Stonetrotter, the self-titled full-length debut from the Barrie, Ontario quintet, out October 30, fulfills the promise of their first two independently released EPs.
The album’s sonic tapestry has been woven by each member’s unique touch, exemplified by lead vocalist and guitarist Dave Allen, whose approach consistently treads a fine line between plaintive and radiant. Complementing that is pianist Courtney Dubois and her ethereal vocals, which add further depth to the storytelling.
The colour and texture provided by lead guitarist Ben Pearson, bassist/vocalist Ben Lemen, and drummer Evan Dwinnell complete the overall portrait of their ability to combine their identities for the common benefit of the music.
For this reason, it’s difficult to impose labels upon it such as “folk-rock” or “Americana.” Key tracks range from the jagged rocker “Born Stiff,” to the classic country weeper “Duets,” and the Bahamas-ish neo-soul of “A Ghost In My Own Skin.” The overall effect leaves a startling first impression of a band fully capable of transcending indie rock’s inherent limitations.
Stonetrotter chose to make the album’s first video for the Andrew Shropshire-produced track “Back At The Boneyard,” which director Dave Murray of Paper City Films turned into a psychedelic spectacle.
Dave Allen says, “We shot it in a cottage in Wyebridge, Ontario. It was formerly owned by Franz Johnston of the Group of Seven and he supposedly crafted the stained glass windows seen in the video. The song is about revisiting the boneyard, the skeleton room — the place where you’re confronted by old habits, shortcomings and feelings. It’s a little meditation on being aware of old bones and conscious of the process of growing out of them, or, letting the earth do what it does best, decompose them.”
Pre-order Stonetrotter now and get two instant free tracks!
Congratulations to Christina Martin, who has received five nominations for this year’s Music Nova Scotia Awards. The awards will be given out during Music Nova Scotia Week festivities in Yarmouth from November 5-8.
Christina’s nominations are in the following categories:
Web.com Entertainer of the Year Solo Recording of the Year (for “It’ll Be Alright”) SOCAN Songwriter of the Year (for “Puppet Museum”) Digital Artist of the Year Pop Recording of the Year (for “It’ll Be Alright”)
Some well-deserved recognition for one of my favourite people!
The Crash ‘N Burn 2015 Tour kicked off in fine style last night at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, with a great turnout of punk fans young and old. The Toronto scene’s founding fathers, The Diodes, remain as timeless as ever, while Teenage Head guitarist Gord Lewis was impressive in previewing his new solo project, featuring a band comprised of Dave Rave on vocals, Gene Champagne of The Killjoys on drums, and bassist Paul Cameron.
Their set evenly balanced Teenage Head classics “Let’s Shake,” “Some Kinda Fun” and “Teenage Beer Drinking Party,” with new songs like the terrific “Fed Up,” drawn from lyrics that Teenage Head front man Frankie Venom was working on just prior to his untimely death.
Really looking forward to hearing more from these guys!
Canadian rock fans will have a unique opportunity this month to experience the original Toronto punk scene once again as one of its founding bands, The Diodes, return with a multimedia extravaganza (see below for full schedule).
Along with the original line-up consisting of vocalist Paul Robinson, guitarist John Catto, bassist Ian Mackay, and drummer John Hamilton performing their best-loved tracks such as “Tired Of Waking Up Tired” and “Time/Damage,” select dates will feature a special set by Teenage Head guitarist Gordie Lewis and his band featuring Dave Rave, along with a rare screening of the 1977 film Crash ‘N’ Burn, documenting Toronto’s first punk rock club of the same name.
Crash ‘N’ Burn manager Ralph Alfonso will be on hand to introduce the film as well as exhibit his treasure trove of original photography from the era, including shots of Ramones, Patti Smith, Blondie and Talking Heads. For the Montreal performance, Alfonso will cede toDon Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet who will present his “Out Of Focus Talking Slide Show,” based on his acclaimed photo book Trouble In The Camera Club.
To top it all off, the tour will also introduce The Diodes’ limited edition signature beer, Time Damage IPA, created by The Manantler Craft Brewing Co. of Bowmanville, Ontario.
According to Alfonso, “Crash ‘N’ Burn itself can never be recreated because it was of its time; a club that was built, created and run by The Diodes and friends in the scene. Longevity was never an option. It was born spontaneously and extinguished instantaneously.
“But the energy and and sense of communal solidarity still runs through those of us who created it, who were part of it, and in my case, slept there after everyone went home.
“So, when I was asked about the Crash ‘N’ Burn, I thought why re-create when you can create something new. We’re all friends. We’ve all been through the same battles. Let’s share the energy of our experiences and blow the roof off the joint.”
About The Diodes:
The Diodes jump-started punk in Toronto with pioneering concerts at the Ontario College of Art and the creation of Canada’s first punk club, The Crash ‘N’ Burn, which became a showcase for the leading bands of that era (including Teenage Head).
As the first punk band signed to a major Canadian label (CBS) in 1977, The Diodes benefitted from a media presence and touring regime that helped open doors for punk across the country.
The international clout of CBS got The Diodes’s self-titled debut LP released in the UK, France, Holland, Germany, Australia, and the USA (where it sold 10,000 on import). When the reunited Diodes toured Italy and the UK in 2010, they were met by fans who’d waited 30 years to see them.
In 2016, all three Diodes lps will be re-released in vinyl form by the prestigious reissue label, Storming The Base. A deluxe vinyl box set will include a bonus disc of rarities and outtakes.
Meanwhile, Time/Damage, the Italian vinyl LP of The Diodes live at the El Mocambo 1978, will finally get its digital and CD debut later this year.
About Gordie Lewis:
Gordie Lewis has always been the heartbeat and rock ‘n’ roll soul behind the iconic Teenage Head, a Canadian rock juggernaut that continues to this day (the band recently celebrated 40 years at the Phoenix Concert Theatre) with a legacy of gold and platinum albums
and indestructible hits like “Let’s Shake”, “Top Down” and “Disgusteen.”
Over the years, Gordie Lewis has stepped out on his own in various capacities, culminating in a solo venture that reunites him with former Teenage Head rhythm guitarist/vocalist Dave Rave (The Shakers, solo), that allows him the creativity to explore his rock influences to the delight of both old and new fans alike. A debut solo album will be released shortly and is already creating a buzz amongst those who’ve heard a preview.
Gordie Lewis will be joined on stage by Dave Rave on vocals, Gene Champagne (Killjoys) on drums and Paul Cameron on bass.
About Ralph Alfonso:
Ralph Alfonso has been the glue in the background of the Toronto 1977 era; championing the bands and the scene as a journalist (Bomp!, New York Rocker, Cheap Thrills), photographer, club manager, book publisher (Liz Worth’s groundbreaking Toronto punk history Treat Me Like Dirt) and commentator.
Ralph is a former record label executive at Attic Records (he was there when Teenage Head was signed to the label), Warner, EMI, Nettwerk, and his own acclaimed Bongo Beat Records; in addition to a career as a musician/poet with Top Ten College Radio CDs as leader of the garage rock jazz group Ralph (an offshoot of his fanzine Ralph, Coffee Jazz and Poetry). Ralph currently runs an art gallery/performance space in Montreal called BBAM! Gallery that shares the same DIY ethos of the Crash ‘N’ Burn club (and the same cashbox, actually).
The Diodes On Tour 2015 / Music. Film. Photography:
September 11 / Phoenix Concert Theatre / Toronto ON September 12 / Manantler Craft Brewing Co. / Bowmanville ON * September 13 / This Ain’t Hollywood / Hamilton ON September 15 / Brantford Station Gallery / Brantford ON ^ September 17 / Phi Centre (POP Montreal) / Montreal QC #
*Diodes only w/ guests Tijuana Jesus
^Diodes only (all ages)
#w/ Don Pyle’s Out Of Focus Slide Show & Frisky Kids
Some amazing contests are in the works in conjunction with Luke Nicholson’s shows at Waupoos Winery in Picton, Ontario on Sept. 19, and at Nineteen On The Park in Stouffville, Ontario on Oct. 29 (which is also a benefit for Toronto’s Sick Children’s Hospital).
More details to come soon, but in the meantime check out Luke’s new lyric video HEREfor his current single “Maggie’s Song” from his album Frantic City. [Get from iTunes]
The new official video for Christina Martin’s“Take Me Back In A Dream” has exclusively premiered exclusively at Exclaim.ca. Watch it here.
The song is the second single from Martin’s acclaimed current album It’ll Be Alright, produced by Dale Murray (Cuff The Duke) and released earlier this year on her own Come Undone Records, distributed through Fontana North.
Thevideo, directed by Jason Levangie, also features choreography by Cory Bowles. Martin had been eager to incorporate her love of modern dance into the overall artistic evolution displayed on It’ll Be Alright, and found the perfect vehicle in “Take Me Back In A Dream,” one of the album’s most powerful tracks. As she says, “Apart from recollecting difficult memories, the video brings light to empowering tones of resilience.”
Martin’s previously announced Canadian tour has been expanded, giving further opportunities for fans to get the full experience of her new sound. She recently spent three months touring in Europe and the United Kingdom, and represented Canada as Artist in Residence in the City of Dachau, Germany.
Christina Martin Tour Dates:
August 22 / Woodlawn Public Library / Dartmouth NS August 28 / Market Square Boardwalk / Saint John NB (Full Band) August 29 / Whirligigs Cafe / Wallace NS September 5 / The Flying Apron / Kempt Shore NS
September 11 / Trailside Café / Mount Stewart PEI
September 18 / The Mack Theatre / Contact East (Full Band)
September 19 / Sackville Fall Fair / Sackville NB (Full Band)
September 26 / Kings Theatre / Annapolis Royal NS
October 3 / Josh Vineyards / Malagash NS October 7 / Sunrise International Film Festival / Pugwash NS October 10 / Patchworks Concert / Bedford NS October 16 / Glasgow Square Greenroom / New Glasgow NS October 24 / Petite Rivere Vineyard / Petite Riviere NS
Christina Martin WITH BAND November 13 / The Capital / Fredericton NB * November 14 / The Seahorse Tavern / Halifax NS * November 17 / Petit Campus / Montreal QC * November 19 / The Horseshoe Tavern / Toronto ON ** November 20 / Irene’s Pub / Ottawa ON *
Everything begins with a spark, whether in the fiery literal sense, or in the flash of creativity that spawns a lasting work of art. It’s entirely appropriate, then, that “Spark” is the first release by ABNA BON, a collaboration between two musicians—one Canadian, and one American—born out of a mutual desire to push their individual styles to their furthest limits.
The fact that Bob Guido and Anna Donahoo met at all is a testament to the forward-thinking attitude at the heart of their partnership. In late 2013, Donahoo posted a bare-bones performance video made in her bedroom in Houston, Texas to an ambient music Facebook group that both belonged to. It was one of her early experiments with ambient sounds, after several years of playing with various Houston pop and rock acts. Guido, a southern Ontario-based writer/producer who had been working closely with veteran British producer Warne Livesey, found Donahoo’s video and immediately recognized a kindred soul, despite the geographical distance separating them.
After establishing communication, arrangements were made for a formal meeting in Houston in the spring of 2014. They found a room containing a grand piano, and with Donahoo playing her electric guitar through an assemblage of effects pedals, they composed the foundation of what would become “Spark” within 15 minutes. The song was later recorded back in Ontario with drummer Jonny Sauder and cellist Bruce Morritt. The final mix was handled by longtime Sigur Rós producer Ken Thomas, and mastered by Grammy Award-winning (for Gotye) engineer William Bowden at his Tasmanian studio.
Now set for release on August 20, 2015 as the first taste of their forthcoming EP, “Spark” is an intricate, yet thoroughly intoxicating piece that indeed comes across as the first indication of a potentially long and fruitful partnership. Although under three-and-a-half minutes, the song interweaves a treasure trove of melodic ideas, driven by ethereal guitar textures and Guido’s violin, building to a heart-swelling crescendo of voices and percussion.
ABNA BON has lit the spark. Be prepared to alter your perception.