Archive for December, 2014

2014 INDIE ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

With a significant number of quality Indie releases this year, narrowing a list down to 10 albums, worthy of I Can’t Believe My Earz‘  2014 Indie Album Of The Year, was no easy task. There are some honorable mentions: Neverfriend-‘Evolve‘, The Everywheres-‘Habitualism‘, Harbour-‘Grade School Summer‘ & Social Strife-‘With Friends Like These…’.  We listened to them all, and here is our pick for the top 10 Indie Albums of 2014.

 

#10     DRUCKFARBEN————–‘Second Sound’

druck I am not certain why Druckfarben has been a mystery. These Toronto based musicians are insanely talented. It is an impressive work.   ‘Second Sound offers wonderful musical themes in an array of movements that are woven together in layers to create an incredible musical journey. This is way cool arena rock, out of the 1970s, with a 21st century bite. If you like Progressive-Rock, Druckfarben is the real deal.

 

 

#9     THE RED RAILS———-A Living Fiction

theredrailsno2The Red Rails offer ‘A Living Fiction‘, a classic rock sound immersed in blues.  The Ottawa band has a sound that reminds me of Cream meets The Black Crowes. With a 21st century edge. I like it! This is not background music. This is an album you play in its entirety. In your car. While taking a 40 minute drive down a highway. Make sure it is a highway. You cannot drive slow while listening.

 

 

 

#8     THE SATISFACTORS——–‘The Satisfactors’

the satisThe Satisfactors self titled debut album. It rocks from beginning to end with a wonderful garage groove. The songs are amazing. They are wonderfully crafted, and played with a beat that just doesn’t stop. Bruce’s vocals are great. Cool to hear from  Jersey’s Fantastic 4! The bass lines, and  guitar riffs are insanely good, and I like the less is more approach to the drumming.  This is rock ‘n’ roll the way it is meant to be played! This is Rock Til You Drop! This is The Satisfactors!

 

 

#7     SOUTH OF BLOOR——‘The Street’

south of bloorThis Toronto band has re-generated my lust for pop with the release of ‘The Street‘. The songs are exquisite 2-3 minute masterpieces. Their ability to write wonderful bridges and changes has me almost awe struck. The vocals are spectacular. The melodies, wonderful. This album delivers 5 terrific pop songs with alternative rock influences. And it works. A wonderful album. A fun time.

 

 

 

#6     TOXIC MELONS———‘Bus Therapy’

tm ‘Bus Therapy‘ is my kind of therapy. This album by Northern England’s Toxic Melons is inspiring, soul touching, and mind altering. The album plays like a journey through a toxic mind, but that’s ok. The songs are pop heaven, with shades of folk, blues, electronic, and some western influences. This Paul Fairbairn can write songs. The melodies are out of this world, and the harmonies, well, remind me of The Beach Boys. The music is wonderfully eccentric.The album is insanely addictive. It has me singing along and I haven’t figured out all of the lyrics yet!  An amazing compilation of great songs that has been placed on my must have list. Very cool.

 

 

#5     THE MINNOWS———‘Live At The Belfast Barge’

the minnowsAside from Yessongs, Waiting For Columbus and The Last Waltz, I have never been a big fan of live albums, but I have to add this Irish band’s ‘Live At The Belfast Barge to the list of great live albums. The songs are as wonderful as I remember them, and they stand up to the passage of time. The band is insanely cohesive, and the musicianship, extraordinary. I have spent the better part of the year immersed in The Minnows and I can tell you that swimming with the fishes is not a bad thing. This is a must for your collection.

 

 

#4     THE CORSETS———–‘Are You Lonely, Are You Scared’

the corsets

Are You Lonely, Are You Scared is a wonderful adventure. Toronto’s The Corsets manage to harness their individual talents into a harmonic whole that is indeed the sum of its parts. Each is easily identifiable, yet needs the other parts to be heard. The energy level is wonderfully exciting, and the songs well, incredibly creative. Add this to your collection. It is that good.

 

 

 

#3     XPRIME——–‘The Album’

xprimeXprime should be big. Hailing from Niagara Falls, Ontario, they write incredibly melodic songs with amazing harmonies and unforgettable hooks. These are talented musicians who seem to be having fun with every note played. ‘The Album‘ is a must have album. Give it 4 or 5 listens. At least. Pay particular attention to “To See You Here“, a 70′s pop-folk tune that reminds me of Poco, “Feels Like I’m The Only One“, a way cool song with R & B overtones, and “Early To The Sun“.

 

 

#2     THE AFTER HOURS——-‘Shaken, Not Stirred’

the after hoursI really like Los Angeles’ The After Hours. I am a fan! They cite among their many influences The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, The Byrds, The Zombies, The Hollies and The Turtles. Is it any wonder their music has wonderful 1960′s melodies, harmonies and riffs?  The vocals and the guitar work stand out. ‘Shaken, Not Stirred captures the essence of 60′s music. The songs are wonderfully written, and demonstrate a remarkable ability to integrate all of their influences into one cohesive and coherent sound. This is a must have album.

 

And, finally, the I Can’t Believe My Earz Indie Album Of The Year for 2014…

 

#1     THE HOT SPROCKETS——‘Brother Nature’

hsBrother Nature‘ by Ireland’s The Hot Sprockets. 13 tracks, and not a bad one to be found. I have listened to this album over and over, and it just keeps getting better. The songs are insanely good. The production, wonderful. These guys can write. These guys can play. The album has a ‘live off the floor’ feel to it. I haven’t heard this much energy in an album in a long time. The Hot Sprockets refer to their music as ‘country dirt”. I prefer to call it Irish Soul! Brother Nature is one of the most powerful albums I have heard in 2014, filled with the unusual, and the unexpected.

 

And there you have it. 10 exceptional albums. The I Can’t Believe My Earz picks for 2014. Give them a listen. Purchase them. Support Indie Music, and Indie bands.

 

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LORRAINE SEGATO: From Artist In Residence To Wild Woman

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I first met Lorraine Segato in 1979, or was it 1980? It doesn’t matter, really. She was fronting Mama Quilla II, a local Toronto band, and I caught their show somewhere on  Queen St W, probably The ls1Cameron House, or The Horseshoe Tavern, she advised me. Recently, I had been informed that she was currently the Artist in Residence for Regent Park, a Toronto community in the midst of revitalization. Curious, I made arrangements to sit down with her, and learn more about the Residency.

Spearheaded by Mitchell Cohen, President of Daniels Corp., a Toronto developer actively involved in re-building Regent Park, the program is designed to enhanced the community’s arts and cultural scene. The unlikely union of Segato, a lifelong social activist, and Cohen, a corporate big wig, was made possible by Cohen’s dedication to the arts, and to Regent Park. As the first Artist in Residence, Segato’s 2 year term allows her to build the framework and template of a program, that all future Residents will follow.

Her mission includes finding new ways to enrich, celebrate, and draw attention to this changing neighborhood. Her vision is selflessly awe inspiring. While developing the cultural and artistic talent pool of Regent Park, Segato envisions turning this into an international venture, by offering Residencies to artists around the globe. To help achieve this lofty goal, she has created 3 projects. First, she has recorded a new version of her iconic song, ‘Rise Up‘, first recorded by Parachute Club in 1983.  ‘Rize Time‘ has a gospel arrangement, and an introduction  by Regent Park poet, Mustafah. Proceeds from its sale will ls2be donated to the Regent Park Artist in Residency program. She has created ‘The Legacy Salon‘, a 5 part series in which she interviews people who have contributed to the culture of Toronto. And finally, she is about to launch ‘Wild Women (Don’t Get The Blues)‘, a 5 part cabaret series in which she, and other artists perform the music of female singers who, she believes, impacted music significantly. The illustrious list includes Etta James, Amy Winehouse, and Annie Lennox. Segato informed me that there will also be a special guest from Regent Park performing. How cool is that?

Driven by her desire to give back, Segato states that she is looking to teach others from the mistakes she has made. Giving back is the key for her. She feels it is her civic duty to help. The sense that the more you give, the more you get seems to permeate her Residency. Given all that she has accomplished, and all that she has given, I believe it to be true. I am impressed. With the program, and with the woman. If the Artist In Residency was an elected position, Lorraine Segato has my vote.

So, if you live in Toronto, or live nearby, head down to Regent Park, and take a look at the transformation. Check out the PaintBox Bistro on Dundas St E., and catch ‘Wild Women (Don’t Get The Blues)’. 

 

 

To purchase ‘Rize Time”: http://www.lorrainesegato.com/dair/

To find out more about ‘Wild Women (Don’t Get The Blues)’: http://blog.paintboxbistro.ca/wild-women-dont-get-the-blues-show/

 

 

 

 

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OTTAWA-Capital Rocks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I was quite surprised to find that there was more going on in Canada‘s capital city than just Senators padding their expense account, and all of the other goings on at Harper’s Bizarre.  The city on the Rideau has spawned some wonderful Indie music during 2014. Here are some of our favorites from Ottawa, Ontario.

 

theredrailsno2The Red Rails offer a classic rock sound immersed in blues.  A sort of Cream meets The Black Crowes. With a 21st century edge. I like it! This is not background music. A Living Fiction is an album you play in its entirety. In your car. While taking a 40 minute drive down a highway. Make sure it is a highway. You cannot drive slow while listening.

 

 

superlativeno2Numero Deux is a wonderful treat. It is a change from ‘Chester‘: It is grittier, edgier, and it has bite. There is a wonderfully full sound, with layers of instrumentation that blend together in magical, musical mayhem. And once again, the album cover is way cool. Give this a few listens, as it gets better every time. And purchase a copy. An exceptionally thrilling adventure by The Superlative.

 

 

rf1Thoughts & Reason is filled with wonderfully melodic guitar, often with electric riffs over the more subtle acoustic. There are great vocals, singing heartfelt lyrics, and nice harmonies. The vocal effects are nicely done, and the changes are dynamite. A sort of singer-songwriter side to Ryan Fitz, with personal songs that touch on universal themes, simply played, with guitar and vocals. Nothing else. This guy can write songs. A wonderful change, perfectly executed. I am liking this Ryan Fitz.

 

 

neverfriend2Neverfriend delivers a raw, energetic, yet sophisticated album. Combining elements of pop, punk, and hard rock, the songs never seem to disappoint. Evolve is filled with pop melodies with punk/rock instrumentation. Way cool. I like the sound. I like the songs. I like the band.  Get ready for the release, and get yourself at least 1.

 

 

 

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