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Showing posts from 2018

Rock for Kids: Imagination Movers - 10-4 (Independent / December 10, 2018)

Rock for Kids:
Imagination Movers - 10-4
(Independent / December 10, 2018)
Buy it on iTunes

Take polished modern pop/rock, add family-friendly lyrics and polished production, and you've got the appeal of the Imagination Movers. After spending the last decade touring the world, the Emmy-award winning kids' show rock band has just released a new album of upbeat tracks.

Socks meditates on the joys of collecting socks in an upbeat folk/pop mode, slipping into a funky interlude that begins,

Two googly eyes, and a bottle of glue
Put it all together, and what do you do?

So Glad You're Here sings a message about acceptance to a reggae-ish beat. Tight musicianship keeps the music bouncing along, while nimble vocals and three-part harmony, and countermelodies, flesh out the song.

Talking To The Baby is a hilariously upbeat and funky pop song about baby talk that will have parents laughing along with the little ones.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party is a cool retro tune, a standout track wit…

Eclectic Indie Spirit: Adam Rose - Levitate the Base (Independent / November 11 2018)

Eclectic Indie Spirit:
Adam Rose - Levitate the Base
(Independent / November 11, 2018)
Buy/Stream it on Bandcamp

Pittsburgh native Adam Rose has returned to recording after a hiatus due to illness with an eclectic offering of ambient and instrumental psychadelica. Rose plays guitar, drum kit, hand drums, piano, bass guitar, upright bass, violin, cello, utes of various kinds, didgeridoo, trumpet, and a little kazoo, combining his musicianship with a background in programming and engineering, and also produces the release.

Platinum Grime is a funky track that's reminiscent of old school TV show themes, including fuzzy guitars and wa-wa pedals over a driving beat. Swampy Thang is an inventive take on retro rock, with a meandering beat and spooky guitar line.

Slam Dandy is an upbeat power pop-rock track that showcases his guitar work in a growly mode. Freaky Fried Flapjacks is a standout track with an insistent bass line and interesting rhythms.

In The Glow is another memorable track …

The World’s Best Beaches for 2018©

The World’s Best Beaches for 2018©
The people at have polled travel writers and professionals from around the world to come up with what looks like a good list of the world's most wonderful beaches.

I was asked to be one of the judges/contributors to the list, and it was a pleasure to spend some time thinking about the great beaches of the world. I think our beautiful blue globe has too many beaches for any one list to include all the best, but this is an excellent list with a number of categories. Just click on the titles to check out each list.

World's Top 50 Beaches

FlightNetwork crafted The World’s Best Beaches for 2018©, that highlights the best beaches on almost all continents, by conferring with over 1200 journalists, editors, bloggers, and agencies, who possess endless travel wisdom. The insights we received helped us create a list of beaches that will help travelers access shores that will leave a magical and indelible imprint.

Peruse through the 411 …

Canadiana/Roots/Rock: Norine Braun - Through Train Windows (Braun and Brains Music / 7 December 2018)

Norine Braun - Through Train Windows
(Braun and Brains Music / 7 December 2018)
Preorder/Buy the Album
Presave on Spotify

Blues, roots, and soul with a modern sensibility - that's the territory mined by Vancouver based singer songwriter Norine Braun. Last year, she and partner Alice Fraser participated in Via Rail's Riding the Rails tour as an Artist On Board. She traveled more than 6,000 kilometres from Vancouver to Halifax, playing music as the Rocky Mountains changed to prairies, boreal forest, urban areas, until finally reaching the Atlantic. After the experience, she was the Musician in Residence at the Banff Centre, where she penned this collection of songs about her experiences.

Norine's voice is both accomplished and intimate, like someone sitting in your living room telling stories. She takes well worn genres and breathes new life into them with insightful and poetic lyrics and musical compositions that add layers of sound and interest to si…

Jazz CD Release:The Pearcy / Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet - Over the Edge (Independent / 12 October 2018)

Jazz CD Release:
The Pearcy / Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet - Over the Edge
(Independent / 12 October 2018)
Stream It On Soundcloud
Stream It On Spotify

A roster jazz cats from Beantown got together to create this project - The Pearcy/Gratzmiller Jazz Quintet - and it took ten years to compile the original tracks on their release, Over The Edge.

"Our goal in creating Over the Edge was to create a modern album that classic jazz listeners could also enjoy. We made an effort to capture the spirit and tradition of classic quintets from 50's and 60's while mixing in modern elements, particularly in the areas rhythm and song form. We think contemporary jazz can be soulful and fun, but inventive at the same time."
"Over the Edge" is the title of the PGJQ's debut album. It contains 10 original compositions written over the course of nearly a decade by co-leaders Wayne Pearcy (Trumpet) and Aaron Gratzmiller (Saxophone). Joining them is an outstanding rhythm section c…

Indie World Cinema: A Moment In The Reeds - Available in Canada & the US December 4 2018

From a media release:

Indie World Cinema:
A Moment In The Reeds2017 | Drama, Romance | 107 Minutes | Finland / UK | Color 
English and Finnish with English Subtitles

• Available December 4 2018 in Canada & the U.S. on DVD, Blu-Ray & digital download
Check it out at the link

The feature debut of Finnish writer/director Mikko Makela is a moving gay romance between a young Finnish academic and a struggling Syrian refugee, set against an idyllic Finnish summer. Filled with nuanced and sexually charged performances from the film's two openly gay leads, Finnish theatre actor Janne Puustinen, and openly gay Syrian actor Boodi Kabbani (who fled Syria and eventually settled in Finland, where he is based - he is one of the very few openly gay Syrian actors in the world), A MOMENT IN THE REEDS is a potent, inherently political, and remarkably mature exploration of an LGBT immigrant refugee's experience in today's world. 

One of the first LGBT-themed films made in Finland, Makel…

Ian - A Film About Inclusion

From a media release:

Oscar-Qualifying Animated Short by MundoLoco Has Unprecedented Release in Latin America"Ian", available now on YouTube, shares the important message of inclusion
I'm a few days late to spread the word about this short film, but it's a film with a message that is always worth checking it out. On November 30th, Oscar-qualifying film "Ian" was released in an unprecedented joint effort from all major children’s Networks in Latin America: Disney, Discovery Kids, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, YouTube Kids and Pakapaka in Latin America and YouTube Worldwide.

This emotional film is based on the true story of a boy called Ian. The film was created by Emmy nominee Gastón Gorali, produced by Oscar winner and two-time Emmy winner Juan José Campanella and directed by Abel Goldfarb. This important film aims to help children to understand disability and for the message of inclusion to reach every home.

Ian was born with cerebral palsy. All…

Piano Pop: Gina Graves - And We Rise (Independent / October 15, 2018)

Piano Pop:
Gina Graves - And We Rise
(Independent / October 15, 2018)
Stream On Spotify

It is my hope that these songs will inspire you to honor the callings of your Soul and appreciate your value in the world, while holding your heart as you dare to stand in the face of difficult challenges. These are songs of hope, redemption, and ultimately Divine Love.
At 46, singer songwriter Gina Graves found herself pregnant, a life changing experience that led her to compose the songs that make up this release. With a background in studying classical music and jazz, and a 20 year career as a professional musician and composer, she plays everything but the drums on this album (handled by brother Rich) and produced the release as well.

Her classical training is evident on tracks like Everything You Are, where her ethereal vocals float above atmospheric keyboard accompaniment that swells into an atmospheric and orchestral arrangement.

There are some lovely vocal harmonies on the release that lend …

Quintessential Vienna - Mozart & Strauss in Schönbrunn Palace

Classical music in the palace
Schloss Schönbrunn Konzerte
The Quintessential Vienna Experience
Find Out More

Heading to Vienna anytime soon? Every evening at 8:30pm, you can enjoy a concert performed by the Schönbrunn Palace Orchestra in the very Palace Orangery where Mozart himself played in 1786. The first half of each concert programme will present music from Mozart's operas, and the second will feature music from the operettas of Johann Strauss, including Die Fledermaus, Der Zigeunerbaron, Donauwalzer, and the Radetzkymarsch. Along with the orchestra, you'll be entertained by two opera singers, and two ballet dancers, all in the Baroque splendour that is Schönbrunn Palace.

You can get a package that includes dinner and a palace tour.

Book now at the link.

About The Palace
Schloss Schönbrunn - or Schönbrunn Palace - was the principle summer residence of the Hapsburg rulers, their territories the precursor of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Located in Hietzing, Vienna, the …

Hip Hop Fusion: DannyDosha - Kelsey 2 (Independent / October 30, 2018)

Hip Hop Fusion:
DannyDosha -  Kelsey 2
(Independent / October 30, 2018)
Stream It On Spotify

Kelsey 2 is a new single from DannyDosha, blending styles and genres for an innovative sound in a crowded field.

Born into a musical family, Baltimore Maryland native DannyDosha, aka Daniel Maurice Barry, has been making hip hop records since the age of nine. An uncle was a hip hop producer, and a cousin worked as a mix engineer. He was listening to Sade and Luther Vandross on vinyl as a child, and was influenced by the hip hop greats of the 1990s. Just seven years ago, he moved out of the studio and taught himself to play guitar, studying jazz, blues, and rock styles.

You can hear a mix of influences on the track, an intriguing mesh of sounds that begins with a simple riff strummed on the guitar in rock minimalist mode. Then, the vocals begin, with Danny and Danielle Lee trading melodic lines. Next, a layer of oddly synched/unsynched rhythm and a moody guitar solo. The combination of flavours …

Piano Pop: Peter Senior - On The Edge (Mandalong Record / September 7 2018) Coming December 7 2018: The Christmas Tree Single

Piano Pop:
Peter Senior - On The Edge
(Mandalong Record / September 7 2018)
Coming December 7 2018: The Christmas Tree Single
Stream The Album On Spotify
Preorder The Christmas Tree - proceeds going to help Australian farmers hit by drought

With an album just out on September 7, Australian singer songwriter Peter Senior is set to release a new Christmas single on December 7, with the proceedings going to help Australian farmers hit by drought. The new single is a rollicking pop rocker with the kind of flair he displays on the album.

Good times are coming
I saw it in a dream...
(Little Lovin')

Despite its name, On The Edge, the album, is all bright, bouncy piano pop in the vein of a Billy Joel - and with the same mix of pop and rock, with touches of country and Broadway for good measure. He's got an ear for catchy melodies and sparkling arrangements that add an almost theatrical sensibility to the release. Overall, the message is upbeat and empowering.

Peter's been singing at …

Jazz/RnB: Rose Ann Dimalanta Trio - It's Time (Independent / November 16 2018)

Rose Ann Dimalanta Trio - It's Time
(Independent / November 16 2018)
Stream it on Spotify

The Rose Ann Dimalanta Trio offers up a smooth slice of elegant, soulful jazz and RnB in It's Time, their latest full-length release. Rose Ann's big, beautiful voice is front and centre on the album, as it should be. She's got pipes that are big, but with a velvety finish that adds a rich tone.

The band goes through a number of genres and moods on the album with expert ease. Miles is the second single from the album, a slow and sexy jazzy RnB number. No Goodbyein', the first single, is a dancey electro-pop number with funky shades of classic Prince in the mix.

Forever Day by Day is funky, with interesting jazzy chord progressions, while 10 Miles to Empty ventures farther into jazz territory, with ethereal vocals and a jittery web of layered keyboard tracks underneath.

You don't need to know the band's background to be impressed by their chops, but if you do, …

Recently Released: Geoff Gibbons Shadow of a Stone - Songs of Remembrance (Bluecafe Music / 6 November 2018)

Recently Released:
Geoff Gibbons
Shadow of a Stone - Songs of Remembrance
(Bluecafe Music / 6 November 2018)
Stream it on Spotify
Buy it on CDBaby

Geoff Gibbons takes folk music back to its roots in this EP, not only when it comes to musical style, but in lyrics that talk about everyday human realities. In this case, that focus turns to the realities of war on a human scale, and a tribute to that sacrifice on the eve of Rembrance Day.

Shadow of a Stone plays an almost military style rhythm against a softer guitar line and soulful vocals. It evokes the wide prairies and a mournful mood while the lyrics are an elegy to the fallen soldier.

Never laid down my life for something I believed
But here, I believe in the world you left to me.

He adds a twangy guitar solo, and it adds to the effect.

Please Remember Me is a classic traditional folk tune with a Celtic infusion of accordion, and an upbeat rhythm. It tells the timeless story of a soldier going off to war, and leaving his loved one behi…

Acoustic Roots: Twisted Oak - Cold Coffee and Half Smoked Cigarettes EP (Independent / September 21 2018)

Acoustic Roots:
Twisted Oak - Cold Coffee and Half Smoked Cigarettes EP
(Independent / September 21 2018)
Buy it on iTunes
Stream it on Soundcloud

Cold Coffee and Half Smoked Cigarettes, is a story about moving on from vices. Both cold coffee and half smoked cigarettes are what would be left behind if someone had decided to rid themselves of physical addictions such as caffeine and nicotine. This imagery symbolizes the remnants of who that person was, but not what they've become. In the case of the story of the album, we see love as the central vice. Love can build someone up and break someone down, but the most important part of being in love is realizing that it is not ours to have. When we cling to a possessive love, we let it take over us. This album explores different aspects of this learning. (Twisted Oak)

Twisted Oak - aka Matt Batory - mines the singer songwriter territory in a minimalist mode, managing to wring expression and variety out of acoustic rhythm guitar and voca…

Holidays In The City: Seasonal Offerings at the Omni King Edward Hotel, Toronto Starting November 16, 2018

Holidays In The City
Seasonal Offerings at the Omni King Edward Hotel, Toronto
Starting November 16, 2018· Find Out More
Toronto's Omni King Edward Hotel has been welcoming dignitaries, tourists, travelers, and the citizens of Toronto for more than a century. As the weather gets more and more frightful towards the end of the year, the ornate historic hotel has some holiday specials to help stoke the holiday mood.
Nutcracker Afternoon Tea At Victoria's Restaurant

· Beginning November 16 and available until December 30, Victoria’s restaurant will serve their traditional Nutcracker Tea, inspired by the famous holiday ballet. Cozy up this winter with tea, sweet cheeses, finger sandwiches, pastries and scones.Ffinalized menu offerings to be confirmed soon. $54 per person, Wednesday – Sunday, 1:30-5:00pm
Adult Hot Chocolate At The Consort Bar

· Starting November 21, limited-time adult hot chocolate options will be available at The Consort Bar. You'll find a selection of Adult Hot Cho…

#VisitHaiti Jacmel Is Haiti's Artistic Heart - the Caribbean's Last Undiscovered Jewel

Jacmel Is Haiti's Artistic Heart
the Caribbean's Last Undiscovered Jewel
Find Out More About Travel To Haiti

Tourists are beginning to rediscover Haiti, the lush tropical nation with a storied history and much to offer.
Jacmel combines a vibrant artistic vibe with the gorgeous tropical weather and lush landscape of the Caribbean, and architecture that is a feast for the eyes, including buildings in tropical colours with iconic gingerbread decorations in white.

The old port city of Jacmel is located in the south coast of Haiti, spread around a 3km long bay. You'll enjoy local cuisine, including plenty of seafood, a thriving local arts and music scene, and a centuries old town centre that has been declared a UNESCO protected historic site.
Just outside the city, you'll find the blue pools they call Bassins-Bleu, fed by the cool waters of the waterfalls to the west. There are a few beaches to choose from, including the Raymond Les Bains, one of the most popula…

Pop Single: Jude Scofield - Don't Let Me Die Alone (Independent / 12 October 2018)

Pop Single:
Jude Scofield - Don't Let Me Die Alone
(Independent / 12 October 2018)
Stream it on Spotify

Don't Let Me Die Alone is the debut single from up and coming singer songwriter Jude Scofield. Jude's got the kind of rich, effortless sounding voice that would have seen him crooning ballads in any previous era. Here, he writes a bittersweet love song with shades of RnB and classic, really ageless pop sensibilities.
A native of Melbourne, Australia, Jude's been playing music since his father bought him a guitar for his sixth birthday. He formed his first band in grade 8, and performed at school concerts and open mics in the area. He later taught himself to play piano, and got experience recording and mixing sound.

It was a case of tragic heartbreak about a year ago that led him to write this, his first song on the piano. It spurred a string of new songs. With all the instruments performed, mixed, and produced by Jude, he's working on his first full-length releas…