Category Archives: Canada

The Variety Hour; Or A Couple Of Releases To Be Checking Out

Back again Gents (Presumptuous to think we only have male readers? Prove me wrong ladies). Was sitting here thinking about doing a review on two new Sam Lachow releases when I heard a voice: “Seth, there’s an awful lot of new releases in your Youtube history right now.” God… is that you? Nope just talking to myself again. To save you from more tempered senseless rantings, here are some new releases from a variety of artists to be checking out right now, bon appétit:

Sam Lachow & Raz

Young Seattle rapper Sam Lachow has teamed up with Raz Simone, another little-known rapper from the Seattle area on the “5 Good Reasons EP”, a collaborative release due 9/17/12. This recently dropped single off the album features a verse from both rappers that’s hopefully indicative of what’s to come, along with the heartfelt, raspy musings of hypeman B Skeez. Sam talked in an interview about how working with Raz who has a more serious, contemplative theme to his work, has really challenged him and forced him to explore a new “deeper” style to his own lyrics. Experimenting with new styles aside, this song is a charming listen with a nostalgic, feel-good vibe. It’s a little goofy, a portion thought provoking, and a lot sincere. It’s easy to get caught up in the bullshit when it comes to all this jibber-jabber about “The Town” but you can really hear that this city means a lot to these guys, not because it’s Seattle, but because it’s what they call home.

Sam Lachow, Kung Foo Grip, BFA, and Gift uh Gab

A quick paced, independent release from Sam features an array of young and upcoming Seattle area rappers. Sam picks up the beat with a classic, no-worries verse that calls back to his high-school debut group: Shankbone. The next verses to follow come from Kung Foo Grip and Brothers From Another. KFG’s boys bring smooth verses that hugely understate there real talent. They definitely have some room to improve with their flow/lyrics, but those two know how to go hard. They played at Cascadia Community College for a crowd of probably 100 or so (aka not very big) but still went nuts on stage and gave us a hell of a show. BFA hail from the Eastside here (Kirkland I believe? Fact check anyone?) and present themselves with some silly lyrics about being a teenager and partying, which IS the meaning of life after all. Joking aside, to contrast the youthful, still developing lyrics of these 4 guys Gift uh Gab (aka Gabby Kadushin) quite remarkably murders this track with her verse. Not that I have anything against girl rappers, but quite frankly most of them don’t really have the talent and presence needed for being truly admirable. This is not one of those cases though. Gabby’s flow is warm and buttery, and her lyrics have a depth that almost jabs you at the end of each line. She’ a regular feature on Sam’s work (check out Goldschlaggers) and I’m thinking she could sport some bomb solo work. Sam’s paying his dues here, and I love it. It’s encouraging to see local artists work with each other and really contribute to the Seattle music scene as a whole.

Mellowhype

The Odd Future crew sort of disappeared this summer but Mellowhype is back with their video for La Bonita, the first single off the upcoming album Numbers (or at least the first official single? 64? 65? 45? Wikipedia needs to get it’s shit straight…). Truthfully, it’s groovy. The whole Latin style to the song is provocatively intoxicating. The marimbas (feels like sixth-grade music class) bring in a sweet-sounding melody that isn’t often heard on Odd Future tracks because it’s not Tyler’s production style. It’s a welcome change that is definitely setting Mellowhype aside as it’s own entity. Unlike most of their songs where Hodgy is solo rapping over Left Brain’s beats, Mr. Brain comes in with his own verse and various vocals. It’s awesome. He’s got a gravelly, welcomingly menacing voice that sounds just fucking boss on this. Hodgy’s stellar as usual with the same kind of impressively rhymed lines that have been bolstering him this whole way. As for the video it’s just cool. There really isn’t another way to describe hot latin girls (is that Rihanna?) dancing, badass gypsy makeup, huge speakers, oversized coats, a mariachi band, and a motherfucking trained, smart ass capuchin monkey chillin out on Hodgy’s motherfucking shoulder like it’s gonna jump off and spit it’s own verse. Go get your own capuchin, then talk to me about cool. Look out for Numbers coming 10/9/12.

Deadmau5

Look which mildly irate, minecraft addicted, Nyan Cat sporting nerd DJ is back. This song has been out for a couple weeks now in a couple different versions but this recently released video features the official mix off of Deadmau5’s soon to come album >album title goes here< (Coming 9/25/12). The song has a strangely fitting mix of heavy guitar sounds with the classic mau5 synths and heavy bass kicks. Professional Griefers also features the vocal talent of Mr. Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. Boy, my middle-school self is squirming in my too-big-clothes and too-long-hair with excitement. But for real, Gerard (may I call you Gerard? Okay, thanks) adds a new dynamic to the mau5 song. Although Dr. Mau5 has his merits, sometimes his music needs that extra kick, and these almost slam-poetic vocals give it just that. The video’s humorous as ever with Joel and Gerard facing off in a giant-remote-controlled-mau5bot UFC match, only to be foiled by a robotic Professor Meowingtons (I promise I didn’t make that up).

Honorable Mentions?

•Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, has everyone in Seattle buzzing about like it’s the second coming (still waiting…). Call me cynical… I am, but meh. I like the saxophone and the vocals coming from Wanz but I’m not sold on the verses. Slash the video’s hilurrious, I’ll give it that. Check out Kevin’s post on it if you’re looking for a more favorable opinion.

•Madeon’s The City, also covered by KPham, is an uplifting and thrilling electrogasm of keyboard, bass, beats, and singing. That being said, I feel like it’s release has unfairly shadowed his only month-old release of Finale, which is the superior track in this blogger’s opinion.

Whew, that was an ordeal. Go show some love on the artist’s facebook pages if the mood strikes you. Tell me why my music taste is shit or why I’m wrong on our own facebook page


Where Japandroids Are Placed in the Company of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Al Green, and Public Enemy

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/lists/the-10-coolest-summer-albums-of-all-time-20120718/japandroids-celebration-rock-2012-19691231

Clocking in at number 10 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “10 Coolest Summer Albums of All Time”, a list that includes the Beatles, Beastie Boys, Beach Boys, and others, is a little record called Celebration Rock from a couple of Vancouver boys done good. Yes, the world’s best known music magazine has recognized Japandroids and placed them in hyper-elite company. Legendary company. Timeless, classic company. From the Stone:

Loud guitar, demented drums, urgent brain-smash riffs, dumb funny slogans about girls and youth chanted over and over again – rock & roll, what a concept. These two Vancouver punk dudes play hooks you might have already heard a million times, except they make them weep and moan and burn like never before. The moral of the story: “Don’t we have anything to live for? Of course we do!” And whenever this album comes on, it’s a reminder that it’s never too late to play air guitar like your summer has just begun.

How pumped am I to see my favorite band get this sort of acclaim? Ridiculously pumped. In a year that has seen some great releases and has more scheduled to come, Celebration Rock is the year’s best. This is not just coming from a JPNDRD’s fanboy, but from publications and critics around the music world. Good on ya, gentlemen. Congratulations.


“Become Another Person” – Careful Hands

Coming out of Regina, Saskatchewan is a one man band called Careful Hands. The solo artist, Brennon Patterson, focuses his style on the folk, acoustic type sound. Folk is something I have never really looked into, or even made the effort. But giving this LP, “Become Another Person” a listen, I actually can say I dig some of the stuff that goes on. This is some very cool music and something interesting to look into.

With no prior knowledge or exposure to folk, I started listening to “Become Another Person” expecting nothing. I’ll be honest, it took me two times through to like it. At first, I ran through each song quickly because I was in a hurry and impatient. I didn’t like it so I closed the link. A little while later, with nothing to do, I decided to open it up again. This time with nothing to do, I just let myself listen to the whole album. I seriously went through 3 whole times. And I really like it! Definitely a great first impression for this folk business. Listening to Mr. Patterson play his instruments and croon out his lyrics has something calming about them. What I appreciate most about this album is the mixture of upbeat, smooth songs as well as a bit darker, more contemplative type songs. The cool thing about the album is that everything just kind of fits together. The set-up of the tracks is perfect, going between that upbeat sound to the slower, calmer tones. In the email I received from Careful Hands, he said that the album “is a story of reflection” and that it “brings the listener to a place of both conflict and comfort.” Listening to the album, I can really get what he is trying to say about the album because of the way the songs are set up makes it seem like Careful Hands is actually taking us through a journey that reflects on his own life as well as our own. It’s just something that I listen to and feel like it is going through its ups and downs like every other person in this world goes through. “Deeply aware of the human condition” as he puts it and those words just fit perfectly for this album. Being able to change the way the feelings that are evoked out of people through out the songs is very neat and this is one of the few times I have felt like a band has put together an album that sets up their songs in perfect order. These smooth vocals and chill beats just kind of make me want to get up and hike around. Kind of like some sort of Christopher McCandless adventure. Overall the album is great. I don’t have anything but praise for this one. I like it a lot and it’s grown on me quickly, having only listened to this album throughout the duration of this post.

His more upbeat type songs are the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 7th and 8th and the calmer ones are the 2nd, 4th, and 5th. If I had to choose for my 3 favorites off of this one, I’d have to go with “What We Share” (4th), “Going Nowhere” (7th), and “Such of You” / “The Mission” (1st and Last). Yeah I know that is 4 but the first and last have to be thrown in together because of the way they start and end the album. Taking us through the adventure and then ending it. Also those are the ones that display the most of the bitching harmonica.

This was a great discovery, so thank you to Mr. Patterson for this awesome effort. It is well appreciated.

Like Careful Hands on Facebook!

Go check out (and you can download for free, or pay if you want 😀 ) his LP “Become Another Person” on his Bandcamp!

Like LifeAfterNirvana on Facebook!


Cadence Weapon – Poet and A Rapper

Edmonton, Canada. Not a city commonly known in the states for its undercurrent of crime and gang activity. To some Canadians and to some of those who call the city home however, Edmonton is “Dirt City”. Rollie Pemberton knows this Edmonton. In fact, Rollie was the poet laureate of Alberta’s capital for a time. Now, Rollie continues to write but under a different moniker – Cadence Weapon. Cadence Weapon’s beats are grimey and subliminal, percussive and tangled. The beats are a reflection of his flow, which glides effortlessly between syllables and words, melding to portray conflicts internal and municipal, racial and existential. This is hip hop as it was intended, heady and reflective. External and internal. Global.

 

Fresh off the release of his third album, Hope In Dirt City, Rollie is currently touring in support of Japandroids.


The Demigod Has Spoken – Pitchfork’s Reaction to “Celebration Rock”

 

I’m under a week into my first listening cycle of Celebration Rock and feel myself falling in love with each subsequent listen. At this point I can safely say that the album is better than Post-Nothing and by a pretty significant margin. Japandroids’ first album will always hold a special place in my heart and my ear, and it is magnificent in it’s own right. With that said, Celebration Rock‘s riffs are greater, chemistry is stronger, lyrics are heavier, and anthems are grander. This is the album of the summer, year, possibly decade. Again, I’m biased, but it’s good. Really good. Just how good? Ian Cohen over at Pitchfork does a remarkable job of capturing what makes the album a masterpiece in his review published today. Click, read, listen, love.

 

http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16564-japandroids-celebration-rock/


Call and Response – Bryce Jardine

This edition of Call and Response features an interview with Bryce Jardine, an up-and-coming Canadian singer-songwriter with a talent for making solid, polished roots rock. His new album, The Kids Are Gone, is streaming on his website for free, and it’s worth a listen. It’ll be released for download September 7th. The album is a labor of love, and it shows, with solid production and guest talent such as Serena Ryder (of whom I am a huge fan) and members of the excellent City of Colour. The highlight of the album is easily “Better Half”, with its solid lyricism and unabashed roots-rock feel. In an era when most indie artists focus on synthesizers and drum loops, Jardine takes great care to make his album with real instruments and real vocals, and the arrangement is noticeably tangible. While there’s certainly room for him to grow as an artist from this album, I’d say the  raw potential of this album indicates some really cool music ahead for listeners who appreciate roots rock, country, and, well, Canadian Americana (ha).

1. What was it like working with Serena Ryder, and how did that collaboration come about?

Serena is a pro. She came in, invented the hook off the top of “The Kids Are Gone” and nailed her parts in about 2 hours. She also appears on “Better Half.” We had met briefly at the Dakota Tavern, here in Toronto, before the session.  My producer Derek Downham set the whole thing up as he plays drums in her backing band The Beauties. It all went down very quickly, I thanked her and that was that.

2. Your website notes that you were in a band before you decided to go solo. What band and why the switch?

I was in a heavy rock n roll act. I left for various reasons, but mostly to make the type of music I had grown up listening to. I love heavy music and always will but for now I feel most comfortable in a solo singer/songwriter role.  It feels honest.

3. Who are the biggest influences on you as a musician, and as a person, and why?

My earliest influence was Neil Young, specifically his record Harvest Moon. That record was the soundtrack of my childhood and I still do this day listen to it all the time.

Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle and Iggy Pop are just a few of my other influences. They all are writers, and complete individuals. I like songs that carry ideas. I like songs that take risks. I like songs that are timeless.  All of these artists have helped me find my own voice and my own path.

4. What are your favorite songs of all time?

My favorite songs change all the time, and I would feel like I am leaving things out being too specific. Arcade Fire, Antony And The Johnsons and Springsteen are on my ipod all the time right now.

5. Why did you choose Derek Downham to produce your record, and what was the process like working with him?

I met Derek online. I sent him my demos I had and he responded quite enthusiastically. We spent time hammering out arrangements in pre-production then hit the studio for six days.  It wasn’t until I saw him work in the studio that I became aware of just how fortunate I had been to find him. Derek is one of the most musically gifted people I have ever met.  We worked on a shoestring budget. The experience was fast and intense but after all was said and done I couldn’t have been happier with the outcome.

6. What is the music scene in Toronto like, and how do you think it’s different, if at all, from an American music scene of a similar size?

Toronto’s music scene is vast but if you narrow down what bars specialize in your kind of tunes, the communities there can be quite tight knit. For instance I am going to be playing a pub called The Cameron House every Tuesday in June and it’s basically a one-stop-shop for singer/songwriters. I couldn’t begin to compare the Toronto scene to anything else simply because thus far I haven’t cut my teeth in the States yet. That will change within the next year or two.

7. As an independent artist, what is your goal for the near future with this record?

I want to use my debut as a ticket to go out on the road and be the workhorse and performing troubadour I know I can be. I would like to spend most of next year on the road playing clubs and winning people over throughout North America. I do not dream of over night success and in the short term I see success as just being out there doing it.

8. All your upcoming gigs are in Toronto–any plans to tour a wider area in the future?

I am starting with an Ontario tour in September to coincide with the release. From there the plan is to go national then international. Much of my business is D.I.Y right now, and with only so many hours in a day it can take time for negotiations to unfold.

9. How did the collaboration with member(s) of City and Colour come to be?

Aaron Goldstein, pedal steel player for City And Colour came to be through Derek. Derek likes to joke that he is the Kevin Bacon of the Canadian music industry. I believe Aaron has done session work with Derek before. Aaron was super friendly and put his passes down on the fly.

10. If you could pick one song off this LP to get huge, which song would it be and why?

I would love to see Better Half do something on NPR and CBC. That song is a tribute to my folks and is a tune I have a strong emotional connection with. Serena’s voice kills me on that track and I think the arrangement and production all came together seamlessly. That being said, I think I’d still pick it for a third single behind “The Kids Are Gone” and “Death In Life.” Stream em all on brycejardine.com folks!

Check him out here:
Brycejardine.com
Facebook.com/brycejardinemusic
Twitter.com/#!/brycejardine
Reverbnation.com/brycejardine


Japandroids – Celebration Rock: A Track By Track Live Review

 

Japandroids is my favorite band making music right now. There’s your disclaimer. I’m biased and I’m a sucker for what they are all about. I pre-ordered Celebration Rock about two months ago. The album won’t be officially released until June 5th, but pre-order downloads became available today. This is a momentous occasion, an occasion worthy of a celebration. And, of course, a review. As I listened to Celebration Rock for the first time, I jotted down anything that came to mind. Below is a transcription of that process followed by a brief and initial reaction to this highly anticipated follow-up to 2009’s Post-Nothing.

 

–          Oh my god I’m so excited

–          Crackles and drums. Let’s go.

–          Feedback yeeee

–          Classic rock-esque riff. Huge drums.

–          Oh hey Brian. Love you.

–          They still are clinging to youth.

–          Oh oh oh ohhh ohhaaaooh chorus. Classic.

–          Big explosion with a minute left. Powerful. Hell yeah.

–          Great end to a solid first track. The Nights of Wine and Roses is not my favorite by the guys but definitely in their wheelhouse.

 

 

–          Twenty seconds in and Fire’s Highway kicks serious ass already.

–          Faster, cheerier, still punching

–          Love you Brian.

–          Some really nice counter “ohh”s from David. Missed you.

–          That guitar tone is tasty as ever, David’s chops are better too.

–          New territory at 2:45. Loving this one so far.

–          Guitar to the stratosphere, burn out, synchronized punches, OH’s, Brian King

–          Sing a –along bridge and pre-chorus. Pounding bass drum. Snare. Burn.

 

 

–          Chords to start Evil’s Sway aren’t so classically Japandroids but are awesome nonetheless.

–          They build into something better.

–          The duo is tighter on this record. Hitting and driving forward as one. As passionate as ever.

–          Catchiest chorus so far.

–          The bum-crack of the bass and snare, drone of feedback, King’s voice, more punches. Yes.

–          Pre-chorus chords are powerful as all hell.

–          Getting shivers. This is the best track of the three so far.

–          With a minute left. Going to break down?

–          Nope, more fast driving chorus.

 

 

–          For the Love of Ivy, this one’s a cover of a Gun Club song.

–          Punk rock.

–          This one’s pretty standard, best moments come when the guitar stops and it’s just King’s voice and Prowse’s drums catapulting into raucous verses.

–          Tight ending.

 

 

–          Prowse kickin ass on the intro to this one, fast snare cascades.

–          Same with the pre-chorus.

–          So far this album features more conventional rock songs, not that that’s a good or bad thing. It’s Japandroids. It’s awesome regardless.

–          So well executed and still ragged and jangly in the best way possible but tightened up if that makes sense. The band still has the same timbre; it’s just honed in and feels more intentional.

–          Adrenaline Nightshift is just straight up classic songwriting. Not classic Japandroids. Classic.

 

 

–          Younger Us. We know this one from the single released about a year ago. Loved it then and love it now.

–          That long feedback fade before the  pre chorus picks up….

–          The four to the floor at the end of the pre chorus…..

–          This is summer, this is love, this is passion, this is wanting something so damn bad.

–          That breakdown with huge tom runs, feedback to a thousand…

–          And bliss.

–          One of the best songs of the last two years. Hands down.

 

 

–          The House That Heaven Built. Released about a month ago, so another one not new to me.

–          Loved it then and love it now.

–          “Tell em aaaaaal to go to hell”

–          Second verse with those big backbeats, the guitar, the “oh”s

–          They build and build

–          Drums drop and they’re getting ready for the kill

–          Boooom

–          Chord progression on the chorus is too satisfying

–          The little riff to end too, good touch

 

 

–          Last track, Continuous Thunder.

–          As the album closes, I don’t see the same arc that there was to Post-Nothing but based on interviews with King it doesn’t seem like the duo’s first album was as concepty as I had assumed.

–          This one feels like an anthem when the big drums enter on the word “thunder”. Nice text painting there.

–          This one sits in a comfortable, big, place.

–          Good way to end the album. It doesn’t peter out but it doesn’t build leaving you wanting another chorus. It’s satisfying.

–          Fireworks.

 

 

 

This album is fast, pushing, burning and blistering. It is punk rock, rock and roll, noise. It doesn’t take time to breathe like Post-Nothing does. There are no lulls, no breaks. It’s unrelenting and fun as hell. The songs are more tightly composed. King and Prowse have honed their interplay and teamwork. The production is ratcheted up, but the sensibility remains. The spirit does too. The sound that defined Japandroids for me after hearing Post-Nothing, the scruffy and fuzzy, near primal but intelligent and passionate sound, is still firmly intact. With that said, Celebration Rock has a different tone. King and Prowse continue to cling to every last night and every last drink and the album still lives very much in the present, but it has more self-awareness. As relentless as it is, it’s more emotionally measured. The constant theme of maintaining youth is more defined, more reasoned. It’s a great rock album. It’s about being young and careless. More than that, it’s about cherishing the feeling of being young and careless. There’s a knowledge about the duo’s words and sound that says that youth is not eternal. Post-Nothing found King and Prowse apprehensive about this discovery and trying desperately to drown it out. Celebration Rock sees them embracing it, throwing caution to the wind and playing loud, fast, cathartically. Fist to the sky and care to the wind, this album is youth.