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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Alternative Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




Language-Arts @ NXNE 2011 By Bianca Marcus (CHARTattack) June 21, 2011 3:51 pm Live Review Date: June 17, 2011 City: Toronto, ON Venue:
El Mocambo Rating: 4 / 5
Hometown: Toronto, ON/Vancouver, BC
Background/ Composition: Language-Arts brought a pleasant pop-meets-classical sound to the El Mo Friday night. The four-piece are anchored around founding member Kristen Cudmore. Both their lyrics and mannerisms were refreshingly quirky, and they delivered a lighthearted set to a receptive audience.

Grade: 85
Comment: The band incorporated several instruments and vocal styles to produce a highly textured sound. Acoustic and electric guitar, upright bass (also played as a cello), synth and drums contributed to their dreamy sound. The effect was completed by Cudmore's vocals, which were alternately choppy, childlike and sweetly clear.

Achievement of Rock 'n' Roll Expectations 80-100:
Exceeds skill and knowledge expectations, i.e. rocked us so hard we peed our pants.
70-79: Achieves required skills and knowledge. Meets rock 'n' roll standard.
60-69: Demonstrates some skills. Approaches rock 'n' roll standard. 50-59: Demonstrates some required skills and knowledge in a limited way.
00-50: Has not demonstrated required skills or knowledge. Learning

Skills: E=Excellent, G=Good, S=Satisfactory, N=Sad Really Oral And

Visual Communication Eye Contact: E
Pronunciation: E
Stage Presence: S
Stage Banter: G
Image: G
Appearance: G
Use Of Stage: S
Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step: Cudmore cheekily smiled while delivering clear vocals and giggles between songs. Her bandmates — including guest drummer Neil MacIntosh (Blackie Jackett Jr., Actors & Architects) — focused on their instruments, allowing Cudmore and her adorable nerdy charm to win over the audience. While Language-Arts are sonically very interesting, they could have added visual interest to their performance with more movement.

Musical Analysis Level Of Participation: E
Problem Solving: G
Teamwork: E
Work Habits: E
Organization: E
Audience Participation: G
Sound: E Composition: E
Songs: G
Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step: The band are clearly gifted and concentrated earnestly on their instruments, but could have benefited from more eye to eye contact with the audience. Musically, there were no weak points; the listener could only guess at how many long hours of practice time the band had put in to produce such flawless results.

Other Skills And Areas Of Interest Charisma: G
Problem Solving: E
Teamwork: E
Sexiness: E
Haircut: E
Indie Rock Footwear: E
Nods To Disposible Fashion: G
Cool Equipment: E
Level Of Inebriation: S
Actual Ability: E
Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step: Language-Arts' carefully contained energy came in spurts, notably during an instrumental crescendo in "Where Were You In The Wild." While the band were serious about their performance, they didn't take themselves seriously, laughing along with Cudmore as she told the crowd that she "really needed a cough drop!" at the end of "Cough Drop." Language-Arts had the indie rock footwear category covered, with one pair of Converse, one pair of leather lace-up booties and one pair of Birkenstocks on stage. Fashionable footwear was merely a bonus, however - the band's memorable and varied set and collective charm were what really made the performance. - CHART ATTACK Blanca Marcus

" Earmilk Guide to NXNE: 17 Years of New Music In Toronto"

Half neo-folk, half hip-hop, Language Arts, is led by Kristen Cudmore and her inventive genre defying song writing. Cudmore fuses classical guitar with beautifully poetic lyrics, add to that lyrical flow better than most modern day rappers, and it’s easy to see how Language Arts are undoubtedly one of Canada’s most innovative emerging groups out there. (June16, '11) - N. Heuvungh

"Review for Where Were You in the Wild?"

Sunday, November 1st, 2009
Where Were You in the Wild?
By Jessica Lewis

This album is mostly soothing and subdued, with Kristen Cudmore's voice making quick, pointed gestures. It's a colourful contrast, but one that has morphed into a setting that's more a lively painting than a basic rainbow. "Cavity" sets the folk-tinged jazz tone to where Language Arts are going but settles fast into "White Socks in Birkenstocks" and then the title track, which gives the notion that times are getting poppier and sillier. Language Arts get back into serious gear after that. The upright bass, guitar and piano shine on "Lighthouse," "Grandfather of the Buffalo" and "Tuck it In," and the violin and drums on "Benson." The pairing of Cudmore with the music of the rotating band members at first is an odd one but it settles down, nestled like a sleeping cat into a warm evening, where it finds its home in "Stay There!" (Independent) - Jessica Lewis - Exclaim Magazine

"Secret Language"

Now Magazine
Thursday, March 4th, 2010
LANGUAGE-ARTS at the Garrison (1197 Dundas West), Friday (March 5), 9 pm. $6. And at Sneaky Dee’s (431 College), March 11, as part of Canadian Music Fest, 9 pm. $10 or
Music Feature

Secret Language
Visa woes spark an improbable collision of classical guitar and twee hip-hop
By Carla Gillis

If one thing becomes clear while chatting with Language-Arts’ Kristen Cudmore, it’s that the pint-sized singer/guitarist is pretty fearless.

No big surprise, considering the music she makes with drummer Gregor Phillips. Their sophomore album, Where Were You In The Wild (independent), uniquely blends Phillips’s jazzy drumming and smart arrangements with Cudmore’s classical guitar virtuosity, verbose lyrics and a singing style that’s part Joanna Newsom innocence and part gutsy, quick-fire rap.

“People either love it or hate it,” Cudmore says with a laugh over the phone from Vancouver. “People’s beef with our band is usually my voice. They might love the music but can’t take my style of singing. That doesn’t affect me at all – it is what it is. I’m given one voice, and I’m going to work with it.”

Cudmore first picked up the classical guitar as a 12-year-old after hearing her uncle play it badly during a family vacation. (“He was in his Jesus stage, with the hair and beard, and when he was singing these songs, I was like, ‘I want to get better than him, because he’s not very good.’”) From there, she began practising hours each day.

Five years ago, she relocated from her hometown of Wolfville, Nova Scotia, to Vancouver in fluky circumstances. After being accepted at music grad school in Hawaii, her plans were foiled when the school failed to file her visa paperwork.

“I’d already bought this plane ticket that connected in Vancouver,” she explains, “so I just decided to go there anyway, without planning it at all. I had a bag of stuff and my guitar. Good things and not good things happened, but it’s kept me here.”

One of those good things included meeting Phillips, who, remarkably, is also from small-town Wolfville, though the pair met for the first time out west. While she brings her love of classical guitar and underground hip-hop to the two-piece, he draws from his experiences at jazz school and scoring films. To recreate the layers heard on record, they hire a keyboardist and bassist for live shows.

There was a time, though, when Cudmore was actually quite fearful, and that posed a threat to her music plans.

“I always felt like I was going to poop my pants before I played. But I realized I had to get used to playing in front of people if I was going to do this. At the time – this was in high school – I was volunteering at nursing homes, so I’d go in and play classical guitar for whoever was trying to go to sleep.

“Some of them were actually in a vegetative state, so they were the easiest. I was like, ‘They’re not judging me.’ It helped me get over my stage fright.” - Carla Gillis

Hot Ticket Event
Language-Arts with Brent Randall and the Pinecones & Allie Hughes
March 5 2010 at The Garrison - Now Magazine

"Charting on Ear Shot!"

so far...
Month of November 2009
#26 on the National Earshot Charts December 2009 & January 2010
October 27th 2009:
#16 on National Charts
#16 on National Charts
#23 on National Charts
#44 on National Charts
#1 on CIUT (Toronto ON)
#1 on CJAM (Windsor ON)
#3 on CIUT (Toronto ON)
#3 on CJAM (Windsor ON)
#4 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#4 on CIUT (Toronto ON)
#6 on CKDU (Halifax NS)
#6 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#9 on CFBU (St. Catherines ON)
#9 on CITR (Vancouver BC)
#10 CFBX (Kamloops BC)
#15 CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#17 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#19 on CJSF (Burnaby BC)
#20 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#22 on CKXU (Lethbridge AB)
#22 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#23 on CHRW (London ON)
#24 on CHUO (Ottawa ON)
#25 on CKDU (Halifax NS)
#26 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#28 on CKUA (Edmonton AB)
#29 on CFBU (St. Catherine's ON)
#31 on CJSW (Calgary AB)
#153 on the year or 2009 National Earshot Charts

February 23rd 2009:
#20 on CiTR (Vancouver BC)

February 10th 2009:
#28 on CIUT (Toronto ON)
#30 on CKDU (Halifax NS)

February 3rd 2009:
#34 on National Charts
#7 on CHOU (Ottawa ON)
#8 on CKDU (Halifax NS)
#10 on CiTR (Vancouver BC)
#12 on CFXU (Antigonish NS)
#21 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#29 on CHRY (North York ON)

January 13th 2009:
#17 on CKDU (Halifax NS)

January 1st 2009:
Top 200 Artists of 2008
#184 - Language-Arts

December 16th 2008:
#8 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#14 on CHUO (Ottawa ON)

December 9th 2008:
#21 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#29 on CiTR (Vancouver BC)

December 2nd 2008:
#21 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)
#28 on CiTR (Vancouver BC)

November 25th 2008:
#17 on CKDU (Halifax NS)
#23 on CKLU (Sudbury ON)

November 18th 2008:
#18 on CKXU (Lethbridge AB)

" " (S/T)
September 4th 2007:
CBC Radio 3 Featured Artist
CKUA (Edmonton AB) Featured Artist

July 31st 2007:
#11 on CFBX (Kamloops BC)
#18 on CiTR (Vancouver BC)

July 24th 2007:
#2 on CJAM (Windsor ON)
#4 on CFBX (Kamloops BC)
#9 on CKDU (Halifax NS)

June 19th 2007:
#3 on CHRY (North York ON)

March 12th 2007:
#13 on CJSW (Calgary AB)

- Ear Shot

"24 Hours Magazine (Vancouver)"

24 Hours (Vancouver)
Thursday, February 8th, 2007

"Nearly every band describes their music as 'unique' and 'cutting edge.' Nearly every band's music is neither. In fact, these adjectives come so worn and meaningless through ovruse, you will rarely find a music writer work his or her weight in newsprint that will employ either of them. This, however, causes quite a predicament when describing the music of a band such as Vancouver indie ground-breakers Language-Arts for rarely are we treated to an act so 'unique' and 'cutting edge.' Originally formed as a duo back in 2004 by classical guitarist Kristen Cudmore and double bassist Finn Vaughan, Language-Arts have continued to deliver a melodic acoustic concoctionof folk, jazz and hip hop, topped with lyrics that are borderline spoken word in both delivery and depth. Cudmore and Vaughan later added keyboardist Matt Dawson during the recording of their acclaimed EP, 'The Baby,' (acclaimed for , you guessed it 'unique' and 'cutting-edge') and then recently recruited drummer Max Myth to round out their glorious experiment. And though Kanguage-Arts is presently in the studio recording a full-length debut, music fans need not wait to sample their incomparable vibe. In fact, there's two chances to catch the 'unique' and 'cutting-edge' workings of Language-Artsthis week alone: Friday, Feb. 9 at The Main (free show), and Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Waldorf. Both shows start at 10 p.m."
- R.C. Joseph - Listen to Me: RC Joseph

"The Chronicle Herald (N.S. / P.E.I)"

Occupying a musical twilight zone where folk and hip-hop collide with art rock... - Stephen Cooke

"Two Way Monologues (Toronto)"

Literate and verbose, Language-Arts flood their verses with word-jumbles and playful imagery. Dense and classically-trained instrumental passages form the base, while slow-moving double-bass lines swell under Kristen Cudmore's rapid-fire pixie-rap. Essentially, they're blending disarming indie-pop with classical influences and an ear for jazzy hip-hop textures... So can Language-Arts, a band full of mildly awkward, bookish-looking young people, working in the fields of indie-pop and hip-hop, bring the goods?
They've got the flow. Kristen Cudmore can spit out more syllables than you can in a shorter time. She's on the beat, or dancing around it, finding ways to cram in two to four verses of words into one measure of music. She does it with an unaffectedly childish voice, and is not afraid to speak-sing and hold notes with a charming and pure voice, akin to Joanna Newsom except not abrasive or so obviously put-on. She's got some things to say, as well, and they're clearly articulated...
The lyrics are solid...

These are all, apparently, songs from their upcoming album, and if Small Run is an accurate sampling of said album, it should be well worth the purchase. All four tracks are dense with musical ideas; each song is stuffed full of guitar riffs, playful bass lines, synth textures and shifting drum patterns that rarely rely on time-worn structures. There's a wealth of creativity here, more than most bands use for an entire album. - Small Run EP Review Clips: Jeff Gready

"NXEW (Canada)"

I was blown away and captivated a sound that you just can't find anywhere else. There's no one like them and I'm highly anticipating their sophomore release.

- Show Review by: Alex Cameron

"The Skinny"

Musical Interpretations
Monday, October 26th, 2009
Language-Arts - Stomping New Territory - Making New Sounds
Published in The Skinny

Language-Arts has polished off another beauty with its sophomore release ‘Where Were You In The Wild?’. With a local-launch party Sept 28th and upcoming East/West tours, the Vancouver-based ensemble is bringing music to the people, making smiles contagious, all while racking up nation-wide media attention and critical acclaim by the boatload.

The follow-up to 2008’s ‘Short Run EP’ is full of lush, caringly crafted numbers, endearing, almost addictive musical wondrousness, stream-of-consciousness ‘pixie-rap’, and you might say it’s somewhat of a grower, as evidenced by bandleader, guitarist and vocalist Kristen Cudmore:

“It's jam packed with little anecdotes and collages of ideas if you listen for it, so each listen new things might pop out.”

Although the album isn’t officially released until later this month, L-A decided to give local fans and supporters a sneak peek by hosting an advance release party.

Says Kristen: “We were playing around with dates and thought it would be special to allow our friends and listeners of Language-Arts to get a chance to hear it first. I think it's more of a thanks to them for supporting us during the process, from starting out to the new album.”

Taking the stage amid screams and chants, Language-Arts revealed an All-Star lineup to the Biltmore’s ample audience: cellist Cris Derksen (ESL), string bassist Aaron McKinney (SSRI’s, Like Animals Again), vocalist Laura Anderson (Stick Twig), singer/songwriter Hilary Grist on keys/vocals, plus the aforementioned Kristen and Gregor rounding out the cast.

This band sounds amazingly tight live, and for anyone who’s been listening to ‘Where Were You In The Wild’, you can just close your eyes and feel like you’re listening to the album. This is how a live act should sound! Beautiful harmonies, rapid-fire flow a-la Kristen, and precise instrumentation in a genre most critics would call ‘etc’.

The set was chock-full of album cuts like ‘Boxed In’, where classical guitar looping, excellent cello, 5/4 time, and a top-notch hand-clap breakdown pulled the audience in even closer.

On the lucid dream that is ‘Tuck It In’, Kristen reveals a flow that would flabbergast even the most seasoned hip hop head. Her child-like, yet firm voice is a finely tuned instrument, and with the echoes of Laura and Hilary in the midst, it sounds almost too good to be true.

The entire band was exceptional, but the one thing I can’t get over is how Kristen manages to lead you along this twisting, winding, linguistic path, all while whipping out mini-symphonies on that guitar. For me, it doesn’t get any better than that watching that balancing act. For fans of inventive, creative, inexplicable music, this was a dream performance from top to bottom.

It’s official; ‘Where Were You In The Wild’ will be available across Canada Oct 27th with an ensuing tour, and hopefully another local date or two in the near future.

To bring it home, here is a little Q&A I had with Kristen & Gregor:

NS: I see you’re wisely waiting until spring to tour Eastern Canada…

K= It's really hard touring in Canada because who knows when winter really ends? But ya, we will be going from Ontario to Nova Scotia this spring. We have tour plans for November for the west portion of the country, too. Plus it makes the drive shorter! Both Gregor and I are from Nova Scotia and we go home a lot to be with our growing families, but usually when we're touring it's a day or a dinner with family and then we're off again.
NS: You played NXNE this year. Did that work out well?

K= It did. We made a lot of new friends and connected with new listeners as well as people who are able to help us out with promoting our shows or our music. There was a nice few articles applauding our performances too, which was reassuring.

NS: I love the time signatures you use. You must be good at math!

G: Most of us are solid at adding and subtracting. Kristen does a lot of sudokus. I think she also secretly loves doing her taxes. I’m going to teach her how to use excel for her birthday. yay!

NS: What can you tell me about the title track off your new album, ‘Where Were You In The Wild?’
K= To me it's about what makes someone who they are and how petty things can get in the way of our lives and cloud our direction from time to time. "Are you a product of your parents or a product of your past? Who licensed you to carry your own mass?" are a few questions. "You can have your Rice Dream, in your ignorant igloo. I'll be sure, not to bother you.... what a silly life to have lead."
NS: New CD, new tour, and what else is coming up for Language-Arts?

K: We are just focusing on these plans at the moment but we're really excited to stomp new territory and keep creating new sounds that hopefully people find interesting. Our goal obviously is to get to a place where we can focus more energy on creating art and presenting it to new people.

Check out the music, tour dates, amazing lyrics and more at - Nathan Stafford
- Musical Interpretations by: Nathan Stafford

"The Province (B.C)"

Hailing from East Van, Language Arts's hippie hop likely takes a lot of people by surprise. Vocalist Kristen Cudmore's delivery has been described as "rapid-fire pixie-rap." But her verses aren't set against beats -- rather Cudmore and her bandmates craft an indie-pop-with-classical-influences sound that's being compared to Stereolab and Suzanne Vega. The overall effect is whimsical and refreshing.
- Hans Ongsansoy
- The E List by: Hans Ongsansoy

"The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver"

The Vancouver Sun
Saturday, September 26th, 2009
Vancouver art poppers Language-Arts cover territory from dreams and beyond

By Chantal Eustace, Vancouver Sun


Sept. 28

The Biltmore

Opening acts: The Ghost Is Dancing and Rubik

8 p.m.


VANCOUVER — Vancouver art poppers Language-Arts aren’t afraid to be a little out there for the sake of their music.

And that’s a good thing.

Their latest effort, Where Were You in the Wild?, is packed with creative tunes — like the spinning dental ditty, Cavity, or the catchy thinker, White Socks in Birkenstocks — twisted around interesting, other-worldly melodies.

In other words, it’s a fun listen.

So it’s no surprise that a discussion of their music sweeps over topics like backyards getting flooded by flipped swimming pools and killer unicorns — not to mention a little oedipal imagery.

Here’s some of what Language-Arts’s Kristen Gordon (Cudmore) and Gregor Phillips revealed in a few e-mail questions about their new album, Where Were You in the Wild?

How would you describe your new album's sound — and your music in general?

GP: I would say it’s an adventure. Every song covers different territory with lots of twists.

KC: The music in general has a swaying feeling, lots of peaks and valleys — dynamically — and I think the songs are all very different from one another. Layers and textures are present and we're mindful of our own individual playing style and how it fits together.

It can be at times slightly odd.

What inspired you guys while you were making it?

KC: It is really hard to say what inspired us because I think just day-to-day things inspire me.

I draw from simple things that don't come to mind that often too — like petting the neighbour’s cat, christmas sweaters . . . cleaning out a stable, how soothing a cough drop feels, and that quiet kid I used to know in my math class. (I wonder if he talks now.)

GP: I was inspired by my bike ride to the studio for each session!

I read that many of your songs begin as dreams?

KC: A good example would be the song, Tuck It In, based on a dream I had that was very vivid.

It was basically about how my mom went missing. [The] phone rang, [and] it was my grandmother — who has passed — explaining that she was going to take care of my mom.

The rest of the dream was how my father, sisters and I reacted to her passing:

We flooded our backyard by flipping our swimming pool over and sailing away on it on a quest to find answers.

So what’s the craziest dream you’ve had lately?

KC: I have a reoccurring dream that I am being chased by a 'muscley' unicorn that is scuffing and huffy — like it wants to turn me into a shish kebab on it's majestic horn.

I'm at the edge of a cliff — like the one in The Princess Bride — and behind me is the killer unicorn and in front of me is a far fall.

I decide to jump. When I get to the bottom, I somehow — like a miracle — land on my feet. Behind me is the unicorn, using it's wings to safely land.

At the bottom of the cliff, there are two doors.

They're the same doors as the washrooms at my elementary school: The orange door is the girl’s washroom, the blue one is the boy’s.

I run into the girl’s for cover and I yell at him from behind the door: “You can't come in here because you're a boy!" — and then I wake up.

Any notable challenges making the album — technical or otherwise?

KC: There are so many challenges as a new artist: balancing time developing your art and promoting it with a day job, scheduling shows and rehearsals, coming up with funds to cover all of the costs of making records and touring, feeling satisfied with what you have created and arranging it appropriately so it's best represented — all of the work is worth it in the end.

I wouldn't feel whole if I didn't try my best.

GP: I wanted to make a record that didn’t get in the way of the instruments themselves — and by that I mean the classical guitar and double bass.

They really sound so rich and full on their own, I didn’t want to compromise that.

What does the title refer to?

KC: I like to see how people interpret the question, Where Were You in the Wild? It means something slightly different to everyone — it makes me think.

GP: To me it refers to a kind of domestication. It makes me think about what we would, or could be, if circumstances were different.
- Chantal Eustace

- Vancouver Arts Poppers Language-Arts Cover Territory from Dreams and Beyond by: Chantal Eustace

"Much Music (Toronto)"

Score 1 for team Canada...
I had never heard of Language-Arts before, but last night I couldn’t help but fall in love with them. They play a mix of folk, indie-rock-pop, jazz, and a touch of hip-hop, with their keyboards, guitar, drums and a double bass. Singer/classical guitarist Kristen Cudmore is cute as a button as she staccato-ly sings about friendship bracelets and cough drops. Their music is heart warming and fun without crossing the line of becoming too cutesy sugary sweet. Just a charming lovely balance. - To CanCon or Not Can Con NXNW Review by: Perez


-"Oh Tangible World" (2012)

-"Where Were You in the Wild?" (2009) - Sonic Unyon Distribution.

-"Small Run" EP (2008) - 100 copies pressed -SOLD OUT

-" " (2007)

-"The Baby" EP (2006) - 60 copies pressed - SOLD OUT



With its genre-defying qualities, Vancouver’s Language-Arts’ sophomore release “Where Were You in the Wild?” is expected to turn ears to a new side to indie rock; celebrating obscurities and word entanglements with poetic poise, paired with an alt-rock foundation yet fleshed out with classical instrumentation. Confused? Don’t be- it all comes about very naturally, aided in part by Cudmore’s vast reserve of words and ideas, delivered with a “clarion-like voice”.

“Where Were You in the Wild?” is Language-Arts’ full length follow up to 2007’s self titled debut as well as their now out of print 2008 teaser EP “Small Run” While charting well on Canadian campus and community radio, Language-Arts have toured extensively around the west coast and across Canada, appearing on stages with artists such as Xavier Rudd, Portable Payback (Jurassic 5), You Say Party! and Bend Sinister. The band has appeared at festivals such as TD Atlantic Jazz festival, Halifax Pop Explosion, Sled Island, CMW, Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival and NXNE. Publications like Exclaim!, Now Magazine, The Chronicle Herald and the Vancouver Sun have been praising Language-Arts for their niche sound while they were spinning on stations like CBC Radio 3 and topping the charts at #26 on Earshot's monthly poll of Canada's campus and community radio stations.

Songwriter Kristen Cudmore originally hails form Nova Scotia; an ode to her home province is a common subtext to many of the songs. Sitting somewhere between Suzanne Vega, Regina Spektor, Stereolab and Buck 65, Language-Arts delve into images steeped with secrets both deep and dark that feature sophisticated arrangements and artisan song crafting. Cudmore's classical guitar blends beautifully with the double bass and the occasional string quartet. The songs themselves range from beckoning choruses with bright hooks to meandering, lyrical sagas. It's no secret that many of these songs began as dreams- insights poke out with subtle nuances, sparkling and inquisitive. "If all there was to eat was candy, which would be the most healthy? ..and would we even bother, filling the cavity?"