May 2013

Dirty Beaches: Drifters/Love Is The Devil


Zoo Music

This widescreen soundtracky double album from Montreal electro fusionist whiz Alex Zhang Hungtai bears comparison to K-os’ Black On Blonde album in lots of ways. Both are the work of ambitious outsiders by virtue of birthplace and both offer the flip sides of their creators.

Hungtai’s nouveau damaged rockabilly and cinematic synth washes which frequently come together to startling effect, are here put in their pens, all the better to focus on every facet of their being. Or something like that. Which needs to be said as the man’s cited influnces are illuminating, from Suicide to poet Charles Bukowski and Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai.

Fittingly for the born in Taiwan, raised in Montreal artist who articulates a keen sense of perpetual displacement, the album was recorded in Montreal and Berlin and it’s tempting to speculate that the more song-oriented material was done in Montreal and the experimentals in Berlin. Packing hot tracks with links to the Dirty Beaches ‘sound’  such as "Night Walk", "I Dream in Neon"' and a gritty "Casino Lisboa", Drifters is the easier, more accessible of the pair. That said, the album centrepiece  "Mirage Hall", is a rigourous reworking of Europesan electro-dance tropes, replete with Hungtai’s vocals going off the register in Spanish, and into vintage Ozzy turf at the spectacular end of it all.

Stax and the Canadian Connection


Submitted to Cashbox Canada
Photo: Canadian Mel Shaw, Vic High Band Mark Wender CEO of The Soulsville Foundation receiving the Cashbox Canada Cover

April 26, 2013, Cashbox Canada did a cover story on the legendary Stax label, the event in Memphis Tennessee.Canadian and now Nashvillian Mel Shaw, writer and producer of ‘Dream Singer The Musical’ made an agreement in 2012 to have The Vic High R&B Band become a core part of the ‘Dream Singer’  Victoria edition. In 2012 they traveled to Nashville, Tennessee to record the first tracks for the musical.  In 2013, Mel Shaw arranged to have the group come to Memphis to record and experience the world of Stax, courtesy of Mark Wender, CEO of The Soulsville Foundation.

Until We Meet Again!Until We Meet Again!The Stax Museum of American Soul Music took it to the streets with its STAX TO THE MAX, all-day, outdoor, free music and arts festival. This year’s event, billed as Arts Memphis Presents Stax to the Max, took place Saturday, April 27, 2013.

The I.M.F’s Rock The Tattoo


Submitted to Cashbox Canada

If you are a fan of R &B soul, funk and the Rolling Stones then the names Bernard Fowler and Stevie Salas will not be strange to you.

Bernard Fowler is not new to the big stage with 25 years on the road with the Rolling Stones and being featured on several Stones solo projects his voice has captivated audiences worldwide. It all started back when he was first hired in 1985 to do backup vocals on Mick Jagger's first solo album, “She’s the Boss”’ this proved to be the beginning of a lasting business and personal relationship, Jagger on speaking about Fowler back in 1998  said Fowler impressed him ,"He is also very strong and can sing for ages. He's got a lot of range and a lot of stamina vocally. You have to have that if you're going to do long nights and lots and lots of shows, all in the open air; he can easily keep up with me." Fowler is currently on tour with the Stones helping them celebrate 50 years of music.

H’Sao – (It’s a) Family Affair

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Submitted by Michael Williams

In August of 2001, the members of the afro-pop band H’Sao make Montreal their home. It is a long journey for the Rimtobaye brothers: Caleb, Mossbass, and Israel, from their native Chad. Since settling in Canada they have had incredible success. Drawing from gospel, traditional African music, as well as their Chadian roots, H’sao displays clear soul, pop, and R&B influences. It is their masterful a capella singing that sets them apart. I recently had the opportunity to interview Israel from the band.

MW: How long have you been in Canada?
Israel: Since 2001, 12 years now.

MW: Why Quebec?
Israel: We have a few friends here. Our first Canadian shows were here and our first language, coming from Chad, is French.

MW: You were all singing together back home in Chad?
Israel:  There are members from two families in the band. We grew up together.  We’ve been together almost 17 years now. I was 9 when I started to sing with them.

MW: Did you record before you came to Canada?
Israel: Only demos. Our first album was done here in Canada.

Gibson Guitar Canada Presents “Puppystock” A Moosonee Puppy Rescue

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

A scheduled fundraiser in support of northern dogs who are constantly at risk of being trapped, shot, abused, neglected or abandoned. The band Small Town Pistols will be performing live as well as Gord Kidd who will perform the song he wrote for Moosonee Puppy Rescue.

Moosonee Puppy Rescue was founded in May 2003 by Sharron and Paul Purdy. Their purpose is to save dogs from being trapped and shot in the isolated communities of Moosonee, Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Fort Albany and Kashechewan.

There are no veterinarian services in these communities and the only method of population control is killing. The locals tend not to allow their dogs inside so they are either left vulnerable by being chained outside or left free to roam. Over-breeding occurs and puppies are born under houses, in the bush or amongst debris. One female and her offspring can produce 67,000 puppies in just six years. Dogs that do live, face abuse, abandonment and neglect. Puppies are found frozen in snow banks, crying and starving, injured and sick. They are simply dismissed as being valueless and without worth.