jon mckiel
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jon mckiel

Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada

Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, Canada
Band Alternative Avant-garde


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Jon Mckiel, Confidence Lodge. There’s not a wasted second on this brilliant between-albums EP from Halifax singer/songwriter Jon Mckiel, just 17 minutes of perfection: perfect songcraft, perfect arrangement, perfect sequencing. It’s a riveting little trip, too, bookended by two of the blackest tunes likely to come out of Canada this year, the grim death march “The Monster of the Miramichi” — a Neil Young-esque slow burn inspired by New Brunswick serial killer Allan Legere — and the plaintive “Snow Owls,” which wrings aching country harmonies and an icy kind of beauty from lines like “If you kill me, I’ll haunt you/ Like a house in the woods/ Till you’re strangled by fear.” Along the way, there’s room for a brief rush of shivery Kraut-pop (the pretty “Motion Pictures”) and ukelele-led Tinkertoy folk (“Songs at Night”), but none of the stylistic transitions feel the least bit abrupt or unnatural.

I confess I don’t know much about the man’s previous output, but Confidence Lodge hits the same uneasy sweet spot as Rick White or Chad VanGaalen or the more brooding and rock ‘n’ roll end of the Red House Painters songbook and, despite its brisk length, is a pretty major piece of work. Cannot wait to hear the next album. - toronto star

In his short time on the Canadian music scene, McKiel has dazzled critics by creating dynamic rock which recalls the sounds of Neil Young and Destroyer. His latest EP, Confidence Lodge, sees its official release party at The Bus Stop Theatre on February 26. But it wasn't always an easy trek to get to this point in his career. - the coast


the nature of things (2008)
confidence lodge (2011)
Tonka War Cloud (2011)



On the edge of a golden river there is a small house filled with dark songs. Jon Mckiel makes music that rides that elusive line between feathery folk and a total sludgefest.

Hailing from Halifax Nova Scotia, his previous record The Nature of Things (Wednesday Records), garnered glowing reviews from across North America. Following the album’s release, McKiel toured Canada regularly playing many festivals, bars, churches, halls and sometimes trains, even making a stop to record a session at the infamous “Sun Records” in Memphis Tenesee

With the release of his new album, Toka Warcloud (Youth Club Records, Saved by Vinyl), Mckiel continues to build upon a solid catalogue creating what The National Post calls, “surprising beauty powering through heavy sludge.”

Tonka Warcloud was recorded in The Old Confidence Lodge in Riverport, Nova Scotia. Built in 1929, the building was used as an Odd Fellows Hall until it was recently converted into a studio and venue. The project was initially a collection of songs, some of which now reside on an ep titled “Confidence Lodge” released in February 2011, a preview to the forthcoming 10 song Lp.

The recording approach often saw Mckiel playing multiple instruments (guitar, bass, synth, considerably large chains, and percussion) over his own voice, building songs in layers late into the coldest nights of winter. This proved challenging since the massive building did not yet have the luxury of heat.

The result treads somewhere between hushed minimalism and crashing dissonence, where the creaks of bones and stair treads find space between layers of fuzzy guitars, lush strings and warm vocal harmonies.

Tonka Warcloud is released via Saved By Vinyl and Youth Club Records respectively on October 1 2011.

Format: Lp, Cd, Cassette, Digital Download.