Published Sep 08, 2020Jesse Crowe has lent her talents to many bands over the years, including Beliefs, Praises and Yi, while Julia Wittmann already appeared in the Class of T.O. video series, performing Blur covers with her band For Jane. But it's not enough for the prolific pair — they've teamed up to perform a pair of Portishead covers for the latest instalment in the series, which features Toronto musicians performing tributes to their favourite acts at the Monarch Tavern, presented by Exclaim! and Dan Burke with the support of the City of Toronto and Great Lakes Brewery.
"Portishead have always been one of my biggest influences," says Crowe, who had previously covered the band alongside Yi and Teenanger's Melissa Ball at a previous tribute band showcase. "Another reason we chose this was because Julia and I, being partners, could practice freely without COVID fears."
The duo chose the songs "The Rip" and "Roads" from Portishead's 2008 album, Third. The captivating renditions find Crowe — clad in a Portishead sweater, of course — delivering haunting vocal and keyboard performances, accompanied by Wittmann on guitar and bass.
As one could expect from Crowe and Wittmann, the past few months of lockdown have been quite fruitful. "The pandemic music times have been interesting for Julia and I," Crowe says. "We were able to write an EP together and also record an EP of covers under the moniker Two Gays Shoegaze. As time has passed and the warmer weather has hit, I've welcomed the break from music and shows and plan to come back to more of it in the fall once we are locked in again."
While Wittmann will be working on For Jane's debut album in the coming months, Crowe will be developing new Praises material. "Technically I have a record's worth of demos that I have been working on, so if that moves in the right direction, it'll be time for another full length," reveals Crowe. "Instead of working alone as Praises, I'm hoping to have a more collaborative record with the band."
Watch Crowe and Wittmann perform "The Rip" and "Roads" at the Monarch Tavern below. Don't forget to check out earlier instalments in the Class of T.O. series, and stay tuned for a special performance of Hanorah performing Amy Winehouse from Montreal coming Thursday, September 10.