Recorded with Brett Humber at Sound Foundry Studios in Kingsville, drummer Justin Tessier and guitarist/vocalist Tarek Jafar are trying to send a message to radio stations. After the release of their first self-titled EP they mailed copies to every college radio station in the country, and did not exactly love the responses.
“We don’t really try to focus on genre specifics when we’re making music,” says Tessier, “we submitted [the first] CD to a lot of college stations, and we got a lot of response back saying that they didn’t necessarily want to have such poppy music.”
This was not a problem, apparently, for submission shows like NXNE and CMW, as these guys earned themselves slots in both festivals. Doing so may not have been everything they dreamed, though.
“If you are gonna play CMW or NXNE because you wanna start exploding in Toronto or on the Canadian music scene, I don’t think that’s the proper way to go about it,” said Tessier, “It’s a good, what Tarek and I like to call a resume show. It’s good to be able to tell people in the industry, like booking agents or record labels, if you’re into that sort of thing, that you’ve played these shows. And that means a lot to them because it’s a submission show. It’s like, we were good enough to get in.”
Tessier and Jafar will admit that there are merits to doing these sorts of shows, but they will put a caveat on that. To other bands hoping to play festivals like this, look at it as a networking opportunity, rather than the chance to make your career.
But even with the success of being chosen for submission shows, The Blue Stones were still looking to improve. The replies to their music from college stations had stuck with them.
“We understand that we’re not in any way an out-there radical band,” Tessier continued, “But we didn’t like the pop responses. Some stations that are playing some of our favourite bands weren’t playing us, and that was kind of bugging us.”
So back into the studio they went, this time to Sound Foundry out in Kingsville.
“It was an awesome process. Oh my god, it was so much fun going out there,” gushes Tessier, “It’s just so cool that he’s got this studio out in the county where you can just relax, you know. You do a couple takes and then you get a little worn out, you go outside, and it’s just beautiful. Summer in the county, and there’s birds everywhere, and just, you know, green as far as you can see.”
This was a huge difference from the back of an off-hours metal shop in Toronto, where the first album was recorded. The tracking environment can be considered a big influence on this new disc, one that could possibly help Jafar and Tessier get the response they are after.
“So this next album, it’s called How’s That Sound,” explains Tessier, “It’s almost a response to these stations that said ‘you guys are too poppy’. So we went and we made an edgier sound. We used a lot of analogue stuff, we didn’t do any digital processing with the guitars or anything, which we did on the first album, and now it’s going to be a response. We’re gonna send it back and say how’s that sound?”
Check out The Blue Stones when they release How’s That Sound along with Menos Mal and The Tyres on Saturday, Novemeber 3rd at FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W, main level). The show begins at 10 pm, 19+ are welcome, and admission is $5 at the door.
As happens fairly often in Windsor, a band will be officially releasing their newest piece of work via a CD release party this Friday, April 27th. This time the band is The STiG, and this is their first official release ever, an EP entitled This Lovely Filth, which was recorded with Mark Plancke at Shark Tank Studios in March 2011.
The band takes it’s name from the British TV series Top Gear, where a masked car driver known only as The Stig tests out cars. Their style of music, though, is not the sort to make you want to drive recklessly. The entire EP is on the slower side of things, with clean, well defined recordings and lyrics that are interesting to pay attention to. The entire thing has a distinct Blue Rodeo feel, in fact.
The theme of the album is rather dark, according to frontman Jeff Stiles, commenting on how we have replaced the word need with the word want, how we are fighting wars for nothing more than the chance to go shopping. Hence the name This Lovely Filth.
The first track, Who Are You? Features Jeff’s lethargic, laid back vocals over some groovy instrumentals. The main guitar riff is almost danceable, if taken out of context of the rest of the song, and the drums are rich, a full, close sound that provide a steady beat along with some growling bass.
Block It Out has more of a country feel to it, with Jeff’s slightly nasally vocals complimenting well a guitar tone that isn’t quite not twangy. Great mixing, the chorus really coming together with a twinkling guitar riff coming in, and rolling drum fills tying it all together. The bridge sounds almost like a march woth Jeff’s spoken word piece over top, before moving seamlessly back into the main riff of the song.
The third song is a particularily slow one, the head-bobbingly groovetacular No G. This one makes me imagine a high school dance, everyone swaying side to side, hands on hips and around necks as the disco ball spins…. Coming into the solo, it really wakes you up, with a big, creamy tone that stands out completely from the rest of this track.
Following the theme of dark ideas and “what has our society come to?!” we’ve got a song about internet porn. Fitting. Ask Jolene is about addressing the girl on the computer screen, thinking past the fact that she’s naked.
Closing out the album, Scarecrow puts another picture in my head. Listening to just the clean guitar guitar, I’m see the end of a 90’s romantic comedy, a slow-mo montage of the hero running to catch whoever he’s after. Pretty specific, but give it a listen and you’ll get it. Actually, bringing up the 90’s, that’s a vibe that runs through most of the disc. But in a subtle enough way as to not seem like an homage, luckily.
This Lovely Filth will see it’s official release this Friday, April 27th at FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W.) where The STiG will be playing along with Tony Coates. Admission is free, doors open at 9 pm, with music starting around 10.
Falling with Glory is an extremely hardworking band that fits well in rock and pop-punk shows. Their live performances are quite the thing to see, with custom lighting, fog machines, and more energy in four guys than in a case of Redbull. The first song they released was available on The Windsor Zene Sampler for January 2011, and Fight With Honour caught my attention immediately. Since then they have had this as well as other songs played on the 89X Homeboy Show, shot a music video, and have gotten up to 1 442 likes on Facebook! Because we all know that’s really what counts.
Probably their best accomplishment to date, however, is the recording and upcoming release of their first EP, The Cities Will Fall. Tracks have been available for your listening pleasure on Youtube for a bit now, but the official release is set to take place this weekend. On Friday, February 24th, Falling With Glory will be playing at The Room Nightclub (255 Ouellette Ave.) along with The Tragedy of Mariam and Intra Meridian. Certainly a great lineup of pop-rock bands that is likely to draw quite a crowd.
The EP itself, indeed, the reason for all the fuss, is certainly worth it. A very well recorded disc (or download) of six songs, the entire thing was recorded, mixed, and mastered at SLR Studios by Marty Bak, and has the wonderful, shiny quality that all of Marty’s work tends to possess. Definitely a great combination of producer and band, with styles that compliment each other well and that have culminated in an exciting sounding new local release.
Starting with the cleverly titled Intro, it is immediately apparent the amount of work that went into the production of these songs. Space-like and a tad creepy with maniacal female laughter, this is a pretty epic track that is an immediate warning to listeners; This is not a garage recording, and these guys are not a garage band.
On the track From the Start we hear a mixture of modern sounding, dancey synth and tribal-esque drums. Our first look at the band’s lyrics, this track has a great message, one of following dreams, working towards a goal, and staying above the influence of anyone else’s negativity. The vocals are sweet and pleasant, but the conviction behind the words is easily heard.
This is a band I can strongly recommend to fans of A Day to Remember. The vocals here tend to stay away from the screaming you’ll find with ADTR, but there are a lot of similarities elsewhere. Add to that some definite Avenged Sevenfold influence, and you’ve just about got the idea of these guys. Solid songwriting and arranging for catchy, radio-friendly tunes is likely to help them take their act far, as well as their penchant for meaningful lyrical content
The song Crash is a great example of this, a heavy-sounding track that addresses drunk driving. Party music like this often jokes about these sorts of issues, putting the emphasis on fun above than anything else. Here, Falling With Glory points out the obvious dangers of getting behind the wheel after consuming. An eery segment of dialogue puts things in a different, more real perspective than just the music would have done, an effective tactic for sending a message and making their song memorable.
This groups’ eclectic style of electronic, pop, metal, and punk makes for an exciting listen, and it’s hard not to feel pumped up afterwards. Comprised of talented and hardworking musicians, Falling With Glory is a band to watch in the coming years.
The Cities Will Fall EP gets a rating of two Converse All-Stars and a pair of skinny jeans. Check out their CD, and their live show.
Falling With Glory officially releases The Cities Will Fall EP on Friday, February 24th with Intra Meridian and The Tragedy of Mariam at The Room Nightclub (255 Ouellette Ave.) tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door, doors open at 9 pm and 19+ are welcome.
For a group that planned only to be a for-fun recording project, The Hypnotics really don’t have much to complain about. Their first full-length album has already reached number eleven in the Canadian College Radio Charts, hit number one in Windsor multiple times, and received airplay in cities across the country. All of this even before it’s official release.
Static Fuzz Radio is the follow-up to the bands debut EP, Soul at Seven, which came out in October of 2010. Their new album was recorded at Chemical Sound in Toronto, a studio known for it’s use of analog gear, and has recorded such acts as The Black Keys, Hunter Valentine, and Tokyo Police Club. It was produced and mixed by Dean Marino (of Papermaps) and Jay Sadlowski.
Set to be officially released this Friday, February 3rd at FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W. Main Level) The Hypnotics will be joined by James O-L and the Villains, The Nefidovs, and Paul Jacobs (now working under the moniker Raised By Weeds). Admission to the show is free, and the album will be available in both CD and vinyl formats.
This CD is a great ten-song collection of vintage-sounding surfy garage rock. Moving through the songs you’ll find a lot of varying influences that the two song writers draw from. The Brothers Konstantino, Dave and Mike, handle the bulk of that, and leave the beat-writing to drummer TJ Dowhaniuk.
Opening with Here She Comes Now, listeners are treated to some lovely fuzzy bass before the full song kicks in with some new-wave sounding garage punk. The bouncy sound of the song fronted by Mike’s adorably unique vocals makes this song the epitome of the band’s sound, and a great introduction to what they do.
TV Blues is one of my favourite songs, and I first had the chance to hear it when they played an opening spot for Orphan Choir at the 2011 Harvesting the F.A.M. Festival. This was a great gig for The Hypnotics, exposing them to a larger audience than had previously been able to enjoy them. This track I find to be particularly enjoyable for it’s terrific guitar riff and fuzzy tone, played at a moderate, plodding pace. All elements really fuse together to create a spectacularly groovy tune.
Getting a bit more punk, Lipstick on My Collar is a much different feeling, missing a lot of the higher sounds you’ll find in previous tracks. Still with that new-wave sound to it, this track features a nice guitar solo, a beautiful bass lines, and ends with a surprising and amusing “cha cha cha!”
Holiday in the City is an example of Dave’s songwriting and vocal abilities. This is a song that requires some dancing shoes, for sure. A very fifties-inspired sound, there are some great drum fills on this one, and the whole thing rolls through it’s boisterous two and a half minutes with a lot of energy.
By this point in the album it’s very easy to see why college radio stations are eating it up, and now we’re into a song about love gone wrong, which could only be expected. Nobody But You features some of the best drum-work to be found on the CD, providing an interesting background and really helping the song to stand out. TJ’s diverse musical background is now really becoming apparent in his playing with this group.
The second side of the vinyl starts with Radio City, a heavily rock-influenced piece. A very 60′s sound and more aggressive performance gives this song a unique feel. A great mix of all elements, this track can easily be imagined as a live performance.
One of the more popular songs off the album so far, Our Generation is The Hypnotics’ song about the current state and mindset of young people in our society. Think Bad Religion’s 21st Century Digital Boy done with a surf-rock feel, and you’ll get the idea of this track.
She Gives Me Everything is another rock song, one with some great sing-a-long lyrics. Upfront vocals,atop a bed of punky guitars, fuzzy bass, and quick drum beats.
Seemingly a follow-up to Nobody But You, A Modern Romance is asking for another chance. This is one that will likely induce dancing in listeners, with it’s poppy rhythm and quick beats.
Closing off the disc is another one I highly recommend, Paradise Beach. A very different sound that it’s preceding songs, it’s got watery sounding coming from the left, and an altogether stripped down feel. A good one for swaying along to, this is a low-key track with a great groove and feeling to it.
To pick up your copy of Static Fuzz Radio, visit The Hypnotics on Bandcamp, or go to their show at FM Lounge this weekend.
Static Fuzz Radio will be released by The Hypnotics at FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W, Main Level) on Friday, February 3rd, along with James O-L and the Villains, The Nefidovs, and Paul Jacob. Doors open at 9 pm, admission is free, and 19+ are welcome.
Produced by Erik Gurney, XII-22 Productions
By design and default, any and all music scenes develop pecking orders. There are some bands who are doing it simply for fun. There are bands who are doing it more out of love than talent and there are talented bands who just don’t seem to get it. There are bands who become headliners out of the gate and bands that toil for years never escaping the catacombs of being an opening act. And then there are some that seem to climb through each rank, sometimes unexpectedly, and through hard work and tenacity, start to turn heads.
Frontiers are one of those bands. A few years back, these guys were another generic indie punk rock band in a scene that was getting flooded. They played a series of opening slots (and a few perhaps ill-timed headliners), but no one seemed to be jumping on any Frontiers bandwagon. They were simply just there. All that changed about a year ago. A series of line-up shuffling and a re-commitment from those who remained seemed to light a new fire within the Frontiers camp and by their next show, something happened.
People noticed Frontiers. And not only did they notice, people were talking about Frontiers. The buzz was on.
Their new found passion and drive is nowhere more apparent that on their debut disc, Illusions, released this Friday January 20th at The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, beside Pogo’s). And as a sign of how far Frontiers has come from the days of being an unknown opener, they’re being joined for their CD release with two very special guests – Windsor’s own national touring punk rock icons Orphan Choir (whose frontman Jim Meloche lent his vocals to the track “Bones” on the album) and the blues-rock duo, The Blue Stones (who are headed to Canadian Music Week this year).
As I prepare to write this review, part of me wonders if anyone in Frontiers age bracket will get the musical references being compared, as the first thing I was struck with upon listening was how much of a throw back this record was. Not in the sense that it sounds dated – it’s remarkably fresh and completely relevant – but in that a lot of the influences seem to be from the late 80′s or early 90′s. In fact, if I hadn’t known what this record was, I could probably have been convinced it was a long lost Replacements record from 1989. And I mean that in the best of terms.
“My Oh My” is a great album opener and reveals the energy and swagger that ultimately shape the Frontiers sound. Again, there’s a retro sound – if you were to dig into the Goo Goo Dolls past (yes, they are a horrible mish mash of corporate rock now), they were actually a great melodic punk band from Buffalo before Big Money came knocking and “Name” transformed them into a pathetically safe band. Well Frontiers captures that same original energy, that same free attitude that still manages to maintain a sense of respect for melody within its angst. This song is one of the most mature punk songs since, well, Orphan Choir.
“Only With Fire” is another great track that bounces the listener along in a virtual dancing pit. Not a mosh pit by any means, but bobbing along to the song you can almost imagine a sea of sweaty fans bobbing along in unison to the revelatory sounds Frontier was broadcasting from the stage. Smarty constructed (it almost feels like a little cousin to the Replacements’ “Bastards of Young”) this could easily be a single and summer anthem.
By the third track, they slow the tempo and seemingly raise the lighters, for “Bones”. Initially starting like a mid-90′s power ballad, it’s guttural honesty redeems it early and veers it from falling into a potentially cheesy territory. It’s whisky soaked reflection becomes painfully endearing and by the time explodes a few minutes in, you feel like you’re part of a angry punk choir, as singer Richard Kasoian is joined by Orphan Choir’s Jim Meloche to bring the choir home.
“Mechanics” shows a little more diversity to both the bands sound and Kasoian’s vocals (though he sounds eerily like Spirit of the West‘s John Mann here). There are some great changes here and once again, by songs end, it felt like another summer anthem.
“Anu Beginning” is perhaps the best pop song disguised as a thinking man’s punk song to come out of Windsor (Canada?) in the past decade. Killer hooks, great guitar work and superb production by Erik Gurney, pushes this song into a great realm. It’s almost reminiscent of another great punk band from Windsor, Death or Comber. Those guys had the same knack for disguising things that the punk community often rejects and wrapping it in a casing that is easier for them to digest.
The 6-song album closes out with “The Talk”, that begins with a mournful meandering that feels like the beginning of a break up conversation. Again, Kasoian shows a maturity in his voice. He’s finally learned to properly use his voice as an instrument, not just a purveyor of words. He is using it to push through emotion and emphasize lyrical content and is doing it incredibly well. A somber closing track that manages to incorporate powerfully simple melodies and instrumentation to leave you wanting more from this refreshing young band.
Frontiers are going to be a front runner in leading the Windsor music scene’s “next generation” – they’ve already made their commitment on record, that’s obvious. This CD is a great collection of stories and letters that encapsulates a band that has found it’s musical footing and in doing so, gained the confidence to grip their battle flag just a little bit tighter as they dig into the mud of the battlefield they are about to embark upon. If you haven’t discovered Frontiers yet, make this Friday your personal initiation.
Frontiers: “Illusions” CD Release Party, Friday January 20 at The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, beside Pogo’s), with special guests Orphan Choir and The Blue Stones. 19+
On New Year’s Eve at The Coach and Horses,Windsor’s post-grunge outfit Awake to a Dream will be releasing their six song debut EP Living The Immoral Life.
The album opens with an outdoor ambience which lasts twenty three seconds, just on the edge of being too long. When the instrumentals kick in, you’re hit in the face with some full, rich sounds that shortly thereafter dissolve into some very upfront, very unique vocals. Titled Solstice, the lyrics to this track either inspired the band’s name, or the name inspired the song, but either way, both in lyrical content and music this song is a great introduction to the band. The song itself flows in a way that emphasizes the different elements of playing and production until a sudden break around the 3:20 mark. Here, we are suddenly hearing the band through a telephone before the full frequency spectrum returns, reminding you of how nice the tones of everything actually are. Close on outdoor ambience.
The cut from cicadas to a more rock-influenced song is a bit surprising, but that’s what these guys are about. Here on Tainted we find not only a faster tempo, but crunchier guitars, a more rock influenced beat, and an overall heavier sound. Chris Wilbur’s vocal stylings are certainly better suited to this yelling, chanting, wholly more aggressive sound.
With Shadows we’re back to birds and bugs, but layered under the simply played, nicely reverbed electric guitar, it sounds pretty great. This song is like compressing the first two into one, in that it starts off suggesting something slow and rather soft, and then suddenly turns into something far beefier, if not exactly upbeat. Throw in some creepy whispers, thickly layered vocals and rolling drum beats, and this track holds a fair bit of interest. The drum sounds on this one are pretty awesome; huge and deep in a way that belies the bedroom it was recorded in. Thumbs up to the arrangement on this one.
The aptly titled Youth talks about growing up and coming to terms with the world. Slower and more lyrical-based, this song really channels the 90’s grunge that Awake To A Dream seems to take influence from. This track could easily fit onto Soul Asylum’s 1998 album Let Your Dim Light Shine.
Force of Habit is altogether different from the other songs on this disc. My favourite of the six, it’s got a great swing to it; very energetic and bouncy. Keeping in tune with the rest of the album, it changes a bit throughout, but always returning to that initial catchy rhythm. The mix is dynamic and interesting, showcasing all elements of the song without making any one particular component stand out too much.
Always a crowd pleaser at their live shows, The Importance of the Bass Guitar is an interesting concept with a heavy blues influence. The first half will throw you off a bit, but that’s intentional. The lack and then addition of the bass will help to teach those who “don’t know how to hear the bass” exactly what to listen for, and how strange music can sound without it (not counting The White Stripes).
Awake to a Dream will be releasing their debut CD Living The Immoral Life at The Coach and Horses on Saturday, December 31st along with Slyde, Dreams Destruction, Perpetuate, and All Against I. Tickets are $4 in advance, $5 at the door, you must be 19 or over to attend, and doors open at 9 pm.
When Halifax indie pop songstress Crissi Cochrane left Halifax, Nova Scotia – an internationally recognized port of music and song – for little ol’ Windsor – an internationally ignored city of unrecognized talent – there were many in the city and scene who collectively scratched their heads and wondered if perhaps she had been grossly misinformed on Windsor or perhaps was on some sort of narcotic that perhaps we should all be trying.
But as it turns out, her move was a labour of love, as she was the significant other to Michael Hargreaves, the singer/guitarist from Windsor’s kings of Pop, Michou (and Canada’s according to a recent XM Radio awards ceremony). She switched the countless bars and unheard voices of the Maritimes for the countless bars and unheard voices of Windsor, easily fitting in with her honest story telling and hard work. Shortly after her arrival, she co-founded an open mic/arts & crafts bazaar at The FM Lounge, and immediately won over an often fickle music scene with some fantastic pop folk songs that showed a story telling beyond her years.
This Friday, Crissi Cochrane returns to the FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level) to release her latest EP, Pretty Alright, a six-song tale of the the many faces of love produced by Michael Hargreaves and Crissi herself and mastered by another Michou members, Stefan Cvetkovic
The beauty of Crissi’s songs – shown in glorious brilliance on these songs – is that she is the person that many past singers almost became. She has the grit we’d hoped Lisa Loeb would eventually develop, the complexity that we’d hoped Holly McNarland might garner, or the true love that Cat Power may one day find. Now I’m not suggesting she’s writing songs better than any of these, it’s just that this feels like what many of them may have missed.
The lead chapter – as this almost feels like a love story being sung rather than read – is entitled “I Won’t Try To Break Your Heart” and swings in right away and warms you up. It introduces you the smiling cheerful girl who is in the middle of a conversation with a lover who is obviously not making the same efforts as she is. She’s offering up her heart to her would-be suitor, proclaiming her hopes, wants and desires and her promise that she “won’t try to break your heart” but that she “didn’t come here to play games”. There’s still a hint of Halifax in her voic and style, a faint ghost of the Maritime “sound”, that makes her story telling all the more believable. This is the only track not produced by the Hargreaves/Cochrane tandem, instead handled by former Yellow Wood songwriter Adam Rideout-Arkell. Cvetkovic guests on the drums and Curtis Perrin and Stefan Seslija add some deliciously tasteful horns.
“Oh, how badly I need an anchor,” the second chapter – “Go” – begins, “the shorelines fading fast.” The girl in the story displays immense strength in a slower song that seems to deal with the companion’s contemplation with leaving the relationship. The protagonist cements her convictions and tells the other one that quite simply, if they can’t take the person she is, then perhaps he should just go.
The third chapter – “Drive All Night” – falls out of the story and seems to be an open love letter from Crissi to Michael. It’s the lovelorn tale of a girl missing her boy as he’s out on the road away from home for stretches at a time – something Crissi endured many times the past year or so with Hargreaves’ Michou touring the country for long stretches of sometimes weeks at a time (Crissi would get somewhat of her own back with her own East Coast tour a few months back). A tender song about how sometimes the longing can be as sweet as the moments together. Local songbird Jackie Robitaille guests on backing vocals for this one.
“Never Will” catches us up with the protagonist from the first two chapters. But picture that while he left the apartment, she’s decided to move to another city. Time passes by and over time the fights seem overblown, the wounds perhaps exaggerated and the good times reflecting even more. But now, every now and then, she thinks of him. “I know, we never really talk, and probably never will,” she muses aloud. “I hope it’s all for the distance…” A gorgeous song.
In the fifth chapter, “Fine”, she’s returned to her hometown to confront him and is immediately torn by the obvious chemistry she has with him but by the sudden rush of the inadequacies that the relationship had at the end. “I have no doubt, it’s just you and the rest I could do without,” she tells him one night in a darkened park. “Now it’s only time, before I’m yours and you’re mine, and everything will work out…fine.” Another tear jerker that shows what the power of a complete story can do. It will entice you more to keep listening to a complete record rather than skipping to the next “hit” single.
The final chapter is a gorgeous outro highlighted by some delicately powerful musical nuances, from sweet sounds to rhythmically entrancing guitar, building a mesmerizing bed of sound for Crissi to tell the final tale over. Entitled “The Needle”, it tells the tale of our heroine finally realizing her own strength and her conviction in herself. She recognizes things can she cannot fix (“Nothing lost and found is ever new again”) to enjoying the simple things in life to perhaps even falling in love again (“I got some errands that I’d better do, see you tomorrow, yeah, sure, I’ll call you…”). A beautiful closer to a great wave of storytelling.
Now, I’m pretty sure this album wasn’t actually supposed to pan out like a connected love story and it probably isn’t. But hey – I just a found a stash of those crazy narcotics that brought her to Windsor and that’s what it felt like to me. But regardless of the connection, this is one heck of a collection. If you’re already a fan of Crissi Cochrane, then this recording will not surprise you. You knew she had this in her. You knew it was coming. If you’ve never experienced her, this is a great starting point. She’s only going to get better.
Crissi Cochrane, Pretty Alright EP Release Party with special guests Michael Hargreaves and Mary Stewart, Friday November 18, The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level)
Eric Welton has been one of Windsor’s most enigmatic songwriters of the past decade, ever since he crash landed on the Rose City’s shores from the distant galaxy of Chatham-Kent.
His catalogue of music is vastly underrated – locally and nationally – and, depending on his mood, whims, friends and associates of the moment, touch on just about every gamete of emotion, situation and nuance. He is a songwriter’s songwriter, letting the songs and melodies dictate the direction each album will take him. From 2006′s understated 16-track debut ziGZag (home to live favourites “Dog”, “Another Day” and “Bright Lights”) to the follow-up in 2007, an e.p. (which featured his live classic “Drunk Man Trilogy”, as well as pop gems “Won’t Stop” and the gorgeous “What It Is For”), Welton showed he had the songwriting chops to write undeniably catchy pop classics that stuck around for days and months on end after each show or CD listen. A year later, he switched from his indie pop stylings with an almost alt. country flair for 2008′s Fool Heart, which yielded several more live staples, such as “Cold Hearted Woman”, “Flea” and the heart breaking “I Don’t Believe In You (Too Far Gone)”. In three years, Welton had produced three offerings chalk full of instant sing-a-long classics and emotionally crushing ballads, performing at all the live venues downtown. Welton’s songwriting always seemed to be better appreciated, however, by the city’s local musicians more than the public. A solo performer in the studio (he recorded, produced, wrote and performed everything on his first three releases, except for Fool Heart‘s “Fool Heart Blues”, a collaboration with former Golden Hands Before God guitarist Steven Gibb), his live backing band featured many of the area’s most respected performers, such as Jackie Robitaille, Tara Watts (The Locusts Have No King), Damien Zakoor (The Swillingtones, The Vaudevillianaires, The Golden Hands Before God), Eryk Myskow (The Hung Jury, ASK), Andrew MacLeod (Years of Ernest) and the late Bradford Helner (The Hung Jury, Huladog, Mr. Chill & The Witnesses). Over the next few years, he seemed to almost abandon his solo career when he joined up with Chatham’s (and one of Canada’s) finest psychedelic rock outfits, Square Root of Margaret (lead by his cousin and long time friend Po Kadot).
Following the release and limited touring for Square Root of Margaret’s last album, 2010′s WYSIWYG, Welton once again began work on his next solo release and now, three years after his last, he has finally unveiled his most solid release yet, the deliciously schizophrenic Kill Them With Kidness (which he releases this Friday at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), backed by Eryk Myskow, Josh Zalev (Huladog, Vice Aerial, Mr. Chill & The Witnesses), and Luke “Big Lou” Pelotte (Theory of Everything, The Hung Jury, Vice Aerial)).
While prior releases showed off a minimalism that was both refreshing and ear-pleasing, with this release Welton has added a multitude of layers to create a grandness and lushness not present on previous efforts. This time around, the minimalism is more pronounced and the epic truly shines. Once again, Welton handles the bulk of performance, except for steady bass work from long time live associate Eryk Myskow on most of the record and one song guests in some vocals from Years of Ernest’s Andrew MacLeod (on “Every Day”) and percussion from SROM bandmate Ben Srokosz on the opener.
The frantic indie rock of the under-a-minute lead off track “Kooler” segways nicely into the groovy plodding of the title track. On “Kill Them With Kindness”, Welton once again displays that being wordy is sometimes backseat to a solid beat and groove, as he sings “I want/what you want/and you want it all/I know/what you know/and you know/it all” over a bouncy rhythm that would be best heard on a sunny Sunday afternoon with the window rolled down.
The guitars ring loud again in the circle round gang vocal rocker “Gone” before delving into the beautiful piano driven pop ballad “The Evil In Your Violence”, written in direct reaction to the tragic events surrounding Scott Funnel’s attack last fall. “Have you heard?” he croons over a gorgeous keyboard riff. “They’ve gone and changed your world. And everything you knew, you had believed … is gone, erased with every kick in the head.” For those who remember those horrible weeks when we nearly lost our friend, the refrain “The evil in your violence is permanent” will ring with a haunting shiver.
A beautifully and somewhat faithful cover of an older Square Root of Margaret song, “Hazel Eyes”, uplifts the record from the heaviness of the prior track, and Welton, free from the restraints of writing a song, showcases one of his finest strengths on record – his layering of vocal harmonies, some simple and obvious, some so layered or obstructed your brain hears them without realizing just how many voices they are hearing.
“Every Day” could easily be an anthem for many in today’s world. It seemingly tells the tale of a man suffering from an immeasurable vices who justifies his demons and self-destructions by simply praying to his maker for forgiveness. Andrew MacLeod (Years of Ernest) capably assists Welton with the harmonies with another bouncy song that sounds like it could easily have fit on the alt. country Fool Heart.
With the next track, “Spherikal”, the album takes a decidedly more (controlled) experimental approach. Dabbling in electronics and vocal chants and swirls, what it lacks in lyrical content it more than makes up in substance. His tenure in Square Root of Margaret has definitely rubbed off in his own songwriting and this could easily have been an instrumental (of sorts) on an upcoming SROM release.
He briefly swings back to his minimalist indie folk-pop with “I Know I’m Dying” before jumping into what could be the electropop dance hit of the year. I don’t mean locally either. “LC/DC” sounds like the the final masterpiece that LCD Soundsystem was working on before his head exploded. Trace elements of what makes bands like Holy Fuck, Justice and Thunderheist continue to control dancefloors in clubs across the country. Driven around a monstrously dirty and almost Death From Above 1979 bass line from Eryk Myskow, Welton adds layers of electronic skin, veins and muscle to create a driving 8+ minute ditty that would have the same effect on a dancefloor in Montreal or New York that it would in Windsor. This song needs to be played just when the crowd is at it’s sweatiest and drug addled. This is what losing inhibitions on the dance floor sounds like.
It closes with a song, “unOther”, that seems to incorporate everything that Welton’s music encapsulated on this record. Quirky lyrics (“I said if you’re the cat and I’m the mouse – eat me!”), pulsing driving rhythms lead by vocal melody and simple instrumentation, layered upon each other to a degree that a princess couldn’t hear the pea, swerving from idea to idea with the greatest of ease.
Which to a degree, is what Eric Welton’s music is all about. Never being constrained by what critics or audiences seem to think pop music should be and simply throwing his own experience and inner songs against the wall and hoping that what sticks isn’t the shit but the shinola. Kill Them With Kindness is a bold and brave songbook of Welton maturing and branching out of his home studio comfort zone and finding a Hunter S. Thompson world of song that defies to be shackled by the FM radio pre-sets.
Eric Welton presents the Kill Them With Kindness CD release party, Friday October 28th at Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), with special guests Chatham’s Long Lots.
It’s become a cult tradition, seemingly as much about the members own musical fancies and ambitions than the audience’s approval. Every few months, since the end of summer in 2010, a group of musicians (most of whom play in various other successful local projects) – under the collective guise of Star Trek: The Band – announce a show with little fan fare and little promotion, taking the stage together to create a live musical moment. But not just any musical moment. They’ve united to create a completely unique, completely unrehearsed, completely improvisational score to episodes of the original Star Trek series (the one that birthed Captain Kirk and Spock, amongst others).
Led by “Captain” James Oltean-Lepp (of James O-L & The Villains and The Sean Connery Supergroup), the massive sonic orchestra weaves and mingles amongst each others sounds, creating soundscapes that travel from the simple groove to cacaphonist aural orgies, while episodes of the Star Trek series is shown on the back drop behind them. Rob Williams (Lastertears) manipulates the show’s audio through effects, keying in signature sounds and important dialogue, while guitarists Bohdan Pidskalny (Orphan Choir, James O-L & The Villains and The Sean Connery Supergroup), Colin Wysman (What Seas, What Shores and Space Vampire) and Oltean-Lepp himself dance around each other in love and war. Joe Rabie (Surdaster, Cellos and Red Rows) holds down the spider web bass lines, occasionally twining with fellow bassist Kyle Lefaive (James O-L & The Villains and The Sean Connery Supergroup), who also tackles additional guitars and percussion. Multi-instrumentalists abound throughout the line-up, like the variety of aliens who inhabit the Star Trek Universe: Martin Schiller (87 Things For The Future, Whats Seas, What Shores and Space Vampire) tackles percussion, drums, bass guitar and multiple electronics (he assumed Rob Williams’ post on audio for the last performance), Murad Erzinclioglu (Surdaster and (wh)y.m.e(??)) manipulates the MC-303, percussion and other electronic audibles, Muzzin‘s Tim Nantais manipulates electronics as well as playing the trumpet, Dave Odette returned to the stage with his didgeridoo and Jamie Greer (The Vaudevillianaires, The Golden Hands Before God, The FourJury) returned to his Golden Hands roots with an assortment of percussive toys (tambourines, maracas, triangles, and…sandpaper??). An army of some of the city’s most reliable back beat soldiers fill the multiple drum kits, including Caleb Farrugia (James O-L & The Villains, What Seas, What Shores and Space Vampire), Alex Carruthers (Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers and Red Rows), Damien Zakoor (The Vaudevillianaires, The Golden Hands Before God, The Swillingtones, The Tyres), Adam Bombardier (Surdaster and Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers) and Bradford Helner (The FourJury, Twistin’ Tarantulas, Huladog, NOT_Digital). Guest players have included Kyle Marchand (Orphan Choir, What Seas, What Shores and Cellos) on guitar, Two For The Cascade‘s Holly Brush on theramin, Hardcore Al on keyboards and Sean Connery Supergroup frontman James Steinhoff.
And now finally, after four missions (including a complete scoring for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), Star Trek: The Band has released it’s first recording, a live album of the complete recording of their score from their June 24th sountrack for the classic episode “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”. You can download the psychedelic journey FREE at the group’s bandcamp website and find out about upcoming “missions” at their Facebook page.
Years of Ernest have slowly become Windsor’s most dependable band. They may not write the catchiest tunes or have the loudest amps, but they can always be counted on to put on a world class rock and roll show full of great riffs, sweet harmonies and the feeling that even song was meant. It’s no surprise that their long awaited debut album, A Crooked Storyline, is equally dependable.
On this album (which in today’s world of EPs and 10-song albums is remarkably long, stuffed with thirteen tracks), Years of Ernest delivers a refreshingly nostalgic brand of rock and roll that can best be described as a quilted veil of pure Canadiana. It feels like an ode to Canadian bands like The Rheostatics, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip or Save This House and older era Spirit of the West. If you were take the best elements of each of those bands – the great harmonies, the sonic layering, the murky underbelly and the engaging storytelling – you would end up with this band. Which is perhaps a product of the musical intimacy Years of Ernest has over most other bands. Three of the four man band – guitarist Leigh Wallace, bassist Paul Loncke and drummer Joey “Wiseguy” DesRoches – have been playing for years together as part of The Locusts Have No King, one of Windsor’s best known and beloved bands. And singer/guitarist Andrew MacLeod feels comfortable in the mix of these brilliant tempered musicians.
Which is part of the beauty of the aural landscapes created within A Crooked Storyline – you can actually feel the band’s chemistry in each song. There isn’t a stutter or a note slip, no blemish or after thought, no filler or wasted movements. These songs are carefully constructed stories that pull you in with their simple rhythms, catch you in its musical net and guides you over the waves to the stories MacLeod sings you with all the passion of a Maritime troubadour (which incidentally he kind of is).
The opening song “Madman” starts the disc off with a quirky swagger and introduces you to the world of MacLeod’s stories. “Who here can believe/In a singer singing every song in the same key/Our day is coming soon/A ten step standoff at the hour of noon/I may live in my cocoon/But I know you never gave me your respect to lose”.
The second song, “My Mouth”, has all the makings of a giant hit. Like in the same way that Spirit of the West’s “Home For A Rest” or Tragically Hip’s “New Orlean’s is Sinking”. It’s an undeniable beat and sing-a-long bridges and it’s not impossible to imagine a large festival crowd singing along in unison to “If it gets any hotter we’ll burn this place down!”, pumping their fists in the air to the driving stomp of Leigh Wallace on the guitar.
Speaking of Wallace, he handles the vocals on the third track “See Right Through You”, a great roots rocker. Wallace has been a major player in Windsor’s music scene for over a decade, playing in some of the city’s most respected and beloved outfits, from the lush indie pop of The Butterfield Gateway and Caught in the Moss (both of which he partnered with Cloverjoy‘s Adam Gilchrist) to his guitar work in The Locusts Have No King, Wallace’s unique and fluid fret work has inspired many of the scene’s finest songwriters and in this track, Wallace shows he’s been inspired by his peers. This definitely feels like the product of working alongside David Dubois and despite feeling like maybe it could have been a Locusts Have No King song, it just feels cleaner in this songbook. Years of Ernest make this feel more Blue Rodeo than the Drive-By Truckers.
“Ought To” is another stand-out, a plodding driving tale of remorse from MacLeod – seemingly at missing someone (a lover or family member) but more-so himself for not making more of an effort to keep in touch. Or maybe even care. The backing vocals of Wallace and DesRoches shine through like little rays of sunshine in an absolute gem of a recording.
Wallace handles the microphone again on the Rolling Stones-y rollick “Season Plays Treason”, which features some great driving by Joey DesRoches. Despite being one of the more recognizable faces in the local music scene, DesRoches (aka “The Wiseguy”) is perhaps one of the more criminally under-rated musical minds in town. He’s a master arranger and co-ordinator in the studio (as evidenced when he held court over one of the gang vocal sessions for Surdaster‘s upcoming album) and he plays his percussion with feel over ego. He knows when to go balls out but also has the instinct to know when less is more. A wise man once said to me that sometimes it’s what you don’t play that makes the most difference, and it’s in this regard that the Wiseguy shows he is indeed a wise man. Every hit, every crash, is intended and necessary, simple as that. There are no excessive displays of cymbal smashing or excessive fills or rolls. He gives the song’s exactly what the song requires – what it needs – and that is it. And he does it with a deft grace that is so flawless you almost don’t notice its precision.
Bassist Paul Loncke is a similar beast to DesRoches. The dexterity of his bass lines are so smooth and subtle that you don’t realize the layers he’s sewn under the covers of the guitars. But on the murky funk-folk of “Dark Lords” he gets more of a chance to shine. Loncke has long served as a great backline to some great musicians in the city, starting with a successful run in 90′s rock outfit The Scarecrows (that also featured George Bozanich and George Manury to name a few), a band that used to pack The Loop with regularity and ease. His work alongside former Dresden Sky singer/songwriter Erin Gignac and his other gig in The Locusts Have No King have pushed him to find the limits from total constraint to gunning like a motorcycle and his feel is perfect for this project as well.
The album closes out with the rocker “Cover Up” (keeping with the Canadiana feel, this album almost steps into Danko Jones territory), another great story by MacLeod. It’s an ominously mysterious song that could be interpreted in several different ways – at first I thought maybe it was about two kids trying to cover up something they’d done, but after repeated listens, it now feels like a song about one brother singing to another while they’re being abducted (and I’m probably still wrong). “They were lions and lambs/Hunger in a dead land/Holding off the bloodshed/Brakes are nearly gone/He was dressed as a friend/Headed toward the same end…”
All in the all, this album feels like a classic album. It’s a start to finish storybook (as much as it is a songbook), about some interesting characters, by some interesting characters. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable listen through from start to finish without worrying about keeping your finger on the advance button. Each song has its own feel and identity and enough intrigue to listen to what it’s saying.
And now, we have Years of Ernest’s CD release weekend. That’s right. Weekend. They’re throwing two CD releases parties at two ends of the city. The first is a free admission show on Friday July 1st at The Dominion House Tavern (3140 Sandwich St.) in the West End (with special guests Meters To Miles), followed by a downtown show on Saturday July 2nd at Villains Beastro (256 Pelissier St.) with a minimal $5 cover (or for $10 get admission plus a CD!), with special guests George Bozanich and Paul Farah.
You’ve waited a year in earnest. Now go get what you deserve.
This may cause a little bile to creep up into some people’s mouths, but I’ve been a fan of Poughboy since day one. While their frenetic and spastic live shows, seemingly spontaneous songs and nearly unintelligible vocals, and abrasive online presence seemed to initially (and for some people still) create a sense of bewilderment coupled with disgust, they hit a nerve in this guy. As much as I’m a fan of the perfectly constructed pop song, there are days when my ears and very soul ache for something that is disjointed, caustic and acerbic to rip apart the monotony of what I’m feeling and let my mind restart from scratch (such as yesterday’s miserable gray day where listening to the Jesus Lizard‘s Goat and Liar albums back to back, followed by the Melvins‘ Houdini and Stoner Witch finally rebooted my soul). And that is where Poughboy comes in, both aurally and visually.
Upon first seeing them (and subsequently listening to their debut release, an extremely DIY EP entitled Is Your Mother Around?), I was immediately hooked, although initially it was because I thought I was witnessing a Touch & Go version of Steel Panther or Spinal Tap. This couldn’t be for real, could it? After all, three fifths of the band (vocalist Adam Craig and guitarists Vincent Manzerolle and Brandon Butzu) were fresh off the dissolution of one of Windsor’s greatest instrumental maestros (although Craig was on his natural instrument, the drums, and Butzu held down the bass), the bombastically underappreciated heavy math rock of Measured In Angles (whose album History of the Engine was one of 2006′s finest releases, local or otherwise), and drummer David Allan was a rising new star as the drummer in Explode When They Bloom (he’s since gone on to be in other great local acts like Cellos, Which Witch, and long time alt. rock band Area 51). And bassist Darryl Derbyshire sure seemed more Mark Deutom than Derek Smalls.
Is Your Mother Around? was soon followed up with a proper debut, entitled The Gift (which featured many re-recorded versions of songs off IYMA, including the fantastic “Chuck Berry” and “Cocaine and Gasoline”) and a few more shows. Still I wasn’t entirely sure these guys were for real or simply pulling the proverbial wool over everyone’s eyes (including their own).
It wasn’t until the gigging got more intense and they released their follow up to The Gift, a majestic box of nuggets called simply Sorry, that I realized they were the real deal. They were taking an oft over looked scene, that of the serious noise rockers like the aforementioned Jesus Lizard and Melvins, or Cop Shoot Cop and Big Black, and fist fucked into sounds from bands as diverse as AC/DC, Nine Inch Nails and Incesticide-era Nirvana – like a TurDucken of music. To incorporate this new musical growth, a sixth member began to appear at live shows, multi-instrumentalist Martin Schiller (87 Things For The Future, What Seas What Shores, Space Vampire, Star Trek: The Band). Poughboy was here whether we liked it or not and they never failed to impress (or revolt).
This realization was capped off with one of the show stealing performances of last December’s FunnelFest, when Poughboy literally tore the music scene a new asshole and served it back to everyone in the form of vomit coated escargot with a hint of ballsack. These guys were arrogance and confidence personified and no matter what the critics can say, their music live (and on record) is as tight as Mother Theresa’s anus. That previous spontaneousness is actually a well planned out and executed musical revolution that is as much about awakening as it is about forced masturbation.
And now it comes to this.
This Friday, appropriately right before the sheep and their ram have declared an impending Judgment Day (and they said we’d never see a T-1000 in real life!), Poughboy are releasing their heavily anticipated opus End of Men, a 15-song soundtrack for the forthcoming apocalypse that just very well may be their own White Album (or Blight Album). Packaged with a 36-page cover table book of artwork and representations guaranteed to excite, titillate and offend (perhaps as a finger poke nod to the absurdity of Radiohead’s “newspaper album” release for King of Limbs earlier this year), End of Men is worth the price of admission.
While the Touch & Go presence that was so obvious in early material is still present in the background, Poughboy have matured (well, musically at least) into their own wrecking ball of sound. Their are so many influences present (conscious or not) that they’ve simply re-materialized as what any great band inevitably seeks to become: they’re own voice. This album is monumental, from the epicly powerful “End of Men” to the sing-a-long debauchery of “Gadgets/Teledildonics/The Clutch” (which I guarantee will have more than one of you chanting “Hands up, who wants to fuck!” not only at the show but at church on Sunday) this album delivers in a big way and already may be fit to be crowned 2011′s album of the year. It is a deconstructionist’s cookbook, that starts with a Tool-esque introduction (aptly titled “Introduction”) that segues beautifully into a monster ball crusher called “Rock Salt”. This is the kind of anthem that makes you want to chug Jack Daniels right from the Devil’s teat while your masturbating with a baby seal. “Too Tight” is as close to the Twist as Poughboy could venture and by twist I mean the head of your penis off while dancing. Don’t worry, you can sew it back on while you’re drawn down to the sludgery bottom with “The Fuck Politics”. “Tape 1: My Love Will Eclipse The Fucking Son” is an electronic cacophony that serves as a schizophrenic sorbet to gear you up for the second half of the album with mind bending effectiveness. “The Brazilian” takes over and welcomes you to the New World Order with a swagger usually reserved for rhinos on too much fermented fruit. The Tom Waits meets Big Black “Two Shivs” and the aforementioned “Gadgets” carry through the second half, leading into a highlight and sneaky track entitled “Blackie Lawless Can’t Touch Me Now” that takes sampling to a whole new level of both homage and “Go fuck yourself”. “The Pink Sock” and “The Canary” are both as close as Poughboy will ever get to playing straight ahead rock and roll and even that’s about as close as this humble reporter will ever get to actually fucking Natalie Portman in a phone booth in the Nevada heat (which is pretty fucking far). The penultimate “The Fashion Dyke That Ate Dennis” is an aural descent that gives the listener one final warning to get out before the inevitable “End of Men” occurs, with all its glorious sonic layers and levels of Hell. “Man It Up” closes out with a debaucherous shout out to AC/DC’s “Jailbreak”.
Sonically, Poughboy has never sounded tighter or better produced. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t the kind of polishing that mainstream bands like Nickelback or Finger Eleven strive for, but closer to the aural sects of producers like Sylvie Massey (Tool, Rage Against The Machine) or Butch Vig (Nirvana’s Nevermind). They’ve managed to wrangle in all the elements without sacrificing the source or letting the production become the product itself.
So if your ears haven’t gotten too soft on a steady night of Ben Harper or Jack Johnson, if you’ve still got a burning in your belly for what rock and roll has always been about, or you simply like to slow down and watch the carnage after a car wreck, you would serve your eyes and ears well by heading to Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West) this Friday night when Poughboy finally opens the corals for the Four Horsemen’s steeds and unleashes the End of Men.
But don’t say you weren’t warned.
Poughboy ‘End of Men’ CD Release with special guests The Mad Ones and (wh)y.m.e.(??), Friday May 20, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), 9pm
Music scenes go in constant cycles. There will be a rush of new young and hungry bands that will flood any scene, some doing extremely well out of the gate, playing as many shows as possible, trying to make their mark in the local music community. Over time, the initial class of bands dwindles down, as band members lose the passion or appeal of sludging it out, playing show after show for minimal pay-off, sometimes never progressing past the opening slot on shows.
But as the years carry on, some bands begin to not only rise, but shine. They put in their dues, playing headlining shows one night, to opening first on a five band bill, letting their music dictate their direction and ascent, rather than their ego. They play every venue that will house them, sometimes breaking genre or logic, to expose their music to as many ears as possible, defying the genre borders that often plagues so many bands when trying to break the local stratusphere. You learn more about your craft and your sound playing to unknown ears than you do your friends, and sometimes the truths don’t sit well with some bands.
The Nefidovs are part of the Next Wave of great new bands coming out of Windsor’s music community. Equal parts stoner rock, prog metal, grunge and ska – these guys have combined great songwriting with high octane rock and roll energy, flavoured with a minimal but powerfully effective horn section to create something we here at the Windsor Zene have dubbed “Death Ska” (a reaction to Elliott Brood‘s coining term “Death Country”). These guys are the real deal and have paid more than their share of dues – they’ve equally sold out shows at Phog Lounge as well as opened for other acts, just for the sheer desire to expose their music to as many Windsor music fans as possible.
It has been this tireless pursuit over the past year that has made the release of their debut CD, the brilliantly named Set Faces To Stunned, so highly anticipated. They’ve leaked some demos and early recordings sporadically over the past year, but it was a proper release everyone craved.
Well the time is now. The moment will be tonight. The place will be The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level).
Joining The Nefidovs will be some other faces from Windsor’s great Next Wave, including the oustanding blues rock duo The Blue Stones (who recently released their own eagerly anticipated EP), as well as veteran punk outfit Shared Arms. The Rowley Estate, another newer face, will open the show with their great classic punk sound.
Swing by and check out the future of Windsor’s music scene. You won’t be disappointed.
The Nefidovs CD Release Party with special guests The Blue Stones, Shared Arms and The Rowley Estate, The FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. West, main level), 9pm
Jamie Reaume is a busy guy. Apart from playing several nights a week at various bars, taverns, pubs and clubs around town (including his own full on band jam night, Tuesday Night Music Club, at The Manchester Pub every Tuesday night), he’s also been a member of some of Windsor’s most popular and successful rock outfits. From the sonic melodicum of the under-rated Foreign Film Star to the power trio QOTSA-esque riffery of The Golden Eagles, from taking a step back from the spotlight to play guitar with Dave Russell & The Precious Stones, or putting together a new alt. rock supergroup called Awkward Sex (featuring members of One Man’s Opinion), Reaume eats, breathes and sleeps music. And for someone with a powerful set of lungs, he also has a heart equally as big.
Years ago, Reaume launched Winter Rose, a series of compilation albums put out to assist local Windsor charities. Consisting of donated tracks from various friend musicians, these were principally funded by Reaume himself in an effort to give back to the community who took him in from the mean streets of Chatham many years ago. While the Winter Rose compilations did really well, Reaume always wanted to do better.This Thursday, Reaume launches his latest CD, entitled City of Roses, with all monies raised going towards The Hospice of Windsor-Essex. Featuring new or unreleased tracks from local bands like Inoke Errati, One Man’s Opinion, The Hung Jury, Dave Russell, Vultures!, Tara Watts, Dusty (featuring Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe), Leighton Bain and more, as well as some vintage nuggets from bands like Blasternaut and Reaume’s own solo venture, Foreign Film Star.
This Thursday night, Reaume is throwing a CD release party for City of Roses at The Manchester Pub (546 Ouellette Ave.) and it’s going to be a rock and roll funfest, with live performances from two of the album’s contributors – Dave Russell (with The Precious Stones in tow) and Blasternaut – plus The Manchester’s resident Thursday night house band, Vice Aerial, a jam band supergroup featuring Daren Dobsky (Magic Hall of Mirrors, Is There A Band In The House?), Josh Zalev (Huladog, Mr. Chill & The Witnesses), Mark Calcott (Huladog, Theory of Everything) and Luke “Big Lou” Pelotte (The Crawford Yard, The Hung Jury, Theory of Everything). Tickets are $15 (which includes a copy of the CD), with all money going to the Hospice. Advance tickets are available at The Manchester or JamSpace. You can still attend without getting the CD, but there will be a $5 donation at the door.
TWZ recently spoke to Reaume about the compilation.
So tell us a bit about this latest compilation, City of Roses…
Jamie Reaume: It’s been around 6 years since I released the Winter Rose compilations, (and) I had an opportunity for corporate sponsorship with Blackburn Radio this time around and I wanted to showcase some of the talent Windsor has in it’s scene in 2011. The album is an amazing snapshot of one corner of Windsor’s scene, this easily could have been a double release. It was a pleasure to organize and I thank Blackburn Radio for their generous contributions.
You’ve done several charity compilations for Windsor before. Why do you think doing these kinds of things are worth doing?
JR: It’s a great way to get people to work together, hopefully this will be a spark for bands to play together, appreciate each other, go to more local shows, maybe even collaborate. We have so much talent in Windsor, this compilation’s mission is to expose that while at the same time bringing people together for a good cause with a local focus.
How did you go about with the line-up for this year’s CD?
JR: I really wanted to hand pick songs that I love from artists around Windsor and some cool friends from Sarnia and Toronto. If people had unreleased music I was all for that as well, we actually had some songs recorded or remixed for City Of Roses specifically, huge honour. When I received everyone’s track I stitched together a lovely ride for the listener starting at one end of the genre spectrum and calmly flowing through to the other end. Windsor is rich with songwriter’s and soundscapers, this compilation is proof of that.
What tracks stick out to you?
JR: Here are my Top 5: “American Primate” by Meters To Miles, because it has a brilliant catchy attitude. “Lolita” by The Hung Jury, because it crushes your chest, gigantic. “The Wander” by Between Blinks, because it’s about zombies, listen close. “The Ballad Of Ronnie Joe” by Dusty, because Dusty is epic and the song features Mr Chill on harp and he’s a bad, bad man. “The Hardest Part”, by Leighton Bain. a really great performance, beautiful voice.
What is it about Windsor that creates such musical diversity do you think?
JR: The musicians I know are really passionate and honest, often working on many projects at the same time. True colours burn the brightest and widest.
What have you got planned for the CD release party?
Dave Russell & the Precious Stones will be opening the night, Blasternaut follows, Vice Aerial finishes. Great bands, Great food, great drink at The Manchester with a bunch of friends. Sounds like a party.
City of Roses CD Release Party, featuring Dave Russell & The Precious Stones, Blasternaut and Vice Aerial, Thursday May 5, The Manchester Pub (546 Ouellette Ave.), 8pm, Tickets $15 (includes CD)
So every once in a while you hear something that has very little in terms of adequate comparisons. Or, on the other hand there’s a whole lot of points of comparison, but none really hit the proverbial nail on the head. So then in order to really describe what you’re hearing you end up grasping at straws. You want to point at bands that have tread similar paths or use certain conventional adjectives, but using bands would do no justice and the adjectives all sound tired and used up.
This is where I’m at with Ton.
It’s rock and roll. And I suppose that’s the most bare-bones, ‘easy-way-out’ description of what I’m hearing right now. I had two songs sent to my inbox by the band, and then checked out a third from their Myspace page and I’m still just at “Rock and Roll”. I could call it ‘alternative’, but that’s a fairly stupid and meaningless way to refer to something like this. So hold on and let’s try this instead:
From about 1992 to the early ‘00s there was a guy operating largely out of New York that went by the name of Wharton Tiers. Mr. Tiers developed a modest rep for having a sound; never as popular as the “Albini” sound, or the Rick Rubin sound, but distinctive nonetheless. Doing a lot of work for the East Coast-ish noise bands around that time, and having a particular way of doing that work meant the kind of consistency that could be described as ‘genre defining’. The short list of great bands who benefited from Tiers’ less-than-gentle touch would include folks like Sonic Youth (before they got old and tired), Unsane, Cop Shoot Cop and Helmet.
Before I go any further, I should note that Ton doesn’t sound a whole lot like any of those bands. No overtly anyways. Granted, I never really took the time to ask who they listened to for inspiration, but that’s an ultimately meaningless question anyways when it comes to actually listening to something. That is to say, for the purposes of pushing this band on you, who really cares what they listened to?
So why am I bringing up Wharton Tiers, Helmet and the early 90s New York noise scene? Because that’s all I’ve got. It’s all part of a no-bullshit approach to making and producing music. If you listen to Helmet’s early output, or Quicksand’s 1995 album “Manic Compression”, you get a good idea what I’m talking about. It’s not some ridiculously technical, prog wash-out, but it’s not AC/DC either. Little in the way of bells and whistles, but it will grab you and keep you. These guys clearly know their way around their instruments, but aren’t so arrogant as to push a bunch of wankery down our throats either.
I suppose I’ve inadvertently done exactly what I said I wasn’t going to do, which is compare Ton to other bands and use tired, rock-cliched adjectives. Whatever the case may be, I’ll leave you with this much: if you like loud rock and roll then you are going to want to GO to their shows and BUY their new disc, “Going Places”. Oddly enough, you can do both of these things on April 1st, when they release said new album at the Coach And Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level).
If you are of the sort that needs more pointless biographical information, black and white “rock shots” of the band in action, or have a masochistic desire to try to navigate the unholy mess that Myspace has become, you can find them online at www.myspace.com/windsorton or by searching for their page on the Facebook.
Enjoy. I did.
Ton (CD release) with special guests Voodoo Mafia, The Coach & Horses (156 Chatham St. West, basement level), 9pm, 19+
Well it’s that time of month again – although the shortness of February caught us a bit off guard so we’re a couple days off.
Here’s your link to February’s FREE Windsor Music Sampler. Just click on the February release (or if you missed December or January’s, they’re still available for FREE download as well). February’s compilation started off a bit slow, but it turned into our biggest compilation yet, clocking in at 16 tracks!
We’re pleased to announce that some different genres are slowly creeping in, from melodic rock (Acousticfire) to ska (Brass Knuckles and The Nefidovs) as well as our first sampling of Windsor hip-hop arrives with a track from Academy’s Kayyce Closed.
Some of the veterans of the scene (Pat Robitaille, Hammerdown, Explode When They Bloom, The Hung Jury, The Golden Eagles) are also represented, while new blood like Shortcut to Last, Devilz By Definition and The Hypnotics are also on the bill. Some overlooked acts from the past couple years (but who are still performing) are represented as well, with the indie DIY punk ethic of Rose City (featuring Locusts Have No Ki ng, ASK and Years of Ernest member Joey “The Wise Guy” DesRoches) and the electronic blues funk of Gregg Koval‘s track (Koval gained notoriety as part of the ’90s outfit Powdered Toastmen).
Our first sample of cross border unity also appears featuring the Detroit hardcore band The Armed, which features Windsor guitarist Christopher Elkjar (who also performs in Cloverjoy and has accompanied (wh)y.m.e.(??) at some live performances).
We’ve got a great electronic piece from Kero to close the set out for you. This guy is one of Windsor’s most influential musicians of the past decade (Beck and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke are admitted fans) and it’s a real treat to have him on the sampler.
In a band and your submission didn’t make the cut? Fear not. Simply means we ended up with more than we could handle this month. It’ll appear as soon as we can allot it!
Want to submit a track for an upcoming sampler? Send your hi-quality mp3 or .wav file, along with all production credits, to firstname.lastname@example.org
Help promote local Windsor music by SHARING this article on your Facebook page! The best way to let people know about the talent this city and scene produces is my letting them know!
If you miss the glory days of industrial clubs from the late ’80s to the early 2000′s, Laughing Casket is here to make you reminisce. Their debut album, Dark Hallways, is now available online as a FREE download.
Laughing Casket is the solo project of Dean George, who also plays in local bands Awake To A Dream, EVL and I believe at least two others. But this project – in which George performs all his own instruments – feels like the most personal.
It’s a straight up homage to electronic music of the past three decades, at times feeling like elements from ’80s Front 242 to ’90s Duran Duran while absorbing and transmutating vibes from bands like Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode (he even includes a cover of “Policy of Truth”), Gary Numan and The Cruxshadows. While that may seem a tad schizophrenic, it’s actually a fairly cohesive journey using all the right components.
At times George’s voice sounds like its wavering from Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran to a young Trent Reznor and is arguably the weakest point of the album. Not saying his voice is terrible – it works in almost every instance – but it just seems like it’s missing something. It’s like listening to Trent Reznor’s voice on Pretty Hate Machine compared to how strong it got by the time he’d hit The Fragile. You can just hear that once he gets more comfortable in his voice (and how to achieve how he really wants it to be heard), he’ll be that much better.
With that being said, it’s definitely worth the download. There are some pretty decent songs here and seeing as it’s his first release, I’m excited to see how this project progresses and matures.
It appears that George is planning on taking Laughing Casket live at some point, as he’s assembled a live band featuring some of his band mates to showcase the songs of this recording.
With the amount of heavy metal, folk, punk and rock bands dominating Windsor’s music scene of late, it’s refreshing to see someone take a legitimate shot at tackling a music genre so often overlooked in cities the size of Windsor.
Despite still being several days away, it appears that the guys from Inoke Errati may be already sitting comfortably in the knowledge that the release party for their new EP, Make-Outs and Movie Stars, will be to a full house.
This Sunday, Windsor’s premiere power pop kings release the highly anticipated follow-up to 2006′s The Wink and The Gun, a 5-song EP produced by the band themselves, with engineering and mixing done by Joel Bruyere (of Thousand Foot Krutch) and mastered by famed engineer Joao Carvalho.
Inoke Errati are a stand out band in many ways, perhaps mostly because of their determination not to sit back and simply wait for good things to happen for them. They’ve toured, played with national touring acts, and sold out venue after venue around Windsor by good old fashioned hard work. The fact that they’re well on their way to selling out The Loop (156 Chatham St. West, above Pogo’s) – which is no small feat, as it’s capacity is 440 people – by pounding the streets and taking a personal approach to selling tickets, is proof positive of the rewards hard work and dedication to your craft can net. At press time, they’d sold well over 300 tickets and they printed 400. Which, if your math skills are calculator reliant, means that there’s only room at the door for 40 more people to get in (if you want to get advance tickets at only $5, email email@example.com).
Inoke Errati – a fixture in the local music scene since 2003 – have stuck around as long as they have for the same reason veterans like Ten Indians, fiftywatthead and Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe have. They don’t chase fads, they don’t try and predict what the music industry wants to hear, they simply do what they do best and stick at it. In Inoke Errati’s case, it’s write infectious powerpop with big hooks and a story that everyone can relate to. And they realize that rock and roll, once you strip away it’s pretensions, it’s wardrobes and it’s MTV gloss, is really about uniting as many people as possible through the power of a good chorus and the energy created by the interweaving of the music makers and their listeners. Which is something this power(pop) trio have mastered in spades.
They’ve kept the new EP tightly guarded (even their MySpace only offers clips), so here’s a listen back to their big single from their last record, with a new video recently made by local film maker Gavin Michael Booth.
Doors for the show are EARLY, so don’t say you weren’t warned. Doors are at 7:30pm, with the music starting at 8pm. Opening the show are two great new bands – Shortcut to Last and Beijing Bike Club – as well as The Greatest Invention, the new moniker by the band formerly known as Credible Witness. The plan is to have Inoke Errati finished earlier so they can celebrate the release party out in the crowd as well, with DJ Vin Vicious taking over to close out the night.
Inoke Errati ‘Make-Outs and Movie Stars’ EP Release Party, with special guests The Greatest Invention, Shortcut to Last and Beijing Bike Club, with host DJ Vin Vicious, The Loop (156 Chatham St. West, above Pogo’s), $5 Ticket, 19+, Doors at 7:30pm, Show starts at 8pm
Local Windsor musician Ryan Yoker toiled away for years in Windsor’s local music scene, crafting his brand of BritPop inspired by classic British rock bands like the Kinks and the Beatles, as well as those from the ’90s crop, like Oasis, Starsailor and The Verve. With his band Stratus, Yoker played some well received shows but the band never truly hit the expectations, particularly those placed by Yoker himself.
With a bravado and swagger that have alienated Yoker as much as it has helped endear him, and failing to find the right “fit” of musicians in his home town, he packed up his guitar and amp and hit the mean streets of Toronto looking for like minded musicians to share his vision and shape his sound.
There, he met vocalist Tommy Preisler and the two quickly forged a relationship that laid down the foundation for what would eventually become Bombs. To further this motley arrangement, Ottawa drummer Phil Mailey and Halifax bassist Adam Osborne were inducted into the line-up, creating a truly national musical outfit. Now a four piece, they recorded their debut EP, Bombs Over Windsor, which, along with a series of U.S. dates in New York City, New Jersey and beyond, attracted the attention of New Jersey indie label Mint400 Records.
After a short but successful tour, Mailey was replaced with another Windsorite, Alex Carruthers, on drums. As they prepared to record their follow up release, Carruthers left the band to pursue his own projects (Red Rows and Alex Carruthers & The Rhythm Brothers), and his spot behind the kit was solidified with Ken Boville.
Today marks the official release date for their new EP, These Trains Run On Time, on iTunes and in select music retail shops across the country. With Yoker as the principle songwriter, once again he draws inspiration (and pays homage) to his hometown (as he did with the title of the debut EP), with the lead off single, “Windsor”. Another track, “Patch on My Parka”, appears on the Windsor Zene January Sampler.
Windsor music fans who are in the Toronto area can catch Yoker and the boys from Bombs with a special EP release party at the infamous Lee’s Palace on Friday March 4th.
Continuing with our December Music Sampler (dedicated to December’s FunnelFest), we are proud to unveil our second monthly music sampler for you download, FREE of charge (compliments of the Windsor Zene and, more importantly, the bands and musicians involved).
We are looking to release a 12-14 song FREE music sampler every month, showcasing some of the best this area has to offer in original music. There are no genre guidelines and we encourage any local musicians to submit a track to firstname.lastname@example.org – please include production credits (producer, studio used, etc.) as well as writing credits, etc. All genres welcomed, from folk to death metal, from hip hop to rock.
January’s sampler features a preview of Poughboy‘s upcoming opus, The End of Men, the title track from Dave Russell‘s new EP Unnatural Disaster, a rare unreleased track from Vultures!, a glimpse at a new supergroup in Windsor called NeanderTHRALL (featuring members of The Heat Seeking Moisture Missiles and Gypsy Chief Goliath), as well as some entries from some great new talent such as Beijing Bike Club, Awake To A Dream, Weirdonia and Falling With Glory. Singer/songwriters Crissi Cochrane (who relocated here from Halifax, Nova Scotia last year) and Daniyal Malik (who previously fronted the band Allusion) lead off the sampler, which also features songs from veteran metal outfits Pitch Union and Tyburn Tree. Rounding out the rest of the sampler are a new track from Britpop inspired Bombs (lead by Ryan Yoker) and a gorgeous track from Luna Borealis, a side project featuring Jason Testawich from Surdaster.
Download your FREE January music sampler today (and spread the gospel!). December’s sampler is also still available!
Windsor/Essex musicians and bands who wish to be featured on upcoming sampler releases: Send one high quality .mp3 or .wav file to email@example.com. We can’t guarantee the month your track will appear, as they are taken first come first serve, but they will eventually be released. All genres welcomed and encouraged. The Windsor Zene is releasing these samplers FREE of charge and are not collecting any residuals from the release of these samplers. They are designed to encourage people to try out new music from their hometown.
Phantom Death is probably not a project you’re aware of yet. But Andrew Murphy has slowly been experimenting with soundscapes and noise renderings for years under various one offs over the past few years (he took part in the 2010 Harvesting The Fam festival under the guise of Black Witch Elm).
He’s made his latest release (under the alias Phantom Death), entitled Plesantries, available as a free download on Bandcamp.com. A prior Phantom Death release, Various Sounds from Random Sources Vol. 1, is also available.
Bandcamp.com has become a proverbial thorn in the music industry’s side the past year or so, as many independent bands, tired of spending money trying to get signed to bigger labels who ultimately may or may not promote them, have decided to release free downloads (or control a bigger stake in their own royalties or income per release) by making their releases available via Bandcamp.com’s site. While not for everyone, it’s a great way to get your music available for people’s iPods and computers as it’s ready, so they can start digesting your recorded music. Over the past year or so, bands like What Seas, What Shores, Orphan Choir, James O-L & The Villains, Magic Hall of Mirrors and others (not to mention our own Monthly music downloads) have utilized download sites like this to get more of their product out to ears not necessarily just here in Windsor
If you’ve ever witnessed the rock and roll atrocity that is Poughboy, then you know just how kick ass these gentlemen are. Equal parts Jesus Lizard, The Melvins and your mother’s worst nightmare, Poughboy was originally a cast off group of members of Measured In Angles that at first seemed more Spinal Tap than Battles. But after their first two releases and a handjob full of shows, Poughboy has proven that not only is their shit tighter than the Pope’s sphincter, they bring the goods with everything they touch.
As they prep their third release, the much anticipated End of Men, the Poughboy camp has decided to offer a three song preview FREE for download. But act quickly – this free download preview ends on February 1st!
Check out a teaser trailer for End of Men below.
Tonight at The FM Lounge (56 Chatham St. West, formerly The Fish Market), Dave Russell & The Precious Stones are holding an EP release party for Unnatural Disasters. Doors are at 8pm, with the talented Tara Watts opening the evening. Tickets are $5 in advance or at the door.
Dave Russell first garnered attention on the local music scene as a member of the popular rock outfit The Tree Streets. They played several shows around Windsor at various live venues as well as select shows around Ontario. Fueled by a love for the hook and an obvious penchant for rock and roll’s rich tapestry, The Tree Streets wrote their own impressive songbook of tunes, particularly the little indie pop gem “Never Enough”. But as all good things must come to an end, The Tree Streets disbanded a year or so back, and Mr. Russell was left without a band. While he’s now taking the solo route, he’s also built a great backing band – The Precious Stones – featuring some true players from the local music community – Jamie Reaume (The Golden Eagles, Foreign Film Star), Jake Van Dongen (Inoke Errati), Vin Vicious, Christina Bell, as well as help from former Tree Streets bandmates Brenden E. Fraser and Colin Jolly - to help flesh out some of his songs in a full band format. With a nomination for best folk song for “Rocking Chair” (a track originally found on The Tree Streets’ album but now reworked for his solo EP) at the 2010 Toronto Independent Music Awards, it looks like Russell’s hard work is paying off for some well deserved recognition.
Opening the show will be a rare solo performance (of late) from the super talented Tara Watts (The Locusts Have No King), who will hopefully be showcasing some of the stellar songs from her outstanding 2009 release About Love.
Dave Russell & The Precious Stones EP Release Party with special guest Tara Watts, Sunday January 23, 2011 at The FM Lounge (formerly the Old Fish Market, 56 Chatham St. West). Doors at 8pm, admission $5