Tag Archives: Rock

Palaye Royale – The Bastards

By Samuel Stevens

Release Date: May 29, 2020

Genre: Rock, Hard Rock

Label: Sumerian Records

The Juno nominated, Canadian/American rock band, Palaye Royale consisting of the three brothers, Remington Leith (vocals), Emerson Barrett (drums), Sebastian Danzig (guitar), and now official members, Daniel Curcio (bass) and Andrew Martin (guitar) who after being long time touring members with the band, are finally set to release their massive third full length album, The Bastards this week, after a eleven month long tease. The band wrote the album in various places around the world, renting out spaces to song write, however the band recorded majority of The Bastards in the house of Ashton Irwin, the drummer for the pop punk/pop act, 5 Seconds of Summer. While Irwin was on the road touring with 5 Seconds of Summer, he let the members of Palaye Royale and crew to use a completely blacked out room that’s located in the crawlspace of his house that they used to cut some tracks for the album.

The Bastards could be seen as a partial concept album, set in a place that is a reflection of their own lives, but in a mythological sense. The album takes place on an island titled, Obsidian, set in the year 1888. Obsidian is in a world that started off with the intentions of free thinkers and artists to amalgamate together. Eventually this fictional world created by the band becomes overwhelmed with political power and evil toxicity across the land. If anyone wants to remain a true individual in this society of Obsidian, you must wear a gas mask. The band, specially Emerson have been working along side the Swedish artist known as, XOBillie, who was originally just a fan of the band, on a graphic novel for The Bastards. Some of XOBillie’s recent art for Palaye Royale can be seen in the band’s music video for their single, “Little Bastards.”

Musically for the band, The Bastards is a tremendous step up for the members of Palaye Royale, showcasing a new enthusiasm, as well two new members that joined the fray to contribute to the songwriting. The band swayed into a new era from their self described, fashion rock on their two part album, Boom Boom Room (Side A) and Boom Boom Room (Side B) to display a little heavier side to their music, blurring the lines into a more hard rock version of themselves with various elements from other genres scattered throughout the effort. Lyrically on The Bastards, the band went with an honest and open approach by addressing plenty of significant issues that are frequent in today’s youth. Rather it’s the struggles of mental health, the gun violence epidemic, substance use as a mean to escape a strenuous reality, or parental abandonment, the band cover it on The Bastards‘ whopping fifteen tracks.

The Bastards opens up with one of it’s eight singles, “Little Bastards,” one of many that have been released over the course of the last eleven months. The song is about the frustration and anger towards individuals that are meant to be friends, but end up not being there when you need them the most. The track exhibits the band’s new direction right off at the start of the album, for just a taste at what the other fourteen tracks have in store to it’s listeners. “Fake friends all around / They watch while I drown / No one is there to help me.”

Following, “Little Bastards” is the boisterous and almost punk rock-esque song, “Massacre, The New American Dream.” This is one of the heavier songs lyrically on the album, touching on the gun violence epidemic prevalent in America. “Generation Y, Generation why are we / Why are we so casual ’bout these casualties? / (Come on) All you killers on your killing sprees / (Come on) A massacre’s the new American dream / (Come on) And all the kids on the murder scene.”

The first two singles, “Fucking with my Head” and “Nervous Breakdown” are essentially a two part song. “Fucking with my Head” touches on emotional abuse put on someone, by someone else and the lasting scarring it can do to the human mind. While, “Nervous Breakdown” covers the aftermath of leaving the toxic person in the past. “Lonely,” is another heavy lyric based track about the mental and physical abuse vocalist, Remington Leith endured as a child, centered around an acoustic guitar, light drums, and a haunting string arrangement. “Tonight Is The Night I Die” is a magnificent Bond theme inspired type track. While the song, “Doom (Empty)” is a heavy bass driven track with an almost sludge metal bass line.

For anyone who has, or hasn’t been been keeping up with the band’s previous eight singles that have been released over the last year before the album releases, May 29th, these singles are just highlights of the entire album. While these eight tracks are showcasing the bands new direction, when all fifteen tracks are listened to as one whole, it all falls into place for a masterful piece of work from Palaye Royale.

The White Buffalo – On The Widow’s Walk

By Samuel Stevens

Release Date: April 17, 2020

Genre: Alternative Country, Folk, Rock

Label: Snakefarm Records

Los Angeles alternative country/folk singer-songwriter, Jake Smith, or more famously known as, The White Buffalo, has returned once again with his seventh full length studio album, On The Widow’s Walk. On the album, Jake Smith is joined by Matt Lynott on drums as well as bassist Christopher Hoffe.

The White Buffalo’s continued rising success has in part from nearly a dozen of his tracks being featured on the series, Sons of Anarchy. Most notably, “Come Join the Murder,” which was featured on the series’ season seven finale. On The Widow’s Walk, was produced by two-time Grammy Award winning producer, Shooter Jennings (Waylon Jennings, Billy Ray Cyrus, Duff McKagan).

On The Widow’s Walk starts off with it’s second single, “Problem Solution.” This, as well as the album’s third track, “No History,” approach the subject of living in the moment, however, “Problem Solution” gets Smith’s message across in the style of a folk rock ballad.

“But they’re so sincere, triumph and fear, coursing, forcing their might / Well, you can’t live this life straight, so get high, get gone / Well, I think it’s a little too late to be moving on / No one is a really to say, what’s right, what’s wrong / So let’s just get through the day.”

“Faster Than Fire,” the album’s third single, tackles the subject matter of the indiscriminate wrath brought upon the human race by mother nature’s sometimes very spontaneous destruction. Associated with and without climate change and global warming in a high octane folk punk infused track.

“Oh, you can’t run faster than fire, faster than water / Oh, you better run for your lives, grab your sons and your daughters / Oh, well the fire line, I don’t think we’ll hold you / Oh, mother nature’s a bitch, I don’t think she warned you / But she is gonna show you, hey!”

“The Rapture,” which happens to be the first single off On The Widow’s Walk, is a track where Smith wrote about what happens when the moral compass spins wildly out of control in the setting of a slow, yet menacing alternative country track. The track also features Smith howling like a wolf through the interlude.

“Well, I’ll tell you I got secrets, I know you got yours too / But mine are a little more sinister, done things I can’t undo / I bury all my secrets in the deep, dark woods of the pines / Covered in mud and timber, they come calling me at night.”

“It’s a twisted, primitive tale of an unrelenting thirst for blood,” explains Smith. With “The Rapture,” I wanted to blur the lines between animal and man, to create a tension of moral restraint and unbridled evil.”

At one point in the songwriting portion of On The Widow’s Walk the idea of a concept album was thought up by Smith and the band, however Smith didn’t want to leave out valued tracks because they might not fit a specific concept. On The Widow’s Walk features the underlying theme of water and the ocean, rather than dominant themes throughout. On the track, “Cursive,” Smith touches on the soulless march of technology. Smith also writes about the sense of longing, which is something reflected in songs such as “Sycamore,” “River of Love and Loss,” and the album’s title track, “Widow’s Walk.” It’s even right in the album artwork as well in a portrait painted of Smith by UK artist, Jack Browning.

Take a look back to March 23, 2019, when The White Buffalo last performed in Winnipeg, Manitoba at The Garrick for what was a memorable evening!

Q&A With Red Vienna

By Samuel Stevens

Photo by Kasia Stromecki

What’s the significance of the name Red Vienna?

Robbie: Vienna was one of the most beautiful cities in Europe that we visited while on tour with our previous band. When I got home, I did some research on the city and saw the term “Red Vienna” which was an effort in order to rectify many of the cities social crises. Some great artists and Art Deco architecture came out of this era in the city. It just had a really interesting meaning and the cultural significance seemed to resonate with us as a new band. It had nothing to do with politics, I think it just suited the vibe we were going for. 

How would you describe your band’s music for any person who may have never heard Red Vienna before?

Jahmeel: Aspects of it are heavy, but it’s also very melodic and melancholy. 

Robbie: The songs also have post-punk and shoegaze elements at times, but don’t necessarily fall into those categories.

What are your musical influences that shape the sound of, Red Vienna?

Jahmeel: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Failure, Killing Joke, Bee Gees, Black Sabbath, and Fugazi, are all groups I would say have had a direct influence in some way on our songs.

Devin: Interpol, Radiohead, The War On Drugs, The Stone Roses, Slowdive, and Wild Nothing come to mind.

Your new EP, Tomhet, is about to be released later this week and the two tracks have been released as singles the last few weeks. How has the reception been so far?

Jahmeel: Really great! Seems like we’re reaching more people than ever before and the reactions have been really positive so far. 

Robbie: It’s been so great, the receptions to the songs have been so positive. I’ve had people tell me how beautiful, “Evelyn” is… I never saw it in that way as the topic is so dark. It can be a bit nerve racking releasing your music to the world as everyone will have their own opinion on it. All you can do is hope people will enjoy it, and that has been the reaction so far.

The title track, “Tomhet” follows the subject of depression and hopelessness. If you don’t mind me asking, is that a personal subject to write about?

Jahmeel: It was at the time I wrote the lyrics. Happy to say I’m on the other side of that. 

Glad to hear you’re on the other side of it. How did the grim, yet haunting Robert Wiles photograph from 1947, titled “The Most Beautiful Suicide,” influence you in writing the song, “Evelyn?”

Jahmeel: I was really struck by the photo when I saw it. It’s a beautiful image even though it’s also a morbid one. There was also the influence of New York itself and the fact that the photo was taken there. It’s such a special city and anytime I can put my thoughts there in a song I find it really inspiring. “The Dead Lines” off our album, The Book of Hours, also touches upon similar subject matter. 

Are these songs just a taste of what’s yet to come in future releases? Do you happen to have any more music ready for the near future, considering Tomhet was only a two song release?

Robbie: We do hope to record new material in the near future. We currently don’t have any tour plans so for us, it makes more sense to release a song or two at a time.

With Tomhet being of a darker subject matter, is there any positives you want people to take away from the EP?

Jahmeel: That you’re not alone. I think most people experience the type of feelings I touch upon here. There’s a light up ahead. 

What’s currently planned for Red Vienna for the remainder of 2020?

Jahmeel: With the current situation in the world, the immediate plan is to work on more material at home. Hopefully we can continue to reach more people with these new songs and videos as well. 

Thanks for the time. With everything going on around the entire world right now, I hope you’re staying safe. Is there anything else you may want to add?

Jahmeel: Thank you for the interview. I’d like to send our thanks to everyone who’s checked out the new songs and shown their support online. We greatly appreciate it. Stay safe out there. 

Robbie: I would like to thank all the fans out there and that we very much appreciate the support. Wishing you all good health and to stay as positive as possible. We have to get through this together.

Red Vienna – Tohmet EP

By Samuel Stevens

Release Date: April 3, 2020

Genre: Post-Rock, Alt. Rock

Label: Locust Hail

The Vancouver based three-piece, Red Vienna, return to the spotlight with a two track EP, Tohmet. The EP is a grim and haunting follow up to their 2015 full length album, The Book of Hours. Red Vienna was formed in 2010 by drummer Robbie Zgaljic (Sparkmarker, Black Halos), bassist/vocalist, Jahmeel Russell (ACTORS), while they’re joined by guitarist, Devin Boquist. Tohmet was produced by Jahmeel’s ACTORS band mate, Jason Corbett at his Vancouver studio, Jacknife Sound.

The album features two alternative rock/post-punk tracks “Evelyn” and title track, “Tomhet.” The pair of tracks pick up right where the band’s previous album, The Book of Hours, left off. The first track on the effort, “Evelyn,” was inspired by the photograph captured by Robert Wiles titled “The Most Beautiful Suicide.” While the image has been iconic for years, it’s quite the morbid and subtle image of a 23 year-old woman, Evelyn McHale, laying on the roof of a United Nations Limousine, taken on May 1, 1947, four minutes after she jumped to her death from the 86th floor observation deck of the Empire State Building. Where as the title track, “Tohmet,” is a song covering the similar topics of depression and hopelessness.

Tohmet beautifully captures various rock sub-genres in collective elements ranging from post-rock, alt. rock, shoegaze, and even in a little bit of punk. Although Tohmet is of a darker subject matter, there is still some positives you can be left with after listening. The album is for fans of bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Interpol, Killing Joke, and Failure, to name a few, and these band’s influence shines through brightly on both of the tracks, “Evelyn” and “Tohmet.”

Check out more from Red Vienna:




Q&A With Saint Asonia Front Man, Adam Gontier

By Kyle Erickson & Samuel Stevens


So, you guys [Saint Asonia] just released Flawed Design, which is awesome. You also just announced you’re doing the headlining Ontario shows with The Standstills before going out on tour later this year. What made you choose The Standstills?

They’re friends of ours. We’ve played a few shows with them in the past. Last year I did a Canadian Music Week thing at The Horseshoe in Toronto and they were a part of that. They’re just a great band. They’re super great people and we get along with them really well. When we were booking these shows their name came up and it was pretty easy and great to have them open up these shows, for sure.

You guys just wanted to start off at home before going out to the U.S. I assume?

Yeah, that’s right. I mean we were originally trying to do something a little bit bigger in Canada, at least in Ontario to do a few more shows sort of starting up here, but yeah we have the three shows in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peterborough. We stopped it there and it seemed to be a good few shows to get started, get our feet wet because we haven’t really been out for awhile. It made sense to do all that at home too, to keep it a little bit easier with friends and crew, yeah.

In May you’re going out with Black Stone Cherry and Alterbridge. That should be a really kick ass tour.

Yeah, that’s going to be great, man. We are really looking forward to that. Alterbridge is awesome, Black Stone is awesome as well. I mean, we’ve done a lot of tours with them. I’ve done a lot of tours with them in the past. Yeah, really, really good bands. It’s going to be a great tour. We’re stoked for that.

Apart from the new album, you guys also have some new members. How does it feel finally having Cale in the same band?

It feels great man. I mean it’s been along time coming. You know we grew up together and we played music together growing up. Our plan was always to be in a band together or something like that. It just made sense, you know. At the same time our original bass player, Corey, started working with Seether full time, so it just kinda made sense. I asked Cale if he wanted to be a part of it. Yeah, it was a no brainer all away around, you know, and made really good sense. It feels great now that we’re actually doing it. It’s been a great time so far and looking forward to touring together, for sure.

Did you guys get Cody through Cale, or how did that work out?

Yeah, I mean Cody plays drums in Art of Dying, you know. Cody and him are band mates in that band and aside from that we’ve been really good friends with Cody, he’s from our hometown of Norwood in Peterborough. We’ve known him for years and years and Art of Dying isn’t, at this point, doing all that much. All the guys are doing separate things. So yeah, with Sal from Staind being our drummer, there were some conflicting tour dates and that sort of thing. It just made sense for us to get Cody to jump in full time because Sal has a lot on his plate.

Cody hasn’t done any live shows with Saint Asonia yet, correct?

That’s right, yeah. We did do an acoustic thing in Massachusetts in Foxborough a couple months ago, but that’s just about it.

So it will be awesome getting you out on the road with you guys then.

Yeah, oh yeah, for sure.

Is there a song off Flawed Design that you’re looking forward to playing live?

I mean we’re kinda working our set out right now for these Ontario shows. They’re headlining sets so they’re pretty long. We’ve been trying to figure out what songs from the new record we want to play. I mean one song we’re all excited to play live eventually is “Ghost.” A lot of us feel like it’s our favourite one to play. Once we get some sort of steady, long headlining sets, we’ll probably put “Ghost” in there.

Ghost” is one of my favourites off the album. You wrote with Dustin Bates from Starset on that one, right?

For sure! Yeah, Dustin and Keith Wallen from Breaking Benjamin.

Oh, Keith wrote on “Ghost” as well?

That’s right, yeah. He wrote on “Ghost” as well as on “Beast.”

I think Keith Wallen is one of the underrated songwriters out there, so I’m glad he was able to be featured on Flawed Design. How did that collaboration come about?

You know, same type of deal. We know Keith really well because of Breaking Benjamin and that sort of thing. When we were putting songs together for this record, writing songs, we wanted to branch out and co-write with different guys and there was just a handful of guys names that came up and Keith was one of them. A lot of the time you get messages from different guys saying “Hey, it would be great to sit down and write some tunes together,” and it’s not all the time you are able to follow up on that. I think I got a message from Keith to co-write, that was pretty much it when we started writing the record. We flew out to L.A. where he was and sat down in the studio and wrote a couple of tunes.

I’m really glad that collaboration worked out. “Ghost” and “This August Day” are probably my two favourite songs off the album.

Thanks man. Yeah, “This August Day” is a really fun one to play too. It’s a bit of a different vibe for it and that’s what we were trying to basically accomplish, you know by writing with others like Dustin.

Was there anybody you wanted to work with that maybe the timing didn’t work out or just really didn’t end up coming of it?

You know what, not really. I mean there was a handful of guys I really wanted to write with and fortunately I was lucky enough that I was able to write with them. I sat down and wrote a song with Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace and I’ve always been a big Our Lady Peace fan. So that was really cool and you know, it was really fortunate to be able to co-write with guys like that and be able to reach out and make something happen. So we wrote a song, it’s actually not on this record, but we’ll end up using it for something down the road.

I’m really looking forward to hearing that song with Raine. “The Hunted” with Sully Erna of Godsmack had quite awhile to get released, so I’m sure this one will be great as well.

Yeah, that was awesome. I mean that song has been around for a long time and we kinda tweaked it, that sorta thing with a new producer. Yeah, really cool to have Sully on the album.

After your done your tour with Alterbridge and Black Stone Cherry, Staind is going to be on tour in the Summer with Disturbed. Should we expect a big Saint Asonia tour in the fall?

The plan is to go out, actually we’re announcing a big tour tomorrow [March 3, 2020], so yeah we’re pretty close to announcing that and that’s gonna put us out for July, August, and September as well for three months. Yeah, that’s going to be great. Staind is going to be out with Disturbed, that’s right. So I think when Mike goes out with Staind we will have somebody basically fill in for him. We’ve always pretty much assumed at some point he was going to go back out. Mike and I have had lots of talks about that. It’s great to see him going back out and I’m glad he’s doing that kinda thing, but he’s always a part of this band, for sure.

There’s a couple of festivals coming up this Summer like Sonic Temple and Rock Fest in Cadot. Would Mike be doing double duty on those sets or would you still perform with a touring guitarist?

I think we will have our other guy filling in for him, but at the same time we have talked about having Mike come up to do a couple here and there. Playing on the same day, you know [Laughs], it will be a little bit tough for him. Those days are going to be long as he puts a lot into that set, but yeah, he will get up with us, for sure.

It was a real pleasure talking to you Adam! I look forward to seeing you guys on tour later this Summer and I hope you have a great year!

Right on, thanks man! I appreciate it! Take care!