Tag Archives: Edmonton

I Am Machi – “Mammal Pants”

We hear a lot about band chemistry: how well members work together, how in-synch they are and whether they seem like a good fit. So when we hear the words “husband and wife duo”, we immediately assume there will be some real chemistry in their music. In the case of Edmonton-based I Am Machi, our assumptions are proven right and their debut EP Mammal Pants shows that some couples really do make sweet music together.

Jileane and Nathan Stokland discovered their musical and romantic chemistry while playing together in their first band, A Little Project. Now married and enjoying their wedded bliss, the duo has created I Am Machi and a fantastic four-track EP. It’s not what you might expect from a married couple; the general stereotype for “couple rock” is acoustic folk, not a very heavy or noisy rock sound. I Am Machi is different. In two words, they rock. With Nathan on guitar and Jileane on drums, the band is small in size but huge in sound, combining sweet guitar riffs and drums to create a really solid and passion-filled album.

The album doesn’t waste any time in getting to the good stuff. It kicks off with the opening track “8-8-4, Oh My!” and this is where we get our first taste of the band’s solid rock feel. Guitar, drums and vocals all come together without any effort, and there’s some super band chemistry at play here. It takes a really good partnership to be able to play this well together, and whether a result of the members’ relationship or something more deep-rooted and natural, it’s something special that can’t be ignored.

I Am Machi brings a distorted, garagey feel to their music, something they call “noise rock” but is a lot more than that. They sound perfectly imperfect, casual and unpolished without being sloppy, and this skill really deserves a lot of credit. They’ve got big sound and lots of diversity in their music, a sign of some major talent and huge potential as future stars. The band names Wintersleep and Mother Mother as major influences, and they definitely have the same sort of feel in songs like “Dance Like a Russian Sailor!” and “Snakes and Ladders”. You might also hear some Bloc Party in their instrumental bits, and even a slight hint of Tool or Chevelle in their heavier moments. This could be due in part to Nathan’s voice, which is almost a lighter, more upbeat version of Maynard James Keenan, sprinkled with Chris Cornell or Dave Grohl or something along those lines. The point is Nathan’s voice is fantastic — and it should be added that so, too, is Jileane’s, who contributes to “8-8-4, Oh My!” It would be great to hear more of her (hint!) on their next album, which, by the way, can’t come fast enough.

There’s something really, really special about this band. I Am Machi is a band to watch and Mammal Pants is an album you really need to hear; lucky for you, you can! Listen to it on Soundcloud or download it for free from NoiseTrade, and then go follow them on Facebook and Twitter, mainly to see what they’re up to but also because they’re funny and weird. I Am Machi is an incredible addition to the Canadian music scene, not to mention an inspiration to married couples everywhere.

I Am Machi - "Mammal Pants"

Short of Able – “The Last One’s Gone”

Music aficionados everywhere love discovering new albums. We have our favourites, but we’re always looking for different bands to love and new albums to excite us. Once in a while, we get a band that does exactly that: exceeds expectations, knocks us down and completely takes over our music playlists. This year, one of the very best bands to do that is Short of Able.

With their second full-length album, Short of Able seems to have come out of nowhere as a musical powerhouse. The Edmonton-based band has used bucketloads of talent and a fresh and well-developed sound to create a fantastic new album that is already considered one of the highlights of 2012. Named The Last One’s Gone, the album is completely and entirely magnificent, a 15-song collection of awesomeness set to music. It’s good. It’s really good. And whether you’re looking for something soft and sad (“You Know”), upbeat and rocky (“Fraggle”) or twangy and kind of country (“Last Call”), you’ll find something to love.

Short of Able is one of those great bands that can’t be clearly defined. They sound like everyone and like no one, and it really takes a whole list of comparable acts to even try to describe them. Think a combination of Hinder, Three Doors Down, Everclear, Arkells, Default, Thrice, Tom Petty and the universal appeal of the Foo Fighters, all rolled into a unique package that sounds like none of them. Generally they’re an acoustic alternative folk-rock pop, with songs you can sing to but aren’t quite able to copy. They carefully walk the line between familiar and ordinary, offering a sound everyone will like without being bored by, and in doing so have created an album that will go down as a lasting favourite.

The band’s skills are shown in different ways throughout the album, from the solid guitars and percussion to the gorgeous voice on lead singer Justin Wisser. Really, though, it’s the combination of these things that make the music so powerful. They blend together and complement each other well, and the harmonies and tones created are what resonate so strongly in the guts and soul of the album. It’s a well-developed, well-executed album, and Short of Album pulls it all together with clear perfection, balance and natural chemistry.

Short of Able really needs to be heard. The Last One’s Gone will be officially released October 20 at Edmonton’s Avenue Theatre, but for a taste of the band’s sound check out the album’s lead single, “Bring It On Home”. Short of Able is also getting attention for their newly released video, “Songs from the Streetcar”, and the band’s website has a ton of other music samples. Like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and love them in real life: they’re exciting and new, and they’re going to be huge.

Short of Able - "The Last One's Gone"

Rend – “No Lines”

Have you ever heard a singer whose voice completely blows you away? It might stop you in your tracks, render you speechless, or even make you cry. This sort of voice is definitely not common, so when we come across a band with a mix of insanely powerful vocals and original songwriting, we know they’re something special.Rend, an incredible new pop-rock band out of Edmonton, brings us everything we’ve been waiting for, and their debut album No Lines is one of the most mind-blowing displays of talent we’ve seen in a while. Rend’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric. After the release of No Lines in early 2012, the band quickly became known across the country for their multifaceted sound and enormous talent. The album achieved cross-Canada radio play in no time with their first single, “Hide”, and their growth since then has been even more impressive. No Lines marks the beginning of what will be an incredible journey, and every element of the album is a sign of what’s to come. No Lines is a vocal-driven adventure through music. It has almost everything: technical skill, strong instrumentals, and meaningful lyrics, not to mention truly awesome vocals that show off ridiculous range, power, and emotion. Lead singer Carol-Lynne Quinn is nothing short of remarkable, and her voice is easily one of the most powerful and impressive sounds to come out of Canada in the last decade. She can be compared to superstars likes Kelly Clarkson or Alicia Keys, but with actual songwriting talent and a Canadian flag draped across her shoulders, we’d argue she’s far superior. There are different sounds throughout the album that will appeal to fans of different genres: “Hold On” takes on more bluesy, Alicia Keys-like composition while “Pearl” and “Torn” sound very much like Lily Allen tracks. We also see rock anthems in songs like “Monster”, showing off Quinn’s vocals and the overall rock quality of the band’s sound. At times they sound like Evanescence with vocals like Amy Lee, and with comparisons to rock outfits like Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, they fit into a variety of musical tastes. “Hold On” would fit in perfectly with Zeppelin or Pink Floyd, and adding in a cover of Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper”, even those of us with a preference for ’90s music are satisfied. This entire album is fantastic. It’s partially Quinn’s vocal acrobatics that make the album stand out, but the guitar hooks, percussion, piano, and soul lead to an overall electric experience that can’t be missed. To sample the album, check out Rend’s website, YouTube, or Facebook, and definitely buy the album on iTunes. This is an album (and a band) unlike any other, and with your support and love, they’ll get to the top. Rend will blow you away: just give them a try.

Rend - "No Lines"

Big City Supreme – Sampler

Some music just sounds great on summer days. Summer is fun and groovy, and the best music should be exactly the same. Big City Supreme, a four-piece band out of Edmonton, is a great example of summertime rock, and their three-song sampler is the perfect thing to listen to on a warm afternoon. This collection is completely solid, and as a showcase of their original song-writing and polished instrumental skills, it is a great introduction to what will undoubtedly be an impressive musical future.

This is a fantastic EP. There are only three songs (torture, seriously) but these three songs are really good and super catchy. Think of older Offspring meets Red Hot Chili Peppers, with elements of Big Sugar and a more pop-punky Blink182. There are some definite Anthony Kiedis-style vocals and with wicked guitar solos and really groovy bass and drums, this is a fab combination of sounds. Each track is great right away; there’s no break-in period or time needed to evaluate, and you’ll be completely hooked from the first listen. Big City Supreme has the skills, that’s for sure, and these songs actually have the potential to be hit singles.

Instruments and vocals complement each other really well. Take “Gold Dipped Diamonds”, for example: the vocals are more spoken than sung, but with bass and guitar providing the melody, it’s still a catchy and singworthy track. “The Upper Hand” and “Gone for Good” follow a similar pattern, with vocals and guitars meshing together to create a solid melody. This is what makes the songs so catchy and memorable, and while it’s obvious these guys aren’t rookie musicians, the songs are simple enough to understand. It will come as no surprise when the band hits the big time, and it won’t be long before that happens.

There are about eight hundred places to hear Big City Supreme’s songs, so take your pick! What do you like better? Facebook? ReverbNation? MySpace? Twitter? Or their website? Even better, look below! Or why not by the tracks on iTunes, 7Digital, or Amazon? We get it, they’re everywhere. This summer, they deserve to be.

For a taste of Big City Supreme, listen to “Gold Dipped Diamonds“:

Big City Supreme - Sampler