Every Tuesday, Torontoist scours record store shelves in search of the city’s most notable new releases and brings you the best—or sometimes just the biggest—of what we’ve heard in Sound Advice.
What started as a way to compile the prolific creative output of a west-end group of musician friends turned into not only a scene-defining snapshot, but a charitable project that has so far yielded more than eleven thousand dollars for the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank. Friends in Bellwoods II, out today on Out of This Spark, is a second showcase of what Ohbijou sisters Casey and Jennifer Mecija’s house can produce for a good cause.
Friends in Bellwoods II is a lot of the same fare as the first release: mostly folk-y, rare, brand new, or unreleased material from mostly local (but some national) indie loveables. All of the usual suspects are present (Forest City Lovers, D’Urbervilles, and, of course, Ohbijou), but some of the newbies provide some of the compilation’s highlights (Hooded Fang, Le Pigeon, who you can hear streaming to the right). Other highlights from some of the less-known contributors include the super CBC-friendly folk-pop of “Glory Glory” by The Low Notes and the earnest uber-emoting on “Cedars” by Evening Hymns (née Jonas Bonnetta), who will have his album Spirit Guides released by Out of this Spark later this year. The start of disc two, with tracks from The Dinghies, Bocce, and Kids on TV, hints at an electro-pop diversion from the quiet acoustics of disc one, but three tracks is as far as it goes before returning to the familiar singer/songwriter sounds of this family affair.
The best thing about Bellwoods II might just be the jam-packed shows planned for its release: on Friday, August 28 at Lee’s Palace, Ohbijou, Bocce, Forest City Lovers, and Evening Hymns will be joined by special guests Sylvie Smith, Gentleman Reg, and The Wooden Sky, and according to Ohbijou’s MySpace, this is also a “goodbye celebration for the Bellwoods house.” The following day is the all-day, all-ages Tranzac BBQ, which starts promptly at noon with the Bruce Peninsula and closes at around 10:30 p.m. with Ottawa’s The Acorn. Keeping with the community spirit of the compilation, this show is only eight measly dollars with a non-perishable food item donation (ten dollars without). All proceeds from the record again go to the Daily Bread Food Bank, and it will be available for purchase through Out of This Spark.