Archive | May, 2014

20th Century Nightmare: Timber Timbre’s new album, Hot Dreams, reviewed

27 May

Timber Timbre. From left to right: Simon Trottier, Mika Posen, Taylor Kirk.

Timber Timbre got its start years ago when frontman Taylor Kirk chose to record a small collection of songs within a timber-framed cabin outside of Bobcaygeon–yes, the same town from The Tragically Hip song. The rustic, woody aesthetic of those recordings led to the creation of the band moniker as well as its first, appropriately-titled release: 2006’s Cedar Shakes.

Kirk’s woodland project sprouted from there; in 2009 the band was signed to Arts & Crafts, one of Canada’s most significant record labels for new music. The first two releases for the Montreal-based label, Timber Timbre (2009) and Creep On Creepin’ On (2011) grabbed nominations for the Canadian Polaris Music Prize. If you’re a fan of acclaimed TV series Breaking Bad and The Good Wife, then you’ve likely heard Timber Timbre’s songs featured on certain episodes.

While the band has seen a variety of bandmembers join and depart throughout the years, the current lineup involves a couple of true musical artists in Mika Posen (violin, viola, keyboards, percussion) and Simon Trottier (autoharp, lap steel guitar, electric guitar, baritone guitar), both of whom offer the multi-instrumentalism that makes this iteration of Timber Timbre the most enriched yet.


Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams (2014).

All this leads to understandable hype for Timber Timbre’s latest album, Hot Dreams, released last month. As the album cover indicates, this fifth release transplants the band’s leitmotif from the chilly Canadian forests to the sun-baked deserts of the American Southwest. Psychedelic blues, alt-country, americana, blue-eyed soul–Kirk and co. weave their way through these genres and churn out a sound that could comfortably take a seat in the post-WII boom. It would be no surprise if one was told that Hot Dreams was a recently unearthed eight-track, buried in some arenose corner of the Mojave. Think of it as a cross between Josh Homme’s The Desert Sessions, Johnny Cash’s American Recordings, and Edwyn Collins’ Gorgeous George, while taking some pages from a James M. Cain pulp thriller and the dusty vibes of a spaghetti western.

Album opener “Beat The Drum Slowly” suitably sets an eerie mood, as the grindhouse ambience viciously melts into a doomstep march of percussion and guitar, sliced up with slashes of distortion, mellotron and orchestral vibrato. Kirk’s vocals veer from the boozy to the theatrical to the vaguely threatening, while maintaining the lyrical disguises of a storyteller portending the ruins of civilization. It takes a cipher to navigate the poetic-yet-cynical appraisal of 20th century evolution: “The family jewels, the swimming pool / yards marked by emerald coffins / we heard crimes often and softly / a mystery mist, new systems shift / things recognized from television channels / nostalgia signals, unscrambled.” Appropriately, Calgary’s Chad VanGaalen animated the music video for “Beat The Drum Slowly”, which is certainly worth checking out for its eye-popping visuals alone.


Other choice cuts include the hellish instrumental “Resurrection Drive, Part II”, the sharply-dressed “Curtains!?”, and the titular “Hot Dreams”, where Kirk murmurs “I wanna follow through, follow through on all my promises and threats to you babe” in the manner of a seducer softly whispering in the listeners’ ear as he plunges the knife into their back. It is natural, then, for this to be the same track for the lounge saxophonist to invade in the enthralling outro.

Hot Dreams makes for a terrifyingly rapture as the listener is drawn into Timber Timbre’s thickly-layered existentialism. When Kirk airs out his commands in “Bring Me Simple Men”, the listener knows they have no choice but to be taken in. Any hope for good intentions on Kirk’s part is put to rest in “Grand Canyon”, where we’re all strapped in and aboard the plane as Kirk pleads it to crash into the Colorado River. Is it strange then, that this darkly gleeful track also works as the album’s most beautiful listen? The heartbeat rhythm, set to the pace of a steam train chugging steadily across the Old West desert, serves as a backdrop to the unexpected thrills of violin and sax. As those in Timber Timbre’s thrall, the only action we listeners can take is to give away our ears and gape.

Check out the recently released music video for “Curtains!?” here, in the low-key B&W of a hardboiled noir film.

Check out Timber Timbre!

Official Website.





Author: Nathan Christie


Catching Up with CrashDex’s Jaren Hayman

25 May
Jaren Hayman of CrashDex

Jaren Hayman of CrashDex

Get used to hearing the name Jaren Hayman around Toronto, because this guy has some big things happening for him. If you haven’t yet heard of CrashDex, be prepared to have your mind blown! This drummer/DJ combo mixes hip-hop and EDM party music with the live, hardcore sounds of the drums. Their live shows are insane and extremely fun to be a part of.  Jaren’s talent behind the drums is truly amazing.

With drumming influences from Sammy J. Watson, Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, Jaren has grown up with a serious passion for music. His musical influences are a mix of hip-hop and rock artists: Queen, Jay-Z, Eminem, Drake. The sound behind CrashDex really reflects their musical influences, and it sure makes you want to party!

Jaren’s passion for drumming started at a young age. Growing up he was an athlete, and looked forward to what seemed like a career as a football player. Music was always his passion, but three different shoulder surgeries from playing varsity football at the University of Guelph forced Jaren to pursue something other than sports. That is when he became much more serious about his music.

Here’s what Jaren had to say:

–I always knew I’d get right back into music, and I wasted no time. I was playing with a band days after the football season was over. I started working on getting my chops back and figuring out what I wanted to do. I always loved drumming to Hip Hop and I found myself getting more and more into EDM as well. I reached out to a few different DJ’s and ended up locking down a gig at one of my good friends charity events, where we performed in front of about 500 people. The response was amazing and you could really feel the drums shooting energy into the building. I knew this was exactly what I wanted to be doing! Before I knew it, CrashDex was born.–

Just over two years ago, Jaren teamed up with hip hop artist, Jerzee. The two immediately hit it off, and together have blown up the music scene in Canada and the US, touring and performing full time for CrashDex and Jerzee’s band.


Jerzee of CrashDex. Photo Credit: Jason Kwan.

For Jaren, it just keeps getting better and better: “It’s been an incredible journey so far. I’m lucky to have played with a ton of talented artists, some of which are still good friends to this day. Being able to tour and meet other driven musicians is one of my favourite parts of the business.”

In addition to drumming, Jaren also co-owns an entertainment/production company. They are aiming to continue the growth and success of their business, and want to make Jerzee a household name as well as continue to perform live CrashDex shows in different cities around the globe.

Check out CrashDex!






Author: Julia Loglisci