Wait…Moist Are Back? Really?

This morning I was watching a local TV morning show, and they interviewed David Usher and Mark Makoway from Moist.  Apparently, the band kicks off a Canadian tour next Friday night (November 7th).  So I think to myself I think…..”Moist are back?”  I remember hearing they were reuniting, but nothing really beyond that – I can’t even remember when that was.  That’s pretty strong though.

If you don’t know Moist, they’re a Vancouver band that were part of the nineties heyday of Can-Rock.  Along with The Tea Party, Our Lady Peace, Treble Charger, Matthew Good Band, Gob and others, they ruled the Canadian rock charts while alt-rock in general was on top of the world.  They released three albums: 1994’s Silver, 1996’s Creature and 1999’s Mercedes Five & Dime before…disappearing, really.  Moist never really said they were taking a break, breaking up, whatever.  David Usher released solo music, Mark Makoway turned to producing and the band basically just faded away.  Now, part of me is glad they didn’t announce a hiatus because you know the official TPS stance on that word, but at the same time, considering they went fifteen years between albums I almost wish they’d said something.  I always wondered about Moist, as they were basically the AWOL Can-Rock heyday group with everyone else accounted for, either still active or officially broken up.

As mentioned, Moist went fifteen years between Mercedes Five & Dime and their new effort, Glory Under Dangerous Skies, which came out October 7th.  Their upcoming tour starts in Halifax, Nova Scotia on November 7th and ends December 4th in Vancouver.

So, Moist are back together for realz, and frankly only realizing that this morning is a misfire on my part.  Ah well, what matters is now we know…uh, if you didn’t already know.  If you don’t know them, check out singles like “Resurrection”, “Silver” and my favourite, “Underground”.

There’s an easy joke here about how it might make you feel now that this band is back together…you know, what would happen in your southern region….see because the band’s name is Moist!  Meuh!  Seriously though, that’s cool.

If The Royals Don’t Lose The World Series, The Lucky Will (Likely?) Be Happy

I like to find random connections, and since the World Series could end tonight I decided to Google “rock bands” “punk bands” “San Francisco Giants” and “Kansas City Royals” together to see what came up.  Well, I learned about a Kansas City punk group called The Lucky.  From their Facebook page (as referenced in the display picture), they recently played a show at Davey’s Uptown Rambler’s Club, where the Royals were presumably also going to be on TV.  So, were they simply playing up that night’s concert or are they also Royals fans?  Who knows, but hey, baseball and punk music coming together right!?  I can always get behind that.

If you’re not in the know, San Francisco leads the best-of-seven series 3-2 over KC and could clinch the championship tonight.  It would be their third in five years too, so you could call them a dynasty.  I did manage to find some musical Giants connections, which were Metallica and a band that isn’t terribly active online right now, Recliner.  So….there’s that.

Multiple good things connecting FTW, right!?

Unique Alternative Vocalists

If you’re a full-time singer – or at least, a really serious one – you probably have a good voice.  Singing is not easy, and only a select few can really do it.  Through really no fault of their own, many vocalists sound the same, and that includes ones in our scene.  However, some really stand out, and that instant recognition only makes an artist all that much better.  In this post, we’ll run down some alternative vocalists that you definitely know when you hear them.

Brian Fallon – The Gaslight Anthem

In a scene full of high-pitched, whiny and nasally vocals, The Gaslight Anthem stand out not only for their Jersey Shore-influenced brand of punk, but the gravelly voice of their frontman.  With a deep, resonant rasp that reminds of his idol, Bruce Springsteen, Brian Fallon tackles more mature themes than many of his counterparts, and does it in an equal voice.  As an aside, he also kinda looks like our next vocalist….

Chris Conley – Saves The Day

Chris Conley has not only provided one of the more unique voices in underground music over the past fifteen years, he’s managed to adopt a new voice while staying as unique.  Over Saves The Day’s eight albums, Conley’s voice has gone from youthful exuberance to pleasant sweetness.  The band’s sound has evolved too, but Conley has also become a much better singer technically.  Throughout, he’s been easy to pick out.

Matt Pryor – The Get Up Kids

On just a “talent” standpoint, Matt Pryor isn’t really a great singer, and I say that as someone who adores him.  Whether fronting The Get Up Kids, doing his solo thing under his own name/New Amsterdams/whatever, Pryor sounds good because 1) he’s hella unique, hence being in this post and 2) the pure emotion in his voice.  He’s best in his quieter singing, but his strained yelling really works almost as well.  You could give an honourable mention to his Get Up Kids bandmate Jim Suptic too for this post, come to think of it.  And speaking of one band having two unique vocalists…

Matt Skiba/Dan Andriano – Alkaline Trio

Alkaline Trio have two frontmen, and they’re both unique and awesome.  Combine Skiba’s rasp with the slightly-less-raspy and syrupy vocals of Andriano, and you have a formidable 1-2 punch.  I wonder what drummer Derek Grant’s singing voice sounds like…

Davey Havok – AFI

I find Davey Havok’s voice harder to describe than others, but I’ll be damned if I don’t know it when I hear it.  High-pitched but not whiny, Havok has enough balls in his voice to snarl with the best of them while cleanly bursting into his upper register.  His voice is absolutely one of my faves.  But, maybe my favourite voice of all belongs to…

Ben Kowalewicz – Billy Talent

Billy Talent is one of the most unique, ass-kicking rock bands around today, and that’s just thinking of Ian D’Sa’s hair guitar playing.  Then, you think of the perfect snottiness of Ben Kowalewicz’s voice and it all comes together. It would be hard for him to front another type of band I think, mainly because his voice lends itself to punk so, so well.  Kowalewicz is also just a talented singer, who has range and a nice vibrato.  I just love the guy, and his band.

We – as always – could go on, and talk about people like Billie Joe Armstrong, Dave Grohl, Tim Armstrong, Dexter Holland, and Laura Jane Grace.  Unique vocals help artists stand out, and while they don’t “choose” their voice – unless they’re Iggy Azalea or Shaggy – it’s a big, inadvertent help in making them awesome.

Profile: Three Sheet

There are some artists that stand out within a certain scene: take a punk band and put them in a metal-dominated one, for instance.  There are also artists that would stand out in any scene, because they’re unique enough.  For me, one of the latter artists is Three Sheet.

Three Sheet are a five-piece from Halifax, Nova Scotia that are probably best described as “organic hip-hop”.  The group features rapping as the primary vocals (Matt “Expedyte” Kliffer), sultry, sung backup vocals (Vanessa Furlong), rock guitar riffs (Ryan O’Quinn) and not a drummer, but a BEATBOXER in Eric “EMC” McIntyre.  Yep, all of Three Sheet’s “drumming” is done by EMC’s mouth, let alone when he’s taking his own turn at the vocals.  Kevin Tilley rounds the group out on the bass, and what a group they are.  I’ve seen them live a couple of times, and had the chance to meet them a few years ago backstage at the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee (one of the best festivals in Atlantic Canada, in my opinion) and they’re as cool offstage as they are on.  I suppose being good people doesn’t enhance a band’s musical talent, but when you already like them it just makes them even cooler.

Three Sheet released their debut In Circulation in 2009 and Sheet Music in 2011, and from what I can gather haven’t released anything since.  It’s funny how music is, because often the most unique and compelling artists are the ones that are just too left-of-centre to gain a lot of attention: they often don’t achieve the recognition they deserve because people don’t know what to make of them.  Three Sheet have won Nova Scotia Music Awards and such, but they’re a group I’d love to see break out.  The way they combine hip-hop, rock and even a little soul is pretty damn strong – anyone who can’t see that is “three sheet to the wind” (heyo!).

Three Sheet online:


Liner Notes: Tuesday, October 14th

Absolute Punk has a link to Copeland frontman Aaron Marsh’s first interview in five years.  He talked to The Gunz Show about the band’s hiatus and reunion album Ixora among other things.

How about Glamour Kills acoustic sessions? Tour headliner New Found Glory just did one, and Knuckle Puck did too.  The former band’s album Resurrection is out now, and the latter is putting out an EP called While I Stay Secluded October 28th.Speaking of New Found Glory, PureVolume (a site I think don’t gets the press it deserves, frankly) recently chatted with Chad Gilbert.

Fearless Records is putting out Punk Goes Pop 6 November 17th.  Visit their YouTube page to see We Came As Romans cover Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble”, and get the full track listing.

Alternative Press has details on New Politics’ new album Vikings, which will be released next year though DCD2/Warner Bros. Records.

Also at AP, Twenty One Pilots talk about the meaning behind their masks.  The band also graces the cover of the magazine’s November issue, which I have upstairs and will totally sit my ass down and read soon.

Gerard Way just started his first US tour as a solo artist, and now PropertyOfZack has January UK dates for the former My Chemical Romance frontman, who’s touring in support of his solo debut Hesitant Alien.

Chart Attack has a great piece on Weezer called “Back To The Shack: Did Weezer Change Or Did We Change?”, which looks at the people who think only “The Blue Album” and Pinkerton are any good.  Writer Ryan McNutt says otherwise: “For starters, the album that kicked off the narrative, 2001’s self-titled “Green Album,” is actually pretty great. Sidestepping the challenge of living up to Pinkerton’s cultish devotion, Rivers instead delivered a formalist pop album: short, sharp songs with simple, universal lyrics mostly about love and heartache. It’s no pop science masterpiece, mind you, but it’s full of great hooks and only “shallow” (a common criticism) if one believes a record has to be confessional to be honest. Removed from its post-Pinkerton context, it’s a gem.”  It’s a great read regardless of your thoughts on the band.

Lastly, some sad news: former Mars Volta keyboardist Isaiah “Ikey” Owens has died.  Owens was touring in Jack White’s band when he was found dead today in his hotel room in Mexico.  He was just 38 – much too young.  Our condolences go out to Ikey’s loved ones.  You can read a statement regarding his passing here, and the remaining Mexican dates of the tour have been cancelled out of respect.

I feel bad putting this right after that news, but I felt it would work better at the end of the post than the beginning: this edition of “Liner Notes” was The Perfect Scene’s 100th post.  TV shows usually mark that, so we should too right?  This blog was started in February out of my love of writing and alternative music.  I wanted to contribute to the music world in some way, and this seemed like the best avenue to do so.  I do it in my spare time for fun, so while the posts aren’t as frequent as full-time outlets, I try to do a regular amount and appreciate you taking the time to read them.  In the future, I’d love to have guest posts from other people – maybe even you! – among other things, so let’s see how the TPS universe grows together.  You rock for being a part of it.

Musical Things To Be Thankful For

This coming weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving, and with that we eat really well because that’s what matters look at what we have to be thankful for.  As music is such a big part of life – and I continue the inadvertent streak of post titles with some variant of the word “music” – let’s look at what’s worth being thankful for regarding it:

Weezer going “Back To The Shack”.

Weezer’s new album is called Everything Will Be Alright In The End, and first single “Back To The Shack” talks about the good old days and “rockin’ out like it’s ’94”.  The band’s self-titled 1994 debut, known as “The Blue Album”, is one of the best rock albums of that decade, and brought Weezer into prominence.  If Everything ultimately recaptures some of that spirit, that’s just sweet.

Local music.

All music is local to someone, and being able to see great artists without traveling or paying crazy ticket prices rules.  Living in Halifax, Nova Scotia I can regularly enjoy its prominent indie rock scene and catch bands like The Town Heroes and Alert the Medic and so on (just not too often).


Even if you don’t write music, your favourite artists can have a really strong impact on who you are.  Matthew Good’s Beautiful Midnight-era gorilla mask made me think that being subversive is fun.  Alkaline Trio gave me raucous punk with a dark and cryptic edge, which combines some of my favourite musical things.  Face to Face ooze cool, and gave me a new “punk rock uncle” in Trever Keith.  If I wrote music seriously (I’ve done many parodies in the past) these artists would be huge influences, but even just as a fan I get a little something extra from several of my faves.

Appropriate pairings.

Music goes well with everything.  For me, it especially goes well with apparel and sports.  While not music itself, clothing brands like Vans (which I’m fiercely loyal to) and action sports like skateboarding especially pair well with alternative/underground acts.  Not that anyone should try to be a certain way, but I think it’s cool that you can see someone on the street and be able to have a decent guess as to what type of music they prefer.  Maybe it’s the clothing, maybe it’s what they’re doing, but it all comes together to help form a cohesive identity.

Songs you take personally.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll sometimes hear a song that I not only like, but wish I’d written.  Music that speaks to who you are – or want to be – really goes that extra mile.  Basically, I really like “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor: it’s super catchy, different and fun.  But, if I were a musician I wouldn’t likely write a song like that, because I would want to do alt-rock of some sort – not a pop song.  Know what I mean?

We could go on and talk about everything from having a platform to speak your mind to the fantastic simplicity of pick scrapes, but the preceding points are some more “core” things about music, at least in my opinion.  American Thanksgiving is next month, and we’ll do a post honouring that too (maybe even pilfering a few of the same points!), but in the meantime, if you celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving I hope you have a great weekend.

Oh, and stuffing is the music of Thanksgiving food, for the record.  God I love stuffing.

Music Sounding Like Other Music, Vol. 1: Chad Gilbert vs. One Direction

 A few days ago, New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert went on Twitter and pointed out how similar the main riff in One Direction’s new single “Steal My Girl” is to his band’s 2006 single “It’s Not Your Fault”.  His girlfriend, Paramore’s Hayley Williams, did the same.  After getting attacked by the “Directioners” (1D’s fanbase), Gilbert backtracked and said he was joking, but…was he really, or was he trying to calm things down?

I was going to post both songs here for comparison, but YouTube user Emmalie El Fadli actually made a single video that compared them, so boom:

Yeah, they sound pretty goddamn similar.  The thing is though, it’s not necessarily intentional: there’s so much music out there that it’s almost impossible to write something that sounds totally original.  There are various notes, chords and therefore riffs that sound good together, and more than one person is going to play them and think “this sounds awesome”.  That’s not to say plagiarism doesn’t happen, but I always give the benefit of the doubt to the accused because of that.

1D’s Liam Payne and Louis Tomlinson co-wrote “Steal My Girl” with songwriter Julian Banetta, who’s denied the accusation.  Do any of those three know “It’s Not My Fault”?  Who knows, but even if they do, it probably isn’t top-of-mind enough to them to think “whoops, this piano part sounds a lot like their piano part”.  A funny revelation that came out of this is how similar both songs sound to Journey’s 1983 hit “Faithfully”, but does that mean that New Found Glory ripped off Journey?  Of course not.

As I think more about writing music, I’d have to say that unless you come up with something that resembles the most unique, recognizable riffs of all time – like “Sweet Child O’ Mine” or something – you shouldn’t have to deal with any accusations of plagiarism.  There’s way too much music in the world to not resemble something, and it’s not a big deal.  We can’t definitively say that Chad Gilbert/Hayley Williams/anyone of that mindset or the One Direction camp are right and the others are wrong, it’s simply everyone’s opinion.  Now, I would never advocate lifting something less unique and recognizable from any other song on purpose, but it’s hard to find fault with doing it accidentally in 2014.