Canadian Music Week 2005 at various venues, Thursday through Saturday (March 3-5). See club listings for complete showcase information. Individual shows free-$26.50, wristbands $30, available through Ticketmaster (416-870-8000, www.ticketmaster.ca). Note: some shows have limited wristband access. Check www.cmw.net for further conference event information, details and updates.
the lovely feathers with mstrkrft, tricky woo , from fiction and October guard as part of CMW at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Saturday (March 4), 9 pm. $10, free w/ CMW wristband. 416-532-1598, www.cmw.net. Rating: NNNNN
Next time your grandma guilts you into coming for a visit, take the offer seriously.
Such was the lesson learned by Noah Bernamoff and Mark Kupfert, best buds since they were kindergarten classmates, who took their relationship to a whole new level after hanging out on a Florida beach. In the midst of shuffleboard tournaments and tanning snowbirds, the two young Montrealers abroad laid the groundwork for a hugely promising indie rock band.
"Mark and I were both visiting our grandparents over winter break," explains Bernamoff. "He came up to me on the beach and told me he'd sent our band's demo to the McGill Students Association, cuz they have a yearly thing where they invite a bunch of kids to come drink cheap beer and play music."
Curiously, Bernamoff had no recollection of participating in any sort of recording. Turns out Kupfert had passed off his solo demo as a full-band effort. Lucky for him, when the "band" got green-lit for the event, Bernamoff and their Jewish parochial school pals Daniel Suss and Richard Yanofsky (all four attended sister high schools and met on a double-barrelled trip to Israel in grade 9) had Kupfert's back.
"We all thought Mark needed a creative outlet," says Bernamoff. So the Lovely Feathers were born after one rehearsal and a disastrous performance that ended in half-baked raps in front of drunk McGill students.
Happily, the Feathered friends (Suss's brother Ted joined the group as a drummer) enjoyed the experience enough to throw themselves into concocting antic pop tunes that combine the breathless, connect-the-dots energy of Dexy's Midnight Runners-style new wave with the stream-of-consciousness wit and lackadaisical structures of Pavement.
In the summer of 2004, they recorded what was originally supposed to be a four-track demo.
"We thought it would be fun to spend a quarter of our summer earnings on a week in a studio in francophone Montreal," Bernamoff ruefully recalls. Those sessions turned into My Best Friend Daniel, the Feathers' delightfully naive full-length indie debut, which he claims was a premature effort.
Though MBFD didn't get a wide release, it snagged the Feathers enough attention to land them CMW and NXNE gigs, a deal with upstart label Equator (they were the first signing; the post-Unicorns project Islands the second) and an opportunity to spend the summer of 05 reworking old tunes and polishing new ones with Metric's Jimmy Shaw and Metric's touring sound guy Drew Malamud for their upcoming self-titled disc (slated for a May 2 release).
Their recorded material is charming, but the real appeal of the Lovely Feathers is their manic stage show, in which singer/guitarist Yanofsky tries to goad his more sedate co-singer/guitarist Kupfert into loosening up through a calculated series of wacky dance moves.
"Richard's always been a crazy dancer, even when we were hitting the bar mitzvah circuit. Man, that guy can get down to House of Pain. He's got incredible stage presence, which is unexpected cuz he's so mild-mannered and soft-spoken.
"But he and Mark really feed off each other's energy," Bernamoff continues. "Mark's an unsure person, and it helps him to have support behind him. I think it's really powerful to see that communication onstage."
It might even make you call your grandmother.