Tag Archives: Beatles

The Bends – “Through Looking-Glass Houses”

There are a lot of great albums out there, and the Canadian music scene is a big pond full of fish. With so much competition, how do independent bands stand out? It takes a ton of talent, lots of energy, and a devoted army of fans to push them up above the rest. Lucky enough to have all three (and then some!) are The Bends, an enormously popular and brilliantly talented band out of St. Catharines, Ontario. They’re well-known in these parts, and with a new album coming out August 25 and a whole lot of time left to do even more, these fish will be hard to catch.

The Bends are a nifty young group with surprising talent and really cool style. While still fresh and fun, their professionalism and seemingly effortless sound show a lot of maturity and suggest they’ve been around a while. In some ways they have: the band formed almost four years ago and have been developing their sound ever since. Would it shock you to learn they’ve only JUST graduated high school? This is almost upsetting! The amount of talent these guys have is almost unnatural, and in their new album, Through Looking-Glass Houses, they show what they’re made of and what they have to offer.

Overall the album is fantastic. The 11 tracks fly by with different beats and moods, crossing genres and showing some good diversity. There are hints of Weezer, The Killers, The Strokes, and The Beatles peppered throughout the album, and with strong technical skills, great songwriting, and really catchy beats and riffs, the album has a lot to love.

Showing off a slightly heavier and trippy side of The Bends’ sound, the instrumental introduction gives an interesting taste of what’s to come. There is an immediate shift in mood as the album transitions into the second track, “Spit Curl”, one of the more bouncy and fast-paced songs on the album. The energy doesn’t stop here, though; the remaining tracks are equally fun and dancey, and the nonstop spirit is totally refreshing. “Something About You” provides something dancers can go nuts to, as does the funk-infused “Chicken n Rice”. It’s also nice to see some more variety in the somewhat psychedelic “That We’re Not” and less poppy “Isn’t It Strange”, showing the band’s ability to diversify and create different sounds.

It’s hard to pinpoint what’s best about The Bends: the vocals are fantastic, the guitars, bass, and percussion are all strong and smooth, and the incorporation of other instruments (horns, cello, ukulele?) all add to the band’s great sound. Through Looking-Glass Houses is an album that will really get you moving and by showing off all their finer qualities, The Bends have created something really cool. They’ve worked hard on this album, and you can tell.

This isn’t their first album and it will hopefully not be their last: the band’s now on hiatus as the members all head off to university, but maybe with some luck and convincing they won’t be gone for long. The album is being officially released at The Mansion House in St. Catharines on August 25, and fans of the band will definitely want to see them before they leave for school. Check out the band’s website for more info and news, follow them on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned for their return!

The Bends - "Through Looking-Glass Houses"

Taylor Cochrane – “Acoustic”

When Calgary-based Taylor Cochrane left his role as lead vocalist for The Kronic Groove Band, many of his fans expressed dismay: Where would Taylor go? What would he do? What was next for the talented and much-loved artist?

Fans had no need to worry, however. From start to finish, Cochrane’s debut and highly anticipated album “Acoustic”┬áis an incredible collection of original songs that showcase the artist’s impressive talent as a songwriter. The album represents years of struggle and accomplishment for the talented Cochrane. A self-described “attention whore”, Cochrane shows skill and passion that most artists can only dream to achieve. Starting with the catchy “Narcissism and Yellow Fever” and ending with a bang with “This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You”, the album gets better with each listen. Cochrane draws on the inspiration of Elliott Smith, Say Anything, Regina Spektor, and The Beatles, adding his own brand of lyrics and energy to create a unique fusion of folk rock, reggae, ska and pop.

From the dreamy “It Feels Like We’re On A Safari”, which evokes images of beach parties and summer picnics, to the slower and honest self-reflective piece “Hypocrite”, Cochrane is a storyteller and a salesman. He’s not simply singing lyrics – his stories are believable and heartfelt, and his emotions, whether self-consciousness, hypochondria, or incredible sexual repression, come through clearly with each rhyme or folky phrase. At times bizarre and somewhat shocking, Cochrane’s lyrics are nothing less than honest, revealing a surprisingly deep and thoughtful writer. The listener is pulled in with catchy melodies and beats, but the lyrics themselves have so many double entendres and tricks that each listen reveals something that had previously gone unnoticed. With numerous double meanings, Cochrane’s lyrics are impressive and at times beautiful, at the very least.

It is refreshing to find a songwriter who doesn’t take himself so seriously and who is not just “dumping his depression on the world”. Cochrane reminds us of the ups and downs of being young, the struggles of life and relationships, and the day-to-day joy of being a gangster thug. We may not all feel the same way or understand what’s happening, but we can appreciate Cochrane’s quirkiness, his humour, and his incredible talent as a songwriter who still has so much left to share. The album truly is an incredible achievement of which Cochrane should be extremely proud. There is no doubt that he has “the wit, the talent, the confidence, [and] the inspiration to be great”, and no less is to be expected.

Listen to “Acoustic” and expect to love every track. You won’t be disappointed.

Taylor Cochrane - "Acoustic"