Toronto-based, JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Annabelle Chvostek reinvents herself on BE THE MEDIA (self-produced/released on MQGV – Massive Quantities of Good Vibes), her fifth solo recording, which playfully navigates the boundaries between folk rock, post punk and the Canadian singer-songwriter tradition. She will perform with her long time collaborators, Tony Spina on drums and Jérémie Jones on bass. Be The Media is available on iTunes, CD Baby, Bandcamp and Annabellemusic.com. For more info please visit http://annabellemusic.com / http://burdockto.com/.
Annabelle Chvostek’s latest recording Be The Media, will likely take some by surprise. After releasing two albums with Canada’s foremost folk label, Borealis Records, Annabelle has gone back to her independent roots, picked up a 1957 Kay electric guitar, and unleashed her inner rocker.
The album will be released on Saturday, November 19 @ 8:30 PM – 11:30 PM at Burdock, 1184 Bloor Street West, Toronto.
In collaboration with NY producer Jeff Oehler of Beehive Productions, drummer Tony Spina and bassist Jérémie Jones, Be The Media makes a complete break from her previous albums and takes an unconventional approach, featuring Beehive’s signature ‘live-off-the-floor’ feel. The songs were recorded live with the trio in a tight knit circle, in the acoustic ambience of an old century home. Additional parts were recorded later in Montréal and Montevideo.
Committed to speaking out on issues of social justice, Chvostek expands the palette with which she expresses it – calling out dishonesty where she finds it in the world today – as on the title track. She’s on fire on this tune with raunchy, over-amped distorted guitar. She’s the most rock ‘n’ roll she’s ever been, channelling the Dylan of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” through a Jack White filter. Her disenchantment for dishonesty continues on “Jerusalem,” an Eastern European dirge with haunted, lamenting fiddle and punchy snare. Lyrically it calls attention to humanitarian missions to occupied territories being thwarted, hurling a dark cloud over the cradle of civilization.
“Black Hole” drives with a moody, meditative, atmospheric, cinematic opening. A trippy and spooky feedback of the saw played by Lisa Gamble overlays thick, muddy, quicksand rock ‘n’ roll with tribal drums keeping it grounded.
A dark, spoken word-like, minor key verse begins “Carnal Delights” but makes a whiplash shift into a major key, and a carnival show tune/waltz with more saw sounds to create an unnerving effect.
Fearless and feisty, Chvostek questions everything here, yet reaches out for love along the way, as in this beauty of a love song “This Night,” where she pauses for a more melodic breather amongst all of the rock gems.
Even in a gentle, reflective song like “You Can Come Now,” the sweet, captivating vocals are set against the grit of one twangy, tremolo guitar and one distorted, strummy guitar.
It’s ironic that on her most hard-rocking album to date, Chvostek shifts gears on an equally hard-rocking Neil Young classic, “Like a hurricane,” and she chooses to do a softer, acoustic version, fueled by mandolin. She definitely takes it to a new level, while falsetto vocals soar with wild abandon throughout.
Throwing her ideas into classic ‘90s indie dance-rock shapes on “Inside The Scream/Screen,” she comes on fast and furious, with vintage amps, exploding grooves, and climbing vocals. Pure M Magazine says, “Racing eagerly towards determined lyrics, it showcases captivating guitar work and an irresistibly arresting beat.”
The chords on the last track “Say It Right,” – that cites a sweet, joyous explosion of love strong enough to erase all doubt – are a sideways re-write of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane” drawing the album to a hopeful conclusion.
Be The Media proves there’s definitely more to Annabelle Chvostek than you’ve seen – and heard – before. – CINEWS/Speak Music