Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Best In Vancouver: Gigaheartz

I tracked down the last band in the Best In Vancouver finale show, Gigaheartz. I had a quick chat with the lead singer about the competition.

James: What can we expect from Gigaheartz for the upcoming finale show?
Eddie: We always focus on keeping the energy going. We just want people to dance. If they have fun doing that, we've done our job.

James: What do you think about the competition and its impact on the scene?

Eddie: Anything that brings local bands together is a worthwhile endeavor in my books. I've never been fond of competition when it comes to art, but it's awesome to have the input of some big players in the industry. Their willingness to help us grow and develop as artists is amazing.

James: What do you think of the judges and prizes?

Eddie: As I said, the judges are some major contributors to Canada's music scene. It's an honor to have them listen and offer their advice. We are thankful for the opportunity to learn as much as we can from them.

James: What's coming up for the band?

Eddie: We just recorded our debut EP with the amazingly talented Winston Hauschild. We'll be releasing that in the very near future. We've got lots on the way as far as music videos and promotion goes as well. There's gonna be a lot going on for us in the new year.

Be sure to check out the details for the show on saturday HERE. Check out Gigaheartz on Facebook HERE.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Best In Vancouver: Season To Attack

I was able to track down the lead singer to Season To Attack and have a quick talk about the upcoming finale show for the Best In Vancouver competition.

James: What can we expect from Season To Attack for the upcoming finale show?
David: We have all learned how to juggle chainsaws. We will be bringing a lot of buzz.

James: What do you think about the competition and its impact in the scene?

David: From my own observation, it seems like the shows are very well attended, the vibe is heightened and the venue and promoters have done a great job executing the plan. As far as it helping the scene, I think contests are a bit more what each band contributes and what they do to build on their own involvement- just like the scene. It does provide some good exposure and repetition of finalist names, so everything seems pretty great.

James: What do you think of the judges and prizes?

David: We appreciate that esteemed industry professionals are participating, but we are not in this for prizes specifically. We want to represent our project and direction well, show people that we love to play music, and support other competitors in what is turning out to be a really great time. We have noticed that the judges are among the most attractive humans we have ever seen, however. As a sort of side note unrelated to winning the contest. *cough*

James: What are some upcoming plans with the band?

David: We are currently hard at work on a full length record, with a working title of "All We Do Is Kill." Gatlin is putting in a great deal of his energy with us on art direction, recording and we are really crafting an awesome set of songs and will be releasing it in a few cool and offbeat ways in the New Year. We will be playing many of those selections at the show this weekend, so let us know what you think!

Check out the details for the show HERE. Follow Season To Attack on Facebook HERE.

Be sure to stay tuned for the final interview with Gigaheartz and a special interview with Kevin from Rednyne Productions!

Best In Vancouver: Ellice Blackout

Keeping up with our coverage of the Best In Vancouver Finale interview series, I had a chat with the guitarist from Ellice Blackout.

James: What can we expect from Ellice Blackout for the upcoming finale show?

Jaws: A performance so polished you can see your reflection in it, we've really tightened all the nuts and bolts for this final show

James: What do you think about the competition and its impact in the scene?
Jaws: I think its exactly what the scene and new bands need to launch our careers as musicians in Vancouver. the exposure so far has been amazing

James: What do you think of the judges and prizes?.

Jaws: I personally dont know a lot about them as this is my first rock band, I've always stayed in the metal scene before. But i know a lot of the other guys in my band really look up to them

James: What are some upcoming plans with the band?

Jaws: We have a brand new full length album thats just in the studio getting finished, It should be out in the new year, Plus plans are in the works for a really big music video shoot in January. So there is a lot of great things on the horizon for Ellice Blackout

Check out details for the show HERE. Follow Ellice Blackout on Facebook HERE

Stay tuned for interviews with the other remaining two bands. Check out our interview with Nightshift as well!

Best In Vancouver: Nightshift

I had a quick chat with the guitarist from Nightshift about being in the Top 4 for the Best In Vancouver competition put on by Rednyne:

James: What can we expect from Nightshift for the upcoming finals?

Martin: We're a little different from the rest of the bands. We bring fast, loud, energetic punk rock with a setlist of nothing but fan favourites.

James: What are your thoughts about the competition and what it does for the scene?

Martin: I love the idea. It's a great way for local bands to get exposer to industry reps as well as bands (and their fans) from different genres. We've made connections with so many great people and heard a lot of great music so far.

James: What do you think about the prizes and the panel of judges?

Martin: All the bands that made it to the finals are guaranteed a prize pack that is going to move them forward with their music career. Ranging from songs produced by Tommy Mac of Headly and Danny Craig of Default, to photo shoots with Tyler Branston Photography and web design. Rednyne did a really good job of putting this competition together. The panel of judges is no less impressive. Its great to see big names in the industry supporting up and coming bands.

Check out the show details HERE. Follow Nightshift on Facebook HERE.

Keep checking out the site for upcoming interviews with the other three bands!

Why Tour Videos Rock

Ever want to feel like a rockstar? get to know a band better? see what bands do when they aren't rocking the stage? No better way than seeing a tour video. See them out on the road, being goofs, having fun, and see their fine pallets of fast food first hand!

Check out Tommy Alto's West Coast USA tour vlog! It has some great shots and some fun times!
Check out their Facebook HERE.

Somewhere Only We Know

Victoria singer/songwriter Rebecca Boux recorded a fantastic version of Somewhere Only We Know at the Hammer Records mobile studio! Take a listen here!

Lost Stars

Check out this fantastic cover by Peggy Yeh and Kyle Stibbs! Two fantastic singers.
Check out Kyle Stibb's Facebook page HERE.

Lonely Shoppers Network

Not sure what I was expecting with a title "Always at Home With The Lonely Shoppers Network", but this wasn't it. I was almost expecting some abstract music or prog-ambient-synth-something.

I was not expecting a 20 minute long mix of piano, guitar and vocal track. This laid back song lets you settle into a feeling of peace, then explains its message. The song slowly morphs into different parts, each with slightly different feelings and production work.

Sit back and enjoy this piece of musical diversity. He also has a track entitled "Peace Forever With The Lonely Shoppers Network".

Music That Breathes

Im not sure if Jay produces full beats and instrumentals, but he puts 30 second clips of his music up on his Soundcloud. Some great funky tracks. Some are a little more computer generated than others. Some are quite organic. He has a great sense of diversity with his music which enables him to produce a plethora of genres.

Check out this tracks HERE and take a listen to what he is all about!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Do You Hunt At Night?

Bands sometime get in the way. When two people have a vision and have the means to carry out that vision, then sometimes less is more. Hunter's Night is made up of Greg and Ali. Their debut album is 5 tracks of bluesy rock goodness! A great mix of catchy vocal hooks, some thick guitar and tight bass and drums really bring out the raw quality of these songs.

Very interesting to note that this is all a home recording. Recorded in a workshop but you can barely tell. The production on this album is fantastic. Some of the best home recording I've heard in a while. The vocals are fantastically mixed to be both raw but also quite commercial at the same time. Quite a quirky vocal tone which dictated the whole sound of the album.

This is an album you should crank on your car stereo when travelling to go on a hike. Even put on while your having a glass of cheap wine on a sunny day.

Check out their album below and their Facebook page HERE.


Get Your Roar On!

It's always a breath of fresh air to hear music with a fantastic singer. It is the one part of a band that either makes or breaks the overall sound. We know every singer has their own tone and unique things they like putting into their recordings but sometimes it takes a few listens to really grow to love that voice.

Belvue is a band that seems to have crafted it's song around the vocals instead of the other way around. Their radio ready rock tracks are original, easy to listen to and are quite imaginative. Their new EP entitled "How To Be A Lion" is full of dynamic, deep, well constructed tracks. Hints of indie influence, hints of pop and a whole lot of rock and alternative rock make this album very diverse. Yet as your listening the music is both predictable but unpredictable at the same time. They have little things that keep you ear engaged and your mind from wandering.

All the tracks have a great use of harmonies. There are a few moments where I wished the harmonies were tighter with the main vocal pitch wise. A few parts where the harmonies were a little out of tune and that breaks the illusion of the song away. The instrumentals behind the vocals are thick, rich and full of emotion that blends perfectly with the lyrics and meaningful tone of the vocals.

All together this is a great sounding album. I would recommend putting it on with a great cup of coffee, a nice book and a rainy day. If your in Vancouver, then thats almost everyday!

Check out their Facebook HERE.

Quite Different Lodgings

Music is always about self expression. Some people paint landscapes, some paint shapes, and some just use the colours to paint something entirely different. The same can be done with music. Music is just audio sound waves played in such a way to be pleasing to the ear, or even sometimes not to be so pleasing. So many variables come into play when crafting music that no one can say "thats a horrible piece of music". They may find it not in their comfort zone but nothing discredits someone else's view on music.

Lodge NÂș1 is quite experimental on the scale of experimental albums I've heard. It helps with the live video that they filmed to comprehend their creative process. It was nominated "Island Instrumental or Experimental Album Of The Year" on the Van Isle Music Awards. This four track EP is full of diverse and audibly stimulating  music. They keep a great sense of dynamics with their pull and push of overlapping sounds and instruments. Check out their website HERE.

A Method To The Madness

The Method is a alternative rock band out of Kingston, Ontario. You can hear their influences on their sleeves, their rag tag rock and roll is written to get you moving. Their new self titled LP is full of pumping tracks.

The opening track "Mr. Incredulous" its a fast paced punk rock track that introduces the band perfectly. Driving drums, riffing rock guitar, thick bass and some gritty vocals, overall creating more of a 90's sound. Theres a few parts on the album where I wish the vocals were a little more on pitch. There are some intentional parts for flavour but some parts just sound a little "cheap". Also touching upon the vocals I wish there were some gang vocals at times. Even chants would help keep up the energy and give it more of a "live show" kind of feel. I love that the vocalist has two flavours to his voice. A lower tone which he uses on some of his verses and then his full high pitched vocals on the chorus.

"The Truth" is a track that really demonstrates the dynamics of the band. The album is well recorded and mixed solidly. I wish there was some more tightness between the rhythm section and the rest of the band. There are some moments where perhaps some more dynamics might help with the track. The drums don't have to be playing constantly during each song. The guitars has a great range of tones which help diversify the tracks.

The Album as a whole has a great loose rock sound which would go great on college rock radio stations. I think with some more practice and producing these guys could put out a killer album!

Check out their Facebook page HERE.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Lethal Halo

“The soul traveller is eternal. Where one chapter ends, another begins. So it repeats.”

Oct 30, 2014 — Canadian melodic metal ensemble, LETHAL HALO have revealed today the full details for their new release. The 4-track self-produced EP will be titled “Animanaut” and be made available online November 18, 2014. Physical copies will also be made available at live shows and through the band’s various online outlets.

The recording is the culmination the band’s growth since their 2011 album, “Process of Progress”. Among the many changes the core of the band has experienced is the inclusion of vocalist Andrew Bailey and bassist/backing vocalist Gary Carter. The dichotomy of influences and personalities helped develop the band’s modern melodic metal tendencies with a more progressive approach. The band worked with Mike Rogerson & Cam Boyer at Harbourside IT in North Vancouver to put together this piece of the band’s history. This is a state of change; a theme that runs through the EP and the band as a whole.

Following the November 18 worldwide (digital) release, the band will embark on a short 2-leg Canadian tour in direct support of the release in late November. Preliminary local shows and subsequent media are planned for post-tour.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sorry, I Gotta Go!

Check out this great music video from Pistolfish! Some sick blues rock to make this cloudy day a little bit brighter! Shot in beautiful black and white this song packs a punch! Check out their Facebook page HERE.

Do It For The Glory!

Guts And Glory have an EP on the way and heres some footage from a live show! Some nice dirty punk rock from Vancouver! Check it out! Heres their Facebook page HERE.

Use Your Eyes And Ears!

Hammer Records has always been impressed with Vancouver musicians and their dedication to their music. This new record from Quartered is amazing. This is the sound I think of when I hear the name Quartered. If your into anything progressive then you have to check this out! Check out their Facebook page HERE.

Just Leave It To Luck

Check out this charming tune from Noah Edwards! Check out his Facebook page HERE.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Seeing Giants

Mike Body's new single "Seeing Giants" features King Medullah is a great track! Reminding me of a young Kayne West mixed with Pitbull. A well produced instrumental behind his rap. Some solid production, but nothing that takes it to the next level. When King Medullah lays down his bridge you can hear the double tracking which differentiates it from the rest of the track. The chorus is catchy and you can definitely bob your head to it.

The music video is well shot and well edited. I wish there had been a bit more stylizing of the shots. It gives a gritty look yet not too dark that its authentic.

Its great seeing Christian artists deliver their message in a format that isn't too in your face. Positive message through some dark tones. Hammer Records artist Rayne has a similar view.  Check out his Facebook page HERE.

Having A Bit Of A Different Day

Montreal has always been full of great music. We know a few Vancouver bands that have moved out there JUST to play the Montreal music scene. Some great venues, good promoters and TONS of awesome bands! One of those bands are called Different Days. This pop rock group has some pumping tunes, catchy hooks and a great sound.

Their 5 track self titled EP is full of well produced tracks. A mix between Metric, Paramore and even a little bit of Avril Lavigne in there. Full of dynamics I can only imagine the songs would look great on stage! Using the age-old Nirvana/Pixie technique of quite verses with loud chorus really allows separation and allows the listener to pick up on the structure of the song quickly. You can hear some punk influences in the tracks but without making things messy.

I love seeing bands evolve and grow. I would keep my eye on these guys and hopefully see them keep playing shows, growing their fan base and writing more catchy tunes!

Check out their Facebook HERE.

Get A Crane To Lift This Rock!

The Cranes are a rock band based out in Montreal. Their music has so many different flavours in it but the overall vibe is always upbeat and sure does make your head bop!

Bringing in Ska influences on some tracks, heavier influences on others really adds dynamics to their album. Their 9 track EP is well produced and well written. The vocals are incredibly rock and roll with both great tone and a fantastic amount of grit. The guitar work is simple enough in parts but can really bring out the shred when needed. The bass rides along and really fills out the sound. The drums are fantastically placed and once again perfectly built to fit the rock genre.

This album is a must check out for those rock'n'roll lovers. "Let Them In" is my personal favourite. I hope to see these guys live and see them kick butt one day!

Check out their website HERE and their Facebook page HERE.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Living In A Picture Frame

Some songs are well written songs, but sometimes just lack that slight push into the extraordinary. It could be the genre placement of the song, lyrical content, melodies or many other factors but it just seems like something is missing.

"Picture Frame" is James Faulkner's new single off his upcoming album which is due to be released next year. The track has a great sense of happiness around it. From the poppy drums to the singer-songwriter type guitar, all the instruments are well played. The vocals remind me of the band, Barenaked Ladies, a great vocal tone and a relaxed chill fun loving sound.

When you start listening to the track you can emerge yourself into this world inside a picture frame. The whole song tends to stay on one level. The chorus doesn't really differentiate itself from the verses enough in my mind. Its a very similar melody that is catchy but not distinct or memorable enough to be the final hook.

The bridge takes thing to a different level but at the same time I would have loved to the vocals step up and try something more vocally challenging. This would have been a perfect time to add some grit and sadness because the lyrics take a darker tone. The guitar solo seems almost like the whole song was written around it instead of the other way around.

Overall its a well written song, but something about it just is missing. If you get a chance take a listen to  his Tom Cochrane cover and it will give you a real sense of what emotions his voice can deliver. Also you get to hear him with a full orchestral band behind him which looks great!

Check out his website HERE and his Facebook page HERE.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hammer Records: Film Scoring Samples

Hammer Records has scored a few films in the past. We're opening our doors once again to any film crews or directors that would like to work with us! Check out our samples below and please contact hammerrecords@hotmail.ca if you are interested.

Its A Chinese Winter

I stumbled across a film I scored ages ago and would love to share it with you! It's a tale of love and loss. Triumph and trouble. Check it out if you have the time!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Do It For The People! Blankfest!

 Blankfest Vancouver is proud to announce its third annual clothing / fund raising event on November 8th at the Railway Club in support of the city’s homeless with proceeds going to aid the Covenant House, the non-profit shelter that helps the cities street youth from age 16-24 who have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse, along with those who have been forced from their homes or those who have aged out of foster care. Over the last three years, the music charity event has created awareness and collected nearly $2,000 and over 250 blankets / winter clothing items for Vancouver’s homeless.
SIN Agency and Blankfest-Vancouver organizer Leanne Harrison comments:
“This is our third year working with Covenant House Vancouver and we are very proud to be an advocate of their initiatives and programs. Vancouver has come out in full force in the past 2 years so we are really hoping for the same this year.”
Covenant House, founded in 1997 is a non-profit organization that offers a clear exit from life on the street to youth aged 16 – 24. They make this possible through a carefully designed Continuum of Care including a daily drop-in, a 54 bed crisis shelter, transitional housing, relapse prevention and life-skills training.
“Blank-Fest provides significant support to the homeless youth Covenant House serves. We’re looking forward to the third Vancouver Blank-Fest; the generosity of the Blank-Fest team, participating bands and patrons helps Covenant change the lives of over 1,400 young people a year”.​ – Mark Savard, Development Officer – Community Giving (Covenant House Vancouver)
If you would like to help please call (604) 638-GIFT (4438) or visit http://www.covenanthousebc.org.
This year’s event will see local Vancouver bands and artists come together performing to raise awareness, funds and clothing for the city’s homeless.
As the event slogan goes, ‘It’s About The Homeless, Nothing More, Nothing Less.’.
Blankfest Vancouver is just one of many events across North America inspired by founder Kenn Rowell, who has been organizing Blankfest in New York City since 1997 and has encouraged others to hold Blankfests in various parts of the USA, Canada (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary) and Europe to help the homeless with the support from their music communities
Check them out on Facebook HERE.

Nerds Unite!

Come One! Come All! For a night of EPIC fantasy! with your swords, your knights in shining armor, and your beer maidens as Aesir Promotions presents Vancouver, BC’s fourth annual NerdFest at Rickshaw Theatre on November 8th. Headlined by Whithorse, YT’s The Whiskeydicks, a group of Celtic Gypsy party rockers who have spent the better part of a decade carving a reputation for themselves as “One Hell of a Good Time” using fiery fiddle licks, cello played like a bass, bombastic trumpet, vivacious drum beats, energetic guitar strumming, and voice to tell stories of good times past. The Whiskeydicks play songs people know but in a way they’d never imagine. Their formula works and has earned the band acclaim from audiences everywhere. Nerdfest will also be their CD release show for their new self-titled and fourth studio recording.
“If Gogol Bordello and the Corb Lund Band got drunk, hooked up and then nine months later popped out a little whippersnapper, that baby would probably be the Whiskeydicks. That is to say this BC-by-way-of-Whitehorse band combine various elements of Celtic, country, rock and Gypsy music and filter them through punk sensibilities and a rowdy disposition.” – Exclaim! Magazine
In addition to the headliners, the night includes a variety of entertainment with Diamond Minx (Vancouver’s Blonde Bombshell of Burlesque), live music from the Hyperacoustic Prog-Rock band Runaway Four (formerly Tasty Animals), sword fighting demonstrated by Academie Duello (video), magic, roaming medieval actors, a costume contest plus vendors of all types selling their goods and services that will bring out the nerd in all of us. This is an event not to be missed!
Nerdfest organizer Morgan Zentner comments:
“NerdFest is gearing up for it’s fourth year in Vancouver, BC this November 8th. Over the past 3 years we’ve had a variety of acts, vendors and performers with each year gaining more momentum than the last. With the help of a great group of volunteers, the Rickshaw Theatre staff and our generous sponsors, NerdFest IV will be the biggest event yet! This year we will have veteran performers The Whiskeydicks, Runaway Four (formerly Tasty Animals) and Academie Duello and we will be adding to the roster Diamond Minx, Mr YoYoThrower and more acts will be announced soon.  Of course we will have the ever popular costume contest so we encourage everyone to grab your favorite costume and join in the fun.”
Check them out on Facebook HERE.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Those Darn Lying Lions

Liars And Lions released a teaser video with some heavy riffs! Give it a watch! Looking forward to the album!

Fix It In The Mix

Recording starts with a good song finishes with a good mix to bring out its full potential. We offer competitive prices and a solid product in a timely fashion. Check out below our samples and see if we are right for your project! All genres welcome!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Thunderstorm Thoughts

Music is always about self expression. Many great tunes have come from inspiration such as love, hate, even oppression. A whole genre of music (blues and jazz) came from racial oppression. Folk has long since been a safe harbour of people expressing their ideas through songs. Bob Dylan has created a whole career just based on that!

Brahma Blue has created a 23 track album over one night during a thunderstorm. 1 microphone created such an organic feel its as if your sitting with him on his floor and hearing him whisper sweet nothings into your ears. Having such an original and tonally rich voice, sometimes it doesn't even matter what he is singing about, all that maters is that it just flows into your cerebellum. So grab some headphones and crank this album up with a nice cup of tea and enjoy.

Check it out HERE. His Facebook is HERE.

If I Love You, Will You Hold Your Love Against Me?

Being a musician is hard. No way around it. Tons of people are creating great music that will never reach the ears of the public. Zalesko is one of those artists. 20 albums under his belt and still pumping out music. We took a look at "Hold Your Love Against Me".

This album is meant to put on a chill parties or while your relaxing on a sunday morning. Full of diverse musically stimulating tracks. The vocals are just far back enough in the mix to not have to focus on the words but to just let your mind wander. Each track is a groove based psychedelic rock anthem. Think Woodstock, everyone is just chilling out and excited to just be there and experience the experience. This album is just that, don't take it for trying to be a top 40 hit or a new revelation in music, just enjoy it. It reminds me if Bob Dylan teamed up with Eric Clapton and sat together in a hookah lounge.

Check out the album and all his other work!

Where The River Divides

Hailing from Richmond, River's Divide shared with us their 6 track album and it sounds fantastic! Some classic rock twang bringing back a Blue Oyster Cult sound mixed with some modern sounds like Oasis create this lyric driven rock album.

Catchy melodic riffs help fill out the sound of the first track titled "FalseHoods". The album is full of a diverse array of tracks such as "Everything Enter" which has more of a funk rock feel. Having all four band members sing really adds flavour and depth to each track. The true essence of the classic rock era was the complex harmonies and River's Divide did a fantastic job adding that into this album. The guitar work is fantastic and really brings out that 70's era guitar sound like the Allman brothers with some Hendrix thrown in there.

These songs are really stories told with a musical background. Definitely worth checking out! Below is the album and check them out on Facebook HERE.

The Moon Is Rising

Demoing is an important part of song writing. It's all fine and dandy to write songs, but until you actually record it, even with just phone, can you actually hear what it sounds like. Sy Du has recorded some cool demos and from a producers view I can hear the ideas formed into what they could actually sound like. From a common listeners ear some people might dismiss these tracks. Lots of people are so used to hearing the final polished songs on the radio that their ears just cannot adjust to anything rawer than than.

These tracks sound to me more like southern rock or stoner rock than straight blues rock. Granted, stoner rock is basically just a little more progressive blues rock. With the style of vocals on the track right now I could see more of a spacier far out direction of production than just a standard blues album. The vocals could use a bit of tuning or just a couple more takes to order to achieve the desired result. The bass sounds nice and thick and rounded and the overall ideas and pretty solid.

Check out the tracks below!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Getting Sly With Things

Musician creation is one of the most magical things in existence. Some people create music for themselves, some people create music to make money, and some people find a balance of the two. There is no wrong way or right way to create music. Katie Sly has been creating music since she was very young. Plenty of musicians have done that, but she decided to take things to the next level and chase her dreams. She travelled down to LA to attend school to gain a Associates Degree In Bass Performance. Once she returned to Canada she founded Steel Vibrations, a music and media production company, utilizing her industry experience.

She has started creating her own solo work in 2011 and has released a radio ready single titled "Progress". This piano driven track has a great laid back ambient feel. The production value sounds fantastic and each instrument has a very natural and rounded tone. "Progress" reminds me of some tracks by "Moby". Musically stimulating but the track just seems to slowly evolve into other ideas. As far as being a single for radio its not really fitted to radio length. The song structure is more flowing than most of the stuff on the radio today. The strings have a thick organic sound which fits nicely with the laid back vocals. If you want some relaxing music to listen to while reading a good book or doing some meditation I would highly recommend putting this on the speakers!

Check out her Facebook page HERE.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Go Get Yourself A Blue Tattoo

Since moving to Vancouver Island, we've noticed the abundance of blues players around here. There are a number of professional bands that go around the island playing at events, bars and basically every kind of event you can think of! The Blue Tattoo band plays some mean blues tunes all around the island. After reading a bio from each band member this band has a ton of experience under their belt so it makes sense on why their tunes are so polished already.

Playing both cover tunes and originals these guys are sure to get your groove moving and your hips shaking! It puts a smile on my face seeing a keyboard player in the mix as well. Too many times I just see a four piece blues band around town but it adds such a new dynamic to have a keyboard. The vocals have a great amount of grit to them and some great dynamics. Some great guitar work as well as classic bass lines all tied together with real laid back drums create the sound of this versatile band.

Check them out on Facebook HERE. Reverbnation HERE.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Do Your Lights Howl?

Howling Lights is an alternative band from Vancouver. For being one of the younger bands that we've reviewed, they have a great developed sound. Their self titled EP contains 5 tracks of pure alt rock.

Their first track "Fold" reminds me of a mix of U2 and Kings Of Leon. A very bass and drum driven song with great guitar flavours added throughout. The vocals remain quite chill and laid back from the most part until the very end which ends in a spectacular build leading into the final chorus. A great balance of drive and a pretty steady dynamic make the track flow nicely.

"By My Side", the second track is a acoustic driven piece which reminds me a tad of the Allman Brothers mixed with Pearl Jam. A very catch instrumental riffs breaks up the song into sections which keep it from being too singer/songwrittery. A nice gritty guitar solo full of melodic ideas adds nicely to the track.

The third track "Black And Blue" reminds me a lot of the previous track. I would have liked to see some different phrasing to distinguish it from "By My Side". Instrumentally it adds flavour by a crunchy guitar melody and a more driving chorus. In this track sometimes I found the lead guitar mixed a bit to high in the mix that it pops out too much in your face and hides the vocals. One of the most important parts of a song, I think, is to get the message of the lyrics across. I loved the tone and sound of the vocals in the first track of the EP that I wished it had been higher in the mix so you can hear all the natural grit, softness, dynamics and overall tone of the vocals a bit more.

"Clouds" starts with a nice intro. The vocals are noticeably louder and with a great radio quality balance. Right away this track struck me as the single of the EP. A little more indie/folk flavour in this track than the previous ones. This track is also structured perfectly to be both catchy but musically stimulating. I can already image a great music video for this piece.

The final track "Midtown" brings more of a indie rock flavour back into the mix with great dynamics between chorus and verses. I could have seen a little tighter drums on the pre-choruses to add some definition on some of the musical stops they have there. This track I would have loved to hear some harmonies to bring it to the next level. Its a solid track but I think with just a few adjustments it could stand out and be a great track.

Check out their Facebook page HERE

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mayans, Incas, And Then You Got Your Aztecs

Its not often we get emails from ancient civilizations, but when we do we definitely review their new album! It was a pleasure to hear such a beautiful album. Right from the opening track titled "The Benefits Of Being Alone" you can hear the level of production on this album. Im not saying that all albums need a big production budget, but its nice to  hear some really refined, well mixed tracks.

This album has a great mix of college rock and modern rock. Almost a hint of "The Smashing Pumpkins" feel in some of the tracks. The vocals has a great tone and grit too it. It has a great non-chalant vibe going on like, Im singing these well written songs, but you know, whatever. A backing vocal mixes perfectly on certain parts, really adding depth and flavour to different parts. On some later tracks like "East" you can hear the lead vocalist use a little bit more power, but does a great job without being "whiney". 

The instrumentation is fantastic. Plays great on record and I would bet my sons college fund that it would sound killer live! Great dynamics between verses, choruses and bridges. The guitar parts have some fantastic melodic lines that really contribute to the overall sound. Nice thick ridding bass that drives the songs along with a sense of purpose. The drums really keep the whole sound together. Such a straightforward rock sound with its parts perfectly fitting the feeling of the song. The drums also do a great job of not being too busy, allowing for both the guitar and vocals to have room sonically.

This album is well written, well produced, well recorded and well mixed. Therefore it creates a radio ready album that is both catchy but also musically stimulating. Check out their album HERE and their Facebook page HERE.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Certain bands become legends, others become ghosts. Either way people tend to remember them. I still get people saying "oh ya, that band" when I mention the name Hezzakya. I had a quick chat with Nat Green, drummer for Hezzakya, about the band and how Vancouver treated them.

James: Where did your band start?
Nat: Hezzakya jammed in the Renegade Studios down on Hastings street for years before they got shut down by the man a few years back. It was super convenient for playing at Pub 340. We could roll our cabinets and gear down a block and a half and be there in minutes.

James: How has Vancouver helped your bands career?Nat: It's been a great city to play in with a tonne of awesome bands.

James: What is your favourite venue to play in Vancouver and why?Nat: My favourite local venue to play was the Rickshaw since it held a lot of people and it had a big stage. We had a couple awesome shows there.

James: Where do you plan on going? Staying? Moving? Nat: All the original members still live here in Vancouver but we're no longer playing together. Mike and Brad are playing together in a new band called Destroy the Destroyer

James: Favourite Vancouver story?Nat: So many to choose from but if we're talking music related it would be when we saw Clutch, Down and Heaven and Hell all a few days apart. That was a pretty wicked stretch of 3 killer shows.

Another would have been playing at the Waldorf on my birthday with our friends from The Next Hundred Years, Black Betty and Hypnopilot (from Calgary). I was drunk as shit by the time we played but it was super fun.

James: What's in the works with the band?Nat: I'm not playing music right now as I'm busy with my internet marketing business but Mike and Brad's new band Destroy the Destroyer can be found at https://www.facebook.com/ForgingSteel

Born From The Mighty Wolf

Wolfborne is gearing up for  a huge US tour with the  release of  their upcoming album. I had a quick chat with Lanning Kann, guitarist for Wolfborne, about what Vancouver provided for the band's launch. Check out their Facebook page HERE to see all their tour dates.

James: Where did your band start?
Lanning: The band started in Vancouver

James: How has Vancouver helped your bands career?
Lanning: We have made some great industry contacts in Vancouver and there are some awesome studios to record in here.

James: What is your favourite venue to play in Vancouver?
Lanning:  My favourite venue to play is The Biltmore Cabaret. It's a cozy atmosphere and the sound is really good there. You don't need to have 500 people to make it feel packed. It's a great, small intimate, yet professional club to play in.

James: What is in works with the band?
Lanning: As far as what's going on with the band? We're leaving for tour in Europe with SOiL, American Head Charge and Hed (PE) from October 6th to November 2nd and then we are on tour with Wayne Static, Powerman 5000 and American Head Charge from November 4th to November 30th. Then taking a few weeks off for holiday and then back out on the road! Our album is released worldwide via Caroline/Universal. The release dates are staggered at the moment. Europe/UK released this past week and North America releases October 14th.