Things have been shaky to say the least for once Disney Mouseketeer turned “Dirrty” hit-maker Christina Aguilera. Coming off a divorce and mildly successful (aka disappointing failure by music industry standards) album Bionic (2011), Aguilera’s newest release Lotus, dropped November 9th, speculated to be the pop star’s “comeback” of sorts.
'Lotus' album cover
Unfortunate that a talent such as Christina’s, which has been compared to vocal legends Barbara Streisand and Aretha Franklin, would need such hype to be deemed relevant- yet here we are. The down side is that Lotus
sets up the self-proclaimed “fighter” for a rebirth of her career that doesn’t quite transition to a full on resurrection, at least in the eyes of current pop record execs.
“Lotus Intro” cues an electro-funk groove, instating a poetic mantra representative of themes related to a lotus flower; meant to interpret the album as a whole. There is a fair share of ballads that dominate the disc’s lengthy 17 track listing found on the deluxe version. And what powerful ballads they are. Exhaustively emotive and haunting, Aguilera’s voice is as potent as ever, belting out hair-raising vocals on “Sing For Me” and “Blank Page” (written with indie darling turned mainstream-feature, Sia Fuler of “Titanium” and “Wild Ones” fame). The artist displays her true feelings about the trials of her reality out on the floor for all to see on Lotus
Infusions of attitude are also not scarce with lyrics, ‘Please shut up! / Shut the f*** up” and “If you don’t like it you can suck my (bleep)’. Presumably these are products of Aguilera’s past scorn, be it her divorce, critical reaction to her last album and/or recent weight gain, prompting us to ‘Spin around in circles on my middle-middle finger’ on track, “Circles”.
The fact is, Lotus
is littered with both hits and misses. For instance, among the battle themed tracks are endearing gem, “Cease Fire” and oppositely abysmal, “Army of Me” which just seems like a revamp/mash-up of her 2003 hit “Fighter” and Kelly Clarkson’s “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)”. The album also stands true to Newton’s third Law of motion, in that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. He was obviously talking about Lotus
in regards to Aguilera’s lackluster collaborations with co-judges of The Voice
, Blake Shelton and CeeLo Green being offset by the spectacular dance-pop songs “Your Body” and “Let There Be Love” (both produced by Max Martin).
There are many elements working in the album’s favor as Aguilera demonstrates her range through heavy hitting ballads. The catch 22 of Christina playing to her strengths is Lotus
’ low driving energy needed to engage her target radio audience. It also embarks on territory far too familiar, that Aguilera and her contemporaries have tread too many times before to be engaging at this point. The album is made to draw listeners into Christina Aguilera’s “rebirth” as an artist that is touching, and at times fun, but overall unbalanced and misguided.
There is no doubt Aguilera has the vocal chops to knock every other talentless, skinny, auto-tuned mess out of the water. However, pop music’s current demographic is catered to by artists serving club-banging singles, of which Lotus
is in short supply. This record will likely be seen as another failure for Aguilera, Lotus
showing the lowest selling first week sales of her career.
With the star leaving The Voice
after this third season to focus on her music, she may have set the groundwork for a promising eighth studio album as an actual “comeback”, or something to that effect. But that is yet to be seen, dependent on her ability to deliver a balanced collection of masterful ballads and dance hall hits, and a more calculated mixture of innovation and self-expression that Lotus
did not achieve as well as it could have.
Christina Aguilera has not officially announced dates as of yet, but has mentioned plans for touring in early 2013. Here’s hoping the singer will make a pit stop in Toronto for a powerhouse performance with all her foul-mouthed fixin’s. Top Tracks:
“Let There Be Love”, “Sing For Me”, “Blank Page” For Fans of:
Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Britney Spears
_by Michael Natale
"Death Letter" was recorded by Dallas & Wade as an ode to 6 classic Alexisonfire songs. They put their own acoustic spin on them. The band says "you may even hear a little ode to Grinderman-esque, garage rock on one of them too. (we'll let you decide when you hear it)"
1. Born and Raised - 4:53
2. Midnight Regulations - 5:38
3. You Burn First - 3:03
4. Accept Crime - 3:49
5. Burial - 3:35
6. Happiness By The Kilowatt - 5:03
You can get "Death Letter" on iTunes and all digital retail outlets December 4, 2012.
Alexisonfire are scheduled to play 4 consecutive sold out shows in Toronto on December 26, 27, 28 & 29th at Sound Academy as part of their farewell world tour.
livemusicTO chats with Tonight Alive about being on their biggest tour so far, how unsigned bands can get noticed, what their music guilty pleasures are, what live music means to them and more!
| || |Silverstein announce new record "This is How the Wind Shifts" will be available February 5, 2013.
Listen to their new song, "Stand Amid the Roar" RIGHT NOW!
with GLASS CLOUD & ISSUES
SATURDAY, MARCH 2, 2013
THE OPERA HOUSE – TORONTOTickets on sale November 30, 2012. Tickets on sale now!
Formed in 2000 in Burlington, ON Canada, Silverstein has become as close to a household name as you can get in the post-hardcore scene. After 5 full length albums, 3 EP’s, a live album, mini album, and numerous 7” singles and collections, Silverstein have sold more than 1 million albums worldwide. The lineup has remained largely the same over their 12 years on the scene and features Shane Told (vocals), Paul Koehler (drums), Josh Bradford (guitar), Billy Hamilton (bass) and Paul-Marc Rousseau (guitar).
Silverstein has played more than 1500 shows in 34 countries, and have been a staple on many festivals and tours. They have been a part of Vans Warped Tour, Take Action!, Taste of Chaos, Rock Am Ring (Germany), Soundwave (Australia), Give it a Name (UK), and also co-founded the Scream It Like You Mean It tour in 2010.
Since 2003, Silverstein has remained consistent releasing full length albums every 2 years. They burst on the scene with When Broken Is Easily Fixed (2003) which would shape the scene to come with its dynamic approach of mellow clean tones contrasted with screaming and heavily distorted riffs. In 2005, their sophomore and best selling release Discovering The Waterfront was critically and fan acclaimed with more structure and melody, but still keeping the emotion Silverstein had become known for.
In 2007, the band worked with legendary producer Mark Trombino and released Arrivals & Departures. Sticking to a more stripped down rock sound that went against the slick sampled tones of many bands at the time, the album had 2 of their biggest songs, and a video in heavy rotation on MTV. 2009 brought back ‘Discovering’ producer Cameron Webb and a return to the bands early sound with A Shipwreck In The Sand, a high concept album that also tackled some political topics for the first time. The album brought a number of guest vocalists including Liam Cormier (Cancer Bats), Lights, and Scott Wade (Comeback Kid).
After a departure from Victory Records in 2010, the band came right back in 2011 with their 5th full length Rescue on indie giant Hopeless Records. With new producer Jordan Valeriote at the helm, the album featured some of the bands best performances and songs ever, with songs like “Forget Your Heart”, “Burning Hearts”, “The Artist” and “Sacrifice” all being successful singles.
Never a band to rest for long, Silverstein also released Short Songs in early 2012, a “mini album” featuring 11 original songs and 11 covers all under 90 seconds long. This release took the band back to their punk rock and hardcore roots and was a huge critical success garnering extremely positive reviews.
With a new full length release and lots of touring planned in 2013, SIlverstein shows no signs of slowing down.
Bands: Stars, MetricDate: November 24, 2012Venue: Air Canada CentrePhotographer: Randall Vasquez
We are growing! And with growth comes the need for new enthusiastic interns to join our awesome team.
Current openings include:
- Junior Promoter (please send resume to email@example.com)
- Photographer (please send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you are passionate about music and live shows please send us your resume and cover letter explaining why you are the best fit for us! Thanks to all applicants, but only those who are being considered will receive a response.
Sitting through hours of generic garbage usually doesn’t pay off, but if you were amongst the lucky few that stayed until Freakapotamus’ set at the Hard Rock Café this past Sunday, you know that they were the diamond in the rough everyone was waiting for.
Freakapotamus is a four piece “Punk Funk Avante Garde Jazz” band, as they like to describe themselves. Between their covers of Green Heaven by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix and their 4 entirely original songs, they pulled off an entirely memorable performance.
Their song funky-rap, an ode to their hometown Thornhill was full of little enjoyable kinks, mesmerising gang vocals, killer bass slapping, and energy that you can only see from truly passionate people. Love Infection was the sex infused funky equivalent to that rap song about ‘loving your girl’. You know the one. Immature Girl was an emotional ride for any man thinking back to every girl he put all of his attention and time into only to realise you were nothing but a dinner, drinks, and a quick back-room bang. Finally, Worthless was the cherry on the icing of the marshmallow-cookie-dough-fudge-Smarties cake. Worthless is a song that you can’t forget. Without spoiling it, just know that listening to it you get the impression that this band has been in the business for years now.
Alex (bass) and Robby (vocals) make you want to do a backflip from excitement. With an energy that you can’t mimic even if you’re Jonny Depp you sometimes wonder how their bones don’t collapse with all the commotion. You could get almost the same feeling with their drummer Max, plowing through their tracks with the drive of a lion chasing its antelope he sets the bar high for local bands trying to make it anywhere. Behind the incredible guitar solos and overall rhythm the guitarist, Corey, seemed stale; at least compared to the rest of the band. No worries though, there’s always time for improvement.
It really is a shame they weren’t the headliners, but on some levels real Freakapotamus fans were happy about that. Coming into the show the entire demographic was thirteen year old girls accompanied by their parents there to see BRENDN, who turned out to be nothing more than a much less talented Hedley rip off. Granted, though some of the acts made you feel like you went to your friends open mic night at the local coffee house where he just kept playing Wonderwall over and over again, little Jake’s performance restored your faith in humanity just a little. How often do you see a thirteen year-old rap without being able to speak without a stutter? There was absolutely no reason not to be impressed.
So next time Freakapotamus appears somewhere on your Facebook news feed, you know what you to do. Grab yourself a ticket, you won’t regret it.
See you there!
_by Misha Kotok
If you’ve already been a fan of 22-year-old Scarborough native The Weeknd, born Abel Tesfaye, since his outbreak in 2011, you may be confused as to why he released, or should I say re-released, his album Trilogy. However, upon previously overlooking the obvious, it’s clear that the album is dutifully a work of art - a story in sequence, and narrative as a whole. So don’t be confused – or ask questions – because everything The Weeknd touches seems to be gold.
Which is exactly what Trilogy
will be for the 2010 generation. Containing remastered versions of his three EPs released for free in 2011 as well as three bonus songs at the end of each disc respectively, Trilogy
is the first release for The Weeknd on Republic Records in joint with his label XO. Asides the fact that this was a marvelous play by his marketing team, The Weeknd has now produced a tangible copy of his music that new fans and old can enjoy as they lose themselves into a world of deep dark twisted fantasies.
If you have the time, and patience, the compilation tells a story of what I would like to believe is a 15-hour drug binging party night condensed into about two hours and thirty-nine minutes. However, separately each disc is a night of it’s own – a high of its own – as well as an individual story to tell.
It starts off with the upbeat disc House of Balloons
- the beginning of the night - where all the fun begins or perhaps the drugs/outlandish shenanigans of some sorts. Opening accordingly with High For This
, debatably one of his best, the album continues into a night of debauchery with House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls
and ends with Coming Down
off the high and melting into a mass of goop for Loft Music
and The Knowing.
Individually, House of Balloons
is a drunken party disc suitable for the average worker-bee who goes hard and crashes harder. As for the new track titled Twenty-Eight
, and the second single released from Trilogy
, it too follows the flow of HOB
by being an eerie ballad which eventually flows into a head bopping slow jam. House of Balloons
will forever remain the best in the compilation as it has the ability to be repetitive without over-doing it or aggravating the listener. One can play the disc on repeat and appreciate it every time.
Followed up with Thursday
, this disc is more suitable for the up-all-night high off something and on another level party goer. It fits well with a disappointing follow-up to an amazing album, however it still credibly for the works of The Weeknd.
For those dedicated raggers, you’ll have a respect for the title as it represents the lost night, the misplaced party night, and the extra night for absolute absurdity. Whether or not The Zone
is a reference to the infamous after-hours club Comfort Zone downtown Toronto (where people go to forget themselves, yet leave filled with so much shame), its lyrics are still a close match to the feeling of one out of touch with reality, or most likely high on ecstasy. The themed references go further when the disc ends with Rolling Stone
and Heaven or Las Vegas
, a notably obvious gab at someone rolling on drugs and then deciding whether to call it a night or go harder. The new addition to this disc titled Valerie
seems to be out of place, yet still keeps the feel, which we all know and love. With or without, this disc is one of those “let’s not talk about this” moments.
Finally, ending with the subtle Echoes of Silence
, the disc does just that…. Fades into the darkness. It’s an epilogue, truly an ending to the long shady tale that’s just been told. Beginning with D.D.
or Dirty Diana as it’s previously known by writer Michael Jackson, The Weeknd is expressing his utter ache through all of this… Whatever this just was. Notably are Same Old Song
featuring Juicy J, and the original ending Echoes of Silence
. In addition, the new track Till Dawn (Here Comes The Sun)
did an extremely well job at creating a new positive ending to what seemed like a long depressing roller coaster. As a whole, this disc is great for any soothing activity or mood – could even be a great background lullaby.
In the end, The Weeknd has done what no other artist in our generation has done. He’s not only created an honest, mature piece of work worthy of awards galore, but he’s combined all electronica, soul, dubstep, hip hop, rock, reggae, and indie pop into one R&B album. Take all that and add his euphoric voice and solid production yet again by Illangelo & Doc McKinney and we’ve just experienced one of the most notable albums of the year.
The Weeknd has so much potential beyond his whining and sad tales, so hopefully now that he’s on a record, his talents will flourish into a world of happiness and award-winning productions. Track to check out:
High for This, House of Balloons/Glass Table Girls, The Zone, Till Dawn (Here Comes the Sun) For fans of:
Bon Iver, Kanye West, Crystal Castle, Vampire Weekend _by Katlyn Fledderus
livemusicTO chats with Tony of Motion City Soundtrack about being back on Epitaph, how social media affects him and the band, plus what it's like being the old band on tours these days and much more!
Angels and Airwaves’ Love Part I (2010) and Love Part II (2011) is available now as a 4-LP vinyl set via SRC Vinyl. Product is shipping now. Both albums are double LP's and come in their own gatefold. Both gatefolds are housed in a full color 4/4 CMYK O Card.
Love Part I- Transparent Green / Love Part II - Transparent Purple (LTD 500)
Love Part I&II - 180 Gram Black (LTD 500)
Love Part I&II - Clear with white smoke (LTD 1,00) - Hot Topic Exclusive
Et Ducit Mundum Per Luce
The Flight Of Apollo
The Moon-Atomic (...Fragments And Fictions)
Soul Survivor (...2012)
Letters To God, Part II
Some Origins Of Fire
My Heroine (It's Not Over)
Moon As My Witness
Dry Your Eyes
One Last Thing
Behold A Pale Horse
All That We Are
is an online store specializing in new and limited run vinyl records.