Similar To: Broken Social Scene, Radiohead, St. Vincent, Metric, The Talking Heads, Death Cab For Cutie, The Flaming Lips, The Morning Benders, Pink Floyd, Local Natives, Vampire Weekend, Feist
In 2010, mere days before departing for a Canadian tour, Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s marriage fell apart. At the time, I was the other half of his musical outlet Oldfolks Home, and saw firsthand how this shattered his world. I was right to expect that this would spell the end of our imminent touring, but what I couldn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t know is that this event was about to trigger the start of the most insightful, s
elf-aware, and honest divorce album I have ever come across: Black and Blue.
The album's opening lyric, √¢‚Ç¨≈ìLately I feel like I want to kill / and I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m trying so hard to say something right√¢‚Ç¨¬ù gives the listener a front row seat to the post-traumatic stress Lopez-Aguilar experiences as he tries to come to terms with his current situation. While some of Black and Blue√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s most telling moments come on stand-out track (and letter to ex-wife Kerri) √¢‚Ç¨ÀúIt Scares Me√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢, Oldfolks Home is at his best on the heartbreaking √¢‚Ç¨ÀúSleeper√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ where the lasting effects of the dissolution become clear to him √¢‚Ç¨≈ìYou know there√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s no going back on this / it√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s permanent√¢‚Ç¨¬¶√¢‚Ç¨¬ù
I wondered about Lopez-Aguilar√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s thoughts on Black and Blue√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s potential to be summed up as just another break-up album. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìI√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve been told that I may become known as the Taylor Swift of indie rock,√¢‚Ç¨¬ù he joked. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìBut this isn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t an album about placing blame, or gaining sympathy, or saving face. This is the product of allowing myself to grow out of my darkest moments, while patiently waiting for the good to come through.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù
Oldfolks Home, who is no stranger to festivals like the Halifax Pop Explosion and Pop Montreal, looks forward to revamping what already is a highly reputable live show. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìThere were a few shows in the aftermath of 2010 where I didn√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t have the courage to say much,√¢‚Ç¨¬ù says Lopez-Aguilar. √¢‚Ç¨≈ìI half-joked at the time that I would have been happy to prerecord all my stage banter.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù
So will he be able to turn this negative energy into a positive? √¢‚Ç¨≈ìThat√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s an understatement. I have never felt more free to experiment in a live setting. While I√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve always been interested in a fusion of digital and acoustic, the live show is about to get far more√¢‚Ç¨¬¶ three-dimensional, so to speak.√¢‚Ç¨¬ù
Oldfolks Home has a bright vision for his hometown of Winnipeg. Like several of his musical peers, it was important for him to write and record Black and Blue in Winnipeg, and wanted its elements to stay local. He recruited a cast of current and former hometown players such as Keri Latimer (Nathan), Michael P Falk (Les Jupes), and Shaun Gibson (The Details) to contribute, and, what might be Black and Blue√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s most shocking twist, the album√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s cover art and name are taken from a piece donated by Lopez-Aguilar√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Winnipegger ex-wife, Kerri-Lynn Reeves.
There√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s no doubt that many of the beautifully crafted tracks on this LP will find perfect homes on television and film soundtracks, and I can say with great certainty that if John Cusack√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s character in High Fidelity could do a present-day √¢‚Ç¨≈ìtop 5 divorce albums√¢‚Ç¨¬ù list, Oldfolks Home√¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s Black and Blue would easily earn top spot.