Diplo and Zedd produce songs for The Biebs

It has come to my attention recently via a tweet from Zedd that he has had a hand in producing a song for pop super-star Justin Beiber called “Beauty And A Beat” that features Nicki Minaj.

For those of you don’t know who Zedd is, he is an electro house producer. Currently his single “Spectrum (ft. Matthew Koma)" is currently #1 on the Beatport’s Electro House charts and has been since the week of its release (which was about a month ago now). So in the electronic music community the dude knows what he is doing. When I caught wind of this that he produced this Beiber song, I was shocked and confused. Then curious. So I pried myself out of that weird part of youtube for a few minutes to have a listen…

Well, it definitely has that signature Zedd sound. I can really appreciate the little bit at 1:14.  But (and I seriously went into this with an open mind), I have a hard time listening past the vocals of the teenaged pop sensation. (The parts where he says “eh eh eh” at 0:28 and so on especially grind my gears.)

A couple days later, a post on tumblr by some Belieber* caught my eye when I noticed that my favorite DJ/Producer Diplo helped to produce “Thought Of You”, the 9th track on Bieber’s new album called Believe.  I was frightened. Because I knew I had to listen to it. I psyched myself up, accepted that I would most likely face more of the vocals that irritate me, and checked it out…

This song sounds kinda tribal with really heavy synth bass as expected from Diplo, who is also the man responsible for creating Major Lazer. The song is clean and features smooth transitions between melodic breakdowns and upbeat dancehall riddims**. If you can bear the stretch of “you-hoo-hoo’s” and the other super “popy” singing of this one-boy boy-band it makes a pretty cool song.

These collaborations make me wonder what pop stars will be next to scoop up an EDM legend to make them a song. INB4 Paris Hilton and Afrojack :(.

I’m sorry Justin, but I guess I’m just not ready for what you have to offer this planet yet. Im just going to continue to enjoy my lyricless bass and beats for now.

Hang Loose,

The Leatherman

*a believer/fan of Justin Beiber;   ** Rhythms 

Lady Gaga Vs. Pole

Roger Waters performs Pink Floyd’s The Wall

This was a while ago now, but I thought I’d mention it. This is not really a review of this concert; If anything, this show should be reviewing me!

On my birthday (May 31) this year I decided at the spur of the moment that I would hop on a bus to Winnipeg Manitoba that evening to see Roger Waters’ second show in that city the following evening as he performed “The Wall” (honestly probably my favorite album of all time). I travelled all through the night sitting next to a dude who was smoking joints and popping pills the and had a military issued combat manual in his seat pocket. When I arrived the morning I killed the day by checking out the many tourist attractions of the city and sleeping in various public places as a homeless person would.

Anywho. This show!! It was held in the MTS Centre and the place was sold out for the second night in a row. It was just a perfectly orchestrated show with a great studio band fronted by the vocals of Roger Waters. The show featured mind blowing visuals projected across an actual white-bricked wall that was erected throughout the first act of the concert. For the second half of the show, although the band was mostly behind the wall and out of view of the audience, the show became even more intense as the full-on movie-theatre-sized screen as well as floating pigs and other things kept us all more than entertained. Whatever I am writing here is not doing this experience justice, but i thought I’d give it a try. If you want to know more look up videos on youtube, but even those can not capture the immensity of it all. 

At this point, I think Roger has brought his tour through most of Canada, and is currently touring in the states. He has also announced that he is going to do a very special performance in Quebec City, QC to wrap up the tour with a bang for all those crazy rioters.

Catch this show if you can still if you are a Pink Floyd fan, you will absolutely not be disapointed.  If you are not a fan, and/or you haven’t listened to this album or seen this film, I would highly reccomend doing so as well.

Hang Loose,

-The Leatherman

Burton Cummings kicks off North American tour in the prairies!

-A young Cummings in Hawaii. Pic somewhat related.

Hey folks, I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me. Ive been trying to find more time in my schedule this summer to write on here. (Blah blah excuses blah.)

Anyway, I was down in Estevan Saskatchewan last night, and was lucky enough to take in a show of an absolute Canadian rock and roll legend. The one and only Burton Cummings, former singer and keyboardist of The Guess Who made his first stop of his “Your Backyard” tour last night. “Why Estevan?” you are all asking. Good Question? If you check the other stops on his tour you will see that he is essentially hitting a series of hick-towns. He travels across all of North America and the largest centers he hits are Denver and Boston. But I cant really complain though because he stopped at a hick-town that was pretty  close to the hick-town I live in

On the way there I was a bit nervous that I might not be familiar with many of the tunes he played since he had quite solo career since leaving The Guess Who and that was mostly the material I was familiar with. But I had nothing to worry about. I knew every word of every song played and him and his band hit the nail on the head on every one! Despite being nearly 65 years old, Burton’s voice was still fully in tact and could crank out all the scatting and high notes we all know him for. I think I can safely assume that he went hard tonight in his home province of Manitoba as well. It was an absolutely excellent show and If you happen to find yourself in one of his obscure tour stops it is one you need to take in!

H.L., 

-Leatherman

New Rubiks Music and Video!

Our bros over at Rubiks Music have just released a new video with a collaboration with Merky Waters. Despite the fact Rubiks Music has set the bar high for hip hop in these parts, this song is exceptionally good. I was super impressed by the video too, it doesn’t have that corny, cheap look that hip hop videos can lean towards. But hey, don’t take this from me! See for yourself:

Pretty sweet, hey? Don’t wanna say I told you so… Anyway, if you like what you saw, you should go to Rubiks Music's Facebook or Merky Waters' Facebook and give this shiz (am I saying that right?) a share and a like (also don't forget to give each group's respective Facebook pages a like as well)!

Hang Loose,

Jumbo Shrimp  

Public Service Announcement To All Bros: This Is The New “Call Me Maybe”!

On September 20th of 2011, I’m sure most of you know that Carly Rae Jepsen released the monster jam “Call Me Maybe" to the world. "Call Me Maybe" is still an excellent jam from my waifu Carly Rae, don’t get me wrong, but I think the namesake of her EP, "Curiosity", is going to replace it very soon as the Carly Rae Jepsen song that radios play umpteen billion times. But don’t take it from me, let Carly Rae speak for herself: 

Solid pop hooks and hella catchy, I would expect nothing less from Carly Rae Jepsen. Because I am a white, heterosexual male, I absolutely love free internet porn Carly Rae Jepsen. I whole-heartedly believe that this is the going to be the song of summer 2012 and I am completely stoked! 

Apparently she is just as stoked as I am! 

Album Review: Fur Eel’s Perhaps Another Time

So Fur Eel's long anticipated album Perhaps Another Time and its release package came rolling into my mailbox this weekend, and oh boy, am I excited to give this album a few spins and and a review! Perhaps Another Time is Fur Eel’s sophomore album and is set to be released on June 9th.

Before I share my thoughts on the album, let’s talk about the cover art (shown above). The album artwork (by Vic Roman at FloPrint) strikes me as edgy and modern, but more importantly minimalistic. I mean minimalistic in that the art gracefully portrays the name of the band, the name of the album and a portrait of the members in one simple but captivating picture. This leaves pictures of the band for the leaflet and alternate art for the CD without the exterior of the album looking cluttered and redundant.

I came into with this album with a good mood, but high expectations. As usual, Fur Eel did not disappoint. The album kicks off with a drum beat and a catchy guitar riff that carries the song “Blues”, I feel like this song was a good way to kick the album off as it is only about two and a half minutes long and could almost be used as an intro to “Elephant Summer”. It seems like the type of song that could let the listener know what the band is all about in a short amount of time. “Elephant Summer” starts  with the a horn section and seems to draw more from funk influences than “Blues”. It blends Freddie Mercury-esque vocal melodies fronting a combination of the Jackson 5 and Parliament into a melody that is very easy to get stuck in one’s head (in a good way).

As I was about halfway into the catchy and radio-friendly “Ain’t Got The Time”, I couldn’t help but notice how good the production of this album was. This is saying a lot coming from me as I am VERY nitpicky about production from listening to metal and having to deal with tons of awful production. When I read that it was produced by the band themselves at St. Onge Studio here in Regina, I was even more impressed with the band and the production. It sounds like a professional high-budget album and none of the instuments over-power the others, nor do the vocals drown the band out.

The band slows things down with “Dance”, another Queen-like song that doesn’t really stick out but is not bad by any means and stays true to the band’s funk-pop-rock formula. “Sangria” kicks off with synth and a combination of 80s pop and Queen. The song actually has sort of a Prince feel to it and strays away from pop-funk, it even reminds me of hints from Gaga’s album “Born This Way”. “Smooth City” and “Zoo” brings the winning formula of Fur Eel right back, however. With “Zoo” reminding more of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That being said, I would recommend this song to bassists. The bass in this song isn’t overpowering in this song per say, but the bass spends more time in the pocket than a socially awkward kid’s hand at the bar. “Lies To Myself” takes a turn for the R & B, and does so very well despite the song being fairly short. “Black Mountain” takes another turn in favor of a slower, heavier song. It sounds like there is quite a bit more rock and blues influence on this song than all the other ones with the exception of maybe “Blues”. “The Rhythm” is also a slower paced song with some serious pop hooks. It is another one I would recommend to bassists and funk fans, the heavy bass riff carries the songs rhythm and is complemented by the horn sections and the drums.  The album comes to an end with the song “All Over Me”. This song felt like it drew the most jazz influence out of the album. The horn and string sections where unmistakably jazz, as were the drums. The vocals also reminded me of vintage jazz or the late Amy Winehouse. To complete the jazz ensemble, Karl Valiaho’s sax and Thomas St. Onge’s guitar work fantastically together.

If you are expecting a rating of this album /5 or /10 you are not going to get it. I do not think a person can put an opinion or the amount of enjoyment in music into numbers. If you listen to music based on what number it got out of 10 in a review, then you should go grease your joints as you are a robot. For organic lifeforms that eat, sleep and reproduce (or at least attempt to), I would say that this album is a genre-bending wild ride that has little something for everyone without being insincere or trying too hard. If this seems like something you would enjoy, you can download the album and make donations to the band here. I think the album is definitely worth throwing some money the band’s way and you should if you can! If you think MP3 files are “too digital” or whatever then you can also buy the album on June 9th.

My favourite tracks: Blues, Sangria, Ain’t Got The Time, Zoo

Fur Eel is: Justin Sheppard- Vocals and Guitar, Thomas St. Onge- Guitar, Travis Reshnaur- Bass, James Bellé- Drums and percussion (Additional Personnel: Cheney Lambert- Trumpet, Karl Valiaho- Sax)

Hang Loose,

Jumbo Shrimp                     

Look who’s back! Thats right, about a year after she slammed onto the scene with her hit song Gucci Gucci, the one and only Kreayshawn has graced us with her highly anticipated follow up.

When I mentioned to Jumbo Shrimp that I was going to review this track, he made it clear that I should mention how much he <3’s Kreayshawn. And he’s not alone, I’ve been looking forward to something new from her for a long time, so lets see what “Breakfast (Syrup) ft. 2 Chainz" has in store for us: 

The song greets us with a shitty midrange pitch-bent bass sound that is accompanied by a fake rating screen like you would see before the feature presentation on a VHS movie. We are off to a good start :P.

So, once she opens her mouth, its like she is reading from a grade schooler’s poetry notebook, rapping so slowly with basic-ass words including mostly the names items from the grocery store. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that she is trying to metaphorically tie these food words to the amount of money/drugs she has earned/used in the past year. Especially the perpetual mention of syrup (sizzurp).

*rhymes “breakfast” with “breakfast”*

Oh, I can hear some dude shouting in the background, it must be 2 Chainz… Yep! Apparently the dude was sleeping while everyone else was getting wild in the kitchen. Once he wakes up, he raps even more slowly than Kreayshawn for about 20 seconds until she cuts him off with that low budget synth, and another repetition of the shopping-list hook. 

So all in all, this song is not very good. I can’t really sugarcoat it. But thats ok because she still super-good-looking. I’ll just have to mute it and listen to something good while I watch her and her hot friends eat pancakes and drink Aunt Jemima’s out of the bottle.

I hope this has been informative as well as educational.

Peace out. 

I mean Hang loose.

-The Leatherman

Freddie Mercury’s Return as Hologram

Unless you live on Europa, I am sure you have heard about Tupac’s Coachella “appearance” (I am not going to send a link because you have already seen it) via not-so-amazing hologram technology. Well apparently someone over at the Queen camp got cartoonish dollar signs in their eyes as Freddie Mercury made an “appearance” at the 10th Anniversary of the We Will Rock You Musical on May 14th (also old news). To be fair to Queen, this appearance was for Queen’s musical and the Freddie Mercury ghost did not actually “perform”, just appeared on stage. However, I am predicting many more holograms on the way for different festivals, tours, tribute concerts, etc (For bonus points I bet the next ones on the way will be MJ, Elvis, or Kurt Cobain).

When it comes to this whole hologram business I am definitely against it for a few reasons. Now don’t get me wrong, I realize artists using cheap gimmicks and ridiculous merch to squeeze every penny out of fanboys is nothing new, but exploiting dead artists for money and passing it off as “tributes” really does not sit well with me. Firstly, yes, these people are deceased and have no control over how they are animated, who does their impersonations, or what recordings are used for “performances”. Tr00 music fans are always the first to crucify artists like Ashlee Simpson, Shania Twain, or Jennifer Hudson for lip syncing, but I fail to see how hologram performances are any different. Instead of a human being mouthing along with a prerecorded performance, it’s a Pepper’s Ghost. This a step down from lip syncing in my opinion. At least a person lip syncing is, well, a living person and doing something that requires at least SOME thought, even if it is the same amount of thought required to open your mouth before you put food in it.

I also feel slightly insulted by the music industry because of this. Like do promoters and developers think that I am dumb enough to pay big money to watch hologram performances and get the same experience as watching living, breathing people perform their craft that they have worked so hard to perfect? One of the coolest parts of the concert experience is seeing your favorite musicians in flesh and blood.

Granted, there only have been two instances of hologram performances so far. At the same time, I would be willing to bet my life that there are a ton more on the way. I think in the long run this is going to hinder the music industry, if hologram performances keep coming rehashing the same music over and over how is music in general supposed evolve and grow? Like this shit would not fly anywhere else, imagine hologram Einstein giving lectures at Harvard, or hologram Babe Ruth being in the Red Sox roster for the 2013 season. People need to expand on these artists and create new things. It’s sad that artists die, yes, but we need to mourn healthily and move on.  

Artist who are deceased have to stay that way. I mean yeah, it would be cool to see Ronnie James Dio perform with Dimebag Darrell, but none of it would be real. There are cool and tasteful ways to make tributes to artists, but I don’t think holograms are one of them.    

Hang Loose, 

Jumbo Shrimp 

Australia Government Once Again Being Cool As Shit

So the Australian Military has already sealed the deal for being the coolest fucking army ever, and it seems like the government there is trying to be the coolest too. According to the all seeing and all knowing Blabbermouth, the Australian Council for The Arts just gave Australian death metal band OUROBOROS a $20,000 AUD grant to help the band with their next album which will include a symphony orchestra.

I find it sad that I have never heard of something like this happening in Canada, and if it did there is no hope in hell that it would happen to a death metal band. Even though we have some pretty sweet bands from here. Personally I think that it’s pretty cool that death metal is starting to get some artistic merit as it really is not easy to make and a really underrated genre of music in general. 

As much as I hate giving the “Man there are tr00 artists out there trying to get by and deserve to be famous!” speech, I do think Canada should step up her game in supporting bands and artists of all genres. Sports too for that matter, we need some golds in London!

Hang Loose,

Jumbo Shrimp