Author Archives: brian leery

#313 wintersleep – baltic

A storm is coming. When you’re fascinated by post-apocalyptic themes, sometimes we forget that the precursors are every much as gripping. The only thing going through my mind as the guitars shimmer in, and the pensive bassline that snakes in, over the hypnotic forest of snare work, is that this world could very well end in the next five minutes, and it would be GLORIOUS.

Halifax rockers Wintersleep have done it again. They’ve somehow conjoured the spirits of the cold winds to bless their forays into songwriting. “Baltic” doesn’t so much sound like a song as much as it seems to be a chant or ritual as they welcome the crashing waves to come sweeping along the cliffs that protect our hearts. The mood is inexplicable: as you go under the spell they weave, the words take shape, they lose their form. Then, as Paul Murphy, who acts as shamen or spiritual guide, begins the next phase of his ritual, he evokes the darkest emotions to manifest themselves. “Let it out.. let it out of my head..” he said. – brian.

mp3: wintersleep – baltic

“Baltic” appears on Wintersleep‘s 4th studio album, ‘New Inheritors’ and is being released by The Tom Kotter Company. Vinyl bundles can be bought at their store.


#311 311 – grassroots

Just thought I’d be a bit cheeky with entry #311, since the band 311 was a big part of my growing up. They were one of the bands that saved me from spiraling too far down into the abysmal genre of music known as nu-metal. Yes, I did grow up in that era, and there were a few bands that I thought were cool.

Listening to 311 was like someone holding an intervention for your excessive lifestyle, and it was also one of my first forays into the realm of rap-rock. But genres aside, they taught me the importance of groove, taste within a pocket, and that if you didn’t try too hard to have fun, you would.

I love “Grassroots” just for that. It’s a supersampler of 311’s fusion of rock, rap, reggae and Santana-inspired blues. While you’ll probably need to listen to an entire album to get all of that, this number distills all the elements that work and filters it down to an exciting four minute ditty that’ll get your head boppin’ along because 311 has grassroots for your momma. – brian.

mp3: 311 – grassroots

#307 rjd2 – lazerface’s warning (remix)

It’s been awhile since I last posted in here because my mind’s been all over the place. For some reason, I could not bring myself to bash out a short paragraph or two about the songs I was listening to. One minute I was listening to this, and then I was listening to that, and in the end, the day would end and I’d be right back where I started.

Well, I’ve gotten over that phase, but I remember being drawn to the haunting loops of RJD2 aka Ramble John “RJ” Krohn’s early work and rough cuts. On songs like “Lazerface’s Warning”, the rare groove beats are loosely jointed ideas, perilously held together by the confident flow of an MC, and one or two minimal samples that act as a sort of gaffer tape with all the cracks showing. Yet somehow, this broken canvas seemed to reflect the tumultuous reflections in the mind better than any complete song ever could. – brian.

mp3: rjd2 – lazerface’s warning (remix)

#295 broken social scene – romance to the grave

I woke up this morning listening to the manic, guitar driven pop music that’s easily identifiable with Canadian indie rockers, Broken Social Scene, on the way to work today. This was of course preparation for the BSS gig that was to happen later tonight. It was the perfect recipe for neurosis, as the seemingly incoherent chordal structures melded with staccato drumming and cathartic vocals to give way to a beautiful disaster, like a gas giant slowly collapsing upon itself.

But it wasn’t until I sat down in that office chair, the illusion and safety of music fading away, that “romance to the grave” came on, and time started to dilate. I couldn’t help but drop everything I was doing, to listen intently to each note being played. If this morning’s commute was a collapsing star, then this song was the glowing pulse of a white dwarf, glowing like the embers of a dying fire, shining one last time before fading back to the start of time. – brian

mp3: broken social scene – romance to the grave

“Romance to the Grave” is found on BSS’ latest album Forgiveness Rock Record, released earlier this year on Arts & Crafts.

#285 astreal – june 12

I woke up this morning like any other day, a bit hazy, wondering what I was going to do, or what was in store for me. The nice thing about a Saturday without plans, is you can wake up whenever you want, so I walked to my mobile phone to check the time, but it was the date that surprised me more than how late it was.

June 12. What a pleasant surprise! I immediately pulled the song out from my collection, and the nostalgic waves of Astreal’s, Slowdive-inspired dreampop came washing over me. June 12 sets itself up as a pining song about love lost and hopefully found in the future, with a healthy dose of melancholic reverb, delay and Ginette’s signature whispers of fragile hearts. June 12 doesn’t particularly remind me of any particular day, but maybe for others, it’s the day you’ll always remember. – brian

mp3: astreal – june 12

#272 crystal castles – baptism

I simply cannot get enough of the Crystal Castles sound. Sometimes, when life is a swirling mess, you try looking for the most complimentary music to go along with your soundtrack, and the vile concoction of Ethan Kath and Alice Glass is the perfect mix to start your day, like two gins every morning.

“Baptism” is exactly what it is, a baptism under fire into the psychotic world of Ethan Kath. His programming on this particular track is a mindbending cacophony of euro trance, minimal tech and house, coupled with the psychosis of Alice Glass’s vocals that grate like it was crushed in your ear. It’s not pretty, I don’t even know what she’s singing about, but it makes sense. And sometimes, that’s all you’re looking for. – brian

mp3: crystal castles – baptism

Crystal Castles will be out physically on May 24 on Fiction Records. In the meantime, you may purchase the digital version of the album on Itunes.

#265 feeder – just a day

When I was a wee boy, I emerged from the Oasis camp into the finer points of British music like Blur and delved into the technological brilliance of Radiohead’s OK Computer. Before long, it was further experimentation along the lines of Godspeed You! Black Emperor or the progressive nature of Dave Matthews Band. In my mind, I had worked out what music was, and how it should be made and evangelized. Technical prowess, musical integrity and being forward thinking were all that mattered.

Then, one day for reasons unknown, perhaps drawn by the album title, Echo Park, I sampled this seminal Feeder album at my local HMV. I probably thought it had something to do with a reference to a science fiction theme or something. Whatever it was, it sounded sonically geeky enough. But when I put those headphones on, what greeted me was a wave of power-pop, melodies that sounded familiar and yet, I had never heard anything quite like it. The best thing was, each song was over in less than four minutes, and yet, they each brought me to the same high points as all my other heroes.

I always credit Feeder for saving me, musically speaking. The lessons I learned about melody, that would of course homage my love for Fleetwood Mac and inspire me to play basslines that were simple and catchy, were all because a humble Welsh band with humble melodies saved me from a swirling vortex of convoluted musical elitism.

My all time favorite Feeder song, “Just A Day”, will bear testament to this particular life changing event … and even when I listen to it today, it stands as my anthem to an unwritten future, raising our hands and throwing caution to the wind. “All by myself, wakin’ up at twelve in my clothes again, because I don’t wanna drag you down, hold you down, because you’re a friend.” – brian

mp3: feeder – just a day