Monday, October 31, 2011

TotW: Living and Dead

To be honest, if I was going to highlight a track from this Hamilton, Onatrio band, Huron, Living and Dead wouldn't be my first pick... but it's still a damn good song, and it's Hallowe'en, so I figured "why not".

This is 70s -style riff-rock, updated for the new century. Riding the wave along with bands like Zeus and Yukon Blonde, these guys are bringing back the guitar solo, overdriven guitar sounds and that great rock ethic that is missing from a lot of these sorts of bands today. Rock 'n roll is a lifestyle for these guys... you can hear it in the music.

An almost spacy intro gives way to nicely fuzzy guitar sound; for this sorta sound you need a good 'fuzz box'. Throughout, the song alternates between big riffs, quiet sections, group vocals, guitar solos, all somehow without sounding like a giant mash-up of styles or like some sort of 'frankenstein' collection of song fragments collected from the studio floor.

So, go have a listen to this not-to-spooky track, with a haunting title. Car windows down, stereo volume way up, devil horns in the air. And then, when you're done, have a listen to The Big Dig... the guitar -centric intro, and the song ending riffs? Fantastic. Also, be double sure to check the guys out over at Southern Souls; a five song set caught on video, including some excellent new material.

» Listen: Huron - Living and Dead

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Now here's something I didn't know... our "funny money" is about to get a facelift and a new skin!

According to the nice infographic provided by our national bank (above), you can see that we'll be seeing new bills in circulation as soon as next month. Well, I don't expect to personally be seeing too many $100 bills, but you know what I mean.

As you can tell, we'll be keeping the same colours and sizes of the bills, but the material on which they're printed is going to change. These new polymer notes are 2.5x more durable that the notes we currently have in circulation, so there is an immediate environmental benefit to them. We've also managed to pack in a whole bunch more security features, including frosted a maple leaf, more micro-printing, a far more detailed holographic image and so on.

The Bank's website shows detailed images of the forthcoming $100 and $50 bills; the new look of the remaining bills will likely be on-line sometime next year. The current series of bills is considered the "Canadian Journey" series; these new bills are designed around the theme of Canadian spirit of innovation.

» Found at: The Bank of Canada

Monday, October 24, 2011

TotW: Morning Song

This track is from a 7" single that the band, We Are the City, have just released. I first heard this trio last year when their single, There are Very Tiny Beasts in the Ground. Their sound seems to have evolved quite a bit since then, but I love where it's going.

The vocals are very strong, as is the timing in this track. There are these pauses that might seem out-of-place on the first listen, but on repeated listens you realize that they're in the perfect, emotional place. As a trio, these boys can make a lot of noise, but in an impactful, roller-coaster of a way. This song is certainly a journey as much as it is a destination.

It should be noted that the band is keeping very busy at the moment. This 7" is a follow-up to their recent extended EP, High School. They're also in the midst of a west coast US tour with recent TotW -featured band, Said the Whale. If you like what you hear, be sure to check out more of their stuff... and keep an eye out for what they do next.

» Listen: We Are the City - Morning Song

Monday, October 17, 2011

TotW: Plath Heart

I was looking back over the previous 'track of the week' songs that I've featured and realized that I haven't really highlighted anything in the (broad) electronic genre. Now, I'm not really a huge fan of this sorta thing, but good music is good music and Braids - a Guelph, ON -based, Polaris short listed, foursome - have really got something special going on here.

The band's first full album, Native Speaker, wasn't a hit with me the first time I'd heard it -- it sounded a bit too electronic, atmospheric for me -- but as you listen, it's layers pull you in and warm you up. The lead singer's vocals are haunting and beautiful, both a part of the music and at the front of the mix. Her ability to go from quiet to loud, soft to powerful is impressive and a big draw to their music.

The loops that form the foundation of the band's music are well constructed; I think the mixing of this album really helps take it from just another electronic release, to a really impressive benchmark. The different sounds and textures seem to come and go, build and fade, so perfectly... all within a four or five minute track.

CBC Radio3 -- host Vish Khanna, in particular -- has been a big fan of these guys since they entered the scene. If you like what you hear on this track, be sure to check out some of the other stuff that the station has done with the band:
As I said off the top, the world of electronic music is vast, so if it's not usually your thing, take a listen to this track any ways. It's great stuff and I expect we'll hear more great stuff from them in the future.

» Listen: Braids - Plath Heart

Monday, October 3, 2011

TotW: Ride This Out

I'm late to the party on this album, but in the case of good music, it's better late than never.

Winnipeg duo, Imaginary Cities, have released an excellent album in Temporary Resident. It's a great mix of soul and rock that might seem kinda trendy at the moment (think: Adele) and it might be easy to pass it off as 'just another album'... but keep listening. There is something special here.

While you can stream the whole album over at CBC Radio3 (click the "Listen" link below), I've chosen to highlight the current single on R3. Ride This Out starts out with a few single guitar strums played below Marti's unique vocals. As she keeps singing, the guitar picks up, the clapping begins, the piano enters, the drums are next... it's a great slow build (and I've come to realize that I love slow builds). Everything get's a little faster... then faster still... the vocals become more urgent... a quick break and then we're off.

The song is a short one at just over two minutes in length, but it's the sort of song that doesn't need to be any longer than that. It's place in the album is just right (and, the song immediately following it is another favourite of mine); it's also a great track for your next mix CD. Have a listen and let me know what you think!

» Listen: Imaginary Cities - Ride This Out