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Catfish Ruffian Grove

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

The Meligrove Band

Here’s the lowdown on Born Ruffians, Catfish Haven and The Meligrove Band.

“Hey! Aren’t you that dude that writes reviews for Spin magazine?”

“Yeah, I am. Aren’t you in the band?”

“For sure man. Hey, I’ll tell you what . . . if you promise to give us a good review, I’ll get my girlfriend to give you a blowjob — she’s pretty hot.”

I wish I was a person of affluence. Like, a big-time reviewer for a big-time magazine. I would be getting blowjobs all the time, then laughing as I wrote a bad review. Since I’m not big-time, I won’t be getting any blowjobs and I’m going to stick with the small-time. By small-time, I mean the bands that most people have never heard of, will probably never hear of, but really should hear of. Some call them indie bands. Instead of just reviewing everything and giving long-winded explanations about why it sucks, I’m sticking to the positive and recommending things that I truly believe you should give a listen to.

A forewarning, since this is my first submission – my music tastes vary greatly. Last weekend I saw Tom Petty on the same day as Common, if that tells you anything. What I am saying is, if you don’t like a recommendation I make, I guarantee if you check back in you will like another. This is my promise to you.

Today I will start with three bands I feel need an introduction to the general populace; Born Ruffians, Catfish Haven and The Meligrove Band (message to bands: please stop using ‘THE’ – it confuses my MP3 collection).

Born RuffiansI’m going to begin with Born Ruffians, who came to me as a recommendation from Miguel in Catfish Haven (see below). They are a funky rock band from Toronto whom I have a very hard time describing. I accidentally saw them about a week after first hearing them. Although they suffered severe tech difficulties, the band’s charisma on stage kept the act entertaining and lively while still being surprisingly solid. Many of my friends who were at that show have made sure to see them again since, based solely on the merits of this lack-lustre performance. The second time I saw them was infinitely better. They have an incredible rhythm, that, while boppy, is still rocky. It makes you want to dance while breaking stuff. Again, they are difficult to describe, but I will say this about them: you know that part of a song that you really like, be it a guitar or bass riff, or the way the singer says a certain lyric – sometimes you might rewind the song back just to hear that one part again – well with Born Ruffians, it’s not just one part or the other, it’s all of them, all the way through their songs. Every aspect of their music is addictively catchy. Unfortunately, I know them mainly as a live band; although I have heard a few of their tracks on MySpace, I have not yet heard an album, but I hear an EP is on its way. My recommendation is based on what I have heard and what I have seen. They are a young band, one to watch out for in the future, but if I were you I would watch out for them now.

Catfish HavenOn to Catfish Haven, a grungy, blues-rock band from Chicago named after the trailer park which George, the lead singer, grew up in. Don’t let the trailer park thing throw you. These are cool guys, who make cool music. They remind me of a blues-rock Nirvana, but wherein the heroin is replaced with marijuana. George’s raspy singing grasps you, while the guitar and bass work from Ryan and Miguel hold you down and beat you for your socks. The singing is emotive, but far from whiny. Their album Please Come Back (Secretly Canadian) has been hailed by many as a great album. I’ll admit I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet; a lot of it, but not the whole thing. It’s their live show that really got me hooked. I saw them back in early May with Asobi Seksu and Pas/Cal. All the bands rocked their sets that night, but Catfish were the reason I was there. Their live set was even better than their recorded work, which is saying a lot. George’s honest lyrics rang out true and strong in the small club. They have since toured with Pink Mountaintops and will soon be playing Lollapalooza in Chicago. In the fall, they will be returning to Toronto and I would highly recommend – nay, insist – that you check them out (MySpace site).

The Meligrove BandBand number three is The Meligrove Band, another act from Toronto. Their newest release Planets Conspire is a great disc all the way through. I would hesitate to say it’s a masterpiece only because I am uncertain of its lasting value. This disc has a solid spot in my CD wallet which allows me the ability to play it for everyone I come in contact with. This gets awkward at funerals. Only one person as of yet has disagreed with my opinion. Although their earlier catalogue is more straight-forward rock, this newest release is a mix of upy-rock tunes accompanied in parts by horns and violins. Many have compared it to Pink Floyd in my presence, a statement that I wholly agree with. The breakdowns on this album are incredible – I would recommend the tracks Isle of Yew and You’re Alive as a flavourful first taste. Last week I saw them play at Lee’s Palace in Toronto. Although Toronto is known for being a head-bop only audience, there was a high ratio of dancers in the crowd – I even think the head-boppers where bopping harder than usual that night (MySpace site).

On a side note, their back-up horn section included the lead singer of Born Ruffians. Now my review has come full circle.

Check out Frenchie’s MySpace site.eihcnerf

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Tuesday, July 4, 2006 7:30 pm

    I as well can attest to the kick-ass-ness of Born Ruffians and The Meligrove Band; however, these Catfish Haven folks remain a mystery to me.

  2. James17930 permalink
    Tuesday, September 5, 2006 2:14 pm

    Someone’s moving up in the world. Check this out.

  3. James17930 permalink
    Friday, October 20, 2006 11:19 am

    And the next band mentioned here to explode . . . Born Ruffians! Read the feature from this week’s Eye here.

    After reading the article, answer me this question: how is it that I know all about Born Ruffians, but the guy at SoundScapes doesn’t? What’s the Toronto hipster scene coming to?!

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