Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kalle Mattson - Anchors

Anchors is the second long-player from Ontario's up-and-coming Kalle Mattson, following 2009's Whisper Bee. The brainchild of singer/songwriter Kalle Wainio, Kalle and his band have constructed a fantastic batch of tunes with some diverse influences. I hate to make comparisons to other bands, but sometimes that's the easiest way to begin discussing a new artist. To me, Anchors sounds like a mix between The Weakerthans, Stars and Pavement with some folk and garage rock thrown in for good measure. But forget about trying to peg this band. They're just damn good. Each of the ten tracks are standouts, but my personal favourites are the rollicking "Thick As Thieves" and "Good Morning, Good Night." Featuring mixing by famed producer Howie Beck (Feist, Jason Collett, Jason Rouse), this album is a must for folkies, hipsters and rockers alike. Do yourself a favour and check it out!

You can stream the album here:

As well, you check out the cool video for "Thick As Thieves" below:


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Johnny Hatch - Happiness Instead

Regina's own Johnny Hatch is definitely a "glass half full" kind of guy. His new album Happiness Instead just oozes with positive energy. If you're not smiling by the time this album is over, you might as well just jump in front of a bus right now. There is no hope for you. Hatch's latest batch of tunes are full of uplifting, melodic folk, rock, pop and dance tunes that will stick in your head for days. As an original member of a little known band that would become The Waltons, Hatch's music is firmly entrenched in what many people (myself included... yes, I am getting old) would call the "golden age" of Can-Rock. If you love early 90's Canadian bands like The Lowest of the Low, Rheostatics, Barenaked Ladies, Odds, Grapes of Wrath (and yes... The Waltons), then you will really dig this album.

Hatch writes pop songs in the classic sense of the term. The emphasis is on melody, with a template based on mid-tempo folk/rock/pop tunes. However, he gives each song the appropriate treatment it deserves. The end result is a diverse, yet cohesive, album that flows naturally from one song to the next. Album opener "Echo" is a fantastic folk-rocker which blends nicely next to the dance-rock of "In L.A." I can't wait wait to see Hatch and his band play "In L.A." live. I guarantee that people will be shaking their butts to this killer tune. Other highlights include "Lucky Seven Yeah!" (which almost matches the number of "yeah's" found in Nirvana's "In Lithium" and R.E.M.'s "Man on the Moon"), the ska-induced "Precious Time" and the garage rocker "Find The Door." At only 9 songs, Hatch makes a bold, compact statement and leaves the listener wanting more... which is a good thing.

This album is definitely worth your time and hard earned moolah. Make sure to check him and his band out when they tour in the next few months! You can check out his music here.