109 7 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 3E6

Jolie Laide (Nina Nastasia & Jeff MacLeod) album release / listening party. Jeff Macleod with guest selectors will drop the new album followed by an evening of all vinyl College Rock Classics, Alternative Underground Favourites, Noise Pop Hits, Indie Rock Anthems, Power Pop Gems and more…Arrive earlier, get your copy of the fabulous new album from Jolie Laide!!!

Where: Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club / UPSTAIRS
109 7 Avenue S.W Calgary

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18+ with government issued identification
When: Saturday December 2, 2023
Doors: 7:00pm / Music: 8:00pm
Admission: FREE

Jolie Laide’s debut album features songs that seem rooted in place, evoking classic California ballads, desert dirges and a cinematic sound that could easily be pulled from the score of a Leone or Lynch film. Arising from the collaboration of Nina Nastasia and Jeff MacLeod, Jolie Laide flirts with all of these elements, from moment to moment and song to song, floating in an ether of their band’s own creation.

The path the band took to arrive here arose from a chance encounter at indie legend Steve Albini’s studio. Jeff MacLeod was recording an album as a member of the critically acclaimed band The Cape May. Nastasia, whose entire discography had been produced by Albini, was next in line for the studio and arrived as MacLeod and his bandmates were finishing. A night of commiserating over cheap mezcal and scotch in the studio led to a fast friendship and mutual respect and at the suggestion of Albini eventually found The Cape May act as Nastasia’s touring band on a North American and then European tour.

Nastasia had carved out a critically acclaimed niche throughout the ‘90s and early aughts as a singular singer-songwriter with an uncompromising indie ethos. But after having developed a devoted fanbase that included notable (and fervent) supporters such as John Peel, Nastasia seemingly vanished. Her long-time relationship with artist Kennen Gudjonsson had begun to envelop her – an artistic and romantic partnership that had descended over the years into control and emotional abuse by Gudjonsson as he battled mental illness. Nastasia retreated into herself and her partner, trying to find solutions to repair the personal and artistic relationship she valued so much. Recognizing the relationship was irrevocably broken, she ended it. Tragically, Gudjonsson died by suicide immediately afterwards. In the aftermath, Nastasia and MacLeod shared in the loss, and as Nastasia emerged from this darkness, eventually asked MacLeod if he could offer her some songs she could work on—”something, anything” to distract her.

It is apt that in Jolie Laide’s world, there are no easy answers. Songs trail off rather than close with a bang; they sometimes seem to be dragging themselves forward through the dark, with brief breaks of light punctuating the weightiness of their sound and the onus borne by the characters – and often, intimately, of Nastasia herself – painted in the lyrics. The line between fiction and the deeply personal is often blurred, as Nastasia and MacLeod wrote the songs amid the grief, pain and conflicted emotions that arose from Gudjonsson’s death.

Perhaps this atmosphere was achieved in part by the making of the album. As with so much music created mid-pandemic, amid lockdowns and travel restrictions, the songs emerged from home recordings exchanged back and forth between MacLeod and Nastasia. MacLeod provided the skeletons of the songs, sending them off to Nastasia who added vocal melodies until the fully formed songs emerged. The songs remain skeletal at times, refreshingly so—melodies confident and clear–nothing overwrought, fleshed out with reverb drenched guitars and hauntingly harmonized vocals.

The album is undeniably cinematic. Opening track “Pacific Coast Highway” sounds immediately familiar, with arpeggiated guitar that recalls sunny ‘50s pop, and indeed, Nastasia opens singing ‘Back to the west/where everyone’s young/we’ll have nothing to do but get high and ride into the sun.’ On the earworm “Move Away Towns,” Nastasia imagines a thrilling, on the run lifestyle with a romantic partner: “I’ll never get tired living this way if I’m living with you. Running from fires ‘till we’re in the clear, clear out of view. I want to make sure that you love me as I love you. Making our way and I don’t care who you might love too.” The hook-laden “Death of Money” seems to be a continuation on this theme—a sister song in story and feel. But after these brief moments that seem to set up an album of west coast dreaminess and us-against-the-world true romance, the songs dive into a sun-baked desert landscape of loss, betrayal, doubt and tragedy. ‘Drinking us thin/’till we both fade away’ Nastasia pines in her grief on “Why I Drink.” These themes, starkly and vividly explored throughout the album, are handled with a deftness that is rarely seen in the most seasoned bands, let alone on a debut album. As the album arcs to its conclusion, closing track, “Blue as Blue,” — fit for the scene of a dusty western dual at dawn, has Nastasia resignedly singing that ‘Sometimes love just goes this way’. Whether this arc marks her own personal acceptance, or one of a character, Jolie’s Laide’s debut is immediately striking, and repeated listens only deepens the incredible intimacy, depth and shambling precision of an album as enveloping as it is piercing. – https://www.oscarstrecords.com/artists/jolie-laide


*This event takes place on the territory of the Blackfoot and the people of Treaty 7 Region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikuni, the Kainai, the Tsuu T’ina and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. Calgary is also home to the Metis Nation of Alberta, Region III.