Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ninjaspy - A cult classic in the making!

So, it looks like I have a new favourite band. They have a truly original edgy sound with hard hitting fast paced drumming and an island beat backing. They are Ninjaspy. This hardcore funk rock band has done the impossible and truly impressed me. Unafraid to be different in an industry packed full of unoriginal pop rock these guys developed a sound comparable to 90's great Sublime and added a new age punk rock twist. I highly doubt that they will become radio rock stars, but I believe that they will be the next cult classic of underground alternative punk.
Now, on to the music.
"Evolution of the skid" or as I like to call it, "The evolution of punk", is an amazing song. It's original lyrics and catchy tune set it up to be one of the greats. With a funky back beat, new style vocals, and even a trumpet thrown in the mix, this song takes the punk rock cake.
Okay, so the next song is hard to understand but the sound is so amazing that you can't help but keep listening. "Defecating on what's left of our child" keeps the originality coming. The first couple of bars sound like a typical punk song, but then in comes the island style guitar and you don't know whether to dance or break shit, I love it.
Next, we have "Hit by a cement mixer", which starts out sounding like an unoriginal take on a Staind song, but quickly goes into that funky hardcore mix between Sublime and System of a Down. Parts of this song even showcase the fact that the singer can actually sing in between all of the screaming. I take this song as being their version of the classic power ballad but with hardcore twist. Another amazingly well written song, that takes the unmistakable talent of the entire band and forces you to pay attention.
"Circle Pity" would be the radio friendly song if they had one. With more melodic and understandable singing, and just a taste of the traditional punk screaming thrown in. If this song was found on the radio, I may actually start tuning in. The drummers timing in this song is incredible as he goes from the quick footed double kick and fast paced beats on the toms transitioning down into the slower rhythms of the song.
The last song I am going to talk about is "Out of tampons". If you can get past the disturbing lyrics and primitive chanting this is a great song. With reference to the shameful rape of our earth/mother nature this song is definitely more along the lines of an eye-opening political statement. If this song was written for mother earth than it certainly does her justice, the music is so well written and executed. It's not very often that find a band that knows how to put it all together, how to take an eclectic sound and make it flow so perfectly. The song starts with a sweet guitar intro which falls into the background as the drums take the forefront for most of the song. The guitarist continues to play more subtly holding the music together as a drummer normally would. I love this position switch and it works perfectly for the song.
Now for my overall opinion. I freakin love this band! They are original, talented, and actually know how to write music! If you are looking for a break from today's normalcy and over rated "hard rock" bands, then check these guys out and prepare to have your mind blown.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Yeah Whatever - A force to be reckoned with.

So, I've had the extreme pleasure of knowing these guys for the about the last six months. Their music is simple, yet inspirational just like their story. Their friends and I know them as, Evan, Mike, Rob and Tony, but legions of fans worldwide know them as Yeah Whatever.

Formed over five years ago they have fought tooth and nail up through the ranks of an idealistic garage band to the underground sensation they are known as today.

This powerful alternative hard rock quartet has seen their fair share of ups and downs, through in-fighting, sparsely attended performances and bogus recording contracts they have managed to do the impossible and stick together. Kudos, my friends.

The freshman album "Dispensing Disaster" quickly became a cult hit among existing fans and eventually was able to grab the attention of hard rock groupies world wide. With songs like "Downfall" and "And she knows" paving the way for a radio blow out and hard hitting songs like "Dispensing Disaster and "Down Mother" ready to explode into underground clubs you would assume that these guys would be preparing for fame in and outside of the media playground. Unfortunately, bad promoting, lack of proper management and an all around feel of inexperience lead to the crash and burn of this first attempt. Now don't get me wrong, they had success of this first album, just not nearly as much as they could have had. You can find some of these songs on movie soundtracks, television shows and even catch quick flashes of the band on "The Lost Boys 2" and "Blood Ties".

Dispensing Disaster holds a collage of songs that seem to fit into a few different genres of music including, hard rock, alternative rock, pop rock and so on. The songs seem to be aimed at today's simple minded youth with an intense focus, especially considering the A.D.D. epidemic that has been consuming young listeners lately. They keep it hard and simple, leaving out all the confusion of complex metal style guitar rifts and thoughtful lyrics. It's the type of music that anyone can relate to, and anyone can get lost in. I, personally, quite enjoy the song "Play God" it has an old school feeling and showcases the incredible raw talent of singer Evan Allen. His controlled and rough around the edges vocals draw listeners in and the smooth bass lines and early 90's style guitar rifts keep you focused. And just when you thought that this song was just another sappy ballad, Mike Witherington breaks into the bridge with a guitar solo fit for the stadium stage, I only wish that he would have stretched it out for a couple more bars. I would even compare this to that of Joe Perry, and for those of you who know my love of Aerosmith, know that's a pretty big compliment.

Over all, this album was excellent first attempt and leaves the listener waiting with baited breath for the next release.

Next out, we have the much more polished "Hell is Full". This album definitely shows growth both musically and professionally. "Aww, their all growed up."

Once again, we have repetitive lyrics and simplistic harmonies, but now we have a tighter sound, harder hitting drumming, and more focus on the bass line.

We start our listening pleasure off with "Control" a fast paced radio friendly hard rock song, built for the fans that like it hard but have yet to divulge into the power that is underground metal.

Up next we have "Hell is Full" a more kind of angsty teen ballad. The song is very drawn out and I find that it never really gets going. It does pick up for the chorus, but the intensity doesn't stick around long. Mike once again comes through with a short and to the point guitar solo, that only leaves you wanting more. It's a good song but you have to do better to hold my focus.

Next we have a few basic rock songs, obviously constructed for radio play. There's not a lot to them but they have a good beat that you can't help but move or bang your head to.

"Fight" which was recently released in Canada, starts out with a catchy guitar line that seems to stay sweet and simple throughout. The only really unfortunate thing about this single is the drumming by numbers, come on Tony, let's try stepping out of the box for a minute. The song has some great melodies and anthem style chanting, I can picture kids with their fists in the air all over the world rockin out to this song. You have to give it to Yeah Whatever, they know how to write a song that the people wanna hear.

Okay, so next on the docket we have "This all ends tonight", which starts out with an awesome display of screaming prowess. I am more impressed with this song, as it has harder hitting drumming, rougher vocals, a faster tempo, and at moments even mimics the unmistakable sound of a metal band. Definitely i-Pod worthy.

"I.D.F.T.S" opens with a deep jungle beat care of Tony, then goes into more punk style drumming, which gives the song a definite party feel. And then wait for it, FINALLY, a guitar solo that lasts more than 5 seconds! The high pitch scream and quick fingering make this solo one for the books.

Alright, lastly we have "Machine". Personally I wouldn't have ended an album with a song containing such a lackluster drum solo, but hey, it ain't my band. This song takes me back to the sheer simplicity of the first album. There are some melodies, some metal deep throated vocals, and a couple of primitive chants at the end to finish it off. Honestly I could forgive all of this, if there was a double kick thrown into the mix. The song feels like it's missing something, and I think that may be it.

So overall, I think this band has enough potential to break onto the charts and stay in the top five for as long as they produce albums. They just have to put their individual issues aside, focus on the music, and keep fighting till they get there. Close to every song on these two albums could be a radio hit and the fans agree that Yeah Whatever is a force to be reckoned with in the underground music scene.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Music Review - Krome (Vancouver B.C.)

So, I checked out a pretty wicked band tonight. If you like 80's rock that'll get your head bangin and your fists pumpin I would highly reccomend checkin out Krome. This high energy band had the crowd moving within seconds of the first chord being struck. They started the night out with a song that mimicked the catchy fast paced tune of a classic 80's rock anthem. "Turn it up" was definitely an excellent choice to catch the crowds attention and hold their eardrums hostage. Unfortunately, the only thing memorable about the next song "Out of my way" was the flamboyant onstage antics of the lead singer. Although being the metal fan that I am I did appreciate the excellent scream at the end. During "Roll with me" I finally started to get stolked as what I assumed would be an earth shattering guitar solo began. I assumed this because of the 80's sound and style of the band, unfortunately we all know what you get when you assume things. The guitar solo was not bad, don't get me wrong, but it seemed to end before it began. For a band that could easily be mistaken for KISS or Motley Crue I would expect a lengthier display of shredding prowess. Lucky for me the next song "Bring the house down" completely redeamed the lackluster performance it followed. It starts out with an amazing jungle beat from the quick footed drummer Scott Aquinos and then goes into a shocking punk style rythm that definitely blew me away. I was absolutely amazed to hear an original sound come out of these guys. It was a mix of dirty punk and old school undertones that I have honestly never heard before, and it was wicked! The double kick on the drums drew me in and the originality held my interest, I would put this song on my i-Pod in a second!
I have to say, the drummer Scott seems to carry this band to new heights. In listening to their music prior to his maniacal drumming skills I have to admit that I was less than impressed. But add in the insane talent of this prodigal drummer and this band becomes a force to be wreckoned with. I mean, come on, how many drummer do you know that can a break a stick mid-song and not miss a beat?
Okay, enough ego stroking, back to the set list.
Once the song "Let's go all the way" started up I felt a familiar feeling come over me. Then it struck me, the half dressed barely legal girls shakin their "stuff" on the dance floor, this song has all the dirty feel of a slutty theme song. I'd put it int he same category with "Save a horse Ride a cowboy" and "Pour some sugar on me". Now, just to set the record straight, I don't see this as a bad thing, the world needs more songs that entice young girls and cougars to come together for a common purpose; to entice young men to pour more alcohal down their already well lubricated throats.
Alright, so next up we have "Misunderstood", the classic 80's hair band ballad. This would be your typical radio friendly single, probably to be released after the first couple of slightly "harder" tunes have run the gauntlet. I actually enjoyed this song and was tempted to pull out my lighter and sway with the slow rythm of the crowd. The first half of the song builds an incredible feeling of suspense then, in the second half, exploads into a chorus line of hard drum beats and melodic guitar rifts.
Over the next few songs we hear some contradicting lyrics, like disliking the songs on the radio, strange coming from a radio friendly rock band.....hmmm...oh right, I almost forgot, it's cool to hate the radio.... We also hear more of the not so subtle punk undertones that I love so much and a couple more impressively short guitar solos.
My favourite moment of this show was the ear shattering, mind altering drum solo. I consider it my extreme good fortune to have been able to witness such an awesome display of impossible talent. Good job Scott, I am thouroughly impressed and satisfied.
Overall this is a really talented band with some good songs and a pretty amazing stage show. It's not very often that you find a lead singer like Shaun Meehan who has the vocal chops of an 80's hair band front man. I would definitely make a point to see them again. Because even though there were some things that made me want to give my head a shake, they had my body moving through the entire set, and to me, that is what is important. I have never before seen such a diverse crowd so completely engaged by a local band, these guys gave it all and received the undivided attention of a crowd ripe with alcohal induced A.D.D. That is a powerfull thing my friends.
Make sure to check out Krome at http://www.krome.ca/ !!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Music, or something like it.

First off, I would like to state that I am well aware of the flack that I will get for writing this....but it must be said.
Music today is no longer about the creation of an impossible feeling through sound. Today, music consists of an industry template, or a fight against it. If you look at the many genres of music, you will see that there is one that insists upon fighting "the mold" only to create it's own. That genre is rock. Encompassed in that I will include all variations, metal, thrash, punk, alternative, etc. This genre has worked so hard to be "different" that all it's done is create legions of music snobs who will shun a band at the first sign of mainstream popularity. Basically, if you become a success, you become a sell-out. It's actually a humorous process to watch. Band plays small local venue, band gains fans, band plays larger local venue, band gains more fans, band records album, band gains more fans, band gets acknowledged by local radio media, band loses original fans, but gains a hell of a lot more. Like I said, humorous. It has become "cool" in rock to hate the radio friendly musician. But more often than not, the same people who publicly display their disgust for these bands, privately buy the albums and sing the songs. I will admit that I have been guilty of doing the same. Spouting out my hate of the "Theory of a Nickel Fault" bands. They may not be my favourite style of music, but when I stop to think of why I actually dislike them, I come up with nothing other than the fact that they are a radio friendly rock band. Seems a little ridiculous, don't you think.
If you consider rock music to be a rebellion against the classic mold of normality, wouldn't a rock band playing on the radio be the ultimate rebellion. To rebel against the rebellion....hmmm...I'll have to ponder that one more.
But really, when did we start turning our backs on the successful musician? The ones who did what it took to make their music heard by millions. I have to salute anyone who can put their personal issues aside and create a sound that will ensure success. Since when did we stop admiring people for accomplishing their goals? When did it become wrong to find a something that works and run with it?
I keep hearing that all these bands sound the same, that their all cheap knockoffs of Eddie Vedders famous sound. You don't hate tire companies who have improved on the primitive wheel, why hate a band who has improved on a primitive sound?
All creation is an imitation, inspired by a past event.
All bands create a sound inspired by someone before them, someone they admire. There is no longer a true original sound, only a Frankenstein creation of what has already been done. So who are we to judge where someone takes their inspiration from?
I have seen bands exclaim endlessly their dislike of what they are hearing in the radio, all the while working tirelessly to achieve the same goal. Shamelessly assuming that when they make it, they will be different from all the rest, I hate to tell you this, but you're not different. You too will succumb the demands of this "business". After all, that is what music is, a business. Supply and demand dictates who becomes heard and who is left unknown with only their ideals and opinions to keep them company.
Every band out there, no matter how hardcore or apparently original can be placed into a category of hundreds of other bands that all sound the same. The only reason that these musicians don't get any of the same negative attention is that they are not pushed in front of us on a regular basis. If you took the most original metal band you can think of, put them in the spotlight of radio media, I can guarantee you that within a month they would become a victim of the music snob too. This all happens because as soon as something different gains popularity it stops being different. Every other band with a similar sound will emerge and we will be bombarded endlessly by this "new" and "original" thing. Who knows, perhaps the next unoriginal, pop-rock band will be the one you admire today.
If you genuinely dislike the music that you hear, than stop listening. But stop spouting your disgust for someone who did what you couldn't. You know as well as I do, that given the opportunity, you too would break out the cookie cutter to create a sound that would be heard by millions, I know I would.