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.

The Mip Power Trio on tour in BC


The Mip Power Trio on tour in British Columbia

The Mip Power Trio to Headline Smithers Midsummer Festival

and at various BC Locations

Toronto ON – June 25, 2011

Independent rock band The Mip Power Trio has been described by BC Musician Magazine as “a high-energy 3-piece band that mostly rocks with a quirky edge”. Smithers BC born Mip is excited about “getting her feet dirty” dancing and revisiting her festival roots with her two Toronto band-mates Jaash Singh and Greg Kowalczyk.

The Mip Power Trio will be a headlining act at the Smithers Midsummer Festival this year along with such luminaries as Watershed, Aurora Jane and Mip’s childhood hero Rick Scott.

The tour dates are as follows:

July 2, 2011 – Smithers 28th Annual Midsummer Festival, Smithers BC

July 3, 2011 – Smithers 28th Annual Midsummer Festival, Smithers BC

July 8, 2011 – Falconetti’s Eastside Bar and Grill, Vancouver BC, Opening for Joseph Blood

July 10, 2011 – Cafe Deux Soliels, Vancouver BC, Featuring Erica Mah

July 12, 2011 – Fort Street Cafe, Victoria BC, Guest to be announced

If you would like more information on The Mip Power Trio or if you would like to arrange an interview with Mip, please contact Marie Perry (647-678-3367) or email her at:

mipsmusic@gmail.com

The Mip Power Trio links:

Website

YouTube

Facebook

Twitter

MySpace

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

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.

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
JadedPhotography

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.

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

Shoot The Image – Emerging new Toronto band with killer music…


Shoot The Image – Cranes In the City – The Singles

Release Date – April 2011

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Shoot The Image are a brand spanking new band out of Toronto, ON. Their two song preview for the CD Cranes In The City shows a ton of promise. And their background is just as promising as well as intriguing. The band has 2 lead singers/keyboardists/guitar players. As to the identity of the band members, no one knows…yet.

Their story begins on MySpace where they met Boz Boorer (British guitarist and producer who founded The Polecats and is a co-writer, guitarist and musical director with Morrissey). After sending him various recommendations for bands and films, they ended up talking back and forth for a year. The band booked a show at the 12 Bar Club in London, UK, and invited him come. To the band’s surprise, he showed up. After a few pints they hit it off and he invited them to record in his studio in Portugal (Serra Vista Studio). Boorer has worked with the likes of Adam Ant, Jools Holland and Shillelagh Sisters. He recorded the Portugal garage/blues/rock band The Murdering Tripping Blues in this studio over the summer in 2010.

svs 1

Details of the name of the female singer (or any band member) is scarce.  All I know is that she is an Urban Planner by day. She has never played in any band to date. After a drunken night out in 2009, she spontaneously broke out into Nina Simone’s song “My Baby Just Cares For Me” at an afterparty which is what started Shoot The Image. They immediately bought an Mbox, learned how to use Pro-Tools and began to record for six months – ten hours a day, 5 days a week – in preparation for Serra Vista Studios.

All members in Shoot The Image agree that Serra Vista Studios is by far the most amazing studio experience they have ever had together or individually. It’s more of a villa and recording complex deep in the mountains of Portugal. Boz’s wife, Lyn, also helps to run the studio. There is no cell phone or internet service and they recorded basically fifteen hours a day for three weeks. Boz totally understood how to get the best out of them and the band says “it was amazing to work with a producer of his caliber”.

As their bio states:

The days were long but laid back and fun. We laughed….a lot, ate amazing food, drank an enormous amount of wine and beer, and only had the TV on once to watch “Flight of the Concords” on DVD on our last night there.” Sounds more like bliss to this writer.

Boz and Lyn have created the studio as a vacation spot (and its literally a paradise) and as a space for Independent or new artists/bands to record at. And the best thing is that they don’t have to do any of this! Their mutual love of music and excitement for new songs lead them to do this. They give new and emerging musicians an opportunity that otherwise would be totally impossible.

In the video department of this band, they have a working production house with all the gear and have confirmed several directors to record a video for every song on Cranes In The City. One of those directors is from Vancouver – Olaf Blomerus, who will be shooting the video to the song “Lithograph”. Olaf has worked with Crimes of Paris who are also a Toronto based band. This is a big undertaking but is unique in its vision. I am intrigued to see how the music is interpreted to a visual form.

Getting onto the music side of things, the two tracks are very upbeat, funky and are overall brilliant songs. They are original through and through. “Fortified” has a steady funky beat with the rhythm section. The guitars come into the bridge and chorus and leave the rhythm section to deal with the versus. The melody is seamless and flows very well under all the layers of the others. And the keys are used subtly in the middle layers of the song. The bands’ 2 singers take on the song and the rhetoric is between the thoughts of a woman who is perhaps unhappy in a current relationship and muses about having affairs with other men, the male singer, who sings “i’m just what you’re needing/ I am the wicked son of an honest man”. That’s powerful imagery which comes to mind in just two lines of the full song! Emotions are not easy to get across to a listener. The second song “Lithograph” has a very catchy beginning with the keyboards which mixes rather well with the rhythmic beating of the drum, the smooth but funky bass line and the vocals. All these sounds weave almost a magical quality to this song that makes you want to get up and dance. Although slightly forlorn in the way the vocals sing, it has a line that says “don’t shoot me/don’t shoot me/don’t shoot me/down”, which can be taken in many ways, emotionally or otherwise. When this CD is in the hands of this writer, it will be the second top priority (after working my day job) to listen to the music and ponder its meaning to the listener.

You can find the band at the following links:

Twitter

Facebook

Website