McKiel’s date with the reel

Roche Uhntraal keeps the beat and keeps it strong.

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A chance MySpace message to Halifax's Jon McKiel led to a deal with California-based label Wednesday Records and a recording date at Boston's famed Fort Apache studios. "They were really into some demos I did in Calgary with The Cape May," explains McKiel. "We started emailing back and forth about music and once they found out we didn't have any label support or distro and were ready to record another album they were interested in working with us."

McKiel is excited about recording at Fort Apache, home to some of the most critically acclaimed albums of the '90s, including Radiohead's The Bends, Weezer's Pinkerton and Sebadoh's Bakesale.

"They have a tonne of great gear and history," he says. McKiel, guitarist Mike D'Eon, bassist Josh Kogon, drummer Cory LeBlanc and synth specialist Colin Crowell plan to cut 10 to 12 tracks during their stay. Expect to hear a lot of new material.

"We've been playing a few at shows the past couple of months," he says. "They have never been released, except as snippets on MySpace or demos our friends have heard."

With a Canadian release date planned for September and a American campaign set to kick off in November, McKiel isn't slowing down any time soon. Compared to the soft release of his first album, it's a big change. "It's fairly weird to have the next year of my life planned out in terms of shows both here and in the States, but I'm liking the idea so far," he says. "By my standards, this is a fairly large campaign. Prior to this we've only ever sold CDs at shows and CDPlus on Barrington."

Over the Moon

Jenn Grant's critically lauded Orchestra for the Moon has been turning heads across the country, peaking at number 18 on the Canadian campus charts and receiving amazing press in the Globe and Mail, National Post and countless music publications. This hype was not lost on Toronto's Six Shooter Management, which recently signed the PEI-born, Halifax-based songwriter to a management deal. "We are simply captivated by her," says Six Shooter's Shauna de Cartier. "Her beautiful disc has us all swooning, and her stunning live performances reel us in hook, line and sinker."

"I am thrilled to be working with Six Shooter," says Grant. "I really support what they are doing and am so excited to be a part of their team. I am going to make them muffins with Six Shooter symbols on them."

Remove the Improve

Jon Epworth is sans Improvements for the time being. The band is on an indefinite hiatus while Epworth focuses on his solo material.

"I got a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and am going to remain in an isolated setting for the next year," he says from his home in LaHave. "I want to challenge myself and become a become a better musician with this grant. I should treat it as a gift."

Bigelow shoes to fill

Wintersleep is almost ready to drop its third album—rumoured date September 4—but the band will be doing so without bassist Jud Haynes. Sources close to the band say that Haynes and Wintersleep parted ways earlier this summer and that Contrived bassist Mike Bigelow will take his place. Expect more Scene and Heard action on this story as details emerge.

Get a little action. Email: scene@thecoast.ca

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