New Music: Canadian Graffiti by The Riptides
Earlier this year Ottawa’s pop-punk legends The Riptides released their 8th studio album Canadian Graffiti.
The band has been making waves in the nation’s capital since forming in 1998 and their latest releases sees them return to their pop-punk and Ramone-style jams. As a born and raised Ottawan, I have had the luxury of seeing and hearing the Riptides for years. It is great to have the first full length Riptides album in nearly a decade as they had focused on releasing a bunch of splits over the past few years with bands such as The Dwarves, The Apers, and The Connections.
The 18-track album only features two songs over 3 minutes in length, as it focuses on quick catchy tracks leaving you wanting more. One of my highlights of the album are the great local references such as “hanging out at Brewer Park” and “going to Barbarellas’s after dark.” I always find it very special when I can connect to the location or a person a band is singing about, especially after years spent signing songs about other towns other than your own. That local touch always strikes a chord is the very best way.
One of the perfect examples that the band hasn’t lost touch with it’s pop-punk roots after all these years are the back-to-back tracks of “Homing Missile” and “Happy Ever After.” The first is full of analogies and about being locked in on love as the title suggests, and the second is all about lost love and how there will be no happy ever after in his life due to breaking up. You can’t get much more pop punk than trying to secure love and being destroyed after losing it. What is great is even after doing it for nearly 20 years, The Riptides do not come off gimmicky or fake, just true veterans of the scene.
My favourite track might have to be “Someone Just Like You” which has almost every element I love to see in a song. It features claps, duet vocals, a relatable story of attraction out at a show, catchy chorus and then on top of that they make a guitar sound like they are joined by some brass on the track. Just love it.
Have a listen to Canadian Graffiti below and catch The Riptides at their aptly named album release show: The Riptides’ Merry Fucking Christmas Album & Beer Release Show, Saturday, December 16th, with the Lindbergh Babies, GOAT! It is sure to be a ripping and delicious good time.
Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs, Saint Clare & Mushy Gushy at The Dom
Photos by Eric Scharf
Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs headlined a great show at the Dominion Tavern Wednesday night which featured opening sets by locals Saint Clare and Mushy Gushy.
Sam took to the stage wearing his standard issue jean vest with Sam Coffey & the Iron Lung patch on the back over a a bedazzled jumpsuit, which I later learned was actually part of an Ace Frehley costume. The band is touring celebrating the release of their new self-titled album which they released after signing with Dine Alone Records.
They opened with two tracks off the excellent new record, “Ragnarock” and “Judy.” I love the new stuff, I really do, but was very glad to see they didn’t forget about their first album and the song that made me fall in love with them a few year ago, “Gates of Hell.” The track is a kick-ass rock n’ roll song with a sprinkle of old school, some claps and sing-a-longs, it is the near-perfect song.
Another highlight of their set was their song “Voicemail,” which is about Ottawa’s very own Gary Voicemail aka Ian Manhire of such great bands as The White Wires, The Sedatives, and more. If you have never seen these guys, shame on you. They are a great rock n’ roll band through and through and even better guys.
Same Coffey and the Iron Lungs rocking out at The Dominion Tavern in Ottawa.
Setting the stage and filling the stage was Saint Clare, a 7-piece band from Ottawa. The band has been making waves in Ottawa with their energetic live performance and great releases. They have such a dynamic horn section (sax and trombone) which adds so much to their music, especially on their 2016 single “Cheatin’.” And I don’t know about you guys, but I just love watching a trombone player strum along like a guitar when they aren’t playing.
Taking the importance of the horns even further is their physical arrangement on stage, which had the brass right next to the singer/guitarist, one on each side, putting them at the forefront. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that anywhere else. The band as a whole is great and I love what they are doing, but I must say the brass really makes them stand out in the crowded rock n’ roll world. There were definitely some new songs during their set so hopefully we will get something new soon to sink our ears into.
Saint Clare bringing the brass and the fuzz at The Dominion Tavern in Ottawa.
Opening the night was Mushy Gushy, a four-piece butt-rock band who are also from Ottawa. I’ll never truly know what butt rock is but Mushy Gushy make you want to bob and dance on every track. I mean this as a compliment—they were the perfect opening band and got the energy pumping. They did not waste any time playing three songs straight without breaks to get everyone in the zone. They then took a very quick break to say who they were and plug their new tape called More Butter and then quickly got back to business playing the wicked track “Trap” off of said tape. Not a lot of talk and a lot of good rock is key when opening a show. Also it is hard to go wrong with songs named “Fucking Awesome” and “Bodybreak.” Eat your heart out Joanne McLeod and Hal Johnson.
Mushy Gushy kicking things off at The Dominion Tavern in Ottawa.
Interview: ONFIILM redefine the live performance
ONFIILM at POP Montreal. Photo by Jeff Kilgour.
We caught up with Jordan Craig, the lead singer and guitarist ONFIILM ahead of their show this week. We had a great chat about the band, their sound, their live show and much more. Check it out:
I know you don’t like using a genre to describe ONFILM’s sound, I also hate genres but sort of get stuck with them as a writer. Can you please describe your band’s sound without defaulting to genres?
J: The band’s sound to me is a mix of all the madness, sadness, vulnerability and other exotic feelings that I feel when I’ m at home. All of our music is written and recorded right here. My best friends, and the most talented people I know are in the band, and we share a common love for sound and light. We are all in love with beautiful delicate tones, juxtaposed against pulverizing beats and mad, mad guitars. Colin Wolfson’s lead guitar is genius level, really bringing the sparkling intergalactic feel. Ryan Farrell holds down the bass without over complicating, and is always mesmerizing. I like to give the rhythm and chords (The fewer the better!) a chance to breathe, and enchant the listener just before we close the hatch and blast off. We take them to space, then bring them back home again.
How would you best describe how that sound translates live?
J: Every piece of the live show is designed to take the audience into our world. Maybe more specifically my world. It ’s pretty much a recreation of my life and what’s going on in my head. An expression of personal freedom. I want to show everyone through our video, music and dancing that whatever or whoever they are can be pushed to the limit. Our dancers interpret the music, while our glitch videos play over us and our instruments. The superimposed glitches break us apart, scramble us. It’s crazy.
Love the sound of the video/visual addition. Where did the idea come from?
J: It was a pretty natural thing for me to add visuals to our stage show. I’ve been a pro photographer for 15 years, and I’m from a family of visual artists. I first became enamoured with glitch video when I saw a movie called “Until the end of the world” by Wim Wenders. In this movie they record peoples dreams, and the result was beautiful. Wim Wenders is also an accomplished photographer, and I’ve always been interested in his methods. The other inspiration was the cover art for Renegade Soundwave’s album “Sound Clash.” A sexy figure with a whip, probably shot on a tv screen. That image is never far from my mind.
Who are the dancers? Are they at every show? What do you think they add?
J: The dancers are currently Tess Giberson and Zoë Menne. We are super lucky to have them at pretty much every show, although sometimes we have other dancers when we are on the road, or if one of them can’t make it. For instance, Tess was arrested for working at a marijuana dispensary and pointlessly thrown in jail on the night of our gig a few months ago. They are a wonderful and kind person, and it was shocking and horrible that they were treated this way. Zoë is an unbelievably talented visual artist in their own right, and I’m actually a big fan. Back when the band first started, I didn’t even have a drummer or bass player, so I felt that I needed more movement onstage. They worked out so well that I’ve kept that aspect of the show going even now that ONFIILM is a full band.
In your band’s bio you are listed as “a doctor of divinity,” care to explain?
J: Yes, I have an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Universal Life Church in Medesto, California. I am an Atheist, and I believe that everyone’s beliefs are just as valid as anyone else’s, as long as they don’t impose on others. I use this bit of paper to illustrate the absurdity of the whole idea of organized religion. Dr. Hunter S. Thompson had a Doctorate from the same place, so I’m in good company. ONFIILM and our fans are the Congregation, and our live show is the service. We are also federal tax exempt in the United States.
Very interesting. I also see you list two drummers, do you ever have two live?
J: Yes, ONFIILM is fortunate to have two ridiculously talented drummers, but not both on stage at the same time. Wes Leigh is our main drummer, but when he is not available Matt Sobb kindly fills in for him. They both have very different playing styles and bring more to the table than I could have imagined. Matt also plays in the Juno award winning band MonkeyJunk. I’m very proud to be working with both of these drummers, as they are both very accomplished dedicated musicians.
If so, how does that play out and what do the sound techs think? If not, why not?
J: It has certainly crossed my mind. I’m a big fan of the Allman Brothers, so two drummers is something that is not out of the question for me in the future. RIP Butch Trucks. Actually, the live sound engineer from the Allman Brothers Band came to the studio for a visit a few months ago. Got some really good live sound tips!
What do you know about the venue you are playing, The Dominion Tavern?
J: When you first walk into the Dominion Tavern, look up towards the ceiling, you’ll notice the bashed up mangled side of an old stock car. I was actually at the speedway that day long ago, and watched the damn thing race. A guy named Stu, who used to work there was driving. It was like a rolling version of the Dominion Tavern. A bit louder, and bit rougher than the other cars. Didn’t win the race, but had the best crowd.
Anything else you would like to add?
J: We are super excited that ONFIILM’s music is being used in an upcoming documentary series by VICE called “FUNNY: HOW?” . It’s a series about different comedy scenes around the world. Not much more I can say about it yet, as I don’t want to give anything else away. VICE has been great to work with, and they really understand ONFIILM’s feel, and leave us to our own devices to come up with music. We will make the songs for this series available for fans to download after it has aired.
We also working on our full length LP coming out later this year. I’d like to thank everyone involved in ONFIILM, and it’s a thrill to experiment every day.
Catch ONFIILM this Wednesday night at the Dominion Tavern as they open for the most excellent Heat from Montreal, info here.
Megaphono Day 2: Duchess Says, Boyhood, Fet.Nat and Everett @ The Dom
I arrived just as Everett was starting their set. Co-pilots Elsa and Fraser comprised a different lineup from last time I saw them play, at Ottawa Explosion Weekend last year; where I think the band played as a 4-piece. Their sounds has changed considerably as well, filing things down to a slow-burning, atmospheric kind of droning grunge sound. Appearing cool as a cucumber, despite the past week’s controversy over the implications of the Queers’ show her petition to have the show cancelled (which it was, then soonafter was back on again), Elsa gave a shout out to her friends in Babely Shades, mentioning that things had been difficult for them in dealing with the backlash of harassment they are facing post-petition. She led the crowd in a rowsing chant of “Queer is beautiful!” and Everett played their last few songs. I enjoyed the set and I’m stoked for this band to record because they are preparing to soon (or so I’ve been told…).
at your door by everett
The other bands were great too, and I’ll get to them in a moment. But first, I want to mention that right after Everett finished (in the seconds between when the band stopped and the house music came up), I heard someone yell from the back of the bar “At least The Queers are good!”. I looked back just in time to see the guy finishing the sentence then quickly turning back to whoever he was talking to, totally hiding from all the heads turning. Elsa fired back on the mic with “Get the fuck out.”
I don’t know if she found out who it was, and I don’t know this guy personally, but I recognize him from many other nights at The Dom, and he was in Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunter (a 2001 Ottawa-made film, whose title is pretty self-explanatory). That heckle sounded to me like: “That sucked, and you suck.” Was he trying to say that she and her work are not welcome here? What did he mean by that? And what impact does this have on Elsa’s safety and that of her band and her collective? Or anyone else speaking out about marginalization and fighting for equality in our communities?
One thing I took away from the Making Safer Spaces panel talk (which was earlier this same day) was that changes have to come from all angles; not just from activists, artists and promoters in marginalized groups, but from everyone. Especially white people in positions of power or authority in the scene and the greater community. Part of what was discussed at the panel was Safe Space training for venue staff, as well as festival volunteers and other people working in nightlife and service industries. Of course, said staff would need to be open to it and genuinely supportive of the movement, and somehow I’m not sure this this heckler is quite there, but I try to think people like that are the exception and not the rule.
Something else discussed in the panel was the fact that businesses will always have fire exit signs, and warn patrons of wet floors, and that kind of thing. Why? For the safety of the people inside their establishments. So, then, it should follow that corresponding proactive measures ought to be developed and implemented to ensure their patrons’ safety from sexual violence and other forms of harassment and marginalization. Such programs could take example from the The Queer Mafia’s Safe(r) Spaces Policy, and they would be key components in spreading awareness of these issues and learning how to be proactive and constructive about them.
But this guy… just perpetuating the threatening, malign-infested attitude towards this marginalized group speaking out about their reality. Not cool.
Well, the show must go on, and up next was Boyhood. I’d only ever seen Boyhood as a solo performance where singer Caylie Runciman worked with a synth and few effects pedals (last year Boyhood played a Megaphono set in the Deifenbunker). But this was a 4-piece band, and a bigger sound than I’d heard from Boyhood before. It was kinda dark and dancy, melodic and a little manic in how they went from brighter sounding keys and effects to some creepier organ sounds. The creepy parts reminded me of the cheesy organ you’d hear on tapes or CD’s of Halloween Music, but they totally fit here and sounded rad.
when i’m hungry by boyhood
Fet.Nat took a few minutes to get going, amidst a momentarily missing drummer and some difficulties with the PA, but they dove headlong into their set and their frenetic brand of spaz-jazz had people moving in no time. From a crowd-pleasing cowbell, to some impressive circular-breathing on a tiny soprano saxophone, this band is just on point. The sheer size of this sax would’ve been hilarious if this guy wasn’t wailing on it the way he was. A couple of times, he would just bust out these insane solos to transition between songs, while the guitarist and drummer held solid eye contact to stay in sync. This was my first time seeing them, and I’m not likely to miss them again.
Poule Mange Poule by FET.NAT
Duchess Says closed the night and boy, did they deliver. I’d heard about this band being somewhat of a collective, rotating lineup over the years, and that the singer is also in Pypy. You should follow that link, seriously, Pypy are way cool. DS were awesome too! The singer’s energy was infectious and intense, slinking and dancing nearly the whole time. She struck the air, highlighting the accents and rhythms behind her, and just getting visibly stoked. Not just excitement, but as if she was actually a fire being stoked and growing more intense and captivating. Man, 80’s synths and dirty fuzz-bass guitar with a disco drum beat behind it is just irresistible. She even hopped offstage a couple of times to bounce around the crowd and get things going. During an instrumental breakdown, she got a large portion of the crowd to sit down on the floor as she pulled out a huge roll of plastic and proceeded to have audience members unroll it above themselves, all the way across the room. People started playing parachute with it (reminiscent of some elementary school games), but once the band kicked back in, and everyone jumped up dancing with the plastic catching the lights in every direction. It was just the best. Moments like that give me a chill sometimes, and this made the set for me.
In A Fung Day T! by Duchess Says
So while we can certainly do without the trolls, all in all, this was a great show and a great night!
Weekend Music Roundup: April 16 – 19
Looking for live music in Ottawa this weekend? Ottawa Showbox has you covered with the Weekend Music Roundup.
Thursday, April 16
Friday, April 17
Saturday, April 18
Sunday, April 19
Weekend Music Roundup: Easter Weekend Edition, April 2—6
Looking for live music in Ottawa this Easter long weekend? Ottawa Showbox has you covered with the Weekend Music Roundup.
Thursday, April 2
Friay, April 3
Saturday, April 4
Sunday, April 5
Monday, April 6
MEGAPHONO: Crosss, Petra Glynt, Michael Rault and Kings Quest @ The Dom
Crosss, Petra Glynt, Michael Rault and Kings Quest closed out MEGAPHONO‘s final show Thursday night at the Dominion Tavern in the Byward Market.
Kings Quest playing at the Dominion Tavern during MEGAPHONO in Ottawa, ON. Photo: Eric Scharf
The night began with an Ottawa band whose name lends itself so very well to a video game, Kings Quest. The wonders of Kings Quest lie within their very diverse vocal contributions. The band’s primary vocalists are two females, but there are also two other male members who contribute vocals, all of them are so different from one another but they work in such harmony. They mostly played songs off their latest release Fox Island, including the ultra catchy and excellent “Alana.”
Michael Rault playing at the Dominion Tavern during MEGAPHONO in Ottawa, ON. Photo: Eric Scharf
Kings Quests name is medieval but it was Michael Rault that took us back in time. The Toronto-based singer, guitarist and songwriter was quite the flashback. The best way I can describe it would be the sound of people jamming to 70s and 80s rock and blues with a hint of psych coming out of a neighbour’s garage, and you just need to go visit. The songs that had me hooked right away was “Too Bad So Sad” and “Nothing Means Nothing.” Then there was the super fun “I Wanna Love You,” which reminded me of The Beatles’ cute love songs with some really sweet “oooohhhs.”
Petra Glynt playing at the Dominion Tavern during MEGAPHONO in Ottawa, ON. Photo: Eric Scharf
Next up was the show stealing Petra Glynt. She was a super energetic solo performer playing smashing drums with experimental and atmospheric sounds layered with looping vocals. She made amazing use of all pedals, knobs, drum machine and the floor tom at her disposal. Petra Glynt is a solo project out of Toronto of artist Alexandra Mackenzie and it blew me away, and I was clearly not alone by the complete silence and focus of the crowd at the Dominion. A song that truly stood out was the tribal influenced “OF THIS LAND.” It was a mesmerizing experience and one of the highlights of a festival that saw many really impressive performances.
Crosss playing at the Dominion Tavern during MEGAPHONO in Ottawa, ON. Photo: Eric Scharf
Having the responsibility and honour of closing out MEGAPHONO was Crosss. This very heavy doom rock trio, often described as futuristic grunge, brought that rock sound the Dom is much more used to. The Montreal-based trio is led by multi-instrumentalist, and only remaining original member, Andrew March. March was playing his guitar upside down, the low E string was at bottom instead of at the top, something you certainly don’t see very often. Often overlooked are drummers but the drummer makes Crosss. He is so solid and driving, dictating the flow of the impressive wall of sound created by a three-piece. It’s a good thing the festival ended, as my neck needed some time to recover.