Archive for folk

MARINOL NATION-Field Of Dreams

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

marinol NationAfter listening to the wonderfully creative and eccentric ‘Field of Dreams“, from Sarnia, Ontario’s Marinol Nation, I was amazed at what an insanely good time I had. The songs are wonderfully bluesy, with a folk vibe, unforgettable melodies,  Dylanesque vocals, and some way cool pop harmonies.. Add to this saxophone, strings, and harmonica, and it begins to feel like a bucketful of fun. There are wonderful riffs and solos. Simply a wonderful time. You can check Marinol Nation out on , Soundcloud and Reverbnation, or on the band’s website.

 

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YOUNG BENJAMINS-Losing Our Shadows

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

YB56It has been 3 years since the release of Young Benjamins‘ “Less Argue” ( read the review here), and the Saskatoon band seems to have found a more sophisticated, and more conceptual sound on their new release. “Losing Our Shadows” available in June 2016, delivers a much fuller sound, highlighted by the melodic interplay of vocals and guitar, and an exciting experimental vibe.

YB55There are great riffs, some very cool fuzz bass, strings, and wonderful piano and organ.  The songs are exceptionally good, with wonderful changes, and memorable melodies. There are elements from various styles, including 1980’s New Wave, Psychedelia, Rock, and Electronic. And it all works. And through it all, Young Benjamins manage to keep their folk roots evident. I suspect that if Paul Simon did alternative rock, it would sound a bit like Losing Our Shadows. There is an incredible array of things going on in here, and it will take multiple listens to catch them all. It will be well worth it. So, listen closely with ears and mind wide open! Favorite tracks: ‘Pawn’, ‘No Love’, ‘All Gone Home’.

 

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Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

 

 

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TSINDER ASH-The Carbon Of Your Delight

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

tsinderI like experimental music. Hell, I like eccentric, and eclectic music.  Listening to Tsinder Ash‘s 2015 release, The Carbon Of Your Delight, reminds me why.  This London, U.K. artist is mega talented; as a songwriter, a singer, and a musician. The album contains wonderfully diverse instrumentation and arrangements, with melancholic vocals, that deliver dark, brooding lyrics. The melodies are incredibly captivating, almost hypnotic, even though they seem to fall on the far side of centre. There are shades of eastern musical influences, with a Leonard Cohen thing going on, set within an alternative folk-blues vibe that is quite possibly not from this world! There are dynamite additional vocals from Clara Engel, and a myriad of instruments I do not regularly hear. An insanely good album, that will mess with your mind, as it soothes your soul.  I can’t wait for the release of the next album, which, I am told, is coming soon. If it is not tomorrow, it is not soon enough. Give this a few listens on his bandcamp page, and then, purchase yourself a copy. Definitely one for the collection.

 

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CLARA ENGEL-Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

The 5 track album, Visitors Are Allowed One Kiss, released by Clara Engel in April 2016, has captivated and fascinated me. The Toronto cesinger/songwriter/musician has delivered an exciting, and yes, eccentric, collection of songs that I have not been able to stop listening to. There are hauntingly beautiful melodies, enhanced by a minimalist approach, that is  both soothing and exciting, and serene, yet intoxicating. The simplistic complexity of the avant-garde folk-blues, creates powerful emotions and images. There are wonderfully cool instruments being played; bowed baritone guitar, auto harp, vibes, theremin, as well as  violin, saxophone, and xylophone. The vocals tracks are exceptional, while the sound is uniquely original, fusing Delta Blues, Folk, and Alternative. There is so much going on in here, that it requires numerous listens to integrate the essence of what has been created. I could listen to this all day. Could very well contend for I Can’t Believe My Earz Indie Album Of The Year for 2016. Highly recommended that you check out this, and all of Clara Engel’s other releases out on her bandcamp page.

 

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FAREWELL STANLEYS-Good Company

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2016 by TheManicBlogger

fs1The 1st review ever written by I Can’t Believe My Earz was of London, Ontario’s, The Creekside Strays. It seems only fitting then, that the 1st review of 2016 be on Farewell Stanleys, a new side project of Creekside Strayers Justin & Jeremy, and their pal, Mark Milanovic.

The recently released album, “Good Company“, offers a folk-pop sound, with fs2alternative sentiments. The songs are wonderfully written, with introspective and touching lyrics, set within an acoustic framework. There are way cool pop melodies, great changes and transitions, and dynamite harmonies. The arrangements are wonderfully suited to the minimalist instrumentation, which places the focus entirely n the songs, and the percussion is exceptional.  Melodic and accessible, the sound falls somewhere between The Beatles “Rubber Soul”, and Loggins & Messina. One listen is just not enough. Favorite tracks: ‘Olivia‘, and ‘Said And Done‘. You can listen and purchase “Good Company” here.

 

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OLIVIA & THE CREEPY CRAWLIES-Tongue Tied

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

occ1One year after the debut of their 2014 EP, ‘Charley‘, London, Ontario’s Olivia & The Creepy Crawlies have released the 5 track ‘Tongue Tied‘. While remaining true to the band’s Canadiana/folk sound, this latest album contains more pop sensibilities than I had anticipated. The melodies are wonderfully cool, with harmonies that seem to come out of nowhere, and vocal tracks that generally blew me away. Olivia Borkosky can sing!  The songs contain nice changes, and arrangements that include violin, electric mandolin, glockenspiel, autoharp, harmonica, and of course, ukulele. There is even hand clapping on “Supervillain“. The resulting sound is magical! There is so much going on here, you need to listen several times to get it all.

 

 

occ‘Tongue Tied’ is filled with wonderfully original songs, that demonstrate a unique approach to creating music as evident in the resulting sound. It is entertaining and uplifting, with wonderfully simple, yet cleverly meaningful lyrics. A wonderful album, that will make you smile. Buy it! Listen to it! Love it!

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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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WOLVES AS FRIENDS-Small Goodbyes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

wolvesasfriends1I had arranged to meet Rodolfo Caceres, front man for Wolves As Friends at Stout’s Irish Pub, on Carlton St. Sitting there, waiting for him to arrive, I was unsure of what to expect. Hell, I wasn’t even certain if this Peruvian musician spoke English. He arrived looking very much the North American, and his English, dusted with an accent, was excellent. We talked. This wasn’t an interview, we just talked. We talked about the music scene in Lima, Peru, the fate of indie bands in his home country, and his new found love for Toronto. We discussed the music industry, his recent trip to Austin to attend SXSW, and his collaboration with Tim Palmer.

The 5 tracks on the Small Goodbyes ep have an acoustic sound, with incredible strings, albeit electronic. They are beautifully arranged, with wonderful instrumentation. The melodies are intoxicating, drawing you in by the heart and soul. Each song engages the listener, enveloping you with the passion of the composer. The songs are simple, using acoustic guitar and very little else. And then, there will be a flurry of wolvesasfriends3strings, piano, and cymbals that seem to come out of nowhere, and once heard, you realize it needed to be there. The vocals are exceptionally melancholic, dark and brooding, and at times, incredibly powerful. This guy, most importantly, can write songs.  Songs that are brilliantly melodic, with wonderful changes and bridges.

I had listened to the ep prior to our meeting, and then listened to it again when i got back to my office. I remembered Rodolfo telling me that he had thought of “quitting” the business, and just heading to the mountains with his guitar. He stated that he just needs to write and play. It is evident on Small Goodbyes. The 5 tracks are real, personal, and introspective. They speak of life, pain, and hope. There are elements of folk, pop, and rock.  Every song is exceptional. Pay particular attention to “Slip Away“, and “20 Years“.  Hell, the entire album is wonderfully moving. Not so bad having Wolves As Friends.

Wolves As Friends will be performing during Canada Music Week in Toronto on May 9/14 at The Marriott Hotel (downtown), and on May 10/14 at Free Times Cafe. The ep can be streamed and purchased on the band’s website. You can even get a free download!!

 

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XPRIME-The Album

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 6, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

xprime2So, 2 years ago  Bob Segarini told me that Xprime were going to be something big. I should have listened. Segarini has been around, and he knows music. I got on the Xprime bandwagon late, but as they say, better late than never. The 1st full album release by this Niagara Region band, simply titled  The Album  and set for release on March 8, 2014, is an exemplary work of art.

xprime1The album is filled with wonderful pop melodies that serve as a perfect platform for the incredible vocal range of   Gab Sid .The guitar runs throughout are perfectly played and placed. The instrumentation is wonderful, utilizing several keyboards, as well as acoustic guitars, and I swear I heard a xylophone. The harmonies are exquisite, and the transitions and changes, flawless. The album touches on several genres, pop, folk, and even rhythm & blues, and each seems to have been written and recorded effortlessly. There are interesting riffs, amazing drumming and some cool bass lines. I hear electronics, cool guitar solos and unique vocal phrasings. Dynamite album, and a whack of fun to listen to.

xprime3Bob Segarini was right. Xprime should be big. 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. This 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“.

Check out Xprime’s music, videos, upcoming gigs and where to get this album:  http://http://www.xprime.ca/

 

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