Saturday, December 28, 2013

Joanna Gruesome

Joanna Gruesome
Weird Sister (Slumberland Records / Fortuna Pop! released in September 2013)

This band is keeping the indie-pop spirit alive! #tweeasfuck

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Faves for 2013

Originally published in the CJLO Magazine.



01. Fuzz - Fuzz
02. Kvelertak - Meir
03. The Feeling of Love - Reward Your Grace
04. Earthless - From the Ages
05. Mikal Cronin - MCII
06. Yo la Tengo - Fade
07. The Pastels - Slow Summits
08. My Bloody Valentine - m b v
09. Kurt Vile - Wakin' on a Pretty Daze
10. Deafheaven - Sunbather


01. Solids - Blame Confusion
02. Elephant Stone - Elephant Stone
03. Archery Guild - DIN
04. UBT - Ego Orientation
05. CTZNSHP - Doom Love
06. Cafeïne - New Love
07. Dig It Up - Manners
08. Suuns - Images du Futur
09. The Besnard Lakes - Until in Excess, Imperceptible UFO
10. Freelove FennerDo Not Affect a Breezy Manner


01. Nomeansno - Wrong
02. Sunn O))) - Black One
03. Dead Meadow - Dead Meadow
04. Nick Drake - Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, Pink Moon (Back to Black)
05. Parquet Courts -  Light Up Gold (released in 2012, reissued in Canada in 2013)


01. William Onyeabor - World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor?
02. Molly Drake - Molly Drake


01. Thee Oh Sees - Floating Coffin
02. Black Sabbath - 13
03. Dumb Numbers - Dumb Numbers
04. The Men - New Moon
05. Joanna Gruesome - Weird Sister
06. Diarrhea Planet - I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams
07. Kid Congo Powers & the Pink Monkey Birds - Haunted Head
08. Pharmakon - Abandon
09. Pissed Jeans - Honeys
10. A Tribe Called Red - Nation II Nation


01. My Bloody Valentine + Dumb Numbers @ Metropolis
02. Kvelertak @ Katacombes
03. Mudhoney @ Il Motore
04. Li'l Andy 3D @ Theatre Rialto
05. Woods + Parquet Courts + The Nymphets @ Il Motore
06. Michael Cronin + Shannon & the Clams @ Il Motore
07. Ringo Deathstarr @ Kathy & Kimy Restobar
08. Fucked Up + Cadence Weapon @ SAT
09. Archery Guild + Ostrich Tuning @ Sala Rossa
10. Melted Faces @ L'Escogriffe

Stephanie Dee is CJLO's Magazine Editor and the host of Twee Time every Friday from 8 to 9 PM. She occasionally hosts Champions of the Local Scene, which airs every Wednesday from 6 to 7 PM.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Who Is William Onyeabor?

Originally published in the CJLO Magazine.

If you have no idea who William Onyeabor is, you're not alone. The information available about him is unfathomable at best, but what I can tell you is that he is a Nigerian man of mystery. 

Rumoured to be a High Chief in Enugu whilst running a flour mill (yes, wheat!), Onyeabor all but abandoned the (tongue firmly placed in cheek) fame and fortune the music industry had to offer to find Jesus and open an Internet café. What he left behind in his journey into obscurity is the greatest musical gift (and most likely the compilation album of the year) for the rest of us to discover and to cherish. 

In this fifth installment of Luaka Bop's World Psychedelic Classics series, Who Is William Onyeabor? is an honest and for true feast for the ears. Onyeabor's music is a captivating—and dare I say, revolutionary—interpretation of psychedelic, electro-funk, and disco mixed with West African jùjú style beats. Throughout the album you hear the fabulous female backing vocals that shine through clear as the stars in the sky. The tracks "Why Go to War" and "Something You'll Never Forget" reveal the fragile situation of the Nigerian civil war, yet William's careful weaving of crazy rhythms, Moog synth sounds, and messages of peace fill the room with hope and joy. 

The CD version compiles 9 tracks from an eight-record body of work originally recorded and self-released by Onyeabor between 1977 and 1985. For serious music lovers, the vinyl release has 5 extra tracks pressed in a three-LP set with the cleanest, thickest wax that any record collector would trade anything to have spinning on their turntable. The set rests in a full-colour gatefold sleeve complete with lyrics sheet and liner notes written by NYU's very own Punk Professor Vivien Goldman.

Rating: 5/5
Recommended tracks: "Body and Soul", "Atomic Bomb", "Why Go to War"

--Stephanie Dee hosts Champions of the Local Scene (Wednesdays, 6-7 PM) and Twee Time (Fridays, 8-9 pm). Follow her on Twitter @tweegirl.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

POP Montreal 2013 Day Two

CJLO Magazine's editor-at-large Stephanie Dee writes about day two of POP Montreal. Check out the hashtag #cjlogoespop, and follow @Tweegirl on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-the-minute commentary, video, and photos taken during the festival.

I begrudgingly worked all day, day-dreaming about all the art exhibits and artist talks I wanted to attend but couldn't, and when the daily grind was finally over I headed on up to Quarters POP at 5:30 pm for the Media Mixer. 

Worried that I wouldn't know anyone there, I was so glad to run into Florent and Jesse from the band CTZNSHP, Adrian Warner (who I was with at the AIM LOW show), and Pat No from Bonsound at the event. I also met Steve Jordan, founder of the Polaris Music Prize, who was kind and very nicely dressed. He even knew what CJLO was! I felt like a fish out of water standing there in my jeans and a t-shirt, especially when Daniel Seligman (who I interviewed over the phone on my radio show the week prior) came by and no one introduced me to him. I just stood there awkwardly blushing and drinking my free beers. Ah, the perils of sportswear.

As the mixer started to wind down, things got really weird because at this point I noticed that the DJ was spinning 45s at the wrong speed! Young MC's "Bust a Move" and Sir Mix-a-Lot's "I'll Roll You Up" were playing at what seemed even slower than 33 1/3 RPM. I went over to find out what's up, and I even knew how to fix the problem, but the DJ refused to let me touch the turntables. That was frustrating, but quite comical.

CJLO was co-presenting an event with Blue Skies Turn Black at Théâtre Rialto, so I plugged in my headphones and ran on up to du Parc and Bernard listening to Ty Segall. The theatre was pretty empty when I got there, which made for some pretty sweet Instagram photos.

Théâtre Rialto
Bobo & Chris, sans Chris, opened the show. A solo Bobo had shaved part of his head for the performance, except for the bottom part so he could look like a clown—though I don't think he was dressed like a stereotypical clown, nor was he wearing any clown makeup; maybe he wore a big red nose and shoes? To be completely honest, I can't remember because it was a performance that I desperately want to forget. There were some really weird, echoing, and jarring effects on his vocals, and what I guess was some weird-ass Quebecois circus music. I watched Bobo's ummm... "song" and "dance", complete with a canned applause track, for a grand total of about two minutes, then I sat in a corner close to the CJLO merch table, pressing the earplugs I was wearing deeper into my canals.

I will copy here, some of the Facebook chatter among the CJLO peeps about Bobo the next day:

Lucinda posted: there are only three genres now: proto-Bobo, post-Bobo, and Bobo

Daniel replied: he was terrible
Beansie replied: proto-Bobo is my jam
Lucinda replied: Daniel how dare you (jk I was trying not to cry)
Mobs replied:'s all we can aspire
Beansie replied: bobo tribute band

Stephanie Dee posted: Tonight's #CJLOgoesPOP itinerary [...]

Mobs replied: I personally cannot wait for your bobo review
Stephanie Dee replied: I only briefly mentioned that he was there, but I've only written the first draft...
Lucinda replied: why isn't he the focus of your review just wondering
Stephanie Dee replied: I was trying to forget...
Beansie replied: No one puts Bobo in the corner
Stephanie Dee replied: Bobo put me in the corner!
Beansie replied: that is funny because that is literally what happened.

Beansie posted: Lucinda: In the 1st day of the Year 1 AB (Anno Bobo), I have found your USB.

Lucinda replied: blessed be Bobo's lightMobs replied: bobo is in all of us
Beansie replied: may the body of bobo be with you
Mobs replied: the power of bobo compels you
Lucinda replied: let us pray to the Bobo trinity: the Bobo, the Bobo, and the Holy Bobo
Beansie replied: and Chris, the mother of Bobo.

Well my dear Bobo, you certainly made an impression.

The Rialto really filled up by around 9:30 pm, then the room went dark except for the light from the exit signs and iPhone glow. Tim Hecker (at least I think it was Tim Hecker) took the stage. The pulsating wobble, low hum, deep rumbles, and layered ambient sounds were meditative, and I stood there imagining how cool it would be if, out of nowhere, Tim Hecker busted out a high-string metal guitar solo. Well, that didn't happen but I really enjoyed his music.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Tim Hecker

Up next was bass saxophone player Colin Stetson. Let me tell you, Stetson is one strong, intense, and talented guy. I was in awe watching his performance and stood baffled and mesmerized wondering how, in addition to playing that mammoth brass sax, this solo and seemingly minimalist artist managed to add the percussion and deep howls to his music. The show was very moving, and I knew that Colin was one of my tweeople when he dedicated the song "Among the Sef" to the lonely, misunderstood whale in the North Pacific Ocean that sings at the wrong frequency.

Shout out to the dude sitting at the side of the stage, pencil sketching the performance.

--Stephanie Dee hosts Champions of the Local Scene (Wednesdays, 6-7 PM) and Twee Time (Fridays, 8-9 pm). Follow her on Twitter @tweegirl.

Due to a death in my family, I was unable to continue writing these reviews.

POP Montreal 2013 Day One

After five days of music, film, symposia, and crazy parties, CJLO Magazine's editor-at-large Stephanie Dee reports back on day one of POP Montreal. Check out the hashtag #cjlogoespop, and follow @Tweegirl on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-the-minute commentary, video, and photos taken during the festival. 

The streets of Montreal seemed so quiet and empty on Wednesday evening, but 3450 Saint-Urbain and several music venues in this fair city told a different story. POP Montreal kicked off its 2013 edition at Quarters POP with some amazing art exhibits, presentations, and fun parties complete with drinks, DJs, live music, and yummy cupcakes from Bar à beurre. The first night of the festival offered so many things to do, hear, and see, I wish I could have defied the universal laws of space, time, and direction to experience everything. I'll work on that, but until then, here is a run-down of POP Montreal Day One.

Bar à beurre: The best cupcakes ever! 

British artist (and founding member of indie-pop band Talulah Gosh!) Elizabeth Price visited POP Montreal for an Art POP / Symposium artist talk to give us a behind-the-scenes look into the production of her prize-winning video installation entitled The Woolworths Choir of 1979. The 20-minute video intercuts archival photographs of an architectural choir and sepulchral sculpture from a Gothic church, footage from The Shangri-Las' music video "Out in the Streets", a women's chorus line, and clips from old news reels of a Manchester department store fire wherein 10 people died. Price unifies these seemingly unrelated elements through the repetition of text, clicking and clapping sounds, and the twisted hand gestures of the entombed figures, the Weiss sisters, ladies of the chorus, and the victims and witnesses of the fire. Pretty heavy stuff, and kind of depressing, but I found her creative process interesting in that she assembles hundreds of files into these congested timelines to form a computer-generated melodramatic dance. It was nice to get a preview of the work, which will be available for viewing starting October 9th at la Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal.

I met up with my POP Montreal partner in crime Alex G. and CJLO friends Beansie and Lucy, and we headed to the opening party for some food. DJ Dago from Brazil and funk-disco cover band Fabricville provided the music, and I met some pretty cool people as I ate my fill of cupcakes and bounced around Quarters POP to the tune of "The NeverEnding Story".

L-R: CJLO volunteer coordinator Lucy, CJLO manager Beansie, journalist Alex G. 

At 8:30 pm it was off to Petit Campus to see resident Montreal weirdoes (and the nicest people you'll ever meet) Red Mass. This band never ceases to amaze me. I like to call them Les Créateurs! Red Mass is always writing and releasing new material (10" EPs, split 7" singles, CDRs, and mini-CDs in Distroboto machines), in addition to band members performing with a slew of other bands including Night Seeker with The Deaner from FUBAR, PyPy with members of Duchess Says, and at one point Roy Vucino and Hannah L is Dead were in Kieran Blake's band Hiroshima Shadows. I always wonder how they find the time. "Sleep when you're dead" I always say!

Red Mass live and breathe their craft and they're always trying something different, which is apparent in their live performance. This 30-minute POP Montreal set started quiet with Ariane Gruet-Pelchat solo on violin, then it exploded into an uproar of psychedelic and poppy garage that even included some wicked jazzy saxophone courtesy of Dave Kunstatter (formerly of Glass Passenger). Just when I thought I had heard everything that the band has ever released, they come out with an amazing set consisting primarily of brand new songs. It was super cool that Hannah sang lead on many of them (she has such a beautiful voice), and Pouf the Magik Drummer hit every beat with a fury in his trance-like state. The set ended with the song "Drugs" (about looking for the drugs you lost inside the couch cushions), and they fit in one more tune, the familiar gem "Killer on the Loose" so we could all sing along.

My goth friends have been raving about The Legendary Pink Dots for years, and through my research I discovered that the band has an incredibly large back-catalogue of music spanning over three decades. So I decided to stay at Petit Campus to find out if they lived up to the hype. The Dots were technically and musically on-point, but they seemed to perform without feeling, as if the band were going through the motions of being a legendary band, and not the emotions. The ambient synth-pop sounds did serve to clear the busy thoughts in my brain for a while, but I have to admit I eventually felt kind of bored, so I only listened to the first two or three songs before leaving. Being quite the fan of doom and drone, I can certainly appreciate minimalist experimental rock, but to me the music seemed quite contrived, and I suspect the feeling was mutual because other people in attendance were talking through the beginning of their set. A slight regret entered my mind as I exited the venue, because the song that started when I left was met with cheers from the audience.

I hopped through Carré Saint-Louis, walked up Saint-Denis, and dashed into L'Escogriffe just in time to catch local band Marble Lion. It took a while for them to sound check, and the show had some slight technical issues, which were smoothed over by band member Karl, who engaged in banter with the crowd. Their music had a lot of rumbling, noisy drone and space sound effects, and the bass was a bit high at some points, but I enjoyed their set. The song "Salt Water" had some great percussion and shoegaze-y elements, and it was very melodic and not too aggressive. The kids seemed to dig it, and the venue was packed.
One show left before bed...

#EarsGoPOP! Effects pedals yo!
Local band AIM LOW have added a lot to their act since the first time I saw them in a tiny café on Saint-Denis two years ago, and I'm really digging where they're going. The band members are more animated, there's a new bass player who likes to wink a lot, they've incorporated vocal chanting and anguished screams, the music is louder (loud as hell!), and there's plenty more effects on the guitars. So many pedals! It's also kind of funny when, in unison, the members of the band get closer to the amps and gyrate against them to add even more fuzzy effects to their instruments. That reminded me of how the Peanuts gang danced in A Charlie Brown Christmas. AIM LOW is Charlie Brown's drone/shoegaze band! I mean that as a compliment. Did I mention it was freaking loud? Even with the ear plugs, my canals were still ringing the next day (and now I'm really afraid of the My Bloody Valentine show in November).

I came prepared for the AIM LOW show!

Shout out to a pole-dancing Cedric Marinelli, the dude in the "Grunge is Dead" t-shirt, and Dan from Foe Destroyer who said I was sexy and gave me a free download.

--Stephanie Dee hosts Champions of the Local Scene (Wednesdays, 6-7 PM) and Twee Time (Fridays, 8-9 pm). Follow her on Twitter @tweegirl.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

On Repeat: Boris


The Nick Drake tribute on the cover of Akuma no Uta (2003) by Boris caught my attention when I saw the image in some article about album covers a while back. I listened to the songs on YouTube, and they are undeniably amazing—if you like 1970s-inspired rock n roll sludgy drone music, that is. And I do, so much, more than you know. Listen to "Ibitsu", LISTEN TO IT!!!

I felt sad to discover that the original pressing produced a mere 500 copies, and the 2005 Southern Lord re-issue picture discs had 700 copies in the "Nick Drake" style, and 300 in the "venom" style. So yeah, this record is pretty rare and goes for a whopping €139.99 + on discogs for an original vinyl copy. I suppose I could go the CD route, but I just don't buy CDs anymore. There's enough stuff in my apartment as it is. 

A few days ago I was at Cheap Thrills, and as I was browsing through the used metal section, it became apparent that someone unloaded their entire Boris collection. I saw Smile, Rainbow, and behind the Boris / Joe Volk split was a record with a purple cover. Hmm... could it be? 

My heart raced; then it stopped; then it died. I paused, slowly flipped over to the record and saw that what I thought was Akuma no Uta was actually Pink. Nick C. had a couple of other rare Boris albums behind the counter, but not the Devil's Song. It just wasn't my lucky day that day... 

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the album's release, and it's too bad there was no reissue to commemorate that. Oh well. Until that fateful day of vinyl record luck comes to me, there's always this neat little website called YouTube...

Follow me @Tweegirl on Twitter.

Monday, September 16, 2013

POP Montreal 2013

♥♥ I'm really excited for Champs on CJLO this week, I can barely sleep! ♥♥

I'll be interviewing three amazing people from POP Montréal: Art POP curator Johanna Heldebro, POP Symposium director Jared Leon, and POP Montreal founder Dan Seligman! Soooo stoked. 

Tune in to CJLO at 6:00 PM Eastern to hear their top festival picks for 2013 and music from local bands that are playing the fest! Find the station on iTunes Radio in the college/university category, or use our mobile app for iPhone/iPod/iPad! 

I'll also be covering POP Montreal for the CJLO Magazine, including show reviews, live tweeting, and Instagram pics so follow me @Tweegirl for the inside scoop. ♥♥♥♥♥

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mudhoney @ Il Motore, Montreal

Originally published in the CJLO Magazine.

As far as I can make out, "edgy" occurs when middlebrow, middle-aged profiteers are looking to suck the energy—not to mention the spending money—out of the "youth culture". So they come up with this fake concept of seeming to be dangerous, when every move they make is the result of market research and a corporate master plan. –Daria Morgendorffer

Way back in the early 1990s, while my friends were still listening to bands like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, my co-worker Ben Gunning gave me a cassette by a then little-known band called Mudhoney. The tape was Superfuzz Bigmuff, and the music was unlike anything I had heard before: it was metal, it was hard rock, it was garage, it was punk, and it was fucking filthy.

Not long after receiving that cassette, I was listening to Claude Rajotte on the radio, and he urged his listeners to head over to Foufounes Électriques that week to check out another Seattle band called Nirvana. Rajotte said something to the effect that Nirvana was not to be missed because their sound was going to become the next big thing. I liked the Nirvana material Rajotte was spinning well enough, and the show at Foufs was only four bucks (yeah, I know!), so I figured "why not?" and carted my under-age ass downtown a couple of days later. I don't think Nirvana's performance made that much of an impression on me at the time, but that angsty blond guy named Kurt Cobain was interesting enough, so I filed the band under "to keep an eye on" and went back to playing my Mudhoney tape.

Then suddenly it was Grunge.

Nirvana exploded into the mainstream shortly after "Smells Like Teen Spirit" played in a late-night timeslot on MTV. Within a year, another Seattle band called Pearl Jam made its way to the alternative charts with their album Ten, and "Jeremy" became a hit video on Much Music here in Canada. Every girl at CEGEP John Abbott swooned over Eddie Vedder. There was "grunge fashion" (long hair, plaid shirts, ripped jeans, and beanies), "grunge speak" (I'm bound and hagged, just swingin' on the flippity-flop wearing my fuzz, but don't worry it ain't no harsh realm 'cause my dish is coming over later and we're gonna get bloated), and even "grunge couture" (lest we forget Marc Jacobs' collection for Perry Ellis printed on the pages of American Vogue).

Not many people who lived outside of Washington state in 1992-93 (myself included) realized that the scene we then knew as "Grunge" was nothing new. Many of the Seattle acts that were suddenly getting some mainstream attention had already been together—in one form or another—for almost a decade. Lots of other bands from outside of Seattle (Dinosaur Jr., for example) were also lumped into that "Edgy! New! Grunge Scene!" simply because their music was raw and heavy, and probably used the same guitar effects pedals as those on Superfuzz Bigmuff. Canada even had its very own mini Seattle-like scene in Halifax with bands like Sloan and Eric's Trip.

The way I remember it, and I don't remember much, Grunge came to a screeching halt when Kurt Cobain passed away in April 1994. Subsequently, the scene became watered down with bands whose music somewhat resembled what came before, but with a style and a subject matter that was more commercially "acceptable" and "radio-friendly". Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill was the new angry, and Grunge was "dead" (to me anyway) just as Kurt Cobain's t-shirt predicted back in 1992. 

Growing up sucks. I eventually lost my Mudhoney cassette to an old boyfriend and sold my soul to corporate America after University working a boring desk job for 15 years. I never did get to see Mudhoney perform live when Grunge was at its peak, and the last time I listened to them was in 1995 when My Brother the Cow came out on that fancy new music format called the compact disc. 

Fast forward to 2013 at a record store. On the board was the list of shows coming to town in September, and Mudhoney was one of them. I got to talking with the store clerk about the band, told him how much I used to love them as a kid, and he told me their latest LP, Vanishing Point, was the perfect album for the 40-and-over crowd. Although I was just a few weeks short of my 40th birthday at the time, I picked the record up anyway, gave it a listen, and he was so right! 

Mudhoney's ninth full-length album is modern and has that perfect mixture of primal, distorted grunginess that the band is known for, along with the awesome psychedelic fuzz that were hearing from the next generation of performers like Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin. I knew I finally had to catch the band live. So there I was on September 1st, 2013 at Il Motore—23 years after receiving Superfuzz Bigmuff from my friend—seeing Mudhoney for the first time.

I thought it was super cool that the band, with no delusions of grandeur, was booked to play such a small venue. When I got there, it was a pleasant surprise to discover that quite a few young fans, genuinely excited to be there, were in attendance along with seasoned fans of Mudhoney (now sporting their short, corporate haircuts, plain t-shirts, and fully-intact jeans). 

The majority of Mudhoney's set consisted of songs from Vanishing Point, along with fan favourites like "Sweet Young Thing" and "Touch Me I'm Sick" from Superfuzz Bigmuff, and "F.D.K" from My Brother the Cow, peppered throughout to make the old gang happy. I particularly loved hearing their new material performed live, especially "The Final Course", which was ferocious, distortion-heavy, energetic, and full of angst.

I felt honoured to finally witness what talented musicians Mark Arm (vocals, guitar), Guy Maddison (bass guitar), Dan Peters (drums), and Steve Turner (guitar) truly are. Mudhoney is a band that knows how to play real punk rock, and they still have it going with a bullet! Scorching guitars, a solid back beat, and a vocal performance complete with all the anger and attitude fitting for generations past and present. This show, for me, shed the band of the unfortunate and trivialising "grunge" moniker of bygone days.

At this point Mark Arm, barely speaking and drinking wine from a bottle, engaged in staring contests with audience members and knocked over his crimson liquid before segwaying into "Chardonnay" and "The Only Son of the Widow from Nain". The band left the stage for a short time, then returned for the encore, which was nice and long and freaking rad. They played some kick-ass cover songs from Black Flag and The Dicks, and more Mudhoney tracks, including "Here Comes Sickness" and "When Tomorrow Hits" from their self-titled debut studio album.

This show gave me everything I wanted, and Mudhoney will always be (well, to me anyway) the band that escaped edgy.

--Stephanie Dee hosts Champions of the Local Scene (Wednesdays, 6-7 PM) and Twee Time (Fridays, 8-9 pm). Follow her on Twitter @tweegirl.


Slipping Away
I Like It Small
You Got It
Suck You Dry
Get Into Yours
F.D.K. (Fearless Doctor Killers)
In This Rubber Tomb
Sweet Young Thing (Ain't Sweet No More)
Judgement, Rage, Retribution and Thyme
No One Has
Touch Me I'm Sick
What to Do With the Neutral
I'm Now
The Final Course
I Don't Remember You
The Only Son of the Widow from Nain


Here Comes Sickness
When Tomorrow Hits
In 'N' Out of Grace
The Money Will Roll Right In (Fang cover)
Hate the Police (Dicks cover)
Fix Me (Black Flag cover)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Shannon and the Clams @ Il Motore, Montreal

Originally published in the CJLO Magazine.

When I walked into Il Motore, the venue smelled like sea food. I wondered if had I mistakenly entered a restaurant, or could it have been the rainy weather coming in from outside? Or was it Oakland, California trio Shannon and the Clams, who were on stage setting up for the show? It really did smell like seafood! I'm not making this up! I quite enjoyed the coincidence, to be honest, as it contributed to the room's atmosphere. Mmmmm... good music and yummy sea food.

Sound check was quite the ordeal for them, as both Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard got painful shocks on the lips from the un-grounded microphones. That problem seemed to have fixed itself, but it took a little bit for the band to really get going since they couldn't hear anything through the monitors. Shannon also commented that the people on the floor were just sort of standing there, staring, not doing anything. Yeah, typical. Welcome to Montreal. I felt kind of bad at that moment, because Shannon and the Clams were really freaking great.

I love their unique take on the garage genre. Their music is grimy and raw, and draws its inspiration from '60s rhythm and blues, Cry Baby, and Sha Na Na. This is the type of doo-wop I imagine the kids would have danced to at senior proms all over the United States back in the day—after drinking some spiked punch, of course. Shannon has some mad style, too. Like a punk rock waitress. She wore an apron, played her bass guitar different from anyone I've seen perform in the past, and sang with a surly voice. Cody's voice has an in-tune but hoarse quality to it as well (kind of like a male Stevie Nicks), and they did an amazing job at sharing and taking the lead as singers.

I'll tell ya, though, things got real after Shannon asked for the lights to be dimmed a little lower. The crowd started twisting and shaking to tracks like "Troublemaker" from their debut I Wanna Go Home, "Done with You" from their sophomore album Sleep Talk, and plenty of new songs from their latest Dreams in the Rat House. Finally. People were participating in having fun!

I've said in the past that the audience is an integral part of what makes a show great, and it was nice that the kids at Il Motore finally stopped posing and started dancing.

--Stephanie Dee hosts "Twee Time" and "Champions of the Local Scene" every week on CJLO! Follow @tweegirl on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kvelertak @ Katacombes, Montreal

Originally published in the CJLO Magazine.

On the last stretch of an 11-week tour to promote their sophomore full-length Meir (Roadrunner Records), Norwegian band Kvelertak played to a sold-out crowd at Katacombes on May 21st before hitting their last date in Toronto. Performing that night as part of the original line-up were the three guitarists Bjarte Lund Rolland, Maciek Ofstad, and Vidar Landa, bassist Marvin Nygaard, and of course vocalist and front-man Erlend Hjelvik. A few weeks prior to the Montreal date, drummer Kjetil Gjermundrød left the tour prematurely due to an arm injury, so Jay Weinberg (son of E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg) took over on drums to fill the void, and Kvelertak delivered, hands down, the best show in Montreal so far this year.

With only three Canadian dates on this tour, the Montrealers in attendance were damn lucky to have purchased their tickets beforehand because this show was intense... complete with sweat, spit, fist pumps and blood! Yes, blood. Oozing plasma to be exact, thanks to an audience member (or should I say jerk) who decided it would be a good idea to fight-dance in the pit after being tattooed that day. This dude started out the night with bandages on his arm, which were subsequently ripped off by the swarming mass of sweaty metalheads. Enjoy that staph infection, asshole. This was probably the first show I’d ever been to that was literally a health hazard, and I wouldn't expect anything less.

Kvelertak belted the crowd with their wicked array of in-your-face black metal, garage rock, and punk-inspired melodies, hardcore-style gang vocals, and a hint of—dare I say?—pop. Yeah, dark Nordic-style pop performed by heavily tattooed vikings! And just enough metal to get everyone at Katacombes party-rocking into a collective state of head-banging bliss. I was really impressed with their unique blend of heavy musical styles, and each song sounded different. The stand-out tracks for me included the lead single "Bruane Brenn" and the eponymous "Kvelertak" off of Meir, and the band were also heavy on the songs from their self-titled debut Kvelertak from 2010. Chokehold indeed!

Erlend Hjelvik tossed his sweaty mane around, caught his loogies right before the spit hit the crowd, climbed the mosh pit, and there was lots of hair touching (much to the enjoyment of two rockin’ chicks who toughed it out front-stage). Marvin Nygaard climbed the rails with ease and pummelled the bass on a teeny tiny platform, and no stone was left unturned as both Erlend and Maciek Ofstad raised their hands and played to the crowd stage right, left, and up on the balcony.

During the encore, the band paused on an instrumental refrain for a good 30-45 seconds and then as they belted out the final tune, Erlend took off through the crowd and disappeared through a door at the back of the venue never to return to the stage that night. When the show was over, I wondered, “Does the door open up to a secret passageway leading to the greenroom?” I chuckled to myself thinking that perhaps he was hiding in a small closet, waiting for the crowd to leave the venue before coming out. Never did see him after the show. Check out their website to find out if Erlend made it home! 

--Stephanie Dee hosts "Twee Time" and "Champions of the Local Scene" every week on CJLO! Follow @tweegirl on Twitter.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Yellow Lollipop Vinyl

Peach Kelli Pop - Peach Kelli Pop (Bachelor Records 2012)

Peach Kelli Pop

Side B: Meow! How great is that? :)

Peach Kelli Pop

Buy the record here, and check out the first single, "Dreamphone".