80’s (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules ~ Slave To The SQUAREWAVE’s “The Money Shot”

slave money shot_1This blog is mostly about obscure and criminally underrated 80’s music. Once in a while I manage to slip in a piece about current artists/ bands who are outstandingly talented and deserve recognition. I am honored to break the mold once again by bringing you a critic’s view of “The Money Shot” just released by Toronto’s own Slave To The SQUAREwave.

Several weeks ago I featured the Slaves and talked about their (many) accomplishments to date. This time, I want to focus on their latest, and in my opinion greatest, release to date.

David Marsden has been providing us with teasers over the past few months by playing a few select tunes from the forthcoming and highly anticipated Slaves CD. I expected the full version to have a mixture of great and so-so songs, like many of the hundreds of CDs/albums I have purchased in my lifetime. Was I ever (thankfully) wrong. “The Money Shot” is nothing but grade-A perfection right out of the starting gate. And, why wouldn’t it be? These guys are professional, uber-talented, and highly entertaining. What a concept!

Colin Troy’s vocals are flawless. As mentioned before, he is channeling David Bowie and beyond back when Bowie’s voice was at its peak. Rob Stuarts’ synths are over-the-top (and it’s well-known how much I adore synth-driven music), providing the perfect heart-and-soul and musical meat to Colin’s voice, an instrument unto itself. Andrew Starr’s guitar performance is in a class all by itself. He does the work of any three guitarists combined, bringing a rich sound to the Slaves’ songs. And last, but not least, Doug Lea’s driving rhythms are the icing on the cake, the backbone of a combination so meant-to-be, it takes your breath away.slave money shot_2

 “The Money Shot” starts with a scratchy, meant-to-sound-like 78 RPM piece that lulls the listener into thinking, “What the heck?” Just as your brain is trying to wade through its confusion, the band launches into “Weapon Of Self Destruction,” leaving you feeling as though you have just been thrust into the roller-coaster ride of your life. Next up is “Dirty Disco,” a synth-based dance piece that coins the adjective “Whoregeous.” From there, the Slaves catapult into a song that might have just transported itself from the 80’s with a middle-Eastern flair, “Healing Hands.” Marsden’s chat room has designated this the room favorite.

 “Boy vs. Girl” is definitely an 80’s new-wave tip of the hat that works exceptionally well. “Average Life Span” has a wah-wah guitar intro, perfectly executed by Andrew Starr, that is to die for. When the song cranks up, with Colin’s voice playing off of itself, that’s exactly what you will find yourself doing to your stereo – cranking it. “Please Have Sex With Me” uses male and female voices alternating grunts and groans that is so hysterically successful in the true spirit of the song. “Jimi Hendrix” is a deceptively laid-back tribute to the master himself that has Doug Lea’s drums fueling a forceful beat.

slave money shot_3And that’s not all. Feel like a beautiful love ballad? The first one in this collection, “Love Unknown” showcases Colin’s lovely and emotion-laden voice. “Strange Summer (Some Are so Strange)” is so fabulously 80’s personified, and so deliciously lush musically and lyrically. “S.O.B.” is pure Colin and his wry sense of humor. It’s a fun song with a wicked bass and back-beat.

“Metaphysical” has a bit of a psychedelic flair to it, along with a tad of 90’s Madchester thrown in for fun. And, speaking of Madchester, check out Rob Stuart’s masterful, chugging organ/keyboards in “Love and Let Die.” “White Knuckle Trip” reminds me of my first (and last) time on Disney World’s Space Mountain. It grabs you from the first note and doesn’t let go until you are absolutely wrung dry (in my case from chair-dancing until I drop).

I have a soft spot for “My Beautiful One.” David Marsden dedicated it to my better half and me late one night, and I have adored it ever since. It’s a gorgeous ballad guaranteed to melt even the coldest of hearts. And Colin’s voice? Once again its beauty and expression defy description. The closing track, “Dirty Disco (Whoregeous Mix)” is a fun and welcome remixed version, using Kim Stuart’s engaging voice sampled singing “At The Dirty Disco.” Well done.

So much talent, so little recognition. And, as if sixteen tracks of sheer bliss isn’t enough, the Slaves have included a DVD with extra goodies. This is a collection that you cannot afford to be without. Let your fingers do the walking over to Marsden Global and click on the CD’s icon on the right side of the page. Support these guys by buying the superb CD/DVD combo “The Money Shot.” And one day soon, when they finally hit the big time, you’ll be glad you did.

 Slave To The SQUAREwave Resources:

Ralph D’s Slave site: http://slavetothequarewave.blogspot.com/ where you can view the Slaves’ complete discography and song lyrics

Slave To The SQUAREwave’s official site: http://www.slavetothesquarewave.com/

Marsden Global: http://www.marsdenglobal.com/

Slave To The SQUAREwave on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/slavetothesquarewave

80’s (and sometimes 00’s) Music Rules ~ Slave to the SQUAREwave

slave_bSometimes local talent is so good, so fantastic, so unbelievably gifted, that it takes your breath away. Such is the case with Toronto, Ontario’s Slave to the SQUAREwave. This is a group that is tight, has all the right sounds, and boasts a lead singer who has the talent and range of David Byrne and David Bowie all wrapped up in one. They have got the look, sound, and feel of 80’s New Wave and synth pop down so well, that at times while listening  it’s hard to believe that I have not been surreptitiously transported back to the era of music that I cherish so much.

 I  have had the privilege of being introduced to the magic that is all things SLAVE via David Marsden’s weekly show streaming over the Internet from 94.9 The Rock FM (see June 25th’s post). This incredible group is made up of Colin Troy (vocals), Andrew Starr (guitar), Rob Stuart (keyboards), and Doug Lea (drums). Colin’s voice is a solid, full range that encompasses everything from a growl to a flawless high-octave wail. Bringing it all into perfect balance, the backing instrumentals are up to the raw power of Colin’s vocal mastery.slave_c

 This is a group that not only nails their songs in the studios, but is a strong onstage presence at live shows as well. I have heard reports from fans lucky enough to see them in and around the TO area, but I have also been given the chance to see and hear this phenomenon for myself via two fan videos on YouTube. Someone had the presence of mind to shoot video of  STTSW performing two of their hottest tracks live for CBC radio which I have included below.

 Slave to the SQUAREwave is such a powerful foursome that they deserve international fame. The fact that some artists/bands who have half the talent have struck it rich in the international music world, makes a strong case that this foursome is destined for the big time. One can only hope that they will be promoted strongly, garnering the following they need to catapult them into the spotlight. After nearly a decade, they are more than due.

slave_a Visit the Slave to the SQUAREwave website where you can hear full versions of some of their best music. Check them out on MySpace where you can treat your ears to their searing hot  new single “Healing Hands,” among other fabulous selections. RalphD has information about each of their tracks on his Slave to the SQUAREwave fan blog.

 If you like what you hear, support them by purchasing their music via CD Baby.

 

 

  [Edit: I received this note from Rob Stuart about the forthcoming Slave to the SQUAREwave CD:

 Missparker,

Thanks so much the kind words about S2TSW. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve just finished mastering the new 15 song CD which is called “The Money Shot” and I’m in the process of finalizing the artwork. It’s going to be a double disc set with a bonus DVD which includes videos, remixes, lyrics and photos. Release date is July 21st and will be available exclusively from http://www.marsdenglobal.com.

Thanks for your continued support.

Rob

 From the samples that David Marsden has played on his show, I can’t wait to purchase my copy!]

  “Sinners of Saint Avenue” Live for CBC via YouTube user DirkFimbob:

“Summertown” via YouTube user slavetothesquarewave:
 

“Sinners of Saint Avenue” via YouTube user KRASHandBarbie:

“New York’s A Go-Go” live for CBC via YouTube user DirkFimbob:

“Pumpin’ Up The ‘P’ House” via YouTube user SparksMusic:

Discography

slaveSlave to the SQUAREwave (2000)

slave2The Future is Square (2002)

slave1Big Change (SparksMusic 2007)

 

 

(no image available) The Money Shot (due for release July 21, 2009)