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Tuesday, Feb 12, 2013
The two-time winner of Best Pop Artist at the Toronto Independent Music Awards, alternative soul singer Lori Nuic is a rising star.

Alternative soul singer/songwriter Lori Nuic brings a sparkle to whatever she does.


A classic triple threat –- she writes, sings and dances with equal aplomb -– and backed by a stellar duo of well-connected producers in Adrian Eccleston and Martin ‘Doc’ McKinney (The Weeknd), Nuic seems perfectly positioned to take the pop charts by storm. She appeared on my radar last autumn when she won her second Best Pop crown at the Toronto Independent Music Awards (TIMA). Her blend of Motown-era melodies and urban-slick grooves is striking, both for its timelessness and for its contemporary sheen. Nuic’s is a classic sound, immediately comfortable, but it is pushing at the boundaries of the old form. Small wonder she won the top prize twice!


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Friday, Jan 25, 2013
by Eric Klinger
Counterbalance takes the week off, but co-conspirator Eric Klinger is still around to recommend to you the Mighty Shamrocks' three-decade delayed LP.

Northern Ireland. The late 1970s. The violence and turbulence of the Troubles are everywhere, along with IRA hunger strikes and crippling unemployment. Meanwhile, the straight ahead three-chord punk model was already revealing itself to be generally unsustainable, and shrewder bands were looking to other forms as a way forward. And in Northern Ireland, a way forward could mean a way out of the turmoil. Against that backdrop emerged the Mighty Shamrocks: singer/guitarist Mickey Stephens, guitarist Dougie Gough, bassist Roe Butcher, and drummer Paddy MacNicholl.


Taking cues from a wide range of music—the New Wave that was ubiquitous at the time, country elements from the pub rock scene, and a hint of reggae (their moniker is a play on roots reggae group the Mighty Diamonds)—the Mighty Shamrocks made their regional name on the strength of songs that brought the political turmoil of the times to a personal level. In 1983, the group recorded an album for the Good Vibrations label, and it looked like the group might well be on their way. But as it so often happens on the road to rock glory, fate made other plans. The Good Vibrations label went bankrupt just as the album was due for release, and the band collapsed under the pressure.


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Friday, Dec 14, 2012
On Wednesday, the former Beatle teamed up with the surviving members of Nirvana for charity and debuted a heavy Zeppelin-esque jam live on stage. Kurt Cobain would have been jealous.

Despite the presence of Kanye West, Alicia Keys, and Chris Martin, the star-studded bill at Wednesday night’s Hurricane Sandy benefit concert in New York City was staffed mainly by the classic rock contingent, particularly of the British variety. “This has got to be the largest collection of old English musicians ever assembled in Madison Square Garden”, Mick Jagger astutely quipped from the stage, which his Rolling Stones shared with fellow aged countrymen Paul McCartney, the Who, Eric Clapton, and Roger Waters. Waters’ rendition of “Comfortably Numb” with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder was one attempt to bridge the noticable age gap, but it was McCartney’s team-up with another representive of the grunge ‘90s that is bound to generate buzz over the next few days.


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Thursday, Nov 8, 2012
Devin Therriault opens up about rock 'n' roll, the Strokes, and the case for MySpace's continued relevance.

One of my favorite debut records from this year was Devin Therriault’s solo record as Devin, Romancing, a smart blast of infectiously fun, hook-laden punk-infused, rock n’ roll. After a slew of very strong performances, he caught the attention of Frenchkiss records, who immediately worked out a deal with him. At the midway point this year, he’s showed no signs of slowing, delivering high-intensity live shows (including several high-profile SXSW gigs) and has been continuously pouring himself into his music.


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Tuesday, Oct 30, 2012
ERAAS doesn’t so much sound like the score to a film never made, but rather it evokes the sense of a long-lost film, a celluloid soul trying to renter the world and regain relevancy -- the ghost of a film about ghosts.

On first listen, ERAAS’ debut—a spectral passerby of an album—is all ghostly mood and atmosphere, songs of agreeable length but expunged of hooks and conventional structure. You probably won’t find it in the Avant-Garde section of your local record store, but its 40 pop-purged minutes don’t pretend to peddle in radio-friendly verse-chorus expediency. Like the Danger Mouse/Daniele Luppi collaboration Rome (a score to a western that doesn’t exist), ERAAS aspires to tell us a story through cinematic aurality, the sounds and score of a gothic horror film that might have graced small screens in seedy theaters in the late ‘60s/early’ 70s in the dark corners of New York, the floors all sticky and the film grainy and scratchy, the seat cushions torn. Maybe it’s because I watched The Innocents the night before the album came out and I had the supernatural permeating my mind, or maybe because it’s the most ghoul-saturated month of the year, but a haunted house quality pervades ERAAS.


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