January 2012

Three Wins for Matt Andersen at Maple Blues Awards 2012

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Only two weeks into the New Year, and it looks like 2012 will be special for Matt Andersen, who is becoming the “breakout artist” from Canada’s Maritime provinces.


On Jan. 16 the singer/guitarist/songwriter walked into Toronto’s luxurious Koerner Hall to be nominated for three major honours at the 15th annual Maple Blues Awards — Entertainer of the Year, Acoustic Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year. As the evening closed, he had won each of the awards, topping his wins the previous year as Entertainer and Acoustic Artist.


An impressive start to the year for Andersen, who now makes his home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He spent most of December 2011 touring Australia, ending a 20-date tour at the massive Woodford Festival north of Brisbane. The Australian trip followed a Canadian tour that took him to more than 40 towns across the country, and a visit to the UK where he played the famed Glastonbury Festival.


With the Maple Blues Awards safely taken home, Andersen was already packing his suitcase for Florida where he’ll participate in the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in the Caribbean, a floating blues festival with some 20 artists, including Taj Mahal, Dion, Shemekia Copeland, Bettye Levette and Canadian artist, Shakura S’Aida (who co-hosted the Maple Blues Awards with singer Treasa Levasseur).

Compact DISCovery

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Jaimie Vernon

Skullians
Pure
Independent

Growing tired of the Britneys, the Beyonces and the Beibers? How about settling in with a bona fide walk through old school 2nd generation punk from The Skullians? Their 10 track sonic assault is a welcome reprieve from the sterile, faceless, groove less, melange that is 21st Century corporate pop music. I'm not talking about a retro flashback here, either.

The Skullians' 'Pure' is hip and happening and 'now' and could easily have been recorded in my living room yesterday. It's immediate and in your face. It would make a good companion disc to Pickering's Swindled who released 'It's Only Peace That You Want...' last year. Where Swindled tread the political spectrum, The Skullians are all about life in the not-so-fast lane.

The album kicks off with a rolling 'n' ruckus anthem in "Doomsville" about the crushing negative cloud permeating the news and the world in general. It's 1:11 of pure, unfettered energy. "Welcome to...welcome to...welcome to....Doomsville/Population US!!" Singer and guitarist Evan delivers the message with aplomb.

Grit Grooves and Emotion – David Gogo Soul-Bender

Cover, Jan 13, 2012

Story: Sandy Graham

David Gogo is known for being one of the hardest working blues rock guitarists in the industry and the moniker suits him well. He is a man of his word, and when a recent routing booking issue took place, he fulfilled his commitment to tour Western Canada. After two shows in Holland, Gogo flew back to Canada to finish the tour he had committed to with the legendary Johnny Winter. A gruelling schedule, but he is a man of his word, and committed to his reputation as well as his music, he flew thousands of miles to keep his fans happy.
We recently had the opportunity to talk to this great Canadian treasure, and he gave some refreshing answers to what makes David Gogo who he is in this industry.

CB: When did you get your first guitar?
DG: I actually started out on a toy ukulele, just strumming on it but I was close to 6  years old when I got my first real guitar; it was a Raven, and we bought it at a furniture store. It was kind of a ¾ size and looked like a Gibson Hummingbird. The biggest thrill of my life was getting my first electric guitar, a Les Paul Black Beauty.

Bad Vibrations: Black Train

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Independent

This Halifax trio comes with a heavy East Coaster street rep built on the solid work of singer/guitarist KC Spidle, ex-of Dog Day and it does not disappoint. The lineup’s completed by Evan Cardwell on bass and the mighty Meg Yoshida on drums. Put ‘em all together and they conjure up the kind of baleful noise you’d expect from a band called Bad Vibrations. Y’know, the grinding, deathcore guitars, rib shaking bass and massive drum assaults.

There’s all that and there’s something else going here, namely a ripping homage to early speed metal and the NY punk scene from which it derived. This is a sinister, heartfelt, swerve driving sound, outtakes from a time-warped, meth-fuelled mashup involving Anthrax and The Ramones

Buckle in and brace yourself because there will no soft entries here and precious little downtime.  Opening track ‘Losing Time’’s brief intro and headlong plunge is a good indicator of what you’re in for, given that most tracks  clock in between two and three minutes. With the notable exception of  “Growing”, a showcase  of raw axe power from Spidle coming in just under the two-minute mark.

Come for the dense death metal, stay for the burning speedcore.

James Lizzard

AMERICAN IDIOT - KNOCKOUT MUSICAL BURSTS WITH PASSION!

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Guest Journalist: Julia Rytell

NOT only fans of the band Green Day will love this show!  It is a compact and artfully staged musical, showcasing the talents of some amazing young rising stars along with live music from a 6-piece band (and the cast members at times as well). Visual vitality and meaning is added to the music with this interpretation; a true musical, for very little is said, most is sung.

Director Michael Mayer’s script for Green Day’s American Idiot music, with lyrics by Billie Joe Armstrong, introduces three young male characters who leave the suburbs for city life to fall into different paths.  Johnny (Van Hughes), electrifies the stage with his frustrations, vices, and confused emotion. He has the most presence and energy of the three; constantly in motion. Will (Jake Epstein) sinks into torpor on the couch for most of the production with a bottle for comfort, unwilling to deal with his girlfriend’s pregnancy, rising from time to time to unleash a sorrowful but glorious voice. Tunny (Scott Campbell) takes another route and joins the military, losing a limb in the service, which brings us a hospital scene with a moving, very sweetly sung and cutely executed soldiers’ quartet, followed by a dreamy morphine-induced aerial dance with the Extraordinary Girl.