Tag Archives: Nick Thorburn

Ep. #231: Evan Gordon

Evan Gordon is a gifted musician from Guelph who is a member of Islands and the band formerly known as the Magic. He’s also the leader of the Sad Clowns, a crazed rock ‘n’ roll band that is playing their first show in many years at the Stay Out of the Mall XIV benefit show in Guelph at the Ebar on December 19. Here, Evan and I discuss recording this podcast at CFRU, places he has lived, Perth, Ontario, not rural or urban, boomerangs and Guelph, gentrification and bistros, the Apollo 11, the fact that Sun Sun Chinese Restaurant recently closed down, why I had a sentimental connection to Sun Sun and its broccoli and bean curd, when it went downhill, Breezy Corners moves into downtown Guelph and replaces Sun Sun, 9,000 eggs, Breezy Corners gall, Guelph and shifting priorities, two new Islands records that are coming out soon, the return of the Sad Clowns, no-fi and no-fun, Clayton Dyon, the Magic and MAGIC!, feeling it and reunion shows, getting the gang back together, Frozen in Time the rock opera, John Merritt, rocking, pop and soft-rock, losing his edge, having a tumultuous time in a work-based and unusual life, homeless, unsettling down, solitary man, James Gordon, following in a musician’s footsteps, balancing dreams and life, when things bomb, Geordie Gordon, escapism and rock therapy, Nick Thorburn and success, a creative onslaught, a new label, underthinking, stu-stu-studio, sub-salary, gaining weight and a doughnut diet, Hollywood fat, Eddie Shack, musical shame, the song “Get It On,” Andrew Collins, silliness, the song “Travelling Back in Time,” and then we went for doughnuts.

Related links: myspace.com/egordon vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #71: Alden Penner

Alden Penner is a respected and idiosyncratic singer, songwriter, and musician based in Montreal. Penner was a key figure in the influential bands the Unicorns and Clues and went on to make heartfelt, enigmatic, and questioning music in a project called Hidden Words. On Feb. 11, he quietly released a lovely new album under his own name; it’s called Exegesis and has prompted him to play at the Silver Dollar in Toronto for the Wavelength festival on Thursday Feb. 13, Montreal’s Le Cagibi on Friday Feb. 14, and the Le Pantoum in Quebec City on Feb. 15. Here, Alden and I discuss my issue understanding release dates, the fact that Exegesis is a personal compilation of sorts with at least one song that was partially conceived by Nick Thorburn when the two were in high school, the self-reflexive nature of putting this record together, Penner’s evolution as a songwriter and the distinction between his simpler and more intricate work, his earliest days learning how to play music in his teens and the impact “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” had on him and his guitar playing, jamming with his geography teacher, meeting and collaborating with Thorburn for the first time, the influence that Jimi Hendrix, Reverend Gary Davis, Elizabeth Cotten, and Fugazi had on his guitar playing, interesting guitar teachers and Syd Barrett, playing every instrument on a record yourself, the importance of band chemistry and the Avengers, the multiple meanings of the album’s title, which came to Penner in a dream, how religion has impacted Penner’s ability to find his own voice and feel bolstered by his community, the importance of self-assertion in the face of confrontation, Laura Crapo’s role in producing Penner’s new album, the mysteries of mysticism and psychic surgery, having faith, his upcoming shows, why the Unicorns must reunite to play shows and maybe even reissue Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone? in 2014, the song “We Seek,” and more.

Related links: facebook.com/aldenpennermusic vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #45: Nick Thorburn of Islands

Nick Thorburn is a gifted musician, singer, and songwriter who fronts an American-based Canadian band called Islands. The new Islands record is called Ski Mask and it was released Sept. 17 via the band’s own Manqué label. They’ve been on tour over the last few weeks and make a stop at the Halifax Pop Explosion on Saturday Oct. 26. This past summer, Thorburn and I met on the patio of Toronto’s Saving Gigi and discussed his state of mind, how he’d like to die (drowning vs. smack OD), anger and intimidation towards the music industry, validation, his thoughts on contemporary music, his film school roots, his lack of musical training, how Ski Mask is a progression of the relationship themes on the previous Islands LP, A Sleep and a Forgetting, the Gordon Brothers’ contribution to Islands, his potential plans for a record with EL-P, the future for his bands Mister Heavenly and Human Highway, the song “Hushed Tones” and more.

Related links: islandsareforever.com vishkhanna.com

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