Archive for band

The Easy Outs-‘Hot Mess’

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2018 by TheManicBlogger

 

With the release of The Easy Outs new album, Hot Mess, on Dead Walker Records, the band has secured their spot in the annals of legendary Jersey garage bands. With a kick ass Jersey rock beat, this album adds many layers that bring the in your face rock sound to new heights and recreates the band’s raw energy on a studio recording.  ‘Hot Mess‘ is a powerful album from a rock solid band, with wonderful 1960s harmonies, exceptional melodies and unforgettable hooks that are layered over dynamite guitar riffs and solos, great vocal tracks, and a way cool rhythm section. There are blues, power-pop, and 1970s California vibes sprinkled throughout, but the kick ass Jersey garage comes rockin’ through. This is The Easy Outs, and they have delivered one of the best albums I have heard in a long time. Beautifully written, arranged and produced. Definitely one for the collection, and a contender for Indie Album of The Year. A solid album filled with songs that will make you want to be an Easy Out too, so go on and get yourself a couple copies of ‘Hot Mess’. Released March 16/18, and found on Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, Googleplay, cdbaby, and others. Favorite tracks include “(I’ll Be) Long Gone“, “Ephrata“, “Dirt City“, and “Wake Up“. Check out The Easy Outs on Facebook, and visit their website here.

 

 

 

 

 

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BETRAYERS-Let The Good Times Die

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 7, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

betrayers2betrayers3I seem to be drawn to the weird. The different.The unique and original. Its okay. I like it. Particularly when it comes to music. It’s the excitement of finding something that defies genre; something new; something truly entertaining. And, as luck would have it, hiding deep in the underground of Edmonton, Alberta, I found the weirdly wonderful Betrayers, a fuzzed up, punk out, psych, 60’s garage band.

Their earlier EPs,  December 2012’s, Treat Me Mean, and the February 2013, The Betrayers, foreshadowed the sound of things to come.  Fair warning for December 2013’s full album, Let The Good Times Die.

betrayers4The album is filled with great guitar riffs, that often lie just below the bass and drums.I hear tambourine and a way cool organ. It doesn’t get more 1960s than that. There are choppy piano riffs and a drone that permeates the band’s sound making me think of Love And Rockets and the 1980s. I particularly enjoyed “Do You Smoke?”, with its dark, eerie mood and fuzz guitar solo, and “Little Girl (You’ve Got Some Growing Up To Do)“, a Ramone’s punk song with pop influence, cool harmonies and great drumming. My favorite track, “Song For Sue“, has an almost surf-pop melody that is counter balanced by the instrumentation. It has great changes and a cool bridge.

betrayers1Musical influences are varied. There are hints of The Clash, Be Bop Deluxe, and the opening of “”Born To Cry” had me thinking of The Four Seasons.  “Call Me When You’re Blue“, off of the Treat Me Mean EP, has that 60s, girl group feel. There are shades of The Beach Boys. But this is a fuzzed up, psyched-out rock band. I checked in with Travis Sargent, the band’s slightly eccentric front man, who confirmed that the band has 2 drummers. Yes, there are 2 drum kits! In the studio, and live. This is way cool.

betrayers5The songs are short, yet poignant. The sound is full. The music seem to want to  go somewhere, but the vocals and the melody take it somewhere else. There is tremelo everywhere. This is not music for the masses. Betrayers create a unique world with their music, perhaps a world on a yet to be discovered planet. Let The Good Times Die is not for the focused. I refer to this as the ADHD sound: Its all over the place. Yet, it makes sense. And it works. It is different. It is weird. It is amazingly cool. A great album. A great listen. A wonderful experience.  Can’t wait for thee guys to make it to Toronto.

You can listen here:  http://thebetrayers.bandcamp.com/

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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:

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MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-June 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

As we approach the end of June, with summer upon us, the time for driving with the top down and the stereo cranked has arrived. Whether sitting by the pool, hanging out at the beach or driving around, nothing make summer like music. We, at I Can’t Believe My Earz have compiled our list of the best Canadian Independent Albums for you. Here are the  Must Have Indie Albums for the month of June, 2013. And remember, please support independent musicians. Buy the music, if you like it.

INNERSPACE

innerspacelp

This Quebec band delivered the goods with the release of “The Village“. A concept album chronicling the growth of child to man, the music is rich with synthesizer, guitar and classical music themes. With shades of King Crimson, Yes and Pink Floyd,  this work is a must have for all Progressive Rock fans.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hhRHd4rPJoY#t=0s

THE MICRONITE FILTERS

mf6

The blues-rock played by this Oshawa, Ontario band, is raw, gritty, powerful and soulful. “Chasing Ghosts” is filled with great songs and great musical moments.  This is not your granddaddy’s blues! One for the collection.

http://themicronitefilters.bandcamp.com/

THE CREEKSIDE STRAYS

cs1

This London, Ontario band released a classy and fun album  of exceptional songs. The Strays have a unique sound, a blend of rock, soul and pop which could best be described as Stray Rock. The self titled EP contains five wonderfully crafted songs that you will not be able to stop singing. Unforgivable not to have this gem in your collection.

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

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One Divided: The Boys Are Back!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

Wonder what happened to in your face rock? It’s back with a vengeance, and its called One Divided,  Following the release of  their debut EP “One Divided” (2008),  the album “Shape Your Life” (2010), spawned two singles which received local radio play. The Oshawa, Ontario band’s new EP, “Good Reasons” demonstrates their growth as songwriters. The five tracks were written collaboratively by the three band members who share influences as diverse as Green Day, Sloan, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Depeche Mode.onedivided

Start Again” opens the EP as a pop song with a sense of urgency, as the melody and harmonies pull you in. The subtle instrumentation of “All The Way” allows the vocals to be the focus and delivers a kick-ass ending. “Let It Go” has a punk/grunge edge to it and could be on any Green Day album.  The title track is as close to a ballad as One Divided can get, but then it takes on a new life as a straight ahead rock song. The hard driving “Retitled” is a crafty song that starts you out on a slow river cruise and then shoves you over the rapids. Matt Silver finally brings his guitar to life and while his vocals seem forced and strained, it works. Great song! Great EP!

The EP is under produced . It doesn’t matter. It works. What we get is a product that comes as close as possible to a One Divided live performance; a raw, in your face attack. Filled with flaws, it is One Divided. The songs are filled with energy. They have catchy melodies and tight harmonies. They make you want to tap your feet. Does there really have to be anything else?  One Divided will be at Sgt. Peppers in Ajax, Ontario performing at The Molson Canadian Live! Peppers Patio Tour on June 7, 2013.

1divTo listen to One Divided, click on the link below:

http://www.reverbnation.com/open_graph/artist/1808568?1336410755

 

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INNERSPACE: To Boldly Go Where No Band Has Gone Before!

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

innerspace2

Its been 30 years since I’ve heard any really good, original progressive rock. Finally ,  there is Innerspace, This Montreal band’s members were not even born when I was listening to King Crimson, Yes, Pink Floyd and Flash. Yet these are the bands they cite as musical influences.

Their album, “The Village” released in 2012 took 3 years to complete, and  was well worth the wait. This concept album, detailing life from the perspective of a child and  the man he becomes, was written and produced by Simon Arsenault and Phil Burton. The album plays like a suite, with each song a unique piece yet somehow intertwined into the greater whole. The “Intro” sets the tone with its unsettling keyboards, while “Wildflower”, the longest song on the album at over 11 minutes, brings us vocals that seem to cry for help amid the desperation created by the keys until the drums kick in and the song takes on an entirely different life. “Old Wreck” is as feel good as Innerspace gets with  Arsenault’s crisp and clean guitar work. “Slippery Case” parts l & ll, heavy with synthesizer are mini suites within themselves, changing tempo , melody and time signature almost at will, They incorporate saxophone in “Jack” and record the melody just slightly behind the music. They nailed it!. “Mister Mayor” echos shades of  Dark Side of the Moon with the haunting guitar and  Burton’s ethereal vocals.  These guys know how to make Progressive Rock, rock!

thevillage

“The Village” is a place I have traveled  to over and over again. It is a journey through not just music , but emotion and time as well.  It will take you back 30 years and then move you ahead 30 more. Might they be the second coming of Floyd? It may be too early to tell, but  Innerspace are the real deal!   You can see them at the 7th annual Fieldfest in Manotick, Ontario on August 2. If you can get there, go!

To hear a sample of Innerspace, click on the link below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=hhRHd4rPJoY#t=0s

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