CD Review – Shoot The Image – Cranes In The City

CD Review – Shoot The Image – Cranes In The City
Release Date: April 15, 2011

by Jade Sperry

In a previous January 2011 posting, I did a review of 2 songs that are on this CD as well as give background on the band and where they recorded the CD. Rather than recount that information again, I’d like to focus on the music that this band creates. Going out on a limb, I can see this band becoming as huge as Metric is right now.

CD cover for Cranes In The City. Photo courtesy of the band.

This CD is absolutely brilliant. Everything about it – from the performances by all band members, the quality of the production of every song and the mixing/mastering – is by far the best I’ve heard by any band in recent years. These songs are polished and shine like gems in the murky and vast world of Independent Music. One thing I really like about this band and the music is that they have presented music that is fully ready to go – on tour, on tv, videos, interviews – you name it. A complete package. This indicates foresight by the band during most of 2010 and it will pay off handsomely in 2011 and beyond.

Overall, the music is powerful, image-conscious, melodic, trippy and a has the tightest rhythm section that insistently invites you to get up and dance. All of the songs flow seamlessly into one another and tell a story as seen by two people who live together and watch their family, friends, and the world, go by.

The track listing is as follows:

1. Fortified
2. Loveless
3. Crane
4. Vagabond
5. Lithograph
6. Encore
7. Dior
8. Reykjavik
9. Foundations
10. Sightlines

Every song holds a story of some type – whether it’s literal or imagined – and the structure of each song is well crafted and executed which makes it sound that it easily comes together. “Reykjavik” speaks of life in a hard place and how one imagines to escape it. “Vagabond” sounds to me like a man wrestling with his preconceived notion that he “just can’t get it right”. “Loveless” seems to speak of a person wrestling internally with dark feelings that if acted upon could result in the death of one soul. “Crane” is the kind of emotional damage that one person’s secrets can affect another person that potentially could happen when the realization sets in. “Encore” evokes the mystical feeling about being a phoenix and rising from the ashes of your past. Make a clean break and move on. “Dior” is essentially about achieving your goals or dreams in an unconventional way that quite likely is against the norm. “Foundations” is could be loosely based on family/friends and their relations that don’t go so well in the past that make you come to the realization of it in the moment – and then remembering that at some future point in time. “Sightlines” sounds like a frozen picture painted on canvas which depicts someone wanting and succeeding in breaking free of whatever holds them down.

Press photo for the Toronto band Shoot The Image.

Overall, there is something here that anyone can relate in one or another. Universal translations of music can go a long way when its based on events that someone sees or experiences first hand, but also by word of mouth. Shoot The Image have a “vast” feeling about their music that is intense and I believe it’s because they have very solid and strong story-telling skills. I can’t wait for you to hear this band’s music!

This writer will be attending Shoot The Image’s CD release show in Toronto ON at Wrong Bar on April 15, 2011. Doors are at 9pm and the show starts at 10pm. I would highly recommend that you come to this show as the opening bands are The Fast Romantics and Secret Broadcast. This is going to be a fun night of awesome music and if you miss it, you’ll be the ones to say “I could’ve been there but…”.

The band have just launched their website and the link is up at the top of the article. I hope to see you at the show if you live in the Toronto area!

Video for “Lithograph”

Lithograph – Shoot The Image from Olaf Blomerus on Vimeo.


Show review – The Architects – Neon Trees – My Chemical Romance

Show Review – The Architects, Neon Trees and My Chemical Romance

The Ford Center – Vancouver BC Canada, April 2 2011

by Jade Sperry


MCR take the stage at the Ford Center. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Last night’s show was probably amazing to most of the teenagers that were there.  I witnessed hysteria, crying and screaming from some of the most rabid and loyal fans to a band that I’ve ever seen, and I remember that from the Projekt Rev tour from 2007 – although it’s toned down a lot more since then.

The Architects were up first to warm up the crowd which they did well.  They had some good energy, good stage presence and they seemed to really dig the crowd.  In fact all 3 bands were really into the crowd, saying  “Vancouver, you are a good looking crowd” .  Their songs were performed very well and they left the stage after a 30 minute set.

Neon Trees took the stage and just went head first into their set like ducks to water.  This is a really good band.  The drummer, Elaine Bradley, really impressed the hell out of me with how well she kept the timing of the songs live.  I could only stand and stare in awe quite frankly.  Tyler Glen really has a great stage presence and was born to be a frontman.  He reminded this writer of Jared Leto from 30 Seconds To Mars in his showmanship, drama and style onstage.  If you get a chance to see this band live, I highly recommend that you do.  You will not be disappointed.

Gerard Way marching across the stage. Photo by Jade Sperry.

And finally, at 940pm PST, MCR took the stage and began the night with “NaNaNaNa” to which every single teenager went absolutely insane.  One thing I should say is that there were also some older folks in the audience (50+) that were there either with friends or their kids.  That was really cool to see.  And the audience for the most part was well behaved even in the midst of their hysteria that MCR were really on the stage in front of them.  Gerard Way gave this show a lot of emotion, sweat and energy to the kids in the crowd, thanked all of us for having the patience to wait for the new record and generally seemed to really CARE about the audience which not a lot of mainstream big acts do.  Frank Iero and Ray Toro really got into the show with the way they played their guitars, and Mikey Way was all cool and hip with his bass playing.  They did a lot of tunes for this show, new and old, and all of them were performed at a high level of energy and done very well.  I also liked the stage setup for this tour because it’s stripped down and looks bare.  The lighting was well done and chaotic which added an  apocalyptic feel to the whole show.  And the V shaped lights behind the drummer were awesome.  Just a note:  there are a lot of strobe lights for this show so if that bothers you, be warned.  There were a few teens next to me that had to leave because of that factor.

As I left the show and drove by the theater 20 minutes after the show ended, the 2 tour buses in front of the venue were swarmed with fans getting autographs and that kind of thing.

Thanks to the bands that played last night and thank you also for the music you play.

Filtered shot of My Chemical Romance with blood red lights in background. Photo by Jade Sperry.

CD Review – Alert The Medic – We, the weapon

CD Review – Alert The Medic We, the weapon
Released: Fall 2010
by Jade Sperry

Halifax, Nova Scotia quartet Alert The Medic released their sophomore effort to rave reviews and were nominated in 2010 and to their delight, were awarded “Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year” award at the East Coast Music Awards. The band’s live show leaves the same sort of lasting impression. After playing last year’s Canadian Music Fest, ChartAttack reviewed, “…man, did they ever wake people up”. It isn’t hard to see why the east coast is raving about this exciting rising talent!

I must admit that until Audio Blood sent an email with this band’s press kit, I had never heard of them. But once I downloaded and began listening to the songs, I am now a fan of this bands’ music. Raw, powerful and emotional are all in the songs and a whole lot more.

Track listing:

  1. Aid The Getaway
  2. Atlas
  3. Let’s Hear It For The Symphony
  4. The Weatherman (pt, 2)
  5. Cause For Alarm
  6. Cardboard Cutout
  7. Hey Kid, To The Back Of The Line
  8. Stealing Scenery
  9. Cross Your Fingers
  10. The Wound That Won’t Heal

Alert The Medic are getting their bombs on. Photo courtesy of the band.

The first song “Aid The Getaway” is a song that just flows and hits you across the head screaming “HELLO!” from the first note. Good tempo changes, a really good hook and melody that blend well with all members playing as one unit which is what the song dictates. I really like bands who play what’s best for the song. Following this is the song “Atlas” which has a great dirty kind of groove reminiscent of many of today’s progressive alternative rock bands. Adding in an organ gives the song a real classic rock sound buried in layers which is what the song calls for. Subtle effect. The chorus is smooth, funky and flowing so easily that the listener would think it was effortless when in fact it’s not. Good old hard work. Lyrically this song is about collecting experience so that you’re up for anything, going off to see the world and, having those two things, you can take it to the next level in the game. “The Weatherman (pt. 2)” is a beautiful ballad written in the minor keys giving it a desolate sound and feel. I also like how this song builds slowly and crests just like a surfer’s perfect wave towards the end of the song. Lyrically it speaks of how one might fall down the corporate ladder while not realizing it as it is happening. Only after the fall do they realize it and are defeated in some way by that realization. “Stealing Scenery” is a song that has a good melody, time changes and is funky with the bass line. Although the chord structure is a bit simple it is effective for the time changes within the song. Playing what’s best for song. The guitars follow the bass and drums like fish to water and it just sounds so good. Lyrically about stealing cars, petty crime and feeling high from what would be called a rebel doing bad things in small crime.

Other standout songs are “Let’s Hear It For The Symphony”, “Cross Your Fingers”, “Hey Kid, To The Back Of The Line” and “The Wound That Won’t Heal”. A strong and solid CD, I would recommend this if you like progressive alternative radio-friendly rock that will get you up dancing in your living room in no time.

Video – The Weatherman (pt. 2)


CD Review – Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding

CD Review – Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding

Released UK: 28 February 2011

Released NA: 1 March 2011

by Jade Sperry


Beady Eye is a phoenix that has risen from the ashes of Oasis. This 13 song CD is by far the best work vocally that Liam Gallagher has done in 10 years. He sounds better than ever fronting this band which includes the members Andy Bell, Gem Archer and drummer Chris Sharrock. They are joined on tour only with live musicians Jeff Wootton (bass) and Matt Jones (keyboards). Recorded at RAK Studios with Steve Lillywhite (Peter Gabriel, The Psychedelic Furs and U2) producing the disc.

First off, I find the music on this CD is unique in it’s laid back but aggressive sound that is reminiscent of the British sound from the 1960’s as well as the 1990’s. The first song “Four Letter Word” simply states that “nothing lasts forever”. The music is choppy, fluid and forceful with good time changes and lyrics which give an impression of sending a message out in the universe that Beady Eye is here to stay. “Millionaire” is the second tune which is completely different than the first song. It has some stellar blues guitar work as well as having rock elements in the rhythm of the song. A very interesting and likeable song. “The Roller” is built on a good melody which is expanded by the first bridge of the song. I like this song because it’s stripped down musically and is speaking of “getting on with it”. The feel of the next song musically is definitely more 60’s inspired but “Beatles and Stones” also has modern chord structures which again makes for an interesting song. The melody is choppy but suits the chord structure and the final product sounds amazing. This is a rock and roll song. All of the songs on this CD are well written, produced and mixed as a total package. The music is fluid but choppy and trippy at times, is laid back but aggressive and gives me the impression that this music is more suited to Liam’s personal taste than Oasis ever had for him. That’s no slam against anyone – it’s just an observation about the music and how it’s being performed here on this CD.

Track listing:

  1. Four Letter Word
  2. Millionaire
  3. The Roller
  4. Beatles and Stones
  5. Wind Up Dream
  6. Bring The Light
  7. For Anyone
  8. Kill For A Dream
  9. Standing On The Edge of Noise
  10. Wigwam
  11. Three Ring Circus
  12. The Beat Goes On
  13. The Morning Sun

Other standouts on the CD are “Bring The Light”, “For Anyone”, “Standing On The Edge of Noise” and “The Morning Sun”, which is probably the best acoustically trippy song I’ve heard in 5 years. I would highly recommend this CD to anyone who likes blues, rock and roll and having some good times.

CD Review – Louder Than Love – Dark Days

CD Review – Louder Than Love – Dark Days

Released in November 2010

by Jade Sperry


CD Cover for Dark Days.

Louder Than Love are a Vancouver based band that likes rocking out in a big way. Melodic with good time changes and strong songwriting skills, this band is going places. The members of the band are Paul Lambert (lead vocals and guitar), Tony Lambert (bass), Dan Okano (keys), Nate Parsons (rhythm guitar) and Tyler Thompson (drums). Their newest CD, Dark Days, is definitely a progression of their music and songwriting as well as playing together as one solid unit.

The song that stood out for this writer on the first listen was the third song “Bringing You In”. What I really like about this song is that it has a real Soundgarden feel musically to it but the band takes that sound and makes it their own. That is progression. Musically the song just flows from the first note to the last note. Lyrically it speaks of a woman permeating the essence of a man. Great song! Another song that stood out was “Michelle”. I really like the groove of this song. It kind of bites you but not in a bad way. I like that there are many musical influences in this song – Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden – which the band takes and they make it their own unique sound. The bass and drums are locked into each other which moves the song along. Lyrically it sounds like it speaks of not letting the world bring you down in any way.

Nate Parsons and Paul Lambert playing @ The Station, Seattle. Photo by Jade Sperry.

This CD has some really melodic, trippy songs but also has a blues/rock feel to it in many ways such as the songs “Just Like You”, “That Ghost”, “Never Going Back” and “Searchlight Soul”. One other mention – the song “Chemical Love” is a standout too.

The band are playing a show on Saturday March 12 @ The Shark Club with guests The Chase and Nightbus. Tix are $10 in ADVANCE and $13 @ the door. Doors at 8pm.

Columbia interview after live acoustic set and interview on Hot Shot Band Radio

Columbia Interview Feb 5 2011

After Hot Shot Band Radio Acoustic set

by Jade Sperry


Kevin Schallie and Richard Jacquard are the foundations for the Vancouver band Columbia. They write the melodies, harmonies and lyrics for the songs the band performs and then they hire the best musicians at that time to go on tour.

They currently are writing demos for the next album in various apartments and home studios in the Lower Mainland and they are shopping them to producers. To date, they have about twenty songs written and are constantly writing more. Finding themselves free from past commitments, they have the time to think about what the new songs inspire within them to take their music to the next level.

Kevin and Richard sat down with Tracey Lynn Shane (Hot Shot Band Radio host) and did an hour interview live on air which you can listen to here on Columbia’s website. It was a great interview with them and they had a drummer, Joel, join them for a mini-acoustic set. I was fortunate enough to photograph the band during their live set and interview courtesy of CC and Tracey. Thank you both so much. It was a great night!

Kevin Schallie, Tracey Lynn Shane, Richard Jacquard and CC. Photo by Jade Sperry.

What follows is a mini interview with Kevin and Richard after the Acoustic set on Hot Shot Band Radio in the downtown area of Vancouver….

Jade: So what’s going on with you both?

Kevin: Writing songs!

Richard: We’re in the process of writing a lot of songs so that we have a good selection for producers to listen to. We’ve been recording at my place and Kevin’s….

Kevin: Our management is shopping a few of the demos to producers right now, and so we’re just trying to get some interest. In the meantime, we’re just continuing to write.

Richard: Our demos so far are stripped down to the melody, the hook and an acoustic guitar. Producers want to hear those things raw so that they have something to work with.

Jade: And so what’s going on with the band as a whole?

Kevin: Well, essentially Columbia is Richard and I as we are the songwriters and the creative force behind the music. When touring comes around, then we hire the best musicians we can find that will fit our sound.

Richard: Yeah, Columbia has always been Kevin and I. We are the songwriters who create the music.

Kevin: And we are coming up to the next stage in our careers. Kind of like an “evolutionary” process really. We’re raising the “musicianship” to a whole new level!

Richard: Yes the musicianship is being raised as is the whole process – professionalism, hard work, social networking…all of that is part of being a musician in 2011.

Kevin: And we want to work with the best available people so….

Richard: Yeah it’s all good. We have very good feelings about what we’re doing right now. We have a crazy drummer lined up for the next CD who is a good friend of ours, Joel (who played acoustic drums and did harmonies with Richard on the Hot Shot Band Radio acoustic set) who was there with us at the very beginning. He played on our first CD Join Our Ride and he played some of our very first shows with us onstage.

Joel and Richard harmonizing during the live acoustic set. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Jade: That’s awesome news about Joel being on the next CD!

Richard: Definitely. Before we started writing the new demos, Kevin and I realized that we’ve become better musicians since our last CD and that’s because we did a fair amount of touring last year. I used to play a lot of bass as has Kevin…..for me that was my first instrument. We’ve both become better guitarists for sure……

Kevin: And when you play a show every night for over a month, you just become a better player because of that.

Jade: I did notice that when you were both playing the acoustic set tonight on air, you had a “fuller” sound than you had before. So I do hear quite a difference for sure….

Richard: Thank you.

Kevin: You learn quite a lot on the road….

Richard: Yeah you get more seasoned. That’s a word that gets used a lot to describe touring.

Jade: When Tracey Lynn Shane was interviewing you tonight, you mentioned that you wanted to have a whole lot of demos for producers but in the end you want to strip it down to 10 songs for the new CD. Why only 10 songs?

Kevin: All the best albums and CD’s in the past have only had 10 songs on them. So 10 is the magic number….I’m not sure about the 80’s but in the 90’s and even into the 21st century, the best albums all have 10 songs……

Richard: And it’s the same idea as when you go watch a band play a live show. Whether you listen to a CD/album or go to a live show, if it gets too bloated or carries on too long it’s just too much. You want to deliver a good performance live of the CD/album to an audience of any size. The quality of the songs and the performance is what matters because it leaves people with a sense of “wanting more”……

Kevin: So in getting back to the 10 song theory……

Richard: If you have a bunch of songs written and out of that bunch you have 15 really good tracks which you whittle down to 10 songs, that’s not a bad place to be in.

Jade: No, it’s a good place to be in….

Richard: Yeah it is. (laughing).

Jade: At some point, do you find yourselves listening to the demos and systematically in your head going “No not that one, no, no, yes, maybe…”? Is this a kind of process you might go through?

Kevin: We’re not doing that yet.

Richard: Kevin is better at figuring out what type of song we want and choosing the right ones. I just want to write and play the songs.

Jade: When you put a band together to go on tour in the future, what kind of people are you looking for?

Kevin: Good ones. The ones who “get it”. You know that there are people who play music but they aren’t musicians. We want the ones who are musicians not players.


Kevin Schallie performs during the live acoustic set. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Richard: Yeah but we also want passionate, driven people. People who take pride in what they’re doing and want to always better themselves as musicians. And people who are cool to hang around. There are some people who are great players but they’re impossible to be around and to deal with.

Jade: So are you concentrating more on the demos at this point in time?

Richard: Yes, and getting the new album done. We’re done touring for Join Our Ride and we’ve closed the door on that. So now we’re in the album stage and the touring will follow.

Jade: How is Brian encouraging/supporting you with the new demos?

Richard: When he gets them in his hands, he shops them. It’s all about “networking” and Brian has some really good contacts.

Kevin: We also want to get a good producer interested in our music so Rich and I are really focusing and concentrating on these new songs. Because when it comes right down to it, it’s the songs themselves that capture attention from an individual. When the songs are good, everything else follows.

Jade: Are you writing theme related songs? Or are you writing about certain things…?

Richard: I gave Kevin this song called “Dirty Theme” and if you listen to it, you know what I’m getting at. It just has this really “skanky” groove to it! And I don’t mean in a raw way, it will sound like us; better songs, better writing – more mature. It’s a natural progression in our songwriting. It’s gotten a lot better. They sound dirty.

Kevin: Organic with feeling.

Richard: Yes, more soulful, more feeling, more groove to it. Kind of like the song “Join Our Ride”.

Jade: So how are things in your personal life, are you in a good place?

Kevin: I think we are. We are better than ever!

Richard: Yeah, Kevin and I are neighbours again. We lived together for a while.

Kevin: Life is good, there are some ups and downs, but overall good.

Richard: We’re both really focusing on writing and recording demos.

Jade: How is the social networking aspect going for you both? I know that on the show tonight, someone from Malaysia was tweeting about the show when it was on air…

Kevin: Twitter is pretty amazing. I was kind of skeptical – I mean, I know it works obviously – but we don’t want to compromise ourselves too much with the networking and socializing. But at a certain point people start thinking of “us” more than the music. Right now we are social with everyone because we do have some time to do that. Hopefully that will continue.

Richard: Yep Kevin is trying really hard on Twitter to bring the focus back to the music.

Kevin: For example people are worrying more about our hair…..

Jade: (laughter) Yeah I heard the story about Richard’s “Bieber” cut (more laughter from all of us)

Richard: Oh yeah, the hair incident…..well, it began by me making a comment on getting a “Bieber” cut on our webpage and I was crucified there! It was insane, you know, I was just joking. (laughter)

Jade: Are you planning on a tour this year?

Kevin: Maybe at the end of the year. But I think this album is going to take a while to complete because we want the best possible product out there that reflects who we are now.

Jade: So, what are you expecting this time around with the new music?

Kevin: The next step basically. We hope to tour with a band. That would be great!

Richard: Yeah……there is no reason why not to tour with a band with the songs we’re writing now. Kevin and I have talked about this a lot lately and we know what we’re shooting for. If we could get the songs out of our heads and put it down on tape and make the album, there is no reason why we won’t tour with a band.

Jade: Well, I know you’re playing a show with Jakalope and Fine Times on February 24 at The Forum on Granville and it’s an acoustic set….

Kevin: Yes, it’s a forty minute set. It should be a good show, Rich and I are doing an acoustic set and hopefully there might be a new song or two played.

Hot Shot Radio banner. Photo by Jade Sperry.

At this point, we started talking about things that don’t go to print and we’ll just leave it at that. I think that there are some exciting times ahead for Kevin and Richard – new songs, new goals and a step in the right direction are what they’re focusing on right now.

As this goes to print, I was hoping to attend this show for a future review and new live photos, but I am unable to attend due to my paid job. But if you have the night free, I highly suggest you go check out the show! You won’t be disappointed.