Whiskey Epiphany's twelve-track debut album entitled Old Story is surely just the beginning of their saga. The band's first offering delivers an intriguing blend of bluesy acoustic, folk, and celtic rock, similar to the musical stylings of Mumford and Sons or Of Monsters & Men. Coming together in 2012 to form an eclectic mix of vocals and instruments, their debut album was released in October 2012. The troupe is composed of a range of talents, with lead singer and acoustic guitarist Mike Gravitis, box and drums maniac Dave Toms, vocal powerhouse Kris Tonkens, and James MacKay on lead guitar and mandolin. Adding to the mix are featured artists Iain Leslie on bass and David McLean on violin.
Finishing as runner up in Cogeco's "Stars Among Us" awards, Whiskey Epiphany is already receiving accolades in the music world. Kicking off 2013 with a January 12 show at the Hard Rock Toronto, the band is also planning to showcase their musical gifts on the East Coast this summer, adding frontman Mike's sister Lianne Gravitis to the vocal roster.
"There's Something About Whiskey" that makes Old Story a refreshing contribution to the indie music scene. Whiskey's unique collaboration of voices and instruments adds a much-needed uniqueness to the realm of alternative music. Kris Tonkens compliments lead singer Mike Gravitis' twangy drawl with her powerhouse vocals, expertly transitioning from softer harmonies to rich, gritty notes. Kicking it off with the funky folk piece, "It Will Shine For One" gives an upbeat beginning to the album. "Feeling of a Lie" strays from the more lively feel of album's first few tracks with a deeper, almost sinister quality to it. Gravitis almost growls out "just waiting for my time to bring it up and watch you fall," before belting out the chorus. Followed up with a tribute to the bands title liquor with the quirky "Something About Whiskey", Tonkens also shows off her sassy, gritty side. The mood winds down with "Diamonds and Coal", a slower piece that showcases harmonious vocals and eerily enchanting acoustic guitar. "Whole Again" brings something new once again, with the smoothly captivating violin and light, plucky mandolin pairing up for a lighter-raising worthy track.
Though the album is not necessarily consistent, the varying abilities of all artists involved is truly intoxicating - sure to inspire a musical epiphany.
Music Writer at Kerr Village Productions
Volition Aire are brave fellas. No, not just for asking a pretentious asshole like me to write a review of their album, the band wears its influences on its sleeve.
Every Oasis solo, every off key nerd rock hook, every kink there is to beat out of every stooge; every classic mainstream album from 1964 to 1976 has its own part in presenting Volition Aire in widescreen, and thats not something the band intends to hide. No doubt at the heart of every song on the album rings the air of a group of musicians working hard to fuse all of their creative energies and influences together in a way that brings you closer to a place where no ones trying to lie to you about how cool they are.
And in super hip university town Guelph, Ontario, that's more than refreshing. Its positively courageous. I couldn't imagine playing songs like Helen of Troy, at the Jimmy Jazz, cause its one of the only places in town you go to hear something other than the usual bar band fair, and its the only place I wouldn't want to be caught dead covering a Weezer song at an open mic. But with that song recalling all the Buddy Holly harmonies reinvented for the nineties that alternative rock did, its good to know that not everyone's as self conscious as me.
Sure, the hooks on songs like Storm and Time of Our Lives sound a little forced at times, but the tracks still dont seem to drag on. They're imperfect, but not indulgent. Even the stoner-jam Explosion, while smacking of Kyuss circa Welcome to Sky Valley, isn't quite as derivative as such a description might lead one to believe.
Kyuss producer Chris Goss said he knew the California band was destined for greatness when Josh Homme told him they didn't listen to Black Sabbath. The band built on the music they were playing by venturing into territory, though unbeknownst to them, which solidified its own genre, and thus created a split in the musics etymology.
In this pastiche of the music that raised most all of us in one way or another, Volition Aire have exercised their own ability to perfect that sound for themselves. The epics are epic without being tedious. At 7:09, Angels May Fly Away does not give its runtime away seconds before finishing. The ballads have a minstrels charm to them, and the groups dynamics evolve throughout the album to show how strong they are at working together to incorporate creativity from every corner of the studio.
The songs are hardly straightforward structure wise, and the far out breaks are inspired if nothing else.
Its a recording that the band couldn't help but be proud of if they hated it and that's something any artist should always strive to have under their belt. Something to look back on and say We worked hard, and we made this work the way it should have.
When will we learn that everything we say is over-heard/Out in the open, the chorus of Heatwave begs us to look inside ourselves and ask if our entire lives give us the same feelings as albums like this should for their creators. We direct our own lives, and we can choose what other people can choose to take from us or not.
Volition Aire don't listen to stoner-rock, or post-rock, or shoe-gaze, they're a throwback classics band but imagine the mature, introspective black metal they'd come up with if they did.
Station Manager at CIVL
Broken Caliber is a band that has been on my radar since we launched V2.0 of our website. They were one of the first to utilize our Bands pages. (If you're in a band and are reading this, you can get one too. They are free.) So when asked to check out their new CD After the Ashes I jumped at the chance.
Broken Caliber are heavy in the 90's influences and almost every song reminds you of a song you loved growing up in the 90's. Not to say their songs aren't original or different, they just have a familiarity or nostalgia that makes you connect to them almost immediately.
"Bleed You" is a straight ahead rock song with fat sounding guitars and a sing-along chorus. "Bullet Girl" comes from more of a punk influence. Broken Caliber slows things down on the intro to "Long Road" without losing their thick sound and also has some of the best guitar work on the album.That's one of the strong points about After the Ashes, at times it's hard to believe it's the same band responsible for writing all these songs and there is a tempo, influence, or vocal style for any child of the 90's.
Physical copies of After the Ashes can be purchased at Sunrise Records and Encore Records in Kitchener or Orange Monkey in Waterloo. Search for Broken Caliber on CDBaby.com and iTunes to download After the Ashes now. You can learn more about the band on their website at http://www.brokencaliber.com/.
Editor at Music Lives