Nova Scotia can only hope to be immortalized in one of Michael Feuerstack's Vines. The folk-pop-magical songwriter has a way with a phone, filming mini videos of The Littlest Hobo, flashing motel lights or the shadows of blowing leaves in the sun. "It's fun to capture a loop of something. It's maybe a continuation of my love of the vague and poetic," he says.
Feuerstack followed a new path this year, scrapping Snailhouse in favour of his given name to record the lovely Tambourine Death Bed. "There was a big change in my momentum in relation to making music but that's hard or boring to talk about with other people," he says. "It's not necessarily new twist on what I'm doing musically but maybe people will listen differently now that I've changed this superficial signifier."
Considering the amount of bands he's played in (Wooden Stars, Islands, Kepler) it was a way to concentrate everything into one name. "They might me know from playing guitar in one band but now it all feeds into one another---all those places are related," he says.
Although some people have written about the change as removing a barrier between the songwriter and the audience, and reviews call Tambourine Death Bed confessional and personal, it's not always clear what the songs are talking about. After a careful listen, even the nosiest listener doesn't really have a sense of Feuerstack's personal life. "Being a confessional singer is something I've resisted---which is also why I had a stage name," he says. But the recording process was as intimate as can be. "I recorded it in my own home by myself." Feuerstack invited people like Colin Stetson and Arcade Fire's Jeremy Gara to make guest appearances. "We'd have a beer, have a meal, pet the cat, and I'd see if they could contribute. If it happened, great, if it didn't then we still had a nice evening."
Feuerstack says the record is less introspective. "I'm reaching out and offering thoughts. It feels open and generous but not in a personal way."
The Olympic Symphonium w/Michael Feuerstack
Sunday, August 25 at 9pm
The Carleton Music Bar & Grill, 1685 Argyle Street