Latest EP by The Manvils – Black Tornado


The Manvils had quite a year in 2011. They moved from Vancouver to Toronto and celebrated the new release of their EP Black Tornado. They hooked up with producer Sho Murray who recorded their debut CD Buried Love. The concept that they acquired is to record songs in each of their favorite cities – Vancouver, Toronto and Chicago. The band in general are progressing as songwriters and performers as this first EP release clearly shows the creative side of the band in general. They’ve also shared the stage with larger bands including Metric, Stereophonics, Bif Naked, Sonic Youth and Ben Harper just to name a few.

The tracks on this EP Vol. 1 are:

  1. Lions of a Lost Tongue
  2. Black Tornado
  3. Alone With You
  4. Castaway
  5. Hot Volcano

Starting with the song “Lions of a Lost Tongue” has a good melody but is a bit erratic in the beginning which works well with the Eddie Van Halen guitars. I particularly like the vocal work by Mikey Manville (singer/songwriter/guitars) and as always Greg Buhr (bass) lays down some root chords and is the backbone that is persistent in this song. Jay Koenderman (drums) keeps the beat like melted iron. The EP title song “Black Tornado” has a shifty kind of beat with straight on rock and roll but has confidence woven into the song like a heartbeat. Choppy and fuzzed out  guitars are layered in the song which makes the melody sound like it’s on the dangerous side. ”Alone with You” has a moody and dark melody with guitars that remind me of a murder and mayhem. With lyrics that say “I won’t leave myself alone with you” and “blood on my hands” confirms the feeling. “Castaway” has a definite haunting sound with a moody and dark melody which reminds me of being lost or having lost someone or something. Tense vocals throughout the song pick up the desperation that climaxes with an abrupt end to the song. Wow! “Hot Volcano” is an off-tempo, stop/stutter and frantic melody that works really well with Mikeys’ vocals. Choppy guitars end the song with a little bit of honey that makes the final notes all that much sweeter. Emotions are hard to get across to the listener through a song but Mikey manages to do this well. And his skills as a songwriter show up and are on the same page as the rest of the band. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on an international stage in the near future.

For all things Manville their website has a lot of information including CD’s, past media articles and a tour sections to see where the band will be touring in 2012. The bands website is here.

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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.

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.