MUSIC PREVIEW: Mother Mother adds new wrinkle

Mother Mother GigCity EdmontonOur very special guest this week on Who Named the Band? is Mother Mother – whose “ominous yet benevolent” name was chosen by the band’s frontman and main songwriter Ryan Guldemond.

At an open stage jam in hometown Vancouver in 2005 with his co-singers, sister Molly Guldemond and Jasmin Parkin, he’d been forced to come up with a name quickly and originally went with “Mother.” They doubled it up at the behest of the record company because it turned out there were already a number of bands named Mother. So Mother Mother it was. Their debut album, Touch Up, came out in 2007.

“There’s an ambiguity to to the name, a feeling of: what is that? It could be good or evil,” Guldemond told GigCity in 2012. “And I think we’re a bit mysterious in our music, so it seemed appropriate. It’s also the title of one of my favorite songs ever: Mother, by John Lennon, who’s also a huge musical influence.”

We’ll just go ahead and throw the B-52s, Pink Floyd and U2 as influences in there, too – plus David Guetta, maybe? Mother x2 introduces an electronic wrinkle on its shiny new album, Very Good Bad Thing, its very title a paradox wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a mystery. Much like the band itself.

There aren’t many tickets left for Thursday’s gig at the Shaw Conference Centre, with noted wackos USS opening. This officially marks the last BIG ROCK SHOW of 2014. Tickets are $47, BUY


Thursday 4

Asking Alexandria – One can trace a slightly wobbly but more or less straight path from Motley Crue, Guns N’ Roses and other Hollywood glam-era metal bands of yore in the deceptively screamo-emo-laden music of this slick British fivesome. Kids love this band. They tour North America behind their 2013 album, From Death to Destiny. With opening acts Bless the Fall, Chelsea Grin, Upon a Burning Body and The Family Ruin, the show also runs Friday the 5th. Tickets are $39.50, doors at 4 pm both nights, all ages, BUY

Friday 5

The Crooked Brothers – Imagine Tom Waits in O Brother Where Art Thou? enacted in the boondocks of Manitoba – the Ozarks of Canada. These guys are technically from the big city Winnipeg, but their swampy, melancholy chill-folk sound speaks volumes about the flat, lonely, wide-open spaces infested with bugs only about half the year, and bitter horrible cold the rest of the time. The band is described as “gritty yet pretty.” Just like Manitoba. The Artery, with The Whiskey Sheikhs, 8 pm, $10 advance, BUY

A Miserable Christmas with the Misery Mountain Boys – Neither miserable, nor all boys, this local newgrass-jump jazz combo hosts a night of holiday cheer at Wunderbar, backed up by the like-minded Tubstep Collective and Hello, Doctor! Also, they don’t live anywhere near a mountain. How can they get away with such a tapestry of lies?! Because bluegrass, that’s why. Show at 9 pm. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Saturday 6

The Tea Party – This power trio originally from Windsor, Ontario made a huge impact in the mid-1990s with a frontman who sings like Jim Morrison and plays guitar like Jimmy Page, on songs that unsurprisingly sound like a cross between Led Zeppelin (in more Arabic moments) and the darkest Doors. There’s more where that came from, and better, on the new album The Ocean at the End, marking a reunion after an almost 10 year hiatus. Union Hall, $40, $50 for VIP, BUY


Close Talker – What the fracking hoek is it about twee Saskatoon that produces such awesome bands? The water. It has to be water. Another worthy one – named presumably for Jerry Seinfeld’s bit about people who stand too close in a conversation – emerges from the shallow prairie valleys with a polyrhyhmic wonder of haunting beauty: folk, rock, new wave, expansive, atmospheric, name your label, it’s compelling from the first few notes. Always a good sign. Nature Of and Postscript open this 9 pm show at Brixx. Tickets $10-$15, BUY

Cygnets – Again we can hear shades of the past in the brisk electronic-rock grooves of this Edmonton band rich in old-time analog synths and hollow, echoey vocals. Think the Cure, think Joy Division, hell, think Darkroom (Edmonton’s new wave heroes from the 1980s recently come back). The trio named for male swans releases its new album at the Pawnshop. Free admission before 10 pm, only $5 after. Such a deal.

Bands on the Run – A triple bro-country bill of Road Hammers (featuring CISN drivetime host Clayton Bellamy), Doc Walker and Blackjack Billy promise to deliver a yee-hawing, honky-tonkin’, beer-swillin’, g-droppin’ night of rockin’ outlaw country of the highest order. At the River Cree Casino’s Venue. Tickets for the 8 pm show are $40. BUY


The Red Threat – Is “emo” still a thing? This dependable Edmonton band proudly displays all the hallmarks of a genre some have called “punk rock for girls.” Fast beats, distorted guitars in tune, plaintive melodies in minor keys and songs that contain the first person pronoun – it’s all good. The Red Threat releases its new CD, Violent Love, with a show at the mighty Mercury Room, 7 pm, SOLD OUT

Rae Spoon – This famously androgynous electronic-folk artist from Calgary uses the gender-neutral plural pronouns “their” and “they” as self-descriptors. It takes some getting used to, yet it’s instantly thought-provoking – much like Spoon’s music. They plays the Artery, touring behind their personal 2013 album, My Prairie Home, the soundtrack to the documentary film of the same name. Opening is a favourite around here: the accordion-wielding klezmer-hammering political firebrand Geoff Berner. Show repeats Sunday the 7th. Advance tickets $15, BUY


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Sunday 7

Eddie Turner in Christmas BOW – When bluesmen, blueswomen and their blueschillin gather for a good cause, the result is usually a resounding success for same. The Edmonton food bank’s larder should be groaning after Blues on Whyte’s annual Christmas blues benefit bonanza, featuring the Cuban-born Chicagoan Eddie Turner closing out his seven-night stand. Also on the bill are notable locals that include Boogie Patrol, King Muskafa, Hot Cottage, Lionel Rault and more. The music starts at 2 pm and goes until we can feel the 12-bar shuffle in our very BONES. All proceeds to the food bank.