New Song of the Week – BEALBY POINT: “Talk To Me”

After being unable to perform live or even see one another during most of 2020, Vancouver, Canada-based alt-rock band Bealby Point are having quite a productive 2021. Starting with the release in February of their debut single “I’m So Bummed Out Right Now” (which I featured in a Fresh New Tracks post), they followed up in April with their second single “Telescope”. On July 15th, they dropped their third single “Talk To Me“, which I’ve chosen as my New Song of the Week. All three songs will be included on their forthcoming EP, due out later this year.

Named after their favorite beachside vacation spot, Bealby Point consists of four childhood friends, Jack Armstrong (lead vocals), Jordan Studer (bass), Clayton Dewar (lead guitar) and Zack Yeager (drums). Drawing inspiration from fun times spent at Bealby Point, the guys aim to create music “that captures the most cherished memory of your favourite summer and turning it into the perfect sound.” Their buoyant, high-energy garage rock sound has earned them favorable comparisons to The Strokes.

As with their previous singles, “Talk To Me” was recorded with veteran producer Matt Di Pomponio. About the song, the band explains “It’s about balancing heavy emotions with stifled logic – doing something you have reason to believe is wrong, but it feels right because you want it. The track follows a pair who previously revealed their intimate feelings to each other. Now, they have closed off their real feelings and resist the urge to speak from an open heart, in order to save themselves from the perceived consequences of revealing their true thoughts. They long for things to go back to how they were.”

The song opens strong with a wonderful swirling guitar riff, accompanied by a superb rhythm section, courtesy of Zack’s assertive thumping drumbeats and Jordan’s prominent chugging bassline, which is fucking fantastic! The dual guitar work by Clayton and Jack is brilliant, highlighted by what I’m guessing is Clayton’s blistering guitar solo in the final chorus. Jack’s colorful, emphatic vocals are marvelous, with a hazy lo-fi quality that reminds me a bit of The Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas, even when they soar to a falsetto. We can feel his exasperation when he implores his partner to just communicate with him in an open and honest fashion: “Talk to me and I’ll talk back. I never lied to you. I don’t want that. But if you have to lie to me then I’ll lie back. And that’s the back and forth I can’t stand.”

“Talk To Me” is a terrific song, and with three excellent singles to their credit, Bealby Point have firmly established themselves as one of Canada’s best indie bands. Hell, they now rank highly among my own favorite indie bands as well. I look forward to hearing their upcoming EP.

Band photo by Sam Fazio, and single artwork by Quinlin Gustin.

Follow Bealby Point:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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Purchase:  BandcampiTunesAmazon

New Song of the Week – Matlen Starsley Band: “Makin’ Good Time”

Hailing from beautiful Vancouver, Canada, the Matlen Starsley Band are a five-member collective of seasoned and accomplished musicians who came together in mid-life to recapture some of the energy and passion that got them into the music business to begin with, and in the process create some great music. Comprised of Dennis Matechuk (lead vocals), Kevin Star (guitar & vocals), Don Lennox (bass & vocals), Jim Wesley (drums) and Darryl Hebert (keyboards, guitar, accordion & vocals), all are either former or current members of the Bryan Adams Band, The Ray Roper Project, Bad Moon Riders, Touchdown, Fandango, and Bad Allen and the Muscle Cats. Collectively, they’ve played thousands of shows in venues ranging from intimate clubs to major festivals in front of 20,000 fans, and bring a wealth of experience to the creation of their engaging style of music drawn from country, blues, roots and Southern rock.

In July 2019, they released their terrific debut album Rollin’ Again, which I later reviewed. Unable to tour or play live during most of 2020, the guys spent time writing and recording songs for their second album, due out later this year. The first single from the new album is “Makin’ Good Time“, which I’ve named my New Song of the Week. The song is a rousing Southern rocker, with feel-good lyrics about going out on the open road, experiencing freedom from responsibilities, and feeling the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair. “Wind on our backs, nothing but blue sky. Ain’t got no destination. No time or place we got to be. Makin’ good time, just gettin’ away.

Musically, the song features the band’s reliably awesome mix of bluesy and slide guitars and jaunty honky-tonk piano, enhanced by a spirited horn section that really dials up the energy level. Dennis’ warm, earnest vocals are backed by the delightful Chandra Russell, whose soulful croons add some nice texture to the track. I love the many little touches the guys employ in their songs, like Kevin’s slide guitar mimicking a rolling train when Dennis sings the lyric “We’ll go down to the station tonight, we’ll hop on up when that train rolls by.” It’s a fine song that makes for a good time indeed!

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Stream their music:  SpotifyApple MusicSoundcloud
Purchase:  BandcampiTunes / Website

ECHOSEVEN – Single Review: “I Am the Tree”

When I last featured New Brunswick, Canada-based alternative metal rap group ECHOSEVEN on this blog this past May, it was to review their explosive debut single “Everything”. Both they and I were pleasantly surprised when the review received hundreds of views, especially given they were a relatively new band and this was their first single. They quickly followed in June with a second single “Gunnin”, a melodic and introspective rap-rock ballad. On September 30, they dropped their third single “I Am the Tree“, a more traditional metal rock sounding track.

In the five months since I wrote about them, ECHOSEVEN has undergone a few changes in lineup, with a new second guitarist and bassist. The band now consists of Stefanie Roy on vocals & guitar, Darrell Vautour on rapping vocals, Justin Larracey on guitar, Allon McCall on drums, Dylan Osmond on guitar, and Mike Brooks on bass. About the new single, the band explains: “‘I Am the Tree’ is about not letting your demons win. It’s about realizing your past and present life may not be perfect, but when it comes to persevering, you have the strength of a lion.”

The song storms through the gate with a juggernaut of Metallica-esque shredding that continues unabated, serving as the relentless driving force propelling the song forward. Into this sonic mayhem the band embeds a throbbing bass line, then tops things off with more guitar, furiously pummeling drumbeats and a deluge of crashing cymbals to create an intense wall of sound. Stefanie’s deep, smoky vocals have a rather subdued feel that contrasts sharply with the dynamic instrumentals. At first they seemed almost too low-key for the heavy music, but the more I listened to the song, the more appropriate to the lyrics they felt. No screaming is necessary to convey the strength and perseverance described in the powerful lyrics:

When all the smoke clears, I will show myself in truth
Without restraint, I’ll smash the disbelief right out of you
No walls can block my way I’ll crush them all in turn
Faced with the eyes of hell, I’ll make your evil burn

Caressed by guiding light, I’ll face my pain with dignity
and if I fall I will fight
I know no misery, I know no secrets to this life
For I am strong – I’m the tree.

I charge unto the path and none stand in my way
just try and catch me, I’ll reveal my sharpest claws again
my roar will echo through the mountains and the sky
Crowned like a lion, I will let your blood run dry

Follow Echoseven: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream/purchase on Spotify / SoundcloudApple Music / Bandcamp

THE HONEST HEART COLLECTIVE – Single Review: “Linework”

The Honest Heart Collective is a rock band based in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. Though they’ve been around for several years, I just learned about them when they reached out to me about their wonderful new single “Linework“, which dropped on July 17. As I always do when writing about an artist or band I’m not familiar with, I checked out their back catalog and was impressed by their high-energy and melodic style of rock’n’roll and honest songwriting addressing the eternal challenges of life, love and relationships.

Formed in 2013 by brothers Ryan and Nic MacDonald, The Honest Heart Collective now includes Jay Savage and Kevin Heerema. Their music is heavily influenced by their shared love of artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Johnny Cash, The Gaslight Anthem and Frank Turner. They’ve released quite a lot of music over the past seven years, including the albums Liars Club in 2015 and Grief Rights in 2018. They also recorded an EP Cash in 2016, a terrific four-track tribute to Johnny Cash. I highly recommend that my readers check it and their other music out on one of the music platforms listed at the end of this review.

The Honest Heart Collective

The band states that “Linework” “is about shared history, acceptance, and coming to terms with how your relationships change. It’s a familiar scenario where you find that you’ve drifted away from someone that was close to you, without realizing it when it was happening. You come to terms with it because you’ll always have those memories from the times you shared. Not everything is as permanent as tattoo ink. Try to stay in touch and make time for your friends as best as you can. Everyone’s busy these days – different schedules, different cities, different everything. Something as simple as sending a text or setting up a lunch date goes a long way. It might not be just like the old days, but it’s still important.”

“Linework” was co-written by all four band members along with Derek Hoffman, who also produced and mixed the track. Mastering was done by Dan Weston. With it’s exuberant riffs of chiming and jangly guitars, lively bass line and smashing drumbeats, the song has a feel-good anthemic quality that makes you want to stand up and cheer. Ryan’s plaintive vocals beautifully convey the mixed emotions of looking back and reminiscing over good times and missing the friends who’ve faded away, yet remaining optimistic about the future and vowing to make an effort to cherish those around us.

I really identify with the lyrics, as I too have seen some friendships that felt vital to my life at a certain point in time gradually fade after one of us moving to another part of the country, leaving a job, or some other major life change. It’s sad when looking back, but it just happens to everyone. “You had some of your own/ Now, they run around just like you / With a look in their eyes I’ve seen so many times / When we punks yeah we were fools / We’ll always have these damn tattoos / But it’s a little too late now / We had to find our way and it’s okay that we slowed it down / Though the ink may fade / Our hearts stay the same.”

The recording and production of “Linework” was funded in part by a grant from the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent On Recordings, Canada’s private radio broadcasters, and the Government of Canada.

Follow The Honest Heart Collective:  FacebookTwitterInstagram
Stream their music:  SpotifyApple Music ReverbnationYouTube
Purchase:  BandcampGoogle PlayAmazon

ECHOSEVEN – Single Review: “EVERYTHING”

Echoseven Everything

ECHOSEVEN is a heavy alternative metal rap group based in New Brunswick, Canada. After a tentative start in 2016 as a music project of drummer Allon McCall and guitarist Justin Larracey, the guys got serious about their music in 2019 and began recruiting more members to form a legitimate band. By early this year, ECHOSEVEN’s lineup was complete, and in addition to McCall and Larracey, now includes Stefanie Roy (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Darrell Vautour (Rap Vocals), Andre Leblanc (Guitar) and Jamie Warren (Bass). They’ve just released their debut single “EVERYTHING“, and it kicks!

The band wastes no time getting right down to business, as the song blasts open with jagged riffs of gnarly guitars and smashing drums, anchored by a deep, chugging bass line, all of which creates an ominous vibe. Having three guitarists gives the music greater texture and depth, and when combined with the heavy bass and intense percussion, the result is an explosive wall of sound. But what I like most about the song is the presence of both a female vocalist and male rapper. The contrast between Stefanie’s haunting vocals and Darrell’s beautiful flow as he raps his verses creates a dramatic back and forth that makes for an exciting listen.

About the song, the band explains: “EVERYTHING is about going through hard times, being broken down to ground zero and finding out who your true and real friends, family, helpers and supporters are, and confronting them on their motives and intentions. When the smokes clears, who’s left standing next to you?

“EVERYTHING” is a fine debut by ECHOSEVEN,  and I look forward to hearing more music from this dynamic collective very soon.

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Stream on Soundcloud and purchase on Bandcamp

MATLEN STARSLEY BAND – Album Review: “Rollin’ Again”

Matlen Starsley album art

As someone who passed 50 longer ago than I care to admit, acts like the Matlen Starsley Band (MSB) are an inspiration for me. Unlike a lot of musicians and bands of their vintage who are either resting on their laurels or touring with legacy shows, MSB was formed as a brand new project with the sole aim of writing, recording and releasing an album of entirely original music. As they explain on their website: “We just wanted to get a group of accomplished players together to create some great music and recapture some of the energy and passion that got us into the music business in the first place. No musical boundaries, We are letting the songs take us wherever they may lead and just letting the music speak for itself.” Last July (2019) they dropped their appropriately-titled first album Rollin’ Again, which I’m pleased to introduce to my readers.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, MSB consists of Dennis “Dollar” Matechuk (lead vocals), Kevin “Bubba” Star (guitar & vocals), Don Lennox (bass & vocals), Jim Wesley (drums) and Darryl Hebert (keyboards, guitar, accordion & vocals). All seasoned musicians, they’re either former or current members of the Bryan Adams Band, The Ray Roper Project, Bad Moon Riders, Touchdown, Fandango, and Bad Allen and the Muscle Cats. Collectively, they’ve played thousands of shows in venues ranging from intimate clubs to major festivals in front of 20,000 fans, and bring a wealth of experience in creating their lively and eclectic mix of country, blues, Southern rock and roots music. Their years of living and all its attendant facets of love, joy and pain are reflected in their honest and relatable lyrics too.

Curious that none of the band members are named ‘Matlen’ or ‘Starsley’, I asked them about the origin of their name. Not sure what to call their band, they eventually decided to take parts of each of the four founding members last names and fit them together: Matlen is from Matechuk and Lennox, and Starsley is from Star and Wesley, which I think is pretty damn clever. (Hebert joined the band later.)

Rollin’ Again kicks off with “Short Ride on a Long Haul“, a rousing song about a hookup while on the road that’s left the singer besotted by a woman’s charms, and wanting more: “When I woke up in the morning, you were gone. Now the radio’s playing a sad road song. It was a short ride on a long haul. Babe I wanna see you again. It was a blue moon on a red hot night. I’m in town, baby do it again.” Against a backdrop of driving rhythms and rolling guitars, Hebert’s spirited organ riffs are a highlight.

On “It Hasn’t Hit Me Yet“, the band delves into the blues, both musically and lyrically. The bluesy guitars are terrific, and I really like Matechuk’s clear, earnest vocals as he sings of his sadness and frustration over a love that’s slipped away, acknowledging that he’s partly to blame: “Now I ain’t ever been one to settle down. The truth is your good love couldn’t keep me ’round. But i’m here at your door, want you back, but you won’t love me no more.

Keeping with a similar theme, the bittersweet “I Cried Today” speaks to that twinge of regret many of us have felt when seeing an old flame, wondering what could have been had things turned out differently: “I heard today you found someone who makes you happy. A good man, the true love that you’ve been searching for. I cried today. Were the tears for you, tears for me, or for the years that lie between what we had and could have been? I cried today. I got a good life, got a good love. You’re happy too, that should be enough. I’m still selfish in that way, so I cried today.” The guitars and organ work are sublime, and Matechuck’s vocals nicely convey the poignant emotions described in the lyrics. It’s a beautiful song, and one of my favorites on the album.

A Life Worth Living” is another highlight on the album for me. Once again, the guitars and organ are great, and Lennox and Wesley do their part to keep the rhythm on a solid footing. “A Matter of Time” is a lively rockabilly tune about picking oneself up after a failed love affair, and getting back into the game: “I got what you need, if you give me half a chance / You got to come out swingin’, and learn to love again.”  The wonderful honky tonk-style piano takes center stage here.

The band returns to the blues in a big way on “We Don’t Love No More“, a sorrowful song about a relationship that’s broken beyond repair. Bubba’s bluesy guitar work and Hebert’s mournful organ work are fantastic, making this my favorite track on the album. Matechuk’s heartfelt vocals beautifully express the abject sadness contained in the painful lyrics: “I got this feeling this time we’ve gone too far. All those years have worn us down. And all those things we held so close, are the things that hurt the most. Find the words that hurt and scar. Gonna burn this to the ground, cause you and I we don’t love no more.”

MSB seem to pay tribute to Tom Petty on the title track “Rollin’ Again“, with twangy guitar riffs and a melody influenced by the Southern Rock legend’s signature sound. The song is about moving on from a relationship that was doomed from the start: “I ain’t one for laying blame. I’ll leave that to you. Now you say you want something more, and that’s something I can’t give./ All the things that were keeping me down. I’m rollin’, rollin’ again.” “Trail Went Cold” is a bouncy Country tune, with twangy guitars and harmonica, while “Sweet Touch” has a harder rock’n’roll feel, with heavier guitars and more aggressive drums, though Hebert’s organ is prominent here too.

The guys close out the album with the wonderful kiss-off “Your Love Ain’t Special“. As always, they deliver the music goods, laying down some mighty tasty bluesy riffs and marvelous organ work. All in all, Rollin’ Again is a terrific album, and a fine debut effort by this talented collective of musicians. With songs ranging from Southern rock and blues to Country and rockabilly, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on this record.

To learn more about the Matlen Starsley Band, check out their Website

Follow them on: FacebookTwitterInstagram
Stream their music:  SpotifyApple Music / YouTube
Purchase:  BandcampiTunes / Website

SHADOW OF EVEREST – Album Review: “The Hunting Ground”

Shadow of Everest album art

Shadow of Everest is a Canadian progressive groove metal band hailing from the beautiful city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. (I recently featured another Nova Scotia artist, singer/songwriter Guy Paul Thibault.) Formed in 2014, the band’s line-up includes guitarist/vocalist John Vriend, bassist Shaun Cowell, guitarist Andew Welsman and drummer Matt Burton. Influenced by some of their favorite hard rock bands Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Machine Head, Mastodon, Tool and Karnivool, they play an arresting and innovative style of metal rock, featuring intelligent lyrics penned by Vriend and delivered with unconventional melodies, wicked riffs, driving bass lines and pummeling drums.

Shadow of Everest2

They released an impressive debut album Idle Hands in 2017, and this past March, dropped their sophomore album The Hunting Ground, which I’m reviewing today. As the album’s title suggests, the songs generally speak to the darker, feral nature inherent in each of us to some degree. Similar to their first album, The Hunting Ground opens with an intriguing instrumental track “Umm al-Maa”. Wondering what it might mean, I did a Google search and found it translates to “mother of water” in Berber Arabic, and is also the name of one of several lake oases in the Idehan Ubari Sand Sea located in the Sahara Desert of southwestern Libya. The music on this brief track consists of strummed guitar, delicate piano keys and what I’m guessing to be a cello, accompanied by sounds of wind and water that beautifully convey the sense of mystery and wonder of a remote oasis. The dark irony is that the water in these oases is too salty to drink. John commented “Imagine being lost in the desert and finding that oasis, and then drinking the salty water would be your demise.

They next launch into “Fifty Four”, serving up chugging riffs of gnarly guitars over a foundation of buzzing bass and hammering drumbeats, and punctuated by flourishes of distortion. Vriend’s commanding vocals express a raw urgency as he sings about feelings of hopelessness and ennui: “Substituting for a lack of stimulation. Seeking out the offspring of my mind. Beneath consciousness there’s desperation that fits nicely into my design.” The title track “The Hunting Ground” at first sounds almost like a continuation of “Fifty Four”, with a similar melody and chord progression, but the killer guitar solos in the bridge and outro turn it into an especially satisfying track. Vriend passionately sings the lyrics that seem to speak to the age-old notion of survival of the fittest – ‘kill or be killed”: “Hear that wild call. Smoke them out. Rise or fall. Become what you fear.”

Here’s a great video of the guys performing the song live.

One of the highlights of the album for me is the gorgeous “We Are Wrong”. I usually like when metal and hard rock bands show their softer side with a slow ballad, and Shadow of Everest are no exception here. I love the haunting melody, outstanding guitar work, and especially the sublime vocal harmonies of Vriend and guest singer Erin Crosby. Guest musician Lex Coulstring played keyboards on this lovely track. The message expressed in the lyrics seem to be that “ignorance is bliss”: “And the moments became too many. Time keeps passing on. One day we understand. The next day we are wrong.”

“Castle in the Sky” is hard-driving metal rock at its finest, with rock’n’roll overtones and more of the raging guitars this band so nicely delivers.  This song seems to be about needing to be rescued from a life of degradation and despair: “Couldn’t see the splendor from the underground. There was no will to satisfy. Pull me out of the loss and the ruin. Those broken pieces will build our castle in the sky.” The aptly-named “Dark Spiral” dives deeper into progressive metal, with interesting melodic transitions and greater use of dissonance in the song structure, not to mention fearsome riffs and Cowell’s crushing bass. Vriend’s impassioned vocals are almost chilling as he wails “How does it feel to be spinning on a tangible wave of magnificence? As an ignorant drone, completely unaware and obsessed with your own insignificance.”

The guys unleash their sonic fury on “Ravenman”, the most metal-esque (is that a word?) track on the album and another one of its highlights. It’s a monumental six minute, 49-second-long tour de force of rampaging riffs, buzzsaw bass and Burton’s speaker-blowing drums.  The hardcore backing vocals are sung by Lex Coulstring. Thought I’m not certain, my take is that ‘Ravenman’ represents the devil, or at least the inherent evil that each of us is capable of: “I know the nightmares, what they mean. What you should fear, the shadows in your head, the violence in your hand. Be not a patron to the failures of the damned.” It’s a fantastic song.

They close things out with “The River”, another epic track that seems to be about the end of the world: “The earth is parting and the vultures fly. Statues crumble while the pharaohs die. What glory lies beyond the river’s flow? We’re unaware how far this shadow goes.” As always, Vriend and Welsman deliver scorching riffs while Cowell and Burton confidently maintain the aggressive rhythm section. It’s a strong finish to a solid album of heavy hitters. The guys are all highly accomplished musicians who now have two outstanding albums on their impressive resume. I trust we’ll be hearing more great music from them in the future.

Connect with Shadow of Everest:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on  Spotify
Purchase on  Bandcamp / iTunes / Google Play

OCTOBERS – EP Review: “Summer Waste”

Octobers EP

Octobers is an alternative/dream pop/postpunk band from British Columbia, Canada who formed in 2015. Comprising the band are brothers Nick and Joel Ellsay (guitar, synths, vocals), Hayden Shea (drums) and Liam Rhynolds (bass). They released their excellent debut Misfits EP that same year to positive reviews, also garnering airplay on indie and college radio stations throughout Canada and the U.S. The band went on a brief hiatus in 2017 after a few major life changes, but are now back and better than ever with a new EP Summer Waste.

The EP kicks off with the sunny and upbeat “California“. The song opens with a blast of drumbeats, then settles into a pleasing soundscape of chiming guitars, sparkling synths and a humming bassline that evokes images of a summer day at the beach. The pace quickens in the choruses with an exuberant jangly guitar solo and pummeling drums. The song lyrics seem to have dual meaning, with the singer possibly expressing his love for both ‘California’ a girl and the state: “Hey California. Something about ya. You are the sweetest sound. California, always did love ya. You’re the summer all year round.”

Sunshine” has the singer pondering the love that brightens his world: “Are you my sunshine? Are you my starry sky? Are you these glowing lights, cause you burn so bright.” I love the thunderous jangly guitars and percussion, and the Ellsay brothers’ vocal harmonies are really marvelous. The sunny vibes turn darker with “Be Still“, a heartfelt plea to a loved one to try and meet him halfway, and salvage their damaged relationship: “Just be still, don’t say a word, cause you’ve been talking all your life. The tables turned, now tell me what that feels like. / Lay down your gloves, I don’t wanna fight.” Once again, the guitar work is fantastic, and the rhythm section nicely complements with pulsating bass, thumping drumbeats, and lots of crashing cymbals.

Summer Waste ends on a positive note with “Higher“, a jubilant anthem about not giving up, and reaching as high as you can to reach your goals: “Once you start you never can stop. You go higher and higher and higher. Oh yeah!” Their jangly guitars on this track sound a bit like The Cure, which is never a bad thing. Overall, it’s a terrific little EP, with a title that could be misleading as it’s anything but a waste. The lyrics, while not necessarily deep, are honest and heartfelt, and the instrumentals are all outstanding, as are Nick and Joel’s sublime harmonies. Nicely done guys!

Connect with Octobers:  Facebook /  Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

WESTERN JAGUAR – Single Review: “Disappear”

western jaguar disappear

Western Jaguar is an alternative indie rock band I’ve followed awhile, and I absolutely love their music. Hailing from the picturesque Fraser River Valley of British Columbia, Canada east of Vancouver, they combine the best elements of alternative rock and dream pop to create beautifully moving and memorable soundscapes they describe as “sad indie rock”. Like many bands, they’ve recently undergone a number of changes in personnel, and the current lineup consists of Jeffrey Trainor (lead vocals/guitar), AJ Buckley (guitar), Davis Zand (bass) and Dave Montgomery (drums).

They’ve dropped a number of stellar releases, starting with their debut EP Glacia in 2013, then followed two years later with the album Wayfarer, and a second EP Memorial in 2017, and I’m proud to say I own them all. (The guys have generously made their music available for a reasonable sum on their Bandcamp account, so do check it out.) In September 2018 they released a hauntingly beautiful single “Darker Days”, and started off 2019 by dropping a gorgeous new single “Disappear.” The exuberant song has more of a pop-rock feel than most of their other songs, but still features the signature reverb-heavy guitars, throbbing bass and high-voltage percussion we’ve come to love about their music.

About the song, Jeff Trainor explains: “The overall theme of the single centrally focuses on changes that have occurred in our band. Over the past year we ended up losing a few band members and having some changes to our lineup. It happens over time with a band, but I saw this as an opportunity to get into the head space of change. Through “Disappear,” I wrote about the perspective of this change as a sense of relief. In some occasions, losing someone or something can end up freeing you in a lot of ways. The song deals with the struggle of cutting that weight loose, but also the feeling of making that negativity disappear once and for all. Musically, it’s the most pop friendly track we have in our repertoire, but with that being said, we still [believe] the feel and style of it connects to some of our biggest inspirations such as bands like Foals, Catfish and The Bottlemen and Modest Mouse.

The song is fantastic, with a bold, complex melody that grabs and holds our attention from start to finish, and the instrumentals are stunning. The guys employ layer upon layer of richly-textured guitars, delivering a glorious and powerful mix of fuzzy, jangly and chiming riffs that bring chills. The throbbing bass and sparkling synths are perfectly balanced with the muscular drums that give heft to the track while still allowing the guitars to shine. And I especially love the little Foals-inspired riff in the bridge (being a massive Foals fan myself). Trainor’s vocals have an earnest vulnerability that’s really wonderful as he sings to someone for whom he no longer has strong feelings: “I just needed reason to stay. But you were gone. What was I supposed to do? There’s nothing left here for you. I’ll make you disappear.”

The stylishly-filmed video shows three of the charismatic band members performing the song in a chilly interior setting, as evidenced by the steam emitting from their mouths.

Connect with Western Jaguar:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

REBELLE – EP Review: “Hide”

Rebelle Album

Followers of my blog know I like featuring indie artists and bands, as I want to give them exposure and help them gain new fans. Another recent find is REBELLE, a wonderful band from Quebec, Canada who describe themselves as “Filthy with a beat, but really, really sweet.” Their melodic, aggressive sound immediately grabbed my attention and had me returning to their music again and again.

Based in Wakefield, a small town 20 minutes north of Ottawa, REBELLE consists of siblings David (guitar, lead vocals) and Rylee Taggart (synths, backing vocals), Ryan Wiles (bass, guitar, backing vocals), and Joey Kane (drums). In November 2017 they released their debut EP Hide, featuring three fantastic tracks.

Rebelle2

The title track “Hide” opens with Rylee’s sharp, menacing synths, then a scratchy guitar riff takes over, backed by Ryan’s throbbing bass line and Joey’s pounding drums. The tempo is broken at intervals by a screeching guitar, followed by an assault of David’s shredded and distorted riffs in the chorus and outro. His vocal gymnastics are quite amazing, going from smoldering to falsetto as he snarls the lyrics warning someone who’s deceived him: “Hide your head in the sand and stay out of my sight I told you. You’re walking into trouble. Cause I’m a creature lurking in the night, I’m behind you. You better run and hide.

Shoot Me Down” really showcases the band’s skill at writing great melodies, as well as their strong musicianship. The guitar work on this track is stunning, and once again, David’s vocals are sublime. But it’s on the third track “The Rapture” that REBELLE really show us what they can do. Blistering riffs of gritty guitars, heavy bass and tumultuous percussion set the tone for the hard-hitting song. David defiantly challenges those stoking fear of  impending apocalypse: “They say today we better change our ways. Won’t make it through tomorrow. There ain’t no other fate. No no, hey hey, this ain’t gonna ruin my day.” The music explodes as David wails “So you call this the rapture!” There’s some tasty guitar noodling in the bridge, followed by a reprise of the scorching instrumentals. The sharp, otherworldly synths that opened “Hide” close out “The Rapture,” bringing this marvelous little EP full circle. Though it’s short, the three songs sure pack a punch. My only criticism is that I wish there were more of them!

They’ve just released a dark new video for “The Rapture,” containing footage from the 1924 German silent film Die Niebelungen: Siegfried. David told the webzine Soundfiction that “The Rapture is weird and ambiguous, but suggestive. Mildly post apocalyptic, yet medieval.” Have a look:

I love REBELLE’s music and hope they bless us with more songs very soon. To learn more about them, check out their Website

For those of you in far eastern Canada, you can see them play at the following shows:

FEB 1
Quebec, QC, Canada
FEB 2
Fri 10 PM UTC-04 · by Rebelle
Halifax, NS, Canada
FEB 3
Sat 9:30 PM UTC-04 · by Rebelle
Moncton, NB, Canada
FEB 4
Sun 8 PM UTC-04 · by Rebelle
Charlottetown, PE, Canada
MAR 3
Gatineau, QC, Canada

Connect with them on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud  / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes