General Overview of Older Reviews


Since the beginning of this year, I’ve had an overloaded plate and at some point due to many issues, I just couldn’t keep up.

But slow change is happening, and since the reviews I had been working on are 6 months or older now, I’m just going to give out the artists’ name/band name with a link to read about the music and that kind of thing.  I’ll just make a comment about the music, but it’ll be more or less “general”.  I want to leave it to fate and what consumers want (that means you!).  Whether it’s a name of a person/band that sucks you in or just being curious as to what kind of person/band with that name has what kind of music?  Either way, it’s your free will to choose what you do.

One final note:  I do have 2 new reviews that will be posted separately over this long holiday weekend – both are Vancouver BC based artists Sex With Strangers and Rec Centre.

Mother Mother

Hill and the Sky Heroes** (see below for contest)

Jesse Sparks

The Gromble

The Red Button

Seth Swirsky

Taz Taylor Band

Cubic Feet

Infared Sunday

**Hill and the Sky Heroes are on Audio Blood Media, and thanks to the AB Team, I just happen to have 2 extra copies of the CD and if you’d like one sent to you, just answer me this:  1)  who is the force behind this CD and 2) name 3 other artists who this force has worked with and on what kind of project (music, film, art, etc.)

Send an email with your answers to:

jadedphotograhy@me.com

Deadline is September 20th, 2013.  The first correct entries win the CD.  Please remember to include an address to send the CD to in your email.

Mother Mother “The Sticks” is my favorite CD this year hands down.  I love the progressive nature of this band so much it hurts.  The lyrics are always stark and stripped down but remain mysterious to individual listeners.  The opening track OMENS is downright ominous and creepy , but there is a lingering question mark at the end of that song that leads directly into the title track THE STICKS.  I can’t explain how a song can make you think of a question mark.  It just is.  I’ll be playing those 2 songs at the infamous Halloween party this year out in Surrey!  The music does lighten up and take on more happy but melancholy tones  (musically) but lyrically it could go either way.  I would describe the vibe/undercurrent of this CD in 3 words:  On the edge.

Hill and the Sky Heroes is another example of a progressive artist and band member with other impressive credentials to the name Hill.  I had never heard of this band but the talent that is bursting out of this CD is like a water deluge of biblical proportions.  It’s overwhelming at first.  If you like whimsical, edgy and a life being lived fully kind of music, this is a must have for your Indie music collection.

Jessie Sparks is originally from Melbourne Australia where she is based out of today.  She did live in her early teenage years in Illinois, Iowa and New York State in the US where early on she had a huge talent for singing and pianos.  This 5 song EP is worth a listen and download from iTunes.  Great blues vocals reminiscent of Janis Joplin, Odetta and Billie Holiday.  Good timing, upbeat melodies for the most part and a fantastic voice highlight this Blues artist – and if you like Blues, you’ll want to add this to your collection.

The Gromble have that throwback music from the 1990’s.  Not a bad sound if you’re in a longing for the 1990’s.

The Red Button is a Seth Swirsky collaboration.

Taz Taylor Band is pretty much good rocking music.  Check out the link above to find out more.

Cubic Feet and Infared Sunday have good solid music you should check out by following the links above.

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I want to thank Audio Blood Media and Luck Media for their patience while I’ve been AWOL with medical issues.  You guys rock!  And its good to be back!

CD review – Young Rival – Stay Young


CD Review – Young Rival – Stay Young (Sonic Unyon Records)

Released:  October 23, 2012

by Jade Sperry

young rival hamilton on group1

Hailing from my old hometown of Hamilton ON, Young Rival are a hardworking band who are currently on tour in Quebec, and play a show in Hamilton on December 26 at The Casbah.  If I were going home for Christmas this year, I would have definitely checked out this band.   In the USA, there is a movement of like minded bands as Young Rival – Beach Fossils, Wavves, and  Cults just to name a few.

There are a lot of things that I like about this band – their reverence for popular-music history which makes it an indie rock trio capable of winning over audiences that might ordinarily turn a deaf ear to any indie-rock band.  The band members are guitarist and frontman Aron D’Alesio, bassist John Smith and drummer Noah Fralick.

Aron says that “my dad got me into the Yardbirds, Beatles, Kinks – all that stuff.  I didn’t even know who Kurt Cobain was until the guy died.”  I find that one statement refreshing because this band is not modeled on any grunge music whatsoever.  Aron also says “whenever I listen to contemporary music, I enjoy it, but personally I’ve never been too much into what’s going on around me.  I like to dig at stuff that’s not happening.  Those are the things that are interesting to me”.  Wow!  You know in a lot of ways I can relate to what Aron says about music.  I seek out bands much like carving out some media exposure for young bands that normally would never have any such exposure.

They aren’t fashionable, a blog-do-it-yourself-band, trendy or anything of our social trending cyber-world.  Noah sums it well in saying “you get to this point as you play long enough or grow up where you don’t really give a shit.  If you are a “blog band” that helps but its not the only way to do it.”  This is my kind of band!

The only real guideline the band set for itself going into recording, Aron says, was to make “a collection of the best songs we’d ever done together.  We wanted to be able to look back at them and be proud of them….so for me at least this was just trying to do something that we could really stand behind and be really proud of”.

Being in this band means they go and play.  The standard work ethic from a very working-class upbringing in Hamilton.  I know this from the way I was raised in the same area.  So, onto the music – the track listing is as follows:

1.  Black Popcorn

2.  Nothing You Know Well

3.  Let It Go

4.  I Don’t Care

5.  Black is Good

6.  Two Reasons

7.  Better Things to Do

8.  Lost

9.  Valerie

10. Night Song

First off, all the songs are really well written, played, mixed and mastered.  Jon Drew (Fucked Up, Arkells, Tokyo Police Club) is at the helm of this stellar collection of songs.  Beginning with “Black Popcorn” it’s a very upbeat song with a melody that floats through the song.  With lyrics “tell me no lies/tell me no lies/this is your life/” that pretty much sums up most couples who hook up.  Most of us want honest relationships but there are people out there who can mess you up bad.  I relate to this because this happened to me.  Messed up bad by a guy who to this day I still think of.  But I regress.  “Nothing You Know Well” is a stop stutter beat in 2/3 time which flows well by all three members.  Good chord progression and changes.  The lyrical meaning for this listener is that the singer has moved on and grown and the person in front of him has not changed one iota.  That’s pretty accurate for most people.  Some never change at all.  “Let It Go” has a bass line that is eerily similar to Nirvana’s “Breed” but only in it’s beginning bass line which is slowed down and not let loose as Nirvana did.  I like this song – it sums up most things in life – let it go – especially if you have no control over “it”.  “I Don’t Care” clearly reminds me of the Pixies in the progression of the song as a whole.  It’s fast, radio-friendly pop melodies that sound good.  The other stand out songs on this stellar CD are “Better Things To Do” which has a surf-country feel (if that’s possible) which speaks of woman in jail and having much better things to do; “Lost” which is sombre like a Lenard Cohen poem and speaks of traveling and asking for directions and help; and “Night Song” because it’s a fun song musically.  Dancing in my living room to this song is fun and well, you should try this as well when you buy the CD.

All in all, I really like this band, not because they’re Hamiltonians, but because they are just a really good band that plays great music.  I like the influences that I hear in the music and the lyrics I can relate to in many ways.

Enjoy the music video for “Two Reasons”:

CD Review – Mystery Machine – Western Magnetics


Mystery Machine – Western Magnetics (Sonic Unyon Records)

Released: 11 September 2012

By Jade Sperry

Formed in Chilliwack BC back in 1990, Mystery Machine are still kicking out their jams. With their new CD Western Magnetics released a few months back, they did a short tour to follow up their CD and celebrated their CD release show at the Astoria in Vancouver back on October 13.

The band have released 3 prior albums called Glazed (1992), Ten Speed (1995) and Headfirst Into Everything (1998). They’ve been on a hiatus of informal means and have recently signed on with Sonic Unyon Records (in my hometown of Hamilton ON). This new beginning has also given birth to a new album.

The current members are: Shane Ward, “Bean” Chris Switzer, Luke Rgalsky and Mario Nieva. Original band member Jordan Pratt appears on 5 of the 10 tracks. This was recorded between 1999-2011 at 3 studios in Vancouver: Mushroom, Slack and Big Midet with Vince Jones, Blair Calibaba and Tim Oberthier handling all production duties, and Noah Mintz mastered it at the Lacquer Channel.

CD Cover art

Track listings are as follows:

  1. Pronto
  2. Japanese-Dads
  3. Runaways
  4. Octagon Skylight
  5. Floatist
  6. We Won’t Return
  7. House On Fire
  8. Snow
  9. Bullshit Patrol
  10. Northern Analog

The first track “Pronto” is a fast edgy song that has a lot of fuzzed out guitars and a wall of music – much like the early 1990’s movement in bands like Sonic Youth, Nirvana and My Bloody Valentine to name a few.  Speaking of “Have you seen the world?” is the question through the song that a listener has the chance to answer for themselves.  “Japanese-Dads” is a similar song in musical style but there are no lyrics – just a good song with a happy uptempo and decent melody. “Octagon Skylight” is a ballad type song that proclaims “you’re alright/i’m your maker/you can’t deny/things are changing now”.  I like the melody of this song as it’s very smooth and re-assuring in a calm way.  This song is mixed well.  For the most part, this CD takes you back to the 1990’s in a friendly way.  The other standout songs are “Snow” and “Bullshit Patrol”.

All in all a good CD and a welcome return by Mystery Machine.  If you’re into the ’90’s alt music, this would be a CD you’d like.

Cd Review – The Zolas – Ancient Mars


The Zolas – Ancient Mars

Released:  October 2, 2012

by Jade Sperry

After debuting with Tic Toc Tic in 2009, The Zolas climbed the precipice of cult status across Canada, thanks to a very loyal fan-base carried over from Zach Gray (vocals, guitar) and Tom Dobrzanski’s (piano) earlier years as Lotus Child.  With Ancient Mars, The Zolas are set to continue their legacy of postmodern pop. Armed with poetic lyrics, Ancient Mars trades in the cabaret glitz of Tic Toc Tic for reverbed pianos and hard, minimalist beats.  In each song, Zack Gray builds a skeleton of a setting for a song – from outer space to a college library to a Victorian jail cell – and tells stories fleshed out with the listener’s own history.

If John Lennon and Kanye West met later tonight at a hotel bar, “Escape Artist” is the song they would write. It’s these kinds of pairings that Ancient Mars is full of:  The Zolas write classic pop songs and then fuck them up until the hooks have to fight to get out.  In October, The Zolas teamed up with Winnipeg’s The Liptonians to release a 7” split single “Cultured Man”, a quixotic snack in between the two full-length albums.

Tom Dobrzanski is the band’s on-board producer, having worked with names in indie-rock royalty like Said the Whale and We Are The City.  But for Ancient Mars, the production duties were handed over to Chuck Brody (Tegan and Sara, Ra Ra Riot, Yoko Ono, Phantogram, Wu-Tang).

The track listing for the CD is as follows:

1.    In Heaven

2.    Knot In My Heart

3.    Ancient Mars

4.    Strange Girl

5.    Escape Artist

6.    Observatory

7.    Local Swan

8.    Euphrates and Tigris

9.    Cold Moon

10.   Cultured Man (Bonus Track features The Liptonians)

The Zolas at Squamish Live Festival - picture courtesy of Yolande Cole and the Georgia Straight.

I’ve been a fan of The Zolas since their debut in 2009.  In the past years, Zack has played in a number of other bands in the Vancouver area (Henry and the Nightcrawlers) and has done solo sets opening for his friends’ shows (David Vertesi of Hey Ocean!).  Tom Dobrzanski is a brilliant artist in his own right – from producing to recording to piano man – he gets the job done.  Tom also has his own studio called VERTICAL STUDIOS here in the Vancouver area and does well for himself.  These are 2 artists that have a lifetime of talent between them; and possibly more.

This is a solid 10 song CD.  “In Heaven” is an odd but interesting song.  The music is slightly out of key and is in the minors but it has an excellent melody which gives it a moody feel.  The guitars, pianos and drums all blend together quite well, and the song itself gives off a life of its own.  It’s a well written song that has character.  “Knot In My Heart” has a really cool melody and groove.  This song changes from mid-tempo to uptempo in the bridges and the chorus.  It’s a well written song that’s mixed well.  “Ancient Mars” has a mellow vibe and is in 3/4 time.  I particularly like this song as it’s got a personality in the melody.   “Escape Artist” has a nice flow throughout its 2:42 of life.  The song starts with pianos and then it begins to build with the other instruments in a short period time.  Awesome!  The other standout songs are “Local Swan” (Montreal setting with a girl who may or may not remember a meeting), and “Cold Moon” (a ballad type song that flows well stripped down).

Photo of The Zolas at Sqaumish Festival – courtesy of Yolande Cole and the Georgia Straight.

CD Review – Hands and Teeth – Hunting Season


CD Review – Hands and Teeth – Hunting Season

Released: January 2012

by Jade Sperry

Hands & Teeth are  Kevin Black, Adam Kolubinski, Derek Monson, Natasha Pasternak and Jeff Pint and for the time being they live in Toronto.  Their release of Hunting Season is a good progression from Enjoy Your Lifestyle from 2010.    One thing this band does well is the harmonies.  Finding people to harmonize well with can be quite hard.

Here is the track listing:

  1. It’s Coming Back
  2. All That Was
  3. Le Petit Voleur
  4. Sound of Hamilton
  5. Missing
  6. Parallel States
  7. Hunting Season
  8. Song 8

The lead-off track  “It’s Coming Back” has a melodic sound which gives it a very whimsical feel.  It reminds me of someone who has come 360 degrees in their life and are looking back on the darker thoughts.  With lyrics like “We know what you are”,  “I hide in the dark” and “Scars are fading fast” sounds to me like someone has gone through something traumatic in their childhood. “All That Was” starts with a whimsical melody that builds into the bridge and chorus – and with lyrics “I can’t see out of this haze” leads one to believe they are in a state of confusion.  Lovely piano work at the beginning and end of this song.  “Sound of Hamilton” is a song close to my heart as it’s a song about my old hometown Hamilton ON.  And I have to say that lyrically and musically this song is spot on.  The melody and the total song itself sounds creepy – almost like you just went to Dundurn Castle and got spooked out and ran for your life in the downtown alleys with only the thought of “getting out” before it’s too late.  “Missing” is a fairly upbeat song but with a melancholy melody that is slightly off key and reminds me of the Detroit sound (The Ronnettes) in the first verses.  The lyrics speak of “you try to see the whole world and suddenly it’ll bring you down” because you may not be aware that our culture is now global in the 21st century.  I really like how this song flows – almost like water.  “Parallel States” has wonderful harmonies which weave through the song and make it sound alive.  There is really good depth from the middle of the song to the end.  “Hunting Season” is uptempo and has quirky lyrics that sound like they have a bite to it.   I really like the male/female tradeoff in the song as well as the guitars in the beginning of the song.  The melody is very warm, positive and inviting.  The bridge is slowed down to vocalize gently and then the song evens off.  This is song the one I like the best.  It’s the way that the song is structured by lyrics and melody.  And the last song “Song 8” starts out as s spooky melody however it ends up as a laid back song.   The lyrics are whimsical with just enough spook to it.  This band pulled off that song very well.

I’d rate this CD at 8 out of 10.  Song structure, melodies and harmonies are really well captured in this 8 song CD.  If you like good music that is frantic, lazy and down to earth, then this band is for you.  Any one can easily identify with subjects within the song.  If you like Hey Rosetta!, David Vertesi and Mother Mother then you’ll probably like this band as well.  I’m looking forward to more songs from this band.

A video for your enjoyment from Hands & Teeth –  “Hunting Season/Sounds of Hamilton” – an impromptu performance at Toronto’s Capital Expresso.  Video shot and edited by Mitch Fillion.

Toronto’s The Bloody Five CD review


CD Release:  The Bloody Five

Released:  Summer of 2012

by Jade Sperry

The Bloody Five are a rock band out of Toronto ON who are moving up the in the local club circuit.  They’ve got an EP that was released in June 2010 (Bedroom Music – a FREE download) that I reviewed – that EP totally rocked!!  And in 2012 they’ve done 2 things which is heading in the right direction – they’ve done a cover version of the classic song by The Demics called “(I Wanna Go To) New York City” this past February.  And in the summer of 2012, they’ll release their debut CD which is definitely a progression of their musical skills.

The track listing is as follows:

1.    Release

2.    Tethered

3.    Just Joking

4.    After You

5.    Under This Mountain

6.    Exit Sign

7.    (I Wanna Go To) New York City

8.    And For Me The Forest

9.    Bedroom Music

10.   Never Again

11.   Je M’excuse

The Bloody Five are Tomi Fear (guitars), KD has got the pipes, Jay Appleby (Bass) and Raw Beats Sedan (Drums).  The mastering of the CD is the work of one talented guy from Toronto – Producer Joao Carvalho who reminds me of Rick Rubin.  Vancouver artist David Vertesi worked with Joao on his solo CD Cardiograpphy.  The other songs on this CD were recording and mixing the CD was done by Derek Hoffman (in the band Brighter Brightest)  The cover song was mixed by Brian Moncarz.  And the band traveled to New York in the summer of 2011 to shoot the video for the song and had help via Kevin McLaughlin (owner of Autoshare), Chris Nelson and videographer Martin Wojtunik.  And CBGB’S and The Ramones somehow.

“Release” is the first song.  Slighty off key, it has a creepy or unsure sound to it.  It’s slow sombre music that suddenly drives you straight into to the drums pounding, bass raging, guitars off in a clean buzz with vocals sounding strained, sad and pleading.   Just for a second I got the shiver that this song makes you physically feel.  Good choice for the leadoff song!   “Tethered” has a blues feel in the beginning with slow harmonicas.  But then the voltage of the song rises instantly out of nowhere.  Because it slams into your face so fast that the song takes right off into the horizon.  It’s a well written song that this band can pull it off.  “Just Joking” and “After You” are solid ballad songs with hurt and raw emotion which generates the emotion of the song across to the listener.  I felt as though the four band members were playing it just for me.  In my living room.  With a cold beer.  Good work!  Hands down my favorite song on the CD is  “Under The Mountain”.  Wonderful melodies with what sounds like a mandolin that truly makes the emotion in this song.  The vocals are particularly good in this song as well.  In 3/4 time,  “Exit Sign” is another song that really smacks you in the face and screams “HELLO?” Pieces of this song are reminiscent of The Beatles, The Ramones and Green Day to name a few.  One thing I really like about this band is the age dimension.  It’s quite evident that the band have a vast knowledge of music to work with and its evident in this one song.  The Cover song of  (I Wanna Go To)  New York City is very well done.  Upbeat tempo which Green Day do so brilliantly in 3/3 (tempo).  The last four songs are on the Bedroom Music EP which you can download for free by clicking the link at the beginning of this article.

This CD rates a 9 out of 10.  I like the vocal sounds with the music and the music is very well written and performed by all four members.  I would suggest this CD to anyone who likes good music of any kind.  So and get your hands on this CD!

Watch the video by The Bloody Five

Disclaimer – article was released with errors and not to my knowledge.  I have fixed the errors and will post accordingly to various sites.

CD Review – Jack White – Blunderbuss on VEVO/YOUTUBE tonight!


Jack White – Blunderbuss

Released: 24 April 2012

by Jade Sperry

Jack White is an amazing artist.  From his humble roots growing up in suburban Detroit to forming some of the best bands in the 21st century including The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather.  He’s a father, 2x ex-husband, singer/songwriter, producer, a player of many instruments, and an occasional actor (in 2003;  Mutant Swinger From Mars and in Cold Mountain).  He’s always declined to speak about his private life saying that “If you asked Michelangelo what kind of shoes do you wear, it’s not relevant to his art and thus is irrelevant”.  Jack feels that same way.  Married in 2005 and divorced in 2011 (to Karen Elson) he’s now debuting a secular and introspect to his musical taste.

Jack White performing in Nashville 2012. Photo by Jo McCaughey.

The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather are some of the bands he’s put together in the 21st century,  but there are bands that have not been famous and in fact they pre-date The White Stripes.  Those bands are The Upholsters, Two Star Tabernacle, Goober and the Peas and The Hentchmen.

The track listing for the Blunderbuss CD are:

1.   Missing Pieces

2.   Sixteen Saltines

3.   Freedom at 21

4.   Love Interruption

5.   Blunderbuss

6.   Hypocritical Kiss

7.   Weep Themselves To Sleep

8.   I’m Shakin’

9.   Trash Tongue Talker

10.  Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy

11.  I Guess I Should Go To Sleep

12.  On and On and On

13.  Take Me With You When You Go

All of the songs on this debut CD are alive and crackling with high energy.  The first song, “Missing Pieces”, is a really well done piece of blues.  The Rhodes piano makes the song feel more like classic rock and it works the hard sound of the  guitars.  The whole song flows like sweet wine on a hot summer day.  “Sixteen Saltines” has a hard guitar line that is very catchy.  Energetic, good melodies and acerbic lyrics that sounds like a personal song in some ways.  When you have a  line that states “Who’s jealous of who?” you know its about something or someone.  “Freedom at 21” has jazzy drums with two guitar lines – one on the hard lower fret notes and the other with spaced out high fret notes.  The vocals are strained with a held back anger in the lyrics speaking , “And she don’t care what kind of wounds she’s inflicting on me”.  Yikes!  “Love Interruption” is a stripped down song with backing vocals by Ruby Amanfu – which is a dynamite call.  Both singers sing of love, corruption and changing friends to enemies.  The acoustic guitar work is done well in this song.  “Bunderbuss” is Jacks’ take on grass roots blues music.  Simple melodies sound beautiful with the standup bass (by Bryn Davies) and the Pedal Steel (by Fats Kaplin), soft vocals and acoustic guitars give the song a dreamy feel good feeling.  “Hypocritical Kiss” is a song that is about hurt, betrayal and lies.  Lying to impress people is just not a good idea – it can lead you so far but eventually you’ll be caught in a web of lies and no one is impressed by that.  Well played by all the musicians and good mixing makes me like this song a lot.  I can definitely  relate well to the lyrics in this song.

“Weep Themselves To Sleep” has a good musical opening which reminds me of saloons of the 1800’s.  It’s a choppy song musically especially during the bridges.  Some parts of the music is just a bit off key but it goes down well with lyrics.  My favorite lyric in this 12 song brilliant CD is “that the villain will play the victim/the tame can’t shake the reins of demonizing brains that mean to kill them”.  “I’m Shakin'” sounds like The Cramps songs used to in the 80’s.  It’s about love, being nervous, jumping, sweating  …. you know.  Karen Elson also does some backing vocals for this song.  “Trash Tongue Talker” has a neat opening with drums and piano.  In 4/4 time slow this song picks up speed for a superb ending and a good ol’ jamming.  Jack is on piano in this song and I can hear the fun flowing out his fingers hitting keys.  Again this song has fluidity that keeps you moving in some ways, whether you’re clapping or jiving its a song that is up at the top in this collection.  “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” sounds like honky-tonk with piano tunes of old.  I like how Jack sings from a lower note and brings it up a notch towards a higher note at the end of verses.  The bridge of the song is upbeat and has a feel good song.  “I Guess I Should Go To Sleep” is short, sweet and has a bluegrass feel to it.  The melody is in fact rather complicated in its simplicity.  You could in fact sing this for kids to go to sleep.  “On and On and On” begins with the upright bass whose notes are more in the off key to give it a foreboding and personal feel.   I particularly like this song and how the piano is fed through a Leslie speaker, because it gives the song a whimsical feel and look back perhaps into Jacks’  life and how it has changed him over the last decade.  And the last song “Take Me With You When You Go” is definitely the best song for me on the CD because it’s actually 2 songs bridged together or if not, its brilliant because the song starts slow and then suddenly it’s kicked into high gear and then just ends.

I don’t give out high marks in giving a review but this is a solid body of work that stands up and exceeds the bands that Jack has involved himself in.  On a scale of ten this record is 11.  Superb songwriting skills and the knowledge to paint a story in your head for a brief moment in time.  And if you like the music Jack creates with other people you’ll be blown away by this gem of work.

Jack White Unstaged (directed by Actor Gary Oldman) is on Jacks’ YouTube/Vevo channels which are being  broadcast at 9pm EST/6 pm PST.  You can then hear Jack perform his new work by clicking on the link above.  I will be watching this broadcast and hopefully you will too.

CD Review – Se7en Sided “Life On Hold”


CD Review – Se7en Sided – Life On Hold

Released – September 20, 2011

by Jade Sperry

Se7en Sided are a stellar band from Edmonton AB.  Their CD Life On Hold was released on September 20, 2011.  At that time I was hospitalized and couldn’t even listen the CD until I was released in early October.  The 12 song CD is a good progression from their first CD “The Silver Lining.  The band had Randor Lin produce and engineer the CD and it was mastered by Charles Carvalho at Joao Carvalho Mastering.   I really enjoy this bands’ music as it speaks the truth about how lives are lived – it’s honest music.  Not a lot of bands do that – tell it like it is.  Straight up music.

The track listing is as follows:

1.    All I Got

2.     Restart

3.    Letter

4.    Wild One

5.    Do You Miss Me?

6.    Who We Are

7.    You and the Rain

8.    Thank You

9.    Carry On

10.   I Wouldn’t Trade

Edmonton’s Se7en Sided

All of the songs on this CD are very well written musically.  Lyrically, I find this band has honest music and I think that has carried over to this new CD from the 2010’s The Silver Lining.  I hear more maturity with the songs lyrically which is good because time marches on.  Darren Rogers fronts the band and has superb vocals with a good range.  Dan Sittler is shredding with lead guitars, Marcus Engel on bass and Aaron Hanley on drums.  This band is musically tight and you can hear how well they perform as one unit in studio and onstage.  They’ve played with bands like Econoline Crush, Defualt, Armchair Cynics, The Artist Life and Social Code.

Starting out the CD is “All I Got” which starts with a female voice letting you know what’s coming up with a 30 second spot of guitar work and then full on into a fast tempo, slightly punked out guitars and then its off in another direction musically – more rock and a ballad like melody in the middle eights.  Basically it’s a song about true feelings of devotion.  Following the person who means the most to you.  This is a really well written song both lyrically and musically.  “Restart” starts out fairly slow and questions a relationship that maybe hasn’t fully ended and how to face that emotion in each other.  The bass and drums work well together as does the guitars.  Awesome song!  This writer’s favorite song is “Letter” that is pure kick ass music.  The guitars just shred so good and the melody flows out of the instruments like a waterfall.  I really dig the melody of this song in general and I honestly can say that this music is Se7en Sided and original.  “Who We Were” starts out like a ballad with slow lead in music that gets a bit more defined by about the 1 minute 50 second mark.  Going separate ways is hard to deal with at any point in time but as days goes by you realize that you’ve grown in an opposite way to your partner’s life.

Other songs that are a highlight – “Carry On” and “I Wouldn’t Trade”.  Overall this CD has songs and lyrics for anyone to listen and relate to.  Honest music through and through.

You can find the band at the following sites:  Twitter  Facebook  YouTube  MySpace

Live Acoustic Session (from October 23, 2011) which is from the band’s YouTube channel.

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.

CD (EP) Review – The Ruby Spirit – Born Under A Veil


CD (EP) Review – The Ruby Spirit – Born Under A Veil

Released: September 5, 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

The Ruby Spirit. Photo courtesy of the band

In the fall of 2010, The Ruby Spirit released their debut record Born Under a Veil to a crowd of 500 eager fans at The Great Hall in Toronto. Since then the band has garnered a flurry of glowing reviews from independent blogs and printed newspapers for their ambitious and breakthrough brand of alternative pop. There are no signs of looking back.

This stellar EP was produced and mixed by Tony Malone and mastered by Joao Carvalho in various studios in Toronto ON. My first impressions of this EP: a lot of focused energy, dramatic music and fanciful lyrics in all 6 songs that are interesting and well written. The members of the band are:  Paige Boy (vocals), Alex Pulec (guitar and vocals), Mickey Donnell (bass), Jay Cipparrone (drums and percussion) and Juliana Eye (piano, organs, synth and vocals). This is a band that has a dramatic flair in their costumes and actions onstage which gives the music a “theatrical” feel to it (think “Cabaret”).

“Tin Can Bees” is the opening song which has an odd time signature and count but it works well with the melody and lyrical arrangement. Fuzzed out guitars, operatic vocals and samba drums are the backbone to this song. This song is based in emotions that speak of “we hate where we live but love the view”.

“Sound of the Bell” has a bit of an evil feel to it but at the same time, it has a fun feel to it, musically speaking. Lyrically, it speaks of being free, having the touch, and about having nothing to fear. It does have an uneven time signature but it works with the melody. The vocals are done very well by blending in with the music and setting the pace of the song in general.

“Ruby Dog” is for this writer the standout song on the EP. The piano and synths have an “Eddie Munster” campy kind of feel to it. The bass line and drums work well in the song giving it a great backbone to work off. Lyrically it’s about a dog that is lost and found again by his/her owner after spending a few days roaming the streets.

“From You It’s True” has a classic rock feel to it. This song has a slower time signature, a whimsical melody and great vocals. The lyrics are about not asking questions because you won’t get an answer anytime soon, if ever.

“Fix and Repair” is a stream-of-consciousness type of song. It’s fast paced with a slow break in the middle. In some parts of this song, there is a Spanish feel to the lyrics which flavors the music in a good way.

The final song “Caligari” has a jazzy time signature to it but also has a rock feel to it as well. The vocals are delivered in a very good way with emotion and feeling. Lyrically, this could be about anyone pondering the meaning of fame, money, evil intentions and the like.

Overall, this is a very good debut EP that has well crafted songs, interesting music and has a classic rock/theatrical vibe to it. The Ruby Spirit are starting life in a good place. The band is playing a show this evening Saturday June 25 at the famed El Mocambo with special guest Jumpie. You should check out the band as I’m sure you will not be disappointed.

Video – Tin Can Bees by The Ruby Spirit – Wood and Wires Sessions