All posts by Jay Leung

About Jay Leung

Drummer, Blogger, Music Lover

The Lumineers – Ophelia

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You remember these guys right? They took the music world by storm with their non-stop touring, constant use of trailer music and their number one hit “Ho Hey“. Well this folk based band from Colorado is back and it didn’t take long for their fans to fall in love with them again.

Ophelia” is the bands first single off their upcoming album Cleopatra (set to release on April 8th). The song begins with a soft crescendo of claps and rim shots before lead singer Wesley Schultz swoops in with his monotone raspy voice and booming piano chords. The most charming part about Ophelia is its simplicity, much like Ho Hey, where The Lumineers never overwhelm their listener with massive production or over analytical lyrics. Piano fills that play along with the lyrics and the adjoining bass guitar near the end exemplifies the song’s allusive charm.

“Ophelia fills the audience ears with soul and their hearts with love, giving them more reason to be excited for their upcoming album Cleopatra. I for one am going to learn this song on the piano, expect a plethora of covers =).

Similar artist: Of Monsters and Men, Edward Sharp & The Magentic Zeros, The Strumbellas.

 

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Leon Bridges – Coming Home

Leon Bridges

It’s an incredible feeling when you can be transported back in time with music. Sure you can play some soulful Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, or some Dianna Ross & The Supremes and instantly think of the 60’s, but to be transfixed by soul with modern day music; now that’s quite a feat.

Leon Bridges (his name even brings you back) captures that exact tone and feel of the early 60’s. His soulful melodies, punchy vocals and all around groove gives us a chance to pay homage to the artists who did it best. His single “Coming Home”, from his debut album of the same name couldn’t be more 60’s even if you tried. His style is romantic, but not to be confused by the “romanticism” that is played in today’s R&B (turned to instant sexy time). It’s the effort of trying to be a “Better Man” for his baby, or simply telling the story of his mother from New Orleans, without any care of rhyming schemes or structure. It’s Romantic, easy going, it’s comfortable, like a warm blanket of soul (is that weird?)

I haven’t even mentioned his smooth swinging back up band, full of Doo-Wop vocals, subtle brass and bass, and that groovy drum kit that plays just a tick behind the beat, matched with a live recording on vintage equipment and tape…Can I Get An Amen.

Similar Artist: Sam Cooke, Ray Lamontagne, The Temptations
Leon Bridges will be playing in Toronto at Danforth music Hall on October 23rd.

2nd Son x Allie – All For You

All For you

In the midst of all the snow, slush and god forsaken wind shield fluid that does more damage then good, all we need is just a little break; a glimpse of summer that seems to be an eternity away. Insert the duo of Toronto producer 2nd Son and soul queen prodigy Allie to give their rendition of what it’s like to walk in the sun again.

After releasing their EP “Strange Creatures”, which garnered a handful of local and national gigs (NXNE, CMJ, Manifesto), 2nd Son x Allie bring us another soulful collaboration that makes you move and warms your soul. The hand-clapping snares, dream like synths and punchy beats from 2nd Son, along with Allie‘s every so soulful vocals allow us to dream away the cold and walk along the sand, despite all the frost bites.

It may be a little while until we are graced with a full length LP from this dynamic duo, but until then, bundle up, grab some cocoa, press play and let your ears do the warming.

Lord Huron – The Night We Met

The Night We Met

Lord Huron‘s music is very dear to my heart, I’ve listened to them during the best of times, and definitely during the worst, never the less they’ve been there when I needed them the most. After stumbling upon their music on NoiseTrade back in 2012, I thought they were the best kept secret, and I was the only one in on it, which was true…for about a month. I witnessed their popularity grow substantially, but with a grain of salt. As a fan, I’m glad people have joined in and immersed themselves in the dream like spaghetti western sounds of Lord Huron, but to me, they’ll always be a best kept secret.

Since their release of Lonesome Dreams in late 2012, they’ve been a 5 man wrecking crew. Touring from city to city, jumping borders, all without skipping a beat. I was ecstatic to hear about their second LP Strange Trails and their new release “The Night We Met”. Ok…that’s a lie, I was nervous, reluctant to believe their new music would live up to the callipre of “She Lit a Fire” or “The Strangers” for that matter.

But I was pleasantly surprised when I heard the high pitched harmonies in the intro, the point at which all instruments collaborate, and the all familiar sounds of running water. Even with all the commercials, trailers and the radio killing Indie 88, in the end, Lord Huron will always be a best kept (not so) secret of mine.

Slipknot Top 10 – #5 “Eyeless” & “Wait And Bleed”

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#5 was extremely hard to choose from, so I opted not to and chose both Eyeless Wait And Bleed. Both songs are prolific bangers with only one thing in mind…Destruction! Eyeless begins with a scratch track from Sid, which then whirls into a guitar screech, massive drums then Corey’s scream. But the most compelling part of Eyeless is the chorus: “You can’t see California without Marlon Brendo’s EYES”. Rumour has it that a homeless man was screaming and repeating this phrase over and over during their time in California. Significance? I have no idea; but hell, it works. Or you can just skip to the 3:28 mark to understand my love for this song…

And then comes Wait And Bleed, the counterpart of Eyeless off their Self-Titled album. This One-Two punch of Eyeless Wait And Bleed is a unbelievable combination of heart pulsing grunge metal, while Corey punctures another fascinating chorus that takes precedence over the rest of the song. Eyeless holds you up and Wait And Bleed knocks you down, both working in tandem to give you as much chaos as possible.

# 4…Coming Soon

Slipknot Top 10 – #6 “Vermillion”

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 4.01.30 PM This was kind of a no brainer for me. Vermillion is the kind of song that either hits you hard or not at all, and trust me, it hit many of us maggots hard; but by surprise. As soon as Vermillion was released off Vol. 3, with its creepy three key introduction, automatically we thought; “Oh crap a musical ballad by Slipknot“. Instead, we were treated to a tremendous story told through heavy guitar strums, creepy synth samples, hollow screams, and what sounds like a xylophone at the end. This was a very mature release by the knot, and possibly the most commercial.

Though commercial is not necessarily a bad thing. They set a very high bar with their first two albums, and I believe Vol. 3 was more directed to the fans…us, the maggots. Vermillion may have gotten a bad rep for its slow progression and use of melodies, but the sheer creativity and haunting of Vermillion gave me a good understanding of how far Slipknot has come. Vol. 3 was a coming of age album and Vermillion was the proof.

# 5

Slipknot Top 10 – #7 “Disasterpiece”

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This has to be one of the most brutal, malevolent, grotesque and vicious songs I’ve encountered with Slipknot. For one, the title “Disasterpiece” is fantastic, so much so that they even used the same name for their Live DVDSecond, Corey Taylor uses the lyrics “Noises, noises, people make noises, people make noises when their sick” for the chorus. Third, the epic concluding break down at the 4:48 mark…

And finally, the note at the end of the song isn’t a scream, a lyric, a drum hit or even a guitar strum. Instead, my best guess is Corey dropping/throwing his headphones at the mic during his recording session in the vocal booth. There are so many reasons why “Disasterpiece” deserves to be #7 on my list, though the main reason is the sheer emotions evoked in the song.  Emotions were running very high during the recording of Iowa. In fact, Corey has said that Slipknot will never do a album like Iowa again. Reason why? “Because it almost killed us”.

# 6

Slipknot Top 10 – #8 “Duality”

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After a little hiatus prior to their third studio album, Slipknot wanted to revitalize, reinvent and reintroduce themselves to the world; not like we needed any reminder. Vol 3. The Subliminal Verses was one hell of a comeback, but “Duality”, their first single off the album was the true catalyst to an already exploding popularity of Vol 3.

“I push my finger in to my eyes” seems to be the theme of the song, which is also known as the sing-a-long part during their live performances. Yeah, you read right…a freaking Slipknot sing-a-long section. As if there wasn’t enough hype surrounding the band’s comeback after the release of “Duality”, their music video surely pushed everything over the edge. Think Zombie Apocalypse with a little bit of Slipknot…or is it the other way around?

9 band members, 100’s of maggot fans, and one sad excuse for a house equals and insane music video. Reintroduction? Hell no! Slipknot was just waiting for the right time to kick our ass again. “I Push My Fingers In To My…EEYYYEEES” \m/\m/

# 7

Slipknot Top 10 – #9 “Vendetta”

Slipknot Vendetta

Myself, and millions of other Slipknot fans were truly disappointed with the departure of former drummer Joey Jordison, also known as #1. It’s been said that Joey decided to leave the band in order to continue his career with his second band Scar The Martry; yet other reports suggest that Slipknot collectively agreed to kick Joey out. Regardless of the rumours, fans and maggots alike were left in shock and disbelief of the news, that the heart and backbone of the band is no longer part of the Skipknot equation.

All Hope Is Gone, the knot‘s fourth studio album may have been my least favourite of the four, comparing to classics like Iowa and their self titled. But with their headbanger chant known as “Vendetta”, this song alone restored my faith in Slipknot. Beginning with a ridiculous drum solo leading off to a mantra of double bass kicks and killers snare hits, and don’t forgot that strategically placed China, Joey somehow makes a standard metal beat into a gem. “Vendetta” may be a surprise to some to crack the top ten, but I thought this was a sure stand out to a mediocre album. It is an honest and horror ridden song, which makes “Vendetta” my #9 as we say so long to #1.

# 8

Slipknot Top 10 – #10 “Spit It Out”

knot spit it out

“Spit It Out” off their debut album may not be worthy of a top 10 position on its own, therefore I am referring strictly to their live performance of this song. Each time I have attended a Slipknot show, the Knot reserve “Spit It Out” for something they call the No Bullsh*t, or what I’d like to call a glorified audience participation of                       DESTRUCTION.

If you’re not a fan of rap and metal, which I agree is an odd combination, you can skip to the 5:00 mark of the video to witness the phenomenon. Front man Corey Taylor, also known as #8, advises the audience to get down on one knee during the guitar breakdown. Just think about it! Tens of thousands of ruckus metal heads crouching down to their knees, just waiting for their chance to erupt. Corey toys with the crowd and “Not until I say Jump the F*ck Up” were they allowed to go crazy; and crazy they went…trust me, I was there.

I’ve been through and seen some crazy shows before, but to be a part of this crowd, to witness what happens during “Spit It Out”, nothing comes remotely close to being as crazy. Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it…*shivers*…ok, on to the next one.

# 9