Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Lexi Strate | Review: Canadian Pop Princesses NEW 'Antidote' Video

by CA Marshall

Canadian Recording Artist Lexi Strate is the new Katy Perry. No really, Pretty bold statement right? But really, how many others have you seen wearing confectionery-style clothing prancing around with fictional characters and looking (and sounding) so sinfully sweet? PS: We see you there Dan Davidson! (He plays Strates' obedient dog in this video) Aside from the dancing bananas and lollipops that one might see in a Katy Perry video, film director Travis Nesbitt has created pure genius with Strate's newest video 'Antidote', a song about finding the cure for a toxic relationship (poison) and this young lady does pure justice to the pop scene both visually and lyrically. 

I have been following this song since the lyrical video released one month ago and now with the full on colorful Wizard of Oz component with the release of this video all I can say is: BAM! I am confident in saying that this young lady not only has visual appeal and talent, as a Pop Recording Artist (with Hands Up Music), she is also extremely talented vocally as well with her grown up, raspy, burlesque sex-appeal vocal ability. As with all Hands Up Music Artists, Strate lends quality along with her peers (who are also with Hands Up Records) such as Rachel Woznow and Bryan Finlay to name a few. 

The video starts with a 'white picket fence' fantasy dream world romance (doesn't every woman want this?) which quickly turns sour when the 'love of her life' begins demonstrating his distasteful and careless personality (not even stopping for the camera by displaying a gratuitous gonch-pull maneuver!) reflecting the songs plight for a man who isn't 'poison in my veins'. Further into the video and we see a distraught young lady rolling around on a bed clearly unimpressed with her situation and looking for an out: the Antidote, hoping it will change her situation. 

The video inevitably ends with scenes of Strate pulling out all the flowers in her garden and destroying her 'dream scene' and accepting that realistically, the dream is crushed and the reality is, the man of her dreams is a complete (proverbial) dirt-bag and it's time to 'move on'. 

This is a most enjoyable video which is fun and light (with yet a serious connotation and message) and is one of the best I have seen in quite some time. It is spectacular to watch visually and is a very catchy tune: pleasing to the ears and relatable to society on the whole. This young talent takes a serious topic in today's society and turns it into a visually pleasing melody, but make no mistake: this young lady is serious about her music and is beginning to really heat up the Pop scene along with her talented peers in Canada.  

Once again, the Hands Up Team has made another hit with this young lady who has Boldly begun a career in the Canadian Music Industry with this delightful score. Starlight Music Chronicles will be watching more from this Artist and look forward to seeing more of this young talent emerging! Fantastic Video!

PS: We liked it so much we added it to our 'What We're Listening To' page on www.starlightmusicchronicles.com 

Social Media Links
Lexi Strate on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LexiStrate
Twitter: @LexiStrate
Website: http://www.lexistrate.com/
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/lexi-strate/antidote-1
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/antidote-single/id988420424

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The Conjuring of Dr. Draw

by Xristopher Bland

If the idea of the conjurer seems to rest within the walls of Hogwarts, the lands of Middle-earth or some similarly fictional realm, I often return to the music and videos of electronic violinist Dr. Draw and, by the bowing of his hand—furious and mesmerizing like the invocations of some sorcerer drawing magic from the ether—wonder whether the fictions are based on tendrils of truth. 

Though it’s been some while since the former Toronto busker’s last full album Copper Moon, I can still vividly recall the time I saw him live a few years ago at a Toronto street festival. In the stillness of the evening humidity, a low thrum rippled as bass, drums and guitars began an ambient pulse by a street where aerial artists hung silhouetted from scaffolding like fantastical beings. Walking toward the sound before I realized my feet were moving, I felt the electricity in my nervous system spike as a violin note moaned in the night. Working my way through the gathering crowd, I came to stand but ten feet from the conjurer of that note, and as he hypnotically wove his music with a trademark style of passionate abandon, I was struck by the notion of someone not so much playing rehearsed notes as someone listening to some river of notes and acting as translator. 

It wasn’t the first time I’d had this sensation. When I first saw Jimmy Page draw forth a bow in the Led Zeppelin concert film The Song Remains the Same and invoke otherworldly sounds from his Les Paul, I imagined Page as he was portrayed elsewhere in the film—a man on a quest to find a wizard who, in the end, proved to be him. And when I first saw the late Nash the Slash perform at Toronto’s Lee’s Palace, I watched as the bandaged violinist created such a transcendent storm of notes that something beyond music seemed to linger in the air long after the house lights went down. Yet the sense of magic had never been as strong as when I first heard Dr. Draw, known as the first violinist to venture from rock and classical into electronic club culture. By each bow stroke, a wand seemed to wave, and if magic truly came that night, it likely wasn’t far removed from what the artist saw for the Strange Parade. 

As an artist to whom Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora once said “You play like Jimi Hendrix,” Draw created the Strange Parade a few years ago as a collaborative in Sri Lanka while performing for and with terminally ill children and youth struggling with poverty and mental illness. In bringing together circus performers, dancers and painters with a full band, Draw endeavored to create a Cirque de Soleil-style show to transport minds to a magical universe. Draw also began a musical project called Tokka with drummer/keyboardist BSMNT (Jeff-Antoine Coté) and released an EP in April of 2015 in conjunction with Maus, one of Draw’s favorite DJs. And according to recent Tweets @realdrdraw (definitely the best place for show announcements), the artist is getting ready to unveil a new album. 

Until then, existing and potential fans thankfully have a wide selection of YouTube clips that perhaps aren’t so much videos as they are musical spells: 

"Dr. Draw and the Strange Parade" (or, what Cirque might look like if it became an awesome rock show) 

"Confluence on Stage III at TEDxVancouver" (or, what happens when awesome Drawness meets live paint) 



For the official Dr. Draw website, visit www.drdraw.ca.
Twitter: @realdrdraw; @Tokkamusic

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Hey Rosetta! 10 Yrs of Incredible Musical Lenscraft

by Xristopher Bland

As the Canadian indie rock band Hey Rosetta! prepares to celebrate 10 years of making music with a headlining performance on August 7, 2015, at the Newfoundland & Labrador Folk Festival, the band recently put out the call on Facebook for fans to “share your favourite moments with us” (#HR10YR), and that took some thinking. As one who always and easily becomes deeply enfolded within the hauntingly poetic sound-scapes and lyrical artwork of a band that layers piano, violin, cello and brass with a traditional rock setup, I basically experience a favorite moment whenever I cue up any HR! track. Yet I suppose my favorite moment is threefold: the first time I heard the opening line “the road bends long like mother’s arms” from “Seeds” (the opening track of the 2011 album by the same name), the immediate knowing that the lyric was something I needed to remember (though to what end, I wasn’t certain at the time) and how that lyric helped me two years later in the little room. 

We all know the room, though its appearance differs from person to person. Sometimes, it’s one of those hospital alcoves as starkly lit as the news that often arrives there. Other times, it’s the room outside the other room to which other job applicants have nervously filed. Sometimes, it has no walls, though they nonetheless seem to be there when life seems a dead calm. In all cases, the room is a place of waiting—for the eddies of a relationship to bear out, for the pulse of an original passion to re-ignite, or something else—and music has always lent incredible comfort in this room, from countless relationship-themed songs that tell us we’re not alone to escapist, distracting party anthems. Indeed, when Pharrell Williams released “Happy” in 2013, he pretty much wrote the perfect mantra for peace where one finds oneself. Yet beyond this, there’s been music that transcends the room. When Neil Young sang “Keep on rockin’ in the free world” on his 1989 album “Freedom,” he spoke to personal trust and expression beyond what rooms we may find ourselves in. When Tom Petty sang “And I’m free / free falling” the same year on his album “Full Moon Fever,” he not only spoke to what each of us imagines as freedom but to the faith in giving oneself to it even if the way is unclear. By such transcendent gifts, music has always offered figurative lamps to both illuminate the way from the room and travel along as guide, and “Seeds” became my guide in 2013 when they walked me into a small grey office at TV Guide Canada and informed me that, after 17 years as a writer and EPG specialist, I was no longer needed. 

If you’ve never had a similar experience, it’s comparative to trying to hold onto a plate of French fries in a car that’s spinning across a field of ice while the radio plays Looney Tunes music. In other words, in the unreality of it all, there’s little to do but laugh while trying to keep things together, and to my credit, I managed that admirably at first. When they informed me that three other colleagues were being let go because of a sales downturn, I nodded more or less in the right spots to convey how I understood it had nothing to do with my performance. I stayed composed, signed the right papers and even managed to spell my name correctly. Yet when an outplacement agent recommended making a plan as the best course forward, I burst out laughing, not to disparage the agent’s script recitation but because I had made a plan. I’d planned to be awesome at what I did and remain so for years to come—and that plan had shot me spinning across the ice. So after I wobbled down to the street, I decided my plan was to make no plans. I decided instead to stand open to what came, and as I stood staring down Yonge Street to realize just how scary such an unconventional approach felt, it was all suddenly okay. Within my mind, “Seeds” began playing, and I could see that, while the road ahead bent long into the unknown, it bent as mother’s arms, meaning it would welcome me in measure to how I gave myself to it. There was warmth and grace there, and their reach would find me. In that moment, I understood why other writers had described the music of Hey Rosetta! as inexplicable connection, and if I was emboldened by a sense of potential—of taking a second look at things—it was the same lens through which songwriter Tim Baker approached the band’s 2014 album “Second Sight.” 

“I’d been thinking about potential, about the great promise within all of us that we never seem to fully realize,” says Baker on the band’s website, “which led to another of the album’s main themes: this idea of shifting your vision slightly—moving away from your everyday, rational, denotative, left-brain way of seeing the world and embracing a more suggestive, intuitive, animalistic and ultimately more interesting ‘second sight’,” which I suppose may seem quizzical to certain well-meaning agents of outpatient services... I mean, outplacement services. Yet in seeming full embracement of the contemporary wisdom that “you can’t push the river” (or, force things to happen), Baker likened the making of “Second Sight” as “swimming within the river of modern music,” moving with the flow of things into new and uncharted musical waters, discovering remarkable treasures there and ultimately returning them not only as an album but as evidence of what many already know. Where all things are equal in the world, the exquisite musical and lyrical lens-craft of Hey Rosetta! and “Second Sight” is more than a perfect reflection of growing numbers of people worldwide looking to see and experience life differently and richly. It’s assurance that, on the roads beyond the little rooms and all along the trickling paths toward uncertainty, there’s guidance in the sounds around us and the lamps are always clearer than we may imagine. 

To illuminate things for yourself, cue up “Kintsukuroi”, the lead single from “Second Sight,” the song blends the subject of messy love with the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold, thereby rendering a new object of beauty with its flaws highlighted instead of hidden. (watch first video below) Feeling as if life has too many slings and arrows? Say “What Arrows” and strip away chattering illusion in this softly composed video as tender, simple and strong as what you know to be true. (watch second video below)


To share your own favorite Hey Rosetta! moment, visit the band on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/heyrosetta) or Tweet with #HR10YR. Or follow them on Tumblr (http://hrnews.tumblr.com) or Instagram (https://instagram.com/heyrosetta). To order "Second Sight" or for the band’s complete touring schedule, visit heyrosetta.com but stay especially tuned to Hey Rosetta! on Facebook for soon-to-be-announced tour dates across Europe and the UK.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

SMC Welcomes New Affiliate | Project Cuddle

Despite the fact that there is so much education in schools and on the internet these days, thousands of young women and teens struggle with the decision of 'keeping their baby' when they lack the financial, physical, and emotional support throughout their pregnancy. This is where Debbe Magnusen, Founder & CEO of Project Cuddle comes in:

(From Project the Project Cuddle Website)
'I realized at the age of 8 that I wanted to save babies from abandonment when I grew up. The reason was simple...I had seen a dirty, naked newborn with the umbilical cord still attached in an orphanage where I was volunteering with my parents in Mexico. Seeing tragedy made me realize that someday, I was going to try and stop this tragedy from happening. After fostering 35 drug-exposed and adopting 5 of these wonderful children, I still kept hearing about babies that were being abandoned. After hearing about a baby found dead in a file cabinet at Yamaha USA just a few cities away in January of 1996, I was shook up and didn't understand why the woman didn’t bring the baby to me? I couldn't imagine anything more horrible than being a newborn baby and laying there while slowly dying...alone' -Debbe Magnusen 



Project cuddle is the result of one woman's crusade to help prevent infants from being abandoned. Debbe Magnusen fostered over 30 drug-exposed babies, while raising two biological children. Eventually five of those beautiful little ones were adopted and became part of the Magnusen Family. Debbe is the author of 'Don’t Abandon Your Baby' and 'It's Never Dull!!' Each book shares true and action packed adventures of girls/women that kept their pregnancies a secret.....babies that we almost abandoned. Lives forever changed because of Debbe, her wonderful family, and her band of dedicated and caring volunteers across the nation. 

The Project Cuddle crisis line was started in the living room of Debbe's home with the hope of ending baby abandonment. Within 12 hours of opening the 24 hour crisis-line, Project Cuddle received it's first crisis call. A frightened woman, who had hidden her pregnancy from everyone she knew. She was due to deliver at any minute and planned to put the newborn in the park. There was no time to waste! Debbe had only days to orchestrate a safe and legal alternative to abandonment. Project Cuddle was able to retain an attorney, a family yearning to rescue and adopt the baby, as well as an obstetrician, hospital, and counselor. Debbe Magnusen coached this woman through the delivery of a beautiful baby girl. After the baby was delivered into the arms of the adoptive parents, the birth mother said to Debbe. 'I feel like I've done something I can be proud of for the first time.' The woman did not break the law. The baby was safe and a rescue couple was overjoyed at having a new daughter in their lives. 

Statistics indicate that: 57 children are abandoned EVERY DAY tragically, babies are being abandoned across the nation on a daily basis. Since it's inception, Project Cuddle has saved over 77 babies across the Country and into Canada from the fate of being abandoned, or worse.  

John Stamos is the National Spokesperson for the Project Cuddle Organization. With John's help, Project Cuddle has been able to create a school video to educate students about the importance of calling for help instead of abandoning a baby. In May of 2009, Oprah Winfrey and John Stamos surprised Debbe and Project Cuddle by being feature on The Oprah WInfrey Show. 

Project Cuddle was incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit Charity in 1994. A volunteer Board of Directors oversees the Organization, which Debbe runs on a day-to-day basis with the assistance of volunteer and a minimally-paid staff. Generous donations help to save babies from the fate of abandonment. There are many ways to help and if you wish to, please go to www.projectcuddle.org


Editors Note: 

This is an Organization that Starlight Music Chronicles supports by being a Catalyst/Media platform to spread Debbe's message for Project Cuddle through articles and content in support. I first learned of Project Cuddle via Stephanie Rachel, CEO of the Parliament Management and I look forward to launching a full feature in the coming months on these group of Angels who have come together to help young women overcome their fears. This is a cause that is dear to my heart as at one time, I was in a position of fear also and was grateful I had the support in place that I did (that being, my family). Not everyone is that lucky and no one should be left in a position where they are scared and pushed to limits where they make choices that become irreparable. I commend Debbe and her Organization on helping these women get the direction they need to move in a positive direction forward! 

CA Marshall 


To Contact Project Cuddle:

Website: www.projectcuddle.org

If pregnant please call their Crisis Hotline at:
*Note: these numbers are for crisis calls only

English 1.888.628.3353
Spanish 1.888.483.2323

For Non-Crisis calls contact:


Email: info@projectcuddle.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectCuddle
Twitter: @Project_Cuddle
National Spokesperson Twitter: @JohnStamos 

Upcoming Events:

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Funkin' Out Low and Slow with DELHI 2 DUBLIN | by Xristopher Bland

by Xristopher Bland 

Droppin’ It Low ‘n Slow With Delhi 2 Dublin Where dance has been the vital blood pressure of music since some prehistoric drummer caused the first tail feather to shake by rhythmically beating on a hollow log (or, perhaps, a friend’s head), Vancouver world music band Delhi 2 Dublin dials that pulse to “TumbiWOW,” the first video and song from the band’s forthcoming album Low ‘n Slow (slated for August 21, 2015).

Formed in 2006 by Tarun Nayar, Sanjay Seran and Ravi Binning for a performance at the Vancouver Celtic Festival, D2B uniquely fuses Celtic and Bhangra musical traditions (hence the band’s name) with the rave-pulse energy of a neon-washed club at midnight. If there’s a message in their music, it’s arguably “Turn Up the Stereo,” the title track from their 2012 album by the same name, and where fans have answered that call across North America and Europe at what might be best described as D2B multi-cultural dance-party concert celebrations, the band lays down the funk in its newest outing. 

(And cue the gratuitous aside to Parliament's "We Want the Funk": “We need the funk / We gotta have the funk / Ow!") 

From the curved font and muted-mustard color selections for the band’s Low ‘n Slow Facebook banner graphic to the thumping bass-line drive of “TumbiWOW” and follow-up release “Low ‘n Slow,” everything harkens to a distinctly 1970s funk vibe that blends infectiously with D2B’s overlays of old-school Bollywood, electronica and more—with “more” being fan inclusion. Where some bands simply head off to a studio to produce an album before hitting the promotional trail, D2B is taking a different approach by involving fans in the process. By pre-ordering Low ‘n Slow through PledgeMusic, fans can get their hands on limited merchandise like unreleased singles and videos, and can interact with the band on a creative level. As D2B says on the PledgeMusic site, “Heck, we’ll even whip up a bhangra version of a song—any song—of your choice!” 

(Hmmm... perhaps a showy, Bollywood-style rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”?) 

Though ‘70s-style funk stands focused in Low ‘n Slow’s two musical releases, the accompanying videos, though entertaining and creative, are something of a stylistic imagining. In “Low ‘n Slow” dance-show segments reminiscent of the Soul Train TV show, headbands and crocheted clothing definitely point to the 1960s (which was but whispering fashion-wise in the ‘70s). And in a humorous video for “TumbiWOW” that centers on a big-money ping-pong match, the clothes, shot style and storyline-driven visuals echo the look and feel of 1980s videos, and have a few continuity problems. (Look for the Mardi Gras beads appearing then disappearing then reappearing on the match referee, as well as the random astronaut.) Yet as the essence of celebration has naturally never been about taking things too seriously, it’s perhaps best to take the videos for what they are—entertaining and imaginative creations from an equally entertaining and imaginative band that knows the heartbeat of dance and pretty much puts jumper cables to it in recording and live performance. 

Currently on tour, Delhi 2 Delhi 2 Dublin reached #3 on the Canadian world music charts in December, 2007, with their self-titled debut album, and have toured extensively across Canada and Europe in major cities and at small community-based festivals.

*To pre-order Low ‘n Slow, visit: http://www.pledgemusic.com/delhi2dublin. 

Contact D2B: 
Website: http://www.delhi2dublin.com 
Instagram: https://instagram.com/delhi2dublin 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/delhi2dublin 
D2B on YouTube: 
"TumbiWOW" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czL4QHIDWaE 
“Low 'n Slow” YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AtpSGOOZh0

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Steven Tyler | HRD: ''HIS ROYAL DUDENESS' Label by Xristopher Bland

'In Posting a humorous Starlight Music Chronicles (SMC) item three days ago in which I called for an 'International Appreciation of Hippies', I want to say that 'His Royal Dude-ness', Steven Tyler took up that call in his newly released video for 'Love is Your Name'. Shot on the outskirts of Nashville with members of Tylers band Loving Mary, the video reflects Tylers' move from rock to country in the opening shot, where strands of colorful silks lay from a rock stage to a small cabin in a field. Yet through a blend of Tylers trademark vocals and a luscious swirl of peasant skirts, acoustic guitars, headbands and more, both the song and video walk on sch a Chic Gypsy vibe that, where the images reflect elements that have been integral to Tyler's life, they elevate the notion of the hippie from standard contemporary caricature in a song reminiscent in places of early Fleetwood Mac. The entire video is artfully respectful to a significant subculture presented as new and so alluringly, it's hare not to ask the question, 'Where do you buy your threads, Steve?' and 'How soon do they open so I can grab some?' As for grabbing Tylers forthcoming Country Album, it will be coming out on the Big Machine imprint Dot Records, though no release dates have been set as of yet.' - Xristopher Bland 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Giorgio Moroder | Deja Vu Featuring Disco Royalty

Debbie Harry (AKA: Blondie) and Morader in the early days
Giorgio Moroder is quite literally the Disco Comeback King with his collaborative album Featuring Sia, Britney Spears, Charli XCX, Kylie Minogue, Kellis, Foxes and Matthew Koma. I have had some time since the album release (on June 12th, 2015) to digest the tracks and research what Rolling Stone Magazine has titled 'The High Priest of Disco' and there is definitely some validity to this brazen statement. This Italian born Dance Music Magician has earned his stripes in the Music Industry long before even some of the artist's on his latest Album Deja Vu was released.

Moroder is an Oscar award winning Artist (for producing Berlin's 'Take My Breath Away' from the movie Top Gun & 'What a Feeling' from the movie Flashdance). He is also the Genius behind production of Blondie's 'Call Me' and Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love', 'Bad Girls', Last Dance', Love to Love You Baby', 'No More Tears (Enough is Enough)', 'Dim All the Lights', 'MacArthur Park', 'Hot Stuff', and 'On The Radio' which heated up dance floors in the 70's and 80's.

Donna Summer with Moroder in the 1970's
Among his list of High Caliber Artist collaborations in the past, Moroder has also worked with: Human League, Kajagoogoo, Harold Faltermeyer (Axel F), Tom Whitlock, Kenny Loggins, Falco, and Claudio Zampolli. 

More recently, Moroder has worked with Daft Punk for their 2013 Album 'Random Access Memories' and by summer of 2013 began to DJ at Red Bull Academy in the USA. Shortly after in 2014, he released his remix of Coldplay's 'Midnight' (see You Tube mix above) from their Ghost Stories album and has also remixed Tony Bennet & Lady Gaga's 'I can't give you anything but love'.

The Deja Vu album is an exciting upbeat album that has some pretty brilliant collaborations with established Artists who have come together for a genuine Modern Dance Music/Disco revival. For those avid club-goers, it just doesn't get any better than this! 

Moroder with Sia


Album Review by CA Marshall