Ottawa’s The Haig just put out a spooky new video for their track “Turnbull Suit” just in time for Hallowe’en.
“Turnbull Suit” is the first single from the band’s yet to be released debut full length album Ghost of Nuclear Future. The video begins with the four-piece are all dressed up and look ready to try their hand at Escape Manor. The catch is that the host is actually a psycho killer, qu’est-ce que c’est…
The video is beautifully shot and so action-packed that you won’t be able to look away. Some of my favourite elements are the fish-eye shots of the band jamming along all crammed in an elevator and the very eerie and ghastly cameo by local musician, visual and tattoo artist Kaylie Seaver. I still have chills. I also really like the imagery of the cut-scenes of the band members playing solo behind bars, they most certainly are trapped not only in the mansion but in the song. Big shout out to Mike + Ness Photography for their great work on the video.
Check out the video below and see if the band can run run run run run run run away to safety.
It’s hard to believe that another year has passed and the RBC Bluesfest 2015 is upon us. Bluesfest has been getting better and better at including great local acts in their programming on the big stage, which for many artists is a dream come true. This year is no exception, as the festival has gone one step further to bring in more artists that are sure to rock the grounds at Lebreton Flats. Let’s dive right in with some previews of Ottawa-area musicians playing this year’s festival.
“DJ ACRO has opened for and shared the stage with a number of major artists including the likes of The Beatnuts, Mac Miller, Onyx, K.R.I.T, M.O.P, Smoke DZA, XZIBIT and a slew of other up coming and iconic Hip Hop artists.”
Bella Cat’s unique musical style has roots in soul and blues music, fusing genres and creating a sound that is distinctly her own. Her music will appeal to a broad audience, spanning all ages and tastes.
A must-see for fans of: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings
If there’s one band in Ottawa that transcends genres, combines a myriad of musical styles, and has engaging and intelligent lyrical content, it’s BlakDenim. This eight-piece ensemble exudes energy on stage and are fan-favourites at Bluesfest, having played the festival in the past. Infusion of hip-hop, funk, rock, soul, and jazz.
A must-see for fans of: A Tribe Called Quest & The Roots
B&C is a three-piece high-energy, crunchy riff-driven roots blues band that are from the nation’s capital, but could just as well be from the heart of the Mississippi Delta. If you’re into raw vocals and let-loose blues instrumentation, these guys are the ones you want to see live.
A must-see for fans of: Jimi Hendrix & John Lee Hooker
Saturday, July 11 @ 3:30 p.m.
Monster Energy Stage
If you follow Showbox, you’ll know that this group is one of our local faves. Since enlisting some of Ottawa’s most talented musicians and reforming as a full band, this experimental “future folk” group has captured the hearts and minds of many in Ottawa. Pure brilliance.
Brandon Allan writes simple, heartfelt songs about everyday feelings and experiences. His brand acoustic folk/country rock is the kind that you can turn on and close your eyes to, as his soft yet searing melodies and lyrics leave nothing uncovered.
A must-see for fans of: The Weakerthans & The Tallest Man on Earth
Saturday, July 18 @ 3:30 p.m.
Barney Danson Theatre
Brea Lawrenson’s music will appeal to lovers of pop country, which is a lot of people here in the Ottawa Valley. Her voice can go from soft and warm to powerful and penetrating on a dime, so keep your ears out for her at the Flats.
This hip hop duo consisting of SawBuck and DJ So Nice has beatmaking and production of crowd-pleasing bangers down to a science. If you’re familiar with the club circuit or hip hop scene around Ottawa, you’ve probably moved your body to one or both of these guys.
A must-see for fans of: Jurassic 5 & Run the Jewels
Sturton has made a name for herself nationally as a musician and worked with artists such as Joel Plaskett, Al Tick, Rolf Klausener, John Carroll, as well as members of Sloan and Blue Rodeo. From Japanese garage rock venues to American juke joints, she’s got a pretty interesting rap sheet.
On top of being a very strong singer and songwriter, Sturton has become well-known for her proficiency playing the harmonica – she derives her style straight from the Mississippi of old, cutting her chops at local blues establishments and learning from harmonica masters such as Larry “The Bird” Mootham and Carlos del Junco.
This veteran has been making music since 1989 and has recently started writing new material after a hiatus. Raw blues rock inspired by the Chicago greats is the only way to describe the kind of music that Nelson makes.
This band is a truly special part of Ottawa/Hull’s music scenes. The band consists of members of Timber Timbre, Last Ex, and Scattered Clouds, creating disoriented and experimental art-punk with fractured arrangements.
A must-see for fans of: music that pushes boundaries, free jazz/post-punk
Calkuta, Bender & Patience have done it again, demonstrating why they’re one of the top hip hop acts in Ottawa. Their latest album, the 18-track High Priests of Low-Life, is another example of how talented this group is. Their music has an underground aesthetic with samples and production that are anything but amateur.
A must-see for fans of: Immortal Technique & Atmosphere
Wednesday, July 15 @ 8:15 p.m.
Monster Energy Stage
Grantly Franklin a.k.a G.Grand is a Showbox favourite. We just can’t get enough of his rhymes, especially when he collabs with his partner-in-crime producer Jeepz or other incredible Ottawa MC’s like Hyf the Gypsy Sun. If you’re into smooth, intelligent, and beat-laden hip hop then G.Grand is someone you don’t want to miss.
Shannon Rose has been making music for a few years now, and her full-band project – now called Gold and Marrow – is making serious waves in Ottawa. Rose has proven herself to be one of the foremost songwriters in the region, alongside others such as Amanda Rheaume or Catriona Sturton.
A must-see for fans of: Feist
Tuesday, July 14 @ 7:15 p.m.
Barney Danson Theatre
Callum Runciman and his band Grime Kings prove that music runs in the family – his sister Caylie’s band Boyhood has also turned heads in Ottawa. Grime Kings’ brand of lo-fi esoteric, fuzzy experimentations pushes the sonic limit and defies genre boundaries.
There is no other way to put it – HILOTRONS are a quintessential Ottawa band. Lead songwriter Mike Dubue’s influences are as diverse as they are obscure. The end result is album after album of relentlessly funky and imaginative songs, proving that Dubue is Ottawa’s musical mastermind.
A must-see for fans of: Talking Heads
Thursday, July 16 @ 8:15 p.m.
The man behind the epic FRENZY parties at Babylon, Iggy Smalls knows how to get things going. Don’t miss him play Diplo/Skrillex’s afterparty at Ritual tonight (July 8).
Joe Gaspar and his band put the “blues” in Bluesfest. Drawing on blues rock influences from the ’70s such as Cream and Led Zeppelin, the Joe Gaspar Band plays songs containing heavy riffs and intricate guitar solos of that era.
A must-see for fans of: Jimi Hendrix, Cream & Led Zeppelin
Ottawa-based singer-songwriter Kaleigh Watts finds beauty in simplicity by writing emotional and intense songs that create a truly incredible soundscape. Watts, who has been mentored by Juno and Canadian Folk Awards winner Lynn Miles, blends intricate acoustic fingerpicking with stirring vocal melodies.
“2009 Ottawa Red Bull Threestyle Champion, 4 Time Ottawa DMC Dj Battle champion, First title coming at the age of 15 years old. 2006 Canadian Team DMC Dj battle champions ( w/ Stylusts ) and competed at the DMC World Championships in London, England.”
“Kira Isabella has been performing her brand of up-tempo country music across Canada for more than a decade. Kira began dabbling in guitar and writing about love, life and boys. Initially, Kira delved into a variety of music, but when she discovered the likes of powerhouse country vocalists Shania Twain and Faith Hill, she knew she was hooked on country.”
Blending jazz, blues, and folk, Lucas Haneman has created his own sound and won many awards for his compositions. As an acclaimed fingerstylist and songwriter, Haneman and his band will be sure to get crowds moving at Bluesfest this year.
The best way to describe Lynne Hanson’s music is gritty, raw, and honest. It’s no surprise that she’s played shows in places like Memphis, Nashville, and Austin. With vocals that are on-point, songwriting that strikes to the core, and instrumentals that capture the soul of roots music, Hanson fits perfectly in such a stacked local lineup at Bluesfest.
A must-see for fans of: Caroline Herring
Thursday, July 9 @ 6 p.m.
Claridge Homes Stage
DJ Matt Tamblyn
Matt Tamblyn creates parties. If you’re one that scours town for places to get down, you’ve probably seen Tamblyn behind the decks at places like Parliament Pub or Mugshots. His repertoire includes SILK, Open Air Social Club, King of the Beach, and more.
MonkeyJunk are a Juno Award-winning modern blues rock band, proudly representing the nation’s capital across Canada. They have garnered a strong fan base internationally, touring Canada, the US, and Europe relentlessly. In just seven years, this band has become a Canadian staple.
A must-see for fans of: The Black Keys & Muddy Waters
This band takes neo-classical folk to another level, and have made a name for themselves internationally by creating beautifully textured and emotionally charged songs. Musk Ox create a rare brand of atmospheric, evocative, and harmonious music that resonates with our very core. This is a powerful, must-see chamber folk act.
This band plays the delta blues that would more typically be found in the deep heart of the Mississippi. A whaling harmonica, twangy hollow-body electric guitars, and raspy vocals – these guys are another band that keep the blues in Bluesfest going strong.
A must-see for fans of: John Lee Hooker & RL Burnside
Ottawa’s #1 party punk band, when New Swears perform mayhem ensues. Blow-up dolls, crowd surfers, whipped cream – these are all typical sights at a New Swears show. Do yourself a favour and strap on your seat belts, because this is one ride that’ll give you a concussion if you’re not ready.
These Ottawa veterans kick out serious jams, perfecting their crunchy proto-punk and garage rock sound that explodes from the stage. This three-piece band take us back to the CBGB’s era of early punk rock gods, and describe them selves as a cross somewhere between The Who and The Buzzcocks.
A must-see for fans of: Iggy & The Stooges, Fugazi
Another favourite of ours, Pony Girl creates intricate and consuming soundscapes. This is art-rock at its finest and it’s difficult to imagine a higher caliber of musicianship in this band. They will be playing many new songs from their upcoming epic Foreign Life, which has been about 10 years in the making.
A must-see for fans of: Broken Social Scene, The XX
Saturday, July 11 @ 7:30 p.m.
Barney Danson Theatre
This power trio is yet another Ottawa Valley blues rock band that is making waves in the region. I first heard of this band when I came across their cover of “Dust My Broom,” the perennial classic tune written by blues legend Robert Johnson (and also happens to be one of my favourite blues songs). Get your blues fill with RCJ.
The layered and intricate instrumentation, high-energy orchestral nuances, and Matthew Saint Clare’s unhinged vocals that can only be compared to those of Frank Black of The Pixies. All of this melds into the distinctive sounds that Saint Clare create together. However motley a crew they may seem, their heterogeneity makes for a potent combination when such strong band chemistry exists.
If you want catchy, sexy, danceable rock music, then Silvergun & Spleen is the band for you. With an electric stage presence and an attitude that will smack you in the face, this band is ready to let loose and take on the big stage for the first time. Get close, but not too close – S&S will set the stage ablaze.
The Haig have a sound that is not easy to describe, and that’s why we love them. It’s a little bit of ’90s alt-rock/grunge mixed in with a twisted horror film. Their full-throttle rock has taken Ottawa by storm and propelled the band to great heights.
A must-see for fans of: Queens of the Stone Age, Radiohead
“Formed in 1989, The Jivewires have jumped many musical and national borders. Taking their music from the jazz and satire of the ’40s and ’50s greats Louis Jordan, Cab Calloway, Wynonie Harris, and Louis Prima, The Jivewires throw a new spin on the Jump Blues tradition.”
A must-see for fans of: ‘Swing’, Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
The Reverb Syndicate are Ottawa’s premier, and maybe only, instrumental surf and go-go band. The band’s bio perfectly describes them as “reverb-drenched surf/spy-fi sounds to accompany ’60s spy films, westerns, sci-fi films and old school video games that don’t exist.” You have to see to believe.
“A rock band with few genres barred, The Superlative mix their rock with reggae, ska, pop, punk, funk, blues and more. They consistently surprise crowds across Canada with their genre-bending shows. The band embrace the rock elements many of us know and love, while putting a unique new spin to each song they write.”
“The Visit is Heather Sita Black, a vocalist unchained, and Raphael Weinroth-Browne, a powerful cellist. Together they form a self-described defiance of genre, so terms like chamber or polystylistic don’t really fit the bill. The closest long-winded definition might be experimental/avant-garde classical.”
Thrifty Kids are one of the most exciting new bands in Ottawa, and have received high accolades for the few releases and shows they have played so far. Their atmospheric and relaxed sound makes them a perfect summer band, the kind of music you want to listen to when the sand is between your toes. Keep an eye out for this band, as they are getting set to do big things.
If there’s a list of bands that keep deep Ottawa’s folk roots going strong, Winchester Warm would be on top. Following in the footsteps of local greats such as Snailhouse, Jim Bryson, and The Acorn, WW’s beautiful vocal harmonies, irresistible arrangements, and heartfelt lyrics make them another addition to this city’s incredible list of folk greats.
The Yips are another favourite of ours, playing loud and fuzzy “ouija rock” – a term they coined for their distinctly creepy, overdriven garagy sound. The Yips’ shows are wild, with “rave ghosts” always appearing with sheets over their heads and letting loose. Don’t miss out on what one of Ottawa’s best bands has to offer.
A must-see for fans of: FIDLAR, Thee Oh Sees
Friday, July 17 @ 6 p.m.
“Specializing in soul music from the past, present & future from the world over, Zattar has been moving ‘soles’ since the dawn of the 21st century. Syncopated drums with a touch of nostalgia are his sounds of choice. Bringing many years of music knowledge and crate digging to every gig, expect the unexpected.”
A couple weeks ago the world was apace with gift hunting and a great checking of lists. Ottawa’s The Haig, meanwhile, gifted the world not one, not two but three music videos from Dec. 20 to 24th.
Two acoustic renditions of their own “Chinese Maria” and “Devil’s Got a Gun” by Whitehorse were filmed at the Ottawa Marriot Hotel’s penthouse during dusk. The videos were filmed by Mike + Ness Photo in only one or two takes, judging by the light. Both videos were released the day before the solstice and can be viewed here:
The Haig’s “Chinese Maria”
The Haig’s cover of Whitehorse’s “Devil’s Got a Gun”
In the spirit of Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey, The Haig has created From the Crawlspace, a series of short videos that will be featured inside a crawlspace somewhere deep in the bowels of a haunted asteroid. The first of these videos was released on Christmas Eve, wishing us a merry one and a “Haigy New Year.”
Pairing: A White Pepper Saison with a “Spicy” playlist. Spice in the title, lyrics, band name or something that will spice up the boudoir.
About the Beer: “Siduri is a character in the Epic of Gilgamesh. She is an “alewife,” a wise female divinity associated with fermentation (specifically beer and wine).” (Source Wikipedia)
I’ve been eyeing this sultry Siduri for the better part of two seasons. She was sitting there, in my basement, calling out my name. After pondering why I hear voices in my head, I decided to drink her in. Her spice of life was asking me to be content with the simple pleasures of life. A dichotomy that was hard to fathom. “How could that be?” I asked back. “You are so beautiful (packaging) and delicious (taste of the beer). There is nothing simple about you…” She then said, “Shut the f$%# up Daniel and make the damn playlist already!”
The commercial description goes as follows:
This extra-strong saison beer has been spiced with white peppercorns and aged in red-grape icewine barrels. The pepper character is definitely present but doesn’t overwhelm this delicate creation; earthy undertones come out in the finish.
Contest of the week
I asked the wonderful Jodi of Ottawa’s favorite spice store, Cardamom and Cloves, to make a “Spicy” gift basket for our contest. The winner had to choose a local band or song that would fit the “Spicy” theme. The winner announced later in the playlist!
This is the winning song in this week’s local artist contest. Wow! The sweetest of spice. Thank you Mean Dorris (of the Ottawa band The Haig) for the suggestion. For that, you win the Cardamom and Cloves spice gift.
White pepper is used as an ingredient in the beer. But pepper is only used in the title of this song. They do sing about cinnamon though. In researching this playlist, I found that so many good songs mention cinnamon. Anybody know why? Below are two of my favorites.
They are mad about saffron and so am I. Did you know it takes 80,000 flowers to produce a pound of saffron, with a cost in the range of 600 to 2,000 dollars a pound? This makes saffron the most expensive spice in the world. Also, from Cleopatra’s time to this day, it’s said that the aroma lingering on the skin after a hot saffron bath is enough to make any lover go mad with desire. The word saffron derives from Arabic: Za’feran and da asfar, meaning yellow.
Ottawa “rock and not roll” band The Haig are embarking on their first tour ever across the roads of Ontario.
Booking your band’s first tour isn’t always easy (this will be made clear shortly by lead vocalist guitarist Dean Morris). However, there’s a whole world of excitement to be had on the road, which hopefully doesn’t include flat tires or engine problems. The tour announcement seemed to be timed in conjunction with the release of their brand new EP Tales of Wisdom & Might. The EP is a collection of songs that will more than likely appear on their upcoming full-length record, a follow-up to 2013’s Template For Disaster. They embark on their 10-date tour on August 2 with their first show in Cornwall, ON at La Maison Tavern. I spoke to Dean about the tour and EP, and here’s what he had to say:
The London show came to us quite serendipitously. Richard and I were at Amnesia Rockfest in June and Richard happened to be wearing his Headstones shirt that day. Right before we walked in the gate on the first day, a voice came out of nowhere and said “nice shirt” to Richard. It was a beardy guy who was super friendly and we got to chatting and he came from London and we were like “hey, we’re trying to play there” and he was like “check out my band.” He gave us a download card and we gave him a business card and kept in touch and he totally set up this gig for us. It was, and will be, totally awesome.
When we get to Guelph, we’ll be sharing the stage with a killer band called The Pick Brothers, who I’ve seen once and Richard has seen a few times. They’ve played a bunch with our mutual friend Mark Laforest (of Autumns Cannon, Silver Creek, Scissorkick) and I think Richard met them the first time at a party at Mark’s lakeside home in Wakefield. I saw them play at a totally deserted Rainbow Bistro and they just tore it apart. They are so awesome live. We’re pumped. Every other gig was just an email barrage of lining up venues and bands who we’ve never met, places we’ve never been to. New adventures to have and friends to make, I guess.
Richard Michels and Treawna Harvey during recording sessions for Tales of Wisdom & Might.
As far as the music goes, we just put out a new EP called Tales of Wisdom and Might. It’s a bit of a teaser/preview of a full-length album we’re currently in the middle of recording. Most of these songs will be on the album, though we are re-recording them. Tales of Wisdom and Might was recorded at a studio in Orleans called Whisper Digital. The guy that runs it is super good at what he does, Mr. James Thorpe. Chris and I work with him, and we have mad respect for his skills. He mixed and mastered our first EP, and he’s recorded vocals and drums for our album as well. We’re getting Tales of Wisdom and Might pressed onto CD by Andrew Lacelle and Allyson Robillard of Plain White Records. They are super chill people. We met Andrew as he was doing sound at Avant Garde, and he spins us fairly often on his CKCU show, Indie City Madness.
A back-to-back-to-back marathon of venue-hopping begins for The Haig tomorrow, in Oshawa. May the wind always be at your back, guys!
Drove into Ottawa on a whim last night, it’d been almost two weeks since my girlfriend & I had seen The Haig perform. We figured it was time.
Zaphod’s was hosting a Halifax, N.S. band called Alert the Medic on an album release tour. Their third studio album called The Phantom Moves is out five years after their acclaimed second album We, the weapon. These pop rock east coasters have already seen air time on Much Music and on radio shows across Canada, including Sirius XM. To be sure, they were four very energetic Haligonians, each with his own signature vibrating gyration and a mic. Even drummer Dale Wilson was belting out choruses but what was most impressive was frontman’s Ryan MacDonald’s vocal chords. His range covered many scales as he played guitar or keyed, and he moved his head around his microphone with the insistence of an eraser hellbent on removing all pencil marks. All their energy and aesthetically pleasing lyrics were enough to keep us up later than we planned, but once they started talking about social media we started to fade and went home.
I found myself wondering why Alert’s frontman would put himself in danger like that? Playing in any urban neighbourhood with a red hankerchief hanging out your back pocket is risky business, as some rival gang members might take offence to your strut. After seeing the running streams of perspiration off MacDonald I realized its purpose was two-fold, but I still feel the danger outweighed the use.
A few songs by The Haig had us giggling and singing in our drinks, although none as much as their hit “Chinese Maria.” By that song our beers & Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters were done, and we were shouting along with lead guitarist Dean Morris. They played new songs like “Under a 40-Watt Bulb” & “Turnbull Suit” which are heavier than rock, bordering on metal. Some of their tunes tie back to their love of video games and sound like the level you’d reach past Star Road or the Special Star Road in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. We all love “Happy” but I think the new video game orchestration of excellence might be “McFly.” The Ottawa foursome is going to start recording their next album on July 18th at their homebase, which I hope is fuller than an EP (for our sakes) and leaner than a concept album (for theirs).
Dean Morris & Chris Davidson of The Haig shredding through a song or two at Zaphod’s on Wednesday, June 4.
Empty Shelves are a recent addition to Ottawa’s indie rock. Their songs “I Wouldn’t Impose” & “Where Are You” reminded me of STARS. Their indie-alternative sound is largely instrumental and their songs sound full. At times their lead guitarist & keys player Jeff Kimber had a voice so high & sweet that I thought it was vocalist Susan File’s. Half-way into the set he announced, “The next song is called ‘Where are you’ or ‘Where you are,’ depending on whether you’re an anglo or a franco.” And someone in the crowd shouted: “Where you are, esti!“
Avant-Garde is not far, but it’s through the crunch & cold from Eric’s so we had to get toasty first. Actually we got toasted. We missed Hello, Hello which is The Haig’s Chris Davidson’s other band. I can’t rightly blame winter, nor James Ready 5.5 for this discrepancy. We apologize for missing you guys, but we heard only good things about the set. Was there an EP released recently?
2013 was quite the year for music in the nation’s capital. As per our Top Canadian List, this is not a ranking or a competition but simply a list of local releases that caught our ears and got a lot of play time for us. Check them out, support local and enjoy some of the best our city has to offer as 2013 unwinds.