More music this week


Love and the animal kingdom?

John MacPhee isn’t saying he was trying to write the next number one radio single in the world when he was 10 years old. But every musician has to start somewhere, and MacPhee makes no apologies.

“Fortunately I was young enough I don’t need to be embarrassed by it,” the guitarist and vocalist for Paper Lions laughed over the phone in Charlottetown, PEI, where the band was getting ready to release their new album, Trophies.

“The song was called Love and I don’t quite remember what inspired me to write it, but it went, ‘Love, love, love. I love love.’ That was the chorus.

“Then the verses go on about love existing in the animal kingdom,” he laughed. “The song has stuck. We sing it at most of our family gatherings now.”

Now 25, MacPhee embraces his matured songwriter role and explores the larger themes of life with his band.

And for him, translating it all into lyrics, chord progressions and melodies is entrenched in his East Coast upbringing.

“There’s something about the East Coast. It’s in our blood. It sounds cliché, but most people are singing or playing some instrument from a very early age,” he said. “The easy answer is that the winters are long, it’s cold, there’s not much to do.

“We all just sort of grow up with instruments in our hands.”

See Paper Lions perform Thursday, Oct. 14 at the Royal Albert with Library Voices and Bend Sinister. Visit

—Matt Preprost


Things Will Get Better leads off Bend Sinister’s latest album Spring Romance. This bouncy piano-driven progressive popster piece drives home the refrain, “It might take forever but things will get better.”

It’s that optimism that carried them through their third place showing at Vancouver’s marathon contest Peak Music Project, where the band lost out to another Uniter favourite, We Are The City.

Of course, their prize of $50,000 is no small potatoes.

“It was bittersweet to lose (the Peak contest), but after playing a ton of showcases for the contest with (WATC) we figured that if not us, then they would be great winners. They are just really good dudes,” said Joseph Blood, guitarist and vocalist, from a pit stop in Quebec City on a brutal cross-country sprint to the Maritimes.

Losing a label might also make a band wish for better days.

“(The debut) was supposed to be released on Last Gang Records but the label felt the timing wasn’t right,” said Blood. “Everyone at Distort is a fan and they are looking forward to putting out the new album.”

The result continues Dan Moxon’s (vocals and piano) incredibly infectious pop take on life and love, fostering their subtle sense of humour and Queen-like flare for dramatic musicianship and songwriting.


First order of business: yes, Royal Wood is actually Royal Wood’s real name.

Named after his great-grandfather, the Toronto singer-songwriter has more than his unique name going for him.

Wood’s smooth-like-butter voice and groovy pop prowess caught the ears of Pierre Marchand (Rufus Wainwright, Sarah McLachlan), who helped produce some of the songs on Wood’s third full-length, The Waiting.

The album was released in May.

“I’m really proud of it and I would play it for anyone,” Wood said over the phone before a sound check in Cumberland, B.C.

“It’s my first real label release with all guns blazing. I’ve definitely entered a new level of a budget, but the most drastic change is that I didn’t self-produce something.

“With this record I really wanted to have someone else’s opinion, and the band that I played with for so long to really have a part in it.”

Rounded out live by guitarist Joel Schwartz, bassist Steve Zsirai and drummer Adam Warner, Wood’s Saturday, Oct. 16 stop in Winnipeg is part of his second headlining tour, and his first with a full band.

“I’ve had a lot of opportunities to be the support act to tour across Canada, it finally got to the point I could have headline tours,” said Wood, whose last two tours were only as a duo.

“I’m really excited about having the band.”

See Royal Wood live this Saturday, Oct. 16 at the West End Cultural Centre. Hannah Georgas will also perform. Visit

—Matt Preprost

The thought that things will get better for Bend Sinister seems to be a given.

Check them out on Thursday, Oct. 14 at the Royal Albert Arms Hotel. Paper Lions and Library Voices will also perform. Visit

—Lee Repko

Published in Volume 65, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 14, 2010)

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