Walter Sobczak

Analog Specialist


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Avi Granite 6
Pet Mantis Records PM102 (

Avi Granite 6
is a small combo comprising guitarist Granite, together with an extraordinary assemblage of reeds, trumpet, trombone, bass and drums. But Peter Lutek, Jim Lewis, Tom Richards, Neal Davis and Ted Warren are hardly an average backing band for the guitarist. The sextet comes together to offer a gorgeous evocation of Granite’s music on Orbit, which is full of enigmatic depths, expectations, anger, hope, doubt and affirmation amid what seems like a moody atmosphere encountered through a shattered mirror by moonlight.

Despite all of the extreme emotion, Granite’s music as heard on Like a Magazine can be meditative, with long, glistening runs on the guitar and saxophone. The guitarist can also be quite rambunctious, plucking and rattling the strings on the broadly grinning Knocking on the Door, or downright mysterious as on Over and Out/Ancestral Walkie Talkie, with his leaping, parabolic lines punctuated with jabbing octaves.

The music of Orbit has, by its composer’s admission, been incubating for a decade, some of which was spent in a great personal crisis. Coming through has meant everything to Granite and this is reflected not only in the CD’s quieter, more contemplative moments, but also in the jagged, bittersweet works such as Undo Process and When the View Became the Way. Together, these 11 pieces represent the work of a thoughtful composer with exceptional resourcefulness and imagination.


birD is the worm avi granite 6 "Orbit" lp review

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" This music is big, and has a presence that suggests twice its numbers.  But the winning quality of Orbit is found in the details, and how its facets shine like mad from the heart of this music. "


kuci 88.9 FM Avi Granite 6 "ORBIT" LP review

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Avi Granite 6 - Orbit - (Pet Mantis Records)
Brooklyn based Canadian guitarist/composer Granite goes to those special places full of surprise and delight. These tunes are hard to put on a finger on. Like Zappa, the changes are all fucked up and perfect at the same time. Apparently strongly horn driven, (trumpet, trombone and reeds,) yet really driven by the near invisible line of the guitar these tunes barrel down on you like a semi in the fast lane. Highly recommended.


Avi granite 6 "Orbit" #2 on the national jazz chart

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winnipeg free press avi granite 6 "orbit" lp review


ride the tempo eastern magnetics review


" Self-described as psychedelic, Eastern Magnetics’ “Alien Youth” leans much more towards the trashiness and pomposity of glitter rock. It may not be obvious but we really like this. A lot. "


exclaim magazine rattlesnake choir "walkin' the wire" album review


" Borra has a naturally retro-sounding voice that perfectly suits honky-tonk-style tunes like "Heart Full of Love" and "It Wouldn't Mean A Thing," a song whose references to California, drugs and nudie suits take you back to the days of the cosmic cowboys. The similarly vintage recording style of using two-inch tape adds aural warmth to one charming disc. (Cousin Jeb) "


Downbeat Magazine Avi Granite 6 "Red Tree" album Best cd's of 2008

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exclaim magazine rattlesnake choir "live music" album review


This combo is the brainchild of John Borra, long one of Toronto’s busiest and most respected players. They formed two years ago to play a residency at a T.O. watering hole and this debut disc is a satisfying outing. Singer-songwriter Borra is joined by long-time sideman Sam Ferrara (the Ugly, Viletones, Screamin’ Sam), bassist Tony Benattar and violinist Miranda Mulholland, with some vocal and instrumental contributions from Treasa Levasseur. The sparse feel keeps the emphasis on Borra’s convincingly earthy vocals and songs, and the recording process (live to two-track and tape) adds to the warm and intimate ambience. Ferrara wrote the engaging "Caroline” and the Choir cover songs by local honky-tonk heroes Handsome Ned (the classic "I’ve Come To Get My Baby Out Of Jail”) and the Sadies (the instrumental "Lay Down Your Arms”). Such song selections show their heart is in the right place, and Borra’s own writing is equally strong. This is a disc worthy of exposure beyond the Toronto roots scene. (Cousin Jeb)


CODA Magazine ryan oliver "convergence" album Top 10 Jazz CD Releases of 2007

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the new york times
"Riot Grrrl United Feminism and Punk.
Here’s an Essential Listening Guide."

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Bikini Kill, Heavens to Betsy, Tribe 8 and more: Hear 25 songs that fueled a rock revolution.

fifth column “LIke This”

Created at the dawn of the 1980s in Toronto, this band anticipated both the riot grrrl and queercore scenes, which it bridged when these movements were in full bloom in the early 1990s. The quintet, led by the singer Caroline Azar and the guitarist G.B. Jones, found inspiration in the outer reaches of pop culture (B movies, underground artists like Tom of Finland), which it spat back out coated in a singularly irreverent brand of feminism. Jones, also an accomplished visual artist, influential zinemeister and Super 8 auteur, helped make Fifth Column as much a witty conceptual art project as a polemical rock band.

"the story of feminist punk in 33 songs”

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When the women of Fifth Column came together in early ’80s Toronto, there were no bands like them in their city—film-schooled, queer, Warholian, explicitly feminist. Fifth Column were inspired by the post-punk bands they read about in imported UK music papers, like the Raincoats and Kleenex, even when they couldn’t find those records; with drummer GB Jones’ legendary zine, J.D.s, she planted the seeds for the cut-and-paste queercore scene that would later inspire riot grrrl.

Fifth Column were an essential piece in this lineage and their signature song, “She Said Boom”—which opened All Time Queen of the World—was a scorching, psychedelic rave-up. The lyrics were about a guy who can’t make sense of his self-empowered girlfriend out tagging graffiti in the street. (Jones herself was a prolific tagger, particularly on the façades of Canadian banks, as evidenced in the Bruce LaBruce video for “Like This.”) As Fifth Column’s Caroline Azar put it, “‘She said boom’ are three simple words that, for us, mean being responsible for your own pocket-sized revolution, and that one’s exasperation with what is false can be said aloud: ‘I say boom, you say boom, she said boom!’” –Jenn Pelly

© 2017 Walter Sobczak