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PEI Genealogical Society meeting

The next public meeting of the PEI Genealogical Society will be held September 29 from 2–4 pm at B [ ... ]

WCB recognizes students

The Workers Compensation Board (WCB) recognizes high school students from across PEI who participate [ ... ]

In Recent Memory

Talking Bands
by Marianne Dowling

It’s that time of year again when we gather with friends and family, pop the bubbly, wear silly hats and, of course, read all the year-end retrospectives. Here’s another one—my musical memories of 2004. Enjoy.

Most Pointless Award Show:

The People’s Choice Awards, where every category was inexplicably won by Tim McGraw.

Best Band Named After an Assassinated Arch-Duke:

Franz Ferdinand. Some might be put off by the Scottish band’s preference for tight pants—but don’t you worry—the pants are stretchy and the band isn’t afraid to rock out and bust a move. Franz’s breakthrough single “Take Me Out” crossed over into mainstream radio and gave even the most timid wallflower and excuse to get on the dance floor.

Biggest Bush Bashers:

(1) Beastie Boys. On their current tour, the Boys dedicate the last song of the night to George W. Bush. The song is called “Sabotage.” (2) Eminem: Just how did Mr. Mathers III spend his time in between albums? By the sounds of his latest “Encore,” he was holed up in a darkened room sharpening pins for his presidential voodoo doll. Em’s political single “mosh” takes direct hit at “W” with lyrics like “Stomp, push, shove, mush, F**k Bush until they bring our troops home.” Not one for subtleties, he really drove his point home by performing this song at the MTV Europe Awards in front of an armored tank.

Lyrics of the Year:

“I drink a boost for breakfast, and ensure for dizzert

Somebody ordered pancakes, I just sip the sizzurp
That there could drive a sane man bizzerk.”

—Kanye West, “Through the Wire”

“He spent her money oh so well

Take a bath in cold Kristal

He took a trip 2 burn an old flame in “Frisco, like wow
But Doris caught him in her arms

She shrugged her shoulders and said “No harm”
Just put your name on this pre-nup and we can all hit the disco.”

—Prince, “Illusion, Coma, Pimp and Circumstance”

Breakthrough Maritime Band:

The Trews. Although technically The Trews’ House of Ill Fame came out at the end of 2003, it’s clear 2004 was their year. The Antigonish band showed Upper Canada there is more to Cape Breton than the Cabot Trail when their single “Tired of Waiting” hit the air waves.

Heat Seeking Band:

Danny Mainstreet Band. Everything is falling right into place for DMB: A successful CD Launch for Bulletproof and Ignorant, a VideoFact grant for their new single “Rock ‘n Roll Pollution Steroids” and a #1 hit on the East Coast music countdown. Ignorance really is bliss.

Best Albums:

(1) K-OS Joyful Rebellion. There is something for everyone on K-OS’ latest album. From hip hop to soul, gospel, and rock, the Whitby native blends the genres seamlessly while rapping and singing some of the smartest, socially aware lyrics of the year.
(2) Beastie Boys To The 5 Boroughs. Sandwiches, kugel, Carl Sagan, and Sasquatch. Just some of the topics Ad-Rock, Mike D, and MCA thought were worth rhyming about on their latest album released in June. The irreverent, crazy raps, hilarious name checks and shout-outs to New York City were all the more heart-warming when you consider they had been on hiatus for six years. In that time, we all realized how much we missed them. Fun, energetic, nostalgic, and at times even political, the Boys (with a combined age of 117!) answer why they can’t, they won’t and they don’t stop.

Honorable Mentions:

The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Two Hours Traffic

Talking Bands
by Marianne Dowling

Two Hours Traffic

Anyone who has ever taken a high school chemistry class knows that certain elements, when mixed together, can create an explosion. The members of Two Hours Traffic—most of them chemistry majors at UPEI—hope their pop explosion will happen sooner than later, thanks to the addition of Joel Plaskett, their latest album’s producer.

Front man Alec O’Hanley, guitarists Liam Corcoran, bassist Andrew MacDonald, and drummer Dereck Ellis handed the Halifax pop star their “April Storm” demo after watching him play in Charlottetown (last winter). The band’s melodic guitars and poppy beats must have impressed him, because he agreed to produce their new CD.

O’Hanley says the band has learned a lot about the recording process and the intricacies of crafting great pop music from Plaskett. “He’s really good at arranging the songs and making them good, concise pop tunes,” says O’Hanley.

“If he thought a little something extra needed to be added, he would throw in a guitar track or something or do some singing for us,” says Corcoran.

The result of the hard work is Two Hours Traffic’s second album, tentatively titled Better Sorry Than Safe. It’s a collection of twelve tracks the band feels are sharper and more mature than anything they’ve recorded before.

“It’s definitely poppier and there’s more light-hearted moments on it. It’s definitely more rock in general, but it still has its moments when it’s softer,” says O’Hanley.

With Plaskett’s backing, the band also got access to a professional studio in Halifax—but it came at a high cost. The band spent almost every weekend this fall driving back and forth to squeeze in as much studio time as possible while juggling their school work. And if you want top quality studios, you have to pay top dollar. “The bank account right now is literally at zero,” O’Hanley says looking down at his hands.

The time and expense of the recording process was taxing, but now that it’s over, they feel their experiences make them even more proud of the new album. “When we played a show, we’d keep that money and that’s what paid for this record. No outside help was used,” says Corcoran.

O’Hanley and Corcoran stay quite reserved and soft spoken throughout most of the interview. A water O’Hanley ordered twenty minutes ago still hasn’t arrived at the table, but if there’s anything the band has learned over the past few months, it’s patience. They’re not going to rush anything at this point. “When we started recording our first album, we wanted it in our hands right away. I’m really proud of that EP, but we just spent so much more time on (the new album),” says Corcoran.

The band hopes to tour the album in the summer, after their classes end for the year. And although the members of Two Hours Traffic find themselves poised for success, their goals remain humble.

“I just would like to have a chance to make a string of albums and have the means to do that,” says Corcoran. He sums up the past year of experiences as the band prepares for the next phase.“It’s a great time, but it’s a tough process.”

Eyes For Telescopes


Talking Bands

by Marianne Dowling

Eyes For Telescopes (no Craig)

Eyes For Telescopes are so close they finish each other’s sentences. Although some of the band members have known each other since elementary school, it’s clear the years of travelling lonely icy roads together to play gigs all over the Maritimes have drawn them even closer.

As soon as vocalist Pat Deighan, drummer Mike MacDougall, vocalist/guitarist Belinda Doyle, and guitarist Dan Currie sit themselves down on a bench inside the dim light of Baba’s Lounge, the playful jabs and inside jokes begin. They even find a way to include absent bass player Craig MacPherson into the interview by using a Morrissey album as his stand-in.

MacDougall and Deighan hold up the album that features a profile of the melancholy rock star and point to his jaw “He kind of looks like Craig, don’t you think?” Deighan asks to his bandmates. “His hair is different though.”

Although the band is exuding fun and playfulness on this night, they all say this was not the case just a year ago, when playing music together became more like a chore. “We went though a period of about a year where we were playing the same songs at least once a week. It kind of got really monotonous after a while,” says Currie.

MacDougall adds that Eyes were “sleep walking” through many of their sets and the mood often stayed sombre off-stage as well. “Our last time out in Ontario, the last three days in the band were quiet drives with no radio,” says MacDougall.

The band decided the only way to cure their boredom was to take a break—so last winter—the band unplugged the amps to focus on other projects. Currie started work on a solo CD and MacDougall focused on his new role as husband and father. The band says they needed this time to rejuvenate, re-energize, and re-focus. The result of the hiatus is Third the band’s aptly-named third release that has a stripped-down sound the band is proud of.

Currie starts to explain why he feels Third is their best album yet. “It sounds the most like us. It sounds…”

“Messy” Deighan finishes.

The band says the new album has a comfortable sound that might be attributed to one of their recording spaces—Deighan’s apartment. Eyes used his place to capture a more intimate sound, closest to that of their live sets. “We just wanted to keep it as rough and as raw as possible,” MacDougall says.

So with the new album, Eyes For Telescopes have a new optimism and enthusiasm. Deighan even says he’s looking forward to the critics, and although he probably would prefer good reviews, he admits that the scathing reviews are fun to read.

With plans to tour around the Maritimes once again, including a stop at the ECMAs this winter, Deighan might want to take some reviews for reading material during those long winter drives.

“It’s going to be a crappy drive,” says MacDougall.

“Getting up there is sketchy,” Doyle muses.

MacDougall lowers his head and his voice. “So this could be the final interview.”

Marianne Dowling is the latest freelance writer to join the Buzz roster. She plans to profile Island musicians, “for a while.”

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