Ampeater Music

Welcome to Ampeater Music. You'll notice that we've totally stripped the design. We were getting tired of the old one, and the best way to force ourselves to fix it was to dive in head first. We've unpublished all our past posts, and we're starting at the beginning, revamping each entry one at a time. They'll all be back up on the site soon enough! In the meantime, we hope you'll take the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with our back catalog. We'll also be making incremental improvements to the look and functionality of our dear old Ampeater over the coming weeks and months. Please be patient, and stay tuned for some really cool stuff. It's coming, we promise.

Snapshot: Legato Vipers

Snapshot: Legato Vipers
  • Location: Guelph, Canada
  • Links: Website, Facebook
  • Personnel: Jordan Howard (guitar), Mike Brooks (guitar), Tyler Belluz (bass), Jay Anderson (drums)
  • Related Posts: AEM137 Del Bel

In Ampeater’s words:
I liked Legato Vipers from the first listen, but didn’t know what to make of the band’s psychadellic cinematic surf-rock antics. The music was quirky, groovy, and, without a doubt, over the top. But were these dudes for real, or was it all an elaborate and well executed joke? I’ve come to the conclusion that its a little of both.

I was in a lot of bands in high-school—more than I can count on two hands. These bands spanned an enormous range of styles but involved the same general cast of characters, despite abrupt shifts in image and wardrobe. One week it would be death metal, the next, gospel pop, nautical ballads, etc. We were too aware of the cliches to make serious bands so, we called them fake bands. Semantics, perhaps, but these fake bands gave us the freedom to be extreme, to be absurd, to have fun. In the end, these fake bands became a lot more real than the serious ones. I’ve spoken to several friends since then and discovered that a large number of serious musicians have turned to joke bands as creative outlets.

But Legato Vipers is much more than a joke band, although it does seem to stem from the same philosophy. With superlative musicianship and top-notch production, the band has elevated an absurd concept into something legitimate. Perhaps a better metaphor would be performance art. Legato Vipers, like most theater, cannot be appreciated without considerable suspension of disbelief. After all, it’s surf-rock… in 2013… from Canada. But the band makes this leap of faith so convincingly that it’s hard not to follow. From the mysterious and spacy tremolo guitar to the propulsive drum and bass, everything is spot-on. It’s said that the best actors don’t have to act—from the moment they take the stage, they become their characters. When I watch Legato Vipers rock out in an empty stadium in the center of a swarm of roller-skaters, that’s the impression I get. Each member plays his role with precision and a passion that seems too much to fake. Perhaps they’re having a laugh, but they’re also having a blast, and I suspect that they believe 100% in what they’re doing. We should too. Tune in and enjoy the show.

In the artist’s words:
Common Grackle was the beginning of Legato Vipers. When “The Great Repression” took a booze-fueled, bastardized-surf turn for the worse at Camp Pepper, something happened in the mind of Belluz that can only be described as inspired stupidity. Brooks had indeed learned to do reverb-soaked tremolos!

Their take on the genre made an appearance on Del Bel’s “Oneiric.” Better or worse, this thing was gathering steam…

But it was in a remote barn on Bruce Peninsula that Jameson’s was chased with warm beer; the “Chocolate Milk” aftertaste was coined. A theme song followed. So did three Belluz shit-surf originals for an as-yet nameless band.

Pyle agreed to rerecord an EP. Howard, Johnson and Anderson too were added. Brooks wrote four more tracks– fit for a funeral home. The band met in one to play and track their first-ever note. “Legato Vipers” were christened.

Upcoming events:
Grickle Grass Festival – May 25th – London
NxNE – June 12th – Toronto
Hillside Festival – July 26th – Guelph
Mudtown Music & Arts Festival – Aug 10th – Owen Sound

Snapshot: Pete Galub

Snapshot: Pete Galub
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Links: Website
  • Personnel: Chris Moore (drums, vox), Tom Gavin (bass, vox)
  • Related Posts: AEM043 Pete Galub

In Ampeater’s words:
If there were such thing as a lifetime achievement award in independent rock, Pete Galub would deserve it more than anyone. For the past decade, he’s been a perennial figure in the great melting pot of New York music’s semi-underground, relevant and likable no matter where the trends have blown. Galub’s music draws upon classic powerpop and punk conventions, but with refreshing edge and insight. His latest album Candy Tears represents another well placed step in this trajectory. Some seven years in the making, it’s the work of a mature artist challenging himself to breathe new life into well-charted genres and, against all odds, succceeding gloriously. The hooks are instant but it’s Galub’s sharp intellect and attention to detail that hold it together.

“300 Days in July” is one of the slowest tracks on the album, and also one of the most intriguing. It lumbers along at a lethargic 6/8 ballad pulse that never feels completely settled. The atmosphere is so surreal that any semblance of calm is eerie rather than comfortable. (It’s no coincidence that the word ‘drugs’ stands out in the opening lyric.) Throughout the track, Galub expresses a deep sense of nostalgia but, as tends to be the case in his music, the sentiment is anything but straightforward. The song thrives on the tension between heart and mind. The urge to cling to the past—to slow the progress of time—is emotionally convincing, but cerebrally, the artist himself seems aware that to indulge in it would be destructive and ultimately futile. If Galub manages to draw the month of July out for 300 days, it’s only by putting reality on hold for a while. When the song ends, it feels like waking up after taking twice the prescribed dose of sleeping pills. It’s highly disorienting, to say the least. The summer seems at once more distant and more precious than ever.

In short, 300 Days in July is not really about nostalgia, but rather, its relevance to the present. Galub reminds us to appreciate the past, but not to let it consume us. And let’s face it, it would only be too easy for an aging rocker in a scene dominated by teenage spirit to do so. Yet while music has always worshiped youth, Galub shows us the value of something full grown. His vision of rock hasn’t gone gray, fattened up, sold out, or settled down, but it has grown more perceptive with time and experience. Galub hasn’t lost himself in delusions of bygone summers, but he’s certainly able to look back at them with greater clarity and recall a poignancy unnoticed in the moment.

In the artist’s words:
I try not to give a shit about expectations when I’m playing music. Expectations don’t have ears, and they often take away the urgency that is needed to play satisfying music. Music, at its best, is a living thing, always in flux, always becoming. Uncertainty can be an asset. I like the idea of creating something while staring death in the face. My favorite musicians, like my favorite people, are searchers. They know that sometimes the best songs are the ones that can play you. The ones that you can search around in, and find something different in, each time you play them. Those are the songs I try to write.