Hailing from Montreal, Sunfields started off as a solo project from Jason Kent who has been visiting England for years. Their first album which was completed in Spring 2010 began three years earlier during the Fall of of 2007 just north of London.

Longtime friend and guitarist Phil burns, who played with Kent in a previous band joined, along with Drummer Chris Wise, and Bassist Cliff Roberts. Fender Rhodes and James Watkins are only a couple to mention among many other artists that contributed to the Place in the Sun album. The album is full of different original instruments from mellotrons and mandolins right on through to saxophones, trombones, and vibraphones, which are just an example of the diversity of sounds used on this album.

Palace in the Sun starts off with a happy vibrant melodious track, Skin and Bones, using a head bobbing foot-tapping beat.   Their classic soft rock rhythm and country/jazz feel is felt throughout in every song right to the end of the album. The choppy pianos, background clapping and raspy vocals complement the bluesy tough sounding guitar and Kent’s vocals add nicely on their single City, which can also be heard in their video.

Palace’s harmonica intro calms you down a bit before raising your heart with inspiring vocals. With beautiful bright colors painted into an archaic portrait on a canvass with a dark background, the artwork for Palace is fresh and pleasant, and matches the album perfectly. Palace took me on an enjoyable journey through touching memories, all the while warming me with a sense of freedom that stays close to home yet still down to earth.

Palace in the Sun in a whole is a pleasant music journey in the sun through soft caressing fields. It gives you a nice blend of old classic rock smoothed out with a wide variety of original sounds for an uplifting experience. A good album altogether, great for that desire to sit back and relax in the sun.

Sunfields also recently played at CFC with Michou and ForgetTheBox was there! Check out our show review too.

Photo by Chris Zacchia

“This is Ponderous, man. Really. Ponderous,” begins the opening title track of this classic obscure album that I listened to in Grade 8. I bought it for two dollars, on cassette, from the bargain bin of a discount store on Queen Mary, I think.

I listened to this tape a lot, partly because it wasn’t what everyone else was listening to. In a true spoken-word narrative, this Seattle based band 2nu, so named on the air when a DJ said this band was “Too New” to even have a name. Later I discovered the word-jazz of Ken Nordine, the sound poetry of the Tone Poets and many others on the scene at the time. H.P.Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, George Orwell, Skyclad and Donovan were other strong influences.

This was one of my early influences in spoken word, as I acquired it shortly before I emerged on Montreal’s spoken word scene. I often employed this technique, using local folk musicians playing guitars, drums and flutes, It was spoken word type narrative with a good background musical dimension.

This album has a loose through-line involving the character of Nardo Polo, which isn’t his real name. He goes on quite a few adventures through this album, beginning with a dream where he takes the day off work because nobody remembers who he is.

He likes that and goes through several scenarios. He goes on a cheap vacation to Clive Dinkies, then his girlfriend breaks it off, he has a Spaz Attack, travels unconsciously into Africa, ending up in a cabin in Montana, meets a mysterious woman who leads him into a murderous situation and his world is altered in a way that he can’t understand.

At this point, he narrates his own way through a cover of Eric Burdon’s “Spill the Wine” making it very much his own, without showing any disrespect for the original version. He ends up singing the blues at the dentist’s office at the end of the album.

If you haven’t heard this album or spoken word, give it a try… it’s not 2nu.

The mid nineties was a very good time to live in Montreal if you were into checking out local music. With bands like Frog Machine, Goldfish and Gaby, Jr. playing almost every week in various official and unofficial venues around town, there were things going on to say the least. At the forefront of all this were The Snitches.

As the hosts of the loft shows known as C-Pig, this extremely energetic six-piece would rock the underground scene at least once a month, and play sold-out shows in places as varied as Club Soda (the original Club Soda on Parc) and Dawson College. While they were known for their very high-energy shows, they also released albums.

Their debut record, A Day at the A, was catchy and fun. Their other album, Star Witness offered more punky tunes. For me, though, the quintessential Snitches album has got to be 1997’s Sleepwalker.

The opening track, Ma Belle Diva, creeps up on you and turns into a highly danceable rocker by the end, setting the tone for the rest of the album. The songs range from outright pop tunes like, AKA (my personal favourite), to the punky and borderline grungy like That Somewhere Smile and by the time things are ready to wind down, they don’t. This City (the second to last tune) may have a slower tempo and Andrea (the closer) may be an introspective acoustic ballad written for a lost friend, but both keep the underlying energy up.

Regardless of specific style of the song, there are three elements that are part of all of Sleepwalker: energy, catchiness and attitude. You can and will want to sing along, you can and will want to move (either fast or slow) and you will feel that there is something raw, emotional and even a bit dark behind all of it. You can’t quite put your finger on it but you know it’s there. It’s in the lyrics, it’s in the music. It comes close to contrasting the rest of the generally happy-go-lucky attitude, but The Snitches are so smooth in their composition that it just ends up complimenting it.

It’s this mix of polished party music and raw attitude that first drew me to The Snitches (the fact that they’re all talented musicians who play extremely well together helps, too) and it’s this mix that is most present on Sleepwalker. That’s why when someone mentions The Snitches to me, I instantly think Sleepwalker.

You can order or download Sleepwalker from Sugartune here, for now, this is an example of later Snitches: