One of the hazards, as well as the great joys, of running a site like this is that you quickly accumulate more things that you “just have to mention!” than you can possibly mention. And so it is that many truly excellent bands and musicians end up resting beneath the vast expanses of “new” that fall everywhere like snow. And thus it is that this section – “Music for a Rainy Day” – is born.
Unlike the “Things I Should’ve Mentioned,” the “Mailbag,” the “Now Playing,” or the “New Music/Out Now,” this section is a home for all that wonderful stuff whose only crime is that it came along when I was busy making other plans… conversely, all of this accumulated music now makes for many excellent surprises on rainy days! As is the case with a band that I’ve been literally intending to talk about all year (thanks, again, Slowcoustic for the excellent recommendation!): The Wilderness of Manitoba.
The Wilderness of Manitoba is a four-piece from Toronto that performs a wide range of acoustic music with a staggering amount of atmosphere and vocal depth. It’s a bit of a cliché to say that the harmonies are exceptionally “nuanced,” but it is difficult not to use the word when listening to these terrific, often subtle sounds. The root of this style is in the band’s origin, says CBC:
Something special happens when the four members of the Wilderness of Manitoba sing together, whether it’s in the basement of the house on Delaware Avenue in Toronto, Canada where three of them live and where the band recorded their EP Hymns Of Love & Spirits or in the garage out back where they sometimes stage their own shows. In the spirit of the shows and musicians that were coming through Delaware House, Will Whitwham, Scott Bouwmeester, Stefan Banjevic and Melissa Dalton found themselves with acoustic based songs that were minimalist and full of vocal layers that would become the foundation of the new band. They would gather together on random winter nights to drink tea, record and play music. The collection of songs that makes up Hymns Of Love & Spirits was written while some of the members were experiencing real changes in their lives including the passing of Will’s mother and Scott’s grandfather. The songs began to take on a deeper meaning and a much greater importance to them. The recordings were the band’s best attempt to capture those feelings and emotions on disc.
Most of the songs were recorded late at night, when the house was quiet. The band was forced to deal with both the limitations and the benefits of recording in a non-traditional space that added a distinct character and feel to the songs.
The band released their debut EP – Hymns of Love and Spirits – in 2009, and their first, full-length LP – When You Left the Fire – in June of this year. You can hear many of their songs on CBC, as well as on their Myspace page. You can also have this copy of “Hermit” – from When You Left the Fire – to enjoy!
Check out the video below to hear the band talk about themselves, and then see the video for “November” off of When You Left the Fire. Honestly, I think it’s one of the most beautiful videos I’ve seen in a long time!