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Saturday, June 12th, 2010 01:57 am
Handsome Furs - I'm Confused cover art

Handsome Furs is a synth punk indie rock band formed in 2007 and based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. [ref]

I got this single from Amazon on a Sub Pop Sampler last year. It was free, but I really quite like it. It's got a retro feel to it that takes me back to the 80s in a good way, while not leaving behind the evolution music has taken since then. And I like the chorus.

The video for it is disturbing, but good. You can watch it on Vimeo or YouTube, or embedded here:

Read more... )

Freaky, no? But in that quirky Euro-Canadian way that just really appeals to me. I haven't checked out the rest of their music yet, but I think this song and video is a good introduction to them.

Buy:
Amazon [mp3] or [Face Control full album]
iTunes

Vital Links:
Official Site
MySpace
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 09:16 am


This is Metric an indie rock/new wave band hailing from the great land of Canada. They are Emily Haines (vocals, synthesizer & guitar), James Shaw (guitar & theremin), Josh Winstead (bassist) and Joules Scott-Key (drummer). They started in Toronto but have been all over the world at various times.

Background Info:
Wikipedia
Offical Site Bio


I found them thanks to My One True Radio Station, aka the Alternative Channel on Music Choice. They kept playing "Help I'm Alive" and finally I just had to find out more about the band that made this song I liked so damn much.

So first I hit up RCRD LBL's site to see if they had a listing for Metric, which they did: Metric page on RCRD LBL

Happily, they had two, not just one, songs available to stream & download. I've embedded the streaming player here, or you can just click on the link above.

embedded )

At that time Lala.com was still alive, and so I used some of my sign-up credits to 'buy' the streaming version of their album Fantasies. I fell in love. It was utterly delightful. I liked every single song and that is one of the things that's really special for me. I want to be able to enjoy the entirety of what an artist/band has to offer, and with Metric that was no problem at all.

Here again was a female-lead band that played the music I enjoyed and had lyrics that didn't depress me. And on top of that, they're really good. I do hope you'll give them a chance.


Important Links:
Official Site
Myspace
Twitter
YouTube

Buy Metric's Fantasies:
Metric's Webstore
Amazon [CD] or [MP3]
iTunes

All Other Merch
Saturday, June 5th, 2010 12:37 pm
Welcome to the Canadiana free-for-all. Both [personal profile] calystarose and I will be posting 3 times this week. We never could do things in moderation.

Let's get started.




This is J Englishman, a wonderful artist from Toronto. His album, Poor Li'l Rock Star has pretty much been my soundtrack for the last ten years. I'm going to take the lazy way out and plagiarize myself for a minute. I reviewed the album last year at my music blog (which I have, sadly, neglected the last six months or so. I need to get back to it). I don't see the need to do a completely different intro, especially when there isn't much information to be had.

So, the following is cribbed from my review of the album:

J Englishman is a Canadian artist who released a really stellar album in 2000. It was probably the first album I bought after hearing only one single, and it was way before I started downloading and doing the "try before you buy" type of thing, which goes to show how sure I was of the purchase. This was his only release, unfortunately. When last I heard, he was tending bar at The Tap in Toronto, though his Wiki article says that over the years, he's been working as a freelance music writer for Chart magazine, Production Manager for a John Legend tour, Festival Programmer and Production Manager for "Rock the Wake" festival, and is currently working as an audio engineer. He also has album producer credits (two of them) for the band G-13. He's also done sound engineering at a lounge in Toronto.

This is a lot of info for someone so obscure, so I'm guessing that someone connected to him or his sister (Canadian singer Esthero*) has edited the article. I don't know if that makes it more or less trustworthy, but I'm just happy to know that the man might still be somewhere in the music industry, just waiting for a chance to put out more music.

I'm pretty attached to this album, and I'm always up for trying to tempt someone else into listening to J's stuff. The problem is... it's really hard to find. It's not available at iTunes, and J's website is woefully out of date. The last listed tour dates were in 2004. There are some free MP3s available in the Sounds section, though. Download Breaking Down, Flowers For Ophelia (my favourite!), and Tripwires. To hear the album in its entirety, click the cut below. I cannot tell you how shocked I am that Grooveshark has the files streaming. I've included a playlist.

Click to listen! )

Four songs hit the Top 40 and one went as far as the Top 10 (Abused, Staring at the Sun, The One Thing, and More). I've been able to find a couple of videos on YouTube that use his music, but only one actual music video. It's below. Kind of silly that it was banned by Much Music.





He has a MySpace, which indicates that he (or someone else) logged into the account in March 2010, but the last blog post is dated 2009. I've friended it anyway just in case.

If this ends up being his only album it'll be a damn shame, but at least he put out a good one.




*Fun Fact, J's sister helped to co-write Love Lockdown with Kanye West


Links:
- LastFM
Saturday, May 22nd, 2010 04:58 pm
These two dorks are Mark Hoppus and Pete Wentz and they're fucking awesome.



So these two guys are the bassists in their bands (Blink-182 & Fall Out Boy respectively), amongst other things. And they decided to make some pretty music together for the Almost Alice not!soundtrack.

Listen to "In Transit" on Grooveshark.
Or here )


Looking at the lyrics I'm going to guess these were mostly written by Pete. Which is awesome, because I love the way he has with words. And these words are a great example of that. You can feel the pain and longing in the words.

Lyrics )

And match that up with the hauntingly beautiful music and the way Mark sings the song? Absolute perfection. It has just the proper feel for a song about Alice, but at the same time able to stand independent of that. Which I think is important.

I admit that I didn't out and out love it at the very first listen. But, on the second listen, once I sat still and really paid attention it just grabbed me by the gut. Gave me that awful/wonderful feeling of need/want and loneliness. It has this feeling of contraction/expansion, pulling in close and then flying outward across the distance. And for all that the loneliness and want permeate the song, there's something to it that doesn't feel like all hope is lost.


Mark and Pete have mentioned that they may be doing other things with each other musically in the future. I sincerely hope they do, because they really seem to mesh well.

Links:
Mark: blog, twitter
Pete: blog, twitter
AmazonMP3: In Transit
iTunes: In Transit (as is often the case, iTunes is more costly than Amazon)

PS: If you feel inclined to look at the rest of the Almost Alice not!soundtrack, I can very enthusiastically recommend Welcome to Mystery by The Plain White T's and The Lobster Quadrille by Franz Ferdinand
Saturday, May 8th, 2010 12:48 pm


This is Imagine Dragons. I have waxed poetically about them in my personal journal a few times before, but I really, really want more people to find them and love them too. :D

Imagine Dragons is an unsigned band located in Las Vegas, Nevada. I found them thanks to a Google Alert for Panic! at the Disco (who they sound nothing like really). So far they've recorded two EPs. The first one is available on iTunes: Imagine Dragons - EP. The second one, Hell and Silence, is now (as of 6/5) available on iTunes.

You can preview pretty much all of their music on their ReverbNation page, but I've included the player behind the cut-tag:
hear it, love it )

One thing that impresses me about Imagine Dragons is how polished they sound. The songs sound just like they were recorded by a major studio, not rough at all. They have a synth-rock sort of sound and a manic energy for most songs, but they can do lilting ballad types as well. Good range.

They are the "go to" band for out of town bands who want a local opening band in Vegas. They mostly tour right around Nevada and California, but they also performed at South by Southwest this year.

Here's an interview with them by a local Vegas music vlog. And here is some video from their performance at the Neon Reverb Music Festival where they just fucking slayed it.

You can get two of their songs for free by joining their mailing list which is VERY low traffic. In fact, I think the only thing I got so far was an email from them offering me another free song. So it's no hardship.

sign-up for free music! )

They've got a retro flair to their style, but updated and made fresh. A nice balance between what was and what is. Though the main vocalist is male, their female keyboardist provides backing and it really fills out the sound nicely.

Links:
MySpace
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Fan Club (lots of good info there)
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010 04:39 pm
Stylo by Gorillaz cover art


There's a really nice groove to this song that just pulls you in and transports you to this other reality. Somewhere chill and yet alien. The lyrics are a good mix of repetition and narrative. The different voices singing really adds some dimensionality to the song. And the music is this interesting mixture of retro and futuristic. Really well done.

The only radio-type thing I listen to is Music Choice. The Alternative Channel starting playing the hell out of Stylo and I was quickly hooked. The comic characters in the artwork confused me at first, since I had never heard of the band prior to this. But I looked them up, and it's actually kind of interesting:


Gorillaz (which originally was to be called Gorilla) is a British virtual band formed in 1998 by a collaboration between Damon Albarn of Britpop band Blur and Jamie Hewlett, co-creator of the comic book Tank Girl. They had the idea to create the band while watching MTV in their London flat.

The band is comprised of four fictional band members: 2-D (vocals, keyboard), Murdoc Niccals (bass), Noodle (guitar, vocals) and Russel Hobbs (drums). These characters only appear in animated form and are not alter-egos of real people, as is often mistakenly assumed.

There is an extensive fictional back-story behind these band members, written by Albarn and Hewlett, which is described in the albums produced by the band as well as several videos and their autobiographical book Rise Of The Ogre. Damon Albarn is the only permanent musical contributor to the band, which is a collaboration between various musicians. Their style is broad, with a large number of alternative influences including rock, hip-hop and electronica.

-source


You can pay $1.29 for Stylo on iTunes or you can buy Stylo on AmazonMP3 for only $0.99 (assuming your country has access).

I did give the whole album a few listens, but Stylo was the only song that really fit me. That happens from time to time with a band/album. It's not that the other songs are bad, it's that my tastes and the band's only intersect on one song. That's why we're doing these Single Recommendations.

Links:
Official Site
MySpace
Lyrics for Stylo
Stylo Music Video on YouTube
Stylo Music Video on Vimeo
(PS: the video is SO FUCKING COOL!)