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.
Premiere: Mushy Gushy – Tight Snake
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.
Marvest Day 3: Tindervox, The Gallop, High Waters & more
Featured image from Instagram user @wildtreejewellery
I think most folks can agree that it’s pretty darn cool to see live music in places that don’t usually host such events. From bakeries to bookstores, the Glebe was all lit up with festival-goers roaming show-to-show with packed little crowds in every venue.
I started my evening at the north end of the neighbourhood, plotting my trajectory southward toward Lansdowne and the hub of Cityfolk. First stop: FarmTeam Cookhouse at Bank and Clemow, to see Tindervox. I wanted to make a point of seeing this band after missing them at the Elementals album release show last week at House of Targ, and I’m glad I caught this one. The dimly lit atmosphere of the packed pub, with most people in the bar seated chatting at tables, was a great fit for the band’s blend of slow-burning grunge and floating shoegazey guitars. Really cool stuff. First time seeing the band, and certainly won’t be the last.
Next I made my way down Bank Street in search of the next thing. I know i said I was planning a straight line down Bank, but we all know that old saying about the best laid plans of monsters and men… or something like that. I decided on Irene’s next, to catch The Maxim Cossette Combo. Max used to front the long-standing rockabilly outfit The SickSickSicks who, now with some lineup changes, have rebranded as the Cossette Combo. I arrived to a line outside Irene’s, so was only getting glimpses and snippets of the show from outside, as I chatted with strangers in line, and waved to some friends inside (who actually ended up leaving before I got in).
Marvest (Photo from Instagram: @URockRed)
I figured I was missing more than just this show so looked at my schedule, and noticed The Gallop were already kickin it at the Wild Oats Bakery so I hoofed it back a few blocks to squeeze on in. I couldn’t get a very good view from inside, so i opted for the sidewalk view. Much better. And more breathable. I don’t know the guys in the band personally, but when they saw me waving to a friend inside (this sounds familiar…), they waved back and it dawned on me that the whole crowd was probably wondering who this random guy is waving and smiling to everyone from outside. Anyway, the band was an excellent fit for Marvest. Definitely check out their album on Bandcamp because it is a really good listen.
Next I was heading to meet my sister at Aberdeen Pavilion because she works with this guy who plays this band or something and they’re apparently pretty good. The band is High Waters, and turns out they’re awesome. The crowd was big, and full of love for the band as they churned out a range of tunes that mixed elements of post-rock, indie and even a little R&B at times. The singer’s Patrick Watson-esque vocals were just gravy. I was gonna say “icing on the cake,” but I can’t picture gravy being a fitting icing to any cake… Except this one apparently. I can’t overstate my love for a live band who are visibly enjoying themselves, and these guys were all smiles. Great performance, great reception. They also just released their new album on September 19th, so don’t sleep on that one!
My last stop for the evening was back at the Original Burger Joint, for folk/bluegrass strummers Jack Pine & the Fire. Here I was again, watching from the sidewalk but let me just note that that I was enjoying every performance I saw, regardless of where exactly I was standing. Just the atmosphere of this whole festival, seeing so many new and familiar faces out and about enjoying the occasion, was more than enough for me to call Marvest a success.
I want to send my special thank out to the festival volunteers, directing crowds, offering schedules, and just being lovely smiling faces everywhere there’s music. You folks are glue that holds festivals together.
The Gallop’s Tall Tale Tellers Release @ Rainbow Bistro
By Alec C. Mead of The Way Collective
Simple parameters, shining performers and an old blues bar filled with young souls. What else is needed? I got to speak with Dave Gervais of The Gallop about the EP, family and why music?
I love shows held at the Rainbow Bistro, The Gallop made a great choice to do their EP release there with Atherton, TheCareBearz and Stay Classy. The show started at 10 p.m. and went right through to 2 a.m. It felt like a quick experience, one that couldn’t be forgotten, or even slept off easily. That made the 10 bucks at the door feel like a bargain, even my uncle dug it — being from the 70s his standards are not easily met. Someone who saw the debut of Black Sabbath and Van Halen telling me “That was a night I needed,” was all I had to know. Good job everyone.
Throughout the night some people shined, one of the most obvious was the drummer of The Gallop, Paul Ross. Song after song he pumped out beats that had us all moving, within or without our minds. Thanks for bringing your energy to us brother! The pain you feel in your arms is the pleasure we felt in our hearts.
Another star of the show was Jordan David of TheCareBearz (formerly of The Love Machine). He and Atherton obviously go back because they have a serious bromanship, and that is what a group is all about. Jordan’s vibe was needed for Atherton to shine, Atherton was doing what he does for the right reasons, the love of it. After finishing he and DJ So Nice picked up and packed up faster than most, leaving the socializing till after. That’s what someone running a show wants with an act: professionalism.
Everyone involved did a killer job but it’s worth mentioning PJ Livadaris, who fronted Stay Classy and played guitar and sang harmonies for The Gallop. Most notable about this fair fellow is his voice. When a band has a full sound, your voice needs to cut through the vibrations like butter, a feat not often achieved, whether by mainstreamers or old folk who have been jamming for decades. Kudos on having a voice that is recognizable and sharp. I admire that greatly because the lyricism is what I feel the strongest about.
So when I got to the Rainbow, Dave Gervais was chilling so I quickly asked him about the EP Tall Tale Tellers. Dave discussed that he plays music to feel good, and to share with people, stating, “Live shows are a trip. That’s pretty much why [we do it].” He is a solid guy who sets goals in order to achieve them, he understands that’s how you get satisfaction, fulfilling your goals, which are a step to your dreams.
He clearly stated he is ready to do more shows and make some videos for the music on Tell Tale Tellers. “Preparation is the key to success,” is something he clearly manifested during the show and the performance of the EP. This is their fourth EP and he said there are more coming! I asked him why he likes doing EPs and he told me he likes things fresh and bite-sized. We discussed the song “Jump Ship” and how he feels about staying in Ottawa when his girlfriend goes out west. “I love you, just not enough,” says it powerfully, but I wanted to understand what his feelings were. “ I didn’t want to be estranged,” is something he mentions while telling me his family is the most important thing in his life. He told me he celebrates with them any time he can and he often finds himself laughing with his nieces and nephews.
“If there’s something you want people to know before they listen, it’s ‘now is the time.’” I told Dave he’s got a chance to say anything, his reply was, “We don’t give up, we keep playing music”. No bullshit, I like that. He tells me that he’s known the other two acts for over 10 years, such is the nature of music in Ottawa.
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.
First round of local artists announced for Bluesfest 2013
Bluesfest has announced its 2013 lineup
today, and included in that is a bunch of some of Ottawa’s local talent. It’s great to see some returning to the stage, as well as some new additions this year. More announcements for local acts should be made in the coming weeks, so keep your ears open for more additions to this list. Congrats to all those who made the cut!
- Camp Radio
- Capital Grass and the No Men,
- City Fidelia,
- DJ Acro,
- Dynamite Motel,
- Hearts & Mines,
- Her Harbour,
- Jack Pine and The Fire,
- John Carroll & The Epic Proportions,
- JW Jones,
- Les Mosquitos,
- Maria Hawkins,
- Mehdi Cayenne Club,
- Roberta Bondar,
- Sarah Jean and the Wild Vines,
- Steve Adamyk Band,
- The Gallop,
- The Split,
- The Wicked Mercy,
- Three Times Lucky