Features

BTW-Little Scream, Lab Coat, Gracie, Avery Raquel, Jules, Jeremy de Freitas, Walrus, Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs, Chris Velan, Baroness, Strumbellas, The Sheepdogs, Fat White Family, Dilly Dally

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

Montreal based twisted pop act Little Scream has dropped “Dark Dance”, latest track from her forthcoming second album, Cult Following, available May 6 in Canada. Alongside previously released “”, “Dark Dance” marks one of the album's most overtly pop moments: an '80s-influenced dance song vaguely inspired by Leonard Cohen's “I Can't Forget” and Margaret Atwood.

Describing the track's origins to , Laurel Sprengelmeyer (aka Little Scream), says, "One night I found myself dancing alone down an alleyway, singing in the dark. The further I walked down it, the further I sunk into my memory until I felt like I might actually step into my past when I emerged on the other side. This song was born there, it starts in the present and each verse moves further into the past. The main loop in the song is from an iPhone recording I made -- it's a very lo-fi gentle thing that I got really attached to, everything else was built around it."

“Dark Dance” follows in the footsteps of the previously unveiled “” in all its emotional heft, and “”, which features a guest appearance from TV On The Radio's Kyp Malone as the voice of a Magic 8-Ball with the power to give eerily specific answers.

Prince and Soul Killing Isolation

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Submitted by Bill King

At this juncture it is difficult getting a read of what caused music pioneer Prince’s untimely passing at 57. Did he stay up 154 straight days – was he addicted to hard core opiates – I suspect we’ll get answers to this and more about the reclusive artist’s other life soon.

Much has been said about Prince’s stage fright and uneasiness around people. I’ve thought about this being a musician who has played a side role in many bands – some front line, others just common neighborhood gigs. There is a strange bubble that slowly wraps itself around those who climb up the tower of success. One top-ten recording can quickly elevate and suddenly all eyes point your way.

I remember interviewing Diana Krall in 1998 and her expressing how intimidated she felt playing in front of a large audience there to see her – a far different setting than hiding behind a piano in a hotel lounge. Suddenly, all eyes on are on you. In fact, examining your every move, the cut of your hair, the fit of your clothes, your mannerisms and possible gaffes.

Barbara Streisand waited 27 years before performing live fearful of forgetting lyrics – Sinatra dealt with the same anxiety. Cher had well placed large screen monitors for lyric security during her last world tour – I saw words scribbled all over the stage when Phil Collins played Toronto a few decades backs – this stuff is unnerving.

Jordan McIntosh: Steal Your Heart Away

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Submitted by Don Graham

Any good chef will tell you the secret to cooking a perfect meal is taking your time; low heat for a longer period of time.  It’s the same with a music career. Slow and steady wins the race. Jordan McIntosh is breaking out big time right now and it may appear to some that he is an “ overnight success” when in actuality he has been carefully making his in the complicated music world; choosing the right people, making the right moves, the right records and touring with the right acts.

Actually Jordan was “chosen” by Canadian industry heavyweight, Jim Cressman of Invictus Entertainment. “I went the Canadian Country Music Awards when they were held in Ottawa as a seat filler. My seat was right up in the front and we caught the attention of Johnny Reid, who was hosting. When Johnny saw me performing at one he mentioned seeing me to Jim Cressman at a meeting they were having. Long story short, Jim called me and offered me a slot on the roster. I believe I was the first artist Jim ever signed sight unseen. So I owe a lot to Johnny Reid.”

I actually first saw Jordan when he was attending the Canadian Music Week festivities at the Royal York in Toronto a few years ago. He was sitting in the concourse area with a couple of sidemen, singing hos songs and saying hello to passersby. “That was an album I had out on Iroc, an independent label. I’m amazed how many people say they saw me there.”

Cashbox Canada Seven Years and Counting

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Seven years ago Sandy Graham, a Canadian music scene veteran with a background in music retail at International Record Store, radio, CJFM, CFCF in Montreal and Records, RCA in Montreal and print, Joey Cee’s Record Week in Toronto, received an offer she couldn’t refuse.

“The famous Cashbox Magazine in the U.S., that was our “bible” in the old days, had started up again in North Carolina and they wanted to expand to Canada. I was approached with an offer to own it outright and immediately said yes, having no real idea of how it would work.” So Sandy set about putting a team together, a team of writers, including herself, veteran Lenny Stoute whose grasp of the indie scene is unequalled, musician, photographer and radio host Bill King, country music songwriter and performer Don Graham, local scene whiz kid  Lee Fraser, Music Industry Veteran Mark Smith, MuchMusic VeeJay Michael Williams and ‘Girl With a Camera’ Pat Blythe. Add in foreign correspondent Iain Patience, Registered Graphic Designer Gillian FitzGibbon (who is responsible for the amazing cover designs every week) and Chris Wardman who keeps the train moving on the website.

BTW Pack A.D., Royal Canoe, Brian Eno, Walrus, Skydiggers, Royal Tusk

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

They're back!! The baddest babes on da block aka power duo Pack A.D. unleashed latest single “So What” in celebration of their signing with Cadence Music. The thing's a blast of calibrated distortion, massive drums and Becky Black's rabble rousing vocals. Perfect Pack A.D. The single is expected to appear on the as yet untitled upcoming album.

The Pack A.D. is one of Canada’s “must-see” bands. Be it a massive stadium or the slightly seedy bar where everybody’s shoes stick to the carpet, the Pack A.D. have owned every spotlight and stolen every show they’ve ever played. Becky Black and Maya Miller are relentless and riveting, playing with the kind of fuck-off freedom that makes everybody in the room vicarious rock stars, even if it’s just for the night.

Shredding and pounding their way through every song, the Pack A.D. swallows you whole inside their fearless Franken-blend of heavy psych-pop/garage-rock. Their lyrics are wild nests, human and complex; darkly funny disclosures about depression, indictments of digital excess, grief-stricken fire bombs, sly crusades against stupidity, all the while refining their own potent brand of aggro-rock. If you haven't heard the Pack, think two UK acts, the contemporary Savages and aggro veteran P.J.Harvey.

TOUR DATES

Proudly Canadian: Ron Nigrini

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada

Ron Nigrini started playing as a teenager in 1965 with a duo called The Coachmen from Toronto. Two years later, Ron was a member of Dan’s Heard. In 1970, Nigrini went solo, touring the coffee house circuit through the American Midwest,Texas, Mexico, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

In 1972, back in Canada, he wrote commercials for TV and radio with Michael Hasek, a singer on A&M Records.  In 1974, Nigrini signed a contract with Attic Records and recorded his first single,  Letters.

Two years later, he recorded his own version of the Oscar-winning song,  I’m Easy, from the movie Nashville.

Catching up with Alexander Mair he had this to say, “Ron was the first artist signed to Attic. He's so laid back that his nickname is "Flash". We were fortunate to find the right song for him with I'm Easy, and had a Canadian hit with it. RCA released it in the US, but the songwriter's version had already charted. Ron is a wonderful guy, and a joy to spend time with...”

Alexander Mair was President and Tom Williams was Vice President and the person who discovered Ron Nigrini.  Al and Tom and I  partners and cofounded Attic.

Roy Roberts Greensboro Bluesman

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Submitted by Iain Patience

When Greensboro, North Carolina soul-bluesman Roy Roberts was just a kid he tried piano lessons for a while but just couldn't suffer the indignity of it all: 'I'd be sitting playing and it felt sort of '……a girls thing' to me, If you know what I mean. I'd be able to hear my buddies outside in the yard playing and hollering, having a great time. So I gave that up,' he explains.
A few years later, however, the young, budding musician discovered guitar, taught himself how to play and was out on the road gigging, a jobbing musician with a hunger to learn and develop as fast as he could. 'I think I was about 18 years old when I went out on the road,' he recalls, 'playing with Stevie Wonder, then known as Little Stevie Wonder.' And Roberts was still a young guy when he first met up with a guy who was to become his professional music mentor, taking him under his wing and teaching him the musical ropes - the late Solomon Burke.

'I joined Solomon's band and he sure took good care of me. I was always, and remain, the kind of guy who plays what is wanted of me. I don't do none of that "…..I only play what I want to play stuff," like lots of the guys around these days. If they're paying, they get to call the shots,' he says, with an evident disdain for the shameless self-promotion of many younger sidemen and band-members these days.

Otis Blackwell Great Balls of Fire!

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Submitted by Bill King

When you piece together the history of contemporary North American music, you discover composer/pianist Otis Blackwell is the rightful owner of the title, King of Rock 'n 'Roll. Throughout years, Blackwell's hit songs have been recorded by Elvis Presley - 'All Shook Up, Don't Be Cruel, Paralyzed, Return To Sender, Please Don't Drag That String (Around), One Broken Heart For Sale', Jerry Lee Lewis 'Great Balls Of Fire, Breathless, Let's Talk About Us', Little Willie John and Peggy Lee 'Fever', Dee Clark 'Just Keep It Up' and Jimmy Jones, Del Shannon and James Taylor, 'Handyman'.

I caught up with the mystery man in Nashville in 1987. Blackwell was walking about placing promotional flyers on tables. I just happen to witness and out of curiosity take the last one. After reading, I approached the humble man and asked if one day I could interview him. Bill King: You've been in the studio working on some new projects. What type of sounds are you recording? Otis Blackwell: Actually, I've been finishing up three albums. I'd been in Nashville recording and a fellow in Baltimore is helping me start a little record label. How is it up there?

B.K: Warm and rainy.

O.B: It's been raining like crazy here.

B.K: It can be a problem year after year in southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee. After the drought of '88, this must come as a surprise.

O.B: It's definitely a wet one.

Alex Fisher Keepin’ It Real

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Submitted by Don Graham
CD Photo Credit: Meghan Herrington
Photo: Pat Blythe A Girl With a Camera

Real music, real passion, real songs, the real deal. Alex Fisher can say yes to all of the above. “I know I’m just starting my career and still have a long way to go and still have to prove myself but I’m trying real hard to build on a solid foundation. And I’m building from the ground up making sure there is honesty to my music, both in my songwriting and my delivery of the songs. I think one of the hardest things for a young artist to do is find his or her own identity, to not try and sound like anybody else and just be themselves.”

BTW- Old Man Luedecke, Viva Non, Unseen Strangers, Basic Nature, Highs, A Rebel Few, Ron Chapman, Blue Goose

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

While Old Man Luedecke spent last winter in his backwoods cabin recording studio working on his latest record, Domestic Eccentric, this winter he left the confines of that cozy shelter for the highways of Canada, playing a string of tour dates. Spring is here and he is once again touring a JUNO Award nominated album, returning to Toronto for two dates on April 13 and 14 at Hugh’s Room with Tim O’Brien. To give viewers a glimpse of all that he leaves behind, Old Man Luedecke recently revealed a video for “Chester Boat Song”, filmed at his Chester, Nova Scotia cabin, in the heart of a cumbersome East Coast winter. “Let this video be a warning about how much snow we had in Nova Scotia when we made the album!” he claims.

Since then, “it's been a great year of touring and album making.” Recently, Luedecke was the recipient of a Music Nova Scotia Americana/Bluegrass Recording of the Year Award for "I Never Sang Before I Met You" and got invited to go play banjos and have dinner with Steve Martin, “which I haven't recovered from."

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