A Mild Case Of Flashback (54.40, Keep On Walking review)

Every time I look at you, I go blind. In the mornin’ I get up, and I try to
Feel alive, but I can’t.

Maybe it’s because I’m lovesick, and maybe it’s that you’re so intense. Most likely it’s because you are making music inspired by the 1990s in the 2010s and no one seems to have noticed.

 

 

54.40 – Keep On Walking

released February 2, 2018
****** 6/10

54-40 are a Canadian alternative rock group from British Columbia (BC) that have been playing together for over thirty five years. Their name is taken from the slogan 54-40 or fight! which was originally spoken during the Oregon boundary dispute between the US and Canada in the early nineteenth century.

The group was established back in 1981 and was a three piece for their first couple of years, and has been a four man band ever since that time, seeing a few lineup changes in their drummer over the years and second guitarist Phil Comparelli was replaced by Dave Genn in 2005. But Neil Osborne (vocals, guitar) and Brad Merrit (bass) are founding members who have stuck it out.

I’ll admit that I haven’t listened to a lot of their music over the years, but I am familiar with their more popular singles Ocean Pearl and I Go Blind.

Keep on Walking is their fourteenth studio album, and was prefaced by the band touring with the single of the same name for about a year. They sprinkled in other tracks as they toured, but I have to wonder if that process is a good measuring stick. A lot of the time, older bands will play night after night, maintaining a crowd of fans, but failing to realize the reason those fans are there in the first place – to hear the songs that charted and established the groups reputation.

I’ve seen Trooper live at least three times in my life, and every time I saw them, they would “share” a new song they had been working on, except that it had been new for over three years at that point.

Pros: I liked that Sublime Like Me, Hold My Kiss, and She Calls Us One are exploring a broader range of musical sounds, but each track is distinct in instrumental choices and nuanced with arrangements.

Cons: Despite all of the growth we witness at key points, as the album reaches it’s final two tracks (Sometimes It’s Not OK, Life Goes On) there is a regression, and in a few short minutes, it’s back to the safety net.

Runtime: 38 minutes

Points of Interest: The band will be touring throughout 2018 and into 2019 to promote Keep On Walking and their 2016 greatest hits album LA Difference. It’s been seven years since their last studio album, Lost in the City.

When it’s all said an done, Keep On Walking was enjoyable at times and definitely makes me nostalgic for a different time in my life, when things seemed simpler and music was more clearly defined. The problem of course, is that it’s not 1995, it’s 2018, and musical tastes should reflect the era, not the other way around.

theories Summarized

The challenge with making music (or any art form) for several decades is that you will invariably be asked to make what you know, and some artists rise to the occasion, while others continue to evolve over time. There isn’t necessarily a right path to take, but in the case of 54.40 I don’t think that their musical sound is appealing enough to justify playing a distinctive kind of music at this stage in their career. This album seems to be best suited for diehard fans, and lovers of 90’s alternative rock music – and that’s my theory.

That said, I have a great piece of 1990s alternative rock that you absolutely should listen to. Rage Against the Machine’s Battle of Los Angeles is a timeless rap rock record that deserves a listen if you haven’t heard it before. And if you have, I think it might be time to dust off your CD player and give it a whirl, it’s guerilla radio at it’s finest.

Thanks for taking the time to read the review, watch the video and hopefully you’ve left a comment or two. If you liked what you saw, click on the like button, and even better, subscribe to the channel! Come back tomorrow for a film review from Richard Linklater.

Tim!

Leave Me Alone (Leaving Thomas, Leaving Thomas review)

Not every album review can be a winner unfortunately, and while there’s nothing wrong with the old adage of you never know unless you try, I kind of wish I hadn’t given this week’s album a second thought.

 

 

Leaving Thomas – Leaving Thomas

released January 19, 2018
***** 5/10

Leaving Thomas are a Canadian country pop duo from Calgary (a neighbouring city in my province of Alberta). Annika Odegard and Bryton Udy have finally dropped their much anticipated self-titled EP, Leaving Thomas. It’s eight tracks in length make for a pretty hefty EP, but there is enough variety in the song choices that you can sit through it without too much issue. And I can see why their are gaining momentum throughout Canada and the United States, but unfortunately it’s kind of an uneven listen for me, with a lot of filler tracks and not enough chances taken.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see a Canadian country duo getting lots of attention, but if track no. six is any indication, Best Adventure is far from it, and feels a little bit like your average middle of the summer radio jam. Which is probably why it’s one of the the first three singles released.

That said, Blame it On The Neon is where this EP really shines, it a good time for all involved and really showcases Annika’s vocals. You can easily see this song filling a stadium. And If This Is Love is a solid second runner up for best track, with all kinds of emotion, punctuated by the piano, it’s a incredibly deep ballad and something you’d expect from more seasoned performers.

The last of the singles, Waiting Kind of Girl, falls somewhere in the middle, with it’s interesting melodic structure and tempo. But man that chorus is just brutal to listen to. It’s way too on the nose, with rises and falls all over the place. And that percussion just hurts me.

I just wish the album was a bit longer, which would have made it a full-length album, and maybe there would have been some artist driven choices here, rather then the safety net of convention. You can tell this duo has a voice just waiting to break out, but musically they are playing it safe and boring. Unfortunately for us.

Pros: When they are connected, you can tell very clearly that Odegard and Udy are childhood friends that enjoy playing together and to each others strengths, and there is a sweetness to If This Is Love, which absolutely merits it’s inclusion.

Cons: I wish that Udy had a larger role in the vocal work, and that he played off of Odegard more often, because while she is the big sister to his little brother figure, sometimes youth can surprise you with energy and innovation. And I wish that Shame On Me had hit the cutting room floor. Yuck.

Runtime: 28 minutes

Points of Interest: Odegard is two years older then Udy, and they first meet as children during a biblical stage production. They reconnected at the Calgary Stampede 2012 where they were both competitors in a talent search, but it wasn’t until a rained out BBQ that they decided to play 90’s country together and then things clicked.

There is some serious potential with this pop country duo, but it won’t get them into a position of prominence playing it safe. So for now I’ll be leaving Leaving Thomas on the shelf, with hopes that it isn’t nostalgia but success that demands another listen from them.

theories Summarized

I don’t think  you should buy this album or pick up a digital copy, but I do think you should listen to a handful of the tracks and make up your mind to investigate further. Maybe you’ll be more forgiving of the EP that have been, either way Leaving Thomas won’t be leaving the scene anytime soon, and hopefully they take the feedback with a grain of salt.

That said, I am happy to announce another first for timotheories, and an excellent album for you to consider listening to. Grizzly Bear’s Painted Ruins is well worth a spin, and their democratic brand of music is refreshing. Don’t Believe me? Just watch what Brendon Greene and I have to say about the matter.

I hope you enjoyed our first ever Sound Culture video review, but if you did, can you do us a favour and subscribe, comment and like the video? We appreciate your continued support dear readers.

Tim!

Truth, Records, and Goodwill (Brendon Greene, musician and record label owner interview)

We already know that vinyl records have seen a resurgence in recent years. Likely because collecting music is still an incredible enjoyable hobby, and even though music is even more readily accessible then it ever has been in the history of humankind, people are going to focus on specific sources of musical talent and just absorb what is within their radar. After all, it takes a lot of work to go diving for new music.

Believe me I would know. I Source the internet every week to find a new album to review, one that’s interesting, accessible and just plain entertaining to listen to. But the reality is that music taste is even more subjective then film or fine art.

So imagine being someone who manage a record label. You have to be fairly relaxed, forward thinking, and dedicated to the art in order to keep up with all of the demands. Plus if you’re a grass roots organization like Conscious Collective Entertainment you’ll also want to promote local up and comers, and hopefully maintain a community based imaged.

A musician himself, Brendon Greene has a lot say about why he has decided to have a record label – He started playing guitar 17 years ago, and began teaching guitar 14 years ago. In 2015 he also ran in the provincial and federal election for the Green Party. Immediately deciding upon the end of the campaign that he wanted to learn more about the management of artists, and production. So he incorporated Conscious Collective Entertainment. And he works for Goodwill Industries. AND has slowly been adding artists to his label. Don Bartlett (Modern Fingerstyle, Harp Guitar), Christiana Munch (Classical Fingerstyle), and a punk band called For The County.

If it’s not apparent yet, Brendon loves to teach music and he’ll do you one better. He also wants to help you get a record mixed and distributed for a realistic price too. He believes in stewardship and the value of a good mentor. I personally think he is a pillar for the community but I’ll leave that up to your discretion.

Plus, the interview has even more detail on how to get out there as a musician.

It was a a lot of fun talking with this guy about his business, he has so much passion, and a lot of great insights. I learnt a lot from him too!

I’d love it if you left a comment, and if you liked this artist interview leave one and then share it with a friend or two. Better yet, go visit Conscious Collective and Brendon on Facebook and Instagram, respectively – he’ll appreciate the visit.

 

And special thanks to Brendon for being bold, brave and brilliant. When it comes to passionate mentorship for burgeoning musicians, this Greene knows how to party with the best of them. It’s a new theory for 2018.

Tim!

A Thousand Suns (timotheories January 2018)

January is supposed to be a month of promise, renewed hope, vigour for whatever we care about. And yet, I haven’t stopped running since August of 2017, so I’m not feeling the temporary January endorphins this year.

Which might actually be a good thing dear readers. Yes, I bought a house, and yes I got engaged, and yes I planned on getting married before this years end. But in the time that I took a forced hiatus from timotheories, I didn’t stop thinking about timotheories. I can’t stop. I won’t stop.

You see creative cuties, thinking is one of the things I do best in this world. And you give me the space to think, and man will I ever think. So I thought about things like the name timotheories, and I thought about the types of posts I write, and I thought about the different media channels I use to bring in traffic, and the people I interview to give you perspective on how to be creative, I thought about theories, and wisdom, and logos, and pretty much everything.

And that’s how I know I won’t stop. Because I still have a million and one ideas of content to share with you. And so I’m going to make a list of goals this month, and share it with you next month. Then I’m going to start to implement them. It’s an evolution of the campfire theories theme I chose last year…

The fire of a thousand suns.

*Disclaimer* As always, every week I purchase an album and movie one week ahead of the actual review release and while I have the best intentions, I don’t always get what I want… so if you follow me on instagram (@timotheories) you can actually see what’s coming.

timotheories summarized – January

Professional Theorems – (01/07) Brendon Greene interview, (01/14) Cross Talk Ep. 30, (01/21) Cross Talk Ep. 31, (01/28) Matthew Ankerstein preview interview
Sound Culture – (01/02) The Rolling Stones, (01/08) Miguel, (01/15) Sinistro, (01/22) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, (01/29) First Aid Kit
Watch Culture – (01/01) Dunkirk, (01/03) Brawl in Cell Block 99, (01/09) American Made (01/16) IT (01/23) Blade Runner 2049 (01/30) The Killing of a Sacred Deer
School of Thoughts – (01/10) Art Stars (Mentors), (01/17) Gaining Wisdom, (01/24) Diet, (01/31) By The Book (Education)(Reading)
Art House – (01/04) timotheories January, (01/11) House, (01/18) Engagement, (01/25) Wedding

You’re right, I did rename the weekly headings folks. Too smart for me, I could never pull a fast one over you lot. I did this because I was tired of trying to get posts in exactly on the day that I envisioned them for, and I quickly realized that a lot of you are in different time zones, and the ones that aren’t wouldn’t be reading my posts until the following morning anyway, and now I’m on brand with what I’m doing over on YouTube… so bonus! Which means that I’ll need to slowly go back in time and edit any mention of the old themes.

Point number two, I’m introducing a new monthly post called Art Stars (under the old Wisdom Wednesday heading), so that I can share some of my favourite creative professionals with you regularly. Wisdom often comes from having mentors, and these are mine. Additionally, I am rebranding the book of the month post to By The Book – clever right?

As it stands, I’ll be wrapping up the Brendon Greene interview I didn’t get to finish editing in the summer, and I’ll also give you a teaser of next month’s guest… Matthew Ankerstein! Matt is a podcaster and influencer, with a ton of energy. He’ll bring some great ideas to the table.

Lots of great Watch Culture posts and vids too, of course. And maybe if you’re lucky I’ll get some Sound Culture videos published on top of the blog posts? And last, but not least, I’ll give you some personal insights into my world with Art House (formerly Timely Thursdays) which I think you’ll enjoy.

theories Summarized

Yeah there are some changes coming, but I hope that the taste I’ve given above helps reframe the tone of this website, and all related media channels. timotheories is about digital curating at hear, that means cultivating good art; whether it’s film, music, fine art or something else.

I want to hear some feedback on what you think of this years theme, and the changes I’ll be implementing. And of course, any new theories I run across. Please like, comment and subscribe so I know you’re there!

Tim!

Be Formless. Shapeless. Like Water (Brendon Greene musician interview preview)

Bruce Lee is one of those iconic figures that so many people seem to be inspired by.  Especially people who want to make a motivational point for others. To be fair, he did accomplish a great many different things in his rather short life in order to earn that title. And he IS damn quotable.

Credited with changing how Asian people were viewed in American cinema was a big one, but that is just one of his many incredible feats, not to mention setting world records in martial arts, founding the martial art of Jeet Kune Do, and becoming a pop culture focal point of the 20th century.

Bruce Lee was multi-talented too – an actor, director, martial artist, instructor, and philosopher.

One of the reasons why people are so easily and regularly inspired by Bruce Lee (I suspect anyway), is because of his philosophical views on life. I am sure you’ve heard your share of Bruce Lee quotes in your lifetime, even if you didn’t know it yet. Take this gem for instance.

This is one of my favourites, but there are hundreds of them out there. I’ll tell you too, people love to make posters out of Bruce Lee quotes too.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m even writing about Bruce Lee, because this looks like an artist interview post. And yeah, you’d be right if you are thinking that. It just so happens though, that this martial arts icon has inspired a new friend of mine too. And how.

Brendon Greene is a very interesting fellow. His life has been rife with challenges, or opportunities as I’m sure he would call them. From those opportunities, Brendon has figured out what his purpose in life is. Which is why he decided a very short time ago, after running to office in the Green Party, to open his own record label – Conscious Collective. Brendon regularly teaches musicians how to get started, produce an album, and distribute it too. Plus he loves to manage new talent and make beautiful music, to boot.

Today I give you a sneak peek of an interview I had with him recently on his role as a mentor for younger musicians, and how Conscious Collective is community oriented. This preview asks the question about who a burgeoning musician should work with, and what kinds of content they should consume.

And Brendon delivers.

 

theories Summarized

I hope this interview preview was useful creative cuties. Brendon has a lot more to say too, but you’ll just have to come back in a week if you want to hear the rest of his story. I promise it will be just as entertaining as this clip, if not moreso.

With a ton more heart and pop culture references, this is an interview that prefaces a new series I’ll be producing with Brendon too! But more on that later. I’m out of theories for now, and I need to get some shut eye.

Tim!