Concert / Indie & Pop Marker Starling

Support: Eliza Niemi
© Marker Starling

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Toronto troubadour Chris A. Cummings (Marker Starling, formerly Mantler) has been playing Melancholy Party Jams since 1999. A solo performer for many years, his preferred weapons were a Wurltizer electric piano and an early pre-programmed drum machine. More recently he has been supported by a Toronto-based band consisting of Jay Anderson (drums), Matt McLaren (bass) and Andy Scott (guitar and keyboards). In the UK and Europe he has played extensively with Euan Rodger (drums), Joe Carvell (bass) and Andy Whitehead (guitar).

After a long association with Germany’s Tomlab label, who released the second, third and fourth Mantler records (SADISFACTION, LANDAU and MONODY), Cummings began working with UK-based Tin Angel Records in 2010. With Tin Angel, Marker Starling has released 4 albums since 2015 — the acclaimed ROSY MAZE (praised by Matthew Horton in the NME for its timeless quality”), solo all-covers record I’M WILLING (2016), the self-retrospective ANCHORS AND AMPERSANDS (2017), and an all-originals solo record TRUST AN AMATEUR (2018). Cummings’ ninth record HIGH JANUARY, recorded in the UK and produced by Sean O’Hagan (The High Llamas, Stereolab) was released in April 2020.

Marker Starling has opened for Stereolab, The Books, Destroyer, Yo La Tengo, Gary Wilson and Sandro Perri, and also plays in the bands Matias, Hank and The Canadian Romantic.


Laetitia Sadier, Connan Mockasin, Helado Negro

Marker Starling — End Of Summer


Connection and collaboration lives in the intimacy of her albums, starting with 2019’s Vinegar, an understated set of songs for cello, keyboard and voice that wander with a comforting grace. 2020’s Glass furthered Eliza’s reputation for writing songs that are boundless and experimental without ever being alienating. There’s an open, inviting quality throughout the record, apparent from the close-miked instruments, to her softly sung and affable lyrics that unfold like a conversation with a good friend. 

Her latest album, Staying Mellow Blows, furthers these ideas and aesthetics to a staggering degree, retaining the candor, humor and emotional humility she’s known for, while letting the vast number of supporting musicians shape each song with their own emotionally resonant performances. The result feels whimsical and inspired, and is the sound of an artist flourishing.

Eliza Niemi — Sushi California