Archive for alternative rock

THE COMEDY-Deadlights

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

comedy2Hailing from Montreal, The Comedy have unleashed a new take on Progressive Rock. The release of their album Deadlights, officially launched in June 2012, showcases beautifully created images through words and music.

The album is filled with dark, yet wonderfully haunting melodies within Progressive Rock themes. The vocals are disturbing dark and brooding and layered within the music so as not to be overpowering. The music itself is perfectly arranged and executed to induce images of social discontentment. The lyrical themes of alienation, isolation mechanization and desolation are prevalent throughout the album. From the somber mood of “Lighthouse” and “Lights/Depth” to the harsher sounds of “Dystopia” and “Machines”,  lines such as “…Keep these machines from killing me.”,  reflect on the bleak outlook of society and progress.

comedy1This is Alternative Progressive Rock with an edge. There are shades of King Crimson and Pink Floyd . The haunting guitars, heavy bass and drums and eerily set vocals have me believing that if Stephen King were to write music, it would sound like this. Interestingly, in the Stephen King novel IT, the monster’s eyes were referred to as deadlights.  John Cafferty sang about being On The Dark Side, but The Comedy are it.  A wonderful album, worthy of repeated listens and a place in your collection.

You can listen to Deadlights here:          http://thecomedymusic.bandcamp.com/

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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

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REDAMBERGREEN-Through All The Days

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

I am not sure what is going on in London, Ontario, but the proliferation of talented,  young bands springing up in this city is staggering. Redambergreen another party-town band with a penchant for pop-rock music, released their EP, “Through All The Days” in 2012.

rag1The title track has slick guitar work and some very cool drum rolls and shots. With running guitar riffs and tempo changes, this up beat tune has a great melody with an alternative rock edge. “With You”  has a new wave flavor with its choppy guitar, and the opening blast of power chords is surprisingly fitting. The dual guitars on “Lost“,  coupled with a continuous riff,  give this song an almost ethereal feel. “Puppy Wars” is a harder hitting tune that captures the 1980s New Wave sound with exciting guitar work playing over wonderfully precise drumming. Although a rockier song, “Reach” continues to deliver a similar sound. The highlight, the acoustic version of “With You“, has clean and crisp vocals, a beautifully constructed melody and incredible, light harmonies. The simplicity of the arrangement makes this a great pop ballad.  By far the best track on the album.

Prior to listening to this EP, I heard the band’s song “Cobwebs And Cardigans“, released in 2013. This rock song opens with a flurry of power chords and drum rolls, and captures the listener with a vocal melody that lags just slightly behind the music. The vocals are true to the mood and the music. There is an instrumental bridge with an amazing tempo and time change at about 3 minutes, that has a great guitar riff with heavy drums and then, shifts back to the chorus. This song caught my attention.

rag2Through All The Days” is a collection of pop/rock songs that will have you dancing to the catchy melodies. The style is reminiscent of  the  pop-wave band Modern English. I was, however a little disappointed with it.  It sounds under produced.  A good first effort, but I expected more from these five seasoned players. These guys have talent and they have great potential. They write good songs and are exciting to see live.  I anticipate good things from this band moving forward, and I will be listening.

To hear Redambergreen, follow the link below:

http://www.redambergreenband.bandcamp.com/

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THE STANDSTILLS: Pushing Electric

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

standstillsThe concept is simple! Write great songs, play like you mean it, and a two man band can sound, well, like a band, With the release of their new album “Pushing Electric“,  Oshawa, Ontario’s The Standstills have done just that. Johnny Fox (guitar, vocals) and Renee Couture (drums) have created a sound that they refer to as “The White Stripes getting body slammed by Queens Of The Stone Age”. This is not your ordinary duo. This is not The Carpenters. This is The Standstills. With two other albums to their credit, “The Standstills” (2009) and “The Human Element” (2011), their alternative/rock/blues  sound has led them to the edge of greatness.

standstills3The Standstills have managed to create the illusion of a full, four piece band. The drums play the entire rhythm section so demonstrably that the bass is not missed. The vocals are strong and Johnny Fox has great range. The album, produced by the band, contains good, solid production values which bring out the best the band has to offer. The drumming of Renee Couture is over the top. This girl can drum. Influenced by The Tea Party, Incubus and Queens Of The Stone Age, she is probably the best female drummer in Canada. The album contains eleven tracks of strong, hard hitting rock songs with infectious melodies and heavy riff hooks. The title track is a  driving rock tune that sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Good God Damn” , one of the two videos taken from this album contains biting guitars and the band’s great sense of harmony. “Junkie” is a wonderfully poignant tune with the best lyric of the album. “Done” could be a Cult song with its eerily pounding guitars and prominent drums. The whimsical “Jesus“, with its Middle-East influence is reminiscent, at times, of Fleetwood Mac. The last track, “Gone” is the best track on the album with its melodic guitar, powerful drums and strong vocals.

There is not a bad song on “Pushing Electric“. Each makes you wonder “How do they do this with only two instruments?”. It doesn’t matter. It rocks!  Add this to your must have list.

To listen to The Standstills:

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The Creekside Strays Have Found A Home.

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

In a time when most music seems generic and derivative, the London, Ontario band The Creekside Strays have carved out a niche for themselves. This trio has compiled a significant catalogue of music in a short time, and have just released their third EP, simply titled The Creekside Strays. This Indie band has been slugging it out in the bar scene honing their craft and developing their songwriting for the past three years. The result is a product that showcases both their songs and musicianship. A blend of alternative rock, soul and pop has given The Strays a unique sound and a large, local following.

strays

I hear the influences of The Beatles, Steely Dan, Dave Matthews and the alternative rock of Seattle.  I am immediately taken by the subtle instrumentation; there is no overbearing guitar here and no pounding rhythm section. I ask myself who do they sound like and the answer is nobody. I tap my feet to every song. The production is simple yet profoundly well suited. Like Becker and Fagen, the song writing is exquisite-narratives that float across unpretentious melodies. From the opening track “Shit Outta Luck” to the soft 50s soul of “Keep Your Hands In The Car”, this EP is a journey through time, taking one back to the days when music was just plain fun.

Who says there is no good music to listen to anymore? As one who was fortunate enough to have grown up with the music of the 60s, I can tell you that The Creekside Strays are proof positive that music is alive and well and living in Canada.

To hear The Creekside Strays:

http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=2LraVwM0wB0

 

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