And The Hits Just Keep On Comin': January 2012

And The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

A Music Journal Collective Effort

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Album Review:
(Released Sept. 23, 2011)

The musical landscape is dramatically changing and Stefani Guzman, and her musical project of Eastborough, are living proof of that truth. With one EP, a single and now, finally, one full-length album spanning back to 2006, Eastborough have done things the way most musicians do things, now; when they can and on the side of everything else.

As an Ottawa-based band that received some acclaim from Chart Attack and Live 88.5 back in ’06, things were pumping along for Eastborough with the release of their EP ‘S/T’. In 2009, however, Stefani felt the need to pack up and move, while forming a new band and giving her music a go in big smoke of Toronto. After a lot of waiting and wondering, ‘Your Place’ just might be the fruits of a hard-earned labour.

‘Shuffle and Slide’ kicks off the record with a dancey, pluck-rhythmic melody that skips along sidewalks and careens along with a happy spirit. Guzman repeats the words ‘I don’t care/I don’t know because I’m letting go’ over and over with a cool, carefree tone. One of the strongest tracks of the record, though, is the third song ‘Absent President’ that bolsters the listener forward on a soundscape of strong-strumming acoustic guitars and a speeding drumbeat. The line ‘the sun always shines through the shadows of the ones we’ve lost’ seems to remind Guzman of a memory that keeps her going.

Guzman’s vocals are strong and often layered to perfection – not to the point of overkill but just on the threshold of making a listening audience sit up and stick their ears closer to the speaker. ‘Your Place’ has a good sonic variety, pumping out strong, break-neck electro-rock at times and hanging back with soulful folksiness at others (with mellow moments like the acoustic/cello-based ‘When You Ask’).

Though it’s a little low on theme or lyrical depth at times, ‘Your Place’ is a record that will boost your spirits on a solemn Sunday afternoon. Eastborough are the watermark of a strong songwriter and a strong musical troupe who have not let years between projects weaken their attack. As only the third major release from Eastborough, it’s obvious that Guzman and crew are on to something promising, here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Good To Write

In a Super Friendz song from ages past, the words candor and careen in the chorus: 'It's good to feel like - It's good to feel liked' over and over again, in a pulsating fashion.

We are nothing if we are not constantly desiring the approval and admiration of others.

We want to be original but we can't exist without the admonished view of our peers.

I can't dismiss this year. It has been an adventure every step of the way. Here I am - in early January - waxing and waning about the year I've had.

Tonight, I walked home in a wack of snow. Snow and ice. It pervaded every step. It took over every notion of coldness and made my bones wreak of fragility. It made me human, that coldness. It made me 'me'.

Why do we write? Who do we think that we are? Why do we rival those who do it as well as we do (if not better)?

I remember the day that 9/11 happened. I was working for my dad's friend Tim in a lumber yard outside of Manotick.

Reports kept coming in that a massive airplane had hit a building in New York. I didn't believe it. My friend Joel worked with me that day and had the same sense of disbelief. A francophone worker refused to climb up the wood chip dispensation machine ladder because he feared for his life. It was comical, but I didn't get it.

Being Canadian, I didn't get it.

I'm watching Season 1 of Rescue Me and now, I get it. I see the things that I missed before. I see the things that I clearly ignored.

I see the signs that we forewarned and ignored.

I see a world that is bored.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Interview with Jon Lajoie  
by Matt McKechnie

(originally published at

Sometimes known to his fans as the physically awkward but incredibly crass rapper MC Vagina, Jon Lajoie was firing on all comedic cylinders at the Bronson Centre on Wednesday November the 9th.

The Montreal-born comedian is currently embarking an Ontario-wide tour and stopped in the nation’s capital for some mid-week punchlines. Lajoie’s act combined some normal stand-up along with some lively but deadpan songs, including his massive internet chart-topper Everyday Normal Guy.

After recently landing a role on the FX network comedy sitcom The League, Lajoie re-located to California as a career move, and to sharpen his acting chops, but he still has a deep affection for his native country.

“I live there a lot most of the year. If it was up to me, though, I wouldn’t stay there.

It’s for the work. For show biz, everything’s there. I lucked out. I landed a role on The League. It was pretty lucky. The producers kinda saw me and said ‘Hey – let’s grab this guy,” said Lajoie.

Lajoie gained a substantial amount of success through YouTube as he began making off-beat comedy videos and character-based skits in 2007. Since then, his following has become somewhat cult-like as his zany and inventively coarse humour has caught many eyes.

The show featured an array of caricatures as he began as MC Vagina – a Hawaiian shirt and khaki shorts wearing, machine-gun toting rapper who is socially awkward but incredibly forward in a sexual sense. Thrusting his pelvis in a robotic fashion, while repeating the chorus ‘show me your genitals – your genitals’, Lajoie had the audience laughing and unable to look away from the get go.
Lajoie even conversed with the crowd and sang a birthday song to a few audience members who coyly admitted that it was.

One of the most interesting segments of the night happened when Lajoie launched into a phony business-based seminar entitled ‘How To Act Good’. The presentation explained, in a farcical sense, how to get famous in Hollywood. Citing various acting techniques of iconic figures like Bruce Willis (who, according to Lajoie, acts his best due to a shaved head and carrying a gun), Lajoie made light of an industry that takes itself a little too seriously. Lajoie’s cynical but often underhandedly witty delivery shows that he definitely has an intelligent side underneath all of the silly crudity.

Overall, Lajoie is an interesting enigma of a modern comedian who can sing, rap and deliver standard jokes when he needs to do so. Although he has gained some notoriety in Tinseltown, Lajoie’s first love is making videos for the internet; something he insists that he will never give up.

“If I wasn’t on that show, living in L.A., I hate auditioning and I hate the city. I mean I love the weather and I love working when I have work. But if I wasn’t working on the show, I’d just be making online videos and recording my own music. I work on The League and I live there because of it and if that ends and nothing else comes out of it, I’ll be happy to move back,” says Lajoie.

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