The Sound Cafe
Geordie Gordon's New Album 'The Tower' Is An Electrically Charged Folk Album With All The Toppings
2020 brought stillness to all of us. Why, even one of the most electrically charged, visually compelling performers of his generation, Geordie Gordon, was grounded.
That March, the Toronto-based mastermind behind the electro-pop force, the Magic, and key contributor to U.S. Girls and Islands, was prepping for a long tour in support of U.S. Girls’ acclaimed, Polaris Music Prize-nominated 2020 album, Heavy Light, when all roadwork plans went out the window because of a raging pandemic. And so, with some measure of defeat pervading his heart and mind, Gordon retreated to his apartment to ponder the outside world, in isolation.
Gordon has a great love for the first wave of popular rock ‘n’ roll—its brazenness, its rebelliousness, its hook-y, romantic infectiousness—but he is also hyper contemporary in his production style. He tends to give us songs that are lushly produced with multi-layered instrumentation that is both traditional and familiar yet synthesized and alien. In the end, the same Geordie Gordon song, all souped up with sounds, has as much power on a dance floor, as it might in your living room, rendered by him solo, with just a parlour guitar. It’s a gift he has, to write songs that meet the moment and move and compel us to listen.
The Tower reflects that gift: songs about separation and disconnection, about bigotry and tragedy, about galvanization and hope, about love, love, love—these are songs for and about right here, right now, but because of how they’re presented, they’ll transcend this time and live with us forever. We’re fortunate that Geordie Gordon is welcoming us into his home, where he crafted The Tower, which also enables him to break free from an unprecedented kind of loneliness, and share a dynamic side of himself we haven’t quite seen before
The Tower is a batch of pensive songs entirely conceived of and captured by Gordon, while cocooned in his Toronto apartment throughout 2020. The year has forced many of us into introspection due to an alienating, fear-inducing, plague-like illness but also—and it’s important not to leave this behind —because of racism, police violence, economic disparity, and civil unrest. The images and ideas and hidden truths we have been exposed to over the past year and change have angered and broken us but the response to such evil and hardship has also heartened and inspired us to not only do something, but to do more.
The gifted multi-instrumentalist inherited a familial DIY gene; the son of folk musician James Gordon and younger brother of subterranean rock music genius, Evan Gordon, Geordie Gordon was practically raised in the family’s home recording studio, Pipe Street, where, beyond developing engineering chops, he adopted self-reliance to bring his imagination to life. Gordon can play almost any instrument he picks up, which is handy because he has a lot of thoughts that could use rad soundtracks.
As a multi-instrumentalist, Geordie Gordon has spent 20 years playing almost every role possible in a band. He is best known for backing up talented artists such as Islands, U.S. Girls, Andy Shauf, Diamond Rings and The Weather Station.
Born in Guelph, Ontario to a folk music family, Geordie was set free amongst his father’s instruments. He taught himself fiddle, mandolin, drums and keyboards as a child and experimented with cast-off tape recorders and drum machines in the basement. As a teenager, he was part of The Barmitzvah Brothers, Guelph's youngest avant-garde pop group, gigging with Arcade Fire and Damo Suzuki on the weekends while attending high school during the week.
In 2008, Geordie formed The Magic as a vehicle for his own song writing. Using disco-inspired grooves to deliver hook laden tunes, The Magic toured The U.S. and Europe and released two albums: 2012's Ragged Gold and 2016's Nightfalling.
Recently, Geordie has been setting off on his own, producing his own music and performing solo under his own name. Collecting a lifetime's worth of musical knowledge, he has been creating powerful, emotional music. His acoustic guitar, lush synth orchestration and driving analog beats meld into a striking and modern singer-songwriter style.
Geordie was a player on U.S. Girls' 2020 Polaris Prize shortlisted record Heavy Light and appears on the just announced Islands