Archive for Pink Floyd

THE CONTACTS

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

While there isn’t a recent album out there, The Contacts have some way cool music floating around cyberspace.

the contacts32003’s Black & White Days is an insanely good body of work. Despite being recorded in a small home studio, the album rocks. At times I hear shades of Pink Floyd, The Kinks, and Zappa. There are jazz, pop, punk, and rock vibes throughout. The songs are melodious pokes at life, uniquely written and arranged, incorporating wonderfully played organ, some way cool bass lines, and interesting vocal tracks. The harmonies, borrowed from 1960s Brit Pop, are as perfect as one can get in a basement. The changes are great, the hooks standout, and the vocals are wonderfully raw, as they deliver some bizarre thoughts. Pop-Rock, kissed by Punk. A wonderful sound. A wonderful time. Notable tracks include ‘Rain, Rain, Rain‘, ‘Road Rage‘, and ‘Have A Biscuit‘.

 

 

 

the contactsThe band’s Soundcloud page has a truckload of other tracks as well. There is the 1980’s electro pop style ‘No Way Out‘, that reminds me of Love & Rockets. ‘If You Only Knew‘, offers a dynamite melody, electric piano, and way cool organ. You need to check this out. Head over to Soundcloud, and check them out on facebook. I have heard through the British grapevine, that there are thoughts of heading into a studio and working on another album. Could we really be that lucky? I hope so. The Contacts are unique, and interesting. The music is simply a good time!

 

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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.

https://www.facebook.com/ShagwagonMusic/

http://shagwagon.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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Approved by A Music Guru

ALYEUS-Forty Days At Sea

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 16, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

alyeus3I have always been a fan of progressive rock. Most of my 20s were spent listening to Yes, King Crimson, Pink Floyd, and Flash. My interest in the resurgence of progressive rock bands currently releasing material in Canada, is piqued every time I discover a new one. Alyeus (pronounced Ah-lie-us), another London, On band, released their 12 track debut album, Forty Days At Sea, in September, 2013. As part of a 3 album project, the first release is actually the middle piece of the opus. Only a prog-rock band could make sense in that. Citing Pink Floyd, Dream Theatre, and Black Sabbath among their influences, these guys have a unique take on the genre.

The ambient, atmospheric rock that filled arenas in the 1970s, wafts through this album on waves of hard rock. Forty Days At Sea is filled with wonderful changes and transitions. There are beautiful harmonies, particularly the operatic sounds on “VII“. The guitars are amazing, playing hard alyeus2rock riffs over progressive instrumentation. The riff in “Triton’s Horn” is reminiscent of Steve Howe, while the power chords convey the energy of this band. There are cool effects, and some amazing bass on “The Chambers” and “The Keeper“. The vocals are cool, laying somewhere between Geddy Lee and Jon Anderson, and the drumming is spectacular throughout.  The music is incredibly melodic, with wonderful themes woven in. There are way cool tempo and time signature changes.The use of instrumentals throughout the album, serves to set the mood for the next theme. Pay particular attention to “Dreaming In Waves“, and “Elysium“, which evokes shades of Yes’ Tales From Topographic Oceans. The coolest song on the album, “Forty Days At Sea“, is a great song in any genre.

alyeus1Alyeus delivers an exceptional concept album with themes that are dark and disturbing, and music that is hauntingly melodic. This is an album that should be listened to in its entirety, from beginning to end at one sitting. If you like progressive rock, and musical themes, you owe it to yourself to check these guys out. Finally, a band that brings back the way cool concept album. You can listen to and purchase Forty Days At Sea here.

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THE SUPERLATIVE-Chester

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 13, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

tsup2The Superlative released their 6 track debut album, Chester, in March 2013. I was pretty upset that I didn’t find out about it until December, 2013. Influenced by the likes of The Who, The Flaming Lips, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, The Allman Brothers, and I Mother Earth, among others, had me interested. This 5 piece band from Ottawa, On., delivers a sound I can best describe as rockgae.

tsup1Inner Muse” has great fuzz guitar over a reggae beat. There are great changes and a wonderful guitar solo that lies just under the power rock vocal track. In “Anthem Of A Degenerate” we are treated to nice transitions from reggae to rock and back again, a great melody and very cool guitar riffs and solo. The wonderfully creative vocals at the end of “Dancing In My Mind“, take nothing away from the great guitar solo, nice change in tempo and a way cool blues riff. I really like  “Hot Summer Dub“, with its sweet melody,  and cool changes. There are some interesting psych rock guitar effects here that make me think of Tommy James & The Shondells. tsup3 “Dark Nights (Don’t Look So Pretty)” nails it. A great pop melody and harmonies, with  wonderful  guitar work underneath, amazing transitions, and a kick ass ending. Yep. Nails it! There is a way cool bass line in” The Beast Within“, as well as, a great vocal track and a dynamite riff.

These guys are definitely talented. They rock, and they rock hard. The songs contain a reggae beat, layered with a pop melody, rock guitar, and hints of blues and psych rock. The album is dynamite, providing a guitar driven sound with a wonderful rhythm section. And if that is not enough, the album artwork is very cool. Definitely 1 for the collection and a band to keep your eyes on.

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I, The Jury Or Rather, The Judge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

ciwI was recently offered to be a judge at Canada Indie Week. I was honored and I was distraught. I have never believed that it was possible or even appropriate to have musical competitions. What is it that is being judged? It seems to me that it is just too subjective. I always believed that The Beatles were the greatest band ever. I still do. Yet The Beatles never released Dark Side Of The Moon. Pink Floyd on the other hand, never released Rubber Soul or Revolver. How do we accommodate for genre? Do we judge the material? Should more weight be given to the melody or the technical aspects? Do we consider commercial appeal and success? I have no idea! Yet I agreed to judge Indie bands in order to assist in determining the Indie Band of 2013. And so, I gathered my thoughts, and headed out to fulfill my duty as a Canada Indie Week judge.

XPRIME

XPRIME

My venue for Thursday night was Czehowski’s, a nice, non descript bar on Queen St. W. I signed in and was given a pen, and 4 score sheets. I was to judge 4 bands in areas of stage presence, performance, image, crowd response, song writing and ready for the next level. Who knew it would be this difficult? Could I be that objective? Isn’t objectivity subjective? But enough of my philosophical ramblings. Let the bands begin!! The night opened with J.J. and The Platters. A decent rock band with great energy and good songs. The crowd enjoyed them, and J.J. had good command of the stage. Something was missing though. There was nothing original, nothing unique in their music.  Nothing distinctive. Next up, Xprime. I had seen this Niagara Falls band on several occasions during the past 2 years and was amazed at how they had developed. They blew me away. They blew the crowd away. Their energy, intricate songs and amazing harmonies made them a tough act to follow. I will be writing a review on Xprime as soon as I hear their upcoming album. I spent the rest of the evening speaking with this band, getting a sense of where they were headed. Phil Taylor, the drummer, manager, booking agent and business manager is on top of it. These guys play bars, corporate gigs, and private functions and put their earnings back into the band to fund recording projects. Smart and talented.  Following Xprime was an unenviable place to be. So much so, that I cannot remember the other 2 bands who played that night.

As for the venue, there were not enough monitors for the bands and not enough lights to read the score sheet. The server was incredible, loaning me her flashlight so I could mark my scores. Thank you.

Friday night took me to The Silver Dollar Room, a venue I had played many times, a long time ago. Surprisingly it looked exactly the same. In fact, I think I recognized some of the stains. Its nice to know some things never change. I got my score sheets and pen and sat at the seat with the best vantage point in the bar. Once again I was to judge 4 bands.

Boy + Kite

Boy + Kite

Sue Newberry & The Law

Sue Newberry & The Law

Boy + Kite, an amazingly cool band out of Austin, Texas took the stage 1st.  I liked their music. They were innovative and had a unique edge. I chatted with them after their set and picked up an Ep and a full album. Very cool band. They are also due for a review. Next up, The Waxmen, a power trio with some nice songs, but nothing I haven’t heard before. Talented musicians who still need to find an edge.   Sue Newberry And The Law followed. A kind of Parachute Club approach to the music, but this girl can sing. Nice harmonies, and original, but lacking energy. Cool sound though. Finally, Maladies of Adam Stokes, an interesting band that supports a Dylanesque front man. Good songs, cool image, but lacking in uniqueness. All in all a pretty good night.

passesWhen I left The Silver Dollar Room I realized that it is impossible for me to be completely objective in my judging of music. I have my biases, my likes and dislikes. I have been around music long enough to know what I like and don’t like as soon as I hear it. It is not judgemental to prefer one genre over another. It is what makes music universal. There is something for everyone. I will not judge again. It is too stressful, too anxiety provoking. I have lost sleep and I have lost some sense of innocence. Next year, I will just go from venue to venue checking out the bands and writing about Indie Week. It is a lot simpler for me, and it does not wreck havoc on my conscience.

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RTDS

Radio That Doesn’t Suck. All the time.

MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-August 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 3, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

Well, this summer proved to be one of exceptional bands releasing incredible music. Here is I Can’t Believe My Earz picks for August.

comedy1THE COMEDY

The Montreal  band released Deadlights, a dark album with haunting melodies images of alienation and social desolation. The brooding music conjure up eerie images of disenchantment. With shade of King Crimson and Pink Floyd, The Comedy are a Progressive Rock band with an edge, and maybe an axe to grind. Melancholy and beautiful. A must have selection.

You can listen to Deadlights here:  http://thecomedymusic.bandcamp.com/

aotg2ARMS OF THE GIRL

Versions of Happiness, this Ottawa band’s latest EP, provides amazing vocals, great rock riffs, and wonderful melodies. Pop/Rock with a subtle country twang, gives this album a feeling of warmth. A fun and easy listen with great songs. Blue Rodeo meets Poco. Love this.

You can listen to Arms Of The Girl here: http://armsofthegirl.bandcamp.com/

ss2SOCIAL STRIFE

It took a long time for Social Strife to release their self titled EP, but it was worth the wait. In your face rock with pop sensibilities makes this hard rock album uniquely listenable. Strong songs, with great melodies and socially relevant lyrics give the music an edge beyond traditional heavy rock. Great guitar solos, driving drums and thundering bass create a totally full sound. Tremendously fun and energetic rock for the taking. Pay particular attention to “Aliens And Freaks“. Get yours now.

You can hear Social Strife here:   http://www.reverbnation.com/socialstrife

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THE COMEDY-Deadlights

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

comedy2Hailing from Montreal, The Comedy have unleashed a new take on Progressive Rock. The release of their album Deadlights, officially launched in June 2012, showcases beautifully created images through words and music.

The album is filled with dark, yet wonderfully haunting melodies within Progressive Rock themes. The vocals are disturbing dark and brooding and layered within the music so as not to be overpowering. The music itself is perfectly arranged and executed to induce images of social discontentment. The lyrical themes of alienation, isolation mechanization and desolation are prevalent throughout the album. From the somber mood of “Lighthouse” and “Lights/Depth” to the harsher sounds of “Dystopia” and “Machines”,  lines such as “…Keep these machines from killing me.”,  reflect on the bleak outlook of society and progress.

comedy1This is Alternative Progressive Rock with an edge. There are shades of King Crimson and Pink Floyd . The haunting guitars, heavy bass and drums and eerily set vocals have me believing that if Stephen King were to write music, it would sound like this. Interestingly, in the Stephen King novel IT, the monster’s eyes were referred to as deadlights.  John Cafferty sang about being On The Dark Side, but The Comedy are it.  A wonderful album, worthy of repeated listens and a place in your collection.

You can listen to Deadlights here:          http://thecomedymusic.bandcamp.com/

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MY WORLD GOES POP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

My venture into popular music began with an uncle, 10 years my senior, who was entrenched in the girl groups of the early 1960s. The first songs I remember listening to were the delightfully unsophisticated  “My Boyfriend’s Back” by The Angels, ” He’s A Rebel” by The Crystals and The Chiffons’He’s So Fine“.   I spent numerous hours ingesting  the harmonies and the melody lines of these and other pop classics.

The Ronettes

The Ronettes

And just when I thought I had heard all there was to hear, I discovered The Ronettes. They were amazing. Insanely different. Veronica Bennett, her sister Estelle and her cousin Nedra Talley created a sound so different than anything I had heard before. It was Ronnie’s (Veronica) voice that drew me in. It was Phil Spector‘s production and the now infamous Wall Of Sound that kept me there. ‘Baby I Love You” and “Be My Baby”  kept me listening over and over again. I got my own 45 of “Be My Baby”. I played it and played it. I drummed along with it on pots and pans. I knew every nuance of the song. musically and vocally. I adored Ronnie’s voice and her vocal inflections. I  still do. The power of her voice  blows me away. And so began my epic adventure with rock and roll.

I heard The Beatles many times on the radio before I saw them on The Ed Sullivan Show. It was then that I knew I wanted to be, no, needed to be a musician. I wanted to make music. I wanted to be a Beatle.  A plot was hatched to dispose of Ringo. Why not? I was quite proficient on the pots and pans, and how much different could the drums be? I wanted to be a drummer. I asked for drums for my birthday, and I got a guitar. What the hell. I learned to play and began writing songs.

I dove in to the British Invasion, headfirst. I spent years harboring vinyl from across the ocean. Listening to The Dave Clark 5, The Hollies, whose harmonies were some of the most complex I had heard, and The Kinks, who wrote incredible pop songs and played them like a rock band,  allowed me to intercept the North American bands who were now emulating the British sound. And so, Tommy James and The Shondells, The Grass Roots,  and The Lovin’ Spoonful were added to my ever growing list of must have vinyl. The Beach Boys were added when I heard Pet Sounds. “God Only Knows” is a remarkable song . The harmonies are deep and full. Changes in tempo and time signature reflect Brian Wilson‘s genius. I was set. I was in pop paradise. In 1966-67, as The Beatles experimented with psychedelica, I did as well,  finding  gems in  Blues Image, Spirit, and a host of other insanely talented bands.

The Pretenders

The Pretenders

On my 13th birthday, I received my own drum kit. I had fallen ass backwards into Progressive Rock and was living and breathing Yes; amazing musicians, with the ability to incorporate so many different melodies, time signatures and themes into one perfectly crafted work. Yes led me to King Crimson, Flash and inevitably to Pink Floyd, who made the complex seem simple and the simple sound complete. . How cool was that?  I started a band, but I just couldn’t shake my passion for pop. My fondness for Pagliaro, 5 Man Electrical Band, and Badfinger, created the sound and direction of my musical psyche. New Wave delivered Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, and The Pretenders. One of my all time favorite bands,The Pretenders were pure pop. Unforgettable melody lines, great hooks, amazingly simple yet catchy riffs permeated each song. And Chrissy Hynde looked so cool holding a guitar.

Gotta Have Pop

Gotta Have Pop

To satisfy my passion, I have always looked for new artists playing pop. Over the years I have found The Pursuit Of Happiness, The Bob Segarini Band, and Sloan. Segarini is pop genius. His ability to hear the music long before it is ever played sets him out as one of the truly great pop song writers. Once referred to as the Canadian Nick Lowe, Segarini’s Gotta Have Pop  is a classic . I have, more recently found some amazing talent out there in bands named The Creekside Strays, The Micronite Filters, The Research Turtles,  Toxic Melons and The Toniks. There are so many more that I have yet to discover. I can hardly wait! Recently a friend of mine who travels The Oregon Trail looking for new music introduced me to No Small Children. I have just started my auditory stalking of this band so any verdict at this time would be premature. He rarely steers me wrong. I will go on record as saying that they have something, and I suspect it is highly contagious as I can’t seem to stop listening. My fondness for all music lies in  melodies and harmonies. It began with the girl vocal groups and is as strong today as it ever was.

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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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