The Rowley Estate, Still T.R.E.
“Aggressive Pop-Punk” sounds a bit oxymoronic at first, and maybe brings to mind “The Young and The Hopeless”–era Good Charlotte. But Windsor trio The Rowley Estate is showing just how to manage it, with their first full-length album, Still T.R.E. Recorded at Sound Foundry Studio in Kingsville with Brett Humber, the album is rather short, clocking in barely over nineteen minutes. But it’s fun and fast from start to finish, with no fillers to skip past.
The record starts off with a quick intro, “Still T.R.E.”, which seems to promise a bit heavier of a sound than the rest of the CD delivers. After 37 seconds it blends seamlessly into track two, “You Better Run Run.” Upon first hearing this song the guitar tones had me thinking I had stumbled across a long-lost Blurt recoding. And I love Blurt, so I get pretty excited. Once the bass kicked in, however, I knew that this was something different. The feel of this track isn’t quite as ominous as that of the intro, but the pop-punk vibe is definitely there. Once the vocals kick in is where the “aggressive” part really starts. These guys aren’t trying to serenade their ways into the hearts of pre-teen girls, they’re trying to get everyone partying. The lyrics are still feel-good; “And I’m not trying to tell you how to live, but I know one thing: keep it positive.” Delivered in raw and rough shouting that fits in perfectly with the instrumentals, feedback, and gang vocals. About ¾ of the way through the song it breaks down in the traditional way of hardcore music, while still keeping it’s fun and up-beat attitude.
The entire record plays like a show, songs bleeding from one into the next with barely a pause for breath, group vocals appearing on basically every song, and even the sounds of kids screwing around making appearances.
Track three is one of my favourites, simply titled “Wen”. The lyrics might repeat themselves, but again the message is adorable, but not in a puppy-with-it’s-head-titlted sort of way. The lyrics read like a break-up song in which the boys accept the fact that it’s still necessary to care for your buddies/exes/what have you, even after things go south. “And I don’t trust you more than I can throw you, and we gotta carry each other.”
“Oi! You!” has the simplest of lyrics (see title) but it’s perfect for a quick bout of merciless skanking. Love the snare intro on this one,
The interestingly titled “Instead of a Head He Had a Package of Meat” comes up next, and being as it is technically a pop-punk album, the woah’s and oh’s had to make an appearance eventually. Here’s where it happens, and thankfully, they’ve done it in the least offensive way possible. With lyrics like “Let’s stick together. This is the right path for me. My friends and positivity.” It’s a happy enough song to pull it off, and the fact that they aren’t sung too sickly-sweet or given a solo makes them bearable, and, dare I say it? Downright enjoyable. This is definitely a track to sing along with.
I’m in love with the bass on “Snitches Get Stitches”, both the tone and the playing. The way the bass holds it’s own over the entire album is impressive, but there’s something about this track in particular that really works for me. The vocals seem to differ very little from track to track, but I guess when you’ve found something that works for you, keep it up. The brevity of the album makes it so this sameness doesn’t become overly repetitious, so that’s a good thing. But I anticipate the next album to see where they go.
Track number seven, “Sounds”, is an instrumental bit that is the calmest of all the songs, with some interesting ear candy if you pay attention. At first listen it might come across as simply a minute forty-eight of drum and guitar looped, but there are some neat things buried in there if you care to find them.
And then the album closes with “Eastbound”, which is apparently about Derek’s love for New York City, and how he plans to live there eventually. The filters on the vocals on this one make it sound like you’re hearing this testament screamed through a telephone from somewhere far away. This entire track is the most stand-out on the album for all the differences in it’s sounds compared to the rest of it. It still has the gang vocals and poppy snare, sure, but the some cleaner, more wailing guitars, and less aggressive singing help it to be it’s own thing.
Since the recording of “Still T.R.E” drummer Pat Meloche has left the group (on good terms) to move out west, and has been replaced by Will Garant. Will does still appear on the CD though, as a part of the gang vocals, so that’s pretty cool. And apparently he’s doing a terrific job manning the skins (even Pat says so). Also cool.
Pick up The Rowley Estate’s Still T.R.E. at Dr. Disc, Hometown Skateshop, or at their next show.
Playlist for the July 13, 2011 show;
The Unsettlers – Tie a Rope (Blood and Oil – 2010)
ASK- Safety Zone (Future Communication – 2011)
Sirens and Serenades – 10 Steps (From the Edge) (The Unspoken Art of Lying – 2011)
Star Trek: The Band – Red Shirt’s Fall of Doom (What Little Girls Are Made Of? – 2011)
Fresh Breath – Precious Time (The Speed of Sound – 2010)
Five Alarm Funk – Cave of the Gypsy Troll (Live at Phog – 2011)
Anonymous Bosch – Explode, Reload (Anonymous Bosch – 2010)
The Nefidovs – Beg Your pardon (Set Faces to Stunned – 2011)
With Glowing Hearts – Long Necks Don’t Play With Three Horns (The Riley EP – 2011)
Bombs – Patch on My Parka (The Windsor Zene January Sampler – 2011)
Valerie Page – Great Divide (Landscape in Decay – 2011)
Richie Nix – Empty Heart (Light Years – 2011)
Victory, Sweet Victory – Under Fire
StereoGoesStellar – Hit Me With Your Best Shot (StereoGoesStellar – 2009)
The Square Root of Margaret – Revisit the Cosmos: With Your Hosr, Gelatinous “Space” Mendoza!
This week I was really excited to play my interview with Five Alarm Funk‘s Dameian Walsh, and the bootleg recording I had of last week’s show. Talking with Dameian outside of Phog last Friday night was an interesting experience, my first on site interview, as opposed to in the studio. We had an amusing time talking about playing at Phog, playing at the Olympics, and how he saw the Vancouver Hockey Riots first hand. He had some interesting opinions on those, refreshing to hear someone’s take on the whole thing without the media’s overdramatic spin on it.
The entire show that night was a great time, with Windsor’s The Bad Mothers putting on a great opening set; smooth and groovy funk covers. F.A.F. Were loads of fun as well, getting the entire place dancing. The only complaint I heard about the night was that it took too long for the show to start, and far too long for the headliner to take the stage. But that seemed a small matter when held up agianst what a great time the entire show was. To read more about it, check out the WindsoriteDOTca article.
This Saturday local skate punkers The Rowley Estate are putting on a house show and BBQ to heko raise funds for the release of their first album. The recordings have been finished since February, now the boys just need a little help raising the cash to get the albums pressed. To do this, they have enlisted the help of The Nefidovs, Ape Cassette, With Glowing Hearts, and Kiriyama. The show is set to take place on July 16 at 1339 Hall Ave. in Windsor. Admission is $5, the show is all ages, and BBQ’d goods will be for sale throughout the show. House shows are certainly the bets thing ever, and since this one is being held to help with an album release, it really is a great cause. Go out, enjoy the tunes, support the band, and have some fun.
Victory, Sweet Victory! Returns to Windsor this Sunday, bringing their energetic pop-punk show back to The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave.) where they’ll be playing along with Pulp City Inn, The Beijing Bike Club, Empty Spaces, No Dice, and Montreal’s Third Place. A night of some of the finest pop-punk from Windsor and beyond, with advance tickets going for only $7, this all ages show might be worth stopping by.
If you’re looking for some great CJAM programming outside the hours of The Windsor Scene, might I recommend Sugar For Your Ears, an all electronica show that airs every monday from 10:30 pm until midnight. The Host Bill is a very nice character who will charm you as he spins some of the best electronica on the airwaves.
Playlist for May 11, 2011;
Dylan Punek – Equinox (Dylan Punke – 2009)
Sick of Sarah – Simple Parts (2205 – 2011)
Hunter Valentine – Barbara Jean (Lessons From The Late Night – 2009)
The Cliks – We Are The Wolverines (Dirty King – 2009)
Threat Signal – Revision (Vigilance – 2009)
Goliath – By The Throat (Funweiser EP – 2011)
The Nefidovs – Beg Your Pardon Demo (Set Faced to Stun – 2011)
Shared Arms – Aunt Jemima/Another Sticky Situation (Unreleased Jams – 2009)
The Blue Stones – Vain Vixens (The Blue Stones – 2011)
Gypsy Chief Goliath – Elephant in the Room (The Windsor Zene Sampler – December 2010)
Devilz by Definition – A Gram Short 20 (The Windsor Zene Sampler – February 2011)
The Heat Seeking Moisture Missiles – Hidin’ in the Bushes (The Windsor Zene Sampler – December 2010)
Inoke Errati – Control (The Wink and The Gun – 2006)
Beijing Bike Club – The Past (The Windsor Zene Sampler – January 2011)
Thieves in Remand – Trace of Truth (Single – 2010)
Falling with Glory – Fight with Honour (The Windsor Zene Sampler – January 2011)
What Seas, What Shores – Pave the Oceans (Cordyceps EP – 2010)
Some great shows coming up this week. Like, really great ones. No excuses for being bored over the next few days, as you’ve always got somewhere you could go.
Thursday night at The Blind Dog (671 Ouellette Ave) will be heavy as a really heavy thing (pardon the SYL reference) as Hamilton’s Threat Signal bring to town their monstrous metal, joined by locals Goliath, Blackthorn City, Cyreene, A Dream in the Morning, and what could very well be the final show of Bloodshoteye. Lots of reasons not to miss this one, it starts at 5:30, is all ages, and is only $10 in advance of $12 at the door.
On Friday the 13th, forget superstitions and come to FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W.) where The Nefidovs will be celebrating the release of their first full-length. Their crazy ska-ish-ness will be joined by skater punks The Rowley Estate, pop-punkers Shared Arms, and the bluesy rockings of The Blue Stones, who have recently released an EP themselves. This show is without cover, which is all the more incentive to go, and to purchase the album, ‘Set Faces to Stunned’ which will be available for purchase at the low-low price of $5!
Get more bang for your buck (I’m a used car salesman today, apparently) on Saturday where you can catch 14 bands for only $10 (if you buy presale from local acts) at The Blind Dog. This all ages Rock/Pop Fest is being put on by Gateway Productions, and features Inoke Errati, The Blue Stones, Beijing Bike Club, and The Tragedy of Mariam, among others. The show starts at 1 pm and lasts all day. A great deal and sure to be a great time.
This week’s playlist, excluding live performances;
Brenda Eyler – Dream with Me (Dream with Me – 2008)
Crissi Cochrane – Coming Home (Darling, Darling – 2010)
Luna Borealis – Bed Bugs Inn (The Windsor Zene January Sampler – 2011)
Goliath – What Happened Last Night (Funweiser EP – 2011)
Assassinate the Following… – Death Row (Massacre of the North – 2009)
Desertion – From here to Oblivion ( Welcome to Nothing – 2009)
Tyburn Tree – Arch Stanron (Parliament of Trees – 2008)
Tim McDonald – Stand Tall (Somehow, Somewhere – 2007)
The Creepshow – Demon Lover (Run For Your Life – 2008)
The Locusts Have No King – Last Night In My Favourite Bar and The Repurcussions Thereof (Come One, Come All – 2010)
EVL – Out of Reach (I’ll Keep Mine EP – 2009)
Monique Belanger – Through Yellow Fields (The W Music Compilation – 2008)
This week I was joined in the studio by local songwriter, performer, and paramedic, Timmy McDonald. Tim’s songs have been covered by other artists, and the song that opened the show, “Dream with Me” performed by Brenda Eyler, is a cover of one of Tim’s songs from his 2007 release, “Somehow, Somewhere”. Tim also is set to play at numerous Relay for Life Cancer Fundraising events across Ontario, and is recording a song just for others that he cannot make it out to. He will shortly be travelling to Nashville where he will play various songwriter shows at popular venues including The Commodore Lounge. A name that you might not have heard before, Tim McDonald is nonetheless a figure in our local music scene, and someone I am happy to have had on my show. Keep an eye out for a new release from Tim in the coming months.
Here is a video of Tim playing at Rymer Hall in Nashville. For the anecdote behind the video, listen to today’s archive.
Last Thursday I attended a punkrock show at The Coach and Horses, featuring local and out of town bands. It was certainly something. After hearing and enjoying Suppressulant recordings, it was great to finally hear them play. There’s just something about oldschool, dirty, DIY punk that gets me every time. The Rowley Estate performed as well as always, with great stage antics and catchy songs that stray near to the realm of pop-punk. Playing their second show ever, Repetitions are only getting better. All the way from Boston, Pious Dogs had a bumpy start, dealing with a damaged snare stand, but they overcame that and got things moving with some rough and traditional punk that was nothing overly remarkable, but with guitars that were far too loud. I don’t even want to talk about The Swabs! If you’re looking for further explanation on any of this, there’s always the WindsoriteDOTca article.
I’m so excited for Friday that I can hardly contain myself. Psychobilly/Horrorpunk quartet The Creepshow return to Windsor for the first time since I was in like, grade ten. So it’s been a while. This is going to kick copious amounts of ass. Joining them will be new collaborative act The Fourjury, local indie-roots outfit The Locusts Have No King, and EVL, who need no further introduction. The best place to pick up tickets for this one is from Mr. Jamie Greer over at The Manchester Pub, who will supply them to you for only ten dollars. No joke. Go get one.
Saturday is an intense day for metal, with both Inferno Fest at The Blind Dog and The Heavy Diversity Show at The Coach and Horses. Inferno boasts 19 bands on two stages, raging for eleven and a half hours, all for only $10 if you go out and get yourself an advance ticket. The Heavy Diversity show features local favourites Weapon of Choice, blues-metallers Tyburn Tree, prog-rockers Perpetuate (coming from their gig at Inferno) and a band you should know, After Ashes. This one starts at 9, is 19+, and costs $5 at the door.
A great big thanks for Timmy McDonald for coming in today, he was a pleasure to have and I can’t wait to have him back.
Which local band or artist would you like to hear next on The Windsor Scene?
Let’s kick it off with the setlist from this week’s edition of The Windsor Scene;
Shortcut to Last – This Isn’t Over (I Know You’re Not One for Serious Situations – 2010)
Stereos – Attitude (Uncontrollable – 2010)
The Classix – Nothin’ to Lose (Live What You Love EP – 2011)
The Tragedy of Mariam – C;imb Up On The Kiosk (The W Music Compliation – 2008)
Suppressulant – People Like You (Powercore – 2010)
The Snips – Tired Tires (Do You Remember When Punk Rock Was For Fun? – 2010)
Orphan Choir – Burning Ash Again (Everything in Past Tense – 2010)
Odium – It Gets Cold (At The Bottom – 2009)
Dreams Destruction – Blighted (Dream Destruction EP)
Dismata – March of the Ignorant/Deadhorse (Understand – 2008)
Allison Brown – Magpie (Everything That Shined – 2005)
Erin Gignac – Not Tonight (Erin Gignac – 2002)
Julie Kryk – Fate’s Hands (Beyond the Moon, Beyond the Rain – 1999)
George Manury – MilesDavidKindaBlueSundayMorningRain (From The Tank – 2010)
Leighton Bain – Saint Vincent (Oh Alaska – 2010)
Ron Leary – Miles (Dependent Arising – 2010)
Gobble Gobble – Skin of Prohpets (Neon Graveyard – 2009)
Dstruct.O – Death Machine (Drumstep EP02 – 2011)
I certainly had fun with this week’s playlist, as might have been evidenced by my inane chattering. (Some people apparently were wondering what I was on when doing this show. I assure you, it was nothing but sunshine) The set list was also apparently helpful to Maggie, a listener who hadn’t been enjoying her day too much until she tuned in. Glad to have been able to help her out there.
I’d also like to say “Thanks!” to the guys from Odium. At their show on the weekend, (which was stellar by the way, you should be sad if you missed it) they provided me with a copy of their album, which I played a song off of today and have been jamming to all week. It’s great stuff, if you like metal, check these guys out for sure, and if you don’t like metal, check them out anyhow. You’ll still probably like it.
The rest of that show, Goliath, Reasons Lost, Deathpoint, and Weapon of Choice, was all awesome as well, my favourite show at The Coach, recently. Good vibes and good times all around.
Upstairs that night, FM Lounge hosted Weirdonia, Silver Glory, SixtyFirstSecond, and Awake to a Dream. Everyone there did a great job as well, things were a bit more laid back but just as fun. I had a blast listening to Weirdonia, (and they were just cool guys) Silver Glory was impressive yet again, Awake to a Dream sounded the best I’ve heard them, and SixtyFirstSecond were better live than even their recordings had me prepared for. An all around good time.
Although trying to bounce back and forth between the two shows was too much like work; I might not try that again soon.
This week, go to The Coach on Thursday night for punk rock in the form of Suppressulant, The Rowley Estate, Repetitions, Pious Dogs, and The Swabs! It’ll get rowdy, I’m sure, but what better things do you have to do on a Thursday night?
Be sure to tune in next week between 5 and 6:30, I’ll have local musician Tim McDonald in the studio with me answering questions and playing live. Who is this guy, do you ask? Someone you should be familiar with. A paramedic for Windsor and Essex County, Tim also plays at multiple Relay for Life events all over the place, travels to Tennessee to perform and help with song writing panels and workshops, and has his music covered by numerous artists, some of whom you’ve probably even heard of. So listen in next week to learn more about Tim, and hear some live performances.
One of the ways you can tell a scene is on the up is when the venue’s genre lines are blurred. When you see metal guys at pop shows, or folk singers at punk shows, etc., it’s an indicator that people are transcending genre preference for talent preference, which translates that the scene is healthy.
One of the venues that subscribes to this is Phog Lounge, who in the past year have added a lot more acts outside their norm, such as hip-hop, metal and punk rock. This Thursday marks a full on punk show of varying degrees, led by a couple bands from Montreal.
Old School Politics are a Quebec punk-pop band who have been around for about six years and though they may have started rough around the edges, they’ve polished up quite nicely. Their sound is reminiscent of California punk like NOFX, pre-Dookie Green Day or early Blink 182. And while vocally they remain in the safety of the pop-punk melodica, at times their guitars stray to the outer rim where they tread just a little bit into the Bad Religion marshlands (such as on the track “Got It”). Their sound is that of a punk band growing up, when the anger is turning into joy of playing well crafted songs instead of just making a racket, when the revolution is more about positive empowerment than just reckless abandon.
The Hunters are another Quebec punk band whose sound reeks of a found maturity. The punk angst is still there but their musical appreciation is akin to Windsor’s own Orphan Choir, in that it seems to have amalgamated their original punk rawk DIY ethic and absorbed in other found music stylings into their pantheon. Their sound swirls with throw back sounds that are as much The Clash via Combat Rock as they are street punk. These guys have been work horses the past few years, sharing the stage with many of punk rock’s heavy weights, such as Bad Religion, Agnostic Front, Anti-Flag, The Casualties, Mustard Plug, Subhumans and more, including a stint on the Vans Warped tour.
Opening the stage are two local punk bands from different sides of the street. The Nefidovs are one of the scene’s fast rising star (they’re on the February FREE Music Sampler), incorporating a punk rock credos with a ska vibe and one hell of a live show (as witnessed last Friday when they opened for the Benito Band and FourLetterWord at The FM Lounge). Starting things off are The Rowley Estate. Think if Orphan Choir had stayed more traditional head on street punk with a touch of the Oi! gang vocals. These guys are still running on piss and vinegar and sometimes you need to be reminded of what it meant to be punk rock in the first place.
This is a great line-up that shows four very different punk bands at different stages of their development, which will only benefit them all. The veterans will feel the hunger of the young ones nipping at their heels and reminding them of their roots, while the younger bands will see the result of what a good polishing can do to any genre.
Old School Politics and The Hunters with special guests The Nefidovs and The Rowley Estate, Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. West), Doors 8pm, 19+, $5