On the heels of opening for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers at Bluesfest, Steve Adamyk Band dropped their brand new album Graceland July 29th.
Ottawa’s most prolific pop-punker Steve Adamyk has done it again with an excellent 13-song album with all the energy, “wo-ohs”, and power-pop perfection we have come to expect from Adamyk and his band. This certainly isn’t a Paul Simon album. The band, which has always been fronted by Adamyk, has seen some moving parts over the years. It currently features Pat Johnston (of many bands in Ottawa, notably The Acorn), and Max Desharnais and Seb Godin (Sonic Avenues). The album also features guest vocals by the eclectic Mike Kroll and LA’s pop-punk sweetheart Colleen Green which really adds to the raucous energy.
As great as it was to see some of these songs live before RHCP it is wonderful to get our hands on another album by Adamyk, this being his fifth. Just like their live performances, this album doesn’t really ever slow or give you a moment to relax, with most songs coming in at under two minutes. And just because it is pop-punk, power-pop, or garage… or whatever you’d call it – don’t think all these songs are love songs or about partying. Songs like the angry “Die Dead Forever” and the dark “False Teeth” show Adamyk’s depth beyond the prototypical sound of the genre. Fret not though, there are still super catchy tracks like “Carry On” and great rocking tracks like “Swallow You Whole” that will win you over right away and make you want to sing a long.
Put on some shades, a white jumper and chow down on a grilled banana and peanut butter sandwich while you have a listen to Graceland. If you like what you hear, the album is available in Canada on iTunes and Spotify via Royal Mountain Records, and there is vinyl in the works.
We’re stoked to be premiering Stay Classy‘s brand new single “Gentleman” right here on Ottawa Showbox. After taking an 18-month hiatus to adapt to some major life changes, this supergroup of local talent is back at it with this punchy new track.
If you aren’t familiar with the band, Stay Classy consists of Gavin Dyke (Black Dogs), Allan Gauthier (The Love Machine), Jamie Kronick (Scattered Clouds/Ben Caplan) and PJ Catsiyannis (The Gallop/Brights). Each of these gentlemen have proven their skills beyond a reasonable doubt in this and other projects, and didn’t hold back with this one.
“Gentleman” is the 5th single that Stay Classy will release, adding it to their repertoire of irresistible punk rock jams. It was engineered and mixed by David Gervais (The Gallop/Mushy Gushy) at Swell Studios in Hintonburg, Ottawa and Mastered by Dean Hadjichristou at All Buttons In, in Barrhaven, Ottawa.
You can expect the band to play this track (and perhaps a few other new ones) this Saturday at Bar Robo, as they get set to support their buds in a new garage rock outfit Mushy Gushy. Mushy Gushy is releasing their debut tape and will have lots of copies, so swing by and hang with us. Have a listen to Stay Classy’s “Gentleman” below.
New three-piece Two Jar Grind, featuring members from Ottawa and Montreal, recently released their self-titled folk punk debut.
From the very first second of the first track “Here’s To All I Never Had” you can’t help but draw parallels to early acoustic Against Me! thanks to shouting vocals bursting with simple honesty. I say this gushingly of a band I have fallen in love with where all three sing and features a guitarist, accordion player and percussionist rocking a washboard. Yes, a freaking washboard!
Two Jar Grind: (from left to right) Kirk Jordan, Nicole Lefebvre and James Brown.
As I listened to the songs on the six song debut, I really felt like I was sitting down with the band as they worked their way through figuring out their place in the world, their priorities and their ambitions. You instantly feel a friendship forming with them.
There are so many great sing a long songs on this album and I can’t wait to get a chance to see them live, especially hearing people shout a long to “Stick ‘n’ Poke.” Check out the album their debut below and keep your eyes peeled for this trio.
It’s that time of year – bands are in full bloom for the summertime. We’re very excited to premiere the debut EP called Tight Snake by a new group in town, Mushy Gushy. This 4-track garage pop EP is a quick burst of fun summer tunes that’ll be sure to inject some life into any backyard BBQ or pool party. Mushy Gushy is a new 4-piece group consisting of a few Ottawa music scene vets – bassist Jon Pearce (Winchester Warm), drummer Kyle Woods (fmr. Kalle Mattson), guitarist Cory Lefebvre (Baberaham Lincoln), and vocalist Dave Gervais (The Gallop).
This new “butt rock” band (don’t worry, I have no idea what that means either) played their first ever show at Black Squirrel Books this past May, opening up for Telecomo at their tape release party. Their set was wild and fun, and you can really tell this band loves playing together.
Speaking of which, Showbox will be presenting Mushy Gushy’s tape release show on July 16th at Bar Robo, along with other great local acts, Stay Classy and Elementals. Taking us late into the night, Kitchen Party DJs will be spinning your favourite jams, too. If you want to see a bunch of really talented buds play really fun music, I suggest you mark that date off on your calendar. Check out the Facebook event here and have a first listen to Tight Snake below.
These days, it’s pretty normal for bands to form and dissipate in relatively short timespan. Sons of Pluto are an exception, as their formation at Ottawa U in 2010 began as a celestial collision of various talents that ended up merging not only into a band, but also a tight-knit group of friends. And while their lineup has evolved in the years since the band’s genesis, Sons of Pluto have stayed true to their roots and not let other gravitational forces pull them apart.
All cheesy space references aside, Sons of Pluto are a band influenced by a variety of musical genres and art forms that transcend eras. These include “a distinct combination of classical, rock, indie, musical theatre, punk, jazz, gospel, R&B, and chart toppers dating back to the 50s the band tries to take the best of all of those genres and construct something as catchy as it is meaningful.” Very ambitions, to say the least.
One thing that should be pointed out is that Sons of Pluto are set to release their debut EP The Age I’m In June 24 at Pressed. It seems strange that a band as active as this throughout the years hasn’t released an album yet, but it says something about their prowess on stage and ability to reel in a dedicated fan base with their tractor beam (sorry, I had to). With this album being a few years in the making, there is a lot of anticipation for its release this Friday.
The Age I’m In is a quick 5-track effort that explores various themes and sounds, from facing the journey of time that we all must face in the opening title track, to the dark oceanic metaphors in “Lorelei,” to the crumpling of the earth’s terrain to bring two lovers together in “Mountains.” The album makes its potency known immediately, and draws the listener in without giving away what’s coming next. It leaves us hanging with tranquil reverb-heavy guitar tones, and then barrages us with layered and textured crescendoes. This is most recognizable in the divine title track that that builds with delicate and intricate guitar work from Brian Lee, as lead singer Damien Broomes’ formidable vocals meld perfectly with the instrumentation. Fans of The Dears, Amos The Transparent, or TV on the Radio would surely fall comfortably into this record.
Kristina Vogel’s violin and ukelele come across beautifully, creating deep soundscapes for us to frolic in for a little while. She takes the lead in the song “Mountains,”one that marks the mid-point of the album. Although this track is a serenade with ukelele, gentle vocals, and quiet keys, to me it was one that probably had the most impact. No tricks, no effects to hide behind – just raw emotion and metaphorical brilliance.
If there was one shortfall of this record, it would probably be the track “Black Hearted Lover.” It’s not even a bad song, however the placement on the album felt a bit forced and thrown in there. The crunchy lead riff and rock n’ roll stylings just didn’t fit right on the album, one that is otherwise woven with complex instrumentation and excellent production. Although this one didn’t quite feel in place, the track is somewhat redeemed with good lyrics.
All in all, Sons of Pluto have finally delivered their first album, one that has been worth the wait for fans and clearly a product of a lot of time and effort. Their album release party at Pressed, this Friday, June 24 with special guests Beau Réal. Tickets are sold out.
A new band in town, How Far To Mexico, is ready to break onto the scene in a big way this weekend. We’re excited to premiere the exclusive first full listen of their debut EP Drought, a 4-track effort that incorporates jangle pop and psych rock elements. Their so-called “psychedelic escapism” comes though as reverb-laden, twangy guitar parts, mesmerizing drum patterns, pulsating bass lines, and singer Jamieson Mackay’s relaxed yet pervasive vocals. Let’s just say it’s the kind of music that can take you somewhere else on a beautiful summer day while soaking in some sun in a park downtown. The sound and style recalls influences such as The Smiths or early R.E.M with a pronounced and definitive pop appeal – and, frankly, a sound that the world could use a little bit more of.
Drought will be made available on CD or a limited run of tapes, or online on Bandcamp.
The new EP, Cry Baby, by local surf rock group Thrifty Kids contains one of the early contenders for song of the summer.
The 4 song release starts off with the super catchy and brief “Cry Baby,” which clocks in at just over a minute and a half. It may be short, but it hooked me right away. Musically it makes me want to run for the beach and dance around in the sun with warm sand beneath my feet. It also has an awesome video which features all members of the band eating raw onions and crying. This song will certainly get a lot plays on all my devices this spring and summer and make it onto many of playlists.
The rest of the EP while great is a little slower after coming out of the gate so quickly out with “Cry Baby.” The song that really stuck with me of the remaining tracks and had me bobbing and humming along too with a big smile on my face is “Sail Away.” This is Thrifty Kids’ second release and the band is certainly growing into their own. Their fun and upbeat sound resonates perfect for this time of the year.
Have a listen to Cry Baby below and keep your eyes and ears peeled for the next Thrifty Kids show.
Ottawa’s newest hardcore band DOXX recently dropped their first EP where they channel the hardcore of old.
The four-piece which includes members of Creep Wave and Blood Nail have traveled back in time and brought 80’s hardcore back with them. The longest song of the self-titled EP clocks in at a whopping 2 minutes and 16 seconds. I absolutely love how straight forward and in your face it is. Music doesn’t always have to be complicated, sometimes it just has to be honest and angry. And there is a lot of that in the words delivered by lead singer Sof.
I really like the whole release, but my favourite has to be “Baby Doomer.” The song is sung from the perspective of a baby boomer talking to the younger generation and not understanding any of his privilege or spoils. “Stop complaining, stop paying rent, get off your ass and make an investment, it’s easy, just do it, i know what’s best for you cuz i’m a baby doomer,” sings the baby boomer. To which Sof replies “baby doomer baby doomer fuck you.” I can see a lot of people getting behind this song and wanting a piece of the mic.
The EP is capped off with a cover of London, England’s Rudimentary Peni‘s song “Blissful Myth,” a song dating back to 1983, that is not a big fan of marriage.
Check out the EP below and see it live Friday April 29th as they open for one of the best punk bands going right now, Downtown Boys at Zaphod Beeblebox. More info here.
Ottawa duo of Connor Mercury and Alex Black, better known as Goodnight Boy, have released their self-titled debut album.
The album, for which the duo play all the instruments and do all the vocals, was inspired by an abandoned island in the Rideau Lakes. “It was abandoned – in terms of building on it – in the 60’s and is now considered crown land. We have a friend whose grandfather cared for it for the owners family for decades. Now that his grandfather has passed, the owner allows us to camp on it –- as we are very respectful of the history and clean up after trespassers,” says Black.
“I started camping there with friends years ago and when I brought Connor there and told him about the history, he was fascinated. I loved that he was so inspired by the history as well.”
The lone chimney that still stand on the island, the only structure that remains.
Connor Mercury was clearly very inspired by the island and it’s history. “The island is said to be haunted and that is where the idea for the characters of The Soldier and Olivia came from. The island has been home to a WWI PTSD camp and it’s said some of the soldiers committed suicide there. There was also a girl guide camp there in the 60’s that burned down. Tiny island – big history!”
Connor continued to explain that “the fire always comes to mind first when I think of the island, but the pain of war was there first. Looking back now, you can’t blame anyone for what happened there. The island – in all its tranquility – was supposed to be a place for broken men to heal after battle. It didn’t happen that way of course, because isolation, even in the most peaceful of surroundings can be fatal when the mind isn’t well. Some people believe that pain stayed with the island, festering there. Some people even believe it was the spirits of those men who caused the fire that night, decades later. Innocent young girl guides who knew nothing of the island would become seared into its already dark history. The island was again the site of tragedy and death. It’s been almost a century since the soldiers left and more than 50 years since the fire. I don’t know about ghosts, but I know a chimney still stands.”
With the combination of mystery and ghost stories at its foundation, Goodnight Boy’s 15 song self-titled album is one to be listened to from start to finish. It is a work of grunge and lo-fi rock rooted in folk principals of story telling and spirited emotion. Having seen them play many of the songs live before to hearing the recording, I have had the amazing luxury to witness a band truly growing up. The band is very happy with the results, and Black mentions “we really hope to grow the live band – it’s a dream to be able to perform this huge like on the album.”
“Olivia” and “Morals” above are two examples of the impress depth that Goodnight Boy have reached on their first album. My favourite track, however, is the haunting and powerful “Out On The Lake” where both Alex and Connor’s voices amaze and then give you shivers while the finger picking and percussion transports you to this haunted place of despair. Goodnight Boy haven’t posted the full album online yet, but you can pick it up at both Compact Music location or from the band themselves.
Most people would spend 4 hours watching a Seinfeld marathon or playing Candy Crush on their smartphones, but not for Edgar ‘Eddie Quotez’ Piol. He wrote, mixed, and recorded his latest EP Kawaii in the same amount of time you’ve probably spent on Tumblr today.
Ed’s signature lyrical style and instrumentals make for an amazing 13 minute auditory experience. The beats on this EP are extremely high quality and have some nightcore influence mixed with classic b-boy sampling techniques. The album starter Marble Soda kicks-off the album with a high energy pump-up anthem with some Sailor Moon and Full Metal Alchemist references. The second track Promise brings some mellow chillwave which contrasts nicely with the first track, but without losing the album’s momentum. Streamers is almost like a mix between the first and second track. It has a very bubbly instrumental with a solid hook where Ed drops a catchy verse, which leads into a rising-elevator style build-up with a hyped up pitch shifted vocal.
Sprinkler-style high hats, chopped classical guitar, and Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island samples is the best way to sum up Long Distance, adding an almost faux west coast track to the album. My personal favorite off of the EP We Should Just Be Friends is a track by ‘Ed’ unlike the others which are credited to ‘Eddie Quotez’, making this track seem to be a bit more personal. What really makes the track is the soft piano introduction followed by melodic guitar and finger snaps. Ed’s voice is absolutely beautiful on this track, and makes a great finisher for the EP. If you’re a fan of rap, or just anime and gaming culture, you should definitely check out Eddie Quotez’s Kawaii, and think about what you could do in 4 hours next time you’re being beckoned to the television screen. Have a listen to the EP below.