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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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MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 27, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

DruckfarbenSecond Sound

druckfarben3

I am not certain why this Toronto band has been a mystery. These musicians are insanely talented. It is an impressive work. Standing out is Phil Naro‘s vocals.The style, the sound, the inflection, had me thinking Jon Anderson. 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. Druckfarben is the real deal.

 

StupidityMove

stupidity2Not Canadian, but the Swedish band, Stupidity have mastered the marriage of punk, rock, and pop. This album serves up incredible songs with interesting instrumentation. and a few very cool surprises. This is definitely not Ikea. This album is boundless energy. This is one for the collection. And the car.  Catch them live, whenever you can. As often as you can. Incredible band

 

Peculiar Disco MovesThe Domino Effect

pdm1From North-Eastern U.K., Peculiar Disco Moves have pulled me out of a cold and bleak Canadian Winter. Just in time for spring, this album has rejuvenated and reinvigorated my musical being. They are completely and utterly original, following none of the standard formulas. The music is clearly their own. Their originality borders on strangeness, but I am very cool with that. Both the music and the lyric contain that prototypical British irreverent humor found in other bands such as XTC, and Toxic Melons. The songs are incredibly well crafted, stylistic while free flowing, as if born out of themselves. The melodies are pure pop. The harmonies are straight out of the 1960’s, somewhere between The Beach Boys and The Rascals. One of my go to bands. I am impressed. I am a fan.

 

The After HoursShaken, Not Stirred

afterhours3I 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. I will be getting 2, as I am certain I will be playing 1 of them into oblivion.

 

 

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PECULIAR DISCO MOVES-The Domino Effect (And More)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

pdm3There’s something going on in Newcastle Upon Tyne, England. Something wonderfully strange and unusual. Its in the music. Peculiar Disco Moves, with the release of their 2013 Ep. The Domino Effect. confirms this for me.

The 3 track recording opens with “Chris“. with a great melody, and wonderful harmonies. The changes and transitions are exceptional, and the “cheeky” synthesizer adds just a hint of psych rock. I enjoy the underlying guitar, the great vocals, which have a sort of Ray Davies thing going on, and the awesome carnival theme at the song’s end. “Automatic Choice” delivers amazing piano, some way cool vocals, great harmonies, and amazing changes and transitions. There are great tempo changes, a sweet riff, pdm2and a killer bridge, all within an exceptionally unique track that owns a perfect melody. The final song, “What Did You Do Today“, offers a great bass line, within an upbeat melody. The piano and guitar are exceptional, the harmonies, beautifully sung, and the chorus is dangerously catchy.

I also listened to 2 singles. 2013’s “Joining Fee“, delivers the same wonderful harmonies, piano and changes, but surprises with some perfectly placed effects. “Lost For Words“, the most recent release, grabbed me with its off beat drumming. The way cool melody, guitar and synthesizer are dynamite, while the piano, and harmonies simply rock.

 

 

pdm1Peculiar Disco Moves have pulled me out of a cold and bleak Canadian Winter. Just in time for spring, this album has rejuvenated and reinvigorated my musical being. They are completely and utterly original, following none of the standard formulas. The music is clearly their own. Their originality borders on strangeness, but I am very cool with that. Both the music and the lyric contain that prototypical British irreverent humor found in other bands such as XTC, and Toxic Melons. The songs are incredibly well crafted, stylistic while free flowing, as if born out of themselves. The melodies are pure pop. The harmonies are straight out of the 1960’s, somewhere between The Beach Boys and The Rascals. One of my go to bands. I am impressed. I am a fan.

You can check out and purchase their music:   http://peculiardiscomoves.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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MUST HAVE CANADIAN INDIE ALBUMS-February 2014

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Having lived through one of the coldest Februarys on record, Here are 3 incredible albums that will keep you smiling and warm your soul.

tsup1THE SUPERLATIVE-Chester

This Ottawa, On band have developed a unique a sound that combines elements from several genres.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.

mf11THE MICRONITE FILTERS-Wizard Blood

11 months after the release of Chasing Ghosts, this Oshawa, On, band released Wizard Blood. With all of the alternative blues-rock stylings I had heard on Ghosts, I assumed that I was in for more of the same on this new release. Sometimes it is nice to be mistaken. This 9 track album on Get Bent Records, produced by the bent brothers, who I suspect are Abel Renton and Dan Reiff, takes the music to places it has not been before. I like The Micronite Filters. This album seems to be a continuation of the themes of their previous release, showcasing the band’s growth and maturation. I really dig it. Each track feels like an experiment in pushing the limits of their sound. While Chasing Ghosts had me experimenting with this band, Wizard Blood has me addicted.

tm11TOXIC MELONS-Bus Therapy

Not Canadian, but it doesn’t matter. Bus Therapy is my kind of therapy. Truly 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.

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TOXIC MELONS-Bus Therapy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 26, 2014 by TheManicBlogger

tm12So, the story goes that Paul Fairbairn, Pablo Melons himself, was taking a lengthy bus trip and became so inspired, that he  the he got the idea for the entire album right there and then. Why not? George Harrison was said to have written “Blue Jay Way” on a plane!

I first encountered Toxic Melons in May, 2013, and my love affair with their quirky U.K. sound continues with the new release, Bus Therapy, which I was fortunate to get pre-release.

The album opens with “More Or Less“, showcasing way cool  piano and organ, a great melody and super harmonies. The song could be on any XTC album. “Journey“, an instrumental, has a dynamite musical melody that sits under  electronic effects to create a Close Encounters feel. The acoustic guitar of “Let Me Sleep” is reminiscent of early Bowie, and fits perfectly among the weird keys that create a circus tm13atmosphere.  Interesting melody, sweet harmonies and a precise and tight guitar solo. “Disco Balls“, an amazing satire of the genre, nails it, with a great disco beat, cool changes and transitions, and  great electronic effects. The cowboy sentiments of “Just One Beer“, captured by the saloon style piano, hide just below a sweet melody, nice harmonies and cool guitar riffs and runs. “Getting Old“, with its melancholic melody, delivers dynamite strings and horns, great transitions, and a cool bridge. I can’t help liking the vocal track. “Take Me Back” is beautifully melodic, with harmonized vocals that rival The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. That good! The track kills, with amazing flute and acoustic guitar, and wonderful arrangements. I am particularly fond of the vocals being the primary instrument here. Surprisingly, I have 2 favorite tracks. The wonderfully fabulous melody and sweet harmonies, combined with some way cool piano,  and lyric- “was a need to change the world before her lifetime expired; no complicated reason, just the way she was wired”- had me asking why “Change The World” hasn’t been on a Nilsson album. “Not In Love” has a great pop melody and  lush harmonies. The guitar and piano are dynamite, and I really dig the guitar runs. The bridge is perfect. Great pop song!

tm11Bus Therapy is my kind of therapy. Truly 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.

Check out Toxic Melons and help this band:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/11591364/toxic-melons-bus-therapy-kick-starter-campaign

 

 

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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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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

 

 

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http://messesmiracles.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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