Saturday, March 29, 2008

It’s rock 'n roll baby, it’s bigger than you & me

Today kids, we’ll be taking a break from the ‘lesser known’ and talking about a few major bands who have just recently put out new albums which, truth be told, give me wood. I know I always attempt to push bands you’ve never heard of however, every now and then, people need to be reminded why some bands sell millions of albums. Plus, you may have been living under a rock and missed out on a few of these monumental releases.

Starting at home, we take a glimpse at Nova Scotia’s beautiful little project known as The Trews. Now, riding high off their third release, No Time for Later, this band has proven that they are willing and able to carve a piece for themselves into music history. Combining classic rock era riffs that could tear paint off the walls, with heavy stomping drums, and songwriting that would make dad proud, The Trews have come a long way, since their 2003 release House of Ill Fame. It may have helped that they’re one of Canada’s best live acts, and have played over 500 live shows since their ’03 release. However, unlike many, this is a band which is aging beautifully. While Ill Fame was a more pop oriented, heartfelt album, No Time shows a heavier, more powerful band, which has put in their time, and has the songs to prove it. From their first single, Hold me in your Arms, to harmonic anthem, Ocean’s End, this album has it all; witty lyrics, thick vocal harmonies, thunderous drum fills, and enough guitar work to drop a thousand jaws.

As I always love professing my joy about 90’s bands who are trying to make a comeback, let’s talk about The Black Crowes. With a band that shoots through such incredible stardom, over such a long period of time, one can always expect drama. Yet, through nearly 24 years, a revolving door type lineup, and more ‘breaks’ then a compound fracture, thankfully, brotherhood has always kept this band close. Chris and Rich Robinson have always held the core of this group together. Even when the band went on indefinite hiatus, after touring on their previous studio album (2001’s Lions), the brothers stayed together, and kept playing music, albeit as an acoustic duo. However, a band with such importance and sway on music of their generation could only stay away for so long. In years leading up, members of the Crowes would form small reunions, and play alongside giants such as Tom Petty, Gov’t Mule, and Jimmy Page. It only made sense that eventually, the band would come back together.

Warpaint, their first release in over seven years, would be, in my opinion, their masterpiece. While it may lack some of the singles appeal in songs such as Hard to Handle, Lickin’, or Talks to Angels, the age and talent of these musicians would become apparent from the first chord. While I could write an essay on the brilliant composition, nuances, and musicianship of this album, I’ll summarize by saying this; never has a record been so happy to have the blues.

Alright, it wouldn’t be Shananigans if I didn’t pull out at least one diamond in the rough. During Pop Montreal 2007, I saw a show at BSL2 featuring Pride Tiger and Priestess. While this alone was enough to have me singing show tunes at the top of my lungs while swinging off a lamp post (possibly while under the influence), it would get better. Opening for the two rock Goliaths, was California’s The Binges. The Binges were formed of Japanese sisters on guitar and bass, and two guys from Cali, singing and banging the drums. With the lineup of the night, it was something to be said when we agreed that Mayuko Okai was the best guitarist we had seen that night. It also helped that the sisters were disturbingly hot, but I swear that didn’t affect our judgment. It would be Jesse who would put it best when saying, “I could masturbate to this.” If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.

Lastly, I need to say something. Thank you Jack White, thank you. You too Brendan Benson. While the White Stripes are a force to be reckoned with, and an influence for modern American rock and roll, one has to admit that Jack White is simply not given a chance to do himself musical justice in such a limited setup. Enter The Raconteurs. If you missed their first album, Broken Boy Soldiers, stop reading this post immediately and go fucking listen to it. No seriously… fuck off; I don’t want to talk to you until after you’ve civilized your musical palate.

Now that you’ve realized that a band of our generation was able to reproduce the genius of the Beatles, we can be friends. If Soldiers was the boys’ Sgt. Pepper’s, then unquestionably, Consolers of the Lonely is the Raconteurs white album. Very rarely does an album come along which I am physically unable to stop playing, but when this happens, for nearly a week, I am unable to listen to any other music, until I have scratched the melodic itch of this album, which exists at the very core of my soul. From the infectiously sing-alongable Rich Kid Blues, to the angelic glory of You Don’t Understand Me, The Raconteurs have given us an album which will become our generation’s classic rock staple; otherwise, I’ll be going fucking bell tower.

-“I shot the sheriff, but I did not shoot the deputy. With him, I took my time.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pass the burning leaf

If you have complaints about the lack of a podcast for the past two weeks, or the sparse presence of new posts, please address all concerns to my liver, as I've decided it's doing all the work as of late. I 'survived' the weekend, if you want to call it that, and tomorrow morning, I'm flying out west, to spend some much needed detox and relaxation time with the family over Easter. Granted, I first have to get through rugby practice, and then the 311 show at Metropolis... but we'll take this one thing at a time.

While I always like to hold my posts together with some sort of common theme, St. Patrick's has left me exhausted and uncreative. However, I will take this time to champion some more amazing Canadian music, and this time with a theme of 'passing the torch'. Today we're going to look at three different generations of Canadian music... or at least two and a half.

Starting by respecting our elders, I'm going to direct your attention to Mr. Don Ross. Ross is a Montreal born finger picking guitarist who has lived most of his life in Toronto. I was first put on to Don Ross by Eric at Hurley's Acoustic Army. Eric had played a few of his tunes before, and for any of you who had seen them, understand the level to which this type of music can drop your jaw. While you could literally spend an afternoon browsing through youtube videos of Ross, I have to reccomend a song which Eric played at the last night called Afraid to Dance.

Jumping across the country, and around twenty years, we're going to do something silly. The Dudes are a band that made me ask the question, "what is so wrong about playing simple, silly, pop music about girls." While I love the intricacies of Mars Volta, the near orchestral writing of Tool, or the hallucinogenic lyrics of Every Time I Die... sometimes, I kinda wanna just play power chords and whine about girls.... but not in a fucking emo way, for the love of God. In my opinion, one of the best things to come out of Alberta since Whitey Houston (which, I'm sure we'll talk about soon enough), The Dudes are a nice, friendly, show your mom, kind of reminder that music can sometimes just be happy, simple music.

Our last, and youngest in the chronological trek of Canada has a humorous, and ok, really fucking awkward preamble. I was in Ottawa for Canada day this past year. While floating around between bars and parties, I found myself sitting in a high rise apartment building in the middle of the afternoon listening to music which completely took me away from the entire festivities of the day. In a small living room, a young woman by the name of Meredith Luce had setup a PA, and was putting on a 'mini-Canada-day-show' for a handful of people.

After her set, I had to talk to her, at minimum to learn more about her music, and in all admission, to try and hit on a girl who I had a serious music-induced grade school crush on. To make a long story short, I found out that she was only 17, so I decided to stick with just learning more about her music. What I did learn was that while only 17, she had developed a mature, powerful voice, flowing, elegant guitars, and songwriting which could be that of a 40 year old's. We just have to ignore the fact that she is also, jailbait.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's

I'm about to descend into a farmiliar place and not be back for a good while.


Friday, March 14, 2008

Ol Ceol Agus Craic

If you're like me and you've been training your liver for the past month in preparation for the upcoming weekend, then you've no doubt also needed a soundtrack. While we could listen to Floggin’ Molly and Dropkick until the cows come home, it’s often nice to stumble upon something new. I find that if I simply continually drink Guinness to Salty Dog by Floggin’, I have trouble distinguishing one drunken morning from the next. So, while you’re stumbling around the city on Sunday, and need to hum a little tune, try to veer away from the predictable. Also, if you run into me at all this weekend, know that I have an inability to say 'no' to Jameson.

Humorously enough, I’m about to throw three bands your way which aren’t even Irish. It seems as though all the Irish descendants of the world have wanted to pick up on the craic even more than the homeland. (Oh, and if you don’t know what craic means, smack yourself upside the head, buy me more Jameson, and learn before St. Patty’s). Even the two heavy hitters mentioned previously are from California and Boston respectively (Ok, Dave King was BORN in Ireland, but has lived in the US for a long bloody time). In the end though, what really matters to me is the feeling behind the music. If you’re playing amazing death metal, I don’t really care if you’re a Satanist or not. Last I checked, you don’t have to be from the hood to rap anymore. As such, why should we impose a patent on Gaelic music to be exclusive to the homeland(s).

First and foremost, as I love to do, I’m going to champion my home. Manitoba produced yet another amazing band a while back called Scruj MacDuhk back in the 90’s. They were a more laid back, female fronted Gaelic group with catchy little reels and very singable music. I managed to catch them live at the Winnipeg folk fest when I was younger and remember them as one of the only bands that was able to get people to dance.

Sadly, this reference is so obscure that I couldn’t’ even find a bloody Wiki, let alone their old site. It would look as though the members went their separate ways. Ruth Moody, the groups voice, moved onto her own solo career. Leonard Podolak, the bands’ former writer, started up another group called The Duhks, however their sound changed drastically into some sort of Latin influenced… thing.

But you didn’t come here for Latin music, or music that I can’t even find anymore (way to recommend a real gem, dumbass). No, you came here for the stuff that kicks you in the face and says, “DRINK WITH ME!! I AM GLORIOUS!!!!!!.” You came, for a bunch of drunk-ass Auzzies. Catgut Mary is an eight piece force of whiskey influenced madness. If you’re a fan of Dropkick, you’ll like these boys from Melbourne. Proving that tin whistles and accordions can still be cool, Catgut Mary should be a fine addition to your day of green.

I wear my maple leaf with pride, and so do Ontario’s Mudmen. You’ve likely heard these guys, even if you didn’t know it, because they’ve hit up more placement deals than most Hollywood movies (ie: WWF, or whatever it’s called now). I fell in love with these guys a few years ago, when I heard the song Saturday.

I’m not gonna lie, I have drinking to do, and I’m getting tired of writing. My heart wasn’t even in today’s post, and like a lustless lover, I’m leaving you. I have to apologize in advance, because the next week is going to be a bit scant in the blog region. This weekend should be a write off (though I am entertaining the thought of a drunken-post-Hurley's podcast) and next week, I’m heading home to spend Easter with the family. If you’re looking to track me down, I’ll be parked at Hurley’s for most of the weekend, with the exceptions of Jesse’s birthday debauchery, and marching with my rugby team in the parade.

-Putting the ‘drunk’ back in drunk.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

CMW - A Look Back

You don't attend one of the biggest musical festivals of your life (or at least, 2 days of it) and simply write a couple articles about the shows you saw (or didn't see). No, something of the magnitude of CMW deserves a bit of a wrap up.

The reality of the situation however, is that I wouldn't have much new to tell you, so I'm going to make this a photo review; better yet, in the form of awards! Everyone loves awards, and pictures!!! That's right puppets, DANCE!

Most Likely to have me bow down and worship as a new God:

Gordie Johnson

Big Sugar was a favorite band of mine. While I was sad to see them go, from the ashes rose an even bigger beast in the form of Grady. Grady felt like the fit which Gordie had been searching for all this time. As much as he loved the blend of blues, reggae and other forms, in the end, one can see the raw power of rock eminating off this man.

CMW 'Find' of the Week:

Daniel Wesley

What started off as a foregone conclusion of a copycat band, ended up being one of my favorite new bands of late. Evidence to support this includes me trying to hump Daniel's leg while buying both of their CD's, and me staying up late on Tuesday night and masturbating to 24h by Wesley.

Coolest Celebrity I got to touch:

Lord Stanley's Cup

The hockey hall of fame was fun, but almost not worth the $13 entry fee. It is definately an experience which every true blooded Canadian needs to do at least once. Especially if you go with your friend Ben, and can rub it in his face that you scored on Belfour and he didn't.

Band Most Likely to Peel your Face off with Noise:

Inward Eye

I reviewed Inward Eye in my Respect the Tobe post a few weeks back. While I knew the guys were talented, their recordings don't do justice to the veritable hurricane this power trio produces on stage. Without a doubt, the most energetic act I saw at CMW, and in recent memory (which, granted, due to excess drinking, isn't that long).

Band I could Listen to Over and Over:


I saw the guys perform not a week before CMW on their CD release. Their music is simply infectiously catchy, and incredibly well performed. Call me a fanboy if you must, but I know an amazing band when I find them, and I pay the respect they've earned.

Man Most Likely to Fuck Your Girlfriend:

Danko Jones

This man oozes sex. He is a maniac on stage who loves to get into all the uncomfortable little corners of your body and mind and make you squirm. In the same right of Chuck Norris jokes with fighting, Danko Jones should have his own series of jokes surrounding sex. Danko Jones considers 'Hello' foreplay. Danko Jones once made 137 women cum by simply uttering 'baby'. Danko Jones does not flirt, he chooses. Danko Jones is inside of you, right now.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

CMW - Day 3

Alright Toronto, you win.

Here's what was supposed to happen last night:
9:00pm - Slowcoaster @ Rancho Relaxo
9:45pm - Besnard Lakes @ Royal York Hotel
10:30pm - Black Lungs @ Horseshoe
11:30 - Get loaded at the Horseshoe
2:00am - The Mongrels @ Bovine Sex Club
3:00am - Tom Fun Orchestra @ Horseshoe

Here's what actually happened:

Now, when two Manitobans get together and attempt to rekindle their love of whiskey, you can bet that you're in for a bit of a wild ride. What started as casual drinks and some hands of poker around a place called Daleville, I think, ended with disaster. Needless to say, I went out from the table pretty early on after hunting for the bottom of a few bottles, and celebrating not 1, but 2 different types of Irish whiskey.

But, 8:30 rolls around, and I had to stick to my schedule, drunk as a skunk or not. Ok, I'll be honest, it was probably a lot closer to 10 by the time I actually hauled my ass up towards the TTC.

I hop the line and I'm riding in the right direction, so I can be proud thus far. Then it all goes terribly wrong. What was justified as 'resting my eyes for a few stops' suddenly snapped to a cold reality involving the words, 'end of the line.' At this point, I'm guessing it's nearing midnight and I'm in a place where I don't know where I am, and becoming increasingly concerned for my corn hole.

However, in true Saunderson perseverence, I noted that there was still time in the night, and I still had a schedule to at least ATTEMPT to make. I ran around to the other side of the tracks and said 'hello' to my good friend, the train. Nothing could stop me now.

With the exception of course being a bomb threat. Somewhere around Eslington or Evilington, or something like that, the train stops and we're told to calmly, but quickly evacuate the train, and building for security reasons. While initially, I figured this was some stupid drill, or the likely Montreal reason (jumper) my mind was swayed upon seeing 7 fire trucks and more emergency vehicles than parked at your average dunkin donuts.

Ok, shit was intense. The area was lit up with flashing blue and red, which, had it not been such an inappropriate time, could likely have inspired me to dance. I had a chat with a handsome fireman (who I'm sure found my drunk ass hilarious) and learned that there had in fact been a bomb threat called in.

So, what does one do at 1am, stranded in strange parts of big cities, while drunk as all hell and missing great music? Why, one should of course introduce themselves to disheveled old men. Not to ruin the rest of the story, but I never did make it to see any music that night, so instead, I'll review my new friend, Ed.

Ed was born in Oshawa and currently lived in Toronto. In Ed's life, he had been a trucker, done construction, and might have even done time. Ed had the kind of beard your father could be proud of. Ed had a son, who was around my age, but unlike me, had to report to his parole officer on Monday. Ed was now divorced from his wife and advised me against marriage. His belief was, "they give you a lot less shit when you're paying 'em." To which he added, "but, the ones your marry end up taking all your money anyway." Ed was drunk, but likely not as drunk as I was.

Ed was also very informative. After waiting around the station for close to an hour, in hopes of a train running south, we were informed that the line would likely remain closed. It was nearly 2am, but I was still determined to see live music. Ed was determined to help me. He got me on a bus which he claimed would get me near China town. Ed was right. Ed will be missed.

By the time I finally saw recognizable landmarks, it was 2:45am. I knew my schedule by heart though, and had faith that I could still make Tom Fun at the Horseshoe by 3. I asked the bus driver to let me off as close as possible to Queen and Spadina. When he asked where I was trying to get to, I told him of my desire for rock, and of some of the tribulations of the evening. I never did get this man's name, but he was not as nice as Ed. He laughed a little at me when I proclaimed with might and strength that I would make the 3am performance at the Horseshoe, and salvage some pride of the evening.

He laughed, because it was already past 3am. He laughed because of daylight savings.

I did not laugh.

So, you win Toronto, you win.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

CMW - Day 2

The word 'drunk' is thrown around a lot. I'm not saying that I necessarily have a patent on the word, or something strange to that nature.... I guess, I'm just saying. If that sentence doesn't make any sense to you, it's because is 2 in the afternoon, and yes, I'm actually still kinda drunk.

Ok, here's what I think happened:

-I drank half a 40 of Jameson with my friend Ben
-Rock and Roll ensued

Let's dig a little deeper, shall we?

I showed up at the Horseshoe just as Hollerado was starting their set. The Tib ladies gave me shit because they thought I looked like a fanboy, hooting and hollering for the Hollerado gents. Fact is, they deserve it all. I love this band, and I love them even more on a good night. Their live show is only matched by their fucking hilarious stage banter. My 'nickel of the night' goes to Menno for trying to give some dude in the audience his beer, and then bitching him out when he failed to catch it. The music is catchy, the boys are witty, the energy is incredible, all of the problems with tuning and monitors from the last show at Barfly were gone and shit was just good.

What happens when you catch Hollerado on an 'on' night? Fucking Gold.

The moment the set was finished, I was out the door like a fucking banshee. I literally ran 4 blocks to make it back to the Tattoo, where I entered and prepared for humiliation. Standing in the same spot as the night before, the gorgeous waitress immediately recognized me. She gave a giggle, and without even questioning said, "I'll be right back." She promptly returned with my mastercard and I was sure to leave her a hefty 50% tip. Also while there, I heard 1 song from the Painted Birds and true story... it was pretty damned good. I would have stuck around if my brain wasn't in autonomous mode.

But fuck that, back to the Horse. Arkells were next on the stage. I knew nothing about them before, and here is my conclusion; solid fucking band. They were a 5 piece, with 3 guitars, which was pretty awesome. They wrote the kind of catchy, oldschool music that both me and my father could enjoy. I'm not saying they were a band which grabbed me out of nowhere and made me a true believer, but they were a hell of a sight better than a lot of bands I've seen live. One thing which I can't praise enough is that they legitimately looked like they were having fun on stage. A band simply needs to enjoy music, and I can respect that on so many levels. Oh, and there was a harmonica.

Holy fuck I need to stop drinking.

Now I get to be a prick and say, "I told you so." Winnipeg's Inward Eye took the stage around 11pm and minds were blown. What I knew of this band was that they were tight, catchy, drunk, loud and Manitoban. What I didn't realize until last night is that these guys are fucking rock stars. Their bass is also the lead singer, which means the guitarist is free to roam the stage like a possessed madman. He alone was worth the price of admission. Add to that the fact that the drummer was like a human incarnation of the muppets' animal, and throw in a dash of quasi-punk bass & vocals... yeee haww. Their bassist looked a lot like my cousin Chris too, which was weird. Oh, and did I mention these guys drank a fuckload of whiskey too?

But not as much as me!

Danko Jones' sweat gives women orgasms. Danko Jones is consulted on what fragrances should be used for Axe body spray. Danko Jones does not have sex, he fucks. Danko Jones makes love to a guitar better than you could ever make love to a woman. Danko Jones is rock and roll. Danko Jones deserves to fuck your girlfriend, and you don't.

Danko Jones was exactly what I expected. He was the most intense man I have ever seen on a stage. He grabs an audience by the throat and says, "you WILL rock with me." The man had a full house at his knees. He could have insighted a riot with one word if he wished. He fucking hates bullshit indie music, labels, and long walks on the beach. The sweat which drips from his face is worth more than your life. Danko Jones is rock and roll. Danko Jones is rock and roll.

Oh yeah, and his music kicks ass too.

Ok, seriously, I need to get through this last review and sober up.

Last band I remember, at least partially was Hey Rosetta! Ever since Andrea introduced these fine Newfies to me, I've been all about them, and I am glad I was finally able to see them live. With Danko Jones being God and all, they had a tricky act to follow, but were able to put on a show that would turn some heads and bob some others.

There should not be a sentence break here, but I am really in need of more whiskey.

I want to tell you more about HR, but I really need to stop typing soon. That and I want to tell you a story. AND I kinda forget half their set. But they're awesome... seriously, check it out.

Ok, this is where the night gets funny.

I'm ready to leave. Suddenly we find some of the Tib boys jawing it up at the bar. Suddenly I'm drinking again. The Horseshoe had an extended liquor license because of CMW, and I'm pretty sure I stayed till close. I met some shady characters at close who had the great idea of wanting to drink more.

I liked that idea.

It's 5:30am, and I'm in a house where I don't know where I am. I've already forgotten the names of all of the people I was with. Then, as though things couldn't get any worse, they fed me tequila. While I was drunk, I kept my sense of nobility and 'friendly Manitoban' lifestyle. Around 6ish, I noticed some dude was about to blow chunks, so as though I was straight from the matrix, I grabbed a garbage can from under a desk and had it under his mouth just as the man exploded.

I woke up this morning on an L section couch with 3 girls and another dude. I'd love to try to make that situation sound sexy, but in all honesty only one of the girls was hot, and I think she slept smelling my feet for most of the night. For future reference, a chubby girl's shoulder makes a very good pillow. I suppose it helps when you've drank more booze than Jesus.

Fuck Danko Jones, I am rock and roll. Now pour me another God damned drink.

Friday, March 7, 2008

CMW - Day 1

For those of you who don't know, I'm currently in Toronto covering the CWM music festival. Now you know. While I'm sure I could try to be professional about this, like a real critic, I'll level with you; I'm here to have fun first, and to write about shows seventh. Yes, I get very drunk at shows. Yes, I heckle bands I don't like. Yes, I sing along to songs I love. Yes, I am a biased, crude, and judgmental reviewer. And yes, this is going to be pure fucking awesome.

Last night I went to the Tattoo rock club, and to give you an idea of the night, I have to go back there again tonight, before heading to the Horseshoe, because I got too drunk and left my Mastercard behind the bar. Go me. The lineup was pretty exciting; Econoline Crush, The Ending, Daniel Wesley, Rides Again, and Grady (fronted by the amazing Gordie Johnson).

In the 90's I was actually a pretty big Econoline Crush fan. You see, Trevor Hurst, the frontman of Econoline grew up in Virden, Manitoba; a town roughly 30 minutes away from my own little slice of heaven. Virden once boasted the teen pregnancy capital of Canada award, and who knows, Hurst may have had something to do with that. When I saw them on the bill, I was pretty stoked to hear them play, primarily since they hadn't done anything together in years. Hurst had left the band for a long time to put together a solo project called, go figure, Hurst. How or why the guys decided to reunite for a show was beyond me, but exciting nonetheless.

All that being said, I got loaded with my friends Dave and Andrea at some Irish Pub and missed them. I'm sure they put on one hell of a show.

After flirting with the coat check girl, I waltzed in the door (1-2-3, 1-2-3, for real real) in the middle of The Ending's set. While initially, they sounded like complete ass, I wasn't prepared to judge the group until I was truly "concert ready." After grabbing a pint at the bar, I finally sat back and took a listen to the Ending. They weren't actually that bad, they were worse. I will admit to being stuck in the 90's, particularly in terms of a great deal of my musical taste. However, this band was stuck in the bad parts of the 90's. Kind of like someone saying they really miss music from the 1970's, when in fact they're referring to Disco, not classic rock. Four old men stood motionless on stage and played repetitive power chord driven, vocal third integrated rock ballads. They were tight as all hell, but giving someone that compliment is like saying, "they fight well" for someone kicking the living shit out of a hallucinating, narcoleptic bunny rabbit with a broken rear leg.

Speaking of Narcoleptic, Jesse arrived with some of the TiB crew around the time this band finally had their 'Ending'. After this bitter opening, I was cautious of things to come. As such, when our second band (third for those of you holding a grudge about the Econoline thing) took the stage, I was ready to pounce, claws out. Daniel Wesley's first song sounded a bit like Sublime, so immediately, I chalked them up to some rip off band that didn't deserve the time of day. For the record, don't let me do things like that.

Even though the first song did sound like Sublime, it was very catchy, and I was starting to move. Their bassist also played like a funky madman too, for a scrawny white kid, and their drummer had cool, unpredictable flare. By the time they hit their second song, and were suddenly playing some sort of blues-funk fusion, I felt like the biggest asshole in the world. These guys weren't just good, they were fucking great. The remainder of their set showed these 3 gentlemen to be fantastic musicians who had found a way to blend ska, blues, funk, rock and pop into one beautiful, catchy as all hell sound. Their songs were amazingly well put together, and allowed for each instrument to take small flourishes and stand out for just long enough for the crowd to scream. Then, just to make me feel like a complete douche, they played a funky rock cover of Ginuwine's Pony. You win Daniel Wesley, you win.

I quickly ran to the back of the room to meet Daniel, buy any music he was willing to sell, and ask if he'd mind if I humped his leg. We had a nice little groin-to-thigh session, and then I ran back to the stage in anticipation of things to come.

(Seriously, will you let the fucking Econoline Crush thing go?)

Riding off a high from the previous set, I was quickly beat upside the noggin with a red pogo stick and shat upon by the diarrheasque sounds of Rides Again. I take a little notepad with me to shows to jot down ideas and important points to write about the next day. While I was a tad drunk, the following, which is a direct copy of what was written for Rides Again, should give you insight into my opinion:


Similar to The Ending, Rides Again was playing power chord, dick-rock with no inspiration. The bass was following the guitar progressions verbatim, the vocalist sounded like a failed Bon-Jovi impersonator, and they even looked like they were trying too hard. The only thing in the entire set which impressed me was apparently the roaring squak their guitarist unleashed at some point near the end of their set, but it was obviously not enough to sway me.

Grady, why you so shady? No notes, drunker than a Lemur (and those things can handle their booze) and practically hugging the monitor positioned at Gordie Johnson's feet, I sat in awe as I watched a fellow Manitoban prove to me that he is one of the coolest men in the world. He kept the chit chat to a minimum, the rock to a maximum, and made sweet fucking love to the vast array of Gibsons which graced his magical hands. His signature double guitar even made an appearance for two songs.

(Ok, this fucking ridiculous. Drop it. I missed the fucking set, and I'm sorry. OK? I'M SORRY!)

I'm not entirely sure what to tell you about Grady's set. If you've listened to their records, you know how amazing their sound is. As one of the best guitarists in the game today, Gordie Johnson lays down more heavy hitting riffs than anyone I know. Back him up with a rhythm section of Big Ben Richardson on bass, and the thunderous stomper, Nina Singh, and you get a God damned powerhouse on stage. I sang along like a drunken madman to Grady classics, and screamed my lungs out when Gordie decided to pull out a few of the old Big Sugar hits. It was one of those shows that will stay in my mind forever. If you ever get a chance to see Gordie live, don't even hesitate for a second, or I will find you, in the night, and I'll take my time with you.

... oh, and then I forgot my fucking credit card.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

On the lighter side

Haha, just fuckin with you; it’s time to play some heavy shit. I’ve realized that I’ve been taking things too light as of late, and seeing as how today is one of my least hungover days in a while, I can’t think of a better time to shake it up. Now, of course I’m just not that brutal, so my heavy shit is probably nowhere near insane enough for true lovers of hardcore, metal and the likes. In my defense, I simply can’t get into a lot of heavier music. My love of music is like my love of women; we may have a good time tonight when I’m drunk, but to really like you, I need to be able to respect you in the morning.

So, you’re going to get the pansy’s version of heavier music today. The diet coke of metal. The poor man’s hardcore. The lighter side of dark. I’m sure every now and then I’ll throw in a band who is really just a rock & roll band that does a lot of cocaine, but my job here is not to pigeon hole bands, it is simply to recommend good music, regardless of fit or form.

The only newspaper I really care about (fuck the Wall Street Journal), exclaim, canonized this album as 2007’s best in the “Aggressive Tendancies” category. I’m sure before this Jesse had tried to force me to listen to it, but I’m still pissed that he never wanted to play this game called counter-strike with me. To make a long story short, once Jesse downloaded the Red album and played it in his apartment, we were both floored by Baroness. In true bastard child form, I immediately compared Baroness to Mastadon meets Rush. The heavier elements were all there, chuggy, driven riffs, gruff, indecipherable vocals, blast beat double kick, but at the same time, the album was so melodic and beautiful it was hard to stop listening to. The band showed incredible diversity with a number of ballad-type tracks, my personal favorite of which being Grad. I highly recommend you take a listen, not for a cheap giggle like I disclaim with many metal bands, but for a beautiful, liberating experience.

Now that you’re comfortable, let’s go ahead and fuck that up. Here is one of those bands to which I attach the “what the fuck was that” disclaimer. Sadly, this is yet another band who has passed their time, making me start to realize that I’m an old man, stuck in the 90’s. Mad Capsule Markets however, are still worth the look. A Japanese trio, who started playing music in 1990, found a way to mix programmed drum beats with over-distorted bass, and razor-like vocals, and then play pop music. A lot of bands tinkered around with electronic instruments and heavier music (it was called Industrial), however only rare bands like MCM came out and said, “Why does this music have to be dark and depressed?” Take a listen to the track Scary, and you’ll get what I mean. Their recorded music is apparently only topped by their live shows, which are said to be seizure-inducing. Sadly though, after so many years together, they decided to take a break in 2006, and have yet to reunite.

To be flat honest, the next artist isn’t really that heavy, however has Metal cred from his other projects. Maynard James Keenan has been the eerie voice behind both Tool and A Perfect Circle since 1990. He has one of the most distinct voices in music today, and is one of the most creative lyricists and songwriters I’ve ever worshipped. Thus, it was surprising that it took him until just this last fall to release his first solo project, under the name Puscifer. In his defense, I suppose the man has been somewhat busy, and it shows. The concept for Puscifer actually started in 2003, yet with his schedule, Keenan was not able to complete his album V is for Vagina until late 2007. The results were worth the wait. Combining stripped down electronic music with harmonies of Keenan’s powerful voice, the album wanders through many different genres, even country. The tracks don’t seem aimless or lost among such a plethora of sounds, they simply seem to be stopping over to play for a bit, and then jump onto the next sound.

For those of you who don’t know me that well, my favorite musician since the I was around 15 has been Dave Grohl. I never liked Nirvana that much, and only bought their albums after getting into the Foo Fighters, and wanting to see what my boy had done before. I just read a biography on Grohl, and his musical resume is disturbingly long. He seems to be one of those people that everyone wants to collaborate with, partially due to his musicianship, and partially because he’s been called the most level headed rock star in the world. Now that I’m finished gushing, I’ll get to the point. Perhaps the most intriguing entry on his resume was Grohl’s 2004 release, Probot. In a backlash against recent Foo Fighter’s success on lighter pop tracks, Grohl needed an escape. He would come to find it in his Metal side project, which would serve as an homage to the bands he listened to as a kid. Grohl wrote and recorded guitar, bass and drum parts to 13 different songs, tailored to 13 of his favorite vocalists of the early Metal era. A testament to the man, 12 of the 13 stepped up to the project, with the only exception being Chuck Schuldiner of Death, who died of brain cancer before contributing to the project. The album was released on Southern Lord records, with the only single to be pushed featured Lemmy and a video involving 66 Suicide Girls. This album packs enough punch to give you a vasectomy.

Wait… what?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Oh Fuck Yes

That's right, feel the funk.

Podcast 2 - Horrendous Stench

Practice really does make perfect. Recording and editing this week were as smooth as diarrhea, and I hope the results speak for themselves. The biggest issue I had this week was finding a way to mix together audio, without forcing my pained mind to listen to… well, audio.

This tasty little jam, is what you came for. I’m yo pusher man. This week, I’m pushin’ the good stuff all the way from Europe’s wang: Scandinavia. Featuring Jarle Bernhoft and Bigbang of Norway, as well as Anders Osbourne from Sweden, this cast should give you reasons to love Scandinavians, other than the ridiculously hot blondes.

Lastly, if you’re bored, come join Hurley’s Acoustic Army. We’ll be getting things started around 9pm on Monday, March 3rd, upstairs at 1225 Crescent St.

Why are you still reading this and not listening to the podcast?