Week End Wrap Up • 08.22.14

July11-2014

Ground Control Magazine on José Contreras‘ self-titled solo album: “That sense of intimacy, grace, candor and elegance is perfectly self-evident from the moment ‘Listen To My Angels’ opens the album. Listeners won’t be able to deny that a certain trepidation starts to overtake them as Contreras’ acoustic guitar slithers in and establishes itself darkly, in much the same way Tommy Tedesco’s did on his performance of ‘Suicide Is Painless.’ There too, Contreras keeps up the worried, even fragile, tone in his vocal performance which almost seems to quiver with fear. In spite of all these potentially off-putting elements though, listeners will find it impossible to turn away; the song just oozes catharsis and aches to be heard, so of course those who begin with the album will continue on with it.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Exclaim! on José Contreras‘ video for “Past The Stars, a track from his new self-titled solo album: “Last year, By Divine Right released a music video for their song ‘Past the Stars,’ and now that frontman José Contreras has recorded a stripped down version of the same tune for his solo album, it has gotten another music video. Like the original video, this is a bitty of a trippy affair with layered faces and backlit silhouettes. This time around, however, Contreras appears alone while shadowy black and white camera work complements the nocturnal atmospheric of the balladic reworking.”

Read the whole piece and watch the video HERE.

Exclaim! on “Way Out, the latest single from Vogue Dots: “Halifax duo Vogue Dots recorded their new single in an island cottage, although ‘Way Out’ and ‘Thunder’ don’t feature the rustic palette you might expect to emerge from these surroundings. The brisk ‘Way Out’ is anchored by a dreamily danceable drum machine loop, and this is overlaid with abstract textures and buried, breathy vocals.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Razmataz Magazine on “Way Out, the latest single from Vogue Dots: “The song is a mish-mash of electro-dreamy sound. Soft blinking beeps fade into an orchestral synth tone before empty droplets pull you in. At that point, the track explodes and soft, husky vocals take over as the music melts together, though each part still somehow manages to stand separate.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Ride The Tempo on Slight Birching‘s Cultural Envelope: “…if you give it a few spins you come to appreciate its subtle beauty. You begin to discern texture in those extended passages of synthesizer music, and realize that they are being used in the same way that an artist uses space on his canvas, i.e. to provide a contextual framework for the areas of more detail (the track ‘Perplexion/Perception’ is a prime example). These areas of detail can range from simple brush-strokes (the afore-mentioned guitar noodling) to patterns of complexity (lyrically) that you may never be able to unravel but whose form you can admire nevertheless.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Ottawa Citizen features Constantines: “Four years is not too long for a band to take a break, but for the devoted fans of Toronto-based rockers Constantines, the hiatus was an eternity. To them, a Cons live show is a quasi-religious experience. Those fans were over the moon to hear the news the quintet has reunited this summer for a series of concerts, including a headlining show in Ottawa at the third annual Arboretum Festival on Aug. 23.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

The Coast features Kuato and their latest album, The Great Upheaval: “Released in June, The Great Upheaval is a carefully constructed concept album drawing from the culture and heritage of the Acadian members of the band. Both from Yarmouth, Pothier and guitarist Mike D’Eon approached the communal songwriting process with intense themes. ‘We wanted to present Acadian culture in a way that hadn’t been done before,’ Pothier explains. ‘I mean, I grew up with that stuff and it’s always fiddles pounding and very traditional paintings, stories, narrative poems and strictly folkloric kinds of art. But for me it was like, how can I feel like I’m contributing to my culture but at the same time fulfill my creative goals?’”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Secret East re-caps SappyFest 9: “The tent was a madhouse during the Constantines. People yelling the lyrics, crowd surfing with reckless abandon, smiles on every face. Did they play your favourite song? Probably. This was an epic set in both scope and duration. I would have loved to hear ‘National Hum’ but with a band like this, with four near perfect records to pick songs from you celebrate the moment and do not get bogged down in what is not there. It was a triumphant set.”

PennyBlackMusic on Bend The River‘s So Long Joan Fontaine: “The album is littered with yarns spun about various characters and their various mishaps and fortunes. From the upbeat ‘Jenny and the Night Before’ to the brooding and lovelorn ‘Assassins’ pretty much all genres and emotions are touched upon to make ‘So Long Joan Fontaine’ a well-rounded affair. There are moments that sound like a homely Lynyrd Skynyrd, particularly on ‘The Hunter in Me,’ but also some songs such as ‘This Heart Of Mine’ and ‘We Still Don’t Know’ give off a Ben Harper reggae-meets-Americana vibe which as it goes it a fairly good combination.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Mike Campbell, creative director of the Halifax Urban Folk Festival, stops by Global Morning Halifax for a chat about the downtown-Halifax fest, which kicks off this weekend. Watch the interview below:

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:
#38
 – Jon McKiel – Jon McKiel

Week End Wrap Up • 08.15.14

Aug15-2014

Exclaim! on Slight Birching‘s Cultural Envelope: “Cultural Envelope, a nod to Northrop Frye’s notion of how humans separate themselves from nature, is dominated by low bass and synth drone lines, topped by finger-style guitar and Ramsay’s earnest, lower-register vocals. At moments, this album conjures Nick Drake’s beautiful sadness, and at others, Beck at his most pensive (Sea ChangeMorning Phase). The eerie ‘Get Up In The Morning And Fight’ could be the theme song for a spooky carnival clown, while ‘Eventually’ feels like a fairy tale processional. Near the end of the album, the title track features Joseph Hirabayashi on beautiful interwoven trumpet lines.”

Read the whole review HERE.

New Canadian Music on Slight Birching‘s Cultural Envelope: “On the new album Cultural Envelope, [Sean Travis Ramsey] stretches the envelope stylistically, adding fascinating aural atmospherics to his philosophically-inclined folk-inflected material. The artist explains that the album addresses ‘humanity’s fascination with creating complex structures, systems, and beliefs that separate us from nature.’ The record appeals to both the intellect and the heart, a powerful combination.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Permanent Rain Press previews Slight Birching‘s video for “Currency” from Cultural Envelope. Watch the video HERE.

The MusicNerd Chronicles features Kuato and their new album, The Great Upheaval: “It is probably no coincidence that the first full-length effort from Halifax post-rock quintet Kuato is dubbed The Great Upheaval. A seven-song record that recalls Do Make Say Think among others, the album’s title serves as a reference to the Acadian expulsion of the 1700’s. Accordingly however, Kuato treat their listeners to emotive songs that, although instrumental, manage to still speak powerful testaments.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Replicant Ears reviews a Kuato tour stop in Toronto: “Here’s the straight-up deal: Kuato was the closest thing to perfection I have ever witnessed live…Kuato have painstakingly crafted such wonderful compositions that, although there are three very capable guitarists, one bass player, and one drummer, are as far away from showboating as is humanly possible. The album is recreated live almost flawlessly, with each player adding to the whole in an equal manner, weaving together an intricate and complex performance that somehow manages not to talk down to or even lose its audience for one second.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Verb Magazine speaks to Wax Mannequin about his new project, Singular Songs: “I started making candles awhile back, as a merchandising idea. These self-portrait candles. And then I figured I could put stuff inside the candles, like prizes. I ended up putting my discography, all of my records, on one piece of machine memory inside the candle. I kind of liked how inaccessible the music was, that it was a sculpture that needed to be destroyed to get the tunes out. I wanted to push that concept further. I thought, ‘What if I did individual tunes?’ I guess the natural result was the idea of one song inside one candle. A song that doesn’t exist anywhere else. A song where I delete the raw mix, the raw tracks on my end, so it exists as only one copy.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Southern Souls on the debut, self-titled José Contreras solo album: “There are seven elements in modern music, these elements make up the vast compositions we hear every day. Every artist or band tends to choose one that makes them who they are, something that defines them. The Talking Heads used rhythm to their advantage and a group like Godspeed! You Black Emperor, use dynamics as a backbone to their atmospheric cacophony of noise. José Contreras has chosen melody. His melodies are what makes By Divine Right a principal of Canadian indie rock. José uses melody to project his lyrics of love and spirituality.  José’s new self titled record focuses on those lyrics by cutting away the crunching Fender Jaguar riffs and straight ahead rock drums and gives us what he is so good at, melody.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Noisey recaps SappyFest 9: “With the three main venues — a tented main stage on the closed off Bridge Street, the stately if slightly under-ventilated Vogue Theatre (a poster outside the cinema’s current lone nightly screening, Hercules starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson) and Sackville’s Royal Canadian Legion — in a block and a half radius from each other, making it easy to leisurely navigate between shows. Besides the music, there were poetry readings, late night karaoke (surprisingly light on Sloan songs, but a passionate rendition of The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’ united the room), local vendors selling food, clothes and artwork, a daily journal The Sappy Times, and a D.I.Y. mail service straight out of a Wes Anderson film. Sappyfest also took all the things that suck about summer music festivals — overzealous security, overpriced beer and disgusting washroom facilities — and replaced them with friendly volunteers, delicious $5 craft brews, and not entirely disgusting port-a-potties.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Ride The Tempo on Vogue DotsToska: “Vogue Dots are meticulous in their production, leaving not one note wasted or out of place. Listening to their EP is such a rich and satisfying experience that you want to scream in frustration when it ends all too quickly. This is essentially indie folk set to dreamy electronica. The duo weave complex tapestries of clever instrumentation, while Hayward’s ethereal voice hangs in the air like a wispy cloud. From the throbbing, danceable beats of ‘Skinny Thing’ to the gorgeous atmospherics of ‘Mercy’ this is one of the best collection of songs you’ll hear all year.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Adobe and Teardrops on Alanna Gurr & The Greatest State‘s Late At Night: “Alanna Gurr’s voice is immediately arresting. Pair that with the laidback, folk-inspired indie rock and you’ve got yourself some truly hypnotic music. Late at Night is frighteningly easy to get lost in…Gurr’s warmth will keep calling you back.”

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:
#24
 – Vogue Dots – Toska

Week-End Wrap Up • 08.08.14

July25

NOW Magazine on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “The Halifax five-piece excel at moody drama, inventing sonic landscapes that wax and wane, surge and settle…The album works well as one long set piece, as several songs run straight into one another. But arresting moments break things up and prevent The Great Upheaval from becoming background listening. Groundwork features stunning, bombastic drumming, while the title track gets deliciously heavy in a violent, sludgy, satisfying way.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Killer Baby Tomatoes interviews Kuato about their debut full-length, The Great Upheaval: “When Halifax doomey post rock five-piece Kuato were looking for inspiration for their debut LP, it only made sense to draw from their surroundings. ‘We’re a dark band, and this is super dark history, it’s something that’s around us all the time. It’s in the soil, it’s in the air, it’s just part of the energy [here],’ says drummer Josh Pothier, who grew up going to Acadian schools in Nova Scotia.”

Read the whole interview HERE.

The Kingston Whig Standard features Kuato and their new album The Great Upheaval: “The title refers to the British expulsion of Acadians — some of them were sent south to Louisiana — during the mid-1700s. Thousands of them perished. The theme gave the record a visual element from which to draw, [Josh] Pothier explained. ‘It’s visceral music so you can’t say it’s about anything, but the music is really dark, so we wanted to draw from something that was kind of dark,’ he said over the phone from his home in Halifax.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

CBC‘s Bob Mersereau on Bend The River‘s So Long Joan Fontaine: “The songs are recorded live off the studio floor, and sound organic and a bit old-fashioned, roots-rock in the spirit of The Band. By sticking to the real deal, Bend The River stay happily, purposefully, away from the mainstream, away from today too. Swamping vocals with singers Norma MacDonald and Becky Siamon, Sarkar gives us a full story to enjoy, with different scenes, feeling very much like something from the recent past. Like a film, then.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The MusicNerd Chronicles on Bend The River‘s So Long Joan Fontaine: “Owing a debt to greats like The Band, Halifax’s Bend The River wears the influences of rock, roots and country on their sleeves yet manage to craft something completely authentic. Then again, that was precisely what made The Band so great – their refusal to be categorized into one specific genre. It takes a certain kind of band to be able to pull off blurring those lines; Bend The River is indeed one of those groups. A stunning sophomore record from one of Atlantic Canada’s best up-and-coming bands.”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Alternate Root on Bend The River‘s “No One Else To Blame” from So Long Joan Fontaine: “Film and music meet on the cover of the most recent Bend The River album, So Long Joan Fontaine. I am not sure if the track that gets the band into the Top 10, “No One Else to Blame,” is about a film. What it does accomplish is to structure a pretty amazing roots tune that successfully lives in the world of pop without needing to compromise itself.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Noisey features an interview with Shotgun & Jaybird ahead of their SappyFest appearance: “One of the most endearing bands in the history of Canadian music, Shotgun and Jaybird, were a force to be reckoned with in the early 2000s. The celebrated group, formed around the hilarious and vibrant duo of Jim ‘Shotgun Jimmie’ Kilpatrick and Fred Squire (alias Dick Morello) churned out just as many wide smiles as they did infectious, jangly pop tunes in their time. They played an integral role in putting Sackville, New Brunswick back on the map musically, and ushered in a whole new generation of scrappy, jangly, fun-loving East Coast indie rock. After charming the pants off of audiences from Dawson City to Halifax for years, the band laid their wildly entertaining brand of messy, bed-head Canadian rock to rest in 2007.”

Read the whole interview HERE.

BRRB recaps SappyFest 9: “C’est long et plate, la Transcanadienne. Les arbres et les villages se succèdent, traversés par la très grande majorité des tentes-roulottes du Canada, en route vers les campings de la côte Est. Les speakers du char grondent à l’écoute de ‘Today, More Than Any Other Day d’Ought.’ Le band nous rappelle que « Everything is going to be ok ». Ben kin! J’ai hâte de serrer dans mes bras les amis à qui j’ai dit au revoir l’an dernier, pis de revoir la Bridge Street, habillée de ses grosses tentes blanches.”

Read the whole piece, en français, HERE.

Quill & Quire premieres “Call of the Wild, the debut single from Christine Fellows‘ Burning Daylight: “In 2011, Winnipeg musician Christine Fellows travelled through the Yukon as Dawson City Music Festival’s songwriter-in-residence. The experience inspired Burning Daylight, a full-length album and poetry collection, both to be published by ARP Books in September. Q&Q spoke to Fellows, who is an adjunct creative-writing instructor at the University of British Columbia, about the project.”

Read the interview, and hear the song, HERE.

Quick Before It Melts premieres “Nostalgia, the lead single from Slow LeavesBeauty Is So Common: “There is such a thing as ‘urban folk,’ and Winnipeg’s Slow Leaves evokes a homespun, storytelling sound that comes from the heart of downtown. ‘Nostalgia’ is the first single from the new record, and premieres in today’s post. It’s leisurely, easy melody feels like an instant classic.  Punctuated by bursts of horn and Davidson’s velvety falsetto, ‘Nostalgia’ is a dream of a song, a sliver of memory that triggers a flood of emotions and recollections.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Exclaim! hosts an exclusive stream of the new album from Slight Birching, Cultural Envelope: “The collection’s 11 songs bend acoustic music into strange, atmospheric directions. Opener ‘Autodidact’ begins with swaths of distortion, which suddenly melt away as the song turns into a stripped-down rock groove. This proves to be a trend throughout the album, as straightforward, rootsy passages drift in and out of focus while making room for spooky drones and bleak sci-fi tones. The album is said to be inspired by ‘humanity’s fascination with creating complex structures, systems, and beliefs that separate us from nature.’”

Listen to the album HERE.

Sound Vat on the video for Vogue Dots“Skinny Thing” from their debut EP, Toska: “Halifax duo combine ambient electronic music with well-crafted melodies and lush vocals for a beautifully layered sound. It’s appropriate that their video for single ‘Skinny Thing’ is also layered, with images of Toronto at night and highways scenes behind a dancing figure.”

Watch the video 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:
#26 - Kuato – The Great Upheaval
#33
 – Vogue Dots – Toska

Week-End Wrap Up • 08.01.14

Aug1-2014

CBC‘s Bob Mersereau talks to Bry Webb about SappyFest 9: “SappyFest also has a big meaning for him in his solo career as well: ‘When I stopped with The Constantines, I didn’t know if I was going to make music any more. When I ultimately did decide to make a record on my own, I didn’t expect to tour a lot. My life changed quite a bit, I had a son, we moved to Guelph, I got a full time day job. I just wasn’t touring much, and there were all these people that I didn’t see that I used to through touring with the Cons. So for me SappyFest is this reunion of all these people that I care about. It’s always the conditions that I love. When I got to go back to Sappy a couple of years ago in my solo style of playing, I reconnected with a hundred people that I missed dearly and hadn’t seen lately. It’s had an important role in my life.’”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Kreative Kontrol sits down with all five members of The Constantines to chat about their reunion shows, including a headlining slot at SappyFest 9. Listen to the podcast HERE.

The MusicNerd Chronicles talks to Lucas Hicks about SappyFest 9: “Hicks says that although he is new to the role of creative director, his predecessors anticipated vacating their roles and thus began grooming him for the position and responsibilities a couple of years ago. He credits the close work with Henderson and Claytor as helping him hit the ground running. ‘Sappyfest definitely has a certain look and a certain feel to it. What people love about Sappyfest are the same things I love about the festival. The last thing I would have wanted to do was to come in and change a lot about the festival and the way it is run and what people can expect from the festival.’”

Read the whole feature HERE.

The Chronicle Herald on the Halifax Pop Explosion initial lineup announce: “Starting locally, they built from familiar East Coast favourites up to major headliners, including Wu-Tang Clan members Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, backed by Toronto rhythm trio BADBADNOTGOOD, and Florida punk game-changers Against Me!. There was also a surprise last-minute announcement that Detroit rapper Danny Brown, who has previously collaborated with Halifax singer Megan James from the electronic duo Purity Ring, would also be performing at this fall’s indie pop extravaganza.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Metro Halifax on the Halifax Pop Explosion initial lineup announce: “For the first time ever, the Halifax Forum will host multiple shows as an official Pop Explosion venue this October, including headliners Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan, rapper Danny Brown and BADBADNOTGOOD. On Tuesday, new executive director James Boyle announced most of the lineup for the Oct. 21-25 festival, saying the team “couldn’t be more excited” about presenting one of largest list of performers the Pop Explosion’s ever had. ‘We’re really excited that we have a proper all-ages venue,’ Boyle said about the Forum after the announcement.”

Read the whole feature HERE.

Exclaim! on the Halifax Pop Explosion initial lineup announce: “Details are beginning to leak behind the 22nd annual Halifax Pop Explosion, with organizers having revealed the first wave of artists announcements includes the likes of barrier-breaking rockers Against Me!, Detroit rapper Danny Brown, and Wu-Tang vets Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. The lineup reveal also confirms appearances from Twin Shadow, Tokyo Police Club, Chad VanGaalen, Austra, Whitehorse, Operators, Kevin Drew, the Wooden Sky, SonReal, Ill Gates, Thugli, Jen Kirkman, Cousins, Swearin’, the Flatliners, Bry Webb, PS I Love You, Solids, Single Mothers, Mike Boyd, Petra, Teenage Kicks, Astral Swans, and City Natives.”

Read the whole piece HERE.

Noisography on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “This is clearly a record that you, as a fan of instrumental music and emotional music in general, need to own; the band has managed to create a compelling record that doesn’t just stand out in the post-rock genre but in any space of modern music…There are no moments on this record that will leave you bored; this record smartly balances the long form structures of post-rock with the catchy hooks and beats of pop and rock.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Ride The Tempo on Kuato‘s The Great Upheaval: “The music is expressive, evoking feelings as diverse as fear, joy, anger and wonder. Take for example ‘Ripped from the Soil’ (which would appear to be the subject of the album’s cover, featuring artwork by bassist Stephen MacDonald): The song starts off quietly with twangy, echoing guitars, but it’s sinister. Something dreadful is about to happen. Then the cavalcade of strident guitars hits you. This part is pure horror. The music then softens again, but this time it is mournful. You are overcome by the tragic loss. Who needs words when the emotions of a story are as well presented as this?”

Read the whole review HERE.

Fresh Independence on Vogue DotsToska: “This group embraces the ambient side of electronic music with Babette Hayward’s vocals taking the forefront, backed by her lush guitar playing and Tynan Dunfield’s electronically crafted melodies. What culminates is meticulous layers of beautifully, dark sound. It’s the type of music that hushes a room and sucks the crowd into their calming, seductive vibe.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Pennyblack Music on Melissa Payne‘s High and Dry: “Those all important first impressions are that here is yet another fine singer/songwriter plowing that country/pop field resulting in a bumper crop of instantly catchy, irresistible even, intelligent adult pop songs. The title song that opens the album takes less than a minute from its quiet beginnings to burst into a sunshine-drenched sing-along that you just know is going to be rattling around inside of your head for the rest of the day. As the song progresses, it becomes more obvious that Payne has a unique voice. While the quality of the song is such that it’s hard to imagine any artist making less than a fair fist of such a strong composition, it is the way that Payne’s vocals unfold with the intensity of the song that impresses the most. ”

Read the whole review HERE.

The Coast on Fearing & White‘s Tea and Confidences: “Fearing tends to sing low harmony with White, the opposite of his role with Blackie [and the Rodeo Kings]. ‘Another Time, Another Place,’ a ballad with the two trading verses, effectively showcases their contrast and unity. Each has Irish roots, resulting in the bittersweet ‘Emigrant Song.’ Fearing plays well with others and rarely stops writing, which has generated this mid-life breakout year.”

Read the whole review HERE.

NOW Toronto on Bend The River‘s So Long Joan Fontaine: “On their second album, the group try out more ambitious arrangements, speeding up, slowing down and going nuts with organ and tambourine solos. Yet sometimes their efforts sound meandering; Ronok Sarkar’s voice and songs often work best when the band keeps things simple and nostalgic, as on stripped-down highlight Half Of My Love. BTR do country rock well on fast-paced The Hunter In Me – the only song with banjo – while Assassins, with its slow, soft chorus, is most melodic.”

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:
#19 – Vogue Dots – Toska

Top 200 National Monthly Charts for June 2014:
#22 – Kuato – The Great Upheaval
#27 – Jon McKiel - Jon McKiel
#32 – Vogue Dots - Toska
#62 – Nap Eyes - Whine of the Mystic

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