Monday, December 9, 2013

One Awesome Night

It was my best friend's birthday and we wanted enjoy the night! So, we grabbed a few friends and made our way down to Joe's Apartment for the finals of the Best In Vancouver contest! Three bands, The Faceplants, Little India and Dear Adeline with a special headliner, Aviator Shades. For my friend's birthday, we gave him some cashola as well as a gift certificate for "One Awesome Night". Hopefully it lived up to it!

Surprisingly, up first was The Faceplants. Starting their set at 7:45 to a small crowd, they played a tight set. Perhaps it was the lack of crowd, or maybe they just had a big night on Friday, but it almost seemed a bit dull. It lacked the usual Faceplants punch! That being said, they actually had more crowd involvement than some of the later bands. Packing a ton of songs into their 45 minute set, as well as throwing in a cover of "Bad Touch" by the Bloodhound gang, they really kept things interesting on stage. Overall, a solid set, but I wish they had more of a crowd like the last weekend we saw them. Check them out on Facebook HERE.

Little India took the stage next and just laid down the groove. This three piece rocked hard and impressed us with their prog-indie sound. Great use of dynamics for a three piece. Bass laid down the foundation which the drums locked in with, allowing the guitar to almost be an accent piece. The vocals ranged from catchy hooks to atmospheric sounds. Some great tunes that were interesting to the ear but also melodically pleasing. Go check them out on Facebook HERE.

Dear Adeline was the last Top 3 band to play the stage, once all the judges votes were in they were also proclaimed the winner of the Best In Vancouver contest. We can see why they won, out of all three bands they were actually probably the most commercial. Having a very pop rock sound, they would fit right onto the radio with a well produced single. With a marketable image as well, these good looking guys played their way to victory. The crowd seemed engaged but I didn't catch much interaction between the band and audience. They just played their tunes and the crowd just listened. Be sure to check them out on Facebook HERE.

Closing the night was Aviator Shades, which was a total 180 degree flip musically from Dear Adeline. As usual, these boys brought the thunder and laid into their rock and roll tunes with gusto! Some great banter with the audience and great stage work ensured that all eyes were on the band. Finishing the night up with the crowd demanding an encore is always a great feeling. Very excited for their new EP to be released in the new year! Check them out on Facebook HERE.

To see all the photos go HERE.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Can't Hold Us

Can't Hold Us (Cover) by Rose Weekes from Hammer Records on Vimeo.

Rose covered "Can't Hold Us" by Macklemore so definitely go check it out! A lot of times we're fairly serious when we shoot music videos but this was just a fun "youtube" style video!

Hope you enjoy!

Pizza Pop! ft. Halfway to Hollywood and Take Me To The Pilot

Back in town after a fairly long tour stint (starting from Winnipeg - my hometown! and ending in Vancouver at Olympia Pizza) was Halfway to Hollywood, alongside some friends of theirs in Take Me To The Pilot and Chase Your Words. It was a great show all around. Quick set changes, great crowd (consisting mostly of 13-18 year old females and their chaperons), loud music you can't help but dance to, and an awesome sense of "community" you just don't see much in the Vancouver scene today.

Chase Your Words opened the night with their pop-punk driven set. Although they seemed young and a little inexperienced on stage, they put on a good show. The main vocals and a few of the harmonies were a little pitchy at times, but I chalk that up to nerves and not hearing themselves properly. With the addition of in-ear monitors, their set could excel. The instrumentals were catchy with a strong drum beat driving each song. They remind me of a young "All Time Low." A little rag-tag, but with some practice and experience they could be the next big band to emerge from Vancouver's pop scene. Check them out HERE.

Take Me To The Pilot (or simply TMTTP) was next to rock the stage. This band is a long way from their hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, yet still had hordes of teenage girls screaming and singing along to every song; original and cover alike. The vocals were nearly pitch perfect the entire set, the melody lines were beyond catchy, and they had obvious stage experience. With such a tight, driving instrumental, hook filled lyrics, and a sweet use of harmonies and backing vocals, it's no surprise TMTTP had every body in the place moving. Great musicality, great personality, and great showmanship make for an amazing live show. I'm looking forward to their next tour already, and will definitely be keeping my eye on them online. Be sure to check these guys out HERE.

There's not much I can say about Halfway to Hollywood that I haven't said before. These three individuals have immense talent and are one hell of a force to be reckoned with in not only Vancouver's pop scene, but all of Canada's! Their heartwarming songs are full of cool guitar riffs, cute catchy lyrics, and a tight rhythm section that will keep you dancing all night. For such a young band, having only started playing live shows two years ago, it's incredible to see how much they've grown, and how successful they've become so early in their career. Halfway to Hollywood already has die-hard fans nation wide and will only continue to get bigger and better with time. Always a pleasure covering and reviewing one of their shows (and albums)! Thank you again to Roman, Brenden and Grant for inviting us out. We look forward to the next show! Be sure to check them out HERE.

For more photos from the show, please visit and like us HERE!

Also! Big thanks to both Take Me To The Pilot and Halfway To Hollywood for all the awesome swag!
You'll be seeing some new album reviews coming your way soon.

- Rose Weekes

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Round 5, Put em' up!

The final round of Best Of Vancouver took place last night. 5 bands duking it out for 1 of 3 slots in the finals on Dec 7th and a chance to take home all the amazing prizes! Big thanks to the sponsors; Rednyne, Artopolis Media, Branston Photography and Joe's Apartment for putting these shows on!

Within Rust and Stone Travellers opened up the show but unfortunately we didn't catch them. We got there just as Dream Seeking Missiles took to the stage. Their sound was a mix of Pink Floyd, Fields of Green, Explosions In The Sky and Tool. Very progressive riffs and great use of effects really made their tracks stand out. This 3 piece is a great example of what a 3 piece can sound like. The depth of each song and the dynamics really created this beautiful wave of music that surrounded you. Both the guitarist and the bassist sang but having similar tones, their voices blended perfectly and you heard a great sense of fullness. Definitely check them out HERE.

The Faceplants had probably more gear than all the other bands put together! Recently they have had great success and have had great opportunities presented in front of them. It was apparent that they had also worked incredibly hard since the last time we had seen them. The band has been moulded into a super tight, well oiled machine of pure pop rock. With a heavy 90's pop rock influence, The Faceplants brought you back to when rock was fun again. The crowd was all smiles as these boys blasted their way through their set. Each song flowing nicely into each other with perfect turnovers. The lead vocalist had really "upped" his singing since the last time we saw him as well. His voice soared over the band and really took command of the crowd. Each band member sang back up as well, so the chorus' were huge and sounded like a well produced studio quality song! Be sure to check them out HERE.

Closing the show was Fellar. This is the third time we've seen them and it was an interesting choice putting them last. They had much more of a laid back Nirvana sounding set compared to the previous bands. Their basic bare bones rock line up just almost seem to lack when being compared to the well produced Faceplants. However, they make up for it with their rock anthem sounding tunes. Putting on a solid set it was a nice way to end the evening! Check out their Facebook page HERE

Check out all the other photos HERE.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Whose The Best?

Joe's Apartment held round 3 of the "Best Of Vancouver" show on Saturday and we were there! It was a packed night, full of great bands, good beer and lots of hi-5s! Another thanks to Kevin and Rednyne for putting on the event and Joe's Apartment for hosting it! Great seeing local bands showcased.

Who says rock and roll is dead... Not Queen Cobra! Playing tunes that hail back to when rock was in it's prime. Opening up the night with a solid set which included some great lead guitar work and vocals that could rival Joan Jet and Ann Wilson. The sound was solid but we had wished the rhythm guitarist had put on a bit more of a "rock and roll" show. A quarter of the band looked classic rock and roll and the rhythm guitarist didn't match. Didn't help that he had just a small amp compared to the half stack of the lead guitarist. His tone just didn't match up. The lead player rocked the crowd by jumping in front and at one point even running into the crowd! The lead singer rocked the mic and the two back up vocals really added to their sound! A solid set for opening up the night. Check out their Facebook HERE.

By 8pm Joe's Apartment was getting full! One of the fullest we've seen for that time slot. No Operator had brought a large number of fans over from Nanaimo. (Impressive) The front was packed with people and the band provided one heck of a show! Their new rhythm guitarist was super tight and played fantastically. The addition of a light box really amped up the look of the show! The whole band filled up that stage and headbanged hard. With a super solid set that flowed so smoothly they really made an impact on the crowd. Check them out on Facebook HERE.

The Vidos were up next and were definitely a switch up sonically! Going from hard rock to old school pop punk. With an awesome 90's sound they kept up the energy with a fast-paced set and a quirky attitude. Sounding like an early Blink 182, this band had a secret fourth member! A huge teddy frog! The guitarist was jumping around and ripping solos! We had seen them before at the Richmond Night Market and we look forward to seeing them again! Check out their Facebook HERE.

We've seen The Green Room before and they were the third act that night. They were a bit of an energy drop from the previous acts. They played some more chill tunes and didn't have their usual fire and flare. We don't know if the lead singer couldn't hear himself but his vocals were a bit rough and sometimes not in key. With some guitar problems, it seemed to throw him off his usual swing. We have seen them tear the roof off and we can't wait to see them do it again! Check out their Facebook HERE.

Last up was 7 Years Luck. Once again just didn't have the energy of the first three bands. However still putting on a solid set! Definitely had some catchy tunes. Near the end of their set they brought up the energy and ended on a strong note. Be sure to check out their Facebook HERE.

Only one more week of competition until the finalists are announced! Be sure to catch our coverage of Week 4! Check out the photos HERE.

#IronManMarkus (BC Musicians VS Cancer)

We had the honor of covering a cancer benifit for young Markus Yule. With such a great list of performers and a cause so close to our hearts, we made sure not to miss it! What a night! Big thanks to Tina for organizing the event, and The Shark Club for hosting. The night was MC'd by Mary Zilba.
Markus Yule is 10 years old and has just been diagnosed with Brain Cancer and is currently in the Oncology Wing of the BC Children’s Hospital. Last week, Markus, went through surgery to remove one of the two tumors on his brain, although somewhat successful, they were not able to completely remove the large tumor as portions of it were embedded into his brain stem and could not be removed surgically. Unfortunately, he will be going through aggressive radiation treatment in order to try and eliminate the second tumor and the remnants of the first tumour.

Stay strong Markus. You're an incredible kid. 

(#IronManMarkus on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook to show your support.) 

For pictures from the event, please go to: Photos HERE

Big thanks to all the performers and silent auctioneers! Be sure to check out these compassionate performers at their links below.

Bonnie Kilroe as Cher

Kelly Brock Country Rock Solo

Ian Perry 12 yr old Guitar Prodigy

Barracuda Heart Tribute

Jim Byrnes Blues/Solo Actor

Jayden Holman Country Rock Solo WINNER of the PNE star contest 2012

Mike Reno Rock Duo (from Loverboy)

Mary Zilba Pop Country #1 hit in the UK called “ Hero” 
(Real Housewives of Vancouver)

Bodhi Jones Folk Rock (The Peak Performance Project Finalist)

Jupiter Jill Alt Country Rock Duo

Elise Estrada Pop Star

Stone Poets Dark Folk Rock Band

Damn the Diva Pop/Rock Band

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Island Invaders!

Hammer Records covers a lot of Vancouver shows, but on the odd occasion that we've been in Victoria, we have gone out to enjoy their local scene. On one of those outings we went to see No Operator at the Copper Owl, and also saw Synapse that night. Well, both of those bands made the trip over to the mainland to rock Joe's Apartment with local band Liars and Lions. Booking two Island bands is always an interesting move, so we weren't shocked when the venue wasn't packed, even by the end of the night. However, the music was top notch and there were some very enjoyable sets.

Synapse opened the show. Think of Alexisonfire, Rise Against and a smattering of Tool all mixed together. Some solid prog-rock tunes. Great stage presence. Having three people in the band sing really makes the chorus' sound huge and the gang vocals stand out. Also, we noticed a great use of harmonies in their set that really sets them apart from a lot of bands. The vocals really cut through the mix and we could really hear some catchy hooks and the lead singer's pitch was spot on. The guitar and vocals were very melodic, laid perfectly on top of a thick and heavy instrumental. I think a perfect combination would be having them open up for local bands Quartered or Incura to help them propel themselves to the next level. Go check out their Facebook page HERE.

It was our first time seeing No Operator's new lineup with the additional guitarist. We had seen their vocalist's first front man show (due to a wrist injury he didn't play guitar but has healed since) and we could tell that it was still new to the band. What a show though! Such catchy songs and nice trade off of clean vocals and screaming. The new guitarist stepped up and really didn't miss a beat that we could catch! I think some more time and tightening of parts will make this band a force to be reckoned with! If you haven't checked out their Facebook go HERE.

Last up was Liars and Lions. From what we had seen so far this night, the energy kind of dipped down. Being a three piece is hard because you have to push that much more to really fill that stage and connect with your audience. The tunes sounded good and the originals were nice and heavy. A good number of covers were thrown in which was nice, including a Rage Against the Machine cover and a Queens Of the Stone Age cover. I did notice that the bassist didn't really connect at all with the audience; kind of had a blank stare going on through the entire set and remained fairly still in one spot. The guitarist/vocalist did his best to rock but being tied down to a mic stand really limited his capability of movement. The middle of the stage remained fairly empty for the duration of the set. Check out their Facebook Page HERE.

To see more photos go HERE. Big thanks to Clyde from Magnetized Productions for letting us cover this show and to the bands for putting on a great show!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Truly Radioactive!

Hammer Records loves working on our own music just as much as we love working on others. We recently got a whole new set of lights and a background kit and we decided to take them into the field and do some shooting! We recorded all the vocals at our studio, mixed and mastered the track and then headed out to an old warehouse and spent 6 hours filming. Check out the final result here!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Rocking The Strip

Hammer Records had missed the first week of the Best Of Vancouver contest at Joe's Apartment. We heard it was a blast! So, we really didn't want to miss out on the second week of bands. Sadly, due to me forgetting my wallet at home and having to travel back to the house we ended up missing the first band, Last Shelter. Our apologizes to them. But we ended up catching two acts before having to head to another show!

We have heard a lot of buzz about STRIP. We could hear the roar of their guitars as we entered the venue to an almost full Joe's Apartment. It felt like a time warp as we made our way to the front. If you've had the pleasure of seeing The Broadway Bullies live, then this band brings just as much energy. STRIP brought a level of swagger from which we haven't seen since McJagger. They have the potential to take the scene by storm. Playing solid tunes, putting on a show and looking good while doing it! They have a great niche market carved out with their 80's esque tunes. They've got some very catchy hooks and great stage moves. They have an EP out right now and a full album on the way! Go check out this band HERE.

The last band we caught was Bobby's Cane. We've seen this band a few times and they keep bringing it. Good sound, cool tunes but we just want to see them take it a step forward. Push the boundaries. Take it beyond the stage. We love seeing bands evolve and grow. We are not saying do something super crazy, but find something that sets you apart from the rest of the bands in BC. We are excited to see this band grow into fruition. Check out their Facebook page HERE.

Check out the rest of the photos HERE.

Friday, November 8, 2013

East Coast Meets West Coast

Rock is a universal language, but that doesn't stop it from having many different flavours. Everyone's taste is slightly different. It was incredible to see two east coast bands come and play the Roxy and share their rock'n'roll. Local favourites, Cobra Ramone,  New Brunswick's The Motorleague and Toronto's The Balconies all rocked the stage last night!

Cobra Ramone's southern blues rock filled the Roxy to warm up the night. Cobra Ramone's voice floats nicely over the instruments. Thick busy drums laid the base, fat organ riffs locked everything together and their chunky guitar is the grit flavoured icing on top. This cake has layers of sweetness but just enough spice to keep things interesting. I could really see this band grabbing a small group of choir singers and adding a little "soul sound" into their live set. Their tunes really have a southern rock flavour. The Cobra strikes again! Check out their Facebook page HERE.

The Motorleague took the stage next and brought the fire! This band held nothing back and played their hearts out. Rocking all over the stage, singing riff driven rock and roll. Reminding me of Alexisonfire and Thrice, with a modern rock flare mixed in as well. Jumping everywhere and filling out that stage but also hitting all their catchy vocal hooks. Lots of different flavours in their songs. Some crunchy garage rock, and other huge rock anthems. The duel backing vocals really boosted their sound, thick choruses blasted over their rocking instrumentals. Can't wait to see this band back in Vancouver! Check out their Facebook page HERE.

If the previous band brought the fire, then The Balconies brought the thunder that created that fire! Such tights riffs, great dynamics and memorable songs made up their set. A refined professional presence emanated from them as they rocked their set. You could put this act on a festival stage or a stadium with their sound, and it would fill up the place. Their songs sounded radio ready with great guitar licks,  screaming vocals and super tight drums and bass, creating an awesome overall sound. This band is a well oiled machine ready to spread it's rock! Check out their Facebook page HERE.

Check out all the photos HERE. Thanks again to The Roxy and The Fox 99.3 for putting on the show!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

A House Full Of Rock

Who says Halloween ends when October does? The Green Room invited us to a halloween themed house party on Nov.1st and it was crazy! Rose and I ventured down to this get together dressed as a pair of Spartans (Halo Spartans), helmets and all. It was a blast attending a house party, no cover, no expensive drinks, just good people and good times. There were people jamming on instruments as we entered as the bands were scheduled to start later on. Mostly everyone was dressed up in costumes ranging from panda bears to super heroes! Be sure to check out our photos from the night by clicking HERE.  Big thanks to The Green Room for inviting us out!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Stand With Them

Brand new video from One Day Late. This band from Edmonton is kicking ass and taking names! Straight up commercial hard rock. So if you like beers, headbanging and partying with sexy ladies then this is YOUR video! Check them out on their Facebook HERE.

Justice Is Here

After hearing the first demos from Pleasure Dome, I've been dying to hear a full EP. My prayers were answered this October when they released a 5 track EP. All the songs have fantastic character to them. I really recommend downloading their album. You can get it HERE, please support this band by buying the album for even just a few dollars. Also check out some of their videos below! Go to their Facebook page HERE.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thunderous Goodbyes

When I think of The Oceanographers, I think of beautiful melodies over rich textures creating an image and feeling of warmth in your soul. Their debut album, "Thunderous Goodbyes," is a perfect collection of their sound in one album. I've heard them live on many different stages, but I've always wanted to hear their sound as they hear it. With this album, it's like looking through a window into their brains. Everything makes sense and is so colourful and rich that you can't help but fall in love with it.

This album is all about texture and dynamics. Huge thundering drums, then a split second later, the light strumming of a few notes and a beautiful vocal melody. There's a certain charm in the tone of the vocals. Such an honest, straight from the heart voice. No fancy bells or whistles over his voice, just straight as he sings it. His connection to the lyrics is quite masterful. A lot of catchy hooks that get stuck in your head in these tunes. Also, leaving lots of breathing room in these songs allows each phrase to sink in before the next one comes along. 

The instrumentation is quite spectacular. Ranging from overlapping melodic hooks with thick delay, to a quiet strumming of a chord. The lead guitar always supports the theme of each song with a set of notes that either becomes a hook or simply loops in the background adding texture. The rhythm guitar is the foundation for the whole band. If you stripped everything away, you could still play the whole set with just an acoustic guitar and vocals. I always enjoy albums like that. Giving the listener a chance to potentially play these songs without having a whole band. With the instrumentation, I actually hear tastes of Kings Of Leon and Explosions In The Sky. The bass holds everything together with simple lines that really lock into a groove. It's fairly hidden in the mix of this album, so, it takes a bit of a backseat. However, its importance is never diminished. The drums add more texture overtop of everything with great cymbal play and tom work. The drums also add all the depth to the dynamics with super tight hits and stops. The whole sound of the band seems like a wave of collective sound that washes over your ears. Each wave being slightly different, the give and take feel are very memorable.

This album features 9 songs with just over 30 minutes of music. Most of the sounds are radio length. My favourite track would be "Moves Like An Ocean," due to the aggressive drums and building guitar lines. This track really adds a lot of tension before it releases into some hauntingly beautiful notes. The whole album sounds fantastic. A great emotional journey, and a glimpse into the minds that make up "The Oceanographers."

Check out their Facebook page HERE.

Heart Of Oak

The Anciients have been a rising force in the Vancouver Metal scene for a while. So, when their new album "Heart Of Oak" came out, I had to grab it. Having seen this band live a couple of times now, and just about having eargasms each time, I had to see if it translated well onto record. This album sums up their sound in just over an hours worth of soul crushing metal. With 11 tracks on this album, it's worth every dollar.

One thing that I especially love about this album is the balance of clean and dirty vocals. The clean vocals have a "Mastodon" feel to them. It always seems like a heart wrenching cry. On the other end, the screams are just so dark and gritty that it brings a very different feel in those sections. However, the key ingredient is the fact that the band spaces their vocals out over the length of their songs. Which allows the instrumental riffs to have a key factor in the songs' structures. A lot of the time, there are no vocals for a long period of time, allowing you to sink into their instrumental world and hear the image they are sonically painting for you.

With so many fantastic original riffs, they tend not to dwell on them for long. A lot of times, not coming back to revisit any of them. Both guitars lay the fundamentals for the mood of each song. Whether it's a straight up thrash riff, or a swing powerchord riff, the guitars sit perfectly in the pocket. The harmonies in the guitar lines and separation of parts is perfect. The bass fills not only the lower end, but is the driving force pushing the tempo sightly ahead to allow the songs room to breathe. The drums compliment each tune, adding great texture and really cementing all the parts of the songs together. 

Looking at the album through a sound engineers eyes, I cannot find fault with it. Every instrument has it's own space carved out perfectly in each track. The guitars are heavy but not washed out at all. The bass carries a lot of the lower end, though also has it's moments to shine. The drums are nice and full and the snare sounds perfect. This album is radio and tv worthy by all means. Now, if only MTV still played music and the radio still played metal! Go out and buy this album either online or from checking the band out live on their upcoming North American tour!

Click HERE to check out their Facebook page.