BY FATEEMA SAYANI
New album, new name, new feel — it’s all coming together for Shannon Rose. The Ottawa singer-songwriter and her band, The Thorns, have changed their name to Gold & Marrow, a reference to that in-the-bone inclination Rose has for songwriting, as well as all the tweaking that’s done by her band to make them gold. That band consists of Rose’s spouse and producer Steve Matylewicz on guitar, Dave Edwards on bass, Arturo Portacarrero on drums and Cal Cheney on keys. Together they have released a third album called Forever, which follows their debut, Sing Me A Song (2008) and the Seasons series of EPs Rose released throughout the latter half of 2013 and on.
On album three, Rose has found the perfect balance of all her expressions. She blends her melancholy, sensuality, folk lustre, and roots background into 10 songs that explode with desire and ferocity. She is at once powerhouse pop artist and entirely tender in the video for the song Striking Gold (shot by Matylewicz), a tune representative of all the sentiments that soar throughout the album.
By the end of the album, the mood shifts to a sound that’s more down-tempo, but the subject matter is no less weighty. The songs on Forever deal with time, existential crises, jealousy, intensity, and life changes. “Time is on a lot of the songs,” says Rose. “I’m thinking of things that concern me on a day-to-day basis.”
The album is intense, both sonically and thematically, which was intentional according to Matylewicz. “There’s a trend to go toward singles instead of albums, so people don’t give albums a chance,” he says, “[As the album’s producer] I really tried to ignore that — hopefully not to our detriment.”
The Gold & Marrow album release party takes place October 4 at the Black Sheep Inn with guests The Visit.
Joining the Pack
Alex Cairncross was part of the Ottawa live music scene for years, known for his band photography and membership in groups such as Sleeping Pilot and As the Poets Affirm. He joined the band The Golden Dogs on bass since decamping to Toronto in 2009. Cairncross will reunite with the capital when his power art-pop band plays pinball palace House of Targ on October 3 with Taylor Knox and Orienteers. The Golden Dogs is led by spousal duo Dave Azzolini (vocals, guitar) and Jessica Grassia (vocals, drums) along with Stefanie McCarrol (keys, guitars), and Cairncross. He met the couple while hanging around the studio space they share with the band Zeus. Cairncross took some publicity photos of The Golden Dogs in their previous incarnation and joined the band in 2012. The Golden Dogs’ fourth album, Surf Music for the Non-Swimmer, is due out in 2015.
Gigs! Gigs! Gigs!
Soul band The Split will hold a video release party for Doo Wop, the second single off their debut EP Can’t Get Enough, October 3 at the Black Sheep Inn. The video was created as part of a collaborative process called Crowded Room, a concept that brings bands and fans together up close and is the brainchild of production house Gallery Recording Studios, video makers Dan Rascal Productions and design company Log Creative Bureau (an OM office crush). The Split’s video is the first yield from the Crowded Room collaboration. Watch a trailer of the video here.