The Professional

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!


#770: Encore!


I’ve been avoiding downtown Kitchener for the last couple years.  All that construction (five years’ worth) installing our new light-rail transit system…it’s been hellacious.  But that construction is now over, and the LRT train (called the ION) is running every 15 minutes.  Only two years behind schedule!  And guess where one of the stops is?  Right by legendary record store Encore Records.  Perfect!  No need to worry about parking.

Mrs. LeBrain and I hopped on a bus to the mall, and a few minutes later the train pulled in.  Using the free Wi-fi, I live-streamed myself making goofy faces on our new train.  The ride was quiet and fast since it only stopped a handful of times.  These new trains are lovely!  Now that they are finally running, I can see that the headaches will be worth it.  Clean and quick – I’d use the ION again.  It’s a shame but there are still people who hate the train so much that they would actually like to spend taxpayer money on ripping up the tracks!  What a waste that would be.  Let’s give this LRT a fair shake.

We disembarked the train at the City Hall stop, only a brief walk from Encore.  Not only was this my first ride on the train, but also my first visit to Encore since they moved from their old Queen St. location.  The new store, though not wheelchair accessible, seemed bigger and cleaner.  Old pal Al “The” King was there, happily still slinging the rock for us patrons.

We chatted a bit.  Al really enjoyed working at Encore.  There was a guy that I trained at my old Record Store about 15 years ago.  He left shortly after to work at Encore, and he’s still there!  When you find a place you enjoy working, I guess you stay!

Time to go look at music….

It didn’t take long for me to exceed my budget for the day.  First snag was from the new release rack:  The Beaches’ excellent new EP The Professional, $9.99.  A great recording; it will be getting a few spins this summer.  Next:  the used CD racks.  Plenty of stock as usual.  I came looking for old Styx, but there was no used Styx that I needed.  Instead I grabbed three Scorpions remasters:  World Wide Live (with DVD), Savage Amusement (with DVD), and Animal Magnetism.  $20 each.

Whoops!  I already owned Animal Magnetism.  No big deal; looks like some lucky person will be getting a free copy from me.  I really have to keep track of reissues better.  This is happening more and more frequently as my collection grows.

I still wanted some more classic Styx.  I’ve been playing my Styx albums repeatedly.  I needed some more classics to throw in the shuffle, so I moved on to the new CD racks.  There I picked up Pieces of Eight and Crystal Ball.  $9.99 each.  One by one and I’ll get them all.

Continuing through the racks of new stock, I spied two Kick Axe remasters by Rock Candy.  I’ve wanted both these albums for a long time:  Vices and Welcome to the Club, $22.99 each.  I’ve spun through both twice and was impressed with both the music and liner notes.  What an underrated singer George Criston is.  This sparked more Kick Axe purchases later on Discogs and Amazon.  The third album, Rock the World, is coming in the form of another Rock Candy remaster.  And thanks to the excellent liner notes inside Vices, I also tracked down some early Kick Axe on Discogs.  Debut single “Week-End Ride” / “One More Time” from 1981 is inbound!  Also coming, from the same year, is a compilation LP called Playboy Street Rock.  Kick Axe have a live track on that called “Reality is the Nightmare”.  It’s going to be cool hearing those early songs, which had a different singer.

It’s funny about Kick Axe.  One of the first buttons I ever bought for my jacket was Vices.  It only took close to 40 years to finally get the album.

Finally we closed the Encore trip with some vinyl.  A lovely reissue of Alice Cooper’s Zipper Catches Skin, on clear “black smoke” vinyl.  It looks and sounds great, and now I finally have all the Alice Cooper studio albums.

We bid farewell to Al and headed home again on the ION.  Now that the train is up and running, I do believe I’ll be making Encore a fairly regular weekend stop.

5/5 stars