Vultures? is a band that has been around in various forms since the dawn of time. Their current line up features Anderson Lunau undertaking bass and lead vocal responsibilities, guitars handled by Jeff Riley and Andy Langmuir, and Scott Warren on drum duty and backing vocals. In the local scene, these guys are known for a number of different things. Riley recently made his debut at part of Poughboy, in their most recent show at Villains. Anderson was part of the notable Golden Hands Before God…, and Scott is known for his skills as an engineer, running Rockerie Records, from whence came last summer’s Vultures? release The Deuce EP, as well as his recent epic, Hate Letter, the first release of Scott’s solo project, This Is War (which also includes guest appearances from the rest of the band). Now the boys are back with their newest EP, and one to actually be released on a physical medium, Wake. This EP clocks in at just under twenty minutes, contains four songs, and a wide variety of sounds.
The disc opens with Brain Jail, which startled me a bit at first. I’m used to these guys being a bit rougher, but this song strikes me as a groovy, flowing, and more progressive than usual track. The vocals are mixed a bit farther back than is generally found in their tunes, but to some great effect, reinforcing the emotions already dripping off Anderson’s vocals.
Beverley starts off as more of a slow-jam, very slouchy, and would fit well into a sleazy, smoke-filled lounge. It oozes along in a slow yet definite build, with a sound like The Eagles meeting The Mars Volta for a long night of dope-smoking, jamming, and looking back at failed relationships. This one gets stuck in my head.
The third one that I can’t decide on. I either love it or hate it. Maybe both at the same time. Entitled Kobe, Don’t Be Rapin’,I like to believe it’s about zombies, and taking this line out of context will reinforce that opinion; “There’s only grey matter I wanna take/This matter in my own hands, you could make me a man”.
But even aside from that, it’s an interesting little ditty. After the first two being more ambient and experimental, we bust into a song that could easily belong to any of the numerous boy pop-rock bands that plague the top forty airwaves. The song feels happy; the vocals waver pleasingly; the entire thing is catchy as fuck. But then you pay some attention to the lyrics, and the prominence of creepy under-age stalking in complete paradox to the light-hearted tone weirds me out. Still, this song contains my absolute favourite part of the entire EP. About three-quarters of the way through we stumble upon some beautifully executed guitar, nice and clean sounding, backing Anderson up as he completely nails his lines. Utterly unexpected, and wholly pleasant.
Then it’s time to disco, apparently. Control is something I was entirely unprepared for. If someone were to get up and dance to this, I don’t think I could even blame them. And That is not a normal statement for a Vultures? track. But still, it’s fun, the lyrics are a tad dark, and there are some awesome tones; typical traits of the band. I particularly loved the ambience on the chorus vocals.
Overall? I liked it. A lot. The songs were great, the sound of the entire thing didn’t make my ears bleed, and in every song I caught something that made me want to re-listen to figure out what it was. I love when that happens. 4.5/5. Loss of half a point for the music breaking my computer.
Catch Vultures? This Saturday, September 15th when they take part in the fourth annual Phog Phest on the corner of University and Victoria. They go on at 7:55, and will hopefully have the EP available for purchase. Tickets are $15, available from the band or Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. W.).
They’ll also be hanging out on The Windsor Scene from 5 until 5:30 pm on Wednesday, September 12th, only on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen in for an exclusive interview, and a chance to hear all the tracks off of Wake.
Against All Evil have already proven themselves capable of a solid live show, despite debuting only a short while ago, but now they are gearing up to release their first EP and music video, with the hopes of taking their band to the next level.
This six-song self-titled collection boasts soulful lyrics backed by instrumentals that range in influence. But whether the song is based more in the pop-punk or alternative-rock category, they are all undeniably catchy. These are also some heavily polished tracks, covered in a candy-like coating that is both sweet and shiny. But for a band with heavy radio aspirations, this is probably a sensible thing to do.
I would best describe these songs at grandiose, which seems to be the aim for this collection of tracks. Mixed to a solid wall of sound, the different instruments and layers fit into a jigsaw of a mainstream record.
Against All Evil contains previous members of Radio Adelaide, Richy Nix, and Thieves in Remand, and in their short amount of time together they have already begun to create a following for themselves with commercial radio airplay and a forcible presence on Roadrunner Records’ Sign Me To site. These guys know exactly what they’re after, and are doing what they can to achieve it, which is definitely commendable. Following their release show, AAE will be participating in a battle of the bands for a lot to open for Chevelle and Evanescence, so good luck to them on that one.
Best Song: Modern Day Spartan
Catch Against All Evil on Friday, August 3rd when they perform at The Room Nightclub (255 Ouellette) along with Intra Meridian and Shortcut to Last. Tickets are $7ADV/$10ATD, 19+ are welcome, and doors are at 9 pm.
After a very long time in the making, Windsor’s longest-running band Betrayer has recently released their self-titled epic. And it was certainly worth the wait. Since they re-emerged onto the scene a little over a year ago, the band has been playing new tracks form the album, most notably Convicted Soul. From the first time hearing this new song, it was obvious that this new album was gonna kill.
Recorded at Spectre Sound with Glen Fricker (as most great local metal albums have been) at the time of it’s making, Norm Michaud was still on bass, but has since been replaced by Sinan Khalaf. On drums is Shawn Bastien, with Bill Lozon on guitar and vocalist/guitarist Jeff Klingbeil at the front.
From their previous recordings and numerous live shows across Southern Ontario fans were able to become familiar with Betrayer’s crisp classic-metal sound. Enthusiasts of Megadeth, and Iron Maiden certainly had nothing to complain about with these guys.
On the new CD, the band has stuck with their established sound, just shined up a bit.
Jeff’s soaring vibrato resonates across the entire album, backed by a bombardment of massive drums, bellowing bass lines, and scalding guitar riffs.
In a very smart move, the boys sent their tracks to Studio Fredman in Sweden for mixing and mastering. Handled by Henrik Udd and Fredrik Nordstrom, the songs came out well balanced and clear. A better studio could not have been chosen for this task, as these guys are behind some stellar product from the likes of In Flames, Arch Enemy, and Opeth, and Nordstrom himself is the guitarist for power metallers Dream Evil, another band who Betrayer likely takes cues from. A solid blast of sound from song to song, the heavily influenced 80’s style metal has been revamped with a modern twist thanks largely, in my opinion, to the mixing styles of those at Fredman.
While we’re on the subject of notable names connected to this album, let’s take a quick look at the album art. Relatively simple, a spider on it’s web (although why the body is not a black widow, yet the hour-glass has been used anyhow I can’t say). However, flip open the booklet, scan down, and see… Art Direction: Hugh Syme. No big deal, he’s only done album art for Iron Maiden, Dream Theatre, Megadeth, and every Rush album since 1975. Not that this contributes to the sound of the album at all, but it’s still pretty damn awesome.
Even looking at this disc without any of the fancy names attached, it’s an awesome collection of songs. This is a band that has been working hard at perfecting their sound for sixteen years, and the maturation of the group and its music is really showing here. For those heavy into collecting local albums, this one is a necessity. I’d say the same for those very into metal as well.
A few years back Betrayer was at the top of their game, winning numerous competitions and getting industry attention. This album has the potential to bring them back to that point, and hopefully carry them further.
As a follow up to their 2011 release Welcome Home, local Christian Metal group Faithful Unto Death have recently released the EP Give Up, Grow Old. This four-song collection clocks in just over fourteen minutes, and holds to the sound established in their previous recordings.
The title track opens the EP on a very strong note, with vocals bordering on rap and some super bouncy instrumentals. Thick recordings of cracking drums and a guitar tone that would fit well in a prog band, the song eventually shifts into the sound of a typical hardcore song with breakdowns and gangvocals that I imagine will translate very well live.
As is true for most Faithful Unto Death Songs, the band is making a statement with Love Devoid of Feeling. “I can say I love you, but if I don’t mean it, the word still don’t make it true” is the gist of the message to this song. Very reminiscent of Hail Destroyer-era Cancer Bats, this song gets into a great chorus with super-steady blast beats, and moves into a huge an awesome crescendo near the end.
The Other Son starts off as a groovy slow-jam, with a super-clicky bass drum. When the song kicks in it’s got a definite Hawthorne Heights feel, if that band had managed to actually sound good. Awesome high, clean guitar riff coming in about halfway through, and ending on the techy, Cancer Bats style sound they established earlier.
Closing off this EP is a cover from the Swedish band Blindside. Yemkela originally appeared on the band’s fifth album, The Great Depression, which was released in 2005. Faithful Unto Death has made the song their own by bringing in their heavy and more technical sound, while keeping the same feel, arrangement, and main riffs as the original track.
Faithful Unto Death has quite a following in Windsor’s hardcore community, and based on this album it is easy to see why. They have also filled the Christian Hardcore Band category that had been empty since the demise of the fun and fast I Am The Vine a couple of years back.
Worth checking out, pick up this album when the band plays live, or for the impatient, download it from their Bandcamp page.
With the recent more pronounced wave of pop punk bands playing all over the city again one might think that itʼs 2003. With Glowing Hearts is a self proclaimed Windsor Pop Punk band with attitude. This pop punk trio do not waste any time on their recent 6 track EP, entitled Hang in There. They dive right into fast riffing, snare popping, raspy vocal pop-punk awesomeness. All of the songs on this EP seem to follow a similar formula, which can usually be expected with music like this. The vocals on all of the tracks have a consistent aggressive rasp, comparable to other Windsor bands such as Shared Arms, The Nefidovs, or Orphan Choir. Not much changes to the vocals except for scattered ʻgroup vocalsʼ and various harmony with the other band members. The other instrumentation is basically just your pop punk distorted guitar, bright bass and your standard punk rock beats (The Offspring, Blink 182, Sum 41 etc.).
Itʼs hard for me not to like bands like With Glowing Hearts because they remind me of the music I listened to when I was younger, and the music that inspired the modern genre (you know, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, Social Distortion..). What is easy, is to pick out the things in pop punk that I like and donʼt like.
To get a few criticisms out of the way, some of the things I longed for on the Hang in There EP is more experimentation. I think With Glowing Hearts chose a safe compilation of songs for this project and because they stick to a very familiar format it is easy to hear their influences without the necessary production.
I think I would have really enjoyed this EP a whole lot more if the band had spent more time producing the album. That may sound like a cheap jab because it can be expensive putting out records, but in my opinion pop punk demands a certain amount of production needed to make it easier on the ears.
What I do like about this band is their attitude, their drive to defend this genre of music and their obvious ability to play their instruments really well. If these guys continue to make music of the pop punk persuasion I would recommend collaborating with a producer/sound engineer that knows this genre really well, like Marty from SLR Studios.
I give this EP 6 out of 10 laid back sloths trying to cross the road.
Favorite tracks: Ramirez! Do Everything & Dead End Streets
Windsor’s folk darlings, the unquiet dead, have shared a stage with Yukon Blonde, The Schomberg Fair, and Elliot Brood, and they have even found their way into Canada’s largest music festival at Canadian Music Week.
But their crowning achievement to date is the independent release of their debut album, Tales of the Unquiet Dead Book One. The album was recorded with Mark Plancke and Shark Tank Studios and released at The Capitol Theatre in early April.
Produced by Plancke and Daren Dobsky, one of the group’s chief songwriters, the unquiet dead present to listeners with this album a collection of short stories. The tales follow no particular theme, ranging from regret and escape to love and loss, and everything in between. But in the presentation of every song, there is always an element, often indefinable, that is undeniably creepy.
With nine members in the band, it’s safe to assume that there is going to be a lot going on all the time. But even with the layers upon layers of vocals and various instruments, the band keeps things from getting overwhelming, leaves breathing space, through some very nice attention to dynamics, panning, and frequency ranges.
The entire album is smooth and non-offensive, slipping past with silky guitar tones, velvety vocals, and polished percussion. The actual genre of the band is difficult to pin down, as each song has it’s own unique flavour, a different bit of genre influence.
The up-beat singalong Rescue Me has some vocals that wouldn’t be out of place in an 80’s soul-pop song, While Hard Road could fit well onto the O Brother, Where Art Thou sound track, thanks to it’s heavy bluegrass sound. For The Moon could easily be from the Adam and Kris album In The Garden, a song that it likely to cause much hand-holding and swaying in unison, while St. James The Moocher might be played in some suave martini lounge where heavy-lidded ladies rest upon the arms of tight-suited men with slicked back hair.
Best described as hauntingly beautiful, in Tales of The Unquiet Dead Book One listeners aren’t going to find tracks to break their neck or fist pump to, but they’ll find stories worth hearing presented in a way that is as timeless as it is soothing. Each time listening through this album you’re likely to walk away having picked upon some new subtlety hidden within the songs innumerable layers and folds.
Let’s rate this album two stout servings of good brandy and a bonfire by the lake at sunset. Best songs? Lord Loves A Workin Man and St. James The Moocher.
Tales of The Unquiet Dead Book One can be purchased at Dr Disc in Downtown Windsor, or online at CDBaby.com. If you’re interested in catching the unquiet dead live, they have two shows this Saturday, May 5th, one at Walkermole in Walkerville during the day, and the other at FM Lounge, Downtown, at night.
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.
Giving grief to hipsters is one of the internet’s favourite things at the moment, ragging on everything from fashion sense, to taste in music, to an Alanis Morisette-esque understanding of the word “ironic”. There is a new band taking a stand against this bashing by actually understanding what ironic means, and using it to show people how ridiculous they’re being. This project is looking to make a point; “who cares about what “stereotype” you fit under as long as you enjoy yourself while doing it”. They plan on doing this by creating an obscure genre of music, recording a CD, burying it, so as it be literally “underground”, and having a jolly good time throughout it all.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the fathers of Hawaiigrind, Hypsteria, and their new EP, The Grand Pineapplestein.
Let us start by examining “Hawaiigrind”, as it is likely most readers will not be familiar with the term. The principle instrument in this operation is the ukulele, and when it is accompanied by mucus-covered vocals, like you’ll find in the fourteen-second opening track, Being Dead is Gay (Especially If You’re Seth Putnam).
The album’s title track is an instrumental one, all uke, that starts off with the sort of playing you might hear from your kid brother’s “metal” band, but on a tiny guitar-like thing, which makes it infinitely more amusing. Sixteen seconds of silence later, we’re into a cheery and simple chord progression that has me swaying side to side before I knew what was happening, or could check to make sure that no one was around.
Let’s put this out there now. This is not the best recording you’ve ever heard. And that’s the point. On their Facebook page, the band themselves made a spectacular comment regarding the quality of the EP;
So don’t get all up in arms about how bad it sounds. The band is perfectly aware of this.
Moving on to the third track, Piss and Wine, we’ve got a parody of a Green Day song. Focus on the lyrics and you’re sure to giggle. I won’t even spoil it by putting any of them here, just go listen to it.
On A Stupid Cliché you can hear that the ukulele is being played fairly well, which makes for an odd contrast with the lyrics about masturbation, but also points out that this isn’t just someone with no talent trying to make fun of himself for a bit of attention. He could play better music if he so chose, but this is way more fun.
The last track is not so much a song. Windsor PSA is a false public service announcement, facetiously encouraging artists, musicians, club owners, and the community at large to give up any ideas that Windsor’s arts community has a chance, and to go melt brains on sitcoms and action movies instead.
All in all the EP is worth the listen, if only for the entertainment value. Let’s give it an oversized scarf with a paisley shirt, discussing how much George Clooney was really the best Batman. So go ahead and download the whole thing from their Bandcamp Page.
The Hoop is an eccentric Windsor based group fronted by Joe LaBine (guitar/piano/vocals). The band started playing together in 2011 at the University of Windsor for the Diwali festival. The Hoop features the talents of many local and even international musicians, as their lineup has been through many changes.
The Hoopʼs debut album, Panda Boy, has a deﬁning sound that is based around simple instrumentation and song structure. The simplicity is actually contradicted by the amount of personality, song structure and story telling that the record has. The ability to make something simple sound absolutely huge is The Hoop’s use of a full range of not so obvious instruments including organ, piano, synthesizers, and brass.
Despite only being a band for just over a year The Hoop is incredibly tight and in the pocket on this record. The album starts off with a groovy instrumental tune called In Through the Outro (probably a Led Zeppelin reference that Iʼll let slide). The song is crafted effectively by giving the listener a good idea of what else is about to come.
Once the album progresses you get to hear how the vocals tie into the rest of the music and youʼll ﬁnd that everything ﬁts and works together really nicely. The writing in all of the songs are far from being considered amateur. It sort of reminds me of a blend of recent MGMT, old Joy Division, and Modest Mouse. The vocals and the percussion are my favorite aspects of the record.
The Hoop have not made their music available online and wholeheartedly believe in only releasing physical copies of their art, which I can deﬁnitely respect. If youʼre looking for their music I would recommend contacting the band, going to one of their shows or shopping for it at Dr. Disc Records.
Panda Boy is deﬁnitely one of my new favorite local full length albums of 2012 so far and gets 8 out of 10 pick up line panda jokes that didnʼt make it in this review.
Sometimes I feel like bands that fall under the category of “hard rock/alternative” are exactly what I expect them to be. Generic, chugging riffs and an overall mediocre sound that’s homogenized and ready for repetitive radio play. Eventually they fall into obscurity and stay hidden under the shadow of their 1990s predecessors.
However, I like Diesel Junkies. I’ve seen them play live a few times and enjoyed it. I even managed to sit through their cover of a Mariah Carey Christmas song, a feat which relatively few bands could accomplish. This is why I didn’t mind reviewing their latest EP, which is 4 songs of alt-rock goodness.
As I noted before, I find that a lot of alternative rock tends to be boring and generic. While the Diesel Junkies generally play ballsy rock riffs most of the time, they make things more interesting by incorporating different styles without getting overly experimental. Aside from the obligatory slow-jam “In My Arms,” all of the songs have subtle elements of other genres. For example, “Becoming” starts off with a really funky intro and eventually turns into a latin-esque breakdown with shakers and a pretty cool guitar solo. There’s definitely some southern rock influence throughout the EP too. Straying away from the usual alternative structure (Verse, chorus, guitar solo. Lather, rinse, repeat) also helps the Diesel Junkies stand out a bit among their peers.
The only bigger criticisms I have of the album are related to technical issues. It was a bit heavy on the bass when I listened to it through my laptop, but for all I know a bass-heavy sound could have been what they were looking for. Another technical complaint is that the vocals are a bit muddy at times and occasionally slightly overpowered by the music. Other than that, the album is crisp and professional sounding. An easy addition to any rock radio station’s rotation.
I think the Diesel Junkies EP definitely has potential to get some decent airplay. It’s pretty solid, with my personal favourite track being the opener “Right on the Money.” I give it a full tank of diesel, until my car breaks down and I realize that it doesn’t run on diesel.
- Adam D’Andrea
Tune in to CJAM 99.1 FM on Wednesday, March 7th from 5:30 until 6 pm, when Diesel Junkies will join Lauren Hedges on The Windsor Scene for an hour and a half of live performances, interviews, and background on their new release.
This week I have the pleasure of reviewing Ozone Crutch’s Atmospheres. Clocking in at just under 6 minutes, Atmospheres was over and done with before I could finish my usual pre-review writing finger-stretching exercises. By the time I could formulate a couple of thoughts on the album, it was done. That being said, I’ll keep this one fairly short and sweet.
When I chose to review an EP from a band called Ozone Crutch, I pretty much knew what I was getting myself into. I figured it would be fairly balls-to-the-wall, and I knew I wasn’t about to hear a 90 minute long rock opera. The hilarious cover only verified these thoughts and assumptions. They kinda sound like Motorhead with an irreverent sense of humour. It’s basically heavy garage-style punk with raspy vocals and some breakdowns thrown in here and there. It’s fun and energetic, so I definitely got a kick out of it. I can only assume (although I could be wrong) that the music was written for the purpose of playing fun live shows and lollin’ it up while doing so. Ozone Crutch isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here.
The lyrics are, for the most part, completely nonsensical. However, it was nice of Ozone Crutch to include the worlds to all three songs on the back cover. This way we can sing along to lines such as “Lars Ulrich, critically acclaimed. My head hurts, god damn cat. Chasin’ tubes on my mountain bike.” Pretty awesome stuff.
Overall, Atmospheres was a quick and entertaining listen. I’m not even really sure what to rate it. Let’s just give it 3 tallboys of PBR and that sweet white headband the one guy’s wearing on the cover.
- Adam D’Andrea
About a year ago, a new band came out in the local music scene, one that was somewhere between the DIY punk groups and hardcore outfits. Dirty, crusty, raw; scab punk, if you will. Almost a year later there have been a lot of shows, some lineup changes, a lot of work writing and recording, and now Repetitions have released their first album, Watch The World Burn.
When talking to people who just don’t seem to “get” this style of music, their number one complaint is always the same;
“I’ve got no idea what they’re saying!”
Because clarity of vocals and the ability for everyone to sing along is paramount, yes? But, to these people, I say give it a chance. Actually try to listen and understand. With Jay Buston‘s (formerly of The Clusterfuxx) vocals on this album, he is not trying to recreate Carcass frontman Jeff Walker’s sound, and all the lyrics are actually quite clear. Yes, he screams, shrieks, and strains his way through each and every song, but not everyone can be a Backstreet Boy, and really, would you even want that? While sounding great both on the record and live, Buston’s vocals help to make the music more accessible to those who might not otherwise give it a chance, all while accompanying some great instrumentals.
Watch the Wolrd Burn was recorded by Al “Yeti” Bones, and he did a fantastic job of capturing the sound and energy of the band.
Played by Sean Boone (formerly of The Posers) the drums take up their own space without being huge, beefy, arena-rock style. The snare is more of a whack than a crack or a pop, but you definitely hear it. The toms, particularly on the second track Warpath are simply disgusting. In an awesome way. The entire kit is not mixed in an overly loud fashion, but pulls through by squeezing in right in a frequency range left open by the low, chugging, crunchy guitars and bass.
Guitars by newbie Stef Paulton range from plodding hardcore to a groovy, almost bouncy, tone like you’ll find on the third track No Escape (one of my favourite tunes on here).
Songs like The House of Ribs and Chinese Food (another favourite) really showcase the guitar and bass sounds, with their low, doomy, qualities, but played in a way that I don’t feel right calling “upbeat”, but is faster and more buoyant than might be expected, based simply on the tones. Ash Richtig (of The Heatseeking Moisture Missiles) on bass was surprising to many at first, who were used to him as a drummer, but he more than shows off his skills as the other half of the rhythm section on this album.
Overall, as a debut release, and album in general, Repetitions did a fantastic job on the writing and playing of this record. Let’s give it four dirty bandaids and a mickey of gin.
Be sure to catch Repetitions on March 31st when they play with a reunion, one-off show by the legendary Disco Assault, Chatham’s Hundred Proof, Detriot’s Bas Assets, Toronto’s The Sofistifucks and Windsor’s DIY extraordinaires Suppressulant. This show will be happening at The Dominion House Tavern (3140 Sandwich St.), with doors at 7 pm, admission $7, and all ages welcome.
You can also take a listen to the whole album on the band’s ReverbNation Page.
Ontario Plates make it very clear that Forever is a
dedication EP for the late Robert Bracewell and Rose
Voyvodic. With that in mind, you donʼt have to press play to
realize that the album is going to be very emotionally driven.
Especially when I linked the dedicated surnames to the names
of the current band members.
I had the pleasure of going to see Ontario Plates perform in
Toronto recently, which made reviewing their latest EP a no brainer. I never got a
chance to ask where their style derives from or who their inﬂuences are, but in my
opinion they are a post-rock band that fuze jazzy undertones (evident in the drummers
style) to create elongated guitar and piano based instrumental pieces. They are the
deﬁnition of dynamic contrast, which made for a very enthusiastic and emotional live
performance. They primarily use two guitars, a stage piano, Tenor Sax, bass and a
The two actual songs on Forever, Robert and Rose, are around 10 minutes long and
according to the EPs prelude, were recorded in one take. Needless to say these guys
are far from being considered amateur. The ﬁrst song, Robert, is 9 and a half minutes
long, formulated by a loud-soft dynamic pattern which is consistent throughout the
course of both songs. Robert starts off soft and does not take long to get into the ﬁrst
shoe-gazing climax, which progresses into a math-rock styled jam where they truly
achieve ʻepicʼ. It then decrescendos into a melodic, up and down symphonic sounding
instrumental break until you discover the bands use of vocals. Now, the vocals used
arenʼt your typical post-rock, cutesy little spectral moans and hums, which can
sometimes make songs like these awkward (yah, you, Sigur Ros). No. It goes right into a
really well orchestrated sestina poem, which uses the same words over and over again
while following the same loud-soft dynamic until it climaxes back into the music’s usual
instrumentation. Three words. Yes, fuck yes.
The last song, Rose, is in many ways similar to the ﬁrst song. It follows the same loud-
soft dynamic that eventually interludes into some more spoken word poetry. At ﬁrst I
thought it might have been too repetitive but soon realized that the similarities probably
have deeper meaning because of the prologued dedication. That made me realize how
different the song actually is and aloud me to appreciate and interpret the beauty behind
I found it extremely difﬁcult to ﬁnd any kind of constructive criticism throughout this EP,
other than the fact that I wish it was a full length album. In my opinion this music is what
I wish more artists would strive toward, and that is putting out something raw and real
with a gradual transition into something more progressive and produced. Its all about
ʻﬁnding your soundʼ ﬁrst, which is exactly what Ontario Plates have done here. There
are no cheap gimmicks or obvious studio trickery. This EP is tasteful musical bliss,
which isnʼt a term I ever use lightly, but dammit, thatʼs how I feel.
The album is available on their Facebook page for free with the option of buying both (which I highly
recommend). If you ever get the chance to see them perform live, I highly recommend
Favorite songs – I enjoyed the whole thing from start to ﬁnish.
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.
My name’s Adam D’Andrea, and I’m pleased to say that I’m The Windsor Zene’s newest music reviewer. Many of you know me as the drummer for local band The Nefidovs. Some of you may know me as that really tall guy who goes to shows and is usually drinking Steamwhistle. But anyways. For my first review, I had the pleasure of skipping past amateur hour and listening to the excellent new self-titled album from The Spooky but Nice.
My initial impression of the album, even before I finished the first song, was that I couldn’t wait to see how this stuff would play out live. The music on The Spooky but Nice is very unique and original to Windsor. More often than not the songs sound very full and orchestral, but when you listen a bit more closely there may only be 3 or 4 instruments playing. I think one aspect of the album that adds to the “orchestral” sound is the scattered use of different instruments such as timpani, Latin percussion, saxophone, and other instruments that go past the bass-guitar-drums formula. For bands that fall under the “rock/alternative” umbrella, I’ve always felt that adding in those unusual instruments can make a huge difference in your sound, even if it just means adding some hand claps or shakers here and there.
I’m not really sure how to describe the overall sound of the album without giving an overly detailed track-by-track description. I guess you could say its “alternative” music, but of course that leaves open a whole world of interpretation and assumptions. The album works great as a cohesive unit, but many of the songs are clearly influenced by different genres. “Sun Goes” sounds like it could have been on the classic Jesus and Mary Chain album Darklands, while “The Embassy” channels an island vibe and has some pretty calypso-sounding guitars. “Go My Way” and “Next Stop” have very Western feels to them, and sound like they could be included in the score of a Quentin Tarantino film. In fact, if I were to ride into a small town on a horse and challenge someone to a duel, I would probably want “Next Stop” playing in the background. But I digress.
With regards to the production of the album, it’s clear that this wasn’t just a “plug in and go” recording session. You can hear that many different recording techniques were used throughout the album, and clearly a lot of thought went into the sound and production of each individual track. This makes the album far more interesting than hearing the same production values for 9 songs straight. It also shows that taking some risks when recording can be a great payoff. Being a drummer, I also know how big of a pain in the ass it is to get a good drum sound. It can take hours (days, even) to get an ideal sound that’s in between too one-dimensional and too distorted and muddy. The drums on the album sound thick, full, and ballsy. It’s a phenomenal sound that compliments the rest of the instruments perfectly.
Since I was raised on punk rock, I inherently like my music to be upbeat and energetic. While this album is mostly laid back, it doesn’t lack energy and I never lost interest while listening to it from start to finish. One reason why is because of The Spooky But Nice’s great use of dynamics. For example, “Dollin” starts off with a very quiet and isolated-sounding verse, but picks up about a minute in and becomes a pretty danceable song. This is something many bands lack today, with many songs just being consistently loud all the way through or consistently boring all the way through. Interesting song structures also kept me interested while listening to the album. Don’t expect too much “verse-chorus-verse-chorus-end” type stuff here, not that that’s always a particularly bad thing.
Overall, listening to The Spooky but Nice was a very enjoyable listening experience. I give the album 4 out of 5 unexpected sax riffs.
The whole album can be streamed for free on their Bandcamp Page.
With sludge metal, crust punk, and other grossly named subgenres of rock music covered by local bands already, it’s about time we got a grunge band, and Shimmer Demolition is here to fill that void. The debut release of this one man band is called Nothing To Do/Kiss Her, and was mastered by Johnny West.
Consisting of two songs, the first, titled Nothing To Do (Shocking, yes) is slow and dirty, with low, muddy, fuzzy guitars, and neanderthall-esque vocals. Driven mostly by guitars and cymbals, the song chugs along through it’s diverse lyrics (I love you and I’ve got nothing to do!) in a way that makes you want to sit back and nod your head, perhaps with a bit of a smoke.
The second, and last song, wait for it, Kiss Her, furthers the idea of noisy grunge punk, with all elements mixed tightly together into a puddle of nifty drum beats and smooth bass lines. While still not music that makes you want to punk the guy next to you, this track has a stronger sense of urgency and a tad more aggression than it’s predecessor. The way the vocals are buried back in with everything else makes for a nice change from a lot of music where vocals are front and centre at all times.
Overall, two tubes of lip gloss, well done. But I am certainly curious to hear a sample of work larger than two songs.
Check out Shimmer Demolition‘s Bandcamp Page, where the EP is available for download.
I can honestly only think of one thing I really hate about this band. That one thing is that they rarely play live. I’ve only seen them twice in the last 18 months or so and that simply not enough. I understand wanting to build anticipation in between shows but c’mon now. That being said, their live show is very intriguing to say the least. Thunderous drums, dirty rock guitar riffs, rollin’ bass lines and vocals that could if you’re not careful knock up your old lady right before your eyes. I also vaguely remember vomit being licked up off the floor, if I’m not mistaken by local iconic musician Jamie Greer but I could have just imagined that part.
I’m not here to talk about their live show as much as I am their most recently released album, The End Of Men. If you were lucky enough to be at the c.d. release show and picked it up, it was accompanied with a picture book of sorts. Filled with distorted images (copyrighted I might add) of famous characters and just plain weird things. But that’s really the whole point of the book. Everything any “artist” releases is really just borrowed from someone who’s already done it before them. I don’t want to divulge too much more about it seeing as you should probably find a way to own it yourself. Clever? Maybe, but that will have to be up to you to decide.
Now let’s get right into this filthy record. It all starts with the ironically titled “In The End”, a slow creepy intro of sorts. Contained within a drone-like drum beat, eerie guitars and vocals that sound like one too many valiums was taken. And now the rock begins with “Rock Salt” and “Too Tight“. Two dirty, filthy rock songs Poughboy is known and loved for, a fist in the air type of songs.
Things slow down considerably with “Fuk Politics”, taking on a sludgy consistency. The guitars hold long harmonious notes that sound a little spacey. Perfect for your first time using mushrooms perhaps. Just when you think the record is giving you a relaxing break “Tape 2: For Men” and “Tape 1: My Love Will Eclipse The Fucking Sun” kick in. The first is a minute of schizophrenia featuring belligerent vocals and some fancy off beat drumming by one of Windsor’s best drummers, in my opinion, David Allan. The second is a spastic-fantastic electronic influenced track. With percussions that make it sound like they recorded it in a dildo factory running at full capacity.
If you like groovy rhythm then “The Brazilian” is right up your alley. With the weirdest little organ solo you’ve ever heard it would fit perfectly in a Ween song circa 1990. Also has a really phat bass line to groove too. Also very grooving is one of my favorites on the album, “Two Shivs”. An intense song that’ll keep today’s youth wanting to stay out of jail, to say the least.
“Hands ups, who wants to fuck?” is asked in this next tune, “Gadgets” aka “Teledildonics”. A very upbeat track with drums that switch back and forth between a fairly fast beat, to a straight-up tribal one. Somewhat of a sing-a-long for the crowd who responds with “Hands up, we want to fuck!”
Where have I heard this next song before? Classic glam metal fans will know, although is a bit disguised by being slowed down considerably. This one I’ll keep for a surprise. Okay, here’s a clue. This song is formally known as “Blackie Lawless Can’t Touch Me Now” keeping to the whole copyright theme of the accompanied book.
A cool chillin’ slow rock track is next with “The Pink Sock”. How could you not love a song about pedophilia!?! They keep it on the slow side of things with “The Canary” gradually intensifying things closer to the end. The organ accompaniments are quite fuckin’ awesome, as are they on a select few tracks on this record.
Right here, Poughboy transitions nicely into a stoner rock vibe, big time with “The Fashion Dyke”. At this point we start to notice that the vocals sound progressively more and more drunk. The song fizzles out with a fading guitar riff that makes one think Adam has finally passed out.
The title track is up next and features a solo in which there are no actually notes being played, figure that one out! Great melodic musicianship from the gang. Sexy as fuck bass line going on ‘til the break of dawn. Last and definitely not …ah, you get the point…is “Man Up” and definitely Poughboy’s “anthem”. When it comes to sing-a-longs at a live show. “Maaaan up! Don’t be a pussy! Maaaan up! Stop your cryin’! Maaaan up! You fuckin’ baby! Maaaan up!”
To close I am going to end with a quote from Uncle Piss, a letter to the reader of the Poughboy book:
“Everything in here has been stolen… and you’ve essentially paid for someone else’s work but the fact of the matter is that we don’t particularly give a fuck. We’ve got your money, and by the time you read this, it’s likely been spent already. What are the original “artists” going to do? Sue us? Good luck. But really, what doesn’t boil down to a whole lot of poaching in the end anyways? Everything you listen to, everything you watch, everything you create is just borrowed, and at the end of the day, you and everyone else are as unoriginal and rotten as we are. Hope you are enjoying yourself so far. And thanks for the loot. Love, Piss.”
I give this c.d. 5/5 raging boners. It is a must have, so message me later and I’ll rip it for you. Thanks for the awesome night, Poughboy, and the awesome CD that is now my favourite coaster.
The sounds that it opens with had me concerned, at first. “Oh shit,” I said to my water bottle, “they kept on with that wacky dubstep-ness from that tape recorder session they did back in the summer.” Shortly enough though, that sound I took to be the fuzzy bass of a dubstep track resolved itself into the fuzzy sound of the bands’ guitar. Crisis averted. And the song turned out to be I Like Rumble Fish, the first song I ever heard from these guys, and one I happened to really like. A number of the songs on this album are ones that had already been released, but for this collection they’ve been re-recorded in all the lo-fi glory that is Weirdonia.
On this album of thirteen are a lot of strange sounds and amusing lyrics. Among the strangest of the sounds is the eighth track, Roboto, which was just a solid three minutes of what the fuck. But this band always was one that didn’t take themselves too seriously, so I’m really not surprised.
What did at first come as a shock, however, was the song 13 Miles. Although already aware that these boys like them some ukulele, I didn’t expect it to show up in a starring role on this album. But of course keeping in the spirit that is the odd-ness of these two, theylyrics that they wrote to go with it are a bit on the disturbing side. Mixed with the oddly timed and layered vocals, and you’ve got some solid nightmare fodder.
And just because they can, a country-esque tune has bee included, under the name of Suicide Song. This is one that shows some of the most diversity in instruments, and seemingly the most thought in arrangements. Still with the dirty sound that can be expected from this band, though.
In the other songs on the album you’ll find a great mix of noise, punk, blues, and rock, all done with a very distinct low fidelity fuzz, and strange effects all over the place.
The entire album is available for download in digital format, and physical copies can be ordered as well, from the group’s Bandcamp page.
In closing, we’ll give it two broken guitar strings and an eye-less teddy bear. Worth checking out.
EVL started as a recording project in 2007, has gone through numerous line-up changes and hiatuses (hiatui?) since then, and now has an album they call Strong Rock: Live! The “Strong Rock” part is a running joke the band has been going with for a while now, ever since they chalkboard outside Milk Coffee Bar described them thusly. Is it accurate? Meh. At times. Not exactly the wording that comes to my mind when I hear them, but I can see where one might think that
This particular collection of recordings starts off with In Your Mind, a rather eclectic track that mixes feelings of doom, punk, and being charged down by an army of occupy protestors, if they were to actually do such a thing. One of the best tracks on here, to be sure.
I’ll Keep Mine has a great moral, for any of those out there who might happen to be pro gay rights. Great to hear opinions on this issue, especially when they’re ones I can sympathize with.
And because this band is just that ADD, from there we move on to a song about a card game. Solitaire has a decidedly melodic, Bad Religion-esque feel to it that I found quite enjoyable.
Lead vocalist Jawn Dee’s stylings are generally reminiscent of Bill Manspeaker, but in the track Working Class Majority, I find that his connection to the Green Jelly frontman extremely apparent. This entire track is a perfect example of the fast and dirty sound I typically associate with this band.
When you listen to Jesus is the Law, try to tell me you can’t picture the main guitar riff in an action film. I dare you. And excitingly groovy tune, I was really digging the drums on this one.
In covering the Misfit’s song Skulls they really sped it up, and gave it an all-over more gritty feel, while still keeping in the theme of creepily needing skulls. As if it’s possible to want to put skulls on a wall in an un-creepy way.
Out of Reach is a classic EVL tune, one that I can easily see protestors chanting as they toss fists into the air. Also get’s the band back into their morally charged songwriting.
The Black Flag influence is easily noted in the track Glory.
One of my favourites to hear live, Villain has a heavier feel and encompasses all of the aforementioned influences and reminiscences. If all my favourite punk bands came together to make a song, I imagine it would be something like this.
Ending the whole experience with No, All by The Descendents is either very clever, or very lame. I’m torn as to which.
The band’s bass player Chris Wilbur did a great job on the recording and mixing, and now folks can get a taste of what an EVL show is like. Probably a good thing to have the available, as the band is set to return to their nearly perpetual state of hiatus after a show at The Dominion House Tavern on February 17th
Over all, let’s give this one an upside down cross, two and a half skulls, and a safety pin. Very enjoyable.
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.
Aurelia is a 4 piece alternative punk-rock metal fusion powerhouse from Windsor, Ontario. The four songs that I had a chance to listen to are available on their Bandcamp page. I had the option of streaming or downloading everything for free, which is considerably nice of them to offer since all of the songs were recorded by Glenn Fricker at Spectre Sound Studios.
While Iʼm on the subject of Spectre Studios I just want to say that bands of this genre are smart to use Glenn to record their sound. He truly lays down the right amount of production needed to capture all of the technical aspects that bands like these base their sound around. Notably the drums, bass, guitar and vocals were all very clear without overpowering each other. This allowed the band to create some truly brilliant dynamics in all of their songs.
I only had to listen to the EP once to realize that the musicians in the band all have different tastes (either that or they all suffer from severe cases of ADD). They were able to tastefully blend and fuse together multiple genres of music into single songs, which made everything they had to offer really interesting to listen to. The song Bobʼs Overwhelming Rage demonstrated their amalgamation of genres that included some blast-from-the-past punk riffs into some savvy tech-metal polyrhythmic drum patterns.
Since there were only 4 songs available for listening it was hard to really come up with any major criticisms, other than that sometimes it felt like they were trying too hard to create something original by changing the style too drastically during some of the songs. I think more drawn out transitions would help make some of the songs more conceptual and easier for the listener to follow without thinking that they accidentally hit ʻnextʼ on their iPod.
I definitely think that Aureliaʼs originality will be the reason why theyʼll do so well in this city and ones they visit. They are a great addition to Windsors ever expanding music scene and I look forward to hear what else these guys have to offer. Overall, Iʼm happy to report that I thoroughly enjoyed Latex, and Hot Sex (a double entendre? maybe.)
Favorite songs – Rip it out / Bobʼs Overwhelming Rage
I first saw this band live at The Capitol Theatre in January of 2011, and was pretty impressed with what I saw. A sound that isn’t quite like anything else going on in Windsor, but built to appeal to the enthusiasts of any genre. Since then I’ve followed the band’s progress, seeing them play a few more times and looking forward to their new album. In late December, Broken Horses was finally released.
Produced and mixed by the band, this predecessor to 2011′s Last Supper Fit for a King is an alternative for anyone looking for an album that isn’t necessarily happy, but who can’t stand the thought of hearing Adele one more time.
The entire 28 minute CD is a blend of genres and a dynamic mix of instrumentals and vocals.
The first track, She Says, opens some lightly reverbed guitar and soft singing, before kicking into a wall of sound fronted by anguished vocals. Right away I was able to hear something a little bit Smashing Pumpkins, a little bit Brand New.
With Pastels, the band has pulled in a bit more of a pop-punk, emo influence. They seem to have heavily channelled Brand New in this one. Near the end of the song the listener is treated to an intimate, creepy vocal closeup that in headphones sounds like someone whispering if your ear, sending shivers down your spine. Effective, if the band’s objective was to make skin crawl, and based on the rest of the album, I’m not entirely convinced that it wasn’t.
More rock influenced, and one of the songs most likely to entice something resembling dancing, Carousels is the track where the album title is derived from. Some gorgeous tom sounds here, and an overall more prevalent drum kit with a tight sound that fits in right alongside guitar feedback adn aggressive strumming.
Brothers starts off slow and soft, with a single guitar, whispered vocals and a light tinkling. When the vocals move into something stronger, they convey unpleasant emotions and feel very direct. Even after the kick the song still feels a lot more minimal than the rest of the album, but just as impassioned.
The fifth track is the epitome of a loud and soft song, lines alternating between agonized screams and disheartened moans. Lungs is one of my favourite songs on this nine track album, perfectly embodying Silent Movie Type‘s genre-bending, atmospheric punk and song dynamics.
The contrast between the music and lyrics on TV on Mute is odd, but not surprising for this band or album. Pop-punk style drumming and guitars are fronted by distressed lines about a girl who drinks alone.
Bridesmaid is a groovy track with some of the most technical guitar work to be found on this CD. Add that to a cracking snare and vocals that start off as a spine-tingling chant and move into the signature screams and you’ve got a song that really stands out.
The first thing that is heard on Fiddler’s Tune, and that drives the entire song, are the very jazzy drums. Quite unlike the other punk beats found elsewhere on Broken Horses, they create an excellent base for a song with a massive, spacious sound, flowing guitar solos, and eerily layered vocals.
To close out the album is What We’ve Done, a soaring track that regains some of the momentum that had started building at the start of the CD. Fast, moving between loud and slightly less loud, ardent vocals, at the same time buoyant and burdened, this is the song I’d imagine to be the single of the album.
Overall, Silent Movie Type‘s Broken Horses is a fantastic album, one that can appeal to younger listeners and fans of older punk alike. I’ve had it on repeat all week, and image that it will be for some time yet.
The entire album is available for download on Silent Movie Type‘s Bandcamp Page.
Harrow is a small town about 40 minutes south of Windsor. Hailing from here is a heavy metal band, After Ashes. This is a group that takes influence from all corners of the metal genre, and their new demo, Broken Culture is a great reflection of their diversity.
The opening track Fictional Diet is very Lamb of God inspired, while Sweet Relief has more of a Black Dahlia Murder feel, and the title track brings out the prog in a 7 minute epic with vocals that are a mix of power and death metal.
Recorded at with Brett Humber at Sound Foundry Studio is Kingsville, this album is fast, tight, and technical. Playing styles from track to track are diverse, but hold the common theme of being heavy, fast, and in your face.
This young band is clearly dedicated to their craft, and in their debut recording is just a start, as I am certain they’ve yet to reach their full potential as individual musicians and as a band.
Their new demo will be officially released this Friday, January 20, 2012 at The Coach and Horses (156 Chatham St. W, Basement Level) along with scene staples Reasons Lost and the aggressive fucking thrash metal stylings of Weapon of Choice.
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+