While we don’t run a whole lot of album reviews on Showbox, once in a while we like to mix things up. Cold Capital is a band that has been around for almost three years, having released the short, rough-around-the-edges Raw EP in the winter of 2012 and, more recently, a five-track album called The Cold Capital EP in August 2013. They were a featured band for Canadian Music Fest 2013 and have fine-tuned their sound as a no-fluff, no-BS blues rock ensemble.
After the release of three singles, two videos, and an arduous two-year wait, Ottawa’s Silkken Laumann are getting ready to put out their full-length album Not Forever Enough on New Year’s Eve (which falls on December 31 this year, if I’m not mistaken).
All you really need to know is that this is going to be the biggest, sexiest, loudest party in town. Our buds over at Babylon know how to host a mean NYE bash, and this year it will be pretty special. We were given some details of what we can expect at the event, including really tasty gourmet munchies and hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, limited edition album art for sale, and all kinds of danceable jams to carry us into the new year.
“How do you like your winter so far?” asked Fiftymen frontman Jeff Hardill to the dancing crowd before him. A sea of blouses & dresses screamed approval and continued to sway. Yes, the entirety of the stage crowders were women. It was full winter in Wakefield last night, light flurries & a solidified Gatineau River below the front steps of the Black Sheep Inn. It was some cold but with the steamed up windows and the arching backs it was also really hot.
Fiftymen performed for a boisterous crowd at the Black Sheep Inn on Nov. 30, 2013.
Toronto’s Grounders played their inaugural album tour show in Ottawa at Cafe Dekcuf with D.C.’s Deleted Scenes & Ottawa’s Ashleys on Nov. 9, 2013
When bands play Ottawa for their first time above Mavericks‘s folk metal night, they assume Ottawa is mostly comprised of metalheads. Who are we to say otherwise, when the downstairs tremors of frenzied bass is encroaching on their tunes? Luckily the three bands that played last night at Cafe Dekcuf were made to rage in their own experimental rock way.
Ottawa-based Ashleys warmed up the early crowd. Four lads from New Brunswick who grew up within 20 km of each other ended up in Ottawa on a fluke and decided to form their band. They insist they are all boys but their name is suspect. Their album is but a year old but I think its quirky indie rock will carry them far. They wrote a song about a couple fighting called “Terry & Tory,” and if Mike the frontman hadn’t let me know if was an obvious pun on “territory” I wouldn’t be writing about it. Funny dudes with three toques, three mics, a wild drummer, and a lot of basement party rock started us up just as their lead guitarist broke two strings at once and had to borrow one from Deleted Scenes’s frontman Daniel Scheuerman.
Ashleys: four lads from NB who formed a band in Ottawa, and are almost definitely not girls.
The helpful Deleted Scenes band was formed in the District of Columbia in 2005, a long time coming for four friends who met in grade school. They are a prolific band, as you can see in the description of their Bedbedbedbedbed EP and from their recording history. I mean two albums & two EPs, the second of which was released just this week, is a good ratio for an eight-year-old band. Their next album Lithium Bird is due to come out in 2014 and will feature the songs from their Stutter 7″.
Dan pointed out that besides a distinct difference in the graphic design of our road signage, the US & Canada are not that dissimilar. And he spread the word that D.C. has also seen its mayor Marion Barry caught in a video smoking crack back in ’89 during a sting operation. He did his time and ran again for mayor in 1994 and won… Since declared “mayor for life” (in hearts & minds, not in office) his example is something Canadian mayors can look up to. Cause when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. A reputable journalist said that once, when he was really fucking high.
A band after my own heart, they’d love to get postcards from you. Their first LP, Birdseed Shirt, came out in 2009 and they’ve have since made their way around the continent with a mess of organ-like keyboard sounds, a drummer with a wicked double bass drum & a fantastic machine called the monome. Dan’s style of screaming & wrapping the mic cable around his neck made me cringe in delight, also I thought he was going to throw up. Lively! In the states they work under Park The Van Records, north of the 49th they are with Nevado Records along with their colleagues Grounders.
Deleted Scenes from Washington, D.C. on the move.
So Groundersjust released their first EP, Wreck of a Smile. This has been something many people have been waiting for, from a band that regularly plays POP Montreal every year and tours extensively. I have to hand it to an independent band trekking across Canada & the States with not just CDs and vinyl, but audio cassette of their sound with their own art on the cover. And then you listen to them. There’s hints of dance music coupled to catchy guitar riffs and Andrew Davis’s lyrics. I heard them on All in a Day on CBC Radio 1 this Thursday, “Along the Line” got me excited for the show and you listen to it below. I got to sit down with bassist Mike Searle to ask him about it, among other things, just before the show. Check that out here, if you’d like.
When they hit the stage the Cafe had filled up to a warm buzz, drowning out the bass below. After their first song Andrew suggested, “If you could all just take five huge steps forward that would be great.” And everything fell into place. “This song is called Duncan,” he continued. “It’s about my roommate. His name is Duncan.” Enjoyable in person and in sound. For a first show in Ottawa they played their avant-pop rock matched to their synth-surrounded instrumentalist belting out electronic joy. It was a great way to announce that Toronto has spit out a feel-good group of five who are ready to take to the streets with their newly recorded material. Let there be more music, we’re ready.
Just before the doors opened at Cafe Dekcuf last night, I sat down with Mike Searle, bassist for Toronto’s Grounders. The band has been touring with Deleted Scenes in Canada recently and will follow them into the American eastern seaboard for a quick US tour. Being on the road and promoting their new music is what the travelling band is all about, as I discovered chatting with Mike.
Tell me a little bit about Grounders.
We started in 2010, an amalgamation of a few other bands that folded. We came together and started practicing lead guitarist Andrew’s songs. He had a lot of ideas which he brought to Dan, Rob and I, and we just hashed them out together. About a year later Evan joined the band and we’ve playing ever since.
It seems like fans have been waiting for you to come out with an album for a while. Did you feel that way too?
Yeah, we put out our EP last March and we’ve been touring that during spring and summer with Yukon Blonde & Zeus. Then we went out again with The Besnard Lakes to end the summer, but since then we’ve just been writing. We’re going to start recording in January. So, it’s coming. Please be patient guys, it’s on its way! We’re just finishing all the writing right now and we’re rehearsing in December. It’s definitely been on our minds quite a bit.
When did you sign on with Nevado Records?
That happened about a year ago. We met Nick Bernal when we played a show with one of his bands, Great Bloomers. He liked it, so we met a few times and worked something out. The record is coming out with them here and with Park the Van in the states. That worked out well, we have a good relationship with Nick & Nevado. He’s given us lots of great opportunities from the EP.
Whose idea was it to have every medium of music available for Wreck of a Smile? You’ve got digital download, CD, vinyl & audio cassette available on your bandcamp.
We just wanted to get it out on as much as possible. We obviously really wanted the 10″ vinyl, and CD of course, but before we signed with Nevado we did a run of cassettes on our own. We made like 50 and they all sold out at our release show. When we were talking to Nick about it he said we should do another run of them. So we did, and lots of dudes in trucks who live out in the country like ’em, cause they don’t have CD players. We like that it’s on as many mediums as possible to give more people a chance to listen to it, no matter what they use.
Do you have a large audience in the country? Are you from rural backgrounds?
Well Andrew is from Hamilton and Rob is from Bolton, which is out there. Dan & I are originally from Calgary and we really like playing out there. The biggest place for the cassettes are placed likes Saskatoon, Winnipeg & Calgary.
So what’s the best part about being in a travelling band?
The drugs & the drinking. No! I’m just kidding. Probably the coolest thing is just playing in front of as many people as we can, and hanging out with as many of them as we can. Hopefully connecting with them, cause we’re pretty chill guys, anyone can just come over and talk to us. And seeing as many cities as possible. We’ve been all over the place the last year and we’ve seen some cool places none of us have never been to.
Tell me a little about POP Montreal.
We’ve played there the last four years and it’s great. It’s one of my favourite festival to play, it’s just really fun and well organized. The guys over there do a really great job and we’ve always been treated well and on good bills. And obviously Montreal is hilarious and the food is amazing. We always have fun in Montreal, and we’re going there tomorrow!
So what’s next for Grounders?
After this mini-tour with Deleted Scenes we’re going to finish writing and get the recording, mixing and mastering all done. That’s the next big thing. After these shows we probably won’t play for a bit I guess. The next shows are in March, so now just grinding it out for the record.
Ottawa art-rock band, Pony Girl, are poised to release their debut album, Show Me Your Fears, on September 28th. Ottawa Showbox is very proud to stream it for you 10 days before the release!
As I mentioned in a previous post, Pony Girl is anchored by guy-girl pop harmonies, while songs flow from calm to chaotic thanks to excellent musicianship. Members of the band are veterans of Ottawa Bluesfest, Ottawa Rock Lottery, various global jazz festivals, have taught classrooms and earned university degrees in music before coming together as Pony Girl in 2012.
Take a listen to Show Me Your Fears below. I hope you like it as much as we do over here at Showbox.
Now that you have gotten a taste of the record, why not see them play it live. The Show Me Your Fearsalbum release show is on September 28 at La Petite Mort Gallery, at 306 Cumberland Street in Ottawa. Click on the poster below for more information.
Ottawa band Pony Girl are poised to release their debut album, Show Me Your Fears, on September 28th. Ottawa Showbox is proud to present you with the premiere of the first single, “Sun of the Morning.”
Pony Girl is anchored by guy-girl pop harmonies, while songs flow from calm to chaotic thanks to excellent musicianship. Members of the band are veterans of Ottawa Bluesfest, Ottawa Rock Lottery, various global jazz festivals, have taught classrooms and earned university degrees in music before coming together as Pony Girl in 2012.
If you are digging the single, you should go hear more at their album release on September 28 at La Petite Mort Gallery, at 306 Cumberland Street in Ottawa. I know what you are thinking, the 28th is just so far away! Come back and visit us on the 18th and be the first to hear the entire album, which we here at Ottawa Showbox will be exclusively streaming live!
In the meantime, here is some more Pony Girl. This is a live video of them performing their song “Please Do” at The Daily Grind.
Last weekend a bunch of us gathered at Fall Down Gallery for what was to be a hot, smoky music video shoot for The Love Machine‘s new song “Sorry My Dear”. The video is being made with a string of Vine videos, each 6 seconds in length. I have certainly never seen anything like this before, so the end result will be pretty interesting. With lots of confetti and dancing, I think the shoot was a pretty huge success overall. But wait, The fun isn’t over yet!
The Love Machine, along with Dan Rascal Productions, are allowing fans to get involved by submitting a Vine video of their own to be included in the final cut of the video. Here’s how it works:
1. Follow The Love Machine on Vine (handle: thelovemachine)
2. Fans can then download the song segments from the Dropbox link provided
3. Fans can make their own segment(s) and upload it and hashtag it with #TLMvine
4. The segment submitted is eligible to be in the final product!
Now check out the video teaser that The Love Machine just released!
Here’s TLM’s video description:
“We want YOU to create your own vines for The Love Machine’s newest video – Sorry My Dear.
The first thing you need to do is follow this link to a special Dropbox Folder. Inside are all the goodies you will need to create your own segments which we will review. If we like…then there is a good chance it will make the final cut of the video!
In the Dropbox folder you will find 33 Segmented clips of the entire song. We broke the song down into 6 second partitions and filmed each one. Now we want you to pick your favorite segment and re-create it any way you want. We also included the mastered song so you can think about the video as a whole and well….it makes for a nice gift too!
You’ll also notice that each clip has 3 seconds of quiet and 6 seconds of loudness! We wanted to make sure you recorded on the loud part but we also wanted to give you some time to cue yourself up. Make sure you practice and try to get it as rock solid as possible!
Get creative! Do something zany! We accept parodies of your favorite vines, stop motion whatever whatever!
Once you have your segment finished, don’t forget to tag them so we can see them.
When I first started Ottawa Showbox in May of 2012, one of the first hip hop groups in Ottawa I came across was Antiks. Consisting of emcees Jayem and Lex, Antiks released their first mixtape called Here’s The Thing back in February of 2012 and it thoroughly impressed my eardrums. Their style struck me as some blend of Beastie Boys and Atmosphere, and production quality on their first record was great. I remember thinking that I’d really like to hear more from these guys.
Well, they’ve finally delivered. Adding guitarist Ryan Farrell and drummer Derek Hillier to the group, their new album called The Thing Is experiments with some new things and contains some interesting anecdotes throughout, some of which I’ll mention in a minute. But first, believe me when I say that there isn’t a bad track on this album. Not only have these guys succeeded in overcoming the sophomore blues by going a very different direction with the new record, they also collaborated with a few talented local producers and MC’s to make things a little more interesting. Produced by Ottawa’s DJ Greg Reain, with special production appearances by Jeepz and Crack Moses, each track on the album has its own character and proves to be integral to creating an overall “feel” while listening. Ranging from melodic, reverb-heavy tracks such as “Contra”, soulful ones like “Therapy”, and definitive anthemic tracks like their collab “Walk on By” with outstanding local hip hop artist G. Grand, Antiks dug deep to diversify their sound and make and album that stood out. Their song “Step To It” sums it up nicely: “Step to it, get to it, what ya doin? A million MCs in the world, you gotta move it”.
My favourite track on the album is “Contra”, a beautifully constructed and well-written song that demands attention from the listener immediately. Other must-hear songs include “Walk on By” (ft. G. Grand), and “Willy No Man” (ft. Dynamite Motel), but as I said, this album is an ear party all the way through. I also really enjoy the interludes included on the record, two of which feature emcees Jayem and Lex rapping over the beatboxing of MC Dimz, respectively. To me, this is what real hip hop is all about. You don’t need layers of tracks and loads of production to do that, and I found it refreshing to Antiks try out some interesting things such as interludes. Their lyrical flow and the quality of their lyrical content was evident throughout the entire the album.
My interpretation is that the album (or parts of it), in a way, is their tribute to Adam Yauch (“MCA”) and the legend that is the Beastie Boys. You can hear certain similarities to classic Beastie Boys albums like Paul’s Boutique, from which they sample “B-Boy Bouillabaisse” in “JAYem & Dimz [interlude]”. Their use of raw beatboxing by MC Dimz, sampling/use of funk/soul tracks and bass lines, and scratching by DJ SoNice, to name a few things, all subtly pay tribute to the Beastie Boys and remind us of their influence on hip hop music. Big high five, guys.
Other little treats on the album include a comically inspiring clip of Sylvester Stallone reciting a clip from Rocky Balboa, anda randominterlude called “The Rap Music” which samples Charles Aznavour’s “Parce Que Tu Crois”, slowed down and popularized by Dr. Dre with his hit “What’s the Difference” off The Chronic 2001. The last track “Fooled Ones” samples the song “Everybody Plays the Fool” by The Main Ingredient, a song nominated for a Grammy Award in the category Best R&B Song in 1973. What a perfect ending to an album, don’t you think?
One thing is certain – these guys are just getting started. Hearing what’s on this album, one can only imagine how far Antiks go with the kind of talent and production they have at their fingertips. I got in touch with emcees Jayem and Lex of Antiks, as well as G. Grant, to discuss The Thing Is. Read the interviews below:
Q&A with ANTIKS
(L = Lex, J = Jayem)
1. Can you guys give your take on the hip hop scene in Ottawa? What’s it like here?
L: The hip hop scene in Ottawa is definitely looking good. There’s some great groups out here, and with events like Hip Hop Karaoke, you see tons of people showing up so it’s obvious there’s a high demand for rap in the city. I think a lot of clubs focus on EDM just because the money is there right now. I like that kind of music but it’d be nice to see a few more clubs do some dedicated hip hop nights.
J: Ottawa has a very healthy rap scene. I mean there’s going to be terrible acts in every city, hopefully we’re not included with those, but with dope groups like Flight Distance, Just Poets, Zoo Legacy, and artists like G. Grand, it’s hard to say we’re not holding our own.
2. In what respects is your new album “The Thing Is” different from your previous material?
J: I think the tone on “The Thing Is” is much different than anything we’ve done before. When Lex and I started making music a couple years back we had no idea what the hell we were doing or what we wanted to sound like. We learned a lot since then so when we started recording this album, we were way more confident, knew what sound we wanted and the balance we wanted to strike in terms of humour. But ultimately we wanted to make a good hip hop record, something that we’d listen to, as opposed to trying to guess what others might like.
L: I think with this record, it’s the first time we tried to say something beyond a bunch of silly shit our friends expect us to say. Don’t get me wrong there’s some horribly immature stuff peppered throughout it, and some fun tracks, but we definitely opened up much more on this one. I think we were also trying to step our game up lyrically, a lot of that just comes with experience, so hopefully we didn’t suck to bad on that front.
3. Can you talk about your collaborations on this album?
L: We’ve got some super talented artists on this album that we were lucky to be able to scam into performing with us. G. Grand was a rapper that we’ve all loved, so when he agreed to hop on our track ‘Walk on By’, which was produced by our boy Jeepz, we pretty much sounded like a bunch of Japanese school girls that caught a glimpse of One Direction. We actually met Dynamite Motel through some friends, became friends, and then made it our mission to do a track with her. We got love for funk and jazz music so we’re glad that got represented on this record.
J: Ottawa’s got some sick producers and we were looking to showcase that. We linked up with Jeepz, who produced some awesome stuff for Just Poets and G.Grand. We got onto Crack Moses through the last Flight Distance record, reached out and thankfully he was down with working together. Greg Reain, who’s on the team, also killed it with his production. Hopefully we didn’t butcher their tracks too much or else we’re back to recording on my T-Pain app. Also shouts to MC Dimz who beatboxed on two tracks, dude is a mad talent, and DJ So Nice who did some dope scratches on ‘Perfect Machines’.
4. Which tracks are you most excited for people to hear?
L: I’m really excited for people to hear ‘Man vs. Food’ and the track we did with Dynamite Motel called ‘Willy No Man’. I think those tracks show the range of sound we can bang out.
J: For me I’m looking forward to seeing how people respond to our collab tracks. G. Grand has an awesome verse on ‘Walk on By’ and the beatbox tracks we did with Dimz are killer.