Monthly Archive for February, 2008

My Tiny Circus: “The idiot savants of Anarcho-LoungeCore”

Don’t get to excited, it’s not a real circus. My Tiny Circus, however, is some of the best Lounge/Jazz music that Ottawa has to offer.

The sound of sweet subversion is nicely packaged in this group of eight. My Tiny Circus plays jazz with an expert hand – lead vocalist, Sacha Gabriel’s velvet voice and cheeky style caresses every note and draws you into each songs indecorous spell. It’s a unique style that really works.

My Tiny Circus’ sets are full of the group poking fun at itself as well as at the human experience. Take for instance, “Loser Magnet”, a song that’s sure to resonate with all from a time past (or present perhaps), or “Stella Got Hit By A Bus” based upon a band members unfortunate collision.

My Tiny Circus’ music is well crafted, unpretentious and good fun, a must for the initiated and the uninitiated alike – but be warned, it’s definitely not for the humourless.

Check them out for yourself:

8 Mar 2008 9pm Avant Garde Bar (OTTAWA, ON)
5 Apr 2008 9pm Avant Garde Bar (OTTAWA, ON)
10 May 2008 9pm Avant Garde Bar (OTTAWA, ON)
7 Jun 2008 9pm Avant Garde Bar (OTTAWA, ON)
5 Jul 2008 9pm Avant Garde Bar (OTTAWA, ON)
2 Aug 2008 9pm Avant Garde Bar (OTTAWA, ON)
13 Sep 2008 9pm Avant Garde Bar (OTTAWA, ON)

Bambi Blue

God Made Me Funky: “If you can’t dance to God Made Me Funky, you can’t dance”

…says Chart Attack, Canada’s longest running consumer music magazine.

GMMFGMMF is a super funky live ensemble that busted out into the Toronto Nu-Funk scene in 1996 and are still going strong. Now the band does it bigger and better with the release of their latest albums We Can All Be Free and Enter The Beat. They’re comprised of a diverse array of musicians ranging from classically trained Jazz artists to street schooled Hip-Hop & R&B vocalists.

Now, check out their website. I really like their design! I love the cartoons (hey, anyone remember Prozzak?) There’s not a whole lot to dislike about the site… if you can figure out how to turn off the loop of ‘la la la’s’, you’re all set. Don’t get me wrong, I instantly loved the Enter The Beat’s first video on MuchMusic – Won More Time (feat. Thrust); it’s catchy, it’s got a great beat and some really rad visuals. And the first time through, the ‘la la la’s’ are pretty catchy too — but after I’d seen the video, all I wanted was for the song to continue! (If you’re still wondering what I’m talking about, check out the page yourself, why don’t you?… And if you really, really like the ‘la la la’s’, you might want this!)

God Made Me Funky’s Enter The Beat CD Release Tour:
29 Feb 2008 10pm le Petit Campus (MONTREAL, QC)
1 Mar 2008 10pm Jello Bar After Party (MONTREAL, QC)
3 Mar 2008 9:30pm The Anvil (WOLFVILLE, NS)
5 Mar 2008 10pm Pat’s Place (ANTIGONISH, NS)
6 Mar 2008 10pm The Paramount Lounge (MONCTON, NB)
8 Mar 2008 10pm The Marquee Club (HALIFAX, NS)
9 Mar 2008 10pm Nicky Zee’s (FREDERICTON, NB)
14 Mar 2008 10pm The Opera House (TORONTO, ON)
21 Mar 2008 10pm The Townhouse (SUDBURY, ON)
22 Mar 2008 10pm The Canadian Nightclub (SAULT Ste. MARIE, ON)
27 Mar 2008 8pm The Mercury Lounge (OTTAWA, ON)
1 Apr 2008 10pm Vinyl (GUELPH, ON)

Bambi Blue

BKS Productions: Alberta Canada’s Best Kept Secret

Best Kept Secret (BKS) is a production company run out of Alberta by a trio of passionate Hip Hop artists: promo/hypeman Degs, AJK, and DMC & ITF champion DJ Pump. Like true Hip Hop purists, they continually strive for the balance between the soulful and the street. I’m a big fan of old school mixers and it really helps that they draw a lot of their style from from old school R&B and funk cuts.

They feature drops and shout-outs from all kinds of artists from Hi-Tek and Alchemist to Kardinal Offishall and Stretch Armstrong. Their website seems very simple at first glance but if you poke around a little like I did, you’ll find that they actually feature a full copy of ‘Fresh Produce’, their debut effort from 2007, for free download! I like BKS Productions’ sound because of its diverse mix of artists — everyone from Jay-Z, Biggie & M.O.P., Clipse & Slim Thug, and even some notable street poets such as Common & Nas. With fresh product like that, they’re all set to make a name for themselves in the underground Hip Hop community.

Bambi Blue

King Sunshine: A powerful, unforgettable, jazz, disco, funk experience!

Do yourself a huge favour — open THIS up a new tab while reading this review because this is going to sound crazy, but when I call King Sunshine an infusion of jazz, disco, funk, and dance backed by tight horns and smooth, soulful electronics, I want you to know exactly what I mean. Hear that? King Sunshine has been lighting dance floors on fire since 1998 as, what they call, a ‘highly skilled and electric live act’ — and I’m inclined to believe them!

Their second album, aptly named Second Movement, was released in 2006. Samples of this album (along with their first album and some hip live tracks) can be found on their web site. Their live sets are one, continuous, seamless stream of raw, explosive dance tracks that sound, at times, like they could be straight off of a vinyl from my mom’s teenage 70’s disco/funk phase.

So go on, get funky with King Sunshine at an upcoming show!

April 11 — Live at the Mercury Lounge (OTTAWA )
DOORS 9PM
April 12 — Live at Le Divan Orange (MONTREAL)
DOORS 9PM / $10

Bambi Blue

Fred Everything: True house for true Ottawa heads

How do you write about something as fun and fresh as the beats and breaks of Montreal star DJ Fred Everything? Well, for some inspiration I visited his Myspace and cranked up sample beats he had available. I went from casual head bob to full on purse-lipped, hip-waggling, seat dancing in seconds! His style, while planted firmly in the deep house genre, definitely draws from an array of influences from disco to funk and soul.

Although he’s known for his remixing, his non-mix debut, 2000’s Under The Sun, was a huge success with critics and fans alike and he has appeared on more than 100 compilations worldwide. Fred Everything has remixed popular artists such as KemeticJust, Random Factor, AtJazz, Joeski, Bran Van 3000 and Roy Davis Jr.’s classic track “Watch Them Come”. But, by far, one of the coolest things I found out when trying to get the scoop on Fred Everything is that his record label, Lazy Days Recordings, throws a monthly party at one of my favourite Montreal hangouts le Salon Daomé. This place is super chill– it looks and feels like an apartment but it’s a musical civil uprising at night (and a working studio during the day, believe it or not).

Fred Everything gets a huge thumbs up from me but hey, if you need more convincing pick up an album or two or, better yet, check him out live at a musical civil uprising near you (or, you know, follow him from venue to venue, city to city until you run out of gas or you burn out the soles of your dancing shoes):

28 Feb 2008, 8:00pm – Mercury Lounge (Ottawa, Ontario)
29 Feb 2008, 8:00pm – Lazy Days @ Jupiter Room (Montreal, Quebec)
1 Mar 2008, 8:00pm – Nuits Blanches @ Montreal CAC (Montreal, Quebec)
25 Mar 2008, 8:00pm – Nightlyfe Magazine Party WMC (Miami, Florida)
26 Mar 2008, 8:00pm – Amenti/Solid Tokyo/Lazy Days @ Beach Plaza Hotel (Miami, Florida)
27 Mar 2008, 8:00pm – Om Miami (Miami, Florida)
5 Apr 2008, 8:00pm – Ohm, Portland (Portland, Oregon)

Bambi Blue

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: It’s real. It’s hep. It’s happening.

One of Chicago’s jazz treasures, EHE front man Kahil El’Zabar, has put more than 30 years into his ambitious musical endeavors in one form or another. He’s not only a master percussionist, but a community leader, a composer, an educator and a sensational jazz multi-instrumentalist as well… but that certainly doesn’t even begin to describe the unique sound experience that is the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble.

EHE’s smooth and crisp tracks paired with bright and lively, emotional saxophone, trumpet and percussion are innovative and startlingly fresh. They explore the continuum of African and African-American traditions of music. And their newest live recording Hot ‘n’ Heavy is an ode to the spirit of freedom and jazz. But don’t just take my word for it, check them out for yourself! Much of their discography,available on CD & DVD from Delmark Record, can be found for purchase through Amazon.com here.

And for those of you seeking instantaneous musical gratification, here’s a sneak peak at the Hot ‘n’ Spicy DVD trailer filmed live from Chicago’s Ascension Loft!

Bambi Blue

Trans Canada Radio

THE ROOT

For those who have never had the fortune to drive it, the Trans-Canada highway is a long, slow and detailed journey. This route is rarely the fastest, but can be the most memorable way to traverse Canada.

I recently had the fortune to take the wrong turn driving from Toronto to Ottawa and landed myself on this highway. Listening to a CD of an Ottawa afro-funk band, I quickly drew the parallel between Canada’s music industry and one of the worlds longest highways. Relaxed and natural, yet constant and strong! Canada’s artists are bred to know that there is a long road that lie ahead.

TRANS CANADA RADIO is proud to celebrate Canada’s Current Cultural artists and their locations! Traveling across Canada’s vast surface and finding the best of the under and above-ground artists who are rooted in, Soul, Funk, Reggae, Beats, House, Breaks and all that afro-Jazz… and where to check them out in your favorite Canadian city!
Pack your bags! We’re going on a road trip!

Sara Ainslie (editor)