Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hot Rock

Preface: it's going to be hot as balls today and I'm listening to a lot of rock n roll. I went on a bit of a tirade over the weekend and have tons of new riff-happy tunes to share.

The first is from a Brooklyn band called Earl Greyhound. EG is one of those bands that has been around now for a decade, and yet, while generating a strong indie following, has always seemed to sit just outside of the mainstream. Through 3 LPs and another 3 EPs, they've managed to establish themselves as a strong but weirdly unique blues-infused hard rock band. The dueling male-female vocals of guitarist Matt Whyte and bassist Kamara Thomas set a unique and somewhat uneasy stage for a chaotic force of rock, held down by drummer Ricc Sheridan.

Their songs range from anthemic, power-chord sing alongs to slow burn, awkward and eerie grunge-revival ballads to, my personal favourite, riff-heavy head boppers, such as the tasty little jam below.

-Giving up the saved face to smile through the day

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wordless Gunk

It seems that every NXNE unveils a new band or two for me to drool all over. While this was a rather light year of concert-going (relatively speaking), that didn't stop me from stumbling across a few new gems. There's the obvious answer of The Public Animal who I will impatiently await to release anything - mp3s, CDs, vinyls, 8-tracks, a tin cup with a string and someone screaming into the other end - and subsequently give them all of my money.

However, sometimes there's too much ground to cover, too much rock to be rolled and to much love to give. For situations like this, I've got people like my coworker Jayar who introduced me to one of his picks of the festival, Saskatchewan's own Shooting Guns. This instrumental 5-piece generates a massive wall of slow-moving, grimy, distorted stoner metal that feels heavy enough to stop a bull moose in it's tracks. This stuff is kind of like the rock n roll version of molasses, if molasses were as hard as fucking nails and cooler than all of your friends put together.

And yes, to answer your next question, said molasses would make the most badass gingerbread cookies ever.

Their debut 12", Born to Deal in Magic: 1952-1976, made the Polaris prize long list and is VERY much worth the $5 to pick it up here.

  -Surround yourself in a layer of hope to keep you warm at night

Monday, June 17, 2013

NXNE: Reigning Terror

It was after a healthy round of beer infused softball that I made my way home, showered, changed, swung by Ben's for a drink and finally slunk my way into Lee's on a Friday night.

I arrived just as We are Scientists were taking to the stage. While not really my style, I did actually enjoy their catchy indie pop a fair bit (maybe it was the air, maybe it was the beer). And, though they may have taken it a bit overboard, their stage banter was some of the most hilarious band interactions I'd heard in ages - often the good sign of a band that understands their role less as 'artists' and more as 'entertainers' - which these guys did very well.

Then... we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Jordan, I love you... but lordy how we waited.

After a ridiculously long setup, Jordan Cook took the stage joined by Joseph Braley and the mysterious Stitch: a man who spent the bulk of the set playing bass on a 4 string guitar through an octaver. This was my umpteenth bazillion time seeing Cook, but the first time under his Reignwolf project. You could tell the guys had been on the road a fair bit - seasoned veterans of the stage they seamlessly rocked their way around a tangled mess of chords, pedals and drums. Cook's playing had never been more ferocious and in-your-face.

However, this wasn't my favourite performance yet. What Jordan brought to the stage in intensity and swagger, he lost a bit in technicality. Perhaps what hurt the most was knowing what this young Sasquatch was capable of after seeing him tear paint off the walls so many times, and yet only being allowed a glimpse into that world. Don't get me wrong, Reignwolf was mind blowing and one hell of an experience... it just left me wanting more.

Though I guess that's not a bad thing, is it?

-I tear through the fields of the souls that you never did touch

Friday, June 14, 2013

NXNE: Here for a Good Time

I'm old now. I'm busy with work. I love music, but I've become picky and jaded with time. But fine... I still do a bit of NXNE this year. However, not for the conference's sake, but for the bands... for the music.

Even if it means I'm paying $15 a venue to see the bands that I could see for $5 on any other night since I'm refusing to brand myself with a bracelet.

I digress... while a tame night from my perspective (and by comparison to my previous NXNE outings), the sound emanating from the bands I saw was anything but tame.

After basically drooling all over The Blue Stone's album last fall and coming just short of proposing to them, it became a damnable shame that I would miss every TO show they had for the longest time due to work, travel or some other asinine thing. However, finally, I was able to descend upon the Windsor duo at the Hard Luck bar.  I'll get the negatives out of the way first - the evening's sound guy was apparently a deaf man mid-seizure and I was sad to see the guys only play 1 or 2 songs from the album which I coveted so. HOWEVER, for a 2 piece, these guys still churned out a solid set of groovy, sexy-infused, heavy blues tracks that had an early night, sober Toronto crowd still nodding their heads in elated satisfaction.

Immediately following, Little Foot Long Foot took the stage. While once again pushing through sound tech issues, it was good to hear how LFLF's sound had evolved since the edition of Jeff Heisholt on the keys. I had some initial concerns about the new lineup, however, it's just taking time for the new 3 piece to find their sound together, write together and evolve together.

However, my evening was made when I sprinted up to Lee's to see the inaugeral show of Sir Blurton's new project, Public Animal. An unholy combination of C'Mon, Tricky Woo, Bella Clava and the Lying Cheats - Public Animal may have become my favourite new band within about 3 minutes of having my eardrums pounded by a wall of sound.  I won't say anymore - just go see them tonight at the Bovine at 1am.

-May my ears ring forever