Tag Archives: Six

Kyley Styles – “One Short of a Six Pack”

In anticipation of writing this review I checked out Kyley Styles’s Facebook page and was immediately struck by the line accompanying his profile pic: “Life is tough. Write a song.”  What struck me upon seeing this is the context it gives the EP’s lyrics which focus primarily on the perils of human relationships. That isn’t to say that they are dry, boring or the sort of navel-gazing drivel we get from some indie/alt acts – Styles presents his view of the world with tongue firmly planted in cheek but still manages to touch the heart.

The EP gets off to a kick-ass start with the infectious “Eye of the Beholder”, a groovy hook-laden tune that reminds me of little-known Canadian indie act Barstool Prophets, who had some brief success in the mid-90’s with the song, “Paranoia”. Stylistically (bad pun intended) these two tunes are of a kind and that is definitely a compliment. In fact, this track would have been my choice for release to radio, which is not to say that “Halo”, the track that was released to radio, is unworthy. It’s simply true for me that “Beholder” is a whole body groove out, head-banging, air-guitar, sing-along endorphin rush.  That, my friends, is worth the price of admission, especially at $4.99 from iTunes!

The balance of the EP is equally satisfying in different ways, although the tone softens somewhat on tracks 2, 3 and 5. Upon first listen I have to admit to being a little confused about what genre Styles fits into; however, on several repeat listens this became less and less of a concern due in large part, I believe, to the fact that Styles is the songwriter and the band all wrapped up in one: with the exception of drums on track 1 and Uncle Bill’s violin, Styles plays all the instruments on the EP himself. As a dabbler in home recording and a hack at multi-instrumentation I can tell you that is no small feat. Being the single creative force behind a project is really, really risky: when it works it can be magic but when it doesn’t…

Fortunately for Kyley Styles it works perfectly: to this ear the key weapon in the Styles arsenal is his ability to create memorable hooks. Lots of us can play a few chords, hum a melody, add a lyric and call it a song but few can weave the elements of a great song/great performance/great recording into an emotional experience that is memorable. What strikes me most about Styles’s songwriting ability is his sense of phrasing and rhythm, key elements in creating a memorable hook and it’s the hooks that, well, hook us (my editor is cringing).

The bottom line is that I love One Short of a Six Pack, and that is saying something coming from a middle-aged metal-head who doesn’t list indie/alt rock amongst his top 3 genres. Head on over to iTunes and invest $4.99 in some endorphin-firing rock ‘n’ roll. You’ll be glad you did.

p.s.  Once you buy the EP make sure you head over to the Kyley Styles website to download the accompanying .pdf EP booklet. Do that Here.

Kyley Styles - "One Short of a Six Pack"

Taylor Cochrane – “Cleaning Up”

When one of our favourite artists comes out with a new EP, we usually expect to love it. We know they’ve got talent and we know we like them, so we also know the album will be great. In the case of Taylor Cochrane and his new EP Cleaning Up, we are left very, very happy. He’s come a long way since the release of his first album, Acoustic, last year, and with a ton of development and maturity behind him he’s solidified his reputation as one of Calgary’s best artists.

Cleaning Up is a huge step for Taylor. Now with a full band behind him and rich, well-developed songwriting his music seems even more special. Acoustic was a great introduction to Taylor as a comedic wordsmith: he’s able to tell a story with clever lyrics, puns and endless double entendres, and whether he’s looking to cause laughter or tears, he can do either without much effort. Cleaning Up continues this trend of fantastic (and at times absurd) songwriting but in a more mature, rounded way. He can easily be compared to such singer-songwriters as Jack Johnson, Ben Harper or Rob Sumwalt, and with equally strong vocals and instrumentals behind him on this album, he’s on a completely equal playing field.

The five tracks are all fantastic and a great representation of Taylor’s unique songwriting and vocals. He has a great way of writing songs you can dance to. Listen to “Victoria”, for example: right away you’ll picture a choreographed dance routine featuring a pretty girl. Who knows why, but the bouncy toe-tappiness is perfect for this image. Same goes for “Simple Song”: the rhymey, bouncey nature of the song has the perfect beat for an easy airdrum. Just try to listen to these tracks without tapping to the beat — impossible!

Taylor’s biggest strength is his simplicity. Simplicity is surprisingly hard to come by: so many songwriters try so hard to be “unique” or “artsy” that their songs are impossible to listen to, but Taylor avoids this problem by writing songs that make sense. You can actually sing along to these tracks (or at least listen along — why cover up Taylor’s great voice?).

Everything Taylor does just gets better and better, and now that he’s off on a new western tour it won’t be long before he comes out with something even more exciting. If you get the chance, see him on stage. Visit his website and follow him on Facebook for more info about his tour and upcoming releases, and remember to buy his album! He’s known as one of Calgary’s best for a reason.

Taylor Cochrane - "Cleaning Up"

Thirty Six (aka Taylor Cochrane Band) – Tour Kicks Off TONIGHT

Taylor Chochrane Tour Kickoff w/ Man Cub and Hunger Hush Past IFAM Thirty Six (aka Taylor Cochrane Band) will be hitting the road this weekend on their much anticipated Western Tour with 9 dates booked taking them to Vancouver Island and back.

The tour kicks off tonight at Broken City with MANcub and Hunger Hush opening the night to wish them off!! For more information on tonight’s show, click on the poster. Here is a little blurb on each band, courtesy of Broken City:

Taylor Cochrane: Every time this man opens his mouth a lyrical tapastry of absurdity, self depreciation and charm spewns forth filling any room he’s in. The cause? A colony of purple spiders who live in his head are constantly at work weaving said tapestry and controling his actions.

MANcub: I’d say a bunch of awesome things about this band but I won’t cause their bandcamp reads like a plot summery of StarWars: A New Hope and that alone should make you want to see them.

Hunger Hush: When was the last time you felt good? Like really good? What ever your answer your wrong cause you weren’t listening to Hunger Hush, the great great step nephew twice removed of all of the worlds best feel good bands.

For more information on the full tour, visit Taylor Cochrane’s website.