Tag Archives: Canada

Metz – Metz (2012)

Metz - Metz (2012)

What’s Canadian and noisy?

Metz!

This debut album from Toronto noise-rockers is just great. Straight up great.

Each track is a short sharp shock to the system, of brutally noisey punk rock, with thundering drums. It’s unrelenting and it reminds me of early grunge. Despite the inherent looseness of noise rock, Metz are incredibly tight; an almost contradiction, like how the most talented can make the most impressive task seem pedestrian. That is the beauty of Metz.

Without sounding like a cheap rip off, Metz manage to suck in all the forerunners to what they are doing, Black Flag, Melvins, Nirvana, Big Black, and the like; taking them in, mixing them up like an industrial washing machine and spitting them back out.

I love it, it is a pure acerbic assault to your face.

Favourite tracks: Wet Blanket, Wasted,
Spotify link: Metz – METZ
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Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (2012)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! (2012)

Canadian Godspeed You! Black Emperor are one of those bands who just won’t do things the way you’re “supposed” to do things.  Among the rest of the merchandise at a gig in Boston in October 2012 was this album. No promotion, nothing even highlighting it; yet this was their first release in 10 years, since 2002’s Yanqui U.X.O. Honestly, I can only imagine GY!BE doing that.

The thing with post-rockers GY!BE is that while you don’t know exactly what you are going to get, you do know what you are going to get, if you know what I mean. And what you get here is exactly what you want. The album consists of four tracks, two 20-minute post-rock epics and two shorter, but more drone inspired tracks.

There is something about GY!BE is that they have the ability to knock you off your feet with their music whilst incorporating gentler and subtler musical elements without them getting completely lost and this album is no exception.

A great album, right up my street.

Spotify link: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
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Monster Truck – Furiosity (2013)

Monster Truck - Furiosity (2013)

Monster Truck are a Canadian rock band forming in 2009 and this is their debut album after two solid EPs, Monster Truck (2010) and The Brown (2011). They are a quartet consisting of bass, drums, guitar and organ.

Ah, those riffs, those super-sweet riffs, are so glorious! Monster Truck play balls-to-the-wall bluesy rock not unlike Clutch. The album opens with a barrage of beautifully heavy stoner-rock/blues-rock tracks, before hitting the more bluesy end of things with Oh Lord, a groovy blues track, followed by For The Sun, which drops the tempo right down and is possibly best described as a ballad, but despite the stripped back blues outing, it still is right in your face and as it continues, it builds in intensity and totally kicks your arse.

Ooof, and then back to the awesome riffage, with the accurately titled Boogie and following tracks, before finishing on another slower ballady track, My Love Is True.

I’m an instant fan, this album is fantastic; the skill of this band is evident within the first minute, I kid you not. Excellent, highly recommended.

Favourite tracks: Power Of The People, Undercover Love, Sweet Mountain River
Spotify link: Monster Truck – Furiosity

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Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, London Vocal Project – Mirrors (2012)

Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone, London Vocal Project - Mirrors (2012)

Kenny Wheeler is an octogenarian Canadian trumpeter who has made the UK his home since the early 1950s. Here he is joined by British jazz singer Norma Winstone, as well as Polar Bear’s Mark Lockheart on saxophone, Nikki Iles on piano, Steve Watts on bass and James Maddren on drums. The album also sees the London Vocal Project providing choral work.

While the music was written years ago, poems by Stevie Smith, Lewis Carroll and W.B. Yeats dictate the work on Mirrors. An admirable and interesting project.

First off, the music is fantastic, erring on the smooth and blue side of jazz; Norma Winstone, quite frankly, has honey instead of vocal cords. Piano, bass and drums work well as the rhythm section, though never taking the limelight but instead being solid, steadfastly dependable. Sax and trumpet are absolutely spot on, exactly what you would want from any jazz album.

However, I find myself completely distracted by the choir. It’s not that they aren’t good, they have a great sound, but to me it is a great sound that would work in a church or a stage musical; this I feel is exacerbated by the use of the poems as lyrics. The poems naturally have a narrative thread, in the same way that songs from musicals do. This may appeal to some, but to me, I find that it leads to a fairly uneven album.

My favourite tracks are those for which Winstone takes the lead and the choir add support; such as the beautiful bluesy The Lover Mourns (W.B. Yeats), or The Bereaved Swan (Stevie Smith), which both work wonderfully, while a track like The Deathly Child (Smith) has that musicals sound during the sung sections.

Overall, a mixed album; I do like the music and Winstone’s voice, but I find that the overall style and concept is distracting and doesn’t live up to what is otherwise a good blue jazz album.

Favourite tracks: The Lower Mourns, Through The Looking Glass, The Bereaved Swan

Spotify link: Kenny Wheeler – Mirrors
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