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

[Album Review] Wunderstrands- Wunderstrands

No Comments 06 July 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
wunderstrands

Rating:

Release Date: May 29th, 2014
Label: Independent

Wunderstrands‘ is the self titled debut from the duo of Mara Pellerin and Brad Kilpatrick. They are both members of the Newfoundland indie rock outfit Gramercy Riffs. It is unclear whether this is to be considered a “side project”, but it is certainly a marked departure. Pellerin and Kilpatrick eschew any notion of pop commercialism in favour of a delicate, ethereal sound. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Hardcore, Music, Punk

[Album Review] Greys- If Anything

No Comments 03 July 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
greys

Rating:

Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Label: Buzz Records/Carpark Records

There are artists out there who give a lot of thought to their intended audience. They use terms like “relatable”, and strive to have their music “resonant” with the listener. Then there’s the likes of Greys. Frankly, they are too happy just playing what the hell they want to give a sh%# what you think. It’s the quintessential punk attitude, and Greys have it in spades. Continue Reading

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

[Album Review] Patrick Ballantyne- Days of Rain

No Comments 01 July 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
pouches_2003

Rating:

Release Date: June 29th, 2014
Label: Independent

Patrick Ballantyne isn’t exactly a household name, but there is a good chance you’ve heard his songs before. Up until recently, Ballantyne’s musical talents have been funneled into writing songs for others, such as Big Sugar and The Trews. However, he makes it abundantly clear on his latest release ‘Days of Rain’ that we have been missing out in not hearing him perform his songs himself. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Hardcore, Metal, Music, Punk

[Album Review] White Lung- Deep Fantasy

No Comments 30 June 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
whitelung

Rating:

Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Label: Domino Records

Warning: take a deep breath before pressing the start button on ‘Deep Fantasy’ because once you do it’s a headlong rush, with no time for anything as mundane as inhaling. White Lung lets loose an unrelenting torrent of scorching metal-tinged hardcore. They take no prisoners. It is punk perfection. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Canadian, Electropop, Music, Pop

[Album Review] Young Liars- Tidal Wave

No Comments 30 June 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
youngliars

Rating:

Release Date: June 24, 2014
Label: Nettwerk Music Group

The Young Liars’ Tidal Wave harkens back to those sunny days of 80’s synthpop. The lyrics are lightweight and the tunes are bouncy, mostly danceable. Jordan Raine’s voice has that delicate, vulnerable quality that is well-suited to 80’s-style ballads. If all you are looking for is innocuous pop music that drifts from your memory leaving no trace, then so far so good. But, is there something more substantial going on here, something worth sitting up and paying attention to? Now, that is a good question. Continue Reading

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

[Album Review] Owen Pallett- In Conflict

No Comments 28 June 2014

by Tiana Feng
owenpallett

Rating:

Release Date: May 15th, 2014
Label: Secret City Records

I let In Conflict stir in my mind for a month before I decided to write this review. I even saw Owen Pallett play at Danforth Music Hall the week of its release. While Heartland, told us a tale, In Conflict is like a personal confession. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Music, Pop

[Album Review] Michael Rault- Living Daylight

No Comments 26 June 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
rault1

Rating:

Release Date: June 24th, 2014
Label: Pirate’s Blend

Take the glam/funk of T. Rex, complete with a psychedelic hang-over, filter it through the lens of early 90’s Lenny Kravitz and then re-imagine it all in some Canadian kid’s bedroom. If you can take all that in, it gives you some idea of what to expect on Michael Rault’s ‘Living Daylight’. Needless to say, this is a retro-fest, but the crisp production and lively arrangements give it a fresh, contemporary feel. With its Ringo-inspired percussion and swirling hippie keyboards interspersed with cheeky guitars, the record showcases some top-notch musicianship. If you want something to liven up your BBQ parties this summer then you can’t go wrong with this collection of hook-laden power pop songs.
Choice track: “Real Love (Yeah)”

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Electropop, Music, Pop, Punk

[Album Review] Sex With Strangers- You Know Something We Don’t?

No Comments 25 June 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
sexwithstrangers

Rating:

Release Date: May 27th, 2014
Label: Independent

Vancouver’s Sex With Strangers is what you would call a “true” band, where every member makes his or her presence felt. The driving rhythms of drummer Dan Walker and bassist Mike Gentile lend the songs their power, whereas the versatile guitar playing of Cory Price provides the tone, which varies greatly from track to track. This is not to overlook the one-two punch of vocalists Hatch Benedict and Alexis Young, who together anchor the entire affair. Perhaps it is the fact that SWS consists of five such strong musical individuals that accounts for the diversity of its sound. The band plays new-wave power pop with a hard rock edge, but allows strains of punk, math rock, prog metal and synth rock to permeate the mix. Continue Reading

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

[Album Review] Bry Webb- Free Will

No Comments 09 June 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
IF008_12Jacket_v2

Rating:

Release Date: May 20th, 2014
Label: Idee Fixe Records

After spending ten years fronting a high-octane rock band like the Constantines it’s understandable that with his first solo effort Bry Webb would explore music at the other end of the spectrum. ‘Provider‘ offered up a collection of mellow folk songs, revealing the thoughts of a man coming to terms with being a father. On his second outing Webb shows no signs of changing his tune, quite literally. The album ‘Free Will‘ is again inspired by the musician’s son, Asa, which may well provide the artist the opportunity for some musing but it does not necessarily make for the best of musical outings. Continue Reading

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

[Album Review] Cousins- The Halls of Wickwire

No Comments 04 June 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
cousins

Rating:

Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Label: Hand Drawn Dracula

It has the energy of punk, the distortion of noise pop and the angst of grunge. Such is the sound of Cousins, reputedly Halifax’s hardest-working band. And yet a listen to their latest release The Halls of Wickwire reveals more complexity than punk, more muscle than noise pop, and it offers more hope than grunge ever could.  The fact is Cousins carve out their own niche, creating their unique way of communicating through the medium of modern music. They are painfully aware that this ugly world can drag you down, but their music makes you jump up and yell back in defiance. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Canadian, Electronic, Electropop, Listen, Music, Uncategorized

[Album Review] Sean Nicholas Savage- Bermuda Waterfall

No Comments 01 June 2014

by Tiana Feng
bermuda

Rating:

Release Date: May 13th, 2014
Label: Arbutus Records

It was only last year that Sean Nicholas Savage gave us Other Life, but he’s known to churn things out quickly and Bermuda Waterfall may as well be his 11th album. The exact number I am not sure as it’s hard to keep track and consider what counts (so many EP and cassette releases). Continue Reading

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

[Album Review] Billy Ghost- Billy Ghost

1 Comment 31 May 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
billyghost

Rating:

Release Date: May 22nd, 2014
Label: Independent

The eponymous album by the shadowy character known as Billy Ghost is something of a diamond in the rough, if what is meant by “rough” is that deluge of DIY efforts from indie folk-rock singer/songwriters out there. Yes, thanks to modern technology virtually anyone can sit down with their own compositions, record the music, produce it, mix it and then put out their own CD. The downside, of course, it that, well, virtually anyone can sit with their own compositions, record the music….. OK, you get the picture. And it’s not hit and miss in equal measures. No, it’s overwhelmingly “miss”. So I guess that makes it all the more satisfying when a sole musician manages to hit it out of the park without the slightest bit of professional assistance. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Music

[Album Review] Current Swell- Ulysses

1 Comment 27 May 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan
CS_Ulysses_Vinyl_Gatefold

Rating:

Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Label: Nettwerk Music Group

There are certain bands around today that sound as if the last four decades never happened, like we went straight from 1972 to 2014 overnight. It’s not always a good thing – there are far too many blues-rock outfits that bore the pants off us with offerings about as fresh as last week’s egg foo young. Then again there’s the likes of Current Swell, whose music never sounds trite or dated, despite the fact that they’ve distilled out forty years of bad influences. They show no intention of changing their tune on ‘Ulysses‘, the band’s fifth studio album. Each track sparkles with originality, but they remain rooted in that late ’60′s/early 70′s folk/rock/blues groove.

Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Instrumental, Jazz, Music

[Album Review] BADBADNOTGOOD- III

No Comments 20 May 2014

by Tiana Feng
bbng

Rating:

Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Label: Pirates Blend / Innovative Leisure

III marks BADBADNOTGOOD’s first label-backed album. They signed to the Arts & Crafts supported Pirates Blend and Los Angeles’ Innovative Leisure. Ever since I checked out II, which got me excited about jazz in this century for the first time, I’ve been impressed by the young trios ability to deliver this genre to the masses. Continue Reading

Album Reviews, Alternative, Canadian, Music, Punk

[Album Review] Ought- More Than Any Other Day

No Comments 15 May 2014

by Tiana Feng
ought

Rating:

Release Date: April 29th, 2014
Label: Constellation Records

Ought is the latest Constellation Records signing and with their debut album More Than Any Other Day, they show that they are well deserving of a spot on a great roster. Continue Reading

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