Archive for the toniks

THE 286

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2015 by TheManicBlogger

the2861Another U.K. band, introduced to me by former The Toniks drummer Colin Marshall, The 286 released a self-titled EP in April, 2014. I confess. I missed it then. The 4 tracks resound with shades of ELO, and George Harrison. “Miracle On 286th Street“, an instrumental track, offers cool piano and bass, with some wonderful tremolo guitar. “Little Louisa” delivers a nice vocal track within a 1950’s Rock ‘N’ Roll vibe. There are 2 versions of “Let The Rain Fall Down“, a shorter radio edit, and the extended play. The track is amazingly infectious. The bittersweet melody fuels the wonderful vocals. There are incredible changes, a cool bridge, and a great hook. An incredibly beautiful song.

the2863This ep delivers. A wonderful fusion of classical themes and pop melodies. The arrangements are exciting. Orchestral-pop is back. The 286 are simply a lot of fun. I am looking forward to the next release. Check them out for yourselves at https://the286.bandcamp.com/ and LIKE them on facebook…https://www.facebook.com/the286?fref=ts

 

 

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A GOOD YEAR, INDEED

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

1 month into 2014, and its already promising to be a good, if not great year.

toniks55The Toniks, England’s greatest export since The Beatles released their new single, “Jealousy” on January 3. I have heard from reliable sources that the band has a lorry full of songs they will be heading into the studio with this year. And, if that’s not enough, their tour plans include a return trip to Southern Ontario in late summer to grace the stage at The Shores Of Erie Wine Festival, and a few gigs in the Toronto area. We hope that super producer/manager Graham joins them on this trip. Someone has to watch them, and well, to be honest, they were a handful last time around.

nursery55The weirdly wonderful The Nursery have completed recording enough songs for another album as follow up to 2013’s Carnival Nature. Along with regular gigs in the Toronto, the band has made it to New York for a few shows, and released their first video. I have been informed that the sound is an extension of previous material, as The Nursery looks forward.. At the time of this writing, the tracks are in the process of being mixed. Way cool.

ss55Toronto’s own rock demons, Social Strife have been busy recording. They already have a song out there and are working on several more. I will be joining them at the studio in a few days for an inside look at their material. Hopefully a new album comes out of this. From what I hear, the song writing just keeps improving and their live show is an epic event. I really like this band, so perhaps the Strife army can back off now…

the strays55The Creekside Strays, long a favorite I Can’t Believe My Earz, have recently worked with another London, On band, High School Sweetheart and their is a really cool tune out there. The boys have been furiously working on a new project, which will apparently include half acoustic and half plugged in. The always ambitiously daring trio are due to have their album out sometime this year. We hope.

xprime55Out of the Niagara Region, Xprime, my pick to win Canada Indie Week, have completed recording their new album. I was fortunate enough to receive advance digital downloads of the songs, however under threats of bodily harm from drummer Phil, I have not been permitted to play them or write about them.  I will say that this album is amazing. Great melodies. wonderful harmonies, and a great deal of fun.

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The always entertaining Toxic Melons, have been working on an album for several months. With a truly original approach to music, head melon, Pablo has amassed a cacophony of incredibly talented musicians from around the globe to participate in this monumental event. Pop music that bites and tickles. I have been waiting a long time for this, and as they say, good things come to those who wait.

Yes, indeed, its going to be a great year.

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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.

I CAN’T BELIEVE MY EARZ-INDIE ALBUM OF THE YEAR, 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

newlogoAnd so, as 2013 draws to a close, we at I Can’t Believe My Earz have been weighing in on our Indie Album Of The Year.  We have listened to hundreds and hundreds of albums, written about 50 or 60 of our favorites, and created a short list of potential Album Of The Year winners. We would like to thank and congratulate all of the artists that we had the good fortune to listen to this past year. We enjoyed all of your music, and are proud to be involved in the Canadian Indie Music scene.

j&f1Jenny And The FelinesDon’t Look Back-Not Canadian, but the music is so amazingly good, I don’t care. This band rocks. This band rolls. Jenny And The Felines does it all. Don’t Look Back is a wondrous compilation of memorable tunes with catchy hooks and melodies. They have created a unique blend of 1960’s and 1970’s music with an alternative edge. Simple music. Great songs. Nothing forced and nothing overwhelming. Don’t Look Back is a way cool 60’s feel good journey.

nursery1The NurseryCarnival Nature-The Nursery have incorporated several styles and arrived at a sound that can best be described as acid/rock/soul/synth-folk/pop. Let’s be honest. Its just plain weird! Eccentric. But it is simply incredible. The songs are  unconventionally spectacular. The arrangements are weirdly wonderful and I’m having the time of my life listening. This is an album you won’t want to miss.

cs1The Creekside StraysThe Creekside Strays-This London, Ontario band released a classy and fun album  of exceptional songs. The Strays have a unique sound, a blend of rock, soul and pop which could best be described as Stray Rock. The self titled EP contains five wonderfully crafted songs that you will not be able to stop singing. Unforgivable not to have this gem in your collection.

pig1The PygmiesInside Your Mind-The Pygmies have nailed it. The sound is captivating and the songs are brilliantly written.  I enjoy the 2 1/2 minute tunes, which are written in a pop style-short and simple, and give me the sense that these were recorded live in one take. These guys are adept at dropping garage melodies into 1960’s pop, and 60’s pop melodies into garage music. They have a distinct knack for vocal melodies and harmonies, and a great sense of humor.

yb2Young BenjaminsLess Argue-These Saskatoon natives write amazingly well crafted songs and execute them to perfection. Incorporating pop rock, blues and middle eastern influences, Less Argue delivers. Strong vocals, great melodies and tremendous musical insight allows this young band to make the kind of album they want to make. Esoteric, eclectic and entertaining..  Ten tracks take you places you never knew you could get to. A must for every collection.  

The task then turned to selecting the Indie Album Of The Year from the 6 semi-finalists. It was not easy. There was yelling and screaming, some name calling, drinking, and, on one occasion, fisticuffs. After several days and nights of deliberation, postulation and  trepidation, here is the I Can’t Believe My Earz Indie Album of The Year for 2013:

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THE TONIKS-RISE & SHINE–Rise 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 timeNot just the top Indie album of 2013, but one of the most incredible albums we have heard. Exceptional song writing, brilliant melodies, wonderful harmonies and a way cool 1960’s British feel make this our Indie Album of The Year for 2013. Check it out for yourself. Congratulations to Mark, Jez, Tom, Jessica, and Colin.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/the-toniks-rise-and-shine/

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AUDIO AND VIDEO: OUR PICKS-Autumn 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

COOL VIDEOS (Because we have EYEZ as well as EARZ)

WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO

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http://thenursery.bandcamp.com/album/carnival-nature

 

 

M&M

 

 

http://messesmiracles.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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http://swillbillyheroes.bandcamp.com/album/the-lamentable-tragedy-of-the

 

 

 

 

 

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TOUR WITH THE TONIKS-Toronto 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

After months of anticipation and a few days of school girl giddiness, the time had come to hang out with The Toniks. All week, my wife had been informing our friends that “He thinks he’s going to hang out with The Beatles”. What can I say? Was I excited?  Like a pre-pubescent school girl with a new puppy! For 10 days all I drank were Gin & Toniks.

htI take pleasure in knowing that I had some part in bringing The Toniks’ music to Canadian ears. Actually I am proud as hell!  I had found them on the internet and contacted them. I wrote a few articles about their music and over time we became friends. When I learned that the English band were coming to play the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto to promote their new album, Rise & Shine, I arranged to meet  up with them, get an interview and catch the show.

In doing my research, I discovered that this is the 2nd incarnation of The Toniks. The 1st line-up, included Ollie Smith on drums and Jim O’Neil on keyboards. A 4 track EP was released in 2009 and 2 of the songs, ” Wonderful Then” and “Simple Things” appear on the Rise & Shine album . For the past 9 months, the current 5 members have been touring in England and recording.

We met out front of the bar and decided to conduct the interview over dinner. Jez presented me with a Rise & Shine CD and a t shirt they had made for me.  How cool is that? What a great bunch of guys. And a girl!

Colin Marshall

Colin Marshall

Finding a place to eat was challenging. In the midst of Chinatown, Mark announced he does not like Chinese food. Colin was adamant that he needed grilled chicken and veggies. So we headed out  across Queen St W until Colin found us a restaurant. We settled in, and ordered (yep, Colin got his grilled chicken and veggies). I had prepared 10 questions that I wanted to ask, however after the 1st, the interview took on a life of its own. Incredibly cool. It just naturally flowed. This band was open and honest, appreciative and humble.

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor

The band informed me that the music industry in England has been decimated by the influence of X-Factor and Simon Cowell. It has become increasingly difficult to even get gigs if you are not an X-Factorite. Canada, they claim, is far more receptive to new bands and music than England. And while they see no changes occurring in the English industry in the foreseeable future, they have no intention of leaving. Not yet anyway. While Colin helped the server clear tables (the guy is so ADHD) Mark and Jez informed me that they are the song writers, and described their relationship with producer/manager Graham Dominy as very positive. “Graham allows us to make our music. He just helps show us how to get it to sound the way we want it to sound.” There is no plan or conscious effort in their song writing. “We don’t sit down and say, well let’s write about this topic or that topic. We just start playing and it just sort of happens”. They do believe that they write positive songs because they are positive people. “I don’t like being down”, Mark says, “so I don’t want to bring others down”. Really cool attitude. One of the most endearing qualities of  this band is that they try to view everything in a positive light.

Jess English

Jess English

It’s a tough haul being a Tonik, though. They have no major iqnrecord deal, and have to cover all expenses out of pocket. They hold down full time jobs and devote as much time as they can to their music. The 5 of them share 1 hotel room. Not so bad since they view the band as family.  “I miss not being with them”, Colin said, “but I miss not being away from them”.  But this is one smart band. They have their own publishing company, and their own record label.  They have learnt all they could about royalties, mechanical rights and return on investment. They get that this is not just music. Its business.

Jez Parish

Jez Parish

I invited my buddy, Todd Miller of Radio That Doesn’t Suck to come down and see the band. I had given him a copy of  the new album and he seemed impressed. We hung out with the band in The Horseshoe for a while, talking about the artists who had played there and our own musical experiences. We sat through 2 opening acts and listened to the band talk about how cool it was that people in Canada move up to the stage. “In London, they move way to the back. That’s just what they do”, Mark told me. It was interesting for me to see Colin’s pre-gig ritual. Drummers tend to be incredibly ritualistic. Colin reads a very special book written by and given to him by a dear friend, Danielle. He sits alone and reads his book. This was the only time I saw him sit still for any length of time.

Tom Yates

Tom Yates

When The Toniks hit the stage, Todd and I were front and centre, taking pictures and shooting video.  I watched the crowd as Scapegoat began, and  everyone was tapping their feet, or dancing, or moving in one way or another. What a great opening song! They morphed into “Wonderful Then” and when it was done, the crowd erupted in applause. I knew it!! The band relaxed, smiled and got down to having fun. Each song they played drew the audience deeper into their world. The band was tight, with spot on harmonies. The vocals rang true, cradled in an almost perfect rendition of each track. You could feel the band’s energy, and you just knew that they were having the time of their lives. I am certain they are like this every time they play.  The Toniks are as much fun to watch as they are to listen to. Not just a studio band, these guys love to entertain, to work an audience.  They closed the set with “Figure It Out“. The audience erupted in chants of  “1 more song! 1 more song!”.  “You And I” was the encore. Killer song.   Killer show!

128I can’t helping really liking this band. Not just the music, or the performance, but the people in the band. Jess, the lone girl, is gentle, quiet and oh, so English. Mark is cerebral and tends to worry and wonder, and reminds me of Ian Hunter.  Jez is animated and quite sardonic in his humor, and very much the musical director of the band. Tom is quiet in his cool. He plays in the Gilmore style of less is more:  No shredding.  Just clean, crisp solos. And Colin, well, Colin has enough energy for his band mates and then some. He is an amazingly gifted drummer who plays with the exuberance of Keith Moon’s  “beat the crap out of my kit” school, but with that same less is more style. I just refer to him as Ringo. And yet these very different personalities have come together in an insanely talented and creative band.  It seems a perfect fit. These guys belong together. They are The Toniks. Their camaraderie, well, let’s call it festive. They like playing together. They like each other. They anticipate each others moves and, at times, finish each others sentences.

148This was their first visit to Canada. They said the Canadian response to their music has been great. “Can you believe people were buying our CDs and asking us to autograph them?” They opened for The Sheepdogs last weekend and played The Horseshoe. Not bad for a first Canadian tour.  Todd Miller was so impressed that he informed them that he was putting their music into regular rotation on Radio That Doesn’t Suck. I am determined to have them return for a longer tour, playing around Southern Ontario. They loved the Horseshoe. They loved Canada. And from what I saw, Canada loved them. Awesome music. Awesome band. Awesome people.  I am proud and thrilled to call them friends.

toniks19The Toniks are:  Mark Taylor–Bass, lead vocals; Jez Parish–Guitar, background vocals; Tom Yates–Guitar; Jess English–Keyboards, background vocals; Colin Marshall–Drums.

You can purchase Rise & Shine on The Toniks website:    http://www.thetoniks.com/riseandshine.php

Very Cool The Toniks Videos:

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MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-July 2013

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

With the somewhat disturbing and unpredictable weather we  experienced in July, there was ample opportunity to stay indoors and listen to some amazing music created by Independent artists. Here are our picks for the MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS for July 2013.

yb2YOUNG BENJAMINS

These Saskatoon natives write amazingly well crafted songs and execute them to perfection. Incorporating pop rock, blues and middle eastern influences, Less Argue delivers. Strong vocals, great melodies and tremendous musical insight allows this young band to make the kind of album they want to make. Esoteric, eclectic and entertaining..  Ten tracks take you places you never knew you could get to. A must for every collection. You can purchase Less Argue at https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/less-argue/id646416786 and http://www.dollartone.com/store

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/young-benjamins-less-argue/

JANE’S PARTYjane's party1

This Toronto quartet released their album, Hot Noise just in time for summer. Loaded with pop-rock songs, the album is highlighted by the intricate melodies and sophisticated harmonies. Dance-able, singable and enjoyable. Somewhere between The Kinks and The Beach Boys, Jane’s Party is an event not to be missed. Purchase at https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/hot-noise/id647398702

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/janes-party-hot-noise/

Toniks1THE TONIKS.

About to be released in September,  Rise And Shine is a trip back to 1965, London. Influenced by The Beatles, Badfinger and Squeeze, this UK band has perfected the sound that filled the airwaves 47 years ago. Packed with tracks that deal with life, love and human relations, this is a fun filled trip to a simpler time. Amazing melodies, wonderful harmonies combined with horns and strings, each song is pop perfection. If you purchase nothing else this year, purchase this. A definite must have. The album will be available through iTunes and directly through The Toniks website.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/the-toniks-rise-and-shine/

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