Friday, January 27, 2012

Off the Dial

Music News, Reviews, Photos _ Podcasts

Another month, another new podcast! We return with tracks from three Calgary bands, two from Vancouver, one each from Montreal and Toronto, two New York City groups and a classic San Francisco group. Try and match them up and make sure to click the links for more info and get your hands on more of their excellent music!

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Popularity: unranked [?]

Video of the Day: Random Recipe ~ “Bad Luck”

Posted by cristóvão On August - 17 - 2011

Here’s a very cool video from yet another Canadian group. Random Recipe hails from Montreal and made a name for themselves via improvised performances on the streets of their hometown.

Their debut album Fold It! Mold It!, featuring a delicate, quirky and unique sound was released last September. This unique sound comes from the diverse lineup of Fab (rap/beat box), Frannie Holder (vocals/chiquita guitarra), Vincent Legault (Guitar/keys/bass) and Liu-Kong Ha (Percussions/keys) with their varied musical and cultural background. You can certainly hear the Italian, Quebecois, Louisiana and Chinese roots mixed with the hip-hop, jazz, bossa-nova and folk musicality throughout the entire album.

You can listen to and order Fold It! Mold It! via the official Random Recipe web site, including this cut, “Bad Luck”;

Popularity: unranked [?]

Video of the Day: Music Time with Jennie P. ~ the Dears

Posted by cristóvão On May - 9 - 2011

I really love the Dears. Ever since I discovered one of the best radio singles ever (which is saying lots for a guy who typically hates radio singles) “Lost in the Plot”, I’ve been a fan. No Cities Left was the quasi soundtrack for my wife and I’s early relationship.

Since then, they’ve delivered three very good albums, including this year’s Degeneration Street. Although one of our contributing writers didn’t give it a glowing review, I personally enjoy it quite a bit.

Now, this little video from Funny or Die, is just crazy. It’s super cool that they’re spreading the word through FOD, which produces countless videos that become viral. It’s just so strange and insane;


 

Now, for those of you who haven’t heard anything from the new album, check out this cool video for “Omega Dog”;

Popularity: unranked [?]

Album Review: the Dears ~ Degeneration Street

Posted by gusm On March - 1 - 2011

Written By: Gus Michalik

The Montreal based indie rock group The Dears have recently released a new album entitled Degeneration Street; and even though their new album has a sense of musical integrity you will certainly find that what it lacks marginally surpasses what it has. Degeneration Street also has an over abundance of religious references variously placed throughout it…but even in all the predestination glory associated with organized religion, Degeneration Street still never seems to find any direction—so I guess the irony of this 14 track album is worth a good laugh.

Since their inception in 1995, The Dears have gone through more band members then a common groupie, and perhaps that’s the reason why there is no perceptible chemistry amongst the members in Degeneration Street.

The first couple of tracks off of Degeneration Street show off some catchy guitar riffs and nice vocals, but even with those two in full capacity the simple lyrics cannot be ignored….or maybe they should be.

Here is the chorus from the first track entitled “Omega Dog”…the lyrics should speak for themselves;

“Presto, Presto, Shake it together
Presto, Presto, Shake it together
Presto, Presto, Shake it, all over.”

I will admit however, that even though their lyrics are simple, most of The Dears songs still relish a melody that can be defined as nothing short of infectious.

However, as the album continues, its inconsistencies become evident and you will notice that the negative qualities of this album far out way the positives. The high water mark of this album is undeniably the Radiohead sounding “Galactic Tide”, it is the seventh track on the album, and it’s honestly where the album should have ended. ‘We’re running out of songs to sing’ is a farsighted line that can be found at the beginning of “Galactic Tide”…after which the album continues with seven more sub-par tracks, if their album was intended to have fluidity maybe they should have made “Galactic Tide” the last track at least that would have made sense, but it appears that The Dears do not do things according to logic.

So in conclusion, if you’re looking for irony, humour, and a lot of inconsistencies by all means go out and procure Degeneration Street. But I give this album a 5.5/10

Popularity: unranked [?]

Interpol Announce 2011 North American Tour Dates

Posted by JonesK On November - 8 - 2010

Written By: Kristen Jones

Last week Interpol announced a North American tour for 2011, to promote their new self titled album released this past September.  The tour will begin January 27th in Vancouver and conclude February 19th at the House of Blues in Boston.  Included in the stops are some Canadian shows including one at the Sound Academy in Toronto on February 15th and another one the following night in Montreal at the Metropolis.

Over the years the members of Interpol have grown from being New York local favourites to a globally respected band.  The band made up of Paul Banks (vocals, guitar), Daniel Kessler (guitar, vocals), Sam Fogarino (drums, percussion) and joined by Dave Pajo (bass) and Brandon Curtis (keyboard, vocals) for their upcoming tour, recently posted the following on their website;

 ”It’s been a pleasure each and every night.  Interpol fans are top notch.  The Best.  And…we want to come back for more so we’ve just announced the following North American dates for January and February.  Very much looking forward to visiting some new spots for the first time (you know who you are), some places we’ve recently played (can’t get enough) and those towns that we haven’t seen in some time (we’ve missed you).  It will be a warm reprieve from the big, bad winter-man.  And it will be here in no time at all.  We can’t wait.  Rock n’ Roll.” 

Currently Interpol is finishing up the remaining dates of their current American tour and then they will be traveling for shows in Europe and Australia, before returning stateside in the new year to begin all over again.

And for all you fans who want even more Interpol, the band will be playing more North American dates when they open for U2 in the summer.  So far Canadian spots include a show in Toronto and two in Montreal.

Check out Interpol’s website www.interpolnyc.com, for more on the band and tour dates.

For a review of the album go to http://www.offthedial.ca/?p=7356

Popularity: unranked [?]

EP Review: The Episodes ~ Pilot

Posted by lmelvin On October - 3 - 2010

Written by Laura M

I love bands that are still at beginnings of their career.  They’re enthusiastic and determined, and sometimes you stumble across something pretty cool that not many people have discovered yet – like Montreal indie-rock band The Episodes.  Serge (guitar and lead vocals), Christ (bass), Spiro (drums) and Dina (keyboards and percussion) draw on the vibe of their city to create the energetically solid EP Pilot.

Opening track “Love Kills” has shades of The Fratellis “Chelsea Dagger” – fun, upbeat, and infectiously bouncy, meaning you’re going to be singing it long after you’ve stopped listening.  This track sets the energetic tone for the rest of the EP.  The band seems delightfully over-caffeinated throughout the album, mellowing slightly with fifth track, “Stay” before picking back up again to close strongly with final track “Mirrors”.

My favourite on Pilot is “On the Run” – and I do mean favourite.  This will probably end up on many future playlists.  It’s like the soundtrack to a smoke-filled gunfight in the Old West, complete with the Clint-Eastwood-whistle, but fought in a club in Montreal while the band on stage plays along.  Good stuff, The Episodes.  Eagerly waiting to see what comes next.

Popularity: unranked [?]

Album Review: Arcade Fire ~ the Suburbs

Posted by show On August - 18 - 2010

Written by: Andy Stewart

One of the things I like about Arcade Fire is their ability to build up hype by seemingly doing nothing. They appear to be separate from the chaos that swirls around them by merely going about their business. This single minded focus typically results in works of art that at first are overwhelming in their presentation _ depth but end up being beautiful _ accessible in their simplicity.

Released August 3rd, 2010, the latest album The Suburbs isn’t as good as their former albums in that it doesn’t exceed what came before it. The groups sound remains intact, although toned down at times which creates a more “pop rock” sound. “Modern Man” sounds like a cover of a Rick Springfield song, with other songs (“City With No Children” for example) sounding like something the Joel Plaskett Emergency created more than Arcade Fire originals. The album tends to feel more subdued than past offerings, with less sweeping, all-engulfing songs driving the album. The tracks themselves have no major standouts, but also have no songs that besmirch the band’s growing legacy.

I like the album and I loved the first couple of singles but found myself wanting more throughout the entire album. A feeling that didn’t dissipate the more I listened; if anything additional listens reaffirmed my sense that it felt more like a tribute album to bands that influenced them rather than an Arcade Fire masterpiece.

It’s good, just not as good I had built it up to be.

Popularity: unranked [?]

UPDATE: Serj Tankian Fall Tour POSTPONED

Posted by cristóvão On July - 20 - 2010

Serj Tankian has been keeping himself busy. Earlier this year, he released Elect the Dead Symphony, a live album of his debut solo album with the Auckland Philharmonic Symphony. He just wrapped up the fist leg of his European tour and is playing a couple of U.S. dates before commencing the second leg of the European tour in August. His new album, Imperfect Harmonies is set for release in was released in Semptember and just days after he’ll be embarking on his Fall North American tour.

UPDATE: Tankian postponed the tour indefinitely. Refunds were issued as he apologized for pushing the tour “until a later date”.

The good news; It starts right here in Calgary. The (sorta) bad news; It will NOT be an Elect the Dead Symphony performance as he’s been doing all year in Europe and at those two mid-summer U.S. dates. What makes it all better? The fact that most of the performances will take place in acoustically superior theatres and concert halls, like Calgary’s Jack Singer Concert Hall (September 12th), Edmoton’s Winspear Centre (Sep. 13th), Vancouver’s Centre for the Performing Arts (Sep. 15th), Toronto’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Sep. 29th) and Montreal’s Théâtre St-Denis (Sep. 30th).

Here’s the full tour for the remainder of this year;

Remaining U.S. Date _ European Tour 2010 – Second Leg (all dates Elect the Dead Symphony performances);

  • Jul 30* – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre w/Orchestra TBA
  • Aug 07 – Pori, Finalnd – Sonisphere Festival
  • Aug 09 – Gothenburg, Sweden – Tradgarn
  • Aug 10 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Vega
  • Aug 12 – Yerevan, Armenia – Hamalir
  • Aug 14 – Sibiu, Romania – Piata Mare – ARTmania Festival
  • Aug 15 – Burgas, Bulgaria – Spirit of Burgas Festival
  • Aug 17 – Athens, Greece – Terra Vibe Park
  • Aug 20 – St. Poulton, Austria – Frequency Festival
  • Aug 21 – Hasselt, Belgium – Pukkelpop
  • Aug 22 – Biddinghuizen, Holland – Lowlands Festival
  • Aug 24 – Hamburg, Germany – Grosse Freiheit
  • Aug 25 – Köln, Germany – E-Werk
  • Aug 27 – Leeds, UK – Bramham Park – Leeds Festival
  • Aug 28 – Reading, UK – Little Johns Farm – Reading Festival
  • Aug 30 – Paris, France – Bataclan
  • Aug 31 – Wettingen/Zurich, Switzerland – Sportzentrum Tagerhatd
  • Sep 01 – Bologna, Italy – Estragon

“Imperfect Harmonies” North American Tour;

  • Sep 12 – Calgary, Alberta, Canada – Jack Singer Concert Hall
  • Sep 13 – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada – Winspear Centre
  • Sep 15 – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – Centre For the Performing Arts
  • Sep 17 – San Francisco, CA – Nob Hill Masonic Center
  • Sep 18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theater
  • Sep 20 – San Diego, CA – Humphreys Concerts
  • Sep 23 – Bee Cave, TX (near Austin, TX) – The Backyard
  • Sep 25 – Detroit, MI – Fox Theater
  • Sep 26 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
  • Sep 28 – Buffalo, NY – Center For the Arts
  • Sep 29 – Toronto, Ontario, Canada – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
  • Sep 30 – Montréal, Québec, Canada – Théâtre St-Denis
  • Oct 02 – Glenside, PA (near Philadelphia, PA) – Keswick Theatre
  • Oct 03 – New York, NY – Hammerstein Ballroom
  • Oct 07 – St. Petersburg, FL – Mahaffey Theater
  • Oct 08 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live
  • Oct 09 – Miami Beach, FL – Fillmore Miami

Popularity: unranked [?]

Album Review: the Beatdown ~ S/T

Posted by tzimmerman On June - 24 - 2010

Written by: Thomas Zimmerman

If you like the upside down beat of Reggae, then this album coming from Montreal reggae rockers The Beatdown is definitely for you.  The tracks on this album are like a refined and enhanced version of the music from the legendary Bob Marley, who I think has definitely played a major influence in this band’s style.  It doesn’t really seem to matter what the lyrics are, you just want to move to the music!  Even tracks like “Hooligans” make you want to get up and dance, although I can’t even recall what the song is about.  “Let me take you out” conjures up images of a late night beach party, bamboo torches glowing in the night, the distant rhythmic sound of ocean waves lapping up against the shore, and hot sweaty bodies undulating close together in that intense, slow-moving dance step reserved for intimate couples, or at least those intending to become intimate.  Even “Mad Dog” in its minor key gets the feet shuffling.  I can only imagine that attending a live concert with these guys performing would be one very large, very enthusiastic party.

So, in a nutshell, The Beatdown would be a great party album, keeping party-goers up in the “lets have some fun” sphere until the album finished, and then you’d just have to hit the repeat button to keep it going.  The only danger with reggae and the upside down beat is that it all ends up sounding pretty familiar after a while so maybe you’d have to hit shuffle to take things in a slightly different direction from time to time, otherwise this album is a definite buy!

Popularity: unranked [?]

Arcade Fire Treat Us With Two New Track Teasers

Posted by cristóvão On May - 20 - 2010

…and one helluva cool widget! I won’t tell you how to use it but I’m sure you’ll get the gist soon enough.

Montreal’s Arcade Fire have apparently finished recording their third album, which has yet to be named, and it’s said that it should be out later this summer. Of course, there are also rumours that once the album comes out, we’ll see the group hit the road beginning with a number of festival appearances in both North America and Europe. In fact, Arcade Fire are billed in this year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals in the U.K. this August and front-man Win Butler announced via post-card to NME magazine “We’re really looking forward to playing the new songs live…[it’s] like an inventor emerging from his basement after a year’s work.”

The two tracks being teased in the widget below are called “the Suburbs”, a folky-piano piece and “Month of May”, and edgier more aggressive sound.

Have fun with the widget!

Popularity: unranked [?]

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