well damn!

Tracking: Metric – Gimme Sympathy
April 21, 2009, 8:05 pm
Filed under: Singles | Tags: , ,

I’m not the biggest Metric fan, but I was instantly drawn in when I heard the single, “Help I’m Alive” released late last year as a pre-cursor to their latest release Fantasies.

MetricWhile “Help I’m Alive” is a suspenseful train ride showcasing Metric’s musical range, “Gimme Sympathy” (the first single released off of Fantasies) is just plain boring. It’s too…nice. Not that there is anything wrong with nice, but I don’t really associate nice with or expect nice from Metric.

The melody is too repetitive and restricted. Specifically within the chorus, which is the same short phrase of music repeated 3 times. This may have worked in a verse or if the phrase was longer, but the chorus itself is repeated enough times to just annoy me.

Even though it is almost as repetitive as the melody, the accompanying music is far more interesting. The music contains various rhythmic combinations and riffs. There is a nice contrast between the verse and chorus, but it’s not enough to give this track the support it needs.

Either way I do not enjoy this track on its own, even though it consistently gets stuck in my head.

Go to Metric’s MySpace for a listen (because after my strong endorsement I know you want to listen to it anyway)

Cursive – Mama, I’m Swollen
April 10, 2009, 3:25 pm
Filed under: Albums | Tags: , ,

The last three records Cursive has put out (2000’s Domestica, 2003’s The Ugly Organ, and 2006’s Happy Hollow) easily crack my top 15 all time favourite records. Their recent release Mama I’m Swollen is going to have to try a little harder to crack my top 15 of the year…

Mama I'm SwollenDon’t get me wrong, Mama has some great tracks. “In The Now” is a heavy opener, staying in true Cursive form. “From The Hips”, the album’s first single showcases Cursive’s musical range. I’m not really sure what “Donkeys” is about yet, but it has some clever lyrics.

The album itself gels together fairly smoothly. There are no tracks that stick out like a sore thumb or should have ended up on a b-side. The album is fairly intricate, tracks often refer to other tracks and so on. The themes of the album are quite clear from both a lyrical and musical stand point, but there is something missing. This album is missing the next step. Each album I’ve listened to from Cursive has been unique and displayed a way in which the band has grown, but this album feels like a stasis, any of these tracks could easily be mistaken for belonging to another album.

My friend and I theorize these boys are going to release a spectacle of an album, and this was more of a tie over to keep people interested and assure us Cursive are alive and well.

First listen: 6/10
Flow: 8/10
Individual Songs: 8/10
Discography: 5/10
Length: 4/5
Album Art: 4/5
Total: 35/50

It’s okay Cursive, I’m still going to listen to it incessantly and wait for it to grow on me

Rolling Tundra Review

Back in December when I first heard about the 2009 Rolling Tundra Revue I could hardly contain my anticipation for April 2009, and after months of hyping up the show, it did not fail to live up to my high expectations.

rt-wkToronto country act $100 started the night off with foot stomping, heart wrenching, bluntly written music. They were a bit on the quieter and country side to be opening up for two rock and roll bands but they did a great job. Simone Fornow did a respectable job entertaining the anxious crowd by introducing each of the band’s songs. Although Fornow was only accompanied by two guitar players, they band played a tight set and I’m looking forward to hearing from them again.

Next up were my favourite live act, the Constantines, this is only my 6th time seeing them, but this was definitely one of the most energetic sets I had seen from them. There was a short period of time where I was afraid I was the only fanatic in the crowd but wasrt-wk quickly proved wrong by the time the boys broke out “Nighttime/Anytime”. To tease the crowd, John K Samson came out to sing vocals on “Little Instruments”, which was great. All in all I think the boys managed to garner a few new fans.

Finally at 10:30 (which normally at Call the Office is when the 2nd band is getting ready to play) The Weakerthans opened their set with “Psalm for the Elks Lodge Last Call”. They played many fan favourites including “Left and Leaving”, “A Plea from Virtute The Cat”, and “Civil Twilight”. During “Wellington’s Wednesdays” Samson helped an audience member play guitar, but I was sort of upset they only played one song off of Fallow. Lucky for me, they played two more during their encore.

rt-wkThe Waking Eyes‘ Rusty Matyas was wonderful as the Weakerthans’ fifth man. He did a great job supporting them not only on the keys, but on trumpet and taking over a female vocal part here and there.

Overall, a show well worth the $25 ticket, $5 beer and $12 cab ride home.

Attack in Black – Years (By One Thousand Fingertips)
March 24, 2009, 4:40 pm
Filed under: Albums | Tags: , ,

I have the irrational need to defend this album. So here we go.

I like to think of Attack in Black as a punk band at heart. They put on a stellar show and write great music, and these are the things you need to keep in mind when listening to this album.

Years (By One Thousand Fingertips)I once read somewhere that the fellows weren’t happy with the way Marriage was done (happy or unhappy, Marriage is a fine album indeed) and instead of sulking around and complaining, they did something about it. Less than 4 months later the lo-fi, folky The Curve of the Earth was released. I’ve only heard a few tracks off this album but I’ve heard enough to know that fans of the The Curve of the Earth will appreciate Years.

Years explores an abundance of melodies and and arrangements. The title track sets the tone for the record, it’s simple, but it moves along nicely. To be honest, there isn’t one song on the album I dislike, they’re all quite pleasant and full of investment. For example take the track “Leather Jacket” which closes with simple humming but I think it adds a nice level of personal emotion. The music is full of vivid imagery and the lyrics are clear.

Before you pass judgment on this record, think about how many directions each track could go in once played live, I think that’s one of the most interesting parts of this album. I’m fairly certain unless I end up at an acoustic Attack in Black show, I’m not going to be hearing renditions of the songs so close to the recordings. I like to imagine the different ways they’ll back these songs at Call The Office.

First listen: 7/10
Flow: 9/10
Individual Songs: 8/10
Discography: 8/10
Length: 4/5
Album Art: 4/5
Total: 40/50

A great album, you just have to stick with it and see these guys live!

Tracking: Joel Plaskett – Through & Through & Through
March 14, 2009, 2:54 am
Filed under: Music, Singles | Tags: , , , ,

I cannot get enough of this track, I listen to it on repeat for hours at a time, I think it’s a problem.Joel Plaskett

Things that make this track awesome

  • Horns
  • Harmonies
  • Call and Answer
  • 60s/70s Throw Back

I think my favourite part of this track is the call and answer. Plaskett employs Alberta’s PEI’s Rose Cousins and New York’s Ana Egge to aid him on this album and they do a fantastic job on this track, perfectly blending innocence and wisdom. Not only are the vocals fantastic, but the lyrics are engaging. Who else manages to reference the Berlin Wall and April Wine in the same song?

Why is this song so gosh darn catchy?

Hear it on MySpace

2009 Juno Nominations

For those of you south of the 49th parallel or an ocean away, the Junos are Canada’s semi-equivalent to the Grammys. I say semi-equivalent, because quite frankly, our country isn’t behind or involved in our music industry in the same way Americans are involved with their music industry. To be honest, after the reviewing the Grammy nominations I found myself thinking Who are these people? I am out of the loop! There isn’t one album on this list I’ve listened. Thankfully I found I actually had listened to quite a few albums and artists nominated for the Junos, although I did find myself thinking Celine Dion released a single this year? That Nickelback song is new? The Stills are a new band? Is my 10 year old sister an infant?

When did Celine Dion release new material? I’ll admit I don’t often find myself listening to mainstream pop, but surely somebody would have complained about her new stuff! Or at the very least you’d think I would have noticed in one of my many weekly (sometimes daily) visits to the record store. REALLY?

I have a hate/hate relationship with Nickelback. I quite dislike them, but I also quite dislike that sometimes I actually like their songs. Then I realize that all of their songs sound exactly the same. The Junos recognize new music! Not recycled arrangements! I think five nominations might be pushing it.

The Junos frequently nominate an established band in their Best New Group category. Last year it was the 6 year old Wintersleep (who deservedly took the award), and this year it is a 9 year old The Stills. Should I expect to be seeing Sloan in this category next year?

The Junos did make some hits though. Sam Roberts walked away with 4 nods, while Creature, Tokyo Police Club, Protest the Hero and City and Color each managed at least one nomination. The rest of the New Group of the Year, Roots & Traditional Album of the Year: Solo and Group, Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Alternative Album of the Year categories are looking promising. Coeur de Pirate and Karkwa each received a Francophone nomination. Constantines‘ bassist Dallas Wherle received a nod for the artwork on Kensington Heights. Even Moneen were nominated for their DVD, It All Started With A Red Stripe.

I do think they missed out on nominating Hey Rosetta!, Mother Mother and Land of Talk, each of whom put out fantastic albums in the past year.

Unfortunately, if I were to bring this list to a group of my friends or to my coworkers, they’d have no idea who I was talking about. Have the Junos lost their relevance or as Canadians do we need to expose ourselves to the music being produced in our backyards?

Juno Categories or PDF summary

Hey Rosetta! – Red Heart
January 24, 2009, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Music Videos | Tags: ,

As if I haven’t plugged them enough here, a music video can’t hurt! I swear I’m not obsessed with Newfoundland’s Hey Rosetta!.

I really love the video’s setting, it’s an open field, there’s an autumn tree, minimal amounts of gear. The track itself starts off with quite a driven drum line so it’s only fitting to begin with a shot them walking to the dig site. I find the whole video is very mysterious after that to be honest. It’s quite foggy, but it all fits with the actual song, to be honest, I spend far too much time trying to figure out what this record is actually saying. A few minutes into the video a girl in a white dress appears. Is she a ghost? Is she lost? I don’t know! And then a human heart appears, it’s not bloody or anything but I mean…it’s a heart! A red heart! You see where this is going I’m sure…

Premise: 8/10
Match for the Music: 8/10
“Acting”: 9/10
“Cinematography”: 8/10
Points for the actual “red heart”:    3/5
Music Itself: 5/5
Total: 41/50

If nothing else, watch it for Tim Baker (the vocalist)