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CMW 2015-Losing My Head With The JAPANESE TONGUE SISTERS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

cmw2So, I sat down with Sophie Rodgers & Tom Cecins of the Australian band Japanese Tongue Sisters, on a sun soaked patio on Queen St.W. during Canadian Music Week.

We talked about their upcoming EP release which surprisingly was recorded in Portland, Oregon. Quite a long way from Perth, Australia. It seems that JTS was impressed with producer Kris Crummett, who they had met in their former band We Are The Emergency. So, while they were vacationing in the USA, they bounced over to Portland and recorded the album. There was talk of the emergence of the JTS sound, a far cry from the punk-metal music of We Are The Emergency. Tom identified that they were more or less ‘hired guns’ in that band, and in JTS, they are the driving creative force. I asked them about a review by a Perth writer who stated that their music had a chilled vibe. Tom almost instinctively informed me that chilled vibe was Australian for ‘really fucking good’.

jts3The band uses an wide array of instruments, ideas for which arise in the writing process and in the studio. They do however, have plans to introduce a harp into their work. Now I am intrigued! JTS talks about their songs as “dressed up simple songs”, identifying them as being stripped down to basics, with layers added. Sophie adds that the inspiration for the songs come from personal events for her, while Tom is more of a storyteller.

Currently, Tom is listening to Australian singer/songwriter Sia, and Sophie, well, she has been listening to Bruno Mars. And other pop artists. And Hip Hop. Their musical interests are quite varied, with both of them agreeing that the albums they would take on a desert island would be History by Michael Jackson, Takk by Icelandic band Sigur Ros, and Bon Iver‘s Bon Iver.

jts2We talked about the Australian music scene, and I was informed that JTS have moved from Perth to Melbourne. The reason? Primarily because Perth is so very isolated. Sophie identified that many touring acts bypass Perth as it is so far away from the East coast cities. It was added that Perth does have its own thing going on, which is not surprising, I mean Perth is the home of INXS! Tom & Sophie are planning on tackling Melbourne and the East coast Australian scene head on. Playing as many gigs as they can in advance of their EP release, and continuing to evolve as songwriters.

jts1Sitting down and talking with The Japanese Tongue Sisters was definitely a Canadian Music Week highlight for me. They are delightfully laid back, and wonderfully cool people. Their music is brilliantly poignant, a rhythm & blues feel with layers of strings, piano, synthesizer, and guitar, and insanely good harmonies. It is this intricate layering of instruments that creates the signature ambient sound of The Japanese Tongue Sisters. The music is excitingly emotive. This is avant-garde ‘Roo Pop‘ at its best! I am a fan!  I am eagerly waiting for the release of the album, and in the meantime, I will continue to listen to their single “Lose My Head“.

 

 

Check out their facebook page for updates on the album release and where to see them live.    https://www.facebook.com/japanesetonguesisters

 

 

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AND THE BANDS PLAY ON

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 16, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

americaI was recently at the local track here in Toronto, and was surprised to see a billboard advertising a performance by America. America? “Ventura Highway“, “Lonely People“, “Sister Golden Hair“, America? Yep, that America. I was surprised for two reasons: What was this band doing playing at at race track, and secondly, can there really be an America without Dan Peek?

3dognightIt has become increasingly common for bands to continue on following the death or departure of one of the founding members. Years ago I went to Casino Rama to see Three Dog Night and was somewhat disappointed that only two of the Dogs appeared. Chuck Negron was not touring with the band at that time. It was a great show, but Chuck’s vocals were noticeably absent.

It appears that if the “front man” is strong and charismatic enough a band can go on without missing a beat following the departure of a member. The Rolling Stones moved on following the departure and subsequent untimely death of Brian Jones, replacing him with Mick Taylor and then with Ronnie Wood. Bill Wyman’s departure had no impact either-he was replaced by Darryl Jones. Following the death of Keith Moon in 1978, The Who released 2 albums of moderate success and disbanded in 1983. The remaining 3 members continued to perform until John Entwhistle’s death in 2002. Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend continue to perform as The Who, but are they really?

yes-band-np01Yes has taken to touring, performing entire albums of The Yes Album, Close To The Edge, and Going For The One. I was always a huge Yes fan. From Time And A Word up to Relayer. Never really like Going For The One or subsequent albums.. Hard to imagine Close To The Edge without Jon Anderson! Hard to imagine Yes without Jon Anderson!

INXS1INXS is another failed attempt to carry on. Following the death of singer Michael Hutchence in 1997, the band attempted to replace him with vocalists Jimmy Barnes, Terrance Trent D’arby and Jon Stevens. Really? With little success, the band participated in a reality show, Rock Star:INXS in 2005 and selected J.D. Fortune as their new lead singer. He was replaced by Ciaran Gribbon in 2011 and the band formally put an end to their misery in 2012.

Skynyrdpic7301The saddest of these attempts at carrying on, is Lynyrd Skynyrd. Following the death of Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines in 1977, Skynyrd disbanded. 10 years later, they reformed, using Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie’s younger brother as vocalist. (There is a 3rd brother, Donnie, better known as the lead singer for 38 special). Currently there is only 1 original member left in the band. Yet they tour and record as Lynyrd Skynyrd!  Apparently, owning the name or getting consent to use the name, gives anyone an opportunity to try to be Lynyrd Skynyrd. I have heard this incarnation, and no one, and I mean no one can sing “Gimme Three Steps  “, “You Got That Right“, and “What’s Your Name” like Ronnie Van Zant. May as well they bring on “Miami” Steve Van Zandt as the front man! Yeah, I know its spelled differently, but what difference does it make? Still not Ronnie Van Zant!

The-BeatlesIs everyone replaceable in a band? Impossible to believe that any one of The Beatles could have left and the band carried on. Perhaps they would have had to find look a likes. AC/DC replaced Bon Scott and had remarkable success. Journey replaced Steve Perry with a sound alike. So who is dispensable? It doesn’t make much of a difference to me. Don’t try to sell me tickets to The Grateful Dead without Jerry Garcia. Don’t tell me The Band is reuniting without Danko, Helm and Manuel. And don’t ask me to listen to Lynyrd Skynyrd without Ronnie Van Zant.

Is it really so difficult to disband and carry on under a new name?  Would U2 be U2 without The Edge? Jefferson Airplane had the decency to reform as Jefferson Starship. Its not about respect but rather a belief that the great music that had been created should be a legacy of a great band. Leave it as such. Reform under a different name, but let me remember Lynyrd Skynyrd, INXS, America and many others as they were. Amazing bands with a catalog of great music. Replacements never quite do the music justice, and more often than not, destroy the legacy left by these incredibly gifted musicians.

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