Thursday, December 29, 2011

Shanies: Album of the Year

What a year for rock n roll! I know you were all waiting impatiently for 2011's top ten, but I got trapped in Montreal by a gorgeous woman and didn't get to finish my homework.  Can you really blame me? Without further adieu, I give you:

10. Cunter - Some Really Nice Guy Threatened to Sue Us

What I like about this album is what it doesn't try to be: it doesn't try to be complicated, insightful or groundbreaking. This album is simply old friends getting together to play gritty, in-your-face hardcore. In addition, this album wins the award for most grotesque cover art.

9. Dan Mangan - Oh Fortune
What can I say? I just love this Vancouverite's smooth baritone voice.  While I would agree with anyone who claims that Nice Nice, Very Nice is a better album, I appreciate that with Oh Fortune, Mangan doesn't play things safe.  He experiments a lot on this album and even plays around with some heavier feeling songs.  Unquestionably worth a few good listens.

8. Mastodon - The Hunter
You knew this was making the list.  The masters of modern metal (try saying THAT three times fast) had to crack this list with a very unique album in The Hunter. Almost as a rebellion to their previous prog epics, The Hunter shows its self as a more stripped down, simplistic album (for this band at least) in which the usual barrage of epic riffs are condensed down to short, catchy, even funky songs.

7. The Barr Brothers - The Barr Brothers

A late entry to the year (ok, late September isn't that late, I just had a busy fall) and a late entry to my life, this album floored me with incredibly unique folk songs and eclectic instrumentation. 'Deacon's Son' has a solo section featuring some wicked guitar, harp, and what sounds like steel drums. Also, I swear that in the end of 'Give the Devil Back his Heart', someone is saying "I love the Black Keys"

6. Wide Mouth Mason - No Bad Days
 When one of your favorite bands releases an album for the first time in 5 years, and just so happens to have also picked up one of your musical heroes to play bass... yeah. No Bad Days is another one of those brilliant albums where the trio approached the project with simplicity in mind and allowed each of their individual fortes to shine through in a beautiful blend of soul, funk, rock and blues.

5. Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Dave decided he wanted to make an album renisicent of the old Self-Titled and Colour and the Shape era.  'Nuff said.
Oh, and riff-genius Pat Smear came back after 10 years.
Oh, and Dave worked with Butch Vig for the first time since nevermind.
Oh, and the whole thing was done analog in Dave's garage.
Oh, and Bob Mould and Krist Novoselic guested on the album.
Getting the idea?

4. The Black Keys - El Camino
Here I need to less justify the presence of this album on the list and more explain why it only hit #4. I LOVE the keys, and have for 8 years, however, the issue with El Camino is that it isn't Brothers. Songs like "Little Black Submarines" and "Gold on the Ceiling" remind me of why I adore this band - continuous evolution of their style - yet it still feels like the songs were rushed. Maybe it feels that way because I'm still not done exploring brothers.

3. MuteMath - Odd Soul

Ahh MuteMath. Just about every year this band puts out an album, they end up in my top ten, usually somewhere very high. They're one of the most original bands of the past 10 years and their percussive-heavy sound always seems to strike a chord with me. That said, Odd Soul feels a bit different from their previous albums. While possibly containing more singles and catchier songs, this album doesn't blend together into a single piece of work quite like their previous. Still, you can flip to just about any track on this CD and have your mind completely blown.

2. The Parlor Mob - Dogs

Are you surprised to see this here? Me too. The Parlor Mob has been a new obsession of mine ever since discovering them earlier this year. While I was a couple years late to allow their debut, And You Were a Crow, to crack the list (and likely end up 1 or 2), their softmore effort, Dogs, is still a tour-de-force which I have been obsessively listening to. Combine one part White Stripes, and one part Led Zeppelin and you'll hear very quickly why this was almost my album of the year.

1. Hey Rosetta! - Seeds

This is a rare occasion. My album of the year in 2011 is not a heavier rock album. Let this speak volumes about just how good Hey Rosetta's latest effort, Seeds, is. Start to finish, this album delivers so many different sounds, emotions and themes. Tim Baker is a musical genius, and after following this band for over 5 years (thanks Andrea), Baker has finally found his comfort zone (not to say that earlier albums were slouches!). This album brings together HR's usual wide instrumentation with cute lyrics, catchy hooks, and the feeling of music that should be sung by a small chorus of friends (and in some cases, it is!)

-Hope you enjoyed the 2011 Shanies! I'm looking forward to providing you with all sorts of new audiophoria in 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Shanies: The Rest

Always one of my favorite days of the year, 'The Rest' describes the awards that didn't really fit into their own day and, if I'm being completely honest, is yet another day for me to shoot my mouth off and rant about the year that was.  I usually don't plan all of these awards, so as I sit here in the new Winnipeg airport awaiting my flight back to Toronto, let's see what kind of creative juices start flowing.

Lifetime Achievement Award (R.I.P.) - C'Mon
It was a sad day when I heard of C'Mon's plans to wind down. After being a huge fan of Blurtonia and Bionic, I followed Sir Ian's new project with great excitement from the get-go. While it was amazing getting to see these guys play one of their last shows with a handful of people at Chemical Sound... it was a big price to have to pay. I got a fever... but the cure is no more.

'How Are You Still Alive and Making Music?' - Weird Al
 30 years and 13 freaking albums, 6 platinum and 3 Grammys?  How is this man still going strong?  Even more amazing, is that he isn't just old...he's popular (12 Million albums sold).

'I Play in a Band, so Fucking Listen Already' - The Noble Rogues
If you're not used to me shamelessly promoting my own band... deal with it.  Better yet... go fucking listen already:

'I Told You So' - The Sheepdogs
I hate to say I told you so, but.... oh wait... what's that?  Ah... apparently I LOVE to say I told you so.  Remember when I heard these guys play live almost 4 years ago and even was kind enough to share said information with you? YOU'RE WELCOME JERK!

'Enigmatic, or Maybe just an Asshole' - Tyler the Creator
Tyler and the whole OFWGKA game may have challenged the old adage, 'there's no such thing as bad press.'  While it is undeniable that Tyler was talked about a lot this year... a lot of people really hate him.  If it weren't for Goblin being such a damned good album and 'Yonkers' being one of the best hip hop songs/videos I've seen/heard in years... I'd probably hate him too.

'Congrats, you stayed in a room together long enough to make an album' - Jane's Addiction
And truth be told... for the first time in ages, I actually really got into JA. The album was solid, catchy and still fairly unique in construction, particularly this song:

'Creepiest Introduction' - Bran Van 3000
I won't kick the dead horse here... but I found out about the new album while peeing.

'Please, just stop making music' - Superheavy 
I know, you're Mick Jagger. We get it. Now please, stop.  You're hurting music.

-One more left kiddies!  Album of the year coming up tomorrow... or when I get around to it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Shanies: Artist of the Year

Let's just cut to the chase: undeniably, this was the year of the Foo. I love pumpin up the little guy as much as anyone else, but I'll challenge anyone to show me a band who accomplished more random, wonderful things in 2011 as the double F. Let's review:
  • They recorded an album with Butch Vig (the first time for since Dave since Nevermind) in Grohl's garage on completely analog equipment. Krist Novoselic and Bob Mould made guest appearances on the album. Wasting Light debuted at number one on Billboard.
  • Medium Rare a compiliation of Foo rarities was released in limited edition vinyl on Record Store Day
  • Back and Forth, a documentary about the Foo's creation and existence was released at SXSW in March and eventually hit DVD.
  • The Foo's organized a garage tour in support of Wasting Light, during which they traveled around North America and played tiny live shows in fan's shops and garages.
  • They shot a hilariously disturbing video titled 'Hot Buns' to announce their upcoming massive US tour
  • When the collective of the worst people in the world (aka the Westboro Baptist Church) protested outside their Kansas City show due to the homosexual nature of the Hot Buns video, the Foos wheeled up on a flatbed trailer to perform the most hilarious fuck you to the Church (see below)
  • They released music videos for Rope, Walk, and my personal favorite, White Limo, the last featuring Lemmy as a crazed limo driver.
  • They played Lollapalooza, Goat Island, MK National Bowl and have confirmed for both Leeds and Reading in 2012
  • This year alone they have shared the stage with Roger Taylor, John Paul Jones, Seasick Steve, Bob Mould and Alice Cooper
  • And finally, they officially expanded to a five-piece with the return of once-Foo and long time riff machine, Pat Smear
And that's just touching on the major highlights.

-We have just one award left, the coveted album of the year. BUT FIRST... you must suffer my ridiculous awards of 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Shanies: Song of the Year

I had a very tough time with this category... so much so that I'm contemplating writing in a tie right now.

Yeah, screw it... it's my blog and I'm accountable to no one except the pink elephant on my shoulder... we're having a tie. The reason we're having a tie is because this year, I listened to two songs repeatedly which were amazing for very different reasons. One because it was a simple, feel good classic that resonated with my soul and another because of its complex, strange and still catchy arrangement.

Wide Mouth Mason made a resurgence this year with none other than one of my idols, Mr. Gordie Johnson, on bass. The opening track to their new album, No Bad Days, is a soulful, bluesy tune that we've come to know as WMM standard. Why I love this song, and in fact this whole album (foreshadowing!) is because of its simplicity. The band recognizes their strengths and plays to them. Verreault supposedly only used one guitar to record the whole album and the entire process avoided layering and splicing when possible. What results is a perfect blend of unique styles.  'More of It' kicks off with some bluesy slide guitar accented by Javed's groovy, jazz-inspired drumming. Gordie eventually kicks in with his reggae-loving bass styles and finally the whole song is capped off with Verreault's massive, soulful voice.  4 layers which alone stand so uniquely yet together blend into one hell of a song.

But being greedy like I am (read: indecisive), I also had another pick for song of the year.

Pomplamoose doesn't really release albums... they just finish songs every now and then and present them to you in one of the most unique formats possible. Their 'video songs' are strange compilations of video clips from the recording process which show every bit of instrumentation that goes into their mix.  As such, when you get to see just how much they put into these seemingly cacophonic mixes (which still end up sounding catchy and smooth), it boggles the mind. In June, they released the video song, 'River Shiver' much to my delight which features, among other things: a horn section, inverted crash cymbals, a rewinding tape recorder, an old electric organ and enough layers of vocals to create a small choir.

-And on that note, I run away, and you wait for tomorrow's Artist of the Year!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Shanies: Video of the Year

We'll be taking a break for turkey, eggnog and family tomorrow, however, things will pick right back up again on I'll-kill-you-if-you-take-my-big-screen day (a.k.a. boxing day). As promised, today is going to be devoted to outstanding work in the visual arts.

TV On The Radio has always been one of those bands I approach cautiously. Their albums tend to be massive jumps forward in musical styles and I personally don't think this band knows the proper definition of the word 'safe'. As such, some of their music has been hit and miss with me. That said, when they hit... wow do they hit. After already being blown away by the release of Dear Science, I approached their latest, Nine Types of Light, with apprehension. However, once I caught their first single 'Second Song', I quickly let down my guard and embraced their latest masterpiece.

Still, we're not here to talk just about music. Almost more enjoyable than the song, the video for 'Second Song' combines stunning visuals with a cute, somewhat mysterious story, all of which blends seamlessly with the song. The video depicts a cute, tiny white figuring shaman who is creating a world around him under an aggressively evolving sky. He starts by creating a familiar world and exploring it before the entire land begins to tear its self apart and ultimately, ascend to something so much greater. Words don't do this video justice though... in fact, in order to properly describe this video, I would need:

4:22 video @ 30 frames per sec = ((4x60 + 22) x 30) = 7860 frames
1 picture = 1000 words
7860 x 1000 = 7,860,000 words

And while I love you, I'm not about to write a dissertation on this video.  Enjoy!

-Following Christmas, you've got the Song of the year coming your way

Friday, December 23, 2011

Shanies: Concert of the Year

2011 was yet another big year for concerts. I aggressively attended both CMW & NXNE in Toronto. I hopped the border to see the Black Keys destroy the stage just outside of Buffalo. A little birdie surprised me with tickets to see The Sheepdogs and Kings of Leon (who I hadn't really listened to before this... not bad) in the Bell Centre. I saw C'Mon play one of their last shows ever with only 20 people inside of Chemical Sound for a final live recording. I watched countless acts open and close for The Noble Rogues (though I never got to see them live... any good?).

However, it is difficult to compete with a hero. Perchance the fact that I only see him live every few years gives him an unfair advantage. Maybe because it was at one of my favorite venues in Toronto that this concert had an extra pull.  It also likely helped that I found this year's Rookie of the Year, Little Foot Long Foot, opening for him.  Yes, 2011's concert of the year goes to none other than Mr. Jordan Cook.

Even infrequent readers of this blog likely know of my unhealthy obsession with the Saskatchewan axeman. On June 18, 2011, I had beyond a night to remember. After watching a handful of fantastic openers to the night, Jordan took to the stage to captivate the painfully small audience (their loss) with his virtuosic guitar playing. But what really makes a JC show incredible isn`t just his playing. Jordan goes WAY beyond simply being a shredder and knows how to lose himself in the music, push himself outside of his comfort zone and bring a new feel, sound and experience to each of his shows (believe me, I`ve watched enough live videos).

Check below for a quick clip from that fateful night, followed by one of my personal live favorites.

-The day after today? That's not tomorrow! That's Video of the Year day!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shanies: Biggest Disappointment

I suppose for this award, I should almost be more disappointed in myself than the band. Realistically, this band was done years ago, I just carried their torch for far too long since I was a huge fan of them in the 90s.
Yeah, Incubus... they are still making music. Now, let me set the record straight: I was a HUGE fan of S.C.I.E.N.C.E. and Make Yourself would probably make my top 20 all-time list. Morning View was probably the beginning of the end. It was still a tremendous album, but also an obvious departure from their roots and towards a much more mellowed, pop-driven sound. From there, each album still had some nuggets for me (Crow with Priceless & Zee Deveel, Light Grenades with the title track and Rogues), but it was only a matter of time before the inevitable: If Not Now, When? is a big steaming pile of dog crap.

Maybe it was the hiatus they took, or the studio forcing them to release a greatest hits album (almost a sure-fire way to say a band is done), but this album confirmed what we all knew was coming: Incubus is no more. For me, that's disappointing.

Below is their first (and likely only) single from the new album, followed by the only redeeming song, Defiance: an almost 60's-inspired protest song which is a horrible Incubus song, but a decent song at least.

-Tomorrow you ask? The ever-random award for concert of the year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Shanies: Rookie of the Year

I was beginning to get worried about this category. I felt as though its true intent was being lost. With past winners such as The Damned Things and Them Crooked Vultures, this was starting to feel almost like a Best Side Project Award.  However, I am proud to announce that this year, an independent band, and even better, a local Toronto band has claimed my top prize for rookie of the year.  To get through the fine print up front, the band does not necessarily need to be brand new, however, their first full length release needs to have occurred in the past year.

If you read my NXNE reviews, you could likely take a guess that this year's award would be given to none other than Toronto's Little Foot Long Foot. Their live sound blew me away, unexpectedly, while waiting to see Jordan Cook at the Hideout. From there, I picked up their debut album Oh, Hell and immediately became a fan. I've now seen this band play a few times and am continually impressed by what I hear. I look forward to continually watching them grow and *AHEM* hopefully sharing the stage with them in 2012.

-Up tomorrow... Biggest Disappointment!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Shanies: Introduction

Would you believe that I've now been writing this blog for almost four years, written over 300 entries, and managed to offend... well, a lot of people?  Me neither!!  Still, as I am a man who loves tradition, what would 2011 be without this year's annual Shanies?

I'll tell you what... probably the same as any other year, but you know what? I love pontificating and forcing people to listen to what I like, so I'll be doing it again. By my count (which isn't all that reliable given that I'm 8 drinks in), this is the 4th annual Shanie gala, which will run from tomorrow until I either get bored, tired, or run out of good awards. In addition, I'll be trying something new this year which is going to be a countdown of the top 10 for my album of the year.

So what is the purpose of this post? Really not much.  I just felt like writing, have a lot of scotch in me, and have access to wifi back on the farm. Still, you might feel a touch cheated, so at bare minimum, I'll give you something to tide you over until tomorrow when the real fun begins.

-I have nothing but everything for you

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Balls Out Review

Leo Graziani, thou hath delivered. The man put me onto one of the most energetic acts I've stumbled across in 2011. And not a moment too soon... with 2011 dying down and the Shanies approaching, this year had almost come to a close.

The Jim Jones Revue is a modern revival of the early rock n roll acts like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. Toss in a healthy dose of punk rock and you get some of the most off the wall, in your face, blues soaked tunes to ever come off the island. Since their formation in 2007, they've pumped out two LPs: a self titled and the latest, Burning Your House Down. Not the most original sound in the world, but one that doesn't get played well enough or often enough, I highly recommend you hit that wonderful little play button below and enjoy the insanity.

-I got a lot of things on my mind but never one that comes shining through

Friday, December 9, 2011

Creatures of the Night

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It's been far too long since my last confession. In my defense, I was gallivanting around SE Asia, too busy diving, beaching, whiskying and generally... living, to update the digital world. Still, hopefully I've come back refreshed, recharged and full of tunes to light your day. What's even better; we're a mere couple of weeks away from the holidays which means it's almost time for the annual Shanies.
 Grace Potter and the Nocturnals: call this one the definition of hard working Americana. Lead by, unsurprisingly, Grace Potter... this rotating band of exceptionally talented musicians hale from Vermont. Starting in 2004, Grace took the slow road to success by building up a slow following doing music her way. Slowly creeping their way out of the home state with releases in 2004 and 2005, GP&TN's started to gain notoriety around the entire NE, most importantly in Boston. However, it wouldn't be until 2007 that the break would finally come... and then the floodgates opened. Touring with the likes of Gov't Mule, The Black Crowes and Dave Matthews Band became common. Being featured on various TV shows and through a plethora of commercials became a standard. Suddenly being asked to play Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Red Rocks in Colorado... was almost an overnight shift. In short, while not completely dominating on the mainstream... they'd hit their break.

A much needed refreshment to the American music scene, their sound is a throwback to the simpler days of the 60s and 70s, with a modern take on classic rock revival. Potter's epic and sultry vocals scream like a siren over well written, blues inspired, hard rocking tunes which remind one of what music should be. I'll admit that this voice gets me more than a little aroused... you?

-One day, you're going to wake up and not be awake.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cooking Hogtown

This has just been a difficult week for concerts for me.  This morning, I had big plans to wake up and write a nice long review about The Parlor Mob, who was supposed to be playing the 'shoe last night in support of their new album, Dogs. Instead, yesterday, I saw this link:

In consolation, I sat at home listening to classic rock and finishing off the better part of a bottle of red wine to myself.  I don't exactly know what, but reading that last sentence again really outlines me as a strange cat.

It was upon my awakening this morning that swift-kick-to-the-nards number 2 came up.  I received an email from none other than Mr. Jordan Cook himself, thanking me for my kind words from NXNE and hoping I could make it to his show this Friday, Oct. 14 at The Garrison. I'd actually seen this FB event the day before, but hoping it was somehow in error, since I knew I would be in Montreal all weekend.

That said, Jordan, I love you... but these days, what's waiting in Montreal for me has got you beat.  ;-)

Still, this is my call out to all you Torontonians to come out and support my fellow prairie boy as he shreds up the stage on Friday night.  I don't make this call as a favour to him, but to you.  If you have not seen Jordan live, you will be astounded by this virtuoso who will undoubtedly bring the house down with his frantic flicks of a guitar string (6 of 'em to be exact). Wish I could be there, but some things just take priority.

-What I owe you can't be counted or saved. What I owe expires with age.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I bought in

I hate it so very much when I discover a band because some huge corporation has paid them royalties to use one of their songs in a commercial. However, I don't hate it to the point where I won't be exceptionally happy that I stumbled across the band. I was watching some pre-season hockey with the roomies (yes, I'm that Canadian... deal with it) when a Jack Daniels commercial came on for their new Tennessee Honey.  In addition to being very curious about this new punch-to-the-face of sweetness, Mr. Daniels also introduced me to the wonderful Stone Foxes.
Hailing from San Fran, The Stone Foxes are a four piece who have been playing together for around 6 years. With a sound that comes off at times similar to The Black Keys at times and at others, a throwback to early Rolling Stones (when they still had some soul), the sound of this band hits all the right checkboxes for me. After a phenominal record in 2008's self-titled debut, they have just released their second effort Bulls and Bears. The first single, "Psycho", from the new album can be seen at the bottom, however it was their cover of Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee" that earned them their Whisky notoriety.
-Can't get you off my mind so just stay on and let it ride

Friday, September 30, 2011

Round 3

New Mutemath album. That should be all I need to say... go buy the thing on Tuesday. -Show me the destination of your soul's damnation

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Changing the Medium

Nothing overly new here today.  I'm sure most of you have heard of TV on the Radio.  They're Brooklyn's finest in genre-crossing indie rock.  I've been following this band for years and each album, in addition to being a brilliant piece of work, also astounds me for its progression and uniqueness from the previous.
On that note, while their latest, Nine Types of Light, was released almost 6 months ago, I'm really just getting to it now and am once again blown away by the creativity and progression of this band.  I've absolutely fallen in love with their first single, strangely titled "Second Song," and the cute, albeit strange little wax tribal man in the video.  The whole song builds up slow, but absolutely explodes into such an uplifting feeling around 1:30.  The song is also perfectly paired with such an interesting and visually stunning video.

-I could do nothing wrong because I never knew a thing was right

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dixie Revival

I'd be lying if I said I'd been listening to more than 10% of anything OTHER than The Parlor Mob for the past week.  However, I do need a break from the sheer awesomeness now and then and if I spent another week gushing about my new found heroes, what few readers I've managed to garner on this site may begin to waver in their resolve to read of my shenanigans.

Ok... who am I kidding... I don't have any readers.  This thing is effectively like my diary, except I don't talk about cute boys and I never compare myself to Jenny Smith, the head cheerleader.

Right, I'll even admit that was a bit weird for a rainy afternoon.  Still, I just finished writing a journal paper and instead of having writer's block, was itching to go some more, so I thought I would interest you to what I've been doing with the other 10% of my ears, Kormac.

This Irish DJ started spinning discs under his pseudonym back in 2007.  With a penchant for old tunes from the Jazz, Dixie and Motown era, his tracks come off as less an over produced electronic sound and more the kind of thing that Ella would be singing over top of today. After releasing a few EPs, Kormac released his first LP titled Word Play in 2010. While his albums use samples to pump out some of the most soulful stuff you've heard since the old days of Coltrane and Davis, his live show these days incorporates a full 11 piece big band, with a barbershop quartet and all.

And now, I think it's about high time I shut up and let you listen to what you came here for:

-Like meeting for the first time, I'm nervous for meeting you again

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Behind the Mob

I feel like this band was insanely popular already and I just missed the boat. Either way, I figure there's a handful of other oblivious fools such as myself in the world, so it doesn't hurt to push out this band like they're fresh & new. As a side note, the Soundhound app is quite possibly the most wonderful and revolutionary thing to happen to this blog since sliced bread-images.
I was in Montreal for the past few days catching up with old friends. I was very sad when stumbling across the corner of St. Cat's & University, because yet another one of my favorite restaurants in the city, Cafe L'Etranger, has closed. It's been replaced with a Frites Alors!, which I begrudgingly went to since I was starved. As a silver lining to the cloud, apparently the employees (or corporate DJ who sets their playlist) has very good taste and played a tune that I was in love with from the first note by The Parlor Mob.
Now, I'm going to throw around some words here that I don't use lightly, so pay close attention. This quintet from New Jersey has one of the best developed sounds I've heard in an up-and-coming band in years. There are moments when they embody the likes of Zeppelin, The Raconteurs and yet with the riffage of a band like Sabbath. The only thing to eclipse this band's song writing ability, is each individual's mastery of their own instrument. Their two guitarists duel like ancient samurai for the title of 'lead guitarist', the rhythm section stays disturbingly tight, even in live shows, through some of the most intricate, complicated off beat sections I've heard, and frontmant Mark Melicia's voice screams over top the insanity with siren-esque qualities.

I'm sad to say that their first album, And you Were a Crow, has been out for almost 3 years.  However, I'm excited to announce that after just discovering this band, I'll have to wait under a month for their sophomore effort, Dogs. -Catch me off guard so that I can show you what a wild man craves

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Following the Weekend

After an amazing long weekend, I feel it necessary only now to release to you, what would have been the perfect soundtrack to your weekend.  While I am perfectly late for this year's labour day, I'm plenty early for next year... so no complaining.

Bobby James is an Atlanta... artist? He's not just an MC... he's not just a producer... he's not just a videographer/director.... crap the list just keeps going on. Perhaps one of the best examples I've ever seen of someone who just has something to say, regardless of the medium, James started his foray into the artistic world with his documentary 17 Degrees Ain't Nothin, a film about homelessness in Atlanta.  He then got to work on a solo EP called I am Bobby James.

Yet, its his latest work that has me salivating and bobbing my head on the long weekend. Just this summer, James released Ill Weekend, his take on Sufjan Stevens if Sufjan ever got into hip hop. James describes the album as the perfect soundtrack to the weekend, so sit back, pour a drink and enjoy:

The best part? If you dig the track, you can get the entire album for free.

-I still dream

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Local Wares for Sale

While not quite local (anyone know where the hell SOUTH Simcoe is? I didn't think Simcoe was large enough to be divided into cardinal quadrants), yet another gem from the south of ON has fallen into my lap. Truth be told, I almost caught their set after walking out of a rather abysmal performance at the Silver Dollar with a couple of the guys from The Mercy Now. I poked my head into the Elmo, but didn't have the heart to stick around for Indian Handcrafts, and instead slinked over to my usual NXNE haunt, The Hideout.

 Me and my impatience.

Had I stuck around, I could have caught a really fucking loud 2 piece tear the shit out of some Fu Manchu. While I always seem to have a thing for the simplicity of 2 man bands, very seldom does this setup lend its self to a variety of musical styles. For example, if you told me that I was going to be amazed by a 2 piece playing a massive stoner-rock wall of sound, I would have called you crazy.  Still, its amazing what people can do with a metric fuck-ton of pedals and energy.

Don't believe me... be sure to watch this video all the way to the end. Let your eyes roll back into your head around 2:40... you'll figure out the rest.

-Oh them faces looking down on me. Do your worst and then set me free

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Ditry, grimy, disgusting awesome

Drew Towler, in addition to being one of my oldest friends, just blew my mind.  This morning, he dropped some science on me which got me more excited about music than I've been for... at least a few hours. I find a lot of new bands and a lot of new music, but a find like this doesn't come along every day.

Left Lane Cruiser is the dirtiest, most glorious blues rock you've ever heard this side of Fort Wayne Indiana.  Actually, I don't know what side of Fort Wayne they're from. What I do know is that I've been obsessively listening to everything I can get my hands on, and am anxiously waiting for my credit cards to arrive (stupid lost wallet) so that I can order their entire vinyl back catalog. These boys sound like old Black Keys, but dirtier and with more of a soulful, head-bobbin feel.

You wanna know what makes music give me the heebie-jeebies? Listen to some of these tracks and the raw, soulful power emanating through your speakers. Are they dead on time? No.  Is every note right? No. They sing perfectly on tune? Sometimes I wouldn't even call them notes.  Still, if you listen closely, you can hear the sound of two men pouring themselves out through their instruments, doing what they love to, and were born to do.

Until my shipment arrives (lord help the customs employees if they hold this up) I will be expending a ridiculous amount of bandwidth, streaming their tunes off myspace and youtube all day, while contemplating the possibility of pretending to get some work done.

-Show me fire with no smoke at all, show me love with no wherewithal

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Good times in the Jar

Shaun Verreault has been one of my inspirations, pretty much since before the day I picked up a guitar.  As such, I couldn't be happier to share that my fellow prairie brethren in Wide Mouth Mason have released their first new album since 2005's Shot Down Satellites. No Bad Days was recored with another inspiration and legend, Mr. Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar fame.

-Oh these angels with demonic eyes, bury my sickness with their pious cries

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Half the Equation

Only a few weeks ago (Ok, like 2 months... I know I don't post much) I spoke to you about the Pomplamoose duo. In addition to spending hours upon end enthralled by their series of videosongs, I quickly learned that both members of the group also have very active solo projects.

Now, not to rain on Nataly's parade... however I know where my allegiances lie.  The two musicians provide a fantastic balance to each other to generate some incredible, catchy tunes.  However, Jack Conte's true colours shine through in his solo work. You can tell he's been very well trained in theory as, beyond being an exceptional multi-instrumentalist, his songs are exceptionally ambitious, hugely varied epics of progressive rock (kinda) which still manages to come across accessible.

It's kinda like what would happen if that savant music kid you know at university decided he was going to make prog rock alone in his bedroom... with every kind of musical toy and bit of recording gear you could ever imagine and all the time in the world to play with editing and producing software.

-Speak to me in tongues and I'll speak to you with consequence

Monday, August 15, 2011

The definition of Garage Rock

Somehow, this was released over a month ago and yet I'm just finding it now.

Yes... I would have Mr. Grohl's children... and that's ok.

I'm allowed to be a fanboy every now and then, afterall.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Swing and a Miss

You know when you hear about a new group, it sounds amazing and then, just as expected, blows your mind?
Yeah... like this.

Other times, you hear about a new crew getting together, get kinda excited, but then realize upon release that they really don't have much to say as musicians?
Yup... you guessed it.

I've now found a new category.  When you hear about a group that sounds like the most ridiculous, mismatched, shite you could ever pay a chimpanzee on methaqualone to dream up? Well, I'm learning something new today:

Oh, and just FYI... Mick Jagger is not rock and roll... he's a pansy who sold his soul to the highest bidder a long time ago.

-Faith in the things you despise

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Silver Lining

In one of the most ridiculous travel experiences I've had in my entire life, I found myself returning to Toronto 4 days late from the UK after spending time in not one, but two Swiss cities. I won't bother to get into the details, but needless to say, I was kinda pissed about the whole ordeal, and had it not been for a very comfortable bed, a much angrier Shane could have emerged.

However, to every cloud, there is a silver lining. Had I never missed my first flight due to an overturned Lorry on the M25, I would have never paid $700 to rebook my flight with Swiss Air, miss a connection, spend a night in Geneva and finally take an Air Canada flight back to Toronto. I would have also never seen the movie The Limey. The movie was dark and really fucked up, however, it exposed me to a fantastic song called King Midas in Reverse by The Hollies.

The Hollies were a 60s Brit pop/rock group from the Manchester, and the starting point for future icon Graham Nash (of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young fame). Their vocal-harmony heavy, tripped out songs earned them a 2010 nod into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and though they would technically be an active band from 1962 through the 80s, and still dabbling into the 90s and noughties, they never received a huge amount of commercial success outside of the UK past a year or two in the 60s.

Was the song below worth $700?  Doubtful, but it is a damned good song.

-I love you, nobody

Monday, July 18, 2011

Brilliant Silence

Oh Mutemath... how are you consistently so damned incredible?

Also, check their website for one of the coolest, most badass ideas ever. Remix your own track!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

3 Swedish Berries

Way back when, I discovered a brilliant Swedish solo artist by the name of Jose Gonzalez.  Jose has been one of those songwriters to fill the void of lonely nights at home where music and only music can provide that perfect escape.

Unbeknownst to me, Gonzalez was once in a full band by the name of Junip.  They were formed over 10 years ago by friends whom, after working their way through the hardcore and punk scene, yearned for something different, softer and more unique. Grand experimentation at the turn of the millennium helped them to hone their sound towards something simple, and yet full of life.  But just as they started to gain momentum with the 2005 release of the Black Refuge EP, the same freedom and passion that made incredible music drove them apart.  Side interests, including Gonzalez' solo work, left Junip as a secondary thought that would fall dormant for years.

The three would pick up again in 2010 and release their first full length, Fields.  Now, they push towards the second recording of their rebirth In Every Direction and continue to make music which I can completely lose myself in.

The last thing you wrote was the last I would ever read

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Lopsided Walk

Some days, I get both confused and annoyed by the cheesiness of my own title puns. However, today, if you didn't get my obscure joke (you didn't) I am going to talk about one of my NXNE finds, Little Foot Long Foot.
Happening upon this band by complete chance before a Jordan Cook set at the Hideout, LFLF caught me off guard and wowed me with a full, swaggering blues rock sound.  Getting their start as a two piece around 4 years ago, this band has evolved into a force of rock n roll.  I'd be lying if I said I knew what this band sounded like as a duo, however, the addition of Caitlin Dacey on vocals and organ seems to be exactly what this sound needed.  Differentiating their sound and providing a much wider spectrum than could be accomplished with a bass, Caitlin adds a hauntingly perfect vocal fit to front-woman Joan Smith's vocals in addition to the classic feel of the keys.  Throw in a dash of the ever-dynamic drum style of Isaac Klein, and this band has become a three piece to keep your eye on.

They've just released a video off their new album, Oh Hell, and while I'm still confused as to who the hell is trying to kill or partner with whom, the important part is there: the song rocks.

-Drown me in your sentimental puddle of tears

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Attack with no Legs

I've always been scared to death of snakes... I don't know what it is, I just don't trust something that can move that fast without legs.  Yup... going to hell.

Right then... today we're going to talk about a band that Sir Ian Blurton introduced to me.  Way back when I had the chance to interview him, we shot the shit about music for a while and he mentioned a few bands he thought I'd dig, including Vancouver's Battle Snakes.  He introduced them to me under the heading that if I was a fan of Tricky Woo and Pride Tiger... I would dig this band.

So, they're pretty damned awesome, however, as a message to everyone who ever speaks to me, NEVER, say that a band you know is like Tricky Woo and Pride Tiger unless they are exactly like those two bands, because those are two of my favorite bands of all time, and the anticipation and subsequent let down almost killed me.

'Let down' is harsh, so let me start again.  Had I not been comparing Battle Snakes to my rock and roll idols, this band would have (and technically still does) blown my mind.  They're just my kind of breed of rough around the edges, riff heavy, in your face swaggering punk infused rock n roll.  I can only imagine they're live show is about as insane as a clown chasing you with two chainsaws (come to TO and prove me right).  This isn't poetry, this isn't Mozart, this is fucking rock n roll... just how I like it.

It's tough to find a lot of their tunes online, and even more difficult to find video, but track down what you can and enjoy the madness.  Also, I'm sorry for the Trick Woo / Pride Tiger thing... somebody please convince those two bands to get back together or I might cry... again.

-Damaged sounds leaking from the underground

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Bitter Citrus

Happy long weekend everyone.

I'm trying my best to rebuild a complete human being after a few days in the trenches.  Part of this process involves the right kind of music.  Enter Jake & Jess.  Whilst visiting Manitoba and trying not to die, we spent a lot of time chilling on the patio with good tunes.  One of the new pickups I got was a two piece from California named Pomplamoose.

Beyond some ridiculously catchy music, this duo ridiculously talented multi-instrumentalists have pioneered a new way to harness the power of the internet (ha!) through a medium called Videosongs.  Simply put, they are mashups of the two recording where WYSIWYG.

My recommendation: watch the video below, become immensely captivated, navigate to their youtube channel, and spend the next hour watching this genius pair at work.

-I've got to pour my heart out this time

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Time for a Quickie in your Regina

I'm sitting in the Regina International Airport right now and even though I'm from small town Manitoba, I'll say it: Regina is kinda dull.  Still, I'm off to Edmonton (uhhh...) and Vancouver (yay) soon.  All the same, a hats off to the Bushwakker Microbrew: your beer added a bit more fun into the city that rhymes with fun (thanks Ritchie).

In the meantime, this video is too hilarious not to share.  Mastodon... so hot right now.  Props to Willsy and Shartshorts for peddling the wares.

-Fighting through the shadows, grab a hold and make your amends.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Epic Tooth

Here I sit looking out the window at my picturesque farm in the middle of nowhere in small town Manitoba, and what is on my mind?  Epic, ridiculous metal.  I have to give huge props to Jer and Rob from Shaking Judy for introducing this band to me, whether they're aware or not (yup, I was on your facebooks, creeping your posts).

I found myself nearly rolling on the floor, wetting my pants the first time I watched a video by the awesome force that is Red Fang.  They're a prog-ish metal, punky, riff heavy quartet from Portland, Orgeon with a feel that comes across ever such a little bit like Mastodon (minus a whole shitload of acid).  I have to admit, my first attraction to this band was their hilarious music videos.  The first video I saw for a song called Prehistoric Dog, features the band building armour out of old beer cans and taking on a hoard of LARPers.  Just watch:

The second video simply pushed them over the top and forced my hand to have to publish something about these guys. It is the ultimate fuck you to the music biz as the band received a cheque for $5000 and the entire video shows them pissing away every last dime in the most metal, and hilarious ways possible.

However, somewhere in this haze of beer cans, exploding water mellon, missing limbs and fire, I neglected one very important point: this band fucking rocks.  Invoking the spirit of old metal bands like Sabbath, Red Fang collides head bobbing, epic riffs with chuggy bass & drums alongside dark, grimey vocals, likely singing about D&D and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

In short... sign me up for the fan list.

-I won't be your prophet and I won't be your common sense

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Concert Review: Daylight for Deadeyes

Am I amazed that I was back in a venue only 2 days after enduring more NXNE than any human being knocking on 30 should have to endure? Of course I am: I wouldn't have made a big deal out of in in that last sentence if I wasn't.
But all the same, Daylight for Deadeyes,were playing the Horseshoe on a Tuesday night, and while I expressed my general scorn for the 'shoe over NXNE, these boys know how to rock the house and, being Tuesday, it was a free show, so I really had no excuse.

I'd only seen DFD a couple times before this and both were at pub/cover gigs, so I hadn't had a proper chance to enjoy more of their originals.  I knew they were tight as all hell, but what I didn't know was that they run a wide gambit of diverse and catchy tunes.  From partying rockers, to swaggering swillers to heartfelt ballads, sometimes I almost felt like I was listening to a few different bands.  For a sober 9pm at the shoe, they even managed to get a few people moving, which in my books is worthy of some serious applause.

My only negative comment is that they didn't play my favorite song:

Also, I hear a rumor that they might be playing another show on July 23rd. Just sayin.

-To see her truth without her lies was enough to see euphoria released

Sunday, June 19, 2011

NXNE: Day 3

Night 3... always the night which becomes so difficult to dive into.  You've had your warm up, you hit it hard on night 2 and suddenly you realize you've saved nothing for the end.  However, night 3 also ends up being the greatest night of music you've ever seen.

I spent the day playing volleyball at the beaches, sitting in a hot tub sipping beer and eating BBQ, so it would be difficult to say that I wasn't already in a decent state of mind.  But however strong the lull of sitting on my patio was, we made the move out the door just before 9.

Bovine was the first stop where I, after following them for almost a year, saw Hot Kid for the very first time live.  The energy brought to that stage was unsurpassed at the festival.  There's putting it all out there and then there is what Shiloh and Robbie from Hot Kid left on the stage.  An absolute terror of a two piece, HK droned through the PA system like electronic exorcism.  However, I do need to profess that my mind was feeling lazy and their abrasive sound, while impressive, wasn't exactly what I was looking for at that moment.  Right then and there, I wanted my music spoon fed to me.

The Hideout was next and we caught the tail end of a set by The Goodluck Assembly.  In stark contrast to the last set, this was a band who normally, I would get a bit bored at.  Still, in my lazy ways, I found myself drawn to their ambient, heavily layered, polished sound.  That said, I only caught the last two songs, so who knows if they would have stood the test of time, grown on me, or just simmered somewhere in the middle.

At 10pm, I finally had my NXNE experience: a complete unknown to me stepped out on the stage and blew my mind.  Little Foot Long Foot is a Toronto band which has been hiding in plain sight under my nose and I've been oblivious to their grimey, bluesy, bigass sound.  A three piece of guitar, drums and keys, this band finds a way to make intricate riffs and layers (thanks to the keys... a nice change from bass) into such earthy, simple, drawing tunes.  Then I found out that Ian Blurton produced them, and suddenly everything made sense.  I should really just follow what he's been working on whenever I'm looking for new music, because awesome people are just drawn to the man.

And of course, directly beside my dark horse award, we have my vote for best set of the festival, Mr. Jordan Cook.  If you've followed this blog at all, you know that Jordan is a personal idol of mine and last night was only the 2nd time I've seen him live (come east more often!).  I, perhaps foolishly, called out that Jordan would be the best thing to happen at NXNE to my comrades and as a testament to this man's incredible guitar playing, grimey voice and deity-like stage presence, every person I was with last night agreed unequivocally.

As though his set couldn't get any better, with around 3 songs left, the dancer made her annual appearance.  Last year, while watching a great Dutch band, De Staat, a woman began to stretch before launching into one of the most practiced stripper dances I have ever seen, directly in front of the stage.  Iain and I began to consider this woman myth, or a figment of our drunken imaginations, however, last night, she was back, just for Jordan.

At that point, I could have called my night a success and gone home.  But, we were all loosened up and figured that if it was the last night, we might as well make it a good one.  We crawled up to the Elmo to catch the bulk of The Coppertone's set.  I fell in love with this band when I saw them play a Steamwhistle Unsigned show back in the winter.  However, the world suddenly had the potential to implode as I had now witnessed two blues rock bands fronted by beautiful redheaded women of eerie power.  While Coppertone put on an amazing set which I positively loved, my mind couldn't help but drift back to Little Foot Long Foot, who gave so much more for the audience to lap up.  Maybe it was the venue size, maybe it was the crowd.  Either way, rock had been rolled.

Everyone looked like they needed a cigarette after sex, so we decided to take a quick break and get some nosh at Red Room.  Platters of cheap deep fried tofu and noodles later, the bulk of our entourage decided to answer the call home.  However, Blesch convinced me that we still had 1 more band in us.  So, we went up to the Silver Dollar for one last hurrah.

Here, we caught most of the set of a crazy little band from Nashville called Bad Cop.  They were energetic, they were rocking, they were borderline psychotic and for the first few songs, this band really grabbed me.  However, we ended up not sticking for the whole set since after a while, that zany, intense energy began to come off a bit false.  At one point, it felt more like the band was being weird for the cameras then for themselves.  Once again, great music... I just wish that's what the band had been focusing on.

And then... it was bed time.  I need breakfast, so I won't be concluding NXNE here... I've got a bit of a summary in mind for tomorrow which includes some good, and a bit of bad which needs to be aired.

Until then, give me bacon, or give me death.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

NXNE: Day 2

So apparently I scuffed somebody's pumas in the mosh pit on Thursday, because some people sure seemed to be upset with me.  As such, today we're going to take a different approach to reviewing last night by invoking mother's law: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all (though my blog hasn't seen this much action in 4 years... I think we're up to a whole 10 readers!).

We were 6 strong to start the night and had one goal in mind: absolute personal destruction.

We walked through the doors of Sneaks at 8pm to see Sandman Viper Command.  I first learned of these boys at a random, somewhat secret, nacho, rooftop party at last year's NXNE.  They were one of my finds of the festival.  This year, they put on an incredibly tight set, but there was something odd about seeing them when the sun was still up.  Odder still was the fact that Ben bought Jager shots when the sun was still up.  That's more of an apertif in my mind.

After SVP, we had no real agenda aside from C'Mon at the shoe at 11, so the wandering began.  We poked our heads into Comfort Zone around 9.  There we saw a band called The Young Things... another band from NY.  They were trying to pull of a bit of a surf rock revival thing.  Their drummer marched to a different beat... and good for him.  Their lyrics really struck a chord with me, obviously aimed at the hard working everyman, "I've got a case of the Mondays".  And they wore interesting coloured pants... see I even took a picture:

Through a scheduling conflict, we didn't quite make their whole set.  We quickly skipped down to the Elmo to see what else we could catch before 10.  Upstairs was a band called Modern Boys Modern Girls, which they self label their sound as 'garage soul rock n roll'.  I agree that they, as mortal individuals, all likely have souls, unless you don't believe in that sort of thing.  Still I can guarantee at some point, they have all been in a garage.  I got a slight case of vertigo from being on the 2nd floor, so then we moved downstairs.

Fuck Montreal... I have absolutely nothing to say about this band.

Disheartened (not from the bands... just generally of course), we took to the streets and did a bit of wandering.  At this point, the booze had been flowing nicely, we'd somehow grown a 7th member, and the fresh air did us some good.  We gravitated towards The Hideout, since nothing ever goes wrong there.

Enter the Polymorphines.  These boys came down from Ottawa to play some good 'ol swaggering rock 'n roll.  I'm not going to say it was the most original band I've ever heard (not that that's a bad thing) but they were tight, they put a lot of energy into their set and generally had fun on stage.  This was a harder task than you think since the place was empty and the crowd was ABSOLUTELY DEAD.  However, I digress, this is a much larger issue which I intend to tackle in a far more verbose rant once this festival is all over.

Off to the 'shoe, C'Mon for the earholes.  This set reminded me of two important facts: I fucking love C'Mon and I fucking hate the Horseshoe.  The shoe is a black hole of energy that fills with scenesters and industry-types and proceeds to suck the life out of everyone and everything that dares to move... not that that's a bad thing.  Even Sir Ian was disappointed with the crowd, as well as quite fucked up on something.  However, ever the professional, he still churned out one of the most incredible sets of the festival, and dove into the crowd to play an extended solo in the middle of hundreds of people while tuning his guitar all over the place.

Set ends, free rum, I was in a photoshoot, almost sneezed all over the guitarist from Billy Talent, and we were off to the Bovine!  Cunter was there, representing both the bands Alexisonfire and Moneen.  After having a rough start to the night, this band was exactly what we needed to get back on track.  Playing 30-45 second songs in rapid succession, this throwback to the Bad Brains era was insane enough to even get a Toronto crowd moshing like it was the apocalypse.  Observe:

I then walked out onto the street, for some reason alone, and this passed me by, reminding me why even through all the bullshit, NXNE can still be a good time:

At this point, I'd be lying if I said I was sober enough to write objectively about what we saw. I was in Velvet Underground, back in Sneaks, back in Comfort Zone and ended up at Elmo again, but most of those 2 or 3 hours are a haze. Thank you to Sandman Viper Command, C'Mon, Cunter and the random umpa band for making my night awesome. To everyone else, thanks for coming out.

Friday, June 17, 2011

NXNE: Day 1

First of all, I know that Wednesday was the first day of NXNE, but I was busy, so let's just not talk about it.

Seriously... let it go.

Now then, in typical fashion we've got our bracelets and a crew ready to destroy the known universe this week.  However, we also must accept this year that we're old and can't quite do it the same as we used to.  This meant only 5 rounds of Jager last night and we didn't stay until extended close (4am!!)

My first NXNE band was Rusty at Dundas square.  However, I was in a suit, just coming from a reception, so I didn't feel like moshing just yet.  So, I went home, changed, rallied the troops and we hit the town.  We started out West at Hard Luck bar since we recognized a few names and have grown to love the place.  Also, whenever I'm there, I like to do this:

We walked in to Hard Luck to hear a band called Decibel from New York playing.  All week, I will be grouping bands into two catagories: those who are good and those who I am angry that they are playing NXNE and therefore The Noble Rogues are not.  Decibel most definitely fell into the latter.  I'm trying something new this year and actually taking review notes on my phone to help me write these blog entries.  This entry ended up being a back and forth between myself and Blechschmidt:

Shane: Decibel - weird, trippy, rapish, bad, wanna be rappers
Ian: Emphasis on bad
Shane: But the organic instrumentation is good
Ian: Slut

However, the band we had come to see, Mad Ones, saved the day.  Mad Ones are like a great 90s rock/grunge band if you shot the bassist.  They're a 2 piece from TO and yet they still manage to pump out a huge, complex but still accessible sound.  This was the 2nd time I'd ever seen them and once again, they were high energy, tight and all around a great set.  See horrible video quality below proving thusly:

Shots ensued and we made our exit to get some of the best (read: cheap and large) pizza I've had in the city.  On the way out, we ran into some old comrades in the band The oOohh Baby Gimme Mores.  We met them back when we were a two piece and they were a two piece.  However, both of us had now expanded to a 4 piece, so it was an adorable conversation about growing and learning to love.  We wanted to stick around for their set, and even lied and said we would, but the NXNEasternly wind had started to blow.

Wandered past some decent sounds at Bovine and Velvet, but we settled in at my favorite venue in the city, The Hideout.  We just missed the tail of someone's set but were about to have a lot of fun.  The New Enemy was a wonderful blend of Pennywise and Refused.  I know that makes no sense but I was drunk and you should be used to this kind of behaviour if you've read this blog before.  Either way, Blechschmidt, god bless his little, now american soul, took to the floor and started to rip up the pit like nobody's business.  I quickly skulled my beer and followed suit.  TNE were a lot of fun and had the right mix of energy and my blood-alcohol level that we moshed like we were 21 again (or at least dating a 21 year old.... bazzzzinnngg!).  Let's put it this way: the band was good enough to keep 4 grown men moshing for the bulk of a 40m set, in the middle of an empty dance floor.

We began to slink out the door, sweaty and disgusting, and flag a cab.  Ian tried to convince me to stick around for one more band, but I acted as the voice of reason.  We had a big weekend ahead of us and we were almost 30.  Hell, in his case, he was 30, so I'm not even sure why I was talking to him.

PS: Kellye, I think Ian wins for drunk text of the night... I just found this on FB: " Incoherent after one ingt. Happy to say that we brought the party to Hideoout. NNE for the win. MOAR@@@@!!!!!"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Interview: Ian Blurton

There were a lot of things that I didn't expect to be doing last weekend. I didn't expect to be hit by a car, I didn't expect to BBQ for 4 days straight, I didn't expect to drink quite so much on Friday night and I didn't expect to be interviewing one of my rock n roll heroes. However, Sarah from MusicSheBlogged, got in touch with me about filling in for her since she couldn't make the interview.   So, Sunday afternoon at a small, locally owned Tex-Mex restaurant (great place if you're looking, there I sat across from Ian Blurton; a man who has been a part of the Canadian independent rock scene for almost 30 years.  He has defined the sound of Canadian rock n roll through his bands C'Mon, Bionic, Blurtonia and Change of Heart, as well as produced some incredibly influential bands such as the Weakerthans, Tricky Woo, Rheostatics, Cursed, and a personal favorite, Huron.

And yet, as I sat across from a man who has been rocking out since around the time I was but a twinkle in my father's eye, I couldn't help but feel I was just shooting the shit with a neighbour or some guy I shared a beer with at a concert.  We chatted about music, hockey, concerts and the summer.  Ian stuck around after we shut the camera down while the two of us traded what we were listening to these days and what was going on in life OTHER than music (is there really anything else?).  He was even nice enough to help me record a pitch for my band's upcoming album release (July 16 in Montreal, July 23 in Toronto... just sayin) and ask me a few questions.

In short, hats off to you, Sir Ian.  You truly have earned your knighthood, not simply for your service to rock n roll, but for being an all around awesome dude.

-Soft are the words that are spoke though their meaning revokes any hope of love

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Bathroom Confessions

So, if you weren't sure, Bran Van 3000 has a new album coming out.  I know this because each Monday, a crew of my classmates and I get together at a small pub near school and celebrate the birthday of someone dead and or famous (if you're curious... last night was the Dali Lama).  But I digress...

For the past few Mondays, each time I went to the bathroom, there was a large digital ad display showing commercials on loop.  It seemed each time I went down there, a commercial played for the new BV3 album, as though my bladder control were tied to their marketing team.  Behind the commercial was a fantastic song playing with lucious, ambient layers and some great vocal harmonies.

So, I went home a couple of weeks ago and tried to find the song on the BV3 site.  The issue is that they only had 30s clips of songs on the site, and none of them represented what I had heard while relieving myself.

Fast forward to last night and I'm glad that our pub is a fairly quiet place.  Had it been slightly more frequented, then someone would have walked into the bathroom while I held my mobile phone up with the receiver pointed towards the display ad just above a urinal, trying to get Soundhound to recognize my siren.

But I got it....

-Your words ring cold and clear but you see my dear these words are a lie

Monday, May 30, 2011


You know, its weird... as a 90s rock obsessed kid, for all my loves, I never was a huge Jane's fan. I'm not sure what it was but bands like JA, RHCP and the likes were always good in my mind, but for some strange reason never had a link and unique appeal to me. It might have had something to do with the inconsistency, what with the band breaking up nearly every album and Perry Farrel going through more bandmates than a groupie at Woodstock.

However, Jane's Addiction may have finally struck the right chord with me. While being an on-again-off-again band for over 20 years (and yet only releasing 3 albums), their upcoming 4th LP The Great Escape Artist looks promising.  Specifically, I'm referring to the video below.  It's got all the markings of a Jane's song, but catches me in a way that no other JA song has.  Add in a healthy dose of the band's rampid sexuality, and you've got yourself one great, NSFW rock n roll video below:

-Here's my heart on someone else's sleeve... rip it off and take it back