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“Shots” by Allie Duff & The Happy Campers

Dec 5, 2013 |


This Thursday (Dec 5th), Allie Duff (one third of Lady Brett Ashley) will be showcasing her new project, Allie Duff & The Happy Campers at The Fat Cat. The show will mark the release of the group’s new four-song EP The Law of Falling Bodies, which was recorded and produced by local audio wizard Georgie Newman (GN Audio). The EP find’s Allie (vocals, guitar), Chris Kennedy (bass, vocals, mandolin) and Nathan Day (drums, vocals) blending elements of alternative, folk and jazz to create a compelling sound. Today’s track “Shots” is my favorite on the EP with it’s brooding PJ Harvey-esque vibe and Morphine style sax courtesy of Louis House.

Check out Allie Duff & The Happy Campers’ The Law of Falling Bodies for your self and catch the group live at The Fat Cat this Thursday (Dec 5th) along with Lady Brett Ashely, Run to the Rocks and Brad LeRiche.

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“Perfect Day” by am/fm dreams

Dec 2, 2013 |


Track fifteen of our tribute to Lou Reed is am/fm dreams’ cover of “Perfect Day” from Lou’s landmark 1972 album Transformer. Accompanying the track are some words from Danielle Poirier (bass/vocals) about her introduction to Lou’s music.

My first introduction to Lou Reed was completely accidental. It was back in the days when, if you lived in a small town as I did, you had to order your music through the mail. So, one of my mail-order-music purchases was a disappointing soundtrack to the movie The Cowboy Way simply because it contained a track by my favourite band, Blind Melon, doing a rendition of “Candy Says”. That was probably one of my most enlightening finds as a teenager that shaped my taste in music over the years. Lou Reed was an icon and an inspiration to so many great bands.

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“I’ll Be Your Mirror” by Sandy May

Nov 29, 2013 |


Track fourteen of our Lou Reed tribute is by Domestics singer-songwriter Sandy May who delivers a charming version of “I’ll Be Your Mirror” from The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967). Sandy had a little help from her friends/band-mates Ian Cornelissen (bass), Mark Bragg (back-up vocals) and Bryan Power who helped out with record the track. Here’s what Sandy had to say about what Lou’s music means to her.

I’m not really sure what to say about Lou Reed. His music has always been special to me. He’s someone I’ve always admired. His idiosyncrasies as an artist and as somebody just trying to be human resonate with me as much today as they did when I first heard the Velvet Underground as an awkward teenager. “I’ll be Your Mirror” is just a beautiful, disarmingly kind song.

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“Kicks” by The Linger Effect

Nov 28, 2013 |


Track thirteen of our Lou Reed tribute is The Linger Effect’s cover of “Kicks” from Lou’s 1975 solo album, Coney Island Baby. Singer Kent Burt shared some thoughts on Lou and how his music inspired him…

What can anyone say about Lou Reed that hasn’t been said a thousand times over? His death really saddened me. I knew he had been ill, but Lou seemed one destined to live forever. Before he’d ever ingested copious amounts of speed and booze, he was a survivor of teenage electroshock therapy and became what Michael Stipe has called “the first queer icon of the 21st century.” I imagine his parents were mortified when they heard his lyrics, read his interviews, and saw pictures of him with his transsexual muse, Rachel, in the mid-70s, and realized how badly they failed to “cure” their son of his bisexuality with electroconvulsive torture. People say Lou Reed wrote about “forbidden” subjects, but people have forgotten or don’t realize that Lou Reed wrote about real lives –- lives lived by himself and by those he knew. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was often honest, and always interesting.

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“There She Goes Again” by Adrian House

Nov 27, 2013 |


Track twelve of our tribute to Lou comes from Connexions front-man Adrian House who decided to cover “There She Goes Again” from the 1967 debut The Velvet Underground & Nico. Here’s what Adrian had to say about the track and his introduction to The Velvet Underground.

When I first heard The Velvet Underground & Nico it just sounded like a mess to me, but gradually it became one of my favourite albums ever, pure rock ‘n roll. I chose this song because I love the beat and Lou’s brilliant lyrics. I think it pinpoints something crucial about the relationship between men and women, including the misogyny that exists. Dylan understood that too. So did Nico, and they had fun with it. I did it on 4-track cassette because I like the rawness.

Adrian’s band The Connexions will be releasing their new album “Connect Four” at The Rose & Thistle this Saturday (Nov, 30th), along with Thom & The Tomcats and Run to the Rocks. Drop by, pick up a copy of the record on CD or cassette and check out this awesome local band live.

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“Sails Open” by Gearbox

Nov 26, 2013 |


“Sails Open” is the final track in our series of unreleased Gearbox material. Of course, before we close the book on this little trip back in time I had to ask the lads the inevitable, burning question…

So any chance of a Gearbox reunion show in the near or distant future?

Scott Tizzard: I hope at some point we do… We’ll see.

Kalem Mahoney: We’ve spoken about it many times and I’m sure we’ll speak about it many more. As to whether or not it actually happens… you’re guess is most likely as good as mine.

Scott Hammond: Four out of five of us live on the island now. As I’ve gotten older I make it a point to never say never. But I also don’t think that any of us are in a major rush for anything. Could happen… who knows…?

Stephen Tizzard: Even without a reunion, one day I will write a tell all memoir with the pages and pages of journals, photos, and memorabilia I have from those ten glorious years. I believe the tell-all part will have to wait until I retire from teaching though.

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“Ride Into The Sun” by Pam Drover

Nov 25, 2013 |


The eleventh track from our tribute to Lou Reed is NL ex-pat Pam Drover’s cover of “Ride Into The Sun” from Lou’s first solo album released in 1972. Although it was two years after Lou had left The Velvet Underground, many of the songs on that record were meant to be on the next VU album and this particular track shares songwriting credits with John Cale, Sterling Morrison, Maureen Tucker. Here’s what Pam had to say about her discovery of Lou’s music.

When I was younger I was influenced by the 90′s alternative type bands and artists of the day and never really bothered looking elsewhere for inspiration. I never really caught on or had an appreciation for the music and different genres of many that I now consider “greats” like the Lou Reed’s, the Tom Waits’ or the Leonard Cohen’s until my late 20′s, which I am happy about. I have an appreciation for them now that I might have missed before. I often find myself now delving into the lyrics and melodies of artists like Lou and others that can breathe so much life into your own music through the uniqueness they weren’t afraid to explore.

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“High Horse” by Gearbox

Nov 22, 2013 |


“High Horse” is the penultimate track in our series of unreleased Gearbox material. I asked Scott Hammond (guitar), Kalem Mahoney (vocals) and Stephen Tizzard (drums) about these deadly tracks that are just now seeing the light of day. Here’s what they had to say.

So tell us about these six unreleased songs that are now just getting out there, a decade after you recorded them.

Kalem: Hard to believe that they are almost ten years old now.

Stephen: We kind of loosely dubbed it the “SBC EP”, standing for St. Bon’s College EP as we recording it on the top floor of St. Bon’s Mullock Hall one summer in a room that was once the music room of the school. A room that was one of the first places I and a few of the guys learned about music and how to play. Those songs had a quick mix and were released to download free online for a short period. I believe they are our best work. Had Séan McCann (formerly of Great Big Sea) on a few songs singing some backing vocals. Séan actually recorded one of the songs, “Rust”, which I believe he co-wrote with Kalem on his latest solo album. There was talk and effort for Great Big Sea actually recording another one of the SBC EP songs for their latest album as well, but it didn’t make the cut unfortunately. I listen, with vanity I suppose…but whatever…to those six songs more than any of our material…every time I get shivers. I sometimes wonder where those songs would have taken us to be honest.

Scott: There are also other songs recorded in those sessions that we didn’t finish…but I still have the tracks and the means to finish them. At the moment, life is hectic for all of us! The good news is, we are all still family…it goes far beyond best friends, we talk all the time. It’s not like we haven’t spoke in ten years.

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“I Found A Reason” by Pilot to Bombardier

Nov 21, 2013 |


The tenth track of our tribute to Lou Reed comes to us from Pilot to Bombardier (Bryan Power) and features the vocal talents of The Domestics (Sandy May and Ian Cornelissen). The trio delivered a tender version of “I Found A Reason” from The Velvet Underground’s landmark album Loaded (1970), which was Lou’s last record with the band. Here’s what Bryan had to say about it.

This has been one of my life’s favourite songs since some guy in the grade behind me in high school gave me the Velvet Underground’s Loaded for some reason. I have no idea how I left school that day with this CD but I’m sure when the disc entered school that morning I wasn’t the intended recipient. I’ve been enjoying it ever since and it opened me up to the world of the Underground and then eventually Lou Reed. There’s a really nice part toward the end of the song that gets me every time… the “come come come with me” part. And the chorus lyrics are lovely.

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“A New Technology” by Gearbox

Nov 20, 2013 |


“A New Technology” is the fourth track in our series of unreleased Gearbox material. I also asked Kalem Mahoney (vocals), Scott Hammond (guitar) and Stephen Tizzard (drums) about the legacy the band left behind.

You guys were a pretty influential group on the St. John’s scene in the 90′s and early 2000′s along with bands like Lizband, Fur Packed Action and others. I know my friends and I were big fans and were big inspirations for us to start our own band, Evenhanded. We were super pumped to play our first big live show opening for you guys once. Do you ever think about the legacy the band left behind and how you might have influenced other up and coming local musicians?

Stephen: I don’t really think much about that to be honest. I mean we were together over ten years, toured the country, released three full length albums, won some awards, and made a whole lot of noise opening for everyone from Greenday to Our Lady Peace to Hawksley Workman, but that kind of train of thought doesn’t seem to be a conscious one.

Scott: When you are so into doing your thing and you’re 20 years old you only see what’s directly in front of you. I guess once it ends you just look at it as being over. I may have felt different if we ended up touring the world as a ‘known’ band, but what is funny is that in the past few years I’ve had some people who I have the utmost respect for come up and say things like, “You guys were such an awesome band and I used to love coming to see you.” Or, “I was a huge fan of your guitar playing.” I think now that we’ve had time away from it those things mean so much more.

Stephen: We just did what we did and thankfully a lot of people liked it. I am so humbled to hear all these years later that people still do like it, such as yourself. We did some fairly influential things I guess. Turning Fergus O’Byrne into a semi-rock star was one (laughs) and bringing those few trad songs, with or without Fergus, to our live shows was new for us and the scene. I remember closing the Bannerman Park Folk Festival one year. I mean, a Rock band closing the festival?! Granted we played trad-rock songs with a stage full of amazing musicians backing us up but they all were rocking. Closing with “War like Lads of Russia” that year was just amazing actually. I guess that did pave a small road I suppose for other more alternative artists at the Folk Festival like Joel Plaskett, Hey Rosetta! and others. Not that we are solely responsible but our success playing it certainly didn’t hinder the broader range of genres that you see at the Folk Festival these days…which is just fantastic.

Kalem: I guess that fact that we were able to keep that whole thing rolling completely on our own at such a young age is something pretty cool. The touring, big shows, recording, the van….I guess we had a strong work ethic, even though it may have existed along with some pretty far out behavior. Guess we were only acting our age.

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“Femme Fatale” by Chad Pelley

Nov 19, 2013 |


Track nine of our Lou Reed tribute is Chad Pelley’s ‘reinvention’ of “Femme Fatale” from The Velvet Underground & Nico’s 1967 debut album. Chad also shares some insight as to why he picked the song and what it means to him.

I met a woman once, in Halifax. We got pretty close over the course of a weekend festival. The day I got home, she Dropboxed me a playlist and “Femme Fatale” was the only song on the mix I hadn’t heard before. I really loved the lazy-hazy feel of the verses and the lead up to the catchy, epic chorus. I don’t know much of Lou’s or The Velvet Underground’s stuff, but his way of messing with time signatures and the syllable math of songwriting always caught my attention. Which is funny, because I couldn’t keep the original lyrics in my cover of this song… they were twisting up my tongue. I had to rewrite a few lines and once I started doing that I messed with the chord progressions too, to reinvent the song in a folky-pop light. It feels as much mine as a cover can now, so I think I’ll include it on a new album I’m recording this month, called Post Nostalgia. Maybe I’ll nag a lady friend to sing on it with me.

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“Lazy Dayze” by Gearbox

Nov 18, 2013 |


“Lazy Dayze” is the third track in our series of unreleased Gearbox songs. To go with this post I asked band members Stephen Tizzard (drums), Scott Tizzard (bass), Scott Hammond (guitar) and Kalem Mahoney (vocals) what they’ve been up to since the band’s break-up.

What have you guys been up to individually since the band’s split?
Stephen: In the last few years of the band I finished a Diploma in Photographic Studies and worked as a freelance photographer for a couple of years. I had much success with two published book covers and lots of varying shooting gigs — weddings, pets, kids, everything really. In 2003 I enrolled in Memorial University and graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s of Education. I have been quite successful as a substitute teacher here in St. John’s the last 4 1/2 years. I really love teaching, and some days it’s just as crazy as playing in a touring rock band. Well, almost. I plan to start a Masters Program sometime in the near future. Through all that I also got married in 2007 and have had two beautiful children now, aged one and two and a half.

Scott Tizzard: After Gearbox I when to school and studied Music and Folklore. In 2005 my girlfriend and I moved to Calgary, Alberta for with really no intentions of it becoming long term. Fast-forward eight years and we are now married with a house and two children, a four year old girl and a one and a half year old boy… We will be here a while. I have played bass with a few groups here but nothing very serious. I do still play music and always will, but nothing will compare to those four Gearbox family members… nothing. I have actually written songs about those guys to get me through the “break up”… They are heroes to me. Nowadays I work full time in business development for a industrial distributor, music is mostly a hobby here in Calgary.

Scott Hammond: I am an audio engineer. Around the same time that the band was winding down I became audio engineer for Great Big Sea. So I did studio work for them and ran their studio when they were on tour. After two or three years with them and a gold record, I took an opportunity to teach recording at College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville. I have been here since September 2007 so I’m starting my eighth year with CNA now. I’m still very active in the audio industry. I mix albums in a side business known as “The Blue Room”. I mix a lot of the records that are made each year in Newfoundland and am doing more and more work for artists all across Canada.

Kalem: Since the band split I’ve been involved in lots of different things music-related. I’ve written songs with a lot of other musicians and some of those songs have done pretty well. I’ve also written music for theatre productions and recently a documentary. Record production is also something I’ve done quite a bit of. I really like that. In fact, myself and Scott Hammond have worked on a bunch of those records together which is cool. I also still perform quite a bit. Solo, with my buddy Andrew Ledrew and with my band The Monday Nights. We actually have a new record coming out in a couple of months.

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“Pale Blue Eyes” by Meghan McDonald

Nov 15, 2013 |


Track eight of our tribute to Lou comes from Coach Longlegs singer Meghan McDonald who submitted a delicate and beautiful cover of “Pale Blue Eyes” from The Velvet Underground’s 1969 self-titled record. Her pal Nik Hayward also helped out, masterfully handling guitar duties on the track. Here’s what Meghan had to say about the song and her introduction to Lou’s music.

I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground existed somewhere in my musical taste long before I even knew what my musical taste was or who they were. They were almost like subliminal messages in my adolescence. I would probably hear them on the soundtrack to a movie or a poster of them would be on somebodies wall in My So Called-Life or something. That being said, you didn’t have to know all the facts about them, back then, if you were like me, you probably just had that one song that resonated with you and that was good enough. “Pale Blue Eyes” is probably that song for me.

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“Fortune and Fame” by Gearbox

Nov 14, 2013 |


Today’s track, “Fortune and Fame”, is the second of six unreleased Gearbox songs that the band has generously allowed me to share with the fine readers of The Scope, for your listening and downloading pleasure. Yesterday Kalem Mahoney (vocals) and Scott Hammond (guitar) talked to us about the band’s beginnings, today they talk about the band’s ending.

So when and why did you guys decide to call it quits with Gearbox?

Kalem: The band split in the fall of 2005.

Scott: Which I believe was about ten and a half years from its inception.

Kalem: One of the guys decided to move to Calgary and after that long together there was no replacing anyone.

Scott: The cool thing about Gearbox was, and is, that it’s not just a band. Without any one member Gearbox just wasn’t Gearbox… so nobody gets replaced. It would be the equivalent of replacing a sibling… not happening. So we were 24 or 25 years old and just got on with our lives.

Kalem: I think we were all getting interested in other things by that point also…musically or personally or both. I had starting writing with other people by then and had started writing for theatre and things of that nature and was getting interested in a different direction and felt it wasn’t right to try and change what Gearbox was about to achieve it.

Scott: We were pretty lucky…we attracted the attention of some “major label” execs very early in our career. So as far as climbing the ladder goes we got pretty high pretty quick. When we were just out of high school we were opening for all the big Canadian bands, Our Lady Peace, Treble Charger, I Mother Earth, and many many more. We also opened for Green Day in ’98 at the TSC, who at that moment, were possibly the biggest band on the planet. We had a fun ride. I think the time had come…we weren’t getting any younger and it was getting obvious that were were stuck on the cusp of becoming what everyone wants to be…a rock star! I think it was an acceptance that it just wasn’t going to happen. Thank God that one of us had the guts to actually make the departure.

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“Venus In Furs” by Sonny Tripp

Nov 13, 2013 |


Track seven of our tribute to Lou Reed comes from Sonny Tripp who delivered a killer cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Venus In Furs” from their 1967 eponymous (‘banana’) album. Here’s what front-man Ryan Taylor had to say about what Lou and The Velvet Underground meant to him.

The Velvet Underground are one of those bands that you hear about long before you ever actually hear them. I remember being pretty young, reading lots of guitar magazines and the name Velvet Underground came up in every interview of every band that I loved. And then there’s that album with the banana on the cover. How cool is that?! Well, when I finally got around to hearing “the banana album”, I honestly couldn’t believe it. It sounded so weird! It could have easily been a contemporary album during the 80′s, 90′s or 2000′s alternative scenes. I guess that’s what makes it timeless…? But this was 1967?! My parents were just kids! The Monkees were on TV! And here was Lou, singing about cross dressing, bondage, and needle drugs. If The Beatles were pop royalty of the day, I can only assume The Velvet Underground would have been their sketchy chimney sweeps, skipping work and selling smokes to the kids outside the palace.

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