Galapagos play a style of gritty indie rock that evoke elements of 90s alternative, turn of the millennium emo and garage rock mixing vulnerable lyrics, jagged guitars and layered melodies.
Since the release of their debut EP Potential Space in June 2017, the band has finalized their lineup with the additions of Gerardo Mantecon (bass) and Jamie Orser (drums) joining up with founding members Matthew Wood and Adam Ferris, both on guitar. Orser brings technical training and a prog rock background to the band, while Mantecon has been very involved in heavy metal and punk for years. But the most important thing they brought is stability, as the band played their first show as this iteration in August 2017 and quickly got to writing new music and recording.
“It really allowed us to focus on the music including allowing Matthew to play with more textures and sounds with his guitar playing,” said Ferris about finalizing the lineup. “We also wanted to follow up the debut fairly quickly due to the fact it wasn’t a true reflection of where we are at presently as a full unit. We feel that each individual member really contributed to and influenced the sound of this new EP.”
The five-song EP shows a band that has grown and evolved in such a short time, both in members but also in song writing and prose. The songs mostly focus on the process of moving forward rather than looking back, though there are clearly sad moments and darkness on Even This Glow. “[The EP] touches on all aspects of healing including finding hope in a new light,” said Ferris.
While each song name is only one word—which I really like—they are far from simplistic and do truly convey pain and hope all at once through the honest and heartfelt lyrics, and the beautiful layering of sound achieved by the quartet. I was hooked from the very start as the guitar and Ferris’ voice seemingly dance hand in hand, strum in strum, in the lead track “Wall,” really unifying the music and the vocals.
The track that really stands out is “Jersey” with it’s catchy riffs and vocals that take me back to my yesteryears of classic pop-punk and emo breakup songs, except that as the track progresses it really shifts to a much more mature forward looking song. It also sounds like one of those songs that will be even better live, with people rushing the front to sing along beating their chests.
Bob Barker encouraged us to neuter our pets, Nardwuar has his doot doola doot doo and Ron Burgundy wished for San Diego to stay classy. Prevenge, they signed off paying a house show in the basement with the lights turned down low surrounded by their Ottawa friends.
Ottawa’s Dead Weights playing at Funeral Home.
Locals, Dead Weights kicked off the show. This is the shortest hair iteration of the band I have seen play live, Derek and Steve chopped off the mops. The boys played a bunch of new tracks including a yet to be named track where Jon signs “keep an open heart.” The song is freaking killer and can’t wait for them to lay that one down. Derek pulled a his best BA Johnson impression and took off his Prevenge t-shirt just to reveal another Prevenge t-shirt underneath. Well played sir. Dead Weights capped off the set with crowd favourites “Friends First” and “Barely Breath.”
Panic Attack from Montreal playing Funeral Home.
It was now time to begin the Montreal invasion as Panic Attack took over. The three-piece play 90s flavoured emo-punk to perfection. Many of the songs make you want to pogo, which would have been tough in a basement with a clearing barely over six feet. I love hearing “I Can Work It Out,” “Not Your Fault” and “Pictures.” In closing Frank said “we have two songs that are fairly good and we are going to play them now before Dig It Up destroy the whole house.”
Panic Attack were not kidding. Dig It Up tore it up. Two songs in the lead singer said “I hope you guys don’t like recognizing songs,” as they shredded our faces. We could decipher them, but even if we couldn’t the sheer energy and power that is Dig It Up is infectious. The often overlooked member of this band is drummer Andrea. The drumming in this band so solid and awesome. Just see this band, do it, do it every and any chance you can. During the final song one of the guitarist passed his axe to Prevenge’s guitarist Chris for quite the hardcore finale. Dig It Up dug Prevenge’s grave at Funeral House setting the stage for them to bury themselves.
Panic Attack drummer Nicolas Turcotte holding the mic in the crowd during Prevenge’s final Ottawa show ever.
It was finally that time. The moment where you are filled with excitement and sadness all at once as a band you love plays for the last time. Prevenge‘s lead singer and guitarist, Alex Cartier, began by saying “It has been 8 years of doing our best… we are Prevenge for the last time.” Fittingly open with “Buried Alive,” off their 2011 7 inch split with Dig It Up. The pact basement crowd emphatically screamed “bury us alive” at the top of our lungs. It was most certainly more of a celebration of life than a funeral. People sang along, rushed the mic, danced, moshed, drank and JS obviously crowd surfed. After playing “DOUBLECHEESEBURGERCOKENOICE,” Alex said “I’ve been coming to house show in Ottawa since the 90s and I’ve never seen any where that supports like Ottawa.” The set was jam-packed with many of my favourites including “Half to Black” and “Who Kills It Fills It.” Ottawa clearly holds a very special place in the heart of the members of Prevenge. “Over 8 years of touring, Ottawa is usually the last day on tour and its the best way to cap off,” said Alex. They closed with “The Way We Live Today” and as they finished Alex said, “We will be back in different form forms, but goodbye forever.” RIP Prevenge thanks for the memories and one hell of a ride.
Ottawa’s grunge and emo revivalist PINE recently released a great new video and 7 inch split.
First let’s start with the amazing 90s nostalgia that the video for “Waste” conjures up. The music is a great slow build which grows finally topping out with a big rocking finish. On top of all that the video features yellow, green and blue colour overlays of the band performing. I love it. So simple, yet psychedelic, beautiful and it really works having the lead singer or lead instrument of the moment at the forefront. As the song works its way to the climax the fades and overlays become more and more chaotic really driving home and complementing the more aggressive vocals.
The band also released a 7inch split (on really cool looking vinyl I may add) with Dead Leaves from Cleveland, Ohio via Take This To Heart Records. The release features 2 tracks from each band, “Waste” and “Lopri” by PINE and “I’m Sorry, Darling” and “Recycled Air,” by Dead Leaves. This split is a must listen to for fans of bands like Brand New and Balance and Composure. Check out the split below.
Ottawa indie six-piece PINE just released their emotionally-charged debut EP, you bury me.
The three-song debut leans towards the more emo side of the indie spectrum led by the beautiful soft voices of Darlene Deschamps and Christina Leigh. This is no surprise considering the band’s name PINE derives from the verb, to pine. Pining is defined as “to suffer a mental and physical decline, especially because of a broken heart” and “miss and long for the return of.” you bury me brings the listeners through a quick but diverse journey from yearning and sadness to desire and love.
PINE has a nice full sound as the guitars, bass and drums meld graciously with the keys and the two different vocalists. The second song, “father//layla” is a truly beautiful yet gut-wrenching song. The first half of the song is a daughter singing her love for her father, a champion of the cold. The verse ends with “love you till the end, love you until you’re frozen, love you until we’re underground. cause daddy, you’re always stronger to me.” Next up is a father hoping he could be closer with his distant daughter, “You told me you admired my patience, well I’ve waited for you for years. And I’ve only felt you in bits and pieces. Let me feel you as a whole. Let me see what you have hiding in your soul.” This is a very different kind of love song, father to daughter sang by a woman, but it tugs at your heartstrings nonetheless.
you bury me is a very strong first release from this new local act playing a style which is not very common in the capital. Have a listen to the EP below and if you enjoy, go check out PINE opening for Balance and Composure at Ritual on January 15. If you miss them then, don’t fret as they are touring most of February with stops in London, Hamilton, Toronto, Brampton, Cornwall, Montreal, Quebec City and the closing out their tour in Ottawa on the 24th.
I love the Heartbreakers EP by former Ottawa band, Brights. Though short in length, it packs in a ton of great melodies that brought me back to many of the bands that first got me into music.
In particular, the tracks “Home” and “Five Year Plan” really stuck out to me. Every time I heard Home,” I could picture a crowd of friends, family and fans gathering around the band to sing along in those memorable “Whoa-oh-oh’s!” that dominate the chorus and outro. It was feel-good music with lyrics that resonated with me. To be honest, the lyrics hold true today, for anybody searching for a bit more meaning in their mid-20s and beyond.
“Five Year Plan” also hit home with a super-catchy, singalong chorus. It touched on the issues faced by those commencing adulthood, and to me, sounded like it focused on the responsibilities and challenges associated with “growing up.” After a beautiful guitar solo, gang vocals round out the song at the 3:25 mark.
The three other tracks (“Operate Me,” We Are Getting Restless,” and “Heartbreakers“) were also strong pop-punk songs that hit an emotional note with honest lyrics and catchy guitar hooks.
From what I understand, members of this band are still playing and writing in bands such as The Gallop, Stay Classy, Sound of Lions and more. If I’m lucky, maybe we’ll see a 10-year Brights reunion show in 2018 (fingers crossed!). Whenever I want to have a nostalgia trip, I throw on Heartbreakers. Solid, all-around!
The Front Bottoms and their wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tubemen in the background at Babylon Nightclub in Ottawa.
The Front Bottoms had me singing along, dancing, laughing and thinking during their great set Tuesday night at Babylon Nightclub.
The New Jersey duo of Brian Stella on acoustic guitar and vocals and Matt Uychich on drums are joined by Tom Warren on bass and Ciaran O’Donnell on keys/trumpet/guitar while touring. The extra musicians add so much depth to an already amazing band. The Front Bottoms played for over an hour and played almost every song of their new album Talon of the Hawk, a bunch of songs off their self-titled album and even ”You Wouldn’t be Laughing” off their very early release I Hate My Friends (to appease the fan in front who never stopped yelling for it). I was blown away by the set’s duration, intensity, fun, and how could I not mention the wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tubemen that would pop up during certain songs. I love the band’s lyrics and the energy as a whole, but especially in songs like “Skeleton,” “Mountain,” “The Beer,” “Tattooed Tears” and well I could list almost all of them but you get the point.
Brian was super jovial, playing requests and polling the crowd for song suggestions, probably didn’t hurt that a fan brought shots on stage for the whole band. Brian was also very talkative. ”We have never been here before. You have a beautiful city, but there is a lot of crazies walking around out there.” He was clearly having a good time in Ottawa and later added, ”I feel like we are all good friends now.” This statement was taken to a whole new level when at least one, if not two girls in the front of the stage handed him their bras while being all googly-eyed. I can’t really blame them there is something about a clever lyricist.
Do yourself a favour, scroll down and listen to the Talon of the Hawk in its entirety below. If that is not enough to convince you to check them out next time they are in town or to buy their album as you fall in love with the super smart and catchy lyrics, at least you got to hear good music.
The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid to Die at Babylon Nightclub in Ottawa.
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die might very well have one of the most emo names in music…anyone got a better one to throw my way? Don’t let the name of this dynamite seven-piece band from Connecticut scare you away though, they create a beautiful sound and man is their lead singer full of passion on stage. I really like that their three guitarists complement each other and build off each others’ sound, as oppose to trying to do too much or just being a medley of solos. The other advantage of having three guitarists, one can put down his axe and pick up some brass. On “Wait…What?” their is some wicked trumpet that really adds to the song. My two favourite songs from the set were the “Heartbeat in the Brain” and “The Layers of Skin We Drag Around.”
Unfortunately I missed all but half a song of the local opener, Old Rules. What I heard sounded good, and I will hopefully catch them next time.