Entries under 'music'

Gord Downie - My Thoughts On The Situation

Sorry I am not so current on this blog as I once was. All of that aside for the time being. I heard about Gord and his glioblastoma diagnosis this morning, directly after I learned that it is also Tommy Chong's 78th birthday today. Thunder officially stolen. Though the diagnosis was given back in December 2015, it had been kept private until this morning.

The Tragically Hip are one of the "bigger" Canadian bands that I have always had an amount of respect and admiration for, however it has simply never worked out that I had been able to see them perform live. I've had tickets - twice - both times I had to give them away because I was unable to get out of work. So to hear that there is a tour being organized ASAP is kind of bittersweet; there's no way I'm going to miss out this time around but it's going to be a hello and a farewell at the same time. Shit eh!

Gord Downie is an honest writer, and it is blatantly obvious to anyone who has heard The Hip. I have always admired that about him as a songwriter, especially when compared to other Canadian acts which hold the same stature as The Tragically Hip. Their music isn't pretentious; there isn't a ploy or an insult to the intelligence of the listener, but rather well thought out and honest works that transpire from paper to voice in the most real of ways. I think it is safe to say that Gord Downie is irreplaceable and invaluable to Canadian music as a whole, and it is terribly unfortunate to learn of his prognosis.

I truly hope to see The Hip on this upcoming tour, and I sincerely hope that it may not in fact be their last. They are touring to support their 13th studio album, "Man Machine Poem," which is to be released via Universal on June 17th. I just missed out on getting to see Spirit Of The West a few months ago as well, who have also been dealt devastating blows towards the health of some of their members.

I am hoping the tour goes well for the guys, I am excited to see when they will be playing here out west, and I hope all the best for Gord Downie and his health. Very sad news for sure.

(both photos kindly borrowed from http://www.thehip.com)

Review: Strung Out - Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Released on March 24th, 2015)

Strung Out are one of the bands that I can honestly say that I fell in love with at first listen. I remember hearing "Rotten Apple" on the 1996 Fat Wreck Chords compilation album "Survival Of The Fattest" and completely losing my mind. I couldn't believe how tight and fast they played, like this band was from another planet or something. Jason Cruz is an amazing vocalist and his performance on Transmission.Alpha.Delta is outstanding. Jordan Burns is also a drummer I've always admired, his fills are insane and he uses every available part of his kit, which I also like. Jake Kiley and Rob Ramos have such a powerful guitar sound together; so full sounding and just that perfect tone. Chris Aiken's bass is mixed amazingly on this album as well. I am a full blown bass addict and I love hearing that deep pounding bass in rock genres of music. Needless to say, this record will be in heavy rotation in my car for a long, long time.

Regardless of how familiar you may be with this band, but particularly for anyone who enjoys the melodic So-Cal style of playing, I highly recommend adding this one to your collection. A great listen all the way through, I can't find anything about this album that I don't like. I was fortunate enough to have seen Strung Out live twice, and hearing their great new music makes we want to run out and see them live again as soon as I get the chance. Grab this record and get in the know.

Purchase album here: http://www.fatwreck.com/record/detail/920
Official: http://www.strungout.com/
Fat Wreck Chords: http://www.fatwreck.com/

New Faith No More record coming in April 2015

I don't know about anyone reading this, but for me, hearing about a new FNM album (after the release of the single "Motherfucker" for black Friday, which also happens to be Record Store Day) was a major "HOLY SHIT!" moment. By a long shot. I have been a huge Faith No More fan ever since I first heard Epic, and the rest of "The Real Thing" when the album was released in 1989. 1992's "Angel Dust" was a life changer for me, still a favorite record to this day. And like many (some) other Faith No More fans, I of course did my research and discovered the insane plethora of material involving Mike Patton in some way, shape or form. It's insane how much talent one individual can have, the guy is an incredible musician in every sense of the word. Anyways, as far as I know right now, at the end of January, the title of the new album hasn't been released, but the release date is supposed to be April 15 2015, on the band's newly formed record label Reclamation Records, which is a subsidiary label of Ipecac Recordings. Here's a fun fact: Faith No More will be playing their Vancouver BC tour date on the release day of the yet untitled new album. Whether or not I will be able to go, I am unsure, but I know I would really like to see them live.

And that’s not all! There is also another single being released titled "Superhero" on March 15, which is a nice little bonus while we wait for the full length record. Hot Damn!

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Review: Expain - Just The Tip (Out on June 24, 2014)

Expain (formally known as "The Almighty Excruciating Pain") hail from Vancouver BC, which made a lot of sense to me as I have found their brand of humour to have a familiar overtone. It's always nice to hear some high quality shreds originating out here on the west coast. As per usual, I tend to notice the drumming right away, and Expain certainly has the right guy for the job. What a powerhouse!! Speaking of which, it is worth mentioning that this band was formed exclusively with the help of Craigslist, boy technology can do swell things sometimes.

Aside from the obvious that these guys shred like hell, it's cool to hear metal being jazzed out a little bit; I'm a huge music nerd so I'm into that sort of thing. I remember the first time I heard Sleep Terror, there's a lot of that cool jazziness in there too, it blew my mind to hear how well these totally different musical elements can actually work together. So that's pretty cool. It's awesome to see musicians who utilize as much of their playability and influences together in a cohesive delivery, I think that very few bands can truthfully stake that claim. Expain are self releasing Just The Tip on June 24, so make sure you rip over to Bandcamp, iTunes or CD Baby to get your hands on your copy! It's always commendable to see a band self releasing their own albums, which I know from experience is not an easy (or cheap!) task to undertake. Show this band some love, these guys are going hard and kicking ass!

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Review: Hollow - Mordrake (Out on May 30, 2014)

Hollow are a blackened death metal band from Montreal, QC. This album is the band's second release; a follow up to their 2010 Cynoptic Eschaton EP. At first listen, I knew this band was a step ahead of the pack. These guys are tight as hell, and create an intense atmosphere with their brutal approach to metal. It is especially worth noting that the drums on this album were recorded WITHOUT the use of triggers; which not only ads to the overall black metal feel, but is a commendable nod to the old school way of doing things. There was also no use of midi, or any cut/paste editing. This is a true rarity in this day and age of recording! I'm a big fan of the heavy low end of the overall mix too, but I just have a thing for big thick bass, it just makes for such a full, rounded sound. For only having one guitarist, they've certainly got the right one - this dude shreds!!! Hot damn. And of course, as for vocal delivery, you get it all on this album. Nice high black metal-eque screaming, demonic harmonies, and intense gutteral death metal growls.

All of these guys are above average musicians on their own, which is blatantly evident when listening to them play as a band. I would jump at the opportunity to see Hollow play live, and if they're coming to play near you, I advise you do the same. But more importantly, if you're a black metal fan, get yourself a copy of Mardrake when it comes out on May 30th! Big thanks to Asher Media for sending this one my way, you rock dude!

"Landscape" official video

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Review: Psychotic Gardening - Hymnosis (Out on May 13, 2014)

Psychotic Gardening are a metal band from Winnipeg, MB. This album has a Death cover on it (Open Casket), which is a bonus right off the bat. I like the rough sound to this album, it's not completely clean and polished but I don't think it would be quite the same if it were. The mix fits the music really well. I'd call this traditional/old school metal revival with a touch of black metal, if I had to pin a label on it. You can hear the old school death metal influence for sure, these guys kind of remind me of my old band Deadkind just a little bit in that respect. It's refreshing to hear a metal band going against the grain like that. I really like the vocal delivery in this band as well.

Hymnosis is the third album from Psychotic Gardening, follwed by 2011's Humanitorium and the 2007debut Hurdur. The more of this record I listen to, the more I dig it for sure. Hymnosis starts off well, don't get me wrong, but this record is a creeper for sure; it grows on you more and more the further in you listen. I like that, some of my favorite records kind of have the same effect. Very cool arrangement, and a unique overall sound as well. I can hear the influences in the music, but this band doesn't straight up remind me of any other bands on the first spin, which is pretty hard to find these days. If you're into that old school feel, you don't want to miss out on this release. Be sure to check out Psychotic Gardening ASAP!

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Review: Dark Century - Murder Motel (Out on April 18, 2014)

Dark Century is yet another metal powerhouse from Montreal, QC. Right away, on the very first track, I found that the overall sound of the band reminded me a little bit of Yyrkoon, which is awesome. By that I mean the tone of the instruments; the overall mix of this album sounds very similar to the overall mix of the last two Yyrkoon records. It's such a great mix for this kind of music, I'm not sure what exactly makes such a sound, if it's in the mastering or the gear the guys are playing or what, but holy hell does it ever sound good. What a good sounding record!

Before this was sent to me by Jon Asher I had not heard of this band, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear Murder Motel. The vocal delivery here is astounding, this dude has quite the set of pipes going on. Also, pay attention to those drums - what a great drummer. I can't wait to rip this one in the car, I can tell from the first listen through that this is going to pound the living shit out of my poor Malibu.

If you're at all into death metal, thrash metal, and grindcore, you'll be pleased with this seamless blend of aggression. This record is likely to scare the shit out of your neighbors and other drivers around you at red lights. I am very curious to hear Dark Century's other album, 2009's debut "Days Of The Mosh." As someone who was in a metal band that self-released our own EP, I have much respect for other bands doing the same. Definitely check this band out!

"Kill The Crowd" Video on YouTube

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Kolony - Echoes (From upcoming 2014 release "Sledge")

Kolony comes from Montreal, QC. This is the first single released for the forthcoming LP "Sledge" which will be unleashed to the public a bit later in the year. Kolony has been performing live since 2011, but I am almost positive that this is their first released material. I have to tell you guys, when I first heard the beginning riff of this tune I was a little unsure of what to expect; fearing that the attempted blending of metal and melodic would be as disappoint as countless other bands' prior attempts, but this band totally nailed it! It is really refreshing to hear melodic metal that doesn't go to shit when the vocals kick in. I'm really impressed by this song, and I can't wait to hear the rest of this record! There must be something in the water in Montreal, so many amazing metal bands come from there. I've been hearing from people for years and years that the punk and metal scene there is crazy insane, and the proof is in the music for sure. So many great bands!! Definitely check this tune out, even if you're like me and not too excited about melodic metal I strongly advise you at least give it one good listen all the way through. It's awesome to hear harmonies that don't lose the heaviness, that quality in this songwriting kind of reminds me of Wintersun; though the playing in Wintersun is a lot busier overall, the idea of harmony and heaviness coexisting between these two bands is on the same plain to me, if that makes sense to anybody else.

Big thanks to Jon at Asher Media for this one! Keep your eyes and ears peeled for Kolony, these guys are definitely going places.

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Endless Chaos - Rejected Atrocity EP (Due out March 4, 2014)

Wow, what a gem!! Much thanks to Jon at Asher Media for this one. This EP is so recent it doesn't have complete album art yet! Endless Chaos come from Winnipeg, Manitoba (the same city as one of my all-time favorite bands, Propagandhi!), and these dudes are playing heavy as balls. What an unbelievable blend of thrash/death/melodic/black metal going on here; it is so hard to make that all work together continuously, but Endless Chaos seem to have it down to a science.

It's hard also to believe that this is their debut, I'm honestly floored at how tight and brutal this band is. It sounds to me like they've been playing together for years and years, just an immaculate job. The drums are fucking insane, this dude is a machine gun. Hard hitting intensity and metronome precision make for a face-stomping good time. The guitar work is equally fantastic, whoever is playing these leads is fucking killing it. The rhythm section here keeps everything so tight, this drummer/bassist combo is a force to be reckoned with. I also really dig the vocals, specifically when the "cookie monster" growls happen, I just love those vocals after listening to Cannibal Corpse for so long.

Everything here is awesome, this band works together as a cohesive group, nothing feels chunky or out of place to me. The mix of this EP is really well done too, its really pleasing when the low-end is done properly on a recording, this one sounds awesome in my car. When you've got the kind of after-market audio system like I've been putting together, you can really appreciate the full spectrum of the music. I hope this band comes out to Vancouver Island sometime, because I would love to see these guys play live. March is a little ways away, so you've got lots of time to get ready to put your grubby hands all over this EP. If you're a fan of any form of aggressive music, you'll find something here that turns your crank without a doubt. Kudos to this band, and a huge thanks again to Jon at Asher Media. Hot damn!

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Los Subtitles - Just A Little Bit Brighter EP

Los Subtitles are a three piece band, who emailed me directly, and describe themselves as "garage/demon doo-wop" from the Midlands, UK. Right away I thought that sounded pretty awesome, so I just had to have a listen. I wasn't sure what to expect them to sound like, but its pretty decent listening for sure. What I'm about to say about this band may easily be taken the wrong way, but believe me, this is absolutely 110% compliment: Listening to this record makes me want to get completely shitfaced drunk. For real, this is some hilarious, "let's have a ridonculous good time/drink your face off" music. You better believe I'm putting this one on next time the wife and I have a party at our house. It's loud, abrasive, full of reverb, and high energy. I really dig the DIY feel about this band, it just reminds me of being in a punk band as a teen.

"Just A Little Bit Brighter" is the third release from the band, put out in September 2013. They released the 8-song album "Dissolve" in July 2013, and a split in January 2013 with The Pale Faces. If these dudes ever play out here, I'm going!! Check this band out, and get ready to party your ass off! The only "complaint" I have comes from the music nerd in me, and it's not that I don't appreciate the sound or anything, but I think these guys would benefit greatly by adding a bassist. That's it, that's really all that's missing is the bass, other than that I wouldn't change a damn thing. Check this band out guys, for real!

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