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What happens when reggae and ska meet jazz and afrobeat?

This, apparently.

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From GagaDilo’s “Skafrobalkanik Jazz Project”

For today’s track of the day I was going to choose a track off Stephen Marley’s new album, Revelation Part 1: Root Of Life, but instead I’ve opted to go with this, a song from Ellwood’s recently released Lost In Transition. Here’s why: not only should you already know how good Stephen Marley is, but I just couldn’t choose a single song off such a strong album. So, then, Ellwood.

Ellwood is a new project from Mad Caddies singer Chuck Robertson and before you ask, no, they don’t sound like Mad Caddies. I hated the Mad Caddies but love this album. I love it because of its simplicity: this is traditional, summer-time pop-infused ska. No horns, no gimmicks, just laid back reggae tinged sun soaked riddims. And if you cringed reading that, good, because I cringed writing it, but if even a small part of you cracked a grin, be it out of pity or nostalgia, Ellwood’s worth checking out. For fans of Sublime, the Slackers, etc, etc.

Check out “Sunshine Garden” below.

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We can listen to Gold Cobra all day trying to figure out just how ironically we’re enjoying it. We can listen to Taking Back Sunday all day, trying to convince ourselves that it’s a spiritual successor to Tell All Your Friends.

But of the albums released on my birthday, Junior Battles’ Idle Ages is obviously the most fun. It’s an album of sounds pop-punk forgot about. It’s an array of whoa-oh-ohs and shout-along throwbacks in the style of what most of us grew up on. It’s Blink 182 before Travis Barker, Green Day before “When I Come Around”. It’s Fall Out Boy before Patrick Stump got fat then skinny again.

Bloated rambles aside, it’s fun. I said that already, I said it again. I’ll say it a third time—it’s fun. But here’s the catch: I’m not posting a song off Idle Ages. I’m posting one off their self-titled 7”, which is free if you go here.

If you like this, go buy Idle Ages sight unseen. Do it for the days before MP3 sampling, when you bought albums on good faith and recommendations. Or, you know, for the days when you just bought albums in general.

Because we had to do it.


Hosted by Drake, who in spite of his show-leading six nominations left empty handed, this past weekend’s Juno awards were somehow pretty entertaining. Sure they made Canada’s music scene seem like little more than a conglomeration of ageing hippies and filthy hipsters, but…actually, that’s pretty much what the Canadian music scene is.

One of the biggest surprises of the night, other than Neil Young’s inexplicable victory for Artist of the Year and Shania Twain’s reference to her “Canadian Bush” was Drake’s job as a host. From his before-show Skype skit with news anchor Lloyd Robertson and Justin Bieber to his Chilly Gonzales accompanied rendition of Snow’s “Informer”, Drake was a surprisingly personable and entertaining host, but perhaps no part of Drake’s hosting turn was as goofy and peculiar as the skit you’re about to see. In it, Drake plays on the “Young Money” label by, well…harassing a bunch of senior citizens. Cuuuuuute?

Rody back in 2004 with his short-lived Danzig-inspired haircut. Photo © Kieran Meyn

It’s odd, as a journalist, to interview someone you’ve known for nearly a decade.

I’ve known Rody Walker in some capacity since I was 14. Two years older than me, Rody was the long-haired, shredded jean-wearing frontman of Ontario’s fastest growing punk band. It was 2003 and Protest the Hero, formerly Happy Go Lucky, were riding the momentum of their first real release A Calculated Use of Sound. Sure,  Search for the Truth existed, and yes, “Silent Genocide” defined my teen years, but it’s a release everyone, the band included, discarded pretty quickly once ACUoS came out.

For a lot of angst-ridden Southern Ontario teens their EP was the shit. It had it all—verbosity, technicality and political eccentricity. Drummer Moe Carlson free-flowed in a way he hasn’t since, and Rody’s passionate if shrill delivery caused many of us to lose our voices at their frequent gigs.

I was 14 when all this happened. Rody was 16. I’m closing on 23, Rody on 25, and Scurrilous, the band’s third full length, is the first time his name’s been on a lyric sheet since. Understanding Rody’s lyrics means understanding Rody, and for some that’s not easy. The reason for this intro, as long-winded as it seems, is to preface such an understanding.

Ever since Kezia came out, Rody’s been known as the loud-mouth of the band, with good reason–he is, after all,…

At no more than a year older than me, it’s remarkable just how much Sandman Viper Command sound like seasoned vets. Of course they are: they released their first album a few years ago, not long after hitting their 20s, and they’ve spent the last few years touring relentlessly. Now, the Burlington boys with the ridiculous name are finally back with some new music. As good as their first album Everybody See This was, and it was pretty good, “Rough Love” might be better. The first single off their upcoming 7″ of the same name, the track shows the progression of a band that took a step back from school to live, breathe and study music. The Beatles influence is obvious, but it’s the song’s second half that catches my fancy, going from bouncy, riff’d out jaunt to an amplifier exploding blast of Iommi-fied groove.

Listen to it, won’t you?

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This is the second of two posts. Read the first one here

Things got a lot heavier on Friday, both musically and alcoholically. Let’s just say that Saturday morning and I didn’t see eye to eye, but boy was it worth it.

Friday was an early-starter, since I was off to Sonic Boom Records to catch an early in store set by the dudes in Pkew Pkew Pkew (Gunshots), who, if you haven’t heard—and I’m betting you haven’t—are a shit-ton of fun. If you couldn’t figure it out based on their name, they take themselves less than seriously, and their sets are shout-y, hand-clapped and tambourine dominated riots. They’re what happens when indie rockers grow up on Rancid, and even though the crowd at Sonic Boom was real young and inexplicably sitting cross-legged, they were as fun as ever. From the hooks of “Asshole Pandemic” (asshole pandemic/why’s that fucking dick gotta be such a cock?) to the stomp of “Friends Don’t Let Friends Move In With Girlfriends”, their short set was a barrage of gang-vocals, synths and guitar(s) turned to eleven. The best part? I liked when Jordan (guitar) and Brodie (Vocals) high-fived with their tambourines. Yay, friendship!

Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots) – Asshole Pandemic

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Up next was Bombay Bicycle…

This is the first of two posts. Look out for another coming soon, featuring reviews of Bombay Bicycle Club, J Mascis (of Dinosaur JR), Protest the Hero and more…

Canadian Music Week, or Canadian Music Fest—honestly, at this point I’m not sure which is which—is a blur for media and musicians alike. For five days, starting last Wednesday and ending tonight, Toronto is taken over. Bars, concert halls and even the prestigious Royal York Fairmont Hotel are held captive by dudes with beards, girls with bad haircuts and eager but demanding publicist types.

This year I decided to take it easier than I have in years past, and rather than blindly stumbling from bar to bar, I decided to pick and choose my spots. For me, Canadian Music Fest started on Thursday with the Wilderness of Manitoba who were, for lack of a better term, fucking awesome.

I’d only been exposed to them through a few videos posted over on the forums, but I liked what I heard. I liked it even more live.

Playing a relatively short 35 minute set, it’s pretty surprising how many sound shifts they went through. They started with cello accompaniment, and brought a lot more ambient sounds than you’ll typically hear in the Toronto folk scene. The drums were pretty overpowering—they were thunderous and crashing, again not something you’ll usually hear in folk. Not just in their first few songs but throughout their set there was a real sense of texture to their music,…

Dan Mangan’s Nice, Nice, Very Nice was shortlisted for last year’s Polaris Prize. Unfortunately, it didn’t win, Karkwa (who?) did with Les Chemins de Verre, beating out Mangan and other big names like Broken Social Scene, Caribou, Shad, Tegan and Sara and the Sadies.

So basically the Polaris Prize is kind of a crock, but if you’re from Canada you probably knew that already. But if you’re from Canada and don’t know Dan Mangan, well, you’re kind of a crock, too.

Maybe Nice, Nice, Very Nice isn’t the best album on last year’s short-list, but fuck if it isn’t close to it. “Robots Need Love Too,” the album’s second single, is a lot of fun, but as fun as “Robots” is, it’s nothing compared to the album’s third single.

“Sold” is everything that makes Dan Mangan stand out in an increasingly oversaturated market of quirky folk pop—namely, it’s really good. The track adds a bit of Barenaked Ladies into one of Mangan’s twangiest songs, and it’s all nicely carried by his somehow gruff-yet-boyish vocals.

And the video’s kind of cool, too. So watch it—and listen to the song—here. Pretty please?



How bad does a song have to be to get rejected from a free-to-download tribute album?  Listen to Thursday’s cover of Bad Religion’s  “Generator” and decide for yourself.

While Geoff Rickley & co. manage to redeem themselves ever so slightly in the song’s straightforward second half, it’s no small feat how the first half of the track turns a punk classic into a bunch of moaned gibberish. Listening to the first half of the song had me thinking that it might be the worst thing I’ve heard all year, and I just finished listening to a song by Clown from Slipknot’s side-project. How’s that for context?

If you think I’m being hyperbolic you obviously haven’t heard the cover, so click the play button and decide for yourself

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Your ears not bleed out? Why not listen to the original in it’s un-neutered glory.

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Oh, and if you want to download Germs of Perfection: A Tribute to Bad Religion, click here. Don’t worry, this song isn’t on it. Instead you’ll get covers by the Weakerthans, Frank Turner, Tegan and Sara and many more.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “songs about Satan are great and everything, but I really wish more death metal bands wrote about dinosaurs,” then this track’s for you.

Here’s “Reptilian Age,” the fourth track off Blood Rainbow’s Lethal Message.

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THE BLOOD OF PREHISTORIC ANIMALS WAS FLOWING LIKE WATER
WHEN THE T-REX WAS TEARING THEIR FLESH
SCALED TITANS WERE WANDERING THE BLEAK LAND
THEIR RACE EXTINCT THOUGHT, THEIR GENES ARE WAITING FOR THE COMEBACK

FROM THE DEPTHS OF TIME
GIGANT ANCESTORS

THEY ARE RUSHING TO US THROUGH THE FOG OF AGES
HAVE RECORDED THEIR NAMES AMONG THE IMMORTALS
YOU CAN BE A HERO IN A PAST ERA
COME WITH ME AND WE WILL FLY TO THE REPTILIAN AGE

THE FOAM OF THE ANCIENT OCEAN IS COLOURED RED WITH BLOOD
THE WILD SEA REPTILES ARE BITING EACH OTHER
GIGANT PTERADONONS RULE THE SKY
THEY PROUDLY LOOK DOWN AT THE LAND SEEKING PREY

FROM THE DEPTHS OF TIME
GIGANT ANCESTORS

THEY ARE RUSHING TO US THROUGH THE FOG OF AGES
HAVE RECORDED THEIR NAMES AMONG THE IMMORTALS
YOU CAN BE A HERO IN A PAST ERA
COME WITH ME AND WE WILL FLY TO THE REPTILIAN AGE

REPTILIAN AGE! A PAST ERA
REPTILIAN AGE! FROM THE DAWN OF EARTH
REPTILIAN AGE!
FORGOTTEN WORLDS

I haven’t been the nicest to Dallas Green over the years but I’ll be the first to tell you that he does one hell of a job on Canada’s first hip-hop anthem of the new year.

That’s right, I said hip-hop.

Last week Consequence of Sound premiered “Live Forever”, one half of Two Songs, the upcoming charity 12” by Shad and Dallas Green. Shad, for those of you who don’t know, is absolutely fucking awesome. Last year he put out TSOL, his third entry into the imaginary Canadian Hip-Hop Hall of Fame. Like Shad, TSOL is also fucking awesome.

Do you know what else is fucking awesome? “Live Forever”, which you can hear below.

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If you like what you hear and feel like supporting the Skate4Cancer you can pre-order Two Songs at MapleMusic. Act fast, though, because with a limited pressing of just 556 copies I imagine City & Colour fan girls will eat this up faster than any fat joke I can make.

Do you want to know why I’m starting to believe that 2012 is the end of the world? Because it has to be. Hell, at this point I hope it’s sooner. Consider this a small sign of the apocalypse: a couple of weeks ago, Billboard announced Nickelback’s Dark Horse as the best selling hard rock album of 2010. Dark Horse is a terrible album by an awful band, an album so bad that it relies on idiomatic blanket statements to emphasize just how bland it is. It’s like listening to dry paint. Paint which is dry because Dark Horse came out in 2008 and yet here we are, with 2010 coming to a close and listeners still finding new ways to avoid the heap-shit that is Nickelback’s sixth album.

I found this online. Isn't the world a depressing place to live?

That’s where Fred Durst comes in. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll be the hump that breaks the [dark] horse’s back. Then maybe, just maybe, we can take Dark Horse behind the shed and shoot it one, two, three times in the fucking head. Limp Bizkit has the chance to save hard rock, but for that to happen, and for Durst & co. to make my weirdest dreams come true, they’ll actually have to release Gold Cobra, their first release in a decade with their original line up. The problem is, I’m starting to think it’ll never come out.

For a lot of early-to-mid 20-somethings,…

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