December 28, 2010

New Years Eve plan!

Darker CirclesHello Music psychos in Toronto! Still enjoying some time off from work for the holiday season? I am here in Hiroshima spending a good time with my family. New Years in Japan is like Christmas in the North America. So I am ready to stay in and chill with them. But are you guys ready to party up? Here is a list of parties in Toronto on New Years Eve:

  • Bloodshot Bill  @ Siver Dollar 19 + cover $12.00
  • Elliott Brood    @ Lee's Palace 19 + cover $20.00
  • Raunch N Roll @ Gladstone     19 + cover $40.00
  • The Sadies 10th anniversary @ Horseshoe 19+ cover $25.00 
  • Yes Yes Y'a All  @ wreckroom  19+ cover $15.00
  • BBQ aka Mark Sultan @ Garrison  19 + cover $8.00

 There are also a number of venues which offer a dance party, including Dance Cave and the Wrongbar.
If I were in town, I would check out either Elliott Brood or the Sadies for sure. To give you a bit of a taste of both bands, here is a music clip:  `Flash` by the Sadies. 


This is a song by Elliot Brood, called ` Oh, Alberta`

Let me know if you end up going to any shows! I would LOVE to hear from you guys!! Miss you all!

December 26, 2010

Merry Xmas!

Merry Christmas Music Psychos. I hope all of you had a great time with you family and friends. I love good sprites around the holiday season. I am spending this Christmas all by myself, heading back to Japan all alone. Home sweet home indeed. But everyone has been very very generous. I actually had lots of help from the U.S custom people in the Toronto International Airport yesterday. They helped me all the way through the problem that I encountered and told me that it was a gift from them. It was very sweet of them. And of course, special thanks to you, who have been keeping me a good company, too. I am currently in the San Fransisco International Airport, waiting on my next flight to Osaka. Then I have to catch a train to Hiroshima. I still got a long way to go, don't I?

Surprising enough though, I already miss Toronto so much. I miss my friends and the city. I have been listening to Broken Social Scene endlessly because of the feeling. .So just wanted to share it with you all.

First song is Sweetest Kills. It is by far my favorite song from the new album, Forgiveness Rock Record.

And of course, I can't forget this song, Meet Me In The Basement. This song means Toronto to me.

I will be updating some posts while I am in Japan. Don't miss it!!

December 21, 2010

The Artful Vandelays are back!

It was not so long ago that the co-founder of the Artful Vandelays, Jon departed from the band to pursue a non-musical career. It shocked me to know that I wouldn’t be able to hear the intricate and delicate sound of Jon's guitar in the band. A truly heartbreaking moment...

After three months of near silence; the progressive rock quartet staged a strong return to the stage at Rancho Relaxo on December 14th, along with their new guitarist, Bryen Shi. I am not saying it because he is my friend, or co-writer. Anybody who reads this blog should know how brutal I can be during show reviews.

The moment The “new” Artful Vandelays appeared on the stage, you could feel the fan’s excitement in the air building to the max. 

The new addition is very positive – the sound of the band has changed drastically: The live show was more edgy and powerful than their latest EP. Bryen is a guitarist who does not fear to be different. He was on the stage to simply enjoy the music he played with the band. He improvised riffs and made some changes, but it was a fun part of live show! 

I have to admit, I am so ashamed of myself that I had not noticed how amazing Kevin’s bass playing was until now. Kevin blew my mind when they played one of my favourite songs, “Sign Language”. In the last few shows that I attended of theirs in the summer I was overwhelmed by Anton's powerful vocals and Braedan's complex drumming.  I thought they were the strongest players of the band. Yet, I was all wrong. Kevin’s intricate rhythms and Bryen’s style of playing is a perfect match - The Artful Vandelays are now complete… I will now proudly claim that I am the biggest fan of this band. 

One thing though I have to mention... The last song, "Tenterhooks" was not strong enough to end the show with. I felt the energy of the show deescalated in that last song.

If you missed the December 14th show, don't be sad! I have great news for you! They will play again on December 23rd (right on time for Christmas!) at The Smiling Buddha Bar (961 College Street West) AND it’s only a $2.00 cover! Click here to check out the details of the show and you will see me there before I go home for Christmas!

December 18, 2010

The Rural Alberta Advantage returns to Toronto: Dec 16th, 2010 @ Lee's Palace

We'd waited for ages, the Toronto-based three piece, the Rural Alberta Advantage (the RAA) finally had returned to home soil on December 16th at Lee's Palace after an endless tour in North America and Europe. Despite the intense year of touring, they hadn’t played any shows in Hogtown over a year.

After responding to the restless fans, the band brought a couple of songs from the new album, "Departing", which will be released in March 2011. After such a successful release of their debut album in 2009, " Hometown", the RAA strongly proved their superior talent in song writing. These new songs still carried alluring verses and beats, which I couldn't stop joining in on the hand clapping march with others in the audience.

In spite of a digital age that we live in, all the RAA needed to ignite a spark in the heart of the audience was the simple band set: An acoustic guitar, keyboard and drums. That was it. It took me on a journey to my hometown.. The high-pitched vocal by Nils and Amy's milky smooth voice well harmonized. The folk acoustic guitar jamming added more taste to the vocals. The best part of the performance was  Paul's intense drumming (I will now claim he is one of my favorite drummers aside from Darren King, from Mute Math.) I have never thought that someone would play the drums with maracas as a drumstick and it sounded epically awesome! : The drumming just melts my heart every time I go to their shows. 

 One song after another, I just wanted more and more of the RAA. They played all my favorite songs form the debut album, "Drain the Blood", "Don't haunt this place", "Edmonton", and "The Dethbridge in Lethbridge." Nils made a promise with us that they will be back very shortly. I can't wait to be a witness of the awesome RAA euphoria again when they come back with their second album.

Click here to check out one of the new songs from the new album, Departing, on Chart Atttack

P.S: The picture is not from the show due to  poor quality of my pictures from the show. This one is from V-fest in 2009

December 14, 2010

Interview with Thomas D'Arcy from Small Sins

Pot Calls Kettle BlackWe have a special guest today for the Q&A interview! Thomas D'Arcy from Small Sins answered my questions! Enjoy!

Kanae: The latest music video "Deja Vu", has been attracting a number of attention since the release in Nov 2010. (Winning AUX Throughdown vs HOT HOT HEAT (Congratulations!), and climbing up on the CBC 3 radio chart). How do you feel about it? 

Thomas: It's been great. The record has been out since late September, and that single was released shortly after that. It's been slowly climbing up various charts, and doesn't seem to be 'done' yet. To get a few months out of it like we are is really satisfying. In the past, I've put out lots of records I love, and its sad to see them come and go in the public's eye in a way that I feel is premature. When something sort of catches on it feels like all of my hard work of the past was justified somehow. 

Kanae: According to the official website, the concept of the video was created from what resources the band had it available.  Could you tell us more about how you came up with the concept for the video?

Thomas: Basically we didn't have any money to make it with. When you don't have money, obviously the range of things that you can do is restricted, and you need to operate within the confines of what you have available to you. I think that can sort of liberate you though. There are plenty of videos out there that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and many of them are totally boring to watch. It's almost like if you have too many options, and too much money to play with, you'll get distracted. When making this video, we didn't have a list of locations to choose from. It was our only option, so we had to make it work. Same goes for the lights. We never got distracted with crazy ideas, because we simply didn't have any other options. This is what we had, so this is what we made. When you know that, things can become very efficient. 
Kanae: The song, "Deja Vu",  featured the Toronto rapper, K-OS. How did you guys end up collaborating? Any stories?

Thomas: Kev (k-os) can be a little hard to nail down sometimes. He is a busy guy, and he operates on his own schedule. We only had one day on which we could film this video as people were leaving on tour, etc., so we started work without even having confirmed that Kev was in the city. In fact, from the time we came up with the concept to the end of filming was only a two day window. Frank and Micha (who shot the video) had to film him on a separate day in front of a green backdrop so they could edit him in later. That's right: Kev wasn't even there on the day of the shoot. All worked out though, and looks quite natural I think.

Kanae:The song has such an alluring guitar riff at the beginning throughout the song. (I almost thought the sound was from the synthesizer.) How did you guys compose the song?  What was the process? ( Was that main you bring ideas or you guys as a band compose songs together?)

Thomas: Steve (Krecklo) and I were working on the new material that would become this album, and somewhere along the way we both decided to upgrade to the new version of pro-tools. It comes with a bunch of free drum sequencing software and guitar amp simulators that Steve wanted to test out. The main rhythm of the song, as well as the bass line and guitar riff were both just Steve testing out the capabilities of the new software. Basically opening each plug-in, playing the first thing that came to his mind, and then moving on to the next one. There were a couple of little test riffs like that, but this one actually felt to me like it could be made in to a real song. I took lyrics from another song that wasn't really working, and layed them over his riff. A few bits of colour and an arrangement later and we had this song pretty much done on the day we started it. There are a lot of different ways that I end up writing songs. Sometimes you can work forever on something, and it just doesn't pan out in the end. Other times you sit down and write what you think is a masterpiece in five minutes. Those are my favourites.
Kanae: Can you describe 2010 in one word and can you tell us why you chose the word?

Thomas: Can we count the number, '2010', as a word. That's the only way I could think to do it. There are always ups and downs in every year, so let's keep it clerical. '2010' makes me remember everything that happened in 2010.

Kanae: Can you share anything that we can expect from Small Sins in 2011? Any plans in 2011?

Thomas:I've already started to demo some new songs. Not sure where I'm going with it yet, but it's beginning again. I have a couple of weeks booked to write in January, so we'll see what fruits that produces. Steve and I have also been talking about doing a cover record at some point. That is to say, taking one artist's record and covering it from front to back. I always though that would be a fun project. We were thinking about doing The Monks', 'Bad Habits'. Lots of good songs on that one. We also have a tour booked in March, playing Eastern Canada and then working our way down through the states to Austin for SxSW.

Kanae: At last, could you please share a message to your fan or to music psychos in Toronto?

Thomas:Party on.

Thank you so much Thomas for your time! we can't wait to hear from you again for any updates in 2011! Here is the video for Deja Vu! Enjoy!

December 12, 2010

Broken Social Scene Day 1: December 9th, @ Sound Academy

Toronto super collective, Broken Social Scene, is just like an All Star game: You get to see the best of Toronto musicians in one shot. It was the first of two hometown shows for the band, which has been on a world tour this year after releasing their 4th album Forgiveness Rock Record. The founder of the band, Kevin Drew, even mentioned during the show that it's amazing, but he doesn't know who will be on the stage at any one time for people are just coming and going for each song. (I was very impressed with the instrument tech  on the left side corner of the backstage prepping and handing gear to the performers during the show.)  But that's what made the gig so unexpected, dynamic, and entertaining. This is what the audience came to see.

The lulled crowd were a bit slow to energize due to the long wait, but the atmosphere picked up quickly by the third song, "Texico Bitches" when Amy Milan (Star) and Leslie Feist jumped on the stage with the rest of crew. The energy of the performance bumped things up and accelerated from that point. It was just like a perfect Christmas gift from the band. You were sitting in front of a Christmas tree, awaiting to open a number of presents from underneath. Each time you opened a present, you are filled with surprise and wonder - you scream "OMG OMG OMG! thank you, thank you, thank you!!" - Just like this. I definitely went "OMG!" when Leslie Feist came back on the stage and played her hit song, "Feel It All". Another gift from the band was "Anthems for a Seventeen Years Old Girl" and "Sweetest Kill": these two songs were just so beautifully performed, evoking tears.

In addition to the full attendance of the regular tour including Kevin Drew, co-founder of the band, Brendan Canning, Justin Peroff, Andrew Whiteman, Charles Spearin, David French, Sam Goldberg, Lisa Lobsinger, and John McEntire, a number of musicians joined during the show, such as Jason Collett and James Shaw - the guitarist for Metric, coming out to play for their hometown. My favorite part of the show was when Kevin and Andrew harmonized a verse of either guitar or vocals. The chemistry between the two of them was pleasantly electrifying: very powerful, yet, with delicate touch.

The main potion of the show ended with "Meet me in the Basement" Everyone at the show coalesced into a single entity, filled with enjoyment as the music flew from the stage to the audience. Kevin decided to dive into the crowd after the song. Lots of laughs, lots of joy, all night long.

The show continued with a few more songs as a part of so-called "after party" and lasted till close clocking the entire show at two hours. The energy lasted until the very end. It was one of the best two hours that I have ever spent and could easily be one of the best shows I've seen this year. An amazing night, and it was the best Christmas gift.

Broken Social Scene still continues their tour through Canada until next month. If they are coming to your town, then you must see them. Broken Social Scene is the best thing that the city of Toronto has created in recent memory. Apart from Scott Pilgrim of course.

 Click here to check out some photos from Broken Social Scene at Sound Academy Dec.9th 2010. Also click here to check out Tony Feigueiras's pictures and a review from the second night on Dec. 10th 2010.

SuperChunk Opening for Broken Social Scene

It must be such an honor to open for the Toronto-based super group Broken Social Scene (BSS). Privileged with the exposure, playing to Toronto indie music nerds, who have been well-indulged with various talented local bands. Could Superchunk impress them? - I doubt that... Despite their hard hitting performance, the band barely made the audience move, rather were faced with motionless standees waiting for the set to end. Their college punk sound did not speak to the BSS fans, who always seek for something more exceptional. Their music reminded me of the good old  high school days when Green Days and Blink182 were becoming popular. But some of us have outgrown that style.

As amusing as some of their song titles were; "Cross Fire", and "My Gap Feels Weird", I did not enjoy the music. Their performance was solid enough, what they do they do well, but it felt out of place just because it wasn't the cup of a tea for most of the audience. It is as if you went to see The Smiths, but then Marilyn Manson appeared on the stage.

The select few that were into their stuff, like the two idiots moshing next to me (Grrrrr) were probably enthusiastically channeling their more juvenile selves.  The Front man Mac McCaughan even stated" While everyone is sleeping, it's nice to see some people are dancing over there." (Pointing at the right front side.)

Stay tuned for the show review of the BSS coming up shortly. They rocked me to my core.

December 11, 2010

The Artful Vandelays featured in BlogTo

Our Co-writer, Bryen was featured in one of the best Toronto info blogs, BlogTo.

Click here to check out the post!! ...and of course don't miss the Tuesday show aRancho Relaxo

December 8, 2010

Bucky Awards 2010 Announced Winners

Did you guys check out winners for this year's Bucky Awards?  I was listening to the pod cast at work today. Although some of the lists were pretty predicable, including  Hollerado's "Americanarama" won the best video, others were tough to guess the winner. (Click here to read two of my predictions)

The below is the list of the winner and hope you like the results! Let us know how you think!

















As Tall As Lions to call it quits: A farewell tour in Dec 2010

As priceless as the joy of discovering a new awesome indie band is, there are also those heart-breaking moments of finding out that a band is calling it quits. 2010 was a year with full of these sad occasions. It started off with the break-up of 'Copeland' in March, then continued with 'Lydia', an Arizona-based ambient indie band that decided to go their separate ways. Some band members even departed on their own paths before the final tour in August. But you know, the rule of three often applies. It was so devastating to find out one of my favorite NYC based groups, 'As Tall As Lions' is going to follow suit and disband. I only recently found this out when the band posted a picture on their Facebook and a number of comments by its fans stated how sad they were. After doing a little bit of digging on the internet, here comes a heart breaker... I found a farewell message from the members. 
You Can't Take It With You
This is such a shame. The coherence of their sound is nothing short of extraordinary: A steady percussion marches through their trumpet and keyboard melodies. It further evolves with the vocals - the voice of Dan Nigro, (vocalist/guitarist) provides a lyrical sparkle accentuating the beautiful sounds backing him up. Their songs draw you in and easily evoke emotional responses that linger. I still recall how impressed I was when I first saw them opening up for the experimental rock band, Mute Math in New York in last November 2009. 

'As Tall As Lions' is continuing their farewell tour in the U.S until the end of this month. Unfortunately Canadian folks are not able to share these last moments with the band. But as stated in the farewell message, it is not a sad departure and we can still be there in spirit. I am looking forward to seeing what the band members go on to do as individuals and will make sure to keep you guys posted.

December 6, 2010

Best of 2010 : New Artist :Diamond Rings

Special AffectionsDiamond Rings is the new Toronto indie pop sensation: everyone is talking about this guy after the release of his debut album, "Special Affections". He has made the cover of Exclaim! and is currently CBC Radio 3's Artist of the Month. He was also nominated for the 2010 Bucky Award in five different categories, though he did not make it to any of the short lists.

What makes his project so special?  Have a listen. With his blend of mod rock and electro pop themes, John O'Regan takes his solo effort in a different direction than that of his four-piece punk band 'The D'Ubervilles' - replacing the gritty hooks and post-punk vibes of his past work with funky grooves and driving bass-lines that makes it difficult to suppress one's inclination to get on one's feet and do the hipster shuffle. 

It is also interesting to note John's popularity on Youtube. When he first posted his music video for "All yr songs", Sony BMG accidentally took the music video down from the site due to a supposed copyright infringement issue. They mistakenly thought the music video was for a song called "Diamond Rings" by a UK-based artist, 'Chipmunk'. After the problem was resolved, John hit two birds with one stone: earning an apology from the music giants and propelling him into the spotlight.

This album is blowing up... RIGHT NOW. Deserving of all the praise - Diamond Rings has earned my vote for the best new artist of 2010. Kanae's album favorite - 'Diamond Rings - Something Else'.

Here is another one : Show me your stuff

December 5, 2010

Interview with Matisse from Keys N Krates Part 2

Let's continue with the interview with Matisse (keys) from Keys N Krates!

Bryen: You guys are doing pretty well as a great example for a band in a digital age, where there are samplings and copyright issues. Have you guys had any problems at all so far?

Matisse: Ah, not really because of the way we are performing. You know, I’m not sure how it works, but legally wise, it's ok to perform songs just like any other bands play cover songs. Or something like a DJ plays different tracks right?

Bryen: Yeah.

Matisse: We give our music away at shows and people download them for free. So for our songs, we don't really... we have the way to exploit it.   I know Girls Talk kinda got a bit of flack for blowing the doors wide open on the copyright issue.

Bryen: Quite a bit.

Matisse: I am sure that we will cross that road when we come to it. And when we do, we will be ready for it. 

Bryen: That's good. You've mentioned before that you didn't have anyone to look to in terms of contemporaries. But Greg Gillis and Girl Talk are definitely something getting really big, but it’s definitely different from what you guys do. Would you consider him to be one of your contemporaries?

Matisse: Depending on how you look at. If you are looking at some of his using samples, then yes, definitely we have the same data sample wise. Even across it more of a band. you know, how it produces. We look at ourselves more like you know Def Punk or say Metric or we look at ourselves more like a band.

Bryen: Yeah his stuff is quite more like a robotic.

Matisse: As a band we use samples, that is a first piece of sounds. but it is a part of the sample culture. you know you can say that that is Girls Talk alike, but again, he is more a DJ producer and we are more like a band kinda of thing.So there is instrument involves in our band. A lot of times our sample sound our own sound, and it makes us special.

Bryen: That's cool. 

Matisse: We are moving into own orignal compositions base soon as well. 

Bryen: That's really cool. now that it's because you can actually have a physical record out? That is what the goal is?

Matisse: Yeah, I think we would like to get something out. Because we feel like that we've been doing music for people. We wanna get more into that as we can do more of actual productions and songs that have a longer song life. and you know it's just it's natual perfection as an artist that we wanna kinda have more original stuff. Definately we wanna include samples themselves, but you know they need to get a couple of artists to feature on stuff and a couple of things that bores songs. Well, we think that remixing is a big step to just add on.

Bryen: Of course. 

Bryen: Is there anyone in patecular that you would like to work with?

Matisse: Oh men, that's such a tough quesiton!

Bryen: Hahaha. ok then, let's say that you only have a one shot and it's your dream artist. who would that be?

Matisse: One shot,,, dream artist... wow. 

Bryen: It's a tough one. 

Matisse: It's gotta be,.,, like top 3. I totally wanna work with Kanye (West), just to see what he does in a studio.  Maybe the Radiohead, to see how they come up with some of their stuff and then I forgot the name but a producer who does stuff for Coldplay. I wanna work with too. I can't remember his name. ( Brian Eno

Bryen: The name is escaping me right now, too. I have the album somewhere in my rack.

Bryen: What's for the other guys ( DJ Jr. Flo and Drummer Adam Tune)? Like what their personality brings to the group when you guys are touring, I guess it's a small van that you guys are touring in? Is it a bus? What are you guys working with so far?

Matisse:We usually use a van. it's smelly sweaty van that is full of gears. You know, music. we play lots of music or a complete silent, which is nothing. depending on how we feel. someitmes we shut up all. or we have all sorts of conversation or sometimes we read audiobooks here and there.

Bryen: Of course.

Matisse: But we get to play usually with a small small van. Well we gradually higher up I'm sure that it's gonna be a tour bus or all kinda stuff, but you know. 

Bryen: Do you guys have any insane story from the road so far?

Matisse: Yeah, but you know, right now I'm trying not to share that with the public.

Bryen: Ahahahahaha. That's alright.

Matisse :We had a time when we were on the road and on the stage and sometimes you know, we got people coming onto the stage and they were acutally jumping so much that it was skipping the record that we played, so we had a show that the drum kits were falling apart. No one knew what was going on so we just partied around and three of us were looking at each other panicking.

Bryen: Just doing your best right?

Matisse: Yeah. you know, it's just the part of the road that just happens.

Bryen: What can you tell us in terms of your latest remix, Almost 39 minutes. Yeah it is almost 39 minutes long.

Matisse: It's dedicated to the live on the floor but we got a lot of new tools. One tune that used a lot of drums. Adam (Tune) was able to triger a lot of drums the way it tricks.

Bryen: That's cool, that's wicked.

Matisse: It was a specific snears so it's still very organic simple drum kits. 

Bryen: I like a whole world as disposable, That's cool

Matisse:Yeah, myself as well, I added and was able to set up my keyboards in the way that I could trigger  sounds and dubbs samples and effects. I pretty much did sampling on my keyboads and put it on a specific note. We all set them up as one insturment sounds like three instruments. So we only have three guys in the band, but we sounds like we have 6 guys, sometimes 9 guys. We were able to break it down and layer out so many different parts and it's really been a contribution for us. 

Bryen: It's like a degital orchestra.

Bryan: Anything that we can expect from the December 9th show at the Lee's palace?

Matisse: It's the first show that we play after releasing the song ( Almost 39 minutes.) We just figured out how to play it in a live. So probably you can look forward to that.

Bryen: I'm sure that people go crazy for that.

Matisse: Yeah, it's one of our first songs that we put it together as an official remix. As well as new auditing music software that we have and we just have and we just gota couple of new sounds that we are excited to play. One is a sample from a track from Kanye (West) way back in days.

Bryen: That's cool!

Matisse: Which we flipped it and it sounds crazy, so we are excited to play that.

Bryen: I am looking forward to listening to that.

Matisse: You know,it's a thursday night so everyone having a good time and we are excited to be home in Toronto.

Bryen: Sounds awesome! and how long are you here after that?

Matisse: Well, we are gonna be rehasaling and being in a studio in the rest of the year. and we will be starting touring again once january the new year comes. 

Bryen: Awesome. Men, so see you at the show on the Dec 9th and thank you so much!

 “Keys N Krates plays Lee’s Palace on Thursday December 9th”. Don't forget tp chekc out the link below to get to know more about the Trio, too!