JAIMIE VERNON – ROLL ON DOWN THE 2015 HIGHWAY

Merch table_Hamilton_Dave Rave_2002Unlike the many industries that burp and seize up in anticipation of Christmas – and ultimately stop dead in its tracks – Rock ‘n Roll never takes a break. It doesn’t go on holiday. It lives on an endless perpetual calendar of sex, stimulants and adrenalin. It bounds and plods and steamrolls and even hemorrhages creativity despite the sleepy respite that is observed by the denizens of the normal world.

RocknHighway I recall many years not just performing gigs all through the holiday season, but writing and recording as well. I once wrote three songs back-to-back on New Year’s Eve. The creative brain doesn’t stop just because the calendar flips a page. Musicians are already filling in their social calendars – some probably started their 2015 schedule itineraries back in the fall of 2014. Though the regular world dismisses musicians as flakey and disorganized, you’d be shocked at the military precision in which they project and forecast future revenues as far out as a year in advance. The more business minded of us ‘flakes’ know how long it takes to secure gigs, book studio time, record songs and release our music on CD/vinyl/MP3. Those that leave it to chance are on a quick path to failure. The rest of us have a bumpy roadmap already drawn out and often re-draw the map a dozen times as we leap ahead to fame and  dis-fortune.
Beatles Wall People forget that The Beatles released 7 studio albums, made two movies and toured the world a few times in three years. And 95% of that material was solid gold. I believe, psychologically, that this pace, this prolific-ness is the bullwhip in the back of the minds of every musician since the Beatles to keep moving forward. We are driven by the desire to replicate their success. Very few ever achieve it but we never stop trying and only rarely declare our efforts a failure. It’s the unacknowledged marathon of creativity whose finish line ends only with our own demise (and sometimes not even then….just ask the Jimi Hendrix Estate).

I mentioned a few artists in my last blog who are on their way to new releases this year. Since then I’ve been made aware that there’s already new music out there. Two weeks into 2015 and I’ve got a few new listens in front of me.

ROBOTEYES

roboteyes_press_photo My buddy Matt Servo and I reconnected to exchange geek movie titles this week. He gave me a DVD copy of ‘Blade Runner’ for a project my son was doing. I gave him a vintage VHS boxed set of ‘Star Wars’ – the one where Han shot first and the first film wasn’t yet titled ‘A New Hope’. While visiting him he handed me his new music project Roboteyes’ second EP ‘True Love In Modern Stereo’. I was familiar with Matt’s love of vintage synths and was expecting a throwback cornucopia of New Wave angst like on their 2013 self-titled debut.

What I got was much better.  Singer Kate LeDeuce puts the pop tartlets to shame with a gutsy, breathy vocal delivery that are parts Everything But the Girl’s Tracey Thorn, Pink!, Figures At Dawn’s Suzanne Palmer and even Martha Johnson of Martha & The Muffins. “In Flames” has a great ‘90s pop sensibility with ethereal rolling synth fills and chiming guitar chords courtesy of Servo and Ryan Ford. “Coattails” is a ballsy modern pop-dance track and should do great at radio – it’s got a hook a mile wide and finds LeDeuce pulling and pushing vocally in all the right places. “Call My Name” could easily have been a Go-Gos or Waitresses or Belle Stars track from the 1980s. It’s a synth-pop earworm which would be comfortable on a BOOM 97.3 radio play list.

roboteyes2The last two tunes, “Waiting and Watching” and “Change For Me” are moody, serious adult contemporary pieces that show LeDeuce’s real vocal chops and showcases the trio’s deep musical sensibilities. The only disappointment here is that there only five songs. What didn’t make it onto the EP was their plaintive cover of the Back Street Boys’ “I Want It That Way”.

I’m looking forward to more from Roboteyes.  http://robotey.es/

MICHAEL CARPENTER

Carpenter
Australia’s power pop master does not sleep. Michael is equally at home with cover tunes as he is with his own material. He’s been doing his best to fill the Beatles-sized hole we now find the music business in these days. He does not disappoint and has been busy working on a new album. He’s let loose with a sneak peek with a Stone-ish driven ditty called “The Only One”.

THE HEYMACS

Heymacs I’m late to the Heymac parade. This is a group of grizzled old Toronto rockers that have decided that they can either lie down and waste away in their basements or get out there and keep making music – on their own terms. At the forefront is the voice of former Abraham’s Children member Shawn O’Shea who turns up the juice with a Waitsian approach to the lowdown blues (which is a bit disconcerting when you meet him in real life and his voice is about two octaves higher!). The Heymacs have been releasing music vignettes over the last little while and the newest one, #5, takes on Ray Charles’ “Hit The Road Jack”. Watch for special guest appearance by DBAWIS scribe Roxanne Tellier.

Here’s what I don’t want to see anymore of in 2015.

UNBOXING VIDEOS.

Unboxing What? Yes, un-boxing videos. This isn’t a new anti-sport. It’s literally a video of someone receiving a package in the mail…and opening it…and posting that incredibly self-indulgent, tedious, overly long episode of “I don’t have a fucking life but am incapable of taking a selfie so I’ll do this instead”.

No one cares except other people that need to get lives. It’s bad enough watching people open gifts on Christmas…these videos aren’t even special occasions. And they’re clogging up YouTube. There are thousands of them…most of which generate 12 views. Just STOP!

EXTENDED MIX VIDEOS

REO Speewagon I know you’re excited that you got a cracked version of the Dingleballs Audio Obliterator 4.0 from some North Korean hacker at Christmas, but please stop taking songs and making them longer and then posting them on YouTube. There is an art to extended mixes – none of them involving some Cheetos eating, basement dwelling social media wannabe who believes that taking the song and looping it is clever. Or interesting. Or of value to society. We don’t need a 12 minute version “The Pina Colada Song” (in fact, we don’t need “The Pina Colada Song”)….or a 10.:44 version of Pharell’s “Happy” for that matter.

In some ironic instances, a 10 hour loop of said song would be quite funny. But your “mix” isn’t. And it isn’t a mix. Mixing involves changing the content of the song – adding a new groove, shuffling instruments around, adding elements that didn’t previously exist. You’re not doing any of this. You’re just making the race track longer. You have no talent so just STOP! http://wundergroundmusic.com/soundcloud-removed-your-mix-because-they-think-its-shit/

Send your CDs for review to this NEW address: Jaimie Vernon, 4003 Ellesmere Road, Toronto, ON M1C 1J3 CANADA

=JV=

Jaimie’s column appears every Saturday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS ButtonJaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 33 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 16 years. He is also the author of the recently released Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ is now available at Amazon.com 

2 Responses to “JAIMIE VERNON – ROLL ON DOWN THE 2015 HIGHWAY”

  1. Pat Blythe Says:

    Loved, loved Robot Eyes…. not only does LeDeuce have a powerful and clear voice, it’s melodic…her voice sings (if that makes any sense). I could listen to it for hours…. Listening to Call My Name over my bluetooth speaker….the song filling the room…. had me up and dancing in seconds. This SHOULD be a hit…. I’d buy this EP in a heartbeat. Absolutely love it! Keep introducing this wonderful music.

  2. I like your comments on the drive it takes to keep going and creating…works like Robot Eyes do not spring forth from a vacuum, not to mention the long hours they probably had to spend to get folks to listen to their music..

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