Monthly Archives: March 2011

Was Diamond Rings the death blow to the D’Urbervilles?

Just because John O’Regan (above) is busy as Diamond Rings doesn’t mean his previous band is gone (Sean Richardson)

A solo project does not always mean the demise of a band, especially in the Canadian music scene.

On Monday night, post-rock band The D’Urbervilles made a tweet saying “R.I.P.” which then directed fans to the band’s website. It announced that the band “is dead” and has a clock which seems to be counting down to Monday morning.

NOW Magazine then got ahead of themselves and announced that the band had broken up. But the rumour mill says that the band isn’t breaking up, and are instead changing their name. John O’Regan, the band’s lead singer and frontman of solo project Diamond Rings, said just last week to Spinner that the D’Urbervilles aren’t breaking up because of his busy schedule.

There are plenty of examples from the recent past that show a solo project doesn’t mean the end of the soloist’s band. Jay Malinowski of Bedouin Soundclash is one such example.

Jay Malinowski's solo album had no effect on Bedouin Soundclash as a band (jemeeter/Flickr)

Malinowski, after three albums with Bedouin Soundclash, released a solo LP, Bright Lights and Bruises, in early February of 2010. Several months later that same year, Bedouin Soundclash released Light the Horizon. At some point after that release Malinowski found the time to record a five-track EP with Beatrice Martin, a.k.a. Coeur de Pirate under the name Armistice.

Similarly, Dallas Green has enjoyed considerable success under the City and Colour moniker, a solo departure from his work in Canadian rock band Alexisonfire. Green has also recorded two songs with London, Ont. rapper Shad.

In the case of both Green and Malinowski, their respective bands stayed together while they enjoyed success as solo acts. This suggests that O’Regan’s busy schedule as Diamond Rings won’t be killing the D’Urbervilles (or whatever their new name might be).

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Calgary man wanted for first degree murder in year-old case

Police are seeking public help in finding Pablo Rodrigo Russell, a suspect in a January 2010 murder (Public domain)

Calgary police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Pablo Rodrigo Russell, wanted for the murder of Serafino Virgilio in January 2010.

Detectives believe that Russell has left Alberta and is probably in British Columbia. Russell has been wanted by police since April of 2010 after police identified him as a suspect.

Police are asking the public’s help in finding Russell, who usually goes by Paul. He is described as Hispanic, 5’11” tall and 176 pounds. He has green eyes, brown hair and a noticeable scar on his nose. He also has a tattoo of a dragon on his upper back.

Police are also looking for any of Virgilio’s possessions which may be held in the basements or garages of his friends or neighbours.

On January 19, 2010, Virgilio’s body was found in a 1999 GMC Denali. An autopsy later revealed that the man had been murdered. Police believe Virgilio was killed two days earlier and his body was later hidden in the car.

Natalie Vinje has already been arrested in connection with the murder.

Russell has previously been charged with one count each of accessing and possessing child pornography.

Calgary Crime Stoppers

What’s so great about Queen Street West?

The intersection of Queen Street West and Bay Street is one of the busier intersections one will encounter when walking down Queen(Michael Thomas)

Every large city needs an arts community. New York City has Greenwich Village; Toronto has Queen Street West.

Queen Street West is the half of Queen Street that starts at Yonge Street and runs all the way to Roncesvalles Avenue. It is home to a mix of eclectic shops, record stores and bars, the latter of which play host to indie bands from Canada, the United States and beyond.

Originally called Lot Street, it was renamed in the 1840’s in honour of Queen Victoria. Even as early as 1860 the street was dominated by small businesses, an aspect still largely in effect today.

Only on Queen Street West can you find Kops, an independent record store, located right beside the Condom Shack.

Many buildings on the street are old but varied in architecture styles- a report shows buildings on Queen Street West range from Neo-Classical to Gothic Revival to Post-Modern.

With Canadian Music Week happening, Queen Street West is set to become even more bustling and will be alive late into the night and into the following mornings.

See below for a picture slideshow of a part of Queen Street West, accompanied by the sounds of the street itself. All photos and audio by Michael Thomas.

Peter Elkas brings soul on his new record, “Repeat Offender”

The album cover for Peter Elkas' latest LP, released February 22nd (Courtesy of peterelkas.com)

Those into the Canadian indie scene you probably won’t need much of an introduction to Peter Elkas. But just in case you don’t know him, here’s a brief intro.

Elkas was the front man of the Local Rabbits, a band that had success in the 90′s and toured a lot with Thrush Hermit, Joel Plaskett’s old band. Elkas is still friends with Plaskett now and even joined The Emergency as a full-time member.

With such a vast musical history, one can only expect great things from Elkas. And no one should be disappointed by this latest musical offering.

Elkas plays rock and roll in the most classic sense of the word- his music is music to groove and sway to and is filled with soul. There isn’t a single note wasted here and every song is thoroughly enjoyable.

The album starts off with “Anticipation” which, true to its name, will build you up as you listen. Elkas sings very smoothly and has great backup vocalists assisting him.

“Tiny Valentine” is an interesting song in that it starts off as a piano ballad but turns into an upbeat swing complete with horns. It provides a good transition into “Misery” which features an amazing horn solo.

The title track also provides insight into the songwriting talent Elkas has. It starts off with the lyrics “Repeat offender hasn’t got a heart/Well if he did he lost it at the start/Reaching out for mother only to be held/Playing your heart like a ringing bell.”

There isn’t a song here that isn’t unimpressive in some way- and that’s to be expected from a musician of Elkas’ caliber. Recommended listening.

Best tracks: “Misery”; “Repeat Offender

Rating: 4/4

See Peter Elkas performing “Anticipation” below: