Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shanies: Comeback

This was a big year for revivals. There were a sea of bands who many considered to be one foot in the grave who jumped back into the limelight for one last hurrah. Whether it be Axle's "Guns n Roses" return (which is bullshit without Slash), Metallica spending more time with their therapist, or ACDC proving that they're still cooler than everyone, the pie had a lot to share.

However, my comeback award is going to a group which one could even argue, didn't leave, they just took 11 years to make an album. That group is Portishead and the wait... was worth it. Simply titled 3, they proved that they did not have their finger on the pulse of music, they are the pulse. Originality is a difficult thing in the world of music but to make an album which is both original and accessible, therein lies a task for the greats.

The album of the year is that last award remaining! While I may write it tomorrow, being in-transit will likely prevent me from posting until I settle nicely into a hangover back in Oxford on the 1st.

Until then... fuck '08! I'm ready for something new!

-Write your mind on my palm and tell me your tune

Monday, December 29, 2008

Shanies: Best Concert

I know, I know, it's like fucking cheating. However, when bands like Pennywise, Flogging Molly and MXPX are in the so fine you have to squint to read it font size, you know you have a bit of a lineup on your hands.

I did not attend this concert, however I watched nearly the entire weekend at home, being broadcast on the BBC. For me, the highlight of the concert was The Raconteurs, however with that many big names, it really is hard to support just one. If you catch the reunion concerts of both RATM and Metallica, you've done something right.

Just two days left, and the big one coming up (album of the year)

-Question what you want, I'm still going ahead

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Shanies: Best Song

This is one of the two categories this year that I was not looking forward to (the other being album) for two reasons. First, anything I say is going to be picked apart by all 3 people that read this thing and secondly, I'm probably going to be picking apart my own decisions and second guessing myself the entire time my mouse hovers over the 'publish post' button.

I'll remind you once again, these are the Shanies: my fucking awards and I'll cry if I want to. Still, my musical taste transcends space, time, and the American way, so this should be pretty close to perfect.

Runners up this year were plentiful (I even had to cut down the runner up list) and included:

The Trews - Hold Me in Your Arms
One Day as a Lion - Wild International
The Black Keys - Psychotic Girl
Sweatshop Union - Gold Rush
Bronx - Knifeman (what a fucking drum beat!!)

However, in the end, this year's award went to an old favorite. The Black Crowes once again blew my mind with the second track off their latest entitled, Walk Believer Walk.

What is it about this song? Put it up against some of my usual favorites and you notice it's a drag-your-feet, half-stoned, warning of a ballad. However, as soon as you let your head bob to the slow, soothing beat, you can feel the soul of Chris Robinson screaming through the speakers at you. Rich's once again brilliant riff sets the stage for a song which grabs you and makes you pay attention through every dragged beat, every solo, and every pouring out of mind and soul.

In short, this song's got fucking heart, which, as a rarity in this day and age, needs to be acknowledged and supported.

-Lay back and let your body do the talkin'

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shanies: Most Annoying Song

It seems just about every year has one. You know exactly what I'm talking about. A song which is specifically written to be infectious and get into your mind, however all the while making you want to see if the katana will make it all the way from your butthole to your brains, proving that samurai were a bunch of pussies. Those songs which seem to get months of radio play, dominate every single club in town, and become the anthem for every teenie-bopping cum receptacle in the world.

Ok, so this is a touchy subject with me.

While I've never done this formally, I can think that past winners would have been groups like Black Eyed Peas, Soulja Boy, Right Said Fred, and that stupid fucking animated monster thing that they made the Beverly Hills Cop ring tone song with.

This year, there was an obvious front runner. I heard it in bars, I heard it at Oktoberfest, I heard it everywhere and it filled my veins with bile and shrunk my heart two sizes too small. I'm sure we all have tried lobectomies trying to forget about Katy Perry and her one-hit-wonder-please-go-die-under-a-school-bus-song, I Kissed a Girl.

I could say a lot about this song. I could comment on it's lack of depth, it's simplistic chord progression, it's neanderthalic marching beat in the rhythm section or even just the fact that her voice sounds like a velociraptor in a feeding frenzy. However, really I just need to say one thing:


-In case you hadn't already noticed, proceed on these links at your own risk

Friday, December 26, 2008

Shanies: Rookie of the Year

As I wake up this morning (once again around 5... luckily got back to bed for a bit) my mind wandered to the newcomers. I'll let you do your own digging and figure out why Cage the Elephant took this award feet down. (why does it have to be hands?)

Back when I was on crutches, I had bought a ticket to a Cage show. While any normal person would have likely just eaten the 8 pound loss and stayed at home whining, I don't fuck around when it comes to music. I stood in the back the entire time, writhing in pain every time someone bumped my leg, but the show was more than worth it. These boys have energy, originality, catchy hooks and are accessible. In short, keep an eye open in 2009.

-You aren't the only one who knows your way around me

Thursday, December 25, 2008

An aside

Twas the morning of Christmas and here in my bed
I lay here not sleeping but blogging instead
The stockings were hung last night while drunk
And I wrapped all my presents which mostly, are junk

My stomach still grumbled from meatballs and cheese
Zucchini, bruschetta , nachos and tea.
Some beer, some wine, a whisky or six
And my head now reminds me, never to mix

So here I am awake, at five in the morning
Not from excitement, but jet-lag and snoring
I woke like a child and down the stairs I snuck
To wait for my family to hurry the fuck up

-Merry Christmas to all, and to all, good morning

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shanies: Video of the Year

If you don't know who the Distillers are, go stick your punk rock cock, under a punk rock anvil and drop punk rock all over that shit. Fronted by Brody Dalle, the punk rock wife (formerly Brody Armstrong, ie Tim, and currently Brody Dalle Homme, ie Josh) the Distillers had a hell of a run, but broke up in 2005.

But I'm not here to talk about the Distillers. No, after Brody left, she went on to form Spinnerette with Jack Irons (RHCP, Pearl Jam) and Alain Johannes (QOTSA). In other words, before Spinnerette even had their first practise, they were already a thousand times cooler than you.

And they win for the coolest video of 2008... and yes, it did help their nomination that Brody makes me feel kinda funny.

-Death defying axe

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Shanies: Biggest Rip Off

Most people would see this title and immediately jump at the current Coldplay - Joe Satriani lawsuit. Apparently, when you rip another band off, you can actually sue them.

La vida loca was a pretty blatant copy, however, Coldplay this year is given the runner up status; that's saying something considering how much I hate them. No, the true champs of thievery this year are involved in their own lawsuit. It's The Hives and their latest single Tick Tick Boom. They're being sued by Jason Shapiro of The Roofies and Celebrity Skin. Does he have a case? I'll let you be the judge, but to summarize... fuck yes he does.

-Driving is dangerous while sleeping

Monday, December 22, 2008

Shanies: Best Live Act

That's right ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, and the roughly 20-30 people that google analytics tells me actually read this thing daily, (oh yeah, I'm watching you... who the fuck is the person that lives in Oslo?) it's time for the SHANIES! My holiday officially started on Friday (and my hangover hasn't slowed since) and I'll be counting off the best and worst of 2008 for the next 2 weeks (that is when I don't feel completely lazy).

Today's choice was an easy one, which is why I started with it. I'm waking up in London and I still have to do some xmas shopping before catching my Atlantic flight, landing in Calgary and driving to Edmonton to allow Mr. Ritchie the opportunity to violate my liver. The best live act this year was unquestionably Israel's Monotonix.

I didn't need to see these guys live to know they were the real deal. Watching some of their videos, one could detect the energy of the crowd, the insanity of the show, the fucking fun being had man! This was all capped off when I read a review about their Halifax pop explosion concert: "when the show moved outside, where Shalev hung from traffic lights while guitarist Yonatan Gat wailed on top of a van." You can't make that shit up.

-I have to pee... really; I held it in the entire blog

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My penis plays wicked sweep arpeggios

Cock rock is a genre which is often avoided like the plague because of it's association with beer swilling, low-IQ ridden jocks and other such personas which kicked the shit out of the likes of you and I when we were little. Far too often, this music conjures up visions of swirlies, and most of the time, it's predictable and rather dull.

However, to every rule, there is an exception. LA, of all places in the world, would be the spawning grounds for mysterious and mythical Sasquatch. We're not going to fuck around; what it is is what it is. This is power chord driven, amps to 11, catchy as all hell, rock. It doesn't even roll... it just rocks.

Where we have to pay respect however is in realizing the difference between a band like this and something like Creed. Cock rock in its proper form is trying to emulate the 70s forefathers which made it cool (ACDC, Sabbath, Maiden). The catch is that most musicians suck, and end up producing something which sounds like any one of those bands, without a heavy drug influence (read: absolute fucking bollocks). However, I assure you: people from LA know how to do drugs.

Check the video below, and also take a trip over to their myspace and check the song The Judge.

-PS: Sorry about the missing post this week... crazy times leading up to my travel home and next week's start of the Shanies!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

And the award for best name ever goes to...

Let this post be a preface, warning, and apology. I, just like anyone else who writes about music and has an opinion, will be publishing a week long set of awards over the holidays which I will call 'The Shanies". That's RIGHT everybody, I'm drunk with power... and whiskey and I've got a blog!!! Awards will range from the very serious (best rock pose) to completely inane (man I would give a reach around to).

While I realize we still have a week until I'm off on holidays, I thought I would give a quick preface of what to expect... which is of course going to be NOTHING like my actual implementation since I have no continuity, journalistic integrity, moral sense of right and wrong, libido, ability to work with human emotion in sensitive situations or bow-staff skills. Anyway, beyond just 2008, the award for greatest name of all time is being laid down to Jersey's own The Atomic Bitchwax.

There's not too much to say about these guys (hence the painfully long intro). They're a 3 piece from Jersey who formed in the mid 90's and have producted 4 albums to date. One notable note would be that their founding guitarist was of Monster Magnet fame (remember them?).

Otherwise, it's a Monday morning. It's rock n roll. What more do you want from me?

-I feel like a fucking addict whenever I scream 'I NEED SNOW' on a British street

Friday, December 12, 2008

I want fucking snow, man

So, I go home in just over a week, and I have to be dead honest; I'm getting a bit homesick. I miss the family, I miss the friends, I miss the people... hell I even miss the cold. I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune once I get back, but for now, I can think nostalgically.

I've brought them up before, but I'll keep doing it until I work my way through that thick skull of yours... GO LISTEN TO INWARD EYE. If Winnipeg hasn't had anything to offer since the Guess Who, I'd say we're about due.

This power trio is simple enough to talk about because it's rock. No ifs ands or buts... straight up, beer swilling, peel your face off, clap along and shake your ass rock. For any of you who know Winnipeg, this makes perfect sense. Manitoba is a wonderful little slice of heaven with little to no personality and what culture we have left, has effectively frozen under sheets of ice. However, what we lack in originality, we make up for in talent. And sucking dick.

My MB heartstrings are being pulled perfectly in alignment with Eye's new EP release. Check the video below for some riffin' good times, but if you're looking for something a bit more telling, go listen to Blind Paranoia on their myspace.

-Who needs a government anyway?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Must be high as a kite

I've been wading through a lot of stoner rock this week. Starting from my roots of Kyuss, QOTSA and Clutch, I've just kind of branched outwards and struck a number of veins of gold. However, if this is what I'm going to show you first, I must be high as a kite.

This has nothing to do with the fact that it is a bad choice, however to truly appreciate Colour Haze, I think you need to be down with some heavy hallucinogens.


Seriously, this German trio AVERAGES around 10 minutes per song, with some epics reaching past 20. They are a bit of a 70's throwback and really pay homage to psychedelic rock. Initially, when they started out in the mid nineties, their sound was very influenced by Black Sabbath. However, as time went on they evolved into their own unique, trippy jam band.

Below, I've picked a shorter song called Moon for your listening pleasures, however take a chance to visit their site and listen to songs like All and Love... just don't plan on having anything to do for a while.

-I spy through my eyes as large as the sky

Monday, December 8, 2008

Japanese, not Russian

I had a weekend in London during which my ankle swelled up like a grapefruit. I think this was my body telling me to settle the feck down. So, I'm back to blogging.

Boris is a japanese experimental 3 piece. I'd love to say just listen to the track below and you'll have a pretty good idea of what's going on, but they range through everything from pop to ambient doom, to lord only knows what. They've been around since 1996, but have earned very little attention in western media, likely due to the fact that most lyrics are in Japanese.

They're another rare band who has a female lead guitarist, and again, even rarer; can really fucking rip it. Currently, they're touring the US and Canada, trying to muster up a bit of support, so if you check their page and see a show nearby, go check it out.

-I play the mind

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'll level with you

I have a ridiculously busy day, I have an interview for my C. Eng in an hour, I'm WAAAYYY too hungover (thank you Mr. Wills and Mr. Wozny) and one more thing:

I CAN WALK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Albeit, with a wicked limp, but I can walk; no cane, no stupid boot.

So, today, all I'm going to ask of myself is to be a good boy and walk. All I'm going to ask of you is to fast forward this video to 5:00 and let your mind go POOF.

-I used to fuck people like you in prison

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


The title is both accurate, and will hopefully increase my search redirect hits. Go me!

Righto, this one's going to be breaking the mold a bit. Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, has been defining our generation's music for a long bloody time now. While one would think he might eventually start to get dated, he seems to keep coming up with crafty ways to encapsulate his fans.

This time, it comes in the form of a super group. He's pulled together a team for his new project Brighton Port Authority, of which you might recognize a few names (Iggy Pop, David Byrne, Pete York, Dizzee Rascal). Up to this point, very little has been released from the project with the exception of a couple of tracks; one featuring Iggy Pop and one with David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal. Based on the current record, it is looking like Cook is intending to release an album of electronically backed pop songs, similar to what the Gorillaz did.

Another thing that the fat man is doing is wisely using internet viral media to hype the project up. It helps that he has a BRILLIANT video of a bunch of naked people dancing around. In short, if you didn't like this song before, you will after seeing a bunch of TnA. Oh, not to mention, the wheelmill bit at the end is fucking hilarious.

-The doctor better have good news tomorrow, for Bill Pullman's sake.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More from the Brass Section

I was at a formal dinner down in Oxford on Friday night and I determined something rather sinister. This dinner, filled primarily with academics and a few unholy gate-crashers such as myself was served with miniscule portions of food, and ridiculous servings of wine. Now, I'm all for getting right pissed, but when the catering company forces it on you just to cover up how bad their main course is, I feel somewhat cheated.

I played rock and roll yesterday though, so the weekend wasn't that bad. This morning, I woke up hoping to see absolute bedlam in the morning markets (since this is the day RBS is diluted by the UK government) however so far, things seem stable.

And the world turned, and Pearls & Brass rocked. Once again, I'll warn you that supposedly as of Oct. 2008, these guys are on hiatus. Me thinks they just couldn't handle that amount of rock, because believe me, there is a lot. Keeping true to the words 'stoner metal' these guys fit right up there with Priestess, Wolfmother and many of their 70's heroes. Plus, they're from Nazareth, PA, which I always just thought sounded cool.

-You just see half my mind; I've got half a mind to leave

PS: I just found the coolest Christmas gift idea ever.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Mother Fucking Afro?

I ate a gargantuan thanksgiving dinner with some Americans last night and now I have flatulence that could be used in trench warfare. Don't ask how that's relevant to today's post; I just felt like sharing.

I find it a rarity to discover music with true depth these days. Soul music cheats a bit because by it's nature, it simply feels so much more raw and powerful. I stumbled upon an absolute gem this week which, even considering the skew of soul music, cuts to the absolute core. The only catch is that I'm still trying to figure out what the word Mofro means.

Headed by singer/pianist (guitarist, hamonithingamabobber) JJ Grey, Mofro shoots like a premature ejaculate from the newly pubescent Florida music scene. Wow... I didn't even see that one coming as it was trickling out of my fingers. Take home point: they're from Florida which, in the past, hasn't had a lot to offer musically.

They started playing together in the late 90's and are still going strong, now with four albums under their belt (where that firm, Florida member sits). Currently, they're touring around Australia on their latest release, Orange Blossoms.

PENIS... ok, I'm done.

-You've got something curious there

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's a Shane Day

Which for you means more of that dirty, grimed out blues rock. For me it means I need a quart of whiskey, hustler magazine, 7 roman candles and an albino midget. I promise not to do anything he'll regret.

I'm only trying to live the life of a rock star. It's something I've been thrust into, unlike TK Webb, who has been rocking out Zeppelin covers on stage since he was 13. Now at 28, he and his current band, TK Webb and the Visions, will almost undoubtedly amount to absolutely nothing. Perhaps I'm becoming more bitter and disillusioned with age, but I'm increasingly finding that the more talented you are, the more you are doomed to toil in obscurity. Hence my new goal; start sucking worse than ever before on the guitar! Shouldn't be too hard, right? I'm already pretty bad.

Webb was born in Missouri and is currently shacked up with the Visions in Brooklyn. I think this is an even greater curse. While big beat southern rock is at least enjoyed and respected in the south (if not supported) New York is the kind of city that will chew you up and spit you out unless you're so indie that you haven't even heard of yourself.

I couldn't find the best song for this video, so I'll also encourage you to check out their myspace and listen to Shame or Closed Caption Slang.

-My oh my who went and let the good times go?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good warrior

Yesterday I woke up and made around 10 people a pancake breakfast. It was all going so well until around 5 minutes before everyone left and my hangover decided to rear it's ugly head. I spent the remainder of the day cleaning the kitchen and doing the laundry with my head feeling like a Macy's day parade balloon. I spent the evening writing new riff heavy music.

When I woke this morning, I was in the mood to keep the riffs rolling: enter Bad Wizard. There's something about rock bands from the New York area that makes them extra insane. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I'm pretty sure there's something in the water (read: coke).

I'll be horribly sexist and say they have a chick guitarist who can fucking rip. I can get away with this because with the exception of The Binges, this is a rock and roll rarity. There isn't much else to say about this band. They sound like Fugazi on speed and they're good for a couple of sore necks.

And it's Monday. And I'm tired. Now piss off.

-Going, going... gone; I've been sold too cheap

Friday, November 21, 2008

None of that

Ever in the search of a Friday tune that makes me move, I say we'll have none of that John Mayer bullshit. Today, you and I are going to take a listen to the John Mayer Trio. Obviously I need to explain before a comet strikes the earth.

I've always considered the acoustic guitar to be like an angel, and the electric to be like a devil. Imagine you're a struggling artist and you write a slow, somber song with your angel, which is one of the many varying and styled songs you've written. Now imagine a label hears this song and promises you stardom. Duh, you sell out... you take the contract, unaware that what you've just done is typecast yourself into a musical role which is near impossible to break. However, as every guitarist knows, when you're playing with angels all your life, sometimes you need to confront your devils. This video describes the situation to perfection (just give it long enough for the punch line).

In short, the kid can wail. He can really fucking wail. The trio is lent quite a bit of legitimacy by having the rhythm section from God himself (with priors of Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, Blues Brothers and around 100 others). It looks like Mayer just hit a point in his career where he was sick of playing shitty, depressing love songs, and finally had the success to tell the label to go fuck themselves.

All I can say is that I spent most of yesterday at work with Trio songs in the background and had to stop working on a regular basis to listen to some of the bloody guitar work. To say that I have underrated John Mayer in the past is the understatement of the century. He has, in one single day, snuck himself into my top 10 all time guitarists list. No shit. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

-Eat your words, sir
... fuck it... here's one more (listen to the solo 3:45 and wait for 5:15)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Will Know Me by My Limp

...and you will know us by the trail of dead. I've got a bone to pick with these boys. When I first got into them, it was from hearing the song Perfect Teenhood off a skateboarding video back in like 1999. Teenhood is a balls out, fast driving song which at times borders on early-post-hardcore (whatever the fuck that is), somewhat akin to Refused (somewhat).

The reality is that Trail of Dead are an art rock band who misled me for years. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, I just hate being deceived. Formed in 1994, this band is effectively packed with philosopher-king type musical geniuses who are DEFINITELY the only ones to really 'get' their songs.

You've likely heard of this band before, so today's post is really to act twofold as a reality check, and a news reel. First, they were back in the studio this autumn and are set to release a new album in 2009. Secondly, I implore you to dig a little deeper with this band. We can all enjoy songs like Another Morning Stoner, and Worlds Apart, however you'll find some next level shit if you are ready to listen through a lot of prog.

Mind you, all that being said, this is still my favorite song.

-An apology... for you.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Years gone... where were you?

Let's just go from the drop. Soulive is one of those bands that has been touring since the early 90's. While they've produced 9 full length albums to date, true to their name, the passion for this band stays in the live performance.

Call them a jam band, call them jazz, call them soul, call them funk, but most importantly, call them talented. They've managed to earn the respect of The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, The Roots, Common, and John Mayer while on tour with them, so I hope they can earn yours as well.

I don't have the time to get into it on a Monday morning, but if you ever want to invesitage the history of a old, dynamically changing band, look these boys up. Their revolving lineup has been as few as 3 and as many 9. They've done organic remixes of songs for hip hop MCs like Talib Kewli the Beatnuts and Jurassic 5.

And now, they play for you (ok, a year ago in Montreal... but just go with it).


Friday, November 14, 2008

It's friday! What we lookin for?

My hands feel like they're ready to fall off. Iain and I jammed again last night, which unfortunately also involves around 2km of crutching for me to get home at the end of the session. This shit better be worth it. We've started recording some rough demos too, so I should have something to post soon.

And with no flowing segway whatsoever, just shut up and listen to Shelly Bhushan. She's got soul, she's got pipes, she's got catchy songs and I've got a pet monkey I call Newman. Ms. Bhushan is a Texan who thrust herself into the NY scene to try to leave a mark. Let's call that 'mark making' a work in progress.

She just tossed out her first album, Picking Daisies, and I say, it's one catchy piece of work. Run off to her myspace and check out the title track and a little number called Beautiful Me. The soul revival is always a welcome sight, especially when it's done well.

Also, big shot out to Jesse and Talksick. I hope you boys tear the Gates of Hell open on Saturday.

-If you loved me once, go love someone else

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Purge me Clean

Three weeks, two days and counting... for those of you keeping track at home (ME!!). I'm feeling like I drank one too many pints on a Tuesday night and we're going to cheat a bit and draw on old work.

In March, the last time before this autumn that I was serious about this blog, I wrote once about an incredible Pop Montreal show I saw. The lineup featured Priestess (who have a new album coming out in the new year), Pride Tiger (who I'm seeing live in just over a month), and today's focus, The Binges.

Besides talking about the fact that one could pleasure one's self to Mayuko's guitar playing, I mentioned that for the opening band of the night, the Binges almost stole the show from the two powerhouses that followed (almost). Generally, they also had a good rock and roll philosophy. They drank pabst in their first video, they gave out lighters which also opened beer bottles and they were giving away their EP for free.

Now, around a year after I first saw them, they finally managed to push forward their self-titled debut onto the world. Once again, living in the stupid UK means I can't stupid get the stupid album (although, Monday, after blogging about The Speaking Tongues, I proceeded to order the album online, and have it delivered to the farm back in Manitoba for pickup at Christmas).

-More rock per cubic centimeter

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tongue Lashings

You know me. I'm quite predictable. If not, my name is Shane and I like rock n roll and blues. As such, you can likely conclude that the number of bands in the past 10 years who have been doing 'blues-rock-revival' type stuff have made me happy... very happy.

It all started with the Black Keys; a band I now worship on nearly the level of good scotch and Kraft peanut butter. However, I quickly learned that this sound was not indicative to one band, one region or even one style. Hell, even we Canucks are doing it.

Toronto managed to earn a couple points in my book (don't worry... it's still Toronto) by opening the world of The Speaking Tongues to me. Grungy, dirty, muffled and distorted two man rock n roll comes blaring through the speakers and what do you do? You should nod your head with elated satisfaction.

I won't lie, I don't know much about these boys other than the fact that they push out a wall of sound for a two piece. They share vocals back and forth, however it's difficult to tell since they have a very similar style. Their first album, Wild Sound, was released just this past summer, and since I'm now across the pond, I have yet to snag a copy. Grumble cakes.

Now be a good little girl and listen up.

-I washed my leg for the first time in 3 weeks. The skin actually dripped off it was so dead.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lagwagon Week: Friday

As the more perceptive of you might start noticing, this is less of a 'Lagwagon Week' and more of an 'I love Joey Cape fanpage.' You guessed it, he's on the list; I'd go the gay for him. Fortunately, I have no journalistic integrity and am completely unapologetic about my bias, grammar, speeling, misuse of words and general hypocrasy in regards to this blog. In short, blow it out your ass.

To bring this week to a close, we'll take a gander at Cape's most recent side project, The Playing Favorites. I know the name sounds like a shitty emo band, but I assure you, they're more of a shitty pop band. Kidding. I enjoy the sound and again, I'm impressed by the musical diversity Cape has demonstrated this week, but don't go into this one expecting songs like Mr. Coffee.

Again, Joey pulled together some friends from his almost celebrity-esque phonebook (Silver Jet, The Rentals, Sugarcult) and formed up a band in 2007. Supposedly, their '07 release, I Remember When I Was Pretty was written in 5 days. I haven't heard the whole thing so this could either speak to really weak songs, or very adept, cohesive songwriting.

From the album they pushed forward one single, Waiting, which can be heard, and seen below.

Just to give you a heads up, next week we'll be back to normal (yet still broken) and I ordered another boxful of CDs. I really wonder how much money I could have if I didn't obsessively buy music.

-I'd love to sell out, but no one's buying in this recession

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lagwagon Week: Wednesday

I know you'd all expect me to say something about the election this morning. Fuck that. There are more pressing matters at hand today. What the hell is this world coming to? I mean, the US just made history by electing a black man into office, and yet they're thinking of replacing Plant with the Creed dude? SERIOUSLY? This is the shit that keeps me up at night.

So to those of you who took a guess at today's post (read: no one... bloody cowards), no it will not be Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (where Cape plays guitar). I won't even bother touching on Joey's solo stuff. I'll be jumping leaps and bounds away from punk again and listening to Afterburner.

The band was formed as a simple, stripped down, acoustic project between Cape and friend Todd Capps. Again, don't be expecting to hear Lagwagon, or you're going to be disappointed. Clear your mind instead and be in the mood to catch a bit of full, soothing, acoustic relaxation.

I would most akin the acoustic stuff to what Grohl did with the second album of In Your Honor. It's a voice you know and love, but entering a completely different realm. The songs are simple, well written folk tunes and while it seems out of place, somehow it fits.

-Mostly made of Tuesday

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lagwagon Week: Monday

Greetings earth-dwellers. We're back at the start of yet another crippled week. I've actually been so annoyed with my status and had so much time on my hands (especially in transit) that I've created, for this week alone, a theme week. This week, we'll be discussing a handful of projects which are illegitimate spawn of Lagwagon.

But first, let's talk about dad. Lagwagon is, unquestionably, my favorite punk band of all time. Pennywise was always too repetitive, NOFX was too unpolished, but Lagwagon seemed to find a perfect balance of melodic motions along with angsty 90's rebellion. Formed in 1989, the boys have survived almost 20 years, released 7 studio albums, and 4 EPs. They went on hiatus from 2000-2002, but in the end, found the bed was too cold at night and had to get back together.

During this little break, Joey, Lagwagon's frontman, pulled together a punk-all-stars line up from groups such as Sugarcult, Me First, Swingin' Utters, and The Ataris. Even with all this punk rock in the room, the band opted for a more laid back, almost pop-rock style.

They released three full length albums; Acrophobe, Houston: We have a drinking problem and Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment. However, tragedy struck though in '05 when Derrick Plourde, BA's drummer, committed suicide. Cape would soon after announce this to be the end of Bad Astronaut, " because without Derrick, there is no Bad Astronaut."

Stay tuned as the family tree unfolds throughout the rest of the week. If you're feeling daring, you can even try to guess who's going to be next on the chopping block (though knowing the douche-bag that I am, I'll likely go and change if you do get it right).

-It hurts, but just the way I like

Friday, October 31, 2008

I want to suck your rock!!

Happy Halloween bitches and bitchettes. Mr. Saunderson, the man ever with an ace up his sleeve, has yet another clever pundit for you on this hallowed of mornings (soon to be eve?). I'm running a touch late, so I'll make this quick.

You remember Toronto's The Illuminati? If not, it's no big deal; I already didn't think much of you. This might refresh your memory (and make you rock out!) Well they broke up about a year ago. This was a sad day. The boys new how to rock, and they used that knowledge.

Yet up from the grave of Illuminati rose Drunkula; an absolute terror on stage fueled by alcohol and white drugs. Vibing along with bands like The Bronx, Drunkula quickly pushed out fast moving, hard hitting rock and roll. They called in the help of Sir Ian Blurton (the man with the midas touch) and layed down their first record titled, All New Moves.

Now they sit silently in the darkness, with guitars, and wait for their next victim.

-I think you have me mistaken for something else

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

5 Weeks & 2 Days

Get used to this. I utterly abhor being in this crippled state and have been marking the calendar, sharpening the knives, counting the days, and any other obsessive-compulsive saying which could be thrown into here.

Before I get to the tunes, a quick aside. I weaned myself off painkillers after only being at home for 2 days. They gave me mild and strong analgesics; tramadol and paracetamol (acetaminophen). I had surgery on Friday, came home Saturday, stopped the tramadol Sunday, and took my last dose of paracetamol on Monday. This was a grand total of 2 of the potential 28 days (plus an option for refills) I should have been on these drugs.

My side rant today is no fucking wonder our society has a drug problem. Since Monday, I've had only mild pain and even then, primarily when I hit the fucking wound or do something stupid. Granted, I'm a big tough and gruff Manitoban, but you have to be shitting me if you think anyone is going to still be suffering after more than a week. Personally, I think doctors should tell their patients to suck it the fuck up and get on with their lives.

Speaking of addictive drugs, my music is brought to you today by Tweaker and the letter Q. Tweaker is the musical project of Chris Vrenna. Don't know who Vrenna is? I beg to differ. Vrenna's resume spans more projects than most people could dream. He's played drums / programmed for Stabbing Westward, G&R, Smashing Pumkpins, NIN and KMFDM. However, his true genius comes through as a producer for Bowie, U2, Weezer, The Pumpkins, Marilyn Manson, Green Day.. the list goes on and on. In addition, you may have played one of the many video games which Vrenna has done the music for; Doom 3, Alice, Quake 4.

What I guess I'm trying to tell you is that this guy doesn't sleep. He started Tweaker in the late 90's as a creative outlet, initially doing remixes for a lot of bands he knew. Eventually, he started piecing together his own tracks and released the album, The Attraction to All Things Uncertain. This album was primarily industrial and instrumental.

After inviting Clint Walsh to permanently join the project, he released, what I feel is pure genius, 2a.m. Wakup Call. This time, Vrenna took his industrial concoctions and merged them with some of his favourite artists to create an album of all star performances. Instead of creating an album full of industrial angst and noise however, Vrenna found joy in dark and mysterious tracks which were enough to chill the bones. Think of them as lullabies for a child named Damien.

-Trophy wife in training

Monday, October 27, 2008

Holy fuck, this is awesome

So I think God decided to give me a consolation prize for spending the entirety of last week in the hospital. I can't think of any other justifiable reason why I might stumble across such an awesome band on a Sunday night; it is after all, the lord's day.

All the way from Israel, I give you Monotonix. They're a power trio (though 'Power' doesn't quite cut it) featuring vocals, drums and guitar. These guys kinda sound like Sabbath on speed, however their true power does not come from their recordings, but from their live show.

Formed in 2005, they eventually had to leave their home of Tel Aviv after being banned from almost every venue in town. In mid 2006, they started touring and didn't really stop. Eventually, they slowed down long enough to record their 2008 EP, Body Language.

Their live shows are characterized by lighting things on fire, moving their show around the venue (often into the pit), stealing people's drink, spitting back said drinks on the crowd, and general fucking insanity. I want you to do two things for me, go to their myspace and listen to the song Summers and Autumns and watch the video below in complete awe.

As a side note, I'm headed back to work today. Can I just say that morning prep is really bloody difficult as a cripple? Seriously, I don't know how the lifers do it.

-I can't be dead, I've never even lived

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Day 7: Freedom? Yeah right.

So, I'm officially out of the hospital. I was released yesterday around 4pm, caught a cab home and then some gracious friends came over for dinner and to hang out for a bit. Reflections on the week, I'd rather not do since I'm still a bit scarred by lying in that bed the whole time. At least now, I get to lie in my own bed.

In the end, they gave me a removable cast, which is kinda cool. I'm supposed to take it off during the day and do exercises to keep everything down there moving. In addition, I believe this means I can take off my cast for showers, which has the added benefit of combating 'stinky cast leg syndrome.' They sent me home with a couple types of painkillers and a couple types of laxatives, since apparently one of the painkillers can constipate you. I've always been a pretty regular guy, so I'm likely going to save the laxatives for a rainy, mischievous day (note to all of you: NEVER eat my baking).

This week was obviously a bit of an exception for the blog, since I had nothing better to do. Rest assured, next week, I'm back and work and should hopefully fall back into MWF posts of varying length and musical taste.

As a complete random aside, I received a note from my friend Taryn while in the hospital. In the duration of this email, she managed to mention a new google labs program being developed for Gmail that was too hilarious not to share. Check it out, and if you suffer from late night drunk-mailing, this might be for you.

Being that I'm out and all, I'm in a pretty damn good mood. As such, I've been listening to the kinda rock that makes you want to move around (no need to point out the irony... I got it). Shikasta is a powerful 3 piece from the T. I caught onto these guys a few years ago, around the time they released their second album, Weight of the Sun. They went back into the studio to record their third, Main Offender. Unfortunately, at the end of that session, their drummer decided to part ways with the band.

I'm not sure what's happened since then, but as you can see, their website is down, and the album, which was recorded over a year ago, has yet to come anywhere near my radar. Still, the boys rock, put on an amazing live show and seem like really nice guys (they sent me a free shirt when I bought the two cds). If you're itching, you can check out a couple tracks on myspace.

-Bend the shadow back so it casts upon its self

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Day 6: Oops

HAHAHA... hilarious. So, I just woke up at 6:30am for the doctor's rounds. He asked how I was doing and generally checked the pain in my leg. While doing this, he noticed something odd; I had feeling in my lower leg, but not in my thigh. He asked the nurse what type of nerve block I had and she repeated something which I'm sure I would need at least 2 years more in school to understand.

The take home point however, is that the anaesthesiologist did the wrong part of my leg. Currently, my thigh is numb as a fucking block of ice and my ankle is fully alert. Initially, when I came out of surgery, they thought I simply didn't have a very good response to the nerve block... no no, they just did it wrong.

On the bright side, apparently everyone is a little disturbed by my pain tolerance after spending post surgery and last night with nothing but paracetamol in my system. I'm doing the Canadian name proud.

You can always tell my mood by the type of music I throw up here for the day. As such, I'm sure you'll see it fitting that I'm going to toss you some death metal today. All the way from Mississauga, ON, it's the Endorphins. These guys had an actual homepage, but apparently they broke up this year and shit's obviously not been kept up.

I'll keep this short and sweet. I get my cast changed to something lighter, I meet with the physio to get crutches, I listen to this song, and then I walk out the front door with my ass still hanging out the back of my hospital gown.

-Fuck the drug guy, fuck you, fuck you, you're cool, fuck you, I'm out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Day 5: Cut

So, the schedule has been passed onto me. I go in for another x-ray this morning and then in the afternoon, I'm wheeled into the theater and I go under for surgery. I sent an email to my buddy Jeff in Edinburgh who tore a tendon in his ankle this summer and had to have surgery. He said it was a little creepy being wheeled into the theater, but then the drugs kick in, so everything's cool. The only real drawback is that I'm not supposed to eat anything all day, and for those of you who know me at all, you know this means I'll be getting hangry.

This week marks a lot of firsts for me. I'd never broken a bone. I'd never had surgery. I'd never spent a night in a hospital (that I could remember... obviously I was born in one, unless things out in rural Manitoba used to be even worse than I was led to believe). I'd never had to pee in a bottle. All in all, this was a very educational week.

And we should be proud that I didn't even have to snap and lose it out of sheer boredom. Alternatively, as Iain suggested, I could have just gone into seizures to liven things up now and then. If we look at the leader board of who loves me most:

Iain - 3
Mishoo - 2
Candice - 1
Laura - 1
Rhi - 1
Everyone else - Obviously does not love me

There's still around a day left where you could get some visits in, during what I like to call the 'lightning round'. As for those of you in North America, shame on you. It's only an ocean.

Now then, keeping with my pathetic play on words, my groovy beats to check out today come from San Francisco's Honeycut. They're an electro-organic soul/funk band who was formed in 2003. I've talked about them briefly before and mentioned that while so much modern indie music ends up being pretentious bullshit, when you bring a group of seriously talented musicians together, you can get amazing results. Honeycut embodies this ideal. They play stuff that's out there, but still manage to make it catchy, technical, and enjoyable to listen to. In my opinion this is one of the most difficult things to do in music; progress the sound while still making it accessible.

In 2006 they released the album The Day I Turned to Glass. It was the title track from this album which was used on CBC's short lived (but fucking genius) series J-Pod, created by Douglas Coupland (one of my favorite authors). I went on one of my obsessive missions to find the song and after hours (read: seconds) of scouring the interweebs, stumbled across Honeycut. I proceeded to gain access to as much media as was possible on the band, and loved every bit of it.

The video shown below is one of a plethora I could have drawn from. As such, I highly encourage you to hunt around for more, and also take a listen to the tracks on their myspace. It's catchy, it's unique, it's new, and I like it.

-My liquid soul and my windowless eyes know exactly what you'll say

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 4: That's just swell!

Actually, today is the day we really hope it fucking isn't swell. They take my temp cast off today and take a look at the ankle to see if the swelling has gone down enough to cut open. If it has, I go into the theater on Friday for surgery. I never thought I'd be so excited about the prospect of someone taking a large sharp object to my skin, cutting me open and fiddling with my bones, but I need to get the fuck out of here.

In the spirit of today, I'm realizing I need to move along and return to basics. While I've been here, I've recommended hip hop, pop, and electro. It's time to get back to the fucking rock, and not just any old rock (I want a SHINY one!).

We're taking things back to the prairies and drawing on the sheer awesomeness of Alberta's Whitey Houston. For those of you who don't known how awesome the west can be, allow me to enlighten. WH is a 2 piece from Edmonton, featuring vocals, bass and drums. While this could sound like just another DFA1979, I assure you, westerners are far cooler than that.

The two are also members of the electro-punk group, Shout Out Out Out Out (I always fuck up the number of outs). Unfortunately, due to SOOOO's success (Juno nominations, !earshot placings), Whitey hasn't been incredibly active in the past year. The boys have claimed that they still have the intention of getting back together for a second album. That's right... you can't stay away from the rock.

I recommend you both watch the video below AND listen to my favorite track, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, on their myspace.

-I can't be held responsible for every word I don't say

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Day 3: Thank God that's sorted

I know you were all in a great deal of suspense. Personally, I was getting quite anxious too. It had been around a full day and a half, and I had yet to broach the topic. I was worried. I was paranoid. I was prepared to swallow my pride. Then, like the first ray of sunlight breaking across the morning sky, my savior arrived; they have a portable toilet. Wheeling into my room like some ergonomic God, I could almost hear the angelic choirs on high as it was plopped directly beside my bed and I was told to simply ring when I was done.

All things considered, yesterday was one of the longest, dullest days of my life. Big thanks to Mish and Willsy for stopping by for a bit. Aside from that, I watched a movie, read half of The God Delusion by Dawkins and generally found amusing ways to waste away the day. I've also noticed that nurses in England are obsessed with giving you painkillers. I've been refusing them since I got here since I'm not in pain, but they keep trying to pressure me into it.

I was given some slightly more unfortunate news yesterday. Apparently, my best case scenario of having surgery on Friday would still involve anywhere from 1-3 days in the hospital to monitor my recovery and make sure I can get around on my own. Personally though, I’m not that worried because as Iain put it, “It’s not like they can keep you here.” If I’m feeling good enough to leave, then fuck that… peace I’m out.

Been listening to a lot of Hey Rosetta! this morning. The old album, not the new, as I find it more mysterious and powerful. You know, as though I need something to get me more riled up for the big day I have ahead of myself. If you want to learn a bit more about HR, look back here.

Today is another day where my sole task in life is to reduce swelling on my left ankle. While this might seem like a perfect segway into talking about the Swollen Members, that would be far too easy. Instead, I want to introduce you to another Canadian hip hop artist, Shad.

Shadrach Kabango is a London, ON based MC who has shot up in recent Canadian popularity after being nominated for the Polaris prize. If you’re curious, this year’s winner was Dan Snaith, otherwise known by his moniker, Caribou. Let’s all take a moment to thank Stephen Harper for cutting funding from this prize and putting it’s future in jeopardy after only 3 years of existence.

He financed his first album, When this is Over, with winnings from a radio artist search contest during his time as an undergrad at Wilfred Laurier. In true form of my hip hop appreciation, his lyrics cut apart the rap stereotype and instead focused on global issues such as the Rwandan genocide.

His second release, The Old Prince, was just released this year and was nominated at the Junos for best rap recording. While pushing forth this album, Shad is also still pursuing a Masters part time. So not only is he a bright guy but, as you can see below, he has an awesome sense of humor.

-Moonlit by day

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 2: Liver & onions for lunch

I’m around half-way through day 2 and I’m prepared to take a human life for shear amusement. You know how most people could never conceive me sitting still for 5 minutes? Imagine doing it for 5 fucking days.

I’ve taken it upon myself to get to know all of the staff by name; morning, evening and night. I think these people are so used to getting shit all over (at times, literally) that it’s a strange but welcome change to have someone ask them how they’re doing. That, and I’ll never get tired of making jokes about my bottles of pee; something which I feel you can really only do once you know someone by first name.

High point of my morning has been Stephanie emailing me a set of SAP procedures to review so that I can improve the efficiency of our stock take for next year. Conversely, today’s low has undoubtedly been the verification from the doctor that I’m here until best case, Friday, worst case, Monday.

I don’t know about you, but I could use some music. I won’t lie, I’ve been listening to Blind Melon and Super 400 for most of the morning, they’ve already been covered sometime ago, and even further ago. I will instead reveal one of my best kept musical secrets. Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m refusing painkillers, but I feel I’ve let this lay dormant for long enough.

The Verve Pipe is one of my favorite bands, Brian Vander Ark is one of my favorite songwriters, and their self-titled second release is in my top 10 desert island records. Yes, this is the same band who brought you the supposed ‘one hit wonder’, The Freshman (a song which I wish could be burned pure in the fire of a thousand suns). However, the remainder of Villains was an incredibly well thought out and balanced album. Truth be told, even Freshman was a good track… it just got so overplayed it made your mom look tight.

Their third and final release together was 2001’s Underneath. Proving that every band must peak, it was a very solid collection of songs, but was still hidden beneath the shadows of the band’s self-titled second release. Start to finish, Vander Ark created a perfect series of driving anthems, rock ballads, and fragile lullabies which are aligned to do what so few bands even attempt anymore (let alone succeed); create an album. Certain modes and harmonies are reused throughout the album, bringing a sense of familiarity to each song. Even the lyrical themes of each song stitch back to back, almost as though the album tells a story of looking, love, leaving and loss.

Believe me when I say that I have been listening to this album on a consistent basis since it’s release in 1996, so I know what I’m talking about. Enjoy the video below, however do the album justice and go pick it up so that you can appreciate the full genius, end to end.

-Can we get you any painkillers for your ankle?
-Will they help me get out of here sooner?
-They should help you feel more comfortable, but sadly won’t affect the timeline.
-Then no… the boredom is far worse than any physical sensation.

Day 1: I just peed in a bottle

And it wasn't that bad. Seriously though, they need to make those things slightly bigger. I was cutting it close.

I was playing rugby on Sunday and unfortunately, in the last 5 minutes of the game (our last game of the season), I had a couple of rather large gentlemen fall on me whilst plummeting to the ground with my ankle at an 'odd angle'. I was up and off the field pretty quick and was able to put weight on my leg, so most (including the physio in the shop after) figured it was just a sprain. (Note to self: trust doctors... not physios.)

I woke up Monday morning to a rather large purple looking ankle. It was at this time that my 'maybe just in case' mindset kicked in. I went to the clinic and had that sinking feeling when even the doctor was disgusted by my body. She decided it would be wise to send me down for an x-ray, but thought it might just be a bad sprain.

If only it were that simple.

The x-ray went through and the tech told me I had a fractured ankle. I almost didn't believe her. She was amazed I was able to stand/walk on it and made passing comments about Canadians and pain threshold.

But wait... it gets worse.

The doctor showed me the x-ray and I was initially quite positive. To me, it seemed as though there were just a couple of fractures along the base of my tibia.... not like a big break in the middle. (Note to self; trust doctors... not self) Apparently, the 'chunks' off the end of my tibia are actually much more annoying, because they will not self set and need to be put back in place with surgery.

Yes... here is the cherry on the cake.

They don't like to just stay there themselves, and I get metal pins down there too. Now I get to be everyone's favourite person in the world to clear airport security with.

Somehow... it still gets worse.

Because my ankle was so swollen, I was not able to enter surgery immediately. No, I need to spend ~4 days in the hospital to let the swelling go down enough so that they can actually operate.

Amazingly... still not quite there.

To help the swelling come down, my leg needs to be elevated for the entirety of my time at the hospital. I can't go for walks, hobbles, or even wheelchair races (which I was REALLY pissed about).

And finally... the haymaker.

I'm not even supposed to get up to pee... they gave me bottles. I'm man enough to accept that humility, but I draw the limit at bedpans. The day to come which I have to defecate in a bed, I'd best be either very senile, or very intoxicated.

-Pour on the love... it flows smooth

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things to do while broke

There are a couple things you can do when your body is all busted up. Like me, you could choose to blog about music, or like yourselves (well, broken or not) you could listen to RJD2. I suppose before we get to the music, I should explain myself. I'll make a long story short; brand new bike, just moved all the gear into a new jam space, sprained the ankle playing rugby yesterday, very pissed off about said combination, currently sitting at home following RICE.

But I digress. RJD2 (Ramble John "RJ" Krohn) is a Philly based DJ. He's been spinning since the mid-nineties and is the father behind some of your favorite beats, without you even knowing it. His first two albums (Dead Ringer, Since Last We Spoke) were effectively instrumental hip hop albums. His third, The Third Hand, was a massive departure from his original work, involving vast instrumentation and vocals on nearly every track.

His tracks are infectiosly catchy, and have provided him an opportunity to work with some big names in the hip hop world. My personal favorite is a track called Ghostwriter. However, in the spirit of my injury, I'm going to show a video which inspires me towards a quick and full recovery (aren't I witty?).

-Back to the ice... ice baby

Friday, October 17, 2008


With an opening like that, how can I not entice you into reading the rest of this post, eh?

I'll cut to the chase, because while I know this mystery is likely what's keeping you reading, I'm becoming a little disgusted with myself. Today's obscure play on words is referring to Richard Cheese (and of course his backup band, Lounge Against the Machine).

What happens when you hold a gun to Frank Sinatra's head and force him to sing 90's pop, metal, and rap? Aside from ruining my childhood, and making me laugh so hard I pee myself, you get Mr. Cheese. The premise is simple; take famous top 40 tracks, and loungify!!

I first stumbled across this song when watching Dawn of the Dead. As the end credits roll, you hear the smooth crooning of RC&LATM playing Disturbed's, Down with the Sickness. I could drone on all day with some of the groups he's covered (NIN, Sir-Mixalot, Nirvana... the list goes on). My recommendation is go listen to it... a lot of it. Your childhood shitty music will be dug up out of the grave, and subsequently rolled around until dizzy.

He's like a Weird Al-Yankovic that doesn't suck.

-Bury me standing, I'm afraid of depths.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

We can cage him, can we hold him?

First, let's just get it out of the way; I know you're disappointed, but are you really surprised?

I promise that's all I'll ever say about politics. (LIES!)

I was lucky enough to be in London this weekend and get me some turkey. In addition to that fantastic bird, I also met some fantastic people. One of said people bonded quite well with me over music. He even mentioned that there is a band he was coming to see in Oxford and that I should join. Unfortunately, the concert was sold out. At this rate, the first live show I see in Ox could be my own.

All the same, I do thank Jeremy a great deal for introducing me to Cage the Elephant, live show or not. I hate dumbing things down like this, but if you like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, you'll probably dig this. Cage is a wonderful blend of rock, blues, funk, and soul. They've got a laid back musical style which one can't help to sway to.

All the way from Kentucky, these guys have only been playing together for a couple of years. They just released their self-titled first full length in June, and while they haven't made much impact back home, are turning some heads in the UK. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that eventually, North America will wake up and smell that of it's own producing. I just made them sound like BO.


-It's not the end, it's the beginning of the end.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Night and Day

As I try to shake off the turkey-induced letharga (thank you Mr. Swanson and Ms.Kubacki), I remind myself that Monday morning, means blog time. I've already woken up at 6:30 and gone for a run after eating enough turkey to take down a bull moose last night. However, my job is not complete until I have delivered music to your digital doorstep.

In yet another horribly cheesy play on words with today's title, I'm going to introduce you to Mr. Jon Day. I met Jon back in 2000 when I started getting involved in the a cappella community at McGill (which, I've already begrudgingly admitted to, ad nauseam). Jon wore this bright red toque and was (and still is) a musical genius. His arrangements were always soulful and intricate, unexpected and moving.

Jon went on to start arranging for a group. Around 2 years ago, he brought together a handful of singers and a backup band and made a project called exhibit A. Along with one of the most incredible and energetic live performances (which I missed... but heard was great), he released a 5 track EP with the same name.

Now, two years later, Mr. Day has brought his body of work together for round 2: exhibit B. As of today, the CD and mp3s go on sale, and on Oct. 22, he will be performing live at Espace Dell'Arte in Montreal. If you are in the city of joy, I highly recommend you check it out.

Sadly, there will be no catchy videos today. You can check out a couple of clips of Jon's tracks on his website. If you swing on over to Oxford and ask me nice, I might be able to show you some of his old stuff from exhibit A as well.

-Rumors and slander is all she said.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I want to do nasty things to Nikka Costa

What?!?? Have you SEEN this woman?

Alright, me getting excited aside, I had an urge to pull an old gem of mine out of the tickle-trunk yesterday. This ended up coinciding almost perfectly with the fact that Ms. Nikka Costa has a new album being released next week titled, Pebble to a Pearl.

Nikka was one of those strange child music stars who had some one-hit-wonder when she was around 10 years old and then disappeared from the scene completely. She came back in the late 90's as a god damned soul goddess. Since her first album, Everybody Got their Something, back in 2001, she has been reviving soul music into modern times and giving me something to move my ass to. Far ahead of the likes of Amy Winehouse, Nikka was also able to avoid the severe drug problems and drama-queen behavior.

How she never went huge, I'll never know. Her music is catchy and danceable, her lyrics are witty and soulful, she's worked her ass off in the music industry, and I'd give up my left arm to spend a night with her. She's obviously turned some heads as she had Lenny Kravitz play bass on her last album and has recieved kudos from Aretha Franklin.

But what really matters is that it's Friday, it's the weekend, and I'm ready to move.

-It's never been too hard to follow; never too tough to swallow

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A Match Made in Fuck Knows Where

What do you get when you cross Bam Margera’s brother and the lead singer of Clutch? Fucked if I know, but apparently they’re called the Company Band. Originally, this group was formed of members of Fireball Ministry and Puny Human, who eventually approached Jess Margera (of CKY) to play drums with them. Neil Fallon of Clutch was brought on as a guest vocalist, and eventually became a full member.

They released an EP earlier this year titled Sign Here, Here and Here, with only 4 tracks that I haven’t been able to get enough of. As their name goes, this is truly blue collared rock. I feel however, any project which Fallon is a part of is always going to sound like grass roots, ‘good ‘ol boys’, kind of stuff, simply due to his unmistakable growl.

They’ve been in the studio all summer putting down a full length titled, The Vacation of Tomorrow, Today! Personally, I am tickled pink at the mere thought of what these boys will do. Primarily, this stems from the fact that I have a little man-boy crush on Fallon’s voice, but I’m also to see what he can do without his mainstay Clutch, whom he has been with for almost 20 years.

Since they’ve been around such a short while, I wasn’t able to find any videos of them, produced or live. Instead, you’re just going to get to sit through one of my favourite Clutch songs. Just listen to that riff!

As a side note, Willsy and I are going into the studio today for the first rehearsal of the Noble Rogues. I’ve already written around 15 songs, and I’m so excited that I think someone peed in my pants. I give it around 23 minutes before Iain gouges a drumstick through my cornea.

-You don’t say the right things, and I don’t hear the right way

Monday, October 6, 2008

Metal Mondays

Good morning everyone, and welcome to yet another work week. If you're anything like me, it takes a 'mental army' to get you out of bed at the start of the week, and a veritable force of nature to keep you going during the day (read: my new creation, teaffee). Hence, why on Monday, I usually listen to something pretty heavy.

Today, we're talking about Doomriders. I found these guys when poking around the history of one of my favorite prog bands, Cave In. Cave was the sort of group who loved playing together, but was also very understanding of side projects. Playing with members of Converge, Piebald and others, Cave In was a band who traveled the Boston scene quite well.

A few years back, Cave In went on permanent hiatus, which allowed the already exploratory group to branch out into many new sideprojects. One of these was the Doomriders, formed of an old Cave In guitarist turned bassist, and an old Converge bassist turned guitarist.

I know... I'm confused too. That's why it's Monday. That's why I'm just going to shut up and let you watch this video. The quality's not great, so I urge you to check out this track (Black Thunder) on their myspace.

-I'll pour out my soul to anyone who'll listen, but always seem to turn to you.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sweatshop afterthoughts

In writing the last blog about Sweatshop Union, I was reminded of a video I saw years ago. Kyprios, one of the MCs of the Sweatshop crew used to be a slam poet. The first time I saw his video, it hit close to home, since I came from a small town, which didn't always have the most open mind. It was the type of thing that I wish could be shown to every single kid growing up in the middle of nowhere. Maybe, just maybe, it'd shock then hell out of some kids into realizing that racism just isn't cool.

This video is heavy. Be sure to watch the whole thing before you pass judgement.

-Now, onto something a bit lighter... like my Fri afternoon Guinness