Archive for September, 2013

FUR EEL-Perhaps Another Time

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

fureel1There are bands that I know I  like and there are bands that I know I do not like. Once in a while I hear a band,  and I just can’t decide. Fur Eel, the Regina, Saskatchewan band, released their 10 track album, Perhaps Another Time in 2012, and it has me swimming in uncertainty.

The album opens with “The Blues“, a rock/blues/funk mix with nice harmonies, a cool guitar riff, and nice, easy guitar solo. “Elephant Summer” offers a funky bass line, horns and sweet guitar work. The blues/rock of “Ain’t Got The Time” is countered by the funkified guitar amid a great melody. “The Dance” emulates the Philadelphia blue eyed soul sound of    Hall & Oates, while “Sangria” is interestingly weird.  The funky “Smooth City” has nice guitar work and horns, “All Over Me” is reminiscent of a funk/soul tune by Prince. “The Rhythm” is a funky-rock song with a great melody, stand out vocals and some very cool guitar. While I was not impressed by “Zoo“, the highlight was “Black Mountain“, with great guitar, great drumming, and wonderful changes in tempo and mood. It has a stand out melody and tremendous energy. A song I did not want to end.

fureel2And so the dilemma. Justin Sheppard and Thomas St. Onge write good songs. The sound is unique and interesting. It encompasses rock, blues, funk and soul. James Belle provides steady drumming and with Travis Reshaur, create a wonderful rhythm section. And yet, I find that parts of the album are repetitive. The project needs production work. This band has great potential and they can write songs. I am still tossing it over. Worth a listen.

You can hear Fur Eel here:   http://www.fureelmusic.com/free_album

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

Advertisements

THE NURSERY-Carnival Nature

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

nursery3One of the most intriguing and interesting albums i have heard in a long time, Carnival Nature by Toronto band The Nursery, contain 6 tracks of musical mastery. Released in June, 2013, The Nursery dance to the beat of a very different drummer.

Lysurgically Yours” opens the album with wonderful piano work, and a magical, carnival feel.  The harmonies, hypnotic vocals, theremin and guitar riff create a wonderfully esoteric feel. The steady drumming of “It’s A Sin“, coupled with the over the top guitar, synthesizer and theremin create a very different atmosphere while providing a catchy melody that makes me think of court jesters. “Lucy” delivers a strangely cool melody amid a western tempo countrified guitars and great transitions. The synth opening of “Domino“, accented by drum rolls, delivers a great melody in an unconventional song. It is just plain weird, but I do like weird. “The Wild Heart” contains an REM style acoustic guitar opening, with a very eerie vocal track that creates a wonderfully dreamy sensation. The psych-rock guitar solo compounds the ethereal sensations.” I Was I Was Someone Else” comes with acoustic guitar picking, horns, a sophisticated melody and spectacular vocals. A wonderful song.

nursery2

Alex Pulec

nursery1For the first time I was unable to find an identifiable favorite track. The music defies genre. The Nursery have incorporated several styles and arrived at a sound that can best be described as acid/rock/soul/synth-folk/pop. Let’s be honest. Its just plain weird! Eccentric. Bizarre.  But it is simply incredible. Alex Pulec’s voice, akin to Robert Smith of The Cure, in its tone and phrasing, is perfectly suited to sing these  songs. In fact, I don’t think anyone else could do them justice. I have listened to Carnival Nature several times, and enjoy it more with each listen. The songs are  unconventionally spectacular. The arrangements are weirdly wonderful and I’m having the time of my life listening. This is a band I want to interview.  This is an album you won’t want to miss.

Check The Nursery out for yourself here:      http://thenursery.bandcamp.com/album/carnival-nature

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

MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-September 2013

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

Now that the kids have gone back to school, you may find yourself with more time to sit back and listen to something you haven’t heard before. Here is I Can’t Believe My Earz best bets for September, 2013.

sh2The Swillbilly Heroes

This Oshawa, On band released The Lamentable  Tragedy Of The… this summer on the upstart Get Bent Records. The band’s debut album contains 9 tracks that are influenced by country, rock, pop, southern rock and blues music. The album is filled with great song, layered with sounds and strong melodies. This is a killer album. Great music. Great fun.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/swillbilly-heroes-the-lamentable-tragedy-of-the/

M&MMesses & Miracles

The Captain Surely Drowns, is the latest release by London, On band, Messes & Miracles. A folk-rock band at heart, these guys write amazing songs that evoke images and tell wonderful stories. Their acoustic rock sound is refreshingly appealing  and I have been listening to this album on a daily basis. One for the collection.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/messes-and-miracles-the-captain-surely-drowns/

1divOne Divided

Long overdue, but not overlooked, One Divided, the Oshawa On trio, released the 5 song EP, Good Reasons in 2013. With a sound influenced by Green Day, Sloan, and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, I should have known I would get a raw, in your face power-pop/punk sound. The energy is electrifying. The songs melodic. Great effort and a whack of fun.

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

MESSES AND MIRACLES-The Captain Surely Drowns

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

M&M1On the heels of their 2012 debut Ep, A Place To Hang Our Heads, London, Ontario band Messes & Miracles released the 5 track EP The Captain Surely Drowns in August of this year.

This Folk-Rock band has matured since the release of their debut EP. Their acoustic rock sound, influenced by folk music is evident in the melody of “All We Are“,which features choral harmonies, and great transitions. The simple yet melodic guitar riff, makes this song. The title track, with its great changes and strong harmonies, serves as a wonderful lead in to the rockier “Dead Eyes” which uses power chords within a softer, acoustic theme. The vocals, coming in short bursts, are interesting and unique. “Daggers has the signature harmonies, a nice riff, and a fun melody. I like the piano used here and the changes in tempo are an added bonus. My favorite track on the album, “Angry World”, is an incredibly well crafted song. The ballad has a beautiful melody, framed by lush harmonies and a soft and easy guitar riff, making this song warm and infectious.

M&MMesses And Miracles are  a remarkable band.  They have a unique sound, and write songs that tell stories.  The album is filled with light songs that have heavy themes. It is beautifully  simple, subtle with complex textures. There is not much missing here, except perhaps another 5 or 6 tracks to listen to. This EP has been put into my regular listening rotation.

To listen to Messes And Miracles, click here:  http://messesmiracles.bandcamp.com/

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

WHO WAS FIRST?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 20, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

I haven’t been to a large venue concert in a long time. I refuse to pay several hundreds of dollars for a ticket and honestly, there is really no one that I want to see. It did however, start me thinking about the first concert I went to. Truth be told, I just can’t remember. I don’t know if it is the years of illicit substance use or age induced memory failure. Or a little of both.  Sadly, I just can’t remember!

BDGRSMBAnd so, writing about my first concert is clearly an impossible task. What about my most memorable concert? Well, there was Badfinger at the old O’Keefe Centre, Spirit at the old Victory Burlesque Theatre, Tommy James, The Band, The Grateful Dead, Clapton, Jethro Tull, Harrison, and a litany of others to choose from. What would make a concert the most memorable? Well, for starters, remembering it! And so the dilemma began. I remember generalities, but no details. I remember going to see Steve Miller. I remember it was just after the release of the Book Of Dreams album. I remember Norton Buffalo was the opening act, it was at Maple Leaf Gardens and that I ate a gram of gold Lebanese  about 30 minutes before show time. Well, now i know why i can’t remember anything else!

yesAnd so, the highlight reel in my head began playing, reviewing every concert I could remember attending. I saw Yes on at least 2 occasions.  The 1st tine was following the release of Close To The Edge. I remember almost nothing. The other was the Tales From Topographic Oceans tour. I remember sitting 4th row, floors at Maple Leaf gardens. Pretty sure we were on opium. I remember bright lights, dry ice, and Jon Anderson emerging from darkness about halfway through the introduction of the “The Revealing Science Of God“.

genesisI saw Genesis, not the And Then There Were Three version, but the real Genesis, with Peter Gabriel. You know, “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway“, genesis. I saw Queen, right after the release of Sheer Heart Attack and remember nothing.

It was suggested that I write about the 1st concert I remember. I couldn’t tell you what that was. Another suggestion was t write about the last concert I attended. Not surprising, I can’t remember hat either. Had I known this would happen, I would have attended concerts in alphabetical order, beginning with AC/DC and ending with ZZ Top. The only certainty in my concert going days, is that I never saw The Beatles. Now, that I surely would have remembered.

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

TOUR WITH THE TONIKS-Toronto 2013

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

After months of anticipation and a few days of school girl giddiness, the time had come to hang out with The Toniks. All week, my wife had been informing our friends that “He thinks he’s going to hang out with The Beatles”. What can I say? Was I excited?  Like a pre-pubescent school girl with a new puppy! For 10 days all I drank were Gin & Toniks.

htI take pleasure in knowing that I had some part in bringing The Toniks’ music to Canadian ears. Actually I am proud as hell!  I had found them on the internet and contacted them. I wrote a few articles about their music and over time we became friends. When I learned that the English band were coming to play the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto to promote their new album, Rise & Shine, I arranged to meet  up with them, get an interview and catch the show.

In doing my research, I discovered that this is the 2nd incarnation of The Toniks. The 1st line-up, included Ollie Smith on drums and Jim O’Neil on keyboards. A 4 track EP was released in 2009 and 2 of the songs, ” Wonderful Then” and “Simple Things” appear on the Rise & Shine album . For the past 9 months, the current 5 members have been touring in England and recording.

We met out front of the bar and decided to conduct the interview over dinner. Jez presented me with a Rise & Shine CD and a t shirt they had made for me.  How cool is that? What a great bunch of guys. And a girl!

Colin Marshall

Colin Marshall

Finding a place to eat was challenging. In the midst of Chinatown, Mark announced he does not like Chinese food. Colin was adamant that he needed grilled chicken and veggies. So we headed out  across Queen St W until Colin found us a restaurant. We settled in, and ordered (yep, Colin got his grilled chicken and veggies). I had prepared 10 questions that I wanted to ask, however after the 1st, the interview took on a life of its own. Incredibly cool. It just naturally flowed. This band was open and honest, appreciative and humble.

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

The band informed me that the music industry in England has been decimated by the influence of X-Factor and Simon Cowell. It has become increasingly difficult to even get gigs if you are not an X-Factorite. Canada, they claim, is far more receptive to new bands and music than England. And while they see no changes occurring in the English industry in the foreseeable future, they have no intention of leaving. Not yet anyway. While Colin helped the server clear tables (the guy is so ADHD) Mark and Jez informed me that they are the song writers, and described their relationship with producer/manager Graham Dominy as very positive. “Graham allows us to make our music. He just helps show us how to get it to sound the way we want it to sound.” There is no plan or conscious effort in their song writing. “We don’t sit down and say, well let’s write about this topic or that topic. We just start playing and it just sort of happens”. They do believe that they write positive songs because they are positive people. “I don’t like being down”, Mark says, “so I don’t want to bring others down”. Really cool attitude. One of the most endearing qualities of  this band is that they try to view everything in a positive light.

Jess English

Jess English

It’s a tough haul being a Tonik, though. They have no major iqnrecord deal, and have to cover all expenses out of pocket. They hold down full time jobs and devote as much time as they can to their music. The 5 of them share 1 hotel room. Not so bad since they view the band as family.  “I miss not being with them”, Colin said, “but I miss not being away from them”.  But this is one smart band. They have their own publishing company, and their own record label.  They have learnt all they could about royalties, mechanical rights and return on investment. They get that this is not just music. Its business.

Jez Parish

Jez Parish

I invited my buddy, Todd Miller of Radio That Doesn’t Suck to come down and see the band. I had given him a copy of  the new album and he seemed impressed. We hung out with the band in The Horseshoe for a while, talking about the artists who had played there and our own musical experiences. We sat through 2 opening acts and listened to the band talk about how cool it was that people in Canada move up to the stage. “In London, they move way to the back. That’s just what they do”, Mark told me. It was interesting for me to see Colin’s pre-gig ritual. Drummers tend to be incredibly ritualistic. Colin reads a very special book written by and given to him by a dear friend, Danielle. He sits alone and reads his book. This was the only time I saw him sit still for any length of time.

Tom Yates

Tom Yates

When The Toniks hit the stage, Todd and I were front and centre, taking pictures and shooting video.  I watched the crowd as Scapegoat began, and  everyone was tapping their feet, or dancing, or moving in one way or another. What a great opening song! They morphed into “Wonderful Then” and when it was done, the crowd erupted in applause. I knew it!! The band relaxed, smiled and got down to having fun. Each song they played drew the audience deeper into their world. The band was tight, with spot on harmonies. The vocals rang true, cradled in an almost perfect rendition of each track. You could feel the band’s energy, and you just knew that they were having the time of their lives. I am certain they are like this every time they play.  The Toniks are as much fun to watch as they are to listen to. Not just a studio band, these guys love to entertain, to work an audience.  They closed the set with “Figure It Out“. The audience erupted in chants of  “1 more song! 1 more song!”.  “You And I” was the encore. Killer song.   Killer show!

128I can’t helping really liking this band. Not just the music, or the performance, but the people in the band. Jess, the lone girl, is gentle, quiet and oh, so English. Mark is cerebral and tends to worry and wonder, and reminds me of Ian Hunter.  Jez is animated and quite sardonic in his humor, and very much the musical director of the band. Tom is quiet in his cool. He plays in the Gilmore style of less is more:  No shredding.  Just clean, crisp solos. And Colin, well, Colin has enough energy for his band mates and then some. He is an amazingly gifted drummer who plays with the exuberance of Keith Moon’s  “beat the crap out of my kit” school, but with that same less is more style. I just refer to him as Ringo. And yet these very different personalities have come together in an insanely talented and creative band.  It seems a perfect fit. These guys belong together. They are The Toniks. Their camaraderie, well, let’s call it festive. They like playing together. They like each other. They anticipate each others moves and, at times, finish each others sentences.

148This was their first visit to Canada. They said the Canadian response to their music has been great. “Can you believe people were buying our CDs and asking us to autograph them?” They opened for The Sheepdogs last weekend and played The Horseshoe. Not bad for a first Canadian tour.  Todd Miller was so impressed that he informed them that he was putting their music into regular rotation on Radio That Doesn’t Suck. I am determined to have them return for a longer tour, playing around Southern Ontario. They loved the Horseshoe. They loved Canada. And from what I saw, Canada loved them. Awesome music. Awesome band. Awesome people.  I am proud and thrilled to call them friends.

toniks19The Toniks are:  Mark Taylor–Bass, lead vocals; Jez Parish–Guitar, background vocals; Tom Yates–Guitar; Jess English–Keyboards, background vocals; Colin Marshall–Drums.

You can purchase Rise & Shine on The Toniks website:    http://www.thetoniks.com/riseandshine.php

Very Cool The Toniks Videos:

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

SWILLBILLY HEROES-The Lamentable Tragedy Of The…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

sh1I don’t know where the guys at Get Bent Records find these bands, but the Swillbilly Heroes have just released their debut album, The Lamentable Tragedy Of The…. This Toronto band refers to their music as Alternative Country/Rock but I hear so much more. The 9 tracks share country influences with rock, southern rock, pop and blues.

sh2The opening track, “Big Red Ford“, has a nice melody with great transitions and an incredible fullness. The slide guitar and guitar solo remain true to country, but this song rocks. “All The Ghosts You Exorcise” has a slower tempo, a great bridge, and a very cool acoustic guitar solo.  The distant harmonies meshed with keys that make me think accordion, give this song a wonderfully airy feel. The echo effect vocals of “Lucky Mind” add to the uniqueness of this track which includes wonderfully placed stops and starts, a beautiful acoustic guitar solo, and bells which provide a perfect backdrop for the melancholy mood. “Swillbilly Heroes” begins softly and then cracks open with slide guitar, cool offbeat drumming, and a nice guitar “twang” throughout. The dual guitars are reminiscent of The Allman Brothers. Lyric like “love me forever, love me to death” add to the dark beauty of the song.  “Bent On Battered Days”  a rock song, with a great bass line has great effects and psych-rock guitar. Love the cool isolation on the drums, amazing guitar solo and a melody that never quits.. The driving rocker, “Tear It Up” comes with  great bass work, guitar effects, spectacular vocal harmonies and a clean, crisp guitar solo. “‘Til You Broke Some Bones” begins with a drum solo. The melody framed by faint harmonies, and the countrified guitar solo emphasizes an amazing sh3transition to the bridge. “Chlorhexidine Dreams“, a moody tune, is played without drums and bass. The acoustic guitar strumming and the electric guitar lead are accompanied only by chimes and the brooding vocals, within a very haunting melody. My favorite track, “Shipwreck” has great effects and a rockin’ guitar solo.  Driven by the rhythm section, quieter at the verses it fills in at the chorus. The incredible melody cradles brilliant lyric such as “you haven’t lived until you’ve tried, you haven’t lived until you’ve died”, all within a song that could very well be an amazing arena rock song. Just need some dry ice and strobe lights. A song I really want to see live. An amazingly beautiful track with a spectacular ending and shades of Blue Rodeo.

gb1The Lamentable Tragedy Of The… is far from tragic. Great songs with amazing melodies that are simple and complex at the same time, layered within sounds that fill the senses.  Franco Care has an amazing voice, deep, dark, and dynamic. The band is tight and incredibly talented. I was surprised at first to see Abel Renton‘s name as guitarist in the credits. He is also the guitarist for The Micronite Filters. But then I remembered that this is, after all, Get Bent Records. And a killer album.  Epic fun.  Epic cool. Epic Music.

You can listen to this album here:    http://swillbillyheroes.bandcamp.com/album/the-lamentable-tragedy-of-the

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