Ottawa, Canada’s Double Experience could easily be considered the kings of “nerd-rock.” These guys love rocking out about video games, sci-fi and all kinds of other nerdy goodness, and they’re damn proud of it. And really, why shouldn’t they be? The group (at present a duo) has released a series of new singles this year, which you can find on iTunes, SoundCloud, and the other usual streaming suspects.
Following a busy 2018 of releases, promotion, and touring behind Rock: Geology, a continuation of their five-year series of music released on collectible trading cards, Double Experience is about to begin preparations for the recording of their follow-up offering. So, check out some tunes below, including the latest single “Jet Black”, recorded at Warrior Sound Studios and mixed by Mitchell Marlow (Filter). To help celebrate Halloween, Double Experience are offering their Top 10 spookiest songs lifted from classic video game soundtracks.
Turn on the lights, ‘cause the band’s newest video is “Jet Black”!
10. Super Paper Mario (2007)
– What do Led Zeppelin and the Super Mario franchise have in common? If you said “reversed, quasi-demonic chanting” you would be absolutely correct (and suspiciously specific for a first guess). Don’t believe me? Take the “River Twygz Bed” theme from Super Paper Mario; what we have here is a hellish soundtrack for a literal river of tears, where the dead are ferried into an underworld. When the description of a song for an E-rated video game more closely resembles rock and roll that was banned by churches, you know you are dealing with a classic.
09. Dead Space (2008)
– I almost couldn’t pick a favorite track from the original Dead Space. “I’ve Got You Devolving Under My Skin,” “I Left My Heart In Med Lab 3” and other similar titles would give most metal bands a run for their money. For my dollar, though, “Severed Limbs Are Hazardous Waste” most accurately captures the Dead Space experience. Press ‘play’ and see how long it takes you to check over your shoulder just in case there is a shapeshifting creature from another planet behind you. Or as track fifteen would say, “Do Not Vomit – Do Not Shout.”
08. Diablo (1996)
– Despite having three sequels, there will never be another Diablo game. Because earning new equipment in Diablo 1 wasn’t a measure of glory or riches like later installments of the franchise; in Diablo 1, new equipment simply meant you continued to stand a chance. Listen to the “Tristram Theme” and your mind will automatically drift into thoughts about secluded, gothic hamlets which harbor sinister secrets.
Hit “Play” and pray you don’t crap your pants.
07. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask (2000)
– Where most other games are satisfied in frightening the player with a well-timed jump scare, legendary composer Koji Kondo effortlessly disguises themes of dread within the music of Majora’s Mask. In my opinion, the stand-out song would not be the obvious “Ikana Valley Theme” but rather the peppy “Clock Town Theme Day Three.” It’s the same as the Day One theme, which slowly perverts as the in-game days come to pass, becoming more frantic underneath baleful, droning bass tones. The entire composition subliminally mirrors the townspeople’s denial that certain doom hangs directly above them. Perfection.
06. Quake (1996)
– Speaking of genius composers, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Trent Reznor and his offering to the 1996 Quake soundtrack on this list. Perhaps there’s a little more “nerd rock” DNA in Nine Inch Nails than most people think! Reznor’s eerie compositions are a perfect match for a game that is unfairly disregarded as a mere Doom clone. In the forlorn “Track 4,” listen to how Reznor warps the typically-sensual saxophone sound you know and love and turns it into an abrasive instrument of discomfort. All the while, the main track seems to drag you further and further down into its dark center.
05. Silent Hill 2 (2001)
– A lot of video game music relies on context. For instance, when the battle music begins but you can’t see the enemy yet; it’s not so much the music composition itself but what it represents. That’s all I can really say in trying to describe “Black Fairy” from Silent Hill 2. It’s better known to players as the moment after the main character learns a horrible truth.
This video game soundtrack will easily have you silently screaming.
04. Chrono Trigger (1995)
– Chrono Trigger is a game with a soundtrack so masterful that contemporary musicians such as Wiz Khalifa sample it. “Strains of Insanity” will creep you out within the first few seconds of listening to it. Some trivia: unlike anywhere else in the game, this music continues playing during the battles found within this level. This is what I mean about the context of music that really unsettles you.
03. Resident Evil 4 (2005)
– The atmosphere, puzzles, controls, characters, and music that define the Resident Evil franchise culminated in near-perfection in the fourth installment. Some may argue that features such as “clunky controls” actually made the earlier games scarier, but I still consider tracks such as “Evil Malaise” as the almighty glue that makes or breaks the suspenseful moments of the franchise.
Resident Evil 4. “Evil Malaise”. Spooky shit. Enough said.
02. Ghouls n’ Ghosts (1988)
– As a child, I never truly appreciated how unforgiving the difficulty of this game, so I heard the title screen music a lot. Thankfully, the “Stage 1 Theme” is a lurching, maniacal tune that reminds me of those cut-rate carnival haunted house rides you just can’t help but grin at the thought of. It does make me wonder, though, if fear isn’t proportional to gore and monsters, but perhaps more closely tied to an innate feeling of powerlessness against a given thing or scenario. Did I mention how difficult Ghouls n’ Ghosts is?
01. Amnesia: The Dark Descent (2010)
– “Dark Water” is one of the numerous ambient tracks composed by Mikko Tarmia for what is widely accepted as one of the most horrifying video games in recent years. I’m personally unable to finish the game due to the unease I feel whilst playing it. My mind still automatically fills in the sound of splashy footsteps when I hear this song…
It wouldn’t be a proper Halloween without “Godzilla”. Check out the band’s song and video.
Salah Bachir Publishes Titillating Memoir ‘First To Leave The Party’
Salah Bachir recently released his titillating memoir, ‘First To Leave The Party,’ offering intimate details about the rich and famous and Bachir’s gusto and lust for life.
Author, entrepreneur, art collector, movie industry insider, and philanthropist Salah Bachir recently released his memoir, First To Leave The Party: My Life with Ordinary People…Who Happen to be Famous, a collection of stories revealing his joie de vivre, his love of human interaction, and his altruism.
After immigrating to Canada from Lebanon in the 1960s, Bachir started Videomania, Canada’s first video magazine, followed by establishing Premiere, a trade publication for video distributors and retailers.
For more than a decade and a half, Bachir was the president of Cineplex Media and boss of Cineplex Magazine, Canada’s wildly popular and widely read magazine, serving more than four million readers per issue.
A fixture in the world of film for decades, Bachir naturally met Hollywood’s superstars. Yet what sets him apart is his charisma, compassion, his personal style – chic hats, diamonds, pearls, brooches, and elegant scarves – and his full-blown zest for life and people.
First To Leave The Party recounts his relationships with a literal who’s who of Hollywood: Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Joan Rivers, Mary Tyler Moore, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Edward Albee, Orson Welles, Aretha Franklin, Norman Jewison, and Elizabeth Taylor — although it’s true that Katharine Hepburn once turned him down, very nicely.
There are also stories about Marlon Brando, Princess Diana, Muhammad Ali, Princess Margaret, Sean Connery, Ella Fitzgerald, and Doris Day.
Co-written with film critic Jami Bernard of the New York Post and Daily News, a portion of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the LGBTQ+ rights program at Human Rights Watch.
Featured in numerous publications, including The Globe & Mail, Playback Magazine, Dolce, and Toronto Life, Bachir has received five honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Alberta, Ryerson University, York University, OCAD University, and Wilfrid Laurier University in recognition of his business expertise and philanthropic work.
Along with a long list of deserved awards, Bachir, because of his entrepreneurial spirit and advocacy of the arts and social justice, is a member of the Order of Ontario and the Order of Canada, as well as a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community and two-time Grand Marshal of the Toronto Pride Parade.
The stories related in First To Leave The Party not only provide a parade of intimate detail about the lives of the rich and famous, the entertainment industry’s elite, but also bare Salah Bachir’s gusto and lust for life.
The V13 Fix #003 w/ Profiler, Ihsahn, Carpark and more
From pop to metalcore, experimental grindcore to indie, each week The V13 Fix will bring you a roundup of all the new music worth hearing…
Welcome to the latest The V13 Fix our weekly round-up of some of the best albums, singles and EPs to drop in our laps/inboxes this week. From pop to black metal to experimental pop to punk rock, there is something for everyone in this mix of new music. Check out and support all the bands and labels if you like what you hear and if there is a particular album you like, make sure you head over to Spotify and check out one of our specially curated playlists where there is more great new music added daily.
Alternatively, if you’re in a band or want one of your bands considered for inclusion get in touch. While we can’t guarantee every album or EP we receive will be included, there are still plenty of other ways we can support you.
So, without further ado, sit back, plug in your headphones and get this week’s V13 Fix of new music…
‘The Mess We Seem To Make’
I remember crossing paths with Liverpool alt-rock newcomers Crawlers when they opened from My Chemical Romance on their UK stadium tour a couple of years ago. I also remember thinking that this band were heading in the right direction and, in vocalist Holly Minto, the band had a star in the making. Well, now the band are about to drop their eagerly-awaited debut album and, for the legions of fans who’ve taken Crawlers to their hearts, The Mess We Seem To Make won’t disappoint. Addressing, amongst others, themes of sexuality, racism, and social media through Minto’s emotionally charged lyrics, these slices of alt-rock meets pop meets stadium-friendly anthems show that, while TikTok may have brought the band to our attention, this album shows that the UK band are very much the real deal.
Pick up your copy of The Mess We Seem To Make here.
See You Next Tuesday
Good Fight Music
The beauty of extreme music is when artists flip their music on its head spinning off into an entirely new direction while still retaining the core brutality of their sound. Experimental crew See You Next Tuesday are the latest to push their boundary-smashing sound into new worlds. Taking their 2023 album Distractions, band multi-instrumentalist and producer Drew Slavik has ripped up their blueprint aided by a group of collaborators including Bodysnatcher, The Sawtooth Grin, Thotcrime, ZOMBIESHARK!, John Cxnnor, Black Magnet. The result is brain-frying and, while it took 15 years to release Distractions, with the release of Relapses, SYNT have not waited as long to continue to annihilate the boundaries of extreme music.
Pick up your copy of Relapses here.
In extreme metal circles, Ihsahn will be familiar as the frontman of Nordic black metal legends Emperor. However, away from the epic fury of his main band, the vocalist has forged a solid career as a solo artist in his own right. With a solo career spanning now eight albums, this self-titled release sees him push his creativity to even greater heights. A grandiose, epic composition of work, the self-titled offering mixes more traditional heavy metal, progressive passages and classical tones all finished off with a dash of that black metal rage. Combined with his stunning range of vocals, this self-titled album is a powerful, dramatic piece of work which ebbs and flows throughout the 11 tracks. Completing this double album, an orchestral almost movie-like score provides an altogether different perspective to the stunning work of one of the most influential characters in heavy music.
Pick up your copy of Ihsahn here.
Featuring former members of Black Peaks among their ranks, UK newcomers Every Hell are already making a noise in all the right rock circles with their dirty brand of “doom pop”. Only two singles in, the second of them is a slow-burning, brooding offering which builds into a galloping, thundering rocker. Packed with filth-covered guitar riffs and vocals straight out of the gutter, “The Watcher” is the sound of a band who have now comfortably found their groove. Two tracks down and an EP due to follow later this year, if big, dirty, anthemic rock stacked with hulking great grooves is your bag, Every Hell are soon about to become your new favourite band… if they aren’t already.
Pick up your copy of “The Watcher” here.
‘Intermittent Fast Living’
Xtra Mile Recordings
If you’ve already heard the recent single “Sleep When I’m Dead” by Essex punks Pet Needs, you’ll be fully versed in their live life to the max energy. You’ll also be pleased to hear that the rest of their third album follows a similar path all frantic guitars, breathtaking energy and loads of massive singalong sections. Inspired by a lifestyle which races along at a million miles an hour or, as they put it, “Sex, drugs, booze, snooze.”, frontman Johnny Marriot also talks about sitting constantly at home with his wife, his new puppy, and a beer. The reality of their life crashes between the two as the Essex lads hurtle around the dives of this world with Intermittent Fast Living documenting that world in gloriously drunken, frantic and punchy punk rock style.
Pick up your copy of Intermittent Fast Living here.
‘The Glorification of Sadness’
One of the most glamorous women in British pop, Paloma Faith’s sixth album, The Glorification of Sadness is the tale of one woman’s experiences of a long-term relationship break-up. Played out in chronological order, The Glorification of Sadness kicks off with the acoustic “Sweatpants” where Faith offers up the line “Nobody is perfect. Least of all me” while further down the album, “God In A Dress” finds the British pop superstar in unapologetic mode. A journey to empowerment and controlling your happiness, “The Glorification of Sadness” is an honest, unfiltered exploration into her experiences and, as the likes of the blunt “Eat Shit and Die” demonstrates, Paloma Faith may be scarred and heartbroken but she has come out of the other side ready to take on the world.
Pick up your copy of The Glorification of Sadness here.
‘Be Right Here’
3 Legged Records
Georgia band Blackberry Smoke are back with their latest slice of authentic, straight-from-the-heart Southern rock. Be Right Here wears its roots proudly on its sleeve like a badge of honour as every single moment on this album bleeds tradition. A simple, uncomplicated listen, Be Right Here is a delicious blend of rock and roll, Americana and straight-up Southern rock. Aiding in the authenticity of the ten tracks, Grammy Award-winning producer Dave Cobb has coated each track in a raw, organic production while frontman Charlie Starr’s Southern twang is the cherry on this particular cake. Tracks like opener “Dig A Hole” are soaked in smoky bar room haze while “Little Bit Crazy” further down the album is a wonderful country-tinged romp. In an era where TikTok followers trump talent, its albums like Be Right Here make you realise there is still some hope left for fans of real music.
Pick up your copy of Be Right Here here.
‘Born To Be Average’
It’s been a whirlwind three years for indie three-piece Carpark since they performed their first gig in a friend’s garage. Since then the band have gone on to support the likes of Lauren Hibberd, Kelsy Karter and Beth McCarthy, and, following the release of this EP, will be opening for indie stars The Libertines. Listening to the EP, it’s easy to see why the three-piece is quickly becoming everyone’s favourite new band. Their blend of indie, dream-pop and a bit of dance make for a more than palatable musical dish. Amidst this collection of hypnotic earworms, the current single “Happy On Mars” is described by the band as “a rock ballad and Elon Musk diss track all-in-one” which, even if the rest of the EP didn’t match up, is more than enough of a reason to love Carpark. Thankfully though, the group are promising to rewrite the rock band rulebook with this impressive EP making a decent effort of it.
Pick up your copy of Born to be Average here.
‘Maybe In Another Life’
Pure Noise Records
As Maybe In Another Life slams from the dreamy intro into the title track, it quickly becomes obvious what Aussie melodic metalcore/hardcore quintet Bloom is all about. Now, while it would probably be fair to highlight that there isn’t anything particularly groundbreaking on their new album, what the five-piece has in their favour is that they write a banging set of songs. All of the melodic metalcore traits are there and packed into each song. Harsh/guttural/clean vocals? Check. Galloping guitars? Check. Big soaring melodies? Check. Elsewhere, lyrically the band explore themes of anxiety and loss but they do so with emotion and passion. Melded together, you find yourself listening to an album which, musically, comes from a similar place to many other albums however, emotionally, Maybe In Another Life comes straight from the heart.
Pick up your copy of Maybe In Another Lifehere.
Have to admit I was expecting some Lorna Shore type deathcore malarky for this one but was presently surprised to find an album that took me right back to my days frequenting dodgy Goth clubs in the late 90s. Inspired by the likes of Sisters of Mercy and Bahaus amongst others, the mysterious GVLLOW mixes post-punk, new-wave and goth together slapping in a few well-placed creepy samples. Tracks like “Pray To God” are pure 90s goth, the likes of which would have packed out those sticky, smoky dancefloors in the 90s. GVLLOW’s voice adds a sombre air to the whole album, and while the pace picks up on tracks like “Die By Your Hand”, along with the claim of a SoCal punk rock influence, it’s hard to see this as anything other than sombre, black eyeliner and a tonne of hairspray Friday night fodder for the goth rock undead.
Pick up your copy of Twin Flame here.
‘The End of My Road’
Hailing from Germany there is something wonderfully over the top about the third album from Far Beyond, the German solo project of Eugen Dodenhoeft. Gloriously pompous, The End of My Road is littered with moments which could have been lifted from any fantasy movie score. Those are woven around some galloping heavy metal to create a sound that is equally parts fantasy and muscle-loosening melodeath. With the four tracks on offer weighing in at over eight minutes each, the aim of The End of My Road is to take the listener on a journey. Racing along at a breakneck pace that journey is peppered with dramatic interludes, soaring symphonics and, at times, just pure unadulterated pomp. The musicianship is outstanding, the songs are wonderfully crafted and the execution is simply flawless.
Pick up your copy of The End of My Road here.
‘A Digital Nowhere’
For those of us who grew up in the middle of the early 00s UK grunge/nu-metal scene, the sounds of Bristol three-piece Profiler will sound very familiar. Abrasive as fuck, there were plenty of bands doing this kind of thing back in the 00s scene but very few of them executed this quite as well as Profiler do. Crafted from the mind of vocalist and guitarist Mike Evans, A Digital Nowhere is an album which, underneath the melodic vocals, pulses with an almost twitching energy. However, it’s when the Bristol band channels that energy and drops in those turntables that they come alive. Displaying the rage and frustration that comes from living in Britain in 2024, when Profiler let loose and lose their shit, step back because things get truly explosive.
Pick up your copy of A Digital Nowhere here.
Kris Barras Band
Sometimes you just need a good slice of balls-to-the-wall rock in your life so when this new single from the Kris Barras Band dropped into the inbox, that box got ticked. With a chorus that could fill every nook and cranny of even the most soulless arena, “Savages” is a super slice of fist-pumping, foot-stomping arena rock. Taken from their upcoming new album, Halo Effect, set to drop in April, “Savages” is a booming rock anthem which perfectly packs the right amount of grit and melody much of which comes from Barras’ own heartfelt, powerful vocals. Dripped into the mix the band have added a few electronic elements here and there but, far from sounding out of place, they give the whole thing a nice modern feel and leave you hoping that the rest of the album can keep up the pace with this appetiser.
Pick up your copy of Halo Effect here.
Track-by-Track: Michael Isaak Reviews His Debut EP ‘Forever is a Scary Word’
Indie pop singer-songwriter Michael Isaak joins us for a track-by-track feature to dissect his debut EP ‘Forever is a Scary Word.’
For a debut release, Michael Isaak has recorded a rather dynamic and compelling work with Forever is a Scary Word. The singer-songwriter’s debut EP was released last month, featuring six tracks that act as an introduction to his diverse musical background. As an Egyptian-American artist, Isaak combines modern indie pop and folk music with the sounds of his culture. It is deeply influenced by classical Arabic music but does not sound out of place within today’s modern pop landscape. Many of the songs reflect on his past and his childhood, looking back at the challenges and the journey that have led him to this point in his life and career.
Isaak first began work on Forever is a Scary Word in May 2022. Raised in a religious Egyptian-American community, Isaak explores this tension between respecting tradition and embracing individualism throughout the EP. It’s as if the core values of both his Egyptian and American roots are clashing together, and the results are in these songs. It wasn’t until the summer of 2021 that Isaak released his first original song, “Fabricated Love Story.” In that time, he has made some remarkable progress, with a record showcasing his growth and artistic ability.
Isaak joins us today for a special track-by-track rundown of Forever is a Scary Word. He explains his thoughts, views, and motivations behind these songs in depth.
1. “Hey Boy”
Michael Isaak: “Staring at my childhood bed at age 19, I picture my younger self waking up there every morning, getting dressed for school or church or whatever it was that day. I think about all the challenges he might be facing, all of the uncertainty he was feeling about his future, the fears he had about growing up and leaving home.
“But now, here I am, on the other side of the room, standing tall, having overcome those challenges, certain in my decision to pursue my career in music, grown up and always able to find my way back home.
“I opened my journal, and penned the words, ‘I wonder if I can channel that young person in his sophomore year of catholic school and tell him it’ll all be ok.’ This would become the beginning of ‘Hey Boy,’ a song about wishing well to the former versions of yourself, reminding them that everything will work out in the end. There’s so much I would say to my younger self, and I wish I could, but I’m also quite confident he’ll be able to figure it all out on his own.”
“‘Hey boy, I love you…’”
“This song is my ode to Holden Caulfield, Charlie Kelmeckis, Miles Halter, Jess Mariano, and every other cynical, mysterious, and introverted character you can think of.
“When I was writing this song, I was thinking about a period in my adolescence where I felt like no one understood me, a phase I believe most young adults face at one point or another. When I played this song to my friend for the first time, she said it reminded her of Fantastic Mr. Fox. By no coincidence, that is one of my favourite stories. The comparison is actually quite fitting… A misunderstood protagonist keeping secrets out of fear and insecurity.
“This fear of being misunderstood can lead to a sense of isolation and a desire to hide inside your shell, and put on a front to the world that is quite different from who you really are. However, the truth always comes out, and that tragic epiphany is at the essence of my song ‘Backfired.’”
3. “Okay With This”
“This song was inspired by a piece of advice my brother gave me in a time of hardship: to put a strip of blue tape on my bed frame to remind myself to think of one thing I’m thankful for every night before I sleep. This conversation was so mundane at the time, but turned out to be an important turning point in my career. It was the last meaningful conversation I had before moving back to Los Angeles to embark on my journey of pursuing music and putting together this EP.
“When I first wrote ‘Okay With This,’ the line ‘blue tape on a bed frame,’ which was almost the title of the song, was a reminder of all the pain I endured: leaving college, losing friendships, feeling way out of my depth for the path I started on. With time, recording and producing the song, and singing it live so many times, it became a symbol of hope that I could overcome hardship, and gratitude for how far I’ve come.”
4. “Love Me More”
“‘I love you so much, it hurts…’ With this song, I explored the feeling of love as an extreme. What if there is too much love? What if it hurts to love something or someone? To what extent will you go to prove your love?
“Writing this song and seeing it through from its conception to its recording was a healing experience for me, alongside the entire project. With ‘Love Me More,’ I wanted to simulate the sounds of the heart, like the low-fi delayed kick that comes in regularly like a heartbeat. The ending is a soaring crescendo with vocals and distorted strings intended to emulate a heart that loves beyond its breaking point.”
5. “North Star”
“On my last visit to Egypt, my uncle taught me how to locate the North Star. It was a surreal experience, given that growing up in a packed city like Los Angeles, you never really get to see the stars very often.
“This piece is a meditation on time, destiny, and the universe. With this one, I really want listeners to know that even if you’re feeling lost, there will always be something there to guide you… Friends, family, art, music, anything you can think of. We all have a natural inclination toward our destiny, whether we know it or not.”
6. “Plane Thoughts”
“I was on a flight from Newark to LA. This was the last time I’d see my college town for the foreseeable future. I opened up a new note on my phone, titled it ‘plane thoughts,’ and just started journaling whatever came to mind for the five-hour duration.
“In this seven-minute musical odyssey, I grapple with the thrill and fear of endless possibilities, offering a glimpse into my coming-of-age story and my experience as an Egyptian-American singer-songwriter. Since before I began putting out music it’s been my dream to fuse western indie with classical Arabic music. My collaboration with Abanoub Samir made that possible. With ‘Plane Thoughts,’ I really want listeners to sit back, relax, and enjoy this journey through my heritage.
“This track for me serves as the centerpiece of my EP. It’s an exploration of love, identity, and the intricate dance between the beauty and fear that forever holds.”
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