Archive for March, 2009

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The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love

03/27/2009

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Got my signed Hazards LP in the mail this morning. My In Your Speakers editor also decided to post my review of the album today, give it a read.

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Constantines and the Weakerthans, March 23rd, 2009

03/24/2009

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Stunning show. Not much to say other than The Weakerthans should never try to follow the Constantines, it makes them look bad. Took some pictures.

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Mardeen and Smothered In Hugs, March 19th, 2009

03/21/2009

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Mardeen returned to the Capital Bar accompanied by Charlottetown pop rockers Smothered In Hugs on Thursday, March 19th. Starting the show was 11 Afternoons Early, a local hard rock trio featuring drummer turned songwriter James Tanner and Jai Sadler, bassist for We, the Undersigned. Afternoons captivated the relatively small audience with their unique mix of progressive rock riffs and pop melodies/vocals. Echoing the “loud, quiet, loud” element that characterized the music of the Pixies in the late 80s, 11 Afternoons Early sandwiched heavy riffs with softer rock jams, and vice versa.

Mardeen tour mates Smothered In Hugs took the stage shortly after with their unique sound and energetic vibe. Starting with an unbelievably exuberant instrumental that left me in awe, the band rarely let their energy die down throughout their whole set. While Smothered In Hugs’ music was fresh, exciting and catchy, it was their stage presence and distinctive décor that made them truly memorable. Featuring colorful uniforms donned with exclamation marks and a mysterious sixth band member whose sole job was to stand absolutely still with a bucket on their head, Smothered In Hugs was truly a tremendous sight to witness and hear.

Nova Scotia’s Mardeen took the stage with Read Less Minds highlight “City Lights” but quickly descended into a string of mediocre new songs that failed to capture the “it” factor that exists on practically every track from their debut. Further, the band’s stage presence was severely lacking, consisting of a few laughs between band members that alienated the audience and short, between song thank-yous. Admittedly, it was practically impossible to top Smothered In Hugs in that department but the lack of effort and a “let’s play through the set as fast as possible” attitude was disappointing. Throwing in crowd pleaser (and admittedly, their best song) “Telephones” temporarily dispersed the bad taste in my mouth but it quickly returned when the band refused to play an encore of even a single song despite the entire venue (Smothered In Hugs band members included) kindly requesting one through cheers and song requests. I was not surprised at this however, due to the exact same situation occurring back in September when Mardeen shared a stage with the Superfantastics and the Painted Birds (who were both extremely friendly to the audience on and off the stage). As a result of these two experiences, it seems to me that Mardeen have some kind of hate on for Fredericton audiences, perhaps due to the relatively low turnouts they have received both times I have seen them. Which, I suppose, is an expected response, but one that will certainly not grant them bigger audiences in the future.

Pictures from the show can be found here.

Links:

Mardeen
Smothered In Hugs
11 Afternoons Early

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Save September, March 16th, 2009

03/17/2009

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Crissi Cochrane, known on the stage as Save September, delighted a small crowd at Crumbs Café here in Fredericton yesterday evening, showcasing her natural talent for singing and songwriting with a collection of intimate songs and a couple of thematically appropriate covers. While lacking the intricate guitar work of clear influence Mike Kinsella, the emotion she put into her songwriting and performance reflects the one time American Football singer/guitarist and Owen mastermind greatly. Crissi played flawlessly over the sometimes overwhelming noise of coffee machines and phone conversations and executed her songs about unrequited love and changing environments with an unexpected professionalism.

Evidently a fan of Ben Gibbard, Crissi threw in a couple beautiful covers. First, a cover of the Iron & Wine version of the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights” followed soon after by Death Cab for Cutie tearjerker “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”. Readers, do yourself a favor and check out Save September on one of her upcoming Nova Scotian dates, or pray that she graces Fredericton once again because her MySpace recordings fail to do justice to her gorgeous singing voice.

Save September Dates:

March 26, 2009 – The Company House (2202 Gottingen Street) – $6
with Dave MacMicheal, Stone Mary, and more. Fundraiser for Brigadoon, a children’s camp.
7:00pm
March 27, 2009 – House Show (exclusive) – Herring Cove – $10 advance, $15 door
with Megan Nash, and Bethany Fulde
8:00pm
March 29, 2009 – House Show and VEGAN POTLUCK at Cinthia, Ryan and Crissi’s House (2536 Windsor Street, Apt. #3 – the top of the stairs in the back). With Laura Merrimen – $10 ($5 if you bring a vegan dish!)
Dinner starts at 6:00pm!

Links:

Save September

MySpace

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Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Indiana”

03/16/2009

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A lot of people have a hate on for Pitchfork and their hype-generating Best New Music category but in my experience, more often than not, they are generally on the money. Admittedly, a lot of that has to do with having similar musical tastes to those who do the reviewing, but isn’t that the point? I always say, if you don’t like the kind of music Pitchfork represents, don’t read them and certainly don’t complain about them. I could care less what Metal Review hypes because, for the most part, metal isn’t really my thing. Music criticism/journalism is only valuable to you if you can find a magazine/website/critic that represents your tastes and introduces you to new stuff that you will enjoy.

Anyway. The latest enductees to Best New Music are Cymbals Eat Guitars and their album Why Are There Mountains. At times a heavier, noiser version of the 90s indie rock bands that influence them and at times channeling the shoegaze-pop sound made famous to the indie community by My Bloody Valentine, Cymbals Eat Guitars have crafted an album that will appeal to a wide variety of indie rock fans. Third song, “Indiana” is without a doubt the album’s standout track. Consisting of a Billy Joel-esque piano and vocal melody sandwiched between two less poppy sections, its catchiness is too high off the scale to be measured. Listen for yourself.

Cymbals Eat Guitars – Indiana.mp3

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Busted Head Promotions Presents Fugazi: Instrument

03/11/2009

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Busted Head Promotions, promoters of the recent excellent all-ages show at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre featuing VKNGS, Hospital Grade, A/V, Two Piece Empire and Major/Minor have announced another spectacular event. On Thursday March 26th, a screening of the amazing Fugazi documentary Instrument will be shown in 101 Mulroney Hall on STU campus for the generous price of ZERO at 8pm. This screening is apparently the first of many rock-documentary screenings to come including American Hardcore, Hype! and End of the Century. All screenings are planned to be held on the last Thursday of every month.

Instrument is directed by Jem Cohen and documents Fugazi during the record of their 1995 album Red Medicine and includes footage of concerts, interviews with the band, practices and tours.

In other Busted Head news, another all ages show is planned for the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. Performing this time around will be Teen Anger and D.C.T from Toronto, The Stolen Minks from Halifax and The Livingstons from Saint John. The show is on May 3rd and is $8.

Links:

Busted Head Productions
Teen Anger
D.C.T
The Stolen Minks

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Forward Music Group Update

03/10/2009

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In the latest edition of their newsletter the New Brunswick powerhouse label, Forward Music Group, revealed a few upcoming events and news tidbits:

A) Grand Theft Bus will play a series of shows across the Maritimes consisting of 5 songs requested by the audience. Simply send an email to grandtheftbussetlist@gmail.com with the ONE song you wish to hear. The band will compile the 5 songs with the most votes and pull them out for their live show. The list of songs that made the cut will not be posted beforehand, so make sure to check out GTB at one of the dates below. Unfortunately there is no Fredericton date.

04/10/09 | The Paramount | Moncton, NB w/ Snalihouse
04/11/09 | The Seahorse | Halifax, NS w/ Snailhouse
04/17/09 | Hunter’s Ale House | Charlottetown, PE w/ The Nuclear
04/18/09 I AKHORD I Saint John, NB w/ Tuque (aka Jellyroll)

B) Share will be playing the Music Nova Scotia stage at Canadian Music Week in Toronto. The show is on March 14th at the Rivoli with Share taking the stage at 9:55pm. In other Share news, various videos can be found on the Forward Music Group’s Youtube Page documenting the band’s recent trip to Europe.

C) The Slate Pacific will finally release their much anticipated EP Safe Passage. The EP will be released in stores and online on March 17th. Forward Music Group had this to say:

“Starting with the longing tones of “Thirteen Kinds of Chemicals,” the EP delivers five songs that showcase an accomplished combination of songwriting depth and instrumental pacing. Rooted in a sparse yet emotive delivery, Slate Pacific’s debut shows the group arriving fully realized.”

Grab a copy of the EP on The Slate Pacific’s upcoming tour:

03/20/09 | The Blue Olive | Saint John, NB | w/ Tom Fun Oschestra
03/21/09 | The Capital | Fredericton, NB | w/ Jon McKiel
03/27/09 | Coconut Grove | Halifax, NS | w/ Jon McKiel
04/02/09 | Arts Center | Fredericton, NB | w/ Share
04/03/09 | The Paramount | Moncton, NB | MIME FEST

D) Finally, Forward Music Group has announced that they will release the deput effort from Moncton’s The Motorleague in May.

Forward Music Group Links:
Website
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