Sunday, March 26, 2006

Full Album Friday 9 (Sunday Edition):
Emm Gryner Live @ The Point

Casey Dorrell

Earlier this week, I was pretty negative in regards to the new band Emm Gryner is in. I stick by that, but I don't want to give the impression that my negativity stemmed from the fact that the band didn't sound like Emm Gryner. This isn't the case. My negativity was predicated on the gap between the way in which the band was presented and its actual sonic output, of which Gryner was not responisble for.

But I will go to bat for Emm Gryner. Gryner runs her own label that she started in 1996, Dead Daisy Records, which is primarily a method of getting her own material out. She did make a short and unfortunate leap to the major labels with her 1998 release, Public. Short because she opted out of her contract and unfortunate because it means that when people do know Gryner, they usually know her for one song only: 'Summerlong', which littered the AM airwaves at the turn of the century. The song isn't bad, but it's overproduced, and far from the best song on the album.

Her best album, on the other hand, is the first she made after returning to her own independent label in 1999, Science Fair. Its production value is minimal, having been recorded via 8-track. This gives her piano playing skills and lyrical strength their deserved spotlight without being lost in overproduction. It has the sort of sound that might appeal to both staunch indie music fans and fans of more mainstream acts like Sarah McLachlan. The difference being that her music is more lyrically relatable, hints at a sense of humour not present in McLachlan's work, and her arrangements tend to be a lot more interesting.

Despite the fact that her lyrics are, perhaps, the central component to her piano and guitar based songs, she's also released two excellent cover albums: 2001's Girl Versions and 2005's Songs of Love and Death. The former was akin to a less produced version of Tori Amos's cover album, featuring covers of decidely male songs (although its lineage predates Amos); the latter was an album of all Irish covers (but not traditional songs).

Gryner's last release, AsianBlue, was a somewhat disapointing affair for those, like myself, that prefer her stripped down songs. It was the most produced album since she left Mercury. Still, were still remarkable, just catering to a different audience, perhaps. The songs underneath the production values would appeal to fans of Science Fair. I know this because I've seen her perform many of them live (set to the backdrop of a Chantal Kreviazuk covering busker out in the street, mind you).

Here's an excellent live show (April 6th, 2002: Bryn Mawr, PA) captured by the good people at this Emm Gryner fan site. The recorder makes appologies for the quality, but I think it's one of the best I've heard.

Emm Gryner - Starcraft Camper Blues
Emm Gryner - The End
Emm Gryner - Waiting Room (Fugazi)
Emm Gryner - Northern Holiday
Emm Gryner - Disco Lights
Emm Gryner - Jameson
Emm Gryner - Green
Emm Gryner - Revenge
Emm Gryner - Idaho
Emm Gryner - Stereochrome
Emm Gryner - Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
Emm Gryner - July
Emm Gryner - Big Bang Baby (Stone Temple Pilots)
Emm Gryner - Case of Tornados
Emm Gryner - Acid
Emm Gryner - Pour Some Sugar On Me (Deff Leppard)

Emm Gryner - Public
Emm Gryner - AsianBlue

Full Album Friday 8: Wolf Parade on CBC Radio 3
Full Album Friday 7: Catholic Gaydar
Full Album Friday 6 (Sunday Edition): Hole Unglued, Unbootlegged
Full Album Friday 5 (Monday Edition): Illegal Art
Full Album Friday 4 (Sunday Edition): American Edit
Full Album Friday 3 (Saturday Edition): Thrush Hermit - Nobody Famous
Full Album Friday 2 (Saturday Edition): The 8Bits of Christmas
Full Album Friday 1 (Saturday Edition): Sufjan Christmas

Comments on "Full Album Friday 9 (Sunday Edition):
Emm Gryner Live @ The Point"


Blogger Mike said ... (26/3/06 9:41 am) : 

Science Fair was my first and favorite album of hers. Kind of curious to check out that new band though. Sounds interesting to say the least. Thanks


Blogger Casey Dorrell said ... (26/3/06 11:43 am) : 

Yeah, it was my first and favourite as well.

And please do check out the band. If you like them, especially, come back and leave a comment. I'm curious to hear a more favourable perspective (other than those I can find on their myspace, which consist of basically, "You Rock" or "I'm a Sexy Soldier too")


Blogger music is art said ... (30/3/06 2:02 am) : 

yr blog is really wonderful.

i really enjoyed listening to emm gryner, look forward to more



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