Jordan Miller

REVIEW: The Beaches – The Professional (2019 EP)

THE BEACHES – The Professional (2019 Universal EP)

Fact:  Toronto’s The Beaches put out consistently good music.  On their 2019 EP The Professional, they teamed up with big namer Jacknife Lee for production.  The band has grown a huge fanbase opening up for artists like Avril Lavigne, but the truth is they are better than most of the bands they open for.  The Beaches have developed a signature sound early on.  It doesn’t hurt that singer/bassist Jordan Miller has a unique, powerful voice.

Opener “Desdemona” boasts some sharp opening chords because the bass and drum groove takes us to the dancefloor.  Jordan Miller goes falsetto for that vintage vibe.  The guitars cut but don’t dominate.  There’s a fun 80s vibe but with the modern clarity and production that fans demand today.  It thumps!

More 80s vibes on “Fascination” which has an fast tempo Blondie direction.  Short, sweet and upbeat.  Synth drums open “Snake Tongue”, an understated angry pop masterpiece.  Check out these lyrics:

I can’t say I lack for much attention,
‘Cause these creeps come in from all directions,
Getting in my face,
Every single day.

And these:

Stop sending me all your dick picks,
They are boring me to pieces.

Although the Beaches certainly don’t need my sympathy, that kind of behaviour pisses me off.  Have some respect, dudes.  Though the music is nothing but pure uptempo fun, the lyrics bleed reality and it’s awesome.  You can hear why the Beaches are really resonating with kids today.

“Want What You Got” continues the 80s dance direction.  The bottom end just booms.  The chorus slays.  Everything about this song rules.  No weak links. There’s even a heavy breakdown midway through.  This is a guilt-free ode to jealousy, and why not.  When the chorus is this killer, who cares about deadly sins.

The final track “Lame” was a radio hit upon release.  A bit of an anthem, with bite! 70s glam rock vibes all over.  Loaded with attitude and soaring high on confidence, this track attacks!

The Beaches are only going to get bigger.  They’ve been releasing music consistently, including the Future Lovers EP and live tracks on Youtube.  Their next album will be huge, just wait.

5/5 stars

 

Catch the Beaches in Toronto TONIGHT!

 

REVIEW: The Beaches – Late Show (2017)

THE BEACHES – Late Show (2017 Universal)

Don’t waste your summer without visiting The Beaches.

With influences from the Go-Gos through alternative and surf rock, The Beaches have found an intoxicating sound perfect for summer partying.  Their debut long player Late Show is chock full of fun, energetic and catchy songs.  A couple of hit singles (“Money” and “T-Shirt”) are storming the charts, and a Juno win this year has raised their profile considerably.  Armed with an album produced by members of Metric, it is now their time.

Singer/bassist Jordan Miller is the lynchpin.  She can wail but tends to keep it subtle.  The songs swing from slinky to punk.  The Beaches are at their best when delivering sheer hooks caked in attitude.  That’s what made “Money” such a perfect single.  The simple, understated guitar hook works its way into your brain, and it’s topped with a punchy chorus.  The Beaches can write songs.  Most are credited to the four band members.  Some bands are afraid to showcase candy-coated hooks, but The Beaches have the confidence for it.  The hooks are paired with biting rock guitars, keeping the edges sharp.  They never let the pacing slip, and they keep things fun.  It’s right there in the lyrics to “T-Shirt”:  “Don’t take me so serious.  I just like to make a fuss.”

There are plenty of tunes that pack the goods.  “Gold” has a knack for sticking.  Even the slower tunes like “Highway 6” and “Back of My Heart” have an unexpected catchiness. “Keeper” is a like a blast from the late 80s, and “Sweet Life” is a jolt of caffeine at the end.

Get some Beaches into your life.

3.5/5 stars

#664: Heading to The Beaches

GETTING MORE TALE #664: Heading to The Beaches

I’m exposed to a lot of music through the radio.  I am lucky enough to hear roughly seven hours of radio at work every day.  I feel a bit like Milton from the classic movie Office Space.  “I was told that I could listen to the radio at a reasonable volume from nine to eleven.”

I just celebrated my 10 years at my job.  There was always a bit of a battle between staff and receptionists over the radio.  You see, everybody’s desk phone gets the radio piped in from the same station.  It was also the “on hold” music for incoming callers.  When I first started, the station was Chym FM.  That was a downstep from my prior job at United Rentals, who had Dave FM and all the rock and roll that entailed.  But soon enough, my current job switched the station to Dave, after several complaints about the repeat repeat repeat of Chym.

This went back and forth, back and forth, between Dave and Chym.  Some clients who were on hold would tell me, “I was really enjoying your AC/DC there.”  The receptionist really hated Dave, though.  One afternoon she switched us over to a new country station.  (That ended swiftly!)   Eventually I determined the best course of action was for me to turn off my phone radio, and just bring in my own.  So that’s what I did and for the last many years I’ve had my own radio tuned to Dave.  I’m happy that this small luxury is accommodated.  Rock and roll ain’t noise pollution.

Dave introduced me to many bands that I love today.   The Arkells, Monster Truck, Greta Van Fleet and July Talk are just a few from the last couple years.  I’m really grateful I get to hear great music every day.  The good bands more than make up for the Nickelback, Three Days Grace, My Darkest Days, and other assorted shit they’re forced to play.

The other day, a younger guy at work named Leo came up to me and asked, “Have you heard of the band The Beaches?”

“No,” I answered immediately.  “Let me Google them.”

I pulled them up, had a look at the four women that make up the band, and read a few blurbs.  “Undertook a tour in 2011 opening for Allstar Weekend” was the line that jumped out, and I said simply, “Yeah, they suck.”  Leo laughed that I could know such a thing in 60 seconds of Googling but my judgement had been declared.

I continued reading.  “Album was produced by Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric.”  Metric?  Hey, they’re cool.  They probably wouldn’t produce shit.  I approached Leo and told him of my new research.  I re-opened the case of The Beaches.

Time goes by.  A song comes on the radio.  “Here’s ‘Money’, by The Beaches, on Dave Rocks,” said Craig.

Holy shit, The Beaches on Dave Rocks?  I put down my pen and listened.  It was a song I already knew and liked, but couldn’t remember who it was by.  I assumed the singer of “Money” was a guy.  Somebody with a high voice, like the guy from Royal Blood, maybe.  It turns out, I already liked The Beaches.  A band that I declared “sucked” after looking at a Wikipedia page.

Well, fuck me!

That should teach me about judging bands by appearances (a lesson I should have learned decades ago).  Double dumb-ass on me.  I didn’t even guess the gender of the singer correctly, while declaring that they sucked, also while already liking their single.  Triple dumb-ass on me!

So who are The Beaches anyway?  Toronto sisters Jordan and Kylie Miller are on lead vocals/bass and guitars respectively.  They were joined by friend Eliza Enman-McDaniel on drums, and a guitarist named Megan Fitchett.  They formed a teen pop rock band called Done With Dolls (a pretty cool name for an all-girl teen pop band) and it was actually they, not The Beaches, who toured with Allstar Weekend.  This early Done With Dolls incarnation does not resemble the band they transitioned to.  In 2013 Fitchett left and they took on double threat Leandra Earl (guitars/keyboards).  They evolved into a sleeker garage rock band.  Their image became cooler with a 60s and 70s-inspired evolution.  Yet they still have bite.

Check out that irresistibly simple guitar riff. The backing keyboards of Leandra Earl give it some depth, and then the chorus jumps right out. With tunes this good, Jordan Miller won’t have to worry about making money. It’s gonna happen.

Unlike my crush on Avril Lavigne 15 years ago, nobody can accuse me of liking The Beaches just because they’re attractive.  Turns out, I liked them when I thought they were dudes.

The title track to their debut LP Late Show is real punk rock, via Debbie Harry and the Go-Gos.  It alleviates any question that these girls will kick your ass.  They will indeed, and you will like it.  It really is easy to like these energetic tunes.

Don’t be surprised if you hear more about The Beaches as summer approaches. Their music sounds like a good fit for summer action, whether in your car or at a party. The buzz is building. They were nominated for Breakthrough Group of the Year for the 2018 Juno awards, taking place this Sunday (March 25). Keep your eye on The Beaches and wish them luck at the Junos!