Category Archives: Alternative

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.

 

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.

Indians – Oblivion

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I was heading over to the Toronto Islands to take part in the NXNE festival as a stage hand, and in doing so I had to take a ferry. Now I haven’t taken a ferry in quite some time, let alone a ferry to the Toronto Island, but I must say, it was a beautiful scenario, which calls for beautiful music to match. Que “Oblivion” by Danish singer-songwriter Søren Løkke Juul, who goes by the name of Indians. Odd name I agree, but his musical proust exemplifies what I call a Romantic Horror Story.

 

From this years teen summer flick, full of prepubescents sobs and tissue boxes, the “Fault In Our Stars” had one of the best soundtracks of the year. With a line up that includes Ed Sheeran, Birdy, Lykke Li & Ray LaMontagne, little known Indians stuck out like a sore thumb for me. Immensely emotional, magically layered with guitar effects and vocal reverb, and a solid progression throughout; I wouldn’t change a thing.

As I boarded the ferry and tucked my earbuds in place, the serenity I felt while looking out to the water and listening to “Oblivion” was kind of surreal. It took fifteen minutes to get from one dock to the next, but within those fifteen minutes, I knew I was excited for the ferry ride back.

For Fans Of: Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Daughter

PS: Aint gonna lie, Fault In Our Stars was a fantastic movie, so much so I took the book from my girlfriend and couldn’t help but quote the novel. Great Book, Great Movie, Even Better Soundtrack.

Augustana – Need A Little Sunshine

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It’s kind of a drab day here in Toronto, the sky is a little cloudy and the floor is a little wet, most importantly my home town Raptors are down one game in the playoffs. These can potentially be little pieces to a big disastrous day, but why be somber when you have so much to look forward to. My Raptors will bounce back in game two, the smell of wet cement is glorious (well according to my girlfriend *rotates finger at temple*) and from the words of Augustana, you just “Need A Little Sunshine” to wash away the clouds.

“Need A Little Sunshine” instantly woke me up from a palm to chin morning, to a straight back optimistic afternoon. Only a hand full of songs can do that to you; I would include John Mayers “Waiting on the World to Change” and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero’s “Home” to fit the bill. Optimism is hard to come by now a days, so when you get a chance to spread it, I would say what are you waiting for?

“…Got a little bit of faith in the hard times, oh
Got a little bit of shade in the moonlight, oh
Got a little bit of right in the wrong times, oh
Got you and me, we’re alright, oh”

For fans of: John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Joshua Radin

#NewMusicForTheWin

PS. My apologies for video quality, the audio hasn’t come out yet, though the acoustic version is quite amazing as well =)

Arkells – Never Thought That This Would Happen

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For the time being, graduating hasn’t hit me yet. I know this is a start of a new life, a new journey, and where ever I go, it’ll just be the beginning, but the boys from the Arkells said it best: “I Never Thought That This Would Happen“. When ever I speak about school, and about finishing my last exam ever *mind blown*, I always preach patience and if I gained anything from graduating, i’ve learnt that patience…well, it goes without saying.

 

The boys from the Arkells were kind enough to send me a link to their new song “Never Thought That This Would Happen“, right in the midst of my final exam. First off, I LOVE THE ARKELLS, secondly, there is no better way to describe how I feel while I count down my last few hours of education. “Never Thought That This Would Happen” was inspired by a summer festival in rural Ontario called Hillside, where they continue to say “beneath the moonlight, there’s drinking, dancing, and campfire sing-a-longs. This song takes place after all of that, sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning”. Well I can’t say there was much partying or drinking on my part, but the message still stands, after all the dust has cleared, man I never thought that this would happen.

So this is my chance to say thank you to all those people who’ve stuck by me, who reassured me that this is the right decision, and believed that I could do it. From the bottom of my heart I thank you and I promise you I won’t disappoint.

For fans of: Tokyo Police Club, Sam Roberts Band, Yukon Blonde

PS. Thank you Arkells for sending me this tune, and for everyone who is sending me their music, thank you and keep sending =)

 

Coldplay – Midnight

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It’s been a long time coming since Coldplay has released a song of their own, granted there was a teaser of new material via “Catching Fire OST”, but like any and all Coldplay fanatics, one would hope for news of new material of original Coldplay. The boys announced yesterday  that “something new at 0:00 Ulaanbaatar #midnight PH” on their Facebook page, meaning an exclusive premier of their new video/song for the country of Germany. With eerie images of forest, foxes, and familiar faces; all in black and white photo negatives, you can just imagine ones imagination would go haywire. So without further ado, here is the new song from one of my all time favourites:

To say that “Midnight” is different would be an understatement, though Coldplay has hardly shy’d away from being a little different, quirky, and flat out weird. They’re a band of few words, hardly in the spotlight for the wrong reason, and they let their music speak for itself. Coldplay is a mystery to many, and though their popularity and fandom are easy targets for the public to brand them as sellouts, Coldplay merely shrugs it off to play the music they love, fandom or not. I hope you enjoy “Midnight” as much as I did, here’s to new Coldplay in 2014.

For Fans of: Muse, Bon Iver, Keane, U2

#NewMusicForTheWin

Sam Roberts Band – Metal Skin

Sam Roberts Band

Remembering back to grade nine, a young, handsome and much better built me went on stage wearing all black everything, holding a single acoustic guitar. I was taking part in the after school talent show where, despite my love for metal and rap music, I wanted to share a little softer side of myself. I took a deep breath and nervously strummed the C minor chord and played my rendition of Sam Roberts Band Bridge to Nowhere.

I’ve been intrigued by Sam Roberts and his band of brothers for a long time, and with the release of their fifth studio album Lo-Fantasy, they continue their stride of being one of the best Canadian bands of our generation. I was taken aback the first time I heard “Metal Skin”, with its jungle melody in the pre-chorus mixed with some funk and rock, it’s a very ambitious record but I’ve come to love it each time I replay it. I have yet to see this band live on stage, but to see “Metal Skin” or “Bridge to Nowhere” for that matter will definitely be worth it. 

For Fans Of: The Arkells, Bedouin SoundClash, The Tragically Hip

#NewMusicForTheWin

Tokyo Police Club – Hot Tonight

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Honestly, I must say, there is no debate when it comes to Tokyo Police Club. Their sophomore album entitled Champ was by far one of the best Alternative Rock/Canadian Music albums in 2010, and I think all TPC fans can attest. Classic’s like “Wait Up (Boots of Danger)”, “Bambi”, “Breakneck Speed”. Yes, Elephant Shell had it’s moments but when I heard “Hands Reversed” for the first time, with its slow haunting back beat, matched with wide mouthed (meant as a compliment I swear) raspy voice of David Monks, Champ became more then an album to me, it was the coming of age album for the NewMarket Ontario natives of Tokyo Police Club.

After 4 years in the making, including a nine-minute lyrical video of “Argentina (Pts. I, II, and III)“, Tokyo Police Club is back and set to release their third album entitled Forcefield, and to that I say…FINALFREAKINGLY! Tokyo Police Club automatically reminds me of the summer, and their new single “Hot Tonight” couldn’t come at a better time (damn Canadian weather). Answer and response guitar riffs, catchy ooh’s in chorus, that familiar Monk voice, “Hot Tonight” is a short but sweat teaser of what is yet to come.

For Fans Of: Hollerado, Ok Go, The Arkells

#NewMusicForTheWin

PS: ForceField set to release on March 25

Matt Pond – Specks

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I admit, it’s been a while since I posted a song I wanted to share with you. It’s not that I haven’t found any New Music For The Win, it’s just that a little me time goes a long way for a persons’ morale. Better yet, I wanted to be selfish and keep all this great music to myself =). I lie, I missed this, I missed you and it’s comforting to know that New Music is still inspiring as ever. Not to mention that old music you have yet to hear is still New Music For The Win. (How about that for a re-introduction!)

I’ve had Matt Pond‘s single Specks on repeat for quite some time now. I have learned it on guitar and even tried to sing it myself, but trying to recreate Matt Pond‘s uncanny soulful singing is nearly impossible. To have a voice like that sing an upbeat song like Specks, underneath a two chord progression is simply comforting.

(live acoustic version)

“Or when the cardinal chides the moon”, listen to the way he dances with the words, how Matt plays with the pitch, pretty inspiring stuff.

For Fans Of: Ray LaMontagne, Matt Costa, Jack Johnson

Ps. It’s great to be back, please feel free to share new music with me and thanks for all the emails, greatly appreciated =).

 

Imagine Dragon – Who We Are (Catching Fire OST)

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Motion Picture Soundtracks are usually hit or miss for me. Hit being one or two songs you dislike, and miss being one or two songs you actually like; neither of which have original music. Then there are times you come across a soundtrack like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire where you have an arsenal of bands/artist(s) that are asked to write original music for the film. ColdplayOf Monsters And Men, Ellie Golding, Lorde, Santigold, The National, don’t judge me for drooling over this list of all-stars.

Every song off the soundtrack is a hit, but Imagine Dragons’ “Who We Are” was the one that best illustrated the film. Powerful, catchy, kind of creepy and a fantastic chorus gets you excited for the film, which is why it deserves the credit. Here’s to another A-List of bands for MockingJay Part 1 & 2.

For Fans OF: The Hunger Games, Awolnation, The Killers

#NewMusicForTheWin