laura borealis
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laura borealis

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | INDIE

Montréal, Quebec, Canada | INDIE
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Everett True Music That I Like"

...so I receive these emails from a Canadian lady called Laura Borealis and the gist of them is, well, let's have a look...

"I think when you stayed at my place interviewing Sloan it wasn't mentioned that I made music. I've never been signed, 20 years running- a clean record."
No, it wasn't. The place was in Halifax, Vermont (a very snowy town in the far north east of America) the year was 1993 or thereabouts, and I was known as a scene-maker at the time: record companies would frequently fly me to various cities around America in the hope I could repeat the fluke I had with Seattle. I wasn't into Sloan particularly, their music seemed quite ordinary if genial enough, but they seemed like nice lads: and when I made up the entire interview later because I'd lost the tape they didn't complain. Too much. Laura stood out. Even through the years of drunken black-outs and thousands of new 'friends'. I have no idea why. I didn't write about her music because it wasn't my place.
So I wrote back, "Sure, I remember you - you did modelling, or something similar, right? Either that, or you were a PhD student. I like the Rick James cover a lot. Would it be possible to send me a couple of MP3s or something?".



"Good memory! I was going to do my MFA in Chicago soon after your visit. I wish I had modelled. The closest I came to that was attending some terrifying classes at Casablancas in Chicago . It was there that professor Rande Gerber applied my makeup while I encouraged him to call up Cindy Crawford after her recent divorce. I'm usually behind the camera. I directed some music videos for Sebadoh etc. Glad you like the Rick James. I love the [1981] album Street Songs."



Then I wrote something back but lost the email (probably asking if she'd like to hear some of my own music, because I'm shameless) and Laura responded thus...

"Thanks for asking for some mp3s. I'm so happy you like the Rick James cover. My friend Steve Raegele (ex-Besnard Lakes) did a very sensitive Teena Marie. I hope to one day have a complete covers album. Let me know if you want to hear more than four songs. I have four or five albums and an EP. The French Le Look album (2010) is the most current project, although I want to re-do my folk stuff more rock before Christmas ... I made a few concept albums, and 'Crumbling Heart' is from an album of duets with nine different guys, where I wrote songs tailored to them, as a way to cope with my divorce. Get nine guys to sing how much they love me. That album is called I Love You (2009)."



"I was remembering about Sloan that I dated Steve Albini after [Sloan singer] Chris Murphy, and it was then that steve wrote "The Problem With Music" and he slagged Sloan in that article partly because he was my ex. Here are some links to some of the music videos I have directed."


So I wrote... I sure would like to hear more of your music Laura. I like the 'Fire And Desire' cover most still, for your singing, but the others are real nice. [Now, I actually prefer her song 'GI Joe', from the 2000 album Funderful]. Although I wasn't sure about the one with the talking on, at the start. For some reason you stood out on that visit to Sloan town, more so than the actual band. Whatever. Everything's in the dim and distant past."

"Thanks Everett, I'm going to listen to the songs you sent today. I'm looking forward to it. I'm glad you remember me. I should have been brave and given you a tape back then. But I'm happy to exchange songs now. 'Snob Shop - Foxy Inc' was from my first album, a pink 10-inch vinyl. Then shortly afterward, after I sold one at a record store on St Marks and Printed Matter in NYC, Soul Asylum put out 'Frustrated Inc' or 'Misery'."

Time goes by. Laura is kind enough to praise some of my songs. I send another email.
"I listened to all of your songs three times in a row earlier today. I think I might be developing a crush on your singing self."


That's it. End. You should go and check her music out. It's very intimate and rewarding and human and beautiful and coloured with violins and stuff like that. Bye.






- Everett True


"Artist picks"

THE WORLD PROVIDER
“My favourite record of the year is Laura, by Laura Borealis, on Gooseberry Records. It’s basically in the folky-indie-songwriter genre, which I don’t typically dig as a rule, but her songwriting has the rare combination of being really original while still pleasing to the ear. The lyrics are somehow pointed but abstract, and the chord changes unexpected but strangely perfect.” - Eye Weekly nov 28 2008


"mini cd reviews, montreal mirror 8/10"

Laura Borealis "Laura" (Gooseberry)
Simple and intimate guitar, violin and piano, a personal diary put to song, "dedicated to nature and animals of Mauricie Region of Quebec."
with Al Tuck at Casa Del Popolo, Fri Sept 5, 9 pm - montreal mirror, sept 4-10, 2008


"**** The Hour"


September 4th, 2008
Laura Borealis - (Gooseberry)

Laura
Steve Guimond

A veteran of the Canadian underground's underground, musician and performance artist Laura Borealis has been at it since the early '90s, making music, art and videos, firstly in Halifax, now here in Montreal, via recording sessions with Steve Albini!? Laura is her first full-length since 2000, a ballad-friendly, quiet record that keeps Borealis's simple and honest voice at the forefront, accompanied by soft-touch brushed drums, lonely and plaintive strings, woodwinds and piano. Featuring guest spots from Jean Derome and members of Islands and Mystery Girls, this album is a true revelation, a thing of beauty, touching on folk, improv, jazz and classical.

- The Hour, Montreal


"Funderful, by Robert Everett Green"

The Globe and Mail, Thursday, August 31, 2000 FUNDERFUL
By Robert Everett-Green
Laura Borealis Snob Shop Rating: ***
Even when she's singing about adult predicaments, Toronto singer-songwriter Laura Borealis seems to reach into that awkward limbo zone most of us encounter most fully in early adolescence. Her music is about life without the skin of poses and attitudes that insulates grownups from the real. It follows that Borealis is not interested in a polished sound. Most of the tracks on this resolutely low-tech album sound as if they had been recorded at the end of an all-night party, when everyone is too tired to be anything but honest. Family Way is the sound of dried tears. Church is a gut-punched, country-style habanera. Both are perfect, in their deliberately imperfect way. Borealis reaches the outer limits of her plain-truth aesthetic in Ritual, a murky chant recorded through her basement PA, and the ultraragged Smokes. Borealis lives in a corner of the same musical universe as Aimee Mann, and like Mann she shows a genuine pop melodic impulse. It would be an easy thing, perhaps, for her to reach for a wider public with a smoother production style, but she probably won't do it. Laura Borealis plays Saturday at the Cameron in Toronto.
- the globe and mail


"Funderful ***by LIISA LADOUCEUR"

Eye magazine week of aug 31- sept 6, 2000 LAURA BOREALIS Funderful Snob Shop/No *** If you miss the Halifax lo-fi heyday, this is the record for you. All your favourite East Coast bands know Laura. She's directed videos for Eric's Trip and Thrush Hermit, played in bands with Matt Murphy and Andrew Scott and has inspired Sloan songs. Now she presents Funderful, 13 tracks of her own minimal tunes, mostly about boys. She doesn't put much effort into proving she can sing (which she can -- see the fragile ballad "Blue Eyes"), and some selections are actual demos, but Laura's aching lyrics can be quite lovely. Plus, she includes two songs about Chris ("You feel so important, then you're so ashamed") Murphy -- priceless fodder for the Canadian indie-rock voyeur. (Laura Borealis plays the Cameron House Saturday.) -- LIISA LADOUCEUR
- Eye magazine


"Funderful is a true gem"


Muskrat news CD Reviews Laura Borealis "Funderful" (No Records) "Funderful" is a true gem. Eric’s Trip style lo-fi, stripped down pop songs that are just dripping with Canadian indie rock charm. Laura, is a famed photographer, video producer, and has played in a wide variety of sloan-associated bands (Crappo, Snobshop) and just seems to turn up everywhere. This CD is full of lots of great stuff, her voice is soft and pretty, and this whole disk is loaded with scrappy wonders. If you like the song "coax me" by sloan, enjoy Julie doiron’s erics trip days, or like du maurier lights then this disk is for you. - Muskrat News


"Rating: NNNN"

Disc Reviews
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Disc Review
Laura Borealis
Laura (Gooseberry) Rating: NNNN
EMMA MCKENNA

Laura Borealis has dedicated her second full-length album to the wilderness of Quebec, and at times it feels like she’s communicating with something other- worldly. Full of soft, throaty utterances framed by gentle background melodies, Borealis’s songs float along as if dragged by a gentle undertow. Upsweeping layers of woodwinds and strings balance the sparse percussion.

Borealis has the kind of voice that is able to waver between notes, and between feelings, too. With confessional but minimal lyrics, she has crafted a sophisticated yet subtle record. - NOW magazine (Toronto)


"from thrush hermit tribute album"

French Inhale from the band's Murderecords debut Smart Bomb is another of their more anthemic songs, and Laura Borealis' stripped down take on the song couldn't be more different from the original, but it's really quite haunting. - www.Herohill.com


"glowing review from Herohill.com"

It's impossible to listen to Laura Borealis new record - Laura LP - and not feel like you are sitting in a dark room watching a smoky haze weave around the flickers of light. Often she compliments her sultry voice with only spare guitar, strings and beautiful textures, and as much as I'd like to resist making the Nico/VU comparison, I can't.

In fact, as the guitar and strings of Nature Song provide only the most minimal accompaniment to her vocals and you find yourself sinking deeper and deeper into your chair, you get hit the power and fluidity of the sounds you associate with Nico. I don't toss that comparison lightly, but Borealis' music moves slowly, with a density greater than should be possible with the few instruments used to create her music. While beautiful, it's not your text book definition of "pretty", opting more to take your breath away with an emotional impact instead of a gentle smile.

It's hard to express the emotion of this music without constantly relying on words like dark or gloomy, but I'll give it a try. To me, the scattered horns, strings and piano that hovers in the background of California actually make me feel like I'm driving through heavy snow on an abandoned road. I'm all alone, but my emotions and nerves are racing. The slightest movement could send me spiralling out of control, so every wrinkle seems life threatening.

Laura's been around forever, but still manages to be a hidden secret; a musician's musician. She's directed video for Eric's Trip and Sebadoh and has never lacked talented people to fill out her sound. As a result, the songs are executed perfectly - the flute work and piano on The Carriage Ride freshen the bleak textures, but never shift the overall vibe of the record - and the album is as strong at the finish as it is on the first note.

The Laura EP is a heavy listen, a whopping 17 songs (although there are three musical interlude that don't break 30 seconds), filled with interesting shifts and transitions. Borealis doesn't throw in random rays of sunshine that lighten the load, but whether it's the mix of piano and strings on the instrumental Spectacle or the Laura Gibson folk of Are You Laura, she finds a different kind of beauty; the kind you see when you first notice the ominous storm clouds on the horizon.
- herohill.com


"Pick of the Week at The Coast"

Published April 10, 2008.
Laura Borealis
Laura
(Gooseberry Records)
On the back cover, the former Halifax-based artist says Laura “was inspired by and is dedicated to the nature and animals of the Mauricie region of Quebec,” her home now.


A sense of stillness and peace associated with living close to nature pervades these richly arranged (piano, Rhodes, oboe, violin and viola, flute) songs. They reflect too, perhaps, the kind of life this artist lives with her family---she has three children---and the way she spends her days, outside of music she’s a Reiki master.


“The Carriage Ride” sounds like a lovely, pensive response to Brent Randall’s “Horsedrawn Delight”---as if the pair of songs offer contrasting versions of the same outing. Further down the track list, “Are You Laura?” is a short story set to music. The singer’s performance on it calls to mind Lucinda Williams delivering one of her wary, even shattered, survivor stories. Following that track, “Remember” dwells in the darkened freak folk realm.


Among the 17 mostly short (around the three-minute mark) songs, there are instrumentals. The first three songs are among the longest and most conventional alt-country slow numbers. Don’t be fooled and keep with this album. Laura Borealis plays Gus’ Pub on April 11.
Sean Flinn
categories: Coast pick

Canadian artist - The Coast, Halifax


Discography

2 cassette releases Snob Shop 1992
10"pink vinyl Sob Shop "Pick of the Week" 1994
CD the Funderful songs of Laura Borealis 2000
CD Jupiter Tapes 2001
CD EP Laura, some songs by Laura Borealis Oct 11, 2007 Gooseberry Records
CD (full length) Laura, release date Dec 8 2007 Gooseberry Records
Single for download on Zunior.com: cover of Rick James "Fire and Desire" Dec 17 2008
I Love You, released March 7 2009 download on Zunior.com

Photos

Bio

"You should go and check her music out. It's very intimate and rewarding and human and beautiful and coloured with violins and stuff like that."-Everett True
American Airlines added "Nature Song" to their November 2008 playlist
Laura Borealis, Laura (Gooseberry) Rating: NNNN
EMMA MCKENNA, NOW Magazine
Laura Borealis has dedicated her second full-length album to the wilderness of Quebec, and at times it feels like she's communicating with something other- worldly. Full of soft, throaty utterances framed by gentle background melodies, Borealis' songs float along as if dragged by a gentle undertow. Upsweeping layers of woodwinds and strings balance the sparse percussion.
Borealis has the kind of voice that is able to waver between notes, and between feelings, too. With confessional but minimal lyrics, she has crafted a sophisticated yet subtle record.
------------------------------------------
Back, after 3 children hiatus and training as a Reiki Master, Laura Borealis gives us a beautiful and intimate singer/songwriter record like Left Banke, Alex Chilton and Neil Young. A music video director for Sebadoh, Eric's Trip, Thrush Hermit, Superfriendz, etc, and photographer of Sloan and Eric's Trip in early days. Laura has an MFA from the art institute of chicago. Laura has been playing, writing and recording music since 1991. From Halifax, Chicago, and Toronto. Now living in Montreal and rural Quebec.
Ron Sexsmith lent his voice to one of the versions of Laura's song California. Daniel McIvor used two songs of Laura's in his movie "Until I hear From You".
Band-mates over the years have included: Roland Blinn, Phlis MacGregor,
Chris Murphy, Matt Murphy, Ian McGettigan, Rob Benvie, Wayne MacPherson, Gary Shepers, Fiona Highet, Julie Wheler, Evan Weisblott, Matt Conger and Greg Tymoshenko, Isaiah Cicarelli, Steve Raegele, Nicolas Caloia etc.
"Laura" recorded and mixed by Mark Lawson (with two songs mixed by Jace Lasek and Harris Newman)is her long-awaited follow-up to the wild and free Funderful(2001). Laura shows her maturity as a songwriter in this strong and beautiful record. On Gooseberry Records. LP available for download on Zunior.com. Distributed by Sonic Unyon.
Rick James "Fire and Desire" is a Dec 2008 recording, in it Laura takes the role of Rick and Steve Raegele does the part of Teena Marie to beautiful effect. -------"I Love You" an album of love duets released March 7 2009 Laura wrote and sang love duets with 9 male guest vocalists. The album was performed live at La Sala Rosa Restaurant. www.zunior.com. guest singers include: Al Tuck, Malcolm Fraser(the world provider), Adam Brown(the adam brown), Ryan Myshrall(local rabbits), Andrew Glencross(the lodge), Jon McKiel, Steve Raegele(besnard lakes), Jeff Miller(ghost pine fanzine), Alex Chow(Islands). The show is on youtube in 5 chapters.

Laura also has a band called Whoop-dee-doo with Ryan Myshrall. and another band called Le Look , which is dance music