It has to be said up front, this will be the least objective review I have yet to write for Lipstik Indie as I am already a huge fan of Laura L’Rock in particular and her new album Law of Attraction. That being said, I have never seen her with her full band ticking out and this CD launch, at the famed Now Lounge on 189 Church Street in Toronto, provided the venue and the time to witness the aforementioned Laura L’Rock in action. But, I am not just reviewing her performance, rather the entire night. Again, I have to say all objectivity has to be scattered to the four winds, as I was not just a silent witness to the rock and roll proceeding but, I was also the MC of the eve. Leave out any hopes entirely behind you if you expect less that a biased view here. Now that I have cleared that up on to the review.

Opening proceedings was  Sarah Smith, formerly of the beloved rock outfit The Joys. Sarah immediately set the tone that this was a celebration for and of Laura L’Rock and combined a set of songs (mostly original)  with a knowing sexuality that lit up the room. Believe me, Laura L’Rock wrote a song about this girl, (they have been pals for  a year or so now) on the Law of Attraction CD called Ball of Fire and with just a drummer (Robin) and her steely smiling gaze, Sarah did what an opening act does: open the door to a high energy party NIGHT!! And she did.

After that and just on schedule at ten thirty, came Laura L’Rock’s band mates Owen Tennyson, on drums, Rob Laidlaw (of Platinum Blonde no less) on bass  and lead guitarist, Steve Saunders. Laura, with her long blonde locks and dark roots just enough to keep you rooted to your seat, looked hot,  hot, hot, in tight sprayed on jeans, flashy sable coloured jacket and a sexy velveteen bodice that did not hide any of the smouldering sexuality and charisma that she possesses on or off stage. She looked out at the multitude at first,  looking almost surprised at the packed to the rafters and enthused welcome — wisely chose to start the rock off with Light my Fuse, from her Law of Attraction album and promptly did. A bit slower than usual tempo than I am used too, but the crowd didn’t know and didn’t care and ate it up. In fact, from the moment Laura L’Rock hit the stage she had the audience in the palm of her hungry for rock little hands. If it is possible for a performer to get bigger star- wise, as the set drove on into the night, Laura showered the rock room — she became a bigger star tonight. Zipping through many of her best tracks on Law of Attraction, she didn’t stop the rock for the entire 35 minute set as she celebrated not only her night and CD release, but all the people she admired and wrote about in her songs too.

The Now Lounge is not a big room for a rock act, but it got bigger as if all the people that packed it were expanding and pushing back the walls themselves for elbow room. Truly a great night.

The closing act High Heels LoFi ended the night by not closing: they thanked Laura profusely and did not let down the torch that had been passed form Laura and played their party songs like Big Dumb Rock Song with an exuberance that matched if not equaled Laura. They were as caught up by the celebration for Laura as any one and planted their flag on Planet Laura L’Rock for the duration as well a s could be asked.

Much gratis for a band on rock night.

Leuty Station is like walking into a beautiful dream and not wanting to wake up from it.  Each song is a story of a life event that everyone can appreciate and associate a part of their own life with.  It’s hard to pick just one favourite song as the album is a mix of all the music genres I love.  As the sounds of Jazz, Latin and R&B flow out of my speakers, I find my self entranced with every single song.

How Long and Strawberry Girl are both powerfully touching songs.  One is about the fear of a cancer diagnosis and the emotions one goes through and the other about two people who have been married and madly in love with each other for over 50 years.  The listener will be gripped by the vivid power of the words and lyrics.

Last Train is a powerful rock ballad with a great Santanaesque riff in the middle of the song.  I’ve heard this song being compared to Tori Amos, but I personally think Heather Hill gives Tori a run for her money. The lyrics are so emotional and wrenching that I can feel what the protagonist of this song is going through as she is being chased.

Leuty Station, You Won’t Leave Me and Between the Leather and the Lining are biographically sensational.  The passion in these songs sends butterflies through me.  Though not a wife or mother myself, I as an artist and woman can appreciate the struggles one must go through when making life changing decisions.

Heather Hill is not only an incredibly talent musician, who weaves beautiful stories into music, she is an inspiration to her fellow artists.  Leaving the corporate world to pursue her dream as an artist is both brave and terrifying and you can feel the power of her love for her chosen profession in each and every song.

Leuty Station will be available online on May 12th and at the Drake Underground at 7:30pm for Heather’s CD release party. To book your advance copy, please email heather@heatherhill.ca.

Tracks
How Long
27
Leuty Station
Last Train
Second Chance
You Won’t Leave Me
Wading Through Normal
Between the Leather and Lining
Strawberry Girl
Never Grow Old

Do you ever listen to a CD and visualize the artist or band playing in a large stadium, to a massive crowd.  When I listen to Jessica Speziale, I see her on that stage.  This girl has rock star quality and if you’ve seen her live, you will agree that her amazing stage presence and powerful voice fills the room.

Right from the get go you are thrown into the world of rock with Brace Yourself and brace yourself you should.  The rest of this album is one amazing hit after another.  A perfect mix of rock and rock ballads and rock your socks off tunes, Jessica Speziale has the formula that hits the mark.

Though I loved each and every song on the album, Baby Face and Dear Reverie really stood out for me.  Baby Face should become every woman’s anthem for the type of man not to get involved with.  Dear Reverie is just an amazing rock song that makes you want to get up and dance your ass off.

The album itself is not only fun to listen to, Jessica Speziale herself is a tonne of fun to watch live.  A great musician, a talented song writer and a helluvah performer.  Get out to see her up close and personal, she will be kicking off her summer tour starting May 25 with tours all over Southern Ontario.

Tracks
Brace Yourself
Don’t Look Down
Turn Me On (Leave Me On)
Babyface
How To Be A Man
Dear Reverie

Upcoming Tour Dates:
May 25 – Mississauga
May 30 – Hamilton
June 2 – Bracebridge
June 8 – Ottawa
June 22 – Toronto
More to be confirmed!  Visit http://www.jessicaspeziale.com for up-to-date listings.
Website: http://www.jessicaspeziale.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jessicaspezialemusic
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/jessicaspeziale
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/jessicaspeziale
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/spezzie
EPK: http://www.sonicbids.com/2/EPK/?epk_id=329968
Online Store: http://www.jessicaspeziale.com/store
Dear Reverie on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/dear-reverie-ep/id483294418

Arlene Paculan is one beautiful and talented artist, musician and woman.  The brainchild behind the amazing Wonder Women events and of the production company Lene Green Mean Productions, she is a force of nature with an incredible voice to back it up.

Listening to Arlene’s CD ‘I’m Worth It’ feels like I’m at a tea party with all my favourite people, sipping from beautiful tea cups.  Each and every song on the album is a lyrical trip down a petal covered road with inspiring lyrics and a velvet smooth voice.

When music pulls out emotions in you that you would ordinarily hide, it says something about the strength of the songwriter.  One More Day does exactly that for me.  The line ‘cherish me for one more day’ pulls hard at my heart strings.  The entire song is an emotional roller coaster for me.

I’m Worth It has a 90’s R&B nostalgic feel to it.  Some names that came into mind as I listened to it are artists such as  Karyn White and Jody Watley. Some of my favourite ballads have been from those artists and Arlene’s music brings me back to a time when I would be not only listening to, but singing along with many of those great R&B artists.

Without sounding corny, this album is Worth It and is in my collection of favourites.  Pick up a copy or download the album at iTunes and get out to see Arlene Paculan live, she preforms all over Toronto and Mississauga and another edition of Wonder Women will be happening this summer.

Tracks
I’m Worth It
Get Over Yourself
Closer To You
One More Day
Your Voice
Forgive Me

First introduced to  Andrea Machett’s music at an open mic, and most recently hearing her play during the weekly songwriters series called Tumultuous Tuesdays, I’m familiar with this song writers storytelling lyrical stylings.  The sounds of a tasty acoustic guitar and the smooth tones of a beautiful voice make Words and Letters a delight to listen to.

Indie with a dash of Jann Arden, a pinch of Sarah Slean and good helping of acoustic vibrations, Andrea Matchett brings a light touch to a heavy world with gritty lyrics and vibrant riffs. The five song album is filled with great storytelling and a beautiful voice. If the listener can visualize a music video to accompany the music, the songwriter has done their job. Andrea Matchett’s music is a music video being played on a continuous loop.

As mentioned in the review, Tumultuous Tuesdays (https://www.facebook.com/groups/49857668943/) is a weekly songwriters series held at Graffiti’s in Kensington Market.  To see other outstanding performers such as Andrea, you should go check it out.

I look forward to hearing more from this amazing artist.

Andrea’s other links:
RN: http://www.reverbnation.com/andreamatchett
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/andreamatchettmusic
MySpace: www.myspace.com/andreamatchett
Twitter: www.twitter.com/andreamatchett
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Andrea-Matchett/352499104241
Bandcamp: http://andreamatchett.bandcamp.com/

Tracks:
One Day
Mirror
Right Where I Began
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Electric Man

Upcoming shows:
Kincardine on April 12th at the Walker House at 7 pm

April 28th at Kincardine Arts Center at 9 pm

July 14th somewhere on mainstreet Kincardine at 11:30 am (it’s for the Lighthouse Blues Festival)

CJ Sleez’s music is nostalgic of a crazy 90’s house party. Music cranked to eleven, speakers vibrating off the wall, neighbours pounding on the walls.

I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect when I loaded Valley of the Shadow into iTunes.  The album cover art is of a sexy blonde wearing corsets and stilettos.  I truly wasn’t expecting to hear high energy metal blasting out of my speakers when I hit play.  A proven case of don’t judge a book by it’s cover, as what is inside the jewel case is a helluvah good time.

Produced by well known Toronto music producer Rob Sanzo, this album has a powerful heavy metal edge.  A band like CJ Sleez would be a fanatically fun, rock your ass off, sweaty night in a live music venue.  I am very curious to hear them live and hope they book an upcoming show soon.  According to their website they play quite regular at The Bovine, hoping to catch them there soon.

Valley of the Shadow is CJ Sleez’s third album and they are about to release a special edition CD with the Italian Indie label Lunatic Asylum, that will be for sale in Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  If music isn’t keeping her busy enough, she is also working on my second book.

My only complaint is the CD is only 7 songs long.  With the heavy cost of production, I fully understand independent musicians limitations, but I was left wanting to hear more.

In the meantime, check out their website for bios on the band and merchandise.

CJ SLEEZ IS
CJ Sleez – vocals
Errol H – guitar
Stacy Stray – guitar
Norelle – bass
Danni Action – drums

Track List:
Back to Nowhere
Between Our Hate
In The Flesh
Burn Out
Cut & Pasted
Dirty Looks
Lowest Low

Upcoming shows:
Friday May 18th @ The Bovine.

Purchase music here: http://www.katleonard.com/music.cfm
Blog: http://katblahblog.wordpress.com/
Monthly Newsletter signup & Jockstrap download: http://www.katleonard.com/home.cfm
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Katbandoo

by Carolina Smart

This feisty and FANtabulous performer would give Madonna a run for her money any day of the week.  Lyrics that are daring, emotional and in many cases downright hilarious, show that this lady is not only talented, but someone to keep your eye on.  So what’s all the hullabaloo about.  Let me tell you.

A 2011 Fringe sensation, Kat Leonard can do it all.  Sing, dance, the splits, act and write one hell of a show.  A Depper Kind Of Love, Kat Leonard’s tribute to the man she adores –Johnny Depp, is a play and CD that is filled with hilarious songs and very dark humour.

With no apologies, she digs deep into the soul of the matter. Kat Leonard’s play took the audience along for a very powerful and passionate ride, as does her CD.  Even if you haven’t seen the play, you will be drawn in and ready to strap on your seat belt for the ride.  Songs such as I’m My Own Asshole and Jockstrap will have you laughing till you cry and Only Human and Not Us will remind you that even the love of another can get us off track from loving ourselves.

A true inspiration on stage, Kat has been seen at the Toronto Fringe Festival, Love & Obsession Festival, No Sweetheart Required Festival, part of Arlene’s Wonder Women series, and Theatre Passe Murraille After Hours.  Check her website often for upcoming dates and while you are there, purchase a copy of A Depper Kind Of Love.

The ever charming and versatile Meghan Morrison is back with her new album, “We are all born naked.” I just love this girl; she is soulful, lovely, talented and unpretentious in life and in her art. Her voice always reminds me of a young Alanis Morissette, with her own distinctive style and presence of course.

The first track “We are all born naked” is a great one, a nice upbeat message. Then right into the second track “The Weather Girl” which is a completely different pace, and very original! I have to say that “Hush” is one of my favorites; I find it to be a strong ballad, showcasing her skills to the utmost, a very powerful song that draws you in.

This talented lass even sings about “Tsunami” in which she equates a storm to a relationship, very well said, getting lost in that undertow of life.

Check out her online Indie Jam every Sunday night, a Community Music Project Based in Toronto, Canada ……grab your instruments and play along at Home!

Check out FB for the latest news https://www.facebook.com/meghanmorrisonmusic ; follow her on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/megsmorrison ….. or check out her blog! http://www.meghanmorrison.com/blog/

Tracks
Good People
The Weather Girl
Long Way
Hush
Letting me Down
Shy Lungs
Tsunami
This Song

by Nik Beat

Did you know that the Eighties is Back with a vengeance!!!???

Well just take a gander and a listen to L’Rocks debut CD, Law of Attraction! Actually Laura L’Rock gives you the 80 ‘s NOW!!! That is the sound that reverberates whereas 80’s rock and hair band metal rock gave you girls girls and fame and fortune and it’s all about us making a lot of bread; L’Rock actually writes almost entirely about other artists other voices and other rooms so to speak. Very few of the songs on her new CD are about her right!!!??? Wrong they are all about her take on life in the fast lane of 2011 and going. The lady is lead singer on Rock Candy group, but is on her own here.

There are at least five major hits on this CD and the top of the pop crop is Ball of Fire ostensibly about a fellow rock and roller but any listener will simply kick back the jams and realize it doesn’t matter who it’ s about it about being a star!!!!!!!!!!!!! A Rock Star and it is the best rock single classic that I have heard in many a year and I am not kidding. Does this sound like a review or a sound Crush—- well lads and lassies it’s both for Christ’ sake!!

Other hit singles are: the first track, Light my Fuse and check out the fantastic vid to this track directed by Western Canadian Doug Cook (L’Rock felt he is the One and He was!! as she flow out to West to get this video in the can by the best of minds but I digress); other winners are 98.5, You’re Bringing me Down.

Come ON and Kiss me and the lovely rock ballad, Law of Attraction. On this track L’Rock sounds like a cross between Sheryl Crowe and Melissa Etheridge in fact her vocalizing runs the emotional gamut from A to Z. Like she says: ‘She’s  alright! She’s alright! She’s a ball of fire!!! This ball of fire is originally from Newfoundland, but has now made her home her in Toronto. Special Kudos goes to the superlative production and Laura L’Rock gives her big thanks to Brian Gagnon. Rock is back! Bye bye Hip hop Rap and DJ’s in clubs. Live rock is here again!!

Dust & Fumes E.P. (Patrick McCormack, 2011): A Song-By-Song review

by Myke Mazzei

Patrick McCormack’s Dust & Fumes is an immediately approachable, artfully-crafted E.P. channeling early 2000’s alt-rock in the vein of Built To Spill or a subdued American Music Club, with a folk delivery.

Featuring six dirges orchestrated with subtle percussion, memorable piano riffs, and a varied and colourful bed of guitar work, the programme ties its themes together successfully via crossfades and transitions, and one 24-second interlude.  It is a balanced response to the Chicago artist’s 2010 Fresh Paint release.

Opener “Up At Dawn” eases into the set: “Short flights home always drag/Is home all we ever have?” muses McCormack rhetorically, and the music answers, fittingly, in a sparse manner.

“Mile Away” comes across as a recording that everyone had a lot of fun creating in studio, and could easily be a popular number on college radio and blogs.  Portland’s Shelley Short contributes a perfectly-matched harmony vocal to McCormack’s near whisper in this upbeat number.

Alternating back into a slow-groove, country-tinged “So Long” has the strongest vocal delivery and is augmented by Sam Wagster’s tasteful pedal steel guitar playing, while “Dim Lights” particularly recalls the comparisons to the alt-rock maevens above, and is deceptively catchy.  Both are particularly well-recorded by Jamie Carter (CarterCo Recording, Chicago), with reverbs placing the instruments in specific sonic locations, and the drums’ presence is enough to carry the songs forward without any interference.

The recording’s title song “Dust & Fumes”, accompanied by its pre/interlude, is an Eastern European-flavoured ballad that sounds close to what Havalina Rail Co. might have stashed as a bonus track on ‘Russian Lullabies’.  Its form consists of two segments, both of different time signatures and rhythms, which is at once jarring yet suited to the song’s diatribe: “Beneath the floorboards and the grid/Beneath the frequencies and hiss/That’s where I must’ve given up”.  Eerie imagery and appropriate instrumentation make this work.

A stripped-down backing of a simple piano riff, lightly-strummed guitars, paced snare and kick drum, and bass synthesizer brings the closer “Breaking My Heart” around to unity gain.  Its understated progression veers almost back into rock territory just before stepping back and—

Well, there’s a better way to experience the song cycle of Patrick McCormack’s Dust & Fumes… he has released it digitally at http://patrickmccormack.bandcamp.com as a pay-what-you-want download.  His Fresh Paint E.P. is there as well (from which the song “Ovenbird” was selected for the 2011 Edward Burns film Newlyweds), and both are a steal.  You may also contact the artist via e-mail at: mrpatrickmccormack@gmail.com

Tracks

Up At Dawn 02:06

Mile Away 02:54

So Long 03:43

Dim Lights 03:24

Interlude (free) 00:24

Dust & Fumes 03:03

Breaking My Heart 04:02

Freeman Dre and the Kitchen Party’s Red Door Second Floor

by Nik Beat

There is a song a decade ago that has as its refrain: ‘what the world doesn’t need now is another folk singer’.  That came to mind my mind when I heard the first tune ‘Oak Tree’ from the kitchen party’s new cd. I nearly quaked in my respective Doc Martens that I would be subjected to folk world rotgalore which I am deeply prejudiced against, having been a punk folkie myself and done an enormous round of open mics, when I first moved to Toronto year and years ago and been Xposed to the worst trappings of folkie excess.

Freeman Dre and THE Kitchen Party had a surprise for me: the next song, Six Hundred Feet kicked in and I was literally steering myself from going into the ditch and back on the road for a journey that kitchen party were determined and seductively going to take me on for the rest of their album. No more crazy spells of suicidal desires to go off into the nearest expressway railing!!!!!

These guys are Canadian to boot and regard themselves Parkdale Street Folk Punks and I so regard them after listening to this cd, which has been out for less than a year. It was sent to me by friend and folkie indie label personage, Bev Kreller of Speak Music.

The group take their name from the timeless as they put it, east coast tradition of friends and neighbours getting the royal Canadians together in their kitchens  for music and fun and a few dozening drinks thrown in for good measure. They actually sound more like a combo of Tom Waits with smoother vocalizing’s and  Irish Punk group The Pogues!! They are religiously minded punk folkers on tracks like Babylon and Magdelena and its good to have faith in the lord. They are  Toronto conscious folk punks on tracks like Saturday night in Parkdale  and the song, went to town. They are goodtime rockin punk folkers on lets take the show on the road and they are situationist social critics on  needle in your eye and these walls (they listen). In other words deez cats got it comin!!! Two thumbs up from this reviewer.

ALL tracks Produced by Freeman Dre and John Critchley

 Tracks

Six Hundred Feet 04:15

Babylon 02:51

Went To Town 03:27

Let’s Take The Show On The Road 04:42

Oak Tree 03:09

Saturday Night in Parkdale 04:17

These Walls (They Listen) 02:52

Needle In Your Eye 04:46

It’s Good To Have Faith In The Lord 03:42

Funny Situation 03:32

Magdalena 03:26

Do Widzenia 03:15

“Kids in Japan, in Rome and France / Kids just wanna dance!” sings Stephanie B., one half of Berlin-Toronto electro-pop duo Lola Dutronic, at the outset of their New York Stories digital EP (on the Red Star Digital Music label).  This marks an appropriate start to the set, as the band cycles through five CBGB’s/Max’s Kansas City-era songs by legends such as The Fast, Johnny Thunders, and Blondie.

The first three numbers are enjoyably upbeat, subtly-arranged dance arrangements, with elements of French Pop hinted at in whispered background vocals.  Producer/Composer Richard Citroen coaxes a natural-sounding landscape of synthesizer pads, beats, and audio samples onto the canvas, and a tasteful use of reverbs and delays is employed, particularly on Stephanie’s vocals, and consequentially the group’s arrangements have a very full– yet not overproduced– spectrum of sound.  Being a thematic work in tribute to a specific era, New York Stories takes a good-humoured right-turn from its sources’ punk-rock geneses and transforms the material into a clear-eyed mélange of atmospheric Euro Disco.  The last two songs (“You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory” and “Keep Your Dreams”) add more of a slow-jam, lounge vibe to the collection.  The artful pitch-shifting on the vocals is quite enjoyable and slides them into the well-balanced mixes without effort.

The first single linked below is “Kids Just Wanna Dance”, and it is the intuitive pick, though “In The Sun” could easily be a great follow-up with its straightforward rhythm and ridiculously catchy melodies (both verse and chorus).  Lola Dutronic’s confident approach to their craft will attract many new listeners and, indeed, set as many feet moving in discotheques worldwide.


Paris Black is Back and that is not all. The Eur-Canadian star originally hailing from Denmark is not only back in Black he is here to stay and has proven it with a new CD, Im Not Jesus. The deliberately ironic title of Paris’s new CD is both true and not so true as any Rock star on the comeback trail obviously believes in The Second Coming ….. of himself and Paris obviously believes in himself as this minor pop rock masterpiece proves!!  As well he has been on the comeback touring and performance  trail for the past year and half both supporting this new CD and the Vision that goes with it, obviously with the relish of a Rock Star who survived rock stardom and made it back from the edge to a more mature stance– ironically taking us on a harder ride than the one he took us in the Eighties.

In the Eighties Paris had a remarkable career as European and Canadian pop star. His stuff now is much edgier and harder rocking as this LP proves. From the opening track Dirty Kisses to Take Me Home and till the final track I’m not Jesus, Paris with the help of Madonnna Producer Mark S. Berry and the amazingly talented guitarist and vocalist Denis Martel deftly crafts a pop rock journey through the many moods and worlds that Paris has belonged to too and disavows  and then takes back with furry the worlds that have benefited his spiritual and emotional growth. Paris has admitted to me that he partied to the point of reaching that Dionysian Blakean excess in wine, women and more women that marked his rite of passage as a youth through the nefarious pleasure dome of Xperiences that Rock and Roll stardom made in the Eighties Paris Black incarnation.

The hits are  the songs Take Me Home, Never Be Amazing and the reggae inflected Sexy Girl. This last song owes a nod to it ancester, The Tide is High by 80`s band Blondie. In fact, it is a better song than the Blondie hoily poily pastiche of reggae sucrose with an infinitely more succinct yet just as pop message. While resisting the deliberate and silly ambiguity of its Blondie predecessor Sexy Girl leaves no doubt where the opinion of the singer lies and the place to be is going to be– puts you in that tropical island mood actually!

Songs like Addicted and I`m Not Jesus while not being any less melodious that the more listener friendly lyrics of the above mentioned songs take a slightly darker if  sardonic and ironic view of happenstance of this world and dare I say the next life. Coming back and resurrecting a new self and career does ape the Messianic Jesus plot rather well but with humour too.

Paris does equally well with two major cover cuts: World Coming Down and Sunglasses at Night both of which are reinvented rather than just slavishly covered versions that other lesser artists might have pusteered on this CD.. Anyway Paris Black is Back and kudos and majors for that and hooray for a great new Paris and  a great new CD!! Album is dedicated to the Late Great member of Platinum Blonde, Kenny Maclean Executive Producers: Traysee Green and Danny Rosso.

Very sexy, very melodic, very cool!!! Perhaps the poet in me is leaping and dancing right now but I loved it. Extremely original and dare I say, meaningful. Peter Unwin whose books include the novel “Nine Bells for a Man” the story collection “The Rocket Farmers” and the “ The Wolfs Head , Writing Lake Superior”, a non fiction book, has taken a collection of his poems and spoken words based on his life and created this collection that is well worth the listen.

Peter Unwin was born in Sheffield, England and was raised in southern Ontario. He studied at Carleton University in Ottawa, and then moved to Toronto where he took on various jobs as a grain handler, beer porter, a denture courier, and a journalist. He has traveled extensively in Ontario and was once thrown out of Providence Bay by someone who claimed to be the mayor. Currently, he lives in Toronto.

Every track is unique in itself, “these guys” was mesmerizing, with his voice husky and a backtrack of everything from whispers to a subtle news cast, and music. Very intriguing. Obviously of a political nature with talk of shareholders. Avant-garde spoken word with a smoky jazz kicker. All the tracks start off with a theme, Track number 3 for instance “Emergency” starts with a 911 call.

Very well done by these guys, who are all authors in their own right, all but Dave Dafoe who lives and teaches guitar in Brantford.

Available on itunes here – http://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/broken-book/id413068365
http://peterunwin.ca/index.html.html

Tracks
Lets get some atmosphere
These guys
Emergency
North Road
Half the Man
Broken Book
The Mingus Bit
Typical Canadian Morning
Lake Superior
Afraid of nothing
Sixteen Hours
Emergency 11

Michael Lake is what I call punningly a typical Canadian folk rock singer-wrong-writer. That is he articulates the folkies fave gripes and complaints about what went wrong with Love and time and Love and breaking up  and Love as a concept in itself and how life has a way of catching up to us and loving us for five seconds and then discarding us while it moves on to future trips. This falls heavy on Michael’s heart which he wears on his sleeve only to play with it a bit, not the usual pontificating Folk Rock positions.

Lyrically he is as good as Bruce Cockburn in locating where the scene of the crime is and speechifying it in song on a personal level without the Leftist screed.

Nearly all the tracks on his Longshore CD have catchy folk rock melodies and treatments with a full band.

Fave songs are the following: Tear Me Down, which does!!! How Far Can You Fall, alot!! Which artfully describes the fall we all sometimes make, that seems like the last one from which we won’t get up from. Here he uses almost apocalyptic language to convey the Last Fall, maybe?? I love the ersatz ambiguity in the lyrical refrain.

He takes up the falling metaphor later in a  song called I Fell in which He again has fallen but this time fallen in love, but he confronts the risky business of falling itself, as worrying and daunting and willful but worth it!

The apocalyptic tone comes again in Hard Wired, which is End of The World Kind kind of lover ‘s lament. Mike means it though and does so with a kind of Artful Dodger-like skittish panache and cheek that I like.

He avoids the trap that so many folkies do of having no sense of irony or dare I say humour about lost world and lost love in the lost world

Good Folk Pop and well recommended.

There is something wild about Sunday Wilde and it ‘s not just her name. Hailing all the way from the Ontario nether regions of Thunder Bay this Billie Holiday of the North sinks her teeth into every form of blues she can take a bite out of and rearrange her way. The wildness I refer is in the wildly eclectic take on all forms of d’Blues: boogie woogie (track 10 I can’t Shake that Guy), straight blues balladry (tracks 4 Manning Street Sweet Talker and 6  Rest My Weary Heart).

Honky Tonk (track 1 That Man Drives me wild), straight twelve bar slow blues (track 9 Our Deal Is Done), shuffle ala Howlin Wolf (track 11 Show Me A Man) even a cabaret like number that would do Eartha Kitt justice (track 7 Don’t Bother Me). It is all here in abundance any style you like and you will like.

When I say Sunday is the BillIe Holiday of the North Country I mean it. She has the chops and sounds remarkably like the Late Great Blues and ballad singer yet retains her own steely Canadian blues  identity all the same.

Yet the best song on the record owes almost nothing to the blues per se: the beautiful haunting ballad Time To Say Goodbye!! How ironic is that. Yet each approach Sunday makes she makes with the assurance of a sleepwalker, including her piano playing which is highly competent and energized.  Great album and not just for blues aficionados.

Sunday Wilde  gets four stars.

The Tracks
1. Til I’m There
2. Aurelia
3. 15 Summers
4. House Arrest
5. Abused
6. In Front of the World

Jacob’s Island is a seasoned twist on indie pop rock. When I say seasoned, maybe I should have said mature, but that’s not exactly the word I was looking for. This album sounds too youthful to be deemed mature, but at the same time seems to be written with a lot of time and experience. It is the elegant mixture between youth and maturity that allows this album to be enjoyed by all indie pop rock listeners. It is full of melodic hooks and catchy vocals but the lyrics are well thought out and poetic. The strong poetic vocals especially are what brings this album to my attention.

This is definitely an album that would not have a hard time getting radio play. The light air of Jacob’s Island makes it easy to listen to in most of a day’s routine. Tracks like House Arrest even carry a humorous side to what could easily be depicted as a sad song. Bet you didn’t think you would be singing, “I want you to keep me under house arrest again” but it’s just so catchy and funny that you most definitely will.

The album flips back and forth from grungy modern rock guitar tones to softer and more gentle tracks such 15 Summers. It carries a degree of diversity by losing the electric guitars and trading them in for some beautiful stringed instruments such as the violin and cello. A very different song that fits in well because of Dan’s trademark vocals.

Tracks like Abused have a very gentle delivery considering the heavy and dark lyrical content. This album is really all about delivery. Dan manages to to sing it to you in a way that sounds like it’s all going to get better. That is definitely the most genuine aspect of Jacob’s Island.

Overall, I feel that the instrumentation of the songs does not matter as much as the content and how Dan delivers the words. With that said, they are undeniably fun and light-hearted tunes that manage to balance out the more serious lyrical content.

Nicole Christian is a neophyte to the indie singer songwriter Toronto scene, but it hasn’t taken her any time at all to have a following and they were much  in evidence the other night at her mini concert gig at Toronto’s C’est What bar on Front St., near Church in downtown Toronto.

For quite awhile she was basically a single solo act, which most of the time I enjoyed, doing original material combined with older blues country folk songs accompanied by her trademark slide guitar work and flute at which she is a competent player.

For the past four months she has been part of a duo act with Hamilton native Alfie Smith: he with the powerful Appalachian mountain man look and old Howlin Wolf blue vox with acoustic guitar. Sometimes  partnership like this can unhinge the axis of both parties but this particular partnership as witnessed by your honourable scribe was a partial success. I say partial as the chemistry between the two players seemed to be only working when they sing as a single act with limited backup from the other. The times when they acted truly as a duo act were uncertain and not always a successful blend of their two very different styles of playing. Maybe with another four months they will have the bugs worked out of their act and we the audience will get a  smoother, more professional take on these two.

As I said, when they sang their own pieces, with limited back up from the other, it worked best. Nicole has a down to earth angelic voice with a Billie Holiday tinge and Alfie has got a really good set of chops singing Willie Dixon , Howling Wolf and Robert Johnson blues.

The trouble with doing covers by giants like these is that it makes the original material, at least in their case, pale by comparison. They both need better original material to come up to the standards that they so ably cover!

I will say, these two as an act are still very much a work in progress, but still worth seeing and listening too. Look for a review of Nicole Christian’s new CD soon.

Website: http://www.nicolechristian.org/

Ben is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and songwriter based in London (UK) who has released 20 (twenty) full-length albums.  His songs build influences from Pop, Folk, Jazz and Classical Music on a Rock Music foundation, and he has also written neoclassical pieces, as well as electroacoustic ambient /soundtrack instrumental music.  Ben’s principal live instruments are the piano and guitar, and he plays a number of other instruments on his recordings, including the mandolin, bagpipes, percussion, and double bass.

Ben was the FEATURED ARTIST OF THE MONTH on the Italian Music Blog Anakina Musica (March 2010).  Ben was also the BAND OF THE WEEK at Leaf Pile Radio (March 2010), the Artist Pick Of The Week of NRG Theory Management (February 2010) and a Weekly Featured Artist in Music Now, Junior’s Cave online magazine (February 2010).

Architects of Time is Ben’s big number twenty in his long list of musical master pieces. Architects is a beautiful folk rock album with much beauty to be found around every corner, and exactly what one would expect from the jack of all instruments, Ben Rusch. It should also be noted that Ben managed to recruit Bimbi Urquhart, world class viola player to work on this album.

The tracking list for Architects of Time is as follows:

• Out of Time
• Robin Hood is currently unavailable
• Architects of Time
• Where the wild things are
• Double Helix
• Adam and Eve
• In a thousand years
• The thought of you is new
• Hand me a jet pack
• Where to put that foot
• Covering cold feet with warm sheets
• Time to go

Out of time if the first track on the album and by far one of the most amazing progressive rock instrumentals I’ve ever heard. The sound differs a little from the rest of the album, but it’s so incredibly intense and beautiful that I am really glad he included it. A fury of guitar and what sounds like a million man army of piano absolutely roar across rosewood fret board and ivory keys. Any Ben Rusch fan will feel his essence on this track.

The rest of this album is much more of a folksy and light hearted feeling. With that said, it’s still a pretty technical. Robin Hood is currently unavailable has some remarkable key changes and the piano is very intensely fast. Where the songs aren’t as mathematically technical, they are very deep with their thick layers of guitars and piano in songs like Double Helix, and create their own complexity.

Bimbi Urquhart Makes his presence known on the track In a Thousand Years, with very soft and beautifully placed viola. This song really stands apart because it feels much more traditional folk then some of the other songs, such as the title track Architects of Time, which is more of Ben’s own unique and special take on folk. Architects of Time also features Bimbi Urquhart, and does one hell of a job. Ben’s story telling vocals never fall short of painting a perfect picture. They are soft without lulling me to sleep, and his accent is charming as usual.

All in all this album manages to go places a conventional folk rock album cannot go. Mastering the genre by adding his own influences and creativity have won me over. I highly suggest this album to everyone, because there is everything every genre of music has to offer in here.

Two thumbs up Ben!

Patrick McCormack is an artist hailing from New England, and currently resides in Chicago. He plays guitar, as well as piano, drums and singing. In addition to writing and performing music, he also composes instrumental music for short films. So far he has recorded mostly for college films, and notably, has an original song in the 2009 documentary Hearts of Hope. Patrick has spent most of the spring months of 2010 recording his first EP entitled “Fresh Paint” at CarterCo Studio.

You can find Fresh Paint for free to download for a limited time at https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/PatrickMcCormack and also can be downloaded through itunes for $5.

Fresh Paint E.P by Patrick McCormack
• Black Friday
• Poinsettia
• Ovenbird
• Carry Me Home
• I Left My Name
• All Your Wit
• Fresh Paint

Fresh Paint was a great choice for this E.P. It’s a very spirited piece, with a very young at heart sound. Many bands come to mind when I think of them, but none of them really fit the description correctly. The E.P was a great use of unique and “fresh” influences throughout. I hear so many eras worth of music with early bands like The Beatles to more recent bands such as Modest Mouse. It’s not the catchiest album but that’s not what this album is about. It’s about that song in your heart that just appears as you walk down the road. The songs are fun and easy on the ears. You’ll remember them because you heard the same song in your head at one point in time. Patrick’s vocals are a very American take at English rock, and I like it. His words are personal yet understandable and definitely relatable. The musicianship is very quality. He plays all instruments his self, and well if I may add. My favorite part of the E.P is how light hearted it is. My least favorite is how short it is. Put this on when cleaning the house and if you need a little cheering up.

Reviewers unaccustomed to music-spoken word combo’s CD’s are taken aback as if this is some kind of new genre of music that has no pedigree and therefore no reference points that can be linked to this musical product or you are confronted by a number of reviewers, (who shall remain nameless) who are familiar with the genre but shrink in horror—- just plain prejudiced against any kind of spoken word- jazzzzzzzzz music fusion — please no beatnik bongo music as if the hoary old ghost of our own Ralph ALphonso No Beat readings over rock guitar buzz saw suspended chords or antique quaking s from Old Jack Kerouac over Zoot Sims and AL Cohn instrumental tracks will break up whatever quiet reverie is planned for their respective eve.

What we have hear in Rita di Ghent’s new CD. ‘Sparal Indigo is just that kind of fusion  that either frightens or intimidates these Philistines of the Boondocks’, these ‘scholarly oxen’.

Rather what we truly have hear is a ballsy gutsy gal move by a brilliant Jazz pop vocalist-artist who possesses a kazillion awards, nominations, citations, and honours from The Late Great Planet Worth that both explores the aforementioned genre and expands it at the same time to sonorously great effect.

‘Sprawl Indigo’(More Tales of the Inner City) could be tales of any city but no it is our own cities that she is tracking with the flinty eyed curiosity and precision of a gold shielded detective poking through the detritus and the glamour bons of our urban props that we call our city furniture and the people that people them.

Produced by Rita and Ian de Souza with pre-production by Monika Ghent, ‘Sprawl Indigo’ was a labour of love that also involved the vocalizing and work on keys of Rita Herself, guitar work of Mark Ghent, Rakesh Tewari on drums, Ian de Souza on bass guitar and programming Gord Webster on piano and rhodes etc etc all seasoned and extremely conscious artists on their own instruments.

All do a cool vibed out number on this here collection where Ritas cool active blowsy vocal stylings recall dare I SAY it: Dinah Washington and the Divine Ella Fitzgerald. Rita both sings and speaks-reads on this CD more times than not effectively intertwining spoken word readings and singing. This chanteuse introduces Herself  with an slightly self mockingly arch and somewhat rhetorical question: how can this voice come outta this body …. with Italian roots yes this Italo Canadian deserves all her accolades that others would give their right eye teeth for.

It has been said reviewers should never review an artists courage curve but this lady has got the guts of a pirate to make this kind of album and then to pull it off with aplomb.

Check out especially the opening cut ‘The Body’ as well as This Ain’t Livin’
and her cover of Hendrix’s Angel. Other tracks of major Note are Big Shoes, There Ain’t No Tomorrow Like Today, Stygian Shore— all outstanding.

Two Thumbs up for this Here and Now Jazz baby and my fellow reviewers get off the pot and give this album a perusing and you will know SHE Done GOT IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Receiving nationwide airplay as a video on Much More Music, the opening song of this pop-infused 10-track debut recording is Blue and Grey, a song about renewed passion for life with the coming of Spring. And about three or four songs in, the artists that come to mind while listening to Dan Kosub sing are British singer-songwriter Greg Wyard and, oddly enough, the Alan Parsons Project, a prog rock band also from Britain.

Before relocating from Victoria BC to Toronto ON in 2006, Dan Kosub graduated from the Canadian College of Performing Arts where he studied performance in multiple disciplines. Awarded the Bill and Margaret Bender Voice Scholarship, Mr Kosub was also the featured vocal soloist with the Victoria Symphony. Now a road warrior, touring across the country performing solo and with a band, Kosub writes songs every chance he gets.

Citing the Smashing Pumpkins, Dylan, Radiohead, Springsteen, and Tom Waits as major influences, Kosub has filled Reservoir with songs about politics, social issues and the environment. With lovely acoustic strumming and haunting melody, the Bells of St Cuthbert is a definite standout, segueing into soothing Gone by 2040 ocean waves.

A very strong debut record to say the least, and with a follow up promised for later this year, this writer suspects Dan Kosub will provide a batch of brand new songs to colour all seasons.

Dan Kosub official website
http://www.dankosub.com/
Dan Kosub on Myspace
http://www.myspace.com/danielkosub

The album starts in posh Parisian coffee houses, with contemporary beats and a sweet voice that brings to mind Bjork, or Koop recordings. Lulled into good feelings and sparkling conversations, one barely notices when the coffee house becomes more involved. By the middle of the album, “on tous murir,” has fully morphed into something so much more.

Jarret Prescott and Meg Kendricks join ambient forces as sound designers. Their 2009 album “on tous murir” is a beautiful sampling of their combined talents. Highly contemporary pop, the album weaves tracks and altered sounds to create a mood that is easily accessed. “Two sweet days ago,” starts it off with a powerful mixture of keyboard, drums, cowbell and a voice that feels like prosecco shifting over water lilies.

“Larger dogs,” makes me want to take my shoes off and feel the grass under my feet. I’m guessing at instruments, is that a fan organ? Could those be bongos on a drum machine? Is anyone real, really? The soundscape builds until it is reined in with something that could be a skipping song.

When I hit “leaving”, I truly feel all the ideas become fused. Birds, waves, fan organ and skippy little beats fall around a nonchalant lyric.

The subsequent tracks, brings to mind little plastic people, in a tiny dollhouse, putting together beats, bouncing sticks off xylophones, and wielding accordions that are the size of jellybeans. The effect is pure science fiction sweetness.

This delicate and hypnotizing album is all about sincerity and good feelings. There are a few places where I wish for better technical ability on some of the instruments, but one could even think this is a deliberate choice in sound.

Recorded mainly in The Grand Hotel Voltaire and the Bastille VIX Hotel in Paris, Fire Flower Revue brims with euro-pop sensibilities. The choices that Prescott and Kendricks make are worldly, informed, and innovative. The Peterborough Ontario based duo have a fantastic creative future ahead, one with birds singing, muffled cowbells, and contact mics littered like confetti. This album sounds like a gallery opening, like a long tram ride, like the best dinner party all year.

All women do have a different sense of sexuality, or sense of fun, or sense of like what’s sexy or cool or tough.
Angelina Jolie

I was wondering whether or not to write about New York City-based singer, guitarist, and songwriter Corey Tut (30ish). First of all, he is the most amazing eye-candy I have ever seen. Could I be objective enough? Did it matter if he could sing? I could just stare at his pictures. He is an uber-package though. He has looks, talent and drive. I have no doubt at all that he will be very successful.

Corey released “Aural Fix” in 2002, and an EP “Til Now” in 2004. “Everything” was released in 2008, and he is currently working on a new album, hopefully to be released later this year. His songs are often featured on the CW channel’s ‘Life Unexpected.’ He did a cover of Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ that was a big hit on Youtube and was in The Hype Machine (The Hype Machine is the holy grail of music blogs. They compile the best and/or most blogged songs from around the world.) He wants “to make a big rock record that I could take on the road with songs that would allow me to put on a really dynamic show,” Tut says. “I love being on stage and throwing out different energies and really taking the crowd on a journey.  One of these days I’m going to do my sensitive singer-songwriter, mellow acoustic record,” he says with a laugh, “but this is not the time.” He has also done several radio jingles for Toyota, Papa John’s and Jiffy Lube among others.

I found out the following: He’s “very happily single. I’m married to my work right now.” His Favorite color is red or black, he’s a Sagittarius, his favorite movie is Happines. *Sigh. I think that I’m channeling Bridget Jones. “I’m gay, so a lot of the crowd at my shows are guys, but I do get quite a few women as well.” So, not surprising – even with all of that talent, he’s a hunk. Women (and gay men, of course) can and do, ogle freely. He enables a “female gaze” which is very rare and welcome. Even though idols enable a kind of adoration-frenzy, women’s desire in popular-culture fiction is usually punished. I like the combination of talent and looks in Corey Tut. For me, I get to experience lust and brain work. I’m such a third-wave Feminist! Or a big flirt. Can’t decide.

His influences include; Pink Floyd, Purple Rain-era Prince, Oasis, The Beatles, Pixies, Bill Withers, Jack White, U2, Dave Grohl, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, Josh Homme, Radiohead, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Patti Smith, Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, R.E.M, Ray Charles, Spoon, Johnny Cash…. “this list could go on forever.” He’s a DJ as well, “I DJ a couple nights a week.  I started DJ’ing as a fluke, and before I knew it I was getting gig offers all over town.  The pay is good and the hours are flexible.  I can make my own schedule, so that allows me to really focus on my day job-my own music.”  Me and DJ’s – OMG.

His favorite movie star is Angelina Jolie. He made a film with her, “I met her on the set of “Gia” in LA years ago before she was really famous and she was very cool.  The only part of ME that made the movie was my bare ass in the Director’s Cut.  There is a scene where a close up of my ass cross fades to a close up of her face.  A friend of mine took a picture of it and mailed it to me as a post card.  It still hangs on my wall to this day,” Mmmm.

Corey loves performing Live; “There is nothing that can match that feeling of connecting with an audience in the moment with my words and music.  Seeing people dance or move or sing along to something I am creating in that very moment is the greatest feeling in the world.  For the most part, I have been doing acoustic shows over the past year or two and that has really brought out a new side in my writing and performing styles.  It has definitely brought more nuance to my performance. I have a much more intimate connection to my lyrics and my audience when I am up there alone with my guitar.  With a full band, it is has always been more about the overall sound and energy and getting the crowd going.  I am looking forward to putting a full line up back together once this new record is completed, and balancing those two approaches.

Born in Champaign, Illinois, Corey Tut developed a craving for music growing up as a military brat in Fort Hood, Texas, and Rockford, Illinois.   He started writing songs on his grandmother’s piano, which he taught himself to play. “Then 10 years ago I picked up a guitar and that totally changed everything.”  Needing to broaden his horizons, Corey moved to New York City, kicking around the city’s rock and punk clubs like CBGB, Squeezebox!, and Coney Island High, soaking in the music and performing his own stuff. “You really have to find a balance here, but I have been here most of my life.  I moved around a lot as a kid, and it was the first place I lived that ever felt like home, and I stayed.  I’ve tried LA twice for work, but always came back to NYC.”

He goes on to say, “Then a few years ago, I went through a major upheaval. I had to shed a lot of darkness and start from scratch. That’s what everything is about. I just felt like I needed to get rid of the negative stuff that was around me. Writing the songs on the album was a very cathartic process.”

The New York Daily News says, “Tut draws from pop, rock, and punk influences to deliver a unique performance.” SoHo Journal states, “Finally something I can listen to has emerged from the abyss of pathetic, whining weirdo’s who inhabit the airwaves and all music television. This guy F’in rocks. Close the porn, log into iTunes and buy it NOW!” You don’t need to convince me.

Track List for “Everything”
• Someone Else’s Problem
• Right Where You Belong
• Everything
• Keeping Up With The Jones
• Wasted
• Way Back Home
• So What?
• Na Na
• Wayside
• My Favorite Memory
• Precious Time
• Not Leaving
If you wish to contact Corey Tut, feel free to email him at corey@coreytut.com.
Website: http://www.reverbnation.com/coreytut

Dan Webb hails from past bands such as INBLACKANDWHITE as well as THE COLD BEAT. I was unsure how to start this review. Not because I did not like the band. They are gritty and straight up but seem to be not entirely connecting, so I look forward to a second release to see if they have tapped the power that comes from being a poor starving musician and used it to their advantage. There are some decent songs on this album, like “Couldn’t Wait”, “So Sure” and “Carried Away” and I wait with baited breath for this band to really get carried away!!!

Hailing from Boston, this four-piece are a bit of a mystery, with very little information about them online, a few video clips, no names, and everyone likes a mystery, and a band which plays good ole, no messing around rock and roll. Nothing fancy but a bit of a ride if you appreciate talent in its raw state. Some of the tunes are strong and demanding in presence for the most part, with a somewhat primitive recording style, a bit of that distortion-laden, inconspicuous sound.

It is all good. Very fundamental and pretty good. Webb and the Spiders are not trying to finesse you with visuals. They play rock and roll, tough and high speed. It works.

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

Track list:

01 The Fall of ‘08
02 All I Want
03 In the Light
04 Heads Up
05 The Worst
06 The Long Way Home
07 So Sure
08 Carried Away
09 Couldn’t Wait

Ben is a songwriter and composer based in London (UK). His songs embrace and blend a broad spectrum of musical genres – Indie / Progressive Rock / Pop / Folk / Jazz, as well as classical music. His principal instruments are the piano and guitar, and he plays a number of other instruments on his recordings, including the mandolin, the bagpipes, percussion, double
bass and saxophone.

Two of Ben’s songs received honorable mentions in the international songwriting contest SongDoor 2009; with his former band Wet Desert, Ben was a finalist in the German Rock Music Competition, won Second Prize in the Southern German Rock Music Competition, as well as First Prize in the South-Western German Rock Music Contest. As a classical pianist, Ben won
two first regional prizes in the national young musicians classical music competition (Germany), as well as two awards from the city of Kaiserslautern, Germany for outstanding achievement in the performance of contemporary classical music. At Oxford University, Ben held the Sir
Adrian Boult instrumental scholarship for two years.

Over the years, Ben has played several hundred live performances and written 16 (yes, sixteen, no joke) full-length albums, of which “OH, YES!!”, the most recent, is for sale on iTunes, amazon.com and other major online music stores worldwide. Ben’s music has been picked up by music magazines (Inanna Naked magazine, Wildy’s World, LaserDog’s Music Hour), played on major radio stations in Germany (SWR, RPR, Rockland Radio) and on internet radio stations (e.g. The Songwriter’s Network, Indie 104 Radio LA, Breakaway Internet Radio, Pongid Radio, Radio Crystal Blue, Banana Peel Radio, Indie Life Radio, Leaf Pile Radio, Underworld Mix Radio,
BandRadio, IM Radio) around the world.

And now that you have the picture painted of the incredibly talented Ben Rusch, let’s give his newest album Oh, Yes!! a listen shall we?

1. Fissle Isle
2. Until the coast is clear
3. The Daily Mail
4. Ray by Ray
5. Ode to your body
6. I’m still here (at least I think so)
7. As good as it gets (the Wicked Witch of the West)
8. Blue Forest
9. Pop Diva Trajectory
10. The Lament of Catskin Arnold
11. Parachute of Sound
12. Bass Guitars in Heaven
13. Maud’s Ecstasy At the High School Prom
14. Metaphor Pilot
15. The ghost of you is the heart of of me
16. The End of Time
17. The masochist song

Oh yes!! is a very creative and interesting approach at a classical/rock album that has me listening over and over again trying to hear the elements that have been tastefully used through out this creative piece. Most notable, not to mention most impressively, is the use of break beat styled rhythms and dissonance chords to really hype up the dramatic presence of the song. The 60’s psychedelics, the 70’s heart of rock and roll, the 80’s synth pop, and the 90’s grunge and rock all make unique appearances throughout the album. The most impressive part of all these different genres mixed in to one album is the fact that they all sound very unique to Ben’s impressive and finely honed playing styles. Is there nothing this man can’t do? Not to mention the wide array of instruments used through out, including electric guitar, classical guitar, piano, bass, synths, bag pipes, and mandolin to name a few.

With some songs being much more progressive then others, the use of chorus is no longer needed as Ben Rusch’s unforgettable voice will be stuck in your mind. Tracks like Ray by Ray are beautiful ballads that don’t need a catchy hook as the entirety of the song forms something the binds to the memory with its clarity and beauty. With that said, the chorus for Fissile Isle is forever implanted in my mind. It’s also impressive to note that their are 17 tracks that are all very different from one another, yet still make up one very solid piece.

The lyrical content of the album will definitely make an impact on you. Ben’s very creative and artsy lyrics provide a whole new level to the album. With a very Pink Floyd ( circa Syd Barret ) styled voice, the lyrical content isn’t far off either. Imagery, symbolism, and at the same time some very straight to the point lyrics make this a colourful album to listen to.

The con of this album, and I only have one, is that this album would have exploded with success if it would have been released earlier in a more relevant time for his genre(s) of music. Having said that, it is an absolutely wonderful piece and I enjoyed listening to it very much. I hope it gets the attention it deserves, as art this well polished should be delivered to everyone’s door step for an amazing combination of something new and something old.

If you wish to purchase Oh, yes!! by Ben Rusch, it is made available at iTunes, amazon, Rhapsody, LALA, ShockHound, eMusic, LimeWire, Napster, Nokia Music Store, etc, worldwide for $9.99 CAN or $6.99 US.

Make sure you check out his website http://benrusch.com

If you wish to contact Ben Rusch, feel free to email him at ben@benrusch.com,
or you can write him at:

Ben Rusch
9A Downside Crescent
London
NW3 2AN
UK

Actor John Malkovich once said that he owed little or nothing to the method acting of Marlon Brando, i.e. in a world wide Cinema dominated by Cartoonish American filmmaking that produces mostly supermelodramatic almost operatic acting in films based on cartoons and comic trips as subject matter — the kind of realism and naturalistic gestures of a Brando are not only not needed but actually would interfere with the bigger/louder than life oeuvre of today’s thespians!!!

This cartoonish pop cultural bent in today’s movies is also mirrored in today’s music stylings. For instance, a cartoon characters like The Gorillas sell millions despite the fact that they only exist as comic book illustrations.

The lyrical refrains of so called rock groups like these are equally dumbed down and one dimensional as if The Beatles and Dylan never happened.

I am I digressing a bit here — the point of all my sturm and drang is that what we have here is a music CD ‘Little Girl Dreams’, by former Torontonian, New York based, Athena Reich which contains the kind of densely packed and 3 dimensional lyrical motifs and layers that are not part of any mainstream pop vulture that I have talked about ad nauseam.

A Pop Vulture  in which even as brilliant an act as Lady Gaga has nothing to say and that nothing is pretty big and very heavy– all artifice and no art.

Released in January of last year, ‘ Little Girl Dreams’ is produced by Emmy/Grammy award winning producer Cynthia Daniels.

The kind of  narrative driven pop songs that Athena has conjured on this CD (her 5th) is such a refreshing  alternative to the solipsistic nihilism that passes for pop song writing.

The topics the she  waxes eloquently on are multifarious:  from the anti-authoritarian bent of What About Love, the excellent cover of Supertramp’s. The Logical Song with its leftist celebratory sangfroid,to the the  personal angst ridden almost pathetic cri de coeur of ‘Money whore’s line ‘ flying so free across this false democracy’ Athena take you there and won’t let go to you get the message. She is a thorn in the side of any sedentary ether surrounded by machinery in which as someone once pointed out cogently that this ‘Technology arranges things so that you don’t have to experience anything’.

This Early Dylanesque free verse is achingly married to catchy listener friendly pop musings. As well the production of each number is different from the last—little  repetition in the imaginative use of instrumentation and composition is witnessed here.

For this reviewer, Athena was wise to leave the ‘farm’ and she should stay in OZ and keep writing and singing. It can only get better.

Two thumbs up for this CD.

Linda Mercer is a folk/easy listening/roots music singer/guitar player/songwriter based in Toronto Canada. Her music is has been described by audiences as ‘eloquently beautiful’. Her music is melodic. Generally when she performs she does so as a solo artist although at time is accompanied by talented musicians who share her passion for live entertainment and musical integrity.

She was born and raised in Ottawa Ontario Canada. Raised on both sides of the Ottawa Valley, mostly in small towns and villages, she grew up listening to the rock/country/folk/Celtic songs of her mother’s French Canadian/Scottish ancestry. She has many influences also from her Irish, Newfoundland and American cultural heritage from her father as well. Linda Mercer is also the keyboard player/background vocalist for a Toronto rock band called ‘Tyranny of Love’.

The opening track “through the years” is rich, vibrant and definitely showcases her strong rich vocals. Track two is a remake of “someday soon” by Ian & Sylvia Tyson, and she does it justice with her compelling powerful voice. All in all a very listenable CD.

I have a feeling we will hear more about this lady. Find out what is up with Linda on her website www.lindamercer.com or on myspace http://www.myspace.com/lindamercervox

Tracks

Through the Years
Someday Soon
Muse
Stay with me

The Band Members
Sass Jordon
Peter Cardinali
Jorn Anderson
Gary Breit
Michael Borkosky
Derek Sharp
Chris Caddell
Brianne and Stella

This reviewer was very excited to get Sass Jordon’s new CD, always having been a fan of the Juno Award-Winning Artist. This lady has done it all, from singing, writing and recording music world wide, as well as working with many big names, various TV projects and to top it off is an accomplished actress. Very impressive indeed, makes me proud to be Canadian.

The CD begins with a song called ‘What I Need” followed by my favorite track “Fell in love again”. Upbeat, with an uncomplicated drum pattern, and accompanied by some acoustic guitar and horns. Sass’s raspy and unique voice shines throughout. The mellow track “Love N Affection” feels Jazzy and sincere, with some light acoustic. “awake” is a lovely slow piece that shows her softer side. Her songwriting skills are better than ever. The slide guitar is brought out for the Tom Waits cover “OL’ 55.”  The track “Stronger” really highlights what Sass can do as a vocalist, showing us her sexy raspy side in spades.

The entire album has a relaxed jamming feel to it, which is hard to accomplish in such a natural way. While not as bluesy as some of her earlier work, it shows she is not stuck in one genre and simply goes with what feels good for her, and this reviewer likes that very much.
Check out more of Sass …. Twitter  Facebook  Myspace

Tracks

what I need
fell in love again
awake
why did you
lonely
love n affection
matter of time
ol’55
stronger
home again

Tracks
* 1. Vagabunda (5:20)
* 2. Frissons (5:05)
* 3. Mi Alma Me Condena (5:21)
* 4. Ara Ara (4:39)
* 5. El Señor (5:32)
* 6. Nací en Alamo (3:52)
* 7. Bon Voyage ‘Pa (5:51)
* 8. Bella Muerte (3:54)
* 9. En Quarantaine (4:36)
* 10. Tristesse (5:42)

Joanna Moon hails from a small village/town near the St-Lawrence River in Quebec, Vagabunda is her first album. She admits that the very size and nature of her Quebec village origins reminded her of Andalusia with it’s Spanish gypsy flamenco traditions. This CD has the kind of gypsy music inflections and flavourings  that would make the The Gypsy KIngs green with envy.

The CD is a curious combination of small town French Canadian girl meets Espanol with its Spanish castles set against poverty stricken moorish villages. The outsider, the rejected one, the l’etranger  is a theme that runs throughout her musings almost as a necessary corollary and subtext to the beauty of the vocal pitch and tone of her voice and the delicate instrumentalizing throughout.

This is, of course, a French language CD that makes no bones about it and little or no concessions to the overwhelmingly Anglo music market–the CD does contain english lyric translations within the body of the pages of the CD insert.

French is the kind of language (especially in it’s Quebecois forms) that lends itself to the more languid lilting vocalizing of Joanna’s emotional phrasing; much more so than if this was a Parisian French lady or even an Anglophone language performer coming out of the rural dustings of some small town Ontario township with its harsher inflections and peculiarly idiosyncratic if not more dissonant colloquialisms.

In songs like ‘Frisson’ Joanna revels in the cold snaps of Wintery blasts and bluster as if it vexes her soul with enough pain to wake her up from her mad love. This use of paradox in her lyrics is at once captivating and weird. IT recalls the poetic rantings and ravings, of dare I say it, the very young poete maudite such as Rimbaud’s A Season in Hell’. Hell is to be enjoyed finally in all its necessary romantic exhortations and flagellations.

IN the title track, Vagabunda, the stranger(Moon) in a strange land motif who longs to belong to someone!! Something even !! But can’t and doesn’t is an idea fixe that holds her paralyzed in it’s grip.

It is almost as if the artist is blaming the love of the lover (who is not present) for her present predicament — that is her own strangeness amongst her fellows that alienates her from them and them in turn is to be blamed on HIM!!  Love is a bane to be routed and routed out but late in the song she is too tired to even do that.

It is these tensions lyrically that are explored so well through her CD. That coupled with a sonorous and lovely voice makes the tension even more poignant and potent.

Truly a work of art has to have this balance in tension or it’s canvas spread has nothing energetic to say or do. Joanna Moon does.
This CD contains within its ‘sorrytelling’ its own marriage of heaven and hell — the hell of isolated foreignness– the Rebel Without Applause —  with the heaven of its musical train within the French Troubadour traditions with its strong melodicism and storytelling.

Two thumbs up for this her first CD!!!

Firstly, I have to admit that as a reviewer in this case I am biased as hell; as I am having this lady on my radio show ‘Howl’ next week (July 14th); so I already loved what she did and does musically and the addition of her collaboration (on two songs) with one legendary rock goddess Grace Slick added to my biased reportage. There I have said it !! On to the review!!

Singer/songwriters have their respective origins in the work of one person: Bob Dylan. Duylam show you how far you could go lyrically, meter-wise, subject matter, length of stanzas, no chorus/refrain and length of actual recording vis a vis the accepted standard duration of the typical single at least as it stood in the ‘Sick Tease’ as I call it.

It would not be so far to say that American singer songwriter Michelle Mangione inherits this legacy and takes it/him even further along to it’s logical conclusion.

Mangione created and recorded almost of all of What is a Saint in her home ‘bedroom’ studio. Yes, I said bedroom studio where presumably songs like, without you, last time cry to me  and say you want it all etc etc had some of their birthing.

I suspect the bedroom is the reactive template in a way for all that went out of it;  the fact that the whole songwriting, recording, producing dwelled fixedly in this kind of environment is at once radical idea/concept and at once an nutty but weirdly affectionate new kind of intimacy….that coyly but effectively (especially in its roots rock folk sound) invites the listener in….

Though she is an auto-didactic instrumentalist, Mangione somehow enlisted the professional/ high profile talents and dare I say it, faith of such musicians as Greg Leisz (Beck, Robert Plant and Joni Mitchell), Duncan Cameron (Amazing  Rhythm Aces and Little Feat) and Larry Hanson (Alabama et al) to wax poetically on their respective axes and become in effect geographically and psychically an intimate part of her world.

Her Dylanesque take off on the writing format attracted no less than the likes of Rock legend, Grace Slick who generously offered some of her word/lyrics to be added to the self made mix that Mangione was dreaming about and sleeping with!!! The results are two magnificent songs, love disappears and the aforementioned title track, what is a saint.

Not surprisingly these tracks have the most tension within the lyrical emoting and thusly the most overly poetic effects in this reviewers mind.

Where change your mind and liberty jane also have this rough edged poetry in their lyrical construction they share more a lyrically plaintive motifs that probably let the average listener in with a little else work to do.

Another great song on this disc that will be a hit and a rock staple is ‘Sticky Fingers’ (Grace’s apparent fave)

Almost every song on this CD is catchy and hook laden — almost every damn song!! The sound production is unexpectedly brittle, bright and brilliant despite the homespun nature of the actual studio location. Mangione has done a fine job of producing herself in the mold of dare I SAY it: Sheryl Crow!!

This rock and roots ‘chick’ has got the same smarts and courage as a risk taker that Grace certainly had as one of the few(very few at that time) women in the BOys ROoooooommm Of ROCK!!! Let’s take it outta the boys room and put it directly where i can see it!! In the girls room– the girl’s bedroom that is.

I spent the night with Gary Beals last night… well his sophomore album, The Rebirth of…! If you’re an R&B chick like me than you’ll definitely love this album. Don’t get me wrong, there’s something for everyone, Gary brings an eclectic mix of melodies. From R&B, house beats and Island mix.

The serious crooning R&B tracks like I’M SORRY and my original favourite track on the album, RICH MAN. This track deals with being the man on the side, wondering if he was a Rich Man would she be his only man. Like I said it WAS my favourite until I heard YOU! There has never been a tracked called YOU that I didn’t like, but I loved this one, so maybe deep down inside I am a sappy romantic!

It seems that since Jay-Z, Pharrell and Chris Brown made songs with the same name, everyone thinks they can make their own hit. Well in this case it’s true. Excuse me is the track that had me grooving and pressing repeat.

JUMP OFF featuring Blessed gives us a lil island feel. Taking Gary’s straight laced vocals contrasted with Blesseds’ rhythmic flow, makes for an interesting mix of flavours. It’s the kind of track that you’ll either love or hate. I also found it hard to get into the house tracks, like the title track I KNOW YOU’RE OUT THERE, but that may be because I’m not into house music, so that you’ll have to judge for yourself.

For those of you who know Gary from Canadian Idol fame you will still feel that attraction with a track like SIMPLE LIFE, its tracks like these that made my mama fall in love with him. Either that or those thick juicy lips he lets those lyrics escape from! Trust me ladies take a stroll through the album booklet and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Speaking of…the album booklet lists the lyrics for all of the songs, which is rare these days, but it shows a confidence in that he actually has REAL lyrics, also very scarce these days.

All in all I was very impressed with The Rebirth of… Gary Beals and recommend you grab a copy yourself.

Bio

Gary Beals is a Juno nominee, a five-time African Nova Scotian Music Award winner, a Canadian Urban Music Award nominee, a Canadian Independent Music Award winner, a Canadian Radio Music Award nominee and an East Coast Music Award winner. Album will be available Tuesday June 9th @ Revival, 783 College St. Show starts at 8pm. Check out www.garybeals.com for more info.

Tracks:
Latin Explosion
Roosters
Enciende
That’s the Way
Sanctuary
Rapido feat. Miky Bad Boy
Everything
Crash Landing

Americano Hip Hop star Bendicion’s has released his debut CD called, Latin Explosion. Henceforth I call this musica: Latino Tech Rap. Bendicion’s rapping is not over the usual old source samples and meter/beats. Instead he takes flight on his Latino and Americano cult/movement over techno beats and synth bass and keyboard tracks.

Maybe this ain’t the new news for most members of the great unwashed out there but it is to me!!! I love the texture used throughout this Lp/CD. All the tracks are composed and produced by Bendicion with the exception of Rapido which is written by Miky Bad Boy and Bendicion. AlI I can say is he is his own best producer. I wouldn’t let any other name producer or otherwise touch a millimeter of Bendicion’s tracks from now until the Next!!

From the opening title track ‘Latin Explosion’ through to Enciende and Rapido, this young Americano rapper got it (his roots) tapped from the urban jungle terorootoryial vista to the new Latino Pride explosion that has recently made itself known on the American Landscape in USA and in Canada to some extent too this CD just reeks of confidence without the sometimes off putting Mach moocho posturing. ALL pride and no hubris.

Vocally the delivery by this Latino rapper is throaty sensual and uncommon and urgent all when the material at hand demands especially on Roosters, Thats the Way and Everything.

Unlike many of his fellows in the Hip Hop/Rap scene I can actually make out most of the Hip lingo takes on this CD Gee,how refreshing for a change to actually make the poetry out and not be flummoxed by the rapido delivery of some tobeatfast Tooter!!!!!
Two Thumbs up for this.

How many hip-hop albums would you let your child listen to? Well here’s one for you A.K.A. Subliminal has just dropped his self-produced new album TRAINATHOUGHT with his own brand of Soul-Hop. No cursing on any of the 17 tracks. And based on his lyrics I can bet there won’t be any chicks booty-popping in his videos.

I already knew that A.K.A. subliminal was an amazing entertainer as I’ve seen him beatbox. I also knew that he is one of the most under-rated producers in this city. But when you add thought provoking lyrics to his already dope beats, it was meant to be.

Listening to this CD is like going on a romantic journey as you sit back and relax into it. With tracks like BEAUTY ON YOUR SKIN where soul-hop meets spoken word. I know if my man played this for me, it would be on! And BEAUTIFUL TO FIND had me singing it long after it was over.

In dealing with the stresses in life MAKE UP YOUR MIND is on your stressed out playlist as you try to figure out where you want to be and own up to your responsibilities. Along with I DON’T KNOW in dealing with a break-up, a track most of us can identify with.

For the “real” hip-hop heads (not me!) you have I AIN’T GOING NO WHERE featuring Rah Digga. I nexted it, and 3 other tracks, but I just shifted my focus to the other 13 tracks that were golden. As to be expected, production was flawless throughout, even on the tracks I wasn’t feeling.

It was the transitions from one song to the next that keep your attention and help you to follow the story. With candid conversations between A.K.A. and his guest artists, especially the lead in to GET EM with the neighbourhood kids challenging him to change up his style to fit into mainstream.

TRAINATHOUGHT is just that a train of thoughts barrelling through small towns, stopping intermittently to pick-up and drop-off passengers, listening in on strangers’ conversations and just enjoying the ride.

Bio
From designing new beats and scratches to shows and skyscrapers, A.K.A. Subliminal constantly reinvents formulas for success and is currently preparing to launch his self produced debut album entitled TRAINATHOUGHT. Album drops on Thursday June 4th 9pm @ Harlem Restaurant 67 Richmond St. East. For more info go to www.myspace.com/akasubliminal

Tracks
All I Need Is Love
Tailor Made
Beautiful You
Mountain Feelin’
Easy Come
Crazy
Look For Me Now
Home
Colder Than The Lake
The One, The Only (King Of Late Night)
Love You More

I must confess a peculiar bent towards country pop rock as a genre of music under the Big Fat Huckster’s Tent of Rock. It has no pretensions to being anything other than what it is and sins it is. It always rests on the ironical notion that as Kerouac’s buddy Neal Cassady once said: ‘What’s to foolish to say is sung!’. Yes, right on the money, Dean!

He may disagree but Western Canuck Brian Byrne’s CD ‘Tailor Made’ falls under the this particular rube with a twist of Country honk that twists up the entrails of your typical rockers heart beat.

Saying this the CD avoids the usual obvious limitations of the country rock genre by it’s lyrical refrains originality particularly evident in the barn stompin’ rockers like, ‘Tailor Made’, Mountain Feelin’ , Look at me Now and the ballads like ‘Easy Come’ and ‘Love You More’ and more subtle takes on life’s ultimately losing proposition in Colder Than the Lake; all of which take the long country roads with a stab at the kind of metaphors that aren’t usually found in this here territory.

Launched in Western Canada’s Regina in 2007 this album is as if Aerosmith met Tom Petty then reintroduced him to ‘rebel without applause’ Waylon Jennings.  Good singing abounds coupled with razor sharp takes on rock guitars and you have Canadian country pop rock that withholds none of it’s native charm and competes with the best that America can shoulder. Both thumbs up for this one!!!

Tracks
Stories
The End Of Self
Yours And Mine
Stay In
Love
Radioland
The Good Lord
On The Corner
Be All, End All
The Banquet
Cancel All Your Plans

I am a sucker for Pop: so long as it is not too sweet I can succor on it all day long. Don’t be too hard on me for this: after all this is the Age of the Anti-Melody of rap hip hop gangsta groups who possess lead vocalists  who out and out refuse to sing but bark out their meretricious  2nd rate rhymes to third rate metered pongs  joined at the hip with a sampling from artists from by gone days who knew how to write  pop  tunes where the singer sings not exclaims.

Thank God for singer/songwriters like Montrealer Dave Martel. His first solo CD, I Hardly Knew Me boasts in the liner notes of his press release that the listener will ‘take a journey through well-constructed  melodic  indie-pop’ and for once a claim made on a press sheet  accurately reflects what  is actually on the disc in question.

From the opening neo-psychedelic track, ‘ stories’ through the pop confections of ‘the end of self” (a pop hit I have already heard a number of times on the radio) ‘stay in’ and ‘the good lord’ through more intimate folk based tracks like, ‘in the corner’  and ‘save your complex (where Dave’s brother Marc of the band  DOWNHERE sings lead) to ZAPPA like tracks like ‘radioland’ with their unexpected tempo changes and odd time  signatures and the track, ‘be all, end all’,  where Dave Martel sounds eerily like Tom Yorke of Radiohead (in fact,  I detect a Radiohead sort of knock off/tribute with this song).

The last track, ‘cancel your plans’ somehow marries the earnest tone of Rufus Wainwright with the keyboard driven ethereal tones of Coldplay. ALthough his emotional tone is sometimes not varied enough Martel’s new indie cd  gets two thumbs up from me.

The brother of legendary Bob Marley, this talented artist is not all reggae as one would think given his roots. Not to say he does not touch the reggae roots so to speak, but in his own way. With his signature Marley sound combined with electronics and some alternative rock, he wows the audience with his own unique sound.

Richie Booker proves that he is not a performer simply standing in the shadow of his legendary brother, but a talented musician who completely grasps the electronic scene. This is an engaging album, with strong and mesmerizing tracks, from WOW to MEDICINE MAN. Actually every song but VAMPIRE was written by the talented BOOKER.

Shine the Light – which Booker wrote, produced and performed, spending a year in the recording studio – ranges musically from alternative and pop to dance. SHINE THE LIGHT (SKD URBAN – KOCH DISTRIBUTION).

Check out http://www.facebook.com/pages/Richie-Booker/106608250433

Tracks
Wow
Free
Station Revelation
Shine the Light
What Kind of Human
Oil and Water
Natty in the Vineyard
Deja Vu
U Aint from around here
Sellin Sex
Vampire
Medicine Man

Tracks
Rattle Snake Attack pt 1
Rattle Snake Attack pt 2
Listen
Pie in the Sky
Libra
Mumbo Jumbo
Cedar Trees
Brother Theodore
Laura Laughing
The Airballon
Crocodile
Bright White Lightening

Website: http://www.myspace.com/davidrynhart

The trouble with roots based music is that most of the time it is not. It is like what Dylan once said to an interviewer who dared to call a certain artists oeuvre ‘folk music’: contradicting the interview in question by angrily pointing out that none of the so-called ‘folk’ music he heard fits into genre anymore as it owes little or nothing to traditional forms nor is a reworking of such–all the writers are doing is creating a work of their own device on an Acoustic guitar and calling it folk without acknowledging anything to their antecedents who reworked traditional songs and melodies and adapted them with new lyrics and/or arrangement. By the way, the interviewer did point out to Uncle Bobby ‘that after all Bob you started this’.

What we have here is a roots based Indie CD full of a kind of potpourri of stock phrases culled from blues, bluegrass, trad folk, and Celtic songs that the author of this album, David Rynhart, serves up a full flavored dish expertly with taunt acoustic guitar playing that is finger plucking good as well down home but slick playing on banjo, piano and Irish flute.

As well, this American singer/songwriter, who hales from the small town/city life of Parma, Ohio,  knows whereof he speaks — he is a philosopher of the Road, the AMerican Road of broken dreams that can only be appraised accurately by someone this young (he is roughly mid-twenties)who has lived outside of the box long enough (he lived in Ireland for a time) in order to come back with a perspective that might have eluded this young man. The evidence for his can be found on such trenchant lyrical attacks on the Road as his appropriately named RattleSNAKE Attack Pt. 1 and RattelSNAKE Attack PT 2 as well as Pie in The Sky and Bright White Lightning.

When he isn’t adroitly messing with the collective innards of the American Dream gone sour; he reminisces somewhat peevishly but movingly about life and love on ‘Laura Laughing’ and ‘Brother Theodore’. All in all this an expertly played and cogently summing up of the American landscape in poetic pastiches that invite the listener to come along for the ride bumpy as that ride maybe but still pleasing to the season as David’s beautiful aching tenor runs roughshod over your initial skepticism. Certainly he seduced mine and reworked it so that I too am a believer. Two thumbs up.

Song list
All out in the open
Clark St.
Stainless Steel
Rose Island Road
On his sleeve

Website: www.emilyweedonanddelta.com/

As everyone knows by now there has been a revolution goin’ on in the Country music scene for the past 16 years instigated by the most unlikely sources: a rotund fat faced boyish man with a name that makes him sound like a Jewish chartered accountant , Garth Brooks and at the time, an improbably young lass from a nowheresville Ontario  town called Timmons with a vaguely Native name, Shania Twain. He of the rope climbing rock star athletics and her of the glammed up belly button showing exhibition.

One Thing these two had that wasn’t revolutionary but definitely required in such an viscerally based music genre as Country and Roots is a fine set of vocal chops that can touch the listener on all kinds of visceral levels without sending turning the listener into a candidate for a rubber room and a straitjacket.

Unfortunately, that is the very thing (fine vocal chops) is  missing from this otherwise well produced, well played and well written roots rock country five song CD, ALL Out in the Open by Coe Hill , Ontario native, Emily Weedon. Weedon’s high pitched ‘chirp’ and hide-bound nasal tones often mar what would otherwise be finely crafted pastiches on heart break and love lost and loneliness that is the stock and trade of country lyrical refrains since Dale Evans and Roy Rogers and singin’ cowboy Tex Ritter et al.

Lyrically the  five song CD stands, dare I say it, with the aforementioned country stars right up to Twain and Brooks. The only time this reviewer in question wasn’t driven to be a candidate for a rubber room and a straitjacket was when pursuing the plaintive and effecting ballad, ‘Stainless Steel’. From the opening lilting tones of the piano one hears something completely different; all of a sudden the somewhat nasal tones transforms Weedon into a credible torch singer as if the slowing down of tempo actually benefits her vocal take. Too bad that not all the songs are ballads on this disc then all would be right with the world and this reviewer could recommend it. She is a very young lady: maybe with time she will find the right kind of songs that suit her voice– it happened once, it could again.  Half a Thumbs up.

CURIOUS, this is her real name, born in Tel Aviv, Israel; she has been playing bass and singing in bands since her early teens. Currently residing in Los Angeles, CA, she was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. Since arriving in Los Angeles CURIOUS has been lending her voice to other artist’s records, the most notable being My Chemcials Romances hit song “The Ghost of You”. Recently CURIOUS penned a track called “Let it Go” for Brit and Alex which showed up on the Step up Two Soundtrack, which was recently certified a gold record. She defines her music, life and name thusly.

CU*RI*OUS: Beyond or deviating from the usual or expected;
Eagerly interested in more. Arousing or exciting
speculation, interest, or attention through being
inexplicable or highly unusual; odd; strange.

Her first EP was in 2007 and now has releases two singles, which clearly showcase an upcoming talent. She has a sultry, sexy, pouty voice, and I actually wanted more than two tracks. She really has a strong unique sound and I am sure we will hear more from this lady.

Check out more on upcoming shows for Curious at http://www.curiousmusic.net or www.myspace.com/curiousmusic

Tracks
Goodbye
Stay

Who does not love a rose tattoo? Hell I have one, which did not bias me in the least when I sat down to listen to this CD.

Nominated best Female vocalist at the 2009 Canadian Smooth Jazz awards to be held on April 24th, 2009 at the Living Arts Centre in Mississauga, this album was a heart felt solo effort of a woman who had gone through a tragedy and put all her emotion and talent into this tribute. There is nothing that rings false about this CD, its real earnestness rings home in every track.

Daniela Nardi is an amazing vocalist. Her voice is soft and eclectic while being strong and confident as well. I have to mention Juno Award winning producer Greg Kavanaugh worked on this project which only attributes to the greatness it was meant to achieve. She skillfully mixes modern jazz rhythms with some electronic and rock grooves.

The first track “Magdalene Blue” is a great introduction, with is easy flowing rhythms and lyrics that captured this reviewer right away. The second track “Cry” made me think momentarily of “Robbie Robertson” but was quickly dispelled. “Fugitive Kind” is a funky rhythmic song and was my favorite.

I say dash out and get the rose tattoo.

Check out more on upcoming shows for Daniela Nardi at http://www.danielanardi.com/home/.

Tracks
Magdalene Blue
Cry
Dear Em
Book of Days
Fugitive Kind
Easter Morning Sunrise
Grace
485
Rosetta
Longest Road

The CD cover is lovely and soft and feels like love. The Healing Piano receives the CGMA Award Nomination for INSTRUMENTAL SONG OF THE YEAR + Debbie receives the CGMA Award Nomination for FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR!

Debbie is a singer, songwriter, retreat & conference speaker and worship leader, as well as a pianist with a passion for music, worship and missions.  She weaves her spoken messages, testimony and worshipful music into a easy to understand and listen to gift for all.

Her second CD, TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED, recorded with Canadian Producer / Artist Chris Janz, and released it in February 2005 to coincide with a massive Tsunami Fundraiser that she coordinated, in which she donated all the proceeds.  TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED showcases Debbie’s strong, sensitive vocals, song writing talent, depth of character and theology and was nominated for five Canadian Maja Awards.

Through her music Debbie has been involved in various missionary and relief efforts, including Asian Tsunami Relief, her adopted village of AIDS orphans in Uganda, Africa. She has been featured on international TV several times, as well as the national Canadian television shows 100 Huntley Street and Night Light, where her TV-recorded songs are being continually utilized.

With five Independent albums to her credit “OASIS OF THIRST” (FAMC, 1999) and “TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED ” (FAMC, 2005), “THE CHRISTMAS PIANO” (FAMC, 2006), “THE BEAUTIFUL PIANO” (Easter 2007) and “THE HEALING PIANO” (Spring 2008) her music is travelling through the airwaves, TV stations, churches, camps, women’s ministries, and word of mouth, in several countries throughout North America, Europe and Africa.

An uplifting powerful CD that radiates calm in world full of noise and confusion, this CD is a testament to her faith.

For more on upcoming shows and news visit http://www.debbiefortnum.com and www.myspace.com/debbiefortnum.

Tracks
Dance of the Angels
Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Easter Morning Sunrise
Love Devine
I thirst/Hungry
Let me Comfort You
A Shelter in the time of the storm
Morning has broken
Beautiful Story
Tears of Joy
The Music Box Dancer
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Norine Braun considers herself a late bloomer, like many writers of our era, time and experience cultivate much of what we have to say, to write, to sing. I simply say the time was right to take the songs written in the bedroom and move to the next phase. There are no rules.
Her amazing catalogue of six studio albums recorded/released over the past few years includes ‘Evolution of the Blood Star,’ ‘Now and Zen,’ ‘Norine Braun and the Mood Swings,’ ‘Crow,’ ‘Miles to Go,’ and ‘Modern Anguish.’ Braun’s style is non definable, her chops range from pop, rock, hip-hop, jazz, spoken-word, blues…you get where I am going here. There is no limit to what this lady can do. Her style has great strength, versatility, and allows the listener to be a wide and varied assemblage. She can, with ease, transition from one genre to the next, without any predictability of commonplace.

She is the recipient of awards including the prestigious ‘Female Singer-Songwriter of the Year’ in the Jazz Category at the Independent L.A. Music Awards (2006). Her new compilation is acoustic and stark, showing off her live solo singer-songwriter performances. Her music brings you close like you are meeting a comrade for the first time, her lyrics contemplative and gripping.

The first track, “Be Brave (Do It Right Blaxcot Remix)” has a great groove that is upbeat and intimate all at once. I particularly love the sax in this number, combined with the hushed vocals, all in all a marriage made in heaven. She then shifts to a more rockin number in “Stoned and Feathered”, with the “Stranglers” echoing in my mind throughout. Strong guitar and drums kick this number into gear. This reviewer’s favourite number had to be “In Space”, where I found myself rather entranced.
A tour de force has been born.

www.norinebraun.com and www.braunandbrainmusic.com

Tracks
Be brave / Stone and feather / crystallize / conformity / rock and a hard place / Q (evolution of the blood star) / skylight / Alberta / doesn’t matter anyway / in space / lonesome side of truth / if I could be the one / be brave (dub-triphop remix)

What immediately jumps out for this reviewer is the fact that this sensational singer and guitar player’s first teacher was Chet Breau, son of Lenny Breau, who is one of my favourite guitarists of all time. So ok, I was a bit biased from the start having been fed this tidbit, but then I listened to the six songs and was immediately taken by the sound. She has a throaty, folk meets troubadour sound that is tremendously appealing. Her guitar playing has an edge and sound that she has made her own.

Originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, she now resides in Toronto. From playing a multitude of open mics at various well-known venues, to being a part of organized showcases, Lisa made way for herself on the local circuit. Her ability to draw and sonically captivate a crowd comes from her years of give and take within the Toronto music scene.

Her music is expressive and melodic, and the instinctive true to the heart lyrics are what define her sound. One almost gets a glimpse into some secret part of her life, but not too much of a glimpse, a girl must keep them guessing. This is a fast moving six song debut that covers friendship, love and slice of aspiration in a blend of folk rock that is both powerful and infectious.

Confessionals “After This” and “Novelty” offer a straightforward peek into her life, while “Gift of Gossip” is witty and unpredictable. My favourite had to be “asshole” having felt all she speaks of, and loving the irony of it all. “The Casual EP” is a spicy, well-defined, musical piece and I look forward to more.

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

Tracks
1. After This
2. Casual
3. All Over Me
4. Asshole
5. Gift of Gossip
6. Novelty

J. Mann got his musical start in London, England, playing at the famed Gorge, behind Andy’s guitar shop on Denmark Street. After his return to Canada with many shows culminating in London, Ontario, this reviewer’s hometown, he went on to assemble a three-piece and created Middle of the Road Records as a podium to mail out his cassette tapes and demo CDs.

J. Mann continued solo and released a series of independent recordings such as the full length Nimbu Hari Kameez, and the 7-inch single Knight of Endless Humiliation. The latter received kudos from Toronto to Stockholm and encouraged J. Mann to start touring the Americas in search of new audiences and sounds. His travels took him to Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, Argentina and Uruguay.

While promoting Too Much Theatre, J. Mann reunited with his former band mates to start what would become the two-and-a-half year process of recording, How to be an Ambivalent Negotiator.

J. Mann destined to achieve varied and distinct sounds and invited contributions from local musicians such as Guillermo Martorell (Mr. Hubba), Richie Alvarez Cals (Holland Park, Brazzaville) and members of the Peter Loveday band (along with Peter himself). His opening track “Strummer” is a story of Xmas eve and death, flowed by a series of original and entertaining tunes, like “Wellington does Mathematics” with a fast punk like pace. My favorite is “Dear Abbey,” which is a little bit of troubadour magic.

Check out his myspace for the latest news www.myspace.com/jmannalive or watch some videos http://www.middleoftheroadrecords.com/jmvideo.htm

Tracks
Strummer
Yeah, Yah, Ya
Dear Abbey
Three Hot Potatoes
Slipping into Debt
What does it take (to get a good cup of coffee?)
Wellington does Mathematics
Pawnshop
Glum
All You Can Do
One-horse Town
Ambivalent Negotiator

reviewed by Viki Ackland

Ok, anyone who knows the Punk scene or the legendary band D.O.A. will recognize this godfather of Canadian punk and his unique, roguish sound. This guy has done it all, from spoken word, published author to activism, and the founder of Sudden Death Records. This is not what you would expect from Joe Keithley, this is a lot more than noise.

“Take on the system” is a great album featuring a plethora of talented musicians and a rockin, ska, punk filled trip down a lane filled with politics, corporate smashing and some power to the people thrown in. The sometimes hard lyrics and delivered in a somewhat light and playful way making it a bit of fun activism.

Bill Runge blows sax on the frenzied opening track, “Rebel Kind”, and fellow jazzman John Korsrud plays trumpet on the ska-flavoured follow-up, “Bust Me Loose”. Violinist Jesse Zubot, of the peerless Vancouver roots act Zubot & Dawson, gets his fiddle licks in on the third track, “When Power Came to Canada”, which details Canadian history as only Keithley can tell it, with shout-outs to true Canuck musical heroes like Don Messer, Rush, Stompin’ Tom, BTO, and NoMeansNo. Keithley wrote 12 of the 14 tracks on this album. One of my favourites is “Goodnight Irene.” Keep listening after the song seems to end ……
.

Tracks
Rebel Kind
Bust me loose
When people power came to Canada
People Power
Wake me up for the revolution
Take what you can out of life
Armageddon Time
Fuck the Corporation
Dangerman
Record Company Ripoff
Trouble Maker
Men for all ages
Born to be Wild
Goodnight Irene

http://www.suddendeath.com//index.php

This second record is a smash with this reviewer, boasting smooth vocals and guitar playing, which is in many ways understated while being captivating. In his simplicity he has captured the moment.

Hemant Rao, born and raised in Montreal, has been a professional musician and songwriter for the last 15 years. A classically trained violinist, he developed an infatuation for Pop and Rock music in his early teens and aptly migrated to playing acoustic and electric guitar, developing a versatile repertoire of styles while playing with numerous bands. In 1990, he moved to Vancouver, choosing to develop his own songwriting and arrangement signature, rather than playing other musicians composition.

Hemant’s music draws on his own harmonious vocals and earnest lyrics. Sunshine Runaway is an eclectic pastiche of guitar laden pop songs, which are delivered in a forceful way that captures the listener.

The first track “Confidence” was superb, followed by “seashell” and “loner.” My favorite was “sunshine runaway.”

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

Tracks
Confidence
Seascape
Seashell
Sunshine Runaway
Loner
Lead
Enough
Surface Angel
Aberration
Someone
Human Race

I’m the Queen is an immense creative project involving a number of musicians who have collaborated to create a CD that expresses itself through many artistic mediums as well as music. Music is the central framework of Valle Venia which is the preparatory for this special creative expression of Valle Venia products in the fields’ film, multimedia and graphic art.

Leo Philipp Schmidt’s music possesses an innovative styling which makes the listeners experience individual, it is no wonder considering all the talent involved. Leo Philipp Schmidt is obviously influenced by new and also the latest music styles, which he integrates into his projects in his personal unique manner.

Jessica Rayne is great on vocals, a finalist in The International John Lennon Songwriting Competition, Canadian Music Week’s National Songwriting Competition and CBC TV’s Great Canadian Music Dream, Jessica Rhaye is talented and will please audiences with both her remarkable voice and contemporary folk music.

She has been nominated for four East Coast Music Awards including, Best New Artist, Pop Artist of the Year and Female Artist of the Year, Best Pop Album of the Year and performed on the Award show in a tribute to Anne Murray. Jessica Rhaye accomplished all of these musical honors while completing her major in graphic design. Her graphic work also garnered her the “Dr. H. Hagerman Award” for illustration.

Memorable tracks include “I’d like you to be my own”, and the enchanting “Glass Tango.” A few tracks are less memorable yet all in all the CD delivers something that is pleasurable and a great Sunday afternoon distraction.

Check out more about the band at or their website.

Tracks
Never got you out of my heart
Dreaming of you
I’m the Queen
I know
I’ll stay
So much love to give
I’d like you to be my own
Welcome to paradise
Glass tango

Review – Apr. 1, 2007

Anyone who is part of or enjoys following the indie scene of Toronto, Joy will be well known to you, she plays at such venues as the Renaissance Cafe, Mitzi’s sister and many other Toronto venues. Her music is eclectic and refreshing! My all time favourite is Becoming, a beautiful melody that had me thinking from the first second I heard it. She doesn’t currently have a LP, but she is working on it.

Articles written about Joy can be found in Now Magazine, blogto.com, and the toronto Star to name a few. Joy is an extremely talented singer with an absolutely beautiful voice that shows great depth in her songs. Just listen to Becoming once and you fall madly in love with the musician. This and a few of her other song, All Day, Memories and Hush can be found on her myspace. myspace.com/joythompsonmusic. I can’t wait for the LP, it will be a sure fired hit.

To give you a more in-depth look at who Joy is here is her bio.

Born in Kincardine to an engineer and a nurse and raised in Whitby, Ontario. Singer/ songwriter Joy Thompson turned to the guitar one day due to boredom in her suburban neighbourhood, she currently resides in Toronto frequently performing in coffee-houses and bars to hone her skills. She is a determined Taurus with a flair for the dramatic {she attended George Brown College for a theatre prep program} has a penitence for ink {she has four tattoos} and piercing {she currently has her tongue pierced but had a one time nose ring}. Her sense of adventure has lead her to many things, this summer she hopes to tackle skydiving, she speaks very stream of consciousness which you wouldn’t know to listen to her lyrics which are purposeful and quite direct.

Stay tuned, as soon as we have an album from Joy we will be reviewing it.

You can also listen to our Joy Thompson podcast by clicking here!

Review – Feb. 1, 2007

What can I say about this CD, it is the GO-GO’s gone punk, Mazzy Star revved up, completely unique and creative. In other words, go out and buy it RIGHT NOW.

Eclectic pop rock artist Krista D is clearly a spirited and inventive singer / songwriter with her anticipated release of her new CD Jane’s World. She learned early that she had a talent for singing and songwriting and her first album received airplay, quite a task for a newcomer and young artist. Jane’s world was produced at Pumpk’n Patch Studios in Riverview NB.

While the songs have a light hearted feel to them some of them touch the subject of child abuse as well as domestic abuse, in such tracks as “Black Eyed Susan” and “Nursery Crimes”, which shows the depth of this musician. Other tracks such as “You and Me” are light hearted love songs. “Run Jane Run” is a tale in itself and I found I had to listen to it twice to capture it all.

Set to tour the east coast soon to promote Jane’s World, I am sure she will be happy with the response; this CD stands out and screams freshness.

Review – December 14, 2006


empty room is the debut CD of our local Toronto, Ontario singer/songwriter who was named after an android from the original Star Trek series. After years of playing the Toronto scene as a back up vocalist Rayna decided to pick up a guitar in 2004 and put her words, which had up to this point been in the form of poetry, into songs. Her first three song demo earned her a “Best Female Acoustic” award at the Toronto Independent music awards. Lucky for us that she took that step as songwriter. I find it hard to believe that this talented lady only burst on the scene the last few years, so mesmerizing are her lyrics and so poetic her voice.

The opening song on her CD, “complete” is deep and a bit dark, reflecting on emptiness and being complete. The second track “distance” is a love song, her voice graceful, the lyrics catching the moment. The fifth track “one day” is sexy and melodic. My favorite song has to be “unnamed angel” where she asks “I hope you liked it over and over. I find the lyrics very profound and fitting with her voice. She is one of those talents whose voice takes you into her words and sings directly to you, pulling you in. There is something comforting in her voice, even when she is singing of heartache.

As her song complete reflects “how can I rise within these times, how can I be strong without my song” she has proven in this CD she indeed has risen, and is strong in her song.


Still Dreaming is the debut CD of our local Burlington, Ontario singer/songwriter Tara Sales. The lovely gal is in her environment whether walking down a cat walk or singing up a storm. With her Miss Toronto title behind her and her music skills honed by managing one of the biggest studios in Canada, Umbrella Sound, she entered and won second prize in the 2003 Star Quest Songwriting Competition. Add to the mix that she is an actress and jingle singer and it is safe to say she is one busy girl!

The opening song on her CD, “Champagne to Beer” is a catchy tune and she uses her vocals to the fullest. A little bit of rock and roll eases into the country style. She still kicks it into gear with track two, “Too Hot to Handle.” Her lyrics are fun and catchy. Her remake of “Hit me with your best shot” is sexy and melodic. Proving her chops she easily slides into a lovely ballad with “Rhythm of Love” and “Still Dreaming.” “Together in Love” is truly a lovely song and this interviewer’s favorite. “Sweet Baby”, has already been a hit single for Toronto singer Donna Ferra, and the album’s title track, Still Dreaming earned Tara Sales acclaim in various songwriting contests.

Other tracks worth noting are “Where Are You Now” and the more upbeat “What Am I Gonna Do” which showcases the guest guitar work of Jeff Healey.

Tara Sales is loaded with talent and is an accomplished songwriter. Still Dreaming tends to lean towards the pop aspect of country music. I look forward to hearing more from her and to see if her sound strides more towards the country crossroads.

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