Entries under 'music', page 2

Deathpoint - Between The Lines Official Video

This was sent to me by Jon over at Asher Media. Another fine group of dudes from Hamilton, ON bashing out some heavy tunes. Right off the bat, I will say that I'm typically not a huge fan of the whole "metal scream/singing/metal screaming again/singing again" thing that some bands do, but Deathpoint pulls it off rather well. Most bands just sound pretentious to me when they do that (sorry!), but not so much in this case.

Between The Lines was one of the singles from the album "Sinister" which was released back in October 2013 via Spread The Metal Records. The band formed in 2005, with their debut album "Fixation" released in 2010, folled by "Suffer" EP in 2011. The band then signed with Spread The Metal in April of 2013, and released "Sinister" later in the year as metioned. Also interesting to note, these guys have opened for Beneath The Massacre, who are by far my favorite Canadian metal band. Anyone good enough to open for those guys have got to be worth a listen for sure, so check out the video, and listen to some more Deathpoint through the links below.

Also, for anyone reading from southern Ontario, Deathpoint will be playing at the APK in London on Febrary 7th, and at the Canadian Anglo Club in Windosor the next night, Feb.8th. If you're in or around either London or Windsor go check Deathpoint out live! I bet you can get copies of their albums and shirts directly from the band if you go to their shows, so make yourselves some plans.

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Review: Melt Banana - Fetch (Out on October 1, 2013)

Melt Banana are from Tokyo, Japan and have been around since around 1992. This is their 7th full length studio release. I'm a little (more than a little) late with this one, but let me start off with a gerthy "holy shit." Melt Banana are a great example of genre blending that actually works. I like to simply refer to their music as "avant-garde," but one can easily pick out pieces of grindcore, noise rock, pop, synth-pop, and punk rock. I think that Ichirou Agata has probably got the most hilarious approach to playing guitar I have ever heard or seen, and I truly mean that as a genuine compliment, coming from a guitarist of almost 30 years myself. I can just listen to this stuff all day long. I really have aquired an appreciation over the years for those with an unorthodox approach to playing instruments, specifically when the end result comes out so flawless and beautiful as what Ichirou can do. On a side note, I have yet to track down any of his solo work, but based on what I've heard from Melt Banana and other reviews I have read, I am dying to get my hands on some Agata. I think this all stems from getting into Mr. Bungle when I was 13, but that's another story all together.

Vocalist Yasuko Onuki, again with the completely abnormal approach to vocals/singing, for lack of a better term blows my fucking mind. It honestly took me a little while to get used to this band a few (10 or 11) years back when I first heard of them, mostly due to her vocal delivery, but now that I'm "used to it" and have a better understanding of this band, I think she's brilliant. Now that I think about it, I have yet to hear any other vocalist even come close to sounding like her, but really, I don't think there are many people out there that could pull it off like she does. I don't know, I just really get a kick out of this band.

It has been six years since these guys have put any music out, the last release being "Bambi's Dilemma" back in 2007. I have learned that Yasuko and Ichirou have been performing live as a duo since last year, and have opted to also record "Fetch" as a duo. I'm not sure exactly who is programming what in regard to the drums, bass and sampling, but I could see someone with an untrained ear being surprised to find out only the vocals and guitar are "organic." I seem to like everything I have heard from Melt Banana thus far, but I must say, Fetch is really really good. It sounds really good in the car too, which is good for extra points in my book. I got this one late, it's been out for a couple of months, so do yourself a favor if you're feeling adventurous (to those who have never heard this band) and check this record out.

Review: Jake Bugg - Shangri La (November 18, 2013)

My wife and I both became instant fans the first time we heard Jake's music about a year ago now, and we just caught him live in Vancouver back in September. We've both been looking really forward to Shangri La, and neither of us were disappointed with this album whatsoever. Two singles from Shangri La were available early; a demo of "What Doesn't Kill You" was released in September (days before we saw him live), and "Slumville Sunrise" in October. We were fortunate enough to hear both songs live before the album was released, as well as "A Song About Love." It was interesting to hear the version of "What Doesn't Kill You" on the album, as much less of Jake's Nottingham accent comes through on Shangri La. Much like his self-titled release of 2012, Shangri La is a record I have no trouble listening to all the way through without skipping any tracks. This record also has a bit more of an upbeat feel to it than last year's debut, with a few more rock songs and a bit faster tempo. The name from this album comes from Rick Rubin's studio in Malibu CA where this was recorded over the summer of 2013. A funny thing to note too, this record wasn't supposed to be released in North America until January 2014 (much the same as the debut record coming out in North America months after the initial release in the UK), but when his most recent tour sold out so fast, Island Records decided to push the release back to November 19 2013, one day after the UK release by Mercury Records. Way to go Jake! I hope this kid has years and years of music up his sleeves yet, because this is the kind of stuff I don't see myself ever getting sick of. I'm sure glad my wife and I got to see him live for $15 while we could!!! Go out and get this album today, it's a real gem.

Lucid Skies - Hounds EP (November 26, 2013)

Lucid Skies come flailing out of Edmonton with this intense 4 track EP. I hadn't heard of this band until just recently, and I'm pretty impressed with what I'm hearing. This is a good solid blend of old school hardcore and progressive thrash; nice short songs that still build and fly but don't leave you waiting for an end. I'm a big fan of the hardcore style scream singing, it reminds me a bit of Raised Fist or Sick Of It All, which works awesome for this band.

Overall the vocals are mixed just a touch loud for my tastes, but everything still comes across clear and full. These guys are putting many elements on the table that a wide range of aggressive music fans can all find something they enjoy here. Lots of breakbeats and break-downs, very melodic bass lines (that aren't lacking in heaviness, mind you) and a sick guitar sound with lots of crunch and just enough shred to go around.

These guys just indirectly remind me of a lot of bands that I like, and that's awesome. They don't sound like any particular band I can think of, they just remind me of a lot of good stuff. Sounds like a pretty simple concept, but it's such a rare thing lately. Lucid Skies are about to rip a 12 date tour to support the EP, so if you live near any of the places they'll be playing do yourself a favour and go check them out. And make sure to grab a copy of Hounds!! Thanks to Cara from Asher Media for sending this gem my way!

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The Songs Of Tony Sly: A Tribute (October 29, 2013)

Tony Sly was an unbelievable songwriter. I first discovered No Use For A Name when I was 12 or 13, and I knew at first listen that this wasn't just another punk band. Though most (especially earlier) No Use songs were initially played quite fast and with heavy distortion, they more often than not translate extremely well across different genres of music. One of my favorite things about this tribute album is being able to hear exactly that. The Acoustic Vol.1 and 2 albums Tony did with Joey Cape (2004 and 2012 respectively) now seem to almost foreshadow this record in a way, hearing those familiar old songs softened, slowed and stripped down to the bare essentials. It worked as seamlessly and beautifully then as it does again now on this tribute to Tony.

I was fortunate enough to have seen No Use For A Name live multiple times. I find it hard not to think about the live show experiences I've had with bands after the fact when I listen to their music. Of all the times I watched them, I never did get the impression that anyone in that band was simply going through the motions, or just there to make some money and get some tail. One just can't be a part of a band like that with such an amazing songwriter, and not love what you're doing. As far as I've ever known, No Use was a band crafted from the love for the music itself, the same way Tony wrote each and every one of his songs.

It is just such a sad thing, I think that there was a lot of music left in Tony, and that this wasn't your typical "rock star death." For me it just seems far more tragic and sad than rock n' roll or glamerous. I don't think it was truly meant to happen, but it is far too late for that. Thank you for all the wonderful music, and the great memories that go along with it. Never forget Tony Sly. 1970-2012.

Fat Wreck Chords album page

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SNFU - Never Trouble Trouble Until Trouble Troubles You (Out on Oct. 24, 2013)

I just need to state that first and foremost, I fucking love this band. This is the first release from the band in almost ten years, following 2004's "In The Meantime And In Between Time." Drummer John Card is back for his third stint with the band, technically bringing the band status back up to 2/4 original members.

It should be noted however, that Chi's vocal abilities have began to waver slightly. The rest of the band fills in with back-ups quite nicely, but it should be understood that for a guy like Ken Chinn who has been through the extremes in both physical and mental health, it is amazing that he can still do what he does in the first place, even if somewhat less gloriously than in previous years. On the other hand, his lyrical abilities haven't suffered a stitch, so all you die-hards like myself can still expect that classic SNFU sound.

Overall I find the final mix of this record slightly treble heavy, which is of course an easy fix on the old equalizer, but other than that I think Never Trouble Trouble sounds great. One of the things I've always liked about this band is their lack of "filler songs" on their albums, making for a great listen all the way through.

I'm hoping all the best for the guys with this album and the touring that goes along with it, because I certainly would love to hear more and more out of SNFU! If you're a fan it should go without saying that this record should already be a part of your collection.

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Insurrection - Prototype (Out on October 15, 2013)

Insurrection have been ripping it up since 2003, straight out of Quebec (surprise!). Prototye is the fifth release from the band, including also a demo and a promo. This is some intense, old school death metal, I hear a lot of great influences coming through in the songwriting and I'm really digging it! One of my favorite things these guys do is mixing French and English in the lyrics, what a great idea!!! It may seem strange to read, but when you listen it just works so well.

Insurrection has also shared a stage with some pretty crazy bands, like Acacia Strain, Dying Fetus, Lamb Of God, Napalm Death and Skinless to name just a few. Vocalist Stef Jomphe is screaming with the best of them, this is a band that pulls their weight. Prototype is full of strong, hard hitting tunes all the way through - no fillers here.

If you're at all a fan of solid death metal, do your ears a favour and have a listen to Prototype. This whole record is heavy as hell and sure not to disappoint. I'm looking forward to seeing this band play live for sure, whenever I get the chance. What a great album!

Unbeing - Self Titled (Out on September 27, 2013)

Unbeing open their self titled release strong right off the bat! Very atmospheric progressive death metal, this album comes across very methodical and thought out from beginning to end. Another great metal band from Montreal! I am personally not at all opposed to instrumental bands, but I know there are some thrashers out there who prefer having someone to scream along with. It is pretty refreshing to hear some piano leads that actually work with the songs rather than trying to fight for the limelight. Every instrument on this record shines through in a spectacular way. These dudes have even thrown a sitar into the mix, and it just works so well.

This album is actually being re-released to vinyl, having been remixed and remastered from the orginial version released back in 2011. I am only hearing them for the first time, but I am eager to get my hands on their 2008 and 2009 demos. I can't say enough about the amount of talent and playablity in this band, from all five members. I am especially impressed with the percussion on this record, driving the songs home with precision and force.

This album will have you banging your head for 40 minutes straight. Big thanks to Asher Media for sending this my way! If you didn't get a chance to hear this one first time around be sure to get your grubby little paws on a copy ASAP.

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Tony Sly Tribute Album (Out on October 29)

Tony Sly was the singer, a guitarist, and chief songwriter for No Use For A Name. On July 31 2012 Tony died in his sleep, at the age of 41. His last musical work, "Acoustic Volume Two" with Joey Cape, had just been released on June 9 2012, a sequel to 2004's "Acoustic." Though No Use For A Name had a typically skate-punk sound, Tony's songs translate seamlessly to other genres, as shown on both Acoustic albums. I was fortunate enough to see No Use For A Name live 3 times, but I didn't get to see any of his solo performances or acoustic shows with Joey Cape. As of right now, the NOFX cover of "The Shortest Pier" is the only song from the upcoming Tony Sly tribute I've been able to find. Much like the forthcoming SNFU album, I'm a bit doubtful I will be getting a copy before the release date. I will come back to this again when I finally get to listen to the entire album. Pick it up when it comes out!

NOFX - The Shortest Pier

Fat Wreck Chords

Chi Pig Deck From Skull Skates

In case you haven't heard yet, SNFU will be releasing a new album on September 24, titled "Never Trouble Trouble Until Trouble Troubles You," of course keeping in tradition with the seven-word album titles. I have been unable to get my hands on a copy early however, but once I get one I'll tell you all about it! In the meantime I've got my eyes peeled in case I see one of these floating around somewhere.

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