Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best of 2009

This year saw many fantastic records. I have done up my favourites list and there may be some that surprise you, while others you may be able to read my mind on.

Without further ado, here are the BEST records of 2009.

10.
Artist: Tinted Windows
Album: Tinted Windows
Release Date: Apr 21, 2009



9.
Artist: The Dead Weather
Album: Horehound
Release Date: July 14, 2009





8.
Artist: Steve Earle
Album: Townes
Release Date: May 12, 2009



7.
Artist: The Black Crowes
Album: Before the Frost...Until the Freeze
Release Date: Sep 1, 2009



6.
Artist: Justin Townes Earle
Album: Midnight at the Movies
Release Date: Mar 3, 2009




5.
Artist: Scatterheart
Album: The Masterplan
Release Date: Mar 10, 2009





4.
Artist: Tegan & Sara
Album: Sainthood
Release Date: Oct 27, 2009





3.
Artist: The Wildhearts
Album: Chutzpah!
Release Date: Aug 31, 2009



2.
Artist: Manic Street Preachers
Album: Journal for Plague Lovers
Release Date: May 18, 2009





1.
Artist: Placebo
Album: Battle for the Sun
Release Date: June 08, 2009





Great records that did not make the top ten but are worth checking out are:
The Bravery - Stir The Blood
Julian Casablancas - Phrazes For The Young
Kiss - Sonic Boom
Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg
Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears - Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!

Records that came out prior to 2009 that were played a thousand times are:
Civet - Hell Hath No Fury
The Ripperz - The Ripperz
Jesse Malin - Glitter in the Gutter
Pink - Funhouse
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound.

Two records that I am looking forward to are Hole and Amanda Marshall.

Best EP of the year is:
The Darlings of Chelsea - The Mimico Sessions EP



Best purchase:
Sweeney Todd - Sweeney Todd (1975) and Sweeney Todd - If Wishes Were Horses (1977) on vinyl.





Best Concert:
Social Distortion with special guests Civet and The Strangers

Monday, December 14, 2009

Anvil: The Story of Anvil


Anvil: The Story of Anvil is a documentary of the Toronto based band Anvil whom formed in the 80’s. They pushed the envelope of the trash metal underground which derived from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal sound and style.

In 1984 at Super Rock Fest in Japan, Anvil played with many bands that went on to sell millions and while Anvil would go on to struggle to be heard. Some of the bands they played with in Japan are the likes of the Scorpions, Whitesnake and Bon Jovi. Anvil was far heavier than the likes of these bands but also far more unkown.

The documentary starts with very successful artists such as Slash of Guns N Roses and Velvet Revolver, Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, Lars Ulrich of Metallica and Scott Ian of Anthrax singing the praises of Anvil by advising the viewers that Anvil was the “real deal”, “had and amazing live performances” and that it was “complete insanity”. Vibrators and bondage harnesses aside, the members of Anvil were also all excellent musicians in their own right. Some say Robb Reiner was one of the best drummers in music. We are reminded by Kerry King of Slayer that this was a year before the big four “Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth”. Slash states that he believes that other artists ripped them off and left them for dead.

We first see Steve “Lips” Kudlow the lead guitarist and vocalist of the band as he is delivering for his day job “Choice Children’s Catering”. Lips explains that he does it so that he can play in Anvil as that is where he gets his joy and pleasure in life. His optimism is apparent when he states that he believes that it can never get worse than it already is and that it can only get better. If it does get worse at least you can say all is said and done. People can really learn from this man.

While Lips is delivering food, Robb Reiner the drummer from origins of the band to present is making his living in construction. It is obvious that he too does this for his band Anvil. He mentions he would much rather be at a party with a beer than doing what he is doing during the day. Don’t we all?

What seems like that same evening we are taken to a celebration for Lips’ 50th birthday where Anvil is playing live. They are playing their hearts out to dozens of screaming fans at Etobicoke’s Heads or Tails Restaurant & Banquet Hall. At this time we meet some of the long time Anvil fans such as Mad Dawg and Cut Loose. They are EXACTLY as you picture them, middle aged blue collar workers with Anvil ball caps hollering while drinking beer through their noses and missing teeth.

We find out Lips had quit school when he was young when he and Robb decided to form Anvil and live the dream if you will. The boys were 14 or 15 at the time. We hear of songs that were never written such as “Thumb Hang” which is about… yes you guessed it the Spanish Inquisition and how they would hang people by their thumbs if they didn't take on Catholicism. You probably have a pretty good picture of this band by this point.

It is at this point that we learn that many people know of the first three records and not their other ten the band has in their discography. This is a pretty impressive feat for guys whom still manage to plan time to be Dad’s and husbands with day jobs. Yet it is something that has lasted for decades.

It is at this point in the documentary that we meet Tiziana Arrigoni the bands manager who books a tour that encompasses Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, England, and France. The band is told they will get 1500 Euros per show and it is set to be Anvil’s biggest show in over twenty years. Yet no one at Choice Children’s Catering knows who Anvil or Steve “Lips” Kudlow is oddly enough.

The band starts off in Sweden doing the Sweden Rock Festival with optimism. The band is stunned by the people they have long been influenced by and others they simply are overjoyed to meet such as the likes of Thin Lizzy, Motorhead and the Scorpions. The band members are like kids at Christmas time. The band continues to be on what seems to be a successful start while they tour though Finland, Greece, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary and Poland.

Day 28 of the tour and the band runs into a small hiccup when they get lost in Prague and are two hours late for their show. However the band plays their set and signs autographs after the show. Unfortunately the bands dedication comes with continuous work as while the show seemed successful they are still their own roadies. Everyone seems tired but all things considered it goes well. That is until the bar owner they are playing for refuses to pay the band and Lips almost gets into the physical altercation with the owner. By “physical altercation” I mean Lips almost kicks the owner’s bitchy little ass! The owner states that he shouldn’t have to pay the band as they were two hours late and no one called to say they would be late. Lips argues that he still played their set and would not have done so if he had they known they were not going to get paid. The band doesn’t.

At this point they are headed to Munich and after missed trains, the altercation in Prague and stressed nerves the band members seem exhausted. Munich is yet another disaster for the band as there is no promo, Robb and Lips get into an argument and Robb threatens to sue the band. They band finally agrees to play the show to what seems like eight people which includes one person of which that is sitting in a recliner head banging. It seems morale can get no lower at this point.

Finally the band sees light in what seems like it’s been an eternity for them when they are asked to play “Monsters of Rock” in Transylvania. The promoter expects five to ten thousand people. Crowd = 174.

So while the band finishes up a five week tour with not a penny earned in their pocket and no label rep showing up to talk to the band, Lips is still grateful for Tiziana and the experience.

The support of some family members is apparent and lacks in others. Lips’ mother is disappointed while his brother Gary seems to understand. We learn more of his mother’s lack of support while Robb’s family is very supportive.

The band decides to send a demo to producer Chris Tsangarides (Black Sabbath and Judas Priest) to see if he likes what he hears and if he remembers the band from back in ’82 when he worked with Anvil previously. Chris likes what hears and after teary ups and downs in the studio, rejections from labels many hours of hard work spent, with Lips’ loving sister Rhonda’s financial support the band put out their 13th record “This is Thirteen” on their own.

Throughout this documentary we see the bands passion, heart, incredible desire and no quit in them while the families and wives remain supportive under the strains of work and running families.

I found myself rooting for these men though their tearful struggle that has been going on for 30 years. Just as it gets more depressing and harder to have hope for this band, something makes you smile like Robb’s bullet belt fanny pack combo.

Near the end of the documentary the band finally sees the success they have yearned for. Lips states he would play to no one but it’s apparent that what he desires the most is to please many fans such as the ones that rock out with him at a Tokyo Japan show. Worried that no one is going to be there, he is gladly mistaken and rocks like a star at 11:35am. By the time you hear the Metal on Metal riff you are quite familiar with it if you weren’t already and you can’t help but smile as you see the smiles on the bands face and the crowd rocking horns in air and all.

Anvil is a band that dealt with hardships and appreciated every little moment of success they earned. This band definitely loves doing what they do and deserved all much more rewards than they received.

At the end we find out that 34 years later Anvil will finally release “Thumb Hang” on their fourteenth record “Juggernaut”.

Lips tells us that he and Robb started this band at 14 or 15 years old and said they would do it until they were old men. I think that the band accomplished everything they set out to do. I am not so much a fan of their music but this was one of the best things I have ever seen. I was definitely a fan of the people in it. It is a remarkable documentary; a must for any music lover with a dream.

Slash reminds us to end it off that there are only a couple bands that have stayed together for 30+ years, The Rolling Stones, The Who and … ANVIL!

Cheers Rockers!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Friends of Misery

Dedicated to the memory of a band who was relevant in their time and to those I know that have lost precious time that they will never get back.

Rest in Peace
~Time Spent Listening to St. Anger~
June 5, 2003 – Present

Preface

As of late it seems I have been running into more Metallica fans than usual. Now a couple of these people I used to work with and some I currently do, while others are just hiding in the woodwork ready to pounce at a moment’s notice. Let’s get one thing straight, I do not hate Metallica. I actually really enjoy some of their songs. I feel there are far worse bands out there. See: Hedley, Nickelback, ACDC, and Def Leppard etc etc…

Metallica is, more or less, a group of individuals that are overrated, moderately talented, lucky bastards and have over-inflated egos. That being said, my beef is more with the fans and the decisions the band has made over the years rather than the music itself. However, I still feel that they are moderately talented and get waaaaay more credit than they rightfully deserve.

Introduction

Believe it or not, I was once a diehard Metallica fan who had every single record including their box set “Live Shit: Binge & Purge”. I had multiple bunny hugs, t-shirts and wallpaper made out of circus magazine cutouts. I even have my lip ring because of Metallica. After watching their “Behind the Music” (circa 1996) and seeing Kirk with a hoop in the middle of his lower lip - I wanted one. The very first time I sang on stage was with my friends old band, “Another Wave”, at Bart’s on Broad here in Regina. Every time they would play Metallica’s version of “Whiskey in the Jar” they would get me up on stage to sing. I used to defend this band, Metallica, to the world. I use the term “used to” because I no longer have that dedication to Metallica. I am not excited when a record is released nor do I rush out to get tickets when the Metallicats come to my town. Sometime in the early part of the last ten years all my cd’s were stolen. I had been accumulating them for years. Of all the cd’s I miss from that old collection, other than the ones don’t remember having, the Metallica ones are the ones I miss the least. Here’s why…



My Friends of Misery

There are all kinds of people who do and do not like Metallica. Some dislike them for the right reasons; some dislike them for the wrong reasons. It’s like a two sided coin. Generally people who like Metallica grew up with Metallica, or they just don’t know any better. Some people may not have expanded their music horizons enough. I understand that but know this… Metallica is NOT the best band in the world. I am really sorry but they just are not. Music is subjective, however if you feel I am wrong by my previous statement I do not think you been subjected to enough music.

Objective

Yes, Metallica appeals to a large part of a small demographic of people. What I mean by that is a lot of rock fans do not like Metallica and a lot of metal fans do not like Metallica. The reason being is that Metallica is the easy answer. Metallica is “Well I really don’t want to nor have the time to see what else I like”. Metallica is cheering for the Detroit Red Wings. Sure they do well every year (well almost), but it’s a little too easy to like them… what’s the point. Metallica went from cutting edge to hanging out on the edge ready to jump. Metal fans like heavier music and rock fans are generally on the fence about Metallica. It’s boring. I find it much more satisfying to delve into the catalogues of the Replacements, Buddy Holly, T.Rex, the Manic Street Preachers, Steve Earle, Robert Johnson etc. If you don’t know who Robert Johnson is, stop now and look into him before you go any further. What I am getting at is that I don’t hate Metallica; I think they are far too overrated. Metallica fans are not “Yeah, Metallica is my favourite band.” They are “METALLICA IS MY FAVOURITE BAND AND THEY WILL BE YOURS TOO DAMMIT!!” There are so much more interesting things about music out there. You don’t believe me? Check it out. Start with one band on Wikipedia and keep clicking links. You will spend hours on bands that are more appealing than Metallica. Personally I was never cut out to be a metal fan, I tried and failed. Calling Metallica “METAL” with how far music has come is a complete and total farce!

What Do I Like About Metallica?

Believe it or not there is indeed music I like from Metallica and other things I like about Metallica. Metallica is not incapable of writing good music; they have, more than once. “Kill Em All” was the beginning of an idea, one that was influenced by the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” or the “NWOBHM”. It was written by musicians in their early twenties for music lovers in their early twenties. It riffy and raw, something that angry kid’s just out of high school could relate too. The production quality was a representation of the time and not bad for a first record. Next came “Ride the Lightning” which was a little more evolved than the first but much the same, just expanded on. The third record, often the fan favourite, was 1986’s “Master of Puppets”. By the time Puppets had been released in stores, Metallica had found their niche and the ball was really rolling. Puppets, for the time, was a metal record of epic proportions. Unfortunately the amazingly talented Cliff Burton would leave us in a tragic bus accident that would take him at 24 years young. These first 3 records were really good records, not great but really good. They definitely held their own and then some. The following record with new bass player Jason Newsted entitled “…And Justice for All” is the bands best original work. It combined the best elements of Justice with the best elements of the next to come self titled album or “The Black Album”. It was angry…. It was really, really angry in the mourning of Cliff. The Black album was good but was totally aimed at commercial America and it showed. This is the first time the band would hear the term “Sellout”. I liked the band up until this point.



Not original material, but the best thing Metallica ever put out was their tribute to NWOBHM “Garage Inc.” It might have something to do with the French exchange student, Evelyn that came with me to get it that lunch hour grade twelve of November1998. Well it certainly didn’t hurt.

I also like “Load” and “Reload” ; (I know some people will hate to hear this) at this point Metallica learned how to write songs. Sure, the early stuff I like the music and riffs, but these records were far more planned out. The lyrics were great and the music was too. This would also mark the second time the band would hear the term “Sellout”. Selling out is something you do to sell records, something that you wouldn’t do if you weren’t getting paid. I don’t think Metallica did that at this time or with Black album. They were in dire need of a change as a lot had happened in music over the course of their career. If they put out the Puppets record again during this period it would have been a little dry for them. Change was good as it let them pursue other avenues of their creativity.The band had also gotten older which as an artist grows and changes so does their music.

I also like Lars. Yes Lars, is a little Danish asshole that says whatever he wants even if he hasn’t thought it out or speaks when he shouldn’t. People don’t like him for the Napster disaster… how long ago was that? I bet you are still downloading… Lars put out a product that he wanted to be paid for. Whether or not he had millions already was not this issue. Bill Gates doesn’t just give away computers does he?

The Turning Point

It wasn’t their next record “St. Anger” that was the turning point. I had waited a long time for this record to come out and despite knowing that it was complete trash from the get go, was willing to give it a chance. With “Kill Em All” they didn’t have the production quality because of the fact that they didn’t have as many people backing them, let alone the lack of time and access to technology compared to that of “St. Anger“. What should have come out at this time was a great, fresh and polished album. Instead they put out St Anger or as I like to call it “SHIT!” It was a record that was full of garbage lyrics, rain barrel drums and some of the worst riffs ever. The odd song that did a have potential like “Shoot Me Again” or “Invisible Kid” was ruined by at least one of these things. Not to mention, the greatly coveted drummer that had put out “One”, was getting progressively worse. St. Anger is a testament to that. I often wonder where my time went that I spent listening to that record, because I sure would like it back. All things aside, it was still not the turning point.

The turning point was the documentary they put out called “Some Kind Of Monster” right after the release of St Anger. A documentary spent on showcasing these “Metal Gods” feelings. Fuck Me! James, get back on the bottle you whinny little bitch because it’s apparent you can only make good music under the influence. I guess it’s hard to be big Rock Stars and make millions of dollars putting out music at your leisure. Eat me. If you do need a shrink to figure out that you fired/forced to quit the best thing you have in bassist Jason Newsted because he had some thing as small as Echobrain you need to seriously get a life. The worst thing Metallica ever did was to force Jason into leaving the band. Let’s take our most talented member of the band, not let him write for years and then when he wants to do something as minute as Echobrain on his own, which I might add would never affect Metallica, for him to quit out of jealousy. You just lost your most talented guy, your hype man and your edge. Now you are stuck with Rob Trujillo and Kirk Hammet's shitty backgrounds and no hype at live shows. Good Stuff, Metallica. Rob Trujillo looks like a chimp procreated with a brick layer and also sounds like shit.



It Doesn’t Stop There

What about Kirk Hammet’s shitty guitar playing; next to Dave Mustaine he has the worst tone in the world. I agree with my friend Chris when he says he prefers "tone" over "technique". Slash has more talent sustaining one note in comparison to Kirk ramming in a hundred over a few seconds. I’d be shocked if Kirk could tune his own guitar. Everything cool that Metallica ever wrote was their melodies and riffs. Thanks James. If you don’t believe me, see “Unforgiven” and “Nothing Else Matters”. Kirk also has thee worst hair plugs in the history of hair plugs. Chris is also right when he says you could tell back in the day who was a GNR fan and who was a Metallica fan because Metallica fans were too busy playing D&D while GNR fans were too busy getting laid.

There is a reason some of the most technically skilled guitar players in the world are session players; Kirk should join that list. Kirk would make a great session player: no creativity needed, just play what the artist needs and get paid. I know I am going to get “What guitarists do you like?”, so here are some examples of great guitar work.

In no particular order:

1. SLASH (GNR) - GODFATHER THEME
2. KEITH RICHARDS (ROLLING STONES) - HAPPY
3. BRIAN MAY (QUEEN) - SHEER HEART ATTACK
4. JACK WHITE (WHITE STRIPES) - I JUST DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF
5. JERRY CANTRELL (AIC) - NUTSHELL
6. SCOTTI HILL (SKID ROW) - IN A DARKENED ROOM
7. JOE PERRY (AEROSMITH) - WALK THIS WAY
8. MARK KNOPFLER (DIRE STRAITS) - SULTANS OF SWING
9. JOHN FOGERTY (CCR) - SUSIE Q
10. BRIAN SETZER (STRAY CATS) - C'MON EVERYBODY

I guess Chris is such a good friend because we agree on this subject. One last thing I will mention that he and I agree on in regards to this particular subject is James’ lyrics. I will quote him for this as I could not say it better myself.

“The lyrics... oh my sweet fucking Jeebus the lyrics - Metallica writes songs like Shania "writes" songs... go through and highlight their favourite passages from the Big Book of Clichés and arrange them so they rhyme and put it to music. Of course, the clichés Metallica highlights are from the darker chapters of that book, the ones at the back.”

Here are some examples of James as the incredible wordsmith he is:

“I'm madly in anger with you
I'm madly in anger with you
I'm madly in anger with you
I'm madly in anger with you”

“Frantic tick tick tick tick tock”

Does anyone else think James looks like the lion from “The Wizard of Oz”… odd hey?

S&M: Great idea, terrible product.

Death Magnetic I hardly even remember; there is a reason as it is sooo forgettable. They tried to please their ever shrinking fan base with this one by going back to basics. What they failed to realize was that going back to that was no longer current. As much as fans wanted what worked in 1981, it was bound to fail in 2008. Metallica will never equal the influence of the NWOBHM such as Motorhead and gang but think about it: Motor head never changed and look at how well their last record did. Motor head still has their pride as they never compromised anything in the mean time. They have what I like to call “bonjovi syndrome“. This happens when a band attempts to go back into the vault after having risen to such incredible heights in their career that when they come down off that cloud they can no longer write as they can’t relate to what the masses need. They aren’t hungry anymore. They are no longer relevant and 'tis time to retire with their millions.

When these bands were pounding it out stemmed from passion it was apparent in the music. These bands have lost their passion.
The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame is a joke. Think about it, a board of corporate America dickheads and industry folk that have dissed Cheap Trick and KISS should not be considered a compliment in my eyes. Should these people be allowed to nominate? Metallica can take their Rock N Roll Hall Of fame induction and shove it. The Sex Pistols sure nailed this on the head. Nice fauxhawk by the way James, way to be a metal god.

THE CRÜE

Someone said to me the other day:

“At least they're trying to move forward and not releasing a greatest hits album after every studio album for the last 20 years. What is that now, 4 greatest hits albums and 4 studio albums since Feelgood?”

What I had to say in response was:

“First of all Greatest Hits records are a cash grab... They are... but touring is a cash grab as well. Big deal, musicians need to make money too. Motley put's greatest hits while Metallica whores themselves via MP3 sales of live shows on their website (sounds like a more round about way to always have greatest hits out there, in a sneaky way to me). So putting out a greatest hits here and there hardly seems like an argument... 1997 was the debut of Swine and Reload, since both bands have both put out 2 studio records. So quit playing pretend and realize that Metallica doesn't have this big ball of momentum for a career...”

Next to Buddy Holly, Motley is my favourite band ever.

Motley knows that they are far from the best players and that they are going to change the world. I will be the first to admit that I like the CRÜE because they write great rock n roll songs and I like the image and the attitude. Secondly, Motley always stayed consistent and true to their selves.

Closing

I don’t hate Metallica, I just think they are overrated and not the be all/end all a lot of other people think they are. I may think they make a better cover band than original band. So next time you find it necessary to yell “Metallica is my FAVOURITE band!” just keep in mind it’s not mine.

I thought it would be fitting to end with a video I really like. Here is James appropriately covering Waylon Jennings “Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit Has Done Got Out Of Hand?”



Cheers Rockers,

Fade to Blah…

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Todd Kerns: Spray Bomb You Junkie


I have what I call a holy trinity of Canadian rock n roll. In no particular order they are Robin Black & the Intergalatic Rockstars, Todd Kerns (AOE, SIS and solo) and the Black Halos'.

When you are sick of Nickelback, BTO and such on the radio, dig out your cassettes, vinyl and or cd's and remember that we do I have something to be proud of.

It's Uncle TK's birthday today and I want to wish him a big Happy Birthday. Hopefully he comes though Saskatchewan again soon.

This is a email response I received from him a few years back shortly after the brilliant Static in Stereo disbanded. I was curious where he and his brothers were from as the prairie provinces all claimed them. I felt we Saskatchewan needed something to be proud of. I hoped it was he. SIS was a band which included his brothers John Kerns and Ryan Kerns, and killer drummer Scott McCargar. They were brilliant.

Hey SB! As a matter of fact I have spoken with Robin about doing a tour. Hopefully we'll be able to get our schedules to coincide and make that happen. That would be a blast-Robin Black, The Flairs and TK.

I was actually born in Estevan, Saskatchewan but my family moved to a town in northern Manitoba called Lynn Lake before my first birthday. We moved back to Saskatchewan to a town called Lanigan when I was about 12 or 13. After high school I moved to Regina for a couple of years and then couple of years in Calgary before settling in Vancouver. I have had quite a gypsy lifestyle as you can tell but I call Saskatchewan my Motherland. My parents retired in Saskatoon so I never get to Lanigan anymore.

THE AGE OF ELECTRIC toured western Canada all the time so Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Calgary all lay claim to us. In a way they are all right. After we moved to Vancouver we still considered ourselves from Saskatchewan. I have a tattoo on my left shoulder of the shield from the Saskatchewan flag. I am a proud Saskatchewan boy and always will be.

Thanx for the question SB and I hope to see you again soon on the road! T


Cheers Rockers!

Spray Bomb

Friday, December 4, 2009

Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols – The Killer Demo’s!


Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols are a killer Toronto band ripping up their scene. To me Frankie Whyte sounds like if you melded Noelle Leblanc of Damone and Suzi Quatro’s voices together, just a little snottier. I like it... who am I kidding I love it. She is joined by the Dead Idols consisting of talented Danny C on guitar/vox and Zach O’Rourke on bass. The band as a group have a great pop sensibility, and an ear for great melody that is almost Cheap Trick like mixed with a little late eighties Alice Cooper feel to it. The band reminds me of a thousand bands in little ways but it’s all done with their own contemporary rocking spin. They are no one else other than Frankie Whyte and the Dead Idols.

Frankie the band are very committed to their fans. They regularly post updates from their youtube channel and make themselves accessible via twitter, facebook and myspace. All this and they still find time to record and tour the eastern side of Canada.

With their ep “Hollywood Ending” under their belt the band still keeps momentum going strong. They have continually put up new demos for fans to hear such as “Me Against You!” the brand new one “Bullets (We Won't Work It Out)” and my own personal favourite “Right There”.

“Me Against You!” is fun little rock song packed with some fantastic guitar work that blends perfectly with the vocal melody. “Bullets” is that soundtrack ready kind of song. It has that really contemplative kind of vibe. It’s the kind of song that is very therapeutic, like going for a walk by yourself kind of song. At first I wasn’t sure about the effect used on the toms as it’s kind of echoic almost like it’s coming from a cave or under water or both. That being said, after a couple listens I wouldn’t change a thing. The song really comes into it’s own at about the half way mark. Lastly of the three brand newish demos is my favourite “Right There”. This song is perfect. I want to sing it with Frankie. I am sucker for gang vocals but that’s not all. Every aspect of the song is great from the music to the vox. The entire song is one incredible hook. When ever I listen to this song I smile… it’s failsafe.

I can’t wait for Frankie and the guys to come out west… can’t wait!

So do yourself a favour and check out FWDI at www.myspace.com/frankiewhyteandthedeadidols as soon as possible. They would appreciate to hear from you.

Cheers Rockers,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Put on a Little JJ Voss and Sing Along


photo by Rebekah DeMaya of HEAD Photography

With a roots scene beginning to pick up steam in Regina there are a few artists to keep your eyes out for. The Bystanders, The Dustin Ritter Band and Jason Plumb & the Willing are a few to keep tabs on. Along with these artists there is a prominent solo artist here in Regina that goes by the name of JJ Voss. JJ is a enthusiastic roots rocker meets neo-traditionalist with a heartland feel that with a fan base growing rapidly.

The rural Saskatchewan in JJ comes across in his music that is blended with the influences of his hero's Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings. Now if you have heard or seen JJ perform live you'll quickly take notice JJ cut his teeth on Steve Earle. Steve Earle, JJ's ultimate hero has an influence that definitely comes across in the songwriting and performance each night when JJ performs his heart out. JJ is first to admit his influences, however that being said what you are seeing while your eyes are transfixed on the stage is 100% JJ Voss. It's kind of the same sort of thing that can be equated with New Jersey band the Gaslight Anthem having been influenced by Bruce Springsteen. The Gaslight Anthem has done tours with Bruce, and man what a treat to would be to see a Steve Earle/JJ Voss show. Maybe one day we will see one.

When I first was introduced JJ's music he was playing bar rooms and has now quickly evolved playing large auditoriums, showcases in Nashville such as the "The Billy Block Show" back in March and has performed at Saskatchewan's world famous "Craven Country Jamboree" in 2005 and 2008. Not a bad resume for a man with a record only having been out for a little over a year.

If you don't have a copy of JJ's debut record "Hillbilly Storybook", do yourself a favour and pick up a copy via facebook, myspace, his official website or at Regina's Pump Roadhouse. "Hillbilly Storybook" is blue collar record jam packed with story tunes. The record begins with my personal favourite of JJ's originals "Innocent Man". When he performs this song he often tells the audience "This song may or may not be a true story and may or may not be about myself" which leaves me intently listening to the lyrics while tapping my feet. I have never asked JJ about the song but I encourage you to grab a copy of the record and come to a conclusion yourself. The next track is "Two Gold Teeth" another story tune followed by the laugh out loud number "Joanie the Jehovah Witness Stripper". I don't think I need to tell you much about "Joanie" but I will tell you that the first time I heard this song I was watching JJ at some Canada Day festivities in the Wascana Park a couple years back and when I realized what I was hearing and nearly wet myself.

Halfway though the record we get to a stunning original called "Holy Man" which JJ's objection to killing in the name of God in the name of religion. Approaching the end of the record is a dancey number "Nancy Sinatra" which features acclaimed country artist Duane Steele. Finally headlining the album is one last original "Above It All" which is probably the most traditional song on the record while still keeping in JJ's extremely well done storytelling vain.

I guess to describe "Hillbilly Storybook" would be to well... repeat the the title of this fantastic recording; it's cupboards stocked full of well written songs and talented musicians. I can also tell you that you will not be disappointed in the quality of sound either as JJ and the boys at Touchwood studios here in Regina did an incredible job to go along with excellent musicianship and phenomenal songwriting. All this along with the artwork and design courtesy of Rebekah DeMaya of HEAD Photography who also supplied the photo for this article makes a complete package. I do want to note that Rebekah's work can be seen at HEADfolio.com and I encourage you stop by and pay her a visit. She is another Saskatchewan artist practicing her own medium photography and has excellent work.

Again pick up a copy and enjoy. Next time you see JJ Voss out around town stop him and say hi. If mys suspicions are correct, one day in the not so distant future you may not as easily have the chance as he could really make a go of his passion. He has all the tools to do so. Make sure you check his live show too when you get a chance.

Cheers Rockers!

Be sure the to check out "Tuesday Night Troubadour" hosted by Mr. JJ Voss himself at Bocados Restaurant here in Regina.

Find JJ on Facebook

Have listen at Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/jjvoss1

Visit his official site: http://www.jjvoss.com/

HEAD Photography http://www.HEADfolio.com

J.J. Voss - "Holy Man"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eight Miles Wide courtesy of Storm Large

I don't do a lot of just video spots because well, I for the most part would rather review a show or cd, maybe go on a rant or tell you how much I love something. I find it more satisfying to really look into my topic or subject.

Video's generally I find are one dimensional. That being said there are great video's like every single TOOL video or "The First Day of Spring" by the Gandharva's but generally most artists, even ones I like don't really capture me in the three and a half minutes you have to make a video. The ones listed above are few exceptions and I am sure I am forgetting hundreds more but I have seen ten of thousands videos that are just meh...

Storm Large is best known as a contestant on the CBS reality television show Rock Star: Supernova. While I feel she is in the top four hottest women on planet (along with Amanda Marshall, Joan Jett and Reese Witherspoon). I have never been a big fan of her originals. I have given them a fair chance as I have previewed her Myspace sometime ago and even attended her show at the Distrikt here in Regina a couple years back. To me she was another very pretty face with a powering voice that was not used to it's fullest potential.

Storm has a new cd entitled "Crazy Enough" might get a listening yet. Her single "Eight Miles Wide" is brilliant... yes brilliant. I know I say this about a lot of things I am passionate about but for the record I think I am a better person for seeing this video. I believe she has taken sincerity, a no bull shit attitude along with her quirky sense of humour and made a video that will capture you for four minutes and thirty three seconds.

I don't want to tell you too much about it but this video made me laugh, blush and really think about her topic. Not that it relates much to me but to humanity in general. I want to say that the four guys at the end crack me up, but without taking anymore of your time here is Storm Large "Eight Miles Wide".

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stone Temple Pilots - Regina, Saturday November 14, 2009


Photo by Ryan Prosper

With: Crash Kings
City: Regina, SK
Door Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Evraz Place

When it comes to big rock shows I wait for months in anticipation. So telling you that I get a little excited would be an understatement. The Stone Temple Pilots show at Evraz Place was going to be no different. For the last couple months I had been counting down sleeps, much as I did before for Social D. I was stoked to the point of being nauseous Saturday afternoon. I had heard rumours around town that the boys in the band had quit three quarters of the way through previous sets and no showed gigs and such. The reviews from previous towns were dismal. I really hoped the band would "SHOW UP" to Regina.

I have always been a fan of Stone Temple Pilots. Depending on the day the only band from that era that can take their title for favourite '90's band is Alice in Chains... I said "depending on the day". That being said with AIC's new singer, STP have cemented their place as my favourite 90's band.

In the early days of STP critics referred to the band as "grunge imitators" and "Pearl Jam rip-offs". I will probably get lynched for saying this but for the record I feel STP are miles ahead of of Pearl Jam in respects to their coolness factor and rock ass ability, but hey I have never been a huge Pearl Jam fan to start with.

Again, the months of anticipation leading up the show were trying ones. I didn't think that the day would ever arrive. However, believe it or not they day would arrive. The hours dragged on like weeks. Saturday afternoon was a long one to get through. Finally the countdown would trail off as my buddies Murray, Trevor, Ramone and I would be ready for the show.

So the four of us met at the Freehouse around 5pm and festivities would start. Friends Stacey and Kevin would join us for a bit. Kevin pointed out that with Scott's track record that one day we will be able to look at Scott as our generations Jim Morrison. That's a pretty cool thought when for me the only man that rivals Weiland is Skid Row's Sebastian Bach. Seeing Velvet Revolver on the "Libertad" tour a couple years ago makes this the second time being able to see one such idol.

So some eats and a couple of beers later and the boys and I were off to the Evraz Place (FYI It's still the Agridome to me). By the time we got there, everyone had their pre-show piss or whatever, looked at and opted out of merch, got beer and mingled with friends. We had missed most of the opening band the Crash Kings set. From checking them out on line before and seeing their last couple songs I have a pretty good idea what the band was like. They are reminiscent of Jack's Mannequin meets Black Crowes kind of vibe. Singer plays keys instead of guitar... I always like a guitar in a band but they seemed kind of cool regardless. That being said, I didn't lose any sleep over missing most of their set. I/We were there to see Stone Temple Pilots, that was it.

Some people are calling this a greatest hits tour with a negative connotation in the voice. People say that they should wait and tour with new material. I ask these people are they a fan of the band? What is wrong with a greatest hits tour? Aren't these great hits the reason you love this band in the first place? Personally I am glad I got to hear almost every song I wanted. What would be awesome is to have seen last nights show and then they come back next year with the new record. I want my cake and be able to eat it too! I would have however liked to have heard "Big Bang Baby" and "Coma" but hey I will take the fact that I got to hear my favourites "Down" and "Interstate Love Song" still.

The band opened with "Silvergun Superman" and rocked all the way though their fifteen or so song set. I heard one reviewer refer to Scott as a the bands "Too Cool Singer" and you know what? He almost is too cool. While he didn't say much in the form of on stage banter, I am not sure he ever does. He seemed appreciative of the fans the whole time. He did his job and if you ask me the flamboyant front man while maybe he wasn't as manic as he has been, still did a damn fine job. His vocals were spot on and the band was tight as hell. Scott and the boys wailed though their angst-ridden, hard rock hits and proved they still got it.

Drummer Eric Kretz did his part and held it down as the backbone. Robert DeLeo looking like a mafia boss grooved his way through the songs in his black suit and cool as hell sunglasses, while his brother Dean in my opinion stole the show. I have never taken time to really notice Dean DeLeo. He is possibly one of my new favourite guitar players. His tone was awesome and he stage presence was amazing. The man has kind of a Joe Perry feel which is nothing to thumb your nose at. His guitar work and solos gave me goosebumps. He was thick as hell.

After an hour and half set the band graciously ended with their encore consisting of "Dead & Bloated" and "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart". Other than Scott being a little less manic I got everything I had wanted.

With some less than satisfactory past reviews you can mark Regina down with a kick ass show. I am so glad I got to enjoy it with the boys! It was very cool to witness it with people that have the same appreciation for the band that I do.

If I am correct the set-list is as follows:

Silvergun Superman
Wicked Garden
Vasoline
Big Empty
Lounge Fly
Army Ants
Sour Girl
Creep
Crackerman
Plush
Interstate Love Song
Down
Sex Type Thing
Unglued

Encore
Dead & Bloated
Trippin on a Hole in a Paper Heart

Thank you STP!

Cheers Rockers!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Justin Townes Earle "Midnight at the Movies"


Photo by Joshua Black Wilkins

I know I am about six months behind, but I felt that the most recent Justin Townes Earle record "Midnight At The Movies" needed a write up.

JTE, son of the Hardcore Troubadour himself Steve Earle put out his third release this year. Justin is stunning storyteller, a young man that proves he is more than perfectly capable of carving his own spot into country music and standing on his own two feet.

So many children of famous stars think they have what it takes because their parents like Jesse Snyder son of Dee Snyder and many others. Fortunately there are some children and grandchildren of country music that have got it such as Hank III, Shooter Jennings and today's feature Justin T Earle.

I have to say the record is nothing short of fantastic... I mean it really does reak of awesomeness!

The record opens with the title track "Midnight At The Movies" which has me picturing live show at a theatre or small room vividly captured by the essence of a young crooners voice and songwriting. The kind of capture where you instantly become a fan of the artist.. a surreal moment. Next is "What I Mean to You" which reminds of of the old school country star commanding attention in an old Hank Williams kind of way... suit and all in piano heavy smoke filled room.

Following this we have "They Killed John Henry" which makes me think of what it would have been like to been at a barn dance in in the 1940's. Fire pit, fiddle, banjo and lots of roots. It's a kind of stand up and be a man kind of song. Have no fear and take on what comes your way.

"Mama's Eyes" "I am my father's son, I've never known when to shut up, I ain't fooling no one, I am my father's son, we don't see eye to eye, and I'll be the first to admit I've never tried, it sure hurts me, it should hurt sometime, we don't see eye to eye." I don't know that I need to say more. Parent/child relationships can be trying, but this will surely allow you to reflect on your own family. I know it did for me.

After the heavy "Mama's Eyes" we need some fun and Justin gives it too us with a thirty second burst of fun with some fret ripping goodness in "Dirty Rag".

"Can't Hardly Wait" is a PERFECT cover at the halfway point of the record. I never thought I would hear a mandolin on a Paul Westerberg track. It's awesome and I am sure Paul Westerberg enjoys this take on his song rather than the thousands of shitty kids covering replacements tunes in attempt to do exactly what the replacements did decades ago while still falling miles short.

"Black Eyed Suzy" is a galloping traditional song, "Poor Fool" is the blueprint of Country music done with JTE's authenticity, "Halfway to Jackson" is a train jumping song with movie-esque kind of vibe.

"Someday I'll Be Forgiven for This" is a story of heartache and betrayal while dealing with the feelings that are left when it's over. Contrasting the previous track, "Walk Out" is a fun little ditty that makes me feel like dancing' while getting pulled off stage with a giant cane. "Here We Go Again" is no not a countrified Whitesnake cover. It's a lullaby original that closes the record nicely.

Steve has to be proud of his son doing it his own way as would Townes would be proud as well. He fits with the blues guys, finger picks with the best of the fast hands and croons as good as the people we grew up on all in less than thirty five minutes.

Well worth a listen or many!

Cheers Friends

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tegan & Sara "Sainthood" Review


Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla "The Con" and Howard Redekopp "So Jealous" have been brought back by Canada's charming identical twins for their sixth full length record "Sainthood". "I think the fan favorites in terms of records have been our last two. So we brought in the production teams from both and made a hybrid of sound," Tegan Quin had to say about choosing their producers.

Pretty cool when those are my favorite two records by the duo. With each record the girls evolve, experiment, adapt and create and by doing so they transform chord progressions and melodies into beautiful music for our ears to take in. This is no exception with the newest record "Sainthood". I could not wait to rush out to the record store and pick up a copy last Tuesday.

The songs on Sainthood are straightforward catchy pop songs done with style and a punch. They manage to do this without sounding generic. I think this album best describes the twins. They definitely pull from there roots as you hear things that are reminiscent of the early records as well as some songs that sound similar to what is on the last two. Tegan is hip and Sara is cool. The Canadian girls are definitely something to be proud of. They should be proud of themselves after making such a great record. It was supposed to be the first record they had sat and written together, however apparently none of the thirteen songs came from their songwriting session in New Orleans last year. The two girls really meld while allowing their contrasting styles to be apparent from song to song.

The record starts with a dancing vibe and follows though for the most part right to the end with it.

It's a grown up record by a couple of grown up artists. Like with anything, sometimes fans from the beginning will still crave the likes of first record. I for one think that "So Jealous" and "The Con" are their two best records, while "Sainthood" is quickly approaching. It's like the Quin sisters said, "So you want a fun record, here it is."

Love it!

Cheers Rockers!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Please Stand By... We're The Bystanders


I have made it no secret that The Bystanders are one of my new favourite Regina bands. With bands like shekillsme and The Hot Blood Bombers in the our local music scene the Bystanders have really proved themselves as up-and-comers worth checking out. I have had the honour of witnessing their show on a half a dozen occasions.

I first witnessed this band in June of this year when a girl I was seeing asked me to come see her friends band. Being uneducated about the band and having gone to see a girls friends band in the past left me a little skeptical. Usually this crashes and burns for whatever reason. I think it's cause sometimes people like the friend so much that their music is automatically good though their eyes, sort of a rose colored glasses effect. I reluctantly agreed as I thought the girl was alright. I really don't recall anything else she liked to listen to but this time it wasn't going to be the typical "Come see my friends band". I am really glad I did check out the Bystanders as I was in for a treat.

The band consists of Judd Stachoski on Guitar/Accordion/Harmonica/Keys/Banjo and Vocals, Davin Stachoski on Guitar/Chimes and Vocals, Corey Rheindel on Bass and Nathan Striefel on Drums. Sounds like a lot, well because it is. These gentlemen use every possible instrument at their availability to craft and perform their well written songs.

I told a friend about the band that went to school with Davin how great I thought they were. My friend replied "That doesn't surprise me, Davin is good at everything he does." During that first show I recognized the bass player Corey as a friend of a friend of mine JJ Ramone. I had the pleasure of meeting Corey a few times in the past and knew he was a pretty decent chap. This band has really great friends and fans on top of being such a talented, energetic and so very humble band. The Bystanders are some of the most appreciative people I have every met.

I really don't know how to describe them. They are singer/songwriter, blue grassy, pop-rock... You know what? They are just so damn good it doesn't matter what they are categorized as. I know they remind me a lot of the dynamic that Keelor and Cuddy have in Blue Rodeo. That's not a bad dynamic to have and it's not possessed cookie monster metal so in my book that counts for a lot.

Without further ado, I present to you my interview with the BYSTANDERS!

Cheers Rockers!!

SPUN: When did you form your band The Bystanders? What inspired you to make music together?
JUDD: In late January 2009, Davin heard about an online music contest (the RPM Challenge) to write and record a 10 song album within the 28 days of February. We had just acquired a warehouse jam space and thought the challenge would be a good motivator to finally write music together. Davin and I had played together in bands since we were in high school but never focused on our own material. On the last day of January, through text messages, we decided to name our project band The Bystanders (shortened from my original suggestion of Bystanders of the Rich and Famous) and signed up. When the album was finished at the end of February, we passed out copies to our friends and family which got an immediate response and we decided to give life to The Bystanders and form a band.
DAVIN: Judd and I’ve been playing music together on and off pretty much since we first picked up instruments but hadn’t seriously written and recorded together until February. We got Corey and Nathan in the band a few months later.

SPUN: How are things different for this project than other or past projects?
DAVIN: I have played mainly in cover bands in the past, so writing and performing new tunes and getting a good response from the audience on a bunch of songs they’ve never heard before is awesome.
NATHAN: Everyone is sober. Judd is, mostly. All kidding aside, my most previous project definitely had an unhealthy and unproductive amount of booze involved. It's nice to be able to accomplish something during a practice. Also, I'm fairly heavy rock influenced. I don't know the last time I played with a pair of bamboo sticks before this band. It's a nice change and brings out a different type of playing in the songs.

SPUN: What's it like to be up on stage with your brother rather than friends or old players?
JUDD: It's great, I love his songs and seeing our little project grow and develop is an absolutely joy for me.
DAVIN: Pretty cool – I know that Judd’s probably reluctant to kick me out of the band cause it would make for really awkward family dinners and stuff, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

SPUN: If you had to how would you characterize your music how would you describe it?
NATHAN: Pint on a prairie patio at sundown.
COREY: Real, honest to God human emotion soaked in liquor.
JUDD: Our view on songwriting is that sometimes songs need a different instrument to help express its voice, be it banjo, guitar, accordion or even a little toy bell set. That being said, in the end we get a very eclectic overall sound to our band which makes it a bit difficult to categorize. At the base, our songs are a traditional style of folk paired with pop melodies which has been called alt-country or even folk-rock. It has never been a focus of ours to stick to any genre. Maybe the next album will be Celtic-metal or spoken word-eighties synth pop...

SPUN: How old were you when you wrote your first song, and how has your style of song writing changed?
JUDD: I was about sixteen, listening to the first blink 182 records, trying my best at 3 chord hooks and heart-on-sleeve lyrics but I don't remember coming up with anything worth mentioning until I formed my first band I fronted called 4 Letter Word, with two friends. The first song I wrote with that band was called "Save Face", we were about 18 or 19. The process for me hasn't changed much, think of a line, put it with a chord progression and go from there. Stylistically, I find different things appealing now. There are songs like "Dakota Blues", where I wanted to tell a small story. To help set the scene, I did things like record a dog barking and me kicking over beer bottles on a cement floor. It's all about how you want the song to be experienced by the listener and what will be the closest thing to your vision.
DAVIN: A lot later for me – I was about 25 when I wrote my first song. It used to take me a long time to write songs. My style of songwriting has changed since then and I try to get ideas out quicker and develop them with the band. Sometimes I write songs that I think should probably be left on the page, but they end up working well and get a different feel when we play them as a band and throw in an accordion or banjo part...or even a glockenspiel. Other times the rhythm section gives a song the punch it was lacking, and takes it in a different direction.

SPUN: Do you have a "Go To" place for writing songs? Do you have a Special Place? ;) ha ha
JUDD: My house is littered with a variety of instruments, so when an ideas strikes me, I'll pick up whatever is closest. I'll usually start with an acoustic guitar on the living room couch, then move to the basement where I can really explore where it could go.
DAVIN: I’ll usually have an acoustic guitar kicking around at home so when I get a good idea I go downstairs and lay down a scratch track on my 4-track.
NATHAN: I keep an OK beat. Most come to me in the shower.

SPUN: Do you have a favourite song to play live?
JUDD: Sometimes it's about what song the crowd is reacting to. When everyone there is connecting with us, there's nothing better.
DAVIN: Innocence is Pretty. That song’s a blast to play live.
NATHAN: Ontario
COREY: Dakota Blues.


SPUN: You play multiple instruments, which are you the most comfortable with? Are there any that get the better of you ever?
JUDD: I'm most comfortable playing guitar, it's what I've played longest and it's usually how a song begins for me. however, having Davin in the band, who is a solid guitar player, I get to piss around with a bunch of other stuff. I'm still very green with my banjo and accordion but I like to think I'm improving, ha ha.

SPUN: What did you listen to when you were a kid, and who influenced you?
JUDD: My folks listened to a lot of Springsteen, Bob Seger and Neil Diamond, then as a teenager, I loved Metallica. I never had aspirations of being Kirk Hammett though, I could never play that fast. I always enjoyed the lyric and melody part of music and soon discovered bands like The Weakerthans. Nowadays, I listen to a lot of Tom Waits and NQ Arbuckle.
DAVIN: Used to listen to a lot of the Doors. Influences include the Weakerthans, The National, and Bright Eyes.
NATHAN: Buddy Rich, Dennis Chambers, Steve Gadd, Benny Greb, Danny Carrey.

SPUN: What was the first record you ever bought and do you still own it?
NATHAN: Bon Jovi - Slippery When Wet & Green Day - Dookie, Excellent albums and I still have them both.
DAVIN: Man, if I could remember it, I probably still wouldn’t mention it because I’m sure it’s totally embarrassing. The first CD I bought was RHCP Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and no - I don’t own it anymore. The lucky bastard who inherited my entire music collection in ’98 when I accidentally left it on the roof of my car and drove off....he might still have it.

SPUN: You guys get a booming response from your audience, why do you think that is?
JUDD: We have so much fun playing our music that I think it get contagious, people want to get involved.
NATHAN: Judd's sexy accordion play.
COREY: I would hope it's because they're enjoying the night and the music as much as we do.

SPUN: What to you is the most rewarding part of being a musician?
JUDD: there's the creative satisfaction that comes from writing music and playing with close friends in the comfort of your basement, which can be very rewarding. for me, the performance part is what constantly draws me back to music. when the show is done and the crowd is as spent as me, I feel that I've done my job.
NATHAN: Killing it on a good night and audience participation.
COREY: Having a creative outlet after sitting all day in a dreary, lifeless day-job. It's like "music therapy", hopefully our listeners feel the same way when they hear it.
DAVIN: Seeing song ideas develop into a complete song, and ultimately make it to the stage for a bar full of people is pretty rewarding.

SPUN: How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
www.myspace.com/thebystanderscanada
www.facebook.com/thebystanders
Please join to leave messages, thoughts, photos, etc. Please!

JUDD: The only recording we have right now is the 10 song demo from February '09, and we decided not to package and sell it, we want something bigger and better to give to fans. We do want people to be able to listen to us outside of the live venue so we have a few online sources for our music. There is a scattered selection of songs to choose from so have fun checking out our music.


SPUN: What's coming up for you and they boys?
JUDD: Having a lot of gigs behind us since the band formed in February, we look forward to getting a professional recording done, packaged and ready to get to our fans and help us promote The Bystanders. Other than that, we have lot of new songs that are being introduced to our live set and are being honed for the next record.
NATHAN: Gigs, gigs, gigs. I hope.
DAVIN: We are playing next Thursday (Nov 5) at McNally’s, along with the Dustin Ritter Band. Beyond that, I think we’re hoping to get some of our new tunes recorded over the winter.
COREY: Stay tuned for a Broadway musical based on "Employee of the Month" starring Matt Damon as the lowly pizza cook who misses the party of the year because he has to close that Friday.

SPUN: Lastly just give me two words to end this interview
JUDD: Dog Fart
COREY: Prairie Fresh!
DAVIN: Send Money
NATHAN: Interview Over.

The Corporate Record Stores (We Can't Really Help You)


Is it any wonder why we are seeing less and less records (cd and vinyl etc.) in record stores? It seems to me that these places are littered with Hot Topic kinds of items that let fourteen year old girls be punk rock such as Coheed and Cambria patches and Linkin Park flags, not to mention the musically UNrelated items such as "Zack & Miri Make a Porno".

The reason I am a little agitated is that today I went into a place in the Northgate Mall here in Regina, I won't mention which store but it was not HMV, however it was a corporate record store with yellow and black logo.

I was looking for the Justin Townes Earle record "Midnight at the Movies" but couldn't find it in the country section and thought maybe it would be in the Folk section as the young crooner is actually more traditional than his legendary father, however I had no such luck. Having given up I wandered over the pop/rock section and was just browsing. I got to the the E section and lo and behold the new JTE record was indeed there. "Whatever" I thought to myself. It was a probably just mistake I thought.

So I take it up to the counter and the young gentlemen behind the counter asks me if I found everything alright. I advised the associate that actually this cd should be in the country section or even folk but it was terribly mislabeled. The associate was obviously unfamiliar with the title and showed what appeared to be his working paycheck to paycheck manager. I once again advised him where the title should be as I was trying to offer some advise. The response I got was a mumble under breath was that a lot is mislabeled.

Where the problem lies is that if I come into your store and can't find what I am looking for, how in the blue hell am I supposed to purchase it. Maybe try and run your store properly. Maybe this bothers me because I know how much the artist actually gets for this purchase to start with. If the artist gets two dollars of this nineteen dollar purchase I would be very surprised. I much rather would by a record from the artist at a show however a lot of artists never come near Regina Saskatchewan Canada. You could order from itunes but then you don't get the artwork that is for me half the reason I still enjoy buying records. It's having the ARTWORK in my hands. I am sure fans of vinyl can attest to this. This is why we are still forced to go to the "I don't give a shit about the starving artists" stores. Unless you listen to a lot of top forty radio you are unlikely to find it anyway most of the time.

Record stores are such a love-hate experience for me. I love looking through and can for hours but rarely find what am looking for. Also I often thought it would be a cool part time job to work at Empire Records, however I would end up working for the corporate top forty radio world I described above which I would hate for reasons I have explained.

What a piss off.

Rant over.

Cheers Rockers!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Deep Dark Woods & Good Time Charlies


The Plains Hotel/Good Time Charlies pub was a write in nomination a short time ago for the CBC Radio2 Music Quest contest to have a great Canadian songwriter immortalize the Plains hotel before it is tragically closed.


Saskatoon was close in votes but the people whom love the Plains prevailed. They also beat out:

Regina
Batoche
Love

"The Deep Dark Woods are writing a song about Good Time Charlies! The name almost says it all for the Deep Dark Woods: their timeless, beautifully eerie, desolate acoustic sound draws much inspiration from the sights and sounds of the prairie winter." - cbc.ca/radio2

[url=http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/songquest/]CBC Radio 2 - Great Canadian SongQuest[/url]

"The Deep Dark Woods - Hang me, Oh Hang Me"
**This is not the song but will give you an idea of The Deep Dark Woods and who they are.**



http://www.myspace.com/deepdarkwoods

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Scatterheart Loves You!


Back in July of this year Camrose Canadian writer Kelly Barrett had this to say about Vancouver based band Scatterheart, "The flavour is reminiscent of the '70's and '80's. Think Platinum Blonde meets Freddie Mercury with a little Bowie tossed in for good measure." Good start!!

It was a few months back when I reluctantly opted out of going to see a Bif Naked show. Bif is very talented and thought I may regret that decision. Well... I definitely did. However it wasn't because Bif put on a great show, sounded great and was hot as per usual. She was all of those things, however it was because I missed an opportunity to see a fantastic opening band. Scatterheart was the band everyone had to tell me about. People insisted on telling me how they were right up my alley and how I would have loved them. It didn't stop there. They told my how the music was great and the show was "like probably one of the best ever!" My roommate Jessie played me they're album and Ep and I thought it was fantastic. Initially my favorite song was "New Foundation". That being said there was a plethora of songs that were rivaling it. Be damned if I was going to miss them the next time.

The following July the Jesse Enright (vox), Wes DeBoer (bass), Mike Southworth (Drums) and previously of Bif Naked himself Doug Fury (Geetar) came back to the Exchange to cover their fans in their brand of loverockrevolution by that I mean bubbles. Who doesn't like bubbles? If you weren't dripping in loverockrevolution by the end, there is something wrong with you. Scatterheart is a positive, high energy, rock n roll show that DEMANDS you be entertained. I think it was a success and if you had seen the smiles on everyone's faces I think you would agree. Not many band's can play Rush's "Closer to the Heart" or U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" and make me enjoy it, and I did very much so. I almost enjoyed it as much as their originals. After an hour or so long set, a new t-shirt and many sneer pictures later the night had come to an end. I knew it wasn't going to be long or at least hoped before I would see the boys of Scatterheart again.

I could go on and on about how good they were at their instruments... and they were but it actually doesn't matter. This band is a show and they take the boat loads of talent and use it as a catalyst to form great music their charm and charisma leaving you wanting more. Whether or not it's Jesse's dance moves, Doug or Wes' rock faces or Mike's laughter at what is going around him, there will always be something that catches your eyes and ears at a Scatterheart show.

Sunday's show was no different. I got to hear soon to be hits "The Free" and "Shut Up" along with current hit "Beautiful". I saw some fantastic people in a "Dance-Off" and I got to sing along with one of my new favorite Canadian bands while they did a superb rendition of Queen's "Somebody to Love". This all while nursing a cold beer with some of my closest friends. It's been a long time since I have seen a show to this magnitude. Probably not since the days of Robin Black and the IRS. If you get a chance to see them, go! You won't be disappointed. They will graciously entertain your ass off. When they tell you Scatterheart loves you, they do. Love them back!

Cheers Rockers!!

http://www.myspace.com/scatterheartband

Scatterheart - The Free


Scatterheart TV: Oct Tour Vlog #4 Regina

Monday, October 5, 2009

THE PLAINS HOTEL - THE GREAT CANADIAN SONG QUEST


PLEASE READ PARTICIPATE:
The Plains Hotel in Regina Saskatchewan has been nominated in the CBC Radio 2 Music Quest contest.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio2/songquest/

1.) Goto the above link.

2.) From there click on get started or whatever.

3.) Pick Saskatchewan

4.) It will list a bunch of cities in town in Saskatchewan

5.) In the top right hand corner there is a box that says Nominate your Own Unique Location.

6.) In that Box type The Plains Hotel - Regina
You can vote once per day every day until Oct. 9.
It would be awesome if we could have a Canadian Songwriter write a song about the Plains.

http://plainshotelandgoodtimecharlies.blogspot.com/

Monday, September 28, 2009

Keeping Up With The Jackson Whites: The WiLDHEARTS - Chutzpah! (cd review)


Chutzpah! is the eighth studio record by the Newcastle, England's fricking WiLDHEARTS! As far as I am concerned, Ginger and his fellow 'Hearts can do no wrong. Long time fans will not be not be disappointed. There are some great shake your money maker pop songs, some sing-a-long songs and it wouldn't be a Wildhearts record without some knock down drag out fight kind of songs.

I am embarrassed to admit but I only got into the 'Hearts about two years ago when a friend got me into a pile of music. THIS band is the one I have delved into the most on a frequent and regular basis (and there was a lot of other great stuff this friend got me into). I heard "Cold Patango Tootie" and "Caprice" and I was sold; soon after I discovered "29X the Pain" and "Sick Of Drugs" and was hooked. The Wildhearts are a band that you can listen to their first track "Greetings from Shitsville" from their debut "Earth vs the Wildhearts" right up to "Carmelita" an uptempo punkish cover of Warren Zevon mellow 70's lament.

Anyway, so it was clear that I greatly anticipated Chutzpah! A little weary as I have been burnt before by a band that seems either disbands just before I get into them or put out shit once I do get into them. Not the case here my friends. On the release date September 1, 2009 in the 36 and a 1/2 minutes of play (which is in that perfect 30-40 minute time span of how long a record should last) they hammer it out huge. It's a thick well done record which 'Hearts fans are used to. Ginger, C.J, Scott and Ritch give you a versatile punk/pop/power-pop/hard rock record that is well written and melodic just as the ones previously yet fresh and still having it's own identity.

"The Jackson Whites" starts the record and if you don't want to get up and dance Ginger and the boys will rock your ass out of the love seat and into Wildheart's utopia. The band keeps it rolling with the swinging industrial sounds much similar to Rob Zombie on "Plastic Jebus". The thoughtful "The Only One" is a humming down the highway kind of rock song and just it mellows out a bit. "John of Violence" pounds out the verses with gorgeous choruses. All this and the record is only half way though. "You Are Proof That Not All Women Are Insane" (probably my first favourite so far) is just a fun fast paced song with great "a woah ooo woah o's". "Tim Smith" is your traditional metal which will definitely please all the metal heads in the verses even while it goes and gets itself some poppy parts that make it a perfect example of how when arranged properly genre's can cross kick some serious ass. Again "Low Energy Vortex" starts out on the softer side and quickly dumps the clutch and rips up the rock n roll highway. "You Took the Sunshine from New York" is a toe-tapping ditty that at first I wasn't sure about but after a few listens it's vivid lyrics keep going back to it."Mazel Tov Cocktail" is what I call a summer song. A song that you can picture dancing on a beach as the sun goes down while you knock back a couple cold ones with a girlfriend or a few of your best friends. Just a great song that shows fans the band has done it yet again. last but not least the self title track "Chutzpah" rolls the whole record into one and finishes up the record nicely.

If you are a new WH fan or a long time WH fan, pick up "Chutzpah!" tomorrow.

http://www.myspace.com/thewildhearts

Cheers Rockers!

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Future Is Coming and It's Not Too Late To Change It - The Nightmares (Self-titled Ep Review)

From the opening lines of "Stand Up & Fight" the yowl and screech of Nick Hall's lead vocals are proof that this band is one of a handful of bands in this country that are far from laying down in this watered down state we call the Canadian music scene. Fortunately this band has no problem grabbing the industry by the balls and showing a country it can still rock.

The Nightmares are a power punk revival band heavily saturated in pop that won't disappoint. For only forming early this year they have a one hell of a solid six song Ep. I was shocked to find out that they already have twenty five more songs ready to go that the band wrote and recorded while recording their self titled Ep in the studio. Working with the likes of Matt Pomade (THE CREEPSHOW) and Peter Arvidsson (DUMPER, ROBIN BLACK) may help you paint picture of where this band is heading. That being said they definitely bring their own intense fiery style to the table

As with all the songs on this high energy catchy rock cd, "You're Too Late" will have you singing along with this fun little number. It will have you leaping from your chair and chanting with along the distant background gang vocals. It's incredibly melodic. "Bella Gloom" has Dave Fulton hammering out a solo on his guitar that reminds you what a solo should sound like. My personal favorite "We're Alright" wastes no time ripping the riffs up right from the start backed by a crushing drum and while Static State makes you want to dance to the sing-a-long anthemetic number, Dan's pounding bass line in "All My Friends Are Nameless" will get your blood pumping nothing short of using defibrillator paddles.

The band states that they are "dedicated to bringing real rock and roll back to our fair city (Toronto)". One can only hope that the rest of country will soon be in the cross-hair's of The Nightmares.

According to the bands bio they should have a video coming in October of this year for their debut single "Static State". I for one am looking forward to it. In November of this year The Nightmares are performing with punk legends The Misfits in Toronto. One can only think that with shows like this it shouldn't take too long for the band to get the ball rolling. They have already accomplished some major milestones in their so far short career.

Check em out!

http://www.myspace.com/thenightmaresmusic

Cheers Rockers!

Monday, September 14, 2009

RIP Jim Carroll - The Basketball Diaries Final Chapter


Jim Carroll was known for being an author, poet, musician and autobiographer (The Basketball Diaries). Jim passed away Friday September 11. 59 years too young to pass. He was working at his desk at the time.

Rest in peace and love.
James Dennis Carroll
August 1, 1950 - September 11, 2009 (aged 59)

Please check out my new friend Adam's band The Lustkillers cover of "People Who Died" at www.myspace.com/lustkillers

Jim Carroll - People Who Died