Monday, May 30, 2011

New Bella Ruse Video + Single

Because I can't write enough about Bella Ruse, I thought I'd let you know of their latest music video efforts.  They officially released it last Thursday, though if you're a member of the mailing list, you might have seen a sneak preview of it a few days before that.  The video is for their newest single, "Gumption & Guts".

This is the first video they've done with an actual production budget and a studio (from what I can gather).  While they've done their other videos via other (quite creative) methods, this one was done professionally and looks quite good.  And, it's a good song - so it's a win on all levels.

As I mentioned, it's for the single "Gumption & Guts" - which they released on Bandcamp for a mere $1.99.  The single is comprised of the album version and a different cut sung by bandmate Joseph.  You could get it free, if you were a member of the Bella Ruse mailing list - but I think that offer has sailed, so you'll have to wait until they release the next single.

Until then, of course, $1.99 is pretty good for two songs.  About what you'd pay on iTunes.  But you should probably get the entire album, which is also very good.

Postscript: if you want a copy of the aforementioned newsletter to get a free copy of the latest Gumption & Guts single, I can share it with 5 people.  Send a note to if you want in on the action.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

#27 - Jamendo Top 100

Today's podcast is a little mailed-in, mostly a result of being on vacation for five days over the Victoria Day long weekend.  But that doesn't mean I haven't selected some sweet tracks - on the contrary!  I consulted the Jamendo Top 100, and picked out a few songs that I really liked.  Enjoy!

Oh, and don't forget to join the Facebook page and follow the podcast on Twitter!

  1. BertycoX - The Signal (#3)
  2. Pornophonique - Sad Robot (Procacci's funky android deconstructino remix) (#8)
  3. CWF & BertycoX - DefectiV' (#27)
  4. Wooden Legs - David & Goliath (#5)
  5. Hot Fiction - If I Had a Girl (#76)
  6. The Sterns - Did You Get It (#20)
  7. Retrosonic - Until the End (#67)
  8. The Dalai Lama Rama Fa Fa Fa - You Make Me Crazy (Label Gazing Feature)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Quick Link

You know how short weeks are supposed to be relaxing, because they're over so soon?  Not the case for me.  I took three days off work, and am now behind.  I haven't really put much time into the blog at home because I haven't really felt like doing much after getting home from work.  So, you get a not-so-thought-provoking Friday post like this one this week!

Actually, I was doing some work for the podcast (this weekend's podcast is of the "mailed-in" variety, somewhat) when I found the artist I thought I'd link to.  The album/artist combo today is Dark Room by UK band Hot Fiction.  Currently their song "If I Had a Girl" sits at #76 on Jamendo's Top 100, but I think that's only because the Top 100 list seems to be controlled by people who really like ambient music.  I digress.

Dark Room is a 13-track Blues-Rock venture released during the summer last year.  I'm trying to think of an artist to which I can compare Hot Fiction, but I think if you just imagine any typical blues-inspired grungy rock band, you can get a decent idea.

Hot Fiction is a duo made up of Andy Yeoh and Simon Miller.  Here's how they describe the music:
"... if the Black Keys and the White Stripes had both turned up at a Jimi Hendrix gig, been invited along to an Eagles of Death Metal themed after-party, fallen in love and, that Autumn, marched down the aisle to be married by Seasick Steve… and Queens of the Stone Age was the wedding band… and everyone in the chapel was dressed like a pirate… well then it might have sounded a little like Hot Fiction."

Definitely a creative group.  Expect to hear them a lot in future podcasts!

 Unrelated side note: I think I'm axing Label Gazing, at least in its current format.  Going to keep it a monthly thing, but just one post a month on it.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Steve's Pick #2 :: The Wind Whistles: "Bats in Flight"

Original Air Date: Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
Artist: The Wind Whistles
Track: Bats in Flight
Album: Animals Are People Too
Genre: Folk / Pop

Info in brief: The Wind Whistles formed in 2006 and are based in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Their first album, Window Sills, was a fantastic folk album.  They followed that up with a more energetic, pop-infused album, Animals Are People Too.  They also have a "Secret Album" - can you find it?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Emerald Park - Slow 2004-2005

Happy Victoria Day!  Let me just start with mentiong that I've been on vacation since Thursday (actually, I'm still on vacation, travelling back to civilization on Tuesday), and in those few days of bliss, I have accomplished the following:
- Read a ton of Michael J. Fox's memoirs, Lucky Man
- Done fuck all
- Finished quite a few crossword puzzles
- Watched a great Doctor Who episode, "The Doctor's Wife"
- Took the dog on long walks

Yeah, so about the only time I spent listening to music was done at about 12:50 AM Sunday morning.  The only album I listened to was an EP from Emerald Park called Slow 2004-2005.  Here's the brief story behind this EP.

The four songs on this EP were recorded during (surprisingly) the years 2004 and 2005, when the band had a significantly different sound and line-up than it has now.  The first two tracks come from Emerald Park's debut album, Sadness Within.  The last two are from the single for "My Star" (which apparently was a bit of a hit among the student radio scene).

You can definitely hear the difference in sound when you listen to this EP, and compare it to their latest effort, For Tomorrow.  It's slower in pace (hence the title of the EP), and upon listening, I'm glad that they went in a different direction 5 years later.  It's still some good music though - it's just different from what I was introduced to.

You can download the EP for free courtesy of 23 Seconds Netlabel over at afmusic.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Steve's Pick #1 :: I Am Not Lefthanded: "Boats (Swept Away)"

Original Air Date: Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
Artist: I Am Not Lefthanded
Track: Boats (Swept Away)
Album: Time to Leave EP
Genre: Alternative / Indie Rock

Info in brief: I Am Not Lefthanded is a band based in Ireland.  This trio is very independant (recently raising funds on their own for their upcoming album, The Fire and the Sigh).  "Boats (Swept Away)" was recently licensed by ClearBlue for use in their commercials for pregnancy tests.

Monday, May 16, 2011

New Weekly Feature

Seems like I'm just announcing new features every Monday.  Well, this time it's not my idea for a feature, but instead my buddy Mike.  He is getting some airtime on CKCU, Tuesdays from 1pm-2pm, and extended me the invitation to produce a short one-song segment for him.  That segment is called Steve's Picks (working title for now, but it'll probably stick), and will feature a creative commons tune with a bit of info about it provided by me.

You'll be able to hear it live by tuning in every Tuesday between 1pm and 2pm on CKCU (93.1 FM or, and I will also be putting the track up on the blog the following Wednesday.  As a result, you're going to start seeing these picks show up in the iTunes feed every week.

Of course, as I said - they won't go up until the next day ;)

So tune in tomorrow between 1pm and 2pm to hear my friend Mike on CKCU!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

#26 - Brad Sucks, Ostrich Tuning, I Am Not Lefthanded

Another two weeks gone, another podcast episode in.  In today's episode, new tracks from Brad Sucks and I Am Not Lefthanded, plus the very first Label Gazing segment featuring Ostrich Tuning from Toronto!  All this plus some other great tracks for your listening enjoyment in today's episode.  Full playlist follows below.

(31:32, approx. 28 MB)
  1. Lungs for Gills - Starry Void
  2. Studebaker's Blacksmith Shop - Merry Goes Around
  3. Pawky Maven - Monsters
  4. Ostrich Tuning - Floor
  5. Laura Stevenson and the Cans - Landslide Song, The Dig
  6. I Am Not Lefthanded - Alone (It's Not So Bad)
  7. Brad Sucks - Come Back (Demo)
During the show I also apologized to Singleton, whom I confused with The Singletons in a post last month.  Consider this my official apology - I was briefly confused.  I'll change up the post soon!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Free Music Links

I've been extremely busy working ahead so I can go on vacation next week, so I forgot that I didn't even have a post ready to go today!  Plus, Blogger was having some issues earlier (which also resulted in one of my posts vanishing - hoping that it comes back later, because I don't really want to type it out from memory again), so there you have it.  Anyway, I thought today I'd do a bit of a link-fest and let you know what some other blogs have highlighted in the past week and a bit.  I'll save myself from typing - unless otherwise specified, I got most of these from

  • Laura Stevenson and the Cans: A Record - I got the link to this sweet-sounding indie folk album on Monday.  It's a neat mixture of the traditional acoustic sound you might expect from folk music, with some neat brass sounds mixed in.
  • Lungs for Gills - One Man & Thousand Ghosts - Quebec City-based band Lungs for Gills creates a unique spacey kind of sound on this album.  At times jangly, this is a slower-paced album with a few faster songs, but is probably not recommended for driving.  But it's still worth a listen.
  • Studebaker's Blacksmith Shop - Nebula - A funk-tinged (that sounds really gross, now that I read it back) alternative group from Germany puts together a cool, bluesy album.  Really like the lead singer's voice.  This find was originally from FrostClick but their link doesn't seem to work, so I'm linking straight to the Jamendo page for the album.
  • Frozen Geese - The Starseed - From Free Albums Galore, The Starseed deserves a mention for the mere fact that their album was released only on cassette in 2010.  They also have an interesting sound, worth checking out.  Perhaps, if you wanted to share this with someone else, it would be fitting to dub to cassette? EDIT: Dave from Frozen Geese has provided a link to buy said cassette - feel free to do so if you still have a machine capable of playing tapes.
  • Pawky Maven - Pruning Hooks - Another album similar in the vein of Laura Stevenson & the Cans.  In other words, light indie folk-pop.  Pawky Maven hails from North Carolina, and also has a bit of a southern rock in their music.  Love the name.
One little note - my friend Mike is getting some more air time on CKCU starting next week, and has extended me the opportunity to produce a one-song segment highlighting Creative Commons tunes.  I'll have full details on Monday - in the meantime, enjoy the music!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

[Label Gazing] Featured Dead Bees Artist - Cobson

One of the artists I picked out as my favourites of the three Dead Bees samplers I downloaded (and I will be downloading more - there are, after all, 7 more samplers ready to download from their website) was Cobson.  Her song, "Rubbish", was pure girl rock (is that the right term?), and reminded me specifically of one of my favourite Canadian bands, Magneta Lane.

Cobson, currently based in Montpellier, France (where she studied briefly in Foreign Languages before devoting her time to music), and sings for the band Montevideo.  Unfortunately there's not much more information available about Cobson, as the link to her blog seems to no longer function.  At any rate, her music is quite good, and available for purchase over at Dead Bees.

Cobson has 2 EPs available, as well as a few other tracks for free download.  If you want to try out her stuff before committing the money, I recommend these tracks:
Social Disaster

And don't forget to stream her Bike EP, which is also very good.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Introducing Label Gazing!

I was thinking about some different ways I could add some originality to the blog/podcast last week, and came up with this: Label Gazing.  I'll sum it up pretty quickly, and then move on to the first edition.  Essentially, every month on both the blog and the podcast I'll be featuring a different netlabel, looking at artists both in their back catalogue and new releases.  Part of the idea behind this is to get me looking at different music other than what other blogs recommend.

I haven't exactly figured out whether I'll be doing one podcast a month dedicated to a specific netlabel, or just feature a couple of artists in one segment of each podcast.  Clearly I am deciding most of this on the fly.

First up this month is Dead Bees, a netlabel with quite a large number of artists under their belt.  While most netlabels are assumed to give away their music under Creative Commons licenses, this is not the case with Dead Bees.  Each of their artists have albums that average around $5-$10 - which, while not free, is still incredibly affordable compared to most LPs put out by the mainstream music industry.

Dead Bees was first brought to my attention last week, when I found three of their album samplers (with #10 coming out just last month).  The label samplers provide a pretty good approximation of what you can expect to hear from their artists when you buy an album from Dead Bees: pretty awesome and creative Indie Rock.  Some of it is not my cup of tea; but just to put things in perspective, I singled out 26 tracks that I really liked and will feature in the podcast.  That's not to say that people won't like the rest of the tracks on the samplers, but it's a pretty good indication that out of the three samplers available, I enjoyed that many tracks.

In the next few weeks I'll be talking about various artists signed to Dead Bees and playing them in the podcast.  Expect at least one post per week (if not more) to be about a Dead Bees artist.  I hope you enjoy this new series!  I'm excited to dive in and discover even more new music.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mercury in Summer (Goes Up)

A neat little EP to bring us to the weekend: I Believe by Mercury in Summer.  Before I get to the music, I just want to take a minute to point out that the band has a really awesome-looking logo. Oh, and look at that fro!

Moving along from hair styles, I Believe is pure pop, with a bit of R&B thrown in.  Actually, it is sort of along the lines of the Jackson 5 (did you know that Sigmund Esco "Jackie" Jackson was born 60 years ago on May 4th?  Thanks to my music history calendar, I do!), but leaning more on the pop side.  It's an entertaining EP, and seems to re-hash a couple of songs from their earlier album, Can You Feel It?  There are some other tracks on that one not on I Believe, so it's probably also worth checking out.

Just some quick facts about Mercury in Summer: they're from Washington, D.C. (or, as their Facebook page says, "from the DC Area").  They seem to like to label themselves as a rock band, though I think they have a loose definition of the term.  The band members are: Brian Jones, Richard Wynne, and Brendan McCusker.

Also, stay tuned Monday for a cool new feature I'm planning!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Who Wants Album Samplers?

Everyone wants album samplers, that's who!  I honestly think album samplers are the greatest thing to exist on the Internet, because you can get some cool free music and potentially discover an artist that you want to hear more from.

And, they let people who run music blogs/podcast mail in a post when they're having a busy week and can't catch up on seemingly endless lists of free music available.  People like me.

With that said, I present to you a link I found via Free Albums Galore: the Dead Bees Label Samplers.  According to Free Albums, Dead Bees is a French label that specializes mostly in "alternative" and "shoegaze" indie rock.  Pardon my ignorance, but what is shoegaze anyway?

At any rate, there are links to three different samplers over at Free Albums Galore, and Marvin does a much better write-up than I do.  Go check it out, and in the meantime, I will do my best to write some better blog posts.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Live Show Review: Capital Grass and the No Men

What better way to cap off a beautiful early summery day than to head out to the tavern to take in an evening of energetic live music?  That's what I did Saturday night, when Capital Grass and the No Men played the Emldale Tavern (along with Slim & Popular and Jon Laurie-Beaumont).

A rather lengthy review (with pictures!) is below, after the jump.