Music

Crestview Trust: Crestview Trust

Dara Kartz

The debut record from Toronto's Crestview Trust is one of those really obscure releases that only locals know about. Here's why it's worth the hassle it will take to get your hands on a copy.


Crestview Trust

Crestview Trust

Label: self-released
US Release Date: 2006-04
UK Release Date: Available as import
Amazon
iTunes

The self-titled debut album from Crestview Trust is the sort of gem that comes from a few good friends who get really excited about putting their musical minds together, resulting in a genuine project of love; it's that instance when the artists' sheer enthusiasm for the process of making the music they love is actually the driving force behind the record. And it's rare. There's no record label here, no immediate plans beyond local touring, and the status of the band members and album contributors as recognizable faces among a cozy Toronto music community has already trumped any typical wanna-be-rockstar bravado. What's left here is a thumbprint from four Toronto guys that stands as one of the most sincere releases of late that people will probably never get a chance to hear: the album is currently only available for sale through the band's website or CD Baby's online store.

Derived from a shared appreciation for bands like the Notwist and the Flaming Lips, Crestview Trust's music offers up a great marriage between organic and electronic composition, folk and rock. It also follows the recent Canadian trend towards band collectives and collaboration, as opposed to strict roles: Rob McMahon plays the bass on pretty much everything (lap steel was Colin McMahon, e-bowed guitar, Jean Vanhaelen, and trumpet / banjo, Greg Fowler) but ultimately, each was a contributor on the guitar, keyboards, piano, percussion and vocals on the album. John Hall appeared as a guest member of the band to record some initial bed tracks playing drums; later, the band later cut them up and started playing with them as the first pieces of what would become its experiment in pushing the boundaries of conventional song structures. All this collaboration undoubtedly adds some time to the creative process; three years went into the writing, recording and arranging of these 11 tracks. While the songs sometimes lean a bit far into the realm of self-indulgent doodling and "quirky" instrumentation, the distorted pop structures and dynamic layers of sounds create the sort of textures and rhythms that are nothing short of mesmerizing. Again, rare.

The opening track, "Somersaults", is a good example of the thoughtfulness that has gone into the songwriting on this record. Drums, guitar, lap steel, bass and vocals slowly build throughout, creating a momentum that mimics the movement that the song title alludes to; rhythms and structure are played with to create a sort of jarring effect that makes it feel like you're physically being thrown back and forth within the song. Yes, it's an electronic pop record, but it doesn't come off as pretentious or hollow. Instead, it challenges the listener with intricate construction and thoughtful arrangements, it's fun, and it's definitely worth the trouble it will take to find the record.

7

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image