Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: I and II – John Frusciante

 RHCP guitarist delivers an album out of left field

If you like ambient noise or are a synth nerd that likes fiddling around with drones and beep-boop chatter, then you’ve come to the right place. John Frusciante, most known for his role as guitarist in the band Red Hot Chili Peppers, just released his 13th studio album.

While this album might give people like my girlfriend anxiety, I can safely say that it helped me zone in on tasks that I had to accomplish (for instance, this review). 

Frusciante is known for his creative prowess in writing music, namely on guitar. However, this album takes it one step further in the realm of ambient synth music.

While Frusciante isn’t wading in uncharted waters with synthesis, vinyl-only I and digital/CD release II take the cake for his approaching a different method of songwriting. In his words, he “listened to and made music where things generally happen gradually rather than suddenly.” He used two analog synthesizers or groove-boxes from the company Elektron to make this ambient album. 

The album starts off with a harsh cicada-like synth on “Golpin.” The “trees are screaming” sound slowly evolves, allowing a sub-octave oscillator to fit in the mix. Five minutes into the 12-minute track, the wave takes an eerie turn with a slowly descending plucked sound, giving me the feeling that I’m being watched and followed.  

“Blesdub Dot” first starts off with what sounds like a two-oscillator waveform that has a smooth low-frequency output. What that means is that the sound rhythmically switches to a lower frequency at a set interval. Throughout the song, Frusciante implements a high-frequency wave with high-pass treble glitch noises. They sound like white noise chatter. 

This album is a bit weird for me to have a favourite track on. I would rather choose the songs that were busier than others. The first one being “Pyn,” for its ’90s-style chatter that tickled my brain the same way that “Bucephalus Bouncing Ball [Chosen by Warp co-founder Steve Beckett]” does with its rounded percussive notes. My next recommended song is “Clank” because it would fit right into the official soundtrack of a thriller or eerie movie.  

Honestly, I can say I enjoyed listening to this album. It’s not an easy listen for sure. In an age where music has to have a lot of shock value (trap stars I’m looking at you), and has multiple sharp twists and turns per song, this LP takes time to introduce new ideas to you. Best for working on programming, writing Stephen King-esque novels and cramming for exams with forbidden white noise.

P.S. Don’t listen to “Glavation” if you get easily overwhelmed.  

Trial track: Pyn 

Rating: 8/10 (for ambient drones’ sake!)

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS – Return of the Dream Canteen by Red Hot Chili Peppers

What did we do to deserve such a lovely comeback album from the funk rock group?

Unlimited Love who? Make way for the Return of the Dream Canteen! This is the second album that features Red Hot Chili Peppers’ staple guitarist John Frusciante. Frusciante, singer Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea (Michael Peter Balzary), and drummer Chad Smith (totally not Will Ferrell) came out with an extremely trippy album with artwork to match the audible art.   

There were many memorable songs from this LP — honestly, I could name all of them! The debut track “Tippa My Tongue” is a perfect dip into the acid trip that is this album. “Eddie” was an emotional experience, paying homage to the late Eddie Van Halen.  

“La La La La La La La La” was a curveball after the heavy track “Bag of Grins.” It is the softest song in the entire album and that is saying something because, besides the last track of course, it pales in comparison to the heaviness of the rest of the songs. “Fake as Fu@k” reminded me a lot of their “Look Around” phase from their album I’m With You.  

“In the Snow” is the last track of the album. I did mention that the band dove into an electronic phase with this album, featuring synth plugins and drum machines: well, this track has it all. Being the bastard child of the stereotypical Pixies song and a TR-808 drum machine, the cowbell rings clearly while square wave synth pads (a soft wide sound that is used in the background) envelop the entire song. 

Halfway through the song, Kiedis commences a monologue, not unlike what the late Prince would do in his 1999 album. He continues it in a second verse toward the end of the track which ends up sounding like he is talking about nothing and everything at the same time.

Did I like Return of the Dream Canteen? Yes, a heck of a lot more than the previous Unlimited Love LP. There were a lot more memorable songs and they shook off the rustiness of not having Frusciante in the group for more than a decade. No hating on Josh Klinghoffer though, he was a gem on both I’m With You and The Getaway. Definitely check out the new release once you’ve read this!              

Trial track: Eddie

Rating: 8.5/10


On Repeat

Our Music Editors share what they have been listening to lately

Music Editor Guillaume Laberge

A lot of hot rap songs have seen the light of day recently, enough to make my hyperactive self sit back, put them on a loop and relax. With that said, here are three songs that have been in my rotation lately. 

“Johnny P’s Caddy” – Benny The Butcher, J. Cole

This hookless single sees Benny the Butcher and J. Cole both spit back to back striking verses with a heavy delivery riding along a chill instrumental.

“ETA” (with Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes & Anderson .Paak) – Dr. Dre

Released for the new GTA update, this collaboration features an amazing soul-sampled beat and a great chorus by Snoop Dogg. The best part of the song is without a doubt when Dr. Dre and Anderson .Paak trade bars at the beginning. A must-listen.

“2012” (feat. Day Wave) – Saba

A wonderful song about a young teenage school love over a laid-back beat. Saba provides a great hook and also solidifies himself as an incredible storyteller on this one.

Assistant Music Editor Saro Hartounian

My most recent music sessions have been all over the place: a little bit of funky Red Hot Chili Peppers, a little bit of soft grunge Eddie Vedder, and a little bit of alternative/indie with Father John Misty. That being said, my volatile music taste has brought me many a gem which I would love to share with you. 

“Black Summer” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

This well-awaited single with John Frusciante back as the band’s guitarist has delivered, ironically with a fitting title: “Black Summer.” A darker song from them than usual, but it still feels like driving through the Hollywood Hills.   

“Invincible” – Eddie Vedder

An uplifting song from the surfer grunge icon with strong elements of Bruce Springsteen. This definitely sounds like a song that could be in a surfing documentary the moment the athlete goes through the eye of the wave. 

“Q4”  –  Father John Misty

If ABBA and Rufus Wainwright could have collaborated, they would have made this song. It’s a  warm and happy melody involving a harpsichord (weird right?) that could be played in a Wes Anderson movie.  


[spotifyplaybutton play=”″]


The Chili Peppers were hot as habaneros

[singlepic id=152 w=320 h=240 float=right]

The Red Hot Chili Peppers rolled into town on Wednesday for the first time since 2006, playing in front of roughly 17,000 fans at the Bell Centre for the tour of their latest album, I’m With You.

The Peppers opened the show with “Monarchy of Roses,” the first track off their 2011 release, and played a total of 18 songs, including a three-song encore.

They mixed the old with the new, playing four songs off I’m With You, and several from their previous albums–By The Way, Californication and Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Most notable were hits “Can’t Stop,” “Scar Tissue” and “Californication.”

The show was fantastic, and the band played with an incredible amount of energy, considering how frontman Anthony Kiedis, bassist Flea and drummer Chad Smith will soon be half a century old.

If the music, for some inexplicable reason, left you bored, the visuals surely had you entertained. Strobe lights and several moving screens displayed the band, audience and graphics, including pill bottles and unicorns.

The crowd lit up for fast-paced songs like “Dani California” and “Around the World,” but a highlight of the show was during slower jam “Under the Bridge,” where the audience could be heard singing along to every lyric.

Right before the encore, the band played their 2002 chart-topping hit “By The Way,” and the crowd went wild.

No one was in their seat by the time the Peppers–newly appointed rock and roll hall-of-famers– closed the show with “Give It Away.”

The band played for almost two hours, but it seemed like the crowd would have been happy with a show that lasted all night.

Set list:

1. “Monarchy of Roses”
2. “Around the World”
3. “Scar Tissue”
4. “Dani California”
5. “Charlie”
6. “Look Around”
7. “Throw Away Your Television”
8. “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”
9. “Can’t Stop”
10. “Emit Remmus”
11. “Under the Bridge”
12. “Goodbye Hooray”
13. “Californication”
14. “Higher Ground” (Stevie Wonder cover)
15. “By the Way”

16. (Instrumental jam)
17. “Suck My Kiss”
18. “I Could Have Lied”
19. “Give It Away”

[nggallery id=14]


It’s going to be a musical summer in Montreal

The season of flip flops, short shorts, fedoras and tank tops is upon us. Some of the best things are securely tied to the summer months in Canada, like patios, sangria and sun tans, and so too are some of the best music events in Montreal.
This year’s lineup for Osheaga Music and Arts Festival promises to be Montreal’s biggest music event. The city’s crowning festival glory has secured what has got to be the festival’s dopest musical lineup in recent memory, featuring S-n-double-o-p D-o-double-gee, Florence and the Machine, Sigur Rós, The Black Keys, Justice, Feist, and quite literally tons more. Weekend passes are available starting at $217, with day passes available later in the summer. The three-day-long festival will be rocking Jean-Drapeau Park from Aug. 3 to 5.
Montreal’s most famous musical event, however, has got to be Montreal Jazz Festival. In the 30 years that the festival has been bringing world-renowned musicians to the various festival venues scattered throughout downtown Montreal, it’s rare that the organizers have received a bad review. This year’s festival runs from June 28 to July 7. Performers include James Taylor, Montreal’s own The Barr Brothers, pop music icon Liza Minnelli, ‘90s R&B romantic Seal, Ontario folk project Timber Timbre, blues sweetheart Nora Jones and Roma-style indie rockers Beirut, among others.
If you want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a few days early, treat yourself to a performance by the ‘80s and ‘90s princes of funky alt-rock: the Red Hot Chili Peppers. After announcing their split following the tail end of their Stadium Arcadium tour in 2007, fans weren’t sure if or when they should expect the L.A. outfit to make their comeback. In August 2011, they finally released their tenth studio album I’m With You and began planning their next tour. Although their tour was postponed due to frontman Anthony Kiedis’ foot surgery, it’ll be worth the wait.
As if that wasn’t enough good music to blow your brains out, Radiohead plans to make a stop at the Bell Centre on June 15 after thoroughly touring the U.S. and before jetting off to Europe for the remainder of their tour dates. Supporting their most recent album, The King of Limbs, it’s the band’s first full release and subsequent tour in four years.
If you long for some real nostalgia, The Beach Boys will be bringing a little slice of retro California sunshine to the Bell Centre on June 20, while Roger Waters will be performing The Wall live at the Bell Centre on June 26. Looking for something with a little more weight? Iron Maiden and Alice Cooper will take the Bell Centre stage on July 11, and don’t forget Vans Warped Tour on July 14, which will feature tons of heavy punk-rockers, including Lostprophets, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, All Time Low, Anti-Flag and Senses Fail.
No matter what your musical taste, Montreal is where you’ll find great music practically every night this summer. Hundreds of bands, from jazz to rock to pop to country, will be making a stop in this lively summertime metropolis, so keep your ear to the ground for concert announcements and you won’t be disappointed.

Exit mobile version