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In The Tent Of The Tea Party

Culture, Events, Music, Reviews

April 6, 2017

A spattering of Vancouver rain clatters against the concrete of Granville Street. A drumbeat without rhythm. Heavy. Is the dampness that pulls at you the rain? Or is there something else clawing at your soul? Something in the air tonight?

Trading on a legacy of sex, drugs, and black magic, The Tea Party crave a darker part of your soul. Especially Transmission (1997). Transmission is a gate, the music the path, and tonight? Tonight, The Tea Party will be our guide.

In 1997 three kids from Windsor resolved to produce “the darkest rock and roll album Canada had ever heard.” At the time, the Canadian charts were dominated by imports like the Spice Girls, No Doubt, The Backstreet Boys, and Pop Compilation Albums. For every the Tragically Hip or Our Lady Peace, there was a Sarah McLachlan or Celine Dion.

Often called “Moroccan Roll”, The Tea Party draw on sounds and instruments from across the globe, with a fixation on Middle-Eastern Mysticism and Music. Hearing live the music of my childhood, of my heroes, fulfills. Great musicians performing their greatest works out weighs the gimmicked nature of anniversary tours. Jeff Martin plays the guitar like an Olympic athlete. While a painting ages in his attic, he pulls out a bow and makes his strings sing. Jeff Burrows gives the drums an animalistic enthusiasm. Stuart Chatwood applies bass and keyboard, adding texture on texture, painting in sound.

This album offers a snapshot into the 90s that I never really knew personally. My older brother came of age during the heyday of Nirvana and the Wu-tang Clan while I was still playing Charlotte Diamond on repeat. That great musical revolution, heard through hollow walls as my brother learned long solos and discovered new sounds. I missed it. Too young. Too shy. It wasn’t until one hot summer in 1999, the world on pause, awaiting the new millennium, bored in the basement, I watched MTV countdown the top 20 videos of the week. Between undulating pop stars and incoherent rappers lay something beautiful: “Heaven Coming Down” from the album Triptych (1999) pulled me into The Tea Party’s world.

With the singular obsession of a pre-teen girl, I devoured their back catalogue as best I could. A copy of Splendor Solis (1993) from the back of an HMV. The Edges of Twilight (1995) borrowed from my brother. And, finally, Transmission, from a dusty corner of an A&B Sound. Looking for a way to understand the world, I stumbled into a different kind of understanding. That magic still lingered on the edges of the world. If only your eyes were open you could see it all.

If listening to Transmission is like finding a stack of Picasso sketches tucked in the back of the garage, hearing it live is a gallery exhibition. A sea of people, falling back on who they grew from. Aging rockers, former goth kids, angry angsty teens, and lost souls. “Army Ants”, pulsing, sends a wave across the crowd. “Psychopomp”, dragging the enraptured souls to the underworld and back again. “Babylon”, walking a tightrope between sex and violence until finally- “Release”…

“Release” resonates with me. Reminds me of why I’m here, of the journey the last few years have been. Of all I’ve lost and gained. Of missed chances and pain… I cry. There is a sincerity to it. A beauty. Even Martin takes a pause. To thank us, all of us, for creating such a moment. The moment passes – back into “Temptation” we go.

An intermission only to pull us back into Martin’s impossible world. Speaking openly of their heroes, the band slipped covers into the middle of their own work. U2’s classic “With or Without You” (1987) appeared in “Heaven Coming Down” (1999). Parts of “Under Pressure” (1982 Queen, David Bowie) kept appearing. The 20-minute version of “Sister Awake” included “Paint it Black” (1966, The Rolling Stones) as well as their encore.

So, here we are, 20 years later, do we still need an album like Transmission? What does an album mean in an age where Artists live and die download by download?

I think we’ve forgotten the importance of telling a good story.  The journey sacrificed on the altar of destination. Music is a product. Artists are commodities. Instead of autotuned perfection, give me skill. Give me the raw emotion and passion of a psychopomp.

The next city to host the Tea Party tent will be The Roxy in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, April 8th.  After that they’re going to the Star Events Centre in Sydney, NSW, on Friday, April 21st. If you can’t make either of those dates, you can click here to see the rest of the tour, or click here to see their incredible selection of music

 

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MC Frontalot – Nerdcore Hip-Hop’s Final Boss

Interviews, Music, Showcase

April 10, 2014

MC Frontalot is oft-touted as the Godfather of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, a term he coined back in 1999 to describe his own musical stylings. Many cite him as a major catalyst in the explosion of geek-flavored music in the past decade. Regardless of how much credit the real life Damian Hess wants to take, there is no argument that MC Frontalot has been a huge inspiration to many artists worldwide and helped shine some mainstream attention on geek culture.

Now, Frontalot is preparing to release his sixth studio album, but kindly took some time out to chat with us here at Living Myth Magazine: (more…)

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Kawehi’s Robot Heart

Interviews, Music, Showcase

April 2, 2014

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They say a great cover song can make you. Well that may be true as a recent cover of Nirvana’s classic Heart Shaped Box has cast a lot of eyes on one-woman band Kawehi. The video, showing Kawehi mixing and performing the song live from her dining room, exploded overnight. It was quickly featured by news and entertainment site SourceFed and also named a Staff Pick on Vimeo. The performance went viral and made the artist scores of new fans.

But there is more to the Hawaiian-born singer/songwriter than a few borrowed songs. Kawehi has five releases of her diverse original work under her belt with a sixth, Robot Heart, on its way. With all of the recent buzz, the Kickstarter for Robot Heart ended up just shy of ten times its original $3,000 goal.

Kawehi took some time out to talk to us here at Living Myth Magazine about her career, her new successes and the forthcoming EP. (more…)

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Dreamz: Waking You Up

Interviews, Music, Showcase

October 16, 2013

Dreamz - logoTo many of their fans online, they were already Team Andrew, but earlier this year, frequent collaborators Andrew Huang and Andrew Gunadie (aka Gunnarolla) cemented a pop music partnership and formed Dreamz. The Toronto-based musicians and YouTube personalities introduced their new duo with several covers of classic boyband songs and have recently released the video for their debut single “Come On” with a second coming shortly. Dreamz delivers some fun and lively melodies that manage to be both old school and contemporary with a healthy dose of the pair’s wit and charm.

We’ve had a chance to speak to both Huang and Gunnarolla about their solo work, but let’s touch base with them on how Dreamz came to be:

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Gunnarolla: A-POP, Please

Interviews, Music, Showcase

September 17, 2013

Better known to the internet-world as Gunnarolla, Ontario-native Andrew Gunadie has been bringing his original, ecclectic mix of music, comedy and vlogs on YouTube for more than six years. In that time his channel has garnered over eleven-million views, fuelled by an avid fanbase that Andrew is constantly engaging and several ongoing video series like “We Are What You Tweet”, “New State Plates” and “Songs About People”. (more…)

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Alyssa Marie: For The Record

Interviews, Music, Showcase

September 5, 2013

alyssa-marieIn a genre rife with posturing and boasts about shallow excesses, Massachusetts-native Alyssa Marie stands out by bringing heart and soul to the rap world. Her words come from the gut and boldly dig into the emotion of her subject matter with an honesty and wisdom far beyond her twenty-four years.

Alyssa has been honing her craft since the age of fifteen and since 2009 has been posting verses on YouTube. In that time, her channel has surpassed two-million views and now with three releases under her belt -most recently 2012’s full-legth album HeartBeat– and another due by the end of the year, people are definitely starting to take notice.

 

GREG: I know you had started out writing poetry, and being a published poet at that. How did you transition from that into rapping?
ALYSSA: I’ve been writing poetry for as long as I can remember, I’m not really sure when or how I started to write rap lyrics. I’ve always been a fan of music and hip hop specifically and I think it started as just another outlet for my writing. It’s not like I was writing poetry then stopped and decided to rap instead; I was writing poetry first, then somewhere along the line began to write rhymes and rap lyrics. Eventually the two just merged together and created the conscious style of rap that I write now.

As your career was starting up, did you have any major influences or mentors along the way?
As far as rappers I listened to at the beginning stages of my own development as an artist, I’d say Nas, Eminem, Pac, Kis, Fabolous, Rakim, Bone Thugz, Luda, Pun, Banks, and a bunch of others that I can’t think of at the moment. As I got older I was better at finding my own people to listen to and got into some more poetic rappers.
If you download the album W!se Reborn (here), that’s who I’d call my mentor. Martin (“Wise”) was the first person to put me on a track; he offered music and life advice I still put to use every day. I don’t know where I’d be without him. Unfortunately, he passed away a few weeks after we had a falling out and I never got to tell him that, but I’ll never forget it.

Seemingly, hip-hop still really appears to be very predominantly a “boys’ club”, much more than any other genre of contemporary music. Did you find it hard gaining acceptance at the outset? Do you still?
It’s definitely a two-sided coin. On one side of it, you get the “wow” factor just being a female that can handle a mic. It’s easier to impress people and get them to show their friends like “yo, look at this chick rip it!”, but I think it’s significantly more difficult to be taken serious. You may get that first reaction which is cool, but how many people are going to download your stuff and put you in with their favorite rappers? Sure, maybe their favorite female rappers, but that’s not what I’m in it for. I don’t rap about gender specific things, I’m just trying to share my stories and be heard. It’s just not as socially acceptable in hip hop to name a female as one of your favorite rappers without putting “female” in front of it. I’m patient though, there’s enough open minded people to make it worth it.

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One thing that has always stood out to me most in your music is that really seems to come from the soul, that its very true to yourself. Is having that honest connection with your audience important to you?
It’s extremely important to me. I know what it’s like to turn to music hoping to feel understood or feel like a song was written for you. Coming across someone who you can relate to so honestly is a beautiful thing, it’s and even more intense experience being on the artist side of it. Reading mail or comments from people saying you saved their life with your words, there’s nothing that can describe that feeling. I have pride in what I do, my music is an enormous part of who I am and if I’m not truthful with that, I’m lying to myself.

Your YouTube channel is just shy of hitting thirty-thousand subscribers and over two million views. How big of a factor has that been in getting your work noticed?
YouTube has been a huge tool in escalating my music career up to now. From entering contests to remixing songs, it’s jump started my success and still serves a great purpose in getting my work out there. Though it was difficult to break free of the “YouTube Rapper” stigma, I wouldn’t be where I am without it.

Your most recent album HeartBeat went through a lot of growth from its inception to its release. Can you tell us a bit about what happened there and what your approach was?
A big majority of HeartBeat was written and recorded all in a three week timespan. It started out as a completely different project with different songs and vibes, but throughout the creation of it more than half of them were cut out and new songs were added. I was lucky to have Beatblocked be so helpful in the engineering side of it because we were literally still recording forty minutes prior to the digital release of the record.

In a recent vlog update, you teased an upcoming project called No Parades On Easy Street. Is there any more detail we can get on that?
This passed winter I went out to visit my sister who was going to school out in Hawaii. I got there and ended up falling in love with it and decided to stay with her until she came home at the end of May. We were literally eating one meal a day and could barely even afford that, but we made it work and I was able to write this new record in the process. Again, even since leaving Hawaii I’ve altered the track list and cut/added songs, but the majority was still made out there. It’s coming soon though, just tying up loose ends.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us! Any parting thoughts you’d like to share?
Thanks for having me, I hope everyone reading this keeps checking for me as I continue trying to figure this confusing career out.

[box] LINKS

Website: www.alyssamariehiphop.com
YouTube: www.youtube.com/alysssaMariiie
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alyssamarieraps
Twitter: www.twitter.com/alysssaMariiie
Bandcamp: alyssamarie.bandcamp.com
Pure Volume: www.purevolume.com/new/AlyssaMarieMusic
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