Osheaga Music and Arts Festival 2012 – Friday August 3rd Preview

Yo, so I heard you’re going Osheaga, and you want to know what to expect and which bands you should see? Alright. Let’s make your trip to Montreal a little easier for you:

In my humble opinion, Friday’s lineup makes for the best day of Osheaga. Last year was the first time the festival expanded to three days, and I guess they made enough cash to keep it as a three-day fest.

Vancouver’s own Hey Ocean! are always a solid live band, and they’re one of the first bands on the bill over on the Green Stage. You might wanna stick around at the Green Stage for a bit, because Polica‘s indie rock stylings should impress, and Bombay Bicycle Club is one of those up and coming bands that you’ll be wishing you didn’t miss. And who could forget Of Monsters and Men? That Icelandic band is brewing up a storm of hype lately.

What about over on the main stages? Fun. is fun. Simple as that. Go check out their recent festival performances, and you’ll see why I can’t wait to see them. As the evening arrives, The Weeknd will hit the Mountain Stage. I’ve heard that he’s stepped up his live performances since his early tours several months ago. He should be a staple for your Friday night. If RnB isn’t your thing, maybe rap is, and Classified will be over on the Green stage at the same time.

Florence + the Machine haven’t cancelled their performance yet, but hopefully Florence’s vocal chords will be fully recovered by the time the fest rolls around. I don’t really like Sigur Ros, but maybe postrock is your thing.

Any others, you ask? Dum Dum Girls on the Tree Stage, along with Wintersleep and Freelance Whales.

Friday was all about Eminem. This year? I don’t think Justice, the French producer duo headliner, is going to be the big attraction. Look for MGMT to steal the night away from the main stage headliners over on the Green Stage.


Refused: A Night in Photos

Refused - Dennis Lyxzén
Let me first start off this review by saying this: Refused was before my time. I was a very young soul when they first broke out onto the scene. When I came out of my cave of musical ineptness, I knew they were great, and I knew there was a call for them to reunite, play some shows, or maybe make some new music. While the latter seems to be unlikely, I will say that I’m glad they chose to exit the underworld of disbanded groups – at least for the time being.

Refused - Magnus Flagge

“Sorry for taking twenty years to get to Canada,” frontman Dennis Lyxzén said to the Montreal crowd, “I think we were supposed to come up here in 1998 – but then we broke up.” However, they sure as hell made up for it fourteen years later at their inaugural show in Canada. Fifteen songs that punched, rocked, and had the crowd of sweaty moshers moving from the back to the front of the Metropolis floor.

Refused - Dennis Lyxzén

Lyxzén: “I used to a very angry young man. So I was wondering if I’d be able to sing these same lyrics with the same meaning after fourteen years. And you know what? These words mean more than ever.” And after adding that the world is more fucked up than ever, he went right into it all. The band was tight, Lyxzén showed ferocity and energy that is seen in very few performers these days. “Coup d’État” rang through the venue with blistering noise and precision, “Rather Be Dead” was forceful, and “The Shape of Punk to Come” could’ve very well ended the night with the whole crowd satisfied.

Refused - Jon Brännström

But then they had to do an encore. And the opening notes of “New Noise” were heard. And then Lyxzén launched into the vocals. I haven’t been attending concerts for very long when you put my lifetime into a grander perspective, but I can honestly say – and others who have been seeing shows for much longer than me can attest to this – that I have never felt chills like this at a show. Never. This was an amazing spectacle, from a bunch of Swedes who wanted to play some punk music. To those of you who never got the chance to see Refused live – I pity you tremendously whether you enjoy the genre or not.

Refused - Dennis Lyxzén
(And forgive my lack of good photos this time around. It was a rough night in the pit, to say the least.)

Setlist: Refused at Metropolis, Montreal, Qc
Full set of Photos: jakemullan’s flickr


Beak> – > > album review

Sometimes – just sometimes – I question why on earth people create such obscure music for a niche market. A year ago, I reviewed some drone music that sounded like absolute garbage, as it was one singular note repeated for forty five minutes. Now I’m graced with the privilege of reviewing Beak>’s album “> >.” I would try to explain the band and album’s name, but I can’t provide any more insight than you already have.

The Bristol band opens this album up with the strangest of tunes, as “The Gaol” kinda sounds like wailing sirens in the streets of Manhattan with an occasional drum machine beat behind it. Sirens. Or poorly played wind instruments – take your pick. Somehow, it doesn’t sound all that bad, but this is just musically confusing to me. Their following post-rock tunes aren’t all that stunning either: “Yatton” and “Spinning Top” both feature very monotone guitar rhythms that bored the fuck out of me. Somewhere in the background, there are some ghostly vocals that I fail to decipher after multiple listens.

Much of the album does sound like it was made by a Star Wars drone – and that’s not a good thing. It’s bland, obscure, and just not likeable. The sirens of the opening track even return in “Ladies’ Mile,” not differentiating itself from the pack at all. I’ll give the band some credit: “Wulfistan II” sounded like a promising track. However, its downfall is its seven minute length. There’s no fun in hearing the same guitar notes being strum for that long, and while the band has an interlude to change things up, it goes right back to a guitar beat pulled from Apple’s GarageBand library. “Elevator” has the same kind of promise, but falls apart when the band overloads the track with a variety of sounds that don’t mesh well. Don’t even get me started on “Kidney” – it takes half the song to build up to anything that’s barely listenable.

Beak>, or whatever you want to call them, have failed to impress. They’re appealing to an incredibly niche market that I’m simply not a part of. The good thing is that you won’t need to pay to find out whether you like this kind of genre, as their album is available to stream on their site:

I, for one, will stick to something that doesn’t sound like R2D2 getting it on with C-3PO.

tour dates

Childish Gambino’s Rescheduled Tour Dates

Donald Glover, also known as that guy called Troy on Community, also known as a rapper called Childish Gambino, broke his foot back during his tour. As a result, he postponed a portion of his “Camp” tour, and rescheduled to late in the summer. Now with his new mixtape R O Y A L T Y, he’s back out doing some pre-Lolla warmup shows. I’m interested to see what this dude brings to the stage.

I’ll be covering the Montreal date of the tour, as tickets are still available through evenko at this link.

7/25 Kansas City, MO – Beaumont Club
7/27 Charlotte, NC – Time Warner Cable Uptown Amphitheatre
7/28 Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
7/29 Richmond, VA – The National
7/31 Toronto, ON – Echo Beach
8/1 Montreal, QC – Metropolis
8/3 Detroit, MI – The Fillmore
8/4 Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre
8/5 Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
8/7 Philadelphia, PA – River Stage at Penn’s Landing
8/10 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium


Netsky – 2 album review

My introduction to drum & bass began about two years ago when I was over at my friend’s house. He’s a guy who’s really into the EDM scene, but has never gone to a show, dropped drugs to enhance his experience, and just obsesses over classifying each song he comes across into a genre. Yeah, he’s strange. I’m kind of the same way, and I’m thankful for the introduction he gave me, as I can fully appreciate Netsky’s 2 LP.

The feeling I get from this Netsky release is near radio-friendly. I mean, let me put it this way – Adult Contemporary / Top 40 stations here in Montreal have been playing a lot more EDM than I’d ever expect to hear. I heard Deadmau5’s “The Veldt” on an AC station just the other day, and it took me aback (even though it was followed by some Rod Stewart). When I first heard the “The Whistle Song,” I instantly thought that Netsky could send this out to FM radio stations, and they’d actually play it. Is this a bad thing? No. It may stray from the typical rhythmic DnB style at times, and sticks to a more poppy and upbeat attitude, but it’s still within Netsky’s field of expertise. And it’s a seriously good track.

Does this mean you could hear every track on a Top 40 station? Probably not, as Netsky still stays true to his DnB roots, but tends to incorporate more and more from electro house and electronica with this release. “Give & Take” is a prime example of this, with quick beat and sharp breakdowns, “Get Away From Me” is treble-infused, and “911” is bass-heavy. So fret not – you aren’t purchasing a Belgian pop album here, it’s still Netsky.

What you’re getting with 2 is a grab-bag of sorts: it’s Netsky sampling the genres that encompass DnB, adding in some funky elements to the aptly named “Jetlag Funk,” and then going back to what he does best with “Love is Gone.” It’s quite an album, filled with fifteen tracks that will impress skeptics like myself. Turn up the treble – turn up the bass – and speed down the autobahn with this on at full blast. It’s a guaranteed good ride.

tour dates

Refused’s North American Tour: 2nd Leg Dates

This past year, the hardcore punk received the good news that Swedish band Refused were reuniting after fourteen years of silence. While I was never apart of Refused’s original fanbase back in the nineties – y’know, I was busy being five years-old and whatnot – there’s always been major excitement about these dudes getting back together. They had the first leg of North American tour dates back in April, performing at sold out venues like Terminal 5 in NYC for multiple nights in a row. While no new album is planned as of yet, it may be worth your time to head out and see some contemporary punk legends perform for the first time in over a decade. Shows start this Sunday in Atlanta, GA.

MVRemix plans to cover the Montreal date of the tour. Tickets can still be purchased through evenko at this very link.

07/15 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
07/16 – Silver Spring, MD @ The Fillmore
07/18 – Brooklyn, NY @ Williamsburg Summer Garden
07/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Penn’s Landing (Riot Fest East)
07/20 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
07/21 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
07/22 – Toronto, ON @ The Sound Academy
07/23 – Toronto, ON @ The Sound Academy
07/25 – Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
07/26 – Chicago, IL @ Congress Theater

music videos reviews

Diplo – Express Yourself EP review

When assigned to review this EP, Google directed me directly to Diplo’s “Express Yourself” music video. The video features a plethora of people, mostly women, shaking their ass in some ghetto. Some of them even do handstands while booty-clapping, which I didn’t think was physically possible. Couple this imagery with fast-paced EDM beats, and it’s oddly enthralling. Putting the clapping ass cheeks aside, I’ve got an EP review to do:

Diplo’s Express Yourself EP is a six-track multi-genre creation from the Philly producer who flies a little more under the radar than EDM’s bigger names. He recently collaborated with Usher to produce “Climax,” and has also worked with Tiësto and Skrillex before. He’s no newcomer to the scene, obviously, and this EP shows it. Diplo’s got featured artists all over this track, including vocalists like Nicky Da B, Sabi (of “You Make Me Feel…” by Cobra Starship fame), and My Name is Kay, as well as producers like Datsik.

The title track provides a clapping, wubbing beat that deserves such an aforementioned enthralling video. Nicky Da B provides the incredibly sporadic rapping vocals, empowering us all to “express ourselves.” The following track, “Barely Standing (feat. Datsik & Sabi)” gives us what anyone would expect from two dubstep icon: a massive Americanized drop. I have no gripes with either of these tunes, as they’re produced incredibly well and aren’t overly noisy and musically incomprehensible. Choice track: “Set It Off (feat. Lazerdisk Party Sex)” builds up and goes into a moombathon-esque breakdown. It’s incredibly fun, quick, and genre-encompassing.

It’s tough to categorize this Diplo EP, as there’s not a singular genre he sticks with for the whole album. You’ll find some electro house, dubstep, and moombathon elements throughout. I know listeners of EDM are really anal about classifying their genres, and I’ve got plenty of friends who do so (“No no no – that’s not electro hip-hop, it’s glitch-hop!”). Let’s forget that for a moment, hit the dance floor or the club scene, and just dance into the wee hours of the morning. Diplo has come out with a solid EP for your summer nights.


The Hives: A Night in Photos

The Hives - Howlin' Pelle Almqvist

Live performance is a skill I have seen very few bands master. Sure, I come on here a lot and post up some pictures, and often I tell you just how good a band is. I urge you to see a band – not because they’re perfect live, but because they’re darn good. Today, I’m going to preach to you that The Hives are one of the best live bands out there.

The Hives - Nicholaus Arson (Niklas Almqvist)

The Swedes decided to hit some east coast cities in North America before they pack up and play some more festivals in Europe. It’s been four years since they hit up Montreal, and the turn out for their show was superb. Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist and company walked on stage, sporting their formal attire with matching top hats. They wasted very little time and opened up with “Try It Again.” They had me singing along while I snapped my pictures, and they had the kids in the pit moshing and dancing away.

The Hives - Howlin' Pelle Almqvist

They had a very short setlist: only sixteen songs, most of them lasting less than three minutes, and the majority of them off the new album. “Take Back the Toys” and “1000 Answers” proved to be incredibly for fun for everyone, as the crowd didn’t seem to mind the group shelling out new material. However, the very talkative Per Almqvist (Howlin’ Pelle’s real name) did ask them for their input, “Do you want to hear a new song or an old song?” To which the crowd responded with “old!”

The Hives - Nicholaus Arson (Niklas Almqvist)

To which he replied, “Fuck you, you’re old! This is new, unlike all you who just said ‘old.'” He also took a swig of beer at one point in the show, looked at the bottle and asked, “Corona Extra? Is that a Canadian specialty?” He’s absolutely hilarious and knows how to entertain between songs. And while his French isn’t perfect, as he referred to “Tick Tick Boom” as a song from the year 10,000 (dix mille – not deux mille), he had the Montreal crowd cheering at every French sentence. Did I mention that their stagehands are dressed up as ninjas for no good reason? Yeah, don’t ask.

The Hives -Vigilante Carlstroem (Mikael Karlsson)

Did “Tick Tick Boom” and “Hate To Say I Told You So” sound good? Really? What do you think? Awesome. It’s not one single song that makes The Hives so good – it’s the way they move around stage, how Pelle twirls and tosses his mic all over the place, how Nicholaus has this crazy demonic look on his face when he strums his guitar, how Chris is constantly throwing out his drumsticks to the crowd, and how the formal attire slowly becomes a sweaty mess of white dress shirts. You can plainly see that they give it their absolute all every single night. The Hives don’t look at their live shows as something they have to do to make a buck. No, to them, it’s not a job. It’s a passion and love for the stage, and for the crowd that they feed off of.

Setlist: The Hives at Metropolis in Montreal, Qc

Full Set of Photos: jakemullan’s flickr


Britah – Clouds album review

One of my favorite things about contributing to this site is getting to listen to some really obscure music, sometimes from halfway across the world. Whether it’s good or bad doesn’t really matter – what matters is that I get to listen to something I would’ve never heard otherwise. Today’s selection comes to us from Swedish pop artist Britah: her first full-length Clouds.

This obviously isn’t a typical pop album: it’s more like very light indie pop. Opening songs “Moods” and “Master of the Mind” demonstrate this quite well, with their very laid back atmospheres, relaxed keyboard arrangements, and the singer’s angelic voice.  From the start, it’s more than apparent that Britah has immense vocal talent – there’s no denying that. However, I couldn’t help but think it’s almost going to waste with such boring music. No, it’s not “fall-asleep-standing-up” kind of boring, but it’s so plain. “Roaring Sea” features zero percussion, a few guitar notes, a couple ambient keyboard notes and Britah’s voice. It’s tragic to me that while she sounds so good, I’m just not into this kind of tune.

“Heartbreaker” brings some variety to the album, being the most upbeat of the bunch, and most likely to hit an indie pop satellite radio station. “The Mystery” is intriguing for a verse or two, and has some horn arrangements to spice things up. It makes it bearable, but it’s not something I’ll ever find myself actively listening to. The rest of the tracks? All quite similar sounding. There’s no catchiness. There’s no outstanding track. There’s just that angelic voice, calling out to me and telling me to keep listening to complete this review.

I can’t say I’m a fan of Britah’s musical creations, and I don’t think it’s the worst album I’ve listened to this year – far from. Yet it’s less than memorable. It’ll likely fall to the pits of my iTunes library until I remember to delete it and free up some hard drive space. It’s unfortunate. If she ever becomes a little more lively with future releases, I promise I’ll give this angelic Swede another try. She deserves that much at the very least.

reviews tour dates

Aerosmith: The Global Warming Tour Dates & Preview

After Joe Perry and Steven Tyler’s fallout following their last tour, I seriously thought Aerosmith was done for. I was in attendance at their Toronto gig two years ago, when Perry “reportedly” pushed Tyler off the stage and into the crowd. Then Steven decided he was going to be an American Idol judge, and the band wasn’t talking, everyone was being distant – and I was just thankful that I got to see one of the most successful rock bands of all time before they had split up.

However, with a new album being released in August, their first since 2004, the band doesn’t show signs slowing down. So Aerosmith is doing what they do best and they’re going on tour. The Global Warming Tour has already started, but it runs into the month of August, so you likely have plenty of time to grab a ticket or two. hopes to be covering the Montreal/Laval date on July 10th.

Tickets are still available for this specific date through evenko at this link.

The Global Warming Tour
6/27 Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON
6/29 Times Union Center, Albany, NY
7/1 Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY
7/3 Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, VA
7/5 The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI
7/7 Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI
7/10 Laval Nature Center, Laval, QC
7/12 Festival d’été de Québec, Quebec City, QC
7/14 Salmon Festival, Grand Falls, NL
7/17 TD Garden, Boston, MA
7/19 TD Garden, Boston, MA
7/21 Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
7/24 Izod Center, East Rutherford, NJ
7/26 Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA
7/28 American Airlines Arena, Dallas, TX
7/30 Toyota Center, Houston, TX
8/1 Pepsi Center, Denver, CO
8/4 Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
8/6 Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA
8/8 Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, WA