September 2, 2014

Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World Review

100 out of 5 stars - this album will easily be remembered as one of the best releases of the last decade. At least for this listener, it’s quality, complexity, grace, and ferocity has already pushed them beyond where they left off with their first full length “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine”. The album clocks in at just over 35 minutes of sheer glory.

This is Bryan checking in for your track-by-track review.

Cheap Talk: This album starts off just right – cowbell, synths, crunch, and that signature Death from Above 1979 riffage. Get ready to mosh kids!

Right On, Frankenstein!: Glory days that we are glad never actually ended. This song brings me right back to “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine”. Interesting that they use the Lyric “Same old song, just a different tune”. I feel similarly to that lyric about this – just, you know, in a good way.

Virgins: Heavy, might even
be the heaviest they have tried to be together. Deep chugging thunder – paired with social questions they are known for sneaking into their catchy as hell dance-punk with an equally catchy refrain of “Don’t ever change, Bad is Good Enough.”

Always On: Knowing that Jesse F. Keeler almost joined Queens of the Stone Age as a bassist, its no surprise to hear a track that could easily be on a Queens/Kyuss record.

Crystal Ball: This song is pure Death From Above ferocity – refined and polished into sharp piecing steel. Having their time apart to find themselves and find what that means for Death From Above 1979 helped them to truly pinpoint what dto do in the band together and they do it so well.

White Is Red: The ballad to end all ballads. When I heard this live during their tours, I wondered what it would sound like on record and if it would translate – and it works even better on record. This might have a chance of eclipsing Back History Month as everyone’s favorite down-tempo DFA1979 song. It certainly has for me.

Trainwreck 1979: The first single released from The Physical World was not one that easily resonated with me at first. It took many listens before I “got it”. I thought it was too pop – and it is definitely the most mass-market accessible song on the album – but then again Sexy Results is a lot of folk’s favorites and that song is insanely pop. Just heavy as hell – which is the same here. Not gonna lie – listening to it now, its definitely going to be stuck in my head again for the next 24 hours.

Nothin’ Left: Aside from the updated production vales that comes with experience in the studio - this one sounds like it could have been pulled right off of “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine”. Sure to please old school fans and new alike, the feel is very Little Girls

Government Trash: Second Single caught me and kept me listening a thousand times in a row. Straight-ahead DFA1979 Punk. They left their dancing shoes at home for this one. Pure aggression and I love it!

Gemini: Tight fills, tight fills, and tight fills! Chugging rhythms, chugging rhythms, and chugging rhythms! Everything you expected it to sound like until they have the big huge wide-open chorus! These boys get better and better with composition. My only issue with this track is its length! I wish it was way longer!

The Physical World: Oh, did I say that Virgins was the heaviest track? I lied. Pure doom metal on this track – paired with house synths with auto-arpeggiators, chugging lines and synth stabs, with vocoder verses. An almost “Mr. Crowley”-eqsue Randy Rhoads style solo on bass to finish the album off too. Damn. This may be both the most Death From Above 1979 sounding song and the Least Death From Above 1979 sounding song ever. It doesn’t have to make sense to be DFA – it just has to be awesome.

And it IS.


The link to stream via iTunes can be found in the link below:

April 30, 2014

Live show review: Band of Skulls, April 24th, 2014 at Phoenix Concert Theatre

Southampton, UK based rock trio, Band of Skulls axed the Toronto audience with their classic rock inspired act on April 24th, 2014 at Phoenix Concert Theatre during their North American tour to support their latest release, Himalayan. I heard such positive reviews from my friends about their opening act for Soundgarden at iTune Festival during this year's SXSW, so I was all hyped up like a little girl when they showed up on the stage.

Opening up the show with the first single off the new record,  Asleep at the Wheel, British rockers showcased their simple, yet reminiscent classic style of 70's rock n' roll. The unison of monotone guitar jamming and consistent drum rat-a-tats flourished the dynamic chorus during the song. The guitarist, Russel Marsden and the bassist, Emma Richardson, shared the lead vocal duty interchangeably. Instead of layering different vocal pitches, Marsden and Richardson collided their vigorous voices, which cohesively complimented each other. 

The groovy guitar riffs invited the audience to the swaying party with the following tune,  Himalayan. In the middle of the song, the repeated harmonies of "Himalayan" slowed down the tune and then it  jumped into a jaw- dropping guitar solo and again, slaughtered the audience with such a beguiling chorus. The set consisted heavily on the new release but they continued to entertain the audience with fan favourite tunes from previous releases, such as You Aren't Pretty But You Got it Going OnI Know What I Am, and Patterns.

My highlight of the performance was from the encore, where they played Light of the Morning. Marseden commenced the song slowly by himself and was in the limelight of the entire venue, while he hauled his guitar and voice fiercely, which caused and audience eargasm, including myself, which they shouted at the stage with excitement. The feel of the moment was so warm and raw, which is what makes live shows so special. 

Band of Skulls is a band that you like songs on their records, but attending their show makes the listeners love them even more. These songs are spiced up with their tenacious and vibrant performance that you can only experience it in the moment. It is so nice to see a three piece classic band who can show us what real rock and roll is in today's digital age. A band like them will always have a big space in my soul. 

April 22, 2014

Liveshow Review: The National at Massey Hall on April 11th, 2014

I was very fortunate to get a ticket to see the last night of a three-night residency of Brooklyn based rock band, the National, at the legendary Massey Hall on Friday April 11th, 2014. One of my friends scored me and fellow the National lovers some seats front and centre and I knew it was going to be hell of a show, a show that I would remember for the rest of my life.

The concert was beautifully opened by British indie rock trio, Daughter. Depsite the technical difficulties that the guitarist Igor Haefeli was having, (His guitar pedals broke down and guitar strings also snapped during their set. Haefeli wasn't clearly having the best day and I could see his frustration on his face and through sound. (Yes, I was THAT close to the stage.)) Their aesthetic melodies and most noticeably, the graceful voice of Elena Tonra struck me hard from the first listen, and I could hear from the audience that it wasn't only my heart that Daughter won over that night.

Patiently waiting by the stage, the show was lit on fire by the fans the moment that members of the National walked on the stage and they commenced their show with  Sea of Love, the uplifting tune from the latest album, Trouble Will Find Me.  Followed by the National's signature mellow delight, I Shall Live In Salt and my favourite song from the previous album, High Violet, Anyone's Ghost, their shows were filled with the sing-slong session one after another. 

The lead singer, Matt Berninger, paced back and forth on the stage, while leaving the audience in awe with his notable baritone voice. He closed his eyes while planting his profound vocal on the lyrical notes. When songs like Afraid of Everyone, Mistaken for Strangers and Graceless arose their climaxBernnger shouted his heart out as he shook the entire venue like a tsunami wave. Berninger also smashed his beer glass on the stage as he burst with energy on stage. 

It was such a treat to be standing right in front of the rhythm guitarist, Aaron Dessner as I enjoyed every single dulcet guitar riff he crafted from his guitar.  The set list was composed with fan favourites from their break-through album, Boxer, High Violet and Trouble Will Find Me. My highlight of the night was when they played Green Gloves and Pink Rabbits back to back, the sorrow ballads that took my breath away and brought tears to my heart. 

For their encore, the quintet started off with peaceful melodic jam, Lean and shifted the atmosphere rapidly with the vigorous verse of Mr. November, where Berninger jumped off from the stage and walked through the crowd ferociously. Then they invited our beloved Toronto based singer songwriter, Hayden on the stage and completed their send off with Terrible Love and an unplugged session of Vanderlyle Crybaby Greek. I engraved every moments of the show on my heart. A band like the National keeps the quality of live music so high. Oh man, I love them so much. 

April 21, 2014

Billy Moon, Young Adult

If you have ever read some of my posts, you've already known of my obsession with the Georgia native singer songwriter/producer (of Fall Out Boys, Pink, Taylor Swift, and Katy Perry, just to name a few.), Butch Walker. In his biography, Drinking with Strangers: Music Lessons from a Teenage Bullet Belt, Walker quotes “Your youth is the most important thing you will ever have. It's when you will connect to music like a primal urge, and the memories attached to the songs will never leave you. Please hold on to everything. Keep every note, mix tape, concert ticket stub, and memory you have of music from your youth. It'll be the one thing that might keep you young, even if you aren't anymore.” 

The reason that I am citing the quote is while listening to the new EP, Young Adult, by the Hamilton based garbage rock duo, Billy Moon, it reminded me of the bitter sweetness of adolescence. Formed in the first year of university,  the members of Billy Moon have now graduated and and are all 'grown-up as Young Adult.'  

The duo deployed the stories of youths in their early 20's, stories that we can all relate to. One of my favourite songs, Kalashnikov, is about the freedom and the frustration that comes with the unforeseeable future throughout the fetching surf rock tune. 

Regardless, you can find a mirror to your youth within these songs, I promise you that their raw and alluring tunes will catch your heart in a song like their single, Video Girls. You can listen to their EP for free from Bandcamp. Give a listen from the below link. 

April 2, 2014

Foxy Shazm Announced a New North American Tour and a New Album, GONZO

Cincinnati based rock n' rock band, Foxy Shazam, broke their long-lasting silence today and announced the new release of their fifth record, GONZO and the following North American Tour from May 27th. It has been the most exciting news of the week for me as I have adored their jaw-dropping acrobatic performances since my first encounter with them in 2010 when they opened up for Toronto pop rock band, Hollerado. (Click here to read my review of the show)

After previously releasing a few albums with various record labels, including the smash hit self-titled album in 2010 and The Church of Rock and Roll in 2012,  the Ohio native sextet has decided to release the new album, GONZO, independently via Bandcamp and offer fans the first dip of the record for free. (Click here or the below player to give a listen of the album or download it for free.) After opening for the Darkness and Slash in the last few years, Foxy Shazam has established a fan base across the continent and I am very happy to see a band of their scale transform into more independent act as it benefits both the band and listeners. 

This is me and Foxy Shazam from SXSW in 2011!
I am so excited! 

They also released tickets for their shows with an affordable service fee through their official website. There is an option for fans to purchase a VIP ticket with a meet-and-greet session with the band and a custom silkscreened poster. The Toronto show date is June 24that Lee's Palace. It is the very first headlining show in town for a long time. ( like years!!!) Grab your tickets while it is available! 

April 1, 2014

EP Review: Luke Bill

A few months ago when I went to see Toronto’s beloved super cover band, Dwayne Gretzky during their residency at the Horseshoe Tavern, I discussed the importance of hooks in a song with my friend, Ian McDonnell over a few pints. I strongly agreed with him that regardless of the technicality of musical composition, if there is a snaring verse to grab the listeners' attention, the song flourishes its sound to the fullest without a ninja like guitar trick.

McDonnell is a singer/guitarist for a Toronto based alt-country/pop rock outlet, Luke Bill. The band newest self-titled EP, epitomizes this theory. The initial tune from the EP, Wonders, kicks off with raw guitar strolls and resonant vocals, which dance cohesively with the guitar jam. It keeps the sounds simplicity, which highlights the expansion of its musical hook. The soft touch of McDonnall and Becky Johnson's vocal waltz has an opportunity to be deployed in the following tune, One Trick Machine Gun, which is my favorite song from the EP.  The harmony is complemented by adulcet melody line which gives me a nostalgic feel of good oldies from the 60's. It's very simple and easy, but cultivating at the same time. The last tune, Every Time You Love, You Die, builds its momentum through guitar jam and lamenting vocals and brings the climax of orchestratic harmonies, which I picture a sing- along session with the audience at their show. 

I just missed their EP release party at Cameron House on March 22nd. However, I'm sure they will play another show in town shortly. Meanwhile enjoy their new EP from here!

March 31, 2014

Warpaint on Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 at the Danforth Music Hall

LA based all-girl band, Warpaint paid a visit to Toronto on Tuesday, March 25th at the Danforth Music Hall during their North American tour with Wales singer songwriter, Cate Le Bon. I was dying to see them live after my friend, Bryan introduced me to them a few weeks ago and we missed their show at SXSW. They delivered a compulsive yet dreamy performance, which was beyond my expectations.

They kicked off their set with a tune from their latest self-titled album released in January, Feeling Alright. The quartet cohesively pulled the strings of ambient melodies, which mesmerized the audience instantly from the very first tune they dropped on the stage. They've mixed new tunes with their good oldie songs. A singe off of the new record, Love Is to Die, emitted plaintive yet divine verses, which I appreciated every of bit of the danceable beats. 

My favorite moment of the show was when they performed Billie Holiday, a soft tune composed of four majestic harmonies generated by the girls. I found myself immersed in the world of Warpaint where I couldn't help but sway along with the melodic wave. 

My eyes and ears were pleased, yet it wasn't the end of their performance climax. As their encore, the quartet performed one of the fans favorite tunes off their initial record, Elephant. Starting with captivating guitar riffs followed by aesthetic vocal of Emily Kokal, the song led the audience to the five minute (or even longer) of the mind-blowing jamming session. It reminded me that music is something we don't only use our ears to listen. It is something we feel with all five senses, in-taking every bit of visual, scent, texture verse and taste in the moment.

The jam kept cultivating my curiosity so long that I wish it lasted forever. I went home from the show and the first thing I did was to turn on my record to listen to the newly purchased vinyl at the show. When I closed my eyes, I had vivid fresh back of these four girls rocking the shit out that I hadn't felt it for a very long time

March 24, 2014

Stuck Tune Syndrome: The Wire by HAIM

Since I came back from SXSW, I don't know how many times I've repeated this song: The Wire by Los Angeles based rock trio, HAIM. Their debut album, Days Are Gone, can easily be found in numerous media outlets “Best of 2013” articles including Pitchfork Media.

With their 1980's pop and soft rock infused tune, HAIM maneuver their three layered alluring harmonies throughout the song while taking turns to fill the main vocal. Compared to other tunes from the album, this song, The Wire, gives a less electronic feel, but it omits raw feelings due to the song composition. The emotional feeling derives from the straightforward lyrics about breakups. Maybe it is not a bad means to send someone this  song to express our feelings rather than writing a letter or having a conversation.

HAIM are playing at Kool Haus on May 15th with Tennis. Unfortunately the show is already sold out. If you have a spare ticket, let me know. I am dying to see them live.

March 13, 2014

Neil Young Brings PONO to the World

Hello everyone from Austin, TX!

I've been here enjoying SXSW since last Wednesday. I have already seen some awesome performances and I cannot wait to share my experience here on musicpsychos with you guys!

I've been really inspired while I've been here. I've seen Jason Batemen, Jeffery Tampor, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein from Portlandia in the last few days. Despite the differences in their genres, everyone has a common theme. " If you are passionate about something, stick to it and one day people will notice you as you are good at what you are passionate about it." 

My biggest inspiration so far is Neil Young's interview on Tuesday, March 11th. He talked about his new project, PONO, which is a device that the audience can finally enjoy the real sound of music from the recording. (ultra-high resolution recordings of 192kHz/24 bit)

He cares and loves Music so much that he dedicated himself to invest in this amazing device. You can find out the details from the below video.

PONO Kickstarter from pono on Vimeo.

you can still pledge on Kickstarter! Chick here to be the part of this amazing move to the future of music

March 3, 2014

The Balconies Cover Blood On Our Hands by DFA1979

While my blog was on hiatus, I purchased my first record player and I've been slowly collecting vinyls. Since I grew up during the CD generation and my parents didn't own one, so it is something new and exciting to me. The sound that floats off from the player is way better than CD or MP3 and it is a great way to appreciate an album as a whole, which we tend to forget the significance of due to the convenience of downloading music nowadays. The only thing that bothers me though, is I have get up and flip the vinyl every 15-20 minutes while I am immersed in the world of the album. (#FirstWorldProblem.)

Anyways, I was walking on Yonge street the other day and I spotted this pink vinyl on display, You're a Woman, I am a Machine, by Death From Above 1979. This album has easily been one of my favourite albums of the 2000's and I had to stop by and get it. I was so stoked about this purchase and I enjoyed every bit of the sound coming out of the player and it's been my morning ritual to put it on while I get ready for work. While I am fond of the original version of the album, I also love this cover,  Blood On Our Hands,  by the Toronto based rock trio, the Balconies and it deserves a shout-out. What I love about this cover is the vocals and Jacquie Neville's roaring performance. She put her soul into the song and I just cannot take my eyes and ears off of her.

The Balconies - Blood On Our Hands (DFA 1979) - Live At NOW Lounge from NOW Magazine on Vimeo.

The Balconies have their own agenda for 2014. Their full album, Fast Motions, was finally released a few days ago. It was produced by Arnold Lanni (Finger Eleven, Simple Plan, Out Lady Peace) and the album still managed to keep a boisterous feel in their clean yet glamorous sound. In this album, they reworked their older songs and polished them into a new version such as the Slo and Do It In The Dark (It was called Serious Bedtime in their self-title album released in 2009.) But what I really recommend you do is to see them live. You cannot truly understand who they are until you see their vibrant performance. Here is their first single off the Album, The Slo. Give a listen! 

Paperlions: Acquaintances

PEI indie pop quartet, Paperlions, have announced their new EP, Acquaintances, which is set to be released Tuesday, March 4th. This EP includes a new song, Do You Wanna, which is a classic Paperlions' fetching pop tune. The chorus, "Do you think you wanna, Do you think you wanna come over...",stuck in my head from the first listen and I caught myself humming the tune immediately after. Classic Paperlions' magic!!! This EP also features My Friend, remixed by Whale Skin and the Octopus Project. I am very excited to hear the Octopus Project Remix!!! !! 


1. Do You Wanna
2. My Friend (Whaleskin Remix)
3. My Friend (Octopus Project Remix)

March 1, 2014

I am back!!!

Hello fellow music psychos! How are you?

It's been almost a year since I wrote my last post. Things have drastically changed around me and I am in a good place to restart what I love to do, which is to share my thoughts on local indie bands with you guys! 

I was inspired to get back to writing after a recent event in Windsor. A friend of mine had a meeting with a gorgeous couple, Reggie and Lizzy to discuss their project. After a short but lovely talk with Lizzy, it turned out that I wrote a review on their project, Konqistador, back in Sep 2012. What a small world, right? Then I realized that even though it was a review written by someone like me, it did influence someone else in this awesome way, My review is now used in their bio, which I am very grateful.

This time, I will only write what I want at my own pace, regardless what others have to say about my blog.  But if you would like to share what you create with me, please feel free to send me your music to my inbox: I will be more than happy to listen and share my insight. I cannot wait to start writing again!!! I am very excited.