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Faves of 2017: Erik Foster, Dirty Sidewalks


Dirty Sidewalks were formed in 2010 by singer/guitarist Erik Foster, his brother and lead guitarist Evan Foster (also founder of Surf Garage rockers The Boss Martians), longtime friend and bassist Evan O’Neil, and drummer Aaron Nicholes. The band plays anthemic tunes informed equally by ‘80’s college rock, ‘90’s Britpop and ‘60’s pop harmonies. The band is set to release their debut album, Bring Down The House Lights, on January 12, 2018 via No-Count Records (Cobraside Distribution).
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Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Books for Music Fans

So many music books, so little time. Depending on what the sounds that person in your life loves, there’s a ton of great books out there to choose from this Holiday Season. Here are a few of our favourite selections:

Sticky Fingers

Sticky Fingers: The Life and Times of Jan Wenner and Rolling Stone Magazine – Writer Joe Hagan had unprecedented access to the founder and publisher of Rolling Stone Magazine, and the end result didn’t please Jann Wenner at all. Lots of sex, drugs and rock and roll, and comments from the rock stars that Wenner himself loved to hang around with. It’s all happening in this book.

Bon

Bon: The Last Highway: The Untold Story of Bon Scott and AC/DC’s Back in Black – With the passing of AC/DC founding member and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young just a few weeks ago, reading about the band’s original lead singer Bon Scott has become even more fitting. Jesse Fink delves deep into the lore of the Thunder from Down Under, Bon’s influence on the band, and his tragic passing at the age of 33. Read the rest of this entry

Faves of 2017: WHIMM


For the past three years, Toronto’s WHIMM have brought the searing intensity of their live performances to stages across North America, honed through touring. Singer/guitarist Mounir Chami, bassist Andrew Matthews, and drummer Jonathan Pappo create ominous, emotionally charged avant-rock fusing spellbinding melodies with an urgency akin to 1980s anarcho-punk. WHIMM’s debut, A Stare Ajar, was released by Pleasence Records on October 27.
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Faves of 2017: Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco, De Lux


De Lux started in 2013 with the ridiculously catchy single “Better At Making Time.” The L.A. disco-not-disco duo established their sound on Voyage and then furthered their identity with the revelatory Generation. De Lux’s new album, More Disco Songs About Love, will be out January 19, 2018 from Innovative Leisure. The first single is “875 Dollars.”
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Faves of 2017: Walter Schreifels, Dead Heavens

Dead Heavens is the psych-rock project of guitarist and frontman Walter Schreifels (Vanishing Life, Gorilla Biscuits, Rival Schools, Quicksand, and more), Paul Kostabi (Youth Gone Mad, White Zombie, Psychotica), Drew Thomas (Youth of Today, Bold, Into Another), and Nathan Aguilar (Cults). Their debut album Whatever Witch You Are was released June 16 from Dine Alone Records.

Guided By Voices, August By Cake
The Feelies, In Between
Bonobo, Migration
Ride, Weather Diaries
Kendrick Lamar, Damn
The Fall, New Facts Emerge
Cults, Offering
Aldous Harding, Party
Code Orange, Forever
Feist, Pleasure
The XX, I See You
Slowdive, Slowdive

Faves of 2017: Writer and Director Izzy Lee


Izzy Lee has directed several award-winning short horror films, including Innsmouth (available to watch on Shudder); For a Good Time, Call; and Rites of Vengeance. She has also written several short stories for various anthologies. For more about her work, check out her website, Nihil Noctem Films.
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Faves of 2017: James Lindsay and Paul Lawton, Pleasence Records


Pleasence Records is a Toronto-based record label owned and operated by James Lindsay and Paul Lawton. This year the label has released albums by Moon Eyed, Fake Palms, WHIMM, and more. For a look at their full list of releases, visit their website or follow them on Twitter.
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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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Let Us Now Praise Noise: November 18, 2017

This week: John Carpenter, All Pigs Must Die, Cable, Low Estate, Amenra, True Ghouls/Sea Ghouls

John Carpenter, Anthology; Movie Themes 1974-1998: Available now (Sacred Bones Records)

There’s almost nothing more synonymous with John Carpenter’s film than the music he composed to accompany them. Is there any score more famous, recognizable, and chilling then his theme for 1978’s Halloween? It evokes a response even if you haven’t seen the film. What about the creeptastic music for The FogAnthology is a career-spanning 13 tracks, and while that doesn’t cover every film, every film covered is gold. I don’t have a record store nearby and had to order my copy; Amazon has the CD for $11.99 and the vinyl for $17.99. Carpenter is currently touring North America (fingers crossed I get to see him).

All Pigs Must Die, Hostage Animal: Available now (Southern Lord Records)

All Pigs Must Die satisfies my taste in the more extreme end of hardcore/metal, where I tend to get weary fast, but Hostage Animal has a staying power that I’d equate with newer Napalm Death. As intelligent as it is brutal, Hostage Animal is fierce, well-produced, dynamic and doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Cable, It Cost Me Everything 1994-1995: Available now (Atomic Action)

The Rockville CT four-piece Cable exploded out of the gates in 1994 and would go on to be an important name in East Coast metalcore. It Cost Me Everything brings together the early, rare, and out-of-print recordings from the band’s infancy and it’s nothing to sleep on. The abrasive emo/noise/hardcore sound will appeal to fans of groups like Unsane.

Low Estate, The Covert Cult Of Death: Available now (The Flenser)

I covered Low Estate’s single, “The Rope,” two columns back and now the whole album is available for purchase (highest of recommendations) and you can preview it over at Metal Sucks where they’re streaming the entire album. Low Estate mix black metal and ’90s hardcore in an intoxicating cocktail of metal bliss.

Amenra, “Children Of The Eye” music video, directed by Wim Reygaert, from Mass VI: Available now

Produced by Billy Anderson, who previously worked with Neurosis, Cathedral, and Sleep, among others, Belgium’s Amenra unleash their newest album Mass VI, an emotional slab of blackened doom that has moments of real beauty. Accompanying the album is a gorgeous, scary, ritualistic video for the single “Children Of The Eye,” directed by Wim Reygaert. It starts slow and quiet, but builds dramatically.

True Ghouls/Sea Ghouls, Some Ghouls split EP: Available now (Blank City Records)

Both True Ghouls and Sea Ghouls hail from Los Angeles and teamed up for this very cool split EP for a Halloween release. It’s available on vinyl and digital with great cover art that’s a send up of the Rolling Stones’ Some Girls LP. You can stream True Ghouls’ “Muscles and Bugs” at New Noise and Sea Ghouls’ “Warren” at Ghetto Blaster. True Ghouls give us a John Carpenter-esque trip hop while Sea Ghouls give us more rootsy rock, providing a nice balance of sounds and influences that work well together.

 

31 Days of Horror: Lift Your Halloween Spirits with a New Video from Belle Ghoul


Belle Ghoul’s Bandcamp notes that they hope to “provide a part of the soundtrack to your life.” The band’s latest video, for the delightful track “Lift Me Up,” is perfect for the Halloween season.

It’s a ridiculously clever and charming homage to silent films, puppetry, and one of Halloween’s all-time heavyweights, Count Dracula.

Belle Ghoul is comprised of Christopher Tait, Jesse Paris Smith, Matt Van, Zach Shipps, and Mike Alonso.

For more info on the band, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/belleghoul/

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