Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Off the Dial

Music News, Reviews, Photos _ Podcasts

Weekly Impressions #10.52, the Year End Edition

Posted by cristóvão On December - 31 - 2010

Written by: Chris Andrade

To say that the past year in music was rather lacklustre isn’t harsh. Yet, when I consider the best in music, those moments seem to make up for the rest of 2010′s short comings. In fact, when considering the best album of the year, those that were good were so much so that I found it difficult to pick a favourite.

Before I talk about the year’s albums though, I have to first comment on what I thought was the concert of the year. Sadly for me, I didn’t get the opportunity to see many shows but two stood out for me. I was surprised when I really went to see Rob Zombie, and ended up leaving totally impressed with Alice Cooper. He’s a legend, a showman and made the price of admission well worth it. But this year nothing could out-do Muse, no matter how many concerts I could have seen. They are musical geniuses and since the last time I saw them live, they certainly proved they can not only perform flawlessly, they know how to put on a show of epic proportions too.

I always like to give some love to the local indie bands. Although I wrote about these three recently, Nushi, the Summerlad and the Fast Romantics certainly provided us with some of the best Calgary had to offer this year. Interestingly enough, two of my three favourite albums also hail from Canada.

First, Arcade Fire‘s the Suburbs was superb. From tracks like “Rococo” and “Sprawl II” to the innovative, interactive music video for “We Used to Wait” at thewildernessdowntown.com, this was an album from the Montreal ensemble that I was happy to embrace. Apparently, so were many others.

If you know me, you know I’m a fan of hard rock and the Deftones delivered an album that was so good, I just about tipped my hat to them for album of the year. Diamond Eyes is fantastic, contains just one track I could do away with and totally blows me away with songs like “CMND/CTRL”, “You’ve Seen the Butcher“, “Rocket Skates” and “976-eViL”. It’s an impressive effort considering this was put together after shelving Eros due to bassist Chi Cheng‘s awful accident that resulted in a lengthy coma and what will prove to be years of recovery.

In the end though, I have to give the proverbial nod to Halifax’s Wintersleep for their fourth album, New Inheritors. This record made me excited about the band again. When I listen to tracks like “Experience the Jewel”, “Encyclopedia” and “Baltic” I can’t deny how incredible these guys are. Plus, “Black Camera” is one of my favourite songs of the year and will likely see repeats on my iPod for quite some time.

So that was my year. Feel free to share with us what moved you most in 2010 and from all of us at Off the Dial, have a happy and prosperous 2011!

Popularity: unranked [?]

Video of the Day: Fast Romantics ~ “the Grinch”

Posted by cristóvão On December - 17 - 2010

Just in time for the holidays, the temporarily-relocated-to-Toronto-yet-Calgary-bred Fast Romantics recorded a Christmas song just the other nice, slapped together this “quick, cheap-ass video” and shared it with us here at Off the Dial. Check it out;

There are just so many faces to name but I especially love how well timed some of the snapshots are in relation to the sometimes modified lyrics.

If you like the tune, you can go to the Fast Romantics website and download it for free. Enjoy!

Popularity: unranked [?]

EP Review: the Fast Romantics ~ Kidcutter

Posted by tzimmerman On August - 22 - 2010

Written by: Thomas Zimmerman

The opening song of The Fast Romantics new EP starts out with a piano track that reminds me of a 50′s sock-hop.  It seems as if somebody got the “arpeggio” key stuck on the piano backing setup because it is almost always evident in this song. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally enjoy listening to music from that era, and this band captures that feeling while combining it with a modern feel evident in the heavily effected electric guitar prominent throughout.

The second track “Denim Tuxedo” changes it up a little bit and adds some off-beat rhythms and introduces some minor chording that wasn’t utilized too often in the way back then, but it’s a great mix of old and new!  Hard-edged, a little on the dark side Beach Boys…that’s what always seems to come to mind while I’m listening to these guys.  I won’t admit this to just anyone, but when I was a kid I’d sneak out of my bed at night just to listen to another side of a Beach Boys LP (if you must know the album was Summer Fun, perhaps their best work, and it was their original vinyl).  So, from me that’s a compliment.

I like Kidcutter, although I don’t know if I could listen to it all the time.  Maybe just late at night when I want to sneak out of my bed and listen to it on the headphones really loud.  I can imagine going to one of their concerts and dancing all night with some of my favourite girlfriends.  It’s a fun album, something that seems to be missing from the music scene in recent years.  Major chords, upbeat tempos, and while I didn’t catch all the lyrics it seems like a relatively positive outlook of what’s going on in this crazy world of ours.

All in all, I would definitely recommend getting Kidcutter if for nothing else to have something upbeat to listen to while you drive through downtown.  The mental imagery is this; driving through some busy downtown restaurant section, and while hardly anybody does it any more, have the windows rolled down and crank it up a little bit, just to spread the happiness this album seems to portray.  Now, where is that darn LP?

Popularity: unranked [?]

the Fast Romantics’ Big Calgary Send-Off

Posted by cristóvão On April - 30 - 2010

Calgary’s the Fast Romantics are leaving town. It’s not something you did or said, it’s just that they need to get a bit closer to the action.

Hey, we all know that there is plenty of action right here at home but the boys are embarking on two-year road show and in order for them to be closer to the majority of the major cities they’ll be spreading their love, they’ve decided to take up residency in Toronto and call it their home-base for a little while.

Don’t fret though, as vocals/pianist Matthew Angus told Off the Dial, “Bummer, cause we’re gonna miss Calgary like mad.” So I’m sure they’ll find their way home sometime, maybe even during the two-year road show.

More importantly, they won’t be sneaking outta town. This Saturday (May 1st) the Fast Romantics will be getting together with fellow Calgarians the Shagbots and Vancouver’s Co-Pilots over a the Marquee Room for a big au revoir gig and it will surely be one not to miss.

Hopefully we’ll hear some of that new material they’ve been working on so make sure to check it out! Show is scheduled to start at 8:30 pm and tickets are $10 at the door.

fastromantics

Popularity: unranked [?]

2009 Album of the Year

Posted by cristóvão On December - 31 - 2009

Written by: Chris Andrade

That time of year has come again where we recap the year’s new releases and tell you who we thought put out the best material of 2009. This year we’re doing things a little different. Before we get to the top 9 albums of 2009, we’re presenting to you an honour roll list of albums we thought were good and/or influential this year.

As always, we welcome your comments, espeically which albums you thought were the best of 2009. So feel free to scroll down and leave us your musical impressions of the last year of the Aughts.

2009 Honour Roll;

…And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead ~ the Century of Self; Breaking their bonds from Interscope and going it alone has produced an honest and artistically relevant effort from the boys of Austin, TX.
Against Me! ~ the Original Cowboy; A re-release of sorts (labeled as a demo in some circles), but delivered the way the group originally recorded it. Looking back, they now wish they didn’t bother re-record the songs for the eventual 2003 release Against Me! as the Eternal Cowboy and I tend to agree.
Alice in Chains ~ Black Gives Way to Blue; Returning with a new singer replacing the late Layne Staley was considered a risky move to many die-hard fans but this album is fantastic and William DuVall does an impressive job.
Arctic Monkeys ~ Humbug; Produced by Josh Homme, this is actually quite good and naturally, features a sometimes blatant stamp of their QOTSA producer.
Blakroc ~ S/T; Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney of the Black Keys teamed up with a number of hip-hop artists including Ludacris, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Mos Def, RZA, Pharoahe Monch, Raekwon, Q-Tip and a few others to put forth an excellent combo that many salivated over.
Cage the Elephant ~ S/T; Upbeat, raw, energetic, fun and arriving in North America far too late.
CKY ~ Carver City; Sticking with their tried and tested formula, the West Chester, PA quartet return after a long absence and continue to grow their fan-base.
the Decemberists ~ the Hazards of Love; A fantastic concept album containing one of (if not) my favourite songs of 2009, “the Rake’s Song”. The recurring melodies and arrangements made it a tad repetitive but it’s great none-the-less.
Dinosaur Jr. ~ Farm; An excellent album containing yet another of my absolute favourite songs of 2009, “Said the People”.
the Fast Romantics ~ S/T; Winners of the 2008 Xposure prize from X92.9, these dapper fellas are making a name for themselves here at home in Calgary and abroad.
Franz Ferdinand ~ Tonight: Franz Ferdinand; Always serving up a good time, this album gets honours simply for the infectious “Ulysses”.
Matt Good ~ Vancouver; As cynical, soulfull and talented as ever, Good put out this album which is a homage of sorts to his hometown, as flawed (according to him) as it is.
Great Northern ~ Remind Me Where the Light Is; With former 30 Seconds to Mars guitarist Solon Bixler and the primary female vocals of Rachel Stolte, their sophomore album is really good. Hopefully we hear more of them soon.
Great Lake Swimmers ~ Lost Channels; Beautifully crafted indie-folk songs that soothe and move you simultaneously.
Hot Little Rocket ~ S/T; Calgary’s indie-rock darlings bid adieu to their fans with this fitting final album with a couple of exciting release/farewell shows.
Lucid 44 ~ Body Harm Sounds; Short enough to be an EP but full enough to be a full length, the former GutterAwl singer delivered another shining example that Calgary’s indie-music scene is loaded with talent.
Madcowboys ~ S/T; One of the most underrated bands in Calgary, their raw punk sound is accompanied by some of the most intelligent lyrics in a language most can understand…you just have to pay attention.
Matisyahu ~ Light; fusing his Hasidic Jewish roots with reggae, rock and hip-hop is not something you’d easily imagine could be pulled off but he does so in the most interesting of ways.
Metric ~ Fantasies; You can always count on the Canadian/American collaborators to put together a record that makes you want to move. And in answer to the question in “Gimme Sympathy”, I’d rather be the Beatles.
Modest Mouse ~ No One’s First and You’re Next; In the eyes of their most hardcore fans, they can do no wrong and with an EP like this, I can see why. Features “the Whale Song” whose video was conceived by the late Heath Ledger.
Monotonix ~ Where Were You When It Happened?; I was at their Concert of the Year show at the Distillery, and the way I look and expect a live gig should be has been changed completely forever. Missed the show? They’re coming back to Calgary in January 2010 and this album will give you but a taste of their madness.
Mos Def ~ the Ecstatic; You can scoff all you want but if all hip-hop/rap were like this, we’d all be better off for it. Plus his involvement in the critically acclaimed Black Roc has upped his already impressive cool factor.
Muse ~ the Resistance; Continuously evolving their sound in subtle yet significant ways, this album carries quite a few similarities to Queen among other acts of days gone by. An excellent collection of songs and it’ll prove to be even better live when they come to North America in the new year.
NOFX ~ Coaster; I love NOFX, and the fact that the vinyl version of this album is appropriately titled Frisbee is indicative of their humour but these tracks aren’t without political and social commentary.
Pearl Jam ~ Backspacer; Even Pearl Jam’s crap is excellent. Not enough to put it in the top 9, but “the Fixer” is actually deserving of being the lead single amongst some other great tunes.
Phoenix ~ Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix; Before the Daft Punk duo came to be, they played with these guys in a previous act. Why it took so long for these guys to make their mark is beyond me but we’re certainly glad they’ve broken out in 2009.
Spinnerette ~ S/T; Homme’s baby’s mama, Brody Dalle returns after the demise of her punk outfit the Distillers to offer a more alt-rock album than punk. Joined by former Distillers band-mate Tony Bevilacqua, Jack Irons of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Alain Johannes of QOTSA, this is a solid release.
Street Sweeper Social Club ~ S/T; Rage Against the Machine/Audioslave guitar master Tom Morello teams up with Boots Riley (of the Coup) for an album that is fantastic, fun and catchy as fuck.
White Lies ~ To Lose My Life; Sounding like New Order/Joy Division can pay off well when you throw in your own unique feel. Plus the ladies seem to love it quite well.

2009 EP of the Year;

Secrets in Scale ~ Secrets in Scale EP; If this EP (which was released for free, BTW) included enough tracks to be considered a full length release, I would have easily named it the album of the year. That’s how amazingly good it is. From the great work-up “Introducing Emergency” (which is only a 60 second long instrumental precursor to the equally good “This Love”) to the infectious “Inside the Den”, to the epic closer “Wild in a Free World”, these guys are phenomenal and are worth keeping an eye on. Get your free copy of the EP on their MySpace page NOW!

    Top 9 of 2009;

    Propagandhi ~ Supporting Caste; The Canadian socially and politically conscience group from Manitoba return to bemoan the world, our society, killing animals and even patriotism at hockey games. It’s an excellent album, featuring music that’s just as much punk as it is hard rock and it’s so very, very good.
    Secret Broadcast ~ Exploding Spiders; One of two Calgary acts to make our top 9 this year, this album is fun and catchy and only begs the question; why aren’t these guys more popular? Do yourself a favour and get your hands on this record. You will NOT regret it.
    the Shagbots ~ We Were Born Tigers; The second Calgary act to make the top 9, the Shagbots sneaked in under the radar and delivered a raw, overwhelmingly fun record that gives Franz Ferdinand a run for the money in the dance-rock arena. I dare you to sit still through tracks like “Get Up Girl” and the inclusion of Christian Bale‘s infamous rant in “Lost Time” is one of my favourite songs of the year.
    Portugal. The Man ~ the Satanic Satanist; The Alaskan trio has grown into a burgeoning group of extremely talented musicians and their fourth album is utterly great. Increasing it’s value is the bonus disc/accompanying release the Majestic Majesty, an album of almost all Satanic Satanist tracks performed acoustically. Brilliant.
    White Rabbits ~ It’s Frightening; An excellent sophomore effort from this Brooklyn, NY group, they’ve enjoyed increased exposure with performances on the Late Show with David Letterman and features the unbelievably good lead track, “Percussion Gun” (which should be added to the list of Best Songs of 2009).
    Them Crooked Vultures ~ S/T; What do you get when you combine Josh Homme‘s singing, lyrical stylings, guitars with the fierce drumming of Dave Grohl and the classic, tried and true bass guitar mastery of John Paul Jones? An album that couldn’t have been more hyped! Although it failed to impress me on the first listen, it already proved it’s extreme worth upon the second spin and this record is sheer genius. We all want more!
    Silversun Pickups ~ Swoon; When the girlfriend insisted I give Silversun Pickups a serious listen after 2006′s Carnavas came out, I didn’t act fast enough. Three years later and this album has me hooked beyond belief and I should’ve listened sooner. Beyond “Panic Switch” and “Substitution”, there is an album that you have to listen from start to finish. It’s just that good.
    Gallows ~ Grey Britain; The moment I further damaged my hearing with their debut album, I knew I was going to be a fan for life. This follow-up album smashes you in the face with unbelievably heavy punk and metal tracks that, if you listen closely, paints an ugly but truthful picture of the world at large, and Frank Carter‘s tortured self. Right down to the exhausted, self destructive heaving breaths on final track “Crucifucks”, this is what punk, metal, alternative and frankly, any rock album should embody.

    Manchester Orchestra ~ Mean Everything to Nothing; With the list of eight albums above, I struggled to settle on this as the album of the year. Not because it isn’t worthy, but because Manchester Orchestra had some serious contenders to fend off, but there is no denying how good this album is. It moves you, shakes you, while you ponder the stories being told, reduces you to your bare self as you take self evaluation and makes you wonder where music like this has been hiding. Sometimes you have to be thankful for over-played catchy singles like “I’ve Got Friends” because it sucks you into ensuring you pay attention to what else is going on with the band and in this case, it’s well worth every radio play. With an album like this and the eight above, 2010 has a tall order on it’s desk and I certainly hope it delivers.

    Popularity: unranked [?]

    2009 Concert of the Year

    Posted by cristóvão On December - 31 - 2009

    Written by: Chris Andrade

    2009 proved to be a year chock full of excellent concerts but none more memorable and more intense than Off the Dial’s Concert of the year. Before we get to that, let’s review some of the other shows we saw this year…

    With the addition of new writers in Vancouver (namely, Robert Latham) and our very own Andy Stewart catching a few shows in the U.K. this year, Off the Dial expanded it’s musical horizon in terms of artists and venues. The past year saw some excellent shows in Vancouver from Flogging Molly, Skinny Puppy (which was reviewed by our guest artist writer, Steve Moore of the Unravelling), the Gaslight Anthem and Arctic Monkeys. Meanwhile, across the pond, Stewart managed to take in memorable shows from the likes of Oasis (long before their umpteenth blow-out), Kasabian and the Streets. He even caught the excellent Matisyahu at home with his energetic show at Flames Central.

    We were also lucky to have a couple of reviews from James “Newsboy” Callsen of Calgary radio station X92.9 when he reviewed the Gaslight Anthem here in town earlier in the year, plus his account of this year’s Warped Tour featuring 3oh3, Alexisonfire, Bad Religion, Big Damn Family Band, Evidence, NOFX, Passenger Action, Reverend Peyton, Silverstein, Underoath, Westbound Train and countless others.

    For myself, the year may not have been overloaded with live shows but what I did take in was almost always quite incredible. 2009 started off on the right foot with a local show featuring Hot Little Rocket (before they announced their retirement of sorts) with guests This Machine is a Fountain of Regina and the War Doves.

    As summer approached, my chance to finally see Alaskan group Portugal. The Man afforded me the opportunity to discover a relatively new Calgary act, Nushi, both of which put on a great mid-week show at the Marquee Room. Finishing the month as well as it started was CKY at the Warehouse where hundreds of salivating fans packed in to catch the group tear through their set. But it was the final day of the month that saw a stellar cast of artists wrap up not only the month but this year’s Sled Island Festival, with showings by the Summerlad, Malajube, the always entertaining Biz Markie, M5, the tireless Anvil, Toronto’s Holy Fuck, Liars and a headlining show from the Breeders, despite losing some of their gear and wardrobe.

    Stampede Week always showcases music of all kinds (not just country) in the city and although Matt Mays and Dustin Bentall put forth their country/roots/rock, Newfoundlanders Hey Rosetta! stole the show for me with their throngs of fans who insisted on chanting the band’s name before, during and after the show. As the city recovered from the Stampede festivities and imbibing, No Doubt made their triumphant return with Kingston, ON’s Bedouin Soundclash and Paramore for a great show at the Saddledome. Meanwhile, as July drew to a close, Social Distortion passed through town with a performance that proves years of hard work will pay off.

    August rolled in with the return of Virgin Festival, this time at C.O.P. with two days of packed music including Mother Mother, the Cliks, Arkells, K-Os, Wintersleep and a two-hour marathon performance from Pearl Jam while day two had the likes of Secret Broadcast, White Lies, Tokyo Police Club, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Metric and Billy Talent. One week later, on a rainy Saturday night, locals Secret Broadcast and the Fast Romantics finally held their dual-CD Release party with guests the Shagbots who put on a fantastic performance.

    Marilyn Manson finally set foot in Calgary in September, years after he was banned from his scheduled performance at Max Bell Arena. To the surprise of many, he was booked at the Jubilee, which normally hosts operas, musicals and other high-class entertainment shows. This did nothing to take away from the not-quite-as-shocking yet true to form Manson display. Less than two weeks later, Canada’s favourite sons the Tragically Hip took to the same stage and proved that a band like this can never get old.

    In October, Slipknot set up at the Corral with guest the Deftones and both acts were extremely good with the former’s elaborate stage set-up, scary costumes and impressive performance while the latter, although being one of my favourite acts, couldn’t possibly disappoint…and naturally they did not.

    Before naming the concert of the year though, I have to relate the best concert of the year I hardly saw. Having been invited to see Coldplay for free at the last minute, my gracious host and I agreed to meet at the Saddledome shortly before they were scheduled to hit the stage. Problem was, he already had committed to something else that evening, over an hour’s drive outside the city, but he was certain he’d get back in time. With no ticket in hand, I waited outside the venue for him as he raced back to Calgary, only to arrive shortly after 10:30 pm. We scrambled to our seats just in time to catch the three songs of the encore. It was impressive, and likely indicative of the nearly two hour show we missed.

    However, there was no other concert this year than the Sled Island show at the Distillery on June 25th. Featuring five acts, including Calgary’s the Press Gang and Cripple Creek Fairies, label mates the Coathangers and These Arms Are Snakes and headlined by the infamous Monotonix. The standout’s of the evening were easily the last two mentioned acts. After taking in the opening act, I took a moment to catch up with Sean Close (of the Turrettes, and one of the proprietors of the Distillery) when I noticed a shaggy, shifty looking gent standing at the end of the bar. By the middle of the evening’s attractions, said “gent” bounded up on stage as TAAS began their set. The shy, shifty looking Steve Sneer was no longer shy and un-assuming; he transformed into an unbridled force of energy that made use of every inch of the stage, and the large bathroom sign, and a number of fans front and center as they blasted through a performance like no other.

    Yet that incredible performance was soon to be outdone. When you glimpse singer Ami Shalev doing stretches moments before hitting the stage, you know you’re in for a special evening. Thing is, the Israeli trio didn’t take the state; they set up right on the floor amongst the growing crowd who immediately became part of the show, not mere attendants. The night was a sweaty, beer soaked, mad affair with people hosting Shalev near the vaulted ceiling as he sang atop a propped-up kick-drum, guitarist Yonatan Gat at times found laying on the ground and drummer Haggai Fershtman trouncing around the vast venue as the crowd followed all three of them around. By night’s end, not only were the three exhausted yet satisfied, so was every single person in the room and said show, along with their other Sled Island appearances, were the talk of the Calgary festival, making it easily the 2009 concert of the year.

    Popularity: unranked [?]

    090815posterLocal Calgary bands (and fellow 2008 x92.9 Xposure winners) Secret Broadcast and the Fast Romantics got together last night for a party of epic proportions. The reason to celebrate? Each used their $15,000 winnings wisely and produced debut albums. The Fast Romantics had already released their self-titled album earlier this year but hadn’t done up a proper release party. Secret Broadcast unveiled Exploding Spiders (although fans who caught them at Virgin Festival Alberta last weekend already got their hands on the CD a week early). Since both bands are close friends, they decided to combine their talents and put on a great show.

    The two groups invited fellow Calgary act the Shagbots to join them and their performance, although delayed significantly due to technical difficulties, was absolutely fantastic. Full of energy and charisma on stage, the quintet gave plenty of attendees good reason to go buy their new album, We Were Born Tigers.

    After getting the evening rolling, a packed Warehouse (despite the onslaught of rain that arrived close to show time) were itching to see the Fast Romantics take the stage and not a moment too soon. Front-man Matthew Angus was just as anxious to get things started as he was visually willing the show to get going. Matthew Kliewer, decked out in his signature cap and vest, was absolutely stunning on guitar while bassist Jeff Avramenko, dressed equally dapper (as all members were) displayed his rhythmic prowess in stoic fashion making it look easy. Coupled with drummer Alan Reain, the rhythm section provided the basis for the band’s dance-inducing music that many fans found insatiable as they bounced vigorously throughout the set. Even new keyboardist Laurna Germscheid was seen grooving along and as the set wound down, they invited their friends from Secret Broadcast to join them on stage.

    Of course, Matthew Lightstone, John de Jesus and Bryan Craig were simply warming up for their finale hot on the heels of their excellent performance at VFest last Sunday. Although they suffered through a delay and some technical problems of their own as their set started, the trio sorted things out and found their pace quickly. As Lightstone launched into their catalogue of songs, de Jesus tore a page from the book of Jimmy Page playing his bass with a bow, a mark of impressive artistry. Craig is a phenom on the drums, pounding away without a care in the world save for the passion for the group’s energetic indie-rock tunes. The crowd began to thin out a bit as the night drew very late (Secret Broadcast didn’t start until after 1am) but Kliewer made sure those who stayed were giving their all and encouraged them to keep dancing and cheering, and they complied. It wasn’t long before the two groups were all on stage again as Secret Broadcast‘s set came to a close with a thunderous conclusion. For everyone involved, this release party was a huge success.

    Both the Fast Romantics and Secret Broadcast will soon head across Canada on a tour to support their new albums. The first date is on September 4th, 2009 in Saskatoon and will see them travel all the way into Ontario through to the end of September.

    Popularity: unranked [?]

    Video of the Day: the Fast Romantics ~ “Sleepy Jean”

    Posted by cristóvão On July - 21 - 2009

    the Fast RomanticsThe Fast Romantics released their debut, self-titled album a few months back but are finally going to celebrate it’s release with fellow Calgarians and good friends Secret Broadcast (who are soon to release their debut album, Exploding Spiders). The joint CD Release party will take place on August 15th, 2009 in Calgary at the Warehouse with special guests the Shagbots.

    Today, the Fast Romantics released a video for “Sleepy Jean” containing live footage from their recent performance at MacEwan Ballroom;

    Pick up the Fast Romantics’ self titled album on iTunes!

    Popularity: unranked [?]

    Secret Broadcast Announce Exploding Spiders

    Posted by cristóvão On July - 10 - 2009

    secretbroadcastIt’s official! Calgary’s Secret Broadcast have revealed details surrounding their debut full-length CD.

    Exploding Spiders was produced by Juno Award winner Laurence Currie (who’s also worked with Wintersleep, Sloan, Holy Fuck and In-Flight Safety) and recorded in parts at Audio Audities in Bearspaw, AB, Currie’s own Toronto studio and in a 10×6 foot room in singer Matt Lightstone‘s basement they dubbed “Hot Box Studios”. It was then mastered by Noah Mintz (Broken Social Scene, the National, Death From Above 1979) in Toronto.

    While at Audio Audities, Lightstone explained how drummer Bryan Craig was fortunate to use a fairly significant instrument. “The studio houses an amazing collection of equipment including compressors direct from the Rolling Stones‘ mobile studio (which were later used to record several Led Zeppelin songs), and enough classic gear to turn on the world’s most discriminating audiophiles.” He revealed that “Bryan recorded the entire album using one of Jimmy Chamberlain’s snares.”

    Lightstone also commented on the finished product, saying “Now that it’s all said and done, we couldn’t be happier with everything. We wanted to make a BIG sounding record and I think we achieved that goal.”

    The trio also announced that they will be holding a joint CD release party with fellow Calgarians and good friends, the Fast Romantics (who recently released their debut self-titled album) on August 15th at the Warehouse here in Calgary. Opening up for the two will be the Shagbots.

    Last year, both Secret Broadcast and the Fast Romantics won x92.9‘s Xposure contest netting them $15,000 each to do as they please. For Secret Broadcast, it’s obvious the money was well spent.

    Here’s a track from the forthcoming Exploding Spiders called “Shatter”;

    Popularity: unranked [?]

    CD Review: The Fast Romantics ~ S/T

    Posted by show On April - 13 - 2009
    fastromantics1For those gentle readers who have not yet heard of the Fast Romantics, allow me to give you a brief intro.

    The Fast Romantics are a tightly knit group of pie connoisseurs, whose primary raison d’être is to love fast, die young and leave good looking crust. Based out of Calgary, the quartet formed from the ashes of the group formerly known as The Mood. Heavily influenced by the likes of Elvis (Costello that is), theFast Romantics have spent a considerable amount of time forming their sound which has resulted in a long incubation period for their debut self title album. The album is a skilfully assembled piece of work that shows off their influences as well as their considerable talents.

    Although it has taken a long time for this album to be released it’s not like they’ve been sitting around procrastinating. The Fast Romantics have put in a considerable amount of time establishing themselves in the local and national music scenes. For those in the Calgary area, you’re probably already familiar with the tracks “Sleepy Jean” and “How Do You?” from last year’s X92.9 Exposure contest. For those of you across Canada, you should have checked them out while they were on tour. If you didn’t, then shame on you.

    While the aforementioned songs are indeed two strong tracks, I was quite pleased to find that they were not the “best” on the album. Some of the stand-out tracks on the album are “Casablanca”, “Modern Eyes” and “The Soup Song”, which all provide a good sampling of the band’s abilities. The band has developed the ability to write songs that are all at once interesting, easily accessible and perplexing.

    The songs on the album show a definite maturity that wasn’t there in the past. The volume of creativity and attention put into this album is apparent, and the band’s commitment to expanding their sound is on display throughout the entire album. Punctuated by crisp song assembly and vocals, the Fast Romantics have put together an album worth checking out.

    I only hope that it doesn’t take 3+ years for the next album…but who am I to talk? I was supposed to get this review done weeks ago.

    Visit iTunes or the bands myspace page to get your filthy mitts on the album.

    Show.

    Popularity: 5% [?]

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