SOUND SEEKERS: A musical bromance, a new edition to Garaga, plus Barber and Vollebekk and more
Scene & Heard

SOUND SEEKERS: A musical bromance, a new edition to Garaga, plus Barber and Vollebekk and more

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

Matt Ouimet. Photo by Jamie Kronick.
When cops form bands, they call them things like “Guilty Minds.” Chock it up to the need to vent your workaday observations into clever little handles. That’s what Joe Brownrigg did. He’s one of Ottawa’s finest (a debatable term when applied to our force, especially of late, but I digress). He’s a father of two and plays a lot of hockey. In short, he doesn’t have a lot of time to mess around.

When recording engineers write songs, they make all the little details count. Chock it up to the need to be meticulous. That’s what Matt Ouimet did. He’s a comedian, turned producer, turned songwriter — one of Ottawa’s finest, in fact. He spends his nights above a radiator shop on Gladstone Avenue. The space has been turned into a recording hall called The Resonator. (Ouimet runs it with Dave Dudley, who owns the drum shop next store and has wicked cred because he drummed with Furnaceface back in the day). In short, he likes to mess around with knobs.

Ouimet went to see a Guilty Minds show in September, that’s when he and Brownrigg got to talking. What formed was a mutual admiration society with the goal of getting stuff done. Who has time to feel painful angst over every note? Who has time to ponder another word to rhyme with love? Sometimes there is value in spontaneity and directness.

With that motto, Ouimet, Brownrigg, and their mutual pal Steve Boudreau hopped in studio, jumped onto their respective instruments, set up mics and pushed record. They went with what they had. Occasionally they did a second take. One song led to another song, and now they have a whole host of tunes, whereby they dispatch hazy wisdom and churn up a bit of tempered fury in song.

They’ll be playing those new tunes this weekend, amidst the dusty paperbacks and Formica surfaces of the Raw Sugar Café. They’ll be backed by “The Phils” – aka father-and-son team Philip Victor Bova (bass) and Philip Shaw Bova (drums), a duo of musical wizards and professional studio men (they mastered the last Feist album). It’s a bit of finesse and polish to counter what has been a fairly raw songwriting process. The opposing forces lead to harmony, Ouimet says. “It’s a vibe you get from not working something to death.”

Saturday, Nov. 12. 9:30 p.m. $10. Raw Sugar Café, 692 Somerset St. W.


Garaga is, from left, Jeff Martin, Kevin Berger, Shawn Jam Hill and Colin Majid.
Garaga is a band that has exited the garage so many times that their brand of snotty punk rock is brand name. The Ottawa four-piece comprises members who did time in way-back bands Neanderthal Sponge and Mumbleweed. Its newest member is timekeeper Kevin Berger of The Visitors, who joins metalhead/guitarist Shawn Jam Hill, bass player Colin Majid, and front guy Jeff Martin. They release their second album, Miss Universe, this weekend. It follows their 2008 self-titled red vinyl debut. The brain-baking barrages are a nice chase to openers The Shakey Aches. Their bluesy, punky chords, thick, wailing lines and oozing grooves are the stoner’s delight — it’ll make you dance and sear the depths of your melon.

Garaga and the Shakey Aches, with host Remi Royale. Friday, Nov. 11. Dominion Tavern, 33 York St.


  • Matthew Barber’s heart-on-sleeve roots rockers fill the room at Wakefield’s Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, Nov. 12.
  • Meanwhile, Leif Vollebekk channels his Tom Waits love into pretty ditties at the same Inn on Friday, Nov. 11.
  • Rufus Wainwright brings his lovely histrionics to the NAC’s Southam Hall Saturday, Nov. 12.
  • Post-rock experimentalists J’envoie release their 12-inch record Les vitesse des chats sauvages at Shanghai Restaurant Friday, Nov. 11 (after 9 p.m.)
  • The Ethics tell tales of modern love to a Bytowncore beat Saturday, Nov. 12 at the Downstairs Club at the Clocktower Pub.