A R T I S T “Always Reveal Truth In Strange Times” is the mantra for the new album. It was written for all the creatives still out there trying to balance adulthood & responsibilities with dreams and purpose. Growth is the major theme of this project.
Listen to the short teaser:
I’m working on a slightly longer blog entry about podcasts (that seems to be a recurring theme, lately) but for now wanted to share something fun I whipped together.
Over on /r/podcasts (reddit) there was some demand for showcasing a random podcast each day from the weekly link sharing thread; it would be next to impossible to listen to each one in there and recommend something in a personal matter, so I offered the next best thing: an automated, randomly selected podcast of the day.
The long and short of it: Each day I run a Tasker task I created to find the weekly episode thread, and randomly select an episode. Then I create a new post.
That’s it, and it works pretty well. I’m curious to know what kind of shows come up each day. Fun times!
It's split into two parts: Best Albums, and Best Newcomers. Here's the write-up for each section:
Whether it was Russian rock band Sadme' psychedelic riffs or the nostalgic feeling in the honeyed voice of Barefoot McCoy, whether it was Nordgroove' thoughtful atmospheric mix of electronic music and jazz or the smooth soul-pop vibes of Seth Power, all the albums on the list below contributed to make 2017 an unforgettable year for our ears!
Introducing a promising wave of diverse acts from the four corners of the world, here's the list of the new entrants who already got our attention in 2017 - and to keep an eye on in 2018!
|Colaars - Underheart|
I listened to some of the artists featured throughout this year, and I think in general they are spot on with their choices. One that completely skipped by me was Robin Grey's album From the Ground Up. I originally featured Robin Grey on a few podcasts back in the day, so I'm surprised that I missed his 2017 release. It's quite good if you're into folk.
Colaars' album Underheart was an album that I did catch up with over the last year, and I really enjoyed their brand of synth-pop.
The 2017 In Review page has a wide range of genres to choose from and artists from all over the world, as per the norm on Jamendo. You should definitely check it out. Let me know which is your favourite album or artist from the list! I am looking forward to what the Jamendo people put together for the 2018 year in review.
I can’t remember the last time I did one of these, so that must mean it’s time to write one!
Originally I was going to dedicate an entire post to Make Dad Read Comics; I would still like to do that, but I’m still feeling a little conflicted because I don’t want to draw too much attention to the fact that the titular Dad (Patrick Sr.) passed away in July. I cannot share this podcast enough, and while it is sad that it won’t be continuing, the massive backlog of shows is well worth listening to for two reasons:
- The conversations Patrick and his Dad had are often hilarious and heartwarming. It’s also great to hear the progression Dad makes from the beginning of the show to the end. His understanding of comics was on display and it’s a real treat to listen to the shows where he really likes a book they read.
- You can learn about some new comics / books to read that may not have been on your radar. I’m currently reading Black Monday Murders, which was the second to last episode they did together. It’s fantastic. Previous to that I read I Kill Giants. Both of these books were highly rated by Patrick & Dad. I just saw today that I also have Persepolis waiting for me at the library.
Twenty Thousand Hertz – I’ve talked about this podcast in the past, so I thought I would highlight a particular episode that I really enjoyed: Episode 46 | Slot Machines. The sound design in this episode was amazing. The producers did a great job of replicating the casino sounds (there was even a moment where they layered in the various sounds of the casino one at a time, and ended up with what it actually sounds like at a casino). It was fun to learn about some of the techniques they employ as well, and the history of slot machine music. Very fun, I highly recommend it. And it won’t leave you jaded about the slot machine industry.
The Big Story – this one is produced by Rogers Media (I work there, I have to mention that), and is a Mon-Fri (except holidays) daily show that covers the “big topics” (hence…the Big Story) of the day. The episodes are about 20 minutes in length, and up until this week I’ve been listening to all of them. They’ve been pretty interesting so far, but some topics I decided I can skip – I don’t need to be a completest here.
Based On A True Story – I haven’t listened to any of the most recent episodes, but checked out A League Of Their Own and The Social Network. The gist of this one is the host watches movies that are, well, based on a true story, and researches the true story behind them. I’ve picked out a few movies I’ve seen and want to hear his take behind, and as I go through the list I realize that there are more I missed the first time and need to add. The episodes are short and easily digestible (usually around the 30 minute mark) so they make for a fun break between my usual episode list.
What else have you got that I haven’t listed here? Maybe I can check it out in 2-3 months when I’ve caught up on my 90+ shows 🙂
I have been playing as a drummer in rock bands for a big part of my life.
After the splitting up of my most recent band in 2012, I went on a small tour through the USA as a stand-in drummer in a blues-rock band. During this trip I decided I was going to write my own material and see where this could lead to...
The learning curve was pretty steep, I must say. Besides learning how to play a bit of decent guitar and keyboards, I also had to cope with my vocals. Perhaps my greatest challenge was to find my singing voice.
He passed the album my way (which you can pick up over at http://www.maksagency.com), and I listened to it a few times. I'll start off with saying that I liked it! Maks' voice reminds me a lot of a less rough Peter Dreimanis (July Talk). I didn't find anything especially unique on my first pass through, but I found that I enjoyed the different elements Maks added to differentiate his sound.
He uses many different instruments on his tracks, and some of the tracks make use of sound effects to create mood and atmosphere. Technically speaking the album sounds very good, and I can tell that Maks is a very capable guitar & keyboard player. If I'm reading his messages correctly he recorded and mixed everything on his own, without a backing band, so that is quite impressive.
One especially prominent through-line I heard for the entire album was a lot of classic rock influences. I reached out to Maks to ask him about this, and he let me know that I wasn't wrong:
My biggest influences are a band called Magazine, Japan, Ultravox, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and of course a bunch of bands from the late 1970s punk era
I sort of combined all of them and gave it a swirl in my head and this CD was the result. Mind you, this swirling process took years...!
I'm listening back to 3FT No Diving as I type up this review, and now that I think of it, I can sort of hear a Bowie-like quality in his voice. And at the last minute I'm adding perhaps a little bit of Pearl Jam sneaking in there. Despite all the influences, it doesn't sound to me like he's merely copying styles, but has created his own sound.
For kicks, I decided to listen to a few songs from Maks' influences, starting with Magazine. Fun to hear where his blended sound came from!
Once again you can check out the album at www.maksagency.com. Enjoy!
Going into the show, I had zero expectations - I don't recall ever going out specifically to see a tribute band, so assumed that it was going to be a band dressing up like Queen and playing their music. That's not quite what TUQC delivers. I'll get to that, but first, some group background details.
The band is fronted by Marc Martel, who is apparently quite famous on his own. Based in Nashville but originally from Montreal, Martel gained fame via YouTube when he shared his rendition of Somebody to Love. From what I gather he was hand-picked by Queen drummer Roger Taylor as the winner of a contest put on by Queen bandmembers (I'm fuzzy on the details as to what the contest was for, but I think it was basically to pick a front man for this particular tribute band). All of the rave reviews of Martel essentially boil down to "Close your eyes, and he sounds like Freddie."
The rest of the band is made up of Tristan Avakian (lead guitar, some vocals); Brandon Ethridge (keyboard, vocals); Jason Gianni (drums, vocals); and Mike Cohen (bass, vocals). They all have various claims to fame of some sort but I was most impressed by Avakian, who did an amazing job last night playing lead guitar. I learned today that he was a former lead guitarist for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra - not a surprise given the talent he put on display. There are other rotating members of the band, who play depending on venue and availability.
Getting back to the show itself, it was definitely a high-energy affair. Everyone on stage were having a good time and putting every effort into the songs, and the crowd was definitely engaged. Actually, despite playing a number of the higher-energy hits (including Bohemian Rhapsody) in the first half of the show, the audience didn't break out into singing and dancing until "I Want to Break Free", sung after an impressive opera performance by Martel coming out of the intermission.
The band didn't dress up like Queen, which was pointed out by Martel. I didn't find this distracting at all, and actually preferred it. But they played it straight, and by that I mean they didn't take too many liberties with the source material. They played it as if they were the real band, playing through the set list, trading on and off the stage for effect. I did think that Martel tries a little bit to emulate Mercury in more than just singing style, but he made it his own thing. I think also the band was limited a little by the size of the stage, so didn't have too many crazy theatrics.
All in all, anyone could take Queen's music and make a playlist out of it. What The Ultimate Queen Celebration does is put an element of performance into it and deliver an engaging, fun show. It ends up being a little more than just playing the music. Great show, I recommend it if it's in a town near you!