February 13, 2012 by zdueck
Thomas Kalnoky has recently ventured into the world of solo artists. For the longest of time he has always impressed me, not only through his lyrics but through the sheer depth he manages to get out of the instrumentalists he tends to work with. Whether it’s the Bass Saxophonist in Streetlight Manifesto or the Cellist in Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution he somehow manages to add new sounds to compliment his lyrics and guitar work. It’s not like he’s re-inventing the wheel or anything (although BOTAR is a pretty unique band), he’s just adding a few new noises to the familiar to create something far more enjoyable to listen to. So when I heard he had started off on a solo adventure I was pretty stoked. But then I began listening to his new record and quickly realized there is not a single new song on the album. Which there is nothing wrong with, but Thomas Kalnoky seems to have been heading down the path of re-creation for a while now and I think it’s soon getting time to return to writing new material already. I mean, with Streetlight Manifesto he has released the first instalment of what is supposed to be a several disc series featuring a sum total of 99 covers (once it’s finally completed) and re-recorded an entire album that he wrote and recorded with Catch 22. More recently made a split cover album with Dan Potthast from Mu330 wherein they covered each others songs and then he re-recorded a bunch of his older songs, both under the name ‘Toh Kay’. He used to write original material but for some reason has decided that re-recording stuff that’s already out there is more his thing right now.
That being said I love his new old stuff. It’s got a nice acoustic thing going on which, while ‘acoustic’ can be debatable as a genre, I think is a pretty good description of one dude and a guitar not playing in the folk or classical tradition. But what his new album has done is really made me think more about authorship in popular music. I mean traditionally when you hear a song and have a band to associate it with you tend to think ‘it’s that bands song’ as opposed to ‘that persons song’. It would be like thinking of ‘Watermark’ as a John K. Samson song instead of a Weakerthans song. I mean Kalnoky has re-recorded Supernothing with 3 different bands and Dear Sergio under 4 different names.
But one way or another, if you aren’t sick of hearing the same songs yet again, check out Toh Kay… And keep your fingers crossed for some original material to come out of this, because he’s actually got some skills on the guitar and a decent voice when he’s not pseudo-yelling at breakneck speeds.