The Balconies: read the earshot interview
The Best Local Releases of 2014
If home is where the heart is, local is where the music starts.
Most of our nationally revered artists have emerged from a local scene somewhere where they paid their dues and made the jump to stardom,. Here are some insider tips to what maybe the next crop. We want to hear from you. Add your best live show of 2014 in the comments.
St John, NB
Brian Cleveland - !earshot 20, The Mixed Tape
!earshot 20 - various stations across the country
Tie between NVN – EP – (Sharktooth Records) (http://sharktoothrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ep-2) and Stegosaurus – Masked Marvel – (Sharktooth Records)(http://sharktoothrecords.bandcamp.com/album/masked-marvel)
Both EPs can be found through Saint John, NB’s Sharktooth Records (sharktoothrecords.bandcamp.com) who put out some of the best tunes from the Bay of Fundy. Both are pretty fun 4-track releases featuring loose post-punk tunes. The latter is a little heavier.
Jim Dupuis CFBX , Kamloops, BC
Jazz Notes – Wednesdays 5-7pm
Anita Eccleston - So It Goes - (Independent)
Anita Eccleston is a classically trained horn player and vocalist. She has dabbled in composing over the years and has put out a CD, which has eleven original compositions on it. She has tried out tunes such as “Scarlet Scribbles” and “Fumbling Forward” on local audiences over the last few years and they have evolved nicely over time. As a trumpet/flugelhorn player, she has taken notice of the work of Chet Baker, among others and has established her own sound. This CD is somewhat of a hybrid between jazz and pop. This makes it accessible to a wider audience. Favorite tracks include “Through It All” which has a big band sound with interesting vocal changes, and the bluesy “Claim on You” which allows Eccleston to showcase her considerable talents on trumpet and another local musician, Kris Ruston adds a fine guitar solo. Eccleston now lives in Vancouver, but visits family and often plays gigs in Kamloops. So It Goes is a jazzy/poppy/soulful mix that should appeal to many. It would be a nice surprise in anyone’s Christmas stocking.
Max Szyc - Ottawa, ON
Altus – Excursion Three – (Earth Mantra)
Mike Carss has been secretly producing quality ambient music for over a decade, and the Ottawa resident is commendable for making it all free online. Influenced by new age musicians such as Steve Roach, Carss’ latest release is so hypnotically beautiful that you might have to stop whatever activity you’re doing in order to fully appreciate the man’s gorgeous, synth-heavy sound textures. In the end, Excursion Three is a perfect soundtrack for the meditation sessions that you never realized you craved.
Mitch Jascson - CKCU - Ottawa, Ontario
National Hum - Tuesdays 2-3pm
New Swears – Junkfood Forever, Bedtime Whatever – (Bruised Tongue)
If Ottawa’s known for anything in the underground music world it’s the consistently staggering amount of garage punk bands that the city produces. 2014 saw fantastic releases from Steve Adamyk Band, Average Times, Tropical Dripps and Mother’s Children. But the Capital City funboys took the cake this year, poured Old Style Pilsner all over it and rolled around in it. These songs are catchy as hell, and much prettier than their outlandish party personas. The album cover pretty much says everything you need to know about these guys. For a city known as a boring, public service worker filled, depression-prone winter hellscape this record is like a goddamn firework fired right at the 417, letting passersbys travelling from Toronto to Montreal that there’s something here. http://newswears.bandcamp.com/album/junkfood-forever-bedtime-whatever
Owen Maxwell - CKCU - Ottawa, ON
Theme Songs - Mondays at 10am
The Balconies – Fast Motions – (Coalition Records)
Hometown heroes The Balconies released their debut LP which took the already explosive and loud sound from their Kill Count EP and made a full length recording that sounded even more professional, explosive and controlled. The production is amazing and it’s great to see how the band has matured.
The band is lead by the over-the-top Jacquie O’Neville who is the female version of a hair metal frontman and is a force of nature on stage.
Read the !earshot interview from September 2013
Alan Ranta - Exclaim, Georgia Straight, Vancouver, BC
Dada Plan - A Dada Plan is Free (Kingfisher Bluez)
Malcolm Biddle is a genius. I'm just going to keep saying that until everyone agrees with me. Thankfully, with his first album at the helm of the Dada Plan project, produced by none other than Joshua Wells of Lightning Dust and Black Mountain fame, it appears that day is very close now.
Read Alan's full review at the Georgia Straight.
Glen Ess - CIVL- FM Abbotsford BC
Rhythm & Rhyme - Tuesdays 11am to 12 noon
If by local you mean Vancouver (40 minutes’ drive, tops!). I’m going to have to settle for a tie between:
Mother Mother – Very Good Bad Thing – (Universal Music Canada)
A pop vibe flows through this latest release from Mother Mother and it’s definitely a fun one to listen to. For someone reason I keep comparing the record to Depeche Mode, in that it’s a bit of an electro-pop album and a very danceable one at that but on closer inspection the lyrics really don’t match up to the dance party vibe. It’s actually brilliantly done, the lyrical dissonance. Best seen on the lead single: “Get Out of The Way”, but personally “Modern Love” is my favorite track. http://www.mothermothersite.com