Listening in: CD Reviews

Rony Seikaly
House Calls
Subliminal Essentials, 2010

Under his watchful eye, knowledgeable mentor Erick Morillo opens his talents and his Subliminal label to budding DJ and producer Rony Seikaly. Formerly an NBA all-star with the Miami Heat, Seikaly has travelled around the world over to exotic places, dropping tracks for big name promoters. With both singles “Come With Me” and “Let You Go” already launched and receiving good feedback in the digital record shops, he is now admired by the crowds for his “happy underground” style. This style is characterized by tribal rhythms and disco influenced melodies. On House Calls, DJ Chus and Supernova start off the journey in that exact fashion with “Carnavalesco,” a powerful energetic club track just waiting to go off like a bomb. A lot of the songs feature friendly vocals of gospel-like songs. It is features like these that define the “happy” edge that Seikaly is known for. He includes a couple of his own tracks on House Calls, like “Sensations,” with its progressive, uplifting sound. Seikaly made good choices in the album’s track selection and he shows a strong comfort level in handling its sound — but only after a couple more singles will we see if his role as DJ and producer are more than a hobby, or just his next career jump after the NBA.

We Were Lovers
We Were Lovers
Unsigned, 2010

We Were Lovers takes their place in the world of postmodern electro-rock. With the twang of guitar licks from Bernard Sumner (Joy Division and New Order) and the same finesse, We Were Lovers’ guitarist and synth player Ash Lamothe harnesses that strength and turns it into infectious hooks. Their single “People Talk” is the rebirth of alternative rock grooves, bursting with accented notes. Hailing from Canada is no small feat either — this duo is based in Saskatoon, raising the prairie grass and many eyebrows to deliver poppy tunes you just can’t ignore. Elsa Gebremichael’s voice is more than an overnight sensation as well. More than a little similar to Blondie, she has a musical ability and a swagger, coupled with a gritty sound and emotionally captivating lyrics. Along with this beautiful voice, Elsa also controls the keyboards and percussion for the tracks you’ll whisk through easily on this five-track EP. After all that heavy playback, you’ll be in need of both a disc cleaner and information on their touring schedule, as this is a band that should not be missed.