Tag Archives: Killers

Flowshine – “Mountain Queen”

There’s a lot to be said for first impressions. They tell us everything: good or bad, our instincts are the first feeling toward love or hate. In listening to a new album, we often know right away whether it’s worth a few more listens or better off serving as background music at a slaughterhouse. In the case of Mountain Queen, the new album from Calgary’s Flowshine, our instincts are definitely right: this is a fantastic release, worth a few listens, a first pump and a membership to their fan club.

Flowshine seems to have come out of nowhere. They’ve been around for a couple years, but now they’re impossible to overlook, with good press, a presence on every website and a lot of excitement buzzing around their upcoming shows. Once you hear Flowshine’s music you realize the reason for the attention they’re getting: simply put, they’re really good. They’re a band the whole family will love — if your family’s cool, anyway.

Part of the album’s likeability is its diversity. Each of the six songs is a little bit different, almost to the point that they sound like different bands altogether. They don’t have the “signature sound” you might hear with other bands, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing: some bands get so caught up in their “sound” or their image they become boring and predictable. Flowshine does not have that. They show huge variety in their music, from blues-rock to psychedelic funk-rock to more happy pop. Everything does have a slightly old-school feel, so if they have one quality to call their own, “retro” is probably it.

Because of their diversity, it’s hard to name just one band Flowshine sounds like. “The Coast” brings out the heavier blues-rock, sounding almost like Cream, Zeppelin or the more modern Queens of the Stone Age. “Red Thread” and “Good People”, though, are more poppy; they’d be great to dance to. You might think of The Killers or Weezer, bands with definite radio appeal and huge fan followings. “Something to Go On” is a funkier version of The Killers, with wicked bass lines carrying the music forward. The bass stands out quite a bit, actually: it really complements the guitars and drums throughout, putting together completely solid arrangements of music and showing off some very talented song-writing.

The more you listen to this album, the better it gets. It’s hard to name a favourite track, probably due in part to their diversity. Listen to this album lots. It’s easy to do so, especially with how quickly the six tracks fly by. For a taste of the music, check out their tunes on Soundcloud, and then go like them on Facebook and visit all the other online houses listed on their main website.

And if you’re in Calgary, check them out at Dickens Pub Thursday, January 31 — the show’s going to be huge and you’ll definitely regret missing it. The first impression of Flowshine’s Mountain Queen is a good one, and it’ll keep getting better.

Flowshine - Mountain Queen

Xprime – “Here We Are”

One of the great things about Canada is our diversity. We’re all different, and every area of Canada is a cornucopia of backgrounds, language and opinions, appreciating and acknowledging all types of people and tastes. An excellent example of this diversity is Here We Are, the new EP from Niagara-based band Xprime. With a mix of pop, rock, funk and country, no song sounds alike and the band represents all areas of our diverse musical landscape. And yes, they even speak some French.

Xprime has come a long way in only a short amount of time. Formed in 2009, the four-piece has won over fans across Southern Ontario with both their live show and their EP, finding success among reviewers and radio stations alike. Listen to the album and you’ll see where this success comes from: their musical fusion creates catchy, radio-friendly songs that will appeal to everyone while also finding a home in specific genres.

Each of the album’s five tracks is different. Kicking off the album is the upbeat “Tell Me Why”, a poppy rock track that sounds somewhat like a quasi-French version of The Arkells. This is the album’s first bilingual surprise, splicing together French and English lyrics to create an interesting mix of language. Those of us with limited French vocabulary may be able to pick out a few words, and this is actually a bit exciting. The band is careful about their use of language, embracing their Francophone roots while appealing to both French- and English-speaking fans. They’re a lot like Arcade Fire in how they do this, but with a slightly more rocky and distorted sound.

Moving through the album we hear more diversity, with bits of Weezer (“Please Come Home”), funky ’70s groove (“Foxy Lady”), and finally a combo of Cake and The Killers in the album-closing “Jane’s Modern Waltz”. These songs are all different and unique, making the album impossible to describe but easy to love.

The band itself shows a lot of talent and some super high chemistry. Unlike other bands, Xprime shares vocals between all members and harmonizes exceptionally well as they do so. Their chemistry shines throughout the tracks and it’s clear they have a tight-knit group with some solid individual skills. It’s also clear they’d be a wicked band to hear live, with songs that would sound great on a stage and in front of a huge crowd.

You can hear and buy the album (only $5!) online, on iTunes or in person at one of their weekly shows. It’s definitely worth checking out, and as they work on their next album and release more tracks, like Xprime on Facebook to get the full scoop. Here they are, and they’re here to stay.

Xprime - "Here We Are"

The Marquee – “White Room”

Edmonton quartet The Marquee spent two months in Los Angeles writing and recording their debut album White Room.  In that time, their experiences in a different environment, far from home, must have been incredibly positive, because that’s exactly what shines through on this collection of catchy, easy and fully danceable indie-flavoured pop record.

Featuring up-tempo beats, jangly, understated guitar and a generous helping of synths and keys, The Marquee crafts accessible, dance-friendly songs along the lines of bands like The Killers, The Sounds or Metric. The album’s opener, “First Time”, with its mid-tempo groove, rolling bass line and enveloped synth melodies, would definitely strike a chord with any fans of The Killers’ Hot Fuss. Upbeat tracks like “Can’t Take Mine” and “Each And Every Week” offer plenty of bounce and happy riffs while cuts like “Melodies & Memories”, “Fall Back In” and “Save You” also promise to get your feet moving. Though vocalist Jordan Jones often sings about many of the frustrations in life like feeling restless, unsettled or at a loss of control, or the ups and downs of relationships, he usually shines a positive and hopeful light on such issues. Adding even more to the overall positive vibe of Jones’ lyrics are the sweeter-than-icing-sugar harmonies of keyboardist Nicole Riley, which really put the finishing touches on The Marquee’s whole sound. Jones and Riley’s harmonic chemistry really shines through on the touching “Beating Drums” and the soaring “Horizon”.

With White Room, The Marquee aren’t looking to push the envelope or take you into uncharted musical waters. What they’ve done is create an album of straight-ahead, highly accessible and definitely danceable pop songs that get your feet moving and put a smile on your face. The Marquee also want to make sure you have their record, making it available for download on their official website. You can also check them out on their Facebook page.

The Marquee - "White Room"

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"