SEAN NICHOLAS SAVAGE at the Comfort Zone (480 Spadina), tonight (Thursday, June 13), midnight. NXNE wristband or $15. nxne.com.
Sean Nicholas Savage has never been an easy man to get hold of. Like many in the weirdo Montreal loft scene in bohemian Mile End, he doesn't have a telephone. So at the moment, it's downright impossible. On tour pretty much non-stop for the better part of a year, he's earned a vacation from the press.
To categorize a road warrior with a brand new album as "quiet" seems like a stretch, but it's appropriate for Savage. The singer/songwriter put out his most successful album yet, Other Life, just a few weeks ago, but it was his first in over a year. He released three albums in 2011 and at least six in the two years before that, so it's a significant gap.
"He just didn't have as much time to sit down and record," says Arbutus Records co-director Marilis Cardinal. "Sean's brain works as quick as always."
Still, that focus on just one album has given tastemakers like Pitchfork time to catch up and his peers a chance to celebrate him as a cult icon. The tribute album Taste Of Savage finds artists like No Joy, Majical Cloudz and Mozart's Sister (all at NXNE this year) lifting his achingly sincere poetic songs from their lo-fi Casio arrangements to fit their own styles. Like Leonard Cohen and Stephen Merritt before him, his songs are as ripe for interpretation as they are for appreciation.
If you like Sean Nicholas Savage, also check out Majical Cloudz at Blk Box, Saturday (June 15), midnight; or Moon King at the Horseshoe, tonight (Thursday, June 13), 9 pm, and at Wrongbar, Friday (June 14), 11 pm, all NXNE wristband or $15, and at Yonge-Dundas Square, Saturday (June 15), 5 pm, free.