by Joan of Arts
The Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia has announced the nominees for its annual awards ceremony to be held September 25 at The Marquee Club. MIANS will host the event at the end of Nova Scotia Music Week, which is slated to take place September 21-25. Joel Plaskett and Matt Mays earned the highest number of nominations in the musicians category, with six apiece. They will go head-to-head for Pop/Rock Artist Recording, Album, Entertainer, Songwriter and Video of the Year. Tsunami benefit organizers MIR and Dependent darling Jill Barber trail shortly behind with four nominations apiece, while six artists are tied with three nods and nine others will vie for a pair of awards each.
In the industry grouping, the gang at Sonic Entertainment Group and Chris Smith’s PnuWave Entertainment lead a long list of industry professionals with five nominations apiece. Sonic continues to be a favourite, having been successful in merging aspects including recording, promotion, band management and publicity into one. Smith’s PnuWave flourished this year, breathing new life into Halifax’s only all-ages hot spot, the Pavilion.
Chances are you haven’t witnessed a group boasting a stand-up bass, cowbell and laptop as part of its live repertoire. Unless you’ve seen Montreal-based Ghetto Pony, that is. The trio of high school buddies from Guelph made the move to one of the world’s most innovative scenes to experience life in the buzz capital last year.
“We moved to Montreal because we wanted to experience living in a big city and MOQU is a very charming big city,” says vocalist, keyboardist, guitarist and bassist Peter Janecki. “MOQU does feel like the right place for our type of music.”
Ghetto Pony’s tracks seem spontaneous, but as Janecki explains, it is partly written to sound that way. While spur-of-the-moment impulses are a defining characteristic, they still aim to stay organized. “When I hear a piece of popular music, most of the time, I tune out somewhere during the second verse because by then it’s easy to tell where the rest of the song is gonna go,” he says. “Spontaneous changes are a big part of what we do but they still have to fit in respects to each other. Our chaos is quite controlled.”
Ghetto Pony is a band that indisputably blurs the lines of classification, and their sound is as diverse as their range of influences suggest. Artists they list as inspirations include Sam Cooke, Aphex Twin, Parliament and Outkast.
“We’re post-apocalyptic bubble-gum music,” says Janecki. At which point turntablist, keyboardist and laptop operator JJ Rogers pipes up, “We’re a lollipop coated with your favourite flavour of amphetamine.” Ghetto Pony plays Ginger’s on Friday and the Pavilion on Saturday.
Country/blues foursome The Hurtin’ Unit called it quits following its final show at Ginger’s this past Saturday, as band co-founder and humorous teller of tales Dan “Bucky” Baugh travels to Zurich to be with his other half. An impromptu appearance by Deerfield drummer Jeff Brown on shaker and two solid sets capped off a five-year run for the group.
Local artists Spesh-K, The Hold, Bucket Truck and Matt Mays & El Torpedo are the latest artists from the region to have their videos in rotation on MuchMusic. Meanwhile, Joel Plaskett has just wrapped up filming the video for “Natural Disaster,” the sophomore single off his latest album, La De Da.