Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Music Releases From Warner’s Reported By: Christine Albrecht

Here are a few dates to look forward to:

March 23rd

Soundtracks from the movies: Hot Tub Time Machine and The Runaways
The White Stripes Under the Great White Northern Lights (boxed set)
Disturbed – The Sickness 10th Anniversary Edition
Devil Makes Three – Do Wrong Right

March 30th

– Voltaic
Duke Squad - Infamous
Inner Circle - State of Da World
Joe Rogan - Talking Monkeys In Space
Sarah Silverman – Songs of the Sarah Silverman Program
Speed Caravan - Kalashnik Love
Various Artists performances from Memphis: A New Musical

April 6th

David Byrne and Fatboy Slim – Here Lies Love
Jeff Healey – Beautiful Noise DVD and Lasg Call
Flatfoot 56 – Black Thorn
Madonna – The Sticky and Sweet Tour
The Doors – When you are Strange Movie soundtrack

April 13th

Jeff Beck – Emotion and Commotion
Sarah Blackwood – Wasting Time
Foxy Shazam – Self Titled
Jon & Roy - Homes
Kaya Project – Desert Place
The Spill Canvas – Realities
Natalie Merchant – Leave Your Sleep
Zac Brown Band - Live From The Fox Theatre

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Concert Review: Cancer Bats, Against Me, AlexisonFire, and Billy Talent By: Christine Albrecht

Where and When: March 6, 2010 Interior Savings Stadium - Kamloops, B.C.

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At 6:45 sharp. Cancer Bats took the stage at Interior Savings Place (stadium home of the notable Kamloops Blazers). The band came out with guns blazing; they've could have been playing for 10 people, or 10,000 - either way, they gave it their all. Four songs into the set, the singer actually stopped and formally apologized to the natives of Kamloops for having never toured in their city before. I think it dawned on him that the packed mosh pit was for them, rather than the usual ten rockers, determined to hold their spot until Billy Talent appears. Cancer Bats' biggest crowd pleaser was their rendition of the Beastie Boys', Sabotage. Was this band my type? No, but I could appreciate their talent: the shredding guitar, stage presence, and good vocals. My co-reviewer concluded that Cancer Bats' act came second, in talent, only to Billy Talent. Quite a compliment. The Cancer Bats hail from Toronto, and consist of: singer Liam Cormier,guitarist Scott Middleton, bassist Jaye Schwarzer , and drummer Mike Peters. They were clever enough to continue promoting the band by having merchandise for sale, as well as offering a free sample CDs. The members appear charismatic and Liam, especially, has good stage presence. Well done, gang.


Second on the bill was Against Me (my favourite band, second to Billy Talent, and with exception to Dallas Green whose voice leaves me speechless). Gainesville, Florida native,Tom Gabel, began his music career as a 17-year old solo acoustic act known as Against Me. He soon invited on board the others who make up the band (please realize, this band's been around since '93). The Vocalist/guitarist is Tom Gabel, bassist/vocals is Andrew Seward, drummer is Warren Oakes, and guitarist/vocals is James Bowman. Mind you, we did see a fourth unnamed rhythm guitarist playing throughout the set.


They finished their set with Thrash Unreal, which seemed to wake the whole stadium out of its stupor into an "...oh, I know this one...", and then the crowd thrashed about .'Against Me's' song list included: From Her Lips to God's Ear, Stop, White People for Peace, and White Crosses, amongst others. Their set was fast-furious, no pausing, no chitchat (they had to fit ten years of music into 36 minutes). But hands down, they had most socially-current, politically aware, and intrinsically-accountable set there was. The lyrics were complex; making you want to “Google”, when you get home in case you missed a lyric. Yes, I recognize Ben (of Billy Talent) also writes great songs, but these lyrics demanded from us, a social conscience, and hence, was lost on many in attendance. Of all the bands, Against Me were the ones who stood out as not being 'screamo' enough. They didn't seem to fit the genre bill, but they did fit the social conscience bill.


Not to make light of a horrific incident, and I am being sincere when I say that you know a band has “arrived” if fans are getting randomly trampled during the rush to the stage. During their gig for the Olympics, Alexisonfire had to stop only 10 seconds into their gig. Welcome to Alexisonfire.


Alexisonfire took the stage at 8:22 and delivered exactly what the crowd expected, and no one left disappointed. Hailing from St. Catherine's, Ontario, the band consists consist of: vocalist George Pettit, guitarist/ pianist/ vocalist Dallas Green, vocalist/ guitarist Wade MacNeil, bassist Chris Steele, and drummer Jordan Hastings. Alexisonfire are also clever lyricists, as heard in songs : Cardinal, Rough Hands, Born and Raised, Boiled Frogs, Old, Crows, and This Could be Anywhere in the World, amongst others. I'm not much for screamo rock, but the absolute contrast between Dallas Green's voice and George Pettit's somehow makes it work. As for Dallas Green, his voice is so achingly beautiful, for lack of a better description, makes me want to cry with appreciation. His talent is stunning.


(Image of Dallas, Ben and Chris is from Much Music Awards, taken by George Pimentel/WireImage)

When I looked around, I was surprised to see how many inner-child, male seat-rockers there were - you know - those kids who rock back and forth violently in order to find some form of comfort. Well, Alexisonfire, brought out the literal seat-rockers in a lot of men sitting in the bleachers. While Alexisonfire was performing on stage, I'd like to thank George Pettit for having the best fan/mosh-pit control I have seen in ages. And he did it all without actually mentioning behaviour or expectations. He was just very good at diverting attention.



At 9:30 sharp, our men of the hour - Billy Talent - came out to rock us. Opening with, Devil in a Midnight Mass, my first reaction was, Uh Oh.! I wasn't confident that Ben could maintain his vocal high and low pitches, nor keep his strong, sustained notes, judging by his vocal struggle/straining with his first tune.


But only Ben Kowalewicz knows the true secret in maintaining his voice, especially when songs demand so much from a singer… Voila! In Kamloops Bizarro World, the reverse occurred! Ben's voice actually got better and better as he belted out tunes such as: Honesty, Surrender (which he jokingly dedicated to Dallas Green’s voice), Red Flag, Rusted from the Rain, Nothing to lose, amongst others, until we could no longer tell the difference between his voice and his voice on a good stereo system. Ben's voice was in peak form by the time be got to the encore, Devil on my shoulder and Fallen Leaves. I can only shake my head, and wonder, how does one become so talented?

Ian D'Sa


was in fine form - looking good and sound great. He and Ben complement each other, and my co-reviewer noted that it is like Ben is responding (in song) to Ian's guitar. One of these days, I would love Ian to shave his head, just to see what the response would be. With some fans, how much is music driven, and how much is trend driven?

As well, bassist, Jonathan Gallant


and drummer, Aaron Solowoniuk
at their best which reinforced the band's worth ethic (that they put forth their best effort regardless of where they're playing, and how many they are playing to.) Another trait I enjoy about this band is their awareness of various charities, without calling attention to themselves for doing so. Look at each member, and you will be impressed with the level of education they've reached as well as fundraisers they've spearheaded. The quintessential Canadian band.


Final verdict:Amazing! 9/10

They would have scored 10/10 if they hadn’t ‘forced an encore” (many readers have heard me rant about this before).

Obviously Ben is going to sing his top two hits of all time, Fallen Leaves and Devil on my Shoulder, so to say Goodnight and saunter off the stage was off-putting to me. I stuck around long enough to see if the roadies would pack up... but no. So off we went into the Kamloops’ evening


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Oscar dust-up: He got Kanye’d

I have to share an article I read online by Lauren Beckham Falcon. I found it to be highly amusing, as well as timely because I had just finished a conversation with a friend during which I referred to an Oscar incident as being a “Kanye repeat”.

When I read Lauren’s article, I realized I was not alone in my habit of creating new jargon, based upon pop-cultural events. I do not have permission to reproduce this article, so don’t be surprised if it is gone tomorrow, but the purpose of this post is purely complimentary. Here's Lauren's article:

Today’s vocabulary lesson:

Producer Elinor Burkett didn’t interrupt “Music By Prudence” director Roger Ross Williams when she grabbed the mike during his Oscar acceptance speech Sunday night.

She Kanye’d him.

Kanye: v. To steal someone’s spotlight by interrupting them during an acceptance speech. (Origin: the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when Taylor Swift won for Best Female Video and rapper West stormed the stage, took her mike and said, “Yo, Taylor, I’m really happy for you and I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time.”)

As for the Burkett/Williams Oscar beef, it’s reportedly been brewing for a year.

Burkett, the producer of the award-winning documentary short, says she and Williams disagreed on the creative direction of the film, so she voluntarily removed herself from the project. Yet she insists she should have accepted the award. Williams disagrees, claiming she didn’t belong anywhere near the stage.

Either way, we’re all winners. They have their gold statues. We have a new way to describe misconduct.

But why stop with Kanye? He’s not the only celebrity whose behavior deserves a place in

Mayer: v. To say too much. (Origin: John Mayer’s Playboy interview in which he called Jessica Simpson “sexual napalm,” used the N-word and revealed he won’t sleep with black women.) Usage: “I totally Mayered my job interview when I said I can’t really get my act together before 10 a.m.


Bale: v. To lose your mind with a co-worker. (Origin: Christian Bale’s 10-minute “Terminator” rant.) Usage: “Rahm really Baled when I told him we didn’t have enough votes to pass the bill. It was crazy awkward and people left the room.”


Lohaned: adj. Having so thoroughly abused yourself that you look like an 87-year-old, heavy-drinking sunbather from Miami at age 23. (Origin: Lindsay Lohan. See also: Dina Lohan, Michael Lohan and Ali Lohan.) Usage: “All the booze and sun from my week in Cabo has left me Lohaned. I need an intervention and microdermabrasion immediately.


Katie: v. To be brainwashed by an older man and his money and power. (Origin: Katie Holmes.) Usage: “Jen has been completely Katied since she started dating that crazy investment banker. He’s a jerk, but he just bought her front-row seats to Taylor Swift and is taking her to the Vineyard next weekend.”


Farrah: v. Overshadowed and ultimately forgotten. (Origin: Farrah Fawcett, who died a few hours before Michael Jackson, expunging her obit from the front pages; and she wasn’t even mentioned in Sunday’s Oscar tribute to stars we lost last year.) Usage: “I got a B-plus on my book report, but was Farrahed by my older sister, who scored a full scholarship to Stanford.”


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