Pinball Sessions

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A few years ago I was introduced to Magnetic Sound Studio’s in Guelph, ON. A beautiful studio for recording, a giant backyard for drinking, and of course the famous pinball room. Packed wall-to-wall with flashy retro pinball machines, where the owner, Dan Beeson, collects and repairs them. A collective of musicians was formed through this space, where they birthed the idea to record touring artists of all different genres, and make these live-off-the-floor recordings available to the public.

With the help of FACTOR Music Canada, the website was funded, and pinballsessions.com was launched May 31st, 2013. I’m geared up to be part of this project. As an editorialist, I get to listen to these one-of-a-kind recordings and create a written piece summarizing what I hear. Check it out, sign up for the newsletter, and enjoy the special sounds Pinball Sessions have to offer!

LQ – The Cliks Release Black Tie Elevator

The Cliks finished off their BLACK TIE ELEVATOR tour with a hometown CD release in Toronto. They put on an energetic show, and Lucas had all the ladies swooning (myself included). I met Lucas after the show and congratulated him on all the success:
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My latest Listen Queer article talks about the band’s 4-year hiatus, and how they’ve come out of it sounding better than ever. Check out the details here!

LISTEN QUEER!

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It’s here! It’s queer! Get used to it!

I’m so pleased to announce the launch of my music column: Listen Queer. It’s published through The Indie Machine; a Toronto-based multimedia music series that plays a discernible role in supporting local music.

The queer community exists on foundations of love, camaraderie and genuine support. As a queer musician, I crave to translate those conventions into my exploration of music. However, as I search to discover new queer music; I find myself dissatisfied. Every LGBTQ  publication has their designated “Music” section, but it’s often solely dedicated to Elton, Ani, and the Indigo Girls. It’s 2013! Where’s the new blood!?

Listen Queer is about providing a resource to discover queer-centric music and events. Through artist interviews, event coverage and ongoing news updates – readers get an inside scoop on the queer music happenings in Toronto and around the world.

Check back to theindiemachine.com for bi-weekly postings, and follow @listenqueer on Twitter for all the latest. If you have any suggestions on music/events I should cover, please email listenqueer@gmail.com.

Keep it queer my homomies,
– Julia

Album Review: Gentleman Reg’s “Leisure Life”

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Over the past decade, Gentleman Reg’s career has continually gained impressive momentum on the Canadian music scene. While signed to Three Gut Records between 2002 and 2005, he acquired recognition by lending his music to popular film and television. The more developed “Jet Black” (2009) released through Arts & Crafts, drew new fans to his sassy pop-rock sound. The last three years he’s been busy working with his side project, Light Fires, and collaborating with big name acts such as Broken Social Scene, and Tegan and Sara. The recent release “Liesure Life” (2012) kicks it up a notch from Jet Black; with energy-charged tempos, innovative production, and even more attitude.

The album immediately delivers a delightful pop delicacy, “Waiting Around For Gold”. It kicks off with energetic melodies from the synth that imply a playful tone. Verses drop down in dynamics to allow the charisma of Reg’s voice to be at the forefront. The pre-chorus doesn’t linger too long, it’s the perfect length to conjure a compelling build. The songs energy culminates in the chorus, delivering an infectious anthem-like hook with superb harmonious support. Lyrically, the theme of the album is presented. Reg sings about stumbling through the erratic life of an undiscovered musician, riding the waves of glamourous highs to tragic lows, whilst waiting for success to find him.

Reg’s phonetics divide and emphasize lyrics unlike a standard pop singer. His use of vocabulary is impressive, but sometimes the hook could be strengthened if the syllables fit more rhythmically with the melody. Some of the words are lost in their pronunciation. Not necessarily a bad thing, as his voice is so expressive that the lyrics are more so a medium for him to convey his personality and performance abilities. However, indistinguishable lyrics could be a potential hindrance in appealing to a mainstream audience.

Too Drunk” is a stand out song on the album for this simple reason: after you’ve heard the hook once, you’ll never forget it. The track begins with a lightly distorted guitar tone, playing minimalistic straight riffs. The band enters halfway through the first verse. This creates dynamic fluctuation, enhancing the build in the song’s natural progression. Reg describes a hazy sexual encounter, with a tone of casual indifference: “Touch my face with love like I don’t care. Slap my face, my love, without a dare.” Driving melodies of the synth are characteristic of the overall sound of the album. They come across as arising from similar inspiration, without being mere recreations of the others.“Too Drunk” repeats as the allure of the chorus, which despite its simplicity, remains listenable due to subtle melodic and instrumental changes.Fun and memorable, the album is packed full of these upbeat hits.

The most noticeable change up in the song type is “Solo Show”. It is slower, stripped down, and feels more raw than the sugary production of the other tracks. Reg’s vocal versatility shines, beginning with a gritty tone, then reaching up the octave. The song has been built to gather more energy, while still having a slow, ballad-like design.

Gentleman Reg has taken it to the next level with Leisure Life. He is ready to be plucked from the Toronto indie scene and delivered to the world stage. A performer through and through, his voice is elegant, haunting, tragic and sexy with effortless delivery. The album’s biggest strength lies in the song construction. Without a miss, each song cultivates contrasting ebb and flow, creating space for forceful climaxes. The most prominent instrument is Reg’s voice itself. He delivers unique inflection, phonetics, rhythms, and tones all dripping in personality. Reg opens his world to you through his music. A glamourous young lifestyle, medicating problems with drugs, alcohol, and messy relationships. Describing life as a roller coaster, where despite glossy thrills of the high life, failure is inevitable. However, success is what is called to mind when talking about Gentleman Reg’s career. With consistent delivery of great music, he’s become an unstoppable force in the music community. Leisure Life is the newest instalment in his musical evolution, and will surely propel him to a new level of recognition.