Archive for ontario

SHAGWAGON-Island

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

So, the boys from Orillia, Ontario spent 6 months, in 2 countries, writing and recording their new album, ‘Island‘. Released January 1, 2015, the 8 tracks are excitingly unique.

sw3Shagwagon continues to delve into electro-psych-pop with reckless abandon. “Dope” has an esoteric Pink Floyd thing going on, with wonderful voice overs. The melancholy “Chronic” has cool effects, and a haunting melody. “Psychedelic Jungle” offers electric piano, and some wonderfully synthesizer produced strings. The effects are way cool, giving the track an experimental feel. The wonderful pop melody of “No Beauty” is accentuated by a cool vocal track, and sweet harmonies. There are some great effects in “Cosmic Ocean“. I swear I heard sea birds. The changes rock, and the guitar is wonderful. “Islandsw2has a 1980s electro-pop flavor, with great synthesizer, and cool changes. The different musical themes are layered, giving the track incredible texture. Check out the ending! “The End Of Us” offers a beautiful melody, with wonderful harmonies. The acoustic guitar, augmented by background synthesizer and some way cool guitar licks, is surprisingly perfect. My favorite track, “Help Me Out” has a wonderous psych feel. More up tempo than the other tracks, the riff is great, and it comes complete with a way cool 60’s psych rock guitar solo. Incredible track.

sw5The songs are wonderfully written. Eclectic in nature, the music evokes emotion and defines moods. The band refers to this project as a product of isolation, and separation. In the melancholy, I feel the angst. Jack Finlayson and Jacob Thompson have stepped out there and have created something different, something original, and something that is their own. I am impressed with their desire to create what they love, and what they feel. This is refreshingly cool! Check it out, and get yourself a copy. A wonderful album that just never quits.

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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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OTTAWA-Capital Rocks

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 2, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

I was quite surprised to find that there was more going on in Canada‘s capital city than just Senators padding their expense account, and all of the other goings on at Harper’s Bizarre.  The city on the Rideau has spawned some wonderful Indie music during 2014. Here are some of our favorites from Ottawa, Ontario.

 

theredrailsno2The Red Rails offer a classic rock sound immersed in blues.  A sort of Cream meets The Black Crowes. With a 21st century edge. I like it! This is not background music. A Living Fiction 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.

 

 

superlativeno2Numero Deux is a wonderful treat. It is a change from ‘Chester‘: It is grittier, edgier, and it has bite. There is a wonderfully full sound, with layers of instrumentation that blend together in magical, musical mayhem. And once again, the album cover is way cool. Give this a few listens, as it gets better every time. And purchase a copy. An exceptionally thrilling adventure by The Superlative.

 

 

rf1Thoughts & Reason is filled with wonderfully melodic guitar, often with electric riffs over the more subtle acoustic. There are great vocals, singing heartfelt lyrics, and nice harmonies. The vocal effects are nicely done, and the changes are dynamite. A sort of singer-songwriter side to Ryan Fitz, with personal songs that touch on universal themes, simply played, with guitar and vocals. Nothing else. This guy can write songs. A wonderful change, perfectly executed. I am liking this Ryan Fitz.

 

 

neverfriend2Neverfriend delivers a raw, energetic, yet sophisticated album. Combining elements of pop, punk, and hard rock, the songs never seem to disappoint. Evolve is filled with pop melodies with punk/rock instrumentation. Way cool. I like the sound. I like the songs. I like the band.  Get ready for the release, and get yourself at least 1.

 

 

 

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OLD RULES-Blurred

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 28, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

Another Ottawa band, Old Rules released their 6 track EP, ‘Blurred‘ in May 2014.

oldrulesThe songs are wonderful, with great melodies and dynamite harmonies. The riffs and solos are incredible, and the drumming is very cool. There are exciting effects,  I particularly like the reverb, and double track vocals, and brilliant changes. Pay particular attention to “Sprawl“, a dynamite rock track with a sweet guitar intro, and a wonderful bridge, and “Candles“, with some interesting guitar, great power chords, and unexpected vocals. Old Rules offer an insanely unique album, with melodic guitars. and wonderfully surprising changes. ‘Blurred’ carries a sense of urgency, and a feeling of angst. Call it ‘angst rock’. You can check it out here: http://oldrules.bandcamp.com/album/blurred

 

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NEVERFRIEND-Evolve

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

neverfriend1I had the pleasure of previewing ‘Evolve‘, the new album from Neverfriend, an Ottawa, Canada based band. Scheduled for for release in mid December, 2014, this disc simply kicks ass.

The album opens with “Coming For Me“, a dynamite rock song with wonderful changes, and cool guitar. “Hard To Breathe“, with its great melody, and strong vocal track, turns out to be a wonderful ‘punk’ ballad. The nice changes and effects give the straight ahead rock track “Don’t Want To Love You” , another dimension. The vocals, and wicked guitar solo are added bonuses. “Take A Stand” has cool effects, nice drum fills, and some sweet riffs. The chorus rocks with  harmonies, and the change in tempo, well, its a pleasant surprise. The hard rock feel of  “Pissed Off & Running” delivers a great bridge, cool changes, and a beautiful chorus. I like the production values in this track. “Tell Someone Who Cares” carries an almost metal vibe, yet offers a way cool melody, and sweet chorus. The vocals are terrific, and I dig the harmonies. There are more amazing neverfriend3changes in “Everything That’s Wrong For Me“, as it roars through powerful instrumentation, and a cool melody. There are 2 standout tracks. “Dear Daddy“, with its broody, melancholia, offers a wonderful riff, and sweet harmonies. The song utilizes vocals and guitars only, and the vocals simply rock. This delicately complex track is still playing in my head. And then there is “Don’t Worry“. With its unforgettable pop melody, way cool chorus and harmonies, great changes, and sweet guitar solo, this song reminds of what the GoGos would sound like playing punk. An incredible track.

 

 

neverfriend2Neverfriend delivers a raw, energetic, yet sophisticated album. Combining elements of pop, punk, and hard rock, the songs never seem to disappoint. Pop melodies with punk/rock instrumentation. Way cool. I like the sound. I like the songs. I like the band.  Get ready for the release, and get yourself at least 1.

 

 

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RYAN FITZ-Thoughts And Reason

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

rf1It was quite a pleasant surprise to listen to ‘Thoughts & Reason‘,  by Ryan Fitz. I know him as the guitarist/vocalist of the Ottawa area band City Limits. This 4 track ep is quite a departure from the alternative punk sound of his band.

The November 2014 release is filled with wonderfully melodic guitar, often with electric riffs over the more subtle acoustic. There are great vocals, singing heartfelt lyrics, and nice harmonies. The vocal effects are nicely done, and the changes are dynamite. A sort of singer-songwriter side to Ryan Fitz, with personal songs that touch on universal themes, simply played, with guitar and vocals. Nothing else. This guy can write songs. A wonderful change, perfectly executed. I am liking this Ryan Fitz. http://ryanfitz.bandcamp.com/album/thoughts-and-reason-ep

 

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HARBOUR-Grade School Summer

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

harbour3During one of my sojourns into music cyber space, I encountered Harbour, a Toronto band who released their 6 track album, ‘Grade School Summer‘, on November 4, 2014.

The album offers wonderfully exciting drumming, and some way cool guitar riffs and solos. The songs are insanely good, Harbour1with pop melodies, and dynamite harmonies. The changes and vocals rock. The instrumentation and arrangements are simple and sweet. These guys know how to write, and how to play. A great pop album, with the urgency of punk, that will keep your attention from beginning to end. Very cool.  A refreshingly energetic and fun release, that at times, reminds me of The Northern Pikes. I like this. I like this a lot! Pay particular attention to “So Long”  and “Grade School Summer“. Definitely one for the collection & the car. You can stream and purchase Grade School Summer here:  http://harbourontario.bandcamp.com/   You can catch Harbour live on Nov 22/14, at Toronto’s Velvet Underground at a CD Release party. In the meantime, check out the official video for “Grade School Summer”.

 

 

 

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SHAGWAGON-The Backbone Of The Night

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

shagwagon2Orillia, Ontario’s Jack Finlayson & Jacob Thompson are Shagwagon. The band’s debut album, a 6 track EP entitled ‘The Backbone Of The Night‘ was released in July, 2014.

The album opens with “Some Nites“, with way cool production effects, and some dynamite reverb, reminiscent of 1960’s psychedelic rock. The electronic strings are nice, and coupled with the sweet vocals, make this one serene track. ‘The Way That You Move” has a way cool bass line, and what I hear as an electric piano solo, The track has a great chorus with a solid hook, and a wonderful bridge. The cool 1960s vibe is enhanced by some unexpected hand clapping. The nice effects, and slick changes & transitions, make “Morphine” a great track. “Napoleon” offers a wonderfully cool melody, some cool guitar and bass over synthesized effects that slides into a burst of guitar and vocals. The vocal effects are very cool. There are 2 highlight tracks for me. “You’re So Sexy“, delivers cool piano, great shagwagon3vocals, and wonderful changes. The moody, melancholy melody morphs into a dynamite bridge, and then out again. Great effect.The transition into the guitar solo is wonderful, and the incorporation of several different movements into one song is damn cool. Great song. And then, “Thinking About You“, with its great keyboards, cool changes and transitions, and cool vocals, make this my favorite track on the album.The song has an electronic feel, and includes a wonderful solo, and very cool The Beach Boys harmonies. A great mood inducing track that ends with those brilliant harmonies. Killer track.

shagwagon1Shagwagon delivers a terrific album, blending elements of psych-rock, pop, and electro-pop, to deliver an exceptionally unique sound. The songs are well written, with themes that are simple, and innocent. Songs about peace, and love. There are great melodies, and the ability to create mood, and atmosphere is dynamite. The simplicity of it is wonderfully complex. Eccentric, esoteric, and edgy. I am liking this. You need to have at least 1 of these.

http://shagwagon.bandcamp.com/album/the-backbone-of-the-night

 

 

 

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SOUTH OF BLOOR- The Street

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 28, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

sob4Taking their name from one of the trendiest, and diverse streets in this city, Toronto, Canada’s South Of Bloor, released their debut EP in January 2014. Simply entitled, ‘The Street‘,  the 5 track album has me wondering where the hell have these guys been hiding?

Take Me In“, is a wonderfully upbeat song. It has a great melody and hook, and some cool changes.I sob5particularly like the bridge. A way cool pop song, and a great way to open the album. The more alternative-rock track “Woman” offers great vocals, cool guitar, and a dynamite ending. I also enjoyed the wonderfully placed hand-claps. “Versus” has a terrific melody, a great vocal track, and an incredibly powerful bridge/chorus, while “40 Lands” gives up some great drumming and a sweet riff. My favorite track on the album, “The Street“, is insanely good. There are amazing vocals, with wonderfully subtle harmonies. Written and performed with dynamic simplicity, this could be a track on any Tom Petty album. Dynamite song.

 

 

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South Of Bloor have re-generated my lust for pop. 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.

Check out and purchase South Of Bloor here: http://southofbloor.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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LUCKY WIDMORE-Howling At The Moon

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

DSC_9210-1As follow up to their 2012 EP, Long Time Coming, the London, Ontario band, Lucky Widmore, recently released Howling At The Moon. The 6 track album embraces several genres and themes, but remains true to the band’s pop/reggae origins.

Entertainment” has a cool guitar riff and effects, with nice drum rolls, a rockier chorus, and smooth changes. The bass line of “Alex” supports the melody perfectly. The wonderful harmonies in the chorus serve as a counterbalance for the reggae bridge, and the dynamite ending. “You And Me Tonight” offers funk guitar around a way cool pop melody. The harmonies illustrate the pop sentiments floating through some unique instrumentation, and the guitar lw4solo, well, perfectly simple. I particularly like the way the song ends. Pure pop. I hear an island flavor in “Good Day To Die“, highlighted by nice vocal tracks, good changes and a sweet melody. “Give It Up“, plays as a reggae song with rock guitar. The solo rocks, and there are these wonderful riffs throughout the chorus, laying just under the vocal track. Very cool. The Title track, “Howling At The Moon” is the most interesting song on the album. Infused with terrific psych-rock effects and reverb guitar, this song gives up a great chorus, and some nice changes. I particularly enjoyed the ending.

lw2Lucky Widmore continues to write good songs. They have developed a knack for writing amazingly good choruses. The songs continue to show a reggae influence, but the pop sentiments are becoming more and more evident. They write 3 minute tunes with pop melodies, cool arrangements, and wonderfully simple instrumentation. As a result, I was able to listen to more of the song as a whole, and less of any particular element. A good album, and a cool listen. Lucky Widmore is definitely on the right track.

Check it out. Listen and download: http://www.reverbnation.com/luckywidmore/album/75010-howling-at-the-moon

 

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