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THE TONIKS-“Jealousy” World Premiere.

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

toniks3Being the first music writer to receive an advance copy of The Toniks‘ new single, “Jealousy“, was enough to make my day. And then I listened to it. And I listened again. Amazed and impressed, with their permission, I forwarded the track to my friend, Todd Miller of Radio That Doesn’t Suck, host station of the Indie Music Show, New Music Mondays (sponsored by I Can’t Believe My Earz and co-hosted by Bobby Gottesman and Todd Miller), and he agreed to begin playing it as of today.  So, I Can’t Believe My Earz and Radio That Doesn’t Suck, did it first.

toniks2Jealousy rocks. Mark Tonik and Jez Parish continue to write songs with unforgettable melodies and wonderful harmonies. The killer hook, the heavy guitar riff and the almost hypnotizing keyboards work. The drumming impresses. Colin Marshall continues to impress me with his ability to make the complex seem simple. I love his “less is more: style”. The lyric continues in The Tonik fashion of meaningful human existence. The production excels. Nothing missing here. Pure power pop, at its best. It amazes me that these guy just keep getting better! Could just be the best thing to come out of England since The Beatles.

148To hear it, you have to listen in to Radio That Doesn’t Suck on December 16/13 for the world premiere…just before noon, 6pm and 10pm, eastern standard time. If you miss it, don’t worry. Just keep listening. It will be played regularly. Check it out. It will blow you away.

And thanks to Mark, Jez, Tom, Jessica, Colin and Graham, the man behind the scenes, for having the trust and faith to allow me to be the first. As always, it is a pleasure to call you all friends.

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Radio That Doesn’t Suck. all The Time.

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SWILLBILLY HEROES-The Lamentable Tragedy Of The…

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

sh1I don’t know where the guys at Get Bent Records find these bands, but the Swillbilly Heroes have just released their debut album, The Lamentable Tragedy Of The…. This Toronto band refers to their music as Alternative Country/Rock but I hear so much more. The 9 tracks share country influences with rock, southern rock, pop and blues.

sh2The opening track, “Big Red Ford“, has a nice melody with great transitions and an incredible fullness. The slide guitar and guitar solo remain true to country, but this song rocks. “All The Ghosts You Exorcise” has a slower tempo, a great bridge, and a very cool acoustic guitar solo.  The distant harmonies meshed with keys that make me think accordion, give this song a wonderfully airy feel. The echo effect vocals of “Lucky Mind” add to the uniqueness of this track which includes wonderfully placed stops and starts, a beautiful acoustic guitar solo, and bells which provide a perfect backdrop for the melancholy mood. “Swillbilly Heroes” begins softly and then cracks open with slide guitar, cool offbeat drumming, and a nice guitar “twang” throughout. The dual guitars are reminiscent of The Allman Brothers. Lyric like “love me forever, love me to death” add to the dark beauty of the song.  “Bent On Battered Days”  a rock song, with a great bass line has great effects and psych-rock guitar. Love the cool isolation on the drums, amazing guitar solo and a melody that never quits.. The driving rocker, “Tear It Up” comes with  great bass work, guitar effects, spectacular vocal harmonies and a clean, crisp guitar solo. “‘Til You Broke Some Bones” begins with a drum solo. The melody framed by faint harmonies, and the countrified guitar solo emphasizes an amazing sh3transition to the bridge. “Chlorhexidine Dreams“, a moody tune, is played without drums and bass. The acoustic guitar strumming and the electric guitar lead are accompanied only by chimes and the brooding vocals, within a very haunting melody. My favorite track, “Shipwreck” has great effects and a rockin’ guitar solo.  Driven by the rhythm section, quieter at the verses it fills in at the chorus. The incredible melody cradles brilliant lyric such as “you haven’t lived until you’ve tried, you haven’t lived until you’ve died”, all within a song that could very well be an amazing arena rock song. Just need some dry ice and strobe lights. A song I really want to see live. An amazingly beautiful track with a spectacular ending and shades of Blue Rodeo.

gb1The Lamentable Tragedy Of The… is far from tragic. Great songs with amazing melodies that are simple and complex at the same time, layered within sounds that fill the senses.  Franco Care has an amazing voice, deep, dark, and dynamic. The band is tight and incredibly talented. I was surprised at first to see Abel Renton‘s name as guitarist in the credits. He is also the guitarist for The Micronite Filters. But then I remembered that this is, after all, Get Bent Records. And a killer album.  Epic fun.  Epic cool. Epic Music.

You can listen to this album here:    http://swillbillyheroes.bandcamp.com/album/the-lamentable-tragedy-of-the

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THE TONIKS-Rise And Shine

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

It was May 2013, that I first “reviewedThe Toniks. I had stumbled upon this UK band  while traversing the assorted music sites that I regularly search, looking for new music. At the time, they were working on completing their debut album and touring Europe and Canada. I did not get to see them on the Canadian leg of their tour, but I have been following them very closely after making contact with drummer, Colin Marshall.

toniks2And then, two days ago, thanks to Colin, I received my advance copy of the completed album, Rise And Shine. Produced by Graham Dominy and released on the Indie label Smile Records, the album contains ten tracks, six of which I had not heard before.

The title track has been re-mixed. With an almost acapella introduction and the addition of horns and strings, the song has taken on additional layers of pop poetry. The great trademark harmonies, wonderful hook and flawless drumming, had me wondering where the Go Go dancers were. “Won’t Let You Down” , brings subtle keyboards and a great use of harmonics. The catchy melody, augmented by hand clapping,  make this one of the better tunes on the album. The slower tempo of “Figure It Out” maintains an almost ethereal atmosphere when the strings and harmonies are added. The arrangements are wonderfully done as the eternal question “how am I supposed to make you happy, now” is asked. “Weather“, an upbeat number, pokes fun at interpersonal relationships while demonstrating the vocal range of vocalist/bassist, Mark Taylor. A light guitar solo and amazing horns are impeccably placed within the dynamic melody. “Simple Things“, shines with its stand out harmonies and production techniques that appear at unsuspecting moments throughout the tune.  “Never Real“, more of a power pop song, has a grunge feeling but maintains its pop harmonies amid a subtle keyboard influence. The screaming guitar riffs of “Secret’s Safe” create a punk rock song out of a pop melody. toniks3The great drum shots and driving guitars of Jez Parish and Tom Yates give this song the sense of urgency the lyric conveys. “There You Go“, another venture into power pop, uses heavy guitar riffs to drive the melody and counter balance the harmonies.  The 80’s feel of “Scapegoat” allows the band to play with production techniques. With great guitar riffs and a powerful bass line this tune is the darkest song on the album. My favorite track, “Wonderful Then” brings the band back to it classic pop sound. Jessica English‘s subtle keyboards drift throughout the great melody and trademark harmonies. The vocals are standout and the orchestral arrangements are magnificent. The song is a blast. Sort of Squeeze’s Pulling Mussells meets Badfinger’s No Matter What.

Toniks1Rise And Shine is Pop perfection. Not a bad track on the album. It will make you dance. It will make you sing. Best of all, it will make you happy. The song writing is exquisite, with simple lyrics about life and love and human interactions that take one to a more innocent and simple place.  These guys are amazingly talented. The music is insanely great The album is a wonderful time. Slated for a September release, Rise And Shine will be available on itunes and the band’s website.

The Toniks will be in Canada next on September 5, 2013 when they play The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival with The Walkervilles and The Sheepdogs in Amherstburg, On.

To listen to The Toniks, click on the link :http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/fb_share/3345498

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THE TONIKS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

Another U.K. band that has been granted honorary Canadian status, The Toniks, are currently touring Europe and Canada promoting their  new album set for release in August of this year.  I have not listened to the entire album, nor do I know the title, but the five songs I was able to pull off the internet have blown me away.

toniks2Secret’s Safe“, a hard driving pop song with amazing harmonies, an unforgettable hook and a remarkable bridge has you dancing along from beginning to end. The The light keyboards of “Rise And Shine” give way to the soft yet noticeable horns, while the guitars echo the melody to create the sense of additional layers of harmony. “Simple Things” is a slower song in which the instruments are kept back in order to make the vocals prominent. The emphasis on the vocals is further enhanced by the creative and unusual phrasing. There is an underlying, haunting riff throughout with harmonic layers and the gentle influence of strings and horns. “You And I” is a strangely sentimental number. with choppy chords and drum shots, horns and an amazing transition to the bridge that includes a change in tempo and tone. In the video, all of this is done to a Charlie Chaplin dance sequence. The best of the tracks I have heard to date is “Weather“, a fun song with a great chorus and hook that keeps you singing long after the music has stopped. The acoustic guitar creates a mood that is quickly shattered by the horns and harmonies,while a subtle lead solo plays amid the storm. The video sets this to the dancing in the thunderstorm scene in the film “Singin’ In The Rain”. The lines “come inside my head you’ll see, I don’t want to talk about the weather; I don’t want to talk about whatever.” sing as the rain falls. The song fades out as Gene Kelly walks away from us, down the street. Brilliant!

These five musicians from Guildford U.K., have created a sound uniquely their own by infusing Squeeze with The Searchers. And it Toniks1works.The songs are innocent. The songs are fun. These guys are exciting. When they come to Toronto, get tickets and go. These guys are that good.  These guys are great!

To hear The Toniks, use the link below:

http://www.reverbnation.com/artist/fb_share/3345498

 

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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

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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!

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“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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