MUSIC REVIEW: Sloan

12

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The Canadian rock vets from Nova Scotia, now based in Toronto, have released their twelfth full-length after the longest break between albums of their career. The album, fittingly called 12, features twelve tracks, with each of the four members contributing and singing three songs.

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Bassist Chris Murphy takes the mic on opening track and lead single “Spin Our Wheels” which provides my favourite chorus of the album with a classic Blue Rodeo rock vibe. His other contributions include “Don’t Stop” and “Wish Upon a Satellite” which show off his well-oiled vocals but deliver less of a punch than the opener.

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“All of the Voices”, sung by the bearded guitarist Patrick Pentland gives off a Nirvana vibe minus the vocals, while the single “The Day Will Be Mine” delivers a driven beat and infectious chorus. Pentland caps off his contributions with “Have Faith”, another favourite of the album, with an uplifting message and a harmonic chorus. Jay Ferguson, also on guitar, has the most stand out voice of the group, with a higher pitch that lends itself to a poppier feel on his tracks with a Beatles-like sound.

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Drummer Andrew Scott’s tracks show a Led Zeppelin influence with the slower moving tracks of the album that fail to grab me as much as the others. 27 years into their career, Sloan has proved that they can still pump out a solid set of rock tunes, and with equal contributions from each member, the album keeps you on your toes. 8/10

Music Review: Hey Ocean!

The Hurt Of Happiness

Hey Ocean! is a female-led alternative pop trio out of Vancouver that recently returned with their fourth studio album after taking a few years off. Singer Ashleigh Ball and guitarist/co-vocalist David Beckingham have been friends since childhood and their shared vocal duties throughout these nine tracks adds quite the variety to the album.

Pop-friendly “Amsterdam” starts the album off strong with arguably the catchiest hook of the nine tracks. “Can’t Let Go” changes pace completely and sounds like a song from The War on Drugs before moving into another pop-strong hook and they take influence from UK bands like Keane and Snow Patrol on the slow burning “Just Enough”.

The title track is a daydream amid it all where Beckingham’s airy vocals float through the somewhat funky verse into a Beach Boys- esque chorus. Bassist David Vertesi takes the lead on “Soul of My Heart”, that gives off a slight The National vibe with his baritone vocals and slow-paced delivery overtop dark guitar.

“To the Sea” is a dismal finish to the album consisting of Ball softly singing over a light piano and aching violin of losing someone to the sea. A pleasant listen with a range of influences led by a talented vocal pairing, Hey Ocean! has made a graceful return. 6.5/10

Sunny Days - A Summer Playlist

Sunny Days Playlist Cover.jpg

One of my favourite things about summer is listening to happy, upbeat songs. Dancing to The Beatles or Vance Joy while doing dishes instantly makes my day a bit brighter. Here are my top tunes inspired by summer road trips, throwing a frisbee around on Wreck Beach, and sitting around the campfire with friends. Take a listen, and enjoy the sun!

Let's Talk Commute Playlists

Your daily commute can really set the tone for your day. If you have a bad experience trying to catch the bus, you might feel like you're stuck playing catch up for the rest of the day. Personally, I think I've nailed my playlist, but I wanted to get a feel for what others are listening to. So, this week I asked around the office to find out what people like to hear while they're on their way to work.  

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PATTI

I usually like old music but I'm currently obsessed with Zhavia and Dua Lipa so I’ve added them on the loop! Especially Zhavia's Killing Me Softly, she has a unique voice that can calm me down (which is quite rare)!

RYO  

Right now, I’m listening to a lot of Hip Hop & Rap music. I listen to the songs Plain Jane & Cocky a lot! I always have Future and The Weekend on repeat, it makes me feel pumped and ready for the workday. When it comes to vocals, I like Maroon 5, Justin Bieber, and Katy Perry. 

FAYE 

Currently, I'm listening to First Aid Kit's new album, Ruins. A little bit of Indie Folk from Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg is so mellow for a commute, especially during rush hour.

I've also recently got into listening to podcasts. I can't get enough of The Joe Rogan Experience! He covers incredibly interesting topics with a wide variety of guests...I feel like I'm learning so much, it's enlightening. It's a simple format...frankly it's enjoyable just to listen to 2 people having a real in-depth conversation.

Deanna - aka damn good commute playlist

Personally, I like to feel like I’m constantly walking through the opening credits in the movie of my life. My playlist includes (but is not limited to) numbers from the movies Baby Driver, Man from U.N.C.L.E., my childhood favourite A Knight’s Tale, and the hit television show SUITS. More than that, it’s a mix of a little old school funk, jazz, and modern hits. 

It’s a playlist made for those fond of daydreaming and walking on the beat. Because I'm 'extra', I've created a little graphic and shared the actual playlist with you guys. Feel free to give it a try next time you're on your way to work. Listen on shuffle for maximum delight by surprise.

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PLAYLIST HIGHLIGHTS

THAT'S IT! - Preservation Hall Jazz Band
GIMME ALL YOUR LOVE - Alabama Shakes
SAY U WON'T - Brasstracks
GOLDEN YEARS - David Bowie
XO COVER - John Mayor
II VENAIT D'AVOIR 18 ANS - Instrumental - Ibrahim Maalouf

Do you guys have a playlist, or artist you like to listen to, to get ready for the work day? Share it in the comments below! 
 

Music Review: King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Gumboot Soup

 Gumboot soup album cover by Jason Galea

Gumboot soup album cover by Jason Galea

Arguably the most productive group of stoners on planet earth, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard once again draw from their seemingly endless well of unique creativity to produce their 13th studio album, Gumboot Soup. 

The first genuine compliment for the 7-piece psychedelic rock band from Melbourne is this… they know how to write! Since the bands first full-length release in 2012, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard's musical prevalence has been impressive. Not only because 2017 saw the band release 5 albums in a year(!) but because of the concept and stylistic changes the band undertook throughout those releases.

For this record the band leave their concept album format, and releases a pleasantly cohesive soup of eclectic stylings. Mackenzie explained that the songs on Gumboot Soup are "definitely not B-sides or anything.They’re more songs that didn’t work in any of the rest of the four records.”

Gumboot Soup is a sonic rollercoaster, it really is! Reaching weightless and melodic heights, before crashing down into dark and muddy waters.  Overall the band balance their lively somewhat abrasive tone with a carefree jazz spirit to take you on this ride. Its leaves a pretty good taste in your mouth...

First to drop in the soup… a super melodic and incredibly catchy gambler's tale. 'Beginner's luck' is not meaty, but it does introduce a fun and simple flavour to the album.

What’s a soup with out some liquid! King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard brings the substance with a driving tune 'Muddy Water'- a more classic King Giz flavour.

With the middle of the album comes the onslaught of ‘The Great Chain Of Being’. This song is built on a heavy drudging guitar riff that is complimented by a slightly Gregorian sounding vocal tone.

The song ‘The Wheel’ finishes the album and it feels as if you are leaving the theme park heading out through the turn styles to go home. Or to continue the weak soup metaphor, it's a chance for you to tip the last of the broth down your gullet in satisfaction!

Overall King Gizzard &The Lizard Wizards 13th studio album, Gumboot Soup, is easier to digest than some of their previous works. If you haven’t heard the band before and are looking to change up your musical diet, this album might be a great entry point. If you have been following the band for a while, you’ll hear stylistic similarities from a few previous collections, but this record also has something new to offer… 7/10, bon appetit!