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Category Archives: music review

Sean Plummer Watches Gary Numan Meld the Present and Past in Toronto

gary-numan-2017-tour-dates-savageGary Numan occupies an unique space within pop culture. The electronic music pioneer made his biggest dent on the mainstream back at the dawn of the ’80s with the synth-driven single “Cars.” It was a worldwide hit that topped singles charts here in Canada and his native UK, and remains the song by which most people known him, if they know him at all.

But a long fallow period followed Gary Numan’s early ’80s peak, one that arguably ended only with the dawn of the millennium, when he shifted musical gears to make darker, more industrial work. It was a move, cynics might say, designed to capitalize on revitalized interest in his work thanks in part to Nine Inch Nails main man Trent Reznor’s loud fandom. (Reznor has recorded a cover of Numan’s 1979 single “Metal,” and, in recent years, has brought his hero on stage with NIN to perform it and other of his songs live.)

But it is hard to believe it was nostalgia alone that allowed Numan, on tour to support his new album Savage, to sell out Toronto’s Opera House. Granted, many of the fans packed in front of the stage this past Friday night suffered from male pattern baldness (an observation made from the venue’s busy top balcony), indicating the age of their own fandom. But a significant proportion of the Numanoids in attendance were of both genders and were obviously born long after both ‘Cars’ and the ’80s. And while recent Numan tours have seen him milk nostaglia’s teat, performing early albums Telekon, The Pleasure Principle, and Replicas in their entirety, Numan here chose a set list that cannily balanced his recent catalogue with the classics.

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Zola Jesus Frees Herself from Constraints on ‘Okovi’

Even if you’ve never heard the name “Zola Jesus” you’ve definitely heard the music of Nika Roza Danilova. It’s been used on several high-profile TV shows including Skins, Grey’s Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, Gossip Girl, and Elementary.
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Cheap Trick’s ‘We’re All Allright’ Proves They Are Exactly That


Although they may have money, fame, and hordes of adoring fans, it must be tough to be an iconic rock and roll band. Every time they release a new batch of material, they run the risk of sounding either too much like their previous selves, or not enough. Worse still is being confronted with the dreaded “return to form” cliché.

For a band like Cheap Trick, it’s even dicier. To which “form” should they return? The sardonic hard rock of their debut? The bubblegum power pop of “Dream Police”? The AOR of “The Flame”? After over four decades in the biz, they’ve covered a lot of ground, so deciding which direction to take presents an ongoing quandary that I don’t envy.
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Dion Lunadon’s Solo Album Will Blow Out Your Earholes

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

Best known as the bassist and guitarist of A Place To Bury Strangers for the last few years, Dion Lunadon was recently struck with a “neurotic impulse” to record a solo album. The result is a self-titled collection of 11 tracks.
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The Official Popshifter Podcast: Texas Gators, Violent Pornography, and Tales from the Pit

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Biff Bam Pop! presents The Official Popshifter Podcast, featuring Popshifter Managing Editor Less Lee Moore and Featured Contributor Jeffery X Martin.

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JP Fallavollita On…New Order Substance

Each week, one of Biff Bam Pop’s illustrious writers will delve into one of their favorite things. Perhaps it’s a movie or album they’ve carried with them for years. Maybe it’s something new that moved them and they think might move you too. Each week, a new subject, a new voice writing on… something they love.

New Order Substance coverGrowing up, I’d spend much of my summer holidays and even my fall long weekends at my friend Melanie’s cottage on Chandos Lake, just outside the town of Apsley, well north of Toronto.

Melanie was more than just a neighbour. Born three days before me, she was like my (ever-so-slightly) older sister and we grew up together, involved in each other’s lives day in and day out.

We walked together, to and from school, through kindergarten and the elementary grades. Her parents were surrogates to my own. I’d have a bowl of Heinz Scarios for lunch at her house on some days and she’d have a mortadella panino at mine on others. On our street, we played “Hide and Seek” as a team, and she would give me nods and winks in games of Clue so that I could surmise Colonel Mustard, in the library, with the rope. We collected, and played with, G.I. Joe figures together: me with Duke and Snow Job, and her with Scarlet and Lady Jaye. She’d have my back in the odd fist fight in the school playground, and she’d help me pass anonymous Valentine’s Day notes to the girls of my affections in grades four and five. At her cottage we caught frogs together and went fishing off of the dock, then water-skiing, then roasting marshmallows on an open fire. Those days were full and fun days.

Although there was some inherent distance between each other after grade eight by attending different high schools, like all good older sisters, we’d still spend time together and she’d still share some of her discoveries with her “younger brother” when we did get together. One week at her cottage during the early summer of 1988, the summer before grade ten, she shared her newly discovered love for pop music by handing me, along with her Sony Walkman, a white cassette tape projecting the simple, powerful, black font words of: New Order Substance 1987. “Listen to this,” she commanded me. And, as an obedient by-three-days younger brother, I did.

That cassette tape would change my life.

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45 Years of Black Sabbath

A classic album stands the test of time. It stirs an emotion the first time you hear it, and can evoke the same response years down the road. If it kicked your ass the first time, it will kick your ass again even if you haven’t heard it in years. Such is the case with Black Sabbath’s iconic self-titled debut, celebrating its 45th anniversary this month. Read the rest of this entry

Top 5 Albums Of 2014 As Chosen By JP Fallavollita

Leonard CohenIn a year that might well be remembered for one of the worlds largest bands giving their album away for free – much to the chagrin of many music listeners, there’s was plenty of great music to get excited about.

Albums from Ryan Adams, U2, Taylor Swift, Beck, Foo Fighters and many others made the rounds on airwaves, speakers and ear buds in 2014. Still, some albums, some songs were more resilient, more beautiful, catchier and more…”top” than the others,

That’s what this list is for.

A list showcasing the Top 5 albums I heard this year, like I write every year. Here were the albums I played relentlessly. Are any of your favourites on it?

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Lordi – Scare Force One

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Finnish monster band Lordi saw the recent release of their latest album, Scare Force One. This is the second disc from the current lineup of Mr. Lordi, Amen, OX, Mana, and Hella.  Check out the review after the jump.

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31 Days of Horror: Dio Live In London Hammersmith Apollo 1993

If you want to talk about scares during the month of October, when it comes to music, it’s hard not to think of the legendary Ronnie James Dio. From his days in Elf and Rainbow, through to his seminal albums with Black Sabbath and then in his own self-titled band, Dio always portrayed himself as a badass, the Wizard of Rock and Roll, holding the Devil Horns in the air while wailing that unmistakeable banshee wail. Dio may have been diminutive in stature, but when it came to heavy metal, the man ruled over all.

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