SOUND SEEKERS: Musicians unite in Centretown Recording Alliance holiday concert
Scene & Heard

SOUND SEEKERS: Musicians unite in Centretown Recording Alliance holiday concert

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

Shanker and Romps are part of the Centretown Recording Alliance.

A gaggle of musicians that resides within the boundaries of Elgin Street and Bronson Avenue, to the east and west, and between Somerset and Arlington, to the north and south, find commonalities between their ‘hood, their desires, and their outlook.

They become band mates in The Allrights, The Centretown Cripplers, The Johnnies, Garaga and Thunderuncle. As they progress in music, they become friends and mutual boosters and coagulate under a loosely formed collective called the Centretown Recording Alliance. Not just a banner under which to gather for another night at the pub, the Centretown Recording Alliance exists to ignite a creative fire under the behinds of a collection of punks and rockers. (Incidentally, it gives a more rocker-centric background to the initials CRA, in this government town).

Earlier this year, the group issued itself a number of recording challenges. Applying the language of reality TV to rock ‘n’ roll, they set up parameters: in six months, the nine-plus members of the CRA had to come up with a band name, record an EP, and produce the album art. The results are available for a free download at the alliance’s bandcamp site.

“Some people recorded on laptops, other people set up mikes in a jam spot and recorded there,” organizer Jon Kiely of Thunderuncle and The Allrights says. “Musically it was everything from dance music right to punk. Everyone more or less went outside their comfort zone.”

The musicians explored new avenues through old songs in a Canada Day themed challenge, which saw Shanker & Romps do a punky send-up of Mitsou’s Bye, Bye Mon Cowboy.

The bands in the alliance are polishing a number of Christmas cover tunes for a holiday challenge. They’ll play them live this weekend. Expect to hear Father Christmas by The Kinks, Santa Claus by The Sonics and Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight) by The Ramones.

“I’m hoping someone does Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis,” Kiely says, “you’re not going to find a whiter group of musicians around, so the results will be interesting.”

Centretown Recording Alliance holiday bash with The Allrights, Slim and Popular, Mnemonics, Garaga, Shanker and Romps, The Johnnies, Thunderuncle, and FindersKeepers, Saturday, Dec. 10, Café Dekcuf, 221 Rideau St., 8 p.m., $5.

Unhinge from the corset of genre at Open Format 12. The monthly series features a roster of “secret” — meaning unnamed — DJs who come together to spin music they love, regardless of its style. The namelessness is part of the point of the night. It’s not about labels, it’s about creating community. Organizers from the collective Pleasure Through Sound also have broader goals for the night: to share music without hype or posturing (a nice aim, though, in truth, posing cannot be policed), and to raise funds for social projects in the city.

Come because you’re conscious, come for the music or come for both reasons — no judgment, man.  Admission by donation with monies going toward social action collective Organizing4Justice. Friday, Dec. 9, 9 p.m. Shanghai Restaurant, 651 Somerset St. W.

TO’s Cancer Bats pay homage to their old-school metal roots tonight at Maverick’s. They’re playing Black Sabbath songs under the name Bat Sabbath. 221 Rideau St., all ages, 7 p.m., $12.

Dave Clark, a former Rheostatic, brings his Woodshed Orchestra to Raw Sugar Café, 692 Somerset St., W., Saturday, Dec. 10 with guests The Golden Seals. 8:30 p.m., $10.

Morgan Friend (previously of Ottawa cowpunks The Bible All-Stars) has a new CD called Angel Goin’ Down, which continues in the BAS vein with plenty of rollicking heathen humour. He plays at the Overkill Bar Sunday, December 11, 8 p.m., no cover. 56 Byward Market, downstairs.