New Brunswick bands show promise for 2010 music scene

It seems that with each passing year, the momentum and gains being made by New Brunswick musicians eclipses the previous year.

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Perhaps unbeknownst to some, NB bands had a rather eventful 2009:

From Iron Giant snagging the opening slot for Marilyn Manson in Moncton to country outlaws The Divorcees lengthy cross-country journeys across Canada, New Brunswick bands continue making a name for themselves right across the country.

To help get a sense of where people anticipate how New Brunswick musicians and bands will fare in the New Year, [here] reached out to a smattering of music industry folks, publicists and the artists themselves to see who they believe will shine even brighter in 2010.

When quizzed about what bands he feels have a chance to shine in 2010, Warner Music Canada’s Atlantic Regional Manager John Poirier has a few names for consideration.

“I think Mel Keith is really just getting started with making waves,” Poirier says.

“She played some key showcases this past year including Contact East and the Atlantic Film Festival and is nominated for ‘Pop Recording of the Year’ at the upcoming East Coast Music Awards in March.”

“Sleepy Driver is a Fredericton band I think are bound for bigger things. I find they are really refreshing in terms of sound, much in the Wilco vein of things.”

“And finally, I would have to say that I see a lot of potential in Jessica Rhaye. I recently had the chance to hear some of her stuff and really enjoyed it,” says Poirier.

Rhaye has had a busy 2009, releasing her latest CD “Good Things” this spring. The Hampton native has also been busy playing industry showcases in Ontario and as far away as California this past year. She had music placed in the CBC show “Heartland” and was nominated for Contemporary Singer Of The Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Heading into the New Year, Rhaye has three ECMA nominations and can look forward to performing at the National Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis as well as performing at the Granville Island Theatre during the Olympics in Vancouver in February.

Another New Brunswicker heading to perform during the Olympics won’t be armed with anything more than a carefully selected arsenal of music.

DJ Bones’ has continued to flourish in 2009. As the host of monthly “Indie Pop Night” events throughout New Brunswick and the Maritimes, DJ Bones (aka Marc Xavier Leblanc) will be heading to Vancouver in February to DJ an event being held in conjunction with the Olympics.

And soon after the Olympics have wrapped up, Leblanc will be getting set to take part in his first DJ event outside of our Canadian borders.

He will be heading to France in March to DJ during an event being organized by L’Association Francophonie ENS, reportedly one of the most prestigious graduate schools in France.

When asked who he feels shows a great deal of potential as the world prepares for 2010, Leblanc contributes more than a few names to our quickly growing list:

“Pascal Lejeune released a great album this past year which was recorded by Yves Desrosiers, who is highly sought-after producer in Quebec,” Leblanc says. “Pascal’s album has been getting airplay all over the world and he’s now starting to tour throughout Canada and is even heading to Europe for shows.”

“I think that Kevin McIntyre is another person to keep an eye on in the New Year. He is one of the founding members of Test Tone Channel, who I consider to be one of Moncton’s most underrated bands. He has found his voice as a solo artist, has great songs and shows an incredible amount of potential.”

Speaking of showing an incredible amount of potential, I had two record labels and bands on those labels consistently rear their heads in e-mails I received.

The first of those labels, Forward Music Group, operates out of Fredericton and has an impressive stable of bands including The Slate Pacific, The Olympic Symphonium, Grand Theft Bus and The Motorleague.

The Motorleague are wrapping up what has proven to be one of their busiest years yet. With a couple of Central Canadian tours under their belts, the best is yet to come from this Moncton band.

During the past year, the group released their debut full-length record “Black Noise” and saw the album’s first video for “Hymn For The Newly Departed” receive some highly valued airplay on the Much Loud video channel.

The band has three nominations heading into March’s East Coast Music Awards in Sydney in March and will be using the ECMA weekend as the launch pad for their next video for “You Wear Me Down.”

“We are hoping to break our band’s mythical Ontario glass ceiling in 2010, meaning that we’ve never been further West than Ontario and are hoping to change that,” Motorleague vocalist-guitarist Don Levandier notes.

“We are also hoping to get overseas. We’ve been talking about it forever and it’s always been this mythical goal that didn’t seem feasible, but in 2010 we’re going to make it work out.”

The second record label referred to above is Diminished Fifth Records. Although the label is Halifax-based, they have no shortage of New Brunswick bands featured on their roster.

Fredericton’s We The Undersigned released their Diminished Fifth debut “Bleed The Constants” in October and have already toured across Canada once in support of the album.

“We have received great chart results on campus radio throughout the country for WTU and have had overall great reviews on their record,” Diminished Fifth head Josh Hogan says.

Fellow Fredericton act Rusted Dawn are the newest band on the Diminished Fifth label and will see their debut released in the Spring of 2010.

“I expect these guys to make a huge impact on not only the regional metal scene but the national one as well,” Hogan says.

Truthfully, the amount of talent that resides in our fair province that shows future promise couldn’t possibly be crammed into one issue of [here].

I highly recommend scouting local bands and venues for yourself. New Brunswick has proven to be a hotbed of talent in previous years- we can only anticipate and expect this positive trend to continue in the future.

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