CD Review – Crimes In Paris – Modern Ghost Stories


CD Review – Crimes In Paris – Modern Ghost Stories

Released: August 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Crimes In Paris are a new band that are making waves in the Toronto ON area. The four man band are a theatrical rock performance based kind of group. The music has many elements: ambient, cabaret, folk and alternative sounds. The members are Rayce Veitch (vocals/rhythm guitars), Stuart Miller (lead guitars), Rudy Olsson (bass) and Zach Giannotti (drums).

The 10 song CD is full of so many different styles, sounds and beats it makes for great music. The lead off song “Yesterday” has great rhythm, a solid backbone and is funky and fast. I am reminded vaguely of Celtic sounds within the song itself (which is probably due to the guitars and drumming). The vocals are understated but done very well. Lyrically, you know what kind of song this will be by the opening line “Well I feel happier than yesterday/does it put your mind at ease?” which gives an impression of being depressed or feeling isolated inside yourself while trying to put on a cheerful exterior to the world you live in. “Tonight” is a song that has a jazzy/cabaret style to it that reminds me of The Dresden Dolls/Amanda Palmer style music. Funky with a full horn sound, this song is well written, mixed and mastered and performed by all members extremely well. Lyrically, it has many lines that bring many different contrasting images to mind which makes this song a real gem on the CD. Other standout songs are”Shine A Light”, “Into The Sea”, “Let Me Know” and this writer’s favorite song “The Artist”. That song hits me right where I live in this moment in time, and it could be about any artist on the planet.

cipstripI would highly recommend the free download from the band’s WEBSITE which has links for Twitter, Facebook, etc. The band can also be found at their MYSPACE page for all info related to the band.

“Running Ink” – Crimes In Paris from Olaf Blomerus on Vimeo.

Official Video for ‘Running Ink’ off the debut album Modern Ghost Stories by Crimes In Paris.

Director: Olaf Blomerus

Cinematographer: Jesse Blight

CD Review – Decade Of Sleep – Self-titled


Cd Review – Decade of Sleep – Self-titled

Release date: November/December 2010

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

CD cover for the self titled Decade Of Sleep CD.

Decade Of Sleep reside in the busy city of Toronto ON. Back in 2009, I interviewed lead singer Phil Laffin (lead vocals) about their first EP release, Morning Sun. At that time, I knew this band had what it takes musically to go global. And this self-titled CD of 11 new songs just reaffirms this first impression. Rounding out the band is Lance Schibler (guitars), Eric Walker (bass/backing vocals) who plays lead guitar on “Dog” and Mat Pataki (drums/percussion/backing vocals). This foursome have a lot of talent packed into the genetics of the band – they produced this CD on their own and also have engineering credits as well (Lance and Mat).

The lead off song “Sympathy” is a jazzy/rocking tune especially with Lance’s guitar and Eric’s bass locking into each other immediately. Then we have Phil’s powerful voice belting out the lyrics while Mat plays his kit with all the right cymbals and high hats. The break in the bridge work is stellar and overall these guys play so well together that it comes across to the listener effortlessly. Lyrically, this song is about relaxing, forgiveness and just going with whatever life is dishing out – and dance while showing some sympathy towards others. The video for this song is interesting in its visual of the band in action. “Northern Lights” is musically more pop rock oriented that shows the lighter side of the band. Lyrically, Phil and Lance write great lyrics (is there something out here anywhere/that can save us from our disrepair). Having never seen the Northern Lights with my own eyes, I’m sure Phil has and maybe Lance too but I get a vision of what that looks like from this song. It speaks too of leaving it all behind for something better. “Fool Heart” has great drumming and bass work, “Lovers” has some of the best vocal work I’ve heard in a long while as well as some under-stated guitar work layered under Phil’s vocals and “Dog” is just so … dirty, but in a good way. The guitars from Eric are just so well suited to the song which has a definite Soundgarden/Pearl Jam feel to it. Every song on this CD is well written, constructed, executed and performed to almost utter perfection. This writer’s favorite song is “Corinna” based on the music, the lyrics (come on corinna/show me you want it/show me everything/dance for your dinner/sing for your supper/be my beauty queen) and the whole performance of the song by all four members. All songs are standouts in their own ways. It’s just a pleasure to listen to this music. Jazz, rock, country, fushion jazz and progressive rock is in every single song. I highly recommend this CD to anyone who is a music fan of edgy, powerful and dangerous music from a talented foursome. This band is a force to reckoned with.

Decade of Sleep has a CD release show coming up on December 2 at The Rivoli in Toronto. And the CD can be bought on iTunes or directly through Tangent North Music. You can also find the band at their website and on MySpace.

 

EP Review – Retro Radio – Pretty Alright


Retro Radio, photo courtesy of the band.

EP Review – Retro Radio – Pretty Alright

by Jade Sperry

Retro Radio are a 4 piece band based in Toronto ON. They take the raw guitar sound and unhinged emotion of grunge and set it to a beat that gets to you until you can’t help but dance.

Brother and sister Sam (guitars) and Nora Decter (vocals) write songs that challenge you to look away, songs that have been brewing inside them since they were kids playing in the dirty Winnipeg snow. As they both bounced around Canada, they’d send each other songs through the mail always with the promise of some future project. In 2008, the siblings relatively settled in Toronto and in that city they began to sort out their sound. Harsh but still kind of romantic, Nora’s words met Sam’s rocketship guitars to make a Retro Radio show so airless and stifling it threatens to bowl you over. Add to that the unrelenting beat of the rhythm section of JJ (drums) and Tristan O’Reilly (bass) and you’ve got a party.

The five song EP starts out with “Say I Stay” has a powerful drum beat from Justin that builds through the song and gets faster. Under the drums is a chaotic mix of bass and guitars that are edgy and smooth at the same time. Nora’s vocals are angry and frustrated in a low key that mixes perfectly with the music. This song speaks of a relationship that is held together with “scissors and glue” and about wanting to stay but change is needed. “Sister Suspect” is put together quite nicely. Smooth and chaotic at the same time the rhythm of the bass and drums put the backbone in this song. The guitars are not overpowering and are a bit laid back but done well. Nora’s vocals are slightly suspicious and wary of a person who is not what they seem to be. This is a well mixed song. “Momma’s Boy” has a great rhythm groove from the start which Sam takes and weaves through it with seamless and intricate guitar work. Nora’s vocals on top of this stellar music is edgy and slightly off key which works with the rhythm of the song. “Hipster Boyfriend” with choppy guitars and drums and as soon as Nora’s vocals come in, the song changes to a smooth vibe with the rhythm section. The guitars come back in when the bridge leads into the chorus. Nora sounds as good as the music with a provocativeness to her voice that suits the music perfectly. This song is slightly out tune but that is the heart of the song. Lyrically, its pretty much bang on as the title says. The last song “Colour In The Dark” starts out with a laid back bass line and the drums soon follow. The guitars are brought in slowly and the song evens out as Nora’s vocals come in and build towards a smooth bridge and chorus. The song speaks of “no colours in the dark” which could mean several things to a listener. And that is a good way to end a collection of songs that are put together very well.

Retro Radio is playing a club show before they go on the Off The Tracks tour (http://ronallen3000.wordpress.com/2010/03/26/cns-off-the-tracks-tour-sponsored-by-steam-whistle-brewery-april-22-25-2010/) with The Big Deal, Kendall Mitchell, Propane, Propane and headliners The Central Nervous System. Here is a schedule for Retro Radio in April 2010:

Retro Radio EP Release party club date before the tour:

15 April @ Lee’s Palace, Toronto ON. Doors 2100, $6 cover charge.

Off The Tracks Tour:

22 April @ The Garrison, Toronto ON. Doors 2000.

23 April @ Paddy Flaherty’s, Sarnia ON. Doors 2000.

24 April @ The Blind Dog, Windsor ON. Doors 2000.

25 April @ The Blackshire Pub, London ON. Doors 2000.

And you can find the band at these links:

Official MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/retroradiorocknroll

Official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Retro-Radio/105396619499268?ref=ts

CBC Radio 3 page: http://radio3.cbc.ca/#/bands/Retro-Radio

CD Review – A FOURTH WORLD – Volume I


A FOURTH WORLD, photo courtesy of the band.

CD Review – A FOURTH WORLD – Volume I

by Jade Sperry

Ryan Clifford (guitars/vocals), Peter Corriero (drums/backing vocals)and Neil Tyrrell (bass/synths/backing vocals) are driven by friendship and musical passion. They are one of Canada’s most talented three-piece rock bands. They provide listeners with honest rock songs that are peppered with rhythm, soul and emotional power. If you miss the amazing feeling of being emotionally connected to new rock and roll music, then A FOURTH WORLD could be the answer you have been longing for.

One of the first things I thought when I heard that there was a band named A FOURTH WORLD is that the academic term for “fourth world” is synonymous with stateless, poor and marginal nations. In this revelation of meaning, a trio from Toronto ON took on this band name and in 2008, released a CD of music that is anything but poor or marginal.

This 11-song CD is well mixed by GVB and mastered by Joao Carvalho. Volume I starts with a slow lead in with the song “Marv”. Starting out slow, it morphs completely within the first minute to become a song about trying your best in any situation that life throws at you. Lyrically, anyone can relate to this song. This trio are a tight unit that play very well together and that is evident in this song. The drums are the backbone of this song and although not hard hitting, it’s a subtle groove. The guitar work is intricate and well paced, as is the bass line. “Couldn’t Reach You” is a hard rocking song. The drums are fast and hard, the guitars loud and the bass keeps the timing. The time changes in this song with the synths really create a good effect on the listener. The melody of this song is really catchy, and lyrically, it’s a very solid song. “We Could Be The Ones” is a solid song no matter how you look at it. Based on an acoustic guitar with Janet Turner harmonizing on vocals with Ryan, this song is pure and has a beautiful melody. Lyrically a bit on the dark side, it does reflect our society at this moment in time. “Black Nights” musically reminds me of the power of the band Tool in this one song. The change up leading to the bridge by all three is really well placed and the song is mixed extremely well. Lyrically this song speaks of making choices, becoming cut off from everyone and everything and retreating into your own world. The other 7 songs are equally as good as the first 4. Varied, well played and emotional, this CD is a step in a direction that only A FOURTH WORLD know. I am eager to hear step 2 which may be before the fall weather comes for us later this year.

The band is playing several shows as well as a live show on the internet. Here are dates:

April 16 @ All Stars, Brampton ON. Show 21.15, call venue for price details.

April 24 – 20.00 on Band Access TV – Live Interview and studio performance

April 24 @ The Green Bottle, Oshawa ON. Show 23.00, call venue for price details.

May 7 @ Lee’s Palace, Toronto ON. Show 20.00, call venue for price details.

And, you can find the band at the following sites:

Official My Space page: http://www.myspace.com/a4wmusic

Reverbnation page: http://www.reverbnation.com/a4w

Official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2374522776&ref=ts

CD Review – MENEW – Take Them One By One


MENEW, photo by Lyle Christie.

CD Review – MENEW – Take Them One By One

by Jade Sperry

MENEW are three brothers that are taking Canada and the rest of the world by storm. This is a band that is on fire with creativity and have the talent that makes a great band foundation. The trio that is MENEW are Shade (vocals and guitar), Key (piano and synthesizers) and Nathan Samuel Phillip (drums and backing vocals). Key admits that “we have many nicknames for each other, these are just the ones that seemed to stick”. Born and raised in Toronto ON, they began their interest in music at the age of 6, having all been classically trained in piano. Sharing this knowledge base and a passion for writing music, the early foundation for this band was slowly formed. Their 2008 EP, Of The Future, was recognized by the Grammy Awards and was also short listed in four categories including Album of the Year and was honored by Billboard for their single “This Isn’t Real” as one of the top written songs of 2009. They blend classical music as well as the classic British sound and add their own style to the latter two elements to make their own unique sound.

And so this brings us to the bands’ first full length CD, Take Them One By One. This CD is very distinctive, fresh sounding and alive. The mixing and mastering of all 10 songs is probably the best I’ve ever heard. The first song “Fighter Orphan” starts out low with a synthetic sound and builds for about 30 seconds with a pause break and then the song begins full on with the drums and vocals. This song is powerful and has aggressive synths yet has the soulful and melodic riffs that are going on all at the same time. The vocals sound a bit underwater but this an effective quality of their overall sound. The music is very full and lush throughout the CD, and every song is exceptionally well written. Besides “Fighter Orphan” other stand out songs are “Sinking Ship” which is mournful and full of heart and soul musically speaking; “Don’t Give Up On Us Now” is a solid slow song that builds into a full on frenzy and is a feel good song about not looking back at the past as its done and over with; “Spaceplane” is a song that reminds me of David Bowie circa 1972 with spacey vocals, very clear imagery and synths that punctuate in all the right places.

Overall this CD has it all and is a good indication that this is a band that is going places in the near future. The release date of this CD is set for the summer of 2010, and there is a video for the song “Never Let Go” which shows the band’s more comical side in an American Western setting that is shot beautifully in black and white by Director Lyle Christie. The band also uses more nicknames from their past in this video.

You can find MENEW at:

Official YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/menewmusic

Their website: http://www.menew.com

Official My Space page: http://www.myspace.com/menewmusic