Tag Archives: Big Otter Creek

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AFL Anniversary Spotlight: Phill Hood!

I know what you’re thinking. Jesse, isn’t this showcase for killer bands you’ve highlighted on the show? I have scoured every Feedback Loop episode and could recite them front and back in my sleep, but I’ve NEVER heard a review of Phill Hood and the Exclamation! You wily liar!

And you’re right. But you HAVE heard releases from every other band member in another form. PH&E!’s stellar bass player John William-Blakeley guest hosted our chat on two of his other projects and what it’s like to moonlight in real estate. Fiddler Jarred Albright is one half of the folk-romatics Rye & Fairytales. Drummer Charlie McKittrick’s (sadly defunct) TimeGiant was featured here. And doing double duty on June 30th is Jake Saenz also of Big Otter Creek. Phew!

So to gear up for this AFL all-star set, I got the scoop from the man himself on his upcoming record, working with his best friends, and what it’s like to produce your own album from the ground up.

Since putting the band together last year, they have been in and out of recording at Phill’s home studio, and working out the tracks at shows around Toronto. Their sound has been compared to other great Canadian Celtic-tinged rock acts, but with a bend towards late 90’s alternative. The debut album, Travel, focuses on Phill’s geographical changes as much as his personal ones. Born and raised in Newfoundland, moving to Toronto for university, traversing the U.S. as part of the Tartan Terrors (with Jake, too. Does that guy ever sleep?), it’s all in the mix. Think Spirit of the West featuring the Barenaked Ladies, getting a hit on Big Shiny Tunes 9.

Their second single, Nelly, was met with a huge response at a show in the spring. The clear influence of Jimmy Eat World and some high-octane emotional lyrics made for a powerful track. The band’s stage presence is also a shining example of what working with your friends can bring to a performance.

“It’s just fun. I look back and see JW and Charlie getting a groove together, and then Jake is right there with some crazy new guitar tone. He’s a gear head like me, so we really get some great stuff. And when it’s done, we stick around to check out the next band. Something people overlook, just stay and support each other if you can. “

On recording in his home studio, which has changed 3 times since the album began, Phill also had this to say:

“It’s freeing to have complete control. I can come home after a great set and ride that high, have the mics set up so I can lay down something whenever I want to. But it’s my first crack at producing such a large-scale record, [He produced a 4-track hip-hop EP last spring and the award-winning score for a children’s web series ] so there’s always new tricks to learn. YouTube tutorials really are a goldmine. That, and, just working at it until it has the feel you want.” 

So when can we expect the record release? Phill, a savvy businessman but always an artist first, has decided the album wouldn’t be complete without a final track composed just weeks ago and inspired by a getaway to Northern Ontario. While it may delay the release of Travel, and his band mates have certainly teased him about getting it out there already, it’s certainly a fitting addition to a body of work already brimming with songs that capture what it means to explore and discover. Not just the scenery, but the self.

In the meantime, check out their first single, Obvious and don’t forget to swing by The Hideout June 30th to hear all their tunes live!

Episode 25: Single’s Spotlight 2

It’s time for another great sample platter of Southern Ontario’s best original artists. Jess gets deep into why cultural appropriation is a silly accusation and Dylan explains why ‘Adult Contemporary” is not a four letter word. We hear tracks from Todd Donald, Poshley Slums, Julian Troiano, Julian Taylor and Claire Coupland. If you get in no other loop this year, get in this one!!!

Episode 24: Red Arms

A couple of cheeky Communist-themed fellas from London who like to make loud music. It’s punk, it’s rock, but above these it’s poetry. We trace Red Arms’ tunes from the EP Welcome to the New Cold War and into their latest release, Let Every Nation Know. Jess recites some of her favourite lyrics ever on the show, and Dylan praises the ‘take no prisoners’ prose of anti-record exec anthem No Inspiration.

Episode 20: The Consumer Goods and In The City (w/ JW Blakeley and Phill Hood)!

Whew! It’s a big one folks. But Jess promises it’s worth it. JW takes us behind the curtain on Tyler Shipley’s political indie pop outfit and its rotation of musicians, and sheds light on the upcoming gossamer-pop In the City tunes yet to be released (yay sneak peek!). Phill Hood, JW’s longtime bandmate and front man for Phill Hood and the !! stuck around to make JW blush by comparing his melodic bass style to Paul McCartney. If you want giggles, anecdotes, and two very different records to get into, this is the one. Get in the loop! SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE END!!!!

Best of 2015

Dylan and Jess had a LOT to say about the fantastic bands we’ve had on AFL, so to celebrate a new year, we take a trip back through the most controversial, most memorable, and most hilarious clips and bloopers from 2015. If you’re new to our show, enjoy a taste of what we’ve done and stay tuned for what’s to come. Happy New Year!

Episode 10: Alex Mason

Melancholy banjos, the tale of a drunken sailor and the epic inner struggle of man vs the animal inside, we tackled Alex Mason’s short but sweet EP Wistow Lows. Based in Toronto and recorded in London, Mason has packed up a dense 4 tracks, so get in the loop! Dying to catch up with your favourite bands from early episodes? We got you covered there too! AND don’t forget to check out our next episode for a SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT MWAHAHAHAH.