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Purely Provocative: Ace Of Wands Discuss Everything, Except Music!

Supporting their latest single, “I Taste Blood” (Fortune Stellar Records), dream pop trio Ace of Wands joins us for a Purely Provocative interview discussing things about the band that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else!

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If you’re ‘desiring’ some rocked-up dream pop, well, we have just the artist for you! Ace of Wands have returned with their brand new single, “I Taste Blood,” which is taken from their new album Desiring that will be released on March 31st through Fortune Stellar Records. The intention behind “I Taste Blood” was to capture that raw energy evident in an Ace of Wands live concert, and they’ve succeeded with that goal, as the track sounds both sultry and sexy.

Their grander goal, as a band, is to create an immersive listening experience. Dream pop is very conducive to such listening, and the trio tries to inspire their audience to dive headfirst into their dreams and not shy away from exploring themselves as individuals. The band is led by singer and guitarist Lee Rose, accompanied by second guitarist Anna Mernieks, and drummer Jody Brumell. Their soundscapes are intricate, immersive, and frankly intoxicating, as that undying commitment to their art is evident in the songs themselves. “I Taste Blood” is the first song written for the band by Mernieks, as they continue to expand as artists and songwriters.

Joining us today are all three members of Ace of Wands for a session of Purely Provocative, in which we discuss all the things about the band that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else!

What single event do you think affected you the most?

Jody Brumell: “Other than hearing the Buddy Rich Show my parents attended at The Imperial Room of The Royal York Hotel, Toronto, in January of 1970, less than a month before I was born, It would be my first rock concert…

“September 25th is a rather important day in my world. It is the unfortunate anniversary of the late John Bonham’s death. It is also the birthday of the late Christopher Reeve (Superman), Mark Hamill (Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker) and my childhood friend Eric Jenner. Jenner’s dad had a private box at Maple Leaf Gardens. He took us to see The Kinks on their Give The People What They Want tour, September 25th, 1981, the first anniversary of Bonham’s death.

“First, we went to the McDonalds on Yonge St. around the corner, as all 12th birthday parties should. We got the food to go and headed to the box. This was also the first time I smelt marijuana, though I had to be told that. After finishing my meal, I set up the styrofoam containers and cup as a makeshift drum kit and drummed along to the show with a couple straws. As my band at the time, Darc Shaddo, was covering The Kinks’ tune ‘Destroyer,’ I was in the greatest place I could have been. Sheer bliss.”

Most public situation you’ve ever projectile vomited?

JB: “In the fall of 1991, I upped and split for New York City to attend The Drummers Collective on 6th Avenue, just North of 14th St. I lived at a family friend’s place on 70th between 2nd and 3rd. As much as I loved walking the city to school, the subway became a necessity. Anyone who’s been to NYC knows ‘the smell.’ The subway stations smell like piss, shit, and vomit, but in an ok way, if that makes any sense.

“One evening during my first weeks in the city, I joined some classmates for a piss up in the East Village. I have no recollection of getting home. The next morning, I totally slept in and was going to be late for class, so I wasn’t walking to the Village. I got on the 6 train, viciously hungover. I got off before the transfer at Union Square to get me a beverage as I was entirely parched. I drained it on the way to Union Square.

“Just before arriving, I felt massive nausea and thought I might barf right in the car. As we pulled into the station, I started to vomit but held it in my mouth until the doors opened. As they did, I sprinted down the platform, spewing still-cold fruit punch all over my shoes and tried to not hit anyone. It’s no wonder the stations smell the way they do….”

Drummers Collective Ad by Emily XYZ Moorefield

What’s the most ludicrous thing that people believe?

JB: “That they need to drink alcohol. I believe booze to be the single most overrated thing on this planet. There are such better and safer ways to achieve an altered state in this day and age. The whole world would highly benefit from moving away from the horrors of hootch. The music industry revolves around it, and it hurts bands left, right, and center.

“After becoming alcohol (and unintentionally tobacco) free five and a half years ago, I’ve absolutely seen a new future and cannot possibly imagine how I was traversing life with booze on top. Living life without hangovers is phenomenal. (I won’t be contributing to the NYC subway station stench again.) Fake beer, ginger ale shots, and my PAX vaporizer are more than enough for an awesome night out. Something to think about….”

Leisure pic by Andrew Bolous

Name someone you’d like to punch in their stupid face and why.

Anna Mernieks: “(Ontario Premier) Doug Ford, for eroding our social safety net and putting vulnerable populations (an ever-increasing number) in peril; for selling off protected environmentally sensitive areas that are crucial to our health and survival to developers who are just going to build shitty McMansions, leave the country, and count their millions at home; for giving tax breaks to huge corporate barons who evade taxes anyway and then auditing my friends who make a fraction of a speck of the amount of money that they make… that’s basically it for now.

“He’s just a pawn for the rich in their game to get richer off of the exploitation of everything else that is alive. A hopeless man sold on lies to a desperate people.”

Shirt by a local punk artist; “stop believing in authority – start believing in each other”

Any near-death experiences?

Mernieks: “The closest I’ve ever come to death (that I know of) were two incidents involving rock climbing at the cottage. Both were when I was a pretty small kid. The first time, I was climbing up a cliff behind the cottage for my favourite view of the lake, but I lost my balance and grabbed a branch that turned out to be dead. It broke immediately. I flung backwards, falling headfirst down the cliff, and all I could see was my friend at the top screaming ‘noooo!’ like Simba watching Mufasa tumble to his death, but somehow my legs folded over a crevice in the rocks and stopped my fall. I walked away shaken, but completely unharmed.

“The second near-death experience was over at another cliff with my mom and my siblings after a long day of blueberry picking. We were all really grumpy and a bit lost. When we finally found a forest edge with a view of the water, we saw that we were actually pretty close to where we had parked the boat, but only if we were able to scale the cliff; otherwise, it would be a super long walk back through the hot brush. My mom decided to do the rational thing: she convinced the three of us to lower ourselves down onto a little rock ledge where we could wait while she situated herself on the rock face to take us down on her back one by one.

“It was all going according to plan until I got on her back and leaned aggressively backwards to look down. She lost her grip on the rock face and started sliding. We landed in the water about ten feet away from a bunch of pointy underwater boulders. I was totally fine, but she had to trudge with feet full of gravel through the brush up to my siblings and take them down the slow, boring way. She was picking rocks out of her feet for the rest of the evening. We did enjoy blueberry pancakes for the next couple of mornings, though.”

(Tasty blueberry growing in the wild last summer, unaware of how much pain its ancestors caused.)

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever stolen? Did you get away with it, or were you busted?

Mernieks: “I think the craziest thing I’ve ever stolen was the sign off of the outside of a bus as it was driving away. I really don’t know how I got away with that one. I had a thing for stealing signs as a teenager. The closest I ever got to getting busted was when a couple of friends and I snuck out to steal a No Exit sign. One of us had to climb it, swing really hard to get it to bend down, and then run around in circles until the metal twisted and broke for us to carry the whole thing home. I guess it was kind of noisy.

“We then went back out to get another sign that we thought was hilarious, a ‘No Golfing’ sign in a small park where I’m pretty sure no one ever, ever golfed. someone had heard the commotion from the previous sign and called the cops. I stuffed the no golfing sign under my sweater as they rolled up. It was slightly larger than my torso and very flat and rectangular, so one of my friends did their best to draw the heat away from me. I think I would have been caught if they watched me empty my sweater pockets onto the hood of the cop car; the maneuver definitely revealed at least a corner of the sign, but my friend had the gift of gab, and he charmed them, and they let us go with a warning. Thanks, white privilege. May all kids have the right to be young and harmlessly dumb.”

Weirdest place you’ve ever taken a shit?

Mernieks: “In the water. It’s a terrible idea. When I was a kid, I thought I’d try it, I’d been swimming all day, and I got the signal from my body, but I didn’t want to get out of the lake. I swam under the barge and let it out, and to my horror, it floated up right beside me. It followed in my wake when I tried to swim away. Ten out of ten I would not recommend. Toilets only. And holes in the ground.”

Picture of me around the time of the pooping incident.

If you had unlimited resources, what would you build, and where?

Lee Rose: “I would build a house where I could have all my friends over to make all the weird art we wanted. A house in the woods, preferably on a lake that freezes solid in winter, where we have musical instruments, recording gear, cameras, lights, sewing machines, paint, clay, plaster, fabric, and a nice kitchen to cook yummy food.

“My favourite thing in the world is doing crazy art projects with my friends, and having a place where we could stay and work would be ideal. Look how happy Anna and I are in this picture from the video shoot for our song ‘10,000 Feet!’ Dream come true!”

If you could choose, how would you die?

Rose: “Preferably paddling in a canoe in the middle of Algonquin park. I would have one of those painless brain aneurysms I’ve heard about and topple out of the boat into the water, where I dissolve with little fishes nibbling at me. But I’ve got to be on a solo trip, and all my friends and family will have had to pre-decease me; otherwise, it would be too traumatic for them!”

Lee paddling in Algonquin Park

Your instrument/gear (drums, guitar, etc.) has a catastrophic failure on stage, and you have no backup; what do you do?

Rose: “This has happened to me a couple of notable times, both involving my bass. I use both MIDI bass pedals and bass guitar, and I’ve had them fail twice over the years. The first time we lost the bass pedals, we were playing in front of about 500 people in Buffalo, and in that case, there was nothing to be done. MIDI is mysterious, and when it doesn’t work, I don’t have a lot of resources to troubleshoot it (especially on stage!).

“So we leant into the guitar parts, and I was able to dance around stage a bit more, but it was NOT fun. But when my bass guitar cut out at the Baby G in Toronto last summer, it was the greatest thing that could have happened in a way. Suddenly no signal, mid-song. So that time I jumped off the stage and into the audience, Anna joined me, and we had the best time of our lives screaming the last chorus of PJ Harvey’s ‘Rid of Me.’”

Artwork for the album ‘I Taste Blood’ by Ace Of Wands

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.

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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Indie

Chorus of Courage Project Shares “Sweet Little Hummingbird” Single

Chorus of Courage share first song, “Sweet Little Hummingbird,” from collective project that aims to give a voice to survivors of violence.

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Julian Taylor

Chorus of Courage shares the first song, “Sweet Little Hummingbird,” from the collective project’s upcoming recording, which aims to give a voice to survivors of violence. The Single reflects the lived experience of storyteller Denyse, as interpreted by Toronto folk singer-songwriter Julian Taylor.

The song will be featured on the collaborative album Always By Your Side, due out on March 22nd (via Dare to Defy Records). It is a moving record that stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of all voices and advocates for a world where voices are heard, honoured, and empowered.

Chorus of Courage is a space created to hold and honour the voices and stories of survivors of violence. They came together and became friends and allies – a supportive family. They created a home to explore some of the most difficult experiences one can imagine – a retreat – and did it with love, music, silence, acceptance, guidance, connection, and movement, hand in hand. This project explores the entire spectrum of emotions that are felt through the unique experiences of the ones to honour – the storytellers.

The essence of the project lay in creating a dynamic conversation through music. Initially, the five songwriters collaborated closely with the storytellers to translate their experiences into songs. These songs, along with letters from the storytellers, were then shared with the allies. In response, allies contributed their songs, fostering a unique call-and-response exchange of emotion and empathy. Through this musical dialogue, the project aims to inspire, amplify voices, and catalyze positive change, uniting participants in a shared journey of resilience and hope.

Chorus of Courage “Sweet Little Hummingbird” single artwork

Chorus of Courage “Sweet Little Hummingbird” single artwork

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Alternative/Rock

Levitate Music & Arts Festival Returns for its 11th Year!

Levitate Music & Arts Festival has announced it will be returning for its 11th year this Fourth of July weekend in Marshfield, MA.

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Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024
Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024

Levitate Music & Arts Festival has announced it will be returning for its 11th year this Fourth of July weekend in Marshfield, MA. The Marshfield Fairgrounds will host the likes of Sublime with original members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson, Lake Street Dive, Tash Sultana, Mt. Joy, the Dirty Heads, and many more.

The music festival originally started as a surf shop’s 10-year anniversary party and is now the premier boutique music and arts festival for the region. The festival features national and local acts while including the arts with vendors and installations throughout the grounds. The festival is a family-friendly event, including a kids zone with interactive activities.

On top of bringing together the East Coast community, one percent of each ticket sold will go to the Levitate Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is to cultivate vibrant communities by creating and conserving access to music, art and the outdoors.

With the reunion of Sublime and several powerhouse appearances, this year’s Levitate is sure to be a must-attend event. The festival runs from July 5th through the 7th, 2024. Tickets are on sale now here. See you there!

Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024 admat

Levitate Music & Arts Festival 2024 admat

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