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.

Advertisements

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:

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.

Shoot The Image Show Review – April 20 2011 The Painted Lady Toronto ON


Shoot The Image – Benefit Show for Jason Woods

Show Date:  April 20, 2011

Posted on:  May 24, 2011

Toronto ON @ The Painted Lady

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Jason Wood's Benefit show. Photo by Jade Sperry.

First off, I want to tell you that I would have written this review sooner had it not been for my health issues that relate to the job I am currently working.

Secondly, this was an acoustic show by three bands, two of which I caught on camera – The Fast Romantics and Shoot The Image. The first band was Hayley Gene (of the band Tuzo and which I only caught the last 15 or 20 minutes of their set which was good nonetheless).

This was a benefit show with a “pay what you can at the door” for Jason Woods. Jason was sidelined with a bad foot injury which prevented him from working and supporting his young family. The band members of Shoot The Image put together this benefit show for him.

The Fast Romantics. Photo by Jade Sperry.

This show was brilliant. The Fast Romantics were up second and did a casual acoustic set. After some minor sound issues were resolved they played a seven song set which included “Cool Kids”, “Union Park” and “Last Night” which were played with a hint of mellowness and a lot of energy. There was a lot of love in the room for Jason.

Shoot The Image took the stage next and although three band members could not be there to play due to conflicting schedules, it was the main duo who brought it home for Jason. Starting with acoustic versions of “Fortified” and “Lithograph” they sang a few covers and finished with a rousing group of friends onstage singing “Stand By Me” which fit the theme of the evening perfectly! And the best part of this night was —- raising $2200.00 for this event and a big thank you to all who attended and donated. It goes to very good people.

Shoot The Image's main dynamic duo. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Shoot The Image are playing a benefit show (Pop With Brains) at The Rivoli this Friday May 27. If you visit the bands’ website you can find out where they are playing shows as well as listening to their music.

Thanks so much to EVERYONE in the Shoot The Image realm – you all made me feel very welcome. It’s a rare thing when you go somewhere far away and meet total strangers who become friends. Bonzai to you all and thank you again!

Jason Woods in the green jacket. Dude you rock! Photo by Jade Sperry.

EP Review – Pyro Fighter (Self)


EP Review – Pyro Fighter (Self)

Released: May 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Pyro Fighter. Photo courtesy of the band.

Pyro Fighter’s bio states that they are “a renegade trio of tron-pop cut throats known for luring, capturing and permanently trancing their audience through a perfected formula of auditory and visual manipulation.” Although I have never seen them live, the music suggests that this statement is true.

Originally from Columbus OH, Dany Mellette (Commander), Billy Arnett (Enforcer #1) and Patrick Stockhausen (Enforcer #2) have very recently moved to Chicago IL and are being managed by Crystal Bishop at EarCandy Chicago. Pyro Fighter were on the club and party circuit in Columbus and caught the attention of Grammy Award winning Italian DJ Benny Benassi. With the aid of local rave lords DJ’s Carma and Attak and the influence of local photographers and bloggers, the hype led to an all out take-over of the city of Columbus.

In just under a year after Pyro Fighter came into being, the group caught the attention of MTV and had their song “LMFAO” selected to be featured on the Season 2 premier of the smash hit show “Jersey Shore”. Five million viewers turned that song into a YouTube sensation as well as on iTunes and SoundCloud.

The bands’ music is power dance pop, trance music and is futuristic in its sounds. Starting out with the song “Honey Shot” it has a good melody, trippy sounds and good layers in the song itself. Dany’s vocals fit the song perfectly in a monotone way which gives the song balance. “I’m The One” has a good beat, melody and is vocally performed well. I like the effects and layering and this is just a good dance track. It could lyrically be about “the” one or just the one for a good time? That would be up to the listener. “La Lemon Drop” is an interesting song as it has a rock vibe within the dance feel to it. The effects and layering are very effective in pulling that dance feel out of the song. The melody is well developed and the structure of the song is well built. Lyrically, this song has a dual meaning and it’s left up to the listener to interpret what that might be. The remix of “LMFAO” is choppy electronic beats and effects, stuttering, stopping and moving on a warped melody. It has a slow weird break in mid song which only adds to the slightly warped sound throughout the song. “Play Stop Rewind” is a straight forward dance track which is upbeat and in minor keys which gives the song a kind of futuristic feel. I like the robotic effects on the vocals, the trance like quality on the breaks and fast repeat vocals within the song. The layering is particularly effective in harnessing all those sounds and mixing them about in a pattern that has a good melody and structure to begin with. “So Good” has a softer beat which gives it a fuzzy kind of quality to the overall sound of the song. It’s not slow but has a different time signature which gives it that fuzzed out feel. The melody is catchy, the vocals sound sweet while singing about kissing and has a happy vibe. The final song “You’ll Never Know” has a really cool heavy beginning and then heads into a fast, headbanging dance track and all out assault, or so it feels like that. It has bits of marching sounds, a dreamy quality to the melody and kicks it with the faster dance beats. I really like how the band utilized the time changes within the song.

Even though this material is almost a year old, it sounds as fresh as the day it came out. If you like dance music and trance/electronica, this is one EP you want to get and comes highly recommend by this writer. You can find the music on the band’s website and the link is at the top of the review.

EP review – Jimmy Con – Drama


EP Review – Jimmy Con – Drama

Released: 1 April 2011

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

EP cover for DRAMA. Photo courtesy of the artist.

This is no April Fool’s Day joke. Jimmy Con of Chicago’s Ghosthouse has released his new EP Drama. Electronic trance music with some fantastic beats. Vocals that are toned out to emphasize the beats of the music. Classic beats done in the ’80’s old school DJ style with some samples. I can totally envision a crowded club dance floor with the people dancing up a storm, arms in the air. Jimmy also has Ear Candy Chicago (Crystal Bishop) helping him to reach his vision in becoming a big name artist. The future is going to be bright for Jimmy Con me thinks.

Track listing:

  1. Drama
  2. Fly Away
  3. Heat of the Night
  4. White Tiger
  5. Yjodaly
  6. You’ll Never Know (Pyrofighter remix)

On first listen, what stands out in the big picture of this EP is the timing of the beats and vocals within the melody of the songs themselves. And how well the echo, effects and layering of the songs are – well built, solid and kicking it. Starting out with “Drama” this is one cool and classically built song. Structured well with great timing, it just flies out of the speaker at you. This song is a favorite in my collection as of right now. I like the beginning of the song, soft shouting in the background with great effects and how it kind of sounds like cleansing water flowing over you. It has a positive, upbeat vibe to it that is consistent throughout the song. “Fly Away” has more of a sonic feel to it much like the movie “Trainspotting” had. Fast moving beats and effects all melding into one fusion song that moves like a train going mach one. This song does have some lyrical structure as well that is light and fun which matches the mood of the song. “Heat of the Night” has a deep bass beat as the backbone to this track. With good timing and rhythm within the song, lyrics fit the bill perfectly and that’s what the song calls for. Jimmy’s instincts in what plays good for the song will serve him well in the future. The fourth track “White Tiger” is this writer’s favorite song. This track starts out with spacey, trippy trance beats and effects with a soft crowd clap in the background. The beats rise above that chaotic sound into a psychedelia trance beat that makes you want to get up and shimmy around your living room or office. Good drum beat effects punctuate in the right areas of the song which again shows good instincts with what sounds best for the song. “Yjodaly” sounds like it’s from another planet for some reason. I guess the vibe of this song brings that vision in my head. I can imagine a space shuttle-like trip with this music as the background music – “spinning on the vintage side” and “you’re alive” – makes sense to me. The vocals are done well and fit the song perfectly. The final song “You’ll Never Know (Pyrofighter Remix)” is straight up dreamy beats, minor tones and layers of happy dance melodies and gets spaced out which makes for a nice break towards the end of the track.

The download of Drama will be available for FREE until Monday April 4. You can get it here.

CD Review – Shortwave – The Skyline Versus


CD Review – Shortwave – The Skyline Verses

Released: 8 February 2011 (EMI Music)

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Anthems of heartbreak and triumph that tug at the heartstrings and speak to the masses. New-wave indie-rock that is smart and sexy. Pulsating dance-rock and contemplative ballads. Toronto’s own Shortwave have managed to capture it all on their debut full-length album The Skyline Verses, available February 8 via EMI Music / MB Distribution.

With seasoned producer Byron Kent Wong (The Crystal Method, Beck) at the helm, The Skyline Verses blends together vintage analogue warmth with a forward leaning attitude, creating an album that is as contemporary and immediate as it is reminiscent and familiar. It is also the long awaited follow up from a band that has recently shared the stage with an eclectic range of artists from Cracker to The Waking Eyes.

The five members of Shortwave have been together for over five years and are brothers Ry and Sager Johnson (guitar), who grew up in Toronto with Devin Jannetta (drums), forming various bands and sharing stages with the likes of Big Sugar, Junkhouse and Super Friendz. With the addition of long time friend, Cary Parker, the band’s unique family dynamic was rounded out creating an environment where ideas are explored and honed as they seamlessly shift tempos, layer harmonies and dive into the sonic vastness of keyboards and effects.

Shortwave released their debut EP Breaker/Breaker (2007) and shortly after that, they received a fan letter from Grammy winning producer Malcolm Burn (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop). Shortwave found themselves in New York recording their self titled sophomore EP in rapid time – one week. Several tracks from Shortwave (2008) received airplay on 102.1 The Edge (Toronto) and CBC Radio (Canada). They were also featured on the first episode of AUX TV’s Master Tracks. Their self-produced video for the single “Stereo” received rotation on MuchMusic and was also a featured video on MySpace.

Shortwave with producer Byron Kent Wong. Photo courtesy of the band.

Track Listing:

  1. Esther
  2. The Sublime
  3. Horror Show
  4. Your Face Is A Mirror
  5. It’s Time
  6. Louis L’Amour
  7. Motown
  8. Maybe Science
  9. Sea Legs
  10. Stereo
  11. Little Men

With this new collection of songs, I can hear the progression this band has achieved in just over a 4 year period. And with this kind of hard work, it will pay off in the long run of Shortwave. “Esther” is the kind of song that has a great hook, good melodies and all members of the band are locked into each other from the get go. The chord structure is simple but has a good overall effect which the melody and hook call for in this song. Lyrically the song is speaking of wanting to be with a partner and exploring intimacy with one person. It sounds to me like someone in need of being saved by an angel. The chorus and bridges have effective time changes and the infectious overall sound makes for a great dance rock song. “The Sublime” is this writers’ favorite song. The hook and melody are really radio friendly, the vocals are perfectly matched to the music and the band are playing this song as one solid unit. Although the structure of the song itself and chord structure are simple they use it to their advantage. The chorus is dreamy and trippy and makes for a nice break in the song melody. “Louie L’Armour” has a gritty and dirty feel to it and is based somewhat in a blues chord structure. The bass line is sick and funky at the same time. Vocally well done especially in the harmonies. The drumming is shaman-like and the Hammond Organ gives the song a real classic 70’s feel. That is a lot going on in one song and gives you a good look into how good this band is overall. On the lyrical side, it speaks of some kind of apocalypse complete with black horses and their riders, burning cities to the ground and the kind of destruction we see from the recent events in Japan. “Stereo” starts out softly with a piano line followed by the drums. The vocals are soft but speak of being on the road and missing that special someone. A progressive modern ballad done well. The only thing is that again it’s built on a simple but effective chord structure but what gives the song its weight is the layering effect of keyboard and piano lines. The harmonies are beautifully sung and the emotion of the song gives you a forlorn but positive feeling.

Other solid mentions are the songs “Motown”, “Maybe Science” and “Horror Show”. This CD is mixed, mastered and performed well and is an overall good package of music. Fans of progressive alternative rock with blues, classic and psychedelia rock will appreciate the simplicity and passion of the music presented here.


Video – The Sublime