Friday, December 31, 2010


 2010 was a great year for music. In this post we'll look at and listen to some of my favourite singles of the year.  My top picks for sick singles span many genres including chiptune (Anamanguchi,) dance (MNDR, Computer Magic,) garage rock (Japandroids) and punk (Screaming Females.) I've omitted songs from albums I'll cover in my next post on my favourite albums of '10.

 I Don't Mind It by Screaming Females

 This New Brunswick, New Jersey trio actually features just one 'screaming female.' That would be singer/guitarist Marisa  Pasternoster. Flanked by drummer Jarrett Doughtery and Mike Rickenbacker on bass, Pasternoster delivers a re-imagining of the feel good punk anthem on this track from their album Castle Talk.

Airbrushed by Anamanaguchi

 Anamanaguchi make "fast, loud music with a hacked NES from 1985." With Airbrushed these Nerdist theme composers have crafted a speedy and spirited single. You can listen to their new album, Dawn Metropolis, on their official site.

All I Want by LCD Soundsystem

  LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy has become known for amalgamating techno and rock. On All I Want off of This Is Happening, Murphy has fused a repetitious guitar hook with infectious beats and the result is a wholly genuine track.

Lights by Interpol

 On Interpol's self-titled album they continue making the morose music they have come to be known for. Sparse melodies and restrained vocals make Lights a stand out on their fourth album. See the odd video below that was on my shortlist for SoundProof's top video of the year.

Delirium by Motion City Soundtrack

 Minnesotan pop punk pushers Motion City Soundtrack never fail to deliver fun and fast material. Delirium off of this year's My Dinosaur Life, their fourth studio album, speaks of psychological anguish and pharmaceutical pollution and makes for an affecting track.

Do The Astral Plane by Flying Lotus

 Much like on Flying Lotus' previous albums Los Angeles and 1983, laptop DJ Steven Ellison is adept at melding techno and traditional instrumentation. Do The Astral Plane is one part disco booty shaker and one part sublime symphony.

Younger Us by Japandroids

 One of the few true singles on this list, Younger Us from Vancouver duo Brian King and David Prowse speaks of quarter-life crisis and is easily the best rock song of the year.

Wasted Daylight by Stars

 Amy Milan and her Montreal cohorts present a subdued and sweet track off of their latest album The Five Ghosts.

End Times by Eels

 Mark Oliver Evertt is depressed. A listen to the album End Times will validate that fact. Yet many artists are motivated by darker times and the title track off Eels' latest album demonstrates that Oliver has made peace with the morose. Hopefully this won't be the end of Eels. 

When I'm with You by Best Coast

 Beach rock has made a comeback; at least as far as Bethany Cosentino is concerned. And it's not a minute too soon. Best Coast's lo-fi, surf sound has been praised by critics and the video for When I'm With You will make you smile bigger than a surfer who just caught the perfect wave.

I Go Away by MNDR

  MNDR prove on I Go Away that if you have the talent, DIY recordings can sound as slick as a studio track.

The Cave by Mumford & Sons

 Mumford & Sons may be the band that will usher folk-rock back into the cool category. Optimistic and opulent The Cave is the best track off of these London boys' debut album Sigh No More.

Restoration by The Acorn

 Ottawa's own The Acorn follow up the Ear Worms EP with No Ghost. Restoration is a fast paced folkie who's video is a feat of creativity in itself.

Electronic Fences by Computer Magic

 I am certain Electronic Fences will be a leading cause of earworms for years to come.

Talking Walking Cloud by Dustin Wong

 I came across Wong's, a former member of Ponytail, Talking Walking Cloud on an indie compilation earlier this year. The track I would have presented to you is so indie it's not up on YouTube. Instead here is Wong performing and looping Infinite Love live. The song really picks up around the 1:40 mark.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


 Holiday music can be more maddening than merry. If listening to The Little Drummer Boy for the umpteenth time has pounded the holiday spirit right out of you; here are some alternative X-mas songs for Millennials.

Garfunkle and Oates - Present Face

Raveonettes - Baby Please Come Home / Come On Santa

The Kinks - Father Christmas

The Muffs - Nothing For Me

Ramones - Merry Christmas

Peter and the Test Tube Babies - I'm Getting Pissed for Christmas

The Dickies - Silent Night

Blink 182 - I Won't Be Home for Christmas

Phantom Planet - Winter Wonderland

The Vandals / No Doubt - Oi to the World

Mighty Mighty Bosstones - This Time of Year

Monday, December 6, 2010


 To coincide with the recent release of Land of Talk's latest album, Cloak and Cipher, here is the full interview I conducted with Elizabeth Powell at Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest 2009. A condensed version I wrote for SoundProof Magazine appeared in 24 Hours Ottawa.

 Land of Talk's set at Ottawa Bluesfest '09 was a victim of circumstance. Originally set to take to the Blacksheep stage at 4:45 pm, their set was switched to 6:15 pm. Then the band's start time was abruptly changed to 4:15, which resulted in me missing their set. Dejected and disappointed I retreated to the media room. Luckily for me, and for you dear readers, with help from festival staff I landed an interview with Land of Talk front woman Elizabeth Powell. Personable and cheery, Powell’s bright disposition was the perfect contrast to the gloomy, rainy day.

Bradley: I am so sorry I missed your set, how did it go?  
Elizabeth Powell: There were a few technical snags, other than that I thought it was a pretty beautiful set. From our perspective looking out over the little hill and the sun was pretty low in the sky and the clouds were hanging; it looked like there was a sense of impending doom because you could see all the dark clouds approaching. The rain didn't hit until after our show but yeah it was beautiful.

B: You have been touring a lot lately. How has the road been treating you?
EP: We released the album [Some Are Lakes] in October and we toured with Broken Social Scene. I was also singing with Broken Social Scene and playing guitar with them on that tour. That was until December and then I blew out my vocal cords. We had to cancel all the January, February and March shows. They thought I had to get surgery which I avoided. I completely healed on my own, it just took a lot longer. Now I have to wear those in ear monitors, which is better, I can hear myself better.

B: You played in various bands in Guelph before creating Land of Talk. Did those experiences shape the musical identity you possess today?
EP: Sometimes I get frustrated that I don't as sound as much like basement rock or indie pop-rock. It was a real Guelph sound. There was Jim Guthrie and the Constantines; well some of them are from Guelph. There was a total scene there it was very authentic. It was very punk rock. Sometimes I get frustrated that I haven't kept all of that. On the next album you are going to see us trying to get closer to what made me want to play music in the first place.

B: You have said the music you played before was much quieter than Land of Talk's sound. Is that accurate?
EP: It was much quieter then and that's why I started playing with other people. I thought there was probably a better way to achieve the sound I wanted, which was kind of a Blonde Redhead, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, Tortoise, Nirvana kind of sound.

B: Have you toured extensively in the States?
EP: We got started in the States. We were asked to replace Hot Spring. They couldn't make it to a 'Musique Sans Frontieres' show which is a 'music without boarders' kind of thing in New York. So they recommended us and we went. We got a lot of buzz. People started blogging about us and we landed a tour with Fiery Furnaces. That was our first tour we didn't even have a label we were still burning CD-Rs and making our own little packages. We just kind of went from there and then in Canada we started playing shows here and there. But we haven’t really done a lot of extensive touring in Canada it's kind of hard as a lot of stuff is really far away. It’s like '800 hours until Winnipeg.'

B: The song Magnetic Hill from Applause Cheer Boo Hiss is one of my favourite songs. What is it about?
EP: (Laughs) It’s not about Magnetic Hill. Our drummer, Bucky [Mark Wheaton] is from Moncton, he will just call out the names of the songs. Like Speak to Me Bones. A lot of our song names are just Bucky throwing out some wacky idea. It’s really just more quirkiness and being nonsensical. 

B: What is coming up in the future for Land of Talk?
EP: We are rehearsing to record on this week and then we are doing an EP. We are going to do a cover of one of my favourite musicians Mary Margaret O’Hara. She was born in the ‘50s; she is from my mom’s generation. My mom went to art school with her. She had an album released in ‘88 called Miss America; it's amazing I think it's very hard to get. It took me 3 months to get it. I ordered it. We are doing one of her songs because I grew up with that album on vinyl. The EP [2009's Fun and Laughter] will also have 4 new songs, we are recording at Breakglass studio in Montréal.

B: Thank you so much for your time.
EP: No, thank you. You really warmed me up; I hope I didn’t ramble on too long.

Cloak and Cipher was recorded from October 2009 to January 2010 also at Breakglass studio. Produced by Jace Lasek, in addition to Powell the album features Andrew Barr on drums, Eoin Olaoghaire on bass and members of Arcade Fire and Stars.

Quarry Hymns from Cloak & Cipher (2010)

Friday, December 3, 2010


 As winter begins its slow icy slink many of us are less likely to venture out to socialize. While you may not be succumbing to sociopathic traits, if the chill is keeping you in then curl up with these seven cordial songs. Anti-social anthems for those are alone; by option or otherwise.

Afraid of Everyone by The National from High Violet (2010)

 The National may have broken through with this year's High Violet, however this is the quartet's fifth effort. Originating in Ohio, the band is made up of two sets of brothers, Scott and Bryan Devendorf and Aaron and Bryce Dessner, along with deep-voiced singer Matt Berninger. I enjoy this album, but it makes me afraid that this track was featured on the show with some of the worst acting ever recorded

I Don't Want To Be Friends With You by The Shop Assistants from The Shop Assistants (Will Anything Happen) (1986)

 Although they produced great tracks like this one and Ace of Spades, Scottish '80s band the Shop Assistants failed to make a lasting impression on music listening audiences. Perhaps this is because their original, terrible, name was Buba and the Shop Assistants. Their self-titled album spent one week at #100 on the UK album charts, giving the band the distinction of being one of the least successful acts to ever hit the national charts.

Get Me Out of Here by The Muffs from Narduar Compilation/Hamburger (1991/1999)

 Kim Shattuck and company have been kicking around the pop punk scene for close to twenty years. More punk than pop, Get Me Out of Here is lo-fi, abrasive and was the band's first released recording. The song initially appeared on a compilation put together by curious Canadian journalist Narduar, 1991's Narduar the Human Serviette Presents Clam Chowder & Ice Vs Big Macs and Bombers, and then on the rarities album Hamburger.
"Not bad for a four track recording. I only regret the awful Guitar Center reverb on the vocal," Shattuck wrote in Hamburger's liner notes.
The Muffs recently completed a tour of Europe and are close to releasing a follow up to 2005's Really Really Happy.

Gotta Gettaway by Stiff Little Fingers from Nobody's Heroes (1980)

 Frequently referred to as "The Irish Clash," Stiff Little Fingers began as Highway Star until these Belfast boys discovered punk and changed their name in honour of the Vibrators. Gravel-voiced singer Jake Burns is the only "finger" (I assume he would be the middle one) to remain through out the band's history. Many critics have been dismayed by the band's release of numerous live and compilation albums in recent years, however Burns announced in 2007 that an album of new material is in the works. Listen to the album version of Gotta Gettaway here.

Stop Looking At Me by Epoxies from Epoxies (2002)

  Roxy Epoxy of the Portland "robot garage rock" band Epoxies may have an aversion to prying peepers, yet it's hard not to look when the music sounds so sweet. Formed in 2000, their self-titled debut touches on subjects such as consumerism, war and futurism and includes new wave-inspired tracks like Bathroom Stall, Molded Plastic, We're So Small and Stop Looking At Me. After the release of the My New World EP in 2007 Epoxies disbanded. Roxy went on to release Band Aids On Bullet Holes in 2009 and the band reunited for a concert in May 2010. After that Portland show, keyboardist FM Static said the audience began to "go nuts now because [a reunion] ain’t gonna fucking happen again!"

I Think I'll Run by Basement In My Loft from See The Rhyme In The Dirt And Grime (2010)

 Based out of Singapore, Basement In My Loft have penned a perfectly anti-social, if not somewhat cowardly, song. You can listen to the album version of I Think I'll Run and the rest of See The Rhyme In The Dirt And Grime on their official site.

Far Away by Tricky from Knowle West Boy (2008)

 Trip hop icon Tricky knows a lot about being alone. His father abandoned him when he was an infant. Then at age 4 his mother committed suicide. On 2008's Knowle West Boy, Tricky (aka Adrian Thaws) reports and rhymes on many subjects including his terribly tumultuous times. However with all the strife in Tricky's life he manages to emerge with a positive outlook. He acknowledges pain but ultimately looks ahead to the promise life has to offer. His latest offering, Mixed Race, was released earlier this year.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


 Gaming has come a long way since Computer Space. The arid days of analog and Atari are long gone. In their place we have the wide world of MMORPGs and other multi-player platforms like PSN. Much like the essential staple of sugar soaked soda, the gamer's soundtrack can be equally as important as their selection of snacks. In this post, we'll listen to some choice cuts for a gamer play list, which are classified to a specific gamer genre.

Heads Up, Hearts Down by I Fight Dragons - from Cool Is Just A Number (2009)
For Role Playing Games; Especially Zelda

Hailing form the windy city, chiptune band I Fight Dragons incorporate sound effects made by Nintendo consoles into traditional guitar-based rock music. The band formed in 2008 and quickly achieved success around town by winning numerous band competitions. The Deli Chicago named the band "Best Emerging Chicago Artist of 2009." While their music is pop/geek and upbeat; vocalist Laura Trainor's head and heart may be down as the band revealed she is no longer a member as of October 2010. Their latest EP, Overcool, was released earlier this year.

Fall Behind Me by The Donnas - from Gold Medal (2004)
For Racing Games

Before The Donnas went all sludge and hair metal, with 2007's Bitchin', came their most accessible and polished album, Gold Medal. Fall Behind Me is a consummate companion to the competitive racing spirit.

Sonic Reducer by Dead Boys - from Young Loud and Snotty (1977)
For First Person Shooters, Sports

Dead Boys rose out of the ashes of Cleveland cult band Rocket From The Tomb's demise. Their popularity failed to peak in North America, however these CBGB regulars are credited with influencing a slew of modern acts including Pearl Jam. Sonic Reducer would later be sampled by Beastie Boys in An Open Letter to NYC.

Take You On by Peaches - from I Feel Cream (2009)
For Any Versus Game

The majority of Canadian electroclasher Peaches' music harmonizes competently with any gaming experience. Aggressive in nature and based in synthpop, Peaches' pulsating track Take You On matches perfectly with a classic kart game or any versus play.

Going Steady by Death From Above 1979 - from You're A Woman I'm A Machine (2004)
For Any Game

DFA 1979's pulsating music has been featured in various forms of media including games like Project Gotham Racing 3 and Tony Hawk's American Wasteland. See Musical Duos part I for the history behind DFA 1979.

Blitzkrieg Bop by The Ramones - from Ramones (1976)
For Sports Games, Racing 

A popular sports rallying cry, Blitzkrieg Bop was named "18th Best Guitar Song of All Time" by Rolling Stone and can motivate any gamer to get revved up and ready to go.

Broken Face by Pixies - from Surfer Rosa (1988)
For First Person Shooters, Survival Horror; Especially Zombie Games

Frank Black's screeching vocals and Joey Santiago's frantic guitar work on Broken Face exemplify the Pixies punk knockout punch. Perfect for pulverising perished people in games like Dead Rising 2 or hunting down hicks in Red Dead Redemption.

A Song to Sing When I'm Lonely by John Frusciante - from Shadows Collide With People (2004)
For MMORPGs; Especially World of Warcraft

The title of this gamer playlist entry says it all.

Hot Night Crash by Sahara Hotnights - from Kiss & Tell (2004)
For Racing Games, Sports

Hot Night Crash is played in Burnout 3: Takedown and Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam. This garage rock refrain by four Swedish ladies is apt for any game in which you try not to crash and burn. The band's latest album, Sparks, is a collection of covers and includes a rendition of Foo Fighters' Big Me.

Pacman by The Hextalls - from Get Smashed (2010)
For Arcade Games; Obviously Especially Pacman

The Hextalls' album Get Smashed is essential for any gamer who adores pop-punk. Many of their songs allude to gaming, yet their effervescent tracks also speak of relationships (I Met Her At The Ropetow), hockey (I Don't Wanna Be A New York Ranger), alcoholism (I'm Not An Alcoholic!) and one appears to be about pleasuring yourself to country music (My Dad vs. Shania Twain.) This Vancouver-based band is a new incarnation of the now defunct outfit Dr. Evil and much like crashing a castle, The Hextalls may soon be a favourite of Canuck gamers everywhere.

Horse Power by The Chemical Brothers - from Further (2010)
For Racing Games

Realistically any electronic music acts as an adequate addition to the gamer's experience. However some techno songs that feature vocals can distract the player. Horse Power is not only the title of the track but those two words are the only words spoken through out the song, keeping it simple. Further is the first Chemical Brothers album not to feature vocal collaborations. Furthering its pitch perfectness as an addition to a gamer play list.

Phantom by Justice - from Cross (2007)
For Any Game

Hugely popular French house duo Justice's music has been featured in games such as Grand Theft Auto IV and DJ Hero. Honestly any track from Cross fits well with gaming. My pick, Phantom, has the electronic pair doing their best distorted Daft Punk impersonation.

Threshold (8 bit) by Brian LeBarton - from Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Soundtrack (2010)
For Arcade 

L.A.'s Brian LeBarton enjoys incorporating odd instruments into his music. Skilled at manipulating the children's toy Speak & Spell, LeBarton was recruited by Beck to be his keyboardist/musical director in 2004. LeBarton also contributed this track for the Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Soundtrack, which is so retro you may be reduced to a pile of tokens.

Friday, November 5, 2010


 Thanks to the institution that is Major League Baseball, the Simpsons Halloween special is always shown the following week in November (this year includes a Twilight spoof, yawn.) So every year I seem to have Halloween on the brain long after the holiday is over. If I close my eyes, I can still taste poisoned candy and hear the soft thuds of toilet paper enveloping your house. As horror movie marathons are a staple of the season, in this post I'll run down some morbid movie marathon essentials. These films are paired with a corresponding song, ready to be heard during bathroom breaks. Alternatively you can put them on your iPod as you chase after the kids who just smashed your decaying jack-o-lantern.

Scary Movie: Halloween (John Carpenter's 1978 original or Rob Zombie's 2007 reboot)

 The original was an anomaly of it's time. Produced for under $400 000, it grossed $60 million worldwide. Producer Debra Hill admits Jamie Lee Curtis was cast simply for the fact that she is Janet Leigh's, of Psycho shower scene fame, daughter. Tame by today's standards, at the time critics blasted the film for encouraging sadism and misogyny. I can only imagine what those critics would say had they seen Rob Zombie's 2007 reboot. Ultra-violent is an understatement for Halloween version 2.0. Zombie envisioned Michale Myers as a dog-eating psychopath and Scout Taylor-Compton's Laurie Strode is a fragile victim in the first film. By 2009's Halloween II she becomes as unhinged as her murdering brother. If Zombie does make a Halloween III, prepare for Laurie to don the William Shatner mask.

Accompanying Song: Halloween by Sonic Youth

Scary Movie: Rosemary's Baby

 Understated and slow paced, 1968's Rosemary's Baby doesn't rely on buckets of blood or gallons of gore to terrify the audience. Instead Roman Polanksi's adaptation of Ira Levin's novel is a study in psychological horror. What woman wouldn't be repulsed to learn they have conceived the devil's baby? Look for Ruth Gordon's standout, Oscar-winning performance as a naughty neighbour.

Accompanying Song: Devil Baby by The Demonics (there are a few minutes of dead air after the song)

Scary Movie: Pet Sematary

 The death of a pet is always a somber occasion. In Mary Lambert's 1989 pic, pet death goes from somber to spooky. Personally, I enjoyed the Edward Furlong-starring sequel over this installment. Don't get scared, but a remake is in the works! Paramount Pictures has tapped Matthew Greenberg to pen the screenplay.

Accompanying Song: Pet Sematary by The Ramones

Scary Movie: The Descent

 Easily one of  my favourite horror movies ever. Neil Marshall's 2005 claustrophobic epic stars six femme fatales and a horde of subterranean scares. One thing that sets The Descent apart from other horror movies is the writing- you actually begin to care about the characters. It may start slowly but as the story builds so does the dread. The drama that precedes the darkness makes for a sort of terrifying telenovela. See The Descent Part II  for the return of Sarah and Juno.

Accompanying Song: Underground by Moist

Scary Movie: Scream (Series)

 In 1996, Scream re-invigorated the horror genre. Smart and self-aware, the original grossed over $100 million on a budget of $10 million. The movie also introduced the mainstream movie going public to Rose McGowan's nipples. While 2000's Scream 3 saw the departure of writer Kevin Williamson and with him a dip in quality, the upcoming Scream 4 has Williamson returning for what will hopefully be the best installment in this legendary slasher series.

Accompanying Song: Scream by Michael & Janet Jackson

Scream 4 trailer

Scary Movie: A Nightmare on Elm Street (The 2010 remake)

 Looking back at the original it now seems schlocky and lame. Thankfully we have the recent reboot to stir us in our sleep. While not an amazing re-imagining, music video maven Samuel Bayer's 2010 version is definitely more disturbing. Mostly because of the molestation plot line. After his Oscar-nominated turn in Little Children,I wonder if Jackie Earle Haley will be pigeon holed as a child abuser- an abhorrent fate for any actor. As for the song paired with this movie; the tempo may not cut as sharply as Freddy's faux-fingers, but who else is creepier than that "witchy woman" Stevie Nicks?

Accompanying Song: Dreams by Fleetwood Mac

Scary Movie: Dawn of the Dead (Zack Snyder's 2004 remake)

 Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead is my favourite zombie movie of all time. George Romero's original is a solid scare fest; for it's time. I mistakenly rented Romero's version once and honestly it now plays out as dated and more comedic than it was meant to be. The message of "consumers are mindless zombies" is more prevalent in the first film- yet for real petrification, I need zombies that can run as fast as blood spurting from a jugular wound.

Accompanying Song: Zombie Dance by The Cramps

Scary Movie: Natural Born Killers

 Named the "8th most controversial movie" of all time by Entertainment Weekly, movie goers either loved or hated Oliver Stone's 1994 tale of mass murder. As a whole it is not so much scary as it is simply sick. NBK is memorable not only for the violence, but for its unique style. The film contains over 3000 cuts (mostly films have around 650) and utilizes black and white, unconventional colour schemes and bizarre camera lenses to create an unparalleled package. Released before reality TV was all the rage; NBK remains a prophetic and divisive celluloid chronicle nearly two decades after its release.

 Accompanying songs: I Wanna Kill by Crocodiles

Got Love to Kill by Juliette & the Licks

Scary Movie: It

This movie terrified a pre-pubescent version of myself. Tim Curry is a true chameleon. He can play a sweet transvestite, a bungling butler and a blood thirsty monster without missing a beat. This TV movie does digress from Stephen King's novel but it's hard not to when the source material is over 1000 pages. Watch for a 2011 remake that will hopefully improve on this morbid masterpiece. Now here's Krusty, who I'll be looking for at the Treehouse of Horror this Sunday.

Accompanying Song: Send in the Clowns by Krusty the Clown

Thursday, October 28, 2010


  On a Saturday night, many young Ottawans can be found preening and polishing, preparing for a night out at the clubs. While mainstream dance clubs are the usual destination of choice- there are some alternatives in our capital city. If you are looking to escape the hordes of depthless dance floor devotees, Death Disco at Swizzles can act as your refuge from the counterfeit, crowd-pleasing masses. It is true that Death Disco is a pastiche of the goth, industrial, metal, electronica and punk scenes and it seems the darker the scene; the more accepting the individuals who make up that scene are. After all Death Disco's tag line is "sexy, freaky, fun."

Danny Gorny photo
  Death Disco is the brainchild of Ryan Clark, also known as DJ Dolston. Clark was first introduced to heavy music by Kevin Priest who fronts the Ottawa metal band The Haunting. Priest recommended Type O Negative's album October Rust and Clark credits that discovery as the catalyst for his foray into spooky music and subsequent projects. Clark was driven to create an alternative night for the city in 2007 when the annual industrial Ottawa Halloween party was abolished. Clark's dark ambitions fructified in December '07 when Re-Vamp was born; Death Disco followed in March '09.

  "We play heavy, guitar driven music. It's meant to be dark and it's supposed to be heavy," Clark said. "We've really touched a nerve with Death Disco. It is something very unique in North America."

Ryan Clark, aka DJ Dolston
  Death Disco fixture DJ Alice Keller says what the attendee will encounter at Swizzles on Saturday nights crosses all genres.

  "It's not just an industrial night, it's not just a metal night. We try to do everything. Each DJ brings their own flavour to the mix. We have our more metal DJs, like Ryan, and then the more industrial DJs, like Phil and Knived," Keller said. "I guess you could call it a goth scene. Goth is one of those terms that encompasses a lot of things yet also pigeon holes a lot of things too. Goth and industrial kind of go hand in hand."

Alice Keller, aka DJ Alice
  Independent minded music lovers and independent music also go hand in hand, however Death Disco has attracted some big names in the past and hopes to do so again in the future. Darkwave legends Attrition recently graced the Queen street stage and Clark says that their Death Disco performance was a highlight on his extensive list of concert going experiences.

  "We spent two years trying to make Attrition's show a reality and this past June we made it happen," Clark recounts. "I'm sitting there watching them, they are doing their encore and it's 'Mercy Machine' one of their big hits. TyLene [Paisley, Attrition's vocalist] comes over and puts her boot on my friend's back and says 'Everybody must kneel before the Mercy Machine' and the entire bar got on their knees.  Here we are with this massively influential British band doing their first ever Canadian show at Swizzles; what an event."

  It's big bookings like Attrition that prompt club-goers like Faith Graves to sing Clark's praises.
"Thanks to Ryan we have a better scene in Ottawa than those found in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal," Graves offered.

  As for future events, Clark has his sights set on turning Death Disco's Valentine's Day event, Everyday is Halloween, into a festival and will possibly be collaborating with event planners Harsh Reality for a Canada Day steam punk-themed event. Yet Clark's aphotic aspirations don't end there. He hopes to kick start a scene that will rival those of our larger neighbours- in the opinions of music lovers outside of Bytown's boarders.

  "Everybody sits around and talks about how Ottawa doesn't compare to Toronto or Montreal. I want everybody to know right now that the most interesting things happening in Canadian spooky music are happening right here," Clark explains. "If you're into indie live music, industrial, emo, goth or electronica we are the place to be. In ten years, I want people to look at Ottawa with the same reverence and respect that they look at New York and London's goth scenes with. That's where I want us to be. I say that unabashedly and I think we can do it. I had someone who asked if it's OK to tattoo the Death Disco logo on their arm for god's sake. We are doing what we set out to do. It's one of those ideas. Take over the world with goth industrial music? Why not? Live the dream."

  Death Disco dreamer Josh Mooney adds that however abrasive or sombre the scene may appear to be on the surface, the DD crowd are tolerant troopers.

  "Everyone is welcome here, regardless of if you are gay or straight. It doesn't matter what your background is, if you are a peaceful person you are always welcome. It's a place that accepts the differences in people and promotes positivity. We're not here to hate," Mooney said.

Death Disco
Saturday nights at Swizzles
246 Queen St.
Ottawa, ON
Join the Death Disco Facebook group

Type O Negative - Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young cover) from October Rust

TOKiMONSTA - Death By Disco from Midnight Menu

Friday, October 15, 2010


 The weather may be biting and turning bleak but the presses are burning and producing at a blistering pace; busy spitting out new releases for fall and the upcoming holiday season. In this post I'll look at the releases I'm most looking forward to and some that have recently dropped, including the delayed return of some prolific post-punk pioneers (Gang of Four), a devilish yet dainty DJ (TOKiMONSTA, album cover below), an offering from the UK's favorite pop outfit (Belle & Sebastian) and a box set from Mr. Electric Ladyland himself (Hendrix.)


Manic Street Preachers - Postcards From A Young Man

It's been fifteen years since guitarist Richey Edwards disappeared- yet that unfortunate event didn't stall the Manics' creative output. Following up 2009's Journal For Plague Lovers, Postcards From A Young Man debuted at #3 on the UK charts and James Dean Bradfield and Nicky Wire have both said the album is "one last shot at mass communication."

Manic Street Preachers - (It's Not War) Just the End of Love

Watch the one-take, embedding disabled video here.

Bad Religion - The Dissent of Man

Check off album fifteen for this renowned Californian punk band. Bad Religion continue to tell tales of dystopian doom and challenge the establishment on their latest effort, fittingly released on Brett Gurewitz's Epitaph Records.

Bad Religion - Devil in Stitches (Live)

Corin Tucker Band - 1000 Years

Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker has teamed up with Golden Bears' Seth Lorinczi and Unwound's Sara Lund for her first solo album. Tucker has called 1000 years "a middle-aged mom record," and if the first single (below) is any indication, she's a mom I'd love to bake cookies with.  

Corin Tucker Band - Doubt

Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

Lanky Kim Deal-lover Bradford Cox is back fronting Deerhunter with their fourth release. On Halcyon Digest the "ambient-punk" label is sometimes shrugged off and sometimes wrapped around their music like a warm, tattered yet comfortable overcoat.
"The album's title is a reference to a collection of fond memories and even invented ones, like my friendship with Ricky Wilson or the fact that I live in an abandoned Victorian auto harp factory," Cox said. "The way that we write and rewrite and edit our memories to be a digest version of what we want to remember, and how that's kind of sad."

Deerhunter - Helicopter

Neil Young - Le Noise

Canadian legend Neil Young has enlisted the producing prowess of Gatineau-born Daniel Lanois for Le Noise. Young's last album, Fork in the Road, left me a bit underwhelmed and I was hoping Le Noise would offer some reprieve; however recent reviews have been mixed. The album peaked at #2 in Canada and #14 on the US Billboard 200.

Neil Young - Angry World

Neil Young - Le Noise - The Film

KT Tunstall - Tiger Suit

Soulful Scottish siren KT Tunstall returns with her well-received third album, Tiger Suit. Recorded at the same German studio where Bowie laid down Heroes, Tiger Suit's blend of light rock and techno-pop may usher in Tunstall's breakthrough on this side of the pond.

KT Tunstall - (Still A) Weirdo

UNKLE - The Answer EP

British electronic outfit UNKLE have dabbled in everything from acid house to experimental rap. The Answer EP may just be remixed remnants salvaged from the scraps of Where Did The Night Fall, but still manages to be captivating and complete (for an EP.)

UNKLE featuring Big In Japan (Baltimore) - The Answer

TOKiMONSTA - Midnight Menu

Los Angeles audio architect Jennifer Lee amalgamates live instrumentation and percussion mixed up with material from vinyl and digital sources under the moniker TOKiMONSTA. Lee's past as "an unfocused pupil of classical piano" has equipped her with an ear for flowing electronica; making for a percolating primordial album.

TOKiMONSTA - Sweet Day

TOKiMONSTA - The World Is Ours

Detroit Grand Pubahs - Madd Circus

I had to include Detroit Grand Pubahs because that Sandwiches song was, and still is, stupefied/superb. Madd Circus follows 2008's Nuttin' Butt Funk and the single below is evidence the Pubahs are still capable of serving up some severely strange side dishes.

Detroit Grand Pubahs - Maybe I Do

Teengirl Fantasy - 7AM

Oberlin College cohorts Logan Takahashi and Nick Weiss are riding the chill wave to club play success as Teengirl Fantasy. Heralding back to dreamy 80's electronica, 7AM is a an album of retro/disco tracks, double-stacked with R&B and delivered on a fluffy pink cloud.

Teengirl Fantasy - Cheaters


Belle & Sebastien - Write About Love

It's hard to believe that Bell and Sebastien have been dispatching their delectable ditties for close to fifteen years. With I Didn't See It Coming, which has Sarah Martin singing lead, they continue to deliver wistful pop washed over with modern influences. 

Belle & Sebastien - I Didn't See It Coming

Less Than Jake - TV EP

Florida ska veterans Less Than Jake have put together a punk pastiche of TV theme covers. Listen to the sixteen song EP, which runs under 13 minutes, here or a large portion below.

Less Than Jakes - TV EP

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

Sufjan Stevens has straddled the line between electronic and folk beginning with 2000's A Sun Came. Since then Stevens has put out nine albums, including his latest, The Age of Adz (pronounced odds.) A follow up to the hour long All Delighted People EP, The Age of Adz appears to be Stevens' grandiose pop manifesto, which he describes as "pop songs [that are] kind of imposed over sequences of sound"

Sufjan Stevens - The Age of Adz

Kings of Leon

Kings of Leon's debut EP fructified in 2003 when four Followills locked themselves in a basement with an ounce of weed. Now on their fifth disc, KoL attempt to build on the massive success of their Grammy winning album Only By the Night. Come Around Sundown will likely feature more sexually charged lyrics not unlike those heard on Sex on Fire, Charmer and Holy Roller Novocaine.
"We're all pretty charming. We're from the South, it's been bred into us," Nathan said in an interview with Xfm.
"I'm better at break up lines, like 'Are there people following you? Because I'm seeing people behind your back,'" Matthew added.

Kings of Leon - Radioactive

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. - Record Collection

Mark Ronson is not a household name in North America; most people could identify Samantha Ronson before Mark. However unlike Lindsay Lohan's DJ squeeze, Mark Ronson won the Producer of the Year Grammy in 2008 for his work with Amy Winehouse; he has also collaborated with Christina Aguilera, Adele and Kaiser Chiefs. Record Collection marks Ronson's third album with The Business Intl. and said in an interview with The Observer that the album sounds "as if a really talented band from 1972 had got a Daft Punk CD in the mail and had to work out how to play it."

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. featuring Q-Tip & MNDR - Bang Bang Bang

Mark Ronson & the Business Intl. featuring Simon Le Bon & Wiley - Record Collection

Mark Ronson album preview

Gold Panda - Lucky Shiner

Gold Panda's interest in mechanized music was sparked as a teen when his producer uncle gave him an old sampler. By his late 20's, Gold Panda, who claims his birth name to be Derwin Panda, was remixing and producing for British behemoths like Little Boots and Bloc Party. Last year he released limited edition pressings of the singles Before and You; Lucky Shiner is Gold Panda's first full length album.

Gold Panda - Same Dream China


Jamiroquai - Rock Dust Light Star

For me Jamiroquai is an occasional guilty pleasure; years have passed where I just wasn't feeling Jay Kay and company's groove. Yet every now and then an earful of one of Jamiroquai's acid jazz joints or neo-soul tracks can alleviate a down turned mood and bust the most funktronic of funks. In addition to playing to old strengths, Rock Dust Light Star will see Jay Kay getting softer on songs like Blue Skies.

Jamiroquai - White Knuckle Ride

Jimi Hendrix - West Coast Seattle Boy

A follow up to Valleys of Neptune, West Coast Seattle Boy is another posthumous Hendrix release overflowing with previously unreleased songs and live recordings. The box set is comprised of four CDs and a DVD of Jimi Hendrix Voodoo Child, Bob Smeaton's biographical documentary detailing Hendrix's rise to fame and eventual death.

Jimi Hendrix - Castles Made of Sand (from Axis: Bold as Love - 1968)

Elvis Costello - National Ransom

Declan Patrick MacManus, or the other musical Elvis, has skipped and jumped genres over the course of his continuing career. From punk to new wave to country, Costello has set tuneful trends then turned around and deserted the movement he instigated. This gypsy-like approach to music has produced some interesting records and on National Ransom Costello has allied himself with Academy Award winning producer and songwriter T. Bone Burnett.

Elvis Costello - National Ransom trailer

N.E.R.D. - Nothing

From the trio that brought us that perennial stripper anthem Lapdance, comes Nothing. Judging by the first single (below) the album's contents won't fall into line with it's name. Which is fitting as the music buying masses have come to expect much more than "nothing" from Neptunes Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo and vocalist Shay. Nothing's release date was pushed back from a September release, most likely due to the hiring and prompt dismissal of singer Rhea.

N.E.R.D. featuring Nelly Furtado - Hot-n-Fun


Beastie Boys - The Hot Sauce Committee Pt. 1 & Pt. 2
release date unknown

Originally slated  for release in late 2009, Beastie Boys' latest album has been on hold since MCA, or Adam Yauch, was diagnosed with cancer of the salivary gland. The Hot Sauce Committee is the follow up to their Grammy winning 2007 instrumental album, The Mix Up. Hot Sauce has been broken up into two parts as the boys created arrangements in excess during the writing process and decided to classify them accordingly.
"Pt. 1, had too many songs, so we recorded some more songs; which sounds bizarre but it actually worked out, because it made it clear to us which songs were going to be on Pt. 1. Then we had this whole other album of songs," Mike D told Drowned Sound in 2009.
As of October 2010, the band posted a message on their site saying that Pt.1 will be delayed indefinitely and curiously, Pt.2 will be released in the the spring of 2011 before Pt.1 hits shelves.

Beastie Boys - Lee Majors Come Again  (from The Hot Sauce Commitee Pt. 1)

Seaweed - Small Engine Repair
release date unknown

The collective indie crowd has been awaiting new material from Seaweed for quite some time- 12 years in fact- as 1998's Actions and Indications was their last album of new material. The release date for Small Engine Repair was announced in 2007, yet Seaweed remains out of stock on shelves across the continent. Enjoy this classic Seaweed track while you cower and cry in anticipation.

Seaweed - Start With (from Spanaway - 1995)

Gang of Four - Content
January 25 2011

Post punk rockers Gang of Four announced the release of a new album last spring, however Content has been delayed countless times and no single has been released as of October 2010. It appears financial troubles are to blame; the band has teamed up with in an attempt to raise funds to finish recording as well as contribute to charity. You can watch a comment from Andy Gill and listen to the track Do As I Say here.

Gang of Four - Natural's Not In It (from Entertainment! - 1979)