Geordie Gordon’s ‘4-Track‘ is a droll nod to 70’s folk-pop and sees the Toronto-based indie-pop, multi-instrumentalist drawing on a family connection that goes right to the heart of Canadian folk music.
Gordon is an established figure in the Canadian indie synth-pop world, but unless you’re very familiar with Canadian folk music, you’ve probably don’t know his father, James Gordon. However, if you’re a reader of AUK, you’ve almost certainly heard his work: James Gordon is credited with arranging ‘Mining For Gold‘, the opening track on ‘The Trinity Session‘ by fellow Canadians, The Cowboy Junkies — all a very far cry from the alt-pop world where his son now operates.
Growing up in a folk music family, Geordie Gordon was involved in bands from a very early age, even gigging with Arcade Fire while he was still in high school. After a brief taste of pop success alongside his brother in The Magic, he’s currently working with Canadian alt-pop luminaries like Andy Shauf, U.S. Girls and The Weather Station, However, his plans to tour with the recently Polaris Music Prize-nominated U.S. Girls were scuppered by lockdown and, as he says himself, “I found myself with a stomach full of anxiety and a whole lot of time on my hands.”
Encouraged to join a weekly songwriting circle as a way of dealing with lockdown, Gordon entered one of the most productive periods of his life. Having grown up in his father’s recording studio with access all manner of instruments he’d taught himself fiddle, mandolin, drums and keyboards, as well as experimenting with older drum machines and tape recorders no longer in everyday use in the studio. For his thirteenth birthday he was given a Tascam Porta-02 4-track recorder and it launched him into the world of lo-fi bedroom recording. It’s the delights and frustrations of 4-track recording that are celebrated in this first release from his forthcoming album, ‘The Tower‘.
The video opens on an iconic Fostex X24 4-track as it clunks into life and continues with Gordon giving a deadpan performance to camera in a series of seventies-inspired costumes. Playing various instruments while sporting an impressive side-seam, several shades of beige satin and some all-too-familiar retro Wrangler denim, Gordon’s vocals bring to mind the likes of Kevin Morby, Adam Granduciel or Vetiver’s Andy Cabic.
Happily, rather than just giving an affectionate run through of the X24 instruction manual, the song heads into deeper territory. The lyrics consider the effort it takes to make a lasting romantic relationship, the effort it takes to create a good recording, and the regrets one can have looking back at either failed recordings or a failed romance. The slick and witty promo is directed by Colin Medley, who already has a long and impressive list of promo credits.
The phut-phut-phut of the old-school drum machine won’t cut it with the folk traditionalists, but Gordon is a talented songwriter and an entertaining performer who is definitely more than worth a listen.