A Winter Break

It’s like governments and schools!

Should this be called an indefinite hia-*stabbed*

Hey if TV shows can do it so can a blog. (Come back Scandal, I miss you.)

2016 will be year three for The Perfect Scene.  When it launched early last year the plan was to cover alternative music in a way that wasn’t typical.  There was no way this was gonna be a “Band X announces new album, tour with Band Y” music news site.  I had no interest in doing ten quick posts a day like that – not that there’s anything wrong with those sites (we make good use of them here, of course).  I wanted TPS to be largely in-depth, unconventional and fun, and keep that approach throughout regular features like album reviews and interviews.  It started to combine my love of music and writing, and discover and give exposure to as many great rock artists as possible.  It started for fun, but it still needs to grow.  That’s where this break comes in.

After two years, I have a pretty good idea of what’s working and what isn’t with TPS.  Two years isn’t really that long in the grand scheme of things, but it’s in my nature to do something well if I’m gonna be doing it.  I’m not one to spin my wheels, and frankly as a reader you’re owed the best blog possible.  I value you, and I want you to always feel like TPS is worth your time.  That said, I have some ideas for what might happen.  Whether they come to fruition remains to be seen, but I know growth is necessary – for progress, and enjoyment.  A holiday break is really the perfect time because people tend to be distracted with the season – and frankly, I have so much travel/family stuff coming up soon that I’ll have no real time to blog anyway.  New Year’s resolutions aside, it’s a good time of year to ponder and evaluate.

Oh, year-end lists!  Yeah we were totally gonna do those, but instead the incomparable Eric Alper has a massive list (!) of them for you to enjoy.  So…there’s that.  Have a safe and happy holiday season, we’ll catch up in 2016. 🙂

Album Review: Don’t Believe In Ghosts – Change Your Mind


Steven Nathan used to front New York City indie rockers Man On Earth.  He’s now struck out on his own with a solo project called Don’t Believe In Ghosts, and released the debut EP Change Your Mind.  It’s part one of the two-part EP Change Your Mind, Change Your Luck, and provides six songs of largely straight-ahead rock with complementary sonic flourishes.

Change Your Mind kicks off with “Run”, the EP’s biggest rocker that features a solid, choppy main riff with some nice delay on it.  Things slow down next with “Nothing I Could Do Is Ever Good Enough For You”, which follows up the title lyric with some nice, low-end phased synth in a barely there chorus.  “The Way I See It” comes after, with sassy vocals and call-and-response riffing that remind me of a more subdued Danko Jones.

The second half of Change Your Mind is where more of an epic feel comes in.  “Pick Up The Pieces” is track four, an inspirational number with a mix of clean and squealy keys.  Big vocals sing over simply strummed power chords to deliver the song’s positive message.  More clean keys follow in “What Took So Long”, and they’re accompanied by awesome, orchestral-sounding ones.  The drums and guitar kick in for the chorus, and all-in-all “What Took So Long” is a dark, ominous and epic 4:15 that fades out with a guitar solo that gives way to one final clean synth chord.  Finally, closer “Everyone I Know Is Going Crazy” brings the tempo back up with some of the EP’s best catchiness.  Aside from the main riff in “Run”, this song really provides the quirkiest moments.  It’s a perfect closer.

With Change Your Mind, Steven Nathan has put out well-written rock songs that never sacrifice melody.  The synth provides some great extras, and nicely complements the largely no-frills sound.  Having “What Took So Long” and “Everyone I Know Is Going Crazy” as the penultimate and final tracks respectively is a great combo too.  Song placement is almost as important as songs themselves I think, and they work really well where they are.  (For that matter, “Run” works well as the opener too.)  We’ll have to see about Change Your Luck, but Change Your Mind is definitely a good start for Don’t Believe In Ghosts.

Don’t Believe In Ghosts online: 

Official
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
SoundCloud

Artist Porn Spoofs


Basically everything has a porn spoof these days.  Celebrities, everyday situations, current events…it’s all been covered.  I have no idea why, but I thought of a band name spoof that could work for a porn and thought “hey let’s expand (haha, ‘expand’) on that”.  Certain names can be easily manipulated into a movie that some people would totally watch!  For instance:

New Found Glory Hole (New Found Glory)
Donkey Punchline (Punchline)
GAY F.I. (AFI)
Smashing Blumpkins (Smashing Pumpkins)
The Jizzwolds (The Griswolds)
August Burns Red Wings (August Burns Red)
Motionless and Covered In White (Motionless In White)
Forever Cum Falling (Forever Came Calling)
Consider Giving Me Head (Consider Me Dead)
The Motorboatleague (The Motorleague)
Knuckle Fuck (Knuckle Puck)
Semenway (Seaway)
Hot Hot Karl Heat (Hot Hot Heat)
As Friends Rusty Trombone (As Friends Rust)
You Blew It! (You Blew It!…writes itself!)

Etc., etc.!  So…that just happened.  LOL or what?

Interview: Redambergreen

Redambergreen are working on their third release, and with it inadvertently going the Further Seems Forever route as it’s with their third vocalist – each one having someone different.  That isn’t the only new development since we last featured the London, Ontario alt-rockers, so with that let’s do some catchin’ up – specifically with drummer Michael Marucci and aforementioned vocalist Kris Rose (who are complemented by guitarists Dajaun Martineau and Phil Regimbal, and bassist Cameron Core).

Since the band’s last TPS feature guitarist Dajaun Martineau and singer Kris Rose joined.  Why the lineup changes?

Michael Marucci: LINEUP CHANGES!  The best friend of every band, right?

Well, in short, as the band progressed both Sara (vocals) and Mike (guitar) reached a place where they didn’t feel they could commit the time and energy that the band required.  They felt it was best for them to move on.  Mike works full time at a factory building armored vehicles, and Sara decided to go back to school.  Both things that can stifle the growth of any business, especially a band.

What have Dajaun and Kris added that’s changed, if not elevated the dynamic?

MM: WOW, where can I even start?!

Dajaun and I have been good friends for about a decade.  He, Cam and I went to college together for Music Industry Arts (he’s an engineer/producer like myself) and a great guitarist.  That means we got a huge boost in our production and songwriting capacity which is incredible.  He’s got so many fresh ideas and we all get along really well already which makes it easier to get things done, and (very important) have fun doing it.

Kris is honestly, one of the coolest people I’ve ever met by chance.  Her and Dajaun started jamming a while back and when we were looking for a new singer he asked Kris if she’d be interested in trying out a few of the songs.  We jammed once, and she demoed some of the current tunes and I was floored.  She brought a really fun, fresh energy to the music.  Even just being in the same room together felt better than it did before.  She’s fun, hilarious, totally cat obsessed (like me, no wait, maybe she’s just great because of the cat thing.  I don’t know, whatever, no, hold on, no she’s actually great.  Yeah, pretty great!)  She even works at a Pet Value in North York which is home to Soot, the world’s oldest known cat (He’s 31 years old Kevin, he’s a month younger than me! UGH) (Ed. note: As someone turning 31 on the 20th, I get that!) 

All in all the band dynamic has improved drastically.  The songwriting and production, Kris’ lyric and melody writing is amazing, the cat banter in the band thread on Facebook etc.  The personality feels better than it ever has and I think that will show in our music, and certainly our live show.  Dajaun and Kris move, jump, kick, spin and bring a lot of energy to our show and we have so much fun playing again.

You won a chance to play the Ernie Ball Stage at this summer’s Toronto Warped Tour date.  How was that experience – the contest and show itself?

Kris Rose: I was really lucky to be involved in this show at all and I’d definitely say its been one of the coolest experiences I’ve had to date!  Working with and getting to know the guys, was awesome.  Playing Warped Tour was a lot of fun and a great way for us to all get used to playing together.

MM: This year they didn’t have a Montreal date, so Toronto was the only Canadian show of the entire tour.  That meant that we were competing against that many more artists seeking a spot.  Every Canadian band wanting to play from Nanaimo to Halifax were going for that one date and they picked five bands from all of Canada to get on that stage (woah).

It was pretty overwhelming to know how many other incredible bands were up there, and I know because I made a point of listening to almost everyone in the top 50 as we moved up the ladder.  In our immediate area we were in the running with some incredible bands including London’s Hello Amora and The Truth Today, Kitchener’s Something You Whisper, bands like Bring Me the Author, Sons of Sirens, Bearings, Choices (SW Ontario has a lot of incredible bands people!)

The contest was fun, albeit a little daunting.  Ultimately we have a pretty amazing group of supporters who like what we do and were willing to give us that support when we really needed it.  We managed to place 14th out of over 200 bands, and in the end we along with The Ocean Cure, Cedar Boulevard, This Is Awesome and Amasic were chosen to play.

The show itself was great!  Warped Tour is notorious for being rained on, certainly in Toronto.  As expected, the day started out fine, but clouds rolled in and she got pretty gnarly! (Now to Ollie Williams with the weather!)  People are a bit wary of the rain though.  When it first starts, you think to yourself “HEY, I can stay dry!” and you start to work the problem.  Some stood under trees, others went for shelter at the patio bar, some small kids hid under rocks.  It’s only later on that people give up, accept their fate, and buy a poncho.  By the end of the day, everyone at the Molson flats is soaked, but we all had fun and the rain didn’t matter.  Our friends in Sumo Cyco and Red Handed Denial played Lemmon stage so I was able to catch Sumo’s sound check before we went on and caught RHD later on in the day.  Being As An Ocean was amazing, and I had an absolute blast at Beartooth.  I bought an amazing pink New York hat and got blisters on my heels from the Vans slip-ons I hadn’t yet broken in.  Hahaha.  By the end of the day I was hobbling around barefoot.

Playing Warped Tour is one of those things that so many bands dream about, and all things considered, it’s something we’re all going to look back on and say “Hey, we did that?!  We did that!”  It was a special moment we all got to share.  Being on that stage, playing OUR music. That was an amazing feeling.

The single “Happyface (Pick Yourself Up)” was released in September, and it seems like a my-special-someone-got-sick-of-the-negativity song.  What inspired it?

Stuff like that is definitely relevant, but it’s also about a general perspective on expectations.  It happens a lot in life, and in other places, like working retail.

People expect a lot of you while remaining seemingly helpless; its kind of alarming.

Will “Happyface (Pick Yourself Up)” appear on No City‘s follow-up?  Any news on that itself at this point?

KR
: The band has been working on writing together and it’s been a lot of fun (and a lot of work).  We have a few songs narrowing in on completion and others just waiting for lyrics.

MM: It’s the first single, and you can expect more catchy, fun songs like that.

After the chaos of the spring and summer we can finally say that we’re almost finished the new record.  We’ve taken the time we needed to perfect the songs and do lyric rewrites.  It was important to us that Kris had the time she needed to write because we wanted the new record to be an expression of her, and her creative spirit.

As for a release, we can’t lock it down to a specific day yet, but we’re looking at an early 2016 release.  In the meantime you’ll be seeing more and more from us including videos, play-throughs, updates and of course, funny cat pictures.

I have a feeling that if I suggest cats need to either 1) become part of Redambergreen’s shows or 2) have a concept EP written about them you guys will be receptive.  Nailed it, or am I off by a whisker?

KR
: Our love of cats may or may not become relevant in the future haha.  For now we all remain animal lovers and some of us, pet parents.

MM: MOAR CATS!  GIVE ME ALL THE CATS!  I WANT THE CATS.

ALL I WANT IS CATS WITH FRICKEN LASERS ON THEM!  OK?!

Redambergreen online:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
YouTube
Bandcamp

It’s A Shame Music Videos Are Losing Relevance

The title kind of says it all doesn’t it?  I was flipping channels yesterday and came across Much Alternative, the block of videos for songs we like.  I thought “wow, Muchmusic is playing videos”.  (The crossed-out “music” isn’t a joke by the way, the channel is actually just called Much now.)  Since I also recently brought the point up in the “Scenematography” for Counting Coins’ “All That I Need”, I figured we could do a whole post on music videos.  (I guess since that feature covers videos they’re still relevant enough, but yeah.)

Music videos are a great complement to singles.  I’ve actually always thought being a music video director would be a sweet job – I used to hear songs and get treatments in my head for them.  There are many great ones in rock and all genres, but there are types that just rule.  One is just weirdness, like the classic video for Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun”:

The freaked-out faces – including the dark, manic triumph on Chris Cornell’s face – the…black hole sun (!) sucking things up…whew.  Still one of my all-time faves.

Another great type of video is one that tells a story, almost like a mini-movie.  Often extended beyond the length of the song itself, there’s introduction dialogue and interruptions for more of it.  Green Day put that on display for “Wake Me Up When September Ends”:

It’s drawn-out, sad and compelling – not to mention the star power that Evan Rachel Wood brought.

It obviously can’t be done with every song, but some of the best videos are simply funny.  Blink-182 are usually great for that, especially in their classic boyband spoof for “All The Small Things”:

Oh Backstreet Boys…you guys were beloved.  So when you want it that way (see what I did?), you can almost never go wrong with funny.

It really is disappointing that MTV, Much and other music channels tend to care more about reality shows than music videos now.  Artists would often release three or four videos for an album in the past, but nowadays a lot of them might put one out.  I’ll always maintain that the best move the music industry has made in recent years is embracing lyric videos, which of course were a fan movement at first.  If you’re gonna make a video it makes more sense to not break the bank, and simply make something worthy for YouTube.  Bands like My Chemical Romance, Smashing Pumpkins and Thirty Seconds To Mars are (were, in MCR’s case) known for awesome, epic videos, but I really think those days are going bye-bye.  It’s too bad, huh?