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Loon Choir and Common Deer
From the Promoter
tickets also available at Vertigo Records and both Compact Music locations
lineup, date, venue, times and ticket price subject to change without notice.
From Canada’s parliamentary hub and capital city comes Loon Choir — an urgent pulse of fresh sonic air featuring textured guitar, synth, and violin hooks backed by a sometimes groovy, sometimes four-to-the-floor backline that lays the foundation for powerful choral-esque male and female vocals whose lyrics allude to injustice and the destruction of nature. It’s a tall order to fill, and these musicians deliver with a live set that is packed full of enthusiasm, spontaneity, sincerity and, above all, making memories with good friends — old and new.
Loon Choir has been raising its profile nationwide, with a successful cross-Canada tour following the release of their second full-length album, ‘Fire Poems’, which was produced and engineered by the brilliant James Bunton in May 2012. Hit songs ‘All Boats Don’t Rise’ and ‘Nowhere to Go’ have been among CBC favourites — the former reached #2 on the R3-30. The band was also shortlisted for an R3 Bucky Award for Rookie of the Year in 2012.
Loon Choir even made an impression across the ocean in 2011, when single ‘Bricks’ was released in the UK on an international compilation that featured just two Canadian acts.
Recordings aside, the live experience is where Loon Choir really shines. The energy behind their catchy synth and guitar riffs, the transcendent harmonies and contagious beats are sure to get any crowd moving. The Loons’ appearance at festivals like Pop Montreal, NXNE, JUNOfest and Ottawa Bluesfest and their growing fan base across the country following their last tour are testament to the band’s ability to consistently deliver spectacular outbursts of energy during live performances.
Loon Choir has been working on a new record, due to be released late spring 2015. They’ve already started introducing some of their latest material at live shows to great acclaim.
Stay tuned for the album release, and make sure to catch them live when they swing through town!
Some artists want to shine a light in the darkness. Common Deer come with an arsenal of floodlights.
Music is a balm in anxious, isolated times. In the hands of this powerful Toronto quintet, it’s a vessel of uplift, a call for camaraderie, an act of resistance against jaded nihilism. Though not explicitly political, the lyrics of vocalists Graham McLaughlin (guitar, violin) and Sheila Hart (keyboards) reflect the zeitgeist: addressing the anxiety of the modern age, crying out for a sense of connection, driven by a sense of carpe diem that stems from personal tragedy. “Trying to create light in the darkness; it’s a mentality we share,” says Graham. They’re not blind optimists peddling escapism, though their live shows are joyous, celebratory affairs, rich with rousing, orchestral pop sound built for festival stages.
Common Deer began in 2013 with Graham, drummer Liam Farrell and multi-instrumentalist Adam Hart, who met while backing up a folk singer in Guelph, Ontario, where most of them were attending university. (Adam attended Wilfrid Laurier University for Honours Music Performance) Liam brought in his brother Connor to solidify the rhythm section, while Adam called on his sister, Sheila, to harmonize with Graham and add her own keyboards, lead vocals and her own songs. Previously, her creative outlet was poetry and short stories; Graham had been writing pop songs since he was 11. In both their harmonies and their shared leads, they create a male-female dynamic rarely heard in pop music outside of Stars, an admitted influence. As if two lead singers weren’t enough, competing for an audience’s attention is Adam, who juggles cello, synth and lead guitar; he is Common Deer’s not-so-secret weapon.Together with Graham, their string arrangements elevate the band’s sound beyond an everyday rock
band; as a rhythm section, Liam and Connor also take an orchestral approach to their arrangements. There is never a dull moment on stage at a Common Deer show.
Rather than rush their early demos online, it took Common Deer almost three years to prepare their first EP, recorded with producer Laurence Currie (Hey Rosetta!, Wintersleep) and released in January 2017. It was worth the wait, presenting a major new talent with the vivid sonic space they deserve to inhabit. The new follow-up EP, simply titled II, came together much more quickly: recorded in Toronto with Gus Van Go (Arkells, Whitehorse) over two weeks, balancing the energy of their live shows with electronic percussion, layered strings, and an increased synth presence. Their sense of ambition coalesces in the final track, “Gone,” which features a noir-ish new wave synth lead, a Drake-inspired beat on the verses, Beach Boys harmonies on the chorus, and a double-kick-drum beat on the outro that channels Liam's hard rock influence and satisfies Adam and Sheila's love of metal. The only weird thing about it is that it works.
It’s that same sense of ambition that has catapulted Common Deer from most-promising status to that of serious contenders. They’ve got talent, smarts, youth, the songs and the sonics to make their story an uncommon success.