Archive for April, 2009

Record Review – Magnet “The Simple Life”

April 28, 2009

review, Magnet, The Simple Life, Filter

Magnet’s latest album The Simple Life, though covered with an indie-pop blanket, delves not so boldly into different directions underneath the sheets. Songwriter Even Johansen has taken care of all duties on this record. Although I’m sure he’s very proud to step back and look at what a nice sounding album he has made all by himself, outside input might have added a little artistic tension and musical dynamic to make these tuneful numbers more engaging and memorable; its easy-going nature reflects the fact that he recorded at his farm on the coast of Norway with wife and children close. I hear the warmth of his surroundings and the safe emotional range that this kind of life provides, and subsequently it seems that nothing is at stake here. As an artist operating under the indie-rock regime, Magnet is attracted to typically subversive and personal songwriting, while at the same time, it seems he’s trying hardest to make a nice pop record. The Simple Life doesn’t emote with gusto or try to hammer you with hooks; it comes off as kind of bland. Magnet’s riding the line between these two worlds of indie-conformity and indie-weirdness, which may seem refreshing to some, but these same people who think they’re hip may wake up one day and realize they just want to listen to what’s on VH1. I guess that’s not really a bad life after all.


T-shirt For Sale

April 27, 2009

With the help of my super hot girlfriend, I silk screened this t-shirt that features the bust of Pixies guitarist, Joey Santiago.  He’s my favorite guitarist of all time. I’m selling a Men’s Large for 15 bucks on Etsy.  I might make more to sell if this first one sells.  Me and  GeorgeJezelhave  an idea to make a series of t-shirts of different  essential guitarists.

Joey Santiago Silk Screened Men's Large T-shirt

Check out my store.

Art Review

April 24, 2009

Nathan Danilczuk
The Texture Of Light And Dark
By Chris Brunelle

The experience of viewing any of Nathan Danilczuk’s work is powerful and enigmatic.  The visuals communicate with you in a language all their own.  Within the world of each painting, there is an internal intuitive logic to the abstraction.  Like strong emotions, Danilczuk’s paintings vividly elicit powerful sensations.  Texture and light are focal elements throughout his work, which are often explored in series form.  Danilczuk’s works are titled by code rather than word or phrase.  He seems to be cataloging his journey through light, texture, and paint with each series being a meditation.   His reluctance to lead the viewer with titles combines with his strong visual technique to never let you leave the world of the painting to explore your own internal experience.   He keeps the experience present and simultaneous with viewing.
His “Recent Works” incorporate primarily black and white tones through enamel on panel.  Unlike his other paintings, there is a simulated texture to these works that have a hologram meets X-ray quality.  The image reminds of a dense forest of birch trees lit by moonlight or piles of limb bones.  In actuality, Danilczuk is not trying to recreate either of these realities but takes the darkness of these subjects and wraps a world of intrigue around those tones through his use of lighting and simulated texture.  Although dark and mysterious, these images contain a tranquility and focus that is contemplative.  In a sense, the repetition of similar imagery suggests different angles or perspectives from the same scene.  Are these scene settings from an imaginary film where the viewers are the characters or possibly even the directors?  One of the greatest qualities of viewing Danilczuk’s work is that a myriad number of possibilities and thoughts can enter your perception in reaction to his work and he creates a world of interesting possibility that allows any outcome to be possible.  He’s guiding you towards conclusions but allows you to choose what those are.
The later half of the “Recent Works” series transitions from panel to paper as the canvas, and expands the enamel media to include chalk, charcoal, and graphite.  In context of this series, these final five pieces appear to be negatives and positives from extreme close-up photographs of the world in the previous paintings.  Each of these “negatives” appear to be scratched on the upper and lower thirds of the frame with a chaotic sound-wave-like fencing.  Is there an audio distortion that emerges as we look closer into this world?  When transitioning from the positive image of  “iii06b” to the seemingly corresponding negative of “iii06c”, the shift moves from ghostly to gloomy.   These closing images of the series indicate a more dour experience in the world of these images.  Danilczuk is exploring varying points of view within the darkness see what characteristics emerge.
Another particularly compelling series from Nathan Danilczuk is his “Works On Panel.”  “vii03a” creates a stone-like texture and color scheme where scratches attack the darker tones in the panel.   The effect conjures a feeling of being trapped and trying to get out.  The stone texture is particularly intriguing as he’s wielding much structurally weaker materials to create a surface that so convincingly conveys such strength.  The scrawls on this overpowering surface are dwarfed within the callus landscape.  “v02a” merges four color-quadrants.  A robust rusty red in the left quadrant crosses black and white center quadrants towards the earth toned grey and light-brown right quadrant.  The swirling mix of these distinct color areas conjures a stormy center.  The colors are colliding and changing the landscape of what they come in contact with.  Similarly, there are scrawls covering the surface of the entire panel.   In this case, the effect adds another dimension of texture to the already rugged surface.  More than any other artist with the possible exception of Van Gogh, I am compelled to reach out and run my hands along the surface of the painting.  It is a child-like experience of discovery that I’m transported to because this world before me is so new.  I am compelled to learn about it through visual and physical exploration.  Danilczuk remarkably creates such unique visual experiences through his painting the feel like nothing you’ve experienced before.
Danilczuk commands texture and lighting in his work so deftly that his abstractions never beg logical justification.   The classic pop-culture criticism of modern art where the average Joe compares the work of Picasso to the finger paints of his toddler basically saying, “I can do that,” is so clearly rebutted upon viewing any of Nathan Danilczuk’s work.  You’re more likely thinking, “How did he do that?”  The mastery of form Danilczuk holds, leads you into his mysterious and sometimes strange world with confidence and allows open interpretation to all who enter.  I encourage you to view the series discussed here and more at

The Thermals’ “Now We Can See”

April 24, 2009

Thermals' Now We Can See
By Chris Brunelle

Early on, The Thermals were described as post-punk and post-pop-punk. The only consistent change on this album from their formula is a relaxation in the tempo. It’s rarely slow by any means, but considering everything Thermals, it’s not as fast. So what shall we call this subtle change? The Thermals themselves propose post-power pop. Critics eat up genres like that. I think one of the most compelling aural themes the band’s always employed is a soaring energy that’s heartfelt, hopeful, and yearning. This slower tempo they’ve embraced enhances these attributes and leans even further towards anthemic.

“At The Bottom Of The Sea” is the first slow song in the entire Thermals repertoire and they bring the power to the ballad. They’ve perhaps been tender before, but here, they’ve stripped away the sharp corners of rock to let their sentiment resonate with straightforward simplicity. At the same time, they haven’t completely shed their own skin: tracks like “When We Were Alive” will satisfy fans of their earlier, blistering juggernauts.

The Thermals have never been short of intense emotion and feeling, and it takes a certain level of bravery to be so public, as they are on Now We Can See. Front man Hutch Harris has always felt strongly about culture, love, politics and all those things that are usually important to punk bands. But now Hutch is showing us that his heart is as strong as his jam face, as in “When I Was Afraid”, which has Harris singing “Love, it held me near / You held me close / I couldn’t die when I was afraid / … / I couldn’t die / I couldn’t live when I was afraid.”

The Thermals have always kept their aesthetic raw and now they’re practically naked. This is a compelling step in maturity for them even though some of the kids addicted to their trademark over-caffeinated chants may give The Thermals flack for getting soft. This sensitivity has the same intensity and when it comes down to it, The Thermals still rock balls.

I made a Music Video for EL JEZEL

April 24, 2009

Me and Paul Rondeau made a music video for the best band ever,  known as El Jezel.

We make Music Videos for cheap if you know anyone who wants to be glorified on Youtube with our High Def skills.

Here’s alink to a better quality

version that takes

a while to load.

Record Review – Sean Madigan Hoen “The Liquor Witch”

April 24, 2009

Greyday Records

Sean Madigan Hoen The Liquor Witch

By Chris Brunelle

“We Are Pedestrians” opens The Liquor Witch with Sean Madigan Hoen singing, “No more bad news, I will not subscribe.” This line sets the overriding tone that follows through the next eleven tracks, but some of his other metaphors are more oblique. “We are pedestrians, this we try to have, with our books and our guns and the science of our tongues, transitory, all of us…”

After spending the past two decades fronting the bands Leaving Rouge, The Holy Fire and Thoughts Of Ionesco, Hoen is still playing with a core group of people who are a major force in shaping the tone and color of his music. On this, his solo debut, the band does a commendable job of emphasizing the emotions he seems to be chasing.

And when working in the singer-songwriter construct, Hoen often layers his lyrics with opaque metaphors while showing little concern for pursuing narrative ease. It’s a word game for Hoen, with decorative adjectives and textual painting.

Originally published in Impose Magazine, you can also view this article HERE

Review – Hans Blix “What’s the Highest Number You Can Think Of?”

April 23, 2009

Hans Blix, What's the Highest Number You Can Think Of, Review

By Chris Brunelle

Taking the name from the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix is not an electronic outfit but a jazz-oriented groove band that is pulling those influences back to the turntable-free land of bass, drums, sax and guitar. The only arguable crossover they share instrumentally between the two genres is the electronic keyboard. In keeping with what the Hans Blix boys consider a clever name, they claim to employ “weapons of mass improvisation.” That may be the case, but come on guys, really? The only figures in jazz who can carry that kind of bravado are long since past, and seeing as the golden age of jazz is too, it is doubtful such a figure or group will likely come along again that can pull it off.

Such Band Camp witticisms also suggest someone in this band has rocked a keyboard tie at some point, in a non-ironic way. But cheesy puns and lofty egos aside, Hans Blix makes some enjoyable grooves. It’s not earth shattering, but I’m sure some scholarly jazz types could make a very plausible academic case in favor of these musicians’ creations.

The result for any given listener is music that is meditative and groovy. I’m not hearing an abundance of virtuosity on these tracks, which may display professional restraint, but simultaneously brings ability into question since usually it’s a trapping of the genre that all instrumentalists must display overt technical bravado at some point in their performance. That aside, the improvisational grooves that Hans Blix build quickly grow on the listener. It’s memorable, even catchy, so while the sound may take on some higher-brow aspirations at times, the results are at least accessible and enjoyable.

Originally appearing in Impose Magazine, this article can also be viewed


Review – HARAM “Drescher”

April 22, 2009

Lovitt Records

Haram, Drescher

By Chris Brunelle

When the blistering guitar-and-drum frenzy lifts off on the opening of Haram’s Drescher, I’m impressed by their energy and instincts. As the album rumbles on, I quickly start hearing the influences more than what’s happening on the speakers.

It’s mimicry in high form, but for all its power to inflect and persuade, Haram just can’t keep me in its world on their terms. Even though this is my first encounter of any kind with Haram, I can almost guarantee that anyone of the indie persuasion would probably be some degree of stoked after seeing Haram perform live.

Additionally, the recordings on Drescher possess a vibrancy that is no doubt reflective of their live energy. I also don’t doubt that there are many folks out there who would really like Haram and this album. It sounds cool, it rocks, it’s got the chemistry and the formulas down. But at the end of the day, I won’t find myself humming any of these tunes as I walk down the street, and I’ll probably put on a record by one of Haram’s favorite groups before I put on this one.

But don’t think I’m damning them. There’s nothing wrong with Drescher. That is, unless you want more out of music than satisfaction.

This article was

originally published

in Impose Magazine

and canbe seen