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

Week-End Wrap Up • 05.30.14

May31-2014

Noisey features Kepler and their Attic Salt re-issue: “Unfortunately, the record was largely ignored after it came out, and eventually the band all went their separate ways. It’s all been pretty quiet on the Kepler front since then, with most everyone moving on to play in God knows how many other projects or settle into day jobs. However, this year – seemingly out of nowhere – a teeny-tiny German record label unearthed Attic Salt and treated it to a dramatic and elegant vinyl reissue for what seems like no apparent reason other than, ‘holy shit this sounds good.’ Needless to say, we were intrigued, so we tracked down Samir Khan to talk to him about why it’s so weird that they choose to reissue this particular record, how the band had pretty much no involvement in it and how everyone wanted to steal Jeremy Gara for their band.”

Read the whole interview HERE.

Exclaim! on Kepler‘s Attic Salt re-issue: “Again produced by Ottawa staple Dave Draves, Attic Salt pushed Kepler’s sound forward, opening up their soft, measured set-up to new horizons. ‘You Must Admit’ boldly added some uncharacteristic bounce and vocal bursts of ‘woo-hoo!’; ‘The National Epithet’ is practically the band’s take on ‘balls-to-the-wall’ rock’n'roll; and Georgekish-Watt proved himself vocally on the quiet-to-loud ‘Days of Begging’” dropping a delightfully eccentric line like ‘Now I carry a knife or a screwdriver/ ’cause I never know when I’ll have to stick a motherfucker.’ Meanwhile, Khan brought his own surprises, unwinding with a confident turn on the bashfully jaunty ‘Thoroughbred Gin.’”

Read the whole review HERE.

[sic] Magazine on Kepler‘s Attic Salt re-issue: “This album needs to be listened to in its entirety. Yet for all its slo-core flirtations and world-weary vocal delivery it remains warm and somewhat comforting. Considering they were Canadians dipping into alt-country territory why then am I put in mind of 1990s, song–based bands of the UK? Lowgold, South and Witness all spring to mind. Good songwriting binds them all. Kepler may not be Low, but Attic Salt is gold.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Noisey re-caps OBEY Convention VII: “The seventh annual OBEY Convention in Halifax, Nova Scotia – a festival of outsider music and art – is one of the coolest festivals east of Montreal. In the past, OBEY has brought in artists from all over Canada, often right before they blow up huge and win Polaris Prizes, like that dirtbag Mac DeMarco, or Montreal’s Bloodshot Bill, artists from Divorce Records like Vancouver’s Shearing Pinx, Halifax’s Dog Day, Dirty Beaches, Jerry Granelli, Philly’s Pissed Jeans and some of the most well-regarded underground electronic and noise acts on the continent, from Brooklyn to the Yukon. Basically, OBEY rules. OBEY Convention VII was everything of which we’ve come to dream, and some shit from nightmares. Even though I didn’t see it all, trust me: one of Canada’s most interesting festivals continues to feature some of its most challenging, boundary-pushing artists in all mediums. OBEY VII was a full court press.”

Read the whole re-cap HERE.

Exclaim! on Low‘s OBEY Convention performance in Halifax: “Halfway through ‘On My Own,’ the second song of Low’s set at Halifax’s OBEY Convention festival, sweetness turned to a snarl. The performance began as the sort of comfortable-but-catchy folk song that seemed a perfect fit for the high ceilings and higher callings of Fort Massey United Church, but suddenly Alan Sparhawk’s Gibson guitar exploded in noise, a massive wall of distortion reverberating through the church’s cavernous interior. It was an incredible tone — the first of many incredible sounds that flowed through Low’s 14-song performance.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Exclaim! on Tim Hecker‘s OBEY Convention performance in Halifax: “With each escalation, I felt as if the show might reach its physical breaking point: that the shaking pews might snap in two, or the chandelier — seemingly twirling in response to the physical force — might break and fall down on the pulpit. But each time, Hecker would turn some dials and pull back from the edge. He was so good at the retreat that I almost wondered if, rather than saying goodbye when the set ended, he would just disappear into the church’s haze (generated by copious smoke machine usage). He didn’t, but it would have been a perfect end to his impressive set.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Exclaim! on the You’ve Changed Records five-year anniversary show in Toronto: “In one evening and six acts, the show took attendees through five rich years of You’ve Changed history. From old singles to new and unfinished works, the concert encapsulated everything You’ve Changed has to offer, from quiet folk duets to high-energy indie rock, but exemplified a little more: it showed that You’ve Changed is less of a record label and more of a guild in which a close-knit group of friends (who all happen to be very talented) can get together, collaborate creatively and offer their craft to the rest of the world. The showcase was an opportunity for outsiders to take a trip inside and see what You’ve Changed is all about, drink it all in with a beer. The night wasn’t without a quirk or two, from missing capos to temperamental amps, but the charm and passion the artists all share shone through, beautiful as the music itself.”

Read the whole review HERE.

NOW on the You’ve Changed Records five-year anniversary show in Toronto: “To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Welland-based You’ve Changed Records (founded by Constantines’ Steve Lambke and Attack in Black’s Daniel Romano and Ian Kehoe) staged a full-on love-in at the Horseshoe Tavern. Toronto’s beloved Weather Station reunited for the occasion and even played a handful of new songs from an upcoming LP that showcased lead singer Tamara Lindeman’s deep, smoky voice and nimble guitar-plucking. Daniel Romano and his backing band, the Trilliums, were the night’s not-so-surprising surprise guests. The country crooner, sporting a cowboy hat and leather boots, had us eating up every word of his 1960s-inspired hurtin’ cowboy ballads.”

Read the whole review HERE.

NOW on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “Jon McKiel’s sunny and fuzzy six-song EP kicks off impetuously – as if the East Coaster were already in mid-song – on opener ‘New Tracy’ and comes to an abrupt halt 16 minutes later with a sudden, humorous clang at the end of ‘Chop Through.’ Short and unpretentious, the songs are packed with shifts in time signatures and evocative yet down-to-earth lyrics. ‘I Know, I Know’ is psychedelic, while a rain of angular guitar leads off skronky Twin Speaks, which ends with a very un-East Coast traffic jam of drums and guitars.”

Read the whole review HERE.

BRBR on Jon McKiel‘s self-titled EP: “McKiel capture une bébitte plus sale que dans ses escapades passées. La power pop festive se déconstruit (New Tracy), accompagnée par un clin d’oeil à Syd Barrett (I know, I know). Le résultat est collégien et maître des jeux de mots (Bienvenue àTwin Speaks), où le Graceland de Paul Simon semble overdubbé sur un 4-track avecPinkerton en arrière-plan. Dans la lignée de Chad VanGaalen, Jon McKiel livre un rock lo-fi et minimaliste enregistré sur ruban analogue.”

Read the whole review, en français, HERE.

Silent Shout on Vogue DotsToska: “Originally from Saint John, but now based out of Halifax, Vogue Dots is a duo composed of Babette Hayward and Tynan Dunfield, and though they’ve only just begun they could already be the best electronic pop group on the East Coast these days. Vogue Dots have absolutely blindsided us with this EP. They’re masters of many styles, and they’re only just getting started. Toska is quite the opening statement and we’ll be hanging on their every word from here on out.”

Read the whole reiew HERE.

Exclaim! on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “Payne delivers a solid collection of heartbreak songs without over-singing a single one of them. Her second solo album, High and Dry, is beautifully arranged and performed by a who’s who cast of musicians, including Michael Boguski (Blue Rodeo) on piano and organ, Anna Ruddick (Ladies of the Canyon) on bass, Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) on synth and Dylan Ireland on guitar and drums. Produced by Greg Keelor, the record recalls what’s best about the genre so epitomized by Blue Rodeo — gentle, sincere, road trip-ready Canadiana. Title track ‘High and Dry’ is the energetic standout single, but the slower songs (‘Not The Only One,’ ‘Cool West Wind,’ ‘Cold Out There’) provide just as much punch, thanks to great musicianship.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Examiner features Fiver: “It may seem strange that the captain of this ship doesn’t know what it’ll look like when it sails through Western Canada, but nothing is simple with Simone. Musically, think of what would have happen if Nick Cave had centred his talents on country music, or if Johnny Cash had fronted Pink Floyd. No, how about Grace Slick being a singer/songwriter in the 2100’s? Hmmm, no, Simone probably wouldn’t agree with that description, either.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

BRBR on Marine DreamsLemon Tree: “Le troisième album de Marine Dreams fut le prétexte de l’acquisition de nouvelles compétences pour son fondateur, Ian Kehoe« J’ai décidé peu après Noël d’apprendre l’art de l’enregistrement, par moi-même. Je me suis dit que la meilleure manière d’apprendre était de faire un nouvel album. C’est ce que j’ai fait, puis le résultat final est raisonnablement bon, » explique Kehoe par téléphone, en riant. Si Lemon Tree est l’excursion la plus solitaire de l’auteur-compositeur, il a tout de même réuni de proches collaborateurs, dont Steve Lambke (Baby Eagle, The Constantines), Ross Miller et sa copine Tamara Lindeman (The Weather Station).”

Read the whole feature, en français, HERE.

Kreative Kontrol features Culture Reject‘s Michael O’Connell: “We talked about Guelph, Black Cabbage, and the Neutron Stars, sitting down when you pee, rice and peas and coconut milk and spices and hard-boiled eggs and peaches, tropical music, how to reggae it up, Cuba, white guys with guitars, how Black Cabbage happened and compromising, Nick Craine, touring Canada by bus with an ambitious Aaron Riches, tinkering with Culture Reject’s first record, how the new record Forces was made at 6 Nassau St., Tristan O’Malley’s transient, permanently on-loan synthesizer that is never coming home, the mystery lodge, how Forces reflects Toronto, people need to talk to people, misusing ‘the theme,’ communication and modern parenting, the written word is the written word, maybe texting is good for us, maybe phones are bad for us, White Whale Records, the importance of playing great shows, sketch.ca, the song ‘Quicksand,’ and no mas.”

Listen to the whole episode 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:
#15 - Jon McKiel– Jon McKiel

Top 10 National Weekly Folk/Roots/Blues Charts:
#9 – Melissa Payne - High and Dry