Friday, September 26, 2008

It doesn't matter if you didn't ask

I have The Answer.

Forgive my lame jokes and pathetic antics, but there are very few bands who could pull off a name this blunt and self-righteous (for failures, see The Music). No one would think that a band pulled together from a few corners of Northern Ireland would have what it takes to revive that true classic rock feel Zeppelin, but I suppose if anyone is going to do it, they should be from the island.

They played together for a few years, shoving out a couple of self-funded EPs before generating enough buzz to be signed by Australian label Albert Productions. To this day, they have yet to sign a deal with one of the major US labels, however I can't see it that far off. Their LP, simply titled Rise, has not even been released in North America yet (and it's already had a special edition release in the UK and Aus).

They've already generated ridiculous buzz in the music community with awards from Classic rock magazine and Kerrang!, performing with Aerosmith, Deep Purple and Whitesnake and receiving kudos from greats like Zeppelin and Def Leppard.

In short, I think they're just holding off their US release so that they can completely decimate the music industry with rock.

-Send the kids to the neighbours, I'm off to Oktoberfest and comin' home drunk

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I have a confession

I wasn't always the rock God you know and love. Those glorious white shoes did not always adorn those disturbingly odourous feet. There was a time in my life when I sang... in choirs.

Had this been an isolated incident, I might have tried to cover it up, however there is no hiding my high school years in the Manitoba Provincial Honour Choir, or the nearly 7 year run I had in the McGill a cappella community. Between helping found Soulstice, subbing with Effusion, and even later, joining a sort of McGill supergroup called Ardesco, I kinda dug myself in.

Over time, this style and I simply grew apart. However, just yesterday, I felt it all come retching back when I found the Vancouver based, uhhh... 'super choir?' aptly named The Choir Practice. The premise is a bit strange; take members from Canadian indie bands (The Gay, P:ano, Love & Mathematics, Limblifter) and form a choir. Separately, I loath each of these bands and their indie ways. Yet, when brought together, they create a sound which tugs at my heartstrings and takes me back to simpler times.

The thing that amazed me the most about this concept is that they were the first ones to think about it. It is quite an original idea, however once pieced together, it makes so much sense. Supposedly, the group started as "an excuse to drink wine and sing with friends", and the simplicity and camaradery shine through as such.

You may not like it. You may think it's a stupid idea. My balls may have crawled up my inguinal canal. However, just watch and listen to the video below, with an open mind, and try not to smile.

-I don't dare you, I implore you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It was a guitar...

So, my big plan was to pull back a tad and get into regular posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, today was a rather slow work day, so we're getting a Tuesday 'bump' post. You'll be glad to know as well that I just dropped around £100 online on new CDs, so I should have no shortage of material to talk about over the next month.

Continuing through my big 'modern-classic-rock' push, I just found a great new band called Super 400, from New York. When I discovered that they've been around since '98, I proceeded to order all 4 albums they've pushed into the world. Let me tell you, as a band who has enjoyed only moderate success in the US and even less overseas, this was not a simple task.

Super 400 is fronted by a guy named Kenny Hohman, who's only purpose in life was to be in a band. He was one of those dudes who grew up listening to Cream, Clapton, Hendrix and Zeppelin, all along knowing that was where he was headed.

Each progressive release has shown continuous improvement from this band; growing as writers, and growing in their comfort together as a band. 3 and the beast reminds me of a Black Crowes album from the glory days (Shake Your Money Maker if you please), or even chasing back further to roots in bands like Cream. They're back in the studio, and I personally rub my hands together with glee at the opportunity to expand my already disturbing CD collection with more gold like this.

Oh, and their name? It is one of the most sought after Gibson's ever made, from way back in the 40's and 50's.

-Carbon based is ok, but sometimes it would be nice to be a little different.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I fucking hate Monday morning. And yes... I have a serious fucking case of the Mondays.

Why the acronym? Today we're talking about East Vancouver's (I believe now dead) S.T.R.E.E.T.S., which stands for 'Skateboarding totally rules everything else totally sucks'. Honestly, with a name like that, I'm not sure how we didn't hear about these guys sooner.

They garnered a decent sized following early in the turn of the century by creating thrash metal focused around skateboarding and general stupidity. In Vancouver, this is a pretty good way to build a crowd.

I'm tired, bitchy and still kinda hungover from London this weekend, so I won't drone on too long. What I will tell you is to go check out the song Peace on Earth on their myspace, and to watch the video below with glee. SO MUCH HAIR!

-You know what's great? Beer.
PS: Happy birthday, Willsy

Friday, September 19, 2008

At least they're not the Rusty Trombones

They can't be. That name was already taken. No shit.

No, at least they weren't called The Rusty Trombones... they were called Donkeypunch. Thankfully, they WERE called Donkeypunch, and are now called St. Joe's Mission. To be honest, I suppose bands like this eventually have to change their name if they want to be taken seriously (see: Rainbow Butt Monkeys). Part of me dies a little inside when creative bands have to cave to corporate pressure in order to succeed. At least we'll always have Dutch Oven.

Now that we've gotten the musical taxonomy out of the way, we can talk about how much these guys, whatever they want to be called, rock. I first have to thank Willsy for putting me onto them. Apparently, they're huge in Ottawa, because they won some big cash prize in a local radio station competition. Now, they're trying to ride on this momentum, and with their new name, take on a national audience.

In short, Iain put it best when describing this band; they're just my kind of music. They've described themselves as smug rock. I like to think of it more as simple rock. This is not to use simple in a negative connotation; more akin to the engineering philosophy of Keep it simple, stupid. In a modern field full of pretentious indie rock, electronica, nu-metal, and so many sub genres that we need an almanac to track it all, I respect a band which says, "here is a brilliant riff, here is an appeasing chord progression, here is some vocal harmony, here are some witty lyrics... booyah, we have a wicked song."

Again, this is not to make light of these boys music. Listen to a song like Catholic Girl (from the sexual hitting days) and you can see an incredibly well crafted arrangement of a song, which is still almost impossible not to at least bob your head to. Look ahead at Brand Name Boy (from the helping the homeless days) and you hear lyrics which openly mock themselves and their left-behind immaturity with the line, "my old brain is yellow and black" (a shot at their 2 albums under the Donkeypunch moniker: Yellow and Black, and Yellow and Blacker).

In my simple opinion, this is the type of band which deserves to get a record deal. They've built themselves up from the ground with the simple philosophy of good music, live energy, and enjoying what they do. They do fundraiser shows for cancer research, openly admit they're trying to sell out, and drink enough to make even me apprehensive about a night out with this band.

-Imagine if in the future, office workspaces were all pods on a rollercoaster. That would be fucking awesome.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Never has grace been so eerie

I'll level; this morning, I'm tired and in the mood for something somber. As such, it was apt timing that I, just this week, stumbled upon the UK's Tina Grace. As of yet, I still am somewhat unable to classify this brilliant, yet disturbing female vocalist. Her myspace labels her as 'acoustic, alternative, latin' but I could think of around 10 other words to throw in there.

The most akin thing I've been able to connect thus far is a similar, stripped down and fragile vocal presence a la Portishead's Beth Gibbons. She has the same, ghost-like whisps of perfect melody which sit idly over top minor progressions of massive string sections. The main difference is that Grace lacks the trip-hop beats which bob Portishead along.

My discovery of Ms. Grace was made via a collaberation with Fink (see article Hey Rat Fink!). They did a track entitled Hush Now, which appeared on Fink's softmore release. You can find this track on Tina's myspace. In addition, you can find what is fast becoming my new favorite track Sleep in Trees.

-I bet you are flying inside.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Preface [pref-is] noun, verb: An introductory part, as of a speech.
I hate Buckcherry.

Body [bod-ee] noun: That is one smoking piece of ass.
It's great when bands have 1 fucking diva member that mess it up. Billy Corgan killed the Pumpkins (and I'm amazed that they lasted as long as they did), Travis Meeks scared the rest of Days of the New into starting a new project called Tantric (not that anyone cared), Judas fucked up that whole Jesus' 12 apostles thing... you get the idea.

What is however, often a very difficult thing to do, especially being the pretentious asshole that I am, is to respect a band (or parts of a band) after they're proven to be dicks. The unfortunate reality is that often the actions of 1, ruin it for everyone (just like everyone in Paper Street were a bunch of white shoe wearing drunks who were obsessed with their own inane amplified ramblings between songs). However, when I'm able to get over my awesomeness and swallow my pride, I can actually find some cool things.

Don't ask me why I was reading about Buckcherry, but somehow I found out that Josh Todd, their singer, was the real reason why this band came off as a bunch of hacks writing songs about 'fucking so good' and having drunk sex. Apparently though, I wasn't the only one who hated Todd. Not long ago, the entire band, save Todd, walked away from Buckcherry to form a new band titled Black Robot. They picked up Detroit based singer Huck Johns, and well... fought back some respect.

Black Robot returns to some of the good roots of classic rock and does it very well; layering vocal harmonies over top of insane solos and catchy as all hell riffs. In addition, I think they finally realized the immaturity of Josh Todd's lyrics and handed the pen to someone with a mind slightly older than 5 years. A lot of their new material touches on American invasions of foreign countries and global injustices. Granted, they also have a song called Badass... but hey, I was hoping for something better, not a miracle.

Conclusion [kuhn-kloo-zhuhn] noun: the end or close; final part.
Black Robot rocks, and almost makes up for years of shitty music with Buckcherry... almost.

-I shot a man in reno, but left before anything happened. The news the next day said that he was rushed to emergency and after a 7 hour surgery, was able to be saved. I went to the hospital and shot him again... this time just to watch him die.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Re-animated limbs

So, I've always been a big fan of The Dismemberment Plan. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please feel free to grab the nearest pair of safety scissors and perform seppuku. Please... just take the honourable way out.

Now that we're down to the people with any musical taste (oh I am such a biiiitch), you likely also know that the D broke up back in 2003. It was never any animosity that drove them apart... they had simply been playing together in a smally succesful indie band for 10 years, and decided to move on. They even played a few reunion shows together over the last while. A couple of the members went on to form a band called Statehood, however where my interested followed was in Travis Morrison's new project, Hellfighters.

Morrison was the frontmant of the Plan, and gave the band their unmistakable sound with his strange and brilliant voice. Listening to Hellfighters, it almost feels like you're still listening to the Dismemberment Plan, however the musical backing feels different. This is largely due to the fact that Joe and Eric transplanted the often sporatic rhythm and musical style into Statehood.

However, what Hellfighters loose in the Dismemberment... well, weirdness for lack of a better word, they seem to gain in calming appeal. Morrison's new writing comes off much more accesable, but still infectiously catchy and generally fun to listen to.

-This tastes like heaven...with crunchy little marshmellow angels and everything!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

There's no easy way to say this...

But you haven't lived until you've seen a 300lb, half-naked, bassist in a fur coat.

No seriously.

In my never ending quest for rock, sometimes the road can take some fucked up turns. Unfortunately, this turn lead me down another dead end, but shit was it a fun ride. I found another band who is long since gone, however I wish I'd have known them when they were around.

San Francisco's The Golden Gods can almost live up to that name (both in the literal, and Almost Famous sense). There are enough riffs to peel your skin off and enough rock to make you roll. The unfortunate part is that, speaking of rolls, their bassist is a very large man who is not afraid to strut his stuff.

To give you an idea of the scope of this band, here is an exert from their drummer's parting letter, on his desires at the age of 11:

"that 11 year old wanted desperately to learn two things:
1) how do you make rock and roll.
2) how do you get a girl to take off her clothes.

right, wrong or indifferent,i never gave a fuck about much else.
and i'm happy to say i've made that 11 year old kid very proud."

Noble struggles, and a band whom I can appreciate. If you want some really entertaining shit too, I reccomend you read his scathing post-mortem reply to a local music magazine, which can be found here.

For now though, sit back and stare in awe at the power of rock. Try not to stare too closely, because around every 10 seconds you get a nice closeup of that big, chubby belly.

-Dance like no one's watching. Drink like no one's counting.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hey, me too!

Were you an angsty teen?
Mee too!!
Did you think musicians understood you better than anyone you knew personally?
Did Rage Against the Machine fill you with the suburban detest you needed?
I'm the same!! (ok, farm detest)
Have you ever been a lion?
FUCK! Me neither!!

That all being the case, I think you'd dig One Day as a Lion. After Zach de la Rocha left rage, the music scene definitely suffered. He'd been hiding in the underground for quite some time as well, doing a lot of work with political movements and other such anarchist stuff that I'm not cool enough to be apart of. He did pop up briefly with DJ Shadow for a single track collaberation called March of Death. There were even rumors along the way that Rage might be getting back together, but in retrospect, it looks like that was just a couple reunion performances.

ODAAL however, has the potential to do some damage. Zach teamed up with Jon Theodore; a former drummer/percussionist for The Mars Volta (in other words... he's likely alright at what he does). They released a 5 track EP back in July, with the first single being Wild International. You check out this track on their myspace, however short of buying the EP, you may not hear much else of these boys for a while; they don't appear to plan on playing live and the project seems to be the slow moving type.

Still... kinda makes you feel 15 again, right?

-Bottle up my problems and I'll drink those too

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good 'ol boys

Anyone who claims to know my musical taste should also know that when I find some good 'ol boys from the back country playing rock and roll (read: Black Crowes, American Minor, Blind Melon, Big Hate) I get excited.


Not only did I find said above stiumulus, but these guys are fucking hiarious. After flying under the radar with their first self-titled release, Rose Hill Drive, generated quite a following within the performing community. Spending a couple of years performing alongside the likes of Aerosmith, QOTSA, The Black Crowes, and The Who must have rubbed off, because their just-released LP, Moon is the New Earth, is primed to take on the fucking world.

I did some pseudo-obsessive stalking last night and found this power trio to be pure gold. Their live shows are full of energy, and, as I am always a fan of, having the bassist as your lead singer also allows your guitarist to go off the fucking rails.

If you have a chance, poke around for some live videos of these guys, but in the meantime, sit back, watch the video below, and be prepared to both rock, and laugh, your ass off.

-Come on back, electric love

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hey Rat Fink!

The thing that I've always loved about Soul music is it's ability to be in two places at once. On one hand, Soul music can be deep, painful and even at times depressing. Equally, it can provide such a wonderful ray of light to cut through the pain and be such an energizing form. It's soul's ability to both sympathize and uplift that keeps me coming back for more.

Not in a while have I found an artist who has embodied this mantra more than Fink. Fink is an acoustic singer/songwriter currently based in Brighton. He was a DJ in London for the longest time. Strangely, his first record deals were for the dub mixes he used to throw together of James Brown, Kool and the Gang, and Sly and the Family Stone.

I watched an interiew with him where he talked about aging, and realizing that he couldn't keep living the self-abusive London night life. So, he dissapeared from the city, and for a while off the face of the earth. He would approach his label (Ninja tunes) a while later with a work of staggering genius titled Biscuits for breakfast.

Now onto his second body of work Distance and Time, Fink continues to write painful stabs from the heart which one can't help but feel akin to. Yet at the same time, listening to his simple, relatable and yet bold lyrics, I feel completely and utterly empowered.

-I haven't been drinking too much, I've just been sobering up less.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Time for Your Daily Beating!

So, stop me if I'm just repeating myself, but a few weeks back, I found myself waiting for a bus just outside of The Bear; a pub in Oxford just off High St. In the distance, I heard a sound which grabbed a hold of me. It was rock.

You have to understand something; when it comes to rock... Oxford... just... doesn't. The music scene here is already a bit barren compared to Montreal (justifyiably, the place is only 100,000 people). However, the few bands that do exist are artsy-post-modern-emo-indie-holier-than-thou pieces of tripe, whom are primarily just trying, and failing, to be as innovative as Radiohead.

But what I heard that night was the good stuff. I walked away from the bus stop, fully aware that I was likely to miss the bus and have to wait a while for the next. When I arrived at the stage, I knew it was worth it. A simple 2 piece adorned the stage; a drummer, and a guitarist playing an old Fender through... what the fuck... a distorted to hell bass amp.

No vocals, no pretention, no bullshit... pure riffs. And their name was 50ft Panda. I liked these boys. I stuck around for the rest of their set and then skamperd off to catch a late bus. The next day, I did some research, and was continually impressed with what I saw.

I'll let you dig a bit on your own though. I highly reccomend the song Gen Dinn which is on their myspace or available for download off their site. In addition, I stumbled upon a pretty cool gem of these guys in the studio, which you can see below.

-Does this taste like recycling to you?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Good news evil dooers!

Well, Mutemath is back in the studio. These New Orleans based genii (genus, geniueses... fuck it) are creating yet another round of magic after their last epic.

Being quite handy with gear, they seem to be recording the whole thing themselves, and also doing so in quite the environment. Instead of diving into a studio like so many bands, Mutemath appears to be piecing together the album around someone's house, and having a lot of fun doing it. They've even taken to recording some parts in the bathroom, to get the porcelain reverb effect.

To tease their fans even more, they've been releasing little tidbits in video blogs through youtube. While I highly recommend you check out all of them, you can find my personal favorite below.

-Standing on the shoulders of midgets