Annual Canadian Music Week launches tomorrow

Canadian Music Week, Canada’s annual music showcase and conference, is set to kick off tomorrow in Toronto, Ontario.

Major speakers this year include Glen Ballard, David Foster (Producer/Songwriter), Michael Rapino (CEO of Live Nation), Mathew Knowles (Beyonce’s father), Chuck D (Public Enemy), Kevin Lyman (Warped Tour/Taste of Chaos), and Terry McBride (Nettwerk).

There are also major performances by Wolfmother, Public Enemy, and more.Ԛ The Festival spans 4 nights of performances, with over 600 showcasing bands at over 44 live music venues in downtown Toronto.

I’ll be back with a full report when I return from the conference & festival. For more information, passes, schedule, speakers list, and more seeԚ www.cmw.net!

Happy Christmas :o)

Hope everyone has a good day! Enjoy being with family & friends, hopefully you each have something good to do this year. Cheers, looking forward to 2007.

Ԛ 

Devin

Brand New – The Devil & God Are Raging Inside Me

Brand New

Artist: Brand New
Album: The Devil & God are Raging Inside Me
Label: Interscope
Purchase: Smart Punk
Release Date: November 21, 2006

Overall: 9.0
Music: 9.0
Lyrics: 9.0
Production: 8.5

Originally leaked as a demo in January, the first track on Brand Newâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s much-anticipated â┚¬Ã‹Å“The Devil & God are Raging Inside Meâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ is called Sowing Season. Much like its demo counterpart, the song starts without a musical introduction, instead breaking into a barely-changed lyric. Missing, however, is the original second verse. Instead, it is replaced with a catchy â┚¬Ã‹Å“I am on the mend/At least now I can say that I am trying/Hope you will forget/The things that I still lackâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢. Itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s at this point in the album that we can truly see the glory of re-writes. While the original lyric was not a weak one (it was, in fact, a favourite of mine), the re-write fits the song more in terms of theme, tone and overall colour.

After the opening track (also the lead-off single), we delve into â┚¬Ã‹Å“brand newâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ (lame) territory. Millstone is a raw track with a reverberant chorus that laments about the past, and the present (â┚¬Ã‹Å“this ship of fools Iâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢m on will sinkâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢), and appropriately uses the analogy of a millstone around oneâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s neck (in case youâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢re unaware, a millstone is defined as an exhaustive emotional or mental burden). Overall, it is a catchy track with understated instrumentation and emotive lyrics, which is typical of the band.

Track three is where it gets serious. â┚¬Ã‹Å“Jesusâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ takes the band in a new direction. Religion is obviously a recurring theme on the album, and this song brings that to the forefront. Neither political, preachy, nor critical, the song can only be described by saying â┚¬Ã‹Å“it is what it isâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢. A humourously analytical verse about what happens after death is one of the best parts of this song (Jesus Christ, Iâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢m not scared to die/Iâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢m a little bit scared of what comes after/Do I get the gold chariot?/Do I float through the ceiling?). The obvious lack of a chorus in the song brings to light a solid fact about the band: they donâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t need to conform to songwriting rules in order to write songs that are catchy, relatable and commercial enough to sell. Lyricist Jesse Lacey bares it all on this track, with nothing but a great result.

Degausser is one of the songs that everyone was curious about, having played it frequently on tour this summer under the title of â┚¬Ã‹Å“Take Apart Your Headâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢. Before the release of the album there were rumours circulating regarding this track. The final product is a mellow and subdued track in the verses, which explodes in the chorus with a choral round of â┚¬Ã‹Å“take apart your headâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢. Layering of vocals and muddy instrumentation give this track a unique feeling from the rest of the album.

Track 5 is â┚¬Ã‹Å“Limousineâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢, an almost 8-minute song that starts off with a simple acoustic guitar and haunting vocals. After about two minutes, the song slowly graduates into a more defined piece, with repetitive lyrics (â┚¬Ã‹Å“I love you so much, but do me a favour baby, donâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t replyâ┚¬Ã‚¦ cause I can dish it out, but I canâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t take itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢), and building instrumentation. The anticipation builds for about three minutes before the track breaks into a softer denouement and some noise in the last 30 seconds. This song is demonstrative of the experimental edge that the band bares on this record.

Following â┚¬Ã‹Å“Limousineâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ is â┚¬Ã‹Å“You Wonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t Knowâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢. Aptly titled for its chorus, unlike most of Brand Newâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s obscure song titles, the song has got a catchy melody and an overall busy tone. The lyrics take a back seat to the instrumentation in this song, which is not typical of the bandâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s writing style. The conclusion of the song is my favourite part: â┚¬Ã‹Å“I canâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t use the telephone/To tell you that Iâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢m dead & gone/So you wonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t know/You wonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t knowâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢.

A sort of intermission, â┚¬Ã‹Å“Welcome to Bangkokâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ is an instrumental track featuring only sparse spoken vocals saying â┚¬Ã‹Å“Space cadet, pull outâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢. In true Brand New fashion, it starts acoustically and builds into a noisy reverberant chant of distorted guitars, screams, and lots of hi-hat.

â┚¬Ã‹Å“Not the Sunâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ is a more upbeat song that again focuses on vocals and lyrics. One of the more catchy songs on the album (I havenâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t been able to get â┚¬Ã‹Å“Wonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t you be my baitâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ out of my head since acquiring the album), it brings us back to Deja Entendu in terms of lyrical style. A favourite lyric of mine is â┚¬Ã‹Å“Say youâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢re my friend, but why wonâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t you be my family?â┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ Repetitive and fun, the bridge is probably my favorite part of the track. Slowing down the tempo, Lacey repeats â┚¬Ã‹Å“Settle baby, you are not the sunâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢. Overall, it is one of the best tracks on the album.The next track was also leaked as a demo in January. â┚¬Ã‹Å“Lucaâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢, when released as a demo, featured a strong opening lyric (Well I lost my taste for the company of airports and cars/We flew through the year and/Avoided the dust and the rock). The opening lyric on this track, however, I feel pales in comparison (When I disappear, do you fear for the sister I took/ When I disappear, it is clear I am up to no good). Luckily, the majority of the rest of the song stays true to its demo counterpart. Itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s also one of the more structured songs on the album, which just proves their capabilities as writers. It also presents a recurring theme in their music. Like in â┚¬Ã‹Å“Play Crack the Skyâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢, there are many references to water, which I believe is an ode to their Long Island home.

Untitled (considering the bandâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s history with titles, Iâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢m sure there was some thought that went into titling it â┚¬Ã‹Å“Untitledâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢) is basically another two minute instrumental with muffled vocals repeating â┚¬Ã‹Å“I can never love you, I can never reach youâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢.

The second to last track is â┚¬Ã‹Å“The Archers Bows Have Brokenâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢, which brings back Brand Newâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s affinity for longer titles. Seemingly to have taken influence from The Smiths, the song is driving and one of the poppy-est on the album. To me, the overall tone of the song, specifically the chorus, seems to have been derived from the 9th demo that was leaked in January. I could be wrong, but when I listen to this song I hear a lot of similarities. Overall, it is probably one of my favorite tracks, and is in some ways reminiscent of Brand Newâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s first album.

The last track of the album is â┚¬Ã‹Å“Handcuffsâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢. Written by Vinnie Accardi, as opposed to usual lyricist Jesse Lacey, the song starts out a lot like â┚¬Ã‹Å“Play Crack the Skyâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢ with the count in and acoustic guitar. Due to its stripped down nature, and simple lyrics, itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album. Itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s a great way to close the album, as well, and the string arrangement is very complimentary to the tone.

Overall, the album speaks volumes for the direction in which the band is headed. Itâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s a great compilation of some of their best work to date, and while it may dissuade some of the fans that prefer their poppier work, it seems truly artistic and original to me.

Tracklisting
1. Sowing Season (Yeah)
2. Millstone
3. Jesus Christ
4. Degausser
5. Limousine
6. You Won’t Know
7. Welcome to Bangkok
8. Not the Sun
9. Luca
10. Untitled
11. Archers
12. Handcuffs

New Good Charlotte song not ‘Young’, but definitely ‘Hopeless’ **

Head over to www.myspace.com/goodcharlotte to hear a brand new track off their upcoming album, tentatively titled ‘Good Morning Revival’. The track, entitled ‘Keep Your Hands Off My Girl’, is not set to be the single, but simply a pre-release preview for fans.

On a personal note, I had hope for this GC album. I love their old music – as much as I may get made fun of for that. But this song has dashed all hope I had of them ever making a musical come back.

** Witty title appears courtesy of Jill. I wish I could come up with this stuff on my own.

Alexisonfire – Crisis

Alexisonfire - Crisis
Alexisonfire - Crisis

Artist: Alexisonfire
Album: Crisis
Label: Distort/Vagrant/Universal
Purchase: Smart Punk
Release Date: August 22, 2006

Overall: 9.0
Music: 8.5
Lyrics: 9.0
Production: 9.5

What do you get when you mix a little melody, a golden falsetto, scratchy punk vocals, driving guitars, screaming, and a strong rhythm? You get Crisis.

As the third release from Ontario’s Alexisonfire, Crisis is poignantly remarkable. In the two weeks since it’s release, the album has surpassed sales of the band’s first record. And with good reason.

Leading off the album is the driving ‘Drunks, Lovers, Sinners, And Saints’. Anthemic lyrics, and guitarist Wade MacNeil’s scratchy vocals, partnered with screamer George Pettit and guitarist/vocalist Dallas Green’s harmony makes a perfect combination for the catchy lead-off. With lyrics such as ‘This is from our hearts/Sincerity over simple chords/We made some mistakes/We made some mistakes/But it’s a long time coming when you’re giving it everything’, it’s easy to see why this song was chosen as the album’s introduction.

Next up is the first single: ‘This Could Be Anywhere In the World’. With a smooth transition between songs, any Saturday Night Live fan will be ecstatic to hear the poignant cowbell on this track. The lyrics and transitions between Green’s clear vocals and Pettit’s screaming are expertly executed. With Green taking the vocal lead, MacNeil manages to compliment him almost to perfection.

Starting with intricate drumming, ‘Mailbox Arson’ is a unique perspective on abandonment and change. An angry back-and-forth between Pettit and Green is the backbone of this song, which relies entirely on tone to make it feel ‘complete’. The true meaning of the song is grapsed when Green sings ‘I’ll strike a match/And burn away/Every tie that binds/Me to this place’.

Following this is ‘Boiled Frogs’. At time of writing this review, this song is set to be the second single from the album, though a video is yet to be filmed. The song, whose lyrics do require a bit of explanation to grasp, is probably the most catchy on the album. In an interview, Pettit explained that the song was about workers reaching retirement age who are forced to quit in order to forgo their pension. Only Alexisonfire could manage to take a song about corporate dependency and layer it with aggressive screaming, hand claps, poppy guitar and solid vocal performances from both Green and MacNeil, to create something truly remarkable

One of the more anthemic tracks on the album, ‘We Are The Sound’, follows up Boiled Frogs. Starting with a harsh and intricately screamed vocal by Pettit, the song transitions nicely into an upbeat chorus from Green as he sings ‘We are the sound/We don’t belong/So raise up your hands/And sing-along’. It continues on with more laborious vocals from Pettit, of which very few are decipherable, which is reminiscent of the band’s earlier recordings.

The next track takes us in a drastically different direction. Instead of Green’s lively falsetto, we get MacNeil’s scratchy voice hauntingly singing over a simple guitar line. This song is one that you will certainly question the first time you hear it. ‘Is this seriously Alexisonfire?’ was my first thought. The song is very similar in style to MacNeil’s side project, The Black Lungs, but still bears some of the trademark Alexisonfire layering, and omniscient lyrics.

Following ‘You Burn First’ is ‘We Are the End’. Similar in style to ‘We Are the Sound’, the song is slightly less driving, and a bit more poppy in sound. Green’s vocals intro the song before Pettit’s screams overtake the song until the chorus. The chorus layers the two vocals nicely, much like older Alexisonfire material did, only it is executed much more smoothly this time around. The song has a solid and well-defined structure, accented by group chants of ‘We Are the End!’.

After this comes the album’s title track, ‘Crisis’. The song is based on the winter storm of 1977 that paralyzed the Niagara region. With the accuracy in the lyrics, one could almost believe that the songs lyricists had in fact been around to see the storm. This is not the case, though. The song has strong guitars, lots of screaming and an overall tone of urgency – very fitting. Green’s chorus is infectiously catchy, especially his decrescendo while singing the word ‘hands’. Overall, the song is definitely one of the album’s standout tracks.

Post-’Crisis’ comes ‘Keep it on Wax’. I can’t pretend that I know what this means, and if you do, by all means fill me in… but the song in and of itself comes across strong. MacNeil’s vocals are performed with an almost bitter tonal quality, which really adds to the song’s overall theme. Green’s vocals are only used to compliment MacNeil’s throughout the chorus, and it offers something a bit different. Pettit’s screaming is less enunciated throughout, and more intense.

A bit of a change of pace, the song ‘To A Friend’ offers a powerful opening with Pettit’s screams and Green’s flowing vocal, but has an overall softer tone. My personal favourite part of the song is the final moments in which Green sings ‘I stay in time, and watch you pass by./I draw this line and hope you take my side/You shouldn’t have to fight alone/It’s nobody’s battle but your own’, and does so virtually a capella (simply a few lone guitar strums in the background), thus giving him a brief opportunity to show off the overall tonal quality of his vocals.

The last song on the album, in my opinion, is Alexisonfire’s best song to date. A different quality in both writing and recording than the rest of the album, ‘Rough Hands’ seems to be a taste of what may come in the future. The lyrics themselves are bitterly beautiful, and Green sings eloquently and with a perfect amount of emotion. Pettit’s screams are entirely decipherable, softer than most times and fit well into the song. The chorus is probably one of the best lyrics the band has written: ‘All my bones are dust/Two people, too damaged, too much, too late/And my heart’s sealed with rust/Two people, too damaged, too much, too late/These hands will always be rough/Two people, too damaged, too much, too late/I know this won’t count for much/Two people, too damaged, too much, too late.’ The song is a perfect retelling of the demise of a relationship, and a great look at the tribulations of love without being sappy in the least.

Overall, this album is most definitely Alexisonfire’s best piece of work to date. The guys that form the band have grown into themselves as musicians, lyricists, vocalists and have grown tighter as a band. The only thing that worries me is that they won’t be able to top it on their next release, but judging by the progress they’ve made so far, there is much to look forward to.

- Devin Henderson

Track Listing
1. Drunks, Lovers, Sinners and Saints
2. This Could Be Anywhere In the World
3. Mailbox Arson
4. Boiled Frogs
5. We Are the Sound
6. You Burn First
7. We Are the End
8. Crisis
9. Keep It on Wax
10. To a Friend
11. Rough Hands

Brand New in Mastering Stages; Announce Tour with Dashboard Confessional

Brand New have posted the following two pieces of news on their website:

Street Teamers…we promise that the interview is coming. The guys spent last week mastering the album and taking part in the interview. There was some definite TLC with the questions and it’s hopefully what you’ve been waiting for. It will either be up at the end of this week or at the beginning of September (surreal that September is almost here? Yes!). Aside from the interview, news is coming soon about the release date, the album title, the Fall tour…everything that you may be wondering about. I’m listening to “Take Apart Your Head” (or whatever it will be called…I usually learn right around when you do) blaring through my speakers as i type this. It’s real. Everyone on our side seems to be taking a quick vacation because we all know what’s coming: The New Album.

Regarding the Dashboard tour:As you may have heard, BN is hitting the road with Dashboard Confessional this fall. A limited number of advance tickets have been held for you and will be available through a special presale that began today (Wednesday, August 23rd at 1 PM Local Time). By buying tickets through our presale, you’ll be able to get your tickets before anyone else AND save some money on service charges.

Click here to buy tickets.

OCT 13 – Mesa, AZ @ Mesa Amphitheatre
OCT 17 – San Jose, CA @ San Jose Civic Auditorium
OCT 18 – Bakersfield, CA @ Rabobank Arena
OCT 20 – Las Vegas, NV @ UNLV Intramural Field
OCT 21 – San Diego, CA @ Cox Arena
OCT 23 – Orem, UT @ McKay Events Center
OCT 27 – Rosemont, IL @ Allstate Arena

More date will be announced shortly, so don’t worry if you don’t see your city listed yet!

The Used news a hoax.

A new bulletin has been posted under the John Feldmann account:
Re: The Used are in the hospital

Body:Ԛ 

not true. Quinn posted the message from this account. he thought he was funny. he is funny. funny eh?

Guess that sums things up.