By: Hilary Johnston September 26th, 2013
By: Hilary Johnston September 20th, 2013
By: Josh Parsons Septmber 18th, 2013
The Bats Pajamas have recently served up Just Ripe, a raucous and fuzzed-out appetizer of an EP. It’s a brief, brash and fun offering of contemporary garage-rock that would fit comfortably into the stereo of anyone expecting just that. The opening track, “You Get By”, sets the bristly tone of the EP within the first few bars and wastes no time drowning your ears in fuzz. The downbeat and surprisingly infectious tune was also the quartet’s choice for its latest video release and features a curious pastiche of Bollywood cut-ups.
Musical and lyrical themes are echoed throughout each track from the beginning of the EP, most notably on the albums churning closer, “Mass Telegrams”. It sounds comfortable, although some ideas occasionally wear thin past the two-minute mark. Another pitfall is a general oversaturation of distortion throughout. Although Just Ripe is packed with offbeat hooks and catchy choruses, it is unfortunate that too often they are submerged in echo and, at times, come off as muddled. Simplicity and repetition seem to be the mantra, as if The Bats Pajamas have burrowed into a cozy musical niche and decided to camp for the winter.
By: Hilary Johnston September 16th, 2013
I arrived early to the sold out Deerhunter show accurately expecting a long lineup of diehards. Before positioning myself close to the stage, I was met by a hoard of beaming, wide-eyed high schoolers, our age gap made painfully apparent by my insisting “You really should have brought earplugs.”
A hypnotic cloud darkened the Phoenix when frontman Bradford Cox took the stage, opening with “Earthquake” from Halcyon Digest. Cox’s style is intensely enigmatic, yet fashionable and charming; his deranged scarecrow demeanor visually complimenting the bizarre auditory spectacle he and his bandmates create. His eccentric genius anchors the rest of the members, whose stage manners are more understated, letting the music (and Cox) remain front and centre. Opener Marnie Stern brought an Almost Famous vibe to the show, bursting back on stage during Cryptograms’ “Hazel St” to whirl around uncontrollably. Although I found her opening act to be, well, lacking, I have to question my own opinion given Cox’s overt affection for her. In the best way possible, the performance turned Deerhunter’s songs’ most subtle layers into blaring sirens.
The sound was thick and ambient with a strong beat and a rock and roll edge that you can feel buzzing in the back of your throat. Only occasionally did they allow for a moment of repose in the vehemently slow, loud build-up that reached its climax at “Nothing Ever Happened”. The set ended with a version of “Monomania” that blasted a gust of punk wind at the crowd before returning for an encore of a jammed-out rendition of Fluorescent Grey. I left, feet numb and brain scrambled, wondering how long it will take the youngsters ears to stop ringing.
Photos by @MylesHerod
By: Shelby Monita September 15, 2013
By: Hilary Johnston September 13th, 2013
Say good-bye to Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” – radio has a new track to overplay, and ultimately kill. Arcade Fire’s latest, “Reflektor”, is not only infectiously catchy and modern, it’s also emblazoned with the vocal stylings of David Bowie and the production of LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, making, if possible, the Montreal outfit cooler than one could fathom.
The trouble is, the song feels like a deliberate hit and not necessarily their own vision. Although the lyrics touch on social commentary similarly to their previous work (“We’re so connected / but are we even friends?”), the glitz of the track, as well as its accompanying video and PR campaign, seem to be at the expense of the classic Arcade Fire spirit. The full album is slated to drop on and I can’t wait to hear how the song fits into a larger collection. Will it be as amazing as their past three albums, or is it just a rejektor?
By: Sean Carsley September 12th, 2013
Aidan Ridgway backs solid writing with mature vocals on his debut album Simple Things For Simple Minds. The best quality of Ridgway is the insightful writing. The term “wise beyond his years” can be applied here. The first track, “Anagrams”, clocking in at 7:46, carries its weight not only through its acoustic arrangement, but its haunting backing vocal (supplied by Olivia Morton). “Another Day in Nowhere” is reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” but has a more anxious rhythm and is filled with a dirty guitar and a quiet anger. This song alone makes the album worth listening to.
A funky, fun jazz beat backs “Another Side of Loneliness” that once again makes you nod your head in time. But the song remains grounded because of his timbre. Some tracks have a repetitive coffee house feel, but it’s easy to compare him with a young Dallas Green or Gord Downie for the lyrics alone. One can only hope that Aidan Ridgway will take the best parts of his debut and continue producing.
Aidan Ridgway – Simple Things For Simple Minds
By: TJ Liebgott September 4, 2013