Week-End Wrap Up • 07.25.14

July25

Noisey features Kuato and their new album The Great Upheaval: “The mournful and evocative track ‘Groundwork’ is blanketed with hesitation and anxiety as thick as the ever-looming charcoal grey Acadian fog, while ‘Battle of Blood Creek’ is frenetic with white hot anger and confusion. Maybe it’s because that haunting past is so hard to face, or maybe it’s because people would just rather say ‘Fuck it,’ and go for a pint, but Kuato’s songs shed a light on the difficult history of the Acadians that’s rarely given a voice in music.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Noisey features Kuato‘s track “Groundwork” from The Great Upheaval on their This Week In Noisey Canada 8Tracks Mix alongside acts such as Cousins, Fucked Up, and WolfParade. Listen to the mix HERE.

Quick Before It Melts on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “You expect a certain degree of complexity and grandiosity from a band whose modus operandi is explosive, propulsive music, and Kuato do deliver the goods (‘Battle of Bloody Creek’ has the most traditional rock arrangements and some of the heaviest riffing; ‘Ripped From the Soil’ brings a dramatic intensity and flair midway through), but The Great Upheaval is surprisingly full of nuance and narrative arc.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Kuato writes about seven influential Canadian post-rock/doom/sludge bands for AUX: “Halifax instrumental post-rock powerhouse Kuato recently released their debut The Great Upheaval, and since we don’t make it to our beloved Halifax near as much as we’d like, the band compiled some of their favourite past and present (and mostly local) peers to dig into.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Exiled in Eugene on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “…the drums on ‘Groundwork’ are fucking huge, and drummer, Josh Pothier is a goddamned beast. The beautiful thing about this band is that for someone, somewhere, this will be the first big, epic, heart-strings-tugging instrumental record of their young life.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Roots Music Canada premieres Bend The River‘s So Long Joan Fontaine: “Halifax’s Bend the River is a particularly fine example of the revival of the folk-rock sound. This seven-piece ensemble brings worn leather stories to life, in the brown hues of old road movies. Character vocals are set off by sweet folk harmonies; cheeky guitar, B3 and piano roll over grooves laid down like railway tracks. Arrangements plucked from late on side two of beloved ’70s LPs keep it spicy.”

Read the whole piece and listen to the album HERE.

Michal Doherty on Bend The River‘s So Long Joan Fontaine: “Bend The River’s new CD, So Long Joan Fontaine, feels like a wonderful breath of fresh air, though the music is full of 1970s vibes and sounds. The band’s second album, it contains all original material, written or co-written by Ronok Sarkar. This is simply good, honest music, and it makes for one of the best albums of the year so far.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Exclaim! on Bend The River‘s So Long Joan Fontaine: ”Unlike so many other large rootsy bands these days, there is a pleasing restraint to the Bend The River sound. The album was recorded primarily live off the floor and direct to tape by Charles Austin (of Super Friendz fame) and this helps account for the warm sonic ambience. The group actually save their best til the last here, as the elegaic ‘Dear Old Jackson’ and lively ‘The Echo And The Sway’ close things out in fine fashion.”

Read the whole review HERE.

FolkWords on Bend The River‘s So Long Joan Fontaine: “The overall impression is of relaxed, soulful, languid songs that remain ever ready to take to the air and soar at a moment’s notice. There’s a touch of nostalgic remembrance suffusing the emotive melodies and vocals. There’s also an inventive edge that simply attracts. From the unperturbed folk rock feel of ‘Jenny And The Night Before’ and the catchy hook of The Hunter In Me’, through the mournful sadness of Becky Siamon’s vocals on ‘This Heart Of Mine’ to the pulsating and finely constructed ‘No One Else To Blame’ - another superb echo of that ‘time gone by’ feel. My personal favourites include the yearning ‘Half Of My Love’- an aching narrative that simply ‘hits the spot’, while the ‘looking back’ tale of the rock-edged ‘We Still Don’t Know’ catches that elusive time we’ve all known.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Quick Before It Melts on the José Contreras solo record: “The sparse, spiritual arrangements of these songs that have existed in a previous form give prominence to José Contreras as a performer (as opposed to band leader) and as songwriter. ‘Past The Stars,’ debuted on Quick Before It Melts last month, transforms the groove-fuelled opener of 2013′s Organized Accidents into a meditative song of praise; the same, too, for ‘Help Me Find A Place To Land’ from 2009′s Mutant Message. The fuzzy guitar  goodness of Sweet Confusion‘s ‘Listen To My Angels’ still carries the intensity and energy of its 2004 incarnation even when stripped down to its basic elements.  All of which clearly points out, if it hadn’t already been obvious after 25 years, that Contreras is an accomplished songwriter that has amassed an impressive canon of work.”

Read the whole review HERE.

MusicNerd on José Contreras: “Somewhat appropriately, Contreras mines By Divine Right’s extensive catalogue of music for this self-titled release, giving an entirely fresh perspective to the material. Accompanied only by guitar, piano and his voice, Contreras weaves intriguingly minimalistic tales that sound as though they could fall apart at any given moment. Album highlights include ‘Psychic Radio,’ ‘Help Me Find A Place To Land’ and haunting opener ‘Listen To My Angels.’”

Read the whole review HERE.

Exclaim! on José Contreras: “Considered to be the first solo release by Jose Contreras, frontman of Canadian rock sweethearts By Divine Right, this ten-track, self-titled album is also a collection of artistic reinterpretations of the band’s catalogue. Armed with little more than an acoustic guitar, occasional piano and his distinctive vocals, Contreras woos us with his personal take on classic BDR tracks from their impressive 25-year discography… There is a soft, minimalist approach to these songs, which are recorded largely in lo-fi — even muffled at times — to add poignancy to Contreras’ faraway-sounding vocals.”

Read the whole review HERE. 

Exclaim! premieres two Vogue Dots videos, “Skinny Thing” and “Mercy” : The first of which, ‘Skinny Thing,’ takes the [Toska]‘s opening track and juxtaposes Hayward’s silhouette against a backdrop of Toronto’s Chinatown and what appears to be a Nova Scotian highway. Watch as her transparent figure croons along to the track’s pulsating beats. And if live sessions are more your thing, check out the group’s recent Indica Session for album standout ‘Mercy,’ which features the dynamic duo (backed by a full band) nestled amongst a sea of lights as they plow through the downtempo and atmospheric number.”

Watch the videos HERE.

Michal Doherty on Vogue DotsToska: “‘Mercy’ has a strange, otherworldly feel to it, like breath pulled in hard, a reversed life, but with gorgeous, angelic vocals over it. A voice from beyond, perhaps, but friendly, gentle, pretty. This, to me, is the most intriguing track of the CD. ‘Turns And Turns’ begins with an electronic landscape, just this side of dreaming. It then comes in as a wonderful pop song, perhaps the closest to a mainstream feel of all the tracks, but certainly not dull. In fact, there is something quite beautiful here, and it might be the CD’s strongest track.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Quick Before It Melts premieres the debut single from Slight Birching“Currency, from the forthcoming Cultural Envelope: “’Currency,’ the track premiering in this post, is from the album Cultural Envelope due out in August. The album is heavily influenced by Ramsay’s mother’s struggle with cancer over a two year period.  The neo-folk songs of Cultural Envelope is Ramsay’s exploration of our fascination with the complex structures and belief systems that separate us from the rest of nature (what critic Northrop Frye calls ‘cultural envelopes,’ hence the album name).”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Ride The Tempo on the Slight Birching track “Currency” : “An off-beat neo-folk number from Slight Birching (a.k.a. Sean Travis Ramsay). This dreamy, haunting single is released ahead of his debut album Cultural Envelope (coming August).”

Listen to the track HERE.

Vish Khanna’s Kreative  Kontrol podcast features an interview with Jeremy Gara and Samir Khan about Kepler’s Attic Salt vinyl re-issue. Listen to the podcast HERE.

Exclaim! features a Cam Smith “Turbo” tutorial: “Maritime MC Cam Smith just released his single ‘Turbo,’ and aspiring producers interested in learning how he made the track can get a tutorial from the man himself thanks to a new how-to video. In the clip, Smith takes viewers on a tour of his home studio, shows off his favourite gear and explains about Daft Punk’s favourite compressors. He then breaks down ‘Turbo,’ showing all of the programs, samples, pre-sets and personal tweaks he used to create the sounds.”

Watch the video HERE.

The Toronto Star features a Q&A with Ben Watt about his new album, Hendra: “A sombre, spaced-out folk-rock meditation on loss and the passage of time recorded in the shadow of his half-sister’s untimely death and the completion of Romany and Tom— a portrait of life with his jazz-musician father and Shakespearian-actress mother —Hendra marks a return to the “band” dynamic for Watt after concentrating on electronic music since the mid-’90s. He’s returned to his roots in fine style, too, bringing ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler on board as his right-hand axeman for the album and as much touring as his schedule will permit this summer.”

Read the interview HERE.

Ground Control Magazine reviews The ConstantinesShine A Light re-issue: “The surprisingly forceful arpeggios cause pulses to rise and that’s great but, when the rhythm guitar punches through with bassist Dallas Werle on its flank, listeners will blink and recoil out of reflex – it just hits that hard. That sucker punch will suck them in, but it’s Bry Webb’s vocal which will leave jaws wagging. Here, Webb seems to be singing not for his supper, but for his life. His voice cracks as though out of terror and he rasps as if he’s out of breath from running from an assailant; calling this performance cathartic doesn’t actually articulate the power of it. Whether they lift the needle right then to restart the song or hold off and finish the side, listeners know they’ll be back again. It really never felt so good to get hit so hard.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Noisography looks back at some of the highlights from the last four years at SappyFest:

Finally, here is a re-cap of some of our clients that have hit the earshot! charts over the past week:

Top 50 National Weekly Charts:
#22 – Kuato – The Great Upheaval
#26 – Vogue Dots – Toska

July 11, 2014 • 07.11.14

July11-2014

NOW Toronto on José Contreras‘ debut solo album: “Contreras pulled together an album’s worth of material from various points along his 25-year, nine-album career with By Divine Right, reworking the songs for solo voice, guitar and piano. The effect is at times almost uncomfortably intimate and vulnerable, but also an effortlessly perfect psychedelic campfire version of his songs, an excellent soundtrack to the next inevitable summer blackout. The naked bass line of ‘Angels’ paired with Contreras’s soulful vocal will come back to haunt you, while ‘She Knows’ (from 1997’s All Hail Discordia) and ‘Twisted Crystalline’ and ‘I Want Light’ (from 1999’s Bless This Mess) captivate.”

Read the whole review HERE.

FolkWords on José Contreras‘ debut solo album: “There’s a definite ‘something’ about the self-titled debut solo album from Jose Contreras. Once it bites, it holds tight…The wavering, longing vocals, understated arrangements or minimal instrumentation. Something that becomes increasingly obvious is the ‘stream of consciousness’ that pervades the songs. There’s a distinct impression of listening to a man sat before a microphone just letting it flow. It’s like sitting in on a jam session as the artist simply releases the words and music to let them fly and land where they will. That’s why this album demands time – one listen just can’t cut it.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Magnet Magazine on “Past The Stars” from the debut José Contreras solo album: “By Divine Right’s José Contreras releases his self-titled, debut solo album tomorrow via Squirtgun Records. Contreras has been the main man behind By Divine Right throughout its 25 years of existence. ‘Past The Stars’ is a beautifully melancholic track that clearly displays the talent of this singer/songwriter.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Geyser Music on the José Contreras‘ debut solo album: ”For fans of José Contreras, or By Divine Right, the indie rock band which Contreras co-founded, hearing that Jose has a new solo album full of stripped back, slow, and intimate love songs might come as a surprise…Songs like ‘Listen to My Angels’ or ‘Psychic Radio’ are Contreras at his strongest. The breathy mist of his vocals match perfectly with his lyrics of lush memories that have the texture of summer afternoons. As we get to songs like ‘Help Me Find a Place to Land,’ his voice takes on a subtle, but still tangible sense of uneasiness and loneliness as he croons to find a friend in the darkness.”

Read the whole review HERE.

New Canadian Music on the José Contreras‘ debut solo album: “Over the past 25 years, Jose Contreras has earned hero status in Canadian indie rock as leader of the prolific By Divine Right, a band whose alumni include Feist and Brendan Canning. Now he is putting out his first ever solo album. The eponymous record features stripped down and intimate versions of selected BDR songs, spanning the band’s ongoing career…The results confirm he is a superb songwriter and persuasive vocalist, not just the charismatic leader of a killer rock band.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Toronto Star on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “‘New Tracy’ and the aforementioned ‘Accolades’ are blissful bursts of distinctively East Coast-ian jangle-fuzz keenly observant and extrapolative of a tradition established during the mid-’90s by Eric’s Trip, Sloan, Thrush Hermit, Jale et al. and currently carried forward by the likes of Dog Day, Cousins and Kestrels. ‘I Know, I Know,’ ‘Chop Through’ and the tricky, tumbledown ‘Twin Speaks,’ meanwhile, connect the lo-fi Can-Con dots between Rick White and Chad VanGaalen in appropriately freaky-but-melodic fashion. McKiel’s about to have his moment, trust me, and the partnership hatched here with producer/co-instrumentalist Jay Crocker (Ghostkeeper) seems a particularly assured step in just that direction. Another album soon, please.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Stylus Magazine on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “This gem of an EP is a perfect display of some fantastic, yet underappreciated, Canadian talent. Jon McKiel has been compared to Chad VanGaalen. And while those comparisons are accurate, McKiel’s music is a little more straightforward in certain aspects. The rock and roll is amped up, with a little less experimentation and greater focus on song structure, which makes for some damn catchy songs.”

Read the whole review HERE (p. 26).

The Coast on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “For a six-song, 17-minute disc, quite a range of experience awaits the listener. Back east from Calgary, producer Jay Crocker (Ghostkeeper), guides the Haligonian McKiel past his pop sensibility into the wild side. The fourth track, ‘Twin Speaks,’ wraps itself around some peculiar, memorable upper register plucking before descending into a pit of sonic chaos. It’s followed by the robust fuzz rock of ‘Accolades.’ McKiel has a knack for getting his song across quickly. By the two-minute mark, he’s ready to take it sideways and circle back. Such a compression of concepts make this macrocosmic EP more like an album.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Scene Point Blank on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “McKiel’s mix of vintage garage rock and poignant folk declares him a not-so-distant sonic relative of psych folkers Chad VanGaalen and Circulatory System. VanGaalen and CS aren’t the only artists in McKiel’s sophisticated vernacular, though. ‘I Know, I Know’ calls upon The Byrds’ seminal acoustic pop rock and the exotic track ‘Twin Speaks’ is painted with harmonies that are insanely similar to those of Fleet Foxes…I haven’t listened to many extended plays this year, but the ones I have heard are truly stellar. Jon McKiel’s latest work is undoubtedly one of my favorite 2014 EPs.”

Read the whole review HERE.

For The Country Record on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “Melissa Payne’s vocals quiver with every syllable, harmonies basking her in a late afternoon glow, effervescent and atmospheric as they leisurely glide by. The Canadian songstress has spent many years honing her craft; be it playing guitar, fiddle or writing songs, time spent learning from the experts around her has served her in good stead. But it’s her husky, soulful, sunny voice that comes naturally, and it’s that which sets her apart, sparkling in its purity and in the rawness of her emotion. From the gentle melancholic tones of ‘Downtown’ to the wistful Americana of ‘Call Me A Fool’, Melissa hits us square and hard with every wailing pedal steel, every aching vibrato, every well-placed lyric, drowning in honesty and realness…I could play this on repeat and just let it wash over me, cleansed and content.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

No Depression on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “‘Kitchen Walls’ is a rip-roaring piano led, rocking old fashioned Country belter, and when the fiddle cuts through the middle section a huge smile lit up my face. The album flits across the Country genres like a butterfly and songs like ‘Call Me a Fool’ and ‘Cool West Wind’ both country songs worthy of Nanci Griffith’s typewriter; yet the punchy ‘Gunning For Me’ brought back memories of the first time I heard Lucinda all those years ago.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Come Up Show features Cam Smith‘s “Turbo” video: “Ready for a trip? ‘Turbo,’ Cam Smith’s latest visual featuring XXX CLVR is a blast from the past, one wild childhood flashback. If you grew up in the nineties, you’ll be reminiscing during every scene. Power Rangers, scenes from Jurassic Park, pizza parties, and underwater adventures and more! This is one of the best green screen video’s I’ve seen thus far.”

Check out the feature HERE.

Canadian Baycon previews Cam Smith‘s “Turbo” video. Check it out HERE.

Exclaim! on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “Following in a line of Halifax instrumental bands like INSTRUMENTS, Tomcat Combat and many others, Kuato use jittery, sharp repetition to set their grooves, weaving jangly, reverberated guitar riffs and arpeggios around them. But there’s also a more traditional rock sensibility hiding beneath their drawn-out, post-rock leanings, with songs like “Battle of Bloody Creek” filled with far more hooks than you might expect…Upheaval is a confident, catchy and swoony take on the post-rock form.”

Read the whole review HERE.

NOW Toronto on Ben Watt‘s Hendra: “If you’re a fan of Everything but the Girl’s chilled-out sophisti-pop, Ben Watt’s second solo album might also do it for you. Watt was one-half of that successful 90s English duo, but it was the other half, Tracey Thorn, with her smooth, melancholy vocals, who gave the project its distinct allure…Lyrics are reflective and well written – Watt is also a published author – but a middle-age malaise runs through these 10 tracks. Spring stands out for being an uncomplicated declaration of love, and its effective arrangment and uplifting melody enhance the message.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Ground Control Magazine on the You’ve Changed Records anniversary zine: “Every now and again, an artifact surfaces which forces people to take notice of time; how much of it has passed and what events happened within that period. Something like that happened to me when a copy of the debut issue of You’ve Changed Records’ arrived on by doorstep; in the era of digitally distributed everything, the ‘zine arrived very surprisingly and cut a striking image in its black-and-white fascination…The collage on the front cover immediately began inspiring memories – of the now-defunct RCHC scene in my hometown of Welland, Ontario, the early days of Attack In Black’s transition away from hardcore and toward folk and country music and the emergence of Jimmie Kilpatrick and Steve Lambke from the ashes of Shotgun & Jaybird and The Constantines – which seemed like distant messages from a lifetime ago. It felt good to remember those moments, but surprising when I flipped the zine over and saw the reason for the magazine’s existence: it was to mark the record label’s fifth anniversary. I was struck by the realization that all of the wonderful memories that the roster of You’ve Changed Records had given their fans had been created and crammed into just half a decade.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Kuato, Glory Glory, Vogue Dots and Jon McKiel are all featured on BRBR‘s RAWR Vol. 6 Summer Mixtape. Download it HERE.

The Vogue Dots track “Skinny Thing” is featured on CBC Radio 3‘s Summer Roadtrip Mixtape Podcast. Download the mixtape HERE.

Finally, here is a re-cap of some of our clients that have hit the earshot! charts over the past week:

Top 50 National Weekly Charts:
#31 – Vogue Dots – Toska
#38 – Jon McKiel – Jon McKiel
#44 – Kuato – The Great Upheaval

Week-End Wrap Up • 07.04.14

May16-2014

Cashbox Canada on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “The title track, ‘High and Dry’ is expressive and is a great tune to kick off this great CD, ‘Not The Only One’ has a clear, production sound and the Keelor influence comes shining through, ‘Call Me A Fool’ has beautiful vocals filled with sadness and and poignant lyrics, while ‘Bring Me Back’ is a haunting production, showing a bit of rock in the production. ‘Cool West Wind’ features great guitars and a melodic production while ‘Kitchen Walls’ gets into an upbeat feel. ‘Downtown’ is slow and haunting while ‘Gunning For Me’ gets back to a country rock feel that Keelor is famous for in Blue Rodeo.  ‘Cold Out There’ closes the CD with how it started; great vocals, clear and crisp.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Fervour Coulee on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “Listening to the entire disc again today, I am taken with Payne’s voice. I can’t find the right phrase, but there is something quite substantial about her voice that is nicely softened by a pillowy, southern soul quality. I admitted I couldn’t find the right phrase, but there it is.  Listen to ‘Call Me A Fool’ and see if you can do better. The album’s energy keeps building (‘Bring Me Back’ may rock hardest) even when things are modulated for a change of pace (‘Cool West Wind’). I think it is the kind of record that just needs to be discovered naturally- you can’t force yourself on it, it just has to hit you the right way at the right time.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Uniter on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “The second record from Ontario singer/songwriter Melissa Payne is filled with nine bubbly and pining country popsters in the vein of Blue Rodeo, Amy Millan or Whitehorse – lots of reverb-soaked twang and pedal steel, decorated with oohs and aahs. She also ventures into southern-fried baroque pop balladry (‘Call Me a Fool’) and her raspy warble is welcome on each and every track, no matter the style (the girl can do diversity).”

Read the whole review HERE.

Exclaim! hosts an exclusive stream of the new self-titled album from José Contreras: “As frontman for long-running indie rock outfit By Divine Right, José Contreras has seemingly done it all. That is, except release his own solo LP…With an emphasis on sparse arrangements and the natural atmospherics of the studio, the self-titled debut finds the acclaimed musician stripping down his sound to deliver plaintive piano ballads (‘Past the Stars’), haunting psych-folk (‘Listen to My Angels’) and classic cuts from his youth (All Hail Discordia highlight ‘She Knows’).”

Listen to the album HERE.

New Music Michael on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “Halifax instrumental post-rock act Kuato recently released their first full-length. The seven-track album, chockfull of epic, windswept guitar grooves and handsome melodies, is available on imprint Acadian Embassy.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Fervour Coulee on Ben Watt‘s “Spring” from his latest album, Hendra: “‘Spring’ doesn’t have an overly complex construction, but the combination of Watt’s piano and Bernard Butler’s electric guitar draws me in. Quite hypnotic- and I did notice a couple weeks back driving for several seconds without being aware of where I was- this is the song that was playing at the time. I quite like the poetic nature of the words- they allow my brain to drift a little and imagine a bit more- again, not good when you’re driving: never know when an elk will saunter into your path.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Finally, here is a re-cap of some of our clients that have hit the earshot! charts over the past week:

Top 50 National Weekly Charts:
#28 – Kuato – The Great Upheaval
#45 – Nap Eyes – Whine of the Mystic
#50 – Vogue Dots – Toska

 

Week-End Wrap Up • 06.27.14

June27-2014

We’re leading off this week’s collection of coverage with some reviews of Cam Smith‘s insane new video for “Turbo” from his forthcoming album, Cannon. Before you do anything today, you should probably watch this masterpiece:

Noisey premieres the new Cam Smith video, “Turbo” : “Make sure you don’t blink for two seconds, or you’ll risk missing the velociraptors, or the Grayskulls, or some other random addition. Try not to freak out when I say this, but I think Cam Smith is the Doc of the east coast rap scene. A sonic perfectionist, he’s been grinding on Cannon for over a year, and “Turbo” captures the comic insanity that surrounds Smith and the his crew.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Hip Hop Canada on Cam Smith‘s “Turbo” video: “Cam Smith has just dropped the gnarliest visuals of all time for his new self-produced single entitled ‘Turbo’ (featuring Cam’s fellow East Coast rap cat, xxx clvr).  So here’s the deal: Cam wanted to create the craziest childhood flashback of all time; complete with green screens. And you know that green screens are pretty much a gateway to making anything you want happen in a music video. The possibilities are endless.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Exclaim! on Cam Smith‘s “Turbo” video: ”After some pill-popping in a haunted castle, we find Smith transported into all sorts off odd ball scenarios, from running away from a field of scaly, long-limbed Jurassic Park inhabitants to kicking it with Might Morphin’ Power Rangers robot Megazord to smearing cake on his face down at the arcade. XXX CLVR delivers bars too, up until the point his head explodes.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

The Unheard Nerd on Cam Smith‘s “Turbo” video: “Featuring XXX CLVR this is the visual for Cam Smith’s track ’Turbo’ which he also produced. Featuring Power Rangers, Jurassic Park, Pizza and more the video somehow disarms the song in a strange, yet satisfying, way.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

The Chronicle Herald on Bend The River and their new album So Long Joan Fontaine: “Throughout So Long Joan Fontaine, [Ronok] Sarkar gives a wistful quality to tunes like ‘Jenny and the Night Before,’ ‘The Hour Comes Down’ and ‘Dear Old Jackson.’ Echoes of the Band, Tom Petty and Uncle Tupelo collide throughout songs that have the cloudy quality of memories and dreams. ‘I hint at a lot of things, so the songs are about things that haunt you, or things you dimly recall,’ says Sarkar. ‘Sometimes it’s about longing for something that passed you by.’”

Read the whole feature HERE.

The Coast features Bend The River and So Long Joan Fontaine: “The music of Bend the River immediately conjures up a feeling of another time and place. What precise era it evokes is fleeting, but there’s an undeniable sense of the past seeping through. Even a video for the new song ‘Assassins’ features clips from the 1926 silent film Menilmontant. ‘Through the slow remorse of time, somehow you leave her behind,’ sings Ronok Sarkar, the band’s songwriter, before asking, ‘Did you really love her all that much anyway?’ The film and song are an unlikely pairing, but both speak to the power of nostalgia.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

For Folk’s Sake premieres the Bend The River single “The Echo and the Sway”: “From that hotbed of all things alt-country Halifax come Bend The River. This track ‘The Echo And The Sway’ actually has more of a soul/rock n roll feel to it, feeling simultaneous upbeat and tinged with melancholy. It’s taken from the band’s second album So Long Joan Fontaine, out next month, which frontman Ronok Sarkar explains is a record about ‘all those things tucked deeply away with all the loss and the longing.’”

Read the piece and listen to the track HERE.

BRBR on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “Kuato saisit la beauté des grands espaces mélodiques du genre pour y infuser un certain régionalisme, comme sur ‘Red Sand,’ où les hameçons mélodiques s’inscrivent dans le courant rock haligonien. Pas d’essoufflement en deuxième demi, alors que le groupe part à l’assaut de constructions plus lourdes et urgentes, traînées dans la boue des routes rurales de la province (‘The Great Upheaval’), loin de l’inspiration océanique de l’éthérée ‘Groundwork.’ D’ailleurs, cette construction épique résume l’esprit derrière The Great Upheaval; après une ballade au rythme des marées, Kuato y va d’espoir aux airs cinématographiques. Puis, la bête est sortie, c’est le chaos, sous son jour le plus éclatant.”

Read the whole review, en français, HERE.

New Canadian Music on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “Instrumental rock bands remain a scarce commodity, but Maritime quintet Kuato show that, in the right hands, this form can be a potent one. Their intricate, majestic and darkly atmospheric sound was explored on earlier digital EPs, and it now fully blooms on full-length debut The Great Upheaval. The title is based on the 18th century expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia, but a great thing about lyric-less music is that you can create your own narrative…Potent stuff.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Don’t Need No Melody on Vogue Dots‘ Toska: “If the dark sheen of these melodies don’t hook you, then the vocals and the ambiance surely will. Check out ‘Skinny Thing’ and ‘Mercy’ by this Canadian duo.”

See the whole piece HERE.

!earshot 20 features Vogue Dots on their latest episode. Listen to the interview HERE.

Noisey premieres “Listen To My Angels” from the new José Contreras solo album: “José Contreras is a sagely father figure in the realm of Canadian indie rock. His prolific project By Divine Right is infamous as a training ground of sorts for a number of the musicians responsible for the resurrection of independent rock in Canada, himself included…after 25 years, Contreras has decided to try his hand at going it alone, releasing his first ever solo album, a self-titled affair consisting of stripped down re-recordings of By Divine Right tunes stretching from early days to extremely recent compositions. Contreras was kind enough to let us give you the first listen of the beautifully sparse opening track, ‘Listen to My Angels,’ a reworking of a track off of By Divine Right’s great 2004 release Sweet Confusion.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

BRBR on Marine Dreams‘ Lemon Tree: “Kehoe s’éloigne des radios AM de Corner of the Eye et des collèges américains de son disque homonyme. Malgré son caractère intime, l’offre de Lemon Tree rayonne grâce à sa nature éthérée et artisanale. Avec une boîte à rythmes et sa copine Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station), les chansons de Kehoe sont livrées à l’abri de contraintes.”

Read the whole review, en français, HERE.

Canadian Content Machine on Jon McKiel‘s new self-titled EP: “Lo-fi, but warmly produced. Folksy, but appreciative of a good crunch of distortion…While it is safe to say that McKiel is one of the most talented acts to come out of Halifax lately, his music is in that weird danger-zone of being overlooked today and then be ‘discovered’ years later (which isn’t new to Maritime acts–say hello,Plumtree). It is common for many critics to cite earlier artists as being “criminally underappreciated in their time”, but then turn around and ignore many of the excellent bands and singers around today. Make sure this doesn’t happen to Jon McKiel. Give him his deserved time in the spotlight, and check his music out right now.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Finally, here is a re-cap of some of our clients that have hit the earshot! charts over the past week:

Top 50 National Weekly Charts:
#17 – Kuato - The Great Upheaval
#26 – Jon McKiel Jon McKiel
#41 – Vogue Dots - Toska

 

Week-End Wrap Up • 06.20.14

June6-2014

 

BeatRoute features Jon McKiel and his new self-titled album: “Laden with the masterful melodic hooks, dissonant guitar dirges and all manner of atmospheric oddities that you’d expect from the guy, there’s also a more upbeat, positive vibe going on here in comparison to his earlier stuff. While he doesn’t think it was a calculated move, McKiel says there’s definitely something about the process that lent itself well to the more upbeat nature. ‘It’s not decidedly positive, but compared to Tonka, it feels more free and funny for sure,’ he says.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Listen With Monger on Jon McKiel‘s new self-titled album: “Jon McKiel is your new favourite lo-fi slacker indie hero from Nova Scotia, no diggity. This gorgeous new EP from the Canadian songwriter on the charmingly named Headless Owl records and features six of delightful melodies and a sense of delicateness…McKiel won’t win any awards for slick, dancefloor fillers but if people are handing out prizes for knowing how to write a fantastic slacker pop song and then make it interesting then you’ve found your winner. Seriously, close the competition now and start issuing refunds for the entry fee. Game over, man, game over.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Killer Baby Tomatoes on “Twin Speaks” from Jon McKiel‘s self-titled album: “From the town of Amherst, Nova Scotia Jon McKiel plays earthy, guitar-driven indie rock with a love for polyrhythm. He’s now based in Sackville, and has a new self-titled EP recorded to tape in Crousetown, Nova Scotia. The record’s a collaboration with producer / improviser Jay Crocker (who played guitar / sang in Calgary’s Ghostkeeper.) Here’s ‘Twin Speaks’ the stuttered, syncopated fourth track on the record.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Exclaim! hosts an exclusive stream of the debut Kuato full-length, The Great Upheaval: “Although seemingly inspired by the kind of swelling guitars and cascading reverb usually associated with the UK music scene, according to a press release, the album’s title and song names actually refer to ‘the 18th century expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia’ by British forces. As you can guess, the record sounds pretty freaking epic.”

Listen to the album in its entirety HERE.

Americana UK on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “High And Dry is a fantastically varied piece of country pop. Backed with guitars, drums and keys, the music dabbles in many different styles, all of which Melissa Payne seems to excel at. ‘Call Me A Fool’ is a wonderful strings-backed ballad while ‘Gunning For Me’ is a churning builder of a song which sparkles into a brilliant sing-a-long chorus. At only nine tracks in length, Melissa Payne has created an album that leaves the listener demanding to hear more.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Quick Before It Melts premieres “Past The Stars” the debut single from the José Contreras solo record: Really, I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was to realize that José Contreras’ eponymous new album is his first solo record after 25 years as the core of By Divine Right, a band that has seen a staggeringly impressive list over 30 musicians revolve around it. In 2013, when Contreras reunited with producer and past collaborator Lee Maslin, Maslin asked Contreras why he’d never done a solo record, and the answer was simple: no one had ever asked him to…’Past The Stars’ is a more recent song in the By Divine Right canon, having opened 2013’s Organized Accidents LP with a supple groove and relaxed disposition. Contreras’ solo version, premiering on Quick Before It Melts today, is a far more contemplative, spiritual affair that reflects the reverential and organic nature of the new album’s recording.”

Listen to the track and read more HERE.

Finally, here is a re-cap of some of our clients that have hit the earshot! charts over the past week:

Top 50 National Weekly Charts:
#17 - Jon McKiel– Jon McKiel
#27 – Kuato - The Great Upheaval
#30 – Vogue Dots - Toska
#43 – Nap Eyes - Whine of the Mystic

Week-End Wrap Up • 06.13.14

June6-2014

 

Americana UK on Jon McKiel‘s new, self-titled album: “Jon McKiel’s self-titled release is a wonderful example of how it can be best to keep things simple. In theory, each song is sparse and basic, and yet they all grip the listener in a truly enthralling way. Recorded by McKiel and his producer Jay Crocker on a tape deck while only using a few guitars, drums and a couple of mics, the melodies are really able to shine through. ‘Tropical Depression’, for example, is a delightful bluesy dirge while on ‘Twin Speaks’, fuzz meets flowing guitar riffs to wonderful effect…with this release Jon McKiel really does demonstrate himself to be a master of the distorted jangling melody.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Telescope on Jon McKiel‘s new, self-titled album: “There wasn’t much about Jon McKiel’s last disc, Tonka War Cloud, that betrayed its place of origin, but that modern Maritime ambiance is starting to seep in, on his new EP…The press release for Jon McKiel, amidst a few paragraphs of navel-gazing, suggests: ‘[M]aybe we can’t win in the East anymore. The wind blows down our forts and the price of gas is a veritable economic sanction.’ Few signs of outside enemies, here; much of this disc feels like McKiel tangling with his own predilections. By our count, he’s well ahead.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Coast features Vogue Dots in their New Music Issue: “Vogue Dots is a collaboration between [Tynan] Dunfield and Babette Hayward. Both share songwriting and production duties and Hayward provides vocals over the duo’s lush soundscapes…The ability to create such strange sounds provides a new frontier for the duo to explore. ‘With electronic music, you can do whatever you want. You can create instruments that don’t exist,’ says Dunfield.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Lady Indie on Vogue DotsToska: “If you like Beach House or Purity Ring, you should take a listen to experimental dream-pop duo from New Brunswick, Canada – Vogue Dots. Love the deep “Fiona Apple-esque” vocals. It’s also really fitting music to chill to on a rainy day in Montreal. ‘Skinny Thing’ is the first track off of their new EP Toska. The whole EP makes you feel like you are floating across some kind of 80′s Technicolor high school dance floor above the clouds.”

Read the whole review HERE.

BRBR features Kuato and their debut full-length, The Great Upheaval: “Le premier album du groupe post rock Kuato tire son inspiration d’un événement historique qui n’est plus chanté par la nouvelle vague d’artistes acadiens: la déportation de 1755. Kuato est un groupe instrumental qui mise sur l’intensité de ses paysages sonores sur The Great Upheaval, leur premier album complet. C’est avec une nouvelle compréhension – plus violente – de l’histoire de ses ancêtres que Josh a proposé au groupe d’utiliser ces repères de l’histoire acadienne.”

Read the whole feature, en français, HERE.

BeatRoute features Fiver: “Fiver, [Simone] Schmidt’s newest project, was formed as a new arm on the creative spiral, allowing her to explore a more solo-oriented route and introduce herself as a guitar player. ‘I could play with whatever musicians and sounds I was interested in, without feeling the limitations of other people’s wills,’ Schmidt explains. This can be felt immediately on the debut LP, Lost the Plot, which finds Schmidt exploring new ground sonically and removing herself from being labeled merely as an alt-country crooner. The lyrics, however, continue on with her style of storytelling and having the ability to grow on you after repeated listens.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

MusicNerd on Ben Watt‘s Hendra: “One half of the celebrated electro duo Everything But The Girl, Ben Watt trades in beats for an intimate collection of songs that showcase his strengths as a songwriter. The influence of Jackson Browne, the iconic John Lennon and more ring throughout the album but are more definitively heard on songs such as ‘Spring,’ ‘Forget’ and ‘The Heart Is A Mirror.’ While the subdued track ‘The Levels’ and ‘Young Man’s Game’ both stun the listener with their simplistic beauty, there is nary a bum track to be found on this introspectively lovely collection of songs.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Top 50 National Weekly Charts:
#17 - Jon McKiel– Jon McKiel

Week-End Wrap Up • 06.06.14

June6-2014

Exploding Head Syndrome on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “The Jon McKiel EP is something that definitely get into your head and have you at least 97% happier for the rest of the day, and that is lovely…The surf rock sound that came through on ‘New Tracy’ returns on ‘Twin Speaks.’ The main riff on this track sounds like I’ve just been surfing and I’ve fallen over and landed in the most colourful ocean in the entire world. It’s jagged, off kilter but so very, very enjoyable. The hard kicks of distortion thrown in also make this a heavy jam of a track too. I LOVE THIS SONG.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Babysue on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “Recorded at his home studio in Crousetown, Nova Scotia, New Traces certainly stands out. These six tracks are highly melodic stylized pop…and we instantly fell in love with Jon McKiel’s incredible vocals. This man has a voice that is perfectly tailored for the type of upbeat pop he writes. Six totally groovy cuts here that left us wanting more. Great stuff from a true rising star in the world of underground pop.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Bob Mersereau on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “Last year’s full album, Tonka War Cloud, was a more hushed affair at times, but this sees him in his, shall we say, normal mode, melody-rich songwriter numbers played through Phil Spector’s Wall Of Sludge. There is a touch of 60′s to McKiel’s numbers here…It’s slightly sloppy, but very much in control, which I guess describes the entire McKiel thing.”

Read the whole review HERE

Southern Souls on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “The recording feels loose, the playing inspired and the vocals lively and, even, occasionally sweet. And while his more brooding work has often proved totally infectious, bubbly tracks like ‘Twin Speaks’ and ‘Accolades’ inspire a new level of compulsive listening. It’s really refreshing to hear an artist like McKiel, who’s made a name for himself making potent, heavy-hearted rock songs, loosening up a little: it turns out he sounds just as smart chuckling as he does churning.”

Read the whole review HERE.

8CN on Jon McKiel‘s “Twin Speaks” from his new, self-titled EP: “He’s one of the greats that never seem to get their due, the sort of artist who hangs in some ill-lit corner of your music library for you to rediscover and say ‘Wait yeah, this guy is awesome, what the hell have I been listening to??’ ‘Twin Speaks’ sports a brilliantly clanging guitar tone that won’t quit now or for hours after listening–the clatter builds and culminates into a glittering dogpile of distortion and slap-boxing percussion.”

Read the whole review HERE

Gray Owl Point on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “Reportedly made with ‘an 8-track tape machine, a couple of well-placed microphones, fuzz pedals, and lots of heart,’ it’s a perfect way to describe this refreshing little burst of music. Over six songs McKiel is a bit of a chameleon, channeling influences from Chad VanGaalen’s idiosyncratic, atmospheric sound to pure hazy psych-rock to the upbeat charm of a fellow east-coast songwriter. That songwriter is Shotgun Jimmie, whose presence, while not physically on the record, can certainly be felt. ”

Read the whole review HERE.

New Canadian Music on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “On New Traces, prolific songsmith Jon McKiel creates a six-song mini-album that is indie rock at its most endearing (2011 album Tonka War Cloud elicited raves too). McKiel has a warm voice and his songs have enough slightly off-kilter touches to keep them interesting. Jay Crocker (Ghostkeeper) recorded it to tape at his shed/studio and the disc has a suitably intimate analog feel (fitting then that there’s a vinyl version).”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Guelph Mercury features Jon McKiel and his new self-titled EP: “Typically, a self-titled release heralds a debut album or artistic rebirth. Sackville, N.B.-based psych-pop singer-songwriter Jon McKiel, however, is not one to adhere to popular convention. His latest release, a six-song EP, is his fourth and the first since his 2011 full-length Tonka War Cloud. There is, however, little significance to the fact that this is his first self-titled effort. ‘I just think of each thing as a different project and just a different approach,’ he said in a recent phone interview.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Quick Before It Melts premieres the new Coyote single “Old News”: “Charlottetown, PEI’s Coyote was pitched to me as a mix between Echo & The Bunnymen and LCD Soundsystem, and that was one drink I’d happily down in a single gulp.  The band have built a recognized name for themselves in Atlantic Canada since starting out in 2011 with a kinetic live show and infectious debut EP, Tracks, and now they’re ready to take on the rest of Canada and beyond.”

Listen to the single HERE.

Pure Grain Audio previews the new Coyote single “Old News”: “Coyote has offered the first preview of their forthcoming Proof of Life EP, set for release on September 9th, 2014. The band is now streaming the propulsive new song ‘Old News’ via SoundCloud.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Bob Mersereau on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “Payne’s songs are shot through with urgency, whether slow or fast, up or sad. There’s a cowpunk urgency to Gunning For Me, room for a scorching guitar solo and explosive drums, the kind of tune that would win any band an encore at the end of their set. Both Downtown and Cold Out There are keyboard ballads, the latter all heartache. The title cut is a gem, a kiss-off to a failed relationship. It features the signature sound on the disc, a smooth electric piano on top of the roadhouse band, something quite different and smart. Payne’s expressive voice telegraphs all the emotion, with an attractive twang sealing the deal. Great sound, great songs.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Buying Shots For Bands on Vogue DotsToska: “Marrying the dreamy vocals of [Babette] Hayward with opalescent pulsating beats provided by [Tynan] Dunfield, first track ‘Skinny Thing’ gets you lost in what feels like a fever dream. This is Toska at its most troubled. In contrast, ‘Mercy’ possesses much more of a floaty, effervescent feel that bubbles up echoes of a distant longing for something more, while Hayward’s declaration of ‘honey I’m bored’ amidst the percolating organ-like tones throughout ‘Turns and Turns’ sink us down to the lowest level.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Fervor Coulee on Fearing & White‘s “Emigrant Song” from Tea and Confidences: “I listened to this album a lot in March and April, but it fell off my radar during May. When I heard ‘Emigrant Song’ again yesterday, the power of this duo resurfaced and I knew I had found this week’s Roots Song of the Week. Fearing sings the first half of the song, and White takes over for the rest with Fearing joining back in on harmony. It captures the conflict that I imagine people must experience, people who- for whatever reason- feel forced to turn their back on the land of their birth: you’ve loved this land ‘from the first’, even when it is at its worst, but because ‘my country doesn’t want me’ you’ll head elsewhere.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Finally, here is a re-cap of some of our clients that have hit the earshot! charts over the past week:

Top 50 National Weekly Charts:
#28 - Jon McKiel– Jon McKiel