Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Album Review: Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

The idea that hip-hop albums are autobiographical is nothing new. Virtually every up-and-coming and established hip-hop artist alike touts their albums as reflections of their lives. Biggie let us into the darkness of growing up in the projects on the groundbreaking Life After Death. Big L was the first gangster rapper to gush about his flamboyancy on The Big Picture and Kid Cudi took us right into his “fucked-up” head on Man on the Moon: The End Of Day. On his latest release, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West one-ups all of them…in typical Kanye style. ‘Ye’s latest batch of songs outshines the musical autobiography that most excellent hip-hop artists conjure with their flow, and moves us into a larger, more cinematic territory. Granted, Kanye’s ambitious short film Runaway did help to add colour to the pictures, but the sketches were laid down well beforehand thanks to the G.O.O.D. Friday song releases.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy opens with narration from Kanye’s now frequent collaborator Nicki Minaj, as well as some tastefully auto tuned crooning from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Before the beat has even dropped Kanye has proven that he knows exactly what today’s modern listeners want. They don’t want their music pigeonholed. They want music that mixes genres together to create something fresh, and Kanye isn’t one to discriminate.

If you’ve turned on a television in the last couple months chances are you’ve heard Kanye West’s theme music. “Power” was featured in The Social Network’s trailor. In fact, it replaced Radiohead’s “Creep”. Chock that up as another victory for Kanye West. Sorry Mr. Yorke. Things get a tad dramatic on “All of the Lights” which is proceeded by a short, related interlude that could easily have been plucked out of a movie score. A fast-paced drum and horn combo, as well as Rihanna’s beautiful voice quickly replace the strings from the interlude and Kanye does the chorus big on this one. Titanic big. Everyone from Elton John to Kid Cudi to John Legend to Alicia Keys and many more lend their voices to create a classic wall-of-sound feel on “All of the Lights”.

Midway through the album comes “Monster”, a vicious attack song featuring hip-hops A list rappers trading verses for five straight minutes. The blunt chorus “everybody knows I’m a motherfucking monster” illustrates where Kanye stands at this point in his career. The man dominates the headlines, insults U.S. Presidents and steals spotlights regularly. West clearly titled this one after himself. He’s a monster who has no time to be hiding under beds. He’d rather be eating the rap-game and public media alive.

Remember when Jay-Z declared himself as “rap’s Grateful Dead” on “Encore”? That title now belongs to Mr. West. At nine minutes in length, “Runaway” maybe the longest hip-hop track in recent memory. In fact, the Grateful Dead rarely produced studio songs of that length. With an extended introduction and a seriously extended outro, “Runaway” sums up Kanye’s ambition in one song. This is an artist who is not afraid to take risks. Scratch that. This song was never a risk, it was always a sure thing.

The final “wow” moment of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy comes thanks to a impressively re-imagined Bon Iver song “Lost In The World”. Once again, ‘Ye makes you re-think what hip-hop should sound like. “Lost In The World’s” hip-hop-meets-indie-rock beat is nothing like you’ve ever heard and Justin Vernon’s auto tune skills trump T-Pain’s.

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is a groundbreaking, genre-bending hip-hop album from one of the most loved, hated, controversial, inspiring, and outspoken artists of the decade. Kanye West sets the bar high on this masterpiece, so the only question that really remains is, what will his next musical fantasy be?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Show Review: Jason Collett - Live at Church of the Redeemer, Thursday November 11, 2010

After an unsteady set by opener Al Tuck, Jason Collett took the stage promptly at 9:30pm and played a set heavy on songs from his newer albums, Pony Tricks and Rat A Tat Tat. While the songs were all well played, the absence of a backing band resulted in many of the tunes coming off as quietly unvaried. This was largely due to the fact that each song followed the same slow tempo while lacking stylistic differences in playing. “Rave On Sad Songs”, “Bitter Beauty”, and “Bitch City” along with other new songs were well received, and the audience clapped loud and hard for those.

What did save Collett’s overall lackluster set were his stories, and there were a lot of them. Each followed the same humorous theme, the intersection between pot, women, and music in Collett’s life. First, he recalled his initial meeting with Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, smashing heads with her underwater after smoking a joint at a hotel pool. Next came the story of Collett’s first meeting with Sharon Jones of the Dap Kings in France. The two met and bonded over a good Canadian-style joint and discussed the downfalls of European-style tobacco-heavy joints. The last notable story Collett told harkened back to his days in Grade 10. He took a girl he had a huge crush on to a school dance and the two shared a joint before entering the school. The cherry had fallen into his polyester shirt and needless to say, upon walking past his principal, the shirt erupted in flames. The two were promptly kicked out of the dance where they proceeded to smoke another and fool around. It sounded like quite the school trip, and one many of us could probably relate to.

Collett did end his set strongly with “High Summer” and the classic “I’ll Bring The Sun”. On the whole, the show was just okay. I really do like Jason Collett’s music, and his albums are worth the listening time, but I think his songs are much better suited to having a backing band, such as when he plays with Zeus, or when sung with Broken Social Scene, rather than played solo acoustically.

Photos by Amanda Fotes

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 Launches

We're really into this new music site called

The short explanation for is that it's like Twitter for your music. It's the easiest way to share music with your friends by giving you and providing them with access to music and playlists.

I really can't stress enough how easy this site is to use and how addictive it is. Bottom line, signup and start sharing and discovering some awesome music with friends.

Here is the long-winded explanation found in the about section: is a real-time music information network powered by people all around the world that lets you share and tune into what people are listening to. asks “What’s playing” and makes the answer spread across the globe, immediately.

What Does
At its core, is a new tool that allows you to share and discover music in real-time. We provide you with a way to listen in on what musicians, artists, celebrities, music bloggers and your friends are listening to. It’s a new way to discover some cool music and connect with people.

It’s a new avenue for musical connection. If you’ve ever wondered what music your favourite artists are currently listening to, then is for you. If you want a simple way to listen to the bands that music bloggers are writing about, then is for you. If you want to be able to listen to what your friends, family, associates, well-wishers and comrades are listening to, then is for you.

The music you listen to on your iTunes is automatically broadcasted onto your profile, allowing your ‘followers’ to stream a 30 second clip of the song via your newsfeed. has the capability to decipher the music you are exploring from the music you actually like listening to. For example, your news feed will state that you are “checking out” a song if you’ve only listened to it once, as opposed to “listening to” a song if you’ve played that song multiple times. has a ‘love’ button that adds a song into your ‘favourites’ playlist on your homepage. This feature further emphasizes the difference between songs you just listen to, and songs you really enjoy. Any playlist you have created in iTunes will be available for you and your ‘followers’ to listen to on your homepage. The use of playlists will give users a better sense of your musical taste.

For every song you stream on, we give you the ability to watch the music video on YouTube, read the lyrics or the artist’s biography, check out some photos of the band, buy tickets to their up-coming concert and even purchase the song from Amazon, all at the click of a button!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Show Review: The Wooden Sky - Live at Lee's Palace, Saturday November 6, 2010

Having just finished up a two month long national tour with These United States and Yukon Blonde, you could tell the band was happy to be back home among familiar faces and family. Playing to a surprisingly sold-out Lee’s Palace, The Wooden Sky was ready to deliver their unique left-of-center folk rock to the packed venue. The vibe for the night was particularly energetic, with the crowd really embracing the sounds of both opening acts. So when The Wooden Sky finally took the stage the crowd seemed ready to erupt. The band’s set drew heavily on newer material from 2009s If I Don’t Come Home, You’ll Know I’m Gone but there were more than a few surprises in store for the night.

On record The Wooden Sky are really quite mellow. They do have the tendency to produce huge building crescendos of sound thanks to thickly layered guitars, violin, and the impressive vocals of lead singer Gavin Gardiner. Those grandeur moments were in full force at Saturday night’s show. The haunting “My Old Ghosts” built slowly off of Gavin’s delicately picked guitar lines, while the pounding bass and snare drums helped to create mounting tension. Those in the audience relished the opportunity to scream along with Gavin during the last powerful minute of the song. Riding off the crowd’s energy, The Wooden Sky took the opportunity to play The Animals-influenced “Angels”, a brooding song with strong biblical references to animal sacrifices, Jesus and the star of David.

Showing their trust for the hometown audience, The Wooden Sky treated us as musical guinea pigs and tested out two new songs. These new tunes followed similar themes to those heard on If I Don’t Come Home, You’ll Know I’m Gone, and while beautifully played, they weren’t overly memorable. Likely recognizing this little hiccup, Gavin dedicated the next song to the guys in These United States and hit us with a spot-on and rather jammed out cover of Tom Petty’s anthemic “American Girl”. Soon after the band invited both Yukon Blonde and These United States on to the stage to add some extra bass drum action to the tense “Something Hiding For Us In The Night” set closer. Bass drums were being played with traditional drumsticks to beer bottles and everything in between. The set seemed curiously short, but just as they finished Gavin announced that the group would be playing behind Lee’s Palace in a couple of minutes!

A group of around fifty to sixty people rounded the corner and headed to the back of Lee’s Palace and proceeded to wait eagerly to see what The Wooden Sky had in store. A large circle was left open for the band, who warmly invited everyone to huddle in much closer when the time to play finally came. Gavin led the crowd through an acoustic version “Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)” before taking the request of “Oslo”. He asked that we all be whisper quiet for this number, but that only lasted about thirty seconds, as everyone seemed to know the words and quickly added their voices to the song. Gavin seemed a bit at a loss as to what to play next, so he posed a question instead. “Who wants to get fucking arrested?” Well, needless to say everyone cheered along to that, and The Wooden Sky began to play the often overlooked Bob Dylan tune “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”, all the while marching the large group into the middle of Bloor Street West. Amid honking cars, taxis, and bemused on-lookers, our group belted out the beautiful words of Bob Dylan in a truly surreal moment that bonded band, song, and community. I know it’s a cliché, but The Wooden Sky’s Saturday night performance was an exceptionally magical evening of music, and one that will be very hard to top.

Photos by Michelle Cortese

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Show Review: Marco Benevento Trio - Live at the El Mocambo, Sunday October 17, 2010

The logic behind playing a concert on a Sunday night is difficult to understand. People are worn out from Friday and Saturday and most just want to laze around and watch their Sunday night favourites on television. Last night’s Marco Benevento Trio show at the El Mocambo was real evidence of this theory. Wrapping up his mini-tour of Canada that included stops in Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton and finally Toronto, Marco and the gang were welcomed to our fair city by seldom few concertgoers. Fortunately for those thirty people in attendance, Marco is a professional. Where most groups would have played a short and uninspired set to an audience that small, Marco did the opposite. Supported by Dave Dreiwitz on bass (Ween) and Andy Borger on drums (Tom Waits, Norah Jones, and Ani DiFranco), Marco proceeded to put on a first-class, intimate performance.

Triggering a pre-recorded sample from one of the many toys on his completely tricked-out saloon-style acoustic piano, Marco splashed some bright piano work into the crackling sounds of “Record Book” from his first release Invisible Baby. He slowly winded through the introduction before blasting out the chords, all the while Dreiwitz was adding guitar-like fills through a distorted bass. David Fricke of Rolling Stone Magazine once stated that Marco plays his piano like a guitarist and this couldn’t be truer. His chord-work and sense of melody is simply impeccable, and he effortlessly handles both rhythm and lead roles.

Next up was a choice cover of Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good” from his latest release Between the Needles & Nightfall. Winehouse’s smooth and sultry vocals were mimicked by jazzy piano lines, while Borger threw in some very impressive drum fills. The few women in the audience took the opportunity to dance and sing to this familiar tune, and the band played to their energy. Marco took a minute to take the mic and introduced the first party song of the night, “The Real Morning Party”. Never one to hide his sense of humor, “The Real Morning Party” can only be described as elevator music played by a madman. Borger proceeded to destroy his toms while Marco laid down the infectious, and humorous melody. Smiles could be seen ear-to-ear on everyone in the crowd.

Showcasing his love for timeless artists, Marco laid down a spirited take of “Seems So Long Ago Nancy”, a heartbreaking tune by the legendary Leonard Cohen. The band ran through a few more songs before finally exiting the stage. Though it was Sunday and already past midnight, the fans still chanted for an encore. The Trio returned and of course, someone in the audience called for Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird”. The request was met with embarrassed laughter, but Marco rose from his chair stern-faced and began to play the familiar chord progression, breaking rock and roll’s number one faux pas. Looking shocked and a little bit appalled, Dreiwitz surprised everyone by joining in, playing the classic vocal lines on his bass. Soon enough Borger laid down the drums and we were in the midst of a full-fledged cover of “Freebird”. Finally coming to the realization that this was just wrong, Marco shifted gears, seamlessly segueing into the familiar and far more respectable sounds of “Fearless” by Pink Floyd. But the classic rock parade wasn’t over. The band proceeded to sandwich “Benny & The Jets” by Elton John into the middle of the song, before returning to the Floyd classic. And that was how the band left it. Finishing up their encore by half past midnight and looking just like the audience, tired and beat, the Trio waved their goodbyes and probably headed off to sleep.

Photo Credit: Greg Abramowitz

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Big Light: Live Video & Stories From The Road

One of our favourites over here at Back In 15 Minutes is a band called Big Light from San Fran. Right now the foursome is on tour with jam-giants Umphrey's McGee and they're keeping a great journal from the road. Read this hilarious encounter they had with an Umphreak:

We'll share this story from Arizona: The other night in Flagstaff, although the crowd's reaction to our set was encouraging and we played pretty well, we encountered this one guy after the show at the merch table... Apparently this dude's friend had purchased for him (as a gift) one of our CD's thinking that it was an Umphrey's album. After receiving the album from his buddy and realizing that this wasn't an UM album, but instead a record by the opening act that he hated (us), this dude came to the merch table, told Jeremy he thought we sucked, and then asked for either the money back (something we did't want to do) or for it to be exchanged for a Umphrey's disc (something we didn't have the power do).

Well, had the encounter happened with a different band member, perhaps this guy might have actually gotten his money back. Luckily for the band, he approached Jeremy- who promptly let the New Jersey in his blood rip, demanding to know how on earth someone could firstly tell an artist that he thought his band sucked and then secondly ask for money back on A CD HE DIDN'T EVEN PAY FOR, effectively robbing us of our fucking gas money! Anyway, the guy walked away, Big Light CD still in hand, contemplating why on earth he didn't ask one of the little dudes for the refund instead...

Big Light also stopped by MOG to record this great live version of "Good Time of the Year".

Big Light - Good Time Of The Year (Live MMN Session) from on Vimeo.

Show Review: Do Make Say Think & Greed - Live at TIFF Bell Lightbox, Tuesday October 5, 2010

Toronto’s post-rockers Do Make Say Think took on the ambitious act of scoring the 1924 silent film epic, Greed, by Erich von Stroheim. The original version of the film runs an astonishing seven hours in length but luckily for the band, this version was scrapped. While a marathon concert and film screening would have been nice, it probably would have been a bit tolling on everyone. Those attending last night’s screening of Greed watched a two and a half hour performance from the band, which is still longer than most concerts.

Joined by members of Broken Social Scene and the Weakerthans, Do Make Say Think and their friends filled the Bell Lightbox stage with several guitars, electric bass, upright bass, a horn section, drums and percussion and several classical stringed instruments. Having scored the silent film Tales of the Uncanny last summer during the Luminato Festival, it was clear from the get-go that Do Make Say Think were comfortable amongst their musical friends, the quiet and attentive audience, and the classic film being projected above them.

The truly successful silent films are rich in emotion, allowing the acting and the plot to make up for the lack of speech. The plot of Greed is highly emotive in and of itself. Middle-class couple Mac and Trina McTeague win a $5,000 lottery and the selfishness and greed that ensues is not unlike what happens to modern day lottery winners. Needless to say, their “friends” and family all believe they deserve a piece of the pie. Mac’s best friend Marcus is especially adamant that lottery money belongs to him. After all, he set Mac up with his cousin Trina, who he then married.

The Do Make Say Think ensemble expertly captured both the initial happiness of the characters as well as the growing tension between them. Mellow and lush arrangements were used to fill out sections of the film where the story line was being established, while eerie and ambient noises filled the theatre as Mac began to question his relationship with his wife. A spirited take on the traditional song “Freight Train” was one of two non-original pieces by the group. Finger-picked guitar notes bounced playfully against a chugging drum beat as characters sifted through dirt with hopeful faces at the gold mines.

The climax of both the film and the score came as Mac finally let his anger towards his stingy wife take over, brutally beating Trina to death in order to claim her lottery winnings. The musicians steadily pounded deep and dark sounds from their instruments. The sounds growing louder and fiercer with every moment. The music emanating from the stage mimicked both the anger and madness that was happening on screen so well, that it was easy to forget that this was not the original scoring to Greed.

After two and a half hours the movie came to an end and the collective of musicians finally put down their instruments. Witnessing a live scoring is an immensely impressive thing. The sounds created by Do Make Say Think and their friends were completely original but more importantly, familiar enough that you truly believed you were watching a real film score. It comes as no surprise that the band is interested in scoring more films and after attending Greed, I’m eager to see what they tackle next.

Photo Credits: Dimitri Sarantis

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Album Review: The Black Angels - Phosphene Dream

The Black Angels’ motto has always been “tune in and drone out” thanks to their heavy reliance on organ-driven psychedelic sounds. Well, on their new album Phosphene Dream, The Angels seem to still be deeply entrenched in this mantra. Granted, things have changed a bit. The band is heavily influenced by Lou Reed and his legendary art-rock group, the Velvet Underground. So much so that the group’s official logo is a picture of Velvet Underground member Nico. Where The Black Angel’s songs once drifted and dragged along in ways quite similar to the Velvet Underground, things are a little different on Phosphene Dream. Perhaps this is because they recorded the album in Los Angeles instead of in their hometown of Austin, Texas. Either way, the group has taken a small step outside their comfort zone, but definitely not a leap. Give a listen to “Telephone” and you may think that the Angels are trying to be featured in the next Apple commercial. “True Believers” sounds like a lost single from Jefferson Airplane and “Sunday Afternoon” chugs along like a song by The Doors. It’s clear that on Phosphene Dream The Black Angels are wearing their influences on their sleeves. That’s not to say that the group hasn’t formed their own musical niche in the ways of psych-rock. The ominous drone (a sound that is entirely their own) that was once at the forefront of their music now shares the spotlight with bluesier-than-ever guitars and hard-hitting drums. It seems that producer Dave Sardy (Oasis, Wolfmother, Band of Horses, Black Mountain) has given The Black Angels some of the confidence they need to baby-step away from their comfort zone. Hopefully on the group’s next album, they’ll be ready to take some bigger strides.

Watch The Black Angels perform “Telephone” on Late Night with David Letterman.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Marco Benevento Canada/U.S. Tour Dates

Piano wizard Marco Benevento and his Trio will be launching a huge tour on October 14 that will lead the group through Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton and Toronto before ending off in L.A. in early December. Check out the tour dates below. Also watch Marco and the Trio play an awesome version of "Greenpoint". It features Marco's first born Ruby on keys and is sure to make you smile, unless you're a soulless robot that is.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Show Review: Land of Talk - Live at Lee's Palace, Thursday September 16, 2010

When Lizzie Powell and her band Land of Talk emerged onstage at Lee’s Palace last night I could tell we were in for a special performance. The Montreal-based indie-rock trio (rounded out by Andrew Barr on drums and Joseph Yarmush on bass and occasionally guitar) was joined by tour-mates and fellow Montréalers, Suuns. With seven musicians onstage, Land of talk was looking more like the Grateful Dead than a power-trio. Needless to say, the addition of a second drummer, backup female vocalist and a keyboard player gave the band’s songs a whole new energy. The Montreal collective opened strong as Barr triggered a digital drum loop and Lizzie launched into “Cloak and Cipher”, the title track off of the band’s latest release, which bares the very same name. Next up was “Swift Coin”, Land of Talk’s newest single. It featured some heavily distorted guitar and was nicely jammed out thanks to some beautiful soloing from Suun’s lead guitarist. “Some Are Lakes” received a huge response from the audience and was the first real sing-a-long of the night. The crowd seemed to know most of the lyrics, throwing caution to the wind and singing loud and proud.

The addition of a second female vocalist seemed to do wonders for Lizzie. As most fans of the band know, she suffered from a vocal polyp and almost had to give up singing entirely. Having another voice to rely on and harmonize with seemed to provide some extra comfort and breathing room for Lizzie, as she didn’t have to risk throwing out her voice during some of the night’s heavier numbers. One of which was “Yuppy Flu”, the anthem rocker that fully illustrates Land of Talk’s ability to enter into alt-rock territory with ease and success. When the band dropped “Quarry Hymns” it was easy to see they were hitting their stride. Lizzie rocked her way over to almost every musician on stage, smiling from ear to ear and receiving huge nods of approval from Barr.

The group showed off their experimental side as swirling noises, more characteristic of Wilco than Land of Talk, filled Lee’s Palace. The walls of noise were slowly ripped down by the heavy sounds of “Sixteen Asterisk” which was followed by “May You Never”. The latter showcased Barr’s proficiency behind his kit as he banged away with maracas rather than traditional sticks. A few tunes later the group waved goodbye and headed off stage. The noise from the crowd was deafening and obviously un-ignorable as Land of Talk quickly reemerged to play one of their slowest and most beautiful tunes titled “It’s Okay”. Once again, the group departed but the fans were unsatisfied with a stingy one song encore (although that’s all the set list, which I managed to grab had listed). They came out once more (as a trio this time) and played two more songs including their classic “Summer Special”.

Last night Land of Talk were treated as if they were Toronto-bred, and the brimming smiles from each musician onstage undoubtedly ensured that they’ll be coming back to Toronto in the near future.

Photo Credits: Lani Warsh

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Show Review: Dirty Projectors - Live at the Opera House, Wednesday September 15, 2010

On a cool Wednesday night, Brooklyn’s own Dirty Projectors brought their jittery take on progressive rock to Toronto’s Opera House. The band was in fine form as lead singer and guitarist Dave Longstreth (looking as lanky and sweaty as ever) and crew harmonized beautifully on material from not only their latest release, Bitte Orca, but on songs from their seven album catalogue as well.

Although the audience appeared to be utterly captivated throughout the entirety of the night, the loudest cheers most certainly came for Bitte Orca songs such as the standout “No Intention” and a hushed version of “The Bride.” The crowd simply erupted during the hip-hop influenced “Stillness In The Move” which saw Amber Coffman taking on lead vocals. Her vocal range was wickedly impressive as Coffman reached the tunes signature high notes with Mariah Carey-like ease. The Projectors treated the packed Opera House to some brand new material that they recently recorded with the legendary and eccentric Icelandic singer Bjork. Without the strange presence of Bjork however, the songs didn’t seem too far removed from the themes found on Bitte Orca.

The evening’s biggest surprise came as Longstreth introduced Toronto native Owen Pallett to add some violin work on “Two Doves.” Only Longstreth, Coffman and Pallett remained on stage for the gentle lullaby during which the crowd was absolutely silent. The classical guitar riffs of “Temecula Sunrise” had Toronto fans standing still, watching the band intently before being hit with the songs surprisingly heavy drum blasts. Smiles could be seen all around as fans awkwardly attempted to dance to the track’s odd time signatures with very little success.

The Projectors left the stage for no more than a minute before reemerging for a four-song encore. “Cannibal Resource,” the opening track off Bitte Orca was strategically saved for last and was met with rowdy applause and cheers. Two hours later the band left the stage for good having delivered a pristine performance that fans of the Dirty Projectors have simply come to expect this deep in the band’s career.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Dr. Dog Music Video: Shadow People

Check out this brand new video for "Shadow People" off of Dr. Dog's latest album titled Shame, Shame.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Surprise Me Mr. Davis/The Slip/Big Light New Year's Eve Run

Suit up! Surprise Me Mr. Davis, The Slip and Big Light have just announced some big New Year's Eve plans. The group's will be heading to Fall River, Brooklyn and finally California (in various incarnations) for a quick run.

Fall River, MA’s Narrows Center For The Arts on December 27
Brooklyn, New York’s Brooklyn Bowl on December 28.
San Francisco, CA's Cafe Du Nord on December 30**
San Francisco, CA's Cafe Du Nord on December 31***

**As The Slip (Nathan Moore opens)
*** Big Light opens

Buffalo Springfield to Reunite at Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit

Buffalo Springfield, the 1960s folk-rock group featuring Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and Jim Messina. This will be the bands first performance since 1968 so its fitting that they should play for charity at a Neil Young arranged event. Springfield will play each night, October 23 and 24 at Mountain View, CA’s Shoreline Amphitheater. Moreover, Pearl Jam will play each night as well as they are celebrating their 20th anniversary as a band.

Event Lineup:


Buffalo Springfield
Pearl Jam
Elvis Costello
Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson
Lucinda Williams
Billy Idol
Jackson Browne and David Lindley
Modest Mouse
Grizzly Bear


Buffalo Springfield
Pearl Jam
T-Bone Burnett’s Speaking Clock Revue featuring Elton John, Leon Russell, Elvis Costello, Ralph Stanley, Neko Case and Jeff Bridges
Elvis Costello
Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson
Modest Mouse
Grizzly Bear

Watch Buffalo Springfield play their classic "For What It's Worth" live at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Shine A Light Productions Presents: Bowlive Sneak Preview

From our good friends over at Shine A Light Productions:

In honor of Soulive's new release, Rubber Soulive (Sept 14 from Royal Family Records), we are releasing this SNEAK PREVIEW of footage compiled during the filming for the forthcoming "BOWLIVE" DVD from Shine A Light Productions & Royal Family Records.

Shot on March 5th, 2010 as part of Soulive's now-legendary residency at Brooklyn Bowl, this selection combines two tracks on the forthcoming Beatles tribute. Both "Eleanor Rigby" and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" will appear on the 11-track album.

Recorded over four days at drummer Alan Evans' own Playonbrother Studios in upstate New York, Rubber Soulive presents the band back in its original trio format. After a handful of albums experimenting with different vocalists and horn sections, it's apparent from the album's opening track, a greasy rendition of "Drive My Car," that a return to form was in order. For the next 40 minutes, Soulive add their inimitable stamp to one classic after the next from The Beatles' adored catalog. A stately bounce informs "In My Life" punctuated by a majestic organ break courtesy of Neal Evans. "Eleanor Rigby" finds Alan pushing insistent syncopation into the backbeat and Neal covering a full string section with his two hands. A gorgeous rendition of "Something" makes clear that while Krasno can get down with the best of them, he can also dig deep into the heart of a ballad as he rings every last drop of emotion from the classic George Harrison melody. The trio rounds out the set with a three-dimensional version of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." The performance concisely encapsulates the definitive Soulive sound built upon the trio's shimmering, wah-drenched guitar licks, soaring Hammond organ lines and relentlessly propulsive swing.

Rubber Soulive takes its place in a lineage of classic instrumental albums by the likes of Booker T. & The M.G.'s, George Benson and Count Basie that have paid tribute to The Beatles.

Rubber Soulive is available September 14 on vinyl, CD and mp3.

Stay tuned to both Royal Family Records and Shine A Light Productions for information on the release of the "BOWLIVE" DVD, which will feature a plethora of musical luminaries and over 2 hours of live music.

Watch a raging version of "Eleanor Rigby / I Want You (She's So Heavy)" Live at Brooklyn Bowl.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Phish Announce Coral Sky DVD Release

Who doesn't love the onslaught of Phish content recently. Between the 3D release of Festival 8, the non-stop touring and the loads of great HD quality video footage on YouTube, the band has decided to release a 2 disc DVD of their November 2nd 1996 performance at Coral Sky Amphitheater in West Palm Beach, Florida. According to the band “the complete, uncut concert was created from archival videotapes of the multi-camera lawn screen feed and the audio was mixed from multi-track masters in stereo PCM and 5.1 surround.”

Phish has leaked a video songs from the up-coming DVD, including superb versions of "Julius", "Run Like An Antelope" and "Harry Hood".

Phish - Julius (Coral Sky '96) from Hidden Track on Vimeo.

Phish - Coral Sky 11/2/96 "Run Like An Antelope" from Phish on Vimeo.

Phish - Harry Hood (Coral Sky '96) from Hidden Track on Vimeo.

Umphrey's McGee Confirms New Year's Eve Plans

Umphreaks rejoice. Chicago's favourite jamband will be returning to their home city for a 3 night run at the Riviera Theatre. Umphrey's will play December 29 and finish on the 31. The band, who typically plays Chicago during the New Year had this to say. “We’ve played nearly every room in Chicago over the course of our career, to continue keeping things interesting, we’ve chosen one of our favorite venues in the city this year, the Riviera Theatre, with a perfect combination of lots of open floor for dancing and seats in the balcony with great sight lines,” keyboardist Joel Cummins said in a statement. “We can’t wait to feel the energy in this legendary Chicago haunt explode!”.

Watch Umphrey's cover the Beatles' classic "With A Little Help From My Friends" with some Joe Cocker flare on NYE 2009.

Show Review: Vampire Weekend - Live in Toronto at the Molson Canadian Ampitheatre, September 7, 2010

Despite the threat of a lurking thunderstorm, Vampire Weekend along with openers Dum Dum Girls and Beach House were able to draw in a wide variety of Toronto concertgoers. Tweens, teens, hipsters and even a surprising number of baby-boomers braved the grey sky for a chance to see some of the most buzzed about indie bands on the scene today.

Opening the show was the Dum Dum Girls. Giving Jay-Z a run for his money in their “all black everything”, the Dum Dum Girls laid down some broody, drum heavy tunes to a relatively small crowd. The Girls opened with a choice cover of “Play With Fire” by The Doors, a perfect fit for this neo-psychedelic group who elegantly juxtapose their dark, down-tuned rock with beautiful three part harmonies. While they no doubt opened strong, the Dum Dum Girls’ original songs all seemed to follow very similar themes. Even though the band sounded tight, each song blurred into the next due to a lack a variety in strong structure.

Next up was Pitchfork favourites Beach House. There was much discussion about how their dreamy, synth-heavy sound would translate to a huge outdoor stadium. Word was that their last performance at the Toronto Island was sub-par, and I think Beach House knew it and was ready to change some minds. The duo of Victoria Legrand (lead vocals/keys) and Alex Scally (guitar/keys) were rounded out with drums and a guitarist for the entirety of their performance. It’s easy to fall victim to Beach House’s mellow and hypnotic sound as it ranges from lush and swirling to trance-y and rocking. Legrand’s powerful voice was in fine form and her reverb laced “oohs and aaahs” acted as introductions and backdrops to most of the band’s songs. The presence of a full, four-piece band and the huge crowd was enough for Beach House to pull out a very strong performance that was sure to leave a good impression.

Finally it was time for the evening’s main act. The lights went down and Vampire Weekend emerged onto the stage while, get this, DJ Khaled’s summer banger “All I Do Is Win” blasted over the P.A. Drummer Chris Tomson joined in for a few bars, teasing fans that may have been expecting the group’s first hip-hop cover since singer/guitarist Ezra Koenig’s departure from his old rap group. Rather, the group launched into “Holiday” off of the new release, Contra. Vampire Weekend sounded just as they always do. Bright and poppy with a little bit of punk rock thrown in for good measure. All over the Ampitheatre fans could be seen belting out each and every lyric while the group laid down their unique take on African rhythm-meets-prepster lyrics and sensibilities. A particularly chatty Ezra Koenig treated us to a brief auto-tuned speech about condominiums in Toronto before the band blasted into “California English”. Tomson (who was arguably the star of the night) hit us with a full-fledged drum assault during “Cousins” which gave many fans an excuse to crowd surf to the band’s infectious pop sounds. The true highlight of the night came mid-set as the band performed a tight cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down”. This might have been the only song of the night that was not a sing-a-long, but nobody seemed to mind. While the group’s performance was largely a success, the evening’s pace was certainly hindered by the four-and-a-half minute snorer that is “I Think Ur A Contra”. Ezra prefaced the song by saying the band used to be too nervous to play the song live, and perhaps it should remain shelved. Vampire Weekend ended strong however with a fast-paced, three-song encore that included “Horchata”, “Mansard Roof”, and “Walcott”. Twenty-one songs and ninety minutes later, the show was over. Vampire Weekend delivered a fantastic, high-energy show and audience members took home another great memory as the summer quickly fades away.

White Sky
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
I Stand Corrected
California English
Taxi Cab
One (Blake's Got a New Face)
I'm Goin' Down (Bruce Springsteen cover)
Diplomat's Son
I Think Ur A Contra
Giving Up The Gun
Oxford Comma

Mansard Roof

Watch Vampire Weekend perform "Mansard Roof" (Note: The band's chandeliers were taken away at customs so they instructed us to raise our hands and wiggle our fingers like sea anemones)

Photo credits: Pete Nema at Sticky Magazine

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Avett Brothers Live Volume 3 Tracklists

Very soon The Avett Brothers will be releasing their latest live CD and DVD combination titled "Live Volume 3" to the public. Just the other day the tracklist for both was made public.

1. Pretty Girl from Matthews
2. Talk on Indolence
3. Ballad False Start
4. The Ballad of Love and Hate
5. Colorshow
6. I and Love and You
7. Shame
8. When I Drink
9. Murder in the City
10. I Killed Sally’s Lover
11. Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
12. The Perfect Space
13. Paranoia in B-flat Major
14. Distraction #74
15. Kick Drum Heart
16. Salvation Song

1. Pretty Girl from Matthews
2. Swept Away
3. Talk on Indolence
4. The Ballad of Love and Hate
5. Colorshow
6. I and Love and You
7. Shame
8. When I Drink
9. Murder in the City
10. I Killed Sally’s Lover
11. Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise
12. The Perfect Space
13. Paranoia in B-flat Major
14. Distraction #74
15. Kick Drum Heart
16. Salvation Song

Here's a great fan-shot video of the Brothers playing "The Perfect Space" in Texas

The Barr Brothers - Cloud

As I just finished writing a review of The Barr Brothers self-titled, debut album for Relix Magazine, I felt it was appropriate to peruse the band's website a little bit. I stumbled upon a wonderful video of the group playing their dreamy song "Cloud" live in Montreal. The tune features some very clever wordplay and some characteristically inspired playing from the band as a whole. Give it a watch and then do yourselves a favor and head over to The Barr Brothers website to order their fantastic new record.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Swell Season Pays For Grief Counselling For Fans

Last week during the Swell Season's concert in California a fan tragically jumped to his death in an act of suicide. The 32 year old Michael Pickels jumped from a roof covering and landed right near lead singer Glen Hansard. The band will be paying for four sessions for any or all of the 1,900 fans who attended the show. Our thoughts go out to Pickels' family.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Phish Announces Fall Tour

With a huge summer tour successfully completed it comes as no surprise that Phish will be embarking on another, albeit shorter fall tour. The jam-giants will be playing the Austin City Limits Festival on October 8, as well as their first shows in Atlantic City. Last Halloween we heard Phish cover the pivotal classic rock album Exile on Main St. by the Stones. Those lucky enough to make to ATL will witness Trey, Mike, Jon and Page drape themselves in musical costumes as they cover another group's record this Halloween.


October 8 Austin, TX—Austin City Limits Festival

October 10-12 Broomfield, CO—ISTBANK Center

October 15-16 North Charleston, SC—North Charleston Coliseum

October 19 Augusta, ME—Augusta Civic Center

October 20 Utica, NY—Utica Memorial Auditorium

October 22 Providence, RI—Dunkin Donuts Center

October 23-24 Amherst, MA—Mullins Center

October 26 Manchester, NH—Verizon Wireless Arena

October 29-31 Atlantic City, NJ—Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Show Review: The Felice Brothers - Live in Toronto at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern, July 27, 2010

When the Felice Brothers opened for the Dave Matthews Band in Toronto only two months back, they must have made some impression. The band, looking much cleaner cut than they sounded, played to a packed and sweaty crowd at the Legendary Horseshoe Tavern. The band of brothers and close friends filled the low-ceilinged venue with their high-energy drunken sing-a-longs and tender ballads. Members of the audience, most of which were quite familiar with the Felice Brothers large catalogue happily draped themselves over one another and belted out the lyrics to most of the songs during the 90-minute set. Lead singer and guitarist Ian Felice poured his scraggly and often wobbly voice into every song, but it was really his childhood friend Christmas who shined the brightest. Christmas’ stage presence and performance on both the accordion and keyboard is so genuine and heartfelt that it’s hard to look at the large man without an ear-to-ear smile on your face. While most of the songs the Felice Brothers played were quick paced and filled with hoedown dance opportunities, the band really hit a high point when they slowed things down on songs like the haunting “Saint Peter’s End” and “Katie Dear”. The crowd simply erupted for the band’s biggest hit “Frankie’s Gun” which featured some down and dirty washboard playing by Greg Farley, who was quick to switch between his fiddle, extra percussion and some straight up crazy dancing throughout the entire evening. The crowd barely had the opportunity to catch their breath before the group launched into “Whiskey In My Whiskey” and then “Greatest Show On Earth”. The latter of which had Ian sounding more like Bob Dylan than ever, but nobody seemed to mind

The Felice Brothers hopped off stage for a couple of moments but the cheers from the crowd would not let up. The boys came back out with a few more stompers to sustain the whiskey-induced crowd. “Chicken Wire” had the whole audience stomping their feet before the group closed the show with a choice cover song by Townes Zan Vandt that fit the Brothers’ sound perfectly. Those who attended this stellar performance will surely agree that the Felice Brothers truly earned that coveted opening slot for the Dave Matthews Band. Toronto welcomed the Felice Brothers as their own last night, and I’m sure these up-and-comers will make their way through Canada again soon enough.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Back In 15 Minutes Takes Another Extended Break

Well folks,
It's that time again where I leave my computer behind for an extended period of time. Starting tomorrow I will be leading canoe trips in beautiful northern Ontario. I will be back to my computer and ready to provide everyone with more reviews, interviews and industry news by the end of August. I hope the summer is wonderful for everyone and filled with lots of great music.

Take care,
-Lucas Samuels, Back In 15 Minutes.

Film Review: Stones In Exile

There’s a certain irony captured in Stephen Kijak’s film Stones In Exile, the documentary of the Rolling Stones’ now legendary double record, Exile On Main St. The group was literally exiled from England for not being able to pay their taxes. So, they left the country in their private jet. The Stones set course for the south of France and made camp in Nellcôte, Keith Richard’s pristine colonial style mansion. Funny enough, the time leading up to the recording of the album was seemingly wholesome. The black and white stock footage portrays the Stones as family men first and foremost. With wives, girlfriends and small children running around, the initial stages of Exile On Main St. do not appear to be very rock and roll at all.

With no suitable recording space to be found in all of southern France however, the Stones (plus a three piece horn section) opted to record in the basement of Nellcôte. With this vital decision came darkness, an underlying theme of the record and the movie. The dank, dingy and mercilessly hot basement was made up of many small rooms and proved to be a less than ideal recording space. Regardless, the Stones set up shop and recorded the bulk of Exile there. A six-month process.

What the stock footage, still photographs and newly recorded video footage of Jagger and Watts illustrates is that Exile On Main St., (as cliché as it might sound), was literally fueled by sex, drugs and rock and roll. We get to witness the relentless pot smoking (which was never hidden from the children), the whiskey-induced musical madness and the hard drugs, all of which acted as the motivation for the album. The film also reveals that some of the most famous songs weren’t even cut by the band as a whole! The recording of Exile was intensely sporadic; band members traipsed in and out of Nellcôte at their leisure, recording at any given hour of the day. Though the final product may seem like a finally crafted labor of love, throughout the film members of the Stones’ happily admit that much of the music they created was actually garbage. Before Stones In Exile, most fans would find that hard to believe.

Anyone who has listened to the provocative Exile On Main St. knows that there is mysteriously dark vibe to it. What Stones In Exile provides moviegoers with is the ultimate fly-on-the-wall experience, a window into the on-goings of a bunch of exiled-against-their-will Londoners. Though only an hour in length, Stones In Exile is a dense journey that will leave you wondering how the hell the Rolling Stones came out of southern France alive, and with one of rock and roll’s greatest albums to boot.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Film Review: This Movie Is Broken

Making a concert film is no easy task. How do you capture the true spirit of a band when they are conscious (and perhaps even self-conscious) of the cameras rolling? Broken Social Scene bandleaders Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning recognized this problem and found an easy way around it. They simply did not tell their 16 other bandmates that their first reunion show since 2004 was being filmed. Seriously. In the summer of 2009, during Toronto’s embarrassing city-wide garbage strike, director Doug McDonald was able to capture a truly beautiful evening with a band performing in sweet, sweet ignorance.

This Movie Is Broken focuses on Bruno (Greg Calderone) finally bagging his life-long crush/long-time platonic friend Caroline Rush (Georgina Reilly). But with every should-be-relationship there comes a catch. Caroline is leaving for Paris the next day. Instead of discussing the obvious disasters of a long-distance relationship, Caroline requests that the two spend their last evening together at the Broken Social Scene concert. What better place for Bruno to prove the authenticity of his love for Caroline than at the show?

The band itself is in fine form throughout the beautiful summer evening. Performing classic songs such as the chilling “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl” as well as new songs from the band’s freshly released new album,Forgiveness Rock Record, the connection between Broken Social Scene’s band members, as well as their love for Toronto is unmistakable and quite uplifting. The group’s sprawling and layered tunes provide a more than complementary backdrop to both the drama and comedy between Bruno, best friend Blake and Caroline. While the film has a romantic twist that seems oddly out of place, This Movie Is Broken is largely a success.

Watch the trailer

Band To Watch: Tin Soldier

A band that I've been following a lot over the last year is a group of Berklee undergraduates calling themselves Tin Soldier. They're a six-piece collective with members hailing from all over the world (from Canada all the way to France) and are making making music well beyond their years. The group is comprised of lead singer Manu Laudic, lead guitarist Dustin Olyan, keyboardist Zachary Tenorio-Miller, drummer Curran McDowell, guitarist/mandolin player Christopher Putt, and bassist Aaron “Count” Stern. They've spent the last couple of months recording their debut, self-titled, 6 song EP and it is well worth a listen.

The album opens with the piano-driven pop-rocker "Don't Leave Me (Behind)". The track is clearly influenced by contemporary poppers like John Mayer, but brings in heavier sounds too, reminiscent of Wilco. "Don't Leave Me (Behind)" is a radio-ready tune with some beautiful harmonies and a wildly impressive guitar solo from lead guitarist and up-coming virtuoso Dustin Olyan.

Acoustic guitar, a thumping bass line and playful piano provide the backdrop for the band's thoughts on modern war mid-way through the EP on "Soldier". Another wickedly-catchy song, "Soldier" illustrates the band's careful songwriting and some very memorable vocal breaks.

Credibility is huge for up-and-coming bands, and who better to endorse Tin Soldier than Jon Anderson, lead singer of the classic-progressive rock group Yes. Anderson lends his striking vocals on "Time As It Is", the album's longest and headiest track. A slow-building number with a monstrously dynamic ending, "Time As It Is" shows the versatility and confidence of this up-and-coming group from Boston.

Look for an official release of the EP in the very near future. For now, head over to Tin Soldier's MySpace page to give the 6 tracks a listen.

Also check out this fantastic acoustic version of "Don't Leave Me (Behind) recorded earlier this year.

Here the band plays "Hat Song"

The Roots & Jim James - Dear God 2.0

Last year Jim James, Conor Oberst, M. Ward and Mike Mogis released a beautiful folk record under the moniker "Monsters of Folk". The album opened with the harp and echo filled "Dear God". The song confused me at first. I certainly couldn't believe that the rest of the album would follow its airy and haunting vibe, and I was correct. "Dear God" felt extremely out of place to me on that album, and to this day, probably 100 listens in, I still feel the same way about it.

A couple of days ago I heard that Jim James would be appearing on Jimmy Fallon, performing "Dear God 2.0". This re-incarnation is featured on The Roots'up-coming release titled How I Got Over. When I heard the news I immediately headed to to give the track a listen. I love The Roots and I love what they've been doing on Fallon, but their last few albums haven't impressed me all that much. After listening to "Dear God 2.0" I was shocked. While they haven't really re-arranged the song all that much, the tunes slow rhythm and heavy reliance on a string section make it a very unique backing track for a hip hop song. Not to mention, the Jim James vocal sample adds a certain music connoisseur credibility, which I find pretty cool.

Last night My Morning Jacket frontman and Monsters of Folk member Jim James took the stage with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and delivered an amazing rendition of "Dear God 2.0".

Friday, June 18, 2010

Simon & Garfunkel Tour Postponed...Indefinitely

I think it's safe to say that most music fans were looking forward to seeing legendary folk rockers Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel reunite for a big string of shows. Unfortunately, Garfunkel has been suffering from vocal paresis and will be unable to perform. The two released the following statement:

"The Simon & Garfunkel tour that had been set for July has now been postponed indefinitely. The tour, originally set for April and then rescheduled for July, is now on hold as Art Garfunkel continues to recover from a vocal paresis. According to his doctors, Art is expected to make a full recovery, however they cannot predict an exact timeline. This condition (paresis) inhibits the duo from performing shows at the highest possible level and it is for that reason and out of respect for their fans that Paul and Art have decided to put the tour on hold.

Simon & Garfunkel regret any inconvenience this has caused their fans and are looking forward to rescheduling the dates when Art fully recovers. Art says, "I do feel bad about disrupting so many people's plans but, as I continue to mend, I can't yet bring my 'A Game' to a tour, and I would not perform for you with anything less."

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Back In 15 MInutes Hits NXNE 2010

Since things have been a bit slow around here for the past little while I figure I should throw down a little bit of an update. Today I received my press credentials for Toronto's own NXNE Music Festival. The festival features 650 bands and 40 films. While I'd love to provide everyone with a ton of show and film reviews, the venues in Toronto are quite spread out and one can spend a pretty penny on transportation alone. That being said, I will be covering the following:

Broken Social Scene - This Movie Is Broken
Last year BSS played a free show in Toronto, filmed it, and the inter-spliced it with a "I finally slept with my dream girl and she's leaving the country forever...tomorrow" love story.

The Rolling Stones - Stones In Exile
This documentary features candid footage of the Stones in their prime, recording what I believe to be their greatest achievement ever, "Exile On Main St.".

Zeus - Toronto band blending Beatles-esque harmonies with an unmistakably catchy brand of 90s alt-rock

Timber Timbre - Gothic blues...haunting stuff that will make your blood curl and your feet tap

Surfer Blood - Summer sounds from California, surprise surprise they mention surfing and make other assorted water references throughout most of their songs. Pitchfork digs 'em.

De La Soul - one of the quintessential, positive forces in hip-hop. Forget money, girls and guns, De La Soul has got too much class for that shit, not to mention their silky flow.

Possible shows I will be attending:
The Treasures - Rock-a-billy revivalist band from Toronto with sweet harmonies.
AA Bondy - Folk rock, a man, his guitar, and his harmonica.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jay-Z Live At The Isle of Wight Festival

Very few performers let alone rappers hold a candle to Jay-Z. After seeing him live earlier this year I can honestly say he is one of the most electrifying, enthralling and enthusiastic live performers out there today. I stumbled across this fantastic video of Jigga truly bringing down the house at England's legendary Isle of Wight Festival. The anthem of "Run This Town" simply pours over the entire audience who happily throw the infamous Roc-A-Fella diamond symbol up into the air. Not only does Jay deliver a stellar performance, the crowd absolutely loses it once Kanye West makes a return to the stage. Check it out

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Marco Benevento "Between The Needles & Nightfall"

Marco Benevento is on a non-stop tear of releasing music. The Trio has been crazy busy putting the final touches on the up-coming new album titled "Between The Needles & Nightfall". Over at Shine A Light Productions, film producer extraordinaire Karina Mackenzie has put together some beautiful footage of the Trio getting into the groove, so take a peak at the videos below to get a feel for the new album.

Some more behind-the-scenes footage can be watched over at Shine A Light Production's website.

Head to Marco's site for more information about the album.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Album Review: Plants and Animals - La La Land

The trio Plants and Animals set their acoustic instruments aside, plugged in their electrics and created a cohesive 11 song record that flows smoothly through its valleys and peaks. La La Land opens with the celebrity inspired track, “Tom Cruz.” The intro thumps may sound like a bass guitar, but it’s actually the guitar work of multi-instrumentalist Nicolas Basque. Riff-heavy and epic, “Tom Cruz” is the way a rock and roll album should start. Plants and Animals beg to be the next superstars on American Idol, an ironic wish for a group hailing from the notoriously proud province of Quebec. The Arcade Fire horn section adds some color on this should-be radio hit.

The band tip their caps to the Gypsy Kings on the Spanish-laced “Kon Tiki” before slowing things down with the album’s first tender moments on “Game Shows.” Fellow (transplanted) Montréaler Brad Barr lays down some effortless piano work as lead singer Warren Spicer insures us, “it’s so good, it’s so easy.” “Game Shows” is perhaps a critique on society’s willingness to get lost in the mind-numbing “big highs and big lows” of modern reality television garbage. The pace picks up considerably on the album’s clear masterpiece, “The Mama Papa.” Spicer adds some French inflections to his best David Byrne impression with surprisingly pleasant results. An obvious attempt at writing a radio-friendly hit with some spunk, the simple, repetitive chorus of “and the mama don’t allow what the papa don’t like and the kids just wanna be left on the outside” will be on repeat in your head for days after listening.

Proving they are Montrealers through and through, “Celebration” finds Spicer singing about one of the city’s most notable past times, partying. While the track may not be the album’s biggest rocker, it features some wonderfully layered, effect-heavy guitar work and a massive horn-filled ending. Screaming and sprawling guitar work finishes La La Land’s curiously titled final track “Jeans, Jeans, Jeans” which is about just that. Although the title might evoke thoughts of ‘80s skinny jeans and big hair, just remember titles can be misleading. “Jeans, Jeans, Jeans” is badass rock and roll, ripped jeans and all. For a band with only two full albums under their belts, Plants and Animals demonstrate the maturity and growth that comes from extended touring, and ensure that La La Land lives up to the hype set by 2008’s heavily championed Parc Avenue.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back In 15 Minutes Heads To Asia

Hey everyone,
I just wanted to let you all know that things are going to be very quiet around here for the next four months. Tomorrow evening I will be flying out to Hong Kong, and from there I will be traveling much of South East Asia. Chances are I will be able to do a post here and there, but these will be sporadic and short. I will be returning home in mid-June for just around a week, only to head out again. I will be leaving my computer behind once more, as July and August will find me leading canoe trips in the great Canadian outdoors of Ontario. Thanks to everyone who has stuck around with me thus far. I promise that in August Back In 15 Minutes will be back to full force with lots of great content to read, watch and see. It's been a great ride so far and I don't plan on stopping any time soon.

Have a relaxing but eventful summer everyone. Before you blink, the warm days and nights will be behind us once again.

-Lucas Samuels

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dawes Live On Craig Ferguson

Last night Dawes, one of our favourite new groups over here at Back In 15 Minutes made their live television debut. The group played the standout hit "When My Time Comes" off of their 2009 debut album North Hills. For their first time on television, Dawes laid down a fantastic performance. Taylor Goldsmith is wildly confident on stage, and he appears to be developing into a less nationalistic version of Springsteen (not to mention he can solo much better). Take a look at their performance below.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Album Review: Surprise Me Mr. Davis - That Man Eats Morning For Breakfast

To state that the new Surprise Me Mr. Davis record, That Man Eats Morning For Breakfast has been a long time coming would be a great understatement. The group, made up of The Slip and Nathan Moore released their last EP in 2005. Fans of the band know that these “new” songs have been thoroughly road-tested and actually recorded since 2008, and have been eagerly awaiting their recorded release. Well, that day has come, albeit two years later. What started off as a collaboration between two sets of musicians has clearly grown into something much bigger. While it used to sound like The Slip backing the songs of Nathan Moore, Surprise Me Mr. Davis has matured into a full-fledged rock and roll tour-de-force. That Man Eats Morning For Breakfast kick starts with “Roses In Bottles” an interesting choice for an opening track due to its noticeable complexity and lack of traditional song structure. If we listen intently however, the perfect harmonies of singers Brad Barr and Nathan Moore shine in unison. Barr’s masterful guitar lines trace the lyrical harmony beautifully, while drummer Andrew Barr adds subtle color to the song by hammering his skins with Moroccan shakers, rather than traditional drum sticks. “Roses In Bottles” is a true embodiment of the band. They make music with layers. Music that is understood best upon multiple listens, so that before you know it, you can’t get the songs out of your head.

In true Surprise Me Mr. Davis fashion, the band shifts gear completely on the funked-out protest rocker “Sissyfuss”. Nathan and Brad proudly exclaim, “I ain’t pickin’ up no peaches no, no peaches no. Not for no dollar a day” while Marc Friedman tosses out heavily fuzzed-out bass fills, never opting for a traditional low-end bass line. Brad gives us a perfect mix of his old school jazz guitar days mixed with his more current progressive guitar stylings during a ripping and completely unique solo. The pace is slowed just a hair on the ballad “One Sick Knave”, which is arguably the gem of the album. The tune illustrates the collaborative songwriting maturity that Nathan and Brad have been working towards for over six years now. Lyrics like “Well you follow the queen, but you never once saw her face. So you started running even though you weren’t being chase” are proof of the two songsmith’s growth as writers. The track slowly builds before the band reaches musical climax and Brad tosses out another shredding and heavily distorted guitar solo.

“Emily Green” finds Surprise Me Mr. Davis donning musical costumes from the pop heavy, harmony-laced ‘60s era, while Moore croons of love and loss on the haunting ballad “Joelle”. The album ends perfectly as Surprise Me Mr. Davis sing of life on the road on “Home Away From Home”. It may only be a seven song EP, but That Man Eats Morning For Breakfast is an accurate indication of a band tapping into their potential as of 2008. Now its 2010, and hopefully someday soon Surprise Me Mr. Davis will finally bless us with their true sophomore album.