Cruising TheSound.ca

Axe Music brought in this TheSound Radio website a few years ago. I thought it time to mention a few bands:

Tupelo Honey - Probably one of the best known bands to come out of the Edmonton area (St. Albert) in the last couple years. The thing about their sound is that its clearly quality: the band plays well together and writes solid music. But most of the songs have no "hook" to catch you. And when there is a song like "Why I Bother" that has some catchy riffs and musical interludes (the Celtic opening for example), you spend the rest of the song waiting for the neat interludes to come back...and they rarely do. You could listen to 12 songs by Tupelo Honey in a row, and an hour later play some mid-speed male rock band's song and be unsure whether it was one of the 12 songs you just listened to or not.

Murder City Sparrows - Another solid Edmonton band, MCS has good riffs and some tight songs. The lead singer has a distinctive Our Lady Peace style voice, which can't help but be good news for a band looking to distinguish themselves from the pack. This is the sort of band you listen to and think that every one of their good songs would be a really good shitty song of a superband: "Rats" sounds like a neat song The Doors might have tried, "Burning Water" is a song Sloan would have included as the fifth single released from 2000's "One Chord To Another", and "The Hammer Click" sounds in fact like a really weak Our Lady Peace tune.

Screwtape Lewis - This Wetaskawin band is one of those bands that alternative weekly editors love, and have loved forever, and can't figure out why the band hasn't hit huge. Screwtape Lewis has a wavy 80s sound with more than a little bit of an effeminate touch. "(this is not a) Queer Agenda" is a song title that should alert you that this is just another band going to sing nice things about uranists and bad things about George W. Bush. They might have gone somewhere back before Blondie fell out of the collective consciousness.

Naomi Carmack - I've had quite my fill of pretentious rock bands for the moment, so I'll switch gears here and try out an Edmonton chateuse who's music is mostly a collection of softer songs. Her singing voice is good but with enough rasp in it to possibly make a half-decent "Sarah Slean meets Roxette" statement. She has something that most TheSound bands don't -- a large collection of songs to give an indication of musical range and/or fluke one-hit-wonder talent. She's certainly not going to be making huge waves and selling out hockey arenas, but she's not ugly per se and can sing decently enough to hold her own at a folk festival.

Ten Second Epic - This is a band with one song posted on the website (sorry TheSound bands, I don't feel like browsing your myspaces pages). It's a speedy moving number, and the band seems to play fairly well, but the singer's voice doesn't keep pace with his instruments and in fact doesn't even try. The first rule of being in a band is that every piece should complement the others rather than compete with them and/or simply be there to meet some performance quota or fill an instrument gap in the songwriting. "Home in the Heartland" isn't a bad song, but it doesn't catch the ear enough...and on the rare parts it does you're left disappointed when it just goes back to wild guitar thrashing and some sort of yelling into the mike.

Remission - This Edmonton-based duo has two strikes against it: first off, one of the founding members is an asshole with close (potentially criminal) ties with a notoriously shady Edmonton family with its tendicles all the way into the police department. The second strike is the writeup to the band on the website:

Remission has more variety then the average band by virtue of their being two singer/songwriters rather than just one. They have drawn comparisons to many bands including Black Sabbath, Nirvana, deftones and Tool. Marvin and Harrison want nothing more than to share their music with the world. They have a passion that can only be described by the music itself. If their demos are any indication, Remission could very well be one of the next great acts to come out of Canada's flourishing scene.
Wow, both of them are singers and songwriters? That's a musical innovation the likes of which the world has never seen, man! Two songwriters in a group has to be good! A friend of mine who's big into the local music scene says that this sort of writeup for a band always gives him a good laugh because the writing itself is so pretentious. Listing off a few competing styles and having unverifiable claptrap like "they have a passion that can only be described by the music itself". As for the music itself, the songs suffer from being dark and (contrary to their writeup) overly pretentious. The goth kids on South Park wrote better dark songs, for crying out loud.

Badseed - This is one of the few Edmonton bands who's websites feature.. you know... shows! There's a solid base line to their songs, and when the band members all sing in tandem the effect can be quite haunting. Its the solo singing efforts that start to fall short: none of the bandmembers has a voice deep enough for a speedy modern version of Jethro Tull. The instruments sometimes sound out of phase...this band can and has played together, but they aren't quite in sync enough for prime time.

Vigilante Typewriter - Another band that needs to find a real recording studio (ie. not Mommy's basement) to properly showcase their stuff. Their namesake track is off key and the instruments aren't playing together. The lyrics are a little odd, and the band plays all 3 of their songs in the same time. It might work at a biker bar...well, a wussy biker bar, but I'm not sure why they're playing at skateboard parks.

Retrograde - This is another band that gets a lot of airplay and column-inches in local arts papers. Is it deserved? Sort of. Songs like "Digging in the Dirt" and "This Frequency We Share" are well paced songs that suffer from bad singing a little bit but otherwise are interesting enough to catch the ear, while "Headphones" or "Get On With It" are a little too plodding. As a whole the band is very tight and has some skill getting neat sounds out of their instruments. The lyrics are simple, as are most of the Edmonton bands, but in the end Vancouver's Retrograde is destined for Fifth Season territory.


Anonymous said...

Ouch. Not quite sure how to take that. I'll have to be complimented, I guess.

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot. First off, you should have proof of "criminal ties" before you start making accusations. Watch yourself or you might end up sleeping with the fishes!

Anonymous said...

Check out some new stuff from former "pretentious" bandmember of Remission. youtube search "worthy company"

Feynman and Coulter's Love Child said...

So let me get this straight, MzClariz: I'm an idiot because I acknowledge well known rumours and make accusations without fact.

But then you make a physical threat against me characteristic with exactly the connotations of my original statement. Are you related to Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf by any chance?

Anonymous said...

I guess sarcasm isn't in your repertoire. And what well known rumours...and to whom are you referring these rumours involve??? I can tell you for certain that neither member of Remission has any criminal affiliations. To even suggest that is simply ludicrous and defamatory. Actually we found it funny as hell. You show excellent journalistic integrity...again, that was sarcastic in case you couldn't tell.

KuongLyTheScienceGuy said...

Hey F & C, what up? This is one of the members from Remission.
First off, love the writeup you did(not sarcastic.) That shit was solid gold. I just would really like to know which one is the asshole and what they did to deserve such a title.

And yeah if you wanna checkout/review some current stuff from one of the members new project then that would be greatly appriciated. Take it easy man.

Anonymous said...

ive seen remission play in calgary, they were the shit.i dont see any arab names in the names of the two members.f &c ypur a homo.your life mission is to give aids back to the monkeys.fucking loser that cant hack it in his own band.