Review Of Slender Loris’s World Tour (album)

Slender Loris is just one of those bands.
You can’t help but notice and like them. Whether it’s for their style, their politics, (see songs such as ‘H.S.T’ and
‘Christ Was A Guerilla Fighter’ on this album alone), or even the guys themselves; who are friendly as all get out.
World Tour, their second album released the month of their World Tour, (check slenderloris.bandcamp.com or the bands Facebook page for details on where the band will be.), is a spectacular band. It shows the bands growth since Goreos, while maintaining the Slender Loris sounds and ideals.

Track 1: Clear Plastic Bags.

Opening with a quiet primal scream, the band begins to sing ‘get the fuck of this place.’ It’s instrumentation, all gritty guitars and rhythm section; with the lyrics, puts you in mind of a road-trip.

Track 2: New Deal.

A song that swings back and forth between dead quiet and messy, full-band greatness; New Deal speaks of someone who never takes the blame that they are owed.

Track 3: Roadtrip with Lars.

Speaking of trust, Roadtrip with Lars is a Slender Loris classic. Loud instruments, drastic changes in vocals, and proclamations through-out the song.

Track 4: Contrafact.

This track is one where I admit I might be getting something out of the song that the band didn’t intend. You see,
Contrafact mentions running, the sky, nightmares, dead air, and vegetation. To me, it’s a song about the environment
and the consequences of not caring for it. That’s just my take though.

Track 5: SCkillaP

A rallying cry that repeats ‘Fight! Fight!’, this is easily one of Slender Loris’s more Punk Rock tracks. There
are these perfect breakdowns near the end, and the whole song comes together nicely.

Track 6: John 5 Has Too Many Telecasters.

This track begins with a primal drumbeat and leads into this gritty instrumentation. I have to admit, on this
track, I had a hard time understanding the lyrics. But the music is stunning.

Track 7: Milo < Plato.

On Goreos, we got the song Milo eats Plato. On World Tour, the story is continued. ('Spill the blood.')
The backing music is just right, building and weaning when needed.

Track 8: H.S.T.

Taken from Goreos, 'H.S.T' is a political track; speaking of the tax and the consequences that came from
combining the GST and PST. The music is a solid, rumbling undertone; letting the lyrics speak.

Track 9: Pots and Pans.

While a glorious wall of noise plays in the background, 'Pots and Pans' speaks repeatedly of defending yourself.

Track 10: Chemtrails.

Voicing their opinion on the much debated chemical trails, this track is dare I say it; bouncy. Sure it is noisy,
but it has a bouncy spring in it's step.

Track 11: Plug.

With a noisy melody, 'Plug' advises 'Pick Your Side/ Choose Wisely.' With the doo-das in the background, this is
like a Punk lullaby.

Track 12: (not as hardcore as) Dismantle.

The name kind of tells you what to expect with this one. Slender Loris are comparing themselves to the now
disbanded Dismantle and saying they're not as hardcore. The music beats away in the background, again letting the
lyrics speak for themselves.

Track 13: Abcab.

A track that could easily be moshed to, Abcab is, (I think) someone who has had too much to drink. I say this
because the lyrics repeat 'Down boy' and 'Dry it out'.

Track 14: Explicit Version/ Illegal Fire Times.

Beginning strong, then breaking down and going strong again; Illegal Fire Times is another political track. It's
one of those songs that can easily be chanted along to.

Track 15: Rupert Murdoch Is A Sensitive Man.

A song about getting together and changing things, Rupert Murdoch Is A Sensitive Man is a blazing song that makes
you think. The instrumentation matches nicely, blasting furiously.

Track 16: Christ Was A Guerilla Fighter.

Another track that could easily be moshed to, Christ Was A Guerilla Fighter talks about everyone being piled up.
(And more. I just found it hard to catch some of the lyrics.)

Track 17: Futilitarians Must Be Bored.

The heaviest song on World Tour, Futilitarians Must Be Bored is more hardcore than anything. I had trouble with
the lyrics on this one too.

You can download this album for free at http://slenderloris.bandcamp.com/album/world-tour.

*Note: I want to thank Slender Loris. They thanked in their World Tour thank you's, and I am flattered.
Thanks Slender Loris for making such great music!

The 2012 Thunder Music Awards.

I think by now, most people who know me know two things:

1: I have a zine called Thunder.

2: Every year, I compile a list of what I personally think is the best in Ontario’s Punk and Alternative Rock. Whoever wins gets my unwavering support and some kind of candy in a golden wrapper to mark the occasion. (If I had the money for actual trophies, the zine probably wouldn’t exist.)

This was a, pardon my language, a fu*king fantastic year for music in Ontario. Metal, Punk, and much more filled the clubs, streets, and headphones. Whether you were taking in a free show this summer at one of many festivals, or taking in a show in the colder weather, you were sure to be in awe. (I know I was.)

Now, a few things. I’ve added some new categories for this year; I allowed for more ties, and I vow to hand out the momentos. (So bug me if you don’t get your gold-encased chocolate.)

Best Album (Punk) Tie:

Adelleda ‘Let’s Talk About Adelleda’

Born Wrong/ Klein96 Split 10″

Best Album (Non-Punk) Tie:

Gatling ‘Beforemath’

The Barettas ‘The Night Is Young’

Best Album Not From This Decade:

UXB ‘Tick Tock Boom’

Best Bassist (Female): Lindsay Campbell Beaudoin. (Rackula.)

 

Best Bassist (Male): John “Uprise” Kedini.   (The Pre-Nods.)

 

Best Guitarist (Female):Candice Skullian.    (Skullians.)

 

Best Guitarist (Male): Brandon Kummer.     (Web Society.)

 

Best Drummer (Female): Justine Cowie.                                                                                                                                                                                        (The Boys.)

 

Best Drummer (Male): Alex Sallas.                                                                                                                                                                                                (Gatling.)

 

Best Vocalist (Female): Samantha Rutherford.                                                                                                                                                                            (The Boys.)

Best Vocalist (Male): Glen Faulman.                                                                                                                                                                                                (The Steeltown Spoilers.)

Best Musician Who Plays An Instrument Uncommon To Their Genre:

Female: Alisun (no last available) Band: The Saints Are Coming. Instrument: Violin.

Male: Jim Fitzgerald. Band: The Pre-Nods. Instrument: Harmonica.

Best ‘Intense’ Performer: Nathan Ivanco. Band: NOT.

Best Duo: Frankie And Jimmy.

Best Band (All Members Under 25): NOT.

Best Band (That Sounds Like Another Decade): Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans.

Best Band (Mixed Gender): Skatalyst.

Best Band (All Members Over 25): The Steeltown Spoilers.

Best Band (Female-Led): Rackula.

Best Band (Male-Led): The Safety Collective.

Best Band (From Outside Of Hamilton): Armed And Hammered.

Best New Band: The Sketchbooks.

Best Band (Cover Band): The Krumones.

Best Band. (This Year. Period.): Web Society.

Best Song (Tie):

‘Champion’ Adelleda

‘Threat From The Deep’  Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans.

Best Band Name: Nothing Helper.

Best Album Name (Tie):

‘Lets Taco Boat Life’ NOT

‘Summertime Blues’ Wiggler!?! And The Tiny Humans

Best Solo Project (Tie):

Steve Hanson In Transit

Nathaniel Blizzard

Best Reunion:

Razor Eater.

Best Record Label (Tie):

Schizophrenic Records

Rebel Time Records

Best Event: Rebel Fest.

Best Way To Spend A Weekend: At a show.

Best Store (Punk Rock): Crash Landing.

Best Store (Non-Punk Rock): The Button Pushers.

Best Place For Rare Music (Tie):

Hammer City Records

Cheapies

Best Venue (Indoors): Crash Landing basement (R.I.P!)

Best Venue (Outdoors): Gage Park.

Best Festival (Tie):

It’s Your Festival (New Music Expo)

Burlington Sound Of Music

Best Venue Outside The City: The Horseshoe Tavern.

Best Idea: Zines Becoming Widespread Again.

 

Even though they did not win, I would like to thank the following bands/ artists. I’ve been listening to them all year, and I think they’re fantastic. I encourage everyone to check them out!

Stick and Bone

Nanochrist

Weekend Riot Club

T.V Freaks

Thunderdykes

Trampled By Turtles

The Cola Heads

The Stragglers

Paul Federici

Theatre Crisp

The Waterbodies

The Snips

Sondra Du Ville

Snakecharmer

Poison Spur

Gag Order

Bourbon DK

The Safety Collective

Slender Loris

Swords Of Texas

Sailboats Are White

Paper Lions

Senile Feline

Social Club No. 27

Ophelia Syndrome

Mean Tangerine

The Lucky Ones

Gabrielle Papillion

Emma Hill And Her Gentlemen Callers

Greasemarks

Devils Hotrod

Charlotte Cornfield

The Balconies

The Rebel Arms

Alert The Medic

Aetherborn

413s

Hold A Grudge

Nine Eleven

The Dinner Belles

Brixton Robbers (R.I.P!)

Jesse LeBourdais

Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra

Darcy Hepner Jazz Band

Problem Children

Hockey Teeth

Sexbeast

Thunder Issue 12.

(*Note: This issue, and the next few following it, will be with the bands and artists that I did not get a chance to interview at S.C.E.N.E because of my ill health that day. I will indicate when the issue is with a S.C.E.N.E artist, and I want to thank all who agreed to a later interview.)

Paul Federici, from what I can deduce, is a quiet man in many ways.

His guitar work is subtle and acoustic.

His voice is mellow and goes perfectly with the guitar.

And, before music became full-time for him, he completed a Masters in clinical social work.

But sometimes, being an acoustic musician is more powerful than the loudest full band.

Take the song ‘She Is Lost’ from his release Relative Importance. It’s devastating. (In a powerful way. Not a rude, negative way.)

Paul was one of the artists I was supposed to interview at S.C.E.N.E, and I’m very happy he agreed to one over email.

KW: How did you get your start as a musician?

PF: It’s funny, around the time of my cd release show back in January, I had an article written about me and the opening line of the story was: “Paul Federici has a sort of complicated relationship with music.” I laughed when I read it at the time, and though it was quite fitting. My transition to being a musician was far from smooth or typical I guess, and I was, as with most things in my life, a late bloomer. I always loved acoustic music and became fascinated with the guitar. My Dad was a Bob Dylan fan and always seemed to have an old cheap 6 string kicking around the house and I just picked it up one day and was basically hooked. It wasn’t until the end of high school and the beginning of my university years that I actually got into it though, but it quickly became an obsession and I spent countless hours teaching myself chords, progressions, scales, tunings and basic theory. I pretty much spent my entire 3rd year of university strumming the guitar alone in my room trying to piece together cover songs. Music was always a solitary pursuit for me because I had a lot of anxiety around performing in front of others and I felt very insecure, especially with songs that I wrote – I always felt they were terrible and I was way too self-conscious to play them for others. After university I gathered up the nerve to play an open mic night in St. Catharines and after that performance I was offered a weekly gig there, which shocked me. I went on to play cover gigs there fairly regularly, but after a year or so I continued to battle the nerves and self-doubt which led me to stop playing for over 7 years. I ended up completing a Master’s degree in clinical social work, only to find myself burnt out emotionally on the job – and it was only when I bottomed out and realized how unhappy I was that I found music again and decided that I had wasted enough time pretending I was something else.

KW: What made you decide to play the style of music you do?

PF: I’m not sure it’s a choice really – I only know how to write songs from a personal perspective but I definitely want to keep the music as honest as possible. I really hate the notion of a team of songwriters working together to craft a “hit” it just seems so disingenuous and I don’t see the point.  I never try to force my song writing in a particular direction and I try to keep the process as spontaneous as possible. I don’t sit down with a theme or style in mind; I just let the mood dictate where the song goes. But I was always drawn to mellower music and love great melodies and harmonies which I think comes out in my songs.

KW: How would you describe your sound, yourself?

PF: I would describe myself as honest, straight forward, and down to earth – I think I’m a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. I try to be as sincere and genuine as possible and I think these traits come across in my sound as well. I’m not trying to write epic radio singles, I’m not trying to be trendy or sound like someone else – all I’m trying to do is write simple songs that are honest and mean something to me. In addition to that I would say that my songs take on a folk-pop feel, are heavily based on vocal melodies and they often have a  layered feel to them as I try to shape my music using harmonies. I also strive to have diversity in my song writing -I’d hate to be an artist where people say “oh, if you’ve heard one Paul Federici song you’ve heard them all” and I’ll often use a variety of alternate tunings to elicit different sounds and atmospheres.

KW: You are touring alot this summer. Where are you hoping to make some stops?

PF: Yes, I’m trying to make the most of the summer months and I’ve already played shows in a number of cities across Ontario. I quit my job about a year ago to focus solely on music, and I strive to stay as busy as possible so I’m continually looking for new venues to play. Right now  I’m really excited about my upcoming shows in Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal as those are 3 fantastic Canadian cities, but in all honesty I enjoy most places I visit since I like to travel especially when the weather is great. I’d also love to organize and East/West tour!

KW: Your album ‘Relative Importance’ was released back in January. Can you tell me a bit about it?

PF: Well it’s an 8 song project that was recorded at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton, a beautiful church turned studio that’s worked with artists like City and Colour, Whitehorse, and Feist. The album was produced, engineered and mixed by Michael Chambers who has done a lot of work with Whitehorse, and he’s just such a talented guy I feel very fortunate to have met him. I decided to record in Hamilton because that’s where my father was raised and “Relative Importance” is the name of poem my Dad wrote in the 80s that was published in an anthology I found in the St. Catharines Public Library. It’s definitely an introspective, mellow album that explores the themes in my mind when I was quite depressed, and several songs really helped me through a rough time – I think the song “There’s a Reason” really captures that essence of how I was feeling at the time. All of the songs were written in the 6 months leading up to the time we started recording in August of 2011, accept for “Conveniently Yours” which was a song I wrote in 2008. It was actually the first song I had written after a 5 or 6 year break from song writing and I always believed in it, I consider it a turning point for me where I started to have more faith in my writing. If I didn’t write “Conveniently Yours” I’m not sure I’d ever have recorded an album. Since the release of the record I’ve garnered positive media attention, received regular play from a number of college and university stations and on February 21, 2012 “Relative Importance” reached #1 status on the 103.7FM Brock University Radio charts.

KW: What are some of your plans for the near future?

PF: I’m really looking forward to July 24th which is the ceremony for the Niagara Music Awards and I’m grateful to be nominated for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year as well as Male Vocalist of the year – so I’m excited to be part of celebrating music in my home town. I’ll also continue to tour throughout the summer and fall, and when that slows down I plan on teaming up again with Michael Chambers at Catherine North Studios in Hamilton to record a second album. I’ll be holding a fundraiser in Niagara on Saturday October 13th to help raise some money for the project and more information will be coming soon on www.paulfederici.ca

KW: Who are you listening to right now?

PF:

As far as more popular artists go:  City and Colour, Ryan Adams, Feist, Ron Sexsmith, and John Mayer. But I also find myself playing music from a number of independent artists that I’ve played with this year touring like Mike Vial (Michigan), Corey Glover (Michigan),  Aaron Berger (Niagara), Chad Price (London), and James Struthers (Winnipeg).

This issue we would like to thank:

Paul Federici

The City Of St. Catharines

The City Of Hamilton

Everyone who participates in live music, in any way.

Modern Technology.

 

Review Of Frankie and Jimmy At Gage Park.

As part of Canada’s birthday every year, there is a tradition in Gage Park. It’s Your Festival. (It ran this year from June 29th-July 2nd. I went on the 2nd.)

For a long time, it was considered the ‘folky’ festival. (Probably coming from the name Hamilton Folk Arts Heritage Council, the organizers of the event.)

But that’s changing with the New Music Expo Stage. I have noticed in recent years that there has been a lot of exposure for Punk, Alternative Rock, and the like. And I have gotten to see some of my favorite bands there because of it.

This year, one of my favorite duos took to the stage.

Frankie and Jimmy combine Blues, Rock, Folk, and Punk to create something new. All while bringing the past to life.

 

Review:

It may only be two people.

It may only be an acoustic guitar and a harmonica.

But it’s all Frankie and Jimmy needed to give the audience a spectacular set.

Armed with their Blues covers, the D.I.Y ethic of Punk, and their instruments, the duo played fantastically.

They mostly did their Blues numbers, but some of their stuff had a Rock feel to it.

Frankie and Jimmy’s rendition of ‘Freight Train’ deserves a mention. It fitted with the atmosphere, and it was folky and light.

No matter what they were doing, I liked the energy both performers gave off. Both seemed to throw themselves into the music, and that reflected in the performance.

10 out of 10.