Cell Memory / Castle If

Cell Memory / Castle If (Toronto, ON)

Bio Says: No bio.

What they think they sound like: Neuwellen, Krautrock, Experimental, Electronic, Shoegaze

Actually sound like: Lost John Carpenter movie soundtrack.

Honest review: Ice cold Kraut with imaginative, ethereal vocals. To my knowledge, they are the only band in Canada making music that sounds like this. Supercool.

Reverbnation account? As if. This band wouldn’t be caught dead on Reverbnation.

casino

Casino (Montreal, QU)

Bio Says: “It’s with a healthy mix of ambition and determination that Casino formed in 2008.”

What they think they sound like: “Loud Alternative”

Honest review: Casino are one of those bands whose slickness will make your blood run cold. Gross. I’ve gotta go take a shower now.

Reverbnation account? Yep.

Careers in Science

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Careers in Science (Toronto, ON)

Bio Says: “They started passing copies of Michael Azerrad’s “Our Band Could Be Your Life” from member to member, noting that this document of the American hardcore underground in the 80s was filled with bands that stood up for what they believed in and made music that sounded like nothing that came before it, and nothing since. If we can’t nail down a sound that we want, they said, we will shoot for an idea.”

Honest review: For starters, Careers in Science are after my own heart by starting a band by passing around the essential “Our Band Could Be Your Life.” Makes pretty much every other point mute, really. Take note, other bands, a few ideas can take you a long way.

Are Careers in Science going to take over the world? No. But I will go out of my way to see them live, which is more than I can say for practically every band at CMW.

Also: their LP has the following cover art:

Cardinals

Cardinals (Niagara, ON)

Bio Says: “Named after a street walked nightly during long recording sessions, Cardinals has quickly moved from a high school jazz bands simple indie project to a name more demanding”

Sounds like: Young dudes trying to get laid.

Honest review: These kids are so young… they should not be making adult contemporary music. Christ.

Reverbnation account? Not yet…

Candelora

Candelora (Calgary, AB)

Bio Says: “Vivid.The word that perfectly describes the sound of the self-titled debut from Candelora that features melodic guitar riffs that intertwine and dance with one another, thick, overdriven bass, drum beats so interesting and catchy you can’t help but move to and lush vocals with a remarkably cool way of storytelling”

What they think they sound like: Wintersleep, The Gaslight Anthem

Sounds like: Default.

Honest review: Remember Default? I WASTED MYYYYY TYYYME. I WASTED MYYYYYY TYYYYME! Think of a less interesting Default and you have Candelora, another rocking Calgary band making another pilgrimage to CMW in search of fame and glory that will never, ever happen for them.

Reverbnation account? You know it.

Cai.ro

Cai.ro (Toronto, ON)

Bio Says: “All These Colours” will also be featured by Monster/Diesel for the worldwide launch campaign of their new “Vektr” headphones.

What they think they sound like: “the love child of Gotye and Arcade Fire,”

Sounds like: Music made specifically to sell to ad agencies who can’t afford Gotye or Arcade Fire songs.

Honest review: Another band playing up their commercial appeal (specifically: the commercials they have sold their music to). Also, this is the most interesting thing about Cai.ro, who remind me of the colour scheme inside a Tim Hortons.

Reverbnation account? No reverbnation.

Buddy Black

Buddy Black (Toronto, ON)

Bio Says: “With over 18 years of song writing experience, with four records, several films and and musical under his belt, Buddy is well on his way to establishing himself as a formidable, and important songwriter.”

What they think they sound like: Pixies, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Pogues, Social Distortion.

Sounds like: Bad death rock tribute act.

Honest review: Buddy Black’s voice is hilarious. When the horns kick in, it’s a laugh riot. Thanks for the laffs Buddy!

Reverbnation account? Yep.

Bronx Cheerleader

Bronx Cheerleader (Saint Catharines, ON)

Bio Says: “The album’s single “The Art of Dancing” — video directed by Diego Maclean — was used in 2007 on MyNetwork television’s Fashion House (starring Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild), a Fox Television production.”

What they think they sound like: “Canada’s version of The Shins”

Sounds like: Indy-psych done properly.

Honest review: If you are keeping score, we’ve reviewed 40 bands so far, and we’ve only given our seal of approval to one (B-17). Here’s the second, and I’m as surprised as anyone. I’m almost per-conditioned to cringe whenever I start listening to bands on the CMW roster, so I was pleasantly surprised to find tasteful arrangements, good lyrics, decent visuals and an overall sense of cohesion that so many bands are lacking. Bronx Cheerleader are really great.

Now, I still think Bronx Cheerleader are playing a weird game in an attempt to legitimize themselves – my suggestion is for them to lose the novel length bio that brags about selling their music to a Bo Derek TV pilot. Cheapens the whole deal. No one is getting excited about a band because of their licensing deals – quite the opposite. In fact, it might be my biggest qualifier. I’m all for bands making money and I honestly do not believe in selling-out, but I will admit to having built in biases that shoot up red flags when bands try to legitimize themselves this way.

Reverbnation account? Unfortunately.

Broken Ride

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Broken Ride (Calgary, AB)

Bio Says: “In their career Broken Ride has shared the stage with;
• Seether,
• Econoline Crush
• Hail The Villain
• Thornley
• Armchair Cynics
• 54-50

What they think they sound like: “Broken Ride is an exhilarating Canadian Modern-Rock band with emotion driven, passionate, catchy tunes often drawing comparisons to Three Doors Down, Breaking Benjamin, and Three Days Grace.”

Sounds like: Canadian Music Week

Honest review: Looks like 2013 will be the 3rd (4th?) journey to Canadian Music Week for Calgary rawk band Broken Ride. Hate to break it to you guys – but it’s just not going to happen. It will never happen. Why? Because there is already a Three Days Grace, and they are barely holding on themselves.

Genre: Modern Rock Radio

Reverbnation account? Obviously.

Broken Arrows

Broken Aarows (Toronto, ON)

Bio Says: “Fun for the masses..Broken Arrows are slowly but surely causing a new sensation with their brand of captivating music..truly a breath of fresh air on the Canadian Rock landscape.” 

What they think they sound like: “Indie, Pop, Psychedilc, Glam, Alt, Rock”

Sounds like: The exact middle of the road.

Honest review: Honestly curious as to how this band considers themselves a “breath of fresh air on the Canadian Rock landscape.” Because listening to Broken Arrows is more or less the exact opposite of fresh air. Recycled, old air is more apt.

Genre: Radio2Core

Reverbnation account? YEP!

Brews WIllis

Brews WIllis (Toronto, ON)

Bio Says: “Lead Bass player Sammy Vipond spoke of his experience in the studio for the first time, saying “man, it was a blast working with Ben – what a wizard.” He went on to say “Ross had so many bad jokes which slowed things down a bit and Pare was always so sheened! Party”” 

What they think they sound like: Wavves, Smith Westerns, Ty Segall, Jay Reatard, Beach Fossils, Best Coast, Black Lips

Sounds like: Best Coast

Honest Review. Fuck this band. Seriously. Claiming Jay Reatard and Wavves at the same time? Jay would never have been caught dead listening to this shitty band. Ha, even Wavves would be like “this band Brews Willis is WHACK ‘yo.”  Sick Raybans, poseurs. 

Reverbnation account? Yep.

Breaching Vista

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Breaching Vista (Kitchener, ON)

Bio Says: “The band’s catalogue hosts two records, both recorded at Beach Road Studios with Producer Siegfried Meier, whose work has been recognized on the Billboard charts” 

What they think they sound like: Jimmy Eat World, Sum 41, Our Lady Peace, Green Day, Brand New, Bush

Sounds like: Giving up

Honest review: I try to write these reviews in bursts, and as happens everytime, there is a band so awful that I have to stop and take a long break. Breaching Vista are that band today. When a band brags that they “got offered an opportunity to play Canadian Music Week” point to Breaching Vista and say “there is literally zero curation at Canadian Music Week.”

I’m not sure what is worse – the flagrant commercialism, the dated influences or their font choices. All of it is terrible. 

Genre: I quit. Fuck you.

Reverbnation account? Who gives a shit. FUCK.

Brave Little Toaster

Brave Little Toaster (Toronto, ON)

Bio Says: “Established only one year ago, Brave Little Toaster has quickly returned a steam-powered, honest approach to roots rock n’ roll with a hint of weirdness to the Toronto music scene.”

What they think they sound like: “The Sadies, Black Keys, The Beatles, Elvis, Wanda Jackson, and…. every soulful, talented, every influence under the sun.”

Sounds like: Rockabilly night with the girls.

Honest review: The worst thing about Brave Little Toaster is their name. Truly awful. Band is ok though, decent genre work and some honest-to-god potential. They are in no way reinventing the wheel, but I wouldn’t want to kill myself if I was forced to sit through a set. THAT SAID: the likelyhood that I would go out of my way to see this band live is currently sitting at 0%.

Reverbnation account? No.

Boats

Boats (Winnipeg, MB)

Bio Says: “Boats albums give you that thrilling feeling of being on the verge of spinning wildly, dizzingly out of control”

What they think they sound like: New Pornographers, Modest Mouse, Architecture In Helsinki, Grandaddy

Sounds like: In-your-face-Twee

A conversation between bandmates: “We are opening for BOATS next week” “Which Boats?” “The terrible one” “That doesn’t help.” 

Genre: Radio3core

Reverbnation account? Yep.

Bleachers

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BLEACHERS (Calgary, AB)

Bio Says: “Met with a strong response from the local community, including airplay on Calgary’s X92.9fm, blog buzz and packed shows presented by Canadian streetwear stalwarts Lifetime Collective, the band ventured back into the studio to record the 6-song BLEACHERS EP.”

What they think they sound like: The Strokes/Surfer Blood/Cloud Nothings

Sounds like: A Strokes tribute band

Honest review: After “Is This It?” broke in 2001, every band mining this vein (including The Strokes themselves) were sorry to find that there wasn’t much gold in these hills after all. The Bravery anyone?

I guess what I’m saying is that it is now twelve years later and a copy of a copy of a copy isn’t anything anyone should be spending any time with. I’m imagining that Bleachers slick tribute to The Strokes is going to trick a lot of people in Calgary (and elsewhere) into getting excited about them, but it will start to burn a few years down the line with people lining up to tell them “you guys totally remind me of The Strokes” after every. single. show.

Genre: Strokes-core

Reverbnation account? No!

Blackdog Ballroom

Blackdog Ballroom (Richmond Hill, ON)

Bio Says: “Blackdog Ballroom’s performances are high octane celebrations filled with heart and soul delivering an invitation to once again believe in Rock & Roll keeping their ever growing fan base coming back for more!”

What they think they sound like: “an eclectic mix of influence ranging from Pop to Punk, Mod to Motown and Rock to Roll, Blackdog Ballroom have cultivated a distinct blend to create their unique sound.”

Sounds like: Delusion

Honest review: Blackdog Ballroom’s bio features the following pullquote:

“Very tight and well structured, seems like a band who knows what they’re doing!”
— Stuart Epps, Producer – OASIS, Led Zeppelin, George Harrison

Now, there is really no reason to believe that BDB made that quote up, but I think this was more of a backhanded complement. “What did you think” “You guys were tight.” In my world, telling a band that they are “tight” is a nice way of saying that they suck. Which BDB do. They suck hard. Stuart Epps should be ashamed of himself for lying to this band and giving them “hope” that their next big break is “right around the corner.” This whole project just reeks of delusion.

“I couldn’t wait to turn it off!” – Honest Reviews

Reverbnation account? You know it.

Black Mastiff (Edmonton, AB)

Black Mastiff (Edmonton, AB)

Bio Says: “They are not afraid to stray from home and roam the nation; commanding attention, they convert idle listeners”

Sounds like: 1994

Honest review: Remember 1994, when grunge was already starting to morph into the awfulness that would eventually breed Nickleback (etc). Remember 1994 when people were SUPER into Stone Temple Pilots? Relive those awful times at a Black Mastiff show near you!

Genre: 1994core

Reverbnation account? Awesome

Birthday Girls

Birthday Girls (Ottawa, ON)

Bio Says: “Birthday Girls combines distorted bass with synthesizer, live drums, and harsh vocals for a dreamlike sound”

What they think they sound like: Death From Above 1979, Bloc Party, The Strokes, Foals, No Age, and Wavves.

Sounds like: 2003.

Honest review: Remember the dance punk craze of 2003? Birthday Girls sure do, crossing their fingers that their audiences will forget that it is now ten years later.  Might be the only band in the world who would admit to WAVVES being an influence, so points for bravery at least. Avoid this like the plague.

Genre: 2003core

Reverbnation account? Surprisingly not.

Billie Dre and the Poor Boys

Billie Dre and the Poor Boys (Halifax, NS)

Bio Says: “Rock and Roll. High Tides. Dark Secrets. Evil Women. These are just a few of the influences that go into the music of Billie Dre & The Poor Boys.”

Sounds like: Riff rock.

Honest review: Uninspired riff-rocking. Nothing to see here.

Reverbnation account? YES.