Friday, April 20, 2018

Beams - Toronto, ON


While Beams eagerly awaits their sophomore album record release tour across North America, the inspiration behind the album was not as such. During the writing of the album lead singer/ songwriter Anna Mernieks went down a mental spiral that wreaked havoc on her personal and artistic life. This spiral led to Anna cancelling her wedding with bandmate Mike Duffield, but the crisis encouraged her to deal with her depression while simultaneously sparking the concept of the next record. Two years in the making, teaming up with Ian Gomes (Hooded Fang, Odonis, Odonis), and Peter J. Moore (Neko Case, Cowboy Junkies), Beams will embark on a lengthy tour to Texas and back while showcasing their folk noir melodies from their latest release "Teach Me To Love."

“glorious harmonies and twang-filled acoustics perfectly combine the hustle and bustle of the city with the laid-back atmosphere of the countryside. ” Exclaim! Magazine

“Beams' strength is their restraint, employing just enough singing saw, just enough plucking, just enough mystery in whimsical lyrics.” Now Magazine (NNNN)

“offers such a dizzying array of bouncy arrangements that you'd be hard-pressed to classify it as folk in any strict sense, but it's a giddy, attention-worthy winner no matter what label you stamp on it.” No Depression (USA)

TORONTO, ON - “The lyrics are sad but the music is sweet,” sings Anna Mernieks on the final track of the new Beams album before co-front woman Heather Mazhar comes in for the chorus, their voices combining to strike exactly the bittersweet balance the lyrics describe. It’s a fitting line given that Beams is a band that’s embraced contrasts from the start—even their name has opposing connotations, calling up images of something both solid and permeable, light and dark. With Teach Me To Love, their second full-length album and follow-up to 2015 John McEntire (Tortoise, Yo La Tengo, Broken Social Scene) 7” The Gutters and the Glass, the band is in full command of their contradictions. Recorded at Toronto’s Union Sound Co by Ian Gomes (Hooded Fang, Odonis Odonis) Teach Me To Love’s ten songs are subtle and spacious in their arrangements, while at the same time Beams’ seven members bring a propulsive energy to everything they play. The results are catchy as hell and full of, not nostalgia, but a longing for something you know you can never have, like always wanting to be in the country when you’re in the city, and the other way around.

Toronto-based Beams have been winning over crowds across North America with their hard to classify sound for the last five years. Led by Mernieks and her banjo, the band is usually called some variation of country or bluegrass, (a natural conclusion to come to, considering there could be a mandolin, lap steel, singing saw and several band members wearing plaid on stage at any given time during a Beams set), but they have a certain Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom-like otherworldliness that’s made them impossible to fit neatly in one category.

Teach Me To Love finds Beams much more at home in the realm of psych folk, a genre whose dual nature manages to encompass the sprawling beauty of these new songs. Mining her experiences and her imagination in equal measure, Mernieks’ lyrics turn the everyday into the unbelievable, blurring reality, but only at its edges. “My Second Time At The Mountains” wonders if you can ever experience a “first” again, whether it’s the awe of seeing mountains for the first time, or the way you loved someone in the beginning. “Apartment In My Head” is a spiralling, sinister tune propelled by Mernieks’ banjo, which plucks prettily as ever but brings with it a sense of deep foreboding, calling to mind acts like fellow Torontonians Timber Timbre, who evoke a similar sonic atmosphere.

“Beams’ strength is their restraint, employing just enough singing saw, just enough plucking, just enough mystery in whimsical lyrics,” Julia LeConte wrote in her four-star review of their 2013 debut album Just Rivers. The arrangements on Teach Me To Love are truly accomplished, a testament to the musicianship of each band member, who are practiced at leaving elbow room for each other in the music, if not in the band van. Brothers Dave and Keith Hamilton on mandolin and singing saw/vibraphone respectively, bring texture and personality, Mike Duffield’s relentlessly excellent drumming, alongside Craig Moffatt on bass, acts as both backbone and pulse, supporting everything while driving it forward, and Martin Crawford’s guitars lift the songs just as high as Mernieks’ and Mazhar’s weightless harmonies.

This latest offering is a versatile, ambitious album that sounds right anywhere, whether it’s first thing in the morning on your subway ride to work, on a late night long distance drive, or live, in a bar, on the dance floor. Because, for all their subtleties and complexities, Beams is also a band that will make you want to dance. 


05/07-13 CMW - Toronto, ON
06/09 Kelly’s - Bracebridge, ON

Tuesday, April 17, 2018



New York-based Gladshot shared their latest single "Ride" via Northern Transmissions. The track is from their album These Are Vitamins, which is out now. 

Considering they’ve already worked on everything from a “dystopian rock musical” (Barcode) to songs that scored TV shows on TNT, ABC and MTV - and after wrapping up a live set on WFMU’s Goddamn Dave Hill show where they lit up Dave’s message board and then went on to headline a sold out NYC show - it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Debbie Andrews and Mike Blaxill are at the peak of their creative powers on the new Gladshot album These Are Vitamins. Due out October 27th via the group’s own DIY imprint, it’s their second effort with super producer John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee) and the first to feature bassist Jesse Murphy alongside drummer Tony Mason and guitarist Tim Bright.

“We’re so happy with the way they sound on the record,” explains Gladshot’s core duo. “Jesse came out of the Nublu world music scene and plays with Brazilian Girls. Tony never does the song the exact same way twice—which we love—and has played with Norah Jones and Leo Nocentelli of The Meters. Tim’s a self-proclaimed ‘sonic explorer and music ninja nerd’; one of the sounds he used on the record is from a trip to China where he went in search of the most out-there effect box he could find.” (See: the hologram-dodging hooks and robust, psych-steeped riffs of “Simulation”.)

All three of ‘em will join Gladshot on the road this fall, adding to the push-and-pull dynamics Mike and Debb perfected on their last EP, Maxwell’s Cool Demon. It’s something they’ve been working on ever since the two met at a songwriter collective that performed and critiqued one another’s songs. At the time, Mike and his propulsive guitar were on more of a roots-rock tip, and Debb pulled in pop influences and the serious jazz skills that earned her a National Endowment for the Arts nod and lessons with the legendary pianist Joanne Brackeen (a session player and live performer for such esteemed musicians as Ornette Coleman, Art Blakey, and Stan Getz).

Now Gladshot can be best described as bold garage band, striking a perfect balance between pop and psychedelic music. Not to mention reflecting such varied influences as the Rolling Stones, Neil Diamond, AC/DC, Crowded House, Marvin Gaye, and the road-tested records of Cherry Glazerr, Langhorne Slim, and Cymbals Eat Guitars.

“We each generate our own musical ideas,” the pair explains, “then we get together to decide what will be a song. Once it’s written, one of Debb's favorite things is coming up with keyboard parts—cool ones that meld into the song, the way Nicky Hopkins does on ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ or ‘She's a Rainbow’. They inspire her to keep it all lo-fi and simple.”

And catchy; my how it’s all oh-so-catchy….

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Rosewater - Long Beach, California

Rosewater's newest release is called rosewater aka and it's being released on 4/25/18.
Check it out on their bandcamp, scroll down for link.

Rosewater is Blair Clark's new pop punk band out of Long Beach, California.
Here's the lineup... Blair Clark vocals, guitar, Leah Brooke vocals, guitar, Randy Maass drums.
Rosewater is a three piece garage band from Long Beach CA. Male and Female fronted band of two guitars and a drummer. Both guitarists sing. The music is frantic and fun, sweet punk, sour pop. Rosewater puts on a killer show, no yapping just rock and roll. 
Thanks for listening.

rosewater aka album art releases 4/25/18

Love Bomb album art 2/18

Bad City album art 11/17