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Brandon Voyeur EP – Album Review

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Halifax art rocker Brandon Voyeur‘s Self-titled EP is wily and untamed. Maneuvering not-so-carefully from one crass fuzz song to the next, Voyeur’s wavering voice hits the full range of emotions backed by punchy instrumentals.

Bookended by a robotic voice on “Hello” and “Goodbye” the record distinguishes itself as being exponentially more eccentric than other music coming out of the Canadian East Coast.

10991755_1551777048427641_1116919462243285927_oMixing in elements of spoken word and some electronic vibes, “Introductions” foreshadows a decidedly more abstract take on experimental rock, while upholding some of its characteristically dancey elements. “Kicking and Screaming” sounds like garage noise, in the best way possible. Then if I didn’t know better I would swear that “Rocket Boy” is an Alex Turner track, a calm indie tune with an underlying feeling of anxiety. “Ghost” pivots the album slightly with a slower, jazzy track completed by saxophone and some polished falsetto. “Punk Rock Gypsy Christ” is folk punk at it’s finest, acoustic in tandem with electric and shouting vocals, Michael Jordan Touchdown Pass would be proud. “The Great Big Sigh” is technically the record’s last song; it’s more upbeat and radio-friendly. The sax follows along with the melody making for an interesting layer effect in the chorus.

Brandon Voyeur’s EP is an intriguing exercise in music making. It’s maritime quirkiness and personality meets New York No-Wave prestige with an English post-punk heart transplant. You can “name your price” for the album on Bandcamp and by the sounds of things a lot of time and money went into it’s production, so feel free to be generous.

Catch Voyeur live in Halifax at The Company House on June 21.

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Sperry Alan – Raw With Intent – Album Review

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Last November I drove a buddy of mine from Ottawa, Ontario to Coldbrook, Nova Scotia, I wouldn’t expect you to know where that is but it’s not too far off the beaten path from Halifax, and even a bit farther still from Truro. Afterwards I took it upon myself to drive solo through the Maritimes, I wanted to see, feel, taste, and hear the culture of my country’s eastern most costal cities. It is with that accreditation that I tell you, Sperry Alan is the Maritimes and his pending LP Raw With Intent is what they sound like. Slated for an April 29 release, the 16-track album is the third from John Alan Sperry under the moniker, and it reiterates his position as singer-songwriter-storyteller.

“Discount Fidl’r” starts the journey off with a lively, instrumental track, setting a small town folk rock tone, with hints of punk and also Celtic music woven into the wordless story. “Parade of Love” follows up with an upbeat tune sung in an accent that you wouldn’t be able to place unless you’ve heard it spoken at its origin. “Sing On Chorus” has an interesting staccato vibe that hears voice and guitar convey their thoughts simultaneously. “The Scholar” is a stand out for catchy chorus and instrumentation that veers more into the alternative side of the musical spectrum. Followed by a track that sounds like Dallas Green could have written it, “Roger’s Waters” brings a lap guitar-laced interlude for the listener’s delight.

“Old Friend” is my favourite tune of the bunch with a big acoustic guitar sound, the tone of which teases Jimmy Page at its most complex peak. “Birthright” will surely make it’s way into Maritime folklore as praise is heaped onto the “lively island” and instrument strings tease pastoral values. “Wake Up Alive (Wim Hof)” rewards the listeners for sticking it out to the end with an introspective track sporting voice samples. Finally we say goodbye to Sperry Alan with “Chin Up” and even after 16 songs you still can’t help but want more. The finale track brings in just a touch of sax, almost haunting the song as the album winds down to its final notes.

After listening to the record I feel like I’ve had a beer with John Alan Sperry (or maybe some Nova Scotian rum) and the next round is on me. Sperry Alan’s Raw With Intent is a beautiful example of someone who knows his or her own limitations and can successfully self-produce an album. It doesn’t sound like the music industry, it sounds like home.

THE SCENE


Charlie A’Court announces tour with UB40 in Australia

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Atlantic Canada’s own Charlie A’Court will be opening for UB40 on their upcoming nation-wide tour in Australia. A’Court will hit the road Down Under with the legendary UK-based UB40 for 10 shows running November 12 through to November 28.

The Truro born, Halifax based A’Court has toured regularly in Australia over the past several years and has been there since mid-October on a tour designed to coincide with the Australian release of his 2015 ECMA Blues Recording of the Year, Come On Over. The current tour has already seen him perform at The Wigham Akoostic Festival, Sydney Blues & Roots Festival and opening an impressive string of Australia dates for American boogie-blues legends, Canned Heat. A’Court’s upcoming dates include solo performances at a variety of prime venues, along with several high profile showcases during the inaugural 2015 Australia Music Week.

Australian record executive Robert Rigby, founder of Ambition Entertainment and Fanfare Records, recently signed Charlie A’Court to the Fanfare label for the October 30 national release of Come On Over.

Recorded at Blackfoot Sound Studio in Sydney, Australia, Come On Over features eight new songs, and a fresh take on two of A’Court’s previous releases – “Broken Man”, co-written with Jamie Robinson, and “I’m Sorry”, co-written with Kim Wempe – and this time around features a soulful vocal duet with Australia’s Mahalia Barnes. The album title track and lead single, “Come On Over is a co-write with Australian musician-producer, Mark Lizotte, a.k.a. Diesel, who was in the producer’s seat for A’Court’s entire album. The pair first met when both Charlie A’Court and Diesel showcased at the ECMA Conference in 2013. They quickly acknowledged their shared influences and stylistic similarities, and their musical partnership was further enhanced when A’Court was invited to tour as support on a series of Diesel concerts in Australia that same year. During their time on the road together a creative synergy evolved, and the rest, as they say, is history. “Come On Over” (the single) received solid support at radio in Canada, including reaching the number one spot on the nationally syndicated East Coast Countdown.

Fanfare’s Robert Rigby says “Come On Over is a brilliant album and Charlie A’Court is a true international find. The added involvement of Diesel and Mahalia Barnes on this record is an added treat which should connect this talented Canadian artist with Australian music lovers.”

THE SCENE


Hopeful Monster – Halifax – August 19th 2015

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Who: Hopeful Monster
When: Wednesday, August 19th @8pm
Where: The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street
Ticket: $12/$15

Toronto based pop artist Hopeful Monster plays the Company House this week. Originally from Nova Scotia, Hopeful Monster brings a sweet and melodic style to pop music that is a nice break from the pulsing bass and synth drums of todays pop. This is Scotian pop! Can you dig it? Good, go see em Wednesday.

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Wordburglar – Halifax – August 14th 2015

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Who: Wordburglar
When: Friday, August 14th @9:30pm
Where: Gus’ Pub & Grill, 2605 Agricola Street
Tickets: $10

Alphabet soup enthusiast Wordburglar drops his new album Friday night at Gus’. Its been a minute since the extraordinarily clever wordsmith graced us with new tunes, and you can not only finally hear them live this week, but the admission to the show also gets you a copy of the album. Wordburglar is known for what I’ll call intricate nerd rap. If you’re an 80’s or 90’s kid, every word that spills from his mouth will sound like gospel to you. Dude released an entire album homage to GI Joe’s baddies Cobra for crying out loud! Its a show too good to pass up, so be sure to get out and support the locals.

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