There are few bands in Ottawa that have as big of a sound and stage presence as Saint Clare does. With each release the band puts out, their music becomes more grandiose. The band just released their third EP on April 20th, and it is arguably their most ambitious record to date.
The seven-piece outfit does not shy away from taking risks on EPIII. With bold and thunderous percussion from Daniel Devries leading the way—particularly in climactic, fuzzed-out tracks like “Burn Burn Burn”— Matthew Saint Clare and his band push it to the limit, without going overboard. When there are seven people in your band, it can be really easy to muddle up some of the instrumentation, ultimately decreasing the quality of the overall end product while also putting certain band members in the back seat.
That is not the case with Saint Clare. The EP was masterfully recorded by Jarrett Bartlett at Little Bullhorn Studios, and mastered by Andy Magoffin at House of Miracles, each of whom did an incredible job bringing out each tone, each horn, and each riff. When it all comes together, as it does in EPIII, the big-band sound is a beautiful thing.
The EP kicks off with the fist-pumping, foot-stomping track “Get You Down,” instantly hitting listeners with a solid dose of power-pop fused with garage rock, and sprinkled with the sound of ska-like horns throughout. “Closer to the Devil” is a song that we’ve heard before, as the band released a video for the track back in October. No matter how many times I’ve played this song, it just refuses to get old. It’s satisfying to hear how the other four songs fit around this previously released track.
The biggest treat for listeners is how this EP ends. “Burn Burn Burn” is a grimy, fuzz-filled track that makes you want to jump in your 70’s muscle car and slam on the gas in a cloud of burning rubber and never look back. I actually felt like I was watching the climax of an action movie with this one. Then, finally, “So Low” comes in to round off the album and injects us with all those warm and fuzzy feelings that throwback power-pop does when played loud, and repeatedly. This final track is my favourite on the album, and reminded me of other local heros such as The White Wires, Steve Adamyk Band, Sedatives, The Creeps, and other fun Ottawa Gaga era bands. Saint Clare measures up to the greats of this city.
This EP is a must-listen, and makes me even more of a fan of this band than I was before. These guys know how to put together a hell of an album, so crank up the volume and press play below.
It was a packed bill Friday night at the House of Targ with Doc Hopper, Steve Adamyk Band, Audio Visceral, Laureate, and Matt Charette all gracing the stage.
Doc Hopper—the headliner for the evening—is a 90’s punk band from the North East US named after Doc Hopper, who was the owner of Doc Hopper’s French Fried Frog Legs chain of fast food restaurants in The Muppet Movie. As a bonus, Mikey Erg, of the Jersey pop punk legends The Ergs!, is currently playing with the band as they tour, which was quite anawesome surprise.
They played a solid fast hitting set of pop punk which took me back to my younger years of the late 90s when I was just discovering this style of music. Now, I never really listened to Doc Hopper other than a few songs on some mix CDs (remember those?!) but they had a sound that I was always very fond of. The song that really caught my ear and stuck with me was “She’s a Coke Head,” which is not the most uplifting of songs I know, but it was damn catchy. I also loved that the lead singer and guitarist gave a shout out to Punchbuggy, an infamous local punk band from the 90s, and asked if Scallen was at the show and then said “he is probably actually sleeping at this time, actually all our friends are old and tired.” There was a pretty excited group of folks who were moshing and dancing for much of the night. I don’t think they really knew any of the bands, but were just there for a good time. It was a lot of fun to see and definitely upped the energy in the room.
Steve Adamyk Band joined on stage by friends and former members during their set at the House of Targ in Ottawa.
The Steve Adamyk Band were on fire as always, bringing their local punk rock to the stage. The three-piece band opened with a new song which sounded great and they played another new song later in their set, which hopefully means we are getting new Adamyk on wax soon. Steve Adamyk is one of the most prolific punk rockers in the capital so you never really know what you’ll get as a set list, but on this night we got the aforementioned new songs, a bunch of tracks off his 2016 release Graceland, including favourites “Carry on” and “Swallow you whole,” as well as some deeper dives into the back catalogue. It was awesome to watch him play “I Fought for the U.S.A.” and have Dave Williams of Crusades and Black Tower, and former Adamyk band member Davey Quesnelle jump on stage to sing along. Adding to the moment was the fact that Davey was working at the time and was still sporting his perogie making apron. Good times were had by all for sure.
Audio Visceral dressed to chomp and rocking out at the House of Targ in Ottawa.
Steve Beauchesne, owner of Beau’s and guitarist of Audio Visceral, took to the stage sporting a sweet Pacman suit. Audio Visceral is made up of Steve and two other Beau’s employees. Yeah they make some of the country’s best beer and still find time to be in a pretty cool punk band. Some people have too much talent…but I digress. Once they finally got started (damn it Garry!) they powered through their first six songs without really taking a break, except maybe to have a sip of Lug Tread. They played a hilarious song called “I Suck” which doesn’t appear to exist online anywhere but the lyrics had me in stitches. Hopefully the fact that they are playing this new song and a few others means a second album is in the works. I know us fans will certainly drink it up…
Laureate playing at the House of Targ in Ottawa.
Pop-punk foursome, Laureate, from Montreal, were the first full band to play on this night. The band beautifully builds off of vocal harmonies between guitarist Giancarlo and bassist Erin, who essentially share the role of lead singer. This is complemented by some intricate guitar work by the other guitarist, who at times brought me back to the finger picking ways of screamo and heavier bands, particularly when they tap out the strings on the neck. It was fun to watch and he was really rocking out. The band’s set featured a minor setback when the bass started phasing in and out. Members of Steve Adamyk Band were quick to try to help, fiddling with the amp and providing a new patch chord. In the meantime Erin powered through, and what could have been a disaster really allowed us to focus on their impressive and really tight harmonies in the absence of the bass. This band needs to play Ottawa more often given that Montreal is not that far, and their sound really fits in with a lot of what is happening in this city. Check them out, especially their new record Landmarks and get ready to sing a long at their next show.
Matt Charette kicking things off Laureate playing at the House of Targ in Ottawa.
Opening things up was something completely different than the rest of the show. Matt Charette, a singer songwriter from Boston, played more folk and country than punk rock with his acoustic guitar and harmonica. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining as he has an awesome voice, is a great story teller, and certainly has some punk rock running through his veins given his lyrics and the Black Flag cover he chose to play. This was his second ever show in Canada, the first one being the night before in Toronto, and someone decided to play a trick on him and rewrite his setlist. The “custom” list included all covers by bands such as Nirvana, Metallica, The Cure, and Dead Kennedys. While he did play some covers, his original tracks were great. I especially liked “City Streets.” All in all, this night was chalk full of great bands and great times.
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.
Mike Kroll starting off day 3 at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery. Photo: Eric Scharf
Unfortunately Shellshag had van trouble and couldn’t make it. Lucky for us that meant that we got an early Mike Krol show as he stepped up to fill in. Krol, from LA, took to the stage joined by a band of local burglars (Steve Adamyk, Johnny O, Davey and Pat Johnston) all dressed up. Krol was clearly the leader considering he was wearing a cap. The music was rocking, how could it not be with those boys supporting him, but what really makes Krol stand out are the really cool effects on his vocals. What was most impressive is that this was only the second time they play together, having practiced once this week prior to the set. It did’t show at all, they were super tight. Krol walked around into the crowd, behind the stage, off to the side and anywhere in between while never missing and beat and bringing his trusted tambourine around for the rid. He mentioned that explosion launched his career in 2013 as he had released two albums that he gave away but didn’t tour. Then Emmanuel asked him to play explosion so he created a tour to justify the trip and was so happy to be back.
Vacation getting loud and destructive at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery. Photo: Eric Scharf
Up next was Cincinnati’s Vacation. This is the fourth time these gentlemen play the festival. The lead singer and guitarist said “I have played this festival more years than I have been to college if you know what I mean.” Chris Cook pointed out to me that he believes that every time we have seen this band they have been playing different instruments, the current lead vocals and guitar used to sing and play the drums. No matter if they switch around or not, the band can really play and impress me every year. Live they kind of have a punk rock Nirvana vibe to them thanks to grunge elements and the particular rasp of the singer’s voice. They have some super infectious and catchy songs like “Decaying” and “Like Shit,” which had people singing a long at the top of their lungs and pumping their fists. I love when the first two acts get the crowd so into it.
We then shifted our intention inside to The Drearies and their ongoing Skechers Shapeups commercial. “Once again this set is brought to you by Skechers Shapeups,” they said to kick off the set. They shared many fun facts about Skechers, like how a lot of homeless people in Vancouver wear them thanks to rich women buying them, realizing they don’t work and donating them and how you can buy 18 hole laced up boot versions… very strange. The four-piece from Vancouver were a lot of fun and I don’t think we could have wiped the smile off their faces if you tried. The track that really stuck out to me was “Scooter Gang.” Yet the most memorable part of the set was when the lead singer announced that “We made tapes but forgot them,” and then they got pelted by empty cans and plastic cups by their friends.
The Worriers really impressed me at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery. Photo: Eric Scharf
As day changed into night Brooklyn’s The Worriers took to the stage. This was there first time in Ottawa, and you could tell people were excited as the outside courtyard was absolutely packed. Mikey Erg plays drums and its shows that he has been doing it a while, as he was sipping on beer and playing at the same time with ease. Lead vocals and guitarist Lauren Denitzio was so grateful and thanked us all “for being so rad, we really needed this considering what’s going on,” most likely referencing the atrocities of Orlando and the ongoing hate in the USA. Their set was really solid, filled with songs off of their latest release Imaginary Life, which was produced by Laura Jane Grace (Against Me). Their song “They/Them/Theirs” is about how there is no need for gender binary as it hurts so many people was my favourite and really stud out above the rest. I am a little ashamed to mention that I had somehow never heard of this band before, but they made a fan of me real quickly.
Strange Attractor rocking at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery. Photo: Eric Scharf
I was very excited to shift back inside to see Strange Attractor play and I was not alone as we were all crammed into SAW like sardines. I mean how can you not love a band that has a song called “Fuck Shit Up.” The boys from Sudbury may have played the most songs in one set considering that I doubt they have a single song over 2 minutes long. They plow through songs and keep you on your toes, while wasting very little time between songs. Great set by some great guys from a not so great place…so I am told.
Screaming Females melting our faces at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery. Photo: Eric Scharf
Once we unpacked from sticky and sweaty SAW Gallery we were treated to the Screaming Females, or Screamales to some. The three piece, from New Brunswick, NJ, led by Marissa Paternoster always impresses. Paternoster can really play the guitar, and I mean she is shockingly good. I’m generally not a huge fan of solos by they meld them in seamlessly and it just works. I was so stoked that they opened with “Bell” off their 2009 album Power Move, as that was the album that made me fall in love with them. They also played great tracks off their latest album Rose Mountain, including “Ripe.”
Dad Jokes from New Zealand playing at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at the Dominion Tavern. Photo: Eric Scharf
My night then took me to the Dominion Tavern for three more acts. First up was Dad Jokes, all the way from New Zealand. Anyone who knows me knows that there is no more attractive band name for me, as I am constantly saying dad jokes. The two piece, guitar and drums, were awesome, and didn’t really tell any lame jokes either. They did however remind us all to get cards for our dad’s for Father’s Day on Sunday. This was the last stop of their Canadian tour, and they must really like it up as they dedicated a new song they had never played for anyone yet to local band Average Times. It is a solid track to boot.
Mike Krol back at it, this time rocking the Dominion Tavern during Ottawa Explosion Weekend. Photo: Eric Scharf
Mike Krol took and his band of burglars dazzled us again, this time though he had a much rowdier crowd to play too. Never under estimate the power of a man in a cape rocking out on a tambourine. The band, now playing together for a third time, were just as good if not better than their earlier performance. Krol was still up to the same antics, jumping into the crowd and moving around all over the stage. He is quite the entertainer. I said it before, but the effects on his vocals thanks to a couple of pedals is really quite cool. I am still singing “This is the News” almost 12 hours later.
Mikey Erg closing out day 3 at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at the Dominion Tavern. Photo: Eric Scharf
Last but not least it was Mike Erg from the infamous The Ergs!. This was the first time he toured with a full band since The Ergs broke up, and it happened to be two members of The Worriers on bass and drums. Erg is a prolific talent that has been at it for years under several different monikers and with a variety of band. Erg dedicated a song to Mike Krol and said “I’m so excited we are playing the same show because his album is my favorite of the year.” He later played a killer track called “Apart Time” with the lyrics “Crank up the volume, you don’t love me anymore,” from his upcoming album Tentative Decisions set to be released later this month.He closed out with two more songs off Tentative Decisions, including “1001 Smashed Motel Room” which had a Bob Mould/Perfect sound to it to me and lastly “NyQuil and Sudafed.” And on that note it was time to bike my butt home to bed to be ready for round 4.
Ottawa Explosion Weekend day 2 was the ultimate birthday party for me, amazing bands, super nice people and delicious drinks all night long.
Sedatives starting day 2 at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery in Ottawa. Photo: Eric Scharf
The first act of the night was the Sedatives. The local band from yester years absolutely killed it and was anything but sedated. And how could you with the stellar lineup of Ian Manhire (White Wires, Voicemail) on keys and vocals, Steve Adamyk (Steve Adamyk Band) on bass and vocals, Emmanuel Sayer (Crusades, Ottawa Explosion Organizer) on guitar and vocals and Dave Williams (Crusades) on drums. The great early crowd was made up mostly of Ottawa’s old guard and they were all amped. Highlight of the set was when they played “Powerlines” followed “Teenage Runaway,” back to back. This performance was even better than their comeback show at House of Targ in May. They are like a fine wine just getting better with age.
Laika’s Orbit really impressed me at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery in Ottawa. Photo: Eric Scharf
Next up was New England’s very awesome Laika’s Orbit. This was the first time I have ever seen a power pop band equipped with a Flying V guitar. It definitely wasn’t ironic either because there were a couple of great shredding moments. Lead vocalist and guitarist, Sean Doopy, commented on the heat at one point and most of us just laughed. We have been waiting for this weather for quite some time now and it was only 27 with very little humidity. I really liked their track “No Matter What It Takes,” which also happens to be the title of their latest record. Every day at Explosion there is that one band you never heard of that really impresses you and on this day it was Laika’s Orbit. I strongly recommend checking them out.
Steve Adamyk Band rocking out at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery in Ottawa. Photo: Eric Scharf
I thought I knew exactly what to expect from Steve Adamyk Band, but they proved me wrong. I mean I knew I was in for some great punk rock and good times, which they delivered on. What I didn’t know was a bunch of the new songs they played and that Adamyk was going to mention that there should be a new album in a month. The other thing I know is that Pat Johnson is a great drummer, but having now seen him play in every type of band I wonder…is there any style this man cannot drum? The band nailed all the new stuff but hilariously struggled with “Careless” and “Katacombs” after playing “I Fought for the USA” which drew some heckling from a familiar voice (video here). They recovered nicely and crushed the rest of their set.
Radioactivity getting the crowd going at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery in Ottawa. Photo: Eric Scharf
The last band outside for the evening was Radioactivity. You know a band kicks ass when the front row and the pit is full of people from all the other bands. Conceptualized in Japan and built in Texas out of the ashes of Marked Men, Radioactivity play great power pop, garage rock or whatever you want to call this super fun music. They were the first band to get the crowd moving a little more than just head bobbing and it was great. And it is easy to understand why when listening to tracks like “Don’t Try,” “Stripped Away,” and “Pretty Girl.”
The Creeps brought party inside at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery in Ottawa. Photo: Eric Scharf
It was now the time of the night where we moved inside into the small dark confines of the back room of SAW Gallery to watch The Creeps. The local three piece were at home in the darkness as they kicked things off with “Ghosts.” Radioactivity’s momentum clearly carried inside as the crowd sang along loudly with fists pumping every chance they could. This hit a pinnacle when the band played their big radio hit “Cancer” followed by “All The Way Home.” Those boys can sure build a set list. In a stranger moment, they dedicated the song “Off My Guard” with a chorus of “How I just feel like dying, I feel like dying, oh oh” to newlyweds who came up from Portland. I am going to assume it is their favourite track or that there is a story there. And in what seems to be the bands routine now, they closed with “Car Crash.”
Nato Coles grabbing a shot mid set without missing a beat at Ottawa Explosion Weekend 2016 at SAW Gallery in Ottawa. Photo: Eric Scharf
Next up was one of the most anticipated for me, Nato Coles and the Blue Diamond Band from Minneapolis in Wisconsin. Coles was in a playful mood, starting the set by talking about Stomping Tom and how “I’ll play the stomper all night long.” He then followed that up with “We’re going to have fucking fun tonight.” Fun was had indeed, including a moment where Coles left his band members on stage to go have a shot at the bar in the middle of a song. If you have never seen these guys play I urge you to change that as soon as you can. It is such a great rocking time and I am so excited to hear them play some new music, because that leads me to believe there is another record coming and maybe more touring. I loved hearing the anthemic “See Some Lights” live again. And for a twist, the drummer, Mike Cranberry and Coles switched places for the last song. Coles rocked out on the skins and Cranberry showed us his chops on vocals. They are men of many wonders.
The festivities were capped off with Bad Sports, who feature members of Radioactivity. The more mellow kind of 80 punk rock and garage vibe was a nice way to end a very long night of celebrating. There new single “Living with Secrets” off their upcoming 7 track EP was awesome and has a New York Dolls feel to it.
Well Explosion that was one heck of a birthday party! The next three days will have a very hard time topping that one.
When the matching jackets come off you know it’s Peach Kelli Pop time. It was a cold May night but the all-girl power pop group teleported us to a sunny SoCal beach.
Allie of Peach Kelli Pop was all smiles all night at House of Targ in Ottawa. Photo: Ming Wu
Fronted by a great local talent Allie Hanlon on guitar and vocals, Peach Kelli Pop, played a most excellent set during the all-ages show at House of Targ. There was a ton of energy and so many smiles, on stage and off the stage throughout the entire set, which is always the case when Allie comes home. Peach Kelli Pop played some great new songs, “Halloween Mask” and “$100 Bill,” and also played a cover of the Sailor Moon theme song, which Allie dedicated to “all the girls.” It also brought me back to grade four – the nostalgia was real. Allie also showed her love for House of Targ, “I feel like this place was invented in someone’s dream, it’s out of this world, it’s the perfect mishmash of things.”
Nightshades rocking out at House of Targ. Photo: Ming Wu
As Nightshades took the stage, their drummer Geoff Clarke looked quite frazzled and winded… and rightfully so. During Toxic Thoughts’ set, the opening band, Geoff chased down a couple of kids who threw a brick through the House of Targ window after being kicked out. Well done Geoff! The band then appropriately opened with “Teenage Fool.” There were some other great things about this show, other than Geoff’s sprint. It was their first show with a new bass player, Dean Morris of The Haig, and the band played several of their songs with a much different feel. Songs such as “London Bass” and “Broken Bag” have changed for the better and I am very excited about it. Nightshades also played several new songs and they are still super bass driven and I cannot wait to hear those new tracks some more.
Felix of Toxic Thoughts in the crowd raging with a fan during their set at House of Targ. Photo: Ming Wu
Opening the night was new local hardcore punk band, Toxic Thoughts. “Hello everyone, we are here to provide some interruption before Peach Kelli Pop,” said lead singer Felix Lahbabi-Granger. The last name Granger may seem familiar, as the band is led by Yogi’s son Felix and man does the kid have stage presence. He often jumped into the crowd to mosh with his friends while singing. The band is still a little raw, but there is much potential in Toxic Thoughts and I look forward to watching them grow.
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 Explosion Weekend day five, saw the first beautiful sunny day of the festival and father’s day collide for an excellent send off.
Needing to rest up a little and refuel from the night before, I worked my way over to Club SAW in time for Average Times. Another of the many excellent rocking local acts of the festival, Average Times was great. Their set, part of the Mammoth Cave/Hosehead Records showcase, featured some beauties like “Wasted on Wine,” “She Knows” and “Do The Dance.” The guitarist was hilarious throughout the set cracking jokes and using funny voices, such as when he used quite the creepy voice to say “It’s father’s day and you’re not with your daddy…is it because of the money.” Their set also scored the cutest moment of the festival award, as a little kid still in diapers, sporting a fedora with massive ear muffs over top was rocking out to them. It was kind of funny as so many of their songs are about alcohol consumption, thankfully he is surely far too young to understand.
Mother’s Children were next to take the stage. Before their set I saw that they were listed as local, but I had never heard of them. I want to know why nobody ever told me how good this band is! This band has Davey Quesnell on bass/vocals, the drummer from Voicemail on guitar/vocals, the bass player from Average Times on drums and rounding out the four piece is the guitarist/vocalist Paul Lawton . They play a really wicked blend of glam and power-pop. Mid-set Paul took a little stab at New Swears saying “Sorry we don’t have silly string, only brought normal string and that just won’t work.” All in good fun I am sure. My favourite song from their set and now my favourite song of theirs was “See the Other Guy.” It is off their album Lemons which is pretty kick ass.
Roudning out the early afternoon portion of the show was Calgary’s The Mandates. They are another band I checked out last year and really liked. One of the guitarists, sporting a Voicemail shirt, said “This is the best festival in the country, maybe anywhere. It is the best festival I have ever been a part of.” Just like last year, they were great. They play really catchy punk rock with an old school flare to it. I am really into their songs “Neon Light” and “Tonight,” which has such an amazing opening riff. I was very excited to catch those songs live.
Closing out the festival was the Bruised Tongue showcase featuring Blue Angel, Best Fiends, Kappa Chow, The Yips and Roberta Bondar, review to be posted soon. The day came to an end and it was bittersweet, I saw so much amazing music over five days and hung out with so many beautiful people, but it was now time to go back to reality and stop living in the world of Ottawa Explosion Weekend. Thanks to the entire Ottawa Explosion team and all the volunteers, this was the best birthday gift a guy can ask for.
Ottawa’s most excellent power-pop and rock n’ roll band, Mnemonics, just put out a wicked new album. Too LateTo Get Loud is a great 12-song album from start to finish. I love the tracks “Near Modern Disaster,” “Bitter Bug,” and “Spoken.” These cool dudes, describe themselves as “Four friends based in Centretown, Ottawa with a mutual love of 90’s alt-rock, power-pop, and punk making a melodious racket singing about girls, phobias (including girls), and other stuff.” I could not put it better myself.