Friday, May 29, 2009

CD Giveaway & Review: Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum's "Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head."

Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum have their debut full-length, Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head, ready to share with the world.

Jordaan Mason sees himself as a misfit in the local music scene. But as one of the hosts and organizers of the Oxford Hotel presents performance series, he's a misfit that's connected to a lot of local and touring acts who work better in backyards and inside homes than they do in bars or clubs. The musicians I most associate with Jordaan are ones he already collaborates with, including Guelph's Chris Yang (who helped out on the record) and the folk duo Sarah D. (whose members are in Jordaan's band). The more polished, accessible Ghost Bees come to mind, too.

Jordaan's backing band features an ever-changing lineup, and the songs on the new record benefit from inventive instrumentation from a dozen other musicians. Take "(S)mother" for example: voice predominates, with quite acoustic guitar, saw, and a sparse piano line rounding things out. He occasionally sings with urgency, and always feeling. The lone solo track on the album, "O Jarhead! O Wife!," sung with only an acoustic guitar as accompaniment, highlights Jordaan's poetic lyricism. The songs aren't rousing tunes like some other larger folk ensembles produce. The closest the band comes to this is the percussion-heavy "The Wrong Parts (Vivian Sisters Singing)." Instead, the songs on this album evoke more reflection, primarily about relationships and intimacy. The lyrics are obscure, yet still highly personal, honest, and occasionally difficult to hear. The opening line from the first song of the album ("Bird's Nest") is "My mouth is filled with his ovaries," and it gets no less vividly strange through the album's 14 tracks. Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum have created a record that can be listened to on different levels, both lyrical and musical.

Download: Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum, "Bird's Nest" (Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head, 2009).
Download: Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum, "Wild Dogs: Divorce" (Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head, 2009).

Courtesy of the band I've got a copy of Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head to give away. If you want it, send me an email at historyjenATgmailDOTcom with "Jordaan" in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. Get this in to me by Friday, 5 June, at 11:59pm. If you're in Toronto, the band hopes you'll come to their CD release show to pick up your disk. Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum celebrate the release at the Music Gallery on Saturday, 6 June. (I am told that the band will appear as a 9-piece that night.) See you there?

Fine print: Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum (CD release) w/ Nich Worby and Hamilton Trading Co. @ The Music Gallery, Saturday, 6 June, 7pm, $10 (or pwyc). The music starts at 8pm. At 7pm, in the church's Fellowship Room, there will be a reception featuring artwork by Tara Fillion and Josh Pogue, whose artwork decorates the album.

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