The most exciting thing about music is that is speaks to people in many different ways. What I like may not make any sense whatsoever in your brain. There are bands people send to me, raving about how great they are, and I just don’t get it. I find that fantastic! Today’s music scene certainly has something for everyone.

Sometimes we gravitate to different bands because of our first experience. For me, though, it is about the full package: record and live show. Have you ever heard a fantastic record and then when you attended the live show, it didn’t translate, and you were left a little empty inside….deflated? Conversely, I have seen a ton of amazing live acts whose records didn’t live up to the energy they produced on stage and left me equally vacant.
So in saying this, I decided to take a different approach and share with you my thoughts on some artists I am currently listening to and enjoying, and how they measure up live.

Sheepdogs – Learn And Burn (LP)

I have to admit I have been listening to this record on and off for quite some time now, and have even met the guys in the band. Four super nice dudes from the prairie heartland of Canada who look every bit like their moniker, who play music that sounds a little bit Eagles and a little bit CCR yet uniquely their own. I love this record and it appears the producers on the Jimmy Fallon show did too, as they are the only Canadian band featured in a contest to win a spot on Fallon and the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine.

Live Show: Mind blowing.

Rebekah Higgs – Little Voice (EP)

A quirky little gem from a soon to be well-known Canadian songstress. This Halifax native blends Indie rock, folk and pop all together to form a style that could be called all her own. The title track recently charted at number 1 on CBC Radio 3…no small feat considering the competition on this station. What a wonderful surprise to stumble upon this artist. I am very much looking forward to her full-length release in 2011.

Live Show: Every bit as engaging as the record.

Decemberists – The King Is Dead

Right from the first listen, I was in love with this record. The material can best be described as…. it sounds like your favourite pair of jeans feel, so comforting and lush. Every bit as it should sound, considering this is a band that is on its sixth album and also has another 13 releases, not counting side projects since its inception

Live Show: Hard to believe I have not seen them live yet but they are on my “live show bucket list”.

Alcoholic Faith Mission – Running With Insanity (EP) (Release Denmark Feb 21 and North America March 29, 2011)

This Danish six piece has fantastic lush sounding recordings, a little bit indie folk, a little dash of electronic. It is original but familiar at the same time. Virtually unknown in North America, the band has been building a solid base of fans across Europe and has its sights firmly set on the big market across the pond.

Live Show: I will be attending one, if not two of their performances at this years Canadian Music Fest. (March 9 at Rancho Relaxo/March 11 at Dakota Tavern. Info:

The song that started my crush on Alcoholic Faith Mission:

Young The Giant – Young The Giant (LP)

I had heard some modest buzz at SXSW 2010 about this California band, but until Rose from Roadrunner Records passed me a copy of their disc I had not spent any time listening to their music. Rose raved about Young The Giant, sat me down, called up the band’s video for “My Body” and cranked up the office speakers…SOLD! Within the first 48 hours of having the record I have listened to it three times and my wife has jumped quickly onto the Young The Giant bandwagon (she almost never likes a band on first listen, so that tells me Roadrunner is on to something).

Live Show: Excited to see them in Toronto (free show Apr.5th @ Horseshoe Tavern, presented by 102.1 The Edge)