November 16, 2010

Kris and Dee back in Toronto, Mrs. Berg's Win, Master Tracks' New Season

To catch up yet again, we begin with Kris and Dee, who travel from the wilds of Kingston back to where we first met them in the Big Smoke. Busying themselves with more shows, adding members to their full-fledged band and even starting work on their first album, the Abbott-McNeils will make a triumphant return to Toronto with a show Thursday night at Slacks, 562 Church Street. There's no cover, and doors open at 8pm.

Another triumph recently as Laura Berg, lovely wife of Moe, won the 2010 SavvyMom Mom Entrepreneur Of The Year Award for her work with MySmartHands. Along with prestige and press exposure, she receives a great array of prizes - from cash to mentorships - which she's putting toward taking her business even further. Congratulations, Mrs. Berg!

As for Mr. Berg, the latest season of Master Tracks is currently unfolding on AUX-TV, as Moe and Laurence Currie take more bands from "demo to download" in a day. Head to the website for info on catching the latest episode on tv or to watch online. Here's an episode featuring one of Moe's favorite bands of the last couple years, Stereo Goes Stellar.

August 30, 2010

Art For Moe's Sake

Over there is the work of Marc Eliuk, reminding us of the Moe we all remember. Marc did the portrait as part of his "The Artist Who Interviews" series, also talking to the Moe we know now about beginnings, "Master Tracks", influences, advice and even Monteforte (maybe he should have asked when the hell MF is ever playing again!). It's well worth checking out, as are the myriad examples of Marc's art on that site.

Also, word is a music magazine in the UK is doing a little something about Love Junk as part of a fairly prestigious list. Stay tuned for updates on that in the near future...

July 17, 2010

Kris and Dee Raising the Roof, etc.

And now to catch up with Kris and Dee, who have had a pretty amazing summer so far. After being part of the Save Our Prison Farms rally with none other than Margaret Atwood and doing a lot of writing on a vacation in Newfoundland, their gig schedule just keeps rolling on.

Tonight (yes, sorry for the late notice), they'll be playing at the Music Market Cafe in Napanee at around 9:20pm (only a $5 cover and two great acts preceding). Then next weekend, they're at the Raise the Roof Women's Music Festival in the Kingston area on Sunday afternoon at 1:30.

Since the new embed function on YouTube is being annoying right now, head over there to check out Kris and Dee performing three original songs at the recent Homegrown Music Festival: "Mars", "Presence of Me" and "Polar Bears".

July 15, 2010

Welcome U.S. iTunes! (finally)

Okay, so we'll be doing some catching up on things for the next short while, starting with a funny status message Moe put on Facebook: "Out of nowhere, the first two TPOH records appeared in the American iTunes store. A bit late but thanks Capitol Records."

Indeed, better late than never, and so folks in the U.S.A. can pick up Love Junk and the crazy-rare One-Sided Story here at their iTunes Store.

Since every country/region has to have its own separate iTunes Store (an annoyance to many people), a reminder (as suggested in the sidebar) that TPOH is also available to some extent in the iTunes Stores of Canada, the U.K., Ireland and Australia. But don't bother much with the biography, which mentions "drummer Dave Gilburg" and "Bran Barker on bass". :-)

May 1, 2010

Kris & Dee's May Day, Laura's app

Sorry for the late notice, but if you're in the Kingston area tonight, celebrate May Day with Kris Abbott and Dee Abbott McNeil in a great night of music in The Living Room of The Mansion (506 Princess Street) with High Heels Lo-Fi and Music Maul. Cover is $10 and doors open at 9pm.

In other news of the ladies of TPOH :-) Laura Berg's My Smart Hands empire has expanded to your iPhone (or, in my case, iPod Touch). The MSH app is now available at the iTunes Store in full and Lite versions, starring Mrs. Berg in a video dictionary of all kinds of words for a baby to use with sign language, along with tips on how to remember them and tests to sharpen your skills anywhere a baby can take you. Head to the iTunes store here to pick it up!

March 25, 2010

Mrs. Berg, You've Got a Lovely Empire

Let's change the focus a little outside of music for a moment, because great things have been happening with Moe's lovely wife Laura (or as many call her, "Mrs. Berg"). Ten years after they started going out - and Moe's run as the romantic loser of Canadian rock came to an end - Laura's business has been featured in the big way in The Globe and Mail, "Canada's National Newspaper".

Trained as a teacher, when Laura was teaching baby daughter Fireese how to use sign language to communicate her wants before speech would catch up, she saw the benefit it had for her vocabulary and verbal skills later. Wanting to stay home with her, she came up with the idea for My Smart Hands, a business where she would teach baby sign language to other moms and kids. As part of the Your Business series, The Globe has featured Laura this month, talking about the history of the business and the techniques (including social media) she's employed to make it a global concern. Check out the video here! (Photo from Laura Berg's Facebook profile)

March 16, 2010

Master Tracks: Rides Again

Time to catch up on some more editions of "Master Tracks" with our friends Moe and Laurence. This time, the Oshawa power trio Rides Again head into Metalworks with hopes to bring "more angst" to their song "Time Bomb" - and changes to changes Moe had already made. But the collaboration comes together as Moe looks for chaos in a "guitar event" and Laurence helps by swinging a microphone over his head. Take a look here or below:

March 6, 2010

Kris and Dee video, and a big show to come

Here's a snippet of Kris and Dee at that show at The Mansion Thursday, by all accounts a wonderful set with great friends. (Just a reminder: Kris is on the left, Dee on the right.) But it doesn't end here.

"Canadian Musicians Support Prison Farms" will be happening March 20 at the Sydenham Street United Church in Kingston. On the bill with Kris and Dee will be Sarah Harmer, Luther Wright, the inimitable Fred Penner, Open Heart Society and Maya Thau-Eleff. Admission is $15 ($5 for those unemployed or under-employed) available at various Kingston locations. Check the Facebook event for details.

March 2, 2010

Kris and Dee: onstage...and on the farm?

They've been dipping their toes in the live show pool for a little while, but Kris and Dee Abbott McNeil are jumping in with a gig Thursday at The Mansion in their home base of Kingston, Ontario. They're pretty excited to have Anna Rees on drums and playing a proper set on a bill of some great Kingston musicians. It also bodes well for more live shows in the area coming this summer. For more info, check out their Facebook Event page and share your well-wishes for them - or even better, if you're in the area, let them know you'll be at the show!

Meanwhile, Kris has become active in the cause to help save six Canadian "prison farms": farms run by inmates for rehabilitation, to develop skills and provide food not just for the prisons themselves, but surrounding organizations like food banks and shelters. Introduced to the issue at a local town meeting (the Frontenac farm is in her area), she became fascinated by the achievements of the prison farms program and disgusted by the Federal Government's decision to scrap it. On Facebook, she wrote: "The decision of the Fed Government is nothing more than another American style adaptation of a WALMxxx business plan and a very dehumanizing approach to the future of Corrections in Canada."

She recently wrote a letter to her local MP, which was passed on to the Minister for Public Safety, and took part in a recent picketing event (getting up very early to hang out with a cow in the cold outside the CORCAN offices). To find out more, take a look at Kris' Facebook Notes or her Myspace blog post.

February 2, 2010

Master Tracks: Drive Faster

This time on Master Tracks, Moe and Laurence show that it takes a lot of meticulous (yet fun) work to make a song sound like it was done live off the floor in one take. The song in question: "Analog" by the Toronto-via-Calgary band Drive Faster, who had recently changed their name in the search for a new sound. They go a long way toward finding that sound - in between games of pool - with some help from Moe's Stratocaster and "delightful" lead vocals that make Moe feel like he's been drinking. Enjoy it all here or below:

January 14, 2010

Master Tracks: Mamabolo

In this edition of Master Tracks, the director gets some direction, as film festival favourite Rob Stefaniuk (Suck, Phil the Alien) plays keyboards for Mamabolo (named after the lovely Barb up front), whose track "Close Your Eyes" gets the demo-to-download-in-a-day treatment. Moe and Laurence take what was a "Rush-style arrangement" and put all the cool things in order, with the help of a bass from a garage sale and some delicious Italian sandwiches. Check it out here or below:

And while we're here, there's also a swell web bonus video in which Moe ushers us into the glamorous world of guitar tuning. Enjoy here, or down there: