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MP3 Janine Stoll - This is where we bury it

Musician John MacLean offered up his unconventional approach acting as producer and engineer for this album, bringing with him the vast talents of his afro-funk outfit Mr. Something Something. This band of world class players combined their knowledge of

13 MP3 Songs
POP: Folky Pop, WORLD: African


Toronto singer-songwriter Janine Stoll
releases This is where we bury it

From the greener parts of Toronto''s west end comes a tour de force from one of Canada''s premier singer-songwriters. Janine Stoll''s This is where we bury it is an arresting collection of 13 original songs written by Stoll. The artistic vision of friend and producer John MacLean, the unconventional brilliance of the musicians in Toronto''s up-and-coming afro-funk outfit Mr. Something Something (MSS), and the donated time and dedication of some talented local friends culminated to make This is where we bury it a highly listenable and beautiful piece of art.

This, Stoll''s sophomore release, defies categorization; it draws on various genres to create pure, unique, and decidedly addictive music. What lends the record its cohesion is the common thread of high-calibre writing. Stoll has been writing songs for over 10 years and is gifted with an innate sensibility when it comes to building ballsy, thought-provoking, profound, and sombre stories through words and melody. Her lyrics are startling, her voice striking.

Recorded at World Records Studio in an old-century home in High Park, Toronto - warmly known as the Gingerbread House - this record is the result of countless hours of improvisation and coddling. It features arrangements by John MacLean (MSS), who plays both tenor sax and clarinet, and appearances by Larry Graves (MSS) on drums and percussion, Paul MacDougall (MSS) on guitars, Liam Smith (MSS) on electric bass, Todd Porter (MSS) on baritone sax, and some delicious vocal improvisation by Mr. Something Something frontman Johan Holtqvist. Guest appearances by Mike Milligan on upright bass, Steve Dyte on trumpet, Cindy Fairbank on piano, and friend (and co-conspirator in the Ladybird Sideshow) Lisa Winn on backing vocals.

Due to the afro-beat influence that Mr. Something Something brings to the mix, you can expect to hear intricate West African rhythms and afro-infused instrumentation on various songs ("Disappearing Act", "Suddenly", "Novel", "Lay Your Hands on Me", and "Lament of the Lazy Lover"). You''ll also hear jazz and funk influences sprinkled throughout. Providing ponderous moments are several gorgeous, stripped-down folk/pop ballads featuring vocals and one or two instruments, giving breathing space to the beauty and the weighty lyrical content ("Leaving Autumn", "Devour You", "Empty Bottles", "Kitchen Table", "What of These Things"). The album is broad enough to include a country song ("Leave it All Behind") and an experimental, a capella song ("Where is the Rain") that combines layered sounds, old recordings, and spoken word under water. "Lost to Me" is the sparse and heart-wrenching song that brings the album to its earnest conclusion.

Not wanting to make a carbon-copy Top-40 album that would dissolve into popular radio play, with This is where we bury it Stoll chose to release a record that would be interesting and captivating. Less sugar, more substance. In an attempt to spare listeners an hour-long musical diabetic coma, Stoll coveys personal (and some fictional) experiences to the tune of ecstatic breathing, thumb pianos, spoken word, and truth. Stories of sex, escape, family history, and the inability to get love right are all ongoing themes in these songs.

This is Stoll''s second release to date, her first being the solo acoustic release everything you gave me (2001). When Stoll is not performing solo, she is often seen collaborating in her various side projects, including the Ladybird Sideshow (acoustic singer-songwriter quartet with Melissa McClelland, Erin Smith, and Lisa Winn), Mr. Something Something (Stoll is a sometimes vocalist for the danceable Toronto sextet), and a "tagteam" acoustic duo with Erin Smith. Currently Stoll lives in Toronto and is gearing up to tour in support of This is where we bury it. She is constantly writing new material while stunning the world with her bonus gift for web and graphic design.


The party was legendary. Anyone who was anyone showed up. The walls of the house were flexing to support the sheer volume of beautiful and interesting people, with their constant hum of chatter and the swell of indie pop music. So much business and importance to speak of that no one seemed to notice a girl slip quietly out the back door, get onto her bicycle, and fly far away from the grandiose event at warp speed. In the darkness she happened onto a field of swaying wild flowers nestled in the midst of urban sprawl. The easterly wind had grown strong and difficult to battle, so she paused to watch and rest a while. Bear witness to the orange half-moon scaling the edge of the CN Tower, basking the Toronto skyline in a warm, fresh-from-the-oven glow. Then with purpose and clarity, she crept gently into the middle of the field, crouched down, and lay on her back to look up at the sparse splatter of incomplete constellations in a light-polluted night sky. From her pocket she drew a bank receipt and a pen, and she wrote a song that no one but the flowers and the night sky would ever hear. It was the most beautiful song ever written.

Gifts as alarming as the talent given to Janine Stoll are rare. She is a painter of melodic lines and a sculptor of words. A self-effacing beauty and modest old soul, Stoll has been crafting songs since she was a child and singing since her tongue had the ability to wrap itself around words. It wasn''t until she picked up a guitar at the age of 16 that the legitimacy of her talent could be truly appreciated and celebrated. It''s been 10 years since then and Stoll has become a respected and envied musician among her peers. She is prolific without being redundant. She is honest, but not self-involved. She writes with wit, but not abandon. Her songs are fearless without being alienating. Her music is deep without being pretentious. And her voice has the range, lack of inhibition, and raw emotive power that no trained musician could achieve. Yet with all of these gifts, Stoll still maintains an endearing vulnerability.

Set apart from those seeking superstardom, Stoll has more interest in being uncompromising when it comes to her art. She''d much rather be personally fulfilled and purged than cater to the specific tastes of mass audiences who would prefer to put her in a box or censor her. This defiance and integrity has garnered the respect and esteem of many, and sometimes makes her the object of harsh critique. But music fans would be hard-pressed to walk away from Stoll''s music feeling complacent. The stark truth and beauty in Stoll''s words and melodies are undeniable and are a welcome relief from the inundation of empty power ballads and the carbon-copy fluff that pollutes Top-40 radio.

Stoll has two solo releases thus far: everything you gave me (2001) and This is where we bury it (2005). everything you gave me is a stripped-down collection of Stoll''s earlier, edgy material. Recorded at Chatham Garden Studio in Hamilton, Ontario, the album took form under the guidance of producer/engineer Mike Birthelmer. Just Stoll and her guitar, live off the floor, this collection of 11 varied and beautiful songs displays Stoll''s gift for turning stories into poetry and setting those poems to music.

A giant leap from the stark, bare-bones production of everything you gave me is Stoll''s most recent endeavour, This is where we bury it. These 13 songs were recorded at World Records Studio near Toronto''s High Park in an old-century home warmly known as the Gingerbread House. Musician John MacLean offered up his unconventional approach, acting as producer/engineer for the album, bringing with him the vast talents of his afro-funk outfit Mr. Something Something. This band of world-class players applied their knowledge of afrobeat, funk, and jazz to Stoll''s acoustic gems. With guest appearances from other local talents, This is where we bury it is an arresting collection of highly listenable and unconventional music that defies categorization. This record is a journey of unfaltering beauty. Each song in its uniqueness has the ability to achieve "favourite" status, though the record finds cohesion in the exceptionally strong writing and arrangements. Improvisation and hours of coddling by dedicated folks volunteering their time make this record one that Stoll is very proud of.

The Toronto music scene is incestuous. Artists helping other artists and everyone working on each other''s projects is the norm. Stoll is no exception and has several side projects apart from her solo career. In 2002 the Ladybird Sideshow was brought to life by the critically acclaimed talents of singer-songwriters Melissa McClelland, Erin Smith, Lisa Winn, and Janine Stoll. The Ladybirds knew one another and played shows in support of one another for years before deciding to collaborate and tour as a group. Each ''bird writes her own songs that are brilliantly treated with impeccable four-part vocal arrangements. A live show is not to be missed, as these occasions are rare and the performance is stunning. So much love and humour shared between these four ladies is touching and often hilarious to witness. Each Ladybird is a unique and highly talented performer, but the variety of musical styles, the energy, and the skilful collaboration is what makes the Ladybird Sideshow so unique. Available on CD is Live at the Orange Lounge, a live in-studio concert recorded at Toronto''s renowned Orange Lounge by acclaimed producer/engineer Daryn Barry. You can also often find Stoll collaborating with Erin Smith as a funkified and super-cute duo ? two powerhouse vocalists with a good deal of bounce, wit, and personality. Their great six-song demo offers proof of their draw.

Stoll is also a sometimes vocalist for Mr. Something Something, often offering tasty backing vocals to this sextet that showcases an addictive onslaught of get-off-your-butt-and-dance afro-funk music. They provide a truly worthwhile night out for anyone who loves afro-beat, funk, or just to "give ''er" and party like it''s going out of style.

Currently Stoll is busy promoting This is where we bury it, playing live, eating raw vegan, knitting, doing graphic and web design, writing new songs, contemplating plans for her next record, and thinking about moving on.

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