Interview with … Vancouver band The Niche’s Gabriel Savage


In early September, I had just sent out interview questions to a few people when I had to stop all work and ended up in the hospital due to a major drug reaction that took me down literally.  I’m at home and recovering now, but, I’m kind of in a weakened state due to the burns on my legs and feet.

I have just received these back from Gabriel Savage of the Vancouver band THE NICHE who were the Band of the Month with CFOX this past October 2011.  There is a lot of buzz about this band because they are a performance based band with terrific music.  They don’t have a lot of music online yet, but that’s only a matter of time before that happens.

I’m reviewing a song that was sent to me called “A LA RUE” which sounds like a carnival trip on the psychedelic side of life.  I’m reminded of 1960’s band The Doors, but, Gabriel takes the song and makes it his own vocally.  I’ve seen this band in action onstage and they are dynamite! Kaylar definitely rounds out the band with her odd sounds from the keys or her sax, Ryley does a great rhythm and lead guitar in this song, new member Chris is funked out with his root bass chords through the song and Mario’s drums carry the song on into infinity.  I really dig this band and its not hard to figure out why.

The current lineup is as follows:

Gabriel Savage – Vox

Ryley Kirkpatrick – Guitars

Chris Seversen – Bass

Kaylar Chan – Keyboards/Sax

Mario Beer – Drums and percussion

The Niche

The Niche live @ the Railway Club, Vancouver BC – photo courtesy of the band

What goals in relation to the band are you setting now to work towards over the next year?

We’re working towards releasing our EP within the next six months. We’ve just trained a new bass player so we had to take a break from recording for a while. We’re hoping to be able to get everything done by Spring. The songs are all there and ready, now it’s just about having the funds and resources to back us in the process.

What personal goals has the band as a whole achieved in the last year?

For the most part, we’re happy with where we’re at. Everyone’s enjoying the stages as they come and are looking forward to the next steps. Being Fox’s Band of the Month for October had its benefits, and so does playing shows regularly. We’re always happy to hear the good things people have to say after we play for them, so that’s always a bonus. As far as goals though, we’re just happy to have come this far in only a year, and are looking forward to the next stages of our career together.

As a band, what has been the best thing that has happened, and the worst thing?

The best thing is that we’re all still playing with each other and are enjoying our time together. Like I said, it’s always great to hear such positive feedback; it keeps us enjoying what we do knowing that others are enjoying it also. I can’t think of the “worst thing” yet. I think everything has happened in good time and for a good reason.
At first it was a bit of a drag losing Cory and having to go about finding a suitable replacement –which always takes a long time— but now that we’ve got Chris on the team it’s been really great. He’s been a great addition for the band and we all really enjoy working with him.

How do you see the current state of the Corporate Music Industry? Do you think it has changed since the “old” days before the internet? And, how do you feel about the DIY bands that are becoming mainstream? (arcade fire for example)

There’s no doubt that it’s changed, but that’s the way things have to happen. We have to evolve with the world around us. That goes for all aspects of the media. These days, if you want something, you’ve just got to work all that much harder for it, which makes it all the more worth it when it finally happens.
Arcade Fire are doing really well for themselves and that’s great to see.

Do you feel that the band has control over how your music reaches the fans? And if yes why do you feel this way and what factors into that?

Yes, being Indie has its benefits. There isn’t a lot of censorship, and we can pretty much say, do, write, and perform anything we want without any legal binds. There’s no doubt that it would be easier to reach people if we had all of our ducks in order (a finished album/EP/quality videos, etc) but right now, we’re doing everything on a real tight Indie budget so it does make it hard to do the right things all at once.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard your music before?

The mood I get from it is a sense of being aware but not quite at home with your surroundings. Kind of like a sailor who goes out to sea, prepared for the storm, but not necessarily ready for it to happen, you know what I mean? It’s got sort of a heavy, dark, gloomy feeling, but there’s more to it than that. There’s a sense of depth that people probably won’t hear if they’re just dancing or drinking at the bar, but that’s not to say they won’t enjoy it. They just wont walk away as satisfied as the people who were paying attention. I’d really like to try something a little different than what we’ve been doing. Maybe a couple hip-hop tunes, or something considered more “Pop”, just to give it a try and show people that we’re not stuck sounding the way we do, we just choose this sound over others because we feel it gets our message across in a way that isn’t really being done these days.

The Niche on tour – photo courtesy of the band

Who are the primary songwriters in the band?

So far I’ve written all the lyrics, but as a band we all of an equal say in the songwriting process. Sometimes I’ll come up with most of the idea on a guitar or bass, but after the initial blossom I usually pass the idea on to Ryley or Chris to give it some extra flare. I use instruments as more of a songwriting tool. That’s why you’ll only ever see me with a microphone and maybe a maraca on stage. (laughs). Although I do have a harmonica mic, but I just use it to achieve a sort of Tom Waits vocal effect, kind of like a megaphone.

Collectively, how does the songwriting process within the band go? Do you jam it out in rehearsal space?

We all work together to write the songs. Most of the time it starts with lyrics and a melody, but there are a handful of songs that have emerged from just a guitar or bass lick, or some sort of sound from the keyboards. Usually I’ll come into a session with an idea, and then the band will work some sort of arrangement around my lyrics. It all comes together pretty naturally though, it’s really quite a special process to be able to be involved in.

How did you come up with the band name?

I got the idea from “The Birth of Tragedy” where Nietzsche talks about the artistic elements of the ancient Greeks. ‘The Niche’ is meant to refer to the joining of the two different opposing art forms, that of Apollo, god of structure and stability, and that of the more dreamlike & ecstatic creations of Dionysus.
We’ve got an interesting balance of artists in the band, we’re all very different from each other, yet are perfectly suited for each other creatively. I think the name just really sums us up to a point that no other name would be able to achieve. Anyone who reads the Birth of Tragedy will probably get a pretty good idea as to what it is I’m trying to do.

What is your opinion on the music scene in Vancouver? Do you feel that there are enough venues for bands to book shows? And is there a lot of competition as well?

There are lots of venues and lots of bands to play them. There are a handful of swell promotion companies out there, however not many of them have touched us because we’re considered “too different” from most of the other bands in the circuit. I don’t blame them though, we haven’t got enough quality tunes online to really give the promoters an idea of what we’re about. So it’s been a struggle, we’ve had to book a lot of our own shows or team up with bands that we’ve become friends with. But its been fun, I’ve got no hard feelings, I’m pretty patient and forgiving! (laughs)

What bands/singers/songwriters did you all listen to growing up? And why are/were they important to you now that you’re in a band?

We each come from different musical and artistic backgrounds which, when blended together, sound like something that isn’t quite jazz, isn’t quite funk, and doesn’t fall under the typical blues structure, so we’ve been calling it ‘Sonic Rock’. Just sounds, man. A lot of the music is written to be a sort of soundtrack to the lyrics and images we try to convey with the songs.
I can’t really speak for everyone else, but my biggest musical influences were Elvis, Sinatra, and Johnny Cash. One was a performer, the other could croon, and man, could Cash tell a great story.

Before this band you had another band – what happened to Kick The Ashes?

Yeah, I joined Kick the Ashes as their songwriter. It wasn’t really my project, I was just another member. We were together for just under a year until we decided it was time to kick the bucket on Kick the Ashes.

How did you meet all the band members in The Niche? Are there members from Kick The Ashes?

I met Ryley and Mario through Kick the Ashes. We started playing with each other again in 2010 and decided to form another band. From there we had auditions for a bass player, and then Ryley’s girlfriend, Kaylar, came into the picture as the keyboardist & saxophone player.

What’s the best part about being in The Niche?

I just love that my words are being put to use, It’s great to have the opportunity to be able to present your artistic creations in such a personal and engaging manor. It’s really quite special. Plus, it’s awesome having the opportunity to work some of my closest friends on such a regular basis. I don’t think I could ask for anything more, except for maybe a good record contract, that would sure help us out financially! (laughs)

You can find The Niche at the following locations:

The Niche website

Facebook

Twitter

Supernova.com

Cupla song review – New debut CD out November 26 with “Letters Home”


Song Preview for new Cupla Single

Release Date for Single: November 1, 2011

Release Date for CD Letters Home: November 26, 2011

by Jade Sperry, Jadedphotography

 

Cupla

Vancouver’s Cupla (on Supernova.com) are making waves among the indie scene in the downtown core. They’ve just finished recording for their new CD (entitled Letters Home) and they’ve sent me a preview song to review called “I’m Going”. The song is 3:15 and is very well mixed. The drumming Bill lays down is hard and consistent through the song and the guitars (by Ken and Bobby) sound well blended and well paced (in the bridge the guitars go off in two distinct directions and then come back together and lock in to each other). Tricia has great vocals that are monochromatic which works well with the melody, and I have a feeling that more is yet to come from this talented vocalist. The only downside is that I really couldn’t hear the bass that Travis grooves on very well on this mix as it is buried by the layers of the song. However, I would rate this a 4 out of 5 stars because of the steady flow of the song, the melody and how well the vocals match the melody. And, I’m looking forward to hearing new songs by this undiscovered and talented band.  The lyrics for the song speak of a bad relationship and needing to break free of that and make a new start.

Cupla will be hosting a CD release party on Saturday November 26, 2011 at The Troubadour in Langley BC. Letters Home was recorded at Greenhouse Studios with Chris “Hollywood” Holmes producing.

Show Review – Rancid, My Chemcial Romance and Blink 182


Show Review – Rancid, My Chemical Romance and Blink 182

Wednesday August 31, 2100

Rogers Arena Vancovuer BC

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Rancid. Photo by Jade Sperry.

The Honda Civic Tour rolled through Vancouver this past Wednesday and the arena was set up for concert bowl due to the apparatus of the lighting system – it would have been in the way of the show. Four great bands in order of first to last – Against Me!, Rancid, My Chemical Romance and Blink 182. I’d seen the Florida US band Against Me!, so I decided to check out the mech table of all the bands. Tons of stuff for sale if you are a teenager or in your 20’s. I do have to say the posters were pretty special. Good pictures.

Rancid came out and performed a stellar set that they played hard and with fantastic energy. I loved this band in the 1990’s and saw them a handful of times but in all honestly, I drank a lot back then and really don’t remember the shows I did attend – the only proof was the ticket stub in my pocket. But, they did a favorite of mine just toward the end of their forty minute set called “Radio” Awesome!

My Chemical Romance took to the stage next and they looked well rested and ready to rock Vancouver for the next hour. Teenage girls still scream at the men onstage. Although I was really there to see Rancid (sober) they really rocked the crowd. One friend of mine in a band from Vancouver called Philoceraptor said that “the My Chem boys really rocked the place out.” And I totally agree. A good light show with video screens on either side so that if you were at the back of the arena, you could look at the video screens. Since many people requested that I get a set list, here it is to the best of my recollection in a crowd of screaming, dancing teens:

Na Na Na

I’m Not Okay

Planetary Go!

Mama

Helena

This Is The Best Day Ever

You Know What They Do To Guys…

Famous Last Words

Scarecrow

Destroyer

Welcome To The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance. Photo by Jade Sperry.

With no encore. No band on this circuit did an encore except for Blink 182. Speaking of which, they followed MCR and hit the stage about 1030pm. I have to admit I was really tired by this time but I had to see Blink 182. I’m not sure of the songs they played in order were but my favorites performed were “Does My Breath Smell”, “All The Small Things”, “Feeling This” and “I Miss You”. Every song was bang on and in between the songs the band members took pictures of themselves and joked around with themselves and the audience. A fantastic show with high energy and good lighting for photographers as you can see from the pictures that are on my Flikr page.

Blink 182. Photo by Jade Sperry.

The remainder of the tour dates are as follows:

9/7/11 Minneapolis, MN- Xcel Center
9/8/11 Des Moines, IA- Wells Fargo Arena
9/9/11 Kansas City, MO- Sandstone Amphitheater
9/10/11 Indianapolis, IN- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
9/11/11 Detroit, MI- DTE Energy Music Centre
9/13/11 Cleveland, OH- Blossom Music Center
9/15/11 Pittsburgh, PA- First Niagara Pavilion
9/16/11 Saratoga, NY- SPAC
9/17/11 Philadelphia, PA- Susquehanna Bank Center
9/18/11 Virginia Beach, VA- Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
9/20/11 Charlotte, NC- Charlotte Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
9/21/11 Atlanta, GA- Lakewood Amphitheater
9/23/11 Miami, FL- Cruzan Amphitheater
9/24/11 Tampa, FL- 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre
9/26/11 Houston, TX- Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/27/11 Dallas, TX- Gexa Energy Pavilion
9/29/11 Albuquerque, NM- Journal Pavilion
10/1/11 Anaheim, CA- Honda Center
10/2/11 Sacramento, CA- Sleep Train Amphitheatre
10/4/11 Concord, CA- Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
10/5/11 San Francisco, CA- Shoreline Amphitheatre
10/7/11 Las Vegas, NV- Red Rock Resort, Spa & Casino
10/8/11 Los Angeles, CA- Hollywood Bowl
10/14/11 San Diego, CA- Cricket Wireless Amphitheater

For more tour information visit the Tour Page

FOOTNOTE:

Posted on the My Chemical Romance page is the awful circumstances that led to the drummer, Michael Pedicone, being fired from the band. He was caught red handed stealing from the band. That’s pretty bad and I feel sorry for the band. He was an excellent drummer. This was posted by Frank on Friday September 2, two days after the show in Vancouver.

Photos of Honda Civic Tour now up on Flickr


You can view the photos here of RANCID, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE AND BLINK 182 at the following link:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jadesperry_jadedphotography/

Concert review and My Chemical Romance’s set list posted tomorrow!  Check back then.

Jade Sperry

RIP Amy Jade Winehouse (1984-2011)


On Saturday July 23, British soul singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her North London home at approximately 4pm GMT.   As for the cause of death, British police say it is “unexplained” at this time.  Most people believe she overdosed with drugs and/or alcohol, including her mother and father.  Tributes, flowers, candles and notes are being left outside her home by the many fans of her music.  Although Amy only released two albums (Frank in 2003 and Back to Black in 2006) her voice was extraordinary.  She shot to fame in 2006 with the release of Back to Black which won multiple Grammy awards (5 out of the 6 categories she was nominated in) in 2007 at age 22.  Instant fame can lead to many things and in Amy’s case it lead to alcohol and drug addiction.

Amy Winehouse in concert, 2008.

Sadly, in the last five years after the release of the Back To Black, Amy’s life became tabloid trash as she sank deeper into her addictions.  Her marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil (2007-2009) was fueled by alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine.  Blake admitted to a British tabloid as saying ” he introduced her to crack cocaine and heroin”.  But, if we backtrack to 2005, Amy went through a period of drinking, heavy drug use, violent mood swings and weight lossPeople who saw her during the end of that year and early 2006 reported a rebound that coincided with the writing of Back to Black.  

As I went on to Twitter yesterday, so many stupid things were being said about her.  One tweet by a Canadian artist said “Why did the people around her not do anything?” to which I replied that “Um no – it was Amy herself who did not want the help as her many times in rehab clearly shows”.  In a Rolling Stone interview on 14 June 2007, Amy admitted that she had problems with self harm, manic depression and eating disorders.  She had these issues before she became famous and were only amplified with her fame.

I just hope that Amy has now found peace and that she is no longer in any pain.  RIP Amy you will be forever remembered by your astounding voice.

RIP Amy Winehouse in 2009 outside a London Courtroom.

UPDATED – August 15, 2011

British police have said that the autopsy of Amy Winehouse was “inconclusive” as to how she passed.  I believe that her body just gave out in some way from her past addictions.


EP Review – City of Glass – The Diving Bell plus video


EP review – City Of GlassThe Diving Bell EP

Released: 21 June 2011

by Jade Sperry

Jadedphotography

EP cover. Photo couretsy of the band.

Vancouver’s City of Glass are having a very good summer. In June, they released their newest EP The Diving Bell and they are on tour in Germany and in the UK beginning August 12. I’ve written two previous articles on City of Glass which you can read here and here.

First off, I’d like to state that the mixing and mastering of this EP is superb. Having said that the first song is “Sticks and Stones” which has an upbeat melody that has a slight sadness or melancholy feeling to it musically. Lyrically, this song speaks of someone who’s questioning their life on a deep and personal level. I like the way the synths and guitars compliment each other and the vocals Michael delivers are done well with feeling and emotion. “Tourist” is slower in its tempo musically as well as having a slight forlorn feeling of regret weaved within the melody (“I can’t feel it anymore”). The synths are kind of creepy sounding but fit in the song itself in a subtle way. I like the haunted feeling of the song as well. “Little Shadows” has an infectious groove that invites you to get your groove on. Lyrically it sounds a lot like paranoia or of being paranoid (“spies hiding from the corner/when you’re alone”) as well as someone reflecting on their life. “Control” begins with syths that are dreamy and makes the song sound surreal. Odd time signatures and minor keys make this song a standout as well as the vocals that Michael lays down. This song is mixed and mastered particularly well which gives the song a full sound.

This four song EP is recommended if you like indie dance pop music.

City of Glass have several videos on YouTube – this video is for the song “Sticks and Stones” live:

Decade Of Sleep release new video for “Way Of The World”


Video Review

Decade Of Sleep – Way of the World/With A Little Help From My Friends

Recorded Live At Imprint Music, Toronto ON

by Jade Sperry

Jadedphotography

A very talented band out of Toronto by the name of Decade Of Sleep have just released their new video for the song “Way Of The World” from their self-titled CD which was released in 2010. The video begins with drums which Eric, Lance and Matt are keeping a steady beat. As well as playing the drums, Lance is also playing his guitar.  Phil comes in when the drums suddenly stop at about the 58 second mark. Playing the organ, Phils’ vocals are subtle, raw and filled with emotion. The musical breaks in this video are bang on and everyone is really getting into the groove by the time they meld “Way of the World” into “With A Little Help From My Friends”. This video is just over 11 minutes long and all of the musicians make this look so easy. I particularly like the female backing vocals as they give the song a very full sound. All in all, this video is well performed by everyone in the room and does have a happy and mellow vibe.

You can find the video on the bands’ YOUTUBE page as well as a few other videos that you can watch.

Way Of The World Official Video by Decade Of Sleep

General Review – The Sheepdogs


General Review – The Sheepdogs (who have three CD’s to date with latest CD Learn & Burn).

by Jade Sperry

Jadedphotography

Saskatchewan is a flat and sometimes barren land which is the mid-west province in Canada and is home to The Sheepdogs who live in Saskatoon.  This isn’t a new band and their latest CD came out in early 2010 but I wanted to get the band’s name out there. They are just coming off a successful tour and I’ve been hearing very good things about their live shows. Guess I missed the boat on their tour.

This quartet make guitars the primary focus on Learn And Burn and many great bands of the past come to mind while I was listening to the music. Whether you like your rock in the form of sinful southern rock, classic rock or bluesy rock, it’s all right here in the fifteen songs on the CD. At present, they are doing extremely well playing festivals down in the US and Canada. Their last two dates are on July 10 playing in Downsview Park and the Nakusp Festival here in BC on Sunday July 17. You can find this info here .

The band members are as follows: Ewan Currie (lead vocals/guitar), Leot Hansen (guitar/back vocals), Ryan Gullen (bass/back vocals) and Sam Corbett (drums/back vocals) and they play as one solid unit. This bands’ music is reminiscent of artists such as The Guess Who, CCR, Santana (especially on the song “Learn And Burn”), The Allman Brothers…the list goes on and you get the idea. The music has a real 60’s/70’s classic rock sound complete with Hammond organs. The track listing on the CD:

  1. The One You Belong To
  2. Please Don’t Lead Me On
  3. I Don’t Know
  4. I Don’t Get By
  5. Learn And Burn
  6. Right On
  7. You Discover
  8. Southern Dreaming
  9. Soldier Boy
  10. Catfish 2 Boogalo
  11. Rolio Tomasi
  12. Suddenly
  13. Baby, I Won’t Do You No Harm
  14. We’ll Get There
  15. I Should Know

Whimsical and quirky melodies infused with strong and solid harmonies, lyrical depth to the songs in general plus the quality of the band as one unit. That is a really good combination to have in your music and that’s what this band has. One thing of note – all of the songs speak of life, living life and what you struggle with. And anyone could relate to any of these songs.

Some of the standout songs you should check out are “I Don’t Know” which in this writer’s opinion is the best song. A really easy melody that drips with southern blues. The vocals are delivered well by Ewan as does Leot and the song is well written. “Learn And Burn” which has a Guess Who/Allman Brothers feel musically. But the guys take that sound and make it their own. This song has an easy melody, great harmonies, wonderful guitar playing, good time changes and that’s just one song folks! “Southern Dreaming” is a silly, whimsical and quirky song with a really catchy guitar hook. On the slower side you’ll want to listen to “Suddenly”. Mellow and languid this song just flows. Stunning harmonies accent this song as well as some of vocal effects. This song seamlessly flows right into the next song “Baby I Won’t Do You No Harm”. This song is intense musically, has really good time changes and guitars that are well played in harmony.

I highly recommend collecting this bands’ music if you like classic southern rock in the vein of CCR and the storytelling lyrics from Winnipeg band The Guess Who, then you need to check out the band.

You can download a copy for FREE here: Big Stand 2008

Official Video for “I Don’t Know”

EP Review and Interview with … Letters To Elise


EP Review and Interview with Edmonton band Letters To Elise

EP Title: When It Meant Something

Release Date: April 12, 2011

by Jade Sperry

Jadedphotography

Letters To Elise have music that is a good mix of power pop, punk rock, synths and guitar driven songs which have infectious and catchy hooks. They also have a radio-friendly feel to their songs in general. This five song EP has good time changes (the song “Fake”), a soulful ballad that Brandon nails vocally (the song “Seven”) and is generally well mixed and mastered.

The band members are as follows: Brandon Pomerleau (lead guitarist/ vocals), Chris Marchlinski (rhythm guitar/vocals), Mike Iwanyshyn (keyboards), Patrick Moniz (bass) and Tyler Mensenchuk (drums). Patrick was kind enough to take some time out to answer some questions about the band and the music.

Jade:  What personal goals has the band as a whole achieved in the last year?

Patrick:  As a band, the goals that we have achieved would be the writing and releasing of our EP When It Meant Something. All the songs tell a separate story of something that has happened in our lives that was good and the bad times. The song “Seven” for example is probably our deepest and most meaningful song to our guitarist Brandon cause of the story behind the lyrics. “Fake” is an example of someone who is not always truthful to your face and is the kind of friend that might have stabbed you in the back or lied to your face. We made these songs hoping that maybe one of our fans or someone that happens to over hear it can listen to these songs or this whole EP, and relate to the music on a personal level.

J:  What personal goals has the band as a whole achieved in the last year and what goals in relation to the band are you setting now to work towards over the next year?

P:   Our goals for the future is to further promote our latest EP When it Meant Something which is currently available on iTunes and through the band at our shows. We don’t want to limit people so they feel forced to come to our shows just to buy a shirt or a CD. We have set up an online store, were you can buy the CD’s, posters and T-shirts. Other plans that we have is to hopefully tour in BC and get our single “Fake” on the Radio for some further promotion . The more publicity and interviews we get the more achieved we feel as a band.

J:  As a band, what has been the best thing that has happened, and the worst thing?

P:  The best thing that has happened to us as a band that we can all agree on was opening for Stereos in Calgary. The day we got the call we were so happy and stoked! Stereos was this unsigned band we used to do shows with when they were just a local Edmonton band. So we headed out to our jam space and made the plan. I don’t think any of us slept that night because we realized that it was a huge opportunity to play with them.. The next day, we all rushed around to prepare for the show. We packed up all of the equipment and headed out. Sadly our keyboardist Mike wasn’t able to join us on this date due to school.

Letters To Elise.  Photo courtesy of the band.

J:  How do you see the current state of the Corporate Music Industry? Do you think it has changed since the “old” days before the internet? And, how do you feel about the DIY bands that are becoming mainstream? (arcade fire for example).

P:  The Music Industry today has evolved in many ways. It definitely is not how it used to be when I was a kid. The Industry itself helps bands by telling them what the fans and people wanna hear, kind of like a guideline. But, a DIYB (do it yourself band) has the control and will eventually figure out the right way for the band.

J:  Do you feel that the band has control over how your music reaches the fans? And if yes why do you feel this way and what factors into that?

P:  I feel that it’s the bands’ responsibility to reach out to the fans by sending out a “Hey, what’s up? We are Letters To Elise, this is our music, have a t-shirt…Cheers!”. If we weren’t doing half the work we do to get our music out there we wouldn’t make it and most local bands wouldn’t make it. And we feel this way because we are a DIYB. We have full power over how the songs are heard . It’s all that good stuff.

J:  How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard your music before?

P:  Our music has more of a rock feel to it but also has a pop twist in there too. I tell people when they ask what we sound like and that is the band Yellowcard. It seems like the only band we as a band have come close to. Not on purpose, it was just something that we found fit our genre pretty well. We go for a sound that when people hear it, they go to their friends and say that they’ve never heard anything like it before. Or they might hear a hook that makes them listen to it over and over. It might be a lyric line that they can listen relate to and want to hear over. On one of our T-shirts has the phrase ” I Wanna Scream Fake at the Top Of My Lungs” which is a line in the single “Fake”. All of us know and remember the chants at our shows. We want people to hear the music and know that’s that what we represent and what we stand for.

J:  Who are the primary songwriters in the band?

P:  Chris and Brandon are the primary song writers in the band and they are the ones who bring in a guitar riff. Then we build that guitar riff into another part, and from there, we have a verse and a chorus of one song. Tyler will then get a beat over it and I come in and put a bass line down and Mike puts another masterpiece down on his keyboards. The song is then musically complete from start to finish and that’s when Chris and Brandon work on lyrics.

J:  How did you come up with the band name?

P:  The band name actually came from a Cure song called “Letter to Elise”.

J:  What is your opinion on the music scene in Vancouver? Do you feel that there are enough venues for bands to book shows? And is there a lot of competition as well?

P:  The Vancouver music scene to my eyes is blowing up slowly each day in a good way. I myself know a couple artists down there and they’ve got their song out there on Virgin Radio and Hot 107. A friend of mine is one of the members of a group out there called Dirty Radio. Their song is “My <3”. That song plays on Hot 107 every second day! I’ve flown down there and checked the venues out. There’s more venues in Vancouver than in Edmonton. The same problem exists in both cities – the venues are always booked up everyday of the week. If you walk down Granville Street in downtown Vancouver, they have street performers everywhere. On this corner someone’s rapping, and then on that corner you got a guy with an acoustic and a bongo and it just keeps going.

Thanks very much to Brandon and Patrick in answering these questions. Cheers guys!

The EP is a solid piece of work and the track listing is as follows:

  1. Addicted To Your Name
  2. Fake
  3. Seven
  4. Not Without A Fight
  5. Mannequin Down

Every song is personal to the band in some ways as Patrick said. One band that came to mind when I was listening to the first song on the EP called “Addicted To Your Name” is the band Neon Trees. This song is vocally delivered well by Brandon in that he gets the emotions across to the listener. A steady beat, good mix of guitars and keyboards and a catchy melody. “Fake” has good time changes especially when going into the chorus and coming back to the verse. I like the vocals and the effects over the vocals as they are subtle. The song “Seven” is a ballad with heart and soul. Brandon’s vocal work is done extremely well. The music is mellow, slow and languid and the song has depth as far as lyrics go. “Not Without A Fight” starts out with pounding drums and guitars whaling. The verses are stripped down, the time changes are good and the song flows. The last song “Mannequin Down” starts out with keyboards followed by a steady beat of the drum. The guitars are subtle. And the song just gels and all five members play as one unit.

Overall, this is a very solid band that has the drive and the talent to hit the next level. If you’re into bands like Neon Trees or Yellowcard, you need to check out the music and judge for yourself.

New Bands Alert – Short reviews of new bands


Hello to everyone on this fine Saturday!  Happy long weekend.  Whoo!  I’m starting a new series (sort of) of letting people know of new bands that stand out and above the murkiness of finding good music in the abyss.  Today I’m focusing on 2 bands – Teenage X (Toronto ON Canada) and Emily’s Army (Oakland CA USA).

Teenage X – Drink Dance Destroy

Released: June 4, 2011

CD cover.

I awoke one day to find an email in our collective NXEW mailbox from Teenage X.  Since the name intrigued me, I checked out their sites and streamed the music from their MYSPACE page and then downloaded the songs that the band had sent a link to.  WOW.  You need to seriously check this music out.

From the band’s bio: “Teenage X are the band that you blare at an excessive volume from your car stereo with the windows rolled down.” That pretty much says it right there. And this nine song CD is a really good mix of James Dean cool with punk attitude hitting you in the face. Solid melodies, good time changes, biting and aggressive lyrics and the music just invites you to get up and move. Track listing is as follows:

  1. The Signal
  2. Fast Machine
  3. Boom
  4. Drink Dance Destroy
  5. Losin’ It
  6. Say What You Want
  7. On The Outside
  8. Chelsea Horror Hotel
  9. Wasted

The best thing about this bands’ music is that the melodies are in contrast to the lyrics and it’s done well.  The highlight songs on this CD are: The Signal (has the best lyrics and best “I want revenge” song), Fast Machine (has good time changes), Drink Dance Destroy (hard and heavy and in your face), Say What You Want (headbanging song with a steady beat), Chelsea Horror Hotel (kind of lyrically funny with music that is a bit on the light side and is effective) and Wasted (party song/drinking all night and the state that that person is in).

There’s something here that anyone can relate to in everyday life. Solid songs performed with energy and intensity that smacks you in the face at times. Good times!

You can stream the entire album at this link: http://radio3.cbc.ca/#/bands/Teenage-X

The second band, Emily’s Army, I found out about by a friend of mine who lives in the Bay area.  She tipped me off about a new teenage punk band that would rock my socks.  And I can’t refuse an invitation like that.  Checking out the band on their MYSPACE page, I started streaming the music and I liked it so much that I went on iTunes and bought it.   Having no idea who the band members were, I found that this CD was co-produced by Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and that his 16 year old son Joey was the drummer of this band.  And honestly, this band has a lot of talent already and they’re still in high school.  Mind-blowing.

Emily’s Army – Don’t Be A Dick

Released: June 24, 2011

Emily's Army.

A quartet of teenage punksters from Oakland CA have music that is progressive power punk. Classic rock, punk, garage, surf and ska all mix well together and highlights the songs on this stellar debut CD.  Track listing is as follows:

  1. Broadcast This
  2. Strictly For The Birds
  3. Asslete
  4. Rom Drom
  5. Little Face
  6. Ho-Lloween
  7. West Coast
  8. Statutory Rape
  9. Burn Apollo
  10. The Gutter
  11. Regan MacNeil
  12. I Wanna Be Remembered
  13. Bad Cop
  14. Loch Lomond

Highlight songs:  Broadcast This (this song speaks of boring music stations and is a catchy song musically and lyrically),  Little Face (3 chord song done well with lyrics that speak of being independent and not following the crowd), West Coast (musically it’s a really good blend of surf/ska/punk feel and speaks of the east coast vs the west coast), Statutory Rape (about the video gaming industry and they speak of how violent it is) and Loch Lomond (a classic and played extremely well).  If you like punk music and want a fresh approach then you need to check out Emily’s Army.  Slick punks and sick songs.