Featuring members of Hot Hot Heat, Fitz & The Tantrums and Wilding, Left Field Messiah is an indie rock power trio.

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Left Field Messiah

In Praise Of Bombast | Riptide Music Group

Genre: Rock

Key track: Fuzz Machine

It goes without saying that any band featuring former Hot Hot Heat frontman Steve Bays is going to be brash, loud and hard-hitting. It also follows that the way said group achieves these qualities is through less conventional song structures.

And the music will — for sure — have some funky chops thrown into the mix.

Bays is joined by equally hard-but-quirky musicians Jeremy Ruzumna of Fitz and the Tantrums and Erik Janson of Wilding for the new “supergroup” Left Field Messiah. The trio’s press heralds that the band “is their embrace of their internal calling: a rallying cry to document their impulsive, weird, eclectic and even ugly ideas.”

Here are five things to know about the Vancouver-based power trio’s five song debut.

1: Classic Feeling. Right from the get-go, the album establishes an upbeat party atmosphere. This bouncy dittie packs in a surprising amount of layers of percussion, handclaps and such as well as the kind of singalong harmonies that wouldn’t sound out of place on an eighties dance/funk album. This is unabashedly happy.

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2: AM Moonlight. Perfect title for a song that could have dropped back in days when Mr. Mister’s Broken Wings was charting. The bass bubbles along while synthesizers swoosh over top and a guitar plucks along a sashaying groove. The heavily echoed vocals ricochet off into the ether after each phrase.

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3: Feels Like Summer. Could this be a breakout summer hit? It certainly boasts all those “driving with the top down on the Coast Highway headed into Malibu” vibes that are key to great hot weather hits. That said, the lyrics referencing everything from liking Machu Picchu to wasted love slapping you in the face are anything but cheery and bright. But with a giant chorus break repeating the title, many listeners won’t care about the uglier side of the song.

4: Young Libertine. Sort of spoken/sung midtempo tune that oozes the kind of sexiness and shiftiness you would expect from a young Libertine. The choice to rhyme the title with both “naive submarine” and “sweet dramamine” is both inspired and kind of druggie. In fact, the mix is a bit Beatles-esque.

5: Fuzz Machine. OK, this is the one for the three members to unleash their need to moan, groan and grind their collective genres together. When Bays declares that I’m a wreck/Cuz rock is dead, you can almost believe he means it; almost. Because the lumbering, loud boogie beat seems to contradict the smarmy deliver of the lyric with a fist-punching sarcasm. Plus, the disco-synth and bass break around the 2:30 mark is too slick and fun.


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Amythyst Kiah

Wary + Strange | Rounder Records

Genre: Folk/Blues

Key track: Ballad of Lost

Grammy-nominated powerhouse singer Kiah is a member of the brilliant supergroup Our Native Daughters. Anyone familiar with that quartet’s pedigree knows that anyone involved with it is certain to bring nothing to the table but the best material they have and she does that on this 11 song set. Backed by a superstar set of musicians ranging from Alabama Shakes guitarist Blake Mills and legendary Prince and the Revolution bassist Wendy Melvoin to k.d. lang’s pedal steel player Rich Hinman, Kiah goes from belting out blues rockers such as Black Myself and Fancy Drones (Fracture Me) to the incredible country tear-jerker Ballad of Lost.


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Dana Sipos

The Astral Plane | Roaring Girl Records

Genre: Alternative pop

Key track: Light Around the Body

Known for crafting music that is both fragile and orchestral, singer/songwriter Sipos has really produced a beautiful collection of songs on her latest release. The nine tunes manage to have both folk and jazz features all reflected through a lens that isn’t afraid to be out of focus at times. Credit producer Sandro Perri and a superb backing band for this effect as well as the inspiration behind the material. Sipos’ grandparents were Holocaust survivors who later escaped Hungary’s 1958 Communist Revolution to arrive in Canada with nothing but the clothes on their back. Songs such as Swallows Call, with its great twanging guitar from Nick Zubeck, are full of the dust you gather on such a rough journey.


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Moonshine Collective

SMS For Location Vol. 4 | moonshine.mu

Genre: Global grooves

Key track: Malembe (feat. Bodhi Stava, Pierre Kwenders, MC RedBull)

The latest mixtape to come from Montreal’s spectacular party groove unit Moonshine Collective includes some illustrious guests such as Sango and Georgia Anne Muldrow as well as crew veterans such as Pierre Kwenders. From the Ping-Pong percussion loops of the opening track Ginseng to the mutated samples and backtracking of the far more meditative Ancestors Dance, the 19 tracks are a 55 minute journey across continents and genres. From the manic silliness of Tibo Tisipa (feat. MC RedBul) to the laid back pulse of Moon Girl (feat. Kris the Spirit), it really is the soundtrack to a party we all wish we were headed to. The single Onward (feat. Georgia Anne Muldrow and Sango) is a soaring blend of Brazilian samba funk and Muldrow’s emotional soul singing.


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Param-Nesia

Aspect Of Creation EP | bandcamp.com

Genre: Melodic death metal

Key track: Pestilence of Man

The second release from this Vancouver melodic death metal quintet shows growth from 2019s the Beginning. Blending technical chips with some surprisingly memorable hooks — just check out the opening song Pestilence of Man — and plain old heavy riffage, the 5 tracks are relentless. Yet the writing of key composer and lead guitarist Andy Cahalin elevates the music above similarly inclined acts. Vocalist Cayle Charlton sounds like he is torturing his throat throughout, but you can actually grasp his lyrics. The long closer, Journey to Nothing, actually bleeds heartbreak.

sderdeyn@postmedia.com

twitter.com/stuartderdeyn

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