BTW Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs, Yukon Blonde, Jordan Klassen, Matt Andersen, Kevin Hearn, Peaches, Onion Honey

Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs.jpg

Submitted by Lenny Stoute
Photo at right: Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs

Sam Cash’s new album Tongue-In-Cheek Vows perfectly captures that moment when a young artist and his cohorts find their collective voice and suddenly realize that there are no limits to what they can accomplish together. The explosive opening track “Cast Away” serves notice that this isn’t just another singer/songwriter-fronted band. With Cash’s unflinching poetry riding atop The Romantic Dogs taut exuberance, Tongue-In-Cheek Vows is a gimmick-free, melodic excursion, riffing on a time when conviction was measured by the amount of sweat and blood exuded on stage, and in the studio.

Set for release on March 25 via Cameron House Records, Tongue-In-Cheek Vows is Cash’s third album and the second with the Romantic Dogs. It follows the group’s acclaimed 2013 debut, Stand Together, Fall Together, an album that earned more attention than even Cash was hoping for, given how spontaneously it was made. Cash chose to take more time to develop Tongue-In-Cheek Vows. Working in tandem with producer and bona fide Canadian alt-rock legend Ian Blurton (Change Of Heart, C’Mon, Public Animal), Cash and the Dogs have served up 11 tracks of sharp lyrics and insistent licks. Highlights are “Tossing & Turning", “That Was The Summer” and “Carmen,” from which the album’s title was drawn.

“I really wanted this record to be a statement, and I gathered all the best material I had on hand for it, including some songs I purposely didn’t want to put on the last album,” Cash says. “It felt good to be able to involve the band more on this one too, considering we’d made Stand Together, Fall Together in basically two days. Everyone worked really hard and there was a great exchange of ideas.”Cash views Tongue-In-Cheek Vows not just as a mere coming-of-age document, but a symbol of how he has embraced the craft of songwriting itself.

“These songs were written during a three or four year period starting when I was 19, which is a pretty exciting time for anyone,” he says. “But what I love most about songs are those moments when you hear something and it hits you in a very specific way, and you’re not even thinking about what the writer’s intentions are. That’s the ultimate effect I would like my music to have on people, when they can make their own connection, which is just as real and meaningful as what was in my head when I wrote the song.”

All of this comes down vividly when Sam and the Dogs go live and there will be opportunities aplenty as the dudes are currently at the front end of a cross-Canada jaunt.

Feb 13 Toronto, ON - Horseshoe Tavern
Mar 22 Whistler, BC - Garibaldi Lift Company
Mar 23 Vancouver, BC - The Imperial
Mar 24 Kelowna, BC - Flashbacks
Mar 25 Edmonton, AB - The Starlite Room
Mar 26 Calgary, AB - The Gateway
Mar 27 Saskatoon, SK - Amigos
Mar 28 Winnipeg, MB - Windsor Hotel

Yukon BlondeYukon BlondeAnother crew of road dogs out this month is Vancouver's Yukon Blonde. Since Feb.5. they've been at it, intending to stop in every province along the way. The meat of the sets is taken from current and best album yet, On Blonde. Produced and mixed by Tony Hoffer, (M83, Beck, Foster the People, Air, Depeche Mode) the album gazes wistfully away towards the more shadowy elements of pop production, soft synthesizers, punching bass lines, crushed drums, 80s cosmic pop compositions, and saturated psychedelic guitar effects. It's more dynamic, more visceral, instantly accessible, and sonically denser than its predecessors: an ambitious, fully realized psychedelic pop record from a band in its ascendancy. On Blonde puts Yukon Blonde squarely in the Tame Impala camp. For now, as given their thing for taking chances, the next album will likely be another changeup.

Feb 17 Winnipeg, MB - Pyramid
Feb 20 Windsor, ON - Venue Music Hall
Feb 21 Hamilton, ON - Casbah
Feb 23 St. Catharines, ON - L3
Feb 24 Kingston, ON - Alehouse
Feb 25 Toronto, ON - Lee's Palace (SOLD OUT)
Feb 26 Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace
Feb 27 Montreal, QC - Fairmont
Feb 29 Quebec City, QC - L'Anti
Mar 3 Fredericton, NB - The Capital
Mar 4 Halifax, NS - Marquee
Mar 5 St. John's, NL - The Rock House

Jordan KlassenJordan KlassenAnother VanCity act with new product's Jordan Klassen, currently showing off first single, “Baby Moses”, from new album Javelin. The song itself is an outwardly beautiful track whose sumptuous, uplifting arrangement conceals self-lacerating, bared-soul lyrics. “Baby Moses was a song I wrote looking back at my twenties and wishing that I'd known then what I know now,” says Klassen. “Truly Rod Stewart-esque. I wanted to be honest about my disappointment, but also humble enough to not just blame everyone else for my own shortcomings.”

Javelin is an album that rewrites Klassen history. Its ten songs, among the most confidently and imaginatively arranged he's ever recorded, engage the past, reassess recollections and impressions, turn failures not into successes but lessons for the future. Sonically, Javelin is a mixing of ambient and rhythmic elements, from the ebullient African percussion of “St. Fraser” to the heavily reverbed vocals of closer “Smoking Too Long.”

Klassen found inspiration in an unlikely figure. “The record is a nod to the ‘90s New Age music that I grew up with. My mom was really into Enya, and I wanted to explore some of those sounds in a very modern way. I wanted to really embrace ethereality.” It’s not hard to hear echoes of “Orinoco Flow” or “Caribbean Blue” in the soft-focus thrum of “Miles,” even the delicate overlay of instruments on “We Got Married,” even the whispered valedictory of “Smoking Too Long.” The follow up to 2013’s acclaimed Repentance, the album sees Klassen depart from the eloquently spare folk of its predecessor, adding ambient and rhythmic elements to vivid arrangements in what is his most vibrant and vital album to date.

On the recommendation of James Vincent McMorrow Klassen recorded Javelin at Sonic Ranch studio in Tornillo, just outside El Paso in Texas. He produced the album himself and plays almost all the instruments. The songs on Javelin spring from hard experiences—namely, from Klassen’s struggle with depression and his mother’s diagnosis with breast cancer, now thankfully in remission. Despite the fears and despairs that motivated these songs, there is always a kernel of hope illuminating the music from the inside.

Matt AndersenMatt AndersenMaking moves from the other coast, New Brunswick's blues eminence Matt Andersen drops his the eighth full-length album, Honest Man, Feb.26. Then it's a change of tires and off on a North American tour that'll see the dude kicking it till May 20.

Produced in New York with Commissioner Gordon (Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, KRS-One), Honest Man follows up the JUNO Award nominated Weightless and sees the songwriter pushing himself into new territory. Blessed with a rich gospel soul voice and armed with a new set of songs, Matt Andersen found a perfect partner in crime with Commissioner Gordon. “Gordon has worked with so many different people, like Santana and Quincy Jones, on so many historic albums,” says Andersen. “He has such a great approach and was able to tie-in so many new ideas to what I’ve done in the past without losing touch with my sound.”

From writing around drum beats to bringing in a cast of players including Andy Bassford (Toots and the Maytals, Burning Spear, Natalie Merchant) Benjamin Bouton (Ibibio Sound Machine), Josh David Barrett (The Wailers, Lauryn Hill), and Lenny Underwood (Mary J. Blige, Amy Winehouse), Honest Man expands on what we already know and love from Andersen and brings it to a new level.

Supporting the release of Honest Man, Andersen will take to the road for four months through North America and joining him on the Canadian dates will be another JUNO Award nominated songwriter, Donovan Woods. No stranger to each other, the Toronto artist and Andersen penned two tracks together for Honest Man including the album closer “One Good Song.” “All songwriters desire to have that one good song that just gets everybody,” says Andersen, explaining the song. Not necessarily a hit, but a song that when it’s heard you can’t help but listen. This song is about the journey we all take to get there.”

Tour Dates
Feb 18 Vancouver, BC - Vogue Theatre
Feb 19 Kelowna, BC - Kelowna Community Theatre
Feb 20 Banff, AB - The Banff Centre
Feb 21 Edmonton, AB - Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Feb 22 Calgary, AB - Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
Feb 24 Saskatoon, SK - Broadway Theatre
Feb 25 Regina, SK - University of Regina Darke Hall
Feb 26 Winnipeg, MB - Burton Cummings Theatre
Feb 27 Guelph, ON - River Run Centre
Feb 28 London, ON - Centennial Hall
Mar 1 Kitchener, ON - Centre In The Square
Mar 2 St. Catharines, ON - St. Catharines Performing Arts Centre
Mar 3 Owen Sound, ON - Roxy Theatre
Mar 4 Burlington, ON - Burlington Performing Arts Centre
Mar 5 Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
Mar 6 Orillia, ON - Orillia Opera House
Mar 8 Port Hope, ON - Cameco Capitol Arts Centre
Mar 9 Markham, ON - Flato Markham Theatre
Mar 10 Kingston, ON - Grand Theatre
Mar 11 Burlington, VT - Club Metronome
Mar 12 Boston, MA - Club Passim
Mar 13 Bethlehem, PA - Blast Furnace Blues Festival
Mar 14 Vienna, VA - Jammin Java
Mar 15 New London, CT - Garde Arts
Mar 16 Portsmouth, NH - Birdseye
Mar 18 New York City, NY - Rockwood Music Hall
Mar 19 Philadelphia, PA - Tin Angel
Mar 20 Fall River, MA - Narrows Center For The Arts
Mar 24 Ottawa, ON - National Arts Centre
Mar 25 Montreal, QC - L’Astral
April 12 Fredericton, NB - The Playhouse
April 13 Moncton, NB - Capitol Theatre
April 14 Saint John, NB - Imperial Theatre
April 15 Halifax, NS - Rebecca Cohn Auditorium

Kevin HearnKevin HearnKeysman extraordinaire Kevin Hearn is also taking to the road any day now. He'll be doing it in the stellar company of Ron Sexsmith, and in support of current opus, Days In Frames. Kevin will join Ron for six dates, with stops in Moncton, Saint John, Halifax, Woodstock, Waterloo and St. Catharines. He'll also spend two nights headlining at Toronto's Burdock on February 19th and 20th. No stranger to touring with Ron, Kevin has shared the stage with him in the past.

"Ron's a good friend of mine and his audiences are wonderful to play for because they are appreciative of a good song. It has been a pleasure opening his shows so far, and also joining him onstage to collaborate a little bit." Kevin will be joined onstage by Hugh Marsh on violin, and Don Kerr on drums. He'll spend his time travelling by van, seeing the country, and listening to Bob Dylan's theme time radio hour on CD.

Days In Frames features the stunning first single Gallerina. "I read the term "Gallerina" in an article about a group of women who either work as consultants in, or own and operate fine art galleries. The song was written from the point of view of one of the paintings in a gallery, but could also be applied to human feelings of course. I did the demo of it with Don Kerr and ended up keeping his drumbeat because it was perfect." Kevin continues, "Dan Hill (yes that Dan Hill) sings background vocals on it, which is cool because I played pinball with him at Manta Sound studios when I was 11 years old, while I was recording a record with St. Michael's Choir school. Tom Elmhirst , who has mixed records by Amy Winehouse, Adele, Beck, and David Bowie, put the cherry on top with his beautiful ethereal mix"

Tour Dates:
February 11 Moncton, NB - Capitol Theatre
February 12 Saint John, NB - Imperial Theatre
February 15 Halifax, NS - Rebecca Cohn Auditorium
February 19, 20 Toronto, ON - The Burdock
February 24 Woodstock, ON - Market Centre Theatre
February 25 Waterloo, ON - Starlight Club#
February 26 St. Catharines, ON - First Ontario Performing Arts Centre

PeachesPeachesArtiste provocateur Peaches is currently enjoying lotsa mainstream attention, via her involvement with Samantha Bee's Full Frontal and Amazon's Transparent. Likely why she chose this time to put out the vid and single, "Free Drink Ticket”. The new video explores the darker side of her 2015 LP 'Rub.' and was choreographed by and features Ryan Heffington, who choreographed Sia's "Chandelier" and "Elastic Heart" as well as recent videos for Arcade Fire and Florence + The Machine.

Sara Sachs, who is the brain behind the state of the art fashion house Moonspoon Saloon, makes her directorial debut. She also designed all of the videos costumes. DAZED calls the video a "Gothic silent film-style piece of art" and says it "gives us a piece of Peaches we've never seen before." Peaches is creating a music video for each of the 11 songs from 'Rub'; this is the sixth video for the album. The video for RUB has been voted into the top 20 for the Prism Prize.

Peaches says of the song and video: "'Free Drink Ticket' is the darkest and most poetic song I have ever written. For the video, it was important to demonstrate that if you hold onto the bitterness that you feel from a monster who has hurt you, then you will become the monster that you are trying to shed. Sara Sachs and I drew dramatic images from Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Le Testament d'Orphée."

Peaches' song "Boys Wanna Be Her" from 2006's 'Impeach My Bush' is the theme for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, the first female-hosted late night talk show that premiered earlier this month. 'Rub' earned some of the electro-pop provocateur's best reviews of her career with Pitchfork saying the album "arrives at a moment when the world needs Peaches most," Elle calling her a "peerless iconoclast" and The FADER noting "her message isn't one of confrontation, but self-love-and it feels vital." Peaches appeared in season 2 of Amazon's Transparent. No word yet on the tour but look to Spring.

Onion HoneyOnion HoneyToronto's Winterfolk brought its usual slew of talent to the East Side for a musical feast of all things folked up. Which includes all types of hybrids, such as Americana folk, Quebecois folk, hipster folk, Balkan folk, klezmer folk and like that. Funnest of the lot from this corner, Esther Wheaton and David Pike of Onion Honey. They too are all about the banjo, mandolin, guitar, banjolele, double bass, and washboards, locked harmonies and defining lead singers. Except, in their hands and through such defining tunes as "Won't You Get Me a Hound for Christmas" and the plaintive "Zombie Love Song", the pair infuse their Appalachian by way of Kitchener-Waterloo inflected sound with oddball humour and a hovering menace that wouldn't be out of place on a 'Justified' soundtrack. Their full show should be well worth a check.