The idea of promoting a young up and coming band is as good a deal for Rolling Stone as for the short-list bands that were given good news and anxious moments to share with their fans. Most music fans born after 1990 have never bought a Rolling Stone magazine. Where would they put it? With their Psychology Today and Saturday Night Post? What Rolling Stone Magazine gets out of this is a last shot chance to establish legitimacy to a generation that doesn't wait eagerly for next month's anything.
The main stage kicked off with IndieCan friends, Dinosaur Bones, to a good size mid-day crowd. The Reason and The Arkells followed. The Arkells are now with Universal. They played one new song which still had the good Steel Town blue-collar feel - a love song about enjoying music in the nose-bleed seats. Tokyo Police Club certainly increased ticket sales. They had fans singing songs. The Weakerthans might not have felt like they belonged on a bill for music fans that were not all old enough to drink and they joked about songs of curling and that, although it's 34 degrees Celsius here at Downsview Park in Toronto, in Winnipeg they are only 60 days away from the next curling bonspiel. A Perfect Circle and Rise Against were the headliner bands that got to play to at least a hint of darkness.
Meanwhile back on the side-stage, this is where IndieCan was sourcing out the new stuff and having most of our fun. We already mentioned The Sheep Dogs who had a packed crowd to play their set to before high-tailing it downtown for a set at the Bovine Sex Club on Queen Street West.
Let's get them all in: DirtyMags were on before noon (I wonder if they just stayed up as I don't think AM rockin' is a natural). But they played with heart; the crowd appreciated it. San Sebastien I have seen before and they are starting to develop some stage presence. They said what they had to between 12:30 and 12:50. Red Bacteria Vacuum was one of Mark Keeler's favorites, hopping around, giving him something more than a "hey I am cool" look to shoot. Sandman Viper Command had their street-team working overtime. The crowd was checkered with band-swag and these boys will be guests on IndieCan Radio Episode 239. Mockingbird Wish Me Luck and Michou followed suit to an ever growing appreciative crowd.
Harlan Pepper was a band that impressed me and we'll get some more dirt on them. Gentlemen Husbands, always a good live show were the east-est band to play, hailing from Durham. They too, are on IndieCan Radio as part of our Edgefest Radio. Monster Truck rocked with a "here come's the big-hair Gibson Les Paul era back on cue," afternoon feel. Then the already mentioned Sheep Dogs, KO who TKOed an acoustic guitar and then the highlight of my day, Hollerado.
This band played to the most appreciative audience of the day and damn it, Jim, they've earned it. Twice they have been to China, they keep moving (Manitick, to Ottawa, to Montreal and now Toronto) just to keep from getting complacent or having to pay that Hydro bill that keeps catching up with them. They won "The Big Money Shot" in Ottawa and had a chance to break even, get out and get a real job but they bought another van and some guitar strings and made a cool music video. IndieCan fans and Hollerado got this love-in, laugh-in started a band-van or two ago, outside the Silver Dollar, how many summers ago?
The real story can only be told in picture and video - words won't cut it. That is Meno jumping off Jake's drum kit pictured above. Check out our pics and video or scan the Internet. There must be lots. The boys told the story of Edgefest being their first Rock concert as music fans, when they saw Green Day in Ottawa. There was also a story about vomit, but anyway... There should be a special prize for naming all the other musicians that came up to sing "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" (Neil Young) with them but the best bit for me was Branko of Dinosaur Bones free-styling "Here we are Edgefest Toronto, rapping to you all with Hollerado."
My goal is to be the first to bring another mood of Hollerado to you all. They write some tongue in cheek political commentary which may provide the sound track to the nearing end of the American Empire and they are damn serious about work, although they hide it well. They don't out-dress their audience, they don't let security guards and barriers separate them from their fans, they jump right in. It was fun but "damn it Jim, I am a journalist, not a bobble-head doll, I have to find out what makes these gentlemen tick." My five year mission depends on it. Stay tuned - not that Hollerado does - OK that's the last time I end with a joke at their expense. Boys you are a class act and you put both the Edge and the Fest in a great day at Downsview. Best day I had at Downsview since 54-40.
Toronto, June 13th to 19th, 2011: NORTH BY NORTH EAST 17 brings 650 music acts to 50 stages and between sets, delegates, fans and artists soaked up the 10th year of NXNE - the Movie Festival
This 17th year of North By saw an increase in the free
music for city dwellers and visitors including outdoor shows such as the
Yonge-Dundas Square line up of Devo, Men Without Hats, Fucked Up, Stars, Rusty
This was the 10th year of the Movie Festival and we saw the pick of the flicks at the National Film Board theatre.
Over 300,000 people crammed around 50 stages to see 650 bands and file in and out of a week of NXNE interactive and music conference seminars. IndieCan Radio features some of our interactive experience, translated from geek-to-street talk by Mark Farmer.
Beach Boy Brian Wilson was Surfing U.S.Eh! as one of this year’s key-note speakers as was Steve Anderson of OpenMedia.ca. There was no “Town Hall” meeting to discuss the state of the music nation this year but there were panels on influencing the influencers, fueling artistry, “get rich or die screaming,” integrating things that need integrating like production, workflow dog-n-pony shows and such. For anyone who got bored, there were video games to play and people to interview or interview you.
Songwriters Association of Canada was teaching people how to write better songs while a Brian, a Ken, a Nic and a Byron had the scoop on shooting in 3D and Scott Stratten talked about the Seven Deadly online Marketing Sins. OMG, it got biblical.
One of the cute but tragic things I see all too often is all the Vancouver artists hanging out together in one club, while all the Montreal artists are hanging out in another club, supporting each other and reminiscing with friends from home they haven’t been in the same town as, on the same day, for over a year.
It’s nice to support your friends. It’s nice to catch up. Yes there is a “but” here and it’s this: Network your ass off; this is a great opportunity to find artists from other regions that you could gig swap with you or work with your act in some way. If you are a band of four, one should hit the hay early to get to the conference early where you get a one-one audience with industry peeps, while the competition is all sleeping. One should go see your friends’ band and the other two should split up to exchange CDs or business cards and network, network, network.
I find myself constantly suggesting bands go see such and such a band because they would make a good double-bill together. In our DIY (Do it yourself) recording world some of the business nuances are lost on young artists and it’s a shame there isn’t more direction for them.
In an industry that is suffering, every opportunity counts. NXNE is just such an opportunity. If you want to party, you will have fun with the 4 AM last call. But if you want to work you can get a lot more done with hustle than you might accomplish in your 40 minute set that you will play for free.
Soccer anyone? The 5th annual “Put the Boot In” charity match pitted the Rockers, captained by Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning over the Industry bad-guys. Rockers win 7 to 3 and we raised some money for a good cause.
If you are reading this from thousands of miles from Toronto here’s the most important thing to know about NXNE 17 – there will be a NXNE 18 and it’s June 11 to 15, 2012. Plan now to see the best of Toronto at North By North East next June.
Did you see what we saw? Here are a few images of what we were gawking at. There is a lot more too
NxNE IndieCan Radio features choice interviews from North By interactive speakers with Mark Farmer translating from geek-talk to social media relevance. There is great music from October Sky, Jenn Grant, Whale Tooth, Teenage Kicks, Gloryhound, Sweet Thing, The Little Black Dress, Freeman Dre & the Kitchen Party The Meligrove Band and we chat with Vas Vega, Axis of Conversation, D’Arcy Wickman and hours more of the good stuff. Improve your day and enjoy some or all of the four hours of IndieCan Radio, Episodes 234, 235, 236 and 237Get more at www.nxne.com
MORE MORE MORE: CLICK on PHOTOS - CLICK on RADIO
You can see dead people too, at North by Film Fest
This the 10th year of NXNE Film shows a morbid curiosity or maybe it's just us as we saw a lot of flicks about dead music people
Better than Something: Jay Reatard
Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr. (May 1, 1980 – January 13, 2010) grew up in Elvis land Memphis, realized that ain’t real and he became Jay Reatard and in a short life, as part of different acts, made over 60 recordings, not including compellations. “I am convinced at this time in my life that if I hadn’t found music I would have become a petty criminal. People say you have a certain amount of songs. I think its an amount of time. I am racing against time constantly.” Prophetic words for a man who put the work ethic into punk.
Living on the Mississippi, Jay’s poor family was victim to a flood and all pictures and memorabilia of his youth was washed away. He had nothing to say who he was before the age of about 14. So he made records. Record after record to preserve evidence of his existence and the stages of his life. “What I do is not about being comfortable with the world. I was tossed in to this world and I will get tossed out. All the stuff in between, it’s a big fight.”
get Reatarded http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEojGEN9MFo
Kiwi, Kathryn McCool romanticized the American South and got a dream assignment to leave New Zealand and fly to Sand Mountain in Alabama, which isn’t a mountain, it’s a plateau; that’s broken dream number one. This movie was going to be about reclusive fiddler, songwriter, Cast King and you will learn about a guy and a song you don’t know you know but you do. The movie is really about the innocents lost of what happens when little girl dreams meet rural Christian debauchery.
The funniest aspect of this three-star movie is sub-titles in English for people talking English in a few choice deep- south exchanges.
More about Cast King http://www.myspace.com/castking
High on Hope
Blackburn Lancashire is home to The story of 1980s UK underground dance club scene, the acid house party movement. Even if you think this music sucks this is a well told story of youth rebelling against the conservative backdrop of the Thatcher/Regan years and, oh he.. oh, and Brian Mulroney for the sake of Canadian content, not that any of these unemployed or underemployed north England youth would have the slightest idea who he was. I know – either do you. Back to the movie; this flick has all the good stuff, unemployment, idealism, police brutality, and the largest mass arrests in north England history and the highlight is the establishment vs. the underdog theme that bounces from TV one-liners to a cunning courtroom drama. This movie also has English sub-titles for the English spoken word. How great is that?
Get High on Hope http://www.highonhope.com/
Color Me Obsessed: A Film about The Replacements
Along with Husker Du, The Replacements were the Minneapolis punk scene. Two of the six members that rotated through this band are dead from intoxicant related ends. This two-hour flick is a Canadian Premier at NXNE and this is another great story about a band that didn’t care about what’s important.
In the movie they arrive at a club, hosted by a notable Indy DJ with their latest record. The DJ asks, “Hey can I spin a tune and see how the crowd likes it?” The band tells him to go for it, he asks for a track recommendation and they said, “I don’t know, you can never go wrong with Track One, can you?” So he drops the needle and plays it for everyone in the club, eagerly awaiting meaningful lyrics to emote the restless natives. It was an instrumental. The crowd was, the DJ was none too impressed, but the band was having a good time. Rent a few flicks to get you through the weekend and make this one of them. If you love music, you will enjoy the way this story is almost entirely told in third person.
(link) More about The Replacements http://www.whatwerewethinkingfilms.com/colormeobsessed/
Player Hating, A Love Story: Half-A-Mill and his Crew
Jasun Ward (January 25, 1973 – October 24, 2003) better known by his stage name, Half a Mill was a Brooklyn rapper. Making a documentary I guess you never know what you’re getting. In this tragedy, Maggie Hadleigh-West undertakes to chronicle the recording, prep and release of a new rap record on independent label, Warlock Records.
These are thugs, doing what they have to do to survive. Did I say survive? Over half the posse of 10 are dead before the end of the film. How do you write that into a doc-treatment? It neither glorifies nor condemns crack, weapons, alcoholism, violence or poverty. The movie tells a story and the story is not pretty. This is not a feel good flick or even an education about music or gang-life. Hadleigh-West doesn’t hit you over the head with a message; she delivers a story you won’t be able to drink or think out of your system. Play Hater, A love Story will be a chronic condition for your conscience.
More Hate, More Mill http://www.yomaggie.com/currentprojects.html
NXNE 2011 Band Reviews
We saw a lot of great bands. IndieCan Radio will be packed to the rafters with sounds and commentary. Here are just a few samples of bands seen and what we had to say about them:
Crocodiles, a four-piece band from San Diego, put on a terrific show. The Silver Dollar Room was completely packed and it was the only time at NXNE that we've seen crowd surfing. Not only that, but a group of girls from the audience at one point got up and danced on stage and with the members of the band as they played. Crocodiles sound is a hybrid of surf rock and three-chord power pop. There is plenty of synth and a definite edge of guitar feedback and distortion, but never departing from the feel-good, sing-along pop song structures. A cover of the Ramones "Beat on the Brat" was a high point.
Indian Handcraft played a fine show at the El Mocambo. They are a hard-rocking duo from South Simcoe Ontario who despite only having two players onstage (a drummer and a guitarist), created a big sound and a lot of energy. Both drummer and guitar player are competent vocalists who take turns more-or-less screaming into the microphone (in a tuneful kind of way). The guitarist's effects-pedals were put to good use, adding some differentiation of tone.
My Skin Against your Skin, a post-punk band who came all the way from Taiwan for North-by, rocked the stage at the Comfort Zone. The singer Andrea Huang had a compelling presence on the stage, amongst the crowd. While crowd banter was limited, she ended most songs with enthusiastic "yeaaaaaaahs" that got the audience involved. An interesting thing about the band is that they have no guitar player - only bass, drums, and vocals. Their bass player is the complete mirror to the singer performance-wise, opting for a consistently stoical, shoegazing stance. In contrast to his reclusive stage persona, his playing -with plenty of pedal effects- has a lot of energy.It's an intriguing blend of catchy rock hooks and rich ambient textures.
D'Arcy Wickham Band - D'Arcy, a singer-songwriter and acoustic guitar virtuoso, played a late-night show at the Free Times Cafe with his son on keyboard and a female back-up vocalist. Their set was comprised of mainly original compositions that ranged from folk to blues, all with well-crafted lyrics offering a potent mix of landscape, longing, and memory. Stand outs were "All of Your Faces" and "Malahat Highway". Their set also featured an uptempo rendition of a Mississippi John Hurt song. While not a stand-out vocalist, D'Arcy must be one of Toronto's finest acoustic guitar players, confident with a wide range of demanding styles -especially compelling is his finger-picking. On playing with his dad, Oliver Wickham said "it's really awesome. I've been wanting to do it since I was really young".
Release Date: May 31, 2011
Flemish Eye Records
May 17, 2011
Victory Party Mint
Klesmer music is not something I am very familiar with however, after putting this album through it's paces a few times I started warming up to it eventually having a hard time putting it down. The album is a clever mix of Klesmer, Rock and Folk, with incredibly tight playing throughout. What I find most impressive is that Geoff Berner seems not to give 2 shits about what's currently popular and he has devoted all his talents to this left of centre project. Our ears are graced with the sweet sounds of Accordion, string symphonies, piano and other instruments all firmly rooted in traditional Klesmer style. The only tune that stands out as something passable is I Am Going to Jail, very traditional but comes off like a parody and is not that funny. Wealthy Poet is one of the best tunes on the record it's one of those rare songs in 7/8 timing that grooves, it's a great story well told about a crook poet. (not sure about that). I Kind of Hare Songs With Ambiguous Lyrics is an awesome upbeat rocking klesmer piece that really steps up the pace of the album. Oh My Golem is not Klesmer it's like electronica, I like it.
Too Beautiful to WorkDead Oceans / Idée Fixe
Release Date: February 22, 2011
Long Player Late Bloomer
Release Date: Tuesday March 2011
This is by far the most upbeat Ron Sexmith album I've ever heard which is fitting seeing as he worked with Canadian super producer Bob Rock (Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Aerosmith). The first track, Get in Line, really sets the mood and previews an incredible album of rich songwriting and first class singles. Get In Line is an up tempo track with a solid groove and tasty vocals. The second track keeps the ball rolling nicely and the listener on a high with another up-tempo song layered thick with instrumentation from harmonica to grand piano creating a well-crafted wall of sound.
With an unexpected retro moment, Ron hits us with No Help At All, a tune that takes us on a trip back to 70’s with flutes taking the lead in an old school elevator music style. Now don’t let the word elevator scare you, it works, trust me. Moving on, Late Bloomer is hands down the catchiest tune of the lot, it comes with a very powerful chorus that would leave the most talented songwriters in a state of envy. After hearing the tune twice it was stuck in my head for days on end.
Another well-told story is the song Eye Candy, a tune about Ron hanging out at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto when 2 out of place up-town girls catch his eye and make drunken fools of themselves. It’s another addictive tune in this long list of keepers. The album is bookended with the song Nowadays, it’s a perfect way to bow out, the tune is written in a unique hymn style, it is subtle, beautiful and incredibly well written. This album is HIGHLY recommended for music lovers
Black Hen Music
Who has seen Edward the “Crazy Man” so far? I talked this up online when I saw it a week ago Saturday. If you plan to go in Toronto, you have to catch one of five shows with the three days left; May 12th to 14th at the Theatre Passe Maurialle is at 16 Ryerson Avenue (Bathurst/Queen).
John Cleland, Olaf Sham, Faeghan Williams, & Charles Revored-Couto will perform the adapted play for 60 minutes from the authored and illustrated book by Marie Day of the same name. After the show, the audience participates in some Q and A on mental illness stigma, myths and treatment with members of the Cast and staff from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). Some shows are put on for the benefit of kids bussed in during the day and there are still shows available to the public too.
Director Leah Cherniak tells me that, “This time around the play in intended for school age children. But as a director we haven’t ‘dumbed it down at all. In fact, we find the kids rise up to the subject matter.” John Cleland who plays Edward for a second run, adds, “We’ve been blown away in the Q &A at how many of the kids have more profound insights than the adults at the shows. There’s still a lot of stigma about mental illness and our hope is that this show will reach kids early so they don’t grow up with the same stereotypes that me and my friends grew up with.” You can hear more from John and Leah on Episode 231 of IndieCan Radio, coming soon. But if you want to tell your friends that you were there, get online pronto.
Props to Workman Arts for putting this show together. The National tour is looking to reach 30,000 to 60,000 school-age kids in five cities with this story of a homeless schizophrenic who really is someone and comes from somewhere. The School program comes with a study guide based on the current school curriculum and provides local mental health resources for teachers and schools. http://passemuraille.on.ca/ or http://www.workmantheatre.com/
Lost in Space lost from Front Street Saturday:
IndieCan fans know Raoul Bhaneja as the host with the most harp at this year’s Maple Blues Awards.
This week I saw Raul as part of the cast of “The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union. Inspired by the story of Sergei Krikalyov, a cosmonaut on a mission aboard the space station Mir when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 (he was effectively stranded in space for 300 days and returned home to a formerly known homeland), Scottish writer, David Greig debuts his play in Canada at the Bluma Appel Theatre. If you love the under-dog you have to get out to this by the 14th also, because it won’t be held over. Rarely have I seen a play so shit on by the critics. Many of the audience must have read the reviews before they went to the show I saw on the 7th and they left at the intermission.
I liked the concept; two cosmonaughts are obsessed with communicating with earth, while they can’t even communicate with each other. Meanwhile – back on earth... Nothing much different here on the ground; the rest of the characters are just as unable to connect to people they can reach out and touch, as the stranded space-men. There’s a wife who learns she didn’t know her husband after he (seemingly) takes his own life, a radio operator who tries to connect with the cosmos over the airwaves but doesn’t get along with humans, a peace negotiator who can’t manage his own relationships, two hookers who connect for a living but are chronically lonely, a female police officer who can tell more about a missing person by the clues at the scene than the victims own wife, but can’t read people face to face enough to avoid being killed by a robber.
Most of the comic relief was well scripted, laugh out-loud funny. But I don’t know if the play brought it all together or knew how to end. Maybe that was intentional irony. The writer had an important theme to offer and would have been disingenuous if he had articulated it well. Every actor having two roles was good art but may have imposed more limitations on the story telling than the script. But who wants to be hit over the head with the obvious anyway?
In the American Idol reality TV world that we live in we aren’t left to figure out much for ourselves. We are fed variations on familiar refrains and then told if we liked it or not. So on the edge of the end of the American Empire a play that makes you build your own meanings and mottos doesn’t seem to be something anyone has patience for. Maybe Greig will be deemed a genius when he’s dead. Maybe he is the Diet Coke of genius (just one calorie – not genius enough!). But I am glad I went and I am richer for iota of answers and wealth of questions the play demands. http://www.canadianstage.com/
I saw them both – pick and choose or do the same. When we talk about them on Episode 231 of IndieCan Radio, get in on the conversation and tell us you were there too. http://www.indiecan.com/
What if entrepreneurs transformed business models so that a social cause was the reason for business, the business was cause driven, not profit driven? Sure, great idea, but what about the bottom line?OK, what if you were driven by a triple bottom line of people, planet and profit?Hey, maybe that could work. If that sounds familiar you will recall that I talked on Facebook about an April 6 seminar I was invited to by Project Wildfire director, Mike Brcic at Ryerson University.Motivated in part by the $25,000 in seed money up for grabs for youth entrepreneurs attendees heard from Jay Manara, CEO of Rock Parlour Clothing and Ryerson's Dave Valliere, Chair of the Entrepreneurship and Strategy Department.Both of these men were generous with a wealth of what works and what it takes to actually set sail in your "entrepreneur-ship" through a sea of dime-a-dozen ideas.
The workshop was hands-on, as youth, who were technically competing with one another for seed money, brain-storming, collaborating and putting the seminars ideas into action.Like all Project Wildfire workshops, participants will be able to record and upload their video pitch with equipment available on site. All Project Wildfire workshops are offered free of charge.
Sounds great – what can I do with this information?
Check out http://www.projectwildfire.ca or http://facebook.com/projectwildfire and get inspired by some of the video pitches for business ideas.Do some good of your own by voting for the projects you want to see funded.If you get inspired yourself and you have a dream that you want to make a reality, pitch your own idea.The videos don't have to be high-tech production.You need only demonstrate your own vision and drive to think people, planet and profit. Hear more about Project Wildfire on IndieCan Radio Episode 227.This is the same show heard across North America on XM Satellite Radio, Chanel 87 THE VERGE, on several great FM stations across Canada and podcasted to the world from http://www.indiecan.com Hear it: http://www.indiecan.com/227IndieCanRadio.m3u Rip it: http://www.www.indiecan.com/227IndieCanRadio.mp3
Also on this week's show: We celebrate what's new and what's going on across the Canadian musical landscape this spring with Chad VanGaalen, Rob Moir, The Balconies, Elliott Brood, Charlotte Cornfield, Jason Bajada, more Grainee and Flowerchild plus we double up on brand new Rob Szabo, Little City, The Strange.Stream it to hear it, rip it to your mp3 player or post it to your social media home to share with your friends.
Maple Blues Awards all smiles at sold out ceremony at The Royal Conservatory
January 17th at Koerner Hall, the 14th Annual Maple Blues Awards celebrated roots music in Canada. Raoul Bhaneja, a 12 year Ottawa blues scene veteran was very funny and kept the pace at an entertaining level. Matt Andersen was a stand out in 2010 and on the Royal Conservatory stage. Matt won world acclaim down in Memphis this past year and his performance did the talking. "Yeah, it sounded great in this room,” Andersen told IndieCan, "I can't wait to play here again."
IndieCan Radio will bring you back-stage on Episodes 115 and 116. Picture This Seeing the Award and Performances HERE. Pics by Jenn Martin
the VIKINGS plunder and pillage Canda by Joe Chisholm and Jesse Beatson
On their way to the M for Montreal festival, Retro Stefson and Lay Low made a stop the Garrison inToronto’s west end, sharing the stage with locals, Lindy and Sigrun Stella Tuesday November 16th. The show was sponsored by the Icelandic Canadian Club of Tonroto. “We found out from Karen at ICCT that the Toronto date was being added and Lindy and I were glad to be part of it,” Sigrun Stella told us back stage.
Sigrun is working hard on a new release of original material coming out soon. “I learned piano when I lived in Iceland,” she told us. “It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto that I learned guitar. It sure is easier to carry around. You have to be Diana Krall to have an entourage that can drag a piano around every time you play.” Sigrun was trying out new songs and a new look, sporting her new glasses on stage for the first time.
Gimli native, Lindy Vopnfjord, was tuning up for a gig later that week at Toronto hipster hot-spot, The Drake. He is promoting his fifth recording, “Suspension of Disbelief.” Lindy got his start as a duo with his dad at the Icelandic Festival back in Gimli many years ago.
Maybe somewhat ironically, it was the Canadian Icelandic openers that perpetuate the Arian-stereotype of Scandinavians. The feature acts, Retro Stefson and Lay Low are true examples of the diversity of Icelandic lineage today. Retro Stefson closed the show and their “Bossa Nova/Gheto-tech/Surf Rock” sound is young, vibrant and devoid of Icelandic folk roots. The crowd loved this closing act and danced Tuesday away into Wednesday to the pop beats of this catchy band.
Lay Low drew us to the concert and the performance was a stand-out. Lay Low is etched in Jesse’s memories of this year’s Snorri Iceland/Canadian exchange and the sound-track to his trip to the land of the midnight sun. Lay Low is the alter ego of singer-songwriter Lovísa Elísabet Sigrúnardóttir, who was born in London in 1982 to an Icelandic mother and Sri Lankan father. The family relocated to Reykjavík when she was a small child.
“Please Don't Hate Me”, was Lay Low’s debut, topping Icelandic charts and becoming the bestselling original album in the country that year and winning three out of four Icelandic Music Awards nominations in the process. “Flatey,” Lay Low’s current CD and DVD offering wouldn’t be out of place in anyone’s music collection.
Once one of the main cultural centres of Iceland, what was and what still remains of Flatey is the focus of this a haunting and beautiful tribute - a minimalist performance of some haunting songs, kicking of with “By and By,” which as Lovisa tells us, “is about trying to be honest and how hard the truth can be.”
Like loosing your virginity again; you can change your life and how you see the world at Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival. This fest won't have the hype of TIFF but to the relatively few who attend, they will be penetrated with a cultural flu-shot, inoculating them from Hollywood's systemic cultural dulling of the masses. Wake up, get disturbed, go mad and read if you care to, a few of the films featured in Toronto between November 5th and 13th
Wednesday November 10th at Rendezvous:
It was an honour to be part of the world premier of â€œSo Youâ€™re Going Crazyâ€ by Ryerson grad and self-confessed mental case, Hilary Dean. What home, what family isnâ€™t touched by mental illness today? Hilary faced her own reality of seeing herself slip down the mental-health slope in slow-mo and the Calvary wasnâ€™t coming, there is no defender of nut-jobs super-hero or double-O agent that swings in with seconds to spare and saves the day. If youâ€™re going crazy, you go crazy in our day and age and it isnâ€™t pretty and it isnâ€™t art. As Dean emphatically stressed in the Q & A after the film, madness is not always the gateway to enlightenment and suffering doesnâ€™t bring the reason and purpose of Hollywood endings. â€œSo Youâ€™re Going Crazyâ€ is a candid trip down the spiral staircase with several real-life nice guy and nice gals that find themselves holding the short straw and spinning around the mental health system roulette wheel with varying results from â€œget out of jail almost freeâ€ to â€œsorry, please play again.â€ The only attempt at lifting the tension for viewers is how Dean invites us to laugh at her, her ambivalence about how ingenuous the documentary medium can tell the story and her own struggle with voice, vision and self-doubt along the way.
The telling of the story is kind, creative and blunt. You canâ€™t leave this movie and go back to your simple life. It will change how you see mental health. Everyone in the biz or in a family should see this film. This 51 minutes of reality will say to you, â€œI love you, I think I gave you herpes.â€ â€œSo Youâ€™re Going Crazyâ€ is the price of getting around today.
Also on this Wednesday Rendezvous With Madness Double bill was the end of a long tour for â€œCrooked Beautyâ€ by San Franciscoâ€™s Ken Paul Rosentha. This was the Canadian Premier and Ken kicked off the night with a workshop that asked three questions of us who participated: i) what was our first experience of mental illness, ii) what was our first experience of art and iii) how are they connected. It was a moving experience for all who participated which explored societyâ€™s inclination to keep us painting between the lines literally and figuratively and how madness and creativity might be reluctant but natural bed-mates. â€œCrooked Beautyâ€ is a harsh but happier story of the two showings. The visuals and script are both honest and poetic and as Leonard Cohen tells us, the light of hope and reason steams through the Crooked Beauty of principal character, Ashley McNamara who is both advocate for the artistâ€™s way and the plight of scores of hostages to the mental health system.
Check out trailers to these flicks and more here :The Madness ends Saturday with one more chance for those of you Torontonians who haven't seen "The Man of A Thousand Songs." Ron Hynes will be in theatre, in character and performing Saturday.
Rouge Ciel Art Brute was a label for a particular genre - art created by the insane. Insanity has had a more difficult time maintaining a coherent definition over time than art has.
This doc queries today's experts and draws on art chronicles from the past, to answer the most haunting questions about art, science and the spectrums of humanity and intelligence. Sometimes the movie lets the art do the talking, which the expressions in Rouge Ciel do with decisiveness and grace.
Sometimes the "how" and "why" questions are asked directly to the artists. Claims like, "...having the entire universe in my body; My stomach hurts all the time," by Czech artist, Zdenek Kosek, explains as good as language barriers allow what the sensational experience of an artist might be.
George Widener (born in 1962) has been treated only slightly kinder by the mental health interpreters than sanatorium geniuses of the past. He was once labelled schizophrenic. But as the mental health gate-keepers have adapted and grown, Widener is now known to have Asperger's syndrome. Widener has a knack for numbers that landed him a job in the military, but over time, Military Intelligence couldn't decipher his code and they cut George loose. Widener can memorize dates, days and events going back to 180 years AD. In explaining one collage of connected numbers and seemingly random images, Widener explains, "There's 80 years of Mondays here. I was trying to see if anything interesting was happening with them. I put them in the magic square thing that I do and played around with them that way and I also put a ship there. If it gets too blue I can just get on a ship and get out of there - that's how I felt."
So, do you get that? Me neither. I cautiously expect George is talking over my head. The superior memory of Asperger's syndrome patients is beyond my grasp.
Ugliness is beautiful, insanity is brilliance and "Rouge Ciel" is a VIP trip to an enchanted place, an education in art and a disruption to your psyche that you won't want to miss. See it.... twice.
My Suicide "My Suicide" is stomach-clenching intense, both cleverly scripted and shot and it leaves "teen-movies" in the dust in terms of social commentary and mature thoughtfulness. Director David Lee-Miller's lead character is a computer nerd/movie maker/awkward virgin/geeky 17-year-old called Archie who plans suicide for his final project at school. Zeitgeist abounds in this movie, the music is perfect and freakin' David Carradine makes one of his posthumous appearances in one of the movies many convincing performances. Kudos to the director because, come to think of it, every performance was aced in a story where the story, not the acting should be leaving a bad taste in our mouth.
The movie has a completely unnecessary sex scene that's as awkward as watching your sibling fuck the kid next door - you just don't want to be there. But I hope the racier rating helps this "should see but hey look, Saw II in 3D is playing" get a few more viewers. Everyone and anyone should see it. It may be too Music-vidio-esque for Baby Boomers but suffer through it. It's better for you than that bag of popcorn. You'll get as much from it as your kids, or are those your grand kids?
Mind of the Demon The name Larry Linkogle is one of legend in the extreme sport world and to our mainstream pop-culture, Larry is as meaningless as who engineered the Rolling Stone's 14th record. What does an anti-establishment super-cross motorcyclist do to make a statement or, wait, wait, better yet, his piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance? That's actually a good question for all of us. Maybe you're an extreme sport aficionado who also reads movie reviews - Right! Likely, you hate yourself for just once, maybe twice, being mesmerized by some crash-and-burn video montages of skiers, skaters, surfers and cyclists risking it all and paying dearly in the name of "No Fear." Who ever you are - pay attention: Larry's story is both i) A clichÃ© about sitting in our front-row-centre seat to the decline of The New Roman Empire, and ii) A psychological insight into the symbiosis of the death-wish thrill seeker and those of us who egg them on - bored voyeurs of the depraved and desensitized masses.
Back to the story: Motocross free-styling was anti-establishment fallout from the very contrived franchise of motocross racing. "Mind of the Demon" is Adam Barker's look at the movement's principal character - Larry Linkogle, who although gifted and successful in the highly endorsement laden race world, rebelled from the requisite conformity of any institution protecting its' lucrative franchise. Larry developed both a show-off penchant along with a "what the fuck do I care what you think" persona as he perfected stunt jumping into a beautiful art. With the mid-90's sound track of Seattle-grunge and what became Vans Warped Tour happy valley packaging of punk and metal, Larry became Rage-with-The-Machine - an indifferent messiah to other disenfranchised riders leaving skid marks down a confused road to a small sub-culture's even smaller counter-culture.
The Metal Militia as Larry and his followers came to be known, were decorated with punky, trendy skull tattoos, loose fitting fashion and self-deprecating fast-food audio bites. Before long the counter-culture became its own franchise. Vocabulary crept in like "image," "strategy" and "market-share" which corrupted the rebellion.
By the time the Crusty Demons were affiliated with the Vin Diesel gravy-train, Larry Linkogle's reckless ways which first defined a movement became a liability. The Linkogle movement of non-conformity was now a parody of itself. Larry came from a solid, war-mongering, Christian home and what made his road to drug induced unmet potential something more than common-place Americana, is how well this story is so well told. Larry is neither demonized nor glorified in death-wish pursuit and its predictable end.
Throughout this doc, everyone tries to make sense of it all. There's the authoritative addiction councillor who's reasonableness in the back-drop of extremism makes you wonder if we are to learn from, or laugh at, the councillor. Larry made history and achieved infamy. His unmet potential was Larry Linkogle; father, son and brother to his community. You don't have to give a rat's ass about motorcycles to get something life-altering from this movie.
Man Behind the Log
John Lehmann's "Man Behind The Log" is a question of madness, a question of brilliance. This documentary- short shares the story of Roger Cox, artist, alcoholic, Vancouver street-person who sleeps outdoors on the beach of Vancouver's west-end. The setting, his home-office, is the exact place that Cox ruminates about a dark family tragedy. Family history remembers Cox's grandmother committing suicide in the same spot on the beach that he lives and works, when his dad was 5 years old. Rogers Cox is a critically acclaimed soap sculptor. In a well paced 5 minutes, Roger Cox, addict/alcoholic, candidly discussing the discomfort and indignity of life on the street. Is it mental to live in a sleeping bag, homeless in a metropolitan centre? Does alcoholism cause mental illness? Is alcoholism a symptom of, or self-medication to, mental illness? This doc doesn't get clinical or preach to us. It tells a story - a story you will be richer from knowing.
There's much more. Check the web site for cool insider stuff and some of the other movies. This isn't my "best of the fest," just some of what I have seen. I want and need someone else in the know to talk about them some more.
It's January, 2010 and as the darkest and coldest days of the year try to make us blue, The Toronto Blues Society celebrates the Blues with this year's Maple Blues Awards. Downtown came uptown as the ceremony moved the Royal Conservatory of Music - a state-of-the-art new glass and wood and steel and stone structure that sounds better than any room I have ever been in my life and gives the Blues an upscale facelift that left the faithful divided in opinion:
To the Yeah-Sayers, this gives the Blues respectability and encouragement and designer beer. To the Neigh-Sayers, who are we kidding - in an industry where the $16,000 a year average musician income is so far below the poverty line, it turns a roots music genre known for it's honesty of purpose into a faÃ§ade of Wonderland. No one's dissing the work and organization that's gone into planning and pulling off this extravaganza.
The fans seemed to enjoy the experience. It looks like the Conservatory wants the awards ceremony back, if the crowd votes "yes" with another close to sell-out next year, the argument to bring back the stench, dinginess and bad sound might be down to a whisper. Enough with aesthetics - on to the breakthroughs and the glorious showâ€¦
David Gogo and Danny Marks co-hosted the night and dressed up for it. David is bringing the ascot back and his outfit had a flair that matched his wit and charm. Danny was Yorkville meets Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and I am telling you - it worked. Ottawa young-guns Monkey Junk exceeded expectations with 5 wins out of 6 nominations. All six of those nominations, we wanted everyone to win to no body tired of seeing these three boys struggling each time to find a new way to express their gratitude. This is no over-night sensation. Before last year's Blues Summit Monkey Junk was at IndieCan's Whitebird Sound studio in Ottawa with Doug and Arlene Graham and Jenn Martin and this new-band was made of very well-know musicians to the Ottawa faithful. David Gogo lightened the crowd up with his first-hand story of what it's like to have 5 nominations and how your demeanour crumbles from award to award as you clap and smile for the winner.
|Both Danny and David perfomed. The sound was great; the pace was great we have to give this a 4 IndieCANS out of 5 as you really have to stretch to find what could have been done better. Check out the pics - courtesy of Jenn Martin. it will make you feel like you were there and give you a who's who. Check out IndieCan Radio. We played many 2010 performers and presenters leading up to the event but check out Episode 165 and 166 for the most in radio coverage.|
Flashlight Radio shines on the Elmocombo
Flashlight Radio is a great band...before I get into any digressions; I want to say that right up front. They're awesome. Suzy Wilde has a voice like an angel and great vocal technique, both she and Ben are outstanding players and Shawn Rompre is rock steady on the drums....and they write great songs. The night I saw them, they were joined by Suzy's sister, Maddie Wilde, of Spiral Beach, (performing very different material from the rocking out music she plays in her regular band) and Dan Roth, who performs a lot as both a solo artist and with a few other local groups.
As honoured as I was to be asked by Ben to review his band, it was also pretty intimidating at a certain level. I've known Ben Whitely for most of his life and nearly half of mine.... I've been a fan of his dad and his uncle...and his cousins, all of whom I know and have worked with in the past in one way or another...I've filmed them or photographed them, or worked on a show they performed in...and I've also photographed Suzy Wilde's mom Nancy White too, for Celtic Envy...and photographed her and her sister, Maddie with their mom after the shoot...and their dad, Doug Wilde, is one ofCanada's best known composers...and Shawn Rompre is a second generation musician too. Flashlight Radio is more than just a band...it's a merger of Great Canadian Musical Dynasties.
It's harder than you might think to contemplate giving an honest review under these circumstances.
Fortunately for me, when it came down to the night of the show, I was completely taken by the fact of how solid they were, both as individual musicians and as an ensemble. You know it's a great show when you are watching people you know up on stage and all you can think about is what an awesome band you're hearing.
The set was one musical present after another, the lovely vocal harmonies, particularly between Suzy and Maddie, the mini set with only the core members of Ben, Suzy and Shawn...their version of Neil Young's Don't Let It Bring You Down, which completely blew me away. I'd say that they rocked, but that's not what their sound is about...they sure are smooth though.
I'm a photographer really and not a music reviewer, and not a musician ...I can't qualify my appreciation for this show by making well-informed comment about specifics of musical technique displayed by the band, except in the most general terms...That said though, I've seen literally thousands of bands and have worked with many of the best in Canadian music. I know quality, I'm not easy to impress, and I won't commend something I don't really like.
Flashlight Radio impressed me. I really liked them.
IndieCan's Andre Skinner on Dustin Bentall's CD,"Six Shooter." Dustin Bentall delivers some good old Americana on his latest album "Six Shooter". Dustin clearly pays great attention to detail with delicate instrumentation and production while intentionally avoiding clichï¿½s. A huge single quickly hits the speakers with track 2 "Take the Money And Run", in this tune we get hit with big hooks, great lyrics and an all around great mid tempo feel. There's no shortage of outlaw style lyrics on this record, with references to; a suspended drivers license, doing lines on the hood, spending Christmas in jail, robbing banks, late night love affairs and countless miles spent on the road.
My favorite song on the Album is track 8 "Secrets" this creepy yet alluring song pulls at the heart strings while painting a vivid picture of open country roads and making you feel as though you're driving on a cold fall night obsessing over a bar room beauty of days past. "Little Bird In A Big Wind" is classic material; Dustin's smooth
yet slightly raspy voice really pulls this song together with smart lyrics and a backing band remindful of Ryan Adamï¿½s Cardinals. With song titles like Railroad, Six Shooter, Arizona and Deserts Of Our Minds, itï¿½s easy to paint a picture of what this albumï¿½s about.
September 21, 2009 Toronto, Ontarioï¿½s Fucked Up was named the winner of the fourth annual Polaris Music Prize in a gala ceremony held tonight at Torontoï¿½s Concert Hall at the Masonic Temple. Artist takes home $20,000 for The Chemistry of Common Life, the Canadian Album of the Year.
ï¿½ Until the very moment they made the announcement, I thought there was no way in hell that we would win,ï¿½ said Damian Abraham. ï¿½This is incredible. Iï¿½m more shocked than everyone. Thanks to everyone that played on the record and Jon Drew that produced the album, ...Steve Jordan and everyone at Polaris!ï¿½
The winner for Album of the Year was selected by the 11-member gala Grand Jury, in turn chosen from this yearï¿½s 182-member jury of Canadian music journalists, bloggers and broadcasters. The Grand Jury was sequestered in the Masonic Temple jury room while the event was taking place to vote on the winner. The results of their votes then determined the best Canadian album released between June 1, 2008 and May 31, 2009.
Liisa Ladouceur, who oversees the voting for Polaris, talked about the intensity of the process.
ï¿½We ask the jury to vote regardless of genre and they truly did,ï¿½ statedLiisa Ladouceur, Representative of the jury. ï¿½Members of the jury believed that the Fucked Upï¿½s Chemistry Of Common Life was not only the best hardcore album of the year, not only the best Canadian album of the year, but was the best album of the year in the world ï¿½ period.ï¿½
The 2009 11-member gala Grand Jury are: Bryan Acker (Herohill), Brendan Murphy (Hour), Stuart Derdeyn (Vancouver Province), Mary Dickie (Elle), Brad Frenette (National Post), Nicholas Jennings (freelance journalist), Robert Mersereau (CBC), Mia Parang (Musique Plus), Ben Rayner (Toronto Star), Brad Wheeler (The Globe And Mail) and Lisa Wilton (Calgary Sun).
Ten albums were shortlisted for the 2008 Polaris Prize. In alphabetical order, they are:
Elliott BROOD ï¿½ Mountain Meadows
Fucked Upï¿½The Chemistry of Common Life
Great Lake Swimmers ï¿½ Lost Channels
Hey Rosetta ï¿½ Into Your Lungs
Kï¿½NAAN ï¿½ Troubadour
Malajube ï¿½ Labyrinthes
Metric ï¿½ Fantasies
Joel Plaskett ï¿½ Three
Chad VanGaalen ï¿½ Soft Airplane
Patrick Watson ï¿½ Wooden Arms
INDIECAN @ CARIBANA by Mark Keeler.
Now in its 8th year - as part of Torontoï¿½s Caribana - the TD Canada Trust IRIE Music Festival rolled onto the lush green grasses of Queenï¿½s Park on August 1, 2009.
And yet, as you walk through the grounds, it becomes apparent that this music festival is about more than music; from the kids area to dance companies, from discussion groups to merchants, what IRIE really brings is a remarkable cultural mosaic.
For our IndieCan Radio fans, you might be wondering what Iï¿½m doing here; after all I was literally at Leeï¿½s Palace twelve hours earlier covering Grace Over Diamonds. The Indie ï¿½angleï¿½? IRIE is serious about promoting new and emerging artists, even though it is a different genre than you are accustomed to. The short version? If you missed out on IRIE 2009, you lost out on one of the best music festivals of Summer 2009!
Every time I cover a festival, I like to start with the ï¿½50,000 foot viewï¿½ and for that I bring in years of project management experience on big shows to really assess a show. So the question is, how well did IRIE stack up? From TDï¿½s army of volunteers staffed by employees and their families that kept the grounds pristine to affordable food, a perfect venue, the diversity of deep talent, and remarkable management overall mark IRIE as one of the best run and most successful festivals this summer. When you consider the strike, strange weather, and a change in venue, changes in the entertainment lineup due to said strike, organizers pulled off a miracle. Five stars all the way.
Now before getting into the music, I must make a confession. Prior to IRIE, my idea of ï¿½reggaeï¿½ was limited to a few tracks of Shaggy and Sean Paul in an eclectic sea of everything from Lincoln Park to Pavarotti. But keeping an open mind to new music is the whole idea of Indie isn't it? It is, as we are often quoted, the best music you never heard. And when it came to IRIE, I was very pleasantly surprised to see they really back it up, providing opportunities for emerging, promising artists to get the stage time they really need.
And the gem this year was definitely Marcia Williams with that big beautiful smile and stunning vocals. What a welcome relief to hear truly original music! From IRIE to clubs, sooner or later weï¿½re going to see this rising star at the ACC or the Amphitheatre. And it couldn't happen without the likes of these festivals.
When it comes to bringing out the big guns, IRIE didn't disappoint the crowds with the big headliners packing the crowds every night. Leading off on Saturday night came Byronï¿½s Dragonaires. I am used to shooting ï¿½bigï¿½ shows and the Dragonaires proved absolutely astounding talent. For Sunday's big name they brought out Gramps Morgan and sure enough that crowd just ignited. Wicked vocals and a riveting stage presence made for a great Sunday. Finally, Fab Five & Tabbruck brought the Festival to a roaring finish on Monday night. and what can I say, they have a new fan. If you ever get a chance, go see them.
There is, barring argument to the contrary, nothing more beautiful to watch (and frustrating to photograph) than dance. And Dance Immersions kept me cursing at the lens with not one but multiple dance companies covering a broad spectrum of dance disciplines. Admittedly, it playfully caught me off guard given that I am already accustomed to working with bands. Still, watching these companies perform was absolutely a joy; from soft and slow fluidity to the liquid fast clapping of Black Ice, I would need a chiropractor to do the things that they do so effortlessly. For those in the Indie world, dance doesn't kick into our sphere often, but they are the toughest and least appreciated of all the arts and Dance Immersion earned my admiration.
To really understand a festival, though, you have to do a lot of walking around. And one of the things that struck me was the breadth and diversity of IRIE. From the kids painting and TDï¿½s volunteers helping out the local merchants to the discussion group on the south lawn, there was always something on the go. But what I sought to find I found, and that was the ï¿½vibeï¿½, and every show has a very distinct ambience. IRIE has developed into what could be described as one of the crown jewels of Caribana.
VANS WARPED TOUR Caravan drenches Toronto in Ska, Punk and Rock by Mark Keeler and Raquel de los Reyes
Two Indie Can Radio cats crashed the 15th VANS Warped Tour Tour Tour June 10th 2009 at the International Center, curious to see how on earth you pull off seventy bands on seven stages. You would have to defy the laws of physics to see every band, but we sure tried. From our first with Rifkin till the sun set with Saosin, it was a nonstop sprint from stage to stage; often so fast we could barely get in, shoot, and run.
Once again the VANS tour continues to kick up the volume, delivering one incredible performance after the other, bringing a diversity of sound to satisfy an increasingly diverse and sophisticated fan. It isn't just the music though, as I pointed out with Alexisonfire, there is a fusion between the bands and their fans that you just do not find anywhere else, and that too is part of the ongoing magic of the VANS legacy - five stars across the board. GET MORE WARPED
NXNE 2009 Reviews by IndieCan Dan Dwoskin
Hot Panda Under the burning lights of The Horseshoe Tavern, Hot Panda shook the room with their presence. From the beginning of their set, they flooded the stage with great energy and all feet in the crowd quickly took their dance queue. Although the sound became muddy at times, there's no doubt these players run on the same frequency, giving the performance a great sense of camaraderie to watch. With sweat dripping and hair flying, this Indie-Rock band knows how to put on a show. Reminiscent of Modest Mouse, Hot Panda put their cards on the NXNE table and came out with a winning performance, broadcast live on Satellite Radio across the country. The NXNE crowd loved the show, even after a full dance card of Saturday night venue-hopping. These are musicians who truly earn their keep
The Lovely Feathers The Lovely Feathers are great on CD and even better live; Very few musicians can boast such a feat. Their sound has an Arcade Fire feel with a slightly harder edge. The Montreal rockers packed The Horseshoe yet again on Saturday night for NXNE '09, basking in the heat of The Shoe's roasting stage lights and a throng of photographers' flashes. An easy choice for the NXNE roster, The Lovely Feathers brought an incredible amount of energy to the stage and played yet another fantastic set. The music was tight, the vocals, gritty, and the band a pleasure to watch. It is refreshing to watch musicians who really do enjoy playing together up on stage. Keep an eye to the horizon; The Lovely Feathers are on the rise.
One of the best shows at NXNE this year, Said The Whale packed Toronto's Reverb Lounge with an adoring audience and proceeded to rock the house until sweat soaked their instruments. Gaining ground after sharing the spotlight with fellow Canadian band Mother Mother on tour, these genuine Indie-Rockers are sure to rise among the ranks of the Canadian music scene. With the complex music they bring to the table, complete with insightful lyrics and a clever wit to boot, Said The Whale has crafted a refreshing sound that stands out amongst the saturated world of a "Digital Generation's" independent music. The show was fun, the energy was high, and the music bound everyone in the room together to share in the enjoyment, as music should. They wailedï¿½
The Dark Mean After listening to their EP, the manager of Toronto's Sunrise Records booked The Dark Mean to give an in-store performance for the NXNE Festival '09. Boasting an Empire Records-style setting, the band played to an enthusiastic crowd trickling in from Yonge Street. The band (Billy Holmes, Mark Dean, Sandy Johnston, Mike Dean, and Robbie Holmes) took the stage with timid greetings, but quickly followed suit with a fantastic set of modern rock with a hint of good 'ol folk. The musicianship was tight, the sound was great, the songs were beautiful, and the setting was just right. The audience stood amongst the racks of CD's with smiles on their faces as photographers snapped away, foreshadowing the spotlight to come for The Dark Mean.
Mark Seymour Words that come to mind? Grit; Blues; Soul; No-Bull! Mark Seymour sings with an edge that few truly bring to the stage. Playing a quick hour-long set at the Rivoli on Saturday night for NXNE, this Aussie front man had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the first note. The duo of guitarists had no reason to hire a band; two guitars were all that was needed. Seymour's voice brings Ray LaMontagne to mind, with a refreshing timbre soaked in whiskey and perhaps one too many cigarettes. They brought a raw power to the stage and captivated the audience packed inside the tiny back room of The Rivoli. The performance was great and the music, satisfying.
more NXNE reviews coming soon... More on NXNE 2009 HERE!
CLICK HERE FOR More CD REVIEWS
See Jenn Martin's Day 1 pics + Great Canadian Tune, world record attempt from back stage and front stage - the house band, "Heartache" and Justin Rutledge, singing some Tragically Hip are pictured below.
See IndieCan's YouTube coverage of The Great Canadian Tune Guinness World Record Attempt.
Finally, The Dunes Subject to Change CD is released April 25th
The Dunes new CD, "Subject to Change" was the subject of a very excited band of Dunes in episode 88 last spring but due to circumstances beyond The Dunescontrol, the record was delayed almost an entire year. Ambisonic and Big Ideaskicked off the celebration and at 11:15 The Dunes rocked a packed Elmocombo. It included a drum solo that kicked off the encore (I have been to a lot of shows in a lot of cities in the last year and I think this is the first drum solo I have seen for a couple of decades). It was solid - and refreshing.
This show kicks off Canadian tour so others will have a chance to see this anchor of Toronto indie scene. When I asked Kevin (lead singer) about the chances of Polaris Music Prize judges muling this one over he said, "I don't think we're 'in' with the cool kids in that way - don't you have to know someone? - We don't. We're very proud of this record. It has moods and themes and despite the long wait, there's not much we would change about it." See more pics (indieCan crappy cam video coming soon).
|IndieCan is pleased to be part of the Junos March 29th, 2009 and the days of music celebration in Vancouver that led up to it. We feature the goings on with IndieCan Radio, 100s of pictures, commentary and our low-tech Guerrilla media video look behind the scenes, on the streets and up close and personal. We are still editing content. But spend some time with what we have here now|
|Satrurday night at the Commodore was the hot ticket as 54-40 shared the stage with friends including Jim Cuddy, Sam Roberts, Alan Doyle, The Grapes of Wrath, George Canyon, Neil's brother, his daughter's band The Blue Violets and indie's Jets Overhead. See below for more|
The Juno Awards are the franchise of an organization called CARAS (Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) and since 1970 the annual gala bills itself as showcasing and rewarding the best of Canadian music in the expected, politically correct fashion. I am a member of CARAS and have been for many years and I am afraid to say I know little about the secret society that seems to be the inner workings of my organization. I vote on the Junos ï¿½ except for the ones determined by record sales or in one case, fan voting. But I donï¿½t understand the process of who is nominated and who tabulates the votes. I donï¿½t even know how presenters or performers are selected. I have made several recommendations over the years. I have never gotten a single email back ï¿½ not even to tell me to PFO.
The Junos and CARAS do not enjoy the unconditional support of the entire music community. Some are outspoken against the event and the organization. This year, three-time Juno winner Matthew Good said he would boycott the Junos ï¿½until they are about celebrating Canadian music instead of celebrating US record sales.ï¿½ Dallas Green, who won another Juno this year ï¿½ Songwriter of the year, said ï¿½Iï¿½ve been here before but I donï¿½t understand whatï¿½s going on. There should be a manual for first-time nominees. That would have helped me. There should also be more categories. How can there only be one ï¿½Best Alternativeï¿½ prize? If a metal band is nominated, it will never win against an alt/rock or alt/pop band or artist.ï¿½
IndieCan has often taken a pass on the Junos, as itï¿½s more commercial in nature than where we live. The commercial world is just a place we visit from time to time for perspective. IndieCan isnï¿½t looking to steal away happy E-talk fan. But to itï¿½s credit, with the incorporation of JunoFest, a street and club three day festival that features up and coming bands from across the country, with a leaning towards the host province. Personally, I also support the move several years ago to take the Junos on the road. Once it was always in Toronto and since it took flight, itï¿½s been to Hamilton,The Peg, Halifax, Calgary, Moose Jaw, and VanCity. Next year itï¿½s in St. Johnï¿½s Newfoundland.
Juno veterans and Juno newbies descended on Vancouver starting Thursday March 26th as did music fans and media. JunoFest had 20 venue to see great showcases of talent including tented stages on Granville Street - whoï¿½s under-construction surface made way for music, more music. Thursday kicked off with a line up that included localï¿½s Dan Mangan, Jon & Roy and Said The Whale + Hot Hot Heat and Newfoundlandï¿½s Hey Rosetta! On another stage, not far away, Music BC was showcasing a great variety of up and coming talent.
Catch all of IndieCanï¿½s live music commentary and video vignettes on Myspace, YouTube of Facebook.
Friday started early with the media being introduced to this yearï¿½s staging and lighting at GM Place. We were told how city culture, environment and music all get incorporated into the thematic arrangement. Vancouverï¿½s steel and glass spectacle, in the presence of natural beauty drove the new design which saw lighting and stage design break old boundaries.
Friday night, the reception gala at The Commodore and The infamous Juno Cup distracted some of musicï¿½s faithful from the showcases of music. The Juno Cup is a fundraising game of shinny pitting NHL legends against hockey playing rock stars. Players from Great Big Sea, Dearly Beloved, Acres of Lions, State of Shock, Blue Rodeo and countless other musical acts faced off against Lanny MacDonald and a host of legends of the game. The NHLï¿½s undefeated streak would end on the west coast as the Rockers tied things up late and won a shoot-out.
This yearï¿½s Junoï¿½s recognized 80ï¿½s sensation Loverboy, appropriately a western break-out band whoï¿½s first LP eclipsed 700,000 in sales domestically and then eventually, 4 million in total world-wide units. Sarah McLachlan, founder of Lilith Fair and well known in the humanitarian world was honoured with the 2009 Allan Waters Award for her humanitarian efforts. Other winners who would have to wait and see included The Stills, Dallas Green (City and Colour & Alexis on Fire), Lights, and multiple winners Sam Roberts and Nickleback. Russell Peters hosted ï¿½ the first ever repeat host and some of the performers included The Stills, Bryan Adams with Kathleen Edwards, City and Colour with guest, Gord Downie and Nickleback.
IndieCan chatted with friends on the red-carpet put out by CTVï¿½s E-Talk Canada and we witnessed the pomp, hype and ceremony from the front row. When you get to the bottom click on our gallery to see hundres of fun and funny pics - a who's who of Canadian entertainment.
We also attended the Juno veteran favourite ï¿½ the singer/songwriter circle (which, so youï¿½re not disillusioned, is always a line), this year hosted by Hawksley Workman. IndieCan brings you back-stage at the Junos where winners met the media. These are some fun pics!
IndieCan Crappy Cam on YouTube reminds you that you can have it good, quick and cheap but not all three so, itï¿½s free, itï¿½s now and the audio and video are so high-school. But hey, itï¿½s like being here. We have two 10 minute vignettes to choose from: The Stage and lights unveiled, the Juno Cup, performances by Hey Rosetta, Hot, Hot Heat, Jon & Roy and more; as well, check out our highlight of the whole weekend. 54-40 hosts friends at the Commodore Saturday night with once in a life time performances including George Canyon coutrifying ï¿½I GO BLIND,ï¿½ Sam Roberts jamming and singing to ï¿½ONE DAY IN YOUR LIFEï¿½ ï¿½ coaxed out of retirement music by Grapes of Wrath, emerging influence from Jetï¿½s Overhead and Neil Osborneï¿½s daughters band, The Blue Violets. There are plenty more treats including someone famous coming and jamming a cover of ï¿½I Want You To Want Me.ï¿½ -IndieCan friends sent good pics of some guest and we have another 54 official IndieCan pics from the opening songs
Anvil "Justice Will Be Served" by Bryen Dunn
The roots of speed metal band Anvil began in the basements of Toronto around 1973 as two teenage friends shared a passion for loud and heavy music. A few years later they were out playing the dive bars of the day, such as Larry's Hideaway and The Gasworks. Now 30 years later, the band is enjoying new found recognition by an allegiance of fans around the world that are not even aware of their past accomplishments. "We never really stopped playing", says drummer Robb Reiner.
As the band began, it was very much a new wave and disco sort of music scene happening. Releasing an album called "Metal on Metal" wouldn't seem like the most appropriate thing to do at the time, but the band persevered and lived on way past the majority of the 80's one hit wonders. The band were originally called LIPS, but changed the name to avoid any possible confusion with the funky town sounds of Lipps Inc. The LIPS version of their first album, "Hard N Heavy", is quite rare as only 1,000 copies were manufactured. The music is the same but the cover art work is a simple lip print, red on white with the name LIPS printed in black.
Hall of Fame Indcution pictures HereAnvil has had influence on countless other bands throughout the years, but what bands played a role in determining their original sound and direction? "All bands pay homage to their predecessors, and for us it was bands that came out playing hard rock music in the sixties and seventies. Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Grand Funk, Cactus are some examples of our influences", Lips surmises. "The music we all listen to generally works in cycles although every time it comes around it's a little different. The interesting thing is that these days it's still electric guitar oriented music which connects it to five previous decades of music to draw influence from", Lips notes.
The recent resurgence and interest in the band owes a lot to one particular gentleman once referred to as "Tea Bag". The band met him in 1982 at the Marquee Club in London when 15 year old "Tea Bag" went back stage after the show to meet the band. This lead to him working with the band as a roadie, later being mentored by Reiner on drums, and eventually playing in the band at a couple shows. Then one day he was gone, until 2005 when he was back in their lives after Lips received an unexpected email. "Tea Bag had gone Hollywood", Reiner laughs. A couple subsequent email exchanges and phone conversations lead to Lips flying to Los Angeles to meet Sacha Gervasi (Tea Bag), chat some more and return back to Toronto. A few weeks later Gervasi flew to Toronto, got together with the band and told them they had a story to tell - Anvil! The True Story of Anvil. "He was so impressed with our tenacity he decided to make a movie about it", Lips confides. Gervasi has presented an often hilarious account of Anvil's last-ditch quest for elusive fame and fortune
The story of Gervasi could be a separate film in itself. The self-financed feature length movie made its world premiere at the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival in 2008, where Gervasi and the band got to enjoy the long awaited spotlight of their career. The movie played six times to sold out audiences, and one cannot help but draw comparisons to the Spinal Tap saga, as the guys posed for photos appropriately decked out in their toques in true Canadian hoser style. The film has since gone on to win dozens of awards at film festivals around the world, and is finally set to make its much anticipated Canadian theatre debut. "We call it the slow burn rise of film notoriety", Reiner laughs.
Gervaisi worked on several other productions (The Big Tease, The Terminal) as a screenwriter, but this is his directorial debut. 'My inspiration came from real life experiences as a young kid touring with my idols. I made a film about people I love with people I love" he says. A bit of pop culture trivia to impress your friends with - 1) he is the father of Bluebell Madonna Halliwell, daughter of former Spice Girl and United Nations Ambassador Geri Halliwell, 2) he was the drummer and co-founder of a music group called Future Primitives with Gavin Rossdale, which he departed from and the band later changed their name to Bush and went on to world recognition, 3) Warner Bros had asked Gervasi to consider adapting a new children's book about a boy wizard named Harry Potter, which he turned down citing the book's "complete lack of commerciality".
The DVD version of the movie and a follow up book are both scheduled for release sometime later this year. "The actual story is one about relationships, perseverance and dedication. The fact that we are a heavy metal band only plays as a back drop to the story", Lips mentions. "The book provides answers to all the questions people may have had after seeing the movie", Reiner adds.
The Anvil Experience is a very interesting concept that the band and management have developed since the release of the film. It's a combination of film and live performance whereby the movie is screened followed by a full live music set by the band. It's been hugely successful in New York, Los Angeles and most recently London, where the band did a one week stint of sold out shows at the Metro Theatre. There are also plans to tour this concept across Canada sometime later in 2009.
Their last release "This Is Thirteen" was their 13th release with each of the previous albums staying true to the heavy sounds they are known for. It was produced by Chris Tsangarides who also produced two of their most well known earlier albums, "Metal on Metal" and "Forged in Fire". Over the course of their existence Anvil has had a few different members pass through. Sebastain Marino was the only non-Canadian Anvil member, who later joined Overkill, and Sebastian Bach (Skid Row) filled in for Lips once at the famed Gasworks Tavern back in 1993. The band recently lucked out again by connecting with their current manager, Rick Sales (Slayer, Bullet For My Valentine), who can only bring further accolades. Reiner says there is a new album on the horizon entitled "Juggernaut of Justice" which he describes as "a genius piece of work". "We were criminally overlooked 30 years ago, and now justice will be served", Reiner proclaims.
It should be noted that Gervasi has done a guest appearance on drums playing "School Love" at three different shows in the past, in Toyko, Brooklyn and Toronto. With the Canadian premiere of the movie and the Hall Of Fame induction, there's likely a good chance number four could happen at some point during Canadian Music Week. Current Line Up Robb Reiner - drums; Lips - lead vocals, lead guitar; Glenn Five - bass, backing vocals - GIVE ME MORE CMW 2009
Where should you start with this offering from Toronto's hooded harpist? Anywhere - pick a number between 1 and 12 and click play. Even "Real Love" the last and the longest out-pouring is a good place to start. For radio programmers the 4:56 may be prohibitive to their attention-span challenged sensibilities but it plays out like a three minute pop song. It's a panty-wetter in every regard as this Sagittarian front man pleas to his listener, "I've been looking in the alley way, I been looking in the street, I've been looking in the eyes of all the people I meet. I've been looking in the church house and on the cross on the wall; I've been looking in the corridor, down every wall. I've been looking for real love, real love reeeeeeeeeeal love."
But if you start at the front like normal folk, you are greeted with "Don't Lie To Me." - a song so big sounding we haven't seen the likes of since Big Sugar was on the scene. This is the most rock-sounding Rotundo offering to date. "No Looking Back" flirts with cross-over audience potential but the blues purest won't cry "sell out" as this albums struts from Delta, Chicago and swing styles as well as "Zeppelin-esque" rocking interpretations of blues-style. Lyrically with the blues it's a delicate balance being true to the art form without sounding clichï¿½ but David is able to look at back-stabbing, deception, cheating and the down-and-outs without sounding so five minutes ago. The band behind him is solid with an ensemble cast of Toronto blues usual suspects. This one is a keeper. Buy it and wear it in like a good pair of jeans. Joe Chisholm, January 25, 2009 - NO LOOKING BACK is on Stone Pillar Productions and is set to release March 13, 2009
See more David Rotunod Pictures: CLICK HERE
Lori Yates kicks off 09 in Toronto at the Dakota
After a brief break, Lori took the stage with the Conway Twitties who were comprised of David Baxter on guitar, Basil Donovan on the bass, and Michelle Josef on the drums. In her Facebook promos, Lori had mentioned that the drummer was going to be a fellow by the name of "Eric the American". Unfortunately, Eric had a nasty attack of appendicitis and was rushed to the hospital to have the offending organ removed. The addition of Michelle Josef meant that the Conway Twitties were now Hey Stella, which was fine by me because I've always been a fan of Ms. Josef's drumming. The set included classic Lori Yates such as, "Way Faring Stranger," "Rosalita," and "Help Me Baby - ICan't Get over You." To say that she had the house rocking would be an understatement. As soon as she took the stage the dance floor filled up and it never emptied. The show was a sell-out and the next night Lori returned to do a few songs with The Royal Crown's. I brought my video recorder with me but because the dance floor was continuously crowded I only managed to shoot one song. Go to Youtube.com - It's almost like being there...almost(coutesy Michael Tomasek) More pics by Gayle HurmusesDecember 11, 2008 College Street was CD Release Party Central
The Craft Economy was cooking at Sneaky Dees with Whale Tooth and Provincial Parks opening and just blocks away at Rancho Relaxo, Vercity was celebrating the release of their latest recording. And around the corner in Kensington Dave Borins and Christina Maria were playing Graffitis so it was a rough night for trying to get it all in. This city's music scene does boast some pretty awesome delehmas. Tonight was one of them. Let's focus on the T.Dot Alt-POP centre of the universe which was, for this evening, Sneaky Dees. The crowd was charged up. All of these three bands in their own way have some break out potential. The Craft Economy especially are a band with a following that can sing back the catchy synth-pop numbers that the band pounds out in their coy way. Keep an eye out for these bands and if you get to seen them live, take it in. Thanks Tom Eschenbrenner for photo support - click for more pics
54 40 are Live at IndieCan Dave Genn and Neil Osborne visit IndieCan studio to talk shop and perform songs with friend Tom Hooper (Grapes of Wrath). "Northern Soul" on True North Records is the 12th full length CD of original material for 54 40 and the band slated October to December of 2008 to tour the record. "I wrote the title track, Northern Soul on the ferry. I got the basic words and melody down in about 20 minutes. Our country over the last few years has taken a political turn for the
and other friends) and the animation of Sol Friedman makes Northern Soul a departure from the music video style of 54 40 that Much Music has been championing over the last three decades since "I Go Blind" and "Baby Ran" from the "Green" record from 1986 started heavy rotation.
Some 54 40 fans will follow the band on tour like dead-heads. Many more music fans have no idea how many 54 40 songs they know. Songs like "Ocean Pearl," "Since When," "Nice to Luv You," "She La," and "Love you All" may have been the sound tracks to many a life-altering experience but it doesn't mean these songs were all added to music collections over the last 20+ years. There are lessons in the 54 40 live show for anyone who wants to write songs that auditoriums or stadiums sing back to them. If you are in the music biz, or you are fascinated with the business of music, the cost of a concert ticket can be a lesson in how you know when you've written a song that people will respond too. I have seen 54 40 perform to a capacity Downsview Park crowd Canada Day 2007, I have seen them in their natural habitat - The Commodore in Vancouver B.C. and I have seen them putting it out there for a Lee's Palace crowd on the second of a two-night Toronto stint. I would say to anyone on a limited budget who wants to understand how music was designed to impact people - the cost of a 54 40 ticket is well worth the lesson and the entertainment.
While in Studio with Joe Chisholm, Niel, Dave and Tom performed :The Chant" and "One Hundred Songs" from the new record + "I Go Blind" and "Baby Ran." Some of these songs will find their way to Episode 111 coming early in December where we will talk with these gentlemen about songs on the new record, Myspace, Facebook, and this tour. The new record shows artistic sincerity, humility and a devotion to the craft of making music. It's one of those records that you can catch yourself listening to over and over again.
The 2008 Polaris Music Prize - Sept 29 @ The Phoenix
INDIECAN was at POLARIS tthis year and we offer you the usual front row seat + back stage pass to the activities at this years gala. We spoke with founder, Steve Jordan and some of the nominees + we bring you the winner tonight - more "photo journalism" will follow shortly. Remember the judges are measuring CD vs. CD, it's not a popularity contest or based upon a lifetime of work - just one CD. Feel free to browse through the 10 finalists and weigh in on your picks or thoughts on any of the finalists at MySpace or FaceBook. See you there.
Click for images: PERFORMANCES - 2008 BACKSTAGE / PRESENTATIONS / RANDOM / MISC - 2008
And the winner is ............. Caribou.
We saw performances by Basia Bulat, Two Hours Traffic, Holy Fuck, Plants and Animals, Shad, Kathleen Edwards and Black Mountain. I didn't see the Caribou win coming - but certainly deserving. I thought that with the slam dunk effort of The Weakerthan's 4th effort it would be hard to resist. Holy Fuck was a crowd favourite and although artistic merit and not popularity is the measuring point of this award, I thought the overwhelming success of THT's Little Jabs would have carried some influence. But no, it was Dr. Dan Snaith (PhD in Mathematics) who won the day with Andorra and no complaints of injustice from team IndieCan.
THE GOOD - The pleasant surprise of the night was Kathleen Edwards - that was the performance that surpassed my expectation. Damn nice job.
THE BAD - Can't there be $20,000 for all of them?
THE UGLY - Basia Bulat's "handler". I got handled all right. I have never met anyone so rude - she must be family - I couldn't see her getting a job in music. I mean it's not like publicity is a popularity contestï¿½ï¿½. Oh wait, yes it is. Good luck to you then. I am sure you already have all the fans you need.
A humble and appreciative Dan Snaith receives the $20,000 granted by the 11 Grand Jury members who deliberated through the Gala evening with the task of making a winner out of one of the final 10 recordings on this years short list.
Steve Jordan, founder of the three-year-old Polaris Music Prize credits sponsors and the organizing team for what was a "fairly" smooth year of preparation and a live to air night with minimal hick-ups.
The night was checkered with some timely humour. First there was the 1950-esque video that outlined the process for selecting the Polaris Music Prize winner. Secondly, tradition has it that last years winner makes the presentation. Patrick Watson was home in Montreal working on a new record and awaiting a baby due any minute; so 10 versions of "the winner is" were recorded on video. Included in the gag-filled presentation was a declaration that the winner was The Besnard Lakes, who were nominees from last year. The camera panned quickly to stage left where Jace and Olga (of The Besnard Lakes) made a cameo appearance.
As the laughs subsided, through the wonders of modern technology, Patrick Watson announced, to a cheering Phoenix Concert Theatre crowd, that CARIBOU is the 2008 Polaris Music Prize winner.
Wendy's Saturday September 6, 2008 Southside Shuffle photo gallery
We will still go on and on about it, but right now I want to get back on the street to take it all in so we'll just let the pictures do the talking for now. If that's not enough stimulation for you ( and who could blame you?) hear more about Southside on Episode 99 of IndieCan Radio, just posted.Pictured above - The Average White Band, below, The John Henrys who are on IndieCan Radio Episode 99
Saturday September 6th, Lakeshore Drive was closed off to allow for more fun and more music at Southside Shuffle. IndieCan's Wendy and Jenn have edited 1,000's pics but here's a few random Saturday shots to give you an ideaCLICK HERE
SUNDAY @ SOUTHSIDE including exclusive afterparty
Rhythms Heard Around The World
The IndieCan Team was out Friday, August 15 2008 at Clinton's in Toronto supporting a Global Rhythms fundraiser hosted by founder Jagger Long. GLOBAL RHYTHMS is a Toronto based non profit organization which recruits musicians and artists to participate in fundraising events to raise money for children around the world who suffer from poverty. Their vision is to unite communities through music and art to embrace our global issue of child poverty with joy. They strongly believe that children have the right to eat, to learn and to express themselves through art and sport. Therefore, they support children on each continent who require our assistance for basic health, education and recreation by having adopted existing Toronto charities who are committed to children on separate continents, allowing Global Rhythms to make a GLOBAL difference.
The evening was a fun filled event which also went to support Toronto based non profit organization Endo Girlz Rock which increases awareness of Endometriosis, a disease that affects over 70 million women worldwide. The line up for the evening's musical entertainment included Toronto bands Divine is Nothing and A Fourth World, North Bay's Minus the Royals and 2008 TIMA award winner for Best Adult Contemporary - Japhy Ryder.
Global Rhythms have an "Open Arms Approach" and welcome everyone who wants to support its mission and cause which allows members to be creative in their assistance, providing participation strictly benefits adopted projects/initiatives, inspires communities, and develops awareness of our global poverty issue. Although our global poverty issue is a serious one, Global Rhythms knows that having fun with their participation is essential to maintain and further develop its mission, and starting in March, every Friday at Clinton's they will be hosting fundraising events. Global Rhythms creates a powerful and positive energy locally that travels across the world and generates smiles of hope and togetherness.
"MUSIC PLAYED LOCALLY, FELT GLOBALLY"
Show me Lots More Pictures
Thursday July 31, 2008
TIMA awards acknowledge local talent, entertain the crowd and help to build community in the DIY (Do It Yourself) emerging music community that lives under the radar of major media attention.Dozens of awards and prizes were given out, fans and peers were treated to some first rate performances from otherwise under-rated artists. IndieCan was there - we presented some awards, gave away some prize packs, interviewed some artists and had another great night and told our friends we were there working -- ha, ha, ha. Never the less we did what we did and we will have coverage of the winners, performers and back stage antics including Dame, Japhy Ryder, Fancy Girls Market (pictured above)
ELEVEN days of OTTAWA BLUES FEST REVIEW is
NOW HERE !
Jenn Jazzing in T.Dot with 1 Million of Her Newest Friends!
This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Beaches International Jazz Festival in Toronto, and my first that I was able to clear the schedule and attend. I love and live for the summer music festivals and try to make it to as many as possible; and being that this was on my "must experience" list for a long time, put it on the priority list. Wow, I didn't know what I was missing; and will make sure I'm there every year to follow.
I have no knowledge of previous years to compare it to, but feelthe name isn't fully representative of the music. While yes, there's jazz and each artist's interpretation of it, there's so much more - Blues, Funk, Soul, Reggae, Swing; the list goes on and on. But the diversity of styles of music at each different festival is increasing these days as the lines get more and more blurred between genres. One now needs to understand that the name may be the style the event was originally focused on and what they still try to cultivate and promote, but that there's always so much more. Otherwise, as one artist I was discussing this with stated - "everything would just be called a music festival which is really non-descript, and would lose some focus". Personally, being a self proclaimed music junkie, I hear of any festival and run to my laptop to scope it out, regardless of the moniker it's given and see how I can squeeze it in my schedule.
With over 700 artists - both emerging and established award winners, events taking place in multiple locations in the Beaches area of Toronto, activities for children, workshops, a 5, 10, and 20 kilometre run, lots of vendors (I had to curb the shop-aholic tendencies a few times) and of course food and beer, Beaches International Jazz festival has
something for everyone, and the best part - for free! I still do not understand Torontonians affinity to roasted corn on the cob at these festivals, but there was plenty of that to be had, as well as many other culinary delights curb side. Queen Street East is closed off from traffic in the evenings from six until shortly after eleven, when 50 bands line a 2 kilometre stretch and entertain the masses in every age bracket. And I do mean from young to old, it's truly a heart warming moment to see a child (actually many children) boogieing away in the street in a genuine display of enjoyment, and see the elderly couples grooving within the crowd. Room for dancing was always left between the crowd and the bands and there were many free spirited souls who showed their appreciation of the music. With over a million people who attended, by the time the street became elbow to elbow, the dance areas were the best spots to be. The weather was threatening to put a damper on the festivities, but cleared up in the late afternoon each day, just in time for set up, and in no way curbed people's enthusiasm; the ambience and vibe of the crowd was in true Canadian spirit - considerate, respectful, fun-loving, unbridled appreciation of the music. It's well thought out as far as timing of the sets for the different acts, being they line the street in a short distance, alternating set times for ones in close proximity to each other prevent any overflow of sound and make stage hopping a breeze to take in as much as possible.
With so much to see, hear and do, and to try and squeeze it all into three days, careful planning, speed walking, little sleep, and caffeine are my recommendations if you want to experience all that Beaches International Jazz Festival has to offer. That is, until I figure out a way to be in six places at once.
ndieCan Radio and Meg-A-Music Toronto Celebrate their 2nd Anniversary in style at the Tattoo Rock Parlour.
May 29th IndieCan celebrated with the second Birthday-Bash following our May 15th event, also at Tattoo. We partied with Meg-A-Music as they also are entering their third year in Canadian independent music. The night started how it should. Rayna, who was our Episode 2 "live at IndieCan" guest performed, while Moe Berg looked on who was IndieCan's Episode I "industry insider." It was so fitting to be putting on a show for some brand new IndieCan bands and fans with some of the early visionaries in the house. For me personally, it mattered a lot. Moe wasn't there to have a drink on us, he was working like the rest of us. He is working with Photocell who performed Birthday Bash DEUX - the sequel who are re-branding themselves. As Stutter, the core of this band were the big winners at the 2007 Toronto Independent Music Awards.
Anniversaries are a time for reflection and I'll take the time to offer two observations. First is that the music and music makers in this country is in great shape. 120 different countries tune in to this web site every week to download the latest IndieCan Radio show. Without a dime spent on promotion music fans found us and I understand they are showing support to our artists in a meaningful manner. Traffic to our site is up 7-fold since last anniversary and that feels good. Our first anniversary saw Tacoma Redd, Anti-Hero and Tin Bangs perform. We screened "What is Indie?" and we had a good, loyal turn out. The difference this year is I was meeting new-music fans for the first time at each concert, who came up to me to tell me what they thought of our show and why they wanted to come to the show. Everyone at our first Birthday Bash was someone I knew I already or someone who tagged along with someone I leaned on to come out and support us. An organic audience is forming that either wasn't there before. I think that means something.
Also performing at Bash 2 were Jon Cohen Experimental from Montreal, Isle of Thieves and Drowning Girl. We raised over $1000 for People afflicted with HIV/AIDS in Toronto so thanks to those who came, those who sponsored and those who enthusiastically rounded up our sponsors. I will let Jesse recognize them individually in the review of May 15 which follows. For a pictorial review of the Two nights that rocked us into year threeCLICK HERE and depending on the speed of your hook-up, you might want to poke around with something else if you hate waiting. Ths photo gallery is exceptional quality and I just couldn't discard more than I did, so I hope you enjoy them. Joe Chisholm, founder
I'm sitting in the Tattoo Rock Parlour, Queen Street West 's shee-shee club/concert venue, for the Birthday Bash and 2nd anniversary of Meg-A-Music and INDIECAN Radio. The event was a hit, celebrating great music moments past and achievements to date, as well as making a salutary glance into the near future, brining what it may to the INDIECAN community and its righteous constituents. Bands played, fans won some awesome raffle-draw prizes (including a Karaoke DVD machine and an acoustic Epiphone guitar), attendance records for an indoor event hosted by INDIECAN were set, and the Missing Children Society of Canada made some
money and some new friends. Of course, none of it would be possible without sponsors, so here we go with the thank-yous: Long & McQuade, Pamela Sorrenti & George Veziris, Hot House Cafe, Diane Kroe Boutique, The Fashion District, Stand Alone Records, Cineplex Odeon and Wendy Rombough. Shout outs also go to Kelowna from XM Satellite Radio, Channel 52 The Verge who held court with the crowd and helped give away some of the prizes, Mary Gilbert and Julianne for months of prep and everyone else for their time and donations to help us raise money for Missing Children in Canada.
A special salute to Meg-A-Music Mary is needed ... there's something about Mary. Maybe its just that she supports indie music so instinctively, despite the challenges inherent therein. It takes a certain dogged determination to support emerging music, but in a world where major record labels are becoming dinosaurs, it is the ordinary and often unsung heroes on the ground, fighting the good fight, that are the promoters and protectors of many a talented artist. These individuals, of which Mary and Joe Chisholm are two (though there are teams of others), are driven by the need to see artists succeed where they should - they are in the business of making it happen where it can. At the same time, when emerging music artists achieve great things, organizations like INDIECAN and Meg-A-Music have done their job well.
While INDIECAN may not be solving the problems of the human race per se, we have definitely pressed on through a great number of challenges and obstacles to bring you some of the "best music you've never heard", and we think that is noble. It would have been easy enough to rest of the laurels of our current knowledge or the promise of talent, but, and we tell bands this all the time, without hard work and tenacity a career in the music business would be a short-lived one - events like the Birthday Bash celebrate 2 years of hard work promoting indie music.
The artists which took the stage to celebrate this accomplishment with us and ring in a new year were all terrific, though each had a unique offering for its audience.
Andre Skinner and his "Canteen Knockout" took the stage in the leanest form I've seen them yet - Andre on acoustic guitar with a peddle steel player to boot. We heard some freshly minted material that was performed just as comfortably as their more tried and true catalogue of alt/rock with generous twang.
Sarah Burton and her Six captured the audience with her multi-blended brand of indie music, drawing on a number of influences from country, pop, and rock. Burton 's lyrics may be peppered with sarcasm and wordplay, but in either case its fresh and honest. The diverse instrumentation drew attention to these witty lyrics like a good frame.
Little Sunday blasted out their radio-friendly alt-rock sound with ease. They've recently been paired with acts such as Thornley, Honeymoon Suite, and See Spot Run, demonstrating that their msuic fits with Canadian artists that are popular today. They had a great rapport with an audience, which showed lively support through out the set.
It was the last show for Sam Hell, but before the ice was set, Hell rose one last time in a towering inferno on the TRP stage, delighting fans who called for encores and snapped up merchandise. "Let's do something nasty, let's mash it up" said Jordan, lead singer and guitarist, as they launched into their second last number, highlighting their affinity for crunching out lean athletic riffs on top of compelling lyrics and melodies.
The Joys set came last, topping off the evening. Having been recently certified gold by the Canadian Recording Industry Association, their playing, polished sound and catchy songs is a testament to their deserved recognition. The audience that night couldn't have agreed more.
Overall, it was an honor and a pleasure celebrating the anniversary with such a great line-up of artists and a packed house of fans. It is a high watermark for INDIECAN that we couldn't recognize everyone in the crowd that night - the 1st anniversary party relied heavily on an audience of friends, family, associates, and acquaintances, brought out in some cases by strong encouragement. It is a great sign that we're moving to place where we can host events and the music will speak for itself, that people don't have to be brought out on called favours! But I digress.
Before Little Sunday's last song, lead singer Rick Farrell asked: "you're still
partying tonight?" To Little Sunday, and to Indie bands and fans alike, we proudly affirm, yes...yes we are. INDIECAN will continue to bring the best of new music and industry insider information to fans and students of new music.
From Team IndieCan to fans - thanks so much for the 2 great years. Here's to the next, may it be as banner and bodacious as the past and with ample room for improvement. After all, we're only human. All we can do it "press on" and encourage others to do the same. Maybe we won't solve all the problems of the human race, but we'll certainly liven-up the music industry and give talented (sometimes even genius) artists a chance at their deserved place in it.Jesse Chisholm- Beatson, INDIECAN Correspondent P.S. If you missed this one, there will be another show at Tattoo rock Parlour on May 29th. Hope to see you there for Toronto Independent Music Winners, Photocell (formerly Sutter) Jon Cohen Experimental from Montreal, Rayna, more music; more prizes more memories for a life-time
Ian Gillian of Deep Purple performs
Alanah Miles sings her heart ou
Click on slide show for great moments
Tony Springer and Paul Kahyas back stage
Raine Maida, Billy The Kid and Jared Paul at The Phoenix March 24th, 2008
Between 1994 and 2005, Our Lady Peace put out 7 records which sold over 4 million copies with Columbia - then - Sony which was followed up with "A Decade," a mostly greatest hits CD. You wouldn't knock someone for saying "what's all the fuss about - life with a major label isn't perfect, but they have been good to me and why mess with it?" But as an indie artist, Raine says, "I'm not exactly sure where my record fits in this musical climate. For the first time in my musical journey I own the music fully and completely. This excites me. I'm not sure where it fits in today's musical landscape. I take comfort in that."
Maida generously spent time with IndieCan at Redline Recorders Studio and reflected on his life with wifeChantal Kreviazuk, their two boys they are raising, the consciousness they are raising with War Child Canada, plus, we were given a private performance from The Hunters Lullaby CD. Maida was passionate about what he has seen abroad and how "it gets into your pours and you can't just wash it off when you get home. I don't want to make a narcissistic look-at-me video - I am so not into that right now." Instead, Raine got excited about the idea of raising $30,000 to rebuild a school in The Congo and he busked the streets of Toronto, made a video of that and warmed the first $22,000 out of the hearts of passers by on the first day alone. Later that night at The Phoenix Raine said, "I have never been so proud to be Canadian." Billy The Kid, an artist Raine is currently producing and touring with is seen jamming "Yellow Brick Road" on the streets of T.Dot in this low-tech, high-touch video. The song takes a playful poke at youth's "near life experienceï¿½"
I remember the days and we'd talk for hours
Later that night I headed out to The Phoenix to see the punk to folk transformation (or other side) of
Billy The Kid, get some schooling fromSlam Poet Jared Paul and get the whole band, whole set
version of what we selfishly enjoyed earlier at Redline. Raine and I share a symbiotic
rejuvenation from what is going on in poetry today and it's no surprise as it seems that all over
North America Slam Poetry nights are buttering big city's cultural bread. I can't say I am completely
on board with Raine's declaration that poetry is more relevant for him right now than music.
But one thing Maida loves about poetry is how we can go from morning news to poetic expression
than night. Music takes three weeks at best to be written, produced, mixed and presented and
sometimes the punch line is lost in the latency.
Hear the entire, uncut interview with Raine Maida chatting with IndieCan's Joe
Chisholm and Woodstock by clicking here!!
Why is it that being held accountable, responsible and being willing to see more analytically and
some thoughts and reviews from Andre Skinner
Plants and Animals (Thursday March 7th - The Horseshoe)
I figured I would get things started off right and hit the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to check out
The Acorn (Thursday March 7th - The Horseshoe Tavern)
Always a treat to listen to, the Acorn have a style and sound that is all their own and is hard to
Lead man Rolf Klausener is an awesome performer and most suited for the lead role in the band
(Thursday March 7th - Tattoo)
The last time I saw Gordie (Grady) Johnson was with Big Sugar at the Horseshoe Tavern back in 2002 and he absolutely blew the roof off the place with his screaming arsenal of Gibson guitars and blistering loud amps. He now leads the Austin southern rock trio Grady who are louder and dirtier than any of his past musical endeavors. The band really knows how to throw a party, and they got things started right by playing tunes off their new cd "A Cup of Cold Poison" then moving into songs off their debut cd ï¿½Y.U so shady?ï¿½ then busting out the show stopper ï¿½Digging a Holeï¿½ the Big Sugar hit which got place going totally crazy and had most the people singing along. This was the first Canadian show for their new drummer Nina Sing who came out swinging and rocked the house hard. She also had a great stage piece with her vintage blue Ludwig Vistalite drums with a huge bull scull hanging off the front of the kit. Gordie Johnson and Ben Richardson are the perfect duo up front both sporting big black Stetsons and all black attire; the chemistry is truly a sight to behold. Grady was definitely one of the highlights of CMW 08.
United Steel Workers of Montreal - Friday March 8th, The Silver Dollar
Wee-Werk Records showcased their roster of talent to a packed house at the Silver Dollar Room where I caught the tail end of the Burning Hell's set. I was in the building however to check out the United Steel Workers of Montreal and after reviewing their amazing cd ï¿½Kerosene & Coalï¿½ a few months back and hearing great things about their live show, I could not wait to hear what they had in store. USWM, are a very unique band; they are exactly what their name exemplifies, hard working, hard living people. They sing for the people, they represent the folks that work tireless days and donï¿½t complain, but compensate with heavy drinking and good times. Listening to them live I think of Hamilton Steel workers, I picture dirty Detroit auto plan workers who will spend half their lives working in harsh environments to make end meet.
The two lead singers of the band both have heavy raspy and seasoned voices that tell great real life stories of love, hard work and weekend binge drinking with the odd tale of drinking and driving thrown in for good measure. This band is raw, to the point, and is very confident in what they deliver. The female lead of the band, Felicity Hamer, is an irresistibly sexy woman who comes off strong with her rough whiskey voice and good looks, she is an integral part of the live show. On the opposite side of the stage there is big o'l Gern, who is a husky individual with a huge personality that resonates out with direct force and his countless stories are from the heart and sincere. I couldnï¿½t have asked for a better show.
Dearly Beloved (Friday March 8th - Tattoo)
The highly anticipated Dearly Beloved hit the stage at 12:45 to a capacity crowd at Tattoo, and really turned up the heat in the room. They played most of the tunes off their latest cd ï¿½Repo Repoï¿½, which is an absolutely awesome album.
The lighting that supported the stage show was incredible, with blues, reds, oranges and green lights hitting the band at intermittent moments, creating a lager than life atmosphere for the band. Dearly Beloved is really fun to watch, they have lead singer Rob Higgins all over the stage getting right into the music and moving like he means it from the heart, while sexy Nina Chow is on the opposite side of the stage doing backing vocals, swinging her hair, and shaking her ass to the hard rocking catchy tunes. The music was as tight as I could have hoped for, and they delivered in a big way.
Steve Hill (Friday March 8th - Tattoo)
Just when I thought the night was over after the Dearly Beloved set, I saw a band setting up and had no clue who they were so did not pay much mind until the started BLARING through the PA system. HOLY SHIT! WHO THE HELL'S THIS? Were the carefully chosen words I had for my friend who came along for the CMW festivities. I proceeded to take some video and photos of this unbelievably hard rocking and talented trio. The band was Steve Hill, and they put on an absolutely AMAZING show. Lead man Steve Hill, is a KILLER guitarist who lays down his heavy 3 to 4 chord riff rock similar to that of Motorhead and AC/DC. Unfortunately the venue somewhat emptied out after Dearly Beloved's set, so there were only about 50 people in the place for the set. This is a band I will be seeing again for sure, quite a nice way to end a night of amazing music.
February 15 2008 at Queen Street West's The Rivoli
A lot is going on with this label/management company and their artist, so bear with me and I will do my best to give you the whole shinny. There are some new CDs out or coming out that look like they might warrant the four out of five or five out of five can, IndieCan ratings. The Riv was revved and it's always nice to see a packed house on an always hopping Queen West.
David Martel (is better known to some as the impetus behind the music act ONLY FORWARD) will soon release his solo debut, I Hardly Knew Me produced by David Sturton, IndieCan friend and our Montreal engineer for several great "Montreal Indie Scene" shows at IndieCan. One of the new songs "Yours and Mine" has really grown up since I last heard it. Martel was our guest artist on Episode 37 (listen here) of our show with Nicholas Williams and Jean-Micael Pothier in studio to support our live at IndieCan set. I invite you to download that show and get to know Dave Martel and Dave Sturton a little better. Frankly, I will take the old-fashion, right from the heart to the lips explanation of how music was created over the indie/promo dribble any day of the week. Enough with the hack-marketing, hack-art bios and pitch sheets - is it just me, or is every one trying so hard to sound different than the rest that they forget to say what they mean? But if you like that stuff and it is just me, Myspace has a bright future.
So anyway, if you were at the show or you do get the record and you listen to the "live at IndieCan" version of a song like "Yours and Mine" you'll see what I mean about how the song has developed with time. It's a beautiful thing. Dave and his band were trading a francophone flu bug and while he was bantering with the audience he apologized for it. But what a performance - if you were holding any thing back, Dave and your band, I can't wait to hear the studio version. Details of note:www.myspace.com/iamdavidmartel Digital Release February 26, 2008; Retail Release May 13, 2008
THE POPULARS In 2008, The Populars will release A Pill For Everyone, their second full length album that follows their 2005 debut, "the vindicator." Dave Klym, principal song writer and I were having a great chat at sound-check about albums and themes and how records are best when they are more than a song collection, but the songs should be chapters in a book. You wouldn't tell someone, "Hey, I have a new book I love. You should go get Chapter II - it's great!" As enjoyable as Chapter II may be the full experience of the book can only really be enjoyed by reading the whole thing. I first saw The Populars with Galore and The Pursuit of Happiness at Lee's Palace when the TPOH Compilation, "When We Ruled" was on a mini-tour. Now an inductee into the Indie Hall of Fame, Producer, Moe Berg worked on A Pill For Everyone so I was really excited to see what was coming.
As an aside, Moe, the great thing about being a Hall of Fame inductee, is you will always be an elder statesman now - not a bleeding deacon. Moe worked on Snakehouse by The Cliks (Episode 39) who are touring with The Cult these days. Back to The Populars - the set was too short for my liking so I will get The Pops into the studio to do a live at IndieCan soon. Dave (guitar and vocals) and Ernie (drums) are both from northern Alberta so the worlds largest trailer park stories may or may not continue through the interview, once I get them in Studio. Next door at The Legendary Horseshoe another band with Edmonton roots, SAM HELL (Episode 55) were going at about the same time and they were bummed they couldn't catch the whole Populars set. www.myspace.com/thepopulars Digital Release Jan. 29, 2008; Retail Release - April. 22, 2008
DEARLY BELOVED were live at IndieCan on Episode 25 (listen here), still promoting You Are The Jaguar and damn, that was a good time in the studio. We got to the heart of where some of those great songs came from but we also had some fun with Nina's new handle, "Rock Tigress" too. We laughed, we cried, we hurled.
face" attitude we have come to love and expect from Dearly Beloved. The opening song "Candy Coated" has the tag line, "Say my fucking name, Say my name, Say my name." It has rock anthem appeal but has a not-so-subtle message for FM Radio programmers who can't play the damn song, unless they have their finger on the "Beep" button, constantly on guard. It's a rude and precautious way to kick off this phase of their relationship with the music industry but guess what, they didn't write the songs for the music industry so too fucking bad Mr. Man. The songs are for music fans. Management meetings won't decide on this records fate, nor will focus groups or analytical software; Music fans will be the only vote that matters.
SECONDS APART A new signing to the Management Trust, Seconds Apart was discovered in Winnipeg as Indy Nose Bone. RJ Guha (Kindling Music) couldn't talk enough before the show about how a band can go as far as they did with a band name as bad as this is a testament to the talent these hard rocking lads really have. They drove into town from "Winter-Peg" where, as they reminded those of us who were bitching about the cold, it was -49 degrees where they come from. Commercial radio in Winnipeg has already put this band on the map. They made their mark on Toronto by closing the night with a drop-D bang! So why did they decided on Seconds Apart for a new band name? In Winnipeg, no matter where you are right now or where you are going to be, you are only Seconds Apart from those close to you. And soon, Seconds Apart will be close to you! That's the official story anyway. Maybe they are having some prairie fun with their new Torontotopia management.http://www.secondsapart.ca/
THE JOYS from London Go Gold and then some!
|It is a big deal for us to see Indie success stories and being at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern to celebrate with London's The Joys as they received their Gold Record was a must for IndieCan. Also on the bill were The Free Press, The Rockafellers and Voyd. The place was packed and the feeling was electric. The Rockafellers and Voyd were new to me and a pleasant treat. The Free Press I have seen every where on the Toronto Indie Scene with the posible exception of in the showers together. These guysjust won't quit. They keep coming at you and their performance has now brought some dynamics and theatrics to the fold. Too bad about the hair - sorry guys, just kidding!!!!
Back in the spring The Joys came to T.Dot to do a Toronto Independent Music Awards show and be our guest on IndieCan Radio. The place: The Pocket Studio, The Engineer: Mike Turner (Fairground, Our Lady Peace) and in Archie's hand was the master of their new three-song single. The Joys played "Soul on Your Sleeve" for us and performed the others in a once-only unplugged fashion which can be heard onEpisode 42 - it wasn't lost on The Joys that IndieCan was the first to spin their record and it certainly wasn't lost on them that they owe it all to their devoted fans. New music with a pure old fashion rock 'n' roll is taking it on the chin at almost every level - Satellite Radio has a pop leaning, commercial radio is stuck on the tried and true winning-formula of the same old play list and College Radio can be hard to create momentum in because they are all so autonomous. But music fans have said it loud and proud - so long as their wallets are the votes that count, Rock 'n' Roll is here to stay - It will never die.
While you are listening to the above mentioned show,
FYI, a gold single in Canada is 5,000 units. The Joys have no record deal or distribution deal and they have now sold over 14,000 records off the stage. As I was asking the band "what does it take for an indie band today to go Gold" and they struggled with clichï¿½ rhetoric like, "hard word," "believing in yourself," "having a product people can get behind," sometimes what is needed is a more down to earth approach as Ken Ross, The Joys bassist and newest member put it: "It takes a hell of a lot of people buying your record!"
With origins in Vancouver, Concerts for a Cause is now in Toronto. February 28th will be the second in the series featuring THE AVENUE and EDEN ANTS. In January CFAC (Toronto) #1 featured Howl (pictured to the right), Sadie May Crash, Ketch Harbour Wolves, The Miles and The Avenue. Read all about CFAC # 1
|United Steel Workers of Montreal, The Cockroaches and The Unsettlers played La Sala Rosa January 5, 2008 to a packed house. The Unsettlers and The Cockroaches opened to what will go down in history as one of the great nights of timeless music in Canada. A full report is found below. To feed your hungry heart, here are some great photo galleries of USWM from 2007
Canadian Music Week. Click here to catch the WeeWerk gig at The Silver Dollar
Canadian Music Cafe. Click here to see the show at the Rivoli September 2007
The United Steel Workers of Montreal, La Sala Rosa, January 5, 2008
Kerosene and Coal, replace a bass and Emile Bertrand
|Everyone could feel that something was happening tonight as I worked my way through the line up that wound up the stairwell, past the cantina and into the Sala Rosa dance hall. The United Steel Workers of Montreal were giving fans a sneak preview of their new video to the song "Emile Bertrand" which quotes the line "Kerosene and Coalï¿½" the current full-length CD's title. Now before we gush over Gern and company, which we will, there were two great bands opening up the show, both deserving of some attention.|
The Unsettlers warmed up the already full house of La Sala Rosa. B.W. Brandes fronts this Wild, Wild West orchestra that sports a garbage can drum kit, a Schroeder piano (a la Peanuts), clarinet, the weirdest accordion and pedal board rig I have ever scene. OK, in the interest of true and full disclosure, it's the only accordion/pedal board rig I have ever scene. There were also lovely and talented background singers in dresses and cowboy boots, loud hailers, cap guns and few other props and instruments to boot.
B.W. and I have chatted on Myspace. I had some idea of what to expect. This troupe has some real talent. The Tom-Waits-like Cabaret show captivated the packed house and B.W. and his posse were gracious and truly moved by the warm reception. I don't think they expected it or were ready for it, but they earned it and the crowd reaction may only have sunk in for them days later. I hate get all preachy here, but hey - Unsettlers, if you had brought CDs with you, you would have sold 200 of them. There is an old adage that when opportunity collides with preparation, success occurs. This was an opportunity. The music was polished, the performance was sound - that's a big part of preparation, but you kind of have take care of the business end of things, the commercial end of things, is what I am saying here.
When The Cockroaches were unleashed on the crowd they made La Sala Rosa feel 1955 again. This rockabilly trio might not all be of legal drinking age everywhere in North America but they have the spirit of early Rock 'n' Roll in them to such a degree it makes you wonder if they weren't cryogenically frozen decades ago when they fell off the Buddy Holly/Jerry Lee Lewis caravan. Stand-up bass, big-ass Guild guitar, simple drum kit and three strong voices belt out some great in-your-face old school that had the crowd roaring. From my perch stage-left leaning on the speaker columns it was great to see the crowd swaying to the music, dancing and laughing. Of the Blake on Bass, Spider on Drums and Dale on guitar trio, we spoke with (Eddy)Blake and Dale after the set and we'll be sharing their comments with you in an upcoming radio show.
|If you read my rants and listen to IndieCan Radio you know that an IndieCan - United Steel Workers love affair if firmly entrenched. This show put USWM over the top as the most watched indie band in Canada for IndieCan Music. We've seen them ourselves in three provinces and sent droves to see them in other provinces.
This isn't main-stream music and if you don't dig it, you'll never get it and that's OK by me. But if you're into it, USWM becomes part of you. It's "Brother Where Art Thou" with hockey sticks. It's Blue Grass Punk. It's I don't know - I am not the first writer that struggled to find words that sound like them. But it's not just the sound. It's the sincerity. It's the willingness to do their thing - come what may. The Steel Workers have a humble connection to storytelling and performance that honours those who have come before them as well as a quiet confidence of knowing they belong and play second banjo to no one.
|Keep an eye out for the posting of their video Emile Bertrand which was officially launched at this event. It's a tasteful tribute to a small part of Montreal history. It really captures the personality of the band members and Emile Bertrand is one of those few perfect songs that I defy anyone to dislike. On a sad note for me, this video was the last official performance of Roger Dawson, the sassy punkabilly stand up bassist who has now moved on. He had a look and style that impacted the band. Time will tell if it was profound enough to be known as USWM's Roger Dawson era.|
Ottawa's The Love Machine play to a packed house at Greenfields in Ottawa December 23rd 2007. The crowd knows this band and it was ready for the start to finish crowd-participation show. Fans were standing, some got on stage for a little Christmas cheer and to sing a song with the band.
The bands latest CD, "If You're a Bird, Then I'm a Bird" has flown onto shelves at CD Baby and iTunes allready. During this show, which had a mix of new songs and tunes that that the patron crowd knew and could sing along to. The show was opened by Clothes Make The Man who are just coming off an East-coast road trip. Speaking of East-coast, I got my first taste of The Love Machine in November when I was the Riv in Toronto to see New Brunswick natives, Down With The Butterfly and Grand Theft Bus who shared the stage with thier
Ottawa's new IndieCan co-host, Woodstock who is high on Love Machines prospects for making it to the next level. Look for The Love Machine on an upcoming episode of The Ottawa Indie Scene in 2008.
Joe Chisholm - More Pictues of THE LOVE MACHINE!
CANADIAN MUSIC SHOWCASE, fusing art and industry
Mark R. Keeler, Ph,D. Celebrating the collaboration of Canadian independent music, the first Canadian Music Showcase stands as a shining example of entertainment events and a spotlight on the music Canada brings to the world stage. Ryan Lister brought to life a most innovative showcase of Canadian music talent. This event brought to the stage a splendid mixture of acoustic and rock from some of the hottest names on the indie scene. With rising stars like Opus Road, the mesmerizing vocals of Megan Bonnell and the uniquely eastern flavour of Ketch Harbour Wolves combined with newcomer Matt La Fontaine, the show fused the best of established and upcoming talent that offered a rich and vibrant cross-section of entertainment.
Ryan Lister, an upward mobile Toronto actress, launched the first Canadian Music Showcase to give artists the opportunity to promote their talent and allow them to form relationships with entertainment labels and media.
Held at the Gladstone Hotel on October 30, 2007, Ryan offered a great evening open to industry insiders from Canada, United States and the United Kingdom. Not content with music alone, the Canadian Music Showcase also highlighted the
stunning works of photographer Cailin Jones and artist Arpad Szoke to give the event a superbly Canadian touch.
Industry insider, Raquel de los Reyes, of Kings Entertainment Canada, was present at the event and noted "this event, and showcases like it, does wonders for artists in particular and the industry in general. I am looking forward to more great works from Ryan."
Overall, Canadian Music Showcase scored a flawless victory and delivered an event of remarkable caliber. Combining the collaboration of sensational Canadian talent and the warm and intimate ambiance of the Gladstone Hotel made for a memorable event.
THE WEAKERTHANS with guests JENN GRANT
The Phoenix Concert Hall -- Toronto November 8th and 9th
Jim Bryson joins the Weakerthans line up of Stephen Carroll, Guitar, Pedal and Lap Steel, Jason Tait--Drums, Greg Smith, Bass and singer John K. Samson who was proudly sporting his C'mon T-Shirt (Ian Blurton of C'mon produces The Weakerthans for a pretty much sold out tour. My good fortune included scoring a pass for the first of two sold-out Phoenix Concert Hall nights in Toronto and hanging out a bit back stage for day two.SEE PICTURES FROM NIGHT ONE HERE!
Sold out shows have a magical quality to them. Reasonable ticket prices ($25.00) have humane quality to them. For music enjoyment and all around concert experience, this type of venue is where it's at for me. I will continue to avoid The Air Canada Center or any other venue named after a sponsor that extorts me for north of $100 a seat for bad sound. Sure, I took my son to Copps Coliseum to see Elton John (floor seats -thanks to my friends Mark and Carole) and To the ACC to sit in the rafters to be at Bob Dylan. You couldn't really call it "seeing" Bob Dylan or "hearing" Bob Dylan - but we where there. As parents when it comes to the education and culture of our kids we can part with money without a second thought - youth have to know where music came from. But the Eagles are going to have to pay their bills with out me from here on in, if you know what I am saying.
Back to the happy place of the Weekerthans show: Toronto was treated to special guests, The Jenn Grant
Band who are touring her Orchestra for the Moon CD and teasing audience with some new stuff too. On the Thurday, Jenn Grant fan, Ron Sexsmith came on stage to sing a duet with her. The whole band was tight as can be, the crowd weren't just patiently waiting for the headliner - they were into it and as guitar player, Kris Pope said, "It's nice to come on stage and see the place isn't filling in - everyone who's coming is already there and they're into it."
As you know, since my recent trip to Halifax POP Explosion I am having a love-affair with East Cost music and it would be nice to see music challenging potatoes as PEIs biggest export. I do love my potatoes but this Orchestra for a Moon CD goes down just a smooth gives you that warm and full feeling -- and there's less calories. Jenn will be a guest on our radio show soon and we'll talk about her multi-artistic talents and how her song Dreamer has been picked up by TV. The woman does her own CD artwork, makes her own swag and I don't know what else. Hey Jenn - Do you do web sites? I could use some help here.
Now back to the Weekerthans: I interview a lot of up and coming bands and influences can't help but coming up when we talk about the creative process. The Weekerthans are one of these bands, humble as these lads are; already have legend status amongst the aspiring musical community. Have you been to their web site (Oh look, a hyper link)? There's a karaoke section you can sing along to "Psalm For the Elks Lodge Last Call" and "Reconstruction Site." It seems the fans were practicing. There was a lot of singing going on in the audience which included a little Winnipeg bashing, but in a "it's OK, we, know, we've been there" spirit. What's more Canadian than taking pride in making fun of ourselves?
Drowning Girl, winner of the nationals for the 2007 Canadian Radio Star National Songwriting Competition for their song ï¿½Dead or Aliveï¿½ are Live at IndieCan with Andre and Joe for Episode 61 of IndieCan Radio. Click on the Radio to GO to the SHOW.
Go to Gallery Congradulations to all of the organizers, volunteers and nomineers for this years TIMAs. The music was diverse, the crowd was electric, the prizes have evolved nicely into relevent, career building tools such as publicity and recording time and it was a great night of entertainment. As one presenter put it, "Other North American cities would die to have a night like this, recognizing their cities emerging talent. The city of Toronto is a big (sometimes cold) city but the music business is a small town and it's always heart warming to see the willingness to "treat thy neighbour like thy self." Visit TIMA for for winners and highlights and think about planning now to attend next year. Rock on Toronto! October 4th at The Phoenix (click yellow to gawk at Rock Pics) was a night to remember in deed. IndieCan will be bringing more commentary and pics so come back soon, and as always put your 2 cents worth in at myspace orFacebook.
PERFORMANCES AT POLARIS GALA SHOW OFF GREAT CANADAIAN TALENT
Grant Lawrence of CBC Radio 3 hosted the Gala which would award one Album $20,000 based on artistic merit alone - not on sales, genre or any block voting that some other awards are criticised for. The performances all passed by too fast. There were some great indie moments. I find the illusion of wealth and glitz that many feel a need to spin onto Canadian music is unnecessary. Canadian music stands on its artistic merit. And although it is tragic that there are too many Juno award winners that can't afford their own car, I think it's better to talk about the reality of music life than be so ashamed that we glitz up the truth. An ever-growing segment of the music consuming public is far too sophisticated to buy into pretentious packaging anyway. So, less rant, more example: Leslie Feist couldn't make it. She was performing in London England. Some presenter that will remain anonymous declared "Leslie sends her regrets as she is performing in the "blah-blah-blah" theatre to a capacity crowd tonight," to which the audience ewwed and awwed appropriately. In a written statement from Leslie Feist, she stated, "ï¿½I wish I could be there with you tonight in Toronto. As I write this, I am preparing to perform in a venue so small you could fit 5 of them in The Rivoli." Spin - reality. I found the honesty more enduring, personally.
Peter Nema couldn't be happier with the outcome. He loved the Patrick Watson peformance. Pictured above, The Besnard Lakes were Pete's runner up. Read more of what Pete had to say about this years Gala
Another totally charming indie moment was New Brunswick's Julie Doiron who from the stage, took her 15 minutes of spot light to say, "I've never been to an event like this. Thanks - I've loved all the performance I've seen."
Maybe "le cream-du-la-cream" indie moment was the acceptance speech from the Montreal Alt/Rock band Patrick Watson who won the $20,000 prize for their Secret City Records/Fusion III effort, "Close to Paradise." "We creamed our Budget rental van on our way to a gig, which we thought was covered by insurance until today when we got a bill from them for $16,000. Now we can pay it."
Indie Can tips our hat to Steve Jordan, founder and Executive Director, all of the worker-bees and the deserving 10 nominees. It was a good night for Canadian music. I do have some reservations about art and competition but I think the organizers and judges have their heart in the right place. I also doubt that I am the first to recognize that the prize is an embarrassing low amount of money considering that an average size band really need to be netting $300,000 after expenses every year for each band member to earning the average industrial wage. That said, POLARIS is on the right track - Patrick Watson couldn't pay off that pooched van with a trophy and a hand-shake.
Holy Krief; This isn't The Dears - Patrick Krief's CD Release party shows a new side to Krief - a vulnerable side with '70's-esque Jam-band quality, as Patrick's new band takes to the stage along with The Danielle Duval Band and Seedy Easy. THE RIVOLI, August 30, 2007
Patrick Krief's musical life didn't begin when he was asked to play guitar for THE DEARS and clearly it won't end there either. I most recently saw The Dears as Saturday Night Headliners at Hillside Music Festival. They held an appreciative audience in an "audience in the headlights" trance. From 2000 until now they have released 6 CDs. The Dears hold an undisputed and permanent place in Canadian music history. From the outside looking in, it would be easy to think that being guitar player for The Dears would be all or more of a music career that anyone should ask for.
But Patrick has always had these musical ideas that compel him and Take It Or Leave is a starting point. About 30 songs were considered for the EP, 14 were tracked and "I didn't nail them all so 7 is the number that made it to a CD" says Patrick. All instruments on the EP are played by Krief. His band is made up of George Donoso III of The Dears as well as bass player Andre Bendahan and Roberto Piccioni on Keyboards. His self released EP sold out 1000 copies on Maple Music in a snap. On the eve of this review, August 30th, 2007 Krief entered into an agreement to licence the recording to SunnyLane Records. "Only a few of the songs we do live are from the record" foreshadows Krief, giving me the impression that plans for a second solo record are already under way.
Ted Heagle of SunnyLane told me that the live experience is nothing like the EP. What an understatement. Roberto (keyboards) works in an HMV which started playing the EP in the store and Roberto jokes that he could hardly recognize the pre-recorded version as being the songs he's been rehearsing and performing.
>First - about Take It Or Leave, it's a great record to drive to or unwind to. For those of you who recall me going on and on about The Barzin My Life In Rooms EP, it has some of those same soul enriching qualities. It's not disposable music. By that I expect that people who like it will play the shit out of it and be telling their friends about it.
So, yeah, get the CD or listen on myspace if you're not sure. But the live show is something you must see. If you go to as many shows as I do, you know that some are forgettable, some are worth the trip and remind you why music is important and a few, a very few are shows that you will never forget. The live show has an early to mid-70's jam feel to it, giving you "from the heart" performances that transcend any need to talk about the quality of the musicianship and song structure. In fact, I assure you, if I got trapped into articulating either of the aforementioned qualities, I missed the point. The point was that these performers laid something genuine on the line in both a vulnerable and reckless way and isn't that what Rock 'n' Roll is all about?
I am telling you to see this live show and if you want to have an extra hit of satisfaction, bring someone you know who is lost in the time warp of their vinyl collection of Cream, Hendrix or Grateful Dead. You may renew their faith in live music. Listen to the August 30th interview Now - joe chisholm - firstname.lastname@example.org
CRUISING AROUND HOT SUMMER STEETS IN TORONTO
METAL QUEEN MUSIC FEST 2007 saw a ton of great talent peak out with Revolver, Crash Kelly, The Mud Men and Edwin. Rockers started to fade as the night went on. I would say that the peak crowd hit mid-afternoon. By the time Edwin came on it was like a private party. But Edwin's band were troopers and put on a fabulous show, treating the crowd to some I Mother Earth sprinkled in with "the newer stuff." The small and devoted crowd cryed for an encore and the true professionals that they are, they came on and satisfied. Look for more commentary and pictures later this week. See the star-studded gallery of pictures now. Still not back to work, well here's some more
RCD MUSIC Showcases great straight ahead rock and roll at the Riv on a monthly basis. If unpretentious toe-tapin rock is up your alley you're assured you'll get your $6 worth at this monthly event. Shawn Kelly debuted his side-kick project Kelly's Heros, Galore, who's song The Amanda Effect is getting more rotations on XM Satelitte Radio than my old 45 did (does anyone out there get that reference... OK, I'll come up with something from this century next week). Down the street at Healey's The Toronto Independent Music Awards were showcasing and The Joys were working in a new bass player. Gawk now at all the rock 'n' rollin' pics .....
The Art Community Set up Camp on Queen to Raise Money for CAMH
Art and Music were on display at The Rivoli on Queen street to raise money for The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health as Pop With Brains 10 packed the room for their monthly showcase.The Dunes, fresh off their UK tour were back to headline to share some of thier new tunes with Toronto as well as deliver on hits that have found their way to Much Music rotation and radio air play. Modern Boys Modern Girls (hear them live and interviewd on Episode 17 of The Toronto Indie Scene) opened. Oh The Pretty Things and The Germans were on the bill and, as always, Pop With Brains hosts Eden Ants gave a rambuctious set as well. The Dunes are working on a new video and camera crews were on-site. The band has invited all attendees with camera phones or digital photo/video camera who took shaps to send them to the band. Your pictures may be in the Dunes video.
SEE PICTURES FROM POP WITH BRAINS 10 Now!
Oops. Oops. this link wasn't working but it is now... Also, check out the Pop With Brains hyperlink above.
Saturday July 14th, 2007 at the Silver Dollar was an action packed night of great rock and just enough mis-adventures to keep people hopping. I SPYS. COBRA COBRA COBRA, COLOURBOOK,THE VESTALOYNES, MIXYLODIAN, THE DISRAELIS and HOLLERADO were on the bill. I know what you're thinking - "that's a lot of music for one stage. Thanks to Hollerado for inviting me out. Here's some pictures, inside, outside and around the corner, SATURDAY Picture Gallery @ The Silver Dollar
Downsview Park fills up to sing along with 54 40
As the Canada Day sun set on Downsview Park the day grew cooler and crowd grew deeper asMulti-platinum selling 54-40 packed the joint tocapped off what might be the best day of music IndieCan has had all year. Matthew Genovise, Vanderpark, Afternoon Zero, Trophy, from Toronto,Pat The White from Quebec City, Cory Lee from T.Dot/Van, Rally Car and Faber Drive from Vancouver and The Rock Star House Band (from your TV) set the stage for this "the place to be" event. Did I mention it was free. Not the rides or beer tent, of course, but 12 great hours of music.
Don't call us industry. IndieCan means music fan. TEAM INDIECAN had a blast, interviewing bands, organiziers and fans, mingling in the crowd, back stage, talking shop, talking to the crowd from the stage or face-to-face, helping out any way we could (which included putting Rally Car up for the night - ask us about our "adopt an indie band program"). It was exhausting, sometimes stressful, too many friggin' names to remember, over stimulation and the best fun anyone could have without risking infection. Speaking personally, there is no where I would have rather been. For those who were there, you know what I mean, for those who were "at the cottage" you'll have to live with our commentary. CLICK HERE for more 54-40 pics.
54-40 above, clockwise, Brad on Bass, Neil, guitar and lead vocals, Matt on drums and the newest member Dave on guitar, vocals and keyboard. Dave was selected to join 54-40 becasue he too had a fisrt name with 4 letters. Dave - this pic doesn't show off your new emo hair doo as good as some of our pics, but doesn't the strat look great in this shot - wow, what an axe. More smokin' hot photos of all the Canada Day performers will be coming soon.Get more 54-40 tour dates
Coming very soon: Photo galleries of each band, a radio episode devoted to Rock The Park and "A tale of three Van-bands" I will look at this day in the life for Rally Car - DIY indie, Faber Drive, indie label courted by major label and 54-40 indie, major, DIY and now calling indie label True North Records home. This is a fabulous opportunity to continue the never tireing question Dave Cool got us started on - WHAT IS INDIE?
Also: Why after meeting some of the Rock Star cast I don't have the same contemptuous "you're nothing more than Karaoke wankers and I can't believe people watch that shit" attitude. Not that their future hangs on my opinion. I won't start watching, but I will tell you what I like about them and what I think indie artists can learn from these poser survivalists.
FABER FANS WHO WAITED ALL DAY FOR FABER DRIVE WERE NOT DISAPPOINTED
I looked forward to Vancouver based Lotus Child's first trip to central Canada - I fully expected the Ontario/Quebec music fans to embrace them. The band name has a magnetic attraction to bad press. The first review I read was an Edmonton writer who hated the name, loved the music. Grant Lawrence, CBC Radio3 host, "I hate this band name but I love the band." Oddly enough, I knew that nobody out here would get hung up on it - OK, they're from Vancouver and they're called Lotus Child - which one's the vegan? who really cares? Let's hear your music.
Personally, I was more interested in the CD title - GOSSIP DIET. "As a people we are preoccupied with and we consume a diet of gossip" says singer Zack Gray. "But also the 'Diet' was the general assembly of the estates of the former Holy Roman Empire so the title represents a government that functions on little more than gossip."
If you look at your music collection and ask yourself, what's missing? - what do I not have? - GOSSIP DIET might be it. The sound and song writing sensibility is strong enough to be commercial without fading into the "so five minutes ago" trash can. Gossip Diet is enduring and deep in great pop/art songs like Archaeologist, Lids and The title track. You could buy this CD for your parents. You could put it in a time capsule for your kids.
On this night the setting was Kensington Market's The Boat and you guessed it - Zack, the "hippiest" of the bunch couldn't believe Toronto had a tie-die-cool neighbourhood like this. Lotus Child was on a bill with Fury & The Mouse, Personal Circus and Stone Fox. Tom Dobrzanski, keyboards, vocals and manager just got call hours before the show that BC Music had approved their tour grant so some of the trips costs would be recouped. So good news, Lotus Child will be back and if you missed them, your chance will come. And BC Music - money well spent. If lyrically you find Lotus Child a bit heady, their live performance comes from the heart and comes from the crotch, the way the live force giving Gods of Nightly Entertainment intended it to be.
WHAT THE BUCK?!?! UK's THE BUCK BROTHERS PACK THE DRAKE
Monday June 18th 2007 was time to say good-bye for now to THE BUCK BROTHERS. A U.K. export that's more British than Fish and Chips, this fun-loving punk/pop, post-punk, alt/punk, funk-punk, disco/punk, buck/punk (I don't know - all these sub-genre's are really starting to wear on me. We need a new dictionary to figure it all out) trio retuned to Canada once again, but this time as world champions.
Back home the brothers Buck took on the word record for the most gigs in a 12 hour period. Go to their web site and you can see a news video as they kicked off their attempt to be record holders. It didn't look good - with equipment malfunctions and worse-than usual London traffic, The Buck Brothers were off to a rough start. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased to report that I learned in my interview Monday night that the new record for most gigs in a 12 hour period has now been eclipsed and now set at 28 by the now infamous Buck Brothers.
The Buck Brothers have played more Canadian gigs in the three trips this year than some Toronto indie bands. Andy (bass) and Pete were working in a new drummer Foley, maybe because his predecessor couldn't keep up with the cross-Atlantic madness. There's no doing it like over doing it, is there boys? This trip to Canada saw the Bucks hooking up with Jen Militia for a number of gigs. They hooked up with Vancouver's The Flairs for a number of shows during their Canadian Music Week trip and on this "farewell to Canada" showcase they shared the bill with Windsor's INOKE ERRATI (pronounced "I know Karate"), The GTA's RED ROSES BLACK, OIL CAN BOYD and The Campy CAMP COMBO.
Remember Episode 41? Yeah, that's right, The first ever OTTAWA INDIE SCENE, which was hosted in Whitebird Sound Studio by Douglas Graham. Well, this is a "myspace works" story, as Doug and IndieCan only knew each other via the wonders of modern technology. On this night, Doug and wife Arlene were in T.Dot to meet up with IndieCan's Joe, Mary and Raquel for the first time. We had dinner at the Drake, talked shop and committed to working together some more which is good news for both artists and music fans. After conferring on grand plans to revolutionize the music biz, we headed down stairs to catch the set. Are THE BUCK BROTHERS infectious? By the end of the night they were offered a place to stay in Ottawa next time they're on our continent and arrangements were made to get some of the love and energy of the Buck Brothers live set captured on the floor of Whitebird Studio - so keep an ear out for that, maybe this fall.
The whole night was great indie fun. Expect to hear more from Red Roses Black and Inoke Errati on IndieCan soon. I got a tour of the Inoke Errati School Bus which was parked outside The Drake - nice conversion to tour bus boys. The bus has a small but meaningful cameo in the slide show belowï¿½. Enjoy.
April 26th 2007 at The Boat in Toronto's Kensington Market, Montreal's Flotilla hit the stage. IndieCan listeners may recall hearing the 2006 CD "Disaster Poetry" on our show (Episode 33). What a great title for a CD don't you think? Flotilla, this night was Veronica Charnley on guitar and vocals, Eveline Grï¿½goire-Rousseau, pop-rockin' on the concert harp and Geof Holbrook who on this night had keyboard and drum responsibilities.
Geof pipped up more than once as he was sometimes keeping time with his left hand and foot and working the keyboards with his right hand that "this sounds really cool when we have our drummer (Mark Nicol) with us." But I thought it added an added visually pleasing adjunct to the show to see Geof struggle and juggle.
So, yes, this is the first indie band I've covered with a harp. I don't think that Eveline is the only band mate with classical training. The music is so pleasing to the soul and The Boat and the reddish light stage provided the dreamy pseudo 60's cafï¿½ atmosphere for this delightful set of music. Songs like 'Breath the Snow' show off Veronica's great vocal range and the arrangements behind her carry the songs like surfers on a wave. Other than devoted metal heads I would recommend this tasty treat of a trio...Click HERE for mor Flotilla pics.POP WITH BRAINS 8 ROCKS THE RIV with Eden Ants, Spiral Beach, Stop Die Resuscitate and Fjord Rowboat Friday March 23
POP WITH BRAINS 8 Sells out The Rivoli, raises money for CamH and introduces the world to Eden Ant's new EP TAKE WHAT YOU WANT.
POP with Brains is a clever art community celebration that includes photo exhibits, fine art and other tasteful exhibitors with fabulous music for the night's sound track. On this Friday in March, Eden Ants released their new EP on a bill that included crowd favourite, Spiral Beach. For Torontonians, this was the end of a dry spell as Spiral Beach had been on tour with the Hidden Cameras and they've been spending some time recording.
Eden Ants were the Alt Rock winners at the first ever Toronto Independent Music Awards in 2005 and will be featured on an IndieCan Radio show soon. Front man, Adymm Ender was delighted at the turn out, the crowd response and the opportunity to raise money for the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, as Adymm says, "ï¿½an organization that's work is near, dear and well known to the art community."
SEE ALL THE POP WITH BRAINS 8 PICS HERE!
St. Patricks day was celebrated around the world. IndieCan spent the night at Seven Star Billiards enjoying a night of fun with the U.K. Band, THE BUCK BROTHERS, Vancouvers THE FLAIRS and Toronto's Jr. VICE PRESIDENTS. Both THe Buck Brothers and The Flairs closed CMW at different venues. They are both bound for La Belle Provence and both will return to T.Dot for one last chance to see them (for those of you are are Torontonians) but seeing them both will present it's challenges. On the 22nd The Flairs play the Bovine Sex Club. On the same night the Buck Brothers will be part of the Skylar Entertainment showcase at the Elmocombo which includes The Morning Stars, Peeler and Jen Militia. So Torontonians, don't just sit there reading, mark your callander now and pick a show. For more "Pics of Pranks on St. Patty's Day" click here
"Independent by Identity - not by Default"
The Ember Swift band is Ember Swift (guitar/voice), Lyndell Montgomery (violin/bass/voice), Adam Bowman/Cheryl Reid (drums/percussion) and this is show I had been looking forward to for a long time. A Sunny spring-like Sunday March 11th was Toronto's Hugh's Room's turn to host this veteran of indie art.
Only days before, Ember Swift was honoured at the CMW Indies with this years "BEST WEB SITE" but she didn't hang around to do much basking. After hanging around to be part of the Rough Trade induction into the Indie Hall of Fame, Team Swift had gigs in Michigan and Ottawa before I caught up with them Sunday.
Those of you who saw "What is Indie?" - you'll remember Ember as one of the interviewees in Dave Cool's documentary. If you own the DVD I assume you have viewed the extended interviews with a hand full of the 30-odd participants. I think that for indie artists, theDVD pays for itself in career advancement just by listening closely to the Ember Swift Interview. This is where your conviction and sense of identity is reconfirmed. Ember - with nine indie CDs and 12 touring years and counting, is the undeniable voice of real-life indie in this documentary. She isn't talking about a concept, a possibility or an ideal. She talks about it as her own dignified way to making art, a living and a contribution to the world she lives in.
In "What is Indie?" Ember reminds us that we "get to prideful and forget to ask for help, we are often too hard on ourselves." Swift makes the point that a career in art has to come from what inspired us in the first place, not the money. "Too often we worry about incurring debt, being overwhelmed, not selling enough CDs, taking risks when what's really important is - are we getting enough greens, are we drinking enough water."
Ms. Swift doesn't buy the "performers have a 'shelf life'" notion. There is no running out of time. Youth is an attitude and she expects her work to get better and better. "Everyone is looking for a manual on how to succeed as an independent artist but there isn't one. Everyone has their own individual journey. And going back to Independent by identity not by default, being indie isn't eithir in waiting for a major label deal or passed by by a major label deal, it's who we are and how we do what we do - it's our identity."
I met with Ember over a carrot soup and greens salad before the show upstairs at Hugh's Room and we talked about some of these things. We talked about song writing, politics and life style and a little bit about why Ember is taking 3 months off (something she has never done) form the constant touring which at it's peak reached 200 dates a year. She is bound for China on her own Women's Studies Mission and "hopefully to come home knowing a little more about music" she adds. You may be glad to know as I am that upon her return, Ember will be visiting IndieCan Studio to perform a few tunes and to talk about her travels. So, with that in the books, all that was left for me was to enjoy the show.
Krystle Mullin and friends opened the show with a little spoken word. I have often joked that no matter how overwhelming things seem to get for us indie musicians, we have only to pause, look at poets and be grateful. I was blown away. Really, it was so clever and so fuckin' funny that steps are now underway to bring some of this great art to our radio show.
The Ember Swift Band poured through some reworked wreckages from the past, performed an ode to a fallen friend and tastefully picked through the new CD, The Dirty Pulse with tunes like "No Regrets," "Impossible to Tell" and my favourite, "Ten Pin," - I told Ember that I thought her songs were clever, they don't hit you over the head and every song asks to be listened to again. So if "I like the holes wide, I slide my fingers in" is in fact about bowling, I am deeply disappointed.
Lyndell sang one of her own songs and as she put it, "Someone in this band has to sing love songs." Has anyone seen what Lyndell does to guitars? She has all the sensitivity of a prison proctologist. I am sure she is working out some cathartic something or other. I hope and trust her therapist is more proud of her than her luthier is.
Everyone should see this show - I don't care how genre-specific your tastes are. There are lessons to be learned about life, and performance. And after four straight CMW nights that included 34 musical acts, I found the show damn entertaining too. My only caution to fellow musicians would be that if you think Lyndell might ask to borrow your instrument be ready with some story about it already being lent out to a friend who's gigging that night.
So, sometime this year I will look forward to capturing for the archives a little of the spring fever that Hugh's Room enjoyed tonight as Ember returns from her journey and we lure the band into what ever nomadic studio IndieCan is calling home that day. See more EMBER SWIFT BAND PICTURES
And Krystle, don't forget that CD. I look forward to seeing if my listeners become as intrigued by the art form of the spoken word in the same way I was tonight.
Joe Chisholm, March 11, 2007
IndieCan: Keeping the Scene Alive AUDIO BLODD MAGAZINE By: Sari Delmar
Last week I came upon a revelation of sorts. I was sitting on the bus around 9:45 am listening to Cursive. I watched the same people I usually see get on and off at the same places they always do. I was thinking about something I am usually thinking aboutmusic. I was thinking about the lack of money in the community. How does it work? I was thinking. Why is everyone working so hard? And of course there is the obvious realization that they all love what they are doing, but I was thinking a little more economically. That is when reverse psychology stepped in and I decided that the only reason the small underground independent music community gets along so well and works is because there is no money. It is not based around the numbers. Most events surrounding music happen because of the people who help out and make no money what so ever. The lack of funding is what creates a community that is so compassionate and empathetic. If money entered the picture things would change, for the worse. So this is what I realized.
When I was up late last Saturday night exchanging emails with Joe Chisholm about his radio show and organization, IndieCan, I thought back to the idea.
Income that's funny, Joe began. I am a financial planner by day and songwriter, guitar player by night. I do plan to find a way to commit to IndieCan full time, which might not be the wisest financial planning - but my humble quiet desperation, has been interrupted by a higher calling. You would be stunned to know how many people I know who are Bay Street by day, Queen Street West.
IndieCan is an online indie community (www.indiecan.com). You may be familiar with their radio show, THE TORONTO INDIE SCENE which has been picked up by various college stations across Canada and seen a huge increase of listeners, climbing from 400 listeners a show to 10,000 in only six months! This is no small feat. Joe with co-founder Andre Skinner, know a thing or two about working in the music industry. They also know good music when they hear it.
Just this fall they had a special trip to Vancouver to kick off their new radio show, THE VANCOUVER INDIE SCENE! Montreal is next. Both cities are known for their astonishing music communities and the shows will only further expand a music listeners knowledge. All episodes are available for free download off the website. So go catch up! (www.indiecan.com)
Their goal is to bring indie music to indie fans and to hopefully diversify the mainstream music consumption. Listening to corporate major label music day in, day out, can be hazardous to ones health, detrimental to their artistic ability, and not to mention, extremely depressing. Unfortunately most people see no music outside of the Top 40 radio world, they do not know one exists and are living oblivious Nickelback-drenched lives. It is a mess; A catastrophe waiting to happen.
IndieCan sees this issue, and Joe admits, it is what forced him in this direction. The reason for starting IndieCan is it had to happen. He goes on to say, As an indie artist, I couldn't help but observe the music scene from both an artistic and financially analytical view point. There is no middle class in the music business at least for artists. There are the multi-millionaires at the top and artists with day jobs, or partners, or parents that support them. That could not be more true.
His passion could also be fuelled by some resentment. He explained, Local media could give a rats-ass. If I am not mistaken, 102.1 didnt even give a damn about Metric or Billy Talent until they made it big somewhere else and then they claimed them as their own prodigal sons (and daughter). I smelled a rat when I looked at the wealth of talent in and around Toronto and how little air play they got from local radio. Guests on the show include Ian Danzig (senior writer for Exclaim!), Barries own Used for Glue, Torontos Tin Bangs, infamous writer John Capek, and many more masters of art you probably havent heard of, but deserve recognition.
Out of Red Line Recorders, IndieCan presents live sets from bands around the area. And to think, this is just a side job for Joe.
For fans, who might suspect discovering new music might be too time consuming, I guessed that no matter how overwhelming their life is, they could devote one hour a week to new music. This is where the idea for our flagship project, THE TORONTO INDIE SCENE came from. Now deemed, an hour a week of the best music youve never heard, and deservedly so. This ismore than passive listening to the radio. This is a priceless educational experience. The Industry Insider Interview and insights from the bands further proves why IndieCan is appealing to indie artists, indie insiders, and indie fans.
With the never ending corporate radio payola scams consistently finding their place in the NEWS section in Rollingstone magazine, IndieCan offer you a breath of fresh air from the endless bullshit. They play music they fully support, interview people they are interested in, and have no concern for following the controversy. I am absolutely sincere about the artists on the show, Joe confirms. I do not pretend to be or want to be a critic. I am not on the VIP balcony. I write from the mosh-pit. I am a fan, not a critic. Our music comes from what I, or other members of my team, find compelling. So we love it all.
IndieCan gets a big 2 thumbs up from Audio Blood. Good music doesnt need money, although it may deserve some.
Shawn (www.myspace.com/shawnsage) has the rare distinction of being the only person who has been a guest twice on The Toronto Indie Scene. Episode 3 features Shawn as our industry insider who talks about www.coffeehouse.caand the Toronto folk scene. In Episode 7, Shawn performed for IndieCan listeners which included a a^?oeone-time-onlya^?? jam with co-hosts Andre and Joe on his song a^?oeI got the cana^?(TM)t sing the Blues, Blues.a^??
As you can tell by the title of that song, Shawn has a macabre sense of humour that comes out in some of his songs and certainly makes him a great entertainer. If you are a MTV/Much child of the short attention span, you wona^?(TM)t be able to make it through all 2 A^1/2 minutes of the clever writing of Shawn Sage songs, but the jokes are short and sweet and you are assured a good time. Check out episode 7 to hear how good Shawn sounds. You will in for a treat.
a^?oeHey Lucy, youa^?(TM)re so fine, youa^?(TM)re so fine you blow my mind, hey Lucy, hey Lucya^??www.lucymusic.caDona^?(TM)t tell me that I have to be the first to find a genre for this trio of the fairer sex. Personally, I would have called them a^?oeThe Whisky Chicksa^?? or a^?oeDixie Chicks on Dopea^?? or a^?oeSongs we wrote in high school when we were asked to leave class again.a^?? But it wasna^?(TM)t up to me, so Lucy it is. I never did ask what the reference was a^?ï¿½g Lucille Oa^?(TM)Ball? Lucy from Peanuts? This is a fun band, a must-see, and yes, I am working on getting them on our show. Under the compulsories they harmonized on the requisite a^?oethat damn boy just wouldna^?(TM)t listen a^?ï¿½g why, oh whya^?? songs. But for the free style section they fascinated with talent, versatility and song subject manner. The song a^?oeShark Baita^?? included a little puppet theatre; the pink cowboy hat came out as an exclamation mark on their country music parity and the three showed off a little as they switched from Electric, to acoustic, to bass, to clarinet to make-shift drum kit.
Mark my words; if this trio takes their music seriously, Canada is just the kind of country that will eat it up. Look out for Lucy.
The evening ended with twangy country rock sound of Canteen Knockout (www.canteenknockout.com)a^?(TM)s Andre Skinner on gee-tar and vocals, Alex Maxymiw on lead twang and petal steel, Scott Whitmore on Bass and Jake Adams (Good cowboy name) on drums.
Coming off a high from their Toronto Pride main stage performance in front of thousands (who knew Brokeback Mountain could make country music cool in Toronto again), Canteen Knockout was back to their a^?oeIa^?(TM)m a little bit country, I am a little bit Rock a^??na^?(TM) Roll sound. The Band kept the crowds attention with a combo of a^?oesoon to be releaseda^?? songs, CKCs (Canteen Knockout classics) and the odd cover tune thrown in. I have seen these guys a few times and the crowds keep growing and more of them seem to know the songs. If you are a C & W purist, youa^?(TM)ll be happy. If your answer to a^?oeLeta^?(TM)s go see some alt/countrya^?? would be a^?oeI would rather stick needles in my eyes,a^?? I say to you, give Canteen Knockout a try. You might be surprised. Go ahead, give it a try. It doesna^?(TM)t mean you want to share a sleeping bag in the great outdoors with a cowboy.
I thought I had seen it all after NXNE's 2004 Erocktica show at the Bovine with strippers and all that, but nothing I mean nothing comes close to a White Cowbell Oklahoma show, especially with a capacity crowd at the Legendary horseshoe Tavern for NXNE. With people lined out the door and dying to get in I knew this would be a show not to be missed. First off W.C.O. got the crowd juiced up and ready to go with their shotgun wielding sheriff who came out on stage and starred down the crowd making sure there we're no posers on hand, a few minutes pass and the band busted out on stage and got right down to business with some good o'll southern metal. I've never seen more energy and straight up kickass ear splitting' rock than at that show.A few tunes in things started getting visually interesting when a sweet little cowgirl came out on stage and stated shakin' her thang eventually shaking it off showing some tits and ass, the crowd was freaking out and and the Horseshoe started heating up. The guys in the front row really got their money's worth as a couple of them got a face full of jiggling tits. They didn't seem to mind a bit.
W.C.O. was easily 3 times louder than the other bands I had seen earlier in the night and without exaggerating I left the Horseshoe with some ear damage. - IT WAS STILL WORTH IT.
Ladytron (Interview with Rueben Wu)
Its a beautiful day in Jacksonville. Thanks for calling the Hyatt. How can I help you?
Im put through to the room of Rueben Wu, one-quarter of Ladytron, currently one of the UKs hottest export commodities. Wu was in Jacksonville, Florida doing a solo DJ set before heading to the South-By-Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. He had one other DJ gig in Cleveland before flying back to Liverpool for a couple of Ladytron warm up shows at Korova ~ the bands own club. They are now in the midst of their 2006 tour with stops in Europe before crossing the Atlantic for some North American performances, including Toronto.Sounding quite relaxed, Wu confesses, Ive been DJing since I was 18, long before being a musician. Today a couple of us DJ, as people are intrigued by what were about and what type of music were into. Stating that his sets are generally electro-sounding, he mentions the time when he was called upon for a gig in Madrid at 5 A.M. for a hard-based techno set. You just go with whats happening at the time, he laughs.Based in Liverpool, Ladytron ~ with Daniel Hunt, Mira Aroyo, and Helen Marnie completing the lineup ~ seem to be at the helm of todays DIY-Indie culture. Wu and Hunt are both natives of England, Marnie hails from Scotland, and Bulgarian born Aroyo rounds out the global composition that has provided influence to many of their songs. They are part of a scene of individuals who are creating a buzz as DJs, musicians, producers and promoters. They were recently asked to curate a special evening at the South Bank Centre in London as part of the Ether06 Festival. The event was described as a combination of a childrens party and arcane social experiment.The band has always been involved in the Liverpool music scene since gravitating to the city several years ago. They had a successful club-night at Le Bateau called Liquidation, before deciding to open Korova (www.korova-liverpool.com). The weekly Indie night, EVOL, spotlights bands and DJs, providing others with an expression outlet. The obvious references to Clockwork Orange and Sonic Youth are in sync with naming their band after the title of an early Roxy Music song.One year into the new millennium came the release of 604, a synth-based collection of catchy tunes. They were quickly adopted by the UKs New Music Express, and the foursome soon found themselves being compared to 80s musical icons, Human League. Its no surprise really, given the 2-boy-2-girl composition, the retro hairstyles, and that retro analog sound.Wu is one of the key re-mixers in the group and mentions that he has just completed dance remixes for their songs, Hi-Rise and International Dateline. Besides remixing their own songs, they are sought after by other bands seeking a different sound. With the recent release of the Jim Abbiss (Placebo) produced Witching Hour, their 3rd full-length, the sound is much more polished, a tinge darker, and has further defined their own unique style. Destroy Everything You Touch is a power driven pop song destined to become an underground classic.The obvious had to be asked being based in Liverpool are there any plans to do a Beatles cover? Wu admits that they were once asked while in Shanghai (twin city to Liverpool), but it just never happened. We were actually considering it but then got sidetracked with something else, he confesses. Probing further he discloses, If it ever were to happen, it would likely be a B-side or a live recording, and probably Taxman as thats the only song that fits our style.Wu describes touring today as quite different to their first 604 tour, when he admits we sounded like the record. For their subsequent Light and Magic tour they added a bassist and drummer which allowed the band the flexibility to have more fun with their stage antics. I point out that Hunt was once quoted as saying, live shows are not important to the band. Wu laughs, It was likely during our first tour when we were lugging our own gear around and the equipment often broke down. Theyve since evolved and Wu is quick to point out that, touring provides a way of thinking that we need for self development. We cant survive without gigging. Good news for their growing legion of fans across the globe.
Ladytron play Torontos Opera House on April 20th (sold out) and Montreals Club Soda
on the 19th, which at the time of printing still had tickets available.www.ladytron.comwww.myspace.com/ladytronBryen Dunn
Phone: 416 761 1673
By Bryen DunnCanadian Music Week blew through town once again last weekend, and just like
a hurricane it wreaked some havoc. There was the usual confusion,
cancellations and disappointment amongst the highlights of the Festival. I'm
not going to give you the typical band reviews, but more a CMW critique.The "week" began on Wednesday with "The Indie Awards" which could be an
excellent venue for promoting "indie" bands, but it's more a who's hot right
now sort of event. This year they even honoured a couple of old school
Canuck bands, Parachute Club and Pursuit of Happiness, into the "Indie Hall
of Fame". Back in the 80's the sound was known as "alternative" until
mainstream took over that word. Now it appears "indie" is about to be
morphed into the corporate world of music as well. What next? "Underground"
seems to be still valid as an all encompassing homage to the undiscovered
talents out there.There were performances by The Stars and Magnet that were not really much to
drool over. Overall winners sounded like a top 40 play list with Arcade
Fire, Bedouin Sound Clash, Broken Social Scene, Metric, DFA1979 and even Sum
41. If this is "indie" then I would say suggest all bands out there sign up
to a (major) label quick if you want to be recognized.Seriously though, something a bit more "underground" is The Galaxie Rising
Stars Award of the CBC, which helps new artists promote their name in the
Canadian music industry. This year the Award was determined by Critics'
Choice where music journalists across Canada voted to determine the winner.The shortlist for the 2006 Galaxie Rising Stars Award of the CBC was as
follows, with Elliott Brood being chosen the overall winner with most votes.
All Purpose Voltage Heroes "Already Haunted" (Rectangle)
Black Mountain "Black Mountain" (Jagjaguwar/Scratch)
Elliott Brood "Ambassador" (Six Shooter)
Comeback Kid "Wake The Dead" (Smallman)
The Diableros "You Can't Break The Strings In Our Olympic Hearts"
Final Fantasy "Has A Good Home" (Blocks)
Holy Fuck "Holy Fuck" (Dependent)
Jon-Rae and The River "New Songs For The Old Town" (Permafrost)
Republic of Safety "Passport" (Independent)So the "week" continues the following evening, which is the first night you
can use your wristband for anyone who actually purchased one of these. At
$35 a pop, it's hard to get full value over the three nights (Thursday to
Saturday) of the "week". Don't forget to add on cab fares if you actually
want to catch bands in various venues, but if you stuck to one venue for the
night at $8, you'd be paying $24 for all 3 nights - a savings of $11 right
off the top. But the purpose of CMW is to bop around club hopping, perhaps
getting somewhere to encounter a line up, or they are at "wristband
capacity", then it's another decision to be made. So in order to see the
bands you want you have to be pretty slick and on the ball. The CMW website
isn't any help as it seems the format hasn't been updated in years, and
navigating around is very cumbersome.As for the tradeshows, these are actually quite valuable to those in the
industry. It's great for networking and learning tricks of the trade for new
musicians. There are tons of seminars with guest speakers, not all of which
are sales pitches. These are industry-only events so no need to flash your
wristband here.I didn't actually notice many line ups this year, except for the show piece
event on Saturday at Lee's, with current darlings Mstrkrft. These cover boys
(on NOW Magazine) packed the place and evidently this was a known fact long
before the Saturday performance as NOW had the show listed as "sold out".
Another loss for those with wristbands, but they are pretty though and
likely reusable for something.Then over at Social and Spin Gallery, the owners decided to cancel the
showcase that evening due to poor turnout the previous nights. The owners
didn't feel like taking a loss when they could generate more revenue from
their regular Saturday night DJ crowd. How could CMW let this happen? Are
there not any contracts in place with venues? Will Social be allowed as a
participating venue next year?So the cancellation sucks, not only for people heading there to catch some
bands of interest, but also to the bands that came in specifically to play
CMW. Luckily some quick thinking and the show went on as a "house party"
just up the street. Now that's the "indie" spirit of a true music festival.
Strut Magazine - Toronto Launch Party
By Bryen Dunn On Wednesday March 8th The Berkeley Church (Queen and Parliament) was once
again transformed into a concert venue/promotional showcase for a Strut
Magazine www.strutmagazine.com event. Last year they created headlines by
bringing in Juliette Lewis and the Licks. This year performances by NYC's
"Morningwood" and Montreal's "The Stills" didn't bring the same buzz but the
bands rocked out in fine format.Strut defines itself as "Canada's Coolest Magazine" and "the best in
Canadian fashion, photography and culture. I personally flipped through the
glossy pages scanning the 50% advertising content, 30% pictures, and finally
the 20% text that might of interest to readers. If you're a fan of GQ or
Vogue this is likely aimed at you, and you were likely at the launch party
as well.This year the purpose of the party was to announce their new Toronto digs
over near Queen and Dufferin in the trendy west end of the city, after 3
years in their home town of Montreal. VICE Magazine recently moved into the
Parkdale area as well. Strut is now claiming they are going to conquer the
country one city at a time. Not sure if they know of the success/failure
rate of most publications, but then again with a 50% advertising content I'm
sure they will likely stay afloat longer than other upstarts.The Launch Party itself was jam-packed, thanks to some excellent PR work.
Corporate sponsorship was everywhere including Oakley, Motorola and Skyy
Vodka. Morningwood (www.moringwoodrocks.com) came out shortly after 9 and
within minutes lead singer Chantal Claret had me thinking of her as the new
Patti Smyth. Tons of energy, hard-ass vocals and a no-shit attitude give her
control of the stage. Their single, "Take Off Your Clothes" was inspiration
for her to call up a young vixen from the crowd and then proceeded to rip
her clothes off her and got into some girl-on-girl soft core. Their
self-titled debut is a hit on college, university and indie stations across
the USA. It helps to have the credibility of producer Gil Norton (Echo and
the Bunnymen, Pixes, Foo Fighters) behind them.The Stills (www.thestills.net) were quite tame after the explosive openers,
but they did their best to keep the attention of the largely non-attentive
crowd. This crowd was there after receiving complimentary invitations (and
drinks if you arrived early enough), again thanks to the good PR work. After
a solid 30 minute set, The Stills left the stage to make way for Carlos D,
from NYC's Interpol. Apparently he was quite late arriving, and again an
uninterested crowd couldn't care less and started filing out by 11pm.I'm sure accomplishment was achieved by all parties involved with this
party. Let's see what they get up to next.Comments: email@example.com
Raising the bar for indie bands
By Andre Skinner
2005 proved to be a banner year for the music industry, we were introduced to many hot bands such as Bloc Party, Death Cab For Cutie, The Bravery and many more. The bar has certainly been raised from art rock to punk and all genres in between. That said, Bronx Cheerleader certainly felt they had to come out swinging and in top form with their debut full length ï¿½Tough Guy Clichesï¿½ in 2005. After a few spins of this brilliant debut I couldn'tï¿½t stop listening to it and decided that it was one of the best debutï¿½s Iï¿½ve heard and was definitely one of the strongest releases of the year.Rising from the ashes of former Toronto psych-rockers Pope Factory is founding member Scott Warren who after almost 3 years on hiatus following a the bandï¿½s breakup in 2001 had to bust out his axe and songwriting chops to get back to doing what he loves best: playing music. After writing a few new tunes in 2003 Scott had his momentum back and was on his way to laying out the blueprints for ï¿½Tough Guy Clichesï¿½. This proved to be quite a task because Scott, who had since settled into domestic bliss with a new house and a brand new baby, had to find the time to juggle way more tasks than he was used to in prior music projects. The big changes had not only altered Scottï¿½s lifestyle but also his songwriting which had evolved from the guitar rock sounds of Sonic Youth to a more mellow, yet still trippy, rock style comparable to the melodic styles of Mercury Rev, and vocal sounds of Elliot Smith. Over 2 years into the project and a few band names later Bronx Cheerleader was officially born. The process of recruiting the band came while recording the CD, Scott had most of the tracks in place but needed key overdubs such as mandolin, lead guitars, drums and bass so he had to start making some calls to find players. The members of the band consist of a mixed bag of Scottï¿½s musical acquaintances varying from family, friends, former band mates and a new recruit from a local record label, they are; original Pope Factory drummer (Sauder), brother in law & guitarist (Tom Tracey), long time friend and ex Palooka bassist (Eron Stroud), and finally Yummy Recordings label head and guitarist Joe Lapinsky. Having such a talented crew of musicians on his side was exactly what Scott needed to seal the deal and put out the long awaited ï¿½Tough Guy Clichesï¿½ and also have a spot reserved for the band on Yummy Recordings.After the official release of Tough Guy Cliches, Bronx Cheerleader had to test the Canadian Indie market and start promoting their product, after sending out some promo CDï¿½s they weï¿½re surprised to find themselves on the national Top 50 chart of the Canadian College Radio circuit for over a month straight along with a spot on Earshotï¿½s Top 30 Chart. Not too shabby for a St. Catharines band who had never even fully rehearsed or played a live show.With such an impressive start in the bandï¿½s infancy thereï¿½s no question that we will be seeing and hearing great things to from this St. Catharines band as they are now in rehearsals preparing to hit the stage for the spring/summer season of 2006 and Scott Warren continues penning new material for their next CD which undoubtedly will be another killer.www.bronxcheerleader.comAndrï¿½ Skinner -
"AWESOME; I . SHOT THAT!"
Beastie Boys Film ReviewDa 3 Dudes known as the Beastie Boyswww.beastieboys.com are trying the
talents in film nowadays - well sort of. "AWESOME; I . SHOT THAT!" - it's
concert footage from their 2004 Madison Square Garden show taken by 50
concert-goers who were given cameras to film the Boys in concert, the fans,
and anything else they felt like supposedly. The result is a
grainy-amateur-like 90 minute waste of time, visually anyway.I think this could prove rock stars do not equal film producers. I totally
get what they were trying to accomplish, but let's leave this for the
amateurs and independents who don't have corporate backing and therefore
it's an honest depiction of what they are capable of, not something
"creatively" put together by professionals. To add to the hype, THINKfilm
(www.thinkfilmcompany.com) did a pre-release on March 23rd that was shown on
close to 200 screens across North America.This was preceded by the world premiere of "A DAY IN THE LIFE OF NATHANIAL
HORNBLOWER," a 30-minute short created specifically for this one-time event.
This was quite the entertaining piece that followed Mr. Hornblower (David
Cross - Arrested Development) through the streets of NYC doing his
day-to-day activities while on his cross country skis - with no snow. He
goes about his business dressed as a German Biermeister - not a leprechaun!
There were a couple of priceless lines such as when finishing his morning
expresso - "It's the elixir of the gods ~ a tiny cup of crystal meth".FYI - Hornblower is a pseudonym for Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, who directed
both flicks. THINKfilm states the short "will self-destruct right after it
is presented on March 23rd, never to be seen again." This enterprise is the
force behind independent and non-fiction film for the past four years, and
future projects include the movie version of "Strangers With Candy"."AWESOME; . I SHOT THAT!" hits theatres for its regular run on April 14,
Absolut Vodka Makes Music
Absolut Vodka has always been known as the trendy artsy vodka, right from
that day in 1985 when they collaborated with Andy Warhol to create exclusive
artwork for the label. They've since worked with many others in the art and
fashion worlds, including Tom Ford, Jean Paul Gaultier, Gianni Versace and
Kenny Scharf.March 23rd was the official Canadian launch of their newest project, Absolut
Tracks and specifically Absolut Kravitz, a venture into the music business
with a recognizable internationally known personality. Legendary Lenny
Kravitz (www.lennykravitz) agreed to write, produce and release his latest
single exclusively via Absolut. "Breathe" is an excellent dance track that
will likely be all over the airwaves this summer. It's yet another direction
Kravitz has taken, as with all his other non-categorical releases. He's
quoted as saying, "I wanted something with a simple dance beat, ala Donna
Summer's I Feel Love". I think he may have that down pat.The one stipulation when developing the song for Absolut was to incorporate
the brands core values ~ clarity, simplicity and perfection. Kravitz admits,
"There's nothing more simple, clear or perfect than the essence of true
love. Once I'd felt that, the track just came.What makes this release even more interesting is that it has already been
remixed by 10 different artists, and all tracks are available for free
download at www.absoluttracks.com, along with the video. Not sure what the
major labels are going to think of this approach, but Absolut seem to be
once again on the leading edge of pop culture. The Canadian link to all this
is a remix done by Montreal's DJ-duo Chromeo (www.chromeo.net), who
performed their remix version at the launch party. Other featured artists
are from Australia, Germany, Mexico, the US, and China.The Launch was held at the Artcore Gallery in the Distillery District of
Toronto (www.thedistillerydistrict.com). Thanks to Absolut for their newest creations: Absolut Limelight, Apple Sweety, and Monsoon.Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK 2006
Royal Wood at the Cadillac Lounge - March 4th
The night started pretty frustrating as my girlfriend and I we're denied entry to both the Horseshoe Tavern and Lee's Palace by frustrated doorperson's seemingly on a mission to make lives miserable. Even with the CMW delegate passes we we're denied, this being a first as I'm used to no lineups and no questions. So I decided on trying out the Cadillac Lounge which proved to be a wise choice and there was room to breathe in the bar and good acts to be seen. As I entered Royal Wood was on stage doing his best to wow the crowd with his somewhat Harry Connick Jr. esque soft voice and tall slim good looks. He's one of those musicians that even if he tried he could not hit a sour note, he had the smooth confidence that made his tunes stick in your head and roll along with groovy melodies. The first tune I saw was played on an acoustic guitar and to my surprize he hopped on the keys and jammed out a couple of more ditty's. For someone who was playing solo he was simply brilliant.Andre SkinnerYellow Light at the Cadillac Lounge - March 4thAfter Royal Wood's easy going and laid back tunes I figured something similar would follow, well I was wrong. Enter 2 bombshell babes from Vancouver heading up their hard rock combo Yellow Light. They got started on the right note as their Les Paul's engaged and started blasting away at the crowd, the music was heavy, rocking and ballsy similar to that of Hole and Veruca Salt. The band stood out more visually than they did musically as I think they need a little more time writing hits than looking hot.
Sylvie at the Horseshoe Tavern - March 4I decided to try the Horseshoe again after being denied earlier in the night and was let in before the lieup of 30 plus people without question??? As I entered the back room Wintersleep we're just finishing up and Sylvie we're about to grace the stage. The band was way cool, I mean there's something about a female bassist that usually lends to ballsy rockin' music. Sure enough this Regina band was blazin' though their set with the crowd engaged in every song. The singing duties we're traded off between the bassist and rhythm guitarist which made for a pretty cool and diverse set of hard/emo/rock somwhat remeniscent of Sonic Youth. With Sylvie's innovative sound I was pleasantly surprised and I'm now a fan. Excellent performance.Andre Skinner
Much anticipated Anti-Hero Rocks the Bovine
Not many years ago, ï¿½pop-punkï¿½ would have been an oxymoron. We are blessed to be in a time in music that is seemingly free of constraints. Anti-Hero rides this wave by delivering a one-two punch of pop and punk that leaves a **** eating grin on your face as your knees buckle and you fall to the mat. Anti-Hero is both of pop and punk, both rude and charming, while being true to both extremes. The reason it works is their sincerity and energy. Toying with the catholic goth school girl gone bad fantasy, Rose Perry fronts the band. Never far from her side is Nic, the tall blonde goddess foil to Rose, with the face of an angel but the voice of a demon. ï¿½I am 21ï¿½ says Rose after the show. ï¿½Nicole here is still a tender 20 years of age.ï¿½ To Roseï¿½s right is band co-founder Jesse on lead guitar. Keeping the beat alive on drums is Matty - who the band kidded on stage, about having the nicest boobs of the team. The band held nothing back, opening their set with the title track to their CD, ï¿½Unpretty.ï¿½ Another song was later dedicated to their producer Rob Sanzo (Parade, Rob Black, Crash Kelly) who said to me later that although they showed a little greenness their first time in the studio he can see their potential, he loves their energy and is excited that Anti-Hero has no where to go but up. ï¿½Two wordsï¿½ was another crowd pleaser and by that time in the set the band owned the whole crowd. The band had the presence of a stadium headliner. Rose knows how to front a band; she knows where the cameras are and wonï¿½t let the audience drift off. Anti-Hero got into the audiences face at Canadian Music Week and if they live up to their obvious potential, everyone in attendance will be boasting years from now, ï¿½I saw them first way back in ï¿½06 at the Bovine Sex Club.ï¿½ Joe Chisholm
Fun Times Galore at The Crow Bar
Already getting satellite radio play this band is one break form Main Street to main stream. The show concluded with a rockingï¿½ version of John Lennonï¿½s ï¿½Cold Turkeyï¿½ and closed the deal with ï¿½Sheï¿½s an Elevator.ï¿½
Kudos to the owner and staff of The Crow Bar, who hosting a great night for Bhurr Records. Chris Case (RCDmusic.com) emceed what was a great night for the future of Canadian Rock ï¿½nï¿½ Roll.
Joe ChisholmTacoma Redd Raises the Crow Bar
Hereï¿½s a band with two gears ï¿½ neutral and 5th gear, without much use for neutral. 100% power pop describes them perfectly. They come at you full throttle and you wonder how they will keep this up then they do. Front man, Doug Smart engages a crowd like no other ï¿½ dancing, pointing, wide eyed and when the constraints of a stage were too much for him, Doug join the audience, mic in hand. Kind of like a zoo with no fences, Tacoma Redd makes you part of the show.
Talking to Chris Bell (bass), Bryan Richards (guitar) Dean Glover (drums) and Doug afterwards they talked with glee about working with producer Moe Berg on their CD. ï¿½Simplicity was the theme of the dayï¿½ recalls Chris, ï¿½Keep it simple and be true to the song.ï¿½ ï¿½Moe gets us.ï¿½ Doug piped in. ï¿½We shopped around a lot for a producer but about two sentences into talking to Moe we all thought, ï¿½Wow, this guy gets it.ï¿½ï¿½
If you missed them, Tacoma Redd isnï¿½t going drift into the shadows. Catch up with them at www.myspace.com/tacomaredd and check out an upcoming show. Bring your ID, but leave the Prozac at home. There guys will get your synopses firing.
Dunes rock the Rancho Relaxo for CMW
If asked ï¿½what were your expectations, playing at Canadian Music Week?ï¿½ some artists would say ï¿½Lights, cameras, a river of Champaign and a spectacle of journalists, A&R reps and industry insiders clamoring for our attention.ï¿½
When asked the same question, Kevin Pullen, singer and rhythm guitarist of The Dunes said, ï¿½If we can get our music out to a few new people weï¿½ll be happy.ï¿½ This humble and healthy approach to music will be one of the important building blocks that will keep these blue collar Rockers prominently in the face of the Toronto indie scene. Like the pied piper, The Dunes music is creating an ever growing following of Dunes fans, from town to town and venue to venue. If you missed them, you donï¿½t want that to happen again. From their Rancho Relaxo CMW set (The first venue they ever played at by the way), The Dunes are off to Guelph before coming back to The Mod Club, Gladstone, Savoy, Cadillac Lounge and somewhere in there, finding time to do a live feature for IndieCan.com. The Dunes alt/rocked the Rancho Relaxo, breathing fresh life into the CMW weary midnight crowd. A packed house enjoyed a hot set and I am certain Kevin got his wish ï¿½ a few new Dunes fans were added to their following. Keep these guys on your radar screen by following them atwww.myspace.com/dunesrock.
Canteen Knockout - Mitzi's Sister - 14/1/2006
For anyone who likes a little "twang" in their rock or a little "alt" in
their country, Canteen Knockout (along with guest act Shawn Sage) was their
best bet last Saturday night at Mitzi's Sister. The hip low-key venue had
a great crowd in attendance and Andre Skinner and his henchmen served up a
great set of alt-country/grassroots rock offerings that they are known for.
The band seems to have mastered their sound and the material seems to be
delivered now in a way that only CKO can deliver it. Skinner is one of
those frontmen who is at his best when he is at his most relaxed, and on
this night he definitely was. Guitarist Alex Maxymiw always alternates
seamlessly from the electric guitar to pedal steel, depending on the song.
That band's staple tunes were performed like their 2003 EP opener BENT OUT
OF SHAPE, as well as their new material garnering attention like the
single-bound HEADLINES and the beautiful easy-going HOME, both from their
forthcoming full length album hopefully out sometime in 2006. The music
seems definitely headed more in the (alt) country vein rather than the
variety of styles explored in their debut disc. The marketing, more
spagetti western (check out their kick-ass posters these days) and the
Skinner attire more fitting, great black western style shirt he was sporting
on stage(!). This was CKO's first big local gig of 2006 and a good
beginning to what will hopefully be a good year for our T-dot twang-packing
unsung heroes. Long may they ride.Jeff Cole
The Complete Reprise Sessions
By Andre Skinner
For people like myself who are totally blown away by Gram Parsons music and for other who simply like his music, this 3 CD set will set you straight. It has the G.P. and Grievous Angel albums on their own as originally released along with a 3rd CD of alternate takes and previously unreleased songs. One thing I really love about this set is that at the end of each CD you get rare interviews with Gram and a really cool live to radio interview/performance he and his band did while on tour with Emmylou Harris. During that radio spot the band perform Sin City live, which is low-fi but very cool seeing as Emmylou had never performed on a released version of that song. Not only has this CD set all the cool audio extras but it also comes with a sweet 50-page booklet that includes great photos and stories about his short but sweet music career. Last but not least the packaging is awesome, the 3 CDa^?(TM)s and booklet come in a very nice cardboard case with an alternate photo on the cover taken for the G.P. cover. This package totally rocks everybody who enjoys country music should definitely own a copy.Gram Parsons
Fallen Angel DVD
By Andre Skinner
Gram Parsons life is truly that of a legend with his amazing music career with the Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and his own solo career that was cut tragically short by the fast life of sex drugs and rocka^?(TM)n roll. Fallen Angel is a documentary that is gripping to say the least. This DVD covers everything from his family background and his upbringing to his beginnings in music and how his legendary career began at Harvard with the International Submarine Band. This story is authenticated by musical heavyweights such as Keith Richards, Emmylou Harris and Chris Hillman who all tell great stories about their musical ventures with Gram. There are also interviews with his former road manager Phil Kaufman talking about life on the road and telling his controversial story about stealing Parsons body from LAX back in 1973. One thing that is very interesting to watch on this DVD is the rare videos that wea^?(TM)re shot with the Burrito Bros that seem a little cheesy now but wea^?(TM)re likely way ahead of their time back in the early 70a^?(TM)s. This documentary is not groundbreaking in style or production but it does cover everything you would ever need to know about Gram Parsons intriguing life story and is definitely worth checking out.
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