Tag Archives: Canadian Rock

In-Flight Safety Debuts Destroy Video


In Flight Safety. Photo credit: Meghan Tansey Whitton
In Flight Safety. Photo credit: Meghan Tansey Whitton


Excellent New Music from Canada’s In-Flight Safety

They’ve established a strong track record over the past decade North of the border, but truly haven’t achieved tremendous success here in the United States… yet…

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As legend has it, back in 2003, they received a two word email from David Bowie. “Nice Album,” it was the impetus they needed to pursue their rock music dreams. Now, more than a decade later, they’ve released their third full-length album, Conversationalist. “Destroy,” the second single from the album has just been released, with the accompanying video hitting the streets yesterday.

“Destroy” is a stylistic rocker that’s just a blast to listen to. From the first dulcet notes to the rousing finish, the song envelops you and pulls you into a vivid musical journey. The song kicks off with lush, soothing harmonies before building to a crescendo and exploding through the speakers. The music is comfortably reminiscent of in their prime Echo & The Bunnymen – soaring vocals, catchy atmospheric guitars and hard-driving, freight train drums. Yup, it’s pretty damn good, and it’s a rock song that fits wonderfully in 2015.

It’s a polished hit waiting to happen and an infectious song worth a listen or twelve.

Check it out here:

Rock On!

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Hedley Wild Life Album Review


Hedley Wild Life Album Review

This hard-working Canadian quartet has been making waves in their homeland for a decade, and it’s only a matter of time before they explode South of their border.

Their latest offering, Wild Life offers up precisely engineered pop rock that will appeal to the masses; and let’s be perfectly clear here, this stuff leans a lot more towards the pop side of that spectrum.

While we witness a¬†theme of pure pop slicing through the album, it’s actually quite diverse stuff, at times making me think¬†of 80’s one-hit wonder Scritti Politti, at times it’s Foster and The Peopleish, and yet others, the music evokes horrible flashbacks to the Toto-Age of rock music. Fortunately, at the other extreme, the band demonstrates some cutting edge talent.

“Heaven in Our Headlights” is a Fun. (see what I did there?) song that reminds a little bit of Avici and has a very timely feel to it. The song features absolutely everything it takes to be an Alt-Rock hit. Jacob Hoggard’s tender vocals are highlighted in a powerful, melodic performance that carries the hit-in-the-waiting. The opening track “Anything” is another catchy offering that absolutely belongs on today’s radio playlists.

My favorite track is the grittiest offering on the album. It’s a dark dirty ode to life South of the border, “Mexico.” It’s a violent powerful collision of musical instruments that’s just a blast to listen to. It was a welcome expedition, listening to the band journey into their darker side.

But, it’s not all great stuff; there were a few songs that epitomized mediocrity, and were just too pretty and tight – not what I’m looking for in rock music. ¬†Of course there’s the obligatory power ballad or two and they’re decent but really nothing special.

But, what the hell do I know? Their first single “Crazy For You” has absolutely exploded on Youtube, and it grows on me everytime I hear it. ¬†Check it out yourself here:¬†Hedley: Crazy For You

At the end of the day it’s a nice, well produced album – probably one better suited for the teenage rock fans out there. the ones with the 2 X chromosomes more likely. But, there’s enough variety, that there’s something for any rock fan to enjoy, something that will appeal to everybody. Take a listen and let me know what you think?

Rock On,

USS Continues to Impress

USS – Advanced Basics Album Review

This talented duo from Toronto has continued to pop up on my radar over the past few years; each time offering another creative catchy single that seems to bet get hopelessly stuck on replay on the iPod.  We finally got our hands on a USS album, the recently released Advanced Basics, and I anxiously took it for a spin.

Simply put, Advanced Basics is fantastic. If this was a full-length album, there’s no doubt we’d be seeing this highly rated in our year-end Best of 2014 list. The album features seven electronic rock tracks, highlighted by clever guitar riffs, powerful drums and catchy lyrics, there’s not a weak offering on the release.

It’s actually quite difficult to slip this creative band into a predetermined rock music genre, they’re quite the unique combination. If I had to make a comparison to existing bands, I could picture them the eclectic spawn of Linkin Park and Dandy Warhols; yeah, it’s a little different, but it’s damn good stuff.

Vocalist/guitarist Ashley Boo-Schultz and hypeman/turntablist Human Kebab are¬†USS, or as they are known in full form, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker, have been making cutting edge music together for more than seven years. From the band bio: ‚ÄúWe’re walking examples of simultaneous opposite juxtaposition,‚ÄĚ says Boo-Schultz. ‚ÄúWhen we met, Jay had just graduated university and I had just dropped out. He‚Äôs a hyper-extrovert, and I‚Äôm a hyper-introvert. I’m always looking in, and he’s always looking out. It became glaringly obvious right away that we needed one another.‚ÄĚ From the results we see on ¬†Advanced Basics, they complement each other ideally.

The debut single, “This Is The Best” is a riveting, addictive track featuring fantastic juxtaposing lyrics “This is the best, my life’s a fucking mess…” ¬†Great stuff. It’s a powerful rocker with a heavy techno beat and great gritty vocals from the talented Boo-Schultz. ¬†It’s slightly darker and harder than most of the album, but a sure-fire radio staple.

USS exhibits their growth and maturity in the lyrical content of this album. “Nepal” is a call to action for the listener; and¬†“Hydrogenuine” and “Built To Break Up” feature mature and deeply introspective lyrics wrapped inside simply addictive and supremely listenable rock music.

Every song has its own merits and truthfully if you asked seven different rock fans for their favorite track, you could very well end up with seven different choices. ¬†“Freakquency” features the slickest, most mainstream song, and seems like a logical future single release, and I like it a lot, but it might be my least favorite track on the album. ¬†My favorite track? It’s “Yin Yang” which is currently riding high on Canadian Alt-Rock charts.

Buy the album when it’s available South of the border (until then buy the single below) and see for yourself why we have this one already pegged as a 2014 highlight offering.

Rock On!

Rock On!

Hunter Valentine Album Review

Riding a surge of momentum fresh off of their recent appearances on the Showtime TV series, The Real L Word, Hunter Valentine has exploded onto the rock scene with their latest power-packed release Collide and Conquer. These three Canadian women continue to grow musically on this, their third release.

Make no mistake, this is not your typical chick rock. The threesome tears through eleven cuts that grab you by the ears and force you to take notice. ¬†It’s good, tough rock that demands airplay. Hunter Valentine has a unique sound that sometimes reminds of a more muscular No Doubt and¬†occasionally¬†conjures up comparisons to Nancy Wilson and Courtney Love, but these women and their talented singer¬†Kiyomi McCloskey truly have their own sound.

From the opening notes of the power rocker “Liar Liar” we’re captured by creative guitar, hard driving drums and aggressive bass. ¬†It’s a tried and true recipe for power rock music success and a bit refreshing in today’s synth-dominated landscape. It’s even more refreshing to have this sound paired with an intriguing female threesome. “Liar Liar,” the first song is a gritty rock track with addictive guitar riffs and edgy vocals. ¬†Good stuff and a great way to kick off the album.

Talented Canadian producer ¬†Greig Nori, of Iggy Pop and ¬†Sum 41 fame, does a superb job weaving between McCloskey’s hard-edged vocals and the band’s layered melodies, all interspersed with a gritty musical backdrop. ¬†It’s a diverse mix that for the most part works extremely well. There are a few tracks that are uninspiring, but they are far outweighed by creative, hard-driving rockers.

I enjoyed the edgier tracks, but suspect the majority of listeners will gravitate to the more mainstream tracks, such as the hit-waiting-to-happen “The Bull Rides Tonight.” It’s reminiscent of so many great arena rockers from the late eighties, and could be a hit in any generation, including today. “Nowhere to Run” is another cut along the same vein, a little too saccharine for my liking, but a cut that will probably appeal to the masses.

“Little Curse (Shit Happens)” is an excellent tune. ¬†It has a great power rock sound, fantastic drums from Laura Petracca and some of McCloskey edgiest vocals. ¬†I also found myself drawn to the upbeat bouncy sounds of “Priscilla,” a fun listen and a bit different from anything else on the album.

All told, Collide and Conquer is a refreshing, gritty release certainly worthy of a listen. Check it out below, and grab a copy on iTunes.

Rock On!

Mother Mother – Eureka

Eureka! Yup, I’m a little late, but I finally got my hands on Eureka, the third album from Mother Mother, a talented and under-appreciated quintet from Vancouver, British Columbia. Definitely worth the wait for this diverse collection of alt-country-dance-funkadelic-harmonic rock. It’s impossible to classify their sound as anything but original; they sound like Mother Mother, period. ¬†And, that’s just fine for open-minded rock and roll animals like myself.

The album is pretty damn entertaining and definitely worth a few listems. I strongly recommend giving it a few spins (and “yes” it is available on vinyl), as these ditties grow on you.

Eureka is produced by Ryan Guldemold, the band’s principal¬†writer, lead guitarist and male vocalist. Mother Mother also features the vocals of Ryan’s sister Molly and Jasmin Parkin and their three part harmonies are found throughout. Those smooth harmonies coupled with their quirky distinctive music deliver a handful of unique infectious tunes.

The first four tracks are all excellent. “Chasing It Down” kicks off the album. The song is a roller coaster ride of mixed tempos, and features a hook from Ryan’s distinctive falsetto that will bounce in your head for days. ¬†The harmonies from the ladies and 70’s influenced organ riffs are unique and entertaining. ¬†It is followed by “The Stand” the first single released by the band, which features a humorous Boy vs. Girl call-and-answer vocal¬†performance¬†from all three singers. The song is not great, but the lyrics are, as evidenced by Ryan explaining his vices; “There’s women on bikes or just women who straddle.”

“Baby Don’t Dance” is my favorite track off of the album. I reflexively cranked up the volume to this tune, and it became an instant favorite and is just a total blast to listen to. Fantastic vocals, great keys, cool bass and guitar. Simply described, it’s just a great party song, possibly one of my Top 10 for the year. You may find yourself¬†reminiscing¬†about classic B-52 dance tunes. “Original Sin” gets off to a mediocre musical start, but the vocals as usual are superb, with all three vocalists playing key roles. ¬†It’s another one that you’ll find yourself singing along with.

Those first four tunes are all very strong. ¬†Afterwards, some of the songs seem a bit over-produced, but do a good job highlighting the band’s intricate harmonies and clear musical talent, including bassist Jeremy Page and Ali Siadat on drums.

“Simply Simple” is a beautiful song with amazing lyrics from Ryan, clearly showcasing the high end of his great range. ¬†Again the¬†harmonies¬†are dead on. ¬†They remind me of the beautiful harmonies from the 90’s talented yet under-the-radar Voice of the Beehive. “Simply Simple” is immediately followed by “Problems,” which again accentuates the band’s incredible diversity. ¬†This ditty¬†hearkens¬†back to the more rockabilly sound from their earlier recordings. ¬†The guitar is great, Jeremy Page’s bass is superbly hypnotic, and it’s just a blast to listen to. “Oleander” is a big song that again features great vocals, and nice keys.

The remainder of the songs are enjoyable, if not unremarkable. ¬†I feel as though the band was trying to highlight their musicianship, harmonies and diversity. Personally, I’d prefer a few more like “Baby Don’t Dance!”

Check out the album linked below from iTunes, where you can get the entire thing, plus a few bonus tracks for an excellent price of $7.99.