Archive for July, 2013

MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-July 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

With the somewhat disturbing and unpredictable weather we  experienced in July, there was ample opportunity to stay indoors and listen to some amazing music created by Independent artists. Here are our picks for the MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS for July 2013.

yb2YOUNG BENJAMINS

These Saskatoon natives write amazingly well crafted songs and execute them to perfection. Incorporating pop rock, blues and middle eastern influences, Less Argue delivers. Strong vocals, great melodies and tremendous musical insight allows this young band to make the kind of album they want to make. Esoteric, eclectic and entertaining..  Ten tracks take you places you never knew you could get to. A must for every collection. You can purchase Less Argue at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/less-argue/id646416786 and http://www.dollartone.com/store

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/young-benjamins-less-argue/

JANE’S PARTYjane's party1

This Toronto quartet released their album, Hot Noise just in time for summer. Loaded with pop-rock songs, the album is highlighted by the intricate melodies and sophisticated harmonies. Dance-able, singable and enjoyable. Somewhere between The Kinks and The Beach Boys, Jane’s Party is an event not to be missed. Purchase at https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/hot-noise/id647398702

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/janes-party-hot-noise/

Toniks1THE TONIKS.

About to be released in September,  Rise And Shine is a trip back to 1965, London. Influenced by The Beatles, Badfinger and Squeeze, this UK band has perfected the sound that filled the airwaves 47 years ago. Packed with tracks that deal with life, love and human relations, this is a fun filled trip to a simpler time. Amazing melodies, wonderful harmonies combined with horns and strings, each song is pop perfection. If you purchase nothing else this year, purchase this. A definite must have. The album will be available through iTunes and directly through The Toniks website.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/the-toniks-rise-and-shine/

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

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WE CAN BE HEROES-Where I Want To Be

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

wcbh2From the hometown of Garth Hudson (The Band), Skip Spence (Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape) and Jeff Martin (The Tea Party), Windsor, Ontario’s, We Can Be Heroes are plotting their own course for success. Currently devoting themselves to perfecting their live show and increasing their fan base, this power-pop band released their six track EP, Where I Want To Be, in 2011.

Jack Links” has a great melody, with vocals supported by bass and drums which allows the vocal track to be highlighted. Guitar and harmonies are added at the chorus. The rhythm section is heavy but there is a nice guitar riff throughout. The slower tempo of “Violet, You’re Turning Violet“, allows Josh Peltier‘s voice to take command of the melody. Great drum shots and  harmonies make this a powerful song with a punk-rock feel. “We Break Deals And Bones” opens with simple guitar picking, followed by  military like drum rolls, while the powerful guitar chords add fullness to the song. The power pop-punk style of “Cigarettes“, showcases the heavy drumming of Doug Huha, while the guitar harmonics sustain the melody. “Ego” has strong vocals and a solid melody but its the harmonies that shine in  this song. The best track on the album, “Changing With The Seasons” has an exceptional melody, the driving guitars of Chris Holt and Tyler Shelson, heavy cymbals and incredibly strong harmonies to support the vocal track.  Great song!

wcbh1I also listened to “Movements“, a single the band released in 2012. Less melodic than the earlier EP, it leans more towards punk-rock. Musically very strong with a great rock ending, it lacks the subtle pop qualities of “Changing With The Seasons“.

A solid band with a solid sound. Where I Want To Be is a fun listen. We Can Be Heroes have great potential and the ability to write good songs. They bring strong vocals, pop melodies and wonderful harmonies to their music. Certainly worth a couple of listens and a live show or two. You can see them live on August 2 in Windsor, and on August 8 in London, On.

To listen to We Can Be Heroes, click on the link: http://wecanbeheroes.bandcamp.com/album/where-i-want-to-be

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

THE TONIKS-Rise And Shine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

It was May 2013, that I first “reviewedThe Toniks. I had stumbled upon this UK band  while traversing the assorted music sites that I regularly search, looking for new music. At the time, they were working on completing their debut album and touring Europe and Canada. I did not get to see them on the Canadian leg of their tour, but I have been following them very closely after making contact with drummer, Colin Marshall.

toniks2And then, two days ago, thanks to Colin, I received my advance copy of the completed album, Rise And Shine. Produced by Graham Dominy and released on the Indie label Smile Records, the album contains ten tracks, six of which I had not heard before.

The title track has been re-mixed. With an almost acapella introduction and the addition of horns and strings, the song has taken on additional layers of pop poetry. The great trademark harmonies, wonderful hook and flawless drumming, had me wondering where the Go Go dancers were. “Won’t Let You Down” , brings subtle keyboards and a great use of harmonics. The catchy melody, augmented by hand clapping,  make this one of the better tunes on the album. The slower tempo of “Figure It Out” maintains an almost ethereal atmosphere when the strings and harmonies are added. The arrangements are wonderfully done as the eternal question “how am I supposed to make you happy, now” is asked. “Weather“, an upbeat number, pokes fun at interpersonal relationships while demonstrating the vocal range of vocalist/bassist, Mark Taylor. A light guitar solo and amazing horns are impeccably placed within the dynamic melody. “Simple Things“, shines with its stand out harmonies and production techniques that appear at unsuspecting moments throughout the tune.  “Never Real“, more of a power pop song, has a grunge feeling but maintains its pop harmonies amid a subtle keyboard influence. The screaming guitar riffs of “Secret’s Safe” create a punk rock song out of a pop melody. toniks3The great drum shots and driving guitars of Jez Parish and Tom Yates give this song the sense of urgency the lyric conveys. “There You Go“, another venture into power pop, uses heavy guitar riffs to drive the melody and counter balance the harmonies.  The 80’s feel of “Scapegoat” allows the band to play with production techniques. With great guitar riffs and a powerful bass line this tune is the darkest song on the album. My favorite track, “Wonderful Then” brings the band back to it classic pop sound. Jessica English‘s subtle keyboards drift throughout the great melody and trademark harmonies. The vocals are standout and the orchestral arrangements are magnificent. The song is a blast. Sort of Squeeze’s Pulling Mussells meets Badfinger’s No Matter What.

Toniks1Rise And Shine is Pop perfection. Not a bad track on the album. It will make you dance. It will make you sing. Best of all, it will make you happy. The song writing is exquisite, with simple lyrics about life and love and human interactions that take one to a more innocent and simple place.  These guys are amazingly talented. The music is insanely great The album is a wonderful time. Slated for a September release, Rise And Shine will be available on itunes and the band’s website.

The Toniks will be in Canada next on September 5, 2013 when they play The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival with The Walkervilles and The Sheepdogs in Amherstburg, On.

To listen to The Toniks, click on the link :http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/fb_share/3345498

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

YOUNG BENJAMINS-Less Argue

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

Once every now and again, I hear a band that truly impresses me with their music. Out of Saskatoon,  Young Benjamins have not only impressed, but have excited and elated as well. As the follow up to their 2012 Ep, Bones, their album Less Argue was recently released on Dollartone Records. Recorded at Avenue Recording Studios in Saskatoon and mixed in Athens, Ga by John Keane, of R.E.M. fame, this blend of folk, alternative rock, pop and blues results in an exceptionally well crafted album.

yb1The Colonial Pt.1” incorporates tribal drumming, crisp, clean, subtle guitar riffs, and some very eclectic vocals by Vaero Poulin. “Out There (In The Wild)” is an up tempo song, with a country-blues sentiment. The strong vocals by Neusha Mofazzali are wonderfully set outside the instrumentation. The violin creates and maintains the mood for this song. “Jasper, AB” contains military drumming, great transitions, a catchy hook and violin, used to settle the heavy rhythm section. In “Move, Move“, the violin again plays a major role by creating not just feelings, but layers and texture within the song.”Young Argument” with its heavy drumming allows the vocals to be centre stage, while “Less Argue” , has great harmonies and melody lines that are framed by violin and keyboards. “Green Eyes“, at less than one minute long, is a wonderfully simple folk song with acoustic guitar, a catchy melody and strong harmonies. The vocal styling of “Oh Marie“, puts the emphasis on the melody, lyric and voice. The song has great drum rolls and  melancholic violin. Something here makes me think of Great Big Sea. Could this be the the new Canadiana? “The Solace“,  an instrumental, is melodic and soothing with its incredible violin. What a beautiful piece of music! The best track on the album, “Common Thief“, opens with classic rock drums that are quickly quieted by the violin. There are great drum shots and wonderfully played guitar scales integrated into the song. This is as much rock as these guys will muster. The echo effect on the female vocal halfway through the song creates an almost angelic sensation. There are several changes in tempo and time signature and a great ending. “The Colonial Pt 2” brings closure to the album. It plays as a more up tempo adjunct to “The Colonial Pt. 1”, as if the message is complete. It is a happier tune, perhaps providing closure for the band as well. Have I been listening to a concept album?yb

Young Benjamins have a unique style and a unique approach to songwriting. They have the ability to use music to create mood and conjure images. . There is a middle-eastern influence throughout that integrates so well. These guys are incredibly talented. They can write and play, and they have a great feel for their music. One of the most uniquely creative bands I have heard! If you’ve ever wondered why Burton Cummings was ‘Runnin’ Back To Saskatoon”, the answer could very well be to hear bands like Young Benjamins.”Less Argue” is full of life and it is fun!  This is clearly the band’s album, the album that they wanted to make. Add this to your must have list.

To hear Young Benjamins, click on this link:

http://exclaim.ca/MusicVideo/ClickHear/young_benjamins-less_argue_album_stream

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

WHEN THE MUSIC’S OVER…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 13, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

As shocking as it seems and as much as I love music, there comes a time when musicians should just pack it in and call it a career. I am a strong believer that artists must continue to create if they are indeed creating. The Stones continue to release new product, as does McCartney. But what about the other aging rockers who continue to tour, playing the “B” circuit when they haven’t created any new material in 20 or 3o years?

The Eagles

The Eagles

The Eagles are currently on tour. I have seen these guys during the Hotel California tour, and they were great. Always liked their sound and admired the songwriting. I was particularly happy when Joe Walsh sobered up enough to join. I was a huge James Gang fan-Funk #49, Walk Away, Meadows-great music.  I saw the Hell Freezes Over tour. And now, for $700 I can get a floor seat to see these guys play the same songs I have seen them play before.  They have nothing new to offer other than grayer and shorter hair. Not sure, but I don’t think I’ll be going.  The selling feature, if the stories are indeed true, is that Bernie Leadon (one of The Flying Burrito Brothers) will be joining the band for this tour. Wow! Hasn’t been there since 1975. Didn’t really miss him. And it only took Glen Frey 38 years to forgive him for pouring beer over his head. HA! The Eagles have landed guys. It’s time to disembark.

Grand Funk

Grand Funk

There is a Music Festival  in London, Ontario at the end of July. Rock The Park, is sort of a Canadian, hillbilly Woodstock. All of the big names in Rock ‘n’ Roll will be there; Whitesnake, Journey, Grand Funk Railroad and Styx. No way! Yes! A veritable heaping,helping of has beens. And in Whitesnake’s case, never weres. I saw Grand Funk in the early 70s, and they were amazing. I’m Your Captain” is on the My Favorite Song list, “We’re An American Band” loses a lot of its lustre 40 years later!  The line  “we come into your town, we’ll help you party down…”  just doesn’t have the same effect when sung by the  over the hill gang. Its hard to believe there is anything grand left in their funk.

Bad Company

Bad Company

And, wait a minute! The rock supergroup, Bad Company is on the road again, or still, as well. Founded in 1973, this band, made up of former members of Free ( Paul Rodgers and Simon Kirke), Mott The Hoople (Mick Ralphs) and King Crimson (Boz Burrell), were insanely great! I have every album, and believe that Paul Rodgers has one of the best rock voices around.  I have recently learned  that the band that I saw play Maple Leaf Gardens in 1976, will now be taking the stage at Central Ontario’s musical mecca, Casino Rama. It’s been 40 years guys! I love you dearly, but I can’t bear to see or hear it. Contrary to the song,  it seems that I can get enough.

The Spoons

The Spoons

The record companies have certainly done their part to help create this messy turn of events. Canadian new wave darlings, The Spoons have been playing club dates, fueled by a host of re-release parties for product that is 30 years old.  I really do not need another copy of Stick Figure Neighborhood  or Arias & Symphonies. I’m not certain anyone does.

And so, after much trepidation and consideration, I decided that if I were to put my old band back together, I would have to change the name. Rebel  just doesn’t seem to fit anymore. In honor of one of my favorite musicians, the band will be called The Jeriatric Garcias.  But there will not be a reuinion!  There will be no re-release parties, no club dates and no tours.I have nothing new to play! And, as Jim Morrison so eloquently put it, “when the music’s over, turn out the lights”.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

MY WORLD GOES POP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

My venture into popular music began with an uncle, 10 years my senior, who was entrenched in the girl groups of the early 1960s. The first songs I remember listening to were the delightfully unsophisticated  “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, ” He’s A Rebel” by The Crystals and The Chiffons’He’s So Fine“.   I spent numerous hours ingesting  the harmonies and the melody lines of these and other pop classics.

The Ronettes

The Ronettes

And just when I thought I had heard all there was to hear, I discovered The Ronettes. They were amazing. Insanely different. Veronica Bennett, her sister Estelle and her cousin Nedra Talley created a sound so different than anything I had heard before. It was Ronnie’s (Veronica) voice that drew me in. It was Phil Spector‘s production and the now infamous Wall Of Sound that kept me there. ‘Baby I Love You” and “Be My Baby”  kept me listening over and over again. I got my own 45 of “Be My Baby”. I played it and played it. I drummed along with it on pots and pans. I knew every nuance of the song. musically and vocally. I adored Ronnie’s voice and her vocal inflections. I  still do. The power of her voice  blows me away. And so began my epic adventure with rock and roll.

I heard The Beatles many times on the radio before I saw them on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was then that I knew I wanted to be, no, needed to be a musician. I wanted to make music. I wanted to be a Beatle.  A plot was hatched to dispose of Ringo. Why not? I was quite proficient on the pots and pans, and how much different could the drums be? I wanted to be a drummer. I asked for drums for my birthday, and I got a guitar. What the hell. I learned to play and began writing songs.

I dove in to the British Invasion, headfirst. I spent years harboring vinyl from across the ocean. Listening to The Dave Clark 5, The Hollies, whose harmonies were some of the most complex I had heard, and The Kinks, who wrote incredible pop songs and played them like a rock band,  allowed me to intercept the North American bands who were now emulating the British sound. And so, Tommy James and The Shondells, The Grass Roots,  and The Lovin’ Spoonful were added to my ever growing list of must have vinyl. The Beach Boys were added when I heard Pet Sounds. “God Only Knows” is a remarkable song . The harmonies are deep and full. Changes in tempo and time signature reflect Brian Wilson‘s genius. I was set. I was in pop paradise. In 1966-67, as The Beatles experimented with psychedelica, I did as well,  finding  gems in  Blues Image, Spirit, and a host of other insanely talented bands.

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

On my 13th birthday, I received my own drum kit. I had fallen ass backwards into Progressive Rock and was living and breathing Yes; amazing musicians, with the ability to incorporate so many different melodies, time signatures and themes into one perfectly crafted work. Yes led me to King Crimson, Flash and inevitably to Pink Floyd, who made the complex seem simple and the simple sound complete. . How cool was that?  I started a band, but I just couldn’t shake my passion for pop. My fondness for Pagliaro, 5 Man Electrical Band, and Badfinger, created the sound and direction of my musical psyche. New Wave delivered Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and The Pretenders. One of my all time favorite bands,The Pretenders were pure pop. Unforgettable melody lines, great hooks, amazingly simple yet catchy riffs permeated each song. And Chrissy Hynde looked so cool holding a guitar.

Gotta Have Pop

Gotta Have Pop

To satisfy my passion, I have always looked for new artists playing pop. Over the years I have found The Pursuit Of Happiness, The Bob Segarini Band, and Sloan. Segarini is pop genius. His ability to hear the music long before it is ever played sets him out as one of the truly great pop song writers. Once referred to as the Canadian Nick Lowe, Segarini’s Gotta Have Pop  is a classic . I have, more recently found some amazing talent out there in bands named The Creekside Strays, The Micronite Filters, The Research Turtles,  Toxic Melons and The Toniks. There are so many more that I have yet to discover. I can hardly wait! Recently a friend of mine who travels The Oregon Trail looking for new music introduced me to No Small Children. I have just started my auditory stalking of this band so any verdict at this time would be premature. He rarely steers me wrong. I will go on record as saying that they have something, and I suspect it is highly contagious as I can’t seem to stop listening. My fondness for all music lies in  melodies and harmonies. It began with the girl vocal groups and is as strong today as it ever was.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/