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New Album 2017

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Well said. The more I think about it, every band I can think of used fade outs so I’m not really sure what my point was! Lol

 

I think I just never really noticed them. I was surprised that so many people commented on it here bc I would never have thought about it otherwise. (Attention to detail has never been A strength of mine).

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So far, in order:

1. Bullets in a Briefcase

2. There the First Time

3. This is Night

4. Men at the Door

5. Something like a Storm

6. She's got you where she wants you

7. Bad guys win

8. Days come done

9. Decades

 

I have played the first three ones I can't remember how many times, one after the other... :)

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Mentioning Fade To Black reminded me how I hated learning that last solo because it fades out at the end, it sounds awful when playing along. 

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That CBC Q interview - Tom Power is just such a loveable fella. "I like speaking to you..."

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I had my fingers crossed for a better drum sound than what we got on IMNW: Revisited. It all sounded way too mechanical, like a drum machine.

Each to their own opinions and interpretations, but I'd couldn't disagree more in the sense that I'd argue there is a difference between "style choices" and "production choices". I'll admit there were definitely points in that record where I wish Blake had been able to do more (the climax of I Miss New Wave for example), but as far as the production of the drums go I have never heard more crisp and clear sounding drums on any MG/MGB record. 

 

Likewise, even though I thought IMNW was lacking during the climax, I don't think there are any songs I would say actually fall into the category of sounding like a drum machine. In fact, throughout the album Blake adds in lots of extra snare and makes some really interesting, subtle, and beautiful choices (the rim usage during the verses of IMNW for example). Another example would be Born to Kill. It was a song that took a me a few listens to appreciate what he did, but if you listen to the last section there (which starts at 3:09), even though it's subtle, you can notice he is very busy quietly building the drums with light symbol tapping which eventually turn into more and more symbol crashes and snare hits, which eventually turn into a climax at 4:20 for 2 short rounds. He's using the symbols to encompass everything else that's going on (and I love his snare fill at 4:29). So even though I wish the ending was heavier and longer doesn't mean there isn't some really interesting stuff going on there.

 

 

Basically, to sum up my rambling, I agree there are certain parts of the record that could have been done better (and that it would be nice if Blake got to sound on the records the way he does live) but I don't agree the album as a whole sounds like they could have just used a drum machine to substitute for Blake at all.

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So after having had a while to absorb it, I think I would rank the songs in these tiers:


 


1. Bullets in a Briefcase (10/10)


 


2. This is Night (9/10)


2. Bad Guys Win (9/10)


2. Something Like a Storm (8.5/10)


 


3. Days Come Down (8/10)


3. Decades (7.5/10)


 


4. She's Got You Where She Wants You (7/10)


4. There the First Time (6/10)


 


5. Men at the Door (5/10)


 


I mostly skip the bottom 3 songs on listen-throughs.

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Listened to the new album a number of times now, my review:

 

A very good album, I've enjoyed it very much, some of it brilliant, some super-catchy, other songs are a bit too pedestrian.  The central theme of it I understand & I think is very important politically, but several of the songs have quite cryptic lyrics where I've yet to fully understand the theme of the song, such as There The First Time, Days Come Down, and This Is Night, so as a concept album it hasn't hit me yet like ie: LOES did.  My 1st impression of the album is that many of the songs have a more uplifting melody than a usual MG album, as songs like Bad Guys Win/Decades/There The First Time/Days Come Down are quite catchy while some of their meanings may actually be more dark. Army of Lions was probably the 1st MG/MGB song I remember ever wanting to dance to, but several songs on SLAS have an upbeat danceable groove, like There The First Time & Days Come Down.

 

The band is so damn tight live so far, especially when they played for Alan Cross' secret launch party, they sound just like on the album!  Some of that might have to do with the pre-recorded elements, but recording live off the floor I think benefited the band.

 

The 80's vibe of songs like Decades/There The First Time seems to mesh surprisingly well with the rest of the album that mixes keys/piano, orchestration, and jazz (Bullets...).  I absolutely adore the keys & instrumentals on Men At The Door & Bullets.  The biggest highlights on SLAS & CN have been the jazzy songs (Cold Water, Tiger By The Tail, Bullets...), and if you include LOES then IMO the best songs he's recorded in the last 10 years have been the jazzier ones, Matt has really found a brilliant sound here that I think will come to largely define his post-MGB career when all is said & done. I wish the economics of mass appeal meant he could explore these jazz sounds more & create more albums like LOES.

 

I'll rate the songs:

 

Bad Guys Win - 7/10 - I like the message, but the music is a bit too pedestrian for me.

Decades - 8/10

Men at the Door - 9/10 - Truthful lyrics, love the keys at the end

There the First Time - 9/10 - Awesome beat, catchy song

Days Come Down - 9.5/10 - So catchy, great groove, wonderful lyrics

Something Like a Storm - 7/10 - Insightful lyrics, but music didn't quite come together IMO, orchestration was a bit too over-the-top

She's Got You Where She Wants You - 7/10 - Sounds kinda like an 80's love song, but otherwise doesn't do much for me

This is Night - 5/10 - Much preferred Lone Gunman.  The "Vancouver" sound sounds out of place & stale now, felt the same with All Your Songs & Daughters

Bullets in a Briefcase - 10/10 - Brilliant

Edited by Moonlight_Graham

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I've really enjoyed this album front to back. I feel like it's a cohesive work. I'm not sure yet where I'd put it in album rankings.

 

Bad Guys Win - Starts off strong with great drums/percussion and kind of a U2 feel.

 

Decades - Band sounds very tight and it's got a really catchy riff.

 

Men At The Door - Great acoustic based tune. I wonder if I'm the only one kinda reminded of Losing My Religion by REM.

 

There The First Time - One of my faves on the album. Rocking song you can dance to. You can definitely feel the 80s new wave influence, love the synths.

 

Days Come Down - Finding myself really enjoying this one. Great chorus. I really like the lyric "like the screaming of your firstborn/sounds like singing".

 

Something Like A Storm - One of my faves, although I did use to feel the way other people felt, like it was building to something that never arrived. Repeated listens allowed me to appreciate it more and more as it is. Love the orchestral parts and overall feel. Kinda reminds me of Advertising On Police Cars.

 

She's Got You Where's She Wants You - This has grown to be one of my faves. Someone mentioned it sounding like End Of The Innocence by Don Henley, and I agree. I would say it sounds like that mixed with Every Breath You Take by the Police.

 

This Is Night - Nice to hear the music from The Lone Gunman demo used here. Soaring chorus that belies the darkness in the lyrics.

 

Bullets In A Briefcase - A definite favourite. His voice right off the bat is fantastic. The part where the drums kick in remind me of Climbing Up The Walls by Radiohead. Love the organs which remind me of early MGB. Brilliant build up to a more than satisfying conclusion. All in all, the type of slow burner that Matt has perfected over his career.

Edited by Devil On Rollerskates

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Not a bad album, but in my fanboy opinion it could have been more. It exposes a notable weakness.

 

While a snare on 2 & 4 is easy and always works...

 

Just way too much of either:

 

Kick drum on " & 1... 3 & "

 

or " 1 ... & 3 "

 

The songs that don't rely on these bits as much tend to be the ones I like more on this album and most albums lately. I fully admit though, it is a tough habit to break out of if you aren't a consummate drummer, though...

 

Which Blake is! ...But so is Ian Browne...except in the band Matt obviously gave him the space to fuck around. Giant is a fine example of it. (and on the Live At Massey Hall recording Blake rips it up because he easily could seeing as how he's a beast)

 

Listen, and the aforementioned kick drum patterns aren't as prevalent. As a matter of fact ALL of live takes of the songs from Hospital Music (in my opinion, of course) on said live album benefit GREATLY from just a lil' extra scoop of kick drum, snare hits and ghost notes, etc... Just put up a playlist of the hospital music tracks done on the Massey Hall recording. That's the Hospital Music I personally listen to. Give it a try...

 

Speaking of Blake though...His vocals on this album are truly top notch. For the first time in Matt's career I would say that he has a clutch backup vocalist I would miss if he couldn't be on tour or on an album. His vocals might be my favourite part of the album, overall.

 

I do declare that if you take the best couple of songs from this album with a few of the best songs off Chaotic Neutral it fights for his best solo album. I think that brings up interesting questions in regards to the benefit of doing more "specialty tours" such as Beautiful Midnight or acoustic tours to play uncommon songs. More time to cherry pick the best songs over time vs. more albums with all songs over said time will always be an endless debate.

 

Regardless, Matt still puts out great albums no matter how I want to nitpick it. He proves with every release that I knew there was something special about this guy ever since I heard Everything Is Automatic on the radio back in grade school on a drive home from a leafs game. Still stands as one of the first times I heard a song and went "this is what a great song should be" and he still does it to this day. Inspirational!

 

That's all for my blabbin'!

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You wage some very good points, and I’d be lying if I said there weren’t performance quirks here and there (I’m a drummer and guitarist) that I didn’t notice from time to time with records I like.... but I’d be hard pressed to say that a drum performance can make or break a record for me..... for me, it begins and ends with songs.

 

And irregardless, given that 99% of Matt’s audience probably doesn’t play drums, I wouldn’t be surprised if the addition or subtraction of drum fills is way down on the list of priorities when he’s making a record. Same with the lead work.

 

There’s a million and one ways to dress up a song, but if the lyrics and melody don’t work, then what’s left? Maybe that’s why I gravitate more towards Matt’s work and less towards instrumentally focused music (dream theater, etc).

 

Different strokes for different folks, but I feel like this album is among Matt’s best, and the ‘songs’ themselves are the main reason for that.

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It's taken a while (Amazon Canada is not as fast as other ones...), but I FINALLY have my copy of the new album :)

 

So SO happy!

 

(I wanted to upload a picture of it but apparently I can't... !?)

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Maybe this is old and this is just the first time I'm seeing it - but new footage from the Danforth Music Hall show with "Load Me Up"....check out Stu's solo with a drill:

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Maybe this is old and this is just the first time I'm seeing it - but new footage from the Danforth Music Hall show with "Load Me Up"....check out Stu's solo with a drill:

 

Yeah in Montreal a tech put a dildo on it.

 

 

When Stu's raising his beer looking up, they had just announced the death of Chuck Berry so that was a hommage to him. 

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Not a fan of the "lyric video" trend but this is probably one of his best music videos to date, very addicting to watch. Love the colours.

 

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What's wrong with lyric videos? Just something interesting to look at on Youtube rather than a static image.

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What's wrong with lyric videos? Just something interesting to look at on Youtube rather than a static image.

 

It all depends. In Matt's case on his last records they're generally OK.Sometimes they're just lazy though. That being said the video situation is so different today than it used to be that I totally get why record companies don't want to waste money making proper videos anymore. 

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When a Taylor Swift lyric video can get 96 million views over 4 months, it's pretty easy to see why labels do it. In the grand scheme of things, they cost next to nothing to make, and they're just as effective as a traditional music video. I would argue possibly more effective given the attention span of today's demographic.

 

Always loved Matt's music videos because I generally enjoy his social commentaries on videos to begin with, but I have to say I never really missed the departure of music videos in the last 10-15 years. I think as the trend began to die, my interest in them was also fleeting. Flash forward to present day, the way music is consumed now, videos just don't really have a place in the landscape anymore.

 

It's still a cool tool to have in your arsenal and I'll never discourage diving into arts of any kind, but when you take a step back and look at it, combining a song with a random one off short film of sorts never really fit naturally even at its pinnacle. It was just a way to promote an album and a song because radio had started to die. Come to think about it now, you'd think that the evolution kind of happened backwards. In a world where things gradually progress, you'd think that lyric videos would have been the first thing introduced during the music video era and maybe THEN you'd start to dive into the short story aspect, no?

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I dig the concept of a lyric video in that it really refines the focus of the song, bringing it back to some select imagery and the lyrics themselves.  Don't get me wrong, a big-budget video (a la Strange Days) can have the same effect, but in a world where Youtube rules all, a lyric video is a good way to keep your content out there in the public eye.

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