Entries tagged with: Alden Penner
by BrooklynVegan Mike
And it really kind of depends on the forthrightness in which I feel like giving a literal kind of account of everything.
Clues (Penner, right)
When the Unicorns disbanded in 2004, Nicholas Thorburn, aka Nick Diamonds, came out of the gate rather quickly with Islands and has remained ubiquitous with multiple projects including Reefer and Human Highway. Alden Penner seemed to fade in the shadows, popping up here and there with low-key projects. In May, though, he returned in a big way with Brendan Reed and a clandestine crew of artists and musicians with Clues. Their self-titled album, released in May on Constellation, is an extension of the Unicorns but heavier with more defined arrangements. Two songs (and one demo) from that disc are posted above.
The group is currently on their first extended tour. Included in that is Clues' first NYC show (after a having to cancel an election night show in the fall). The gig takes place at Santos Party House on Wednesday, June 17th, with Drink Up Buttercup and Bridges & Powerlines opening. Tickets are still on sale.
We spoke with Alden about the new album. Well, we tried to. It was obvious that he doesn't feel comfortable talking about his music directly. He chooses his words carefully while at the same time dismissing them the moment they leave his lips. With that said, the interview was a lot of fun and one of the most entertaining I had ever done.
I read that the genesis of Clues began in 2004 when both you and Brendan [Reed] recorded a seven-inch together. What were the steps after that?
Alden: We had this 7-inch, and did a bunch of touring here and there. The two of us, along with his sister. In the following year, I did a bunch of things like soundtrack music [The Hamster Cage]. There were a lot of things that happened in our lives that weren't distinctly related to the band. In that frame of time, I think there wasn't even a name for the band until 2007 so these rudimentary steps went into who knows what purpose. Those years were spent just doing stuff. I think we started talking about albums and his website, Villa Villa Nova that Brendan sort of started, which is sort of hatched within the dilemma of how to make music accessible without feeling like you're exposed in some artificial way. I think that is another way of having the band encompass all these other bands as well. Clues ambition is to be the most ferocious of all of those bands and absorb all of it. It's not so clear how that's gonna happen. In 2007, that is what we were talking about, how to be all bands and how to have all previous bands be our band and be this mega-band sort of thing. Dreams like that take some time to develop. We'd recorded a bunch of things with the intention of putting it in album form but I think because it wasn't formed externally and more of a back-and-forth sort of thing. Once we started bringing other people in to come work, it created its more current character. It's more band like than it was before.
by Andrew Frisicano
Over four years after the break up of The Unicorns, founding member of that band Alden Penner will release the debut of his new project, Clues. That record, also called Clues, will come out on Constellation Records on May 19th. Check out two tracks from the album above (with a previously posted demo) and let us know if you think it sounds at all like Unicorns/Islands.
The band, who played SF's Noise Pop '09 earlier this year, will tour North America in support of the new record. That tour includes a Wednesday, June 17th show at Santos Party House. Tickets for the NYC show are on sale. Hopefully they all make it here this time.
Full details on the new album, including track list and artwork, plus all tour dates, below...
According to a member of the band, "1/2 of our band was delayed at the US border then had 3 flats in a corner of the Adirondacks where all rental agencies were closed! Anyway, the rest of us were pretty disappointed but the party was still a pretty great gathering celebrating staring at tv screens. We're looking into doing a make up show... maybe this week?" Ryan Muir was there to cover the show and thought he saw Unicorn Alden Penner there, but it must have been wishful thinking as he waited for hours for Clues to go on. Unicorn Nick Thorburn was in the audience though.
DOWNLOAD: Clues - Perfect Fit (MP3)
"While countless new bands have imitated the pop sounds made famous by Montreal's music export, CLUES counts among its members originators of that sound. In CLUES, Alden Penner (Unicorns) and Brendan Reed (Arcade Fire) continue pioneering music, expanding Montreal's pop music lexicon with reference to the post-punk and experimental music traditions. The band's shows are frenetic and theatrical: multiple drummers, unique instrumentation, and a bent Commodore 64. In 2008, Ben Borden, Lisa Gamble, and Nick Scribner of Montreal's music / art scene joined CLUES. During shows and on recordings, the band share and trade off on their collection of instruments, creating grand versions of experimental pop songs." [PR]In September we reported that their debut album would be released by Constellation Records in Winter 2008. The new date is "Spring of 2009". More interestingly, Clues will play their first-ever NYC show this Tuesday, November 4th, Election Day, at the Exit Art Gallery. All dates below...
by BrooklynVegan Mike
DOWNLOAD: Clues - Perfect Fit (MP3)
The Unicorns have attained a mystique since their break-up in 2005. Since that time, Nick Thorburn, has been anything but low key, launching Islands, Th' Cornn Gang Human Highway with Jim Guthrie, and even Juiced Elfers. What might be lost on all of this activity is that Thorburn wasn't the only creative drive behind The Unicorns spazz-pop.
The other ex-Unicorn, Alden Penner, has been making music in Montreal for a long time, in various projects including Adam and Alden, All Makes Parts and Collision and his solo work, which is what he'll be performing on October 4th at this year's Pop Montreal festival. He opens for Dominique Grange and Jacques Tardi.
At last year's Pop, Alden introduced Clues, a project featuring Brendan Reed (formerly of Arcade Fire) and Bethany Or. They're currently finishing an album with producer Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire, The Unicorns, Islands, Beirut, Final Fantasy) - to be released at Villa Villa Nola and on Constellation Records in winter 2008.
Alden's music is wistful, gentle, and a little bit quirky. Imagine the Unicorns with the volume turned down. He plays with pop music conventions in a manner that would suggest that he's taking the piss out of everything, but like Beck you can hear the amount of effort put into each song. Though he doesn't have much in the way of "official" releases, there is a 7" he released on Art School Dropout in 2005, and he scored the soundtrack to The Hamster Cage. There are also many bootlegs floating around the net. I strongly recommended you to check 'em out. One MP3 is available for download above.
Video of Alden performing as Clues at PM 2007, below...