HIPHOPGYM CLASS HEROES at the Tequila Lounge (794 Bathurst), tonight (Thursday, June 5) , 9 pm. $8. 416-536-0346.if there's no scene to fit into, create your own. That's what Delmar, New York, hiphop band Gym Class Heroes did.The group, who came together a few years ago when they were in high school, found that the live hiphop beats they were creating didn't fit in with the rap-rock crunch around them. Rather than switch their sound, they hunkered down and came up with the unique sound on their For The Kids debut.
Like the Roots, Gym Class Heroes favour instrumentation over samples, but that's where the similarities stop.
"We're a lot younger than the Roots, so we have a lot of different reference points and experiences," MC Schleprok insists. "Unlike Philly, there was no scene up here in upstate New York. That really gave us the freedom to start from scratch and experiment until we came up with a sound we liked.
"We're not anti-sample, but live instruments give us more freedom and set us apart from other hiphop crews."
PUNK ROCK Mugshot at the 360 (326 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, June 5), 9 pm. $6. 416-593-0840.mugshot are not, contrary to what I thought, a pop-punk band. Oh no, says singer Nicholas Keays."We are Toronto's mega-sexual rock bandits."
I see. How so?
"Can we say something cheesy about rocking your pants off?"
MugShot's Get Well Soon disc does have pop-punk elements, but Keays must be right on some level, because I don't hate it. In fact, there are tunes on the record that have gotten stuck in my head for hours, and Keays's vocals sound a lot like Michael Jackson at times, lending a pervading sensation of fabulous to the record.
The quality of the voices is a nice change from the usual nasal offerings that normally accompany similar tunes.
Mugshot's show at the 360 tonight promises, at the very least, a topless drummer.
"He's guaranteed to be topless after the first couple of songs, and he's definitely in the best shape of all of us."
POSTMODERN POPThe Caribbean at the El Mocambo, upstairs (464 Spadina), tonight (Thursday, June 5), 10 pm. $8. 416-777-1777.whether you consider the home recording concept of the gig-shy experimental pop collective known as the Caribbean to be an odd Steely Dan throwback or an innovative glimpse of the future, their strangely entrancing new disc, History's First Know-It-All (Endearing), proves they're doing something right.Because the members are scattered over three states and only come together to record or play a rare show, they've become adept at exchanging song ideas via e-mail and building their music literally bit by bit.
"Tony (Dennison) might come up with a drum pattern," says the Caribbean's Michael Kentoff, who moonlights as a Washington commercial litigation lawyer. "He'd send it to me, and then in six months I'd write a guitar part around it and send it off to Matthew (Byars), who adds something else. A few months later we have a song. You just don't have that time to create when everyone's standing around in a practice space."
The Caribbean's postmodern approach to song composition -- songs can reference Antonio Carlos Jobim in one phrase and to Jimmy Webb or Bill Evans in the next -- seems to be closely connected to their creation process.
"We each have dozens of really varied influences, and because we bring our ideas together the way we do, they get incorporated in our songs very differently than if we were jamming in the basement."
POPHAWAII at Clinton's (690 Bloor West), tonight (Thursday, June 5), 11 pm. $8. 416-535-9541.someone says "hawaii" and you think hula girls, surf guitars, cheesy ukuleles and Elvis crooning to Ann-Margret in grainy old wakilana movies, right? Well, local dream popsters Hawaii are here to give you a fresh new take on the name. The songs spun by artistic and romantic partners Samantha Terry (ex-Aureola) and Sam Goldberg (formerly of Bionic and Bodega) are dazzlingly otherworldly. Her airy, goose-pimply vocals wind through a sea of atmospheric guitars and tranquilized beats, while his gruff growl prickles through murky post-punk T-Rex riffs.
Although the two have distinct styles and trade off on vocal and songwriting duties, the cohesive tone of their upcoming self-titled debut (out June 17 on Paper Bag) seems a testament to the strength of their relationship -- which is quite an indie rock fairy tale.
"We met at an Elliott Smith concert," says Terry. "I'd been writing songs since I was a teenager, and Sam was in the band Bodega."
While Terry references Mazzy Star and Billie Holiday, Goldberg says he was sparked by pumping Led Zeppelin while writing songs for the album.
"In high school I never fit in. Everyone was pumping the Zeppelin. I couldn't ever listen to 'em afterwards 'cause it reminded me of all the people I went to school with. But with this album, all of a sudden I got into a Led Zeppelin thing and it clicked."
METAL PUDDY at Club 279 (279 Yonge), tonight (Thursday, June 5), 11 pm. $10 416-362-3636.puddy mean business, and that business consists of rupturing your eardrums and leaving you square on your ass. Put Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Helmet and Kyuss in your pipe and smoke it and what comes out is Puddy.
The feds have decided that simple possession is not a crime, just a fine, which is fine with head Puddster Paulo Rizzo (aka Astro Puddy).
"That's great, a first step," he says. "Now legalize it."
Merchants of heavy fuzz riffage, these small-town Timmins boys can easily sell you the dream of the big city. Axe grinder/vocal strangler Rizzo sings like he's trying to pass a kidney stone and plays guitar like he just did.
The other three members solidly hold down the rhythm section, so much so that they even do a couple of reggae-tinged tunes.
REEM at B-Side (129 Peter), tonight (Thursday, June 5), midnight. $5. midway between hiphop and soul sits Reem.On her three-song demo, the Toronto MC/singer comes off like a less bratty version of Brit hip-pop superstar Ms. Dynamite, dropping understated rhymes over stuttering breakbeats. Schooled on A Tribe Called Quest and big beat soul, Reem's own jazzy beats bump with a smooth, unpredictable flow.
It sounds familiar but fresh, a mixture that promises to get even more volatile when Reem integrates aspects of her Lebanese heritage into her music.
"The core of what I do is hiphop," Reem explains, "but it seems weird to call it that. When you say hiphop, people expect something hardcore. It's not that, but it's also not straight-up R&B. There's a pop edge to it, but the rhymes have a conscious feel to them.
"My producer and I have been calling the music "heart and soul.' That will work for now."
POPTRAPPER JOHN at the Cameron House (408 Queen West), tonight (Thursday, June 5), midnight. $6. 416-703-0811.still bummed about missing wee-zer last time around? Just can't figure out why you got dumped right before the big dance? Trapper John are here to help. Geek chic, pimple punk, nerd rock: whatever you call incredibly catchy, upbeat tunes about video games, not understanding the opposite sex, not fitting in, low self-esteem and unrequited love played behind soaring melodies is what Trapper John are all about.
Lead singer/guitarist John Bobo knows it all too well. With songs like Class Of 85, Always Away and My Girlfriend Hates Me, Bobo is a shoo-in for the Rivers Cuomo Fellowship Award.
What allows them to pull it off so well is that they never wallow in pity; they claim each failure as a personal victory. These Ohio boys revel in self-deprecation with such conviction that you'll wish more people had picked on you in the caf.
Singer/songwriter MARK BRAGG & The black wedding band at the El Mocambo (465 Spadina), tonight (Thursday, June 5), midnight. $8. 416-416-777-1777.hearing the work of an amazing musician who can barely afford gas to tour always makes me smile. Like Bob Dylan in Greenwich Village in 62 or Kurt Cobain in Olympia in 89, anyone who heard them knew it was just a matter of time.
The fact that Mark Bragg has flown below music execs' radar this long testifies both to the isolation of Newfoundland and a fragmented industry. Imagine Tom Waits and Neil Young with Calexico as the backing band, and you begin to get an idea of the breadth of this singer/songwriter's music.
His self-released debut, The Reckless Kind, has everything from trumpet and trombone to fiddle and pedal steel. His NXNE show, though, will feature a three-piece outfit, which suits Bragg just fine. "I'm way more used to playing live that way," he says. "It was the album that was a departure." For this performance there will be more gang vocals. His self-described bare-bones showcase is sure to set this town into a lobster tailspin come Friday mornin'.
MENACING ROCKDeath From ABOVE at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), tonight (Thursday, June 5), 1 am. $8. 416-777-1777.no one took much notice when Femme Fatale members Jesse Keeler and Sebastien Grainger started up their side project Death from Above.That is, until they unleashed the brutally awesome Heads Up (Ache) EP -- complete with nasty-nice vocoder embellishments -- which sounds far more exciting than anything Femme Fatale have ever done.
Evidently, they've been tearing up packed clubs in just about every major city in North America -- except here in Toronto, where they live.
"Every time we get asked to play a show in Toronto," groans Grainger, who admits that sharing an acronym with the Rapture's label, DFA, has been advantageous, "it's usually on a bill with with Femme Fatale-type post-hardcore bands. But we're a rock band, so it's never the right audience.
"At a show we did in May, someone shouted, "Rock is dead.' I guess our songs don't have enough political content for the backpack crowd. If you're 19 years old and yelling about apathy in a club, you probably don't know what the word means."
Dutch dreamRetro popKINKSTER at Holy Joe's (651 Queen West), Friday (June 6), 11 pm. $5. 416-504-0744.kinkster come in on a rip curl from a place somewhere between a John Hughes movie and a We Built This City Starship anthem.Not really a bad thing, since the 80s theme is back in a big way, and this Dutch quartet will have you pulling out alligator shirts and leg warmers faster than you can say Miami Vice.
Bouncy melodies surround lead chanteuse Laura Moerland's energetic velvety vox with a poppy precision Pat Benatar would be proud of. Her Debbie Harry look invites the Blondie comparisons.
Kinkster sing original songs in English, and while their single Hey I'm Falling went to number one in The Hague, lyrics like "Purple is the colour / and blue is the eye / yellow is the park / and the stars are bright" seem to have lost something in translation.
So what? It's all about fun, and Kinkster roll out song after song filled with a joyous 80s naïveté.
RockFICTION PLANE at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), Friday (June 6), midnight. $10. 416-777-1777.trying to establish yourself as an original new band is hard enough. Imagine having the shadow of a rock titan hanging over your head. Ask ambitious Brit alt-rockers Fiction Plane, a quartet of existentially angsty 20-somethings whose frontman is Sting's son Joe Sumner.
Bassist Dan Brown gives only a curt response when asked about the treehugging icon's advice to the band: "Just work hard and keep at it to build up a fan base, which is what we want to do anyway."
Brown's more forthcoming on the topic of Fiction Plane's morose lyrics.
"We're questioning life and trying to find a way to be happy while not living in a dream world."
Taken with the band's anthemic electric-guitar-heavy sound and pounding drums, those lyrics fall somewhere between ponderous U2 and mid-90s grunge. Brown doesn't care if that's not trendy.
"We don't really give a shit about conforming to an image. We never fit into the Britpop scene that we came up in a few years ago. In fact, we really hated it."Sl
Dartmouth strike force
TWANG ROCKMATT MAYS & EL TORPEDO at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Friday (June 6), midnight. $8. 416-598-4753. anyone expecting to hear matt Mays gently strumming through the forlorn alt-country ballads of his self-titled solo debut disc are in for a jolt. Since Mays left the Guthries and hooked up with his Dartmouth pals in El Torpedo, his sound has been rocked up considerably. There's still a little twang around the edges (he hasn't dropped the steel guitar), but the new songs he'll be debuting at NXNE are not nearly as countrified.
"I've always want to get a rock 'n' roll band together, because I grew up with rock and I love it.
"The guys in El Torpedo, Dartmouth and Halifax friends of mine, all have a background in playing rock, so it's not like I'm forcing them to do something against their will.
"The harder they rock, the more they bring it out of me."
METAL3 Inches of Blood at the Kathedral (651 Queen West), Friday (June 6), 1 am. $8. 416-504-0744. vancouver may be a haven for satanic activity and black magic, but it's not exactly a renowned hotbed of heavy metal activity. (Not to imply that all metal heads are Satanists, but you get the connection.) In fact, Halifax has way more metal cred these days than its western counterpart.Enter Three Inches of Blood, six dudes from Vancouver with a serious agenda to make metal your master. And that's not the nouveau Deftones kind either, but the good-old-fashioned rockin' early Maiden/Dio/Priest kind, without the goofy fall-off-your-chair-laughing-at-them fashion sense.
"People are surprised when they see us live," says vocalist Cam Pipes. "Most people expect some kind of generic nu-metal, but that's not what they get. We play in a traditional style, hearkening back to the glory days."
Being a metal head with an agenda for world domination is hard work since metal is a genre that tends to take itself very, very seriously. The TIOB army, however, is up for the task."We don't want to do anything else," says Pipes. "We live and breathe it."
Power popTHE WEAKERTHANS at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), Saturday (June 7), 8 pm. First 100 wristbands free, $15. 416-870-8000.part of the thrill of a festival like NXNE is checking out new bands. Just as fun can be checking up on old favourites to see what they've been doing.Winnipeg power pop foursome the Weakerthans return to town for an NXNE bonus show, seemingly at the height of their powers. The group's excellent forthcoming Reconstruction Site disc (due out August 26) shows that the pop breakthrough of 2001's Left & Leaving was no fluke.
Now signed to Epitaph, the band looks poised for a major breakthrough. In addition to the stick-in-your-head title cut, Reconstruction Site includes a song in reverse, a track written from the perspective of a cat and the fantastically titled tune inspired by Shackleton, Our Retired Explorer (Dines With Michel Foucault In Paris, 1961).
Ranging from country to punk and back, the disc's tough as nails, sharp as a tack and hookier than you'd believe. Arrive early to avoid disappointment.
PARODYHONCHIE at the Bovine Sex Club (542 Queen West), Saturday (June 7), 9 pm. $8. 416-504-4239.doug krause and his buddy chuck Stephenson would still be playing covers Thursday nights in Dallas with their "generic rock band" Hush if it weren't for Krause's fortuitous back injury. It was while tripping on prescription painkillers that Krause came up with the tune Monkey Midget and the whole gag song concept for Honchie, predating Tenacious D by a couple of years.
The lowbrow appeal of sing-along faves like Meatseeker, Bitch Stole My Liquor and their classic, Mullet Man (sung to the tune of Elton John's Rocket Man), has made Honchie successful beyond all Krause's expectations.
"The only thing we had going for us in Hush was a really hot-looking singer," he explains while driving a truck on an Oklahoma highway.
"During a break one night, Chuck and I started playing Monkey Midget -- probably the dumbest song ever -- and the crowd went crazy.
"Chuck and I formed Honchie, and we've found there is a niche for a us. People would rather go to shows to laugh and have a good time than stand around watching someone trying to act cooler than them."
Barber cuts it
INDIE POPMATTHEW BARBER at the Rivoli (332 Queen West), Saturday (June 7), 9 pm. $10. 416-596-1908.matthew barber's debut album, Means And Ends (Paper Bag), sounds completely fresh and exciting while harking back to pre-prefab Popstar pap.Means And Ends features such thoughtful musicianship and unshowy instrumental talent that you'd suspect Barber was weaned on his parents' classic rock collection.
But he claims he and sister Jill -- who sings backup on his disc and carries her own NXNE solo set at the Cameron House tonight (Thursday, June 5) at 10 pm -- chose music as a small act of rebellion.
"Neither of my parents can play an instrument, and I don't think either of them can sing. Maybe in a weird way that fuelled it."
Port Credit-bred, Barber honed his chops in Hamilton before moving to Toronto last year. He says that while he liked the close-knit Steeltown scene, the glam factor of the T-dot, what I call the Sloan factor (there's always at least one member of Sloan at a given indie show; two at Barber's last gig), makes things more exciting.
"It's a different sort of energy, and there's always a greater chance of seeing people in the audience whom I'm really big fans of."
Riot grrrl remake
POP/ROCK REMAKE REMODEL at the Cameron House (408 Queen West), Saturday (June 7), 10 pm. $8. 416-703-0811.aussie foursome remake remodel seem hell-bent on a Riot Grrrl revival, which will please anyone who's pissed by Sleater-Kinney's settling into a state of domestic bliss or who pines for the lost lipstick-coloured heyday of Cub and Tuscadero.The quartet of remarkably photogenic ladies -- blond bombshell bassist Melissa Lock and singer Jes Cogger, who met at high school, drummer Alex Kastaniotis and guitarist Sarah Blaby, who was a club booker Down Under and did a stint managing Peaches's 2002 tour -- used to call themselves Porcelain, but the name seemed too tame.
Remake Remodel sound like a girl gang with sparkly streamers on their BMXs and a penchant for grape-flavoured bubble gum, a cross between Joan Jett leather and the annoyingly catchy hookiness of old-school Madonna.
The often candy-coated lyrics and simplistic riffage prevent them from achieving full Sleater-Kinney rawk goddess status. Still, Remake Remodel are a billion times more deserving of trend-scouting attention than deathly dull fellow Oz-rockers the Vines.
Darp a big discovery
HIPHOP/R&B DARP MALONE at the Tequila Lounge (794 Bathurst), Saturday (June 7), 10 pm. $10. 416-536-0346.
darp malone is a torontodarp malone is a torontodarp malone is a toronto
-based hiphop and soul producer who's put himself on the other side of the recording console, laying down some sweet soul vocals and conscious hiphop à la Common and Mos Def. "Primarily I'm a producer, but every once in a while I'll do something for myself, whenever the inspiration hits me," Malone explains.
He's done backup vocals for lots of other artists and has his own history as a rapper.
"Back in 93 I was in a group called the Maximum Definitive. After that, though, I kind of stopped writing. Basically, I had writer's block for a while."
Malone doesn't feel that much affinity for the jiggy side of contemporary R&B, but his songs are still radio-friendly, full of silky harmonies, great hooks and well-produced beats with a natural edge.
Currently unsigned, he's the kind of artist NXNE is meant to uncover.
Favourite sonsToy popThe Barmitzvah Brothers at Healey's (178 Bathurst), Saturday (June 7), 11 pm. $8. 416-703-5882.the barmitzvah brothers are three high school kids from Guelph: Geordie Gordon (son of Canadian folksinger James Gordon), Little John Jemeson Merritt (son of songwriter/producer Scott Merritt) and Jenny Mitchell (daughter of a thrift store owner who gets cool musical instruments).If the live show I once caught is any indication, the Brothers aren't exactly monster talents, but what they lack in natural ability they make up for in cuteness and eclecticism, combining elements of bluegrass, polka, alt rock and punk.
Occasionally they sing in Hebrew, "not because it's their native language, but because it sounds beautiful."
And nobody can say they ain't original, playing on Casio, harpsichord, fiddle, mandolin, omnichord, glockenspiel, Ukranian whistle and a myriad of other noise-making implements, some of which were meant for making music, others not necessarily.
Remember those too-cool-for-school, thrift-store-shopping indie-music egghead kids you wanted to hate in high school but couldn't because they were actually nice to you? Yeah. Those ones.
Un-countryD.Rangers at the Silver Dollar (484 Spadina), Saturday (June 7), 11 pm. $8. 416-763-9139. few string bands can split a crowd of bluegrass and old-time music fans like Winnipeg's D.Rangers. It's not their smartass throwback aliases -- Eldon Maines Sr., Dink Jebkins, Dixon Mason and John T. Plumeray -- that cause problems, nor their repertoire, which draws on western swing and honky-tonk favourites. What unnerves the traditionally minded segment of D.Rangers' audience is their irreverence.
Their background in punk rock adds a confrontational edge to the D.Rangers' performances.
"What Bob Wills and Bill Monroe were doing was taking what had been done before and adding their own ideas and spirit to create something new. In a similar way, we're more interested in interpreting the music of the past than in recreating what's already been done.
"Some people come to our shows and yell, "That's not bluegrass!' And that's all right with me. I've seen so many bluegrass bands standing stiff onstage -- their expressions don't even change when they're taking a solo -- and that just leaves me cold.
"When we play you'll see some funny guitar face, mandolin face and maybe even some banjo face, too."
La belle scene
HIPHOPLES ARCHITEKTS at the Tequila Lounge (794 Bathurst), Saturday (June 7), 11 pm. $10. 416-536-0346.for all the talk recently about an explosion in homegrown hiphop talent, precious little has been said in Toronto about the beats rocking from right next door.Quebec, and in particular Montreal, has a thriving hiphop underground, but it's as though the scene exists in a vacuum. A group like Les Architekts has to struggle to get any hype west of Hull.
It's hard to see why. The duo of Ray Ray and Stratège are at the heart of the Montreal scene, producing records by crews like Butta Babies, Bless and K-OS, promoting shows and releasing their own smooth-flowing sets. Remove them from the equation and the Montreal scene might well collapse.
"Ray and I are to Montreal what DJ Premier and Rockwilder are to New York," Stratège explains from home. "We have produced everyone in Montreal. That's why the name is Les Architekts; we are the architects of the Montreal hiphop scene."
goth surfVampire Beach Babes at the Bovine Sex Club (542 Queen West), Saturday (June 7), 1 am. $8. 416-504-4239. the antithesis to what most have come to expect from goths, local gothic surf band the Vampire Beach Babes are primarily concerned with having a good time and frolicking in the sun."Actually," says foppish bloodsucking dandy frontman Baron Marcus Von Zipper about the gothic surf amalgam, "I prefer the term "glam noir' because it beckons images of some sick cabaret. We're not a sick cabaret, but we'd make a good opening act for one."
The Babes combine the best aspects of retro horror kitsch with darker overtones of goth to create hilariously sinister and catchy tunes like Attack Of The Killer Bikinis, Surfing Swamp Monster From The Planet ZON and Gothic Surf-a-rama. Those who dare to attend the VBB Bovine gig will hear these old favourites as well as selections like Hotfoot and Spank That Thang from their upcoming third CD.
Sure to be a blast.
POPJULIE CROCHETIERE at B-Side (129 Peter), Saturday (June 7), 1 am. $6.julie crochetiere is known best as a belter from pre-American Idol prefab popsters Sugar Jones, but in her home province of Quebec she's notorious for her Celine Dion impression.Pre-Popstars, she was part of a special events band called 1945.
"We did imitations of singers at big shows," she relates. "I do Celine Dion very well. I grew up with her in my ear constantly, so I think she's a part of my voice!"
When it comes to her solo stuff, she pledges her allegiance to edgier tunesmiths. She performs folkie soul backed by piano (she plays), violin and upright bass and says Motown artists, Fiona Apple and Jill Scott turn her crank.
"Jill Scott is amazing, the perfect blend of poetry and neo-soul. I went to see her open for Erykah Badu and I had to leave after her set -- I was soaked in so much awe and inspiration and couldn't take any more."
And her advice to aspiring Popstars and Idol finalists after the show is kaput?
"Do whatever you have to do to stay grounded. If you have to call your mom every night, then do it!"
Lawr the boom
SINGER/SONGWRITERNATHAN LAWR at C'est What (19 Church), Saturday (June 7), 1 am. $6. 416-867-9499.if there is a constant within the explosion of great music coming out of Guelph, it could be Nathan Lawr.Lawr played drums for Royal City, King Cobb Steelie, Jim Guthrie and a handful of other Guelph bands before finally stepping out from behind the kit to play some of his own tunes. Lawr's forthcoming The Heart Beats A Waltz disc is a wobbly pop gem, filled with drunken trumpets, rubbery guitars and hooky songs.
If Lawr had any trepidation about moving to the front of the stage, you'd never know it. He also had no shame about calling in favours from friends whose records he'd played on in the past.
"It was nice to get people who I'd worked for working for me," Lawr laughs from a pay phone. "I wanted the record to reflect a lot of the music I've been involved with over the last few years. There's actually one representative here from each of the things I've done."
SINGER/SONGWRITERA GIRL NAMED SUE at the Free Times Café (320 College), Saturday (June 7), 1 am. $5. 416-967-1078. remember a boy names sue, that old country ditty penned by Shel Silverstein and made famous by Johnny Cash? In it, a guy makes up for his femmey moniker by fronting like a tough guy.Well, sweet-voiced twangy troubadour A Girl Named Sue (aka Sue Malley), can relate.
"It reminds me of my own dad," laughs the former Edmontonian who moved to Toronto last September.
"He'd make me do push-ups before bed and signed me up for hockey. I'd come home and cry 'cause all the boys on the team made fun of me, and he'd tell me to buck up, "Or no milkshake for you after hockey practice!'"
Judging from twisted storytelling ballads like Homicidal Love Song (in which she wants to off her crush object's girlfriend) and her proclivity for cursing during her sets, Malley seems pretty tough to me.
Hell, she cites Iron Maiden as an influence.
Malley also compares herself to Oh Susanna, but she's trying to crush the wussy singer-songwriter myth once and for all.
"People hear the female singer-songwriter thing and roll their eyes. Sometimes I'll play in a bar where nobody's paying attention, but by the end they've all gone silent. That's me: taming wild crowds and juggling flaming guitars!"
HARD ROCKNASTY ON at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Saturday (June 7), 1 am. $10. 416-598-4753.when nasty on frontman jason Grainger noticed that many of his favourite bands on the Vancouver scene were being overlooked by major label reps, he didn't get mad. He formed a label with bandmate Allen Forrister. In short order, Stutter Records has become a West Coast threat with an impressive roster that includes the Cinch (who recently cut a deal with Dirtnap), Notes from Underground and Video Tokyo along with the Nasty On, whose scorching song CitySick is an explosive delight.
"The situation for major labels has been bad for a long time and is just getting worse with Internet downloading.
"It's no wonder they don't want to bother with bands like the Nasty On, but that's great for me, because it leaves a label like ours a lot of latitude.
"Those labels have no effect on my world. I don't buy their records or listen to commercial radio, so I don't even have to hear them, and I'm not alone. All that is really good for our business."