Categories
reviews

Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships album review

Kowloon Walled City is a four piece band from San Francisco that has gained direction for their latest album Container Ships from history of the Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong. This city is a location that after being deemed a Chinese military fort, became a crime infused community, eventually being reconstructed to a public park in the 1990’s.

The harsh wailing vocal’s is what demonstrates the unpleasant character the Hong Kong city landscape has grown to create. “The Pressure Keeps Me Alive” introduces the noise rock, sludge metal sound for the next 6 tracks of Container Ships. Containing a strong base line, heavy drumming and going back and forth between controlled and jarring guitar solo’s. The loud creative clashing of sounds that listener’s have found in their early work bring us to “50s Dad” fully committing to a less organized melody every time the song picks up, as Scott Evans sings “bad days come again after all.”

Container Ships album artwork is a factor to the album that puts listeners in the mindset of this desolate landscape Kowloon Walled City tried to represent. On the later half of the album “Cornerstone” shows their consistency with their heavy abrasive sound. The deep tone, once again later incorporating a dissonant guitar solo mesh well with the passionate vocals from Evans that he throws everything he has into.

Since having been released early Decemeber, Container Ships has been well received. Their ability to mesh together the sludge metal, noise rock and some might say, indie or alternative sound has caught people’s attention resulted in a strong and steady album.

Categories
reviews

Ninetails – Slept And Did Not Sleep EP review

Ninetails is a band made up of four members who have continued to work incredibly well together creating an eclectic fusion of different genres like indie and house, with moments of colourful ambient soundscapes that have resulted in the cohesive five track EP Slept And Did Not Sleep. The band has shared that their musical influences have a wide range; 90’s US indie, UK grime, downtempo indie and avant garde compositions which aren’t all demonstrated in their music.

Slept And Did Not Sleep begins with the track Maybe We, that starts slow with a supernatural feel but as soon as the guitar steps in along with drums, a melody is clearly visible. One of the reasons their label Superstar Destroyer Records took such interest in them is because of their ability to make sense out of the many sounds of chaos they create.

Body Clock is the next track on the EP that dives right into a set of vocals, singing “woke up inside a frozen dream, I tried to scream but my vocal chords couldn’t hear my brain” and a faster pace. Ninetails vocals help strongly to create their unique music, the background singing that carries throughout the first half of this song really demonstrate the tight sound listeners were first introduced to on their debut EP in 2011. The later part of the song, breaks down to a nearly silent experimentation which flows perfectly into Rawdon Fever. A super fun track with a post rock sound that subtly incorporates their influences.

Before Slept And Did Not Sleep comes to an end the second last track is Boxed in, with a different take on the eerie sense Maybe We gave, and carries all the way through. Boxed in seems like a relaxing ambient break from the previous track as it dissolves into Mama Aniseed, the final song. This chaotic track contains the most lyrics out of the five and is a great ending demonstrating the talent this band consists of.

The attention around Ninetails was created pretty much effortlessly, but from this EP Slept And Did Not Sleep, it is all well deserved. The members know how to work to create a clean distinct sound through experimentation, sampling and pleasing melodies. Hopefully their positively received creativity can encourage more and more music to be released in the up coming new year.

Categories
reviews

Slam Dunk – Welcome To Miami album review

Slam Dunk is a four member band from Victoria, British Columbia, that has recently released their full length album Welcome To Miami. The album is ten tracks filled with energy that portrait the retro style these musicians clearly have a big interest in.

The first track “Can’t Stand It” jumps right out to listeners and gets them moving, making you wonder what an incredible experience seeing them live would be. Their old school sound seems as though it comes natural to Slam Dunk through the howling with loud soulful expressive vocals, and their love for incorporating the saxophone and fast piano keys.

Throughout the album, listeners will constantly hear interesting range of vocals, from the scratchiness of the lead singer, having a more intimate moment in “Dying Breed”. To a soft back up singing of their female member, all of which giving the songs more dynamic.

“Sass” is a song with lyrics “aint no calmin me down” that definitely describe this band and their work on this album, that seems like they never take a second to relax. Although their sound is from an older generation of music, there are songs such as “Why Can’t I Change?” that sound a bit more on the modern recent side as well. The contrast of those two sounds and their ability to mesh them together into one song at certain points, is how Slam Dunk is able to show what they can do. Welcome To Miami is only Slam Dunk’s sophomore piece of work, but their progress has been huge.

Categories
reviews

Kumonga – Kumonga album review

Kumonga is a Toronto based band that have recently released their debut self titled album this past October. The four members Danny Walters (vocals, organ), Staci Patten (guitar, vocals), Stephanie DeBernardi (bass), and Eric Martin (drums) are influenced by music that has paved the way for the rock and roll genre today.

Here Comes The Spiders is a great first introduction of what they can do throughout the album. The instrumentals remind listeners of classic rock and roll, and the soulful vocals really help present that “dirty soul rock and roll” they are aiming to create.

Look Out Below has a catchy chorus and a loud sound, leaving you rocking your head and singing along. Most of the songs have a fast speed but Marmalad breaks to a slower pace which results in a more intimate singing of the chorus making the song all the more enjoyable.

As mentioned before Kumonga have been influenced by rock and roll trailblazing musicians, artist such a such as Otis Redding, Little Richard, the Sex Pistols, and Jerry Lee Lewis. These names may not be much of a surprise after listening to the ten tracks. With their incorporation of the organ, and their high energy, these older artists have really made an impact. Feels so bad is a noticeable display of the sounds performers like Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis had.

After first hearing the album, I immediately thought their sound comes from a time long before my generation but Kumonga clearly have a great understanding of how to present the type of music they love.

Categories
reviews

Julie Doiron – So Many Days album review

On October 23rd Julie Doiron released her tenth album titled So Many Days which has been in the works for the past three years. Julie Doiron was somehow able to divide her time between touring her previous album and collaborating on side projects throughout Montreal, Sackville and Toronto to put together the 12 tracks.

Once again her former Eric’s Trip bandmate Rick White has joined forces with Julie to create music that is fluid, demonstrating her constant on the move life. This is the third piece of work that Rick White has contributed on during Doiron’s solo career, and the finishing products could only have been produced by these two.

It’s no secret that Doiron’s song writing heavily stems from everything that is going on around her. In the past we have listened to her sing her experiences with heartbreak, a band break up, raising kids and so on. This tenth album of Julie’s was written a time where her life was constantly on the move.

The album begins with the song Cars and Trucks is about life always changing and sometimes it gets harder to handle than others. It then breaks into a long enjoyable electric guitar instrumental before returning to more lyrics. The Only is a track about being in love and being cared for by someone who loves you, incorporating the harmonizing of Julie’s smooth voice.

The instrumentals in this album are just as up to par as the lyrics and singing, but that should be no surprise from an artist with so many years of experience and accomplishments. The instruments used are kept to a minimum with electric, acoustic or drums, but they are used in a manner that displays the talent and unique sound Julie Doiron has grown.

With nine years of a solo career, in addition to her several years with her first band in the 90’s Eric’s Trip, in addition to her many song writing, recording and live collaborations, longevity has naturally incorporated itself into Julie’s career. For these reasons It doesn’t feel like she’s near done expressing herself as of yet.

Categories
press releases

New Design excites fans for the future with new EP release

New Design is a Brampton Ontario born band that took their start in 2008. The members of Jeff Lee, Joseph Angiletta, Melissa Angiletta, and Zack Cattapan have compiled six of their songs for their EP titled Burn Out The Sky that displays great promise for their future work.

The group contacted Kenny Bridges of the band Moneen to produce their EP, which was a decision they couldn’t say at the time where it would lead them but together the collaboration formed tracks that fit perfectly together. The talent these musicians have is truly evident throughout this EP, describing their sound as having influences of early Pop-rock, and demonstrating the Post-Rock genre. The intense sounding instrumentals and vocals keep listeners constantly at attention. Burn Out the Sky starts off with NCIX having a solid melody, along with intimate singing, and a catchy chorus chanting “this is the way we and we’re not gonna change for you”, the range of pace is an aspect that keeps listeners on their toes.

The EP slows down by the third track Across The Floors Of Silent Seas but it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable, as mentioned before their instrumentals are nothing but disappointing. As the song gets louder the powerful guitar solo, mixed with strong drum and bass force listeners to continue to get a depiction of what they are capable of.

The band has expressed that nearing the end of EP it leans more towards the instrumental side which is clear from Omnisphere II instrumental track that without lyrics gets more eerie as it follows through. If listeners were trying to compare them to anyone before, that track brings those thoughts to a halt, for those five creative sounding minutes New Design is really represented for the uniqueness.

Throughout the four years of being a band, New Design has built a fan base that has grown with them, from dedicating countless hours to performances throughout The Greater Toronto Area. My assumption is that this EP has only encouraged excitement as their progress is without a doubt on the right path.

Check out the songs at https://newdesignmusic.bandpage.com/

The Boy Less Likely To reminds fans why they fell in love with the re-issue of their 2005 album

The Boy Least Likely To is an indie pop duo that have plenty of music making years under their belt. It has been close to a decade since the release of their first album The Best Party Ever in 2005, compiled of many singles that they released throughout the two years prior underneath self created label Too Young To Die. During the anticipation of their new album, the band has re-issued in the well received 2005 album for download. Therefore if anyone hasn’t heard the 13 tracks after all these years of opportunity, this will explain what the big deal is about.

Joff Owen and Pete Hobbs are two artists that come together to make a fresh indie pop sound, that was positively acknowledged at the time of the release. Jeff Owen is behind the lyrics and signing, and Pete Hobbs takes care of the instrumental and melodies. They find their inspiration from indie pop groups like the Pastels, and Television Personalities, along with country storytellers like Marty Robbins.

The interesting thing about this album is with the twinkling sounds, the banjos, and enjoyable beats the tracks come off as child friendly, but they incorporate lyrics that are relevant to these men’s lives. In a song like Paper Cuts, Jeff Owen is singing about not being able to handle that everything continues to change around him, and the fact that he beats himself up over everything.

This album is enjoyable because of the positive presentation of the lyrics that cover coping young adulthood and the stages everyone around him is at in their life. The song monsters which has an eerie synth sound sings about the people he used to go to school with and love are having babies and moving on with their lives, encouraging him to join cause that would make him happy. Just the fact that he is referring to these people, and the people he sees on the streets as turning into monsters can indicate his feelings towards this framework of how adults are expected to fill out their life.

In the midst of the youthfulness the album holds, the songs are fun to listen to and The Boy Most Likely To get their point across of the things they were dealing with back during 2005. I See Spiders When I Close My Eyes clearly expresses “how did I get to be a mess so soon in life?” Best Party Ever was appreciated because it was honest with lyrics that are sometimes harder to interpret and an interesting make up of melodies, it all took on an innocence that was unique to the indie pop genre. Thankfully listeners just taking interest and old fans can reminisce in the excitement once again.

Categories
reviews

Len – It’s Easy if You Try album review

After over a decade since their last record, pop rock duo Len have released their latest album It’s Easy if You Try. The single “It’s My Neighbourhood” which pays recognition to their home town of Toronto, is a great indication they haven’t abandoned the upbeat, carefree sound that they have honed.

Having a strong bond between the two siblings Mark Costanzo (producer/vocalist) and Sharon Costanzo (vocalist/bassist) is what makes their process of creating music easy. From the beginning it’s been a way for them to create and express themselves. Mark confesses that “We didn’t really start a group. We just started making music together because that’s all we had: the family of her and myself.”

The approach Len takes has always been laid back, keeping the recording location of It Easy If You Try to their home in Barbados, a place they feel comfortable. Mark Costanzo is aware that “It has always been a laptop and a couple of microphones kind of vibe because we’ve never been a big studio kind of band.” Although some songs carry personal lyrics, at first glance listeners still receive ten tracks that are enjoyable and lightweight

Mark and Sharon Constanzo have shared that the songs on the more personal side are tracks Feels Like Home and It’s my Life, a song that recalls the ten year hiatus being the start of Mark getting “getting out of all the bullshit”

The idea of the release all started when Len got together and began to make some demos, Sharon explains “People at EMI Publishing in Toronto were adamant that we put it out, they’re so keen on it. They believe in it so much. It actually feels pretty awesome.” This is the fifth album for Len, and they don’t plan to stop for a while. During their time off, the musical sibling duo have created songs we have yet to hear that stands behind their mentality of “forgetting about trying to be cool and to have fun.”

Categories
reviews

You’ll Never Get To Heaven – You’ll Never Get To Heaven album review

You’ll Never Get To Heaven releases the ultimate ambient experience on their latest self-titled LP. This is the debut LP the duo of Chuck Blazevik and Alice Hansen have come together to create, throwing together intense harmonies and highly creative sounds.

Chuck studied a few years in London, Ontario and has previously created electro pop work of his own under Dreamsploitation.

The LP was created in a specific process. “First, we would find a particular moment on an old LP, [like] a sustained chord, isolated texture, or percussion sound and sample it,” explains Blazevik. “In most cases, we’d manipulate the sample beyond recognition through degraded analogue tape and digital signal processors.” On top of this, the duo will then add bass and vocals, giving the samples eerie, delicate qualities.

You’ll Never Get To Heaven creates music with a grainy, opaque quality and the soft, feathery vocals help achieve that weightless sound they are aiming for. The two don’t want to stop making music because it is a way to present how their aesthetic interests keep changing.

Categories
reviews

Hannah Georgas – Hannah Georgas album review

Hannah Georgas released her second self-titled album on Oct 2nd under Toronto based Dine Alone records, known for many other talented artists such as Tokyo Police Club, The Lumineers and City and Colour. At times throughout this album listeners may catch that the vocals remind them of fellow Canadian artist Feist, but the instrumentals give Hannah Georges her own unique spin in addition to her smooth voice.

In this record, Hannah teamed up with Graham Walsh from the band Holy Fuck to help produce her album. His role in production is one of the reasons the new album was sometimes taken to a more synthesized direction. The fun and playful track Shortie is a good example of this new influence. This song has a catchy chorus and is about her going out to dance the night away and find some romance. The next track titled Fantisize holds a strong synth vibe as well. The keyboard is used a good amount throughout the album but it gives the songs a fresh and distinctive result.

Her previous work took a more complex and detailed approach to the instrumentals. So, instead, her goal in this album was to be more free and let the music breath. That is exactly what you get from the 10 tracks, specifically in the song Elephant where behind her strong echoing voice is a simple electronic beat. The album gives up a good balance in that regard. The song Ode to Mom, although it has a more relaxed feel, gets loud and full with instrumentals while singing lyrics that are written to help her Mom cope with the loss of her Father.

A noticeable fact about this album is the range of topics she expresses through her lyrics. In Millions she sings, “a fear is a crutch a little hell that I live in, if she can do it what the fuck, how come I can’t?” which is something that many people can relate to. Robotics is a song about wanting to be able to reset with no more worries, a song that came from the idea of wanting feel less emotion sometimes. Not to mention the song, What You Do To Me, about falling hard for another person. Clearly, Hannah Georgas has a real ability for not only expressing how she feels, but also doing it in a way where others can connect to the same ideas.

Compared to her last album, it’s clear that along with the help of Graham Walsh, Hannah Georgas has taken a big step up creatively. It should always be respected when an artist tries new things in the efforts to break the barriers of what they are expected to do because in cases like Hannah Georgas, it can work out very well.