Tag Archives: blues

The Electric Revival – “Presenting: The Electric Revival”

Some might say that growing old is a curse but when it comes to loving music getting older can also mean having the privilege of seeing a music genre birthed and then evolve. It also means that younger people and musicians who enjoy a particular genre of music, like metal, will likely delve into its past to discover not only the main influencers but also the innovators, the ground breakers. When that happens it’s almost expected that a group of young musicians will latch onto a sound that harkens from an earlier time, re-imagine it and release their own interpretation. A current example of this is Saskatoon’s Sheepdogs who have brought the world a new version of pre-plane crash-era Lynryd Skynryd.  I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of that band because I was actually partying on the planet the night that the plane went down and the news was broken on Toronto’s Q107. For my tastes a band that wants to get my attention doing a new version of an old thing has to do so in a way that is captivating — being derivative isn’t good enough.

Having said all that and with apologies for the long intro, I have to admit that I was tempted to place The Electric Revival’s Presenting: The Electric Revival in the category of cool-sounding albums that are good for a trip down memory lane but have little staying power in terms of crafting something memorable. As one might expect from the band’s moniker there is something here that is being revived – the question is, what?

The tone of the album is set during the opening track, “Rock n Roll Breakdown.” The tune is a furiously paced two-minute rocket ride that evokes the proto-punk attitude birthed by the legendary Iggy Pop in the Stooges seminal 1973 release “Raw Power.” That isn’t to say that the songs are sloppily played or poorly recorded – it’s really quite remarkable that the band’s performance and production manages to capture the retro vibe in a digital age where so many recordings sound sterile and flat.

The rest of the album shows great pacing with good balance between heavier/faster/louder songs in the vein of the opener and slower more moody pieces like the second track, “Black Widow.”  Three tracks on the “2nd side” of the album (see, I’m old) pay homage to the blues – an admirable aspiration in any R&R revival. “Outlaw Blues” is a hard and dirty blues rocker that serves as a reminder that metal was birthed from playing the blues too fast and too loud, a prescription that worked out well for Zeppelin and Sabbath back in the day.  On the subsequent track, “Goodbye 1979″ things stay bluesy but the vibe mellows considerably.

Overall Presenting: The Electric Revival scores a solid four out of five (4/5) with the only criticism being this:  pretty much all of the vocals are processed with what sounds like a combination of chorus and reverb and this is put to good use in creating that late 60’s, early 70’s retro vibe. However, I think that I would appreciate the album more if a couple of tracks out of the twelve featured a less processed approach on vocals, but that’s just me. Head over to iTunes right now and buy this excellent release.

The Electric Revival - Presenting: The Electric Revival

Chakobsa – “Energy Dispersal”

Most people will argue that music is an experience. Our favourite songs are those that mean something to us, and we can usually argue that listening to our favourite albums involves more than just listening. Energy Dispersal, the second full-length album from Calgary’s Chakobsa, is entirely different than anything else out there right now, and with powerful tracks and an unforgettable sound the album will completely blow you away.

Released in March 2012, Energy Dispersal is one of the coolest albums to come out this year. It doesn’t fit into any particular category or traditional genre, and this might be what makes it such a unique and meaningful experience. It’s a weird combination of sounds: somehow both heavy and mellow, it takes on dark and moody elements while also showing off some singable melodies and quicker bass lines. Chakobsa experiments with different sounds and devices, bringing forward a grungy alt-doom-blues-rock sound that is not quite like anyone else, yet still familiar and mainstream. Think of a strange combination of Tool, Alice in Chains, Muddy Waters, The Doors and Faith No More. This isn’t easy to do, but Chakobsa pulls it off, and does so very well.

There are some obvious song-writing and musical talents on this album. The most obvious talent lies in their ability to harmonize vocally. Take “A Constant With Variable Values”, for example: the vocal harmonies here take an incredible ear and lot of skill, and it really is amazing they’re able to keep this up while maintaining strong instrumental abilities and actual intelligent lyrics. Most of the tracks have similar features: slower tempos, strong harmonies, heavy bass and emphasis on minor key signatures, a combination that leads to an emotional connection and the comparison to bands like Tool (“To The Visage”).

Chakobsa was born in the late ’90s and after some mixing and growing they’re stronger than ever. They have incredible balance and chemistry and are definitely a band to check out. Check out the band’s website and Facebook for more information, preview and buy Energy Dispersal on iTunes or CD Baby, and definitely get out to a live show! And if you’re unsure, the band does give clear instructions on pronouncing their name: “cha-KOB-sa. The ‘O’ is like ‘hole’ – not ‘hot'”. Get used to saying it; Energy Dispersal is the first step in Chakobsa’s rise to the top, and with uniqueness on their side and talent all around them, they’re out to create an unforgettable experience.

Chakobsa - "Energy Dispersal"

Raising The Funk Level In Western Canada

Fur Eel

4-Piece Funk, Soul & Rock | Regina, Saskatchewan

Highlights:

  • Debut album released in 2011 & currently recording and mixing a new album for a 2012 release
  • Various mini-tours throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta
  • Chosen to perform at 2012 Canadian Music Fest in Toronto (March 21-25)

“Fur Eel”: A play on words that might suggest a hairy sea creature or a response you’d hear from a young adult engaged in a conversation involving something unbelievable. “For Real?”

This funk band from Regina will definitely leave you thinking, “For Real?” as you bob your head and tap your feet along to their music. After the show, it will take you days to get the catchy lyrics, “Who am I writing 4 for…for?” out of your head.

Fur Eel

The band Fur Eel formed in the summer of 2010 after Justin and Thomas wrote the song “I See”. Taking from each band member’s eclectic music tastes, Fur Eel delivers a sexy stage presence reminiscent of the biggest 80’s pop stars combined with the classic rock guitar riffs and solos comparable to your favorite hits, layered over top of grooving drums and bass that will get your feet tapping and your hips swaying.

Justin, the lead singer, is strongly influenced and inspired by Prince and it shows in his on-stage dancing swagger and deliverance of lyrics. Each word is punctuated, accentuated, and delivered with specific tone and pitch and followed up with precise and melodic finger-picked solos.

Indie403 had a chance to sit down with the lads in Fur Eel and talk all things furry prior to their set at The Ironwood on January 3rd, 2012.

Thomas St. Onge: “There are not a lot of people doing what we’re doing in Regina. Most people our age are doing the Indie rock stuff and the generation ahead of us is playing a lot of country music. Most of the venues in Regina are well attended though, so you get a lot of support throughout the scene.”

Fur Eel

Currently working on their second album with an anticipated release in the spring of 2012, Fur Eel prides itself as a fully functional DIY Band. The albums are self-produced with the help of Thomas’s father, who primarily takes on the mixing aspect of the album production.

“We’ve been doing it all ourselves. We’ve never tried to tour before, put out an album…it’s been a learning process and we’re having a lot of fun with it”.
~Justin Sheppard – Fur Eel

Justin Sheppard: “We honestly have super supportive families. It makes all the difference to have their support. Thomas’s dad helps us with the mixes amongst other stuff, James’s parents lent us their van to drive out on our last mini-tour, Travis’s dad is at pretty much any show he can make it to, including a few shows in Winnipeg and Saskatoon, and my mom helps us out with the business side of being a working band. A lot of bands don’t get that kind of support base in their family.”

Fur Eel

“Fur Eel is not just about performance and entertainment…they are musical magicians. They own their instruments as well as the stage”.
~Indie403

Fur Eel just returned home from a mini-tour that saw them play in Calgary, Regina, Brandon and Winnipeg, with a video and interview session in Saskatoon for an episode of Stripped Down. They hit the road again in February for a week and will be returning to Calgary to funk up The Distillery on February 18th, followed up by a month long cross-Canada tour in May.

Be sure to watch for Fur Eel at this year’s Canadian Music Fest in Toronto from March 21st-25th. Music fans at the Toronto festival will soon know who funk’d up The Prairies.

Fun Fur-ry Fact:
The Leader Post, Regina’s most subscribed newspaper, recently had an article that featured top choices in music from 2011 and Fur Eel was one of Mike Shiplack‘s selections. The rest of the selections are listed here.