Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Music, Pop

[Album Review] The Hydrothermal Vents- Secrets of the Deep!

No Comments 26 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
hydrothermal

Rating:

Release Date:
Label: Independent

If the aquatic theme and the ’50′s sc-fi imagery bring to mind the B-52′s “Rock Lobster” then you are in the right neighbourhood at least, just the wrong subway stop. For one thing, The Hydrothermal Vents are far more serious, even in their weirdest moments. Furthermore, this isn’t the 1950′s as re-envisioned in 1980, it is more like a redux of everything that has happened since 1980, with some ’60′s-style dream pop and contemporary indie thrown in for good measure. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Grunge, Metal, Music, Pop

[Album Review] Gob- Apt. 13

No Comments 24 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

gob

Rating:

Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Label: New Damage Records

Gob started their career over 20 years ago, so some of you may be simply too young to know who they are. Even if you were listening to music back in the ’90′s you could be forgiven for not recalling them; after all they’ve only put out one album in the past 10 years, and that one was way back in 2007. To make matters worse, they’ve been promising us a new album since 2009, so many of us just stopped paying attention. But anyway, here we are, it’s 2014 and we have a new Gob album on our hands. Was it worth the wait? Yes, probably. They may not be blazing any new trails into the 21st century, but at least they are doing us the great favour of not rehashing their own musical past.

Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Canadian, Electronic, Electropop, Music

[Album Review] Tyson- Casio Fiasco

No Comments 24 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

tyson

Rating:

Release Date: August 10th, 2014
Label: Label Fantastic

Tyson Brinacombe may have once recorded under the moniker ‘Tyson and His Game Boy’ and, yes, this album may be called ‘Casio Fiasco’, but I still wouldn’t exactly call this chiptune. For one thing, the rhythms and beats here sound organic (for the most part). Second of all, the keyboards don’t sound as cheesy as most 8-bit noodling does. And finally, what takes centre stage here, regardless of the backing music, is the singer and his songs — and this is an impressive set of songs.  Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Country, Folk, Music

[Album Review] Bahamas- Bahamas is Afie

No Comments 23 August 2014

by Tiana Feng
bahamas

Rating:

Release Date: August 18th, 2014
Label: Universal/Brushfire Records

I have to start this review up by saying that I’ve been listening to Bahams is Afie ever since I could get my hands on a copy. At work it is currently the most played thing on my Spotify account. I had the pleasure of listening to Afie play it in the CBC Radio 2 studios before it’s release. He was clean-shaven, hair cut, in a suit – grown-up, as his latest album sounds. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Music, Pop, Psychedelic

[Album Review] Elephant Stone- The Three Poisons

No Comments 22 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

three-poisons

Rating:

Release Date: August 26th, 2014
Label: Hidden Pony Records

I approached this review with a certain amount of trepidation. I enjoy psychedelic pop rock as much as the next guy (probably more, in fact) and Elephant Stone’s first two outings were great examples of the genre. But that market is getting pretty saturated and interest is starting to wane. Without even looking to other countries such as the US, UK and Australia, there have already been numerous psych pop albums in Canada this year (including superlative efforts by Shimmering Stars and Monomyth), so what else needs to be said, or should I say played? As it turns out, I shouldn’t have worried – Elephant Stone kick their own game up a notch and in doing so they raise the ante on all the other psychedelic rockers out there. ‘The Three Poisons’ is a flat-out killer groove-fest. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Canadian, Electronic, Electropop, Music, Pop

[Album Review] Mozart’s Sister- Being

No Comments 20 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
a0137584641_10

Rating:

Release Date: August 5th, 2014
Label: Paper Bag Records

Caila Thompson-Hannant (a.k.a. Mozart’s Sister) is a close friend of Claire Elise Boucher (a.k.a. Grimes), which is perhaps even more reason why the two are constantly being compared, to the point that MS is often dubbed the ‘next Grimes’. This is patently unfair, because it is completely a no-win situation. If she does sound like Grimes then she’s a copycat, if she doesn’t then she is not living up to the comparison. So let’s not do this – let’s review MS solely on her own merits without making reference to anyone else. Fair is fair. Continue Reading

Acoustic, Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Experimental, Folk, Music, Singer/songwriter

[Album Review] Slight Birching- Cultural Envelope

No Comments 16 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
slightbirching

Rating:

Release Date: August 12th, 2014
Label: Independent

Sean Travis Ramsay’s (a.k.a. Slight Birching) vocalization on ‘Cultural Envelope’ is often closer to spoken word than true singing, and even when he does actually sing he does so with such an idiosyncratic quaver that it serves to underscore the very personal nature of this music. He comes across as a genuinely friendly guy who is extending you an individual invitation to share in his musical world of indie folk musings, swooning pedal guitar, gentle acoustic guitar picking, delicate synth touches and the odd surprise (such as the trumpet work of Joseph Hirabayashi on the title track). Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Music, Pop

[Album Review] Arkells- High Noon

No Comments 16 August 2014

by Tiana Feng
arkellshighnoon

Rating:

Release Date: August 5th, 2014
Label: Universal Music Canada

After winning a Juno for Group of the Year for their 2012 album, Michigan Left, Arkells switched to a more modern production for their third LP High Noon. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Garage, Grunge, Music, Pop

[Album Review] JPNSGRLS- Circulation

No Comments 13 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
jpnsgrls

Rating:

Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Label: Light Organ Records

JPNSGRLS (pronounced ‘Japanese Girls’) put together a batch of high energy punk-pop on their full-length debut, ‘Circulation‘, and there’s a lot to like here. There’s trashy punk outbursts and heavy metal power chords. There are grungy lows and power pop highs. The vocalists, who spins some quirky lyrics, has a singing style that falls somewhere between British ’70′s glitter and American ’90′s indifference, and he throws in some screams and falsetto for good measure. So the ingredients are all there, but the question is whether they can successfully pull all of the elements together. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Ambient music, Canadian, Experimental, Jazz, Music, World Music

[Album Review] Tanya Tagaq- Animism

No Comments 12 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
tanya-tagaq-animism

Rating:

Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Label: Six Shooter Records

Tanya Tagaq is unique in today’s music scene in that she practices the Inuit art of throat singing. To be more precise, she performs a solo adaption that she taught herself (apparently in the shower) based on the traditional duet style. Her attempts to bring her throat singing to contemporary listeners have met with mixed results on her first two albums. Her vocal stylings have at times been so alienating and foreign as to be unmusical. At others times she has made poor choices in accompanying instrumentation, and it is best not to even dwell on the unfortunate inclusion of a rapper. On ‘Animism‘, however, Tagaq makes a wise choice of collaborators and the results are magical. Violinist Jesse Zubot and jazz drummer Jean Martin are, in fact, are to be credited as much as Tagaq for the successful sound on the new record. In effect, producer Zubot (with additional help from Juan Hernandez) creates the sonic landscape within which Tagaq can carve her sound sculptures. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Folk, Music

[Album Review] Reuben and the Dark- Funeral Sky

No Comments 10 August 2014

by Tiana Feng
reubenandthedark

Rating:

Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Label: Arts & Crafts

This year, Reuben and the Dark captivated the blogosphere before they even had an album out with their triumphant single “Rolling Stone”. Now they have a debut record out called Funeral Sky. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Experimental, Music, Pop

[Album Review] Shimmering Stars- Bedrooms of the Nation

No Comments 08 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
a1881137109_10

Rating:

Release Date: August 13th, 2014
Label: Almost Musique

On their second full-length album Shimmering Stars take impressive strides forward. Not that they’ve abandoned their whole ‘Everly Brothers on acid’ sound, but they have definitely built on it. On ‘Bedrooms of the Nation’ they take their signature reverb-heavy sound and add complexity, depth and nuance to create a much fuller and satisfying listening experience. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Folk, Music, Pop

[Album Review] The Written Years- The Written Years

No Comments 07 August 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
thewrittenyears

Rating:

Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Label: Independent

The following line from the opening track of ‘The Written Years’ reads like an unstructured stream of consciousness: “Through our broken thoughts that grew in us, I’ll signal back to forgotten friends and tell them that I’ll make it back again, but they’ll be gone like you and I’ll have no place to come back to when our homes all get sold and walls become worn and old.” But if that leads you to think you’ll be left adrift with no verses or chorus to hang on to then you’d be wrong. The trio calling themselves The Written Years put out stories of intense lyrical depth, but they package them in an attractive indie pop wrapping. You may be at a loss to think of a catchy phrase that you can sing in the shower, but the song structures and instrumentation are engagingly familiar, creating a musical work that is just as approachable as it is accomplished. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Experimental, Music, Psychedelic

[Album Review] PS I Love You- For Those Who Stay

No Comments 03 August 2014

by Tiana Feng
psiloveyou

Rating:

Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
Label: Paper Bag Records

Since 2012′s Death Dreams Paul Saulnier move from Kingston to Toronto. However, For Those Who Stay was still recorded in Kingston at Bathouse Studio. This third LP is the first that they’ve ever recorded in a proper studio. It’s evident in Saulnier’s generous guitar shredding and Benjamin Nelson attacks the drums with great force. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Garage, Music, Pop

[Album Review] Monomyth- Saturnalia Regalia!

No Comments 31 July 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
monomyth

Rating:

Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
Label: Mint Records

Monomyth are no longer Halifax’s best kept secret — they are well on their way to becoming Canada’s latest indie pop darlings. Are they deserving of such acclaim? If their debut ‘Saturnalia Regalia!‘ is any indication then the answer is most definitely “yes”. Continue Reading

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