New Music: Don’t Give My Love Away by My Friend PJ
My Friend PJ, the project of long time Ottawa music scene member PJ Catsiyannis, recently released a new EP titled Don’t Give My Love Away.
Yes, PJ Catsiyannis is back making music with his new solo project My Friend PJ, which features Michael Laing and David Gervais. Many people may recognize PJ from his most recent bands Stay Classy, The Gallop, and Brights. Others who have been kicking around the scene for a while may also remember him from his earlier punk rock bands Thin Ice and Rivals from many moons ago.
Don’t Give My Love Away is a four song EP chalked full of emotional lyrics, as the title would suggest, and very catchy indie melodies, riffs and hooks, as we have come to expect from PJ’s projects.
While the title track is undoubtedly positioned to be the lead single with its great sing a long potential and a topic we can all relate to, the other three tracks are very strong in their own right. From the excellent harmonies and brake down in lead track “Liars,” to the beautiful self-doubt and guitar work in “Throw Me Away.” However the highlight of the EP for me is track three “Selfish Needs.” I love the return to some more punk rock sounds with the palms mutes, angrier tone in the vocals and on point drumming.
Don’t Give My Love Away is just the beginning as My Friend PJ intends to release more new music in 2019. If this is the appetizer, I can’t wait for the main course.
Have a listen Don’t Give My Love Away below and go see them live at The 27 Club this Friday November 9, as My Friend PJ opens for Edmonton’s Scenic Route to Alaska, info here. Advance tickets can be purchased online on the Spectrasonic website, or at Vertigo Records and both Compact Music locations.
Track Premiere: Stay Classy – Gentleman
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.
Throwback Thursday: Heartbreakers by Brights
By Pierce McKennirey of Those Gulls
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!
Heartbreakers EP from Square Up Records.
Ottawa Explosion Day One: School Damage, Finderskeepers, Camp Radio and more
Ottawa Explosion Weekend, or as I call it Christmas in June and my five-day birthday extravaganza, kicked off Wednesday night on the front lawn of Club SAW.
I missed the openers Stay Classy, so for me Terrible Liars got the festivities started. The band is a sweet four-piece from Ottawa who were very tight for a band who has only played a handful of shows. I really enjoyed their set and can’t wait to see them again. It is always fun to watch Davey Quesnel shred and play like he is having a seizure. What is this Davey, band #10 on the go? Really digging their songs, “Before you call” and “No Big Surprise.” (Disclaimer: no idea if those are the actual song titles, but they are the choruses.)
Next up was Laureate from Montreal. They have male and female vocals that complement each other perfectly and goes great with their melodic punk stylings. They introduced a song mid set saying, “this song is four and a half minutes on the album, we are going to play out in two.” Oh how I love punk rock. The song was an excellent display of how tight the band is and how smoothly they can transition from mellow to rocking out.
Camp Radio closed out the outdoor portion of the evening; yeah that’s right Mother Nature, nice try! The veterans of the scene absolutely killed it as per usual. I have seen them play many times and always enjoy it. Chris Page rocks out like it is his last show every time (see the video above). Camp Radio don’t play live as often as I wish they would, so don’t miss out next time.
Now inside, it was time for Ottawa’s NECK. Decked out in tropical shirts, they blasted us with Ramones-esque punk rock. Drummer Kevin broke his hand at Pouzza Fest in Montréal a few weekends ago but powered through like a pro. The crowd was digging them, especially three girls whose enthusiasm and dancing were great. It’s always nice to see people moving around. I am a big fan of their tune “Skinny Jeans.”
The suds, I mean studs, from Audio were up next. The band is comprised of the co-founder of Beau’s beer and two of the brewers. They are as delicious to your ears as the beer they make is to your taste buds. The band wasted no time going from song to song to song. No chatter or filler, just rock.
It was now time for one of my favourite local acts, Finderskeepers. They played a high-energy set full with all the tracks I wanted to hear, from “Public Offender” to “Pack Your Bag” to the closing with the kick ass “It Can All End Tonight.” One of the most wonderful things about Finderskeepers is they are not afraid to play an instrumental track, “Red Riding.” Also worth noting the drummer wore a head lamp during the set which I had never seen before. I must admit it was pretty dark in Club SAW, good call Jon.
Finishing the amazing first day was School Damage. They tore it up real late on a Wednesday, a school night for some at the all-ages show. They played in your face, no breaks, punk rock. A perfect closer for the first night of the five Explosion!