Jessie Stein
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Jessie Stein


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The best kept secret in music


"Montreal Hour"

"Draw the bridge, here comes Jessie!" Montreal suffered a diminutive great loss several months ago when up-and-budding folkstress Jessie Stein packed up her picks and lit out for Hogtown, ostensibly for school, but in truth, for the greater calling of rock. As is often the case, Stein never felt herself part of what she once termed the "moated" music scene here ("I don't think my hair was cool enough," she jokes).

"I love Montreal very much, and I love the fact that I'm from there, but if you're a rock kid, if that's your scene, it's a lot easier to have things to do if you're in Toronto," says Stein, not unapologetically. "It's a more cohesive community. Everybody knows everybody and sees everybody and it's a larger community. When I was in Montreal, I was more in the folky crowd, like Pigeon-Hole... Now I'm all about breaking out my Telecaster."

She has not wasted time. Stein already has an eight-song demo (recorded "at 1 in the morning at Lindy's house") of insightful, left-field folk-rock at the ready, twisting songs characterized by an observant, built-in witticism that can be like a hard pinch. She plans to record an album proper at the end of the summer, though in the meantime a scheduled showcase at NXNE will likely preface a tour out east.

"The idea is just to play out as much as I can right now," she says, pointing to her upcoming Montreal show at the Jupiter Room, May 10. "It'll be a half-and-half sort of deal. Some of the tunes will be solo acoustics, and some will be with more instrumentation and a band, but some of the tunes will be for sure more rock. I'm excited by that because I have a rock'n'roll heart." Stein's supporting cast onstage will include members of The Bicycles, Bodega and Spitfires & Mayflowers (Spitfires & Mayflowers will also play in their entirety Saturday night). For her relative youth, Stein is a fearless and exuberant interview, sourcing a deep knowledge on a wide array of bands and music while charming with expressions like "awesomeosity" and "aw, shucks." And though only 19 ("I'm younger than everyone I know!"), she still seems wise enough not to get ground up in the music machine she would like to be a free-moving part of. "I'm a really excited and happy person. I love my life, I love everything. I'm all, like, 'Yaaay!' and huggy and stuff, and I want to try and stay that way for as long as possible. I'm going to try to avoid being a jaded music type, so I can write my songs about heartbreak but still smile after I sing them." Awesomeosity, indeed."
- Jamie O'Meara

"Spill Magazine"

Industry folk and indie kids filled up the Rivoli Thursday night, to check out Montreal's Jessie Stein. With anticipation in the air, Jessie's night unfortunately got off to a slow start - technical difficulties tend to do that. After 15 minutes of amp-tweaking and checking, the show was on - and what a show it was. Jessie Stein's unique vocals and indie pop sound touched on issues of love, life and asshole boyfriends. Her infectious smile grinned ear-to-ear the entire show - spreading out to the head-bopping and finger-tapping crowd. Bringing to mind the pop-ier side of Sloan, songs were delivered with a voice that can only be described as a trumpet trapped inside a flute. After getting over a few early jitters, the talented songwriter played an amazing set.
- Jeff Cann

"Now Toronto"

When you're looking at the NXNE schedule's nearly 400 bands – most of which have never played Toronto before – you need help. We've surveyed the slate and picked out some cool bands, organized them by genre and added a few details to the outfit's name to guide you along.
Jessie Stein -
Montreal girl geek singer/songwriter. - ...


Brigade of Hearts Demo - March 2003

Upcoming Album: Comme True - May


Feeling a bit camera shy


Cardiacs songwriter, Jessie Stein was lucky to grow up in Montreal to the height of 5 feet 4 inches. Before then, at smaller heights, she would write epics in the bathtub amidst bubbles and water-soluble crayons, and promptly forget them as soon as she exited. These 'bathroom jams' would prove to be the basis of something bigger - something less soapy. Her songs are the introspective musings of an open heart
The Cardiacs are emotionally self indulgent lyrical cartoonists who standing in front of the mirror painting pop portraits of themselves; exaggerating the slopes of their noses and darkening their freckles. Bassist Andy Lloyd (Bodega, Jason Colett, Spitfires and Mayflowers), and Dana Snell (The Bicycles, The Spoilers) on drums, tickle out glowing masses of melody and verse that the kids seem to get a kick out of. Good times.

A demo recorded with Lindy Vopnfjord in early 2003 under the simple name "Jessie Stein"has been caused a stir in the Toronto and Montreal independent music scenes, and shows played with local heroes Starling, By Divine Right, Pigeon Hole, Blinker the Star, and The Carnations were amazingly received not to mention a tub full of fun. The song From You was chosen as an Umbrella Pick of the week in 2002. The Cardiacs have received accolades from local press. Toronto's Now Magazine chose her 2003 NXNE set as one not to be missed, and Montreal's Hour Magazine said that she was one of the city's talents to keep an eye on with her "twisting songs characterized by an observant, built-in witticism that can be like a hard pinch."

The band spent the summer of 2003 writing and demoing for an upcoming album. Jessie, Andy, and Dana are very excited that they get to make people happy by making the world a noisier place.