-angst. The simultaneously released Live at Cabaret Music Hall showcases Bajada as an easy, engaging performer. The songs are slightly breathier and extended musically to let his band roam a little, but they neither add to nor subtract anything tonally from the studio versions.

- Eric Hill - Exclaim Magazine

"Jason Bajada - "Puer Dolor" Review"

Local singer-songwriter and former Ocean Hope (now defunct) front man has just released his first album.  Bajada's sound is soft, somber-sweet and often seems to posess a certain kind of innocence and purity that is so seldom found in the local scene. Frequently, his songs are very bare with just guitar and quiet voice navigating articulate and sensitive folk songs. Even with a full band on the poppier tracks, the sound is still basic, never overpowering and sweet without being saccharine. Puer Dolor may not be groundbreaking, but Bajada is ultimately charismatic and engaging enough to carry a whole album.


- Amy German - Night Life Magazine

"Puer Dolor Por Favor"

Puer dolor, por favor Montrealer Jason Bajada just might be possessed by the spirits of recently deceased Elliott Smith and the Lemonheads' Evan Dando (his career anyway), so chillingly good is the warm pop that emanates from this former Ocean Hope frontman, a writer's writer who seems to have materialized as though from nowhere and is now selling out some of this city's top jam joints.

"I don't know," Bajada laughs. "It's like every time we book a venue we don't know which one to book... This is the second time we've booked our own headliner, and we turn around and next thing you know it's sold out."

"We've only been at it for a year and a half now," he says, referring to writing and performing cohort Fred Bouchard, who many will remember as the drummer for the now-defunct Modern Stories. "We clicked in the studio, made a demo that turned into a whole album and we're now 50-50 partners."

It's a catalytic creative converter that's seen both musicians evolve significantly as live players, settling into their respective roles while observing that holiest of holy live commandments: Thou shalt not forget to have fun.

"You can hear a pin drop at our shows," claims Bajada. "It's just me and Fred onstage not taking it too seriously and having a good time, cracking jokes and jamming - people seem to dig it. I've really learned how to relax and enjoy myself onstage after all these years, how to capture a moment rather than create a moment."

For their upcoming show, the tandem launch of the debut beaut Puer dolor and a live recording of that aforementioned Cabaret concert, they will be joined by Catherine Le Saulnier on cello, Parkside Jones's Peter X on bass and Pigeon-Hole's Natasha Szuber on guitar and vocals on some songs as well. All of this is something of a departure from the Brit-influenced rock of Ocean Hope.

"The thing is that Ocean Hope was a solo project disguised as a band, and this is a band disguised as a solo project," says Bajada, noting that this sort of not easily explained, categorical juxtaposition extends to their writing philosophy as well. "We tried to make an album that was right dead centre between pop and indie - it's too pop to be indie and too indie to be pop."

And it seems to be working, as ticket sales alone will attest to. "I'd like to tell everybody to come and see the show," he laughs, "but there are only, like, 12 tickets left."

Jason Bajada and opener Jessie Stein at Cabaret, Nov. 24
- Jamie O'Meara - Montreal Hour


Puer Dolor (2003 Studio Album)
Live at Cabaret Music-Hall (2003 Live Album)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Do you remember the way music made you feel when you were sixteen? Because you were listening for the very first time. Music resonated with such great weight. Songs imprinted themselves into your being, wrenching out the awkward devils of change and rites of passage.

Jason Bajada’s music is disarmingly real. His debut album “Puer Dolor” is an invitation to hear music that way again, as though it were the first time. Through an aperture of authenticity and naivety.

The marriage of such influences as Sparklehorse, The Cure, The Lemonheads, REM, Elliott Smith, Death Cab for Cutie and Wilco, Bajada’s music is fiery red with intellect and black-and-blue with emotion. His songs are endowed with that rare capacity to move you. Articulate and convincing. Integrating the chaos and classicism of his diverse influences. Integrating complexity with comfort of melodies that feel so right.

Jason Bajada founded accomplished Montreal band Ocean Hope in 1999. Three years later, he began his critical collaboration with Fred Bouchard, former drummer/producer for nationally celebrated act Modern Stories. Between them, they have lit up stages for Moist, The New Radicals, Men at Work, Esthero, Copyright, and Australia’s Xavier Rudd. Joined by cellist Catherine Le Saunier for live shows, the current “band-disguised-as-a-solo-project” delivers performances so professional and generous, you’ll catch yourself thinking “bands just don’t do it like this anymore.”

Now and again, a song is created - and you know instantly when you hear it, in a flash of revelation - that it is so much bigger than itself. That it will transcend time and place and will transport you every. single. time. Puer Dolor is laden with those songs. Produced by Andrew Cherna, Dolor collects pieces so masterful, the paradox of wanting to keep them secret and sacred for oneself while wanting the world to be able to hear it, is inevitable. It tiptoes (Sad Song About You #7), strips down and rocks (Metaphysical Flash), jazzes (Afterhour Space), bitches (Don’t Pretend Politeness), begs (Cheating), and raises a middle finger (Wall).

Now and again, performers are so exceptional that an eventual buzz about them is a simple certainty. And it is certain that the roar of crowds swelling in the streets of Montreal - demanding his name - will spread fiercely beyond our borders. As Jason Bajada continues to consistently sell out 400-seaters in his native city, the Spring will see him recording in Los Angeles followed by extensive touring in support of his recent releases.

Jason Bajada’s debut album and live compilation are the promise of melodies that cannot leave you unchanged. They knock on your head, press down on your chest, pull shivers out of your skin and hit everywhere that counts.

It just feels right.

To Contact Jason Bajada:

phone: 514.994.5599
address: 174 Sinclair, Saint-Sauveur, Qc, Canada J0R 1R7