INTRODUCING INTERVIEW – Heavy Static

 

Well this band may be heavy but they are nowhere near being static. With the pop-punk style vocals and heavy rock guitar lines courtesy of front man, Christian Patrick, Heavy Static are undoubtedly an energetic band who are on a mission. You can hear the band’s varying 70s influences in their most recent track ‘Andromeda’ (link below). This track has one purpose, to serve as all you need to understand what Heavy Static are about, and to make up your mind, – whether it be the choice of love or hate.

 

We got the chance to be introduced to the Toronto boys, to hear their opinions on the current music industry in which they operate, and their obscure passions, most notably their love of 80s horror films. “To me, [they] are so pure in their campy-ness. I’ve always loved how they unintentionally captured something that most movies today try so hard to do on purpose” This inadvertent encompassment of concept and feelings is something that Heavy Static also find themselves doing in their music. “I think we have a sound that captures something many get wrong nowadays”.

 

So are this band the coolest on the block? Perhaps, perhaps not. “Nothing done on purpose is cool. Cool is a side effect of honesty and I think that we’re a very honest band. Take yourself too seriously and you open yourself up to being laughed at. We have a very serious exterior in terms of our artwork and videos etc., but underneath that veneer is just three guys having fun.” It must, at least at times, be challenging and off-putting to operate in a new world of music where image, coolness and reputation is just as, if not more important than an artist’s music. Is this is a progressive move forward? Or a step in the wrong direction? Heavy Static go with the latter, complaining that “there’s a lack of honesty and everything is overly intentional”. Front man, Patrick goes onto say it’s resulted in “something being missing from today’s music and a big reason why I barely listen to anything new now – It’s bullshit and boring”.

 

Give Heavy Static a listen and make your own mind up here:

 

Don’t forget to also connect with them on facebook

 

IN RETROSPECT: Rush – ‘Clockwork Angels’

Words by Dan Tull

 

With the relatively recent announcement that Rush will be ceasing to do any more live tours and seemingly confirmed reports of the band’s overall retirement, the 2012 steampunk concept album of ‘Clockwork Angels‘ will become the final entry in the twenty-album strong discography of the prog-rock powerhouse. This has lead me to approach the album again, four years on, with a significantly different mind-set. In 2012 it seemed as though Rush would continue producing albums and touring until they were being propped up onstage with intravenous drips to provide them with necessary sustenance. Thankfully, this is not the case.

 

Instead, they have gracefully retired from the monumental live shows they became famed for with an appropriately gargantuan final tour, R40.

 

 

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Image: noisecreep.com

 

So now that ‘Clockwork Angels‘ may well be the last studio record the band will produce, was this always the case? It may well have been. The record presents itself initially as a steampunk concept album, which is probably about as prog as you want to go before devolving into Gabriel-esque nightmares. This is not the first time steampunk has featured prominently in music, with bands such as Abney Park and The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing being heavily dedicated to the movement. This was however the first time that Rush had ever attempted a full-bore concept album from start to finish. ‘2112‘ and ‘Hemispheres‘ certainly contain elements of this, but it took twenty albums for Rush to fully delve into it, and ‘Clockwork Angels‘ definitely delivered.

 

The album contains 12 songs with a running time of 1hr 6min. Whilst the songs are sequential, weaving a story of a young man who runs away to join an adventuring caravan and that of a dictatorial Watchmaker, they also offer parallel meanings in the bands own life experiences.

 

The lead single ‘Caravan‘ opens the album, immediately demonstrating a refined approach to the style the band had experimented on their previous album, ‘Snakes and Arrows‘. The song moves through several time signatures, syncopating the choral vocals with bass and drums. It’s a strong opener. This is perhaps the most literal track, describing the world in which we are to inhabit as we listen to the album. However, it does suggest an attitude expressed by the band. “I can’t stop thinking big” forms the simple chorus line. Is this Rush explaining their origins?

 

From this point the album can be seen as a biographical history of the band, with the ominous Watchmaker representing the inevitability of time, an aspect Rush have touched on before in ‘Time Stand Still‘. The second single, the massive ‘Headlong Flight‘, is a celebration of their time as a band. “I wish I could live it all again!” cried Geddy defiantly. By the time we reach the end of the album, we have what I consider to be the perfect final endevour for a band as huge as Rush. It ticks all the correct boxes. Quality musicianship? Yep. Extravagant songs? Yep. An eight minute single? Yep. The whole thing is as much a celebration of Rush as it is a celebration of prog rock in its entirety. Is this Rush’s greatest album? Quite possibly, but that’s a discussion for another time. In regards to finales though, I find it difficult to point to an album that signs off a forty-year career with this level of grace.

 

DT

ALBUM REVIEW. DOLLS + Fauxplay – ‘EAT IT UP’

Release date: May 20 2016

Rating:★★★★

We recieved a sneak peak into the booming, 80s-romantisised world of DOLLS in the form of EAT IT UP. This is an album that deserves to be heard, at least due to its background. The story behind DOLLS is an interesting one. Her journey began in Canada, after signing to Warner and gaining commercial success (even to the point of touring with Flo Rider), DOLLS decided it just wasn’t right. So she sacked it off and started from scratch in London with new-found friend and producer, Fauxplay. And it’s shaping up to be her best decision yet.

 

These two solo artists have united and created something distinct from anything they had done independently before. It took less then half a year for this duo to find their sound and their place in the world, and here it is: unapologetic, 80s fuzz-pop.

 

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image: dollsxx.com

Vocalist and songwriter, DOLLS, is perhaps best described as the musical lovechild of Depeche Mode front-man, Dave Gahan and Gwen Stefani. After living the high-life of Warner-funded success, she is now approaching the music industry from a different perspective. In fact, DOLLS is currently completely self-funded, and running off word-of-mouth promotion which definitely involves more risk, and will hopefully end up to be more rewarding to the DIY sensation. It is really refreshing to see a strong female independent artist do her thing off her own back.

 

 

 

Despite having ‘commercially viable’ music that could easily be swept up and supported by the larger corporate labels, knowing this about DOLLS, this album holds an almost humble vibe throughout, while listening.

 

This album demonstrates the sort of confident, unrepentant lyrics that you normally see in a groups second or third album, not on their debut (even if it is her second debut). DOLLS knows what she is, she knows what she wants, and she knows how she’s going to get it. This is emphasised especially in the tracks ‘In Control‘ and ‘Doing It Correct‘. She has the sort of iconic voice that I could easily see booming off the walls of underground London clubs following its release. She glides through the album with fiesty lyrics, surrounded by hypnotic synth lines and 80s-esk beats that take you straight into a modern party vibe, but with a sinister undertone.

 

 

So get your claws around DOLLS + FAUXPLAY’s EAT IT UP this Friday, it will do exactly as its title states – Eat you up and not let you go. 

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image: dollsxx.com
DOLL’s website is an experience in itself…dollsxx.com
You can also check out DOLLS on InstagramtwitterFacebook, and soundcloud

Also, give Fauxplay a follow on twitterfacebook and soundcloud

 

Baker out.

Alden Penner & Michael Cera live at The Boileroom

Here’s a live review of Alden Penner and Michael Cera written thnkfrthrvwforthnksfrthrvw

 Date: 22/06/2015 – The Boileroom, Guildford

 

So it all began with Michael Cera, a beloved indie/comedy actor-turned-musician collaborating with fellow Canadian alt-rock artist, Alden Penner on his upcoming EP ‘Canada in Space’ (out on 29 June), and now, they are touring Europe together.

 

With the Boileroom almost at full capacity, it is safe to say that the atmosphere was one of anticipation, excitement, and slight disbelief that Michael Cera, the man who brought us Scott Pilgrim vs. the world, Superbad and Youth in Revolt with his consistently socially awkward, obscure and lovable character was here in small-town Guildford. This tense ambiance was then intensified by the house lights being kept low throughout at the request of Alden Penner.

 

Alden Penner arrived on the stage with a warm welcome, and the gig kicked off with a stripped back delicate song consisting of only his smooth guitar melodies and beautiful voice. Things then quickly escalated with Alden welcoming onto the stage Michael Cera, with –as can be expected- a roar of applause and fangirling from across the room. Cera started off on bass, and although it was almost predictable, it was great to see the similarities between Cera’s and the character of Scott Pilgrim’s performance on bass. This moment was very quickly ruined, by someone in the crowd repeatedly shouting out requests for The Sex Bob-Ombs’s stuff to be played, even though this was Cera’s chance to do his own thing.

 

The band’s second song “Word” was a beautiful musical adaptation of the work of Canadian poet Alden Nowlan, with Penner on vocals and Cera on the keyboard. Starting off with a hauntingly gracious build up followed by a break off into a psych-rock finish, this track demonstrated the unique and intriguing sounds that can only seem to be produced by Canadians. After a superb finish, in classic kind-hearted Canadian style, Penner did something that is almost never done in music venues, asked if he was being too loud.

 

The gig continued with a distinctive psych/electro track, “Can’t believe”. It was at this point, the band showcased how diverse their sound really is. After seeing how it got the crowd moving, Cera, spoke for the first time, saying, “it’s very danceable that one, sounds good doesn’t it.” A heart-warming moment for everyone in the room.

 

As enjoyable and partly surreal as this gig was, it was unfortunately clear that this was their first gig of the European tour. There were a few instances of feedback and other technical difficulties, this was perhaps due to the use of obscure instruments and niche German mics throughout. There were also a few moments, especially (and sadly) with Michael Cera on lead vocals that I felt of lack of practice and harmony between the band members. Nevertheless, this gig was a brilliant showcase of not only Michael Cera’s wide spectrum of talent and intriguing influences, but also Alden Penner’s ability to continuously create wonderfully abstract and captivating sounds, no matter where he is playing and with whom he is playing.

Rating: 3.5/5

 

For fans of: The Unicorns, Nick Diamonds, Clues