Podcast Episode #4: Jessica Leung


Check out her concert:

Make sure to click the option to support Jessica when you purchase your tickets!

Podcast Episode #3: Stringscapes Guitar Duo

Check them out on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stringscapesguitarduo/

Podcast Episode #2: The Gruff Brothers


By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Psychedelic Indie-rock

From Facebook.

ShagWagon is the musical birth of Jack Finlayson and Jacob Thompson. The duo started playing in highschool together in their hometown of Orillia, Ontario. Now they are both post-secondary students, Jack studies film at Hofstra University in New York and Jacob studies Jazz Performance at the University of Toronto. In Spring of 2014 ShagWagon released their first EP titled The BackBone of The Night. Their latest album is Island was recorded both in New York and Ontario over the last six months. Despite being students and in different locations, these guys have been pumping out quality psychedelic-indie-rock-pop sounding stuff that you should check out.

According to ShagWagon themselves, they state that Island chronicles their ‘feelings of separation and isolation on a social and romantic scale’ during the creation process of this album. You can check out the album below and even download it if you so choose. Island has a lot of things going for it, it is complex but not in a pretentious sort of way, its groovy, and it has a lot of depth. I can safely say all of the tracks on this album fill out a lot of space in a mystifying sort of way, but they also make you want to move to some degree. There is no doubt that this album is the culmination of some intense thought and collaboration from both Jack and Jacob, and it makes me feel something deep. It’s hard for me to pick one track from this album to discuss but I think the track “Island” is a good example and nicely represents the album. This track has the groove I mentioned before, with the space-y-ness, as well as some experimentation. “Island” has a clear direction, overall it follows a journey as the different parts meld together quite nicely. Overall Island is a great album and its difficult to completely sum into words without running on for ever, so the best way to find out is to listen for yourself.

Please check out ShagWagon below!


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Menahan Street Band

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Funk/Jazz/Soul

From Facebook.

The Menahan Street Band is a funk, jazz, and soul band signed to Dunham records but also associated with the soul revival label, Daptone Records. They are often the back up band for artists associated with these labels, including the ever-so-popular singer, Charles Bradley. Based in Brooklyn, New York, the Menahan Street Band consists of Thomas Brenneck, Homer Steinweiss, Nick Moveshon, Mike Deller, Dave Guy, and Leon Michels. Currently they have two albums out, Make The Road By Walking and The Crossing. Most notably, their music has been sampled by a number of hip-hop artists including Kid Cudi, Jay-Z and 50 Cent.

Below is the track titled “The Crossing,” the first track off of their album, The Crossing. This track is a nice introduction to the Menahan Street Band. Right down to the sound quality, they have that soul vibe. Their sound is so classic, it sounds like it should be on the soundtrack for a 60s film. They’re all instrumental, yet they manage to captivate the listener, especially with their amazing horn section. The Menahan Street Band is a must to check out, so go listen.



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Podcast Episode #1: The Funny Funk Band


My Brightest Diamond

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Indie/Rock/Folk

Picture from therapidian.org

This post was suggested by a reader and I am quite glad it was. My Brightest Diamond is the creation of Shara Worden, a singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. Shara Worden is quite a gem, she was born in Arkansas, with a diverse musical background, on top of coming from a musical family, she is a classical trained vocalist. Previously she was the lead singer AwRy, and a backup vocalist for Sufjan Stevens. My Brightest Diamond has released four albums, their latest being This Is My Hand in 2014. My Brightest Diamond and Shara Worden are really one in the same, but obviously she gets help from lots of other musicians.

After listening to some of their stuff, My Brightest Diamond just screams complexity, and artistry. Their music is not only ‘indie rock,’ one of the most over used genres in the world, but combines classical elements, chamber music, and many other styles. It’s quite difficult to actually place one genre, which is what makes this music so good. Below is the track “Be Brave” and in many ways it is brave. There are just so many levels of instruments which makes for an interesting texture, including many recurring themes. Shara’s voice is quite unique and you can definitely hear the classical training coming out, she flawlessly pulls off this song. The video is pretty weird overall but in certain ways it sums up My Brightest Diamond nicely, not a cliche or an acquired taste, just straight up interesting.

Check it out below:


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Cœur de pirate

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Indie-Pop

Cœur de pirate, real name Béatrice Martin, is a Canadian singer and Songwriter from Montreal, Quebec. Cœur de pirate is one person but has a very ‘bandy’ sounding name, as in, her name sounds like she would be a band, and she does give off that band sort of vibe. During the mid-2000s she received a lot of media coverage on various shows, as well as on the internet. Currently she has 4 LPs released, the latest one from this year titled Child of Light. If you’re interested in francophone music, Cœur de pirate is the way to go, and a must listen. Especially coming from someone who isn’t all that into french music.

Below is the track “St-Laurent.” Right away it has the bell, glockenspiel sound which is indeed quite indie. Her vocals are very soothing right off the bat and overall she gives off a soothing feeling. Although somewhat simplistic the track feels ‘thick’ in a way. And although I cannot quite understand the words, it adds a bit of mystery to the lyrics even though I could just look up the translation. Overall “St-Laurent” is beautiful and nicely sums up Cœur de pirate, beautiful and elegant. I could listen to this track again and again without getting tired of it.

Check her out below!


Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Indie/Pop

From Facebook.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is not a Nascar driver. They are an indie-pop band from Detroit, Michigan and consist of members Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein. The two began recording in Zott’s basement in 2009 and by 2010 released their first EP. So far they have three EPs and two LPs, their latest being The Speed of Things released on Warner Bros Records. After doing some research, I found that the real Dale Earnhardt Jr. is a fan of the duo. The name Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is really accurate, you don’t know what you’re going to get when you listen to them.

Below is a track titled “Run,” and it’s initially what got me hooked on their stuff. Their music is very vibrant and full, making you want to either dance or bob your head. The track is repetitive but it seems that each time something repeats a new layer each time until exploding at the end of the song. Their synth samples are super top notch as well as the vocals. To top if off, the video is done really well and its super entertaining to watch. The band is relatively new, and they are currently on tour, so there is no doubt they will be producing some new stuff in the near future.

So check em’ out below:


The Funny Funk Band

By: Brandon Benguaich

Genre: Funk/Dance/Hip-hop

Image from Bandcamp.

Jackson Steinwall does it all, he plays bass, sings, writes music, and on top of that he’s funny. The formation of the Funny Funk band was for a show Jackson created called “Jackson Steinwall’s Funny Funk Show.” The show featured a set of jokes he had written, with the headlining performance from his funny funk band with original music he had written for his funk combo in highschool. It was a success, and they decided to bring the funk show to new venues and solidify the band. Almost all of the band members are currently studying music at a post secondary level which includes Jackson Steinwall on Bass and Vocals, David Steinmetz on Drums, Andrew Moore on Guitar, Nolan Tait on Keyboards, Emily Steinwall on Tenor Sax, Tom Upjohn on Trumpet, and Margaret Nishimura on Trombone, and on top of that they often feature a rapper at their live shows. Their new EP will be released on Halloween so look forward to that!

The Funny Funk Band can best be described as dancy-funk and hip-hop. The first new track to be released off their new EP is titled “Knockout.” Overall its killer. It begins with a solid horn hook before the entirety of the rhythm section kicks you in the face. “It’ll take you off your feet,” this track literally knocks you out. Jackson’s vocals are sweet with a bite and with a bit of a growl. Soon enough in the track, theres a pretty wicked keyboard/organ solo, followed by a bass lick and then a reprise back to the beginning. Jackson has a good grasp of form which you can clearly hear and you can tell he is not only proficient as a musician and singer, but as a composer. The Funny Funk Band has amazing chemistry together, and its amazing to hear such strong musicians laying down such real music.

I can’t wait to hear the rest of the EP, so check out the track below: