News:: ECMA Nominees - Alternative Recording of the Year

The 2007 East Coast Music Awards are being held in Halifax next month. So what better way to get some Haifax music content, and also annoy Ack, then by doing a preview of the nominees. Well, some of the nominees. As much as I would like to recap the Gospel or Bluegrass categories for our loyal readers, I don't think I have the expertise for it. I'll start with the Alternative Recording of the Year and go from there.

And the nominees are:

In-Flight Safety - The Coast Is Clear

The Ack got, ahem, on board with these guys way back in February, just after the album dropped. I, like many others I'm sure, took his advice and checked it out. Glad I did, as it's excellent. Their sweeping piano-influenced sound has produced the un-avoidable Coldplay comparisons, but that's far from a bad thing as it's comparing to them to the positive aspects of the band, not to the annoying Chris Paltrow aspects. The undeniable appeal of songs like Coast Is Clear and Surround are enough to make this a memorable album, but it's also filled with other powerful songs like Letting Go and Fear. On Top of that, Surround was used in a Dell commercial, how many artists from any coast can claim that!

myspace>> In-Flight Safety

Jon Epworth and The Improvements - Wet On Wet

Jon Epworth and The Improvements are a nattily-clad quartet based in Halifax. Jon & Co. are new to the hill, but I'm trying to procure a copy of the album to do a full-length review. Based on the sample tracks I checked out, Jon and the boys play a stylized indie pop-rock with Jon's confident, smooth vocals accompanied by pulsing guitars and fairly aggressive drums. Not a bad combo, as I do enjoy me some consist ant drumming. Extra Fries has an excellent title and is a hypnotic indictment of society's over consumption. For Many Years has some frenetic guitar work that kicks things up a notch, whereas Gone builds slowly from a nice drum break at the beginning to a quality rock out. So far I like what I hear from Wet On Wet, hopefully I'll have a chance to review the full album.

myspace>> Jon Epworth and The Imporovements

Mars Hill - Fate Chance Luck Dance

Mars Hill is an eclectic foursome formed in Charlottetown PEI, now residing in Montreal. In their own words, the Men from Mars (Hill) are "a band that is not easy to label". They incorporate elements of reggae, folk, rock, jazz and hip hop into the rocking musical stew that is Fate, Chance, Luck, Dance, and those efforts garnered them an 2007 ECMA nomination. Aside from the fact that their name sounds far too similar to pseudo-Christian rap group Mars Ill, I knew nothing about Mars Hill, so hopefully a full review will be forthcoming, but a listen to the samples on their site proves they do indeed have an eclectic sound. Syruppy basslines, keyboards, horns (always bonus points with me), and DJ scratches(!) are mixed together with Devin Casario's sing song-ey vocals to produce a fairly unique sound. Honestly, I don't know who to compare Mars Hill to, so check out a stream oof album samples:

stream>> Fate, Chance, Luck, Dance

myspace>> Mars Hill

On Vinyl - Strode Dodger

Hailing from Fredericton, NB, this indie rock triumvirate "reaches into a mixed bag of Canadian Rock influences from Rush to Sloan in order to create some of the most refreshing music coming out of the East coast". Well sir, just how refreshing is it? Quite, it would seem. Strode Dodger is another album I'm planning to give the full-length review treatment to, but thankfully, the helpful lads from On Vinyl have some mp3's on their site, and I certainly like what I hear. Caught Up would fit right in on any Sloan album, which, as the Ack will happily tell you, is just fine with me. Fall Right is some quality straight-ahead rock and roll that sounds like the good bits of the early 90's Halifax alterna-wave. I enjoy what I hear from On Vinyl so far, check them for yourself:

mp3>> Caught Up

mp3>> Fall Right

myspace>> On Vinyl

Isolator - Two Hours Traffic

Another ECMA nominee hailing from Charlottetown, the boys in Two Hours Traffic released the excellent EP that I reviewed for the hill. If you read that review, you'll see I certainly agree with THT's nomination, but I'll recap for those who skipped the review: They make addictive indie pop with an tinge, are produced by Joel Plaskett, landed a song on the OC, and, to quote myself, "THT make energetic, youthful music that somehow still seems mature and interesting". This is only an EP, but excellent songs like Stuck For The Summer, Jezebel, and New Love make sure that quality makes up for the lack of quantity. I'm certainly looking forward to a Two Hours Traffic full length release this year.

myspace>> Two Hours Traffic

Who will win? I have no idea, as I've said, I haven't heard all the albums in their entirety, so I couldn't call it as far as best album. But if I had to guess, I'd go with In-Flight Safety just because of the roll their on. However, I enjoyed the Two Hours Traffic EP a great deal and I like what On Vinyl are doing too.

Up next is what you all want, my recap of the best rap recording category.

@ 10:22 AM, mario kicked the following game:

I am offended you did not review the Children's Recording category. I am a proud staff member at Elizabeth Sutherland School and we have been nominated in this category.


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