Plants and Animals
Label: Secret City Records
from Montreal Quebec
Contact DetailsGillian Nycum
Plants and Animals are Warren C. Spicer, Matthew 'the Woodman' Woodley, and Nicolas Basque, the product of a musical three-way between two boyhood friends from Canada's East Coast, and a French-Canadian. It's not easy to label the kind of music Plants and Animals make, but it's easy for it to feel instantly familiar. Maybe that's because they record to tape, and their records sound like they could have been made in 1972. But for all their analog warmth, it's also impossible to deny how raw and recent the songs sound, and harder still to find anything else that sounds quite the same.
Anyone who took Plants and Animals debut, Parc Avenue, into their home and hearts probably already knows this. Since the album was released in early 2008 the band has played over 150 shows, circling the Western world more than once, including appearances at the Pitchfork Music Festival, Barcelona's Primavera Festival, Central Park Summer Stage with The National, and even one night in Columbus opening for Gnarls Barkley, after Danger Mouse discovered Parc Avenue and invited them out. But regardless of where it happened, anyone who has seen the three of them perform live knows that their big sound isn't just some kind of studio wizardry.
Their newest offering, La La Land, is louder, and tougher than Parc Avenue, but also smoother and more cohesive. The album was recorded at the band's home-base studio in Montreal, The Treatment Room, and at Studio La Frette outside Parisa brokedown old mansion filled with vintage gear and a killer board in the cellar.
From California coast vibes to Montreal winters and Spanish trains, La La Land is just as eclectic as Parc Avenue, but there's something more mature holding the music together now. Inspired by a rediscovery of electric guitars, amplification and fuzz pedals, it takes us up and away from Parc Avenue's Montreal-in-the-summer vibe, and out into the big league rock n' roll ether. It's like all the experimentation and attention to detail in the studio over the years has bred a kind of confidence in them that you can hear all the way through La La Land. As they might say in the movies, La La Land isn't a placeit's a state of mind. Plants and Animals have never been a band with much interest in posturing or unnecessary theatrics, but on La La Land the curtain isn't just pulled back, it's gone entirely.
LITTLE SCREAM'S MUSIC is-like her moniker-full of perfectly satisfying contradictions. It is at once familiar and completely distinct; effortlessly absorbing multiple genres into a sparkly and cohesive landscape. From her early days performing with a battered acoustic guitar through a cigarette amp, to her current multi-layered solo act typically combined with a rotating band of all-star musicians; one thing remains true for Little Scream: things are always done in her own weird and wonderful way.
Born in Iowa and raised along the Mississippi River in an 'Addams Family meets 700 Club' home, Little Scream, aka Laurel Sprengelmeyer, learned violin and piano as a child. 'When my parents divorced, all my mom got out of the deal was a green Chevy pick-up truck. When that truck was dented up in an accident, my mom used the insurance money to bring home a Washburn banjo and the black Fender La Brae I still sometimes play at shows. I spent the following months locked away in our root cellar learning guitar tablature. Mostly Aerosmith'.
Little Scream emerged onto Montreal's music scene at her own pace, appearing and disappearing on stages alongside the likes of Owen Pallet, Atlas Sound, Stars, The Sea and Cake, and Handsome Furs; all the while slowly crafting the sounds that would become her debut full length: The Golden Record. Co-produced with Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre), The Golden Record features Little Scream on guitar, vocals, violin, and keyboard. In typical Montreal fashion, it showcases a healthy slice of local talent including Richard Parry, Mike Fuerstack (Snailhouse), Becky Foon (Silver Mt. Zion), Patty McGee (Stars), and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre). The National's Aaron Dessner also contributed on "Heron and the Fox".
The title refers to the 1977 Voyager Space shuttle time capsule recording that contains sounds, language and music intended to represent earth. In Little Scream's words: 'It is a poignant if not futile gesture of communication with some form of sentience that might intercept it in the distant future when we are the distant past'. The otherworldly cover of The Golden Record is one of Little Scream's own original oil paintings. Watch out for the Spring 2011 release of The Golden Record.