Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shanies: Album of the Year

Well, after a long day of travel, I'm back in my current 'home' of Toronto, and as promised, I will be presenting the final award of 2009; the coveted album of the year. Before I do, let me comment on this year as a whole. 2009 was a huge year in the world of music, both on a personal level, and on a global level. We lost some musical geniuses (even if they did have a thing for little boys) and welcomed back some old faces (though I'm starting to feel the word 'supergroup' is getting overused). Personally, I was able to start up a new project with a close friend and come a long way with it in only a year. 2010 has some big shoes to fill, but I think, looking forward, everything's going to be alright.

Let me first tell you who didn't win the 2009 Shanie for album of the year. Them Crooked Vultures self-titled debut was an obvious good guess for anyone who knows me at all. The group featured 3 of my favorite musicians in the world collaborating to create the most rock and roll collection of songs I've ever heard, however, it didn't come together as an album. The debut felt more like a collection of singles (possibly because all songs are equally as awesome and they never stopped being mind blowing) and less like a fluid, comprehensive, flowing album. Say what you will, but I am a puritan at heart who still values a group which is able to group a collection of songs together to tell a story greater than any one track.

Ok, but seriously, that album fucking rocks.

Mutemath came close with their softmore effort, Armistice, however while the album started off strong, the 2nd half of the album began to feel like ambient filler. The opening 6 tracks of this CD are so incredibly well orchestrated and tied together that it is almost painful to listen to the remaining 6 tracks, again, not because they are bad songs, but because they lack the flow and consistency of what an album should strive for. Once again, this CD was one of my most highly rotated discs this year, possibly more so than the winner, but it wasn't the album which I wanted to listen to songs, NOT the album which I was torn between wanting to hear the end, and wanting to stop and smell every rose.

For 2009, that bouquet of roses belonged to The Dudes and their 2nd full length, Blood Guts Bruises Cuts. This may come as a shock to many people, but it was a ballady, alcoholic, lovey-duvy-filled, back to basics rock album which stole my heart this past year. I don't know if BGBC somehow got in sync with my emotions and just struck the right chord, or if it really was that good, but I found myself completely enthralled with this disc, from start to finish, every time I threw it on. If you haven't given this Calgary quartet a chance yet, I implore you, NAY DEMAND, that you go try out a few tracks. This is an album which The Beatles could have made, had they been born in the prairies in the 70s and spent their years just playing rock and roll and trying to bed down women. (Ok, I suppose the whole sleeping with women is pretty much the main reason that every guy plays with a band).

So to summarize, 2009 was an incredible year on so many levels, and my one parting shot to you is this simply; get a bit more dude in your life.

-Off to Boston for some decade-ending-insanity. Catch you when we're done with the noughties (I still fucking hate that term).

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shanies: Video of the Year

This was probably the single most difficult category I had to decide upon this year, and unfortunately because there were no absolutely brilliant videos. The music was great, but 2009 lacked the visual genius of 2008 which we saw in videos such as Shad's Old Prince, Mutemath's Typical or Spinerette's Ghetto Love.

An honourable mention goes to The Dead Weather for their disturbingly violent video for Treat Me Like Your Mother. The video features Jack White and Alison Mosshart striding angirily towards each other and riddling the other with bullets, only to turn away at the end of the video and stumble off. I'm sure someone much smarter than I has a lot to say about the video, but I just thought it was an interesting concept.

Secondly, I need to point out Every Time I Die and their video for Wanderlust. The video is cool, but not ground breaking. I appreciated it because I think it does a very good job of visually interpreting the sound of this band. It features a dimly lit building with band members shredding under swinging lights and frontman Keith Buckley in a tattered suit stumbling between doors of unspeakable cartoon horror. Also, New Junk Aesthetic was fucking awesome.

However, in the absence of one of my favorite bands of the day putting out a mind blowing video, I must step back to one of my favorite groups from childhood, who released the most entertaining 5 minutes of video footage I've seen on the internet since the fat star wars kid.

-Final Award tomorrow for Album of the year!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Shanies: Rookie of the Year

We're down to just 3 awards left, and the tension is building. By that, I of course mean that I've eaten so much that the skin covering my belly is starting to stretch. It's a little concerning.

I'm probably going to get yelled at for my choice for rookie of the year, however it does fit all the criteria. Unquestionably, Them Crooked Vultures were the most outstanding newcomer for 2009. Granted Dave Grohl is one of the most influential rock figures of the 90's, Josh Homme has recorded with more people than your average session musician and John Paul Jones is... well, John Paul Jones, however one must consider their competition this year. The Dead Weather were a fantastic new group as well, but it's not like Jack White is a stranger. Chickenfoot had some pretty fun songs too, but those guys have been rock stars since before I was swimming in my father's nutsack.

As a fun exercise, I thought it would be interesting to list off the resume of the Vultures... you know, mostly just to piss you, the reader, off for my misuse of the rookie category.

Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Butthole Surfers, Donovan, Probot, Kyuss, Tenacious D, Eagles of Death Metal, Mastodon, UNKLE, Peter Gabriel, REM, Scream, Masters of Reality, Killing Joke, Mondo Generator, Screaming Trees, KISS, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Jeff Beck, Brian Eno, Late!, Mike Watt, Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, L7, Neil Young, The Prodigy, The Dessert Sessions, A Perfect Circle, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, DFA1979, Melissa Auf der Mar and Spinerette.

Christ that took a while.

In short, thank you, Them Crooked Vultures, for using your massive stardom and swaths of experience to save rock and roll. That's right... save it. I said it.

-I'm scared of not being afraid

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shanies: Song of the Year

Yesterday was the expected insanity of family, food, wine and presents. As one could guess, I likely put on around an extra 2kg yesterday alone, and with the amount of leftovers currently sitting in my sister's fridge, I don't see that kind of pace slowing down anytime soon.

But enough about me... more about Mutemath. Once again, with the juggernaut of a year known as 2009, this was a difficult category. The Vultures had some rockers which stuck in my head, Black Crowes new album was FULL of amazing tracks, and Jack White even pumped out a few awesome tracks... through a few different bands. My decision was made by what song got stuck in my head most often throughout the past year, and the decision became quite clear.

Mutemath's entire Armistice album was incredible, however the 3rd track, Clipping, was an achievement of music which I found myself singing on countless walks throughout my new city of Toronto. The incredible layers of guitar, synth, piano and upright bass break through to some spine-chilling vocal harmonies in the chorus and then, just when you think the song can't get more amazing, the breakdown blows your mind. Mutemath has always had a humbling ability to write thick, complex and beautiful songs, and Clipping is, in my opinion, their current masterpiece.

If you disagree... let me know what you think.

-Don't let the bastards drag you down

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Evil Shanaigans & The Noble Rogues

It's everyone's favorite time again... no, not Christmas... time for SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION!!

My little band that could, The Noble Rogues, are releasing our first recording, a 3 track demo titled Far From the Madding Crowd FREE for you on Christmas day. We spent a lot of time on these songs and I hope you enjoy them. To download the album, simply click on the image below to be taken to our website, where you can find the link the the album.

Keep rockin in 2010!!!


Shanies: Most Original Project

I'm all ready to lay me down to sleep, however I must first hold strong to my musical pontificating duties. It's going to be a quick one, since I'm full of cheer and need to get to sleep before Santa creeps down the chimney and beats me around the room with a giant candy cane. That guy's got a mean temper when you disappoint him.

Those poor, poor reindeer.

A lot of cool shit happened in music this year. Many people might believe after my raving that Blakroc would be a shoe-in for this award, however 2009 had even more to offer.

Kid Koala pulled together what I feel was the most risky, ambitious and original musical concept from the past year. The premise was so simple, it's amazing no one had ever pulled it off before... at least not successfully. Still, The Slew was not only a cool idea, but a fantastic implementation.

Kid Koala spun his vinyl as always, but someone swapped his collection with 70's stoner and psych rock. Linking up with DJ Dynomite D, the project grew and became an incredible beast on its own. The idea was raised to present the entire project live, and the help of Chris Ross and Myles Heskett (old rhythm section from Wolfmother), genius was born.

-Cherry crust-lust and slap my boo here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shanies: Hardest Working Band

Some people might call this award a lame excuse to promote a band which I believe should 'make it' (whatever the hell that means in this day and age) ahead of just about any other band in the world. My response to them would be, "and your point is?"

That said, there is no denying that Hollerado has earned this award above and beyond all other bands this past year. Whether you look at their residency tour in February (28 shows, 28 days, 7 cities, rotating cycle), traveling to China not once but twice in the year, or their current half-world tour, there is no denying that these four guys are completely committed to this band.

Still unsigned, a great deal of the band's expenses have been covered by the boys themselves, and coordination for recording, merch and gigs have basically been planned by the band, friends, and promoters who they cuddled up to. Fortunately, I wasn't the only one to see this band's worth and the boys won Ottawa radio station Live 885's Big Money Shot, worth a whopping $250,000.

I challenge any other band in the world to try to steal this award from the boys for 2010.

-I'm off to party "Tipsy Eve" with Arse and a bunch of east coasters... save me

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shanies: Most Improved Player

You know what's great? Egg nog and rum. Seriously, I would like to shake the hand of the genius that thought of that winning combination. Hell... for that matter, who ever thought of egg nog? What the hell is egg nog? I mean, yes, there is egg in it... but what the fuck is the nog?

A new award to the Shanies this year, the most improved player was created to accommodate a band who I couldn't justify giving album of the year, (though many publications did) however, has shown one of the most marked changes between their last album and their most recent effort. The best part is that they're from my home sweet home of Manitoba.

*Drum roll* (although I guess this isn't that suspenseful since there's only like 5 good bands from the Tobe).

The award goes to Propaghandi, for their incredible work on the album Supporting Caste. Now don't get me wrong, Potemkin City Limits was a good punk album, as was Empires, as was Less Talk, as was How to Clean Everything. Propaghandi has always been a solid, angry, politically outspoken punk band, and this was precisely why Supporting Caste blew me away.

brb... nog break

As I was saying, Supporting Caste contains everything I'd come to expect from a Propaghandi album (thought provoking lyrics, anti-establishmental songs, a shot at HNIC, and a way of making me feel guilty about nearly everything I do). However, this album, from a strictly musical standpoint, was a HUGE leap forward in the band's development. Yes, I suppose this would still be called a punk album, however with the intricate songwriting, progressive riffs and completely unforeseeable transitions and changes, the album feels more like a prog rock or metal album.

In short, whether you've liked them in the past, or whether or not you like punk rock... consider giving Supporting Caste a chance... these prairie punks have earned it.

-Dream the shimmering dark dream that burns you from the inside out

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shanies: Best Riff

I feel like I'm Homer in the scene from a Simpson's Halloween episode way back when, being force fed doughnuts. I've eaten too much... again... dear god why do I do this to myself?

RIGHT... I'm supposed to write about music. In my wonderfully lethargic state, I want to present to you 2009's riff of the year. I need to say this was another tough call, which brings up a more important point which I should mention: 2009 was an incredible year for music. A lot of really good releases came out, and a number of bands...

You know what, I'm having trouble keeping my eyes open and the wine & fondue are currently fighting for space in my body. Chickenfoot won this year's Shanie for their completely meaningless song, Soap On a Rope. In fact, I should give the award to Satriani alone, with an honourable mention to Chad Smith for being awesome, but I guess you can`t really do that. Still... Sammy Haggar needs to learn something about music, or at least how to write lyrics that make SOME kind of sense. I mean, for the love of God, "I`m in a room, I got funk, hot damn, free punk."

Like I said... this award was for the riff... not the song, and DEFINITELY not the lyrics.

-Seriously... can we make Sammy Haggar sterile?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shanies: Concert of the Year

It's that time again... time for me to drink excessively with my family and then plop down in front of a laptop for 20 minutes to rant, rave and roar about why everything I listen to is awesome and why you're wrong and your shit's all retarded. Yes ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 3rd annual installment of the Shanies.

Our opening award is presented to the best evening I've had at a show in the past year. Surprisingly, this is one of the most difficult awards I give out each year because there are so many factors at play (alcohol consumed, attractive women present, number of muppets trying to murder me, whether or not the amps went to 11, and of course, how many of the band members asses I was able to grope). 2009 was a difficult year because I didn't get to that many good shows in the UK. While I had a lot of fun over the pond, one of my biggest complaints was how dull and repetitive the music scene was.

However, I have been quite active in the Toronto scene over the past few months, and it shows in our runners up. As one can likely guess due to my usual fan-boy-ism, Hollerado put on a mind blowing show. Drinking Labatt 50 with good friends in the shoe while screaming at the top of your lungs is always a good time, but it helps when you get yelled at by Menno for not selling him your Traynor amp (it was 2 fucking years ago Menno, let it go).

Only a week later, I had to (ok, Andrea had to) scour the city to find tickets to see Hey Rossetta!, also at the shoe. The struggle was worthwhile, and this indie-rock orchestra put on a show which was as good as when I first saw them 3 years earlier. Capping the night off with Epitaph was more than I could ask for, and my missing voice the next day was a testament to how amazing the night was.

HOWEVER, for all the great fun I've had since moving to Toronto, my Shanie for Concert of the Year goes to Pride Tiger, playing at the Carling Academy in Oxford. I conned Willsy into going to the show, only a few weeks after having my cast removed, post-surgery (you know... the one where they inserted metal freaking pins into my ankle). Iain and I arrived at the show on a Tuesday night to find AT MOST 10 other people. We were early enough to catch the opening 2 acts, so we had hoped that maybe no one had showed up yet.

In fact, the exact opposite was true, and after the opening acts finished, half the crowd left. By the time our Canadian brothers in arms hit the stage, there were around 6 people in the audience who weren't being paid to be there (and I'm pretty sure the other 4 were just too drunk to leave). Why Pride Tiger earned my award this year was because even though no one was at the show, and only 2 dudes had any idea what was going on, they still played like there was no tomorrow. The guys lit up the stage and gave it their all for a crowd which was almost as small as their band. I got loaded and sang along to all of their songs, prompting Matt (drums & vox) to dive off the stage at one point, mid-set, and hug both Iain and I for apparently saving their night.

Matt was a really sweaty dude... and I smelled a lot after that, but it didn't change how blown away I was to see the Vancouver natives shove rock and roll down the throats of a crowd of semi-willing participants. Props to you Pride Tiger for being willing to say:

"This is rock and roll... it is your daddy... enjoy it, or it will enjoy you."

-P.P.S: Good kiss

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Presents for Me

Nearly 2 years ago, I attended CMW with the old TibConcerts crew. That festival was during an interesting (read: unemployed) time in my life and became the foundations of more than a few hilarious stories which you can read about here. On a night at the Legendary 'shoe, I saw a band play just after the good ol' boys in Hollerado. That band's name was Arkells. It's funny to think that less than 2 years later, this band has ballooned into a huge success with a recent release, Jackson Square, on Dine Alone Records.

At the time, not knowing much about Arkells, I didn't have too much to say. I knew a solid rock band when I heard one, however nothing lept out at me. They had a strong, blues/classic rock feel, and were the kind of band which I could probably listen to with my father. To be honest, two years later, not a lot has changed, however I appreciate this band much more. While buying a CD for a Christmas gift this week, I may or may not have decided to also treat myself to a new album. The gift was part of the 2/$25 deal, so really, I would have been stupid not to get myself the Arkells release.

When I brought it home, the CD sounded a great deal like what I recall from CMW years back, however I found myself digging the tunes like never before. Songs ranged from something sounding like The Trews, to something which could have been equally written by Neil Young. Start to finish, this album was a joy to listen to and I'm glad that, on a complete whim and vague memory of a fantastic night, I decided to pick it up.

I don't know what changed, but whatever it was... it was a good thing.

Lastly, I head out west to catch up with family for the holidays this Sunday. In keeping with tradition, this will mark the beginning of Evil Shananigans's annual Shanies; my completely biased, totally unprofessional, often bribed, unquestionably compromised awards for 2009. The Shanies will appear daily from Dec. 20-29 and feature awards for noteworthy bands, songs, albums and moments from the past year.

-Don't asked who's changed when you can't remember what's the same

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Your head asplode

I spent the weekend in the studio, laying down a few tracks for a little holiday gift. It's incredible what that experience will do to rekindle your interest in music, and more specifically, rock and roll. Having the opportunity to build on my creations, try things I've never been able to, and hear myself in a way I'd never experienced has got me even more excited about rock music, and fittingly, I've stumbled across a new line of amazing bands, which fit oh-so-nicely into my comfort zone.

Rocketface is a Toronto based trio who, I won't lie, sounds a great deal like acts such as Jet and Sloan. They obviously bring their own sound and influence to the forefront, but even still, there is nothing wrong with having a 'type' or 'genre'. I just spent the whole weekend trying to sound like Tricky Woo and Pride Tiger, so I'm definitely not one to judge.

They've been playing together since high school and it shows in their tightness. Beyond just catchy hooks and driving beats, I found myself really digging on lead singer Joseph Janisse's voice. I was even more so impressed when I found out that he's the drummer. While I have a hard enough time doubling up on the guitar, I can't even begin to imagine how drummers do it.

For now, I'm going to just keep assuming that those few drummers who sing & play at the same time are bastard-child, half-devils which Beelzebub has scattered about the earth as sleepers to one day wake and do his unholy bidding.

You heard it here first.

-Bad things are on the way with all the fun you've had today

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Singers are divas anyway

As a vocalist first, I find myself naturally drawn to the human voice. 9 times out of 10, if I'm going to dislike a band, it's because I don't respect what their singer is doing. There are always exceptions to this where the musicianship is so great on other instruments that I'm willing to forgive a bit of bad technique on the vocal folds, however I have a limit.

The question always rises in my mind; what the hell do I do when there are no vocals? I suppose I should be slightly offended by bands like Do Make Say Think or Godspeed you Black Emperor!, however that kind of logic would also find me opposing the likes of Coltane, Ludvig van Beethoven, and nearly any piece of electronic music ever made. Come to think of it, with the number of times I am let down by weak, out of tune, dissonant vocals, I should really stop putting so much emphasis on the voice. The reality is, while I love the human voice, I also love melodies, harmonies, and music in general.

As such, it is with a renewed sense of logic that I present to you Pelican. Hailing from Chicago, this quartet is about as standard as you will find in the rock world; lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, drums... it's just that no one ever bothered to sing. The result comes out as something quite similar to Baroness, just without the vocals (which sometimes aren't there anyway).

It's all quite well written, almost orchestrated, hard rock music which I think would be fantastic for you to throw on in the background of a party, study session, or even while hopping on the good foot and doing the bad thing. However, therein lies my issue with Pelican; they are too easy to neglect. While all very talented musicians, and adept songwriters, these four gents don't make me want to get up and move... they don't inspire me. Again, I can appreciate it as something to fill the silence, but that's not what music is supposed to be about. Music should refuse to be ignored; it should grab you by the ear drums, drag you kicking and screaming into it's twisted little world and pin you down, forcing you to name 10 chocolate bars while tapping on your head, whether you like it or not.

Me... I find I often enjoy myself. Perhaps this is because I have an innate ability to remember the names of sweet treats.

-Count on my indiscretions if you think you can count them all

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

40 Heads are better than 4

Montreal has been a hotbed for experimental music, pretty much since the dawn of musical time (read: 1940s). The European vibe which the city carries seems to attract a variety of creatives and beyond that, encourage them to go one step further. It's situations like this which give birth to bands like Red Mass.

Formed by Choyce Vucino of CPC Gangbangs, Red Mass, from it's inception, was intended to be a collective of music. The current roster puts the band between 30 and 40 members, and in just over a year, the band has produced more recordings than most bands do in their entire career. The idea was to bring together a group of diverse musicians, who didn't necessarily know each other, to push each other forward and experiment outside of one's comfort zone.

The results are at time painful, however with the thousand monkies theory in place, they do often stumble across some fantastic sounds. Part garage rock, part rockabilly, part ambient noise, part gypsy music, Red Mass refuses to be pinned down and will never answer the question, "What's coming next?"

-This morning reeks of regret but these eyes ain't seen nothing yet

Friday, December 4, 2009

I'm still watching

It's Friday and I'm going to Hey Rosetta! tonight, so to be perfectly honest, I don't really feel like writing right now. I'm lazy, I want chocolate, and it's 1:30pm and I still haven't showered. Take that, world.

It's been around 6 months since I left the UK, but don't worry, I'm still watching. I've been keeping my eyes and ears open and stumbled across some of the good 'ol, dirty 70's psych-rock.

Meet Josiah, Josiah, meet everyone.

I'll let you two get acquainted while I go hunting for chocolate showers. Wait... that didn't come out right.

-Your battles were always beautiful, but no one ever won

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Strange People, Awesome Results

I don't know whether I should file today's post under 'review', 'recommendation', or 'insane ramblings', but at minimum, I can guaruntee good, clean, wholesome fun for the whole family (except for people who swear in front of Fred Penner). I have to give complete credit for finding this gem to Monsignor Jeremy Turowetz (of Shaking Judy and My Bedroom fame).

Ok, I can only give the Coles Notes, because to do this justice, you really have to read it yourself. Some dude chases his dog into a parallel reality where The Beatles never broke up (Mark David Chapman must have opted to shoot Yoko instead), steals a tape (because CDs and digital media never caught on) of The Beatles unheard stuff and brings it back to our reality. He admits it's crazy and refuses to reveal his identity but has created an entire webpage about the experience.

You with me so far?

Now, he's been kind enough to convert the tape to mp3 format and made it available for the world to download, which I highly recommend you do. I won't get into the number of ways this is so ridiculously insane it's not even funny (ok, it still kinda is), however I will comment on the audio its self. While I am 99.99999% positive this man is so full of shit that his green eyes turned brown, one can not deny in incredible production value of this album, or the ability to mimic the Liverpool foursome so incredibly well.

Once you get past the crazy-hobo-waggling-his-penis-at-traffic feeling, the album is actually really, really good (really). It honestly feels exactly like what it claims to be; a natural progression of where The Beatles would have gone. This isn't simply a rip off of greatest hits and a re-imagining of old albums, the producer has actually thought through how future musical styles would affect The Beatles, and how that would tailor their sound. Granted, it seems to draw quite heavily on vibes from Wings, however I suppose that would make sense if McCartney never had to create Wings.

Sadly, there's no convenient little video for you to watch today, however I implore you to go read the story, and listen to the album. Once you've had a listen, I encourage you to leave comments on where you feel this man lies on the thin line separating insanity and genius.

-My kinda crazy's just to straight for kinds like you

Friday, November 27, 2009

Is it me?

I was at the Horseshoe last night to see Hollerado. I don't care who you are, but it is impossible to dislike this band. However, I digress from my usual fanboyism to touch on another point. Headlining the show was Malajube, however for what it's worth, I could have paid my $15 (steep, but the Manotick boys made it worthwhile) to watch Hollerado and then leave. I genuinely tried to give Malajube a chance, and truth be told, did find myself getting into a few songs, however generally, the whole experience felt very forced.

Music should never be forced.

I started to wonder... is it me? Am I just incapable of 'getting' indie music these days? Do I simply lack the sophistication? Am I some rock homo-habilis who simply hasn't developed my indie-frontal-lobe?

Of course not... I am infallible.

So I set out this morning on a mission of finding music outside of my comfort zone. My intention was simple: find a band which under typical pretenses I should not enjoy, and yet through miracle of modern technology (read: nuclear penguin) find myself pleased.

Enter The Notwist; a german, ambient electro-indie band. These guys have actually been around for 20 years and are insanely popular in Germany, however I'm not German and 20 years ago I was probably still listening to Fred Penner (whom Jesse shouldn't be allowed to listen to ever again).

Maybe it was something about the mechanical, clock-like beat, the flowing, smooth vocals, or the cool-ass video, but I found myself really digging their track Chemicals. I had a good dig through their 20 year library as well and discovered that a lot of their music is pretty damned catchy.

Oh... and while we're on the subject, fuck Arcade Fire.

-Wash me dirty, hang me to dry, let me be your pretty little lie

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Playin on the black keys alone

The Black Keys have long been one of my favorite bands. As such, when they announced the coming of a hip hop side project, I think somebody peed in my pants. Sure enough, months later, only days before the release of Blakroc, the hype surrounding this project was all completely justified.

Working with the likes of Mos Def, Rza, Q Tip, Raekwon, and Pharoahe Monch (as well as a few others) this project takes hip hop back to its organic roots of soul and blues. Keeping as far away from the record labels as possible, Auerback & Carney produced the entire album in a Brooklyn studio with as little non-artist collaboration as possible. Watching the Webisodes of the recording, you can tell how laid back the sessions were. No real formula was created to say, "you're taking this verse, you get the breakdown, you've got the hook." Everyone just kinda felt the songs and spit out what they wanted to say.

The album drops black friday (the 27th) and I highly recommend you pick it up and give it a first listen to in your brand new Blakroc Camero (I wish I could make this shit up). If you're an impatient little bastard like me, today (the 25th) the album is streaming on the Blakroc website at 11am and again at 11pm.

You want my opinion? This shit is revolutionary and genre defining. In an industry of so much repetition and formulaic song production, my hat goes off to anyone who's ready to try something completely original and stir the pot a bit, particularly when I already revere them as demi-Gods.

-If I die she could make my heart beat

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Your name could doom you all

As I'm slowly coming off my last Vultures hit, I picked a bit of Canadiana as a come down. Way back in February, I made a little note about a Canadian 90's supergroup being formed from members of I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace and The Tea Party. Months later, I'm back here to tell you that Crash Karma has been gigging (in fact, opening for Stone Temple Pilots) and has an album recorded and ready to drop in the new year.

The video below is pretty low qual, so I recommend checking out some of their tracks on myspace. I'm reserving judgment until I can hear the old album, because as a huge 90's rock fan, I feel like I should give these guys the chance they've earned. That said however, my early feelings are that these guys are setting themselves up for a fall. I have no real issues with their songs, but that's the biggest problem; they've been too safe. This band literally sounds like a collaboration between I Mother Earth, Our Lady Peace and The Tea Party... only done 15 years ago. What I think the guys missed is that it's almost 2010 and music (and listeners) have changed.

There is something to be said for going back to the good old days and reviving a genre of music (look at the number of successful 70's revival bands: Wolfmother, The Answer, The Darkness). I suppose I feel that still living in the 00's (or Naughties as I've heard it called) it's a bit early to be reviving the 90's. Next you're going to tell me that we're going to turn a blind eye to genocide in Africa, start wearing plaid again, enjoy a period of unrivaled, unjustified economic growth, watch the US interfere in Middle Eastern politics, and try to adopt a failing, easily ignored global environmental policy.

But that'll never happen...right?

-Spire of knowledge leave me blind

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Strange little scavenger indeed

There are a lot of things in this world that get me excited; food, sunny days, rainy days, meeting women, Guinness, poker, white shoes, public speaking and even reading the newspaper. I'm a pretty high strung kinda guy. Still, as in anything, there is always room for improvement, and my energy is no different.

I have a very large capacity for fan-boy-ism, however once again, a whole new world was opened to me by Them Crooked Vultures. From the first moment this band's rumor hit the surface, I have sniffed out and stalked their every move, because I theorized (correctly) that this band would be the most epic thing to happen to rock n roll in the past 20 years.

I love being right.

While I have marked calendars many a time, and consider Tuesday to be one of the most important days of the week (and if you don't know why... for shame), I have never waited in front of a store for an album release. I can proudly say that while I was only there for 2 minutes, I was let in by the HMV employee on Queen this morning, immediately proceeded to grab 2 copies of TCV (Willsy needed one too) and sprint home to cherish the work of 3 rock virtuosos.

In short... I've got my day all planned, what the hell are you waiting for?

-It's rock n roll baby, it's bigger than you and me

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Open Wide

So, I don't always have to spend my days hunting down mind blowing new music. Every now and then, I find it important to trace back through your roots and listen to the bands you loved years ago. Often, I find as your musical skill, understanding and appreciation grows, you will find a whole new swath of things which you had never seen before.

In line with this theory, I picked up the just released Live! Montreux Switzerland DVD featuring Wide Mouth Mason's two performances at the famous jazz festival. They're a band whom I've loved for years and celebrated so many singles over and over again. However, watching this DVD gave me new respect for the musicianship, complex songwriting, and trueness to the blues & jazz that this band upholds.

If you're in Montreal, I'm expecting to see you at 3 Minots on Friday night.

-I'm a good man gone horribly wrong

Monday, November 9, 2009

Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference

Maynard James Keenan has always been one of my heros, and on the top 10 list of people I would love to meet. After spending years fronting Tool, one of the most musically experimental rock bands in the history of the genre, he decided that he had too many friends and that he wanted to play. In addition to the more popular, A Perfect Circle, Keenan spread his twisted little thoughts across countless one offs, EPs, soundtrack singles and internet phenomena. All the while, the man who seemingly never sleeps was also busy building up his own vinyard and organic food collective.

Something struck him in 06-07 when Keenan realized that he had done enough collaborations to almost fill an album; Puscifer was born. Working with such names as Danny Lohener (NIN), Lisa Germano (Iggy & the Stooges), Lustmord, Tim Alexander (Primus), and Brad Wilk (RATM), Keenan began to create a twisted new variation of Trip Hop which was both dark and sinister, but also cheeky and self-mocking.

Today's bump exists because Puscifer is back at it, and with one of the strangest collaborations yet. Tomorrow marks the release of "C Is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference HERE)", thus continuing with the tradition of ridiculous album names. The first single, which you can listen to below, is a joint effort with Milla Jovovich (yes... THAT Milla Jovovich... as though there's another) called The Mission. In addition to a trippy beat and some creepy vocals, it features a very clever video involving a dancing CGI cowboy, and some background which resembles Google Street View on meth amphetamines.

-I've got no plan, but I'm not planning to lose

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Smokeless Stoner

It's funny; I've never been a stoner in my life and yet I've always had an uncontrollable draw towards stoner rock. There's something about the slow, drudging, head bobbing beats and thicker than molasses guitar riffs that jive right with me. Maybe I've got the music thing right and I'm doing life all wrong: I should really be smoking copious amounts of ganja to match my habits with my listening taste.

During my previous year in England, I chucked out a lot of stoner bands for you to see what might stick. I was hanging onto one but never did have a chance to write about them until returning home. The Kings of Frog Island have one of the greatest stoner names ever. In fact, it's quite relevant, as the boys are from Leicester (the inner city of which is called Frog Island).

Formed in 2003, this sludge trio has since released 2 full length albums and gained a great deal of notoriety in (surprise, surprise) Germany and Scandinavia. It's precisely what you've come to expect from my posts; mammoth riffs with ethereal harmonies laid over cooler-than-shit hopping beats.

Yes, we've come to that point where I've already said more than enough and I need to shut up and let you listen to the song.

-If a picture's worth a thousand words, then a song is worth nothing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Almost Worthwhile

On Sunday night, I spent 2 hours watching one of the worst movies of my life. Observe & Report, featuring Seth Rogan, was quite simply a painful experience. However, this is not a movie review site, so I won't get into describing the intimate details of why this movie was worse than having sex with a cactus.

Always the opportunist, I chose to make positive of this situation by realizing that the movie did have one good thing going for it: the soundtrack. The best part about the soundtrack was that it did not use well known hits of the 80's & 90's, nor did it continue the circle of media dutch-rowboating (thank you Kevin Smith) by putting in the upcoming single from the next big rub-one-out-angsty-rock-band. This meant that I had some research to do.

I stumbled across a few gems, however the diamond in the rough for this movie was found in the form of a 70's progressive jazz-rock band named Patto. Since frontman Mike Patto died of Cancer in 1979 at the tender age of 36, there obviously hasn't been any material in a while. However, sometimes, it's nice to just be able to listen to the legacy.

Patto is a chilled out cross between Miles Davis, T. Rex's Slider, and a sheet of acid so large it could cover a California King. Long, tripped out songs are accented by powerful, repeated melodies and then laid back to just sit for a while. It's the perfect music to listen to while sitting down, slowly nodding your head and saying to yourself, "I am the most epic human being to ever grace this beautiful earth."

You know... that or you could have sex to it.

-I don't love you so you're ok with me

Friday, October 30, 2009

Wake those eyes

So I was out for a few the other day at Bier Markt (and no, I did not just spell that wrong). I know it seems crazy that I might be out at a bar... but just go with me for a bit on this one. It was a Friday night and the boys were jumpin around the town looking for some action, when we stumbled across one of the tightest bands I'd seen in ages (granted I'd been in England a while).

Daylight for Deadeyes are a TO based trio who have been kickin it together for about 6 years. Their time together shows. After watching their drummer do justice to a John Bonham solo, they played an infectiously catchy little number called Are you Ready. I immediately became obsessed with this song and listened to it more than recommended by the Surgeon General.

After getting my fill of that song, I poked around on their myspace and dug up a plethora of gold. While Are You Ready was everything I hoped for in a song and more (catchy hook, funky beat, vocal harmonies, meaningless lyrics) the remainder of their song library was very different, but still full of catchy tunes.  My only problem was how in the world to classify this band.  In the end, I settled on 'fun' and got tired of thinking.

And yes... I am the laziest blogger you have ever met.

-Rejoice. Salvation is nowhere to be found

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rebirth of Shananigans

The past few months have been rough. Not only have I missed out on updating this little corner of the world and providing you with beautiful new music designed to give you eargasms, but I also spent 30 days being sodomized by a bike seat (albeit, for an incredible cause, and an amazing group of people). That said, I'm slowly but surely settling back into something of a normal life in my new home of Toronto.

I could get hung in certain provinces for saying this, but this city kicks ass. Knock it if you must, but I have never found such a large, accessible, and cool music scene as I have here (and yes, I am not having amnesia about the 8 years I spent in Montreal). The key to Toronto is that it is MASSIVE, and there is something for everyone.

I have a lot to catch up on from the past few months, but unquestionably, the most important piece of news in the music industry, if not in the entire world is the threat of earth collapsing upon it's self under the shear awesomeness of Them Crooked Vultures. I don't care if you're too cool for popular names, or if you don't like rock and roll... you will like this or I will find a way to curse you and 18 generations of your ancestry.

What happens when you take 3 of my favorite bands in the world and collide them in a particle accelerator? Dave Grohl is God. Josh Homme is the icon of 00's (or the naughty's as I've heard them referred to) rock and roll. John Paul Jones is... dude... fucking Zeppelin... what more do you want? Sometimes, the term 'Supergroup' just isn't enough, you know?

I'm probably babbling like a school girl, so I'll sum it up with this: album drops Nov. 17, so don't expect anything from me that day. I've already made plans involving a warm bath, a bottle of Jack Daniels, 2 ferrets and an intricate network of copper piping.

LASTLY!! If you're in the GTA and wanna rock out (with or without your cock out) this Thursday, Oct 29 my band, The Noble Rogues, is playing a show at Kathedral on Bathurst & Queen. It's a costume party, so dress appropriately (we will) and we hit the stage at 9pm SHARP.

-I'll get there when I get there if I even get there at all

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gone 'Till September

Well, this is the moment that around 4 people around the world were dreading; I'll be taking a bit of a break from the Evil Shananigans blog. It's been over a year since I started digging up new music for you, and have since produced in excess of 150 posts for your listening pleasures.

However, this Sunday, I hop on a plane. I land in Toronto. I spend a day dropping things off and sorting out some details. Then I hop on another plane. I land in Calgary. I drive to Lethbridge. I get to see my beautiful new niece. I return to Calgary. I plan. August 1st arrives.

On August 1, I'll be undertaking one of the biggest feats of my life. I will be cycling from Calgary to Toronto to raise money for Myeloma Canada. With the over 3500km trek, I hope to raise over $35,000 and more importantly, make people across the country aware of this rare but debilitating cancer of the bone marrow.

To learn more about my campaign, please visit www.prairiepedal.com

I arrive back in Toronto around Sept. 12, so you can expect that I'll be itching to impart my first bit of musical genius quite soon after that. On the downside, you'll have to do your own new music searching for a while. However look on the bright side; you'll get to listen to The Dead Weather's new album for an entire two months before I even get to hold it.

You lucky dog.

-Never do anything until you're sure, and never be sure of anything

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Old Prince continues to impress

It's going to be a bit of a winding down week as starting next week, I'll be going on hiatus from Evil Shananigans to ride across central Canada and raise money for cancer research. Things will be quiet for a couple of months, but rest assured that the volume will be turned back to 11 in September.

Nothing new today, however a reminder of something you should really be listening to more of. A lot of people disrespect hip hop because many argue it lost the origins which gave it life (soul, R&B, funk). I say in a lot (if not most cases) those nay-sayers might be right. However, let it be known that just as pop is destroying rock and Nickleback is destroying music as we know it, there are exceptions to everything.

In the world of hip hop, Shad is one of those glorious exceptions. A while back I introduced Shad, however since that time have come to respect his art so much more. Videos like the one below remind me of what a truly amazing musician should be; inspirational.

So go be inspired.

-I'll trap the soul of modern man inside rumors of a better land

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Angry revisions

I have to plead guilty to underestimating the strength and dynamism of my own province. When Sampson left Propagandhi to form the Weakerthans I kinda figured he would be taking all the creativity and talent with him, leaving Propagandhi as nothing more than an angry Pennywise: doomed to continually repeat themselves.

I should know better than to think so low of a fellow Toban. Propagandhi released their latest, Support Caste, in March and I'll admit, I didn't hear a note of it until yesterday when Jesse spoke magical words of my head exploding and various bodily fluids finding glorious exodus from my body. Jesse didn't disappoint either. He doesn't usually, but every now and then he'll throw me a bone that ends up being a hardcore band which not even a mother could stomach (though, do many hardcore moms REALLY appreciate their son's music?). But I digress.... he was right about this.

Incredibly right. Jesse had compared the transformation the boys had made since Potemkin City Limits similar to Mastodon's shift between Blood Mountain and Crack the Skye. What I didn't realize was that Jesse's choice of bands would be fitting; Propagandhi no longer sounded like the droning, angry punk band which I was getting bored of. They had started to incorporate elements of metal, hardcore and prog into their music... and I liked it. Sure, they still had the odd drag 'em out, no frills, angry punk rock song... however this time, the album was rounded out by some of the most complex songwriting I've ever seen from a punk band (if you can still call them that).

-Dave, wherever you are, I hate you

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Montreal's Priestess released their first album back in 2006. No shit, they're well overdue.

Fortunately, they've broken radio silence and announced that their softmore release will be popping your little brain buckets in the fall. Supposedly, they claim the delays were due to huge issues with labels and that we could have been listening to this album months ago with a simpler system. I think they were just having too much fun touring with Mastodon, Converge, Megadeath, Clutch, Iron Maiden and GWAR.

Ok, I guess I can't really blame them. Besides... how can I stay mad at this?

-Who's side were you on when you couldn't see the other side?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Don't tempt me

I got home from the pub last night and I read something.

I didn't believe what I read.

I re-read it this morning and it was still there. I don't THINK I'm still drunk this morning (though, there's always a chance).

What I read is that some sort of unholy supergroup is being formed out of some of my favorite musicians in the world. Dave Grohl is God, and anything that he touches has always found a deep way into my mind, heart and soul. Josh Homme came on the scene only in the last 10 years for me, but proved an amazing musician with an incredible voice and an ability to write very unique songs which incorporate all kinds of influence. John Paul Jones is just... well... dude, FUCKING ZEPPELIN.

Excuse me, I need to retreat to the bathroom for a moment.

Lips are very tight and this is currently nothing more than a rumor. Grohl joked about this group back in 2005 and apparently, Homme's wife and current Spinnerette front, Brody Dalle, let something leak in an interview. Supposedly these 3 are in a studio.

And supposedly, your mind is soon to be blown.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I postulate to have seen a ghost

Crazy times are upon us. This Friday, my band, The Noble Rogues, have their last UK show at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford. If you're in the Ox area, I encourage... nay, I demand you show up for some ridiculous good times. What is going to be a sad point for me is that immediately following the show, I will be selling my Vox AC30 amp. She's been a fantastic amp for the year, but is just too fat to justify hauling all the way home to Canada.

At least I know she's going to a good home. When I received an email from Aaron of The Phantom Theory inquiring about the amp, I actually became a bit angry. Here was an Oxford based 2 piece band, much like my own which plays ridiculously awesome music and whom I had spent the past year with no knowledge of. After complaining about the number of shit, Oasis-imitating bands we'd been lumped on a stage with in the UK, I guess it was just frustrating to finally be meeting a good band on our way out of town.

The Phantom Theory is a noise rock band with a similar feel to the likes of DFA 1979. Dirty, aggressive, driving and catchy all at once; these boys know how to make make music reach out through the amp and grab you by the balls. It's always nice to see another 2 piece that can generate enough noise to impregnate you through your ear drums.

-Fly your inaugeral crash into me

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Pretty Beelzebub

Life is closing in on me, so I'll make this quick. It's ok though; you should be used to my neglect by now. I'm hijacking another Willsy discovery from NXNE. Iain, if you wanna fight about it, I've got a good 3 inches on you... plus I'm taller... so don't even think about it :-P

You Handsome Devil
supposedly put on an absolutely hilarious show. These guys are self-proclaimedly bad-ass. Hailing from Toronto, they have no desire to get signed to a label, and their modus-operandi just seems to be rocking out... which I can respect. They're giving away their EP at Sonicbids if you're interested too.

If you thinkg they have something of a Danko Jones feel at times, and with songs like Your Boyfriend's Band Sucks, it's easy to understand why. It's dirty, it's riffy, it's in your face, and it's fun.

Now I've got to go find a way to fit 20 hours of work into a 12 hour day.

-Why stop when you've lost so much?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

If I've gotta say something

Being a music blog, it's basically impossible to avoid making some sort of comment about Michael Jackson dying this week. However, that said, I don't particularily feel like getting caught up in all the hype, nor do I care to renounce all of MJ's sins on his deathbed, talk about how great he was, or generate conspiracy theories about him going to meet up with Elvis on Mars.

All I wanna do is watch 1000 Philippine inmates dance to Thriller

I wish I could make this shit up... but there's actually a number of these videos. They even take requests.

-Drink like no one's counting

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I picture 4 Lebowskis

I know what growing up in a shitty town is. In a strange way, it bonds people and gives one a sense of pride for your hometown, even if it is a crap place. Often, the shittier the town, the more proud you are to be from there, because it proves that you had the integrity to survive.

The Dudes are from Calgary, and they're proud... now that takes balls. With an already scant Alberta music scene, this foursome goes one further by not playing to the masses with country or hard rock, but pop-rock-a-la-Weezer; and they do it damned well.

They've well earned what little credence they've received. Having formed in 1996, The Dudes just released their fourth album, Blood Guts Bruises Cuts. I find it inspiring to see a group of friends who have been playing together for 13 years and even with minimal success, still enjoy playing together and take the time to make music, seemly simply for the fun of making music.

And their music is fun... so dance you scrawny white boy... dance.

-Here you'll find me black and green, played to death this fantastic machine

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

My finger itches

Iain, the annoying ass that he is, got to attend NXNE while back in Toronto. I meanwhile was stuck enjoying a sunny, beach-ridden vacation in Morocco. Honestly... some people get all the luck.

Whilst at NXNE, Iain stumbled across a band which intrigued me in name alone. Triggerfinger was enough to warrant a bit more research and upon searching, I found my knack for music taxonomy would pay off. One doesn't traditionally think of Belgium when they think of rock and roll, mind you one also doesn't think of peanut butter when they think of industrial sealant.

Think about it.

Right. I couldn't find much about these guys, but they're a 3 piece which looks 'well traveled' (read: old) and yet still knows how to churn it out. They seem to be getting a lot of notoriety throughout Europe, yet still have to break through the iron wall of rock that surrounds North America.

If you look at the video below, you'll see that they're not going to win any beauty contests, but their frontman does have a bit of a Nick Cave thing going on.

-Read me for what I'm almost worth

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bring him back in chains

Just a quick one today. My latest project, the Prairie Pedal for Myeloma Canada has been consuming much of my time. I'm cycling across central Canada to raise money for Myelomic cancer research. If you're interested to learn more, please go check out the site.

Last year, I was blown away by the reunion of bands such as Blind Melon. However, apparently, reuniting a band with a former OD'd singer is just the 'in' thing to do this year. As such, Seattle grunge rockers Alice in Chains, are bringing it back. Joining forces with Willian DuVall of Comes with the Fall, the crew has been in the studio recording a new release which is due for the fall.

I won't even bother making jokes about pissing on Layne's grave, or saying how this unholy reunion is going to suck (after being proved wrong with Blind Melon). However, for the time being, I'll continue to enjoy Mr. Stanley on the mic.

I'm off to Morocco for a wedding, so the blog will be on vacation until I return, June 22.

-With friends like you, who needs benefits?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

UK Blues Week: That's just dirty

Today's post is brought to you by the numbers 7, 13, Madame Drohan and the letter Q. Jess stumbled across a band and said, "I think these guys might kind of be your style." Understatement ma'am... understatement.

Back door slam (I know... so many jokes) are a blues rock throwback from the Isle of Man led by virtuoso guitarist Davy Knowles. Formed back in 2001 when the boys were only teenagers, they recorded and released their first album, Roll Away in 2007. While it gained only a modicum of respect in the UK, music lovers across the Atlantic couldn't get enough of it. BDS quickly started touring the US and dropping jaws all across the states.

Unfortunately, rock stardom would hit the trio and early this year, they would decide to go their separate ways. However Knowles, the brains of the operation, would continue on using the name BDS, after gaining notoriety with some of the musical greats (Don McLean, Jeff Beck, Gov't Mule The Who). Knowles spent the early portion of this year recording a new album with Peter Frampton. Coming Up for Air was just released this past month and Knowles is now well on his way to guitar canonization (at the age of like 21).

So, assuming you can ignore the blatant reference to rough anal sex, I think you're going to simply love Back Door Slam.

-Can't stop becoming what you need to be

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

UK Blues Week: Phoenix of Rock

We're going to send things a little more traditional today, with a non-traditional background. I've spent an entire year complaining about how the UK has been producing almost no new blues/rock artists (after nearly redefining the genre with bands like Zeppelin and the Stones). As such, this week, I figured I'd dig a little deeper and try to save a bit of face for the old Brits.

When you take the guitarist from bands such as Carcass and Napalm Death, you do not expect his next project to be a blues out rock band (ok, with enough riffs to destroy the known universe). After playing metal and doom for over 10 years, Bill Steer got fed up and wanted to find something more pure. As such, he struck out on his own, took a few friends along and formed the band Firebird in 1999.

Firebird really became a fantastic premise for a band; take 3 artists who had been playing heavy, hard, technical metal their whole lives, and breathe some blues and soul into the equation. You get a hard rock blues band who still knows how to tear paint off the walls. Unfortunately, they were plagued with a rotating lineup of band members, primarily due to other band commitments. Even Steer, the mainstay, shelved the project for a while however has recently come back onto the scene and just released their latest, hardest effort yet, Grand Union.

Take a listen below, and if you have a chance, go to their myspace and listen to Silent Stranger. What a riff!

-Who told you what we were fighting for?

Monday, June 1, 2009

This is just inspiring

Sasquatch 2009... proof that 1 man can make a difference.

-Care to wager your love?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grow up and get your own band

Troy Van Leeuwen has been mooching off of his friends for far too long. Playing guitar for A Perfect Circle, Queens of the Stone Age, Failure, EODM, and Mondo Generator, the guy was always a tag along with the big players. It's like he had the talent, but just lacked the motivation to do something on his own.

But as his parents likely said... he just has so much potential.

Which is why you and I should both be excited for his new band Sweethead. Not unsurprisingly, Sweethead has a bouncy-yet-driving, depressed-yet-happy feel similar to some of the aforementioned bands. In fact, with female vocalist Serrina Sims, the group even sounds a bit like Brody Dalle's new project Spinnerette. Throw in a dash of the Mark Lanegan Band on bass and drums and I suppose you have one of those new-fandangled 'supergroup' thingies.

In short, thanks for not being lazy anymore, Troy.

-With everything you did right, how could you go wrong?

Monday, May 25, 2009

I want a white cowbell

So, the thing that makes the band White Cowbell Oklahoma even better than the awesomeness of their name is the fact that they're from nowhere near Oklahoma. In fact, they're from Toronto of all places.

These guys appear to be both PR geniuses and also complete alcoholics. They're currently signed to Universal, and have three full-lengths to their name; Cencerro Blanco (2004), Casa Diablo (2007) and Bombardero (2009). A troupe of 6 mounts the stage in full take-yer-sister-home outfit. To really understand how mind-blowingly rock and roll this band is, you need to realize; they have a guy in the band who's sole job is to play the cowbell.

I wish I could make this shit up.

Throw in a dash of Tricky Woo-via (their latest effort was produced by Adrian Popovich at Mountain Studios in MTL) and you have a band which has no intention of taking things easy, for any reason, ever. You know what? I'm just going to let you listen to this already:

-Noble in mind but a rogue at heart

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The model T of guitarists

A few months back I wrote independantly about Chris and Rich Robinson; the two brothers behind one of the greatest jam bands of our generation, The Black Crowes. I thought I had kicked that horse to death, but low and behold, these boys have been busy.

In addition to the brothers, Marc Ford has also done some solo work. Ford was with the Crowes from 1991 until 1997, when he was dismissed from the band, reportedly for excessive drug use (which in that band must have been ASTRONOMICAL). Since '97, he's released 3 solo albums and done collaberations with Ben Harper, Gov't Mule, and Lucinda Williams. He even had a brief reunion with the Crowes, however in the end broke back out on his own.

I'd be lying if I said Ford's stuff is as good as the Crowes, or even either of the Robinson's solo work. The fact of the matter is that Ford is not a phenominal songwriter. However, what he lacks in songwriting, he makes up for by being one of the most vicious blues-rock shredders this world has ever seen.

-My kingdom ain't worth a horse, of course

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The cradle will rock

So, this is something which I stumbled across a while ago but have been saving (read: I don't have a damned thing to write about and I'm too lazy to do some hunting). This is not the introduction of a new band, but more a new medium, and an entirely new way to mess with small children.

Because really... one can never get too much of that.

The website is called Rockabye Baby! and since 2006, they've been finding ways to do increasingly disturbing things to the infants of today (which I can always respect). The premise is simple; let's take a bunch of famous recording artists from the past 50 years and re-arrange their classic songs into a lullabye-muzak form. It is genius marketing, as we're now getting a generation filled with anxsty teens growing up and having eye-shadow-wearing kids of their own.

Covering bands such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Radiohead, Coldplay, Metallica, and Nirvana, Rockabye has created one of the most clever business models I've seen in a while.

The only worry I have is that they've also started to cover bands like Tool. Now don't get me wrong, Tool is one of my favorite bands and if (god save us all) I ever have a kid, I would love to hear Hooker with a Penis playing in the background of my nursery. However, I really have to question what this 'third eye opening' music is going to do to our kids' heads.

On one hand, we could create a generation of musical genius snobs, who have passed through their inevitable 'Zeppelin phase' by 2, become bored of the Beatles at 3, and are suddenly getting into coke at the age of 4.

And on the other hand, suddenly the new rock n' roll age is going to be Forever 7.

-When everything's smooth, I would have been rough

Monday, May 11, 2009

The lady-baron

So, I was amazed when I stumbled upon a recent piece of information and realized that I'd never even talked about a certain band before. That band was Baroness, and to give you an idea of my surprise, you must first understand conversations that Jesse and I used to have around a year ago:

"Dude, do you know how awesome Baroness is?"

"Oh yes, I'm quiet aware, but I don't feel as though you fully understand the depth of their awesomeness."

"No no, you're just mistaking my current state of being. I've actually come to understand their level of awesome on a whole new ethereal plane which you can't quite comprehend... but it's cool... you'll probably figure it out sometime."

That's a rough approximation, but honestly, not that far off from the truth. Jesse actually started changing into pure energy at one point but then he started listening to Krunk hip hop again and got too busy flossing his bling or something.

Right... I'm going off topic (yeah Shane, that's the whole point of this blog). Baroness is awesome. I read a quote from Exclaim once which went something like "There must be something in the Georgian water that starts bands off as massively aggressive then slowly calms them down after a while." It happened to Mastodon and it happened to Baroness. I'm guessing that something is acid.

The Red Album reminded me why I still can enjoy listening to heavier music; because not all metalheads stop learning at 4 or 5 chords (or alternatively learn too many notes on the guitar and try to fit them all into one song). Baroness was able to create heavy, but still beautiful melodic music which could both tame the savage beast, and release it.

And the good news is that they're back in the studio and we can expect a fall release. Only time will tell if they will suffer sloppy seconds syndrome (yes, I just made that up) but I have high hopes for this talented group.

-Crying with you all the time

Friday, May 8, 2009

Strange How that Works

The first time I heard Spotlight, the first single off Mutemath's new album, I was actually a bit pissed off. The viral videos of the boys recording process had gotten me gleeful with anticipation of an epic album to follow up their self-titled 2006 release. Then, they went and released a song which ended up being the anthem for a shitty teen-romance vampire movie and I got incredibly angry.

Somehow, video saved the radio star.

I don't know what it is about this troupe of 4 overly energetic N'Orleansers, but when you put them in front of a camera, amazing things happen. When I watched this video, suddenly all was forgiven and the song became good again.

And I started to get excited for the album... again.

-You'd commit suicide to martyr yourself

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Like a million tents were just pitched

I wish I had something witty to say, but fuck it:

If you're not quite sure why this is significant, simply go place your hand in an open door and slam it as hard as you can.

Good, now that you understand things a little better and are on my wavelength, we can get down to things. The Sled Island Music Fest in Calgary just announced their lineup for 2009 and low and behold... I've got wood. When asked about their reformation by Chart, a whole whackload of insanity about nuts was spewed.

Back in my days of yore, when fledgling-wanna-be-rock-stars were offering me coke on New Years' eves, but pre-said-rock-cocks becoming paranoid about me hitting on their fiance, I had a chance to visit the Tricky Woo rehearsal studio. Even without the amps on, it felt like sex was being amplified through the air. The place had soul, meaning, and a coating of white powder on nearly any flat and smooth surface.

What really mattered though, was the music. Tricky Woo would become one of the bands not to define my childhood, but to define my inner rock star. I listen to One Great City! when I'm homesick. I listen to Grey Mountain Lullaby when I'm lonely. I listen to Heart Attack American when I'm angry. I listen to Lover Don't you Lie when I AM THE KING OF THE BLOODY UNIVERSE.

I'm glad we had this little chat.

-Bring back the old, to hell with the new