by Sam Sutherland

December 6, 2011






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On the Sunparlour Players’ latest full-length, Us Little Devils, released this October, vocalist Andrew Penner alone is credited with playing 11 different instruments. The grocery list of sounds that the Toronto-based trio apply to their otherwise disarmingly simple Canadiana tunes is a good indication of the care that goes into each Sunparlour Players album, endearing them to critics and audiences across the country since the release of their first record, Hymns for the Happy, in 2007. On each subsequent release, the band has evolved beyond the stark folk framework of their early tunes, incorporating energetic proto-punk and synthesizers alongside the traditional banjos, organs, and glockenspiels that have grown to define their sound.

Currently in the midst of an Ontario tour with the Sadies, Sunparlour Players have shows in Windsor, Hamilton, and Toronto left before the year end. With Us Little Devils landing the band on Exclaim!‘s Folk and Country best-of list for 2011, the next year looks to be a busy one for the trio, each of whom provided us with their own picks and explanations for this week’s playlist.

Andrew Penner, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist

“Let Your Light Shine On Me” by Blind Willie Johnson
This is one of the songs that made me wanna start writing and performing. It turned into the Sunparlour Players not too long after. When the stomp kicks in half way through the song and the his voice changes… still gets me. Heavy as spit.

“Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur” by Sigur Ros
I love the way they record and play. This anthem always puts my head on a bit straighter.

“All We Want, Baby, Is Everything” by Handsome Furs
One of my favourite Canadian bands kickin’ some ass right here. You can’t ask much more from a song title too.

“In The Devil’s Territory” by Sufjan Stevens
This record was the first one I got of his. Reinforced my confidence that you don’t have to play the banjo in any traditional form to craft something you believe.

“Wake The Town And Tell The People” by Les Baxter
Fell hard with this composer/arranger a few years back. A twisted Lawrence Welk, I’d say. Makes me think of a David Lynch-type-world that I’d like to ride a skateboard through.

“Wilderness” by Echoes of Zion
I love this music so much. Goes right to the guts. It’s a sentiment I feel a lot. And something I try to bring to the music we’re making.

“Shot Down” by The Sonics
Not much to say on this one. Rock and roll! And the snare drum sound is nuts!

“Keep On Running” by Stevie Wonder

I listened to Stevie Wonder for about three years straight. Played a lot of drums to his records. Headphones blasted-style. Motown was the music I listened to on the radio growing up where I did. And he represents a big part of that sound for me.

Michael Rosenthal, drummer and multi-instrumentalist

“That’s Which Way The Water Falls” by Ryan Driver

This is one of the most inspiring songs I’ve heard in a long time. It’s almost impossible to listen to it just once. A perfect song.

“Every Little Thing” by Al Tuck
This is a great example of how Al Tuck is able to use simple progressions and lyrics and make them original songs of beauty like no one else.

“Lay Down” by Priestess
Heavy duty harmony leads and moves like a truck. Metal!

“Sweet Evening Breeze” by Bob Snider

Bob Snider makes everything okay every time.

“Jump” by Bill Charlap
A perfect combination of aggression and melody. This recording just kills.

“Ridge Runner Rag” by The Sadies
I heard this live every night this week and then listened to the recording on my day off. Guess I like it. A classic.

Dennis Van Dine, bassist and multi-instrumentalist

“Going Steady” by Death From Above 1979
Amazing angry bass sound. Just love it.

“No Cars Go” by Arcade Fire
Great progression, almost nerdy in its complexity, disguised in a frenetic fire suit.

“All Blues” by Miles Davis
Best song ever for a rainy drive in the city.

“Crooked Legs” by The Acorn
Delicate, and beautiful. The music and lyrics sync perfectly.

“Lewis Takes Off His Shirt” by Owen Pallett
Swells of strings over an electronic bed. Love it.

“The National Anthem” by Radiohead

Nothing I can say that hasn’t been said. Huge influence.

Tags: Music, Lists, News, al tuck, arcade fire, Bill Charlap, Blind Willie Johnson, Bob Snider, Death From Above 1979, Handsome Furs, owen pallett, Radiohead, Ryan Driver, sigur ros, Stevie Wonder, Sufjan Stevens, Sunparlour Players, The Raveonettes






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