Tag Archives: rock

Open Air – Extended Play

During the 1:06 instrumental introduction of Open Air’s newly released EP, I swear that I had a flashback to 1977. Suddenly I was 15 again, (long-hair, bad attitude and all), hanging at a friend’s house, doing bong hits and listening to tunes.

“Pulling from their musical influences, which include Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Jet and The Answer, Open Air brings back everything that was wonderful about 1970’s Brit Rock, but with an updated, modern taste.” So states the band’s website and clearly they have achieved their goal if my opening statement is anything to go by.

One of the interesting things about getting older is that one sees things go round and come back again, often repeating in cycles over a span of decades. Open Air is treading ground that has been trod before – in some cases with excellent results. When I first cranked Open Air through the Behringers the band that came to mind was Black Crowes, a band who had success in the early nineties – the singles from “Shake Your Money Maker” are staples on classic rock radio today.

Open Air’s newly released EP brings that same energy back with superb production that rocks hard with plenty of sparkle and enough bottom end to kick you squarely in your tender parts. After setting the tone with the introduction the band kicks it into gear with “Snake Charmer” the tune that brought to mind the Black Crowes reference. From this point it is clear that the riff is the thing which is hardly surprising considering the band’s list of influences.

The EPs next track, “New Design” rocks hard, bordering on metal, and is sure to get your head banging. The tune features some of the hottest wah-tinged lead work you’ll hear anywhere in any era. The frenetic pacing of this track really sets up a dramatic and effective mood swing as the EP moved to its next track, “Preacher Man”, a slower paced epic tribute to mid-70’s guitar greatness. The final track is the EPs lead single, “Golden Times”, a frolic in more hard-rocking, groove-riffing goodness.

If there is a seminary of 70’s hard rock then Open Air graduates with an M.Div. – they are masters of divination of all that made hard rock and the birth of metal in the 70’s great. Superb melody, songwriting, fretwork and production make this a release well worth your time and energy. 5/5.

Open Air - Extended Play

It is with great pleasure that Open Air and Indie403 present the official track listing for the Extended Play EP.

  1. Introduction
  2. Snake Charmer
  3. New Design
  4. Preacher Man
  5. Golden Times

Check out Open Air as Indie403‘s Artist Of The Month for April and for additional information on their CD Release Show.

Chron Goblin invited to London’s Desertfest

Chron Goblin is about to make history.

The Calgary four-piece has been invited to play at London’s Desertfest music festival, and as the first Canadian band to ever receive the honour, Chron Goblin is entering their name in the record books and introducing Brits to the crushing power of Canadian rock.

Joining a huge line-up of talent from across Britain, Europe and the U.S., Chron Goblin is completing an impressive collection of artists that is set to blow fans away. Over 50 bands make up a roster that includes an increasing number of well-known stoner and doom rock bands, the majority of which come from the UK and have been hugely successful worldwide. This is the first time a Canadian band has been invited to join, setting a precedent for Canadian music and giving authority to Chron Goblin and their supportive Calgary fanbase.

Desertfest is the largest underground rock festival in the United Kingdom. The three-day festival takes place from April 26 – 28 and will be held at four large venues across Camden, allowing more music fans to experience the event. Last year’s festival sold out quickly and according to festival organizers, this year’s shows will be “bigger, badder, and ready to tear you guys a new one”.

For more information about Desertfest and to see the full line-up, visit the website or Facebook. Tickets are nearly sold out but for fans who act quickly, this is an event that shouldn’t be missed.

Chron Goblin

For more information about Chron Goblin:
Band website
Facebook
DesertFest
Indie403 Featured Artist of the Month (August 2012)

Fumigation – “Integrated Pest Management”

I had the great fortune recently of receiving an email out of the blue from Fumigation‘s Chris Humeniuk with a request to review his band’s soon to be released CD, Integrated Pest Management. Intrigued, I proceeded to download the tunes from the provided Dropbox link and fire up the band’s website, which, brilliantly, has a lyrics page.

Before we get into the release I think it’s only fair to warn you that I have little to no expertise regarding all of metal’s sub-genres, including death metal. Quite frankly I don’t really care if your band is stoner metal, doom metal, melodic death metal or whatever. The only thing I care about is this: when I annoy my neighbours listening to your album is it going to kick my ass?

In the case of Ottawa‘s death metal quintet Fumigation, the answer is a definite yes. The band’s website refers to its sound as “groove-laden death metal” and I would add elements of technical DM as well. What sets them apart, however, is their choice of theme over and above the typical negativity associated with the genre. When I asked him how a death metal band with a pest control theme evolved he replied, “Our theme came about by me getting a job as an exterminator, and one of my friends thought it would be really funny to have a band about my job. I had a bunch of songs ready to go for a band anyways, so I figured I’d try and write lyrics and come up with ideas to turn everything into a pest control themed band…basically the life of an exterminator. I then found people that thought the idea was pretty funny and off we went, and 5 years later here we are with our first full-length album ready to drop.”

Highlights include the outrageous “Fleshlight Castration“, “Pediculosis, (Mommy I Have Lice)“, the crushingly heavy opening track, “Cranofacial Duplication” and the terrifying, “Lick of the Carnivorous Caterpillars“. Who knew that fuzzy little multi-footed critters could evoke such terror?

Overall Fumigation‘s Integrated Pest Management scores a solid 4/5.

Excellent production qualities and well-crafted songs should take this release a long way. Plus, those pesky lice are likely to abandon ship once you start head banging, an unforeseen bonus for sure.Fumigation - Integrated Pest Management

Of Gentlemen and Cowards – “Warminster”

There’s a lot to be said for hometown pride. Most bands know it: people at home are our biggest supporters and they’ll talk about us ’til the cows come home. Home and fan support drive us forward, and whether our achievements are big or small we know the fans will be there to cheer us on. With the entire city of Hamilton, Ontario and McMaster University behind them, Of Gentlemen and Cowards has huge things in the works and an incredible future on the horizon. If you haven’t heard of these guys yet you will soon: the four-piece just won a spot on the Late Show with David Letterman and will be broadcast to millions on Monday, September 17, a gig of a lifetime for most bands and a definite dream come true. A fabulous intro to the band and a record we’re all talking about is their new 7″ single, Warminster.

Released in August 2012, Warminster gives a great taste of the band’s sound and possibilities. Like most singles, this one’s not long enough – but that’s a definite good sign. It’s a major tease, and the torture of wanting more is painful at best. They’ve given us eight great minutes of catchy pop-rock, an energetic and fun display of talent and audience-friendly songwriting. They know exactly how to create music that will take them places, putting together a sound that fits on mainstream radio while also finding a home in the collections of audiophiles and music snobs alike.

They’ve been described as alt-folk-pop in their sound: using harmonicas, a children’s choir, and great guitar solos, as well as solid vocals and some bluesy riffs, Of Gentlemen and Cowards might be compared to bands like The Decemberists, Third Eye Blind, Foo Fighters or John Mellencamp. It’s possible to associate them with The Arkells as well, but this is an urge to be resisted. Throw together catchy melodies, uncomplicated lyrics and pieces of folk, pop and rock and we’ve got something to admire.

Of Gentlemen and Cowards is a band you need to listen to. And guess what: you can! Warminster is available for free (yes – free!) on the band’s website. Check them out now while you can and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. The Letterman show is just a stop on their trip to fame, and Hamilton is behind them every step of the way.

Of Gentlemen and Cowards - "Warminster"

Elk – “Daydreams”

Indie music has taken a turn toward retro pop in recent years. We hear a lot of beats and grooves reminiscent of the 50s or 60s, and this really comes as no surprise: music and art are cyclical and we love to revisit old favourites. Bringing back some great 60s surfer rock and semi-psychedelic groove is Elk, a fantastic four-piece from Toronto and Niagara. A modern version of The Kinks, The Beach Boys, and The Wonders (the fictional band from That Thing You Do!), Elk is new but familiar, and their new album Daydreams has quickly become a lasting favourite.

The title of Daydreams is a perfect reflection of the band’s sound. Dreamlike and distant, it feels almost ethereal and otherworldly; vocals seem to take an echoey, reverb-filled backseat to the instrumental pieces, and this creates an eerie undertone to the otherwise upbeat album. Elk uses a variety of instruments and tempos on the album to add more creativity and range to the tracks, and in doing so they separate themselves from other less unique acts. They throw in super fun tambourine, piano (“Come Home”), and hand claps (“Every Girl That I Meet”) at appropriate parts throughout the album, and with plenty of toe-tapping beats and zippy hip-twisting the album creates a mixture of songs that both you and your mom can dance to.

The tracks themselves aren’t super complex or complicated, but this just adds to their charm. The easy, breezy flow of the album creates something that can be listened to repeatedly without even thinking about it. It doesn’t have that muddled jumble of noise that occasionally comes with garage-type bands, and the simple beats and riffs are what make the album flow so smoothly. The album-opening “Before The Sun” is a great example of why simple is better. You become part of the music, drumming along and humming the melody almost immediately, and when an album gets in your head the first time you hear it, you know you’ve found something good.

Listening to this album will make you want to see the band play live, and lucky fans in Southern Ontario will get a ton of chances to do so. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for their most up-to-date news, and take a peek at their label, IndoorShoes. Daydreams is available on iTunes and for a preview of Elk’s great sound, check out the video for “Before The Sun”. This is a band you need to hear, and a retro sound you need to revisit.

Elk - "Daydreams"

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"