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The Strumbrellas (Osheaga) @ Parc Jean-Drapeau (Montreal, QC) on July 31, 2016 [Show Review]

The Strumbellas killed every song they performed.

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The Strumbellas are such a fantastic band to hear live. They’re a Juno-award winning, six-piece, indie rock band from Lindsay, Ontario, which officially formed in Toronto in 2008. They actually came out with their third studio album, Hope, earlier this year.

They performed on day three of Osheaga. Prior to hearing their set, the only song I knew from them was their most popular song, “Spirits”. I wasn’t really expecting to like them so much because I didn’t know anything about them. There was no song The Strumbellas played during their set that I didn’t enjoy, and that’s very rare for me. I’m the type of person who usually only likes one or two songs from bands I don’t really know.

The Strumbellas killed every song they performed, especially “Young & Wild” and “Spirits”. The crowd went crazy when they closed their set with “Spirits” – it was the perfect ending to a wonderful performance. As soon as I got home from Osheaga, I streamed Hope and completely fell in love with it. I say it’s totally worth listening to many times in a row.

Check out the song “Spirits”

Country

Buckstein Premieres His Good-Time Single, “Ride with You”

Country artist Buckstein wants you to have a good time with the premiere of his fun-loving new single “Ride with You.”

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Buckstein, photo by Jason Myers
Buckstein, photo by Jason Myers

Out of all the major genres of American music, Country is the one that’s just as much a lifestyle as it is a genre; just ask our featured artist Buckstein, and he’ll tell you. Today, the singer-songwriter reveals his new single, “Ride with You.” He has been a lifelong loyalist to the Country sound and way of life, and “Ride with You” gives you a good indication of that.

It’s more than just a country tune, though, with its heavy guitar-driven approach. It’s certainly a good-time kind of tune, one that would play well at a Country bar. Imagine a live band and plenty of drinks being shared amongst friends. Buckstein refers to himself as a man of country music, and it’s that down-to-earth, free-flowing attitude that makes him so easy to like.

Discussing his new single, Buckstein tells us:

“‘Ride With You’ invokes the feeling of a buzzing, neon-soaked bar where you’re two beers too deep and still gunning for more. It’s a night out where anything can happen, and you never know where you’re going to wind up. You might lose yourself in a scene, or someone, or a song.

“After writing a few lyrics, we decided we wanted a constant ‘chant’ in the song and ‘find a little love in the haystack’ came out of the blue, but it sounded good so it stuck. I also get to play a bit of a character in this tune which was super fun for me. I’m really looking forward to bringing that to the live performance.”

Straight up, no-nonsense, and 100 percent authentic, Buckstein keeps true to the cowboy code he grew up with. He views Country as a way to communicate, a medium to speak the truth and build a strong sense of community. His ultimate goal is to bring soul to everything he does, a passion that is easy for his listeners to relate to. Buckstein’s music is structured around classical ideals like honesty, integrity, facing your fears, and love. These are universal values that help make him more appealing than just an artist.

One of the best decisions Buckstein ever made was to join a few friends at an American Idol audition. It was when the auditions made their way through his native city of Denver. He didn’t take it very seriously at the time, but he ended up getting through and made it onto the show. He made it as far as the finale of the show’s fifth season. That decision to tag along for the audition was a life-changing move. The success and confidence he derived from being on the show have led him to this point today. Buckstein has paid his dues and nicely set himself up as one of the brightest young names in Country today.

Buckstein “Ride with You” single artwork

Buckstein “Ride with You” single artwork

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Indie

Dawson Fuss Premieres His Children’s Book-Inspired EP ‘Maybe’

Dawson Fuss’ amalgam of pop and alt-rock surfaces sounds like it’s made of authentic emotions and polished with vulnerability.

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Dawson Fuss, photo by Serena Chen
Dawson Fuss, photo by Serena Chen

Two years in the making, indie-pop/alternative artist Dawson Fuss introduces his new EP, Maybe, whose title track was produced by multi-platinum producer Teal Douville. Maybe was inspired by a story from a children’s book that Fuss’ father read to him – Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth.

Fuss explains:

“It was one of my dad’s favorite stories to read to me because he always wanted me to make the most of every situation, good or bad, and that’s what the song is about. It’s a Chinese farmer fable where all these things happen that may be good or bad luck, depending on one’s perspective. Every situation we face can be seen as good or bad, depending on how we respond to it. It’s the ultimate expression of the glass half full, glass half empty idea.”

A sophomore in the Modern Artist Development and Entrepreneurship (MADE) program at the prestigious Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, Fuss will release an emotionally charged, autobiographical 9-minute short film he co-directed on March 1. The film chronicles his growing up in Santa Barbara and his relationship with his father, as well as his getting a tattoo of ‘Maybe’ on his shoulder while explaining the philosophical implications of the word.

The title track opens on light, wavering tones, followed by Fuss’ pensive, evocative voice, imbuing the lyrics with feelings lying somewhere between wishful and apprehensive. The bridge elevates the song to the contagious chorus, where Fuss conveys his bemused response to the mysterious ambiguity of life.

“Maybe it’s just part of life / And maybe that makes it okay / Maybe they call it goodbye / Cuz maybe it’s harder to stay / Maybe, maybe.”

Of the other four tracks on the EP, produced by Jaron Crespi and James October, high points include “Growing Pains,” with its gentle, poignant intro that mousses up to heavy layers of rock dynamics. The ebb and rise of the tune and Fuss’ expressive vocals shape an enticing appeal that is hard to resist.

Drenched in darker hues of anguish, revealing the ache of a broken heart, “Oblivious” burns with seething emotions. Weighty vocal harmonies emphasize the profound depth of love’s capacity to wound.

“You give me all your attention / Act like it’s only a friendship / Why would you torture me like this / Are you really that oblivious?”

Dawson Fuss’ amalgam of pop and alt-rock surfaces sounds like it’s made of authentic emotions and polished with vulnerability.

Maybe Track Listing:

1. Life Sucks
2. Say The Words
3. Growing Pains
4. Oblivious
5. Maybe

Dawson Fuss ‘Maybe’ [EP] album artwork

Dawson Fuss ‘Maybe’ [EP] album artwork

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Music

Tinashe Enthralls the Crowd at The Royale in Boston on a Cold February Night [Photos]

R&B/pop singer and dancer Tinashe lit up the stage on Monday, February 12th, at The Royale in Boston, and fans gushed about the show.

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Tinashe on Feb 12, 2024, photo by Kaitlin Prince
Tinashe on Feb 12, 2024, photo by Kaitlin Prince

Tinashe lit up the stage on Monday, February 12th, at The Royale in Boston. The R&B/pop singer and dancer started the show with her hit song “Treason.” Which is the opening song off her new album BB/ANG3L and also the name of her tour.

BB/ANG3L is Tinashe’s sixth studio album and her third album since 2019 when she went independent. One thing that makes Tinashe so unique and different from other artists is the way she blends R&B and pop songs. She’s not worried about sticking to one genre and is not afraid to experiment with different styles and types of music, combining them to make truly unique songs.

Despite it being a cold Monday night in Boston, the crowd was queued up and ready for Tinashe, with eager fans in a line wrapped around the outside of the venue.  Once inside, it was packed with people and when the Tinashe countdown came on the screen you could hear the excitement building.

Performing with four extremely talented male dancers and a crazy electronic lighting setup, Tinashe came out with some serious heat and kept the Boston crowd hooked from her very first note. She jumped between performing new songs off of her BB/ANG3L album and old hits, such as fan favorite “2On,” the first single that brought Tinashe into the spotlight back in 2014. Tinashe and her background dancers shined with fun and creative choreography, which was one of the highlights of the show, in my opinion. The energy they all brought to the stage was palpable and was perfect for the club setting of The Royale.

In total, Tinashe performed 28 songs and was on stage for a little under an hour and a half. She had a few short monologues, but for the most part, she went right from one song to the next. She even performed a few mashups of her songs, such as one that combined her new song, “Gravity,” and an older song, “Superlove.” She finished her performance with her song, “Needs,” the most popular song off of BB/ANG3L, and this had everyone in the crowd bumping and grinding to the beat of the music and singing along with her.

Altogether, the show was high energy and a lot of fun. Tinashe has been doing this for ten years now, and her performance shows that she’s a seasoned vet who knows how to entertain. At the end of the night, I heard multiple people gushing about the show as they were leaving the venue, and I think the crowd would’ve stayed there all night to watch Tinashe perform if they could have.

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