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By pure serendipity I came across this CD.  It was mixed in with another package sent to me for review.  Another reviewer was supposed to review this CD but once I started listening to it, I claimed it for my own.  A mix of Motown style 50’s rock and roll such as Stone Cold Man to a 1930’s blues twist with In My Time of Dying and Skinny Girl, Soul Stack is the kind of music you listed to in on a sweaty July night. 

I am thick in the indie music scene and am surprised I haven’t heard of this band till now.  With strong blues guitar riffs reminiscent of Eric Clapton and Howl’n Wolf, Soul Stack has a very smooth sound with tight production.  According to the bio on their website, this album was recorded over a two day period in the winter of 2011. Two day recordings would be reminiscent of artists of the 50’s/60’s due to production costs, I’m not sure if this was the reason here or they were just in the groove, but this is one of the best two day recordings I’ve heard in a very long time.

Band members Jonathan Knight (vocals/guitar) and Tom Bona (vocals/drums) with the addition of Mark Wessenger (vocals/keys) and Josh Knight (vocals/bass) are a group of amazing musicians, who have pulled off what has become one of my favourite album’s of the year.  The album can be purchased through their website http://www.soulstack.com or through CD Baby. 

If you are in the Toronto area, they have a show coming up at The Dominion on Queen (July 14).  More info can be found on their Reverb Nation page (www.soulstack.com).

Track list:
1. Intro
2. Stone Cold Man
3. In My Time of Dying
4. Desperate Times
5. Since You Came Around
6. Skinny Girl
7. In Your Mind
8. Just a Natural Thing
9. River of Love
10. Holy Roller
11. Your Only Man
12. Let Me Be Your Fool
13. Miss Me

Scarlet Jane is a collaboration of two well know Canadian Indie artists Andrea Ramolo and Cindy Doire.  Dark, edgy and beautiful, when their songs reverb out of your speakers you visualize these two raven haired beauties playing in equally beautiful and intimate venues.  I’ve seen Andrea play a few times at the famous Dakota Tavern in Toronto.  The duo would definitely fit in at any Nashville type setting.

Songs such as Aching Heart, Burning Up and We’ll Never Be Found are emotionally wrenching, the lyrics written by two amazing storytellers.  Each song on Stranger are poetic masterpieces, painting vivid descriptions of experiences that all listeners can relate to.

The albums title song Stranger and Can’t Come Back have a much more upbeat feel. Can’t Come Back has a strong Rockabilly sound, reminiscent of a 50’s country rock and a very danceable tune.  Though I hate choosing favourites from any album I review, Can’t Come Back is at the top of my list.

Smooth, tight production value places this album in list of some of my favourites of 2012.  I can’t wait to see these ladies perform live.  They are currently on a cross Canada tour, details are on their website, if they are in a city near you, they are a must see.

Two beautiful women, two powerful voices, one absolutely amazing album!

Track list:

Wild Fire
Aching Heart
We’ll Never be Found
Ride On
Stranger
Beautiful
Can’t Come Back
Oh Darling
I’m Gone
Burning up

Troy Western’s latest EP “Rocks In A Bucket” put him on the road from his home in St. Catharine’s, Ontario to Canada’s east coast with his “Rocks & Fields” tour. “Feel The Love”, the lead track, can be heard in a series of videos from Commonplace Eco-Village on environmentally-friendly lifestyles. You can often find Troy performing around southern Ontario ranging from solo acoustic shows to those with the full band, as well as with a variety of guest musicians. Festival highlights include the Niagara Food Festival, the S.C.E.N.E. Music Festival, the Fort Erie Friendship Festival, the Fort Erie Music Festival, the Highland Creek Heritage Festival, and the Sammy Sugar Day Festival. He helped organize and performed at the hugely successful fundraiser “ANDREW’S FIGHT” in support of a friend and paramedic fighting cancer. Troy was featured on Brock University’s radio station, CFBU 103.7 on the show “Inside The Rhythm Hive” and on television on “The Source”, a community news and entertainment program in the Niagara region, wherein he talked of his passion for music, family, and creative inspiration. Some past experiences found Troy opening for Canadian rock group Big Sugar with an exciting acoustic version of “Oh Canada” that was met with exuberant cheers from the 200+ crowd. The 2006 Toronto Independent Music Awards recognized Troy with a nomination for “Best Classic Rock” for his song Into The Sun. He also earned by popular vote, the coveted “Featured Artist” spot on BreakingLocals.com, a networking website for musicians and fans alike. 

Find out where Troy Western’s journey is taking him now at http://www.TroyWestern.com. Join the adventure on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or ReverbNation, or get his e-newsletter by emailing troynews@troywestern.com with the words “ADD ME” in the subject heading.

This passionate acoustic based performer has a melodic lovely voice that will haunt you long after you have listened to him. The first track “Feel the Love” is an upbeat rocking song with strong instrumental and vocals telling a tale of love and finding ones way home. The second track “Til the sunrise comes near” is a bit calmer but not lacking in story telling. My favorite was the final track “Look Around.” I love the beginning and I found it quite lovely to listen to, from the acoustic guitar to the harmonies. All in all, an enjoyable experience.

Biography

Troy Western is a singer-songwriter putting the ‘thunk’ into his folk-rock grooves. His music seems to have a slightly different edge that likely comes from his eclectic music tastes. While some have compared Troy’s sound to the Dave Matthews Band or Neil Young, many say they just can’t quite put a finger on it.

Tracks
Feel the Love
Til Sunrise Comes Near
Getting Home
Untitled
Look Around

Finally, someone in the Canuck indie scene has forged through the smithy of their souls poppy.  Ophelia’s Syndrome is an infectious combination of Kate Bush with Coldplay and are out of the common bread of the everyday ho-hum scene that we all have to endure to some degree or other. These days the celebration of the mediocre has reached some kind of apotheosis, whether endless revels of TV shows digging out the innards of pawn shop owner travail to Desperate House Wives of Bel Air to light bulbs for midgets.

This has to be the most banal cultural time in the Western Society. We have reached a kind of backwater awards show for the great unwashed, the philistines of the boondocks the bedrock of trash and detritus that should have been buried in some landfill but is instead dredged up and elevated to the light of day and then put a giant spotlight on it just in case you missed the point.

Fortunately we have groups like this Hamilton, Ontario wunderkind’s who, realizing this, explore this affect of Late Civilization, make fun of it and then dispose of it and move on especially in songs like, Passing Time, Heroes and Villains and As Long as There’s a Fight and Don’t Care. There is a kind of Cabaret element embedded in these tracks that adds irony to the lyrical refrains.

The band consists of Adrian McFarlane: drums, percussion Trina Nadeau: cello, percussion Deanna Wells: vocals, piano, B3, Rhodes, Wurlitzer, bells, percussion Josh Kohler: bass, vocals, percussion Andrew Barbisan: guitar, lap steel, vocals, percussion, siren Leon Furs – vocals, percussion, synthesizer, programming Loretta Hale: trumpet — all excellent musicians if somewhat lacking in imagination regarding arrangements but this is a small criticism  for this entertaining group’s  newest CD, released in April of this year. There are eleven tracks of which Passing Time and  Long Wait and How to Say Goodbye are the best pop tunes. Recorded at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton and produced by moon and 6 and Ophelia’s Syndrome. This CD has the listener friendly vibes of a winner for this group. Thumbs up!!

Tracks
Passing Time
Heroes and Villains
Today
Fight interlude
As Long as There’s a Fight
Don’t Care
Glue
Fire and Sea
Long Wait
Feet on Ground
How to Say Goodbye

MIP Power Trio’s Haggard & Bedraggled feels like a fun house party on a summers night.  I don’t remember the last time I had this much fun listening to a CD.  I found myself, on a few occasions, wanting to break out into dance while listening to Haggard & Badraggled on my iPod.  A little over a year ago I saw them for the first time at The Hard Luck Cafe.  That night, they not only stood out amongst the other bands they were on the bill with, the name Mip Power Trio has stuck in my craw since.

Growing up on Punk Rock music, I always appreciate when I can hear the influence in other musicians songs.  Mip’s quirky rock ballad’s such as Stone Wall not only have a punk influence, but there is some definite Rockabilly creeping out, making it one of my favourite tracks on the CD.

This album is a great mix of punk, folk, and country. Haggard & Dedraggled is a good time and a whole heap of fun.  An album that every type of music lover can appreciate and should have in their collection.

Band members
Mip (Guitar, vocals, songwriting)
Greg Kowalczyk (Bass)
Shane MacPherson (Drums)

Tracks
Bedraggled
Hometown
Grand Marquis
Whiskey Ain’t Cheap
Beowulf
Sweaters
Danger Ranger
Stone Wall
Northern Lights
Hidden

Goth rock has always been a tricky proposition, as almost by definition, it is a parody of itself or at least it gently and sometimes not so gently skirts over the line into self parody, in spite of itself. In fact, that is one of the biggest dangers that so many Goth rock bands face: how to do doom rock without having your audience indadvertedly laughing at your Peter Murphy sepulchral tones, basso gargoyling and world weary strum and drag lyrics.

From their ancestors Bauhaus (even before Bauhaus it could be argued that Black Sabbath practically invented DOOM OR GLOOM ROCK SO DIRECTLY INVENTED NOT JUST HEAVY METAL BUT INDIRECTLY INVENTED GOTH too?); anyway I am digressing  for a little gruesome history lesson.

All has been inherited whole sale by Canada’s Sex Without Souls in their newest, and in my opinion, best CD All For Nothing as Sex Without Souls invest the genre with all that has gone before, without crossing the line, except where it is a necessary corollary to the death’s head journey  ‘we-are-wearing- black-because-we-are-in-mourning=over-the-world’ kind of kitsch as is found in tracks like,  Is this the End , Woe is Me and even and especially,  Here in the Grave — ALL TRACKS that self consciously CROSS THE LINE; expertly played and delivered by the band and lead singer Brendan Bane who has the necessary dark velveteen vocal gifts and glib tongue and lyrical conceits that reinvigorate the goth form at the same time!

Whereas, tracks like Run From with its nod to Nine Inch Nails techno goth format leaves you nodding out to the catchy cracking the skulls existential riffs– Sex Without Souls version of Ginsbergs — Ballad of the Skeletons without the  disney outside my window squalling and upbeat end that make for the mass cop-out that is contained in most modern music.  The festering sores of the Modern World that so desperately needs the falseness of ‘everything-is-going-to-be-alright-in-the-end’ pop cult psychology that populate the best seller lists from year after year.

I love the hoary old organ church tones of the opening of I’m Drowning. U r at service & the preacher is Brendan Banes and company.(Brendan’s dad is actually a Christian minister). So maybe the irony is intended.

Then the next track, Nothing is Real with its nihilist refrains Ì believe that nothing is real ( cause your dead already) is hilarious and eerie at the same time. Again a lyrical nod to Trent Resnor with the `hole in your head’ adds to the macabre but upbeat comedic soul that is everywhere evident on this track.

All For Nothing is one of the best in this now popular genre of Rock to come along in a long time !!!! Check it out on Facebook Sex without Souls site for a free download and revel a little and see if it changes what you drink!

FIELDS was recorded over the course of a weekend, and features 6 excellent Canadian musicians from various genres playing their hearts out. The Mod Villains are Myke Mazzei’s folk-rock band, formed in the Winter of 2007. Each member, from the saxophonist to the percussionist to the songwriter, brings years of gigging and musical sweat, passion, and love to the group.

We play folk music, we throw in some distortion, and we finish with a mighty crescendo.

Myke And The Mod Villains are playing from the heart and soul of Canadian perspective, be it a dissolving trust in our national government (“Fade”) to wide-open sonic fields (“On Loneliness”).

This folk rock band has a troubadour style that is reminiscing of The Tragically Hip. Every song is a story. The first track “fields” is a folk jazzy number that is a great start to this five song EP, each song is unique in its own with a rock tempo, sax dressing and intriguing vocals.

The second track “been thinking” is a sweet little love song, the title says it all.  The third track “I go” gave me Manteca flashbacks, something in the opening, I have to say this was my favorite track. Short and as I said, sweet. “Hands of time” and “nobody’s saviour” are a great finish, nobody’s saviour with great harmonics and lyrically superb, with more of a rock edge.

It was hard to find any additional information on this group, as far as the where, what’s and whys of things, but I highly recommend checking them out if they are playing near you. Don’t sit in the dark, rambling again, get out there!!!

Check out more on upcoming shows at http://modvillains.com

How do you review something that is perfect? Yeah perfect pop for a GONE Gone world that is killing itself with bad bad songs and anti-melodic rap and hip hop galore. We need this Canadian duo Hayley Stark: beautiful to look at and to hear!! Do I sound like their publicist?? Maybe, but I do have to say I loved the EP sized three song CD  just a tad more than the more acoustic unplugged set of six songs that make up their other more  acoustic sounding 6 sing CD. That is like saying it’s less than perfect so that is not so bad!!!

The three song CD /EP Skirt is on Fire is produced by my friend Sean Gregory who did an out standing production job polishing the girl’s songs without polishing the life out of them.

For me Hayley Stark’s three song EP/CD had the better songs, especially Skirt is on Fire, which is a bona fide hit if there ever was one and second to that is ‘Take you Anywhere’ which did!!! Both songs and sound are characterized by the my word ‘folk rock pop’, their word power pop. The three song CD is also the more compelling work too  because it has a fully flavoured instrumental treatment with drums, bass, electric guitars, ambient sounds and percussive tracks added to the, I assume, originally acoustically conceived tracks where the six song CD Get Over  daring from 2009 it is, like I said before, more an acoustic set songs which are good in their own write  and almost as melodious.

I personally prefer Hayley Stark as  with the full band treatment for sure. Obviously they do too as this is the newer sounds on their newest release. On this level they compete with the best like Jewel et al. The duo has released a video officially for the song Skirt is on Fire. They have been performing for the last two years. Look out for them.  Who are they? Monica Julie and Jennifer Bryan look for them at local venue near you and check them on soundcloud.com too.

This is the debut EP from Austin, TX based rock band The Double Digit Hours. The group draws on a numerous influences ranging from Brit Pop, Ambient, Jazz, and Punk Rock to create their sound. This EP was recorded between a home studio and professional studio in Austin. Singer/Guitarist/Keyboardist Stephen Selvey wrote all the songs on the album and played a good deal of the instruments. Joining him is Drummer/Studio Engineer Don Dulaney who played drums and assisted with engineering the EP. Future plans for the group include a full length release and potential touring.

Prior to this band Stephen Selvey was part of a Virginia based rock/folk band named “A Fine Line” and a rock/punk band named “Friendly User.” They site influences such as Radiohead, Aqualung, Death Cab for Cutie and Pink Floyd as influences.

It was difficult to find much information on this band, they seem relatively low key, and I could not even find any upcoming show listings. SOOOO…..based on that I gave the EP a listen and was pleasantly surprised. The tracks start off with “Coma”, an ambient ballad that is easy on the ears, retrospective and a nice beginning. My favorite was “All the rain.”

Check out more on upcoming shows for at http://www.myspace.com/thedoubledigithours

Tracks
Coma
Counting Down
Drifting
The Mirror
Sunlit Window
All The Rain
Carry On
One Thing To Give Away

Captain Midnite is an Alternative vocalist as well as a Hip-Hop/Pop beat-maker based out of Seattle, WA. His most recent work, the Purple Heart Vendetta EP produced by Casey Bates (producer of Chiodos, Pierce The Veil, Portugal. The Man), can be described as a Progressive Post-Hardcore record in the vocals and instrumentation while maintaining a Hip-Hop influence within the construction of the beats.

Captain Midnite is also well known for his work as a beat-maker/producer for Hip-Hop and Pop musicians as can be seen on his project I Brought Dead Flowers to a FUNeral EP with Big Boi’s Purple Ribbon Records recording artist, Kyle Lucas, and also on his beats/production on T. Mills’ Finders Keepers EP. Midnite is known in the local Seattle scene for his work with his rap supergroup The Let Go (One of Airwalk/AP’s top 10 unsigned bands and Seattle Weekly’s Reader’s Choice Best Local Musicians) and also his work with the locally proclaimed “Seattle’s prince,” Sol.

This guy is all over the place, just like a super hero. I checked out his myspace and blogs and twitter, and facebook and he is an advertising campaign personified!! Not only is this guy cute his remixes and delivery are compelling to say the least. His lyrics stick in your mind, with his breathless antics that can turn instantly into another realm of sound that reflect pain and anguish in the next minute. He has an alternative and death metal thing happening all at once while still tossing in the acquired amount of hip hop/beats to drive the girls crazy in the dance clubs.

Cool stuff, watch for more from this up and coming artist.

Check out more on upcoming shows at http://www.myspace.com/captainmidnitemusic

Tracks
1. As I Sow The Dragon’s Teeth
2. Garnett
3. Coldly Tuned
4. Death By Remedy
5. Lone Spirit Load

The Band Members
Travis Champman – Violin
Shawn Steven – Vox/Guitar
James Logan – Guitar /Vox
Charlie Fisher – Bass/Vox
Jesse Tranfo – Precussion

First of all the name of the group is “And I was like, what?” which is pretty cool really. Having said that, this fresh sounding group hails from Portland OR, which is a very green hilly lovely place and has a booming Indie scene, and there is definitely a northwest flavor, and the lovely violin interlaced throughout is very appealing to this reviewer. A troubadour type band who claim they derive influence from Jawbreaker, Murder by Death, Appleseed Cast and Piebald to name a few.

This cute, bearded band has a great sound, and I was drawn to their sound like a cat to catnip. I have to say again the electric violin is a kicker and pulls it all together nicely making this band stand out a bit above the norm.

It is hard to find out much about this band other than they are friends who grew up together and sing about life, love, relationships and all things real. Maybe not macho but very real. I look forward to more from this band.

Check out more on upcoming shows at http://www.myspace.com/andiwaslikewhatyeah

Tracks
Secular Eyes
idiots bloom
birthday suite
concerning distance
passing cars
f#
8:55 am

Christian D & the Hangovers hail from the Toronto scene and are out there proving their worth on stage and in the studio. Formerly of local rockabilly group Real Gone, vocalist/guitarist Christian D, along with drummer Mick E. Special come together in Hangovers alongside guitarist Brendan Bauer and bassman Mack Black. This is an awesome first EP and they show us that they are not fooling around. Their 2008 EP, Life Gets in the Way, with new long-player Shake It… Or Leave It, is likely something that won’t leave you anytime soon!!

Shake It… Or Leave It! showcases the talents of the in abundance, with Hangovers buoyant down to earth rock, and twelve upbeat and not drawn out songs. Straight shooters, these guys.

They songs have a sort of theme to them, you know guys stuff, like ladies and partying and booze and all the things that go with that to make life fun, interesting and tolerable. This reviewer particularly like the vigorous song “Shimmy Shorts”, and “Cornfed Dames”, as well as “Life Gets In The Way.” These are a lot of rock and billy and a healthy dash of naughty as well, and who doesn’t like that bad-boy image?

The opening song “Vampire Rocker”, storms is rockabilly on crack, with lots of guitar, drums and in your face vocals. Smart to go with the whole vampire mania of late, and who doesn’t like a vampire as well? The Hangovers have a kind of a “stray cats” feel. All in all very pleasing and somewhat addictive.

Shake It… Or Leave It! uses producer Jesse James Dale, who is the frontman Buzz Deluxe, and has moonlighted on occasion with the Hangovers so he knows how they work. Shake It… Or Leave It! is a really good first album for the Hangovers, and I am anxious to hear more.
Check out more on upcoming shows for at http://christiand.ca/home

Tracks
Vampire Rocker
Life gets in the way
Shimmy Shorts
Good Woman
Mr. Handsome
Sleep my life away
Child of the east coast
Baby Jane
Hot Mess
Hillbilly Heroin
Cornfed Dames (The Cramps)
Dime a dozen

Track Listing
1. Orange Peel (Original Mix)
2. Jack Daniels (Original Mix)
3. Two is Better That One (Original Mix)
4. Boo! (Original mix)
5. Unicorn on the Cob (Original Mix)
6. McGangBang (Original Mix)
7. Flow (Goofstep Remix)
8. Bacon & Eggs (Original Mix)
9. Padraic McDonagh (Original Mix)

Nice and slow, build it up, let ‘er rip.

Gooffee’s most recent release titled Unicorn on the Cob is constantly pumping you up for what’s to come. Whether it be for something beautiful, whether it be for something fun, it’s hard not to be drawn into the rise that Gooffee is constantly building. You are given the constant feeling of greatness to come within every track. They are each carefully measured and seem to prepare you to be blown away by what’s about to happen in the next 30 seconds, only it doesn’t stop there. It’s all rise all the time.

Gooffee sees no limits, and that includes their genres. Unicorn on the Cob delivers a fresh new take on several EDM styles such as House and Dubstep. With a firm belief that every track should incorporate something old, something new, and something unique, Gooffee delivers what could easily be called the most diverse electro album that Toronto has seen since the Dubstep invasion landed.

Orange Peel is the first track on the album and is a wicked preview of what is to come. Starting off with it’s shimmery and hip-hopesque synths you figure you’re in for some rap any second but instead you’re bombarded with a thick textured drop. Wasting no time to show off their new Dubstep skills, you’re quickly invited to hear the dirty grit we’ve all been craving. With dirty and gritty being common words to describe Dubstep in general, there’s nothing common about their sound. My favorite part of this album is just how diverse it is, while still holding a trademark sound. Between Jack Daniels, Padraic McDonagh, and Bacon & Eggs, you can tell just how extensive their genre bending goes. Padraic McDonagh especially sticks out on the album for it’s completely different, exceedingly vibrant sound. Where House and Dubstep usually aim to give you that deep bass face grin with a “filthy” approach, Padraic provides a really light hearted feeling.

The most important elements of this release are a tie between the variety it offers and the unique sound. You can play this album over for hours without getting sick of it, and there’s a track for any mood you’re in. It changes between genres while still holding tight to Gooffee’s playful trademark sound. Please do yourself the favour of downloading this gem for free.

Set List
1. I Don’t Want to Be You
2. Can’t Concentrate
3. Let’s Not Fall in Love
4. Thinks Too Much
5. Beautiful Waste of Time
6. Think You Know Just Who You Are
7. What’s She Doin With Him?
8. Headphones On
9. Something About You
10. I Got the Girl
11. Make Up Your Mind
12. Guess You Don’t Mind

Garage Baby is a garage rock revival band from Toronto ON, although front man Michael Bennet has been in the UK for the last 15 Years. Upon arrival in Toronto, Michael reunited with old friend and former band mate James Paul. With Michael on the lead guitar and vocals, James on bass, it only took Claude Kent’s hand at the drums to complete the punk rock trio.

My first opinion of them upon seeing them in the flesh was that they looked like they had been playing in bands like this for awhile. Gray hair jokes aside, they had that UK Garage Rock look to them, and I was pretty stoked to hear what was about to happen.

They started off with the track “I Don’t Want to be You,” and it was fantastic. It was fun, and upbeat with a splash of Rock and Roll. Maybe it was a long day of work before hand, but thier energetic and fun style really took me by surprise. Mike and James both got loose and moved around the stage with the kind of youthfulness I didn’t quite expect from the gray haired first impression. This track was definitely their trademark track, but that’s not to say the rest of their songs weren’t good.

As the next few tracks had gone by, I was terribly sorry that I was seated. I wanted to be in a crowd of like minded individuals and pumping my fists. Some tracks were more serious than others, some were about girls, and some where it didn’t really matter what they were about because they were just a lot of fun to hear.

They were on time, they didn’t make any mistakes, and they didn’t slow down either. I was watching Claude sweat his black rim glasses right off his face, but nothing was going to stop them from having a good time. Their performance was very solid, and their stage banter was both amusing and appropriate to their personalities. Th songs were a little short, but it only meant that we got to hear more of them.

The Shanks started their foray into rock and roll high school in the township of MONO, which is near the Orangeville area. Perhaps there is a farm involved and lots of open space and a used vintage clothing store nearby. There in the quiet of the evening sun the Shanks perfected their bass and drum onslaught, creating a whopping sound despite their few numbers. The memorable vocals of Pistolwhip Von Shankenstein in comparison to the understated drumming (we are not talking white stripes drumming either) makes for an interesting and fun creation.

Shanken Stein in a colorful self creation and his foray into the unknown is rich with stage presence as well as hard hitting rock and roll, interesting lyrics and a bass line that keeps you wanting more. It is not the length of this disc but rather what they manage to pack into something that is rather short but plenty on sweet that makes this so appealing.

Definitely a must listen to.

Tracks
Bastion of Sebastian
The Undefeated Donkey
Killing Tune
Mirror, mirror
Jesus make it fun
Napoleonic Dread Pt. 1
The Matador
Christmas Star
Start Taking you Home

Tracks:
1. Entertainment
2. Let’s Get Sentimental
3. Coronado’s Dead
4. Closer
5. Dance Sequence
6. Working
7. Fine Examples
8. December
9. Knowing Your Own End
10. Best Day Ever

BC rock band  Acres of Lions have a new CD release in this age of the anti-pop single they have dared to pen a small number of  pop rock classics.  So you can murder your picks with air guitar playing to the catchy riffs that abound on these tunes.

Combining the sonorous ethereal vocal style of Coldplay with the pop rocking chops of melodious commercial not commercial rock music of our own late lamented Northern PIkes (a Nineties Ontario band that reigned in Canada ohh so many years ago) married to latter-day Alt Rock of Our Lady Peace and you get some idea of the sound of these Canadian boys.

Their ‘Working’ CD was recorded and produced in British Columbia Canada– the last bastion of Brits-Cult rules in the former colonies.

The best listener friendly singles are: the opening track ‘entertainment’, with its touching look at the thin line between out and out exitainment and selling-out-trying-to-please-everybody entertainment and where that takes your soul as an artist; ‘Closer’ with its Universalist hoped for universe that strikes a chord in everyone and join hands–( one can only hope and isn’t this a grand thing); ‘Knowing your own end’ s menage lament about the end of a relationship  being the end of the world (when it is just beginning)
and finally the last track ‘This was Not my best day ever’ that talks about how we as a species will never really heal and the transforming role of the imagination in delaying the knowledge of this mordant conclusion.

ALL are highly catchy tunes full of the standard  pop rock guitars thrashings that have been heard a Zillion times before. AT Least the lyrics are broader in content and intent beyond the usual solipsism that make so many of today’s lyricists so unbearably self-absorbed and SO removed from so much of their audience’s ability to be included.

Rocquette is a rockin, loud, punchy and most definitely sexy band. With a stellar line up of original tunes this CD boasts a range of rock that you can definitely listen to again and again. The music is strong and sound and heavy hitting, with a straightforward appeal.

The band was formed 2005 in Austria by Barbie Hardrock and Thomas “TMP” Perry. With some initial and expected growth from the first releases this band became direct, rock-solid, and commanding hard rock. Their live shows are guitar energized and a load of fun. In June 2007, the first official Rocquette album “Too Fast For Love“ was performed live during a Release Gala Show at the Gasometer Vienna theatre to an adoring crowd.

In 2009 the final line up of Rocquette was completed when drummer Jam “Puffman” Puffler and rhythm guitar player Alexander Handl joined the band. Handl, who has a reputation of squeezing his guitar until you feel great orgasmic ear-explosions, was a welcome addition. These rockers add the musical backbone that creates and emphasizes the heavy hitting yet very melodic sound that is Rocquette.

These rockers live up to their name, rocking it hard at shows and concerts. SO get your roc on with Rocquette now!!

Check out more on upcoming shows at http://www.rocquette-music.com

Tracks

Christmas Vacation
Too Fast
Between
My Fuel
TSWAHAN
Maybe
Jelly Baby
Rising Up
Evoked
Day off
Yesterdays Love Songs
Song about Nothing
Lesbian Story
Old Story
Snowman’s Last Sunrise
Perfect Day
Big Alex“ loves to squeeze his guitar ..till you feel great orgasmic ear-explosions  wallow in your vanes and freezes your neck up to your deepest mind… or something like that.

Cancel The Astronauts are a five-piece pop band from Edinburgh. Writing tunes about stalking and inappropriate lusting and stalking and sexing and stuff, and other songs with guitars in and nice beats you can dance to.

Their debut EP is available… now! In download form from itunes and napster and emusic . Physical copies with a lovely sleeve that you can touch with your hands and stuff are available at gigs and via the paypal button on their website http://www.canceltheastronauts.co.uk.
They have shared the stage with such acts as Frightened Rabbit, Found, Attic Lights, Parka, Juno!, Meursault, The Kays Lavelle, Come On Gang! Kid Canaveral and many more.

Time for some music!

Track Listing for their E.P I am the President of Your Fan Club and Last Night I Followed You Home
I am the President of Your Fan Club And Last Night I Followed You Home
Country Song
Late In the City
Love Somebody
Let’s Go Expo

This cute little E.P starts off with the title track I am the President of Your Fan Club and Last Night I Followed You Home, a true freeks and geeks dance track. It paints a picture very clearly about a boy who’s so drawn to a girl, that he indeed follows her home. Creepy? Impossible when you produce a sound so cute and innocent. This is how I imagine care bears lust over each other. Guaranteed to make you blush.
Country song and Love Somebody continue the cute sound with some light hearted indie rock that feels reminiscent of The Killers with a more young and in love kind of twist to it. I really can’t express the cute part enough. The vocals really make the song flow the way it does, keeping a fun dance like beat to the track even when it’s slow. Melodic and beautiful. Keeps you tapping your feet when you try and catch your breath for the slow parts.

Let’s Go Expo brings out a very different side of the band. It has a darker, more Door’s influenced start, and then a little faster tempo telecaster rock sound for some big contrast. This is a big one up in my books, slower slows, lower lows, and higher highs. I feel like this track really completes the album and gives it the diversity that makes it a great listen.

This E.P is just so much fun. I highly suggest listening to this in the car on the way to the bar on a Friday night. Or even just on the ride to work. There’s something about their style that is very mood elevating and makes you want to be social. What a fun listen.
Should you want to reach the band, they can be contacted at band@canceltheastronauts.co.uk

British Nu Jazz group (led by the excellent poet Clive Stevens) Mandoria’s eighth  cd ‘Invisible Intelligence’ (nice title that) is here. The title is cribbed from a quote that is not credited but included on the cd liner notes. Well, what we have here is Enigma meets enigma meets enigmas nu jazz meets a long line of quivering Quaaludes— THAT IS NEW AGE NOISE FOR NEW AGE GURLS AND BOiZ……. et al.

There is  a long list of influences from  Bartok through Gerry Mulligan to Bach: usually when someone gives their influences in such great numbers— names that run on  and on and on like a leaky faucet that can’t be fixed — ohh so torrential the storm of names you know when some one has this many so called parents that they haven’t actually got any! and 2. they don’t know who they are yet, God help us!!??

This is what I call Avante Garde— that is’ haven’t gotta clue’ kind of music that is, to use Rock critic Lester Bang’s old phrase,  ‘a triumph of artifice’, all over the place and no place at the same time.— musical sterility with nothing to say— that says that nothing very well and maybe that is the point– this kind of over weened wimpy form of musical nihilism we have all seen and heard before and needs no reintroduction in to the body politic of Rock.

I will say one thing though, the guy has great titles (he is a good poet after all): palace of tears, tiger from venus, bombay bizarre etc etc. reads like a surrealistic cornucopia of crapulous conceptual art pieces done by that pop-in-jay  poop of avante garde poop art, andy withdrawal, Thumbs down but ohh so softly!!

Tracks
CETACEAN SEA
EVERYTHING YOU ARE
PALACE OF TEARS
TIGER FROM VENUS
SUN DAY MUSIC/MORNING
BOMBAY BIZARRE
SUN DAY MUSIC/AFTERNOON
RHAPSODY 4 NU TIMES
DEEP TRANSCENDENTAL

The Band Members
Mathias Kom : ukulele, guitar, vocals
Jill Staveley : guitar
Mike Duguay : synths, glockenspiel, melodica, accordion
Jenny Gleeson : accordion, bass
Darcy McCord : cello
Adam DeMarsh : drums
Steve McNabb : trumpet, banjolele
Nick Ferrio : lap steel, bass
Jenny Mitchell : omnichord, banjo
Charlie Glasspool: piano
Dave Hartley: harmonica
Geordie Gordon: violin
Alison Corbett: violin
Darren Browne: mandolin, bass

Mathias Kom and large ensemble from Peterborough, Ont., start off this unique CD with a song about a fetus planning its life in the outside world, believe it or not. It is amusing and witty and I love the Toronto Zoo reference, and the Saxophone reference with the Sax tiptoeing in the background. Simplistic and brilliant. Ok, so where does this CD head after this sort of beginning. I found myself on a trip through the eclectic and eccentric.

Lead singer Mathias Kom has a sort of Leonard Cohen, deep poetic sing/speak kind of vocals, which is completely charming. The band takes a new take on life, writing in a place that is lost these days, a look at the world in a way that you just do not hear anymore. “Everybody needs a body” was my favorite, from the needing a job to watching a squirrel get hit by a car. Because we have all been there, and every good album does need a slow song or two.

This cold Saturday morning is warmer now with the finding of Burning Hell. A true troubadour and smile evoking lyrics of Mathias Kom maintain an air of fun while being original and sincere. I may have to go to Hamilton to check them out!!

Check out more on upcoming shows at http://www.wearetheburninghell.com/

Tracks
Our World
Daneer/Romaneer
Everybody needs a body (to be somebody)
The things that people make. Part 2
Mosquito
Grave Situation. Part 3
Precious island
Animal Hides
The Berlin Conference
When the world ends

Individually, Vancouver B.C. residents Wendy Atkinson and David Lester are skilled, accomplished musicians. Atkinson has delivered two solo bass records, while Lester plays guitar for local indie mainstays Mecca Normal. Together, the pair has combined to record the aptly-titled Guitar & Bass Actions, an instrumental album that has a free form feel to it, much like when Lenny Breau was let loose on his own in cabin fever. This is a guitar combination that could rock it out in an opposite universe.

It is like a duo of sorts, dancing around each other in a skilled, yet at the same time, remarkably easy way. I sense a use of non-traditional techniques that lend structure and narrative to the otherwise loosely assembled songs. Lester and Atkinson stand firmly on their own; with a sound that is moody and exaggerated, each song reaching momentum in a very enjoyable way. The sounds are distinctive, almost overlapping with some techniques that I cannot put my finger on.

Check out more on this band, and upcoming shows on http://www.myspace.com/wendyampdavid

Tracks
1 Grin
2 Happy Tune
3 In Between
4 No Time to Waste
5 Ohrwurm
6 Wait and Go
7 Lucky Well
8 Killing Time
9 The Life
10 Raining Gold Stars

First off it must be said up front and in plain sight that I am a huge fan of Canadian pop act Blue Venus and ergo this review will be pretty biased if not wholly uncritical. That being said I must say Blue Venus have a strange career in that the nucleus of this music group Andrea and Dev, who also happen to be husband and wife, are not gigantic pop stars by now. This may be a peculiar problem of the Canadian music industry per se and if it is it exposes the weak support structure that makes up the geographically dispersed nature of Canada as well as the unbelievably myopic and inferiority complex driven nature of A and R persons in and on Canadian labels that ignore yearly a plethora of great local Indie Toronto talent. I don’t think I am tilting at any particular windmills here. The consensus is that for the most part the same dunderheaded dinosaurs like Nickel Back, (or as I once wrote, I Want my Nickel Back),and their sound-a-like little brother band,Theory of A Deamman get awarded time again with contracts, label support and Junos while the dozens and dozens of worthier acts are craning their knecks just trying to get a look see. This is the peculiarly weird if somewhat predictable position that this wonderful group Blue Venus is in but I digress.

Blue Venus has released it’s second Cd, Grin only a few weeks ago. Right away the tone of the music on this disc is wholly other than their first self titled CD. There is a much more conscious effort to craft popily melodic tunes with singalong choral effects them in the previous disc which while certainly tuneful highly listenable was much more Jazz driven  both in tonal qualities and in song structure.

The best of example of this new Pop sensibility is the second track on Grin CD, a song which should be their first single release: ‘Happy Tune’ which literally has giant hit written all over it. Happy Tune self consciously and ironically comment on its won need for positive listenable up beat reflection and joie de vivre. Written by Andrea De Boer, Derim Eldelekli and Matt DeMatteo, (who also cowrote with Andrea and Dev, ‘No Time to Waste’ and ‘Raining Gold Stars’), lyrically posits the musical question as to the viability and necessity for its own existence and thus reflecting  and poking fun at the owner’s and possibly the band’s previous efforts and their own collective tendency towards a less cheerier disposition.  Thus Happy Tune answers it’s own hard won question as to what is better solution not just for the singer and the listener but for the band and its career.

The result is a pop tune so infectious in tone, pitch and delivery by the increasingly melodic and charismatic Lady Gaga singing of Andrea De Boer that for this reviewer Happy Tune has to be one of the greatest hit singles I have ever heard from any so-called, Indie Canadian musical group in the last twenty years!!!!!!!!!!!!

In fact,  in songs like No Time to Waste and Killing Time the band is marking it’s musical journey with song refrains and titles that practically tell themselves to beat a hasty retreat from it’s first CD’s Jazzier more esoteric songwriting craft and feel. It’s as if many of the songs are cheerleaders egging the band on to a bigger picture and a higher plain.

This poppy melodic net that Blue Venus is now casting will win them many more fans I predict. Even the opening track ‘Grin’ with its refrain: ‘My future then seemed dim …. then Blue Venus spend the rest of the album in songs such as In between and The Life and Happy Tune and Lucky Well, to cast this prediction utterly into the dustbin of Canadian Indie pop history  and in effect jettison all doubt that Blue Venus will not instead rise to the stardom  that they always deserved.

Band Members
Cynthia Gould
Mandy Wells
James Roy Daley

Tracks
how small is it
nerdy
coattails
10 more minutes
big dumb rock songs

Punk Rock by definition was only supposed to last a minute. If you went longer than that you were defying the punk ethos if not the esthetics of Punk  and you WERE NO Longer Punk!!! The  avatars of this conceptual construct were The Sex Pistols whose in-house theoretician was a bright snotty young Irish kid named Johnny Rotten. For Rotten everything before them was Rotten ergo punk meant you had no heroes; ‘they’re all useless…. only relevant to their mums and dads’…..

That is one theory: the other Punk theory is that you’re punk because ‘you do it yourself’, mate!!’  Everything from production to playing to bookings to putting together a CD to packaging to promotion is all DIY!!! . i.e. your Punk forever if it’s all home made and stays that way.–the sell out to bigger and better climes and all the detritus that goes with this makes your cred null and void.

Toronto’s newest addition to the latter day’s concept of Punk ethos is a local underground power punk sensation (I have seen them live and can vouch for this!!) is High Heels LoFi.

Even their songs indirectly promote the kind of DIY brand of punk pop sensibility such as Big Dumb Rock Songs (which is also the title of this five Song Ep/CD) and ’10 more minutes’ and ‘Nerdy’ even.

What High Heels LoFi brings to your party though is something Punk and post punk/grunge bands lack in spades which is a sense of humour couched in somewhat sardonic refrains and even self deprecating lyrical pastiches,(again Big Dumb Rock Songs is the apotheosis of this).

This rock trio of two gurls and one guy lead by lead singer Cynthia Gould are forever asking the question: How small is IT? WELL … that is a good question. How small are you going to be and continue to be??? Good question for any band to ask itself and even it’s fans which High Heels Lo Fi have many and many!!

The Ep/cd called Big Dumb Rock Songs (implying that all the tracks on it are thus to be ever thus), is produced by Mike Bryant in a stripped down home made fashion which most of the time manages  to catch the energy that this band has displayed in ample form in concert sits. that i have witnessed opening for them with my group Tyranny of
Love.

Only one song lacks the spack that they display and that is the opening track ironically titled, ‘How Small is it?? But this is a small criticism for a debut CD that celebrates HOMEMADE values and sticks to it. How far the band will go with this is anyone’s guesstimate???

Highly recommended!!!

Two Thumbs up and a finger!!!

The Band Members

The Rhythm Section
Jeff Pflaumbaum – Piano, Synth, Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals, Percussion
Gaku Murata – Guitars
Jacob Bartfield – Bass
Mauricio Zottarelli – Drums
Andres Espinoza – Percussion
Tim Butterworth – Hammond B3
The Lef’ Coast Horns
Tim Nunnink – Flute, Alto, Tenor, and Baritone Sax
Doug Meeuwsen, Karl Soukup – Trumpet
Richard McGuane – Alto sax
Fred Biven – Trombone
Gabriel Sundy – Baritone Sax

Additional Players
Jeff Perry, Scott DeOgburn, Stefan Colson – Trumpet
Daniel Ian Smith – Alto and Baritone Sax
Darryl Lowery – Tenor Sax
Robynn Amy – Trombone
Tim Mayer – Baritone Sax
Ted Paduck – Guitar
Mark Johnson – Acoustic Guitar
Erik Mattox, Rachel Baum, Heidi Kaufmann, Laura Kaufmann, Susan Rubin – Vocals
The Rogers Five: Jesse, Luke, Sam, Levi, and Hope – Children’s Choir
Anjali Fox, Ryan Hanser, Erik Mattox, Lisa Mattox, Ted Paduck, Lisa Pflaumbaum, Hu Qiongwen, Dan Rogers, Mike Rusinak – Spoken word

Big Band. Lots of horns. America’s self proclaimed largest Rock Orchestra. Well this reviewer was in a little bit of heaven. in the spirit of all the great horn-bands of the late 60’s and 70’s and in the hope of the great songwriter/composers Jimmy Webb, Brian Wilson, Vangelis, Aram Schefrin & Michael Zager, Michael Kamen, and others. The Wings of Fire Orchestra is a six-horn, mixed vocal, 5-piece rhythm section ushering in a new age of conceptual rock n roll. Prospice is their second studio recording.

The Wings of Fire Orchestra is completely original. It is an Indie, Rock, and Jazz with a lot of horn tossed in. It is like an all day concert all rolled into one. I was very impressed, but I find I do not know where to start. My instinct is to just say go buy this and see for yourself, as I am sure it appeals to each person on an individual level. They have managed to blend the classic symphonic sound with some serious rock and roll, not withstanding a bit of funk as well. Harmonizing, story telling, simply put, genius.

It was very Rock Opera, each track a story telling, so much so that when one listens and closes their eyes you imagine a theatrical production behind each song, the tempo increasing or subsiding, the horn section in full swing, one can imagine a packed dance floor, heads tipping to the groove, or a stage filled to tempo.

I cannot even comment individually on each track, one must experience this for themselves. This CD is definitely making its way to my ipod!!

Check out more on upcoming at http://www.wofomusic.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/wingsoffireorchestra

Tracks
1) The Real Fire
2) Lyin’ In The Fields Alone
3) There’s A Lamp And Light To Follow
4) Delta Street
5) Fading Flower
6) The Arch Fear
7) I Wanted To Love You All
8) …And The Elements’ Rage
9) Change, Become
10) Nearing The Place
SIDE 2
Oh Busy Air (in four parts)
11) Cielo
12) Nuvoloso
13) Ventoso
14) Tempesta
15) Jockey Gun (the underscore)
16) Words Of Change
17) VIXI
18) Matthew 18:

Tracks:
N PIECES
SUICIDE BOMBER
THE WORLD MAKES YOU OPEN YOUR EYES
SIREN’S COVE
LET DOWN
WITHOUT A DOUBT
JUST A REMINDER
TOXIC TEAR
HOLLY HOLLYWOOD
DEADICATION

Does a rock act that revels in its punk rock act have the necessary street cred and the real live juice to be real. In the mid Seventies when I was a teenager the no. 1 phrase that people kept poppin’ at me was, ‘Don’t get real, man’, It was in every way the only way to be. Nobody back then,  especially teenagers dazed and confused and otherwise employed by the Counter Cult of Rock Music wanted genuine emotions to surface: stay cool stay frosty.

Nowadays that has in many respects returned, added to which there is the don’t get real and don’t talk about real issues other that your poor myopic self centered self. Lady Gaga as good and charismatic as she is and even funny at times is nothing if not about and entirely about herself just like all the other dunderheads that populate the scene in contemporary Roc Pop and Hip Hop and Rap etc etc.

This Canadian Indie Rock trio, Streamlined actually are real and are real lyrically in a  away that has been missing in action for a long time.

The band contains two brothers, Jeff and Justin Fulford, originally from Newfoundland, and a third member Sean Maclean who used to work in the same music store back east.

Streamlined is the name of the band and the name of their first CD and is recorded at Streamlined studios.

Streamlined actually has something to say about a subject that is not themselves— what a revelation!!!!!! This is readily evident but simply checking out the song titles:  Suicide Bomber, The World Makes you Open Your Eyes, Toxic Tear, Holly Hollywood and Deadification.

Are they Canada’s answer to the equally weight socio/polit.  Fingerpointing of Ireland’s  Grunge greats, The Cranberries. I would state emphatically yes, except for one proviso: the band simply doesn’t have the charismatic warbling of a Cate O’Riordan but that is not to say the vocals aren’t compelling in a sort of avuncularly cool  ironic way.
This group also boast some more seductive tracks like Siren’s Cove and Without Doubt too.

So two thumbs up for the new Canadian power punk trio and let’s see if they can keep wearing their integrity shirts in the compromising seas of todays pop musical slop!!!!

The Band Members
Brock Flores
Joe Fraley
Aaron Arkenburg
Andrew Zuber
Kenny Wood

Klum’s second full-length album, We Carelessly Turned Amazingly Into Nothing, shows a chemistry, playfulness, quality of work and excellence, that may be disguised in their unpredictable approach. Klum is a hard working, exciting band that takes the word unique to a new level having an array of melodies so infectious and elevating that one cannot help but want more. Their genre is their own, and this is a rare treat indeed.

“For Sale a New Life” shows off the band’s indie-pop side and “The Showmen” turns it up a notch showing a harder rock centre. All the tracks are interesting and original, and this really is one of the most memorable debuts of the year thus far. While Klum seem easy going and fun through most of the CD, this band has perfected this illusion which only shows how talented they really are. My favorite track has to be “Nonbeliever”, a fast track that shows the group’s talents undeniably.

The vocals are varied and catchy, with the overlapping vocals and playful interjections, which are charming and memorable while being poignant as well. “Our Monster’s End” and “Windmills” are also unforgettable tracks, showing the obvious ability of the band members. Do yourself a favor and get this CD, put the tunes on your iPod, and see for yourself.

Check out more on upcoming shows for KLUM at http://www.myspace.com/klum, www.sonicbids.com/klum

Tracks
bashing for the kids
Nonbeliever
Floats on Fire
The Showmen
O’Sails you’ve failed
FOR SALE: a new life!!
My baby’s just stardust
Give em something to die to
our Monster’s End
Windmills
It’s Curtains (old man)

A few weeks ago I spent an entertaining evening at Bread and Circus Theatre watching a show called GutBustaLooga . Great company and a drink in hand, we settled in for a night of rock and roll with a hilarious, raunchy twist. We would not be disappointed!

The show had a line up of three bands with High Heels LoFi kicking off the evening. And kick it off they did. Songs like ‘10 more minutes’ and ‘Big Dumb Rock Song’ not only leave the listeners with a huge grin on their face, these ladies are so charming that you couldn’t help but sing along! At one point they pulled someone up from the audience and had him play the cowbell, now that’s audience participation!

It is really hard to pinpoint a type of genre to put this band in. They are a comedic rock band, with sassy sex appeal, and clever writing. They do their twists on ACDC, love ballads and break up songs. The show is a whole package of entertainment including the much anticipated high kick from Mandy Wells!

The band is taking June and July off to work on new material and will be back on stages all over Toronto in August! It won’t just be the heat of August that will have you sizzling, I can guarantee if you make it out for a High Heels Lofi show, they will set the stage on fire.

Band Bios
Cynthia Gould
– Cynthia is a performance poet, short novelist, painter, graphic designer, and funkless.com party instigator. She’s been dating musicians since she was 16, so it finally dawned on her… if you can’t beat them, join them.

Most Rock & Roll Feature: best haircut was done on a street corner at 2am across the street from an insane asylum by the singer of an industrial band who borrowed the hunting knife from a singer of a metal band.

Least Rock & Roll Feature: was once an assistant librarian.

Mandy Wells – Mandy is a bass player for hire and a house on fire; she’s a lover, a fighter, a kicker, a biter, and an an earthquake waiting to happen… “…A bass is a tool, Marion, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe; a shovel; or anything. A bass is as good or as bad as the badass playing it. Remember that.”

Most Rock & Roll Feature: I stick it to The Man on a (work) daily basis!

Least Rock & Roll Feature: Technically speaking, I am The Man… OW!… what the hell is that sticking me in the ass…?

James Roy Daley – We’ve… let’s say “borrowed” Horror Author James Roy Daley to sit in the drum seat when he’s not writing terrifying novels or drumming with Nanochrist.

The Rizdales originally hale from London, Ontario but are now based in Toronto. They  have reached the apotheosis of their infectious diet of ‘roots rock infused with country’ with their 4th release ‘Radio Country’. Usually it takes a group several albums before they ultimately distill the essence of their sound  and sometimes many bands do not even reach this goal ever. The Rizdales can have the satisfaction of attaining a kind of plateau from which they can view the country soundscape and take off from their and keep on top of all their influences from ‘Almost Blue’ Era Elvis Costello to Buck Owens to Patsy Cline.

Apparently an unusual  example of a seemingly happily married couple, Tara and Tom Dunphy are the heart and soul of this group being the chief songwriters and singers. Despite their  relatively benign marital bliss, the subject matter of ‘Radio Country’ entails harrowing stories of drug addiction and infidelity and personal loss thats seems to belie all this bliss.

This is especially keenly observed in songs like One Night Stand, Baby Isn’t Mine, You Haven’t Been Nice, I could tell you Lies and High Heeled Homewrecker.  Yet along with the accusations of betrayal and assorted marital highjinks are the more elemental expressions of compassion exhibited in songs like I Wouldn’t Do that to You,  You’re Not to Blame and This is My Story representing almost bookends to all the marital discord as a salve on the wounds (songs of sorrow) that went before.

The last track Hello to Goodbye (despite the title) is a nice coda  and resolution of all that went on before musically on this CD. The song is at once a bitter meditation filled hope for something better that ends the CD on an almost desperate up note that lingers despite all the Sturm und Drang that went before lyrically.

Expertly produced by Tara and Tom Dunphy themselves this CD has the achy breaky themes that always attract roots and country fans with the emotional tensions inherit in any couple highlighted and then put to credible use by the Dunphy’s to make an alluring listener friendly roots album that has potential crossover appeal into the pop world. Two Thumbs up!!

This band is dynamic, possessing that rare talent of being musically connected, lyrically sound and having a unique sound, a crashing yet listenable appeal that we all look for in a rock band. These are talented musicians, and there are no tricks involved. Formed in Spring 2006, MINK has already written more than 60 songs (30 of them in one intense three week stretch), recorded their debut album in just four weeks (with noted producer Sylvia Massy of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Tool fame), shot one of the most fun videos of recent times for its infectious song “Talk to Me” with director Christian Lamb (Madonna, Korn, Kelly Clarkson, Incubus), had another song “Pressure Pressure” featured nightly in ESPN’s 2006 Major League baseball playoffs coverage, and has established itself as one of the most exciting new live acts on the scene both in its own club shows and opening big-venue concerts by Angels & Airwaves among others.

The members come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from the garage-rock, punk, solo and experimental backgrounds of Carlson, Fitzpatrick and Mozgawa to the formal jazz studies of Maybury. And though members cite influences and favorites ranging from classic punk to Prince to Bjork to Miles Davis, a chemical bond formed instantly that gave Mink their own enticing character. This band had the opportunity to open for rock legend KISS and also toured with Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party.

I enjoyed the entire CD, in particular “Get it Right”, their first single “Talk to Me” which has been spinning on over 50 Alternative and modern rock stations across the US and “Sweeter”.

This review comes after extensive touring in Canada, and I am sure to check them out next time they are in Toronto. Check out upcoming tour dates at http://www.minkmusic.com

Tracks

Get it Right
Madame Chung
Talk to Me
Dematerialize
Pressure Pressure
Jodi
Crazy World
Untouchable
Sweeter
New York Summer
Pills

This album is clearly part serious and part creating an act to appeal or not appeal to the local inhabitants that they may or may not take seriously as well, that inhabit the desert of Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is metal, the shrieking kind so I am not going to critique the lyrics because to be honest I could not really understand much of what was said or sung. Their song tracks are narcissistic at best and that is amusing, even when each song basically sounds the same as the last. They are adept musicians regardless, and hit it hard when necessary. There will definitely be an appeal to the metal crowd, this is heavy good stuff, with plenty of ammunition for head banging and mosh pits.

They draw their inspiration from such bands as the Melvins, Ween, Ministry, Faith no More and Clutch, Their song “please don’t feed the animals” was recently chosen to be featured in the upcoming independent film One Long Day.

I am sure there is a message in their music. I will have a Jack and Coke and get back to you.

Watch for their full length album titled “A Nasty Name for a Nasty thing”

Check out his myspace for the latest news www.myspace.com/thefatdukesoffuck

Tracks
You and Your Opinion
Pubis O Fire
Killin ya to death
Will there be poop
Kiss of Judas
Penetration Celebration
His dick is like God
Death Fuck

Band Members:
Patrick “Scary Only” Hart-Bass
Johnny “Kong” Rowe-Drums
Dave “Fultonstein’ Fulton-Guitar
Ryan Shaw -Vocals

There seems to be a lot of tribute bands around these days. Typically I am not normally a fan of them, especially when they are butchering some of my all time favorite bands. Though they try their damnedest, there aren’t a lot of great ones. Skulls are the exception to this rule. Skulls are a Misfits Tribute Band who makes fans of the Misfits proud.

When I first heard them belt out Misfits songs such as Hate Breeder or Skulls, I breathed a very, very long sigh of relief. Finally a band that was not only paying homage to one of the best Punk bands of all time, they were doing it using god given talent, style and pizzazz. I know pizzazz is an odd word to use to describe someone tributing The Misfits, but these guys have it.

Skulls have only been around since 2008, but they play like a band that has been playing together for decades. Skulls have played at venues such as The Bovine Sex Club, Annex Wreckroom and the Rivoli, but from my point of view should be playing bigger gigs with bigger audiences. I hope the future holds bigger and better things for this incredible band.

Bio
What is it about a band that started out over 30 years ago and is still beholden to their legions of fans? How can something that is based on a horror comic from the 1950s still capture the imagination of today’s culture? Why do people get energized, invigorated and go completely wild over songs that last a mere minute? Skulls is a Misfits tribute band from Toronto that was established in 2008 to bring people back to a time when horror punk was a new wave of music coming out in 1977, the year the Misfits were originally formed by Glen Danzig. Skulls take great pride and effort into their live shows, capturing the look, feel, sound and ambience of what it would have been like to see the early days of the Misfits. When seeing Skulls perform live you get the sense that they have a genuine love and feel for the music they pattern after, given the energy they exude onstage. All the band members are accomplished musicians and no detail is spared in their performance and stage show. Whether you are young enough to not have seen the original Misfits play or are one of the feinds that did see them in the late 70s, Skulls will not disappoint. They will have you singing along to every song, banging your head with fists in the air and screaming out for more.

Tracks
Out In Time
I Feel Better Now
Can You Keep A Secret ?
You Took My Ball Away
Teenage Party Girl
Marilyn
Corina
Good News
Weekend Warrior
Monday Morning

Let me confess my prejudices yet again that I LOVE power pop or pop rock or whatever spin you want to put on the title of this genre of rock– so I am easily seduced; whereas if it is Rap or Hip Hop or Country it takes a lot to make my heart to disengage it’s usual skeptical standoffish stance.

So when I was sent the new CD by The Ontario band, The Populars by my editor at Lipstik Indie, I was already in their camp respectively and waiting for the tunes to zing me into the stratosphere which I am pleased as punch to say their album succeeded in doing.

The Populars are Ontario based power rock trio: two of whose members drummer Ernie Basiliadis and guitarist Dave Klym originally hail from the oil slicked plains of Alberta sound; the last member to join being Toronto bassist, Ben Wilson.

The whole enterprise is well produced by Moe Berg formerly of Toronto’s own Pursuit of Happiness, one of my Fave  bands from the early Nineties. My only caveat is to say that unlike the liner notes observation that the guys were here to ‘create a new sound’ is that there is nary a single new note, melody, sound  being conjured on this CD by messers Berg and his progeny– all been done before and all been heard before. Really though, this is actually a very small criticism as that comment goes for most of the product of the entire music industry over the last 15 years– Grunge being the supposedly newest thing  way back when– actually even Grunge itself  was a gigantic step backward in sound and fury signifying nada but I digress…..

Suffice it to say that The Populars have Synthesized their influences (The Ramones, Dead Kennedys et al) to credible Pop effect and all the tracks are very listener friendly to a great degree. A Pill for Every One being their second full length CD.

The limitations of a power pop trio format are obvious especially if you take alive-to-the-floor attitude in recording tunes as they have done— no matter what pill you are offering the sound remains the same.

The title of the CD is excellent on its own terms and is admittedly served well in pop rock terms for melodically hummable tracks like, I Feel Better Now, You Took My Ball Away, Teen Age Party Girl and Good News.  It is also a nice coloration to hear keyboards straight out of the Split Enz/Elvis and The Attractions in The Populars songs like Marilyn and Corina. There is also an abundance of trenchant social comment in the lyrics of songs like Teen Age Party Girl, Weekend Warrior and Good News.

Forget about the bands’ hyperbole about new sounds, this CD is a very good on its own ground so two thumbs up from this reviewer. Check out this group when they are playing in Toronto next time too, as I will!!

Tracks
Drunk Stranger
Take it Easy
Bad to the Bone
Beat, Beat, Beat

Website:  www.francisishere.com

Now this has to be one of the absolute craziest bands I have heard in a while. With a circus/cabaret feel “Francis” may just be one of my new favorite bands. Songs like Beat, Beat, Beat showcases the lead singers fun and creative vibe.

Since the bands first release in 2006 Bad to the Bone you can see the awesome development that has occurred! The music has taken on a life of its own and they have almost created their own genre of music which is super exciting to see. Rock on!

Check out their website at www.francisishere.com (for more info, press pictures and more)

Bio
Francis originate from the darkest woods of Sweden. The band has been around since 2006 and released their first single “Bad to the Bone” on the Swedish label Gravitation in 2008. Francis sound is best described as Max Martin high on mushrooms making sweet love to Kurt Weil. In the next months Francis will also release an EP recorded this fall. The bands live performance has been described as an unleashed Tasmanian Devil singing heartbreaking gospel songs.

Here we have an all girl band, an all girl punk/rock band, and all girl punkin band, who not only look great but sound remarkable as well. And they are from Toronto. Nominated thrice for Toronto and Ontario Independent Music Awards, Fidget took the win for Best Punk at the OIMA in October 2008 where they punctuated the ceremonies with a smashing performance.

Teresa Hart, guitarist for the multi-honoured Toronto-based punk group Fidget is amazing, add to that their awesome drummer, keyboard, bass player, well, a sound is born, and all I can say is this band is talented, with musicians who are exceptional. Their sound has been crafted as their own, and finding uniqueness in this world of over saturated Indie/Rock and Punk band combinations is rare. Their range in all aspects is remarkable, and hard to match.

Now let’s talk about the composition, lyrically speaking Ms Legault warmly sings that she hates it when she is ‘dating a sociopath’ and ‘My friends think you’re an asshole’, coming from a voice so sweet you almost miss what she is saying, which is what makes this so intriguing. All writers know that we write what we know and experience, and being a woman I can relate to a lot of what is being said and told here, in the story that is their song.

They have recently signed a worldwide distribution deal thus it would appear that once again a Canadian act will come to gain approval in its own country AFTER doing so internationally.

“The honours we’ve enjoyed so far include being featured on Womenrockradio.com, Chickradio.it, featured (coming soon) on Humber College’s radio station, having our music considered for placement in the upcoming movie Never Submit, making it to the Ontario Final of Emergenza, the final of the Paragon TV Band Competition but of course we’re most honoured by far by the wonderful fans who keep us going with their cheers and support!!! We’re putting everything we’ve got into putting new tunes out for y’all and we’re movin’ on up!”  Says Nicole.

Brilliant band, I will be checking out their next show, and telling all my friends to stop fidgeting and check them out!!!
Check out more on upcoming shows for Fidget at http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendID=93121036

Tracks

Let’s go all the way
Sociopath
Blah Blue
Come Free
Ripple in the Water
Jump Ship and Swim
Molly
Nothin Goin on
Bruises
Bad nooz

The Black Atlantic features Geert van der Velde, former vocalist for melodic hardcore pioneers Shai Hulud. I was expecting something different for certain, given Shai Hulad’s usual guttural screams and thick memorable meltdowns. What emerged instead was a softer Indie sound. The songs are not exciting enough to call unique, but it is well done and generally speaking they flow nicely enough, and there is something about the sound that can be defined as different, so it was an attention-grabbing experience.

Geert’s lyrics weave to and fro between ordinary and quite good, and I only say this because lyrical sound of Geert from the past is still in my head, and going from heavy to soft does not often work. There is some good stuff here, not to be missed, and I was impressed that this hard core singer could actually hold his own in a ballad. Maybe love has softened his voice, but all in all the attempt made me want to see what comes next.

With only four songs, it was difficult to get really into this, but I feel like it’s a rock-solid start for something more to come. I anticipate phase two.

Check out more on upcoming shows for The Black Atlantic at http://www.myspace.com/theblackatlantic

Tracks
Moving Through a Crowd
To give up the Summit
A Letter in Sonics
The Good Forecast

Ok, the CD cover recycled cardboard. This environmentalist reviewer likes that for starters, and then the music started. This band is everything an Indie band should be. Their sound was unique yet reminiscing of so many other great Indie bands. From Las Angeles CA, the music on So Many Wizard’s Tree EP is delightful.

Simply put it is an inspiring wonderful collective of 8 songs that once you listen to, you will find yourself humming them over your morning espresso, downloading them onto your iPod and feeling the urge to add them to your friends list on MySpace.

The music inside features guitars, trumpets, accordions, organs, xylophones, to name a few, it was a spinning smorgasbord of sounds, but not overwhelming in the least. Everything works. And humor, plenty of that. The track “my friends are nice” they don’t bite much, had me chuckling, and thinking of some biting friends of my own. From the track “love is on the way” to “fly a kite” which was my favorite, each song is a story, an unfolding of life, unique and surprising.

Check out more on upcoming shows for So Many Wizards at http://www.myspace.com/somanywizards

Tracks
fly a kite
marion davies
gentle creatures
maneline nancy
im just like you
let’s be friends
love is on the way
my friends are nice

About Little O

Officially formed as ‘Little O’ in January 2008, Olivia and Rob had been jamming and writing together since shortly after they met in late 2004. When Olivia’s former duo, ‘Another You’, disbanded in mid 2007 the pair decided to develop their natural musical chemistry by playing live together and, on the 25th of October 2007, began playing as a duo performing their own co-written originals. Thus begins the story of Little O. Now in Toronto from New Zealand pursuing their music career, this charming due can be found performing in various small venues across Toronto.

I was lucky enough to come across this duo through a coworker and partner of Olivia right around the same time they finished their first CD. Lucky for me. This is their first EP of 4 songs, all of which are delightful and lovely to listen to. This duo harmonizes wonderfully, as though they had been doing it forever. They obviously have stories to tell, which is evident in each song. Track 2, “I want to kick, ya I want to scream, and I want to sing it to you” are strong lyrics indeed, delivered in a way that have an undertone of the importance of what is being said. That is the gift of acoustic, you are mesmerized by the guitar and the words dance softly around the cords.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first release and will be waiting to see what they do next.

Check out more on upcoming shows for Little o at www.myspace.com/littleoduo

Returning with their new album RepoRepoRepo, their upcoming release since You Are the Jaguar, this amazing band just keeps getting better.

Singer/bassist Rob Higgins and his gang are back at it hard, with an eclectic, punk, fast, sweet bit of rock, a get up and dance bit of magic.

Higgins, who is known for his work with the bands Change of Heart, By Divine Right, Tristan Psionic, Rocket Science, Doctor and for touring with Our Lady Peace as their bass player from time to time, is celebrating his first sophomore album. “I’ve been fortunate enough to have 6 records released in the 11 years Ive been writing,” says Higgins, “but I was never lucky enough to get the chance to create a follow-up.”

The first single “Candy Coated” is awesome, with the lyrics of “say my fucking name”, jumping out at you, in a great upbeat rocking out song. What can I say, I like profanities. Which apparently they do also, it is all good.

“Who Knows” is another great track which pretty much speaks for itself. It is all about getting older, wiser and maybe more out of the loop. Of course I found most of the tracks laced with metaphors and abstract symbolism, which is at once artsy and dark and appealing. “Unsee” was my personal favourite, they slow it down and sing from the heart, dark and lovely.

Dearly Beloved will continue to tour exploring all possibilities. Audiences will delight at the intense rock, endless notable songs and an enhanced Dearly Beloved that will have you up nodding, bobbing and shaking your booty.

www.dearlybeloved.ca
www.myspace.com/robhiggins

Tracks
Candy Coated / Acceptance Corporation/ Who Knows? / Dress It Up / The Butchers Dog / Fire Escape / Carnivale (Onze) / When the Show is The New Fast / Unsee / Bit My Lip

Ubyk was founded by Russian-born musician Roman Bleum and is augmented by singer/songwriter Samantha Tobey. Taking their name from a Philip K Dick story, this Los Angeles based duo show with ease their dynamic partnering on this amazing acoustic story. The group performs as a two-piece with Roman and singer/songwriter Samantha Tobey sharing both vocal and multi-instrumental duties. The sound is reminiscent of many whimsical duos from the 70’d, whose love of the music echo’s in each song. Bleum’s calming vocal delivery perfectly compliments the band’s basic, yet clever, musical rudiments.

‘Work’ is a wonderful piece, capturing the dullness of a 9 ‘til 5. That feeling we all know, “there must be more to life than this day after day sameness” feeling. Bleum’s languid prose is whipped into submission by a furious paced guitar, that makes me think of those days in the office when I would daydream about being elsewhere, or better yet sneaking a walkman into my ear drums to listen to something this perfect. But I digress!!

‘Merry Go Round’ and ‘Delicate Swarm’ are hippy laced, vibrant, and meaningful with the pulsating interaction between Topey and Bleum who perform as though they had been doing so for ever. This is more than the 70’s, this is refreshingly 2008, at its acoustic best.

While bringing out a sense of nostalgia in me, it also made me acutely aware I had not heard anything like this in some time. It is haunting at times, but never frightening.

Ubyk has toured the South/Northwest in the summer/fall of 06 in support of their first EP “work”.

The band has just completed recording of a new EP with producer Alex Newport which will be available for purchase and download in Jan!!!

Check out more on http://www.myspace.com/ubyk

reviewed by viki ackland

The CD cover is the Davenport sign here in Toronto, and being a Toronto girl this has a comforting appeal. Josh Hicks, in 1998, rented a house at the corner of Ossington and Davenport. The house became a place for musicians to hang out and Chris found himself there rehearsing often, which led to him moving in there and the house becoming home. A place to write music, share ideas and finally start recording this CD.

Chris Staig first gained notice in the Toronto music scene as the guitarist for Taxi Chain. His three year tenure with the bagpipe funksters was marked by incessant touring from Quebec to Texas. The 1996 release of BAGPIPE JUKEJOINT (Distribution Fusion III) gave many people their first taste of Staig’s gritty guitar playing.

Staig’s next major project was the pop-rock combo Rockboy. Their EP TURNTABLE scaled the charts of campus radio stations in the spring of ‘98. Chris was singled out especially for his “extremely well delivered imagery” (Annex Gleaner) and his “throat wrenching vocals” (Spill Magazine). Stymied by his Rockboy collaborators’ indifference to additional live work and mystified by their growing interest in well paying day jobs and stable personal relationships, Staig hoisted the solo sail in 1999.

Chris has an interesting sound, a sort of Neil Young mixed with a young Steve Forbert, and the lyrics to all the songs are remarkable and real. That is the appeal of this CD, it is as real as it gets, with the musician friends connecting on many levels here.

The first track “rock ‘n’ roll holiday” is a catchy story, and a great start to this CD.
Track four “all I need is you” is great and the title speaks for itself. My favorite track is “another year.” Track nine shows a softer side with ‘Keys.” All the tracks are original and enjoyable to listen to, Chris clearly having a gift for story telling.

I don’t think Chris needs to worry about being different; this CD is a breath of fresh air. For a list of upcoming shows check out his website http://www.chrisstaig.com/index.htm

Tracks

Rock ‘n’ Roll Holiday
Fell off the Wagon
Time won’t leave you
All I need is You
Celia
Graduation Day
I want to be different
Another Year
Keys
Catherine
Look me in the eye

reviewed by viki ackland

This band has it all, and this singer, song writer, is an amazing breath of fresh air. Peter Katz is a true troubadour with a great voice and lyrics which are brilliantly descriptive. He can rock or capture you instantly with his soft rockabilly sound, and it is all about one thing, the lyrics. His band is a great mix of talent that works well together, creating a jazz-folk-acoustic pop sound.

Peter Katz is the winner of the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award and the Grand Prize Winner of Toronto’s IndieWeek. Recent activity for Peter Katz includes 2 successful national solo tours (100+ dates in 2006), invitations to play at such festivals as The Ottawa Folk Fest, Canadian Music Week, NXNE (for which he scored a 91 % on his Chart Attack report card), back to back sold-out shows at the Rivoli in Toronto, an invitation to perform for 2 weeks at the prestigious Karmina Palace in Manzanillo, Mexico as well as a special invitation by the National Arts Center to play in Vimy, France as part of the 90th anniversary re-dedication ceremony of the Vimy Monument.  Katz has also managed to land several strong support spots with such notable artists as Bedouin Soundclash, The Cat Empire, Matthew Barber, Tokyo Police Club, Danny Michel, Melissa McClelland, Tomi Swick and Emm Gryner.

In addition to his blossoming music career, Peter Katz has also been receiving considerable attention as a composer, writing music for numerous modern dance choreographers, including Naomi Lebel (OMO Dance Company) & Andrea Spaziani (DanceVein, IDAC). Katz was also recently commissioned to compose an original 30-minute score for renowned international choreographer Meagan O’Shea’s new work “When I See You Again” which premiered at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto as part of the Indie Unlimited Festival.

The first track “ok” showcases his amazing ability to combine words with song and capture the listener. “I do” is a great song which is reminiscent of Martin Sexton. I like each track equally well, but forgiveness seemed to speak volumes to this reviewer. “pictures” and “the dawning” are both powerful and imaginative.

Check out his website for upcoming shows http://www.peterkatz.org/home.html
or his myspace http://www.peterkatz.org/home.html

Tracks

ok
state
posters
these are the days
I do
forgiveness
it’s only wood
pictures
The dawning
More Nights
June 3, 2007

www.AngelaReed.com

Humming lyrics as a child, or singing solo in a choir, her love of music is clear with this album. With such credits as Berklee College of Music in Boston to Cornish of the Arts in Seattle Washington, this gal can not only sing but her lyrics are poignant and appealing.

With her band consisting of Cody Rahn (War Pigeon/Cuchata) and Ken Jacobson (Seahorse, Furtive Movement) she stands as an accomplished singer and songwriter whose energy is clear. Undertone reveals honest lyrics and a confident voice for one so young.

The first track “moving on” is 51 seconds of one wondering if they had died and gone to heaven. Track three “burn” is a great ballad showcasing the vocals, with poignant lyrics. “More than stones” is a great story about showing oneself to another.” My favorite has to be “Sweet,” been there, done that!!

Her Album is for sale on CDbaby ; www.cdbaby.com/cd/angelareed. She has performed with seasoned artists like the Paul Hanover Band, Kelly Harland and Kenny White.

I have a feeling this is gonna be sweet. Find out more about what is up with Angela on her website http://www.AngelaReed.com and for more information email her at info@AngelaReed.com

Tracks

Moving On
Undertone
Burn
Skies over Carolinas
Depths of Me
Down the Road
More than stones
Better days
Sweet
Hero
Rollin up the sleeves
Too much to miss
April 20, 2007

Formed by brothers Michael and Mars Ivic in 2004 and hailing from Hamilton these Canadians make Canada proud. With their influences being the leaders of Rock’n’Roll such as the likes of the Beatles, Stones, Cash, Velvet Underground to the children of the musical revolution, the Ramones, Joy Division/New Order, Smiths, Stone Roses, Siouxsie and the Banshees…..the Morning Stars have delivered a record fertile with guitars, lyrical lyrics, and a little something that reminds you of a little something and has you singing long afterwards.

The first track “hearts for the living” is a no nonsense bit of rock and roll, you will immediately sense the timeless era of rock. “You can’t change the world” is a great ballad showcasing the vocals. “Waiting at your door” is a great story and some interesting instrumental playing around in the background.” My favorite has to be “don’t waste your time,” with great poetic lyrics such as “don’t shy, I just need ya”. The final track “fall” is a great acoustic finale complete with heart felt vocals asking the question “who do you think you are.”

Can you change the world? I say yes. Check them out on myspace at http://www.myspace.com/themorningstars or http://www.themorningstars.com/

Tracks

Hearts for the living
Wrong
You can’t change the world
Steal my love
Waiting at your door
All coming down
Don’t waste time
Breaking into your world
Fall

April 20, 2007

Formed in early 2005, Dearly Beloved includes Higgins (lead singer and bass), Niva Chow (vocalist), Damon Richardson (guitar), Alex O’reilly (drums) and John Pogue (guitar). Higgins and Richardson played together in Change of Heart and O’reilly played with Higgins in Doctor. The rest of the band has also worked with each other in various other projects before joining Dearly Beloved. This group of talented friends came together to help Higgins make a record and in the process became musical kin.

The band’s debut, You Are the Jaguar, was written, produced and recorded by Higgins at Orange Studios and in his home studio Phoebe Street.

The first track “the ride” takes you on a fast paced ride right off the bat with great back vocals, reminiscent of the punk rock era, heavy bass riffs, and hard rockin guitar licks. “Manifesto” is a great showing of the guitars and drum talent. “You are the jaguar” is asking the question “what’s up with you? and what can I do for you.” My favorite has to be “the butler routine,” where Rob Higgins shows a softer side. I am a sucker for girl back up vocals and Niva Chow brings a solid, nostalgic feel to each song. Each song is a story and documentation of life, combine that with the catchy vocals and musicians who clearly are at home playing together and you have a great album.
For more info on upcoming shows check out the bands myspace http://www.myspace.com/robhiggins  

Tracks
The Ride
Manifesto
You are the Jaguar
Rugged casual sport
The Butler Routine
Queen St. vs. Park Ave.
All points bulletin
Perils of snap decisions
Acquiesce
Noise submitted to order

March 28, 2007

Berlin Boot camp is the third album for Jen Militia, with their Militant soul punk one cannot help get caught up. Front man and lead singer Mike Dainjah has a sexy, verbose, in your face message, and with his power house rhythm section behind him he delivers with the intensity of punk rock, the eloquence of rap with a huge serving of soul tossed in. The way he goes from rapping it out to his soulful rock voice is effortless.

The Trinidad born poet revolted against his first love which was hip hop, to front blues rock band Stone Prophets. Dainjah recruited his best friend, virtuoso guitarist J.Double, powerhouse rhythm section Christion and Kyle Nova, Holla the Entertainer as well as notorious beat jacker Gord Pesst and went to work. The Militant Militia sound was born.

The first track“this is not a test” has a Beastie boys feel to it, moving smoothly between its multi genre messages. This talented singer/songwriter keeps the tracks flowing with the second as “theG7 anthem” which rocks it out. On ‘Citizen’ he reminisces about being in love with a ‘broken girl’. The fourth track “5GF” he fires both barrels, he has “Got 5 girlfriends and no control but the 2 I love best are rock and roll.”

Berlin Boot Camp and a national tour coming in January 2007 so check out more on upcoming shows for Jen Militia at http://www.myspace.com/jenmilitia. Jen Militia is here, and they are poetically perilous. And remember, this is not a test.

Tracks
This is not a test
The G7 Anthem
The Circle
5GF
Walk the Line
All my life
Citizen Jane
Diabolical Haters
Wardance
Fight! March! Die!
Fashizm

March 13, 2007

Canada’s Tenth Planet is a great big slice of alternative rock pie, which is both satisfying and decadent. One need only listen to hear the influences of Alice in Chains, Soundgarden with a moody broody quality of Radiohead. Tenth Planet stands strong, offering up intense vocals, whether biting or soft, and all spicily crafted.

Tenth Planet took root in 1998. Rock guitarist Brian Paul, a native of Toronto’s far west, had partaken of numerous musical projects and released five albums of his compositions under various monikers prior to meeting Martin Ouellette. Windsor-born and over-trained, Ouellette had sung with symphonies and bar bands and had worked in both acting and writing. Varied name and personnel changes were shortly to follow. In 2000, this duo became a triumvirate with the addition of Nic Vurro, another Toronto native, this time from the far east, and another veteran of the local rock scene as both a lead guitarist and as a bass player; he had also written and recorded soundtrack material for several films. Traditionally-trained drummer Glenn Neath landed shortly afterwards. Neath, who is also from eastern Toronto, played in a slew of bands throughout the mega-city before finally joining forces with Tenth Planet in 2002. The band, with Robert Strauss, produced Tenth Planet’s self-titled EP in 2000. The single “Slash of Blue,” also included as a bonus track on the group’s 2003 Retro Has No Future EP, was selected as the lead-off track for the Indieblast Vol. 4 compilation and received airplay across two oceans with absolutely no label support or professional management. In June of 2003, the song “We are the Cause of Everything” was a weekly winner of Umbrella Music’s “Next Level” contest. In May 2004 Tenth Planet was selected to be one of five finalists (recent finalists include the Trews, the Miniatures and Finger Eleven) for 97.7 HTZ FM’s Rocksearch 2004 for which they still have not received their appearance fee – so YOUNG BANDS BEWARE. By the end of 2004, the band had sold two thousand copies of the fully independent “Retro Has No Future” EP and had also found a new producer in the Tea Party’s Jeff Martin, who helped the band produce a rich, release-ready six-song industry demo. For bookings, contact Ralph James at the Agency Group (Toronto office).

The opening song “Shadow” is a roller coaster ride with biting guitar, inviting all into its 90’s mosh pit. Likewise fiery third track “Ariane” was well crafted with great guitar work and intensity. The ballad “Do You Remain?” gave me a weird nostalgic feeling the first couple seconds, BONO or Michael Hutchence came to mind, and was sufficiently sentimental. Equally strong as a ballad is “we are the cause of everything.”

On the whole this is a self-assured and faultless release from a very confident band, and I look forward to more. Catch them at the Horseshoe Tavern on March 30th. OR check out their future dates on their website http://www.tenth-planet.ca/

February 13, 2007

Ok, the CD cover is pink with a cool pink runners and lipstick. This girl reviewer likes that for starters, but is not sure what could be inside, and boy was she happy. Being a DIY girl I loved the hands on approach to their music.

“me” is the debut CD of a talented trio of Anglo-Irish-Swedish band based in the UK, where they have real tea and apparently great musicians. Catchy, punk rock, art-punk, pop at its best, every track is clever and simple, but not simplistic by any means. Like a small taste now and again of old Demics but with the big difference that you can understand and relate to the lyrics, which are fun and head bobbing in a sign along way.

From the first track “run,run,run,run,run” to the last track “she’s red” this CD is not stop fun. I like each track equally well, and some if not all I found myself singing along. Hell, I like “girls, skirts, boots, bikes” and “one day I’ll say It” each creating delightful imagery. I found myself moshing around my apartment with my cat to “yes, no, stay, go, go , do, don’t, will, won’t.”

Their debut North American release, ‘The World According to Buck’ EP (released October ’05), was playlisted on over 400+ college radio stations throughout the United States and Canada with heavy rotation and chart placements aplenty. In addition, the band was recently nominated as ‘Best International Artist’ at Toronto Independent Music Awards for the second year in a row. As well as attending the event, Buck Brothers’ Andy Duke also presented the award for ‘Best Alternative Artist’ at the ceremony. Buck Brothers have also been nominated in the same category at Inland Empire Music Awards, Southern California Music Awards and Orange County Music Awards. The band has also performed at NXNE (North By Northeast) – Canada’s Largest Music Festival in June 2006. NEMO Festival in Boston, USA recently asked the 3 Bucks to take part in their festivities in September 2006. And Canadian Music Week in Toronto has invited the three lads to strut their stuff at their festival in Toronto in March 2007. The band’s full length album, “Me”, is released February 2007 in the USA (Coach House Records), UK (Cargo Records/Fading Ways) and Canada (Scratch Records/Fading Ways) with other territories to follow.

Check out more on upcoming shows for Buck Brothers at http://www.buckbrothers.net/

run, run, run, run ,run and by this CD.

Tracks
run, run, run, run ,run
Gorgeously stupid
Which me to you like?
Mannish Girl
Liar
Together we fall
Girls, Skirts, Boots, Bikes
One day I’ll say it
yes, no, stay, go, go , do, don’t, will, won’t
Gatu’ Politik
Wake up call
She’s red

February 13, 2007

EVILS OF THE MODERN PLEASURE DANCE is the debut CD of our fellow Canadian talent, a singer/songwriter who quit his high finance job to pursue his dream of making music. Born in Brantford ON, Peeler got his start on the music scene as the guitarist for “Phineas Gage.” Realizing he had talent as singer and songwriter he began to writing songs for his album “Evils of the modern pleasure dance.” And good thing for us he did.

“Half Past High” asks the questions all of us ponder and times, and this catchy rock tune rose to #1 on the iacmusic.com Big 50 and in 2005 was voted rock song of the year. This talented singer/songwriter keeps the tracks flowing with such tracks as “Lonely Days” a graceful rock ballad. The eighth track “dirty maggie” is strong and powerful. This Canadian has a BIG voice, one you will not soon forget. My favorite song has to be aptly named after the CD “evils of the modern pleasure dance.” He easily moves into strong Ballads with the ease of a veteran, as in “the deal” one of the three hidden tracks.

Check out more on upcoming shows for Peeler at www.myspace.com/peelermusic or www.peeler.ca

I walked away feeling satisfied, and not dirty at all.

Tracks
The Evils of a Modern Pleasure Dance
Pretty little things
Lonely days
Half past high
Last Place
Phineas Gage
The man I need to be
Dirty Maggie
Waiting here
At war with myself
The greatest liars
Dipped in Grey
Perfect
The deal
The deal (lounge mix)

January 4, 2007

The Band Members
Steve Moore – Instrument: Vocals, Guitar, djembe
Bryan Sandau – Instrument: Drums
Scott Taylor – Instrument: Guitar
Jim Fernandes – Instrument: Bass

This politically charged band hails from Calgary. The band was formed in 2001 by Steve Moore, who wrote and recorded the debut album “Solus Verum.” With influences such as Tool, Sepultura, Dillinger Escape Plan, Angeldust-era Faith no More, Machine Head, Dead can Dance, Public Enemy, Refused, Ion Dissonance, the Anti-Doctrine it is not hard to see where this band gets there honest original sound from.

Forceful vocals, rocking bass, a definite message and a high energy sound describe this Canadian rock band Inner Surge. All the tracks I heard were very passionate and innovative, and you can see metal, rock, punk, hardcore and progressive influences in every track. One of my favorites was the track “censored” which is a great almost techno sound complete with an air raid sound effect, airplane and other simulations. Loved “backlash” and “driven” strong, unique and very powerful. This band has an addictive sound, leaving one wanting to hear more.

Inner Surge’s newest album is the critically acclaimed and inventive “Signals Screaming”, with 11 tracks focusing on human rights abuses and what the band sees as the worldwide “blind eye”. Released April 1 2006 through Cyclone Records, the album has been well received by both fans and music critics. “Signals Screaming” is being hailed as “one of the most essential metal albums of the year” from “one of Canada’s most promising and most modern-sounding metal bands out there today.” The lyrics cover themes such as the 1994 Rwandan genocide in “Wolves”, the massacre of peaceful protesters in Uzbekistan in 2005 in “Retribution Song”, the repression of the FDA in “No Profit in the Cure”, and what the band describes as “self serving corporate groups on the road to destroying themselves”.

Inner Surge’s “Matrika” can now be purchased digitally through HMV Digital at www.hmvdigital.com. “Signals Screaming” will be available there shortly.
Inner Surge is featured on CBC Radio at radio3.cbc.ca/bands/INNER-SURGE.
Inner Surge is also the featured band on the new Lost Socks Insanity podcast, who played “Wolves”, “The Outcome”, “Backlash” and “Silencer” on their New Year’s podcast

The bands name Inner Surge is something in everyone, that driven mechanism inside you to do something remarkable. I say this band is aptly named.

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