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Ones to Watch: Osheaga Music Festival

Events, News, Ones to Watch

29th April 2016

In addition to being the highlight of my summer, Osheaga music festival is one of the biggest and best music festivals in Canada. Based in Montreal, the three day festival attracts crowds of up to 40,000 people per day. While many are there for the biggest names in music, including this year’s line-up of Radiohead, Lana Del Rey, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Disclosure and more, there are many up and coming artists that are worth getting excited about.

MusicDash has rounded up a few of the best and newest artists to keep your eye on. So pack your bags, buy your wristbands, and prepare to dance!

1) The Wombats

The Wombats are English indie favourites, but are less well-known across the pond in Canada. However with three albums to their name and an infectious indie rock sound, they are enough to please any crowd. Their latest record Glitterbug was released in 2015, and with catchy tracks including “Your Body is a Weapon” and “The English Summer” are rock & roll at it’s finest grunginess.

2) July Talk

Canadian favourites July Talk are Juno award winning rockstars who have toured with Weezer and Tegan & Sara. With their edgy, punky sound, and unique vocals, one can easily say they are a truly distinct band with a sound all their own. Their stunning debut album was released back in 2012, yet still feels fresh and new in 2016.

3) The Strumbellas

The Strumbellas are another Canadian group that has a very special sound. A blend of pop, indie and alt-folk makes for a wide array of upbeat songs. They have a sonic fingerprint that closely resembles the likes of bands such as The Lumineers (who will also be playing Osheaga) as well as Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (who played last summer.)

4) The Struts

The Struts are sleek, edgy rock straight out of the 80s. They are the band that could be the next biggest rock and roll group, with an earth shattering sound that is well beyond their young years. There is passion and heart behind every note and lyric, and they march to the beat of their own drum unabashedly staying true to who they are. If you want to see a band that apologizes for nothing and owns it, then this is the act for you.

5) Coleman Hell

Another Canadian who is easing his way into the spotlight, Coleman Hell is making a name for himself by securing gigs including opening for popular Ohio duo Twenty One Pilots.  Although his smash single “Two Heads” is easily his best known track, his other songs also bring together memorable fusions of indie pop and folktronica.

6) Frightened Rabbit

Scottish indie rock band Frightened Rabbit has been around since 2003 and has six albums to their name. With a beautiful melancholy sound, the band effortlessly makes any song sweet and pure. Crowds will be swaying along to the calming melodies of summer bliss.

Article by Natalie Harmsen

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TEAfilms Live Sessions: MAVERICK SABRE

News

17th April 2016

England-based artist Maverick Sabre is a multi-genre rapper, singer, and artist who recently joined TEAfilms in the studio for a session. Sabre performed two “stripped back” songs — and original off of his newest release “Innerstanding,” and a cover. Sabre said in the behind the scenes video of the shoot that “I always feel like I connect with people a lot easier and a lot quicker and a lot more direct when it’s stripped back.”

“Lay Your Head” opens up with some beautiful acoustic guitar that really brings out the strength in Maverick Sabre’s voice. It reminds me a little bit of Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish’s voice circa the 90s — it goes very well with acoustic and laid back tracks, but it has a layer of rock in it. In a world of autotune and pop music taking over the charts, I’m not sure if I’ve heard a voice this unique in a long time. “Lay Your Head” provides heartfelt lyrics to a lover “lay your head on me / trust you will find a little peace.” I swear that this song will be stuck in your head for days in the best way.

His cover of Glen Cambell’s “Wichita Lineman” is slightly more upbeat than his original. Sabre told TEAfims that a friend first showed him the song a few years ago and he “fell in love with the tune.” Sabre brings a lot of feeling and passion to the song, even if he might not relate to its lyrics “I need a small vacation / but it don’t look like rain.” The song itself showcases Sabre’s vocal ability in a raw and honest way. This cover was definitely a great addition to his live session and I hope that he incorporates it into his future live shows.

Overall, I was very impressed with this live session. I can’t wait to see what Maverick Sabre brings us in the future!

Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

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Soren Bryce

Emerging Artists, News, Pop

17th April 2016

Singer-songwriter Soren Bryce went to LA when she was 16, later she raised over $10,000 on PledgeMusic and recorded her debut EP produced by David Kahne (Lana Del Rey, Ingrid Michaelson) which was released last year. The woman is 19, and just reading her short biography leaves you a little breathless.

Soren has a luxurious and rich sound, but that doesn’t negate the haunting authenticity. Build around simple chords, and a vocal that is hard to ignore, you’re invited into the mind of a young woman. It would be a shame to compare her because she has, after all, an already determined sound at such a young age, but if you’re into anything remotely related to Marina and the Diamonds, her self-titled EP is worth a listen.

“I walk the line / between the fight / between the innocent and the riots” she sings on the stunning ‘Sirens’. The production is wisely simple, there’s nothing to prevent you from paying attention to the lyrics and vocals which more often than not happens for up-and-coming artists.

Genre-wise she’s a getting around. Surprisingly, this is only what makes her EP stand stronger. Again, the simple production becomes the red thread throughout an adventurous extended play, where the artist is allowed to try new things without falling under the classically “confused sound universe” category.

‘Stick it’ is just as different as the rest, but I can’t help but have a flashback to early Imogen Heap days, and no bad words about that fantastic lady, (and this might be a bold statement) but Soren’s got a production behind her that carries the skewed universe and quirks far better.

Bryce is hard to put a label on, and I think ultimately if she carries on the way she has begun, she will be carving a brand new category or two for herself.

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Album review: Sunset Sons // Very Rarely Say Die

News, Rock

4th April 2016

Remember back in the 90s when delusional music snobs proclaimed piano has no place in rock’ n roll? (They obviously didn’t know of David Bryan, Jerry Lee Lewis or Freddie Mercury.) Well if there was any doubt left, Sunset Sons definitely proves it’s got a place.

The quartet hailing from the surf destination Hossegor (members originating from both Australia and the England) released their debut album Very Rarely Say Die following up on a couple of EPs released last year. This album, however, is unquestionably made to be played live. From the slow catchy ooh’s on ‘Bring The Bright Lights’ to the hit ‘On The Road’ you can almost hear the crowd clap and sing along.

And it’s how the band was made as well. From rehearsing covers in the summer and playing gigs at ski resorts in the winter, the boys are well-versed in stage presence, energy, and musical capability. They supported Imagine Dragons on their latest European stadium tour and the words “best support act ever” kept being thrown around on social media.

There are longing, escapism, and a pinch of catchy rock n roll mixed with a laid back approach. Enough direction to fuse the catchy tunes with the laidbackness, enough escapism to balance the riffs. And that is how you come out on top. Older fans will appreciate the new takes on earlier songs like the beautiful and longing ‘Loa’ (man do this band know how to bring out the harmonies, well done Rob), as well as a predicted new crowd-favourite ‘Bring The Bright Lights’ which for me personally stands the strongest. Slow pace but with a big chorus and a guitar riff that gets stuck in your brain for days.

The band is still in its early years, so the compilation of songs range from old to brand new which suggests they have dabbled a little with the genres. Take ‘Lost Company’ that kind of has a folky vibe to it, and ‘I Remember’ which shines a light on what a brilliant guitarist Rob Windram is. The synergetic relationship between the four musicians is a result of the many live gigs they’ve got under their belt. Jed Laidlaw is a fantastic drummer, bassist Pete Harper and Rob as mentioned before, are on point. And Rory Williams has a voice you definitely want to hear more of.

They do save the best for last, at the end of the album we find ‘I Can’t Wait’ and it is just Rory and a piano. You can feel the end of the summer where the wind is getting a tad colder, the sun sets earlier than you would like, and you cherish the warmth before autumn comes and takes it all away.

Luckily spring is just arriving, you should go and hear the album live. Sunset Sons are currently on a headline tour promoting Very Rarely Say Die. For more info visit sunsetsons.com.

Article by Flipse Flebo

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Album review: Matt Corby // Telluric

Editors Choice, News, Pop

25th March 2016

After a couple of years of silence, the Aussie returns with his long-awaited debut album Telluric. And it was a wait worthwhile. Many were hoping that the five EPs he has under his belt, could predict any sort of direction he would take on his debut LP, but if you were hoping for something similar, you’re definitely going to be disappointed.

The meaning of the word Telluric is “an electric current which moves underground or through the sea”. The tempo and feel of the album circles and twirls steadily away, making restrained stops for you to catch your breath before continuing onwards. Current or no current, Matt’s is steering his debut ship in the direction he wants to discover.

“Stood in the corner when we would fight / to act upon a line and hang my shit up out to dry.” He smoothly sings on the soothing and indulgent opening track ‘Belly Side Up’. The slow pace of the record starts here and it doesn’t change much throughout the album.  (I refrain from using the word current again but it’s so cunning and cleverly used by Matt himself.)

There are continuing moments of what appears as ambivalent, but what seem to come effortlessly to Matt might be actually meticulously thought out. We just don’t know, and that’s what makes it exciting. For Mac DeMarco fans and in particular listeners of Salad Days, Telluric would be something to dig into.

Paces are kept at a low and mellow speed, from the choirs and clapping on the simplistic ‘Monday’ to the wholesome psychedelic jazz atmosphere on ‘Sooth Lady Wine’. There is a diary-like form to the songs, representing chapters or emotional difficulties you come across in life. The most lifted and upbeat song of the bunch, is the soulful ‘Why Dream’ where Matt discloses “Just to be like you, but you talk too much to listen / and I want you more, and we are meant to be broken / and I forgive warmly, when you’ve got a change of heart.”

Matt Corby’s voice is something you cannot avoid addressing. From his long-forgotten Australia Idol moments, this man has grown vocally as well as in years. The control he possesses, the way a word can bear one meaning in a song and change in the next is outstanding. He’s far from face amongst the crowd when you hear his voice.

The end of Telluric is where we find the hypnotic ‘Empire Attractions’. He asks, “Something’s got to shape us / Boredom’s going to shape us / something’s got to shake us out of this and save us /how can they save you if they can’t help themselves?” Matt’s got vision and we need not worry about where his vision lies in terms of his music. It’s like he has taken the book of soul music, dusted it off, and left his own notes in the margin.

Article by Flipse Flebo

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Album review: AURORA // All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend

News, Pop, Singer/Songwriter

17th March 2016

Aurora Aksnes explains her album in one sentence, “My album, it’s mainly about how bad experiences can be good memories.” And despite the dark pop delving into the melancholic spectra of songwriting, there is still a feeling of seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, in the debut album of the 19-year-old Norwegian.

It starts off with the tranquil first single of the album, ‘Runaway’ where she sings “And I was running far away / would I run off the world someday? / Nobody knows.” But it steps up the strength in ‘Conqueror’ with big drums and an even bigger lyrical surroundings. And you would be deaf not to notice a pinch of Florence + The Machine reminiscing in between the beats.

AURORA plays around with the elements of the earth and the corresponding elements of light – or the lack thereof. In particular, with the song ‘Running With The Wolves’ she dances gracefully on the right side of the lines. It never engages too much with the heavy melancholy that can drain the life of a song, it keeps a subtle grip on lightness and anticipation which gently knocks on the door for the duration of the album.

‘Through The Eyes Of A Child’ shows a very honest young woman, but with great perception of the world around her, and inside of her. “World is covered by our trails / scars we cover up with paint / watch them preach in sour lies / I would rather see this world through the eyes of a child.” If this were the 90s, AURORA would be the kind of artist you would pull out the booklet of the CD for, and read every lyric on the album. There’s substance to her, and the term an old soul trapped in a young body seem very fitting.

She manages to bring the listener aboard her ship, and it’s a boat you don’t want to get off of. We get to see the world through a pair of spectacles, a reality painted with the words of a fairytale; anecdotes that tell the unsweetened and sometimes unkind truths while remaining hopeful. On both ‘Murder Song 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” and ‘Warrior’ there’s a sincereness in which Aurora spills her realities. She has been playing the piano since childhood, and it shows, because it is by far the piano-driven songs that are her forte.

She might be singing she’s running away, but AURORA is running towards something quite special with her debut album. If this is what she delivers at just 19, even our universe will not limit her.

(Social Media photography by Nicecleanwhite)

Article by Flipse Flebo

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A band you need to know about: Lukas Graham

News, Pop, Singer/Songwriter

3rd March 2016

”It was a big, big world but we thought we were bigger” Lukas Graham sings on the hit single ’7 years’ which climbed lists across Europe and landed him a number one spot on the UK chart. But he also reached the top somewhere further away imaginable, Australia. The last time Denmark made a mark down under was with Aqua’s ‘Barbie Girl’ and we have fortunately come a long way since. The Ghetto pop of Lukas Graham is on a roll.

The four piece band joins a dozen of Danish artists like Oh land, MØ and Alex Vargas, making waves and getting noticed by the world outside of Scandinavia. Like with everything else, nothing comes without hard work and effort. But for the Danes, taking a step away from the terminology of ‘Jantelov’ (‘Law of Jante’) which put into few words mean, you’re not to think you are anything special. It has been a social norm imprinted in the society of Scandinavia for generations, and in some ways work as an opposite to the American Dream; wanting to achieve something and speaking up about it is frowned upon. Having people liking your product despite going against the grain of a society is an accomplishment in itself.

In the song ‘Happy Home’ Lukas sings, “Mama called about the paper turns out they wrote about me / now my broken heart’s the only thing that’s broke about me / so many people should have seen what we got going on / I only wanna put my heart and life in songs.” The guy is a solid storyteller, spilling the beans as if in a conversation with his audience, and it’s what sets him apart.

There’s a hazardous honesty to it, and that can lead to two outcomes: A sense of too much cliché which ultimately makes you careless to the message, or, here’s a kid saying exactly what’s on his mind, with no pompousness to it, and it draws people in. I think they are heading towards latter. Media has been having a hard time finding a sound or band and compare them to, which perhaps is the greatest applause you can give them.

Before the break into the outlandish charts, the soulful pop band released their debut album in 2012, and with tireless touring later, so many record labels were out to get their hands on them, they could cherry-pick their own record deal. They ended up signing with American Warner Bros Records at the end of 2013. In between there was the heavy tour across Europe, and selling out stadium gigs in heir home country alone is a bit unheard of. The quartet is steadily climbing charts around the world, and with the new album released on March 25, it is followed up by a tour across the US.

A few years back the discussions were whether or not Lukas Graham would translate to a broader audience. Now the talk is all about how many countries he can beat Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Adele in like he did in Australia and the UK.

 

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The 1975 Ambitiously Respond To Their First Album

Dance/Electronic, News, Pop, Rock

28th February 2016

Fitting with the long list of English groups before them that The 1975 seem to be forging their way into, the Manchester quartet have created a second album that sounds and looks like a more mature version of their first.

This does not mean that the (the arrogant and annoyling titled) ‘I like it when you sleep for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it’ is a direct, boring and lacklustre copy of their debut (and better titled) ‘The 1975’. Rather, it means that what went right on their first try, such as the witty lyrics and experimental mix of electronic beats and rock synth guitar pop, is capitalised on and expanded, and what went wrong is done away with. It means that they’ve taken whatever they learnt after being thrown into fame from their debut after years in a career without any, after touring, dealing with fangirls, pop stars that “want to shag” lead singer Matty Healy, and apparent struggles with cocaine, and turned it into a sprawling, ambitious, and heavenly workable second album that both responds to the questions laid out on their first, and leaves room for The 1975 to grow into the iconoclasts that they seem to be itching to be.

Lyrically, ‘Ugh!’ is the new 1975’s response to the song that first catapulted them into success, ‘Chocolate’, making the first catchy anthem about driving around with soft drugs sound comparably tame to the singer’s electro pop tryst with cocaine. ‘A Change of Heart’ is another answer to their debut – Healy sings ‘never found love in the city’ after telling us on their debut that ‘If you wanna find love then you know where the city is’, perhaps literally making note of this response by telling us that he’s ‘just had a change of heart’. ‘She’s American’ and ‘Paris’ sounds like more tales of the women sung about in ‘She Way Out’ and ‘Settle Down’ from their debut, and ‘The Sound’ is the second album’s festival anthem answer to ‘Girls’ on the first. The link is literally evident by starting the album with a rework of the same track that did the first, ‘The 1975’, showing us from the get go that this album is similar to the first, but the jump into the powerful opener on ‘Love Me’ shows that it’s gone above and beyond what the debut made us expect.

Swapping black and white aesthetics and guitar driven pop for a rose tinted theme and Bowie-inspired riffs hasn’t answered all of Healy’s troubled questions, however. Just as he struggles with belief in God in ‘Antichrist’ on the ‘The 1975’, he continues to plead ‘I’m asking you Jesus, show yourself’ on ‘If I believe you’, contrasting these more serious tones with ‘you shouldn’t have made me atheist’, continuing the link of witty lyricism that is consistent throughout the album, making the scrawling mix of pop, jazz and 80s rock come to life in a way that is new to The 1975’s talents. Some of the record’s best tracks, ‘The Ballad of Me and My Brain’ and ‘Somebody Else’ show us deeper into Healy’s struggling psyche, while always keeping that hint of lightness to the lyrics, ‘I think I’ve gone mad, isn’t that so sad?’. Similarly, ‘Ugh!’’s upbeat tempo and sporadic mix of sound may make it seem like one of the more light-hearted songs on the album, but a closer look reveals that ‘I’m not giving it up again’ may not be as simple as he’s trying to convince us it is.

So much of the album seems unworkable – its 17 track length, variation of genre and style, and almost-too-much instrumentals, but what The 1975 have learnt from their first release has obviously paid off. It’s hard to think of what track they could have cut or where they could have simplified musically – the album’s beauty is contained within its euphoric music, coupled with layered vocals found on ‘Somebody Else’, ‘If I believe you’, and physically manifested on the album’s simplistic artwork. What is most appealing, however, is The 1975’s ability to capture the cultural climate in a way that is lyrically subtle, but visually obvious. In ‘A Change of Heart’ Healy amusingly sings ‘you took a picture of your salad and put it on the internet’, harking back to their video for single ‘Love Me’ where he mocks card board cut out celebrities. ‘Love Me’ is perhaps the album’s marking song – the most literal nod towards the Bowie influence, the characteristic mix of genres, the dazzling bass line (something they’ve thankfully carried over from songs such as ‘Chocolate’ and ‘Girls’ on their debut), and lyrics directly criticising the generation that they’re making music for. The more adept listener will question their own relationship with culture and the celebrities they worship in this internet age.

Healy struggles to find a sense of identity in a world where religion is absent, his friends are overtaken by fame, and his lovers are ‘looking through your phone and then leaving with somebody else’. It’s wholly empty, beautifully depressing and disgustingly perfect – fitting for a band that seem grappled between dichotomies of criticising the modern age and using it for their success. Each listen leaves me so fucking confused, but in the way that only great bands can.

Written by Amy Eskenazi

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Review: AFFAIRS // Play

News

22nd February 2016

After releasing two well-supported singles in 2015, Manchester indie dream band AFFAIRS is back and ready for the new year. The band brings something special to the table with lead singer Jim Robinson’s unique vocals and the groovy instrumentals of their newest release Play. Like Brothers before it, Play was touched by all of the right people, including producer Ed Buller.

The track draws you in from the first beat of the drums, and keeps you going throughout with its catchy and nostalgic lyrics. The song’s chorus says “if you want it all, then you’ve got it” and AFFAIRS definitely has it. We’re excited to hear what else the band has up their sleeve this year.

You can check out AFFAIRS’ music at www.affairsband.com and follow them on Twitter @Affairsband

Article by Kaitlyn Midgett

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You need to know about Hoodie Allen

News

3rd February 2016

Hoodie Allen is proof that hard work makes a career. While I could leave you with that bold statement, his journey so far is too interesting to pass up on. From successful mixtapes (worth mentioning are Pep Rally and Leap Year), Hoodie started making waves, quite literally. The good old word of mouth rumored this dude to be three things in particularly: 1) Able to put on a tight show. 2) Actually knows his craft. And last but not least, 3) he is immensely polite and grateful to his fans in person and online. Kindness gets you somewhere, and Steven aka Hoodie Allen has shown it works if you mean it.

The buzz kept getting bigger in 2012 when his first EP All American (listen to ‘No Faith In Brooklyn’) debuted at number 10 on the Billboard 200. This was when people started asking the question, when is he going to sign with a big label? We are writing 2016 and that is still an unanswered question, and I do not think it will happen anytime soon. It was followed up by another mixtape Crew Cuts, and in 2014, he released his debut album People Keep Talking which featured Ed Sheeran on ‘All About It’ topping charts like iTunes. Oh, and he then proceeded to be part of Fall Out Boy’s tour Boys of Zummer.

Still an independent hip hop artist, he released his second album Happy Camper in January, which despite being available free, also topped many iTunes charts as well as hitting number one on the Billboard independent album list. He has toured harder than most. The UK, Europe and North America and Australia. The new album will to no one’s surprise be combined with a new major tour in the US.

The repetitive fact here is, that Hoodie Allen is all about the “show it don’t tell it”. The once Google-employed Steven is honing his craft, creating a buzz and repeating it, and if you do it enough times it gets you somewhere. Most artists would at this stage of their career have signed with a major label and given some of their responsibilities away, but there is not a creative angle where Mr. Allen has not been involved. And that shows.

Let Hoodie show you what he is capable of at a gig, and I promise you, will remember it as one of the best concerts of your life.

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