Percy Farm
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Percy Farm

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The best kept secret in music


If you can’t imagine an inspired amalgamation of Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” and Wowee Zowee, then you can experience it on “The Miraculous Birth of the Mystery Child”, the stomping, carnival barker opening salvo on The End’s in the Beginning. Montreal’s Percy Farm, the gloriously ramshackle phoenix from the ashes of Shoot the Moon, is led by Daniel Schacter, who directs a wide array of creative activities with confidence, much enthusiasm, and skills to back it all up. “Mister Grinch” pulses with sweetly sinister organ and Schacter alternating his fuzzed out vocals with the crystalline pipes of former Shoot the Moon lead vocalist Nadia Bashalani. “Sarah Got Her Freedom” lovingly evokes Malkmus & Co. yet still displays plenty of its own invention, courtesy of Melissa Pipe’s assortment of horns and woodwinds, Joe Grass’s well-placed pedal steel, and intricate structure and arrangement. “Flowers in the Rush” is a hot and hazy finale to an album which, despite signaling the end of one band, is a stunningly accomplished beginning for another. - by Michael Metivier

Out of the embers - or the arguments - of a makeshift Montreal music collective called Shoot the Moon comes the pared-down Percy Farm. A more focused sound merges circus pomp, soft-sung indie-pop romance and an all-around ramshackle breeziness. New singer-songwriter Daniel Schacter wears his heart on his sleeve, leading his band through Broken Social Scene-inspired, arching, emotional ditties with relative grace. There is big ambition here, but some kinks to be ironed out. It's a promising new beginning, that with a little more time in the cask should yield a tasty vintage.
- Published June 28th, 2007


It's rarely good when a band loses a member, and that probably goes at least double for when that member is the lead singer. Case in point: when Nadia Bashalani left Shoot The Moon it seemed like the end of the line for that band, given the extent to which her smoky voice lent their otherwise straightforward rock its jazzy tinge. The band changed their name to Percy Farm, and had Daniel Schacter assume frontman duties, but it all just seemed like a way of staving off the inevitable break-up.

Except a funny thing happened on the way to fading quietly into obscurity: it turned out that the new group was better than its predecessor, and that Bashalani leaving was the best thing that could've happened to them. Without being able to rely on her voice to give their music its character, the band was forced to hone their songwriting skills. As The End's In The Beginning shows, this challenge brought out the best in Percy Farm.

In some ways, of course, they didn't change their fundamental approach, since the songs still reflect their lead singer. Except rather than building their songs around a voice suited to torch songs, they were adapting their sound to Schacter, a man who sounds sort of like a cross between Bob Dylan and Tim DeLaughter of the Polyphonic Spree. Consequently, there are songs like "The Miraculous Birth of the Mystery Child", that harness the unbridled joy of Together We're Heavy or Fragile Army. There are songs like "People of Plenty", where Schachter sneers out his vocals in a way that echoes what Dylan was doing in the '70s. There are even tracks like "Route #132", where he combines the best of both worlds (though with a much heavier emphasis on the Spree than on the Dylan).

The band hasn't completely abandoned how they used to sound, however. The slower tracks that pop up throughout The End's In The Beginning are all reminders of the way things used to be. But Bashalani's appearance doing background vocals on songs like "Sarah Got Her Freedom" and "The Hour Hand" shows just how far the band has come, as she's relegated to supported status while the band keeps up their new sound, rather than regressing into jazzy noodlings.

Of course, it's entirely possible that the band would've been headed in this direction anyway, even if Bashalani hadn't left the band -- after all, there's not that much difference between Percy Farm's "Tales From The Sea" and the one that appears on Shoot The Moon's New Music Canada page). But there's no denying that what the band is now is far more interesting than what it used to be, and that rather than being the second act of a band with limited range, The End's In The Beginning is the first chapter in what should be a very interesting career.
- Posted July 17th, 2007

Percy Farm frontman Daniel Schachter is one of the most interesting and underrated songwriters in the city. He brings together a lot of what's best about Dylan and Cohen, but musically the band is also pleasantly haunted by Stephen Malkmus and Pavement, Tom Waits, Sonic Youth, and Yo La Tengo. Percy Farm also makes great use of horns for a song-based indie band.
By Andrew Rose - RightRound

…And of course the always remarkable Percy Farm (once Shoot the Moon- and yeah, we gotta change that in indyish to reflect the new name) Percy Farm was loose and passionate and Tara Martin’s voice from back there on the drums is a clear sexy rock goddess thing. A good thing. They’re pulling a militaristic rhythm into their songs and some sweet flashes of hard practiced guitar solos and the sound is like something hard broken but laughing and too smart for its own good like what we’ll be dancing to when we hold each other and rock out and think about what went wrong at the end of the world.
by Risa Dickens


The End's In The Beginning (June 2007)


Feeling a bit camera shy


One of Montreal’s best-kept secrets, Percy Farm was built in 2006 from the sturdy leftovers of college radio dignitaries Shoot the Moon, after breaking it down to its most essential and gritty parts. Jamie Rosen (bass) and Tara Martin (drums) form the core rhythm unit, laying enticing Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo droning against Louis-Philippe Nagy's swirling piano and Melissa Pipe's elegant saxophone lines. Daniel Schachter pulls it all together with his skinny charm, singing big sad and courageous marching songs in the tradition of Ray Davies, Dylan and Cohen – and he means it.

Shoot the Moon was just gathering steam when it retooled, and they're even more exciting now as Percy Farm. In a few short months they have played some big impressive shows amidst big and impressive peers in Montreal, including performances at Osheaga and the PopCast showcase at Pop Montreal. In that time the band has also managed to record an album's worth of songs, due out summer 2007.