2 July 2021

Here come 5 new firecrackers to fuel your weekend…

‘Lipstick’ by NOTHINGHEADS (London, UK)

Kamikaze guitars à la Link Wray and Dick Dale, Ramones sniffin’ glue again, and devilish
Lux Interior howls. Yes, it’s psycho-surf-billy time, folks. Get your leather jacket out of the closet and pretend you’re a member of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. This is the first single off their upcoming EP ‘Machine in the Monkey’.

Press play right here…

‘Sad But True’ (Metallica song) by ST. VINCENT (Tulsa, US)

Metallica sounding sexy, sultry, and snappy? Like the late great funk genius
Prince? Yes, it happens right here, thanks to disco queen St. Vincent.

Wham bam…

‘Lineage’ by SMOKE (Holland)

Louisiana Swamp Blues sultriness from… The Netherlands. No frontiers when it comes
to stirring up the steam, turning up the heat, and pumping up the decibels. This red-hot ripper is about “brotherhood and supporting your friends and family during hard times.”

All together now…

‘Ladylike (Don’t Hold Her Back)’ by CUBS REFRAIN (Toronto, CA)

Band member Erin Roblin reflects on her experiences with society’s expectations of her as a woman, including the fight for control of her own choices in her life and career. It’s 2021 and women still have to suffer from external pressure. Incredible. Therefore, encouraging earworms like these are always welcome for everybody – regardless the gender – who struggles with being pushed for the wrong reasons by the wrong people. Ladylike is a frisky and sprightly humanlike booster. Get up, stand up and fight for your right to be who you are.

Jive to the beat…

‘Glide’ by THE DAILY SPREADSHEETS (Divinópolis, Minas Gerais)

Brazilian singer/songwriter Henrique Neves is the man behind The Daily Spreadsheets.
Riff-roaring rock ‘n’ roll streams through his sonic veins for years now. On Glide he lets
The Beach Boys sound like if they were a speed-up garage band. Good vibrations indeed.

Read all about it here…


10 Questions For Intensely Passionate Electro Pop Voices CUBS REFRAIN…

Discover up and coming artists in 10 questions

9 May 2018

Canadian electro pop duo CUBS REFRAIN released their full length debut TELL ME YOU LOVE ME last month. A rapturous work of vivid passion, heartfelt intensity and vehement romanticism. A gratifying record that pleases your senses all the way through. A sparkling collection of emotions-loaded compositions. Turn Up The Volume hears echoes of Chvrches, Florence and the Machine and St. Vincent. But most of all I hear two towering voices and I
experience high-quality songwriting intensified by sky-high orchestrations and burning eagerness. Enough reasons to have a chat with the authors, Erin and Jordan. Let’s start
the acquaintance with a highlight of that stirring longplayer. Here’s ALL NEW LIVES

I guess we’re all in the right mood now, let’s talk

1 / What’s the story behind the band’s name ?
CUBS: “We settled on the name Cubs Refrain after a lot of consideration. The names of our previous groups were somewhat goofy and lighthearted, which was great, but we realized we wanted this name to have some more personal meaning for us both. We landed on a combined phrase that to us holds both nostalgia and growth. That being said, we really hope to keep it open to interpretation and will refrain from disclosing specifics. We started working together over correspondence while Jordan was working in BC and Erin was living in Spain in early 2015. At that point we only had the concept for the band and Jordan was starting to demo a bunch of new synth sounds. We had never worked seriously together before then but had played shows together in our respective bands back in our university days. We had always admired each other’s skills and approach to music, so we both kind of jumped at the opportunity, officially starting Cubs Refrain in August of 2015.”

2/ What was the initial sound, songs and themes you had in mind when starting up?
CUBS: “Jordan initially had the vision to change gears from our prior genres and try out synth-driven music. We originally really wanted our sound to be much more pared back, really similar to Oh Wonder. Their first few singles (and album) was hugely influential for
us, especially vocally. As we developed things further and started accumulating our
synths, we evolved into the heavier synth textures that you hear on the album. A lot
of that came from our love of CHVRCHES and M83, both of which have some incredible synth arrangements. We gradually found our own way to emulate our indie rock and
blues styles with our synthesizers. We weren’t really interested in making your sort of classic EDM beats with these synths, but really wanted to tell the same stories as we
had with our guitar and piano. Our approach to arranging songs remained very similar
to how we had written in the past, with the main difference being that almost all of the instruments used were synthesizers.”

3 / Your debut album’s front artwork is a beauty. What inspired the image?
Jordan: The art was actually a collaboration of a number of people, but the idea for it came to me in the spring of 2016 after a major house fire consumed my family home. We had this beautiful grand piano that we lost in the fire, so I wanted to capture that in some way visually. I actually took some sound recordings of us ‘disassembling’ it, which can be heard at the end of the instrumental track ‘Death of the Grand Piano’. hat’s the most literal sense of it, but we also felt that it represented our artistic vision of moving past tradition and embracing change.”

4/ Your brand new debut LP is titled ‘TELL ME YOU LOVE ME’. Who are the lovers?
CUBS: “The album tells the story of a fictional pair. We naturally put a lot of our own emotions and experiences into the songs we wrote for this album, but we wanted to portray it as a cohesive story and found that telling our fragmented pasts through the vessel of one couple was the perfect way to do it. We spent a lot of time developing each of their personalities, storyboarding their relationship, which takes the listener from the time they met to their eventual heartbreak and reflection. The title of the album, Tell Me You Love Me, we feel is an all-encapsulating phrase that can be expressed through changing times, from feelings of passion to desperation.”

5/ Which track is CUBS REFRAIN signature one so far and why?
CUBS: “‘Breathe’ is probably the quintessential Cubs track. From the vocals to the synth melodies to the dynamics, it’s really representative of who we are as artists. We feel that we have a really diverse sound, and ‘Breathe’ does a great job of showcasing that. It’s also one of the songs that marked the peak of our collaboration through the writing of the album, where we really felt we hit our stride.”

6/ Both your voices are amazing. The result of training or a natural gift?
Jordan: “I’m glad you like our voices! I don’t consider myself much of a singer, so most
of my vocal ability I’ve worked to develop. Erin on the other hand seems to be able to make anything sound incredible with ease, so it’s always a big relief when she’s able
to sing on a track.”
Erin: “Wow, thanks. Besides being part of choirs growing up, I never had any real training. I’ve always been extremely shy with my voice so it’s been a slow progression to getting it where it is now. Working on this album has shown the most drastic progression, and I definitely owe a lot of that growth to Jordan for pushing my limits. I’m pretty excited
with my improvement up to now, but I know there’s definitely farther that I can go.”

7/ Closing track ‘WE ALMOST FAILED, BRIAN (Epilogue II’ is my favorite. What’s the song about and how did you created the wall-of-synths sound in the studio?
CUBS:‘Brian’ is about moving on and being ok with where you are. We felt it was the perfect track to play out the album, almost as a reflection of the story itself. It wraps
things up in a sort of bittersweet way. It’s like looking back on a hardship fondly, knowing that you’ve grown because of it. The wall of synth sound was mostly about fitting all of the pieces around one another. There are lots of unison and octave layers that reinforce each other. We used entirely analog synths for the track, which really added to the harmonic richness of all the instrumentation.”

8/ Which movie would you pick to visualize your music
on a big screen behind you when playing a show?

Jordan: “The first movie that always comes to mind is ‘Drive’. I think maybe because
the soundtrack is so similar stylistically, but I do think that they have similar aesthetics.”
Erin: “I think the feel of our stuff would fit pretty well over ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’,
a fantastic movie about the confusions of adolescence and first loves.”

The perks of being Cubs Refrain

9/ If you could go back in time on which artist’s front door
would you knock and ask to have a selfie together?

Jordan: “David Bowie. I feel like out of most
famous musicians, he’d be down for a fan selfie.”
Erin: I’m gonna go with Michael Jackson.
I make a solid effort at the moonwalk.”

10/ Future plans for CUBS REFRAIN?
CUBS: “We’re hoping to just keep on playing bigger and bigger shows and take our music to new places! Jordan loves recording and producing, so it’s going to be difficult to keep him out of the studio. I wouldn’t read into that too much though, another album is a ways out from now.”

Thank you Erin, thank you Jordan for this interview.
May the road rise with CUBS REFRAIN!

Album in full right here…
LP available on iTunes

CUBS REFRAIN: Website – Facebook – Twitter

(press promo photo on top via Cubs Refrain)

Canadian Synthpop Duo CUBS REFRAIN Shines On Impassioned Debut LP ‘TELL ME YOU LOVE ME’…

Weekly vibrations to soundtrack your favorite 48 hours…


7 April 2018

Synthpop duo CUBS REFRAIN, formed in 2015 by Toronto artists Erin and Jordan,
just released their captivating debut album, titled ‘TELL ME YOU LOVE ME’.

Erin revealed in a press statement that “the album tells the story of a high-school aged
couple as they navigate the desire and despair of romantic awakening. My bandmate, Jordan, and I have spent the past year writing, recording and mixing the 14-track concept album, independently, in the home studio we constructed. Besides the prominent synths, the album features cello, drums and electric guitar, all performed acoustically. Most arresting are the sounds made when Jordan dismantled his family grand piano following the house fire referenced on the album’s artwork and on the track “Death of the Grand Piano 2017,
Scissors on Wire.”

SCORE: ‘Tell Me You Love Me’ is a gripping work of fervent passion, zealous intensity
and vital romanticism. A gratifying record that pleases your senses all the way through.
A sparkling collection of versatile, emotions loaded compositions. From vigorous electro splendour (When It Started / St. Andrews / Breathe / All New Lives and the superb ‘We Almost Failed, Brian (Epilogue II)) to soulful synth balladry intensified by Erin and Jordan‘s highly impressive voices (Collide / Underway / Where We Where). Overall this first longplayer is a stirring triumph marked by towering electronica dynamics, overwhelming duet vocals, and sky-high melodies. Imagine Editors and CHVRCHES producing some epic grandeur together. Yes, that magical! Discover the sonic brightness right here…

CUBS REFRAIN: Website – Facebook – Twitter

TELL ME YOU LOVE ME – Out now and available on iTunes

Here’s TURN UP THE VOLUME’s Knockout Team For March 2018!…

Killer tracks on repeat this past month

ELEVEN KNOCKOUTS I played on repeat in MARCH!
An explosive cocktail of mighty rippers & heated grooves
activating all my senses and itchy limbs this past month!
TURN UP THE VOLUME! Here’s the March knockout team!

1/ ‘Human For’ by SUNFLOWER BEAN (Brooklyn, New York)
Perfect pop pearl from staggering new, second full length…
Album: ‘Twentytwo In Blue’ – stream here

2/ ‘Isolation’ by TUBELIGHT (Belgium)
Thrashy garage killer track from thrashy garage killer LP…
Album: ‘Expert By Virtue, Thereof’ – stream here

3/ ‘Mermaids’ by MADONNATRON (London, UK)
Get yourself ready for a groovy voodoo trance!…

4/ ‘Lucky You’
by DRANG (London, UK)
An irresistible, glamorous firework bolide with a dazzling chorus…

Single available here on Bandcamp

5/ ‘All That I Need’ by THE ASSIST (Walsall, West Midlands, England)
Stirring crackerjack to scream along on the top of your lungs…

6/ ‘Higher’ by LEISURE TANK (London, UK)
Fetching, irresistible and wayward jingle jangle spur…

7/ ‘War Paint’ by FRANKIE SIMONE (Portland, Oregon, US)
Simone’s explicit voice & her sensual explosiveness will make your body shake…
LOVE/WARRIOR = debut EP out 1 June – all info here

8/ ‘Connected By Love’ by JACK WHITE (Detroit, US)
Blues passion at its very Jack White‘s best…
Album: ‘Boarding House Reach’ – stream here

9/ ‘Wayne’ by RICH GIRLS (New York, NY, US)
Rich Girls’ sound is timelessly human. It has heart and it has soul…
Album: ‘Black City’ – out April via Tricyle Records

10/ ‘We Almost Failed, Brian (Epilogue II) by CUBS REFRAIN (Toronto, Canada)
Towering electro dynamics, overwhelming duet vocals and a sky-high melody…
Album: ‘Tell Me You Love Me‘ – out April

11/ ‘You & I’ by RUMOURS (Belgium)
Electronic twilight vibration colored with a divine voice…
Album: Debut LP ‘Megamix’ – out now – available on iTunes

See/hear you next month, music junkies

SEVEN IN THE MIX! 7 Crackers For Week 12…

A brand new SEVEN IN THE MIX for a brand new week!
Seven stirring strokes I played on repeat these past days
Seven top-notch tracks to feed body & soul all week long
Turn up the volume! Music is the dope! Here’s the stuff!

1/ ‘We Almost Failed, Brian (Epilogue II) by CUBS REFRAIN (Toronto, Canada)
What a powerful outburst of passion this is. Towering electro dynamics, overwhelming duo vocals and a sky-high melody. An intense reflection on a first love that wasn’t right. Superb new single from the heartfelt Canadian tandem’s upcoming LP, titled ‘Tell Me You Love Me’.

Website – Facebook – Twitter

2/ ‘Spree’ by ALTAR FLOWERS (Manchester, UK)
Electro firework with a sticky goth twist that activates your body and your eager senses.
A tremendously stimulating groove with a seductive flow and tempting male/female vocals. Top cut from these Mancs new, splendid ‘Performance‘ EP – here on Bandcamp.

ALTAR FLOWERS: Facebook – Twitter

3/ ‘Higher’ by LEISURE TANK (London/Berlin)
Here’s a fetching, irresistible and wayward jingle jangle spur without brakes. Going on like forever, propelled by dauntless vocals and electrified with ramshackle guitars. Ace score!

LEISURE TANK: Website – Facebook – Instagram

4/ ‘Do You Want It All?’ by NIGHT OWLS (Leeds, UK)
Wall-of-guitars-turbulence, pumping drums and sharp vocals! Here’s a massive banger that will make your adrenalin stream faster and your speakers going bananas. Hail Hail!

NIGHT OWLS: Facebook –  Twitter

5/ ‘Johnny Disco’ by PURSLANE (Karlstad, Sweden)
You’ll be hooked on Johnny Disco from the first chord on. A highly catchy swagger, flamboyant beats, scintillating synths and wacky vocals turn this ripper into a dazzling stroke. This 4-headed squad will release their debut album on 21 April. Info here.

PURSLANE: Reverbnation – Facebook

6/ ‘Cold Heart’ by SAVANNAH (Telford, UK)
This energetic Britpop humdinger makes you glow instantly. Its captivating, sparkling and vocal energy is strongly addictive & radiant. Frozen hearts will be melted after one spin.

SAVANNAH: Website – Facebook –  Twitter

7/ ‘Pink Thoughts’ by TOPOGRAPHIES (Bay Area, San Francisco, US)
Swirling shoegaze electricity interwoven with blue-sky harmonies that will elevate romantic spirits to dreamy levels. A colorful wall-of-My-Bloody-Valentine-guitars carry this amplified rainbow from start to finish. A splendiferous journey with mind-intoxicating results!…

TOPOGRAPHIES: Facebook – Bandcamp – Instagram

See/hear you next week, music junkies