The Pining
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The Pining

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Band Country Folk

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"The Perlich Posts's Top 100 Albums of 2011"

36. The Pining - The Pining - The Perlich Post


"Tunes on Top (Best of 2011)"

...Top Toronto albums in three words

1) The Pining - The Pining
All-girl country. - Fab Magazine (Toronto)


"Building Blocks Compilation"

Building Blocks #3: The Pining!
June 2nd, 2009
By Brian Joseph Davis

One of the joys of Blocks’ musical diversity is my daily exposure to the two dominant sounds of my 70s trailer childhood: country and disco. Sure there may be no Blocks members sporting ex-con uncle polyester, but “country” isn’t dependent on Nudie suits, late child support payments, or hair big enough you could hide all of Tennessee in. Well, sometimes it is, but for me to explain hick ontology would take far too long. Until then, Building Blocks Digital singles Club presents…The Pining.

These gals are what the Carter Sisters would have been like if they had gotten in a fight with Mother Maybelle, then hocked her autoharp, and moved to Kensington Market. Listen to “Life Ain’t Fair” or its folksier b-side, “She’s Gone” and you’ll hear the best Canadian country since they stopped making 8-tracks. - Blocks Recording Club


"Goin' To The Country"

The passing of Pride is upon us. Some of us will cleanse; others will sleep. Some will moisturize heavily after all that sun and others will keep the party going — it is summer, for Christ’s sake! I usually find myself in all these states — still in shortshorts but maybe with a little less mesh. Musically, I crave less pavement-shaking and more park-hangout. Here are a couple of albums I highly recommend to help satisfy those calmer cravings.

Note: Even if you’re not a country music fan, I urge you to check this shit out. I hate Toby Keith as much as the next ’mo, so rest assured these aren’t completely redneck recommendations.


The Pining - The Pining

This eponymous album is less than half an hour long, but in that brief time this Toronto all-girl country band reveals more about the aching hearts of modern, red-blooded women than any other females in music — at least since the days when Loretta, Tammy and Patsy wiped the floor with our hearts.

If the Dixie Chicks were wrapped in leather while whipping Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Wynonna Judd in an abandoned barn, they wouldn’t express the beauty, burning and yearning that the mem- bers of The Pining lay down.

The songwriting of this debut is bluntly poetic and the vocals and instrumentals evoke an Appalachian mountain porch. This is authentic country music.

In the world of The Pining, women drink — a lot — while waiting for that guy to call. They demand the truth from their lovers, and they quit their miserable jobs when they’re fed up. They’re desperate during “Call It Quits”: “I throw myself at you night after night/ I throw myself at you, but you won’t bite.” They’re caring during “The Better Life”: “Did you really get on that plane/Just to rise above the pain/Only to find yourself/Beneath the bumper of a car/Outside a Queen Street car/ Dripping blood and rain.” And in the tear- inducing “She’s Gone,” they mourn dumped girlfriends.

Julie, Kaili, Tara, Emma, Dani and Mika have been playing in the Toronto scene for some time now — they’re Steers & Queers regulars — but hopefully, this dusty debut gets them the attention they greatly deserve.

Dolly Parton - Better Day

Dolly’s face and gargantuan bosom may be ever-changing, but her musical style sure isn’t, and her new album — Better Days — is a whole other type of country record, especially when compared to the whiskey-soaked Pining release.

It’s a sunny country effort that’ll make you want to drive a truck, ride a horse (bareback and otherwise) and drink lemonade on a porch (spiked or otherwise). Dolly’s voice is still 100 percent (if anything, there’s a new raspiness that sounds really sexy), and she’s still writing all her own songs, so for fans this will be a ray of musical sunshine.

After almost 60 studio albums, the country icon proves that, despite being 65 and having been with the same mystery man — Dean — for 45 years, life is still fun and inspiring. There are no songs about a woman jumping off a bridge after finding out she’s about to be an unwed mother (1968’s “The Bridge”) or about a worried housewife pleading for a tramp to leave her hubby alone (1974’s “Jolene”). Today, the bodacious blonde sings about her deep country roots and her positive outlook on life and love.

The best song on the independently released record is “Sacrifice,” which is basically Dolly’s version of going for what you want and not letting anything get in your way — it comes complete with “Born This Way” gospel-girl backing vocals.

9 to 5: The Musical runs until Sun, July 10 Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St dancaptickets.com

Junior Boys - It’s All true

I (mostly) understand that a lot of people don’t like country music, so for those of you not into rolling in the hay, check out the new Junior Boys record. Hamilton’s internationally loved electronic duo makes super-silky ’90s dance and R&B for poolside lounging or kitchen-counter mounting. The epic nine-minute “Banana Ripple” is one of the year’s best pop songs. Their sound is so crisp, bouncy and clean that ginger vocalist Jeremy Greenspan’s sexy whispers and swelling synths lure listeners in, seduced before we even realize it’s happening.

tunes@fabmagazine.com - Fab Magazine (Toronto)


"Pining For Real County Music in Toronto"

Pining for real country music in Toronto



An authentic sounding traditional country song was the last thing I expected to hear on a label survey put out by Toronto-based indie operation Blocks Recording Club, let alone one as neatly written and brilliantly arranged as She's Gone by The Pining. Of course, not sounding remotely like anything by Final Fantasy, PDF Format, The Blanket, Shadow Self or The Torrent is exactly what made the all-female ensemble's jarring contribution to Building Blocks Singles Club, Volume 1 so memorable. You can check it out right here.



As I later discovered, the tunes She's Gone and Life Ain't Fair were just two of a number of great original songs the Pining had written since coming together two years earlier out of a shared appreciation for the Carter Family, Hazel Dickens, Patsy Cline, Freakwater and Jameson's Irish Whiskey – not necessarily in that order. Those two and three more Pining faves have since been posted on CBC's Radio 3 site (which you can visit right here) which prove that She's Gone wasn't a fluke.

I'm pleased to report that The Pining have maintained the same high standard of quality control for their fantastic Adam Bell-produced debut album for Blocks which you can pick up at their record release party with tonight (Friday, June 24) at the El Mocambo. The Pining plan to take the stage at 11:30 pm but be sure to arrive in time to catch opening sets by Coole & Downes, the engaging partnership of primo picker Chris Coole and singer/songwriter Simone Downes at 9:30 pm followed by a rare acoustic set from catl at 10:30 pm. Tickets are $10 at the door or $7 in advance if there are any left at Soundscapes or Rotate This.
NOTE: Those who prefer their country music on vinyl should grab a copy of The Pining album on the double – there were only 300 copies pressed of the LP which was superbly mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market.
- The Pelich Post


"Rattle and Strum"

...Speaking of the Pining, it was a treat to catch their sweet and easy opening set. The ladies have got strong songs, original voices, and a warm and easy rapport with each other that’s fun to watch; they’re getting better and better every time.
- Now Magazine Toronto


"The Anti-Hit List"

7. THE PINING

“She's Gone”

Not the Hall & Oates hit but rather a new original that sounds like a vintage country weeper. “The wind through the leaves seems to whisper/ Nobody knows how much you miss her/ Face it, she's gone,” sings Emma Moss Brender, with a striking mix of romanticism and unsentimentality. The lonesome, homemade harmonies by Kaili Glennon and Julie Faught do what all good harmony singing does: deepen the effect without you necessarily noticing. (From The Pining) - The Toronto Start


"The Pining are Part of the Changing Face of Country Music"

The Pining are part of the changing face of country music


Music review The Pining are at the Ebar in Guelph Sunday, Oct. 23. THe Pining
When thinking about women in country music, one tends to immediately picture either Tammy Wynette in all her bouffant glory, a glammed up Shania Twain, or maybe even a young k.d. lang prowling the stage in a crew cut and horn-rimmed glasses. But more and more young female artists are finding a place within country music simply as themselves, and writing songs that are just as affecting as those by male counterparts.

Case in point is Toronto’s The Pining, whose self-titled debut album released this past summer has thrust the all-female five-piece into the front ranks of the city’s always crowded roots music scene. Like friends and contemporaries One Hundred Dollars, The Pining relies on tradition only to a point, instead focusing on the emotional content of their lyrics and harmonies.

It’s something that vocalist/guitarist Julie Faught says brought them together in the first place in 2008. “One night three of us went to see Matthew Barber and Doug Paisley’s band Live Country Music, and perhaps inspired by their beautiful music and camaraderie, we started throwing around the idea of getting some girls together to play. We would get together once a week to play cover songs and work on new ideas with a few friends, and that evolved into some serious songwriting and eventually some show offers.”

By then, The Pining was part of Toronto’s Blocks Recording Collective and contributed two tracks to a 2009 compilation. It helped get the group prepared to make the full-length album, which Faught says has fulfilled their expectations in all respects. “We enlisted the help of my husband, Adam Bell, to engineer and co-produce the record,” she said. “We were lucky to have him because he has heard and watched us from the beginning. He helped us recreate the authentic, raw and sparse kind of sound that we have—something under-produced, dry and as ‘old sounding’ as is possible in a world of digital recording.”

When asked to elaborate on what “old sounding” means to her, Faught’s list of the group’s influences — from Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Gordon Lightfoot to Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Lucinda Williams — illustrates how elusive it is today to define what country music actually is, at least in Canada.

Faught tends to agree, saying, “We don’t mind if people call us ‘country’ or ‘indie folk’ or ‘Americana’ or ‘Canadiana.’ We’re just happy to make music and glad that people are listening; we haven’t thought much about whether we are lumped into one genre or another.

That being said, there is definitely a ‘confessional’ element to many of our songs—love, loss, hardships—and a penchant for balladry and storytelling, which is often found in ‘country music.’”

Faught adds that with songwriting now starting to be handled in a more collaborative fashion by the group, The Pining is becoming a going concern for all involved, and with that, true fans of country music will have to inevitably take notice.

“We have a lot of fun performing with each other, and people tend to comment on the fact that it shows on stage. In terms of developing, we have recently been playing with a full drum kit and electric guitar, so that’s new, different and exciting. We’ve also been working on a lot of new songs and it’s nice to be able to switch up the set list a bit, although our awkward stage banter remains the same.”

Who: The Pining w/Alanna Gurr and Handsome Dan

When: Sunday, Oct. 23

Where: Ebar, Guelph

Tickets: $7 (all ages)

Doors: 9 p.m.

More Info: www.myspace.com/thepining

jays@golden.net - The Record


"Q&A: The Pining"

Q&A: The Pining
NO BOYS ALLOWED AT THIS ALL GIRL COUNTRY PARTY
BY SARAH GREENE

Toronto indie all-girl country quintet the Pining began as a casual musical get-together in 2008 and got more serious when they started writing original songs.

The band’s self-titled 2011 debut (on Blocks) showcases diverse songwriting styles, unique voices and a sense of humour.

They’re a busy group of women: Julie Faught has sung with Doug Paisley and plays in queer electro outfit Kids On TV, Kaili Glennon also sings with Jacques and the Shakey Boys, Dani Nash drums for the Sure Things, and lead guitarist Emma Moss Brender solo project is called Party Time. Violinist Mika Posen (Timber Timbre, Forest City Lovers) is an honourary member.

I met with three of the ladies – Faught, Glennon and Nash -- for a New Year’s Eve chat about the band’s beginnings and where they’re headed in 2012.

How did you start playing music together?

Kaili Glennon: Jules and I taught [high school] together. We wanted to play music and get a band together and we were out one night with Tara [Azzopardi] watching Live Country Music (with Doug [Paisley] and Chuck [Erlichman]) and that was sort of the night that we said let’s get together.

Julie Faught: So then we had a couple other girls play. It was just really casual, sort of a Saturday or Sunday afternoon social thing, just having drinks and eating hummus and pita. At first it was just covers and traditional music for the sake of playing music. And then we started writing some original songs and we became more dedicated.

When you were doing covers what covers were you doing?

Faught: Old Lucinda’s. Gillian’s. High On A Mountaintop, traditional bluegrass songs. We started playing some shows and acquired new members. Emma [Moss Brender] joined us and then last year Dani [Nash] joined us.

Who came up with the name of the band?

Faught: I think I did on our trip up to Sappy.

Glennon: Yeah, we were driving out East.

Faught: We spent many hours in the car together, brainstorming and brainstorming.

Were you playing Sappy?

Faught: No, we were just ‘the wives’ taking a road trip together for the third year in a row. We had been playing a bunch of shows with no band name. We just couldn’t land on something that, not that everyone agreed on, but that was right.

Glennon: And I remember, we must have been in New Brunswick and we were driving along and all of a sudden she was like, The Pining! “What about the Pining”?

Faught: It was a moment. Because we had thrown around the Pines, the Piner, or Pinery. All these stupid things. What about the Pining? And I think we texted people immediately on the cell phones.

Have you found other bands with that name?

Faught: No, there’s no other bands. We lucked out. And now we have a website, so it’s official, no one else can take it.

Why did you decide to be an all woman group? And why did you want to play country music?

Dani Nash: Well, when they started the band I wasn’t in the band. But I don’t think you guys decided to be all girl country I just think you were inspired by people like Lucinda and Emmylou Harris and lead country women, right? We’re all friends and we’re all talented and we know how to play particular things like drums and bass so it just kind of happened. Plus we all sing pretty much too. Yeah, I don’t think it was decided, “let’s make it all girl country.” Well, was it though?

Faught: I think it was the music that we were all drawn to originally. As much as we might appreciate different types of music, I think a lot of us are drawn to singer/songwriter and country music. That’s what we listen to, not that we don’t listen to anything else. So I think it just sort of stemmed from that. It was a natural progression.

In terms of being an all women’s band, I don’t think it was a conscious decision, because as we started out it was a gathering of women for friend’s sake. It was like let’s get together and instead of stitch and bitch, lets play music. After we had so many sessions, then it just became actually we like that vibe. It’s not like no boys allowed. It’s just that it’s nice.

Nash: But now that it is all girls, no boys allowed!

Faught: There’s a camaraderie there and it’s a real nice space to get together. When we do get together it’s not about who’s practicing or what song are we’re writing. Half the gathering is about catching up and chatting and unloading and debriefing.

Nash: Sometimes we don’t even get to play anything we just talk.

Faught: We like that vibe and I guest that’s probably why we’ve stuck with it.

Have you had any guys play with you at all?

Faught: No. I tell a lie because once we played this amazing....what was it?

Glennon: I was going to say Coe Hill.

Nash: ...we played at my cottage at Coe Hill. Every year they have this big festival, this Warriors’ Day Parade. We were short a member, we were short Emma [lead guitar player] so Tara’s boyfriend Paul came with us and he learned the songs on the way up. He was great.

Has there been an evolution in your live show?

Faught: For the last half-year, we’ve gone electric. We’re Newport. Dani’s playing with a full kit usually, and Emma’s playing electric and that was something that evolved from our album because we used to play strictly acoustic but then when we did the album we had time and some money.

How did you end up working with Blocks Recording Club?

Faught: I started volunteering with Blocks in 2008 and then 2009 I was elected to be one of the board members. In 2008 I started pitching the idea of maybe doing the record with them and whilst on the board was able to take it on. Blocks is an artist run collective, so that if you’re involved, you can throw your weight behind a project. Releasing on Blocks was kind of ideal for us in terms of it being self-directed.

When I interviewed Doug Paisley, he told me he doesn’t find country music depressing. I think your songs are kind of fun. Do you think country music is sad or fun or both?

Nash: I think country music is truth. It’s honest. So whether that’s like fun and upbeat or sad … I always find country music to have a bit of a twist on things. It’s honest but if it’s sad, it’s clever, and sort of humorous too.

Glennon: Yeah, it just tells a story.

Faught: In as much as a lot country music is depressing, tear jerker, weepy, country songs are uplifting in the sense that it’s an emotion, it’s a cathartic relief. You can listen to some of Doug’s songs, like What About Us. It’s not a depressing song but it’s a friggin’ weepy song, right? That’s a beautiful song that will make you cry, but in a really emotional sort of satisfying way.

Glennon: You feel alive.

Faught: You don’t feel like, “I’m going to go hide under my bed.” And when you’re listening to country music, it’s also relatable, lived experiences. You don’t feel so alone. It sounds depressing, but you can relate to it.

But I think some country musicians are funnier than others.

Faught: Yeah, and we do have fun with it. We always call them our fasties and our slows and we always have to navigate that when we’re playing shows because depending where we’re playing who the audience is, we’ve got to try to make sure we keep it lively.

Glennon: Makes me chuckle because someone was asking about having us play a wedding. There’s not a lot of love positive here.

Faught: This is called [Face It] She’s Gone.

At your Glenn Gould show, I really loved how you switched vocals and instruments around fluidly.

Faught: I think that’s one of the things that people like about our music, is that when you go to a show there’s a variance there. It’s not just the same person singing the same thing and everyone doing the same thing because we switch vocals a lot, and there’s different styles of singing, different songwriters, different voices, different harmonies and even different musical arrangements. You can sit there for ten or twelve songs and say, “this is different, this is different.”

What’s going on right now with your writing?

Faught: I would say a lot more collaboration in recent months.

Nash: This album is a lot of songs that we brought to the group and I think it’s great that we’re writing together.

Did you play some stuff that wasn’t on the album at the Glenn Gould?

Faught: Yeah, we played Kill My Lonesome Cry and Lost So Lost.

Nash: Exit Plan?

Faught: No, we didn’t do that, we were afraid, because some of them were new.

The Glenn Gould can be intimidating.

Nash: It was, yeah.

Faught: Especially when we got out there on stage and we realized after the first song that we’d left all of our set lists [off stage]. This was an anxious band. It looked like we were smiling but really we were like, “oh god, what’s next?”
- Now Magazine Toronto


Discography

"The Pining" - self-titled debut album with Blocks Recording Club label. 12" vinyl and CD, June 2011. (10 tracks)

"She's Gone"- release on 12" vinyl with Blocks Recording Club; part of the collective's Building Blocks Compilation, June 2009

"Life Ain't Fair" - release on 12" vinyl with Blocks Recording Club; part of the collective's Building Blocks Compilation, June 2009

(Frequent CBC and College Radio play)

Photos

Bio

Formed in the early months of 2008, The Pining were brought together by a shared love of kitchen parties, old country and Jameson’s. A chorus of voices smoky and pure, The Pining write and play sad and joyous melodies about heartache, woe and the mean streets of Toronto. The Pining have played with John Doe & The Sadies as well as local favourites $100, New Country Rehab and Doug Paisley. The Pining released their self-titled debut album on the Blocks Recording Club label in June 2011, and are looking forward to promoting it across Canada and elsewhere this year.