October 4, 2006
A big end of summer salute to all of my music video programming friends! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo back with another video from one of our most cherished clients. Who would have thought that online poker could have proven so profitable for Canadian alternative music? Most of us Statesiders know Bodog.com as a place to log on and play Texas Hold’Em with the Internet card sharks. But Bodog chairman Calvin Ayre has a much broader mission, including boxing, television production, and book publishing. And his Bodog record label has attracted some of the most formidable musical talent north of the border. Neurosonic is Ayre’s latest discovery, and, like everything that has so far been released through Bodog Music, it’s fierce, emotionally intense, inventive, and impossible to pigeonhole into any one particular genre.
But that’s one of the benefits of being an independent businessman: you don’t have to pay attention to other peoples’ categories. Bodog has built a stable of unclassifiable acts – great musicians who might otherwise fall through the cracks on an industry built around the aesthetics of conformity. Jason Darr, Neurosonic’s frontman and principal auteur, has always followed his own muse. His work often strikes a balance between the electronic and the organic, combining synthesized soundscapes with rock guitar crunch; as a lyricist, his Trent Reznor influence is apparent, but so is an evident love for spoken-word and social protest music.
Darr’s industrial-postpunk hybrid has hit paydirt before: his previous band, Out Of Your Mouth, hit #5 on the Much Musiccharts with a stunning cover of Madonna’s “Music”. Neurosonic is simultaneously more visionary and more radio-ready. Darr is also known as one of the finest home-recording engineers in Calgary, and he’s polished his nightmares to a sinister shine. Every riff on Drama Queen, his debut, is barbed, and every drum fill feels like an audio assault. “Are Solar”, the lead single, is a prime example of how many terrific ideas Neurosonic can shoehorn into a four-minute pop cut: it begins with a verse as pained and soaring as My Chemical Romance, and expands into a bridge that’s nearly rapped, before crashing into a gigantic singalong chorus. Darr is such a deft handler of sonic tropes that the transitions between the sections are seamless.
Unlike the many electronic and post-industrial projects that are studio entities only, Neurosonic is a fantastic live act. The performing iteration of Darr’s group has been headlining the Bodog battle of the bands, touring Canada and America, and getting set for an upcoming European invasion. Ron Martin’s promotional clip for “Are Solar” gives viewers a taste of the intensity of Neurosonic’s live shows – Darr, in particular, addresses the camera with a winning combination of venom and charm. It also introduces a Gothic element to their aesthetic: the band is dressed like zombies, and they’re playing on a stage that feels peculiarly haunted. Interspersed with the concert footage are shots of a graveyard at night. Here, the band stalks the spaces between the headstones, and pushes spades into the earth. A coffin lid swings open, and dirt slides from the top of the box – but is Neurosonic exhuming or burying?
Here at HIP, we’ve had the opportunity to work in tandem with all of our friends at Bodog Music promoting all of their excellent videos this year and we’re psyched to bring you another winner. We’ve got plenty of copies on hand of the pre-release of their new album Drama Queen for all of your on-air giveaways, so to don’t hesitate to be in touch to get your copy. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at [email protected] .