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Summarize this content material to 540 phrases Andy Shauf didn’t explicitly got down to make the yr’s sweetest stalker-themed “idea” album. The idea simply kinda … y’know … crept up on him.Idea albums basically, after all, have quietly crept in because the norm for Shauf since he first dipped his toe within the format with 2016’s anxious-yet-adorable slice-of-life vignette “The Occasion” and subsequently, meticulously pursued the artwork of the narrative track cycle to additional levels of potential — and rising worldwide recognition — on such expertly drawn ensemble micro-dramas as 2020s barroom reverie “Neon Skyline” and its 2021 companion piece “Wilds.” After a false begin on a fourth idea album throughout COVID isolation, nevertheless, Shauf determined to shake issues up and make a “regular” document filled with “regular” songs and dryly title it “Norm.” Then a creep named Norm unexpectedly launched himself to Shauf by means of a tune with a decidedly creepy again finish known as “Phone” he’d written as a little bit of a joke to see if a buddy would “discover that the second half of the track was actually sinister” and immediately, “Norm,” the most recent Andy Shauf idea album, was born. As with all of Shauf’s eight data, “Norm” is a meticulously composed and organized slice of ’70s-tinged soft-pop, for essentially the most half totally performed by Shauf himself, proper right down to the woodwinds. This time the central story takes on an eerier bent than common, because the Regina-bred, Toronto-based singer/songwriter delves into the thoughts of a perpetually stoned stalker — and the imperfect God watching over him — as he pursues his imagined woman love by means of grocery store and “Halloween Retailer” aisles down the street towards the inevitably chilling denouement. Think about Elliott Smith or Paul Simon in a Hitchcockian temper after spending an excessive amount of time with David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive” or, say, Christopher Cross lurking within the bushes outdoors your window in a dirty raincoat and also you’ll get an concept of the mad genius at work right here. The truth that Shauf had to herald a narrative editor to make his newest batch of concepts cohere correctly speaks to the scope of his ambitions this time round. “There was a degree in writing songs the place, I suppose, I simply received uninterested in writing about myself,” stated the soft-spoken Shauf this previous Tuesday, shortly earlier than a tour date down the freeway in London. “I discovered a number of inventive freedom in writing fictional songs and simply, like, the thought that you would be able to sort of do something and take a listener anyplace you need to or anyplace that you just’re capable of take them to by telling a narrative in a track. I discovered that fascinating. It’s very difficult however I get pleasure from that, the problem. And after I realized that I may begin to hyperlink songs collectively, that was much more fascinating and felt like much more of a problem. It simply sort of ended up being this factor that I actually wished to attempt to do extra with.”I like when one thing calls for consideration, like a film that you just watch and you must watch it once more earlier than you actually perceive what’s happening. With data, it’s difficult as a result of if it’s about nothing or if it’s about one thing you’re most likely not gonna catch it the primary time. So I simply favored the thought for this certainly one of having it’s a narrative that isn’t going to disclose itself on the primary pay attention. It’d, to a sure extent, however you’re gonna should revisit it if you need all the small print … I really feel like my final document was such a direct narrative that when a few of the songs stood on their very own they didn’t have the identical impact, so this time round I used to be making an attempt to consider it in a little bit of a distinct means, the place they will stand alone or as a part of a puzzle. It’s extra like a puzzle than a linear narrative.”There’s now a transatlantic Cult of Shauf greater than prepared to take up the challenges to the listener posed by his immaculately detailed, extremely literate recordings. He and the five-piece band at the moment bringing “Norm” to life — full with flutes and clarinets — on the street will head abroad for the subsequent leg of a 50-date world tour after headlining Massey Corridor in Toronto in the present day, whereas the album itself has garnered enthusiastic reward from publications as far-flung as Pitchfork and Steregum to Paste and Mojo to Selection and Vainness Honest. Even Barack Obama is a fan, having included the title monitor from “Neon Skyline” on his 2020 summer season playlist The modest Shauf is barely bowled over by all the eye, to not point out the big billboard sporting his face that greeted guests to Parkdale — mere steps away from the Skyline diner that impressed the tales discovered inside Neon Skyline — through the weeks main as much as and instantly following “Norm”’s February launch. “I used to be gone for the entire time that it was up, nevertheless it was bizarre when pals would, , ship me an image of it. I used to be, like, ‘Ugh. That’s slightly overbearing,’” he laughed, conceding that he’s nonetheless slightly awed that so many individuals have an interest within the unusual little worlds he conjures by means of music.”It’s superb. That is my job and that’s fairly loopy. I don’t know if I’d have imagined that. At a sure level you get busy with touring and stuff and also you simply can’t have a job since you’re too busy after which, yeah, you look again at a sure level and understand, regardless of all of the issues that annoy you about this job, it’s your dream job and also you’re livin’ it. It’s sort of wild that folks need to take heed to my data in any respect.”Although he’s firmly planted on the touring treadmill by means of the spring and into the summer season, the 35-year-old Shauf — who determined to give up consuming after a misguided try at making a disco album throughout pandemic lockdown — is now intent on dialing the workload again a bit in an effort to attain “a greater work/life steadiness.””I’m making an attempt to determine find out how to not tour endlessly and form of focus the touring slightly bit extra. I simply need to spend slightly extra time at house. If it’s potential,” he stated. “I believe earlier than the pandemic it was sort of ‘head down, simply grind by means of it.’ However with that point off you sort of understand the issues which are vital to you or the ways in which drowning your self in work isn’t useful for the way forward for your life and the issues that get uncared for whenever you’re too centered on one factor. So, yeah, I’m making an attempt to deal with issues that enable for extra of a wholesome way of life, I suppose, and a wholesome thoughts. And physique, too. We’re doing this run in a Sprinter and I forgot how onerous it’s on an getting old man’s physique to sit down in a van all day. My again will not be comfortable about it.”SHARE:JOIN THE CONVERSATION Anybody can learn Conversations, however to contribute, you have to be a registered Torstar account holder. 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By Maggi

"Greetings! I am a media graduate with a diverse background in the news industry. From working as a reporter to producing content, I have a well-rounded understanding of the field and a drive to stay at the forefront of the industry." When I'm not writing content, I'm Playing and enjoying with my Kids.

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