Less is more

Chris McCluskey drums up the music news.

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Fans of local act Mardeen are starting to hear some new material trickle out onto the group’s MySpace page. Making the song “Kids” available is the first step in the band’s movement towards releasing their first full-length record in spring 2007.

“It’s called Read Less Minds and it will have 10 to 12 tracks on it,” says frontman Travis Ellis. “We are also releasing a four-song EP in December that will feature some tracks that will appear on our full-length. It will be available digitally through zunior.com, and EPs will be available at any of our upcoming shows.”

Mardeen has been recruited for Pop Montreal and Halifax Pop Explosion creator Peter Rowan’s management roster, and has also seemingly put an end to its recurring searches for a drummer.

“Yeah...we can never keep a drummer,” he says. “Jon”—Pearo, regularly the group’s vocalist/guitarist—“was our drummer for the record and we wouldn’t have done it any other way. He’s an extremely creative drummer, and it really helped to define the record. However, we have Gary Staple” —from Tomcat Combat—“playing with us now, and it’s working out great.”

Travis Ellis, bassist Matt Ellis, Pearo and Staple will road-test their live dynamic on dates around the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario before a release date for Read Less Minds is set and promotion hits high gear in April.

NB blues

Once New Brunswick bluesman Ross Neilsen decided to make music a full-time job, he did the smart thing—he set goals for himself. By the end of 2005, he’d met aims to release an album (the ECMA- nominated Where I’m From) and tour regionally. This year Neilsen mapped out a new set of objectives.

“The goal was to broaden and play festivals and stuff, which I did,” says Neilsen, who performed at the Salty Jam, Harvest Blues and Dutch Mason music festivals this past summer. “And I wanted to start writing again for a new project, which will hopefully happen in January or February.”

As 2006 quickly comes to a close, he’s busy deciding upon new steps for 2007—which Neilsen assumes will include branching into Ontario.

“I treat it like a business—if I were running a shoe shop I would probably want to set goals for my shoe shop. It has paid off for me,” he says. “I want to get into Ontario, which I’ve just fallen short of this year. I also have some soft seaters lined up.”

Neilsen’s travels take him to Bearly’s for back-to-back nights this weekend on November 17 and 18.

NSMW: the wrap-up

The envelopes have been opened, and In-Flight Safety was a big winner at the 2006 Nova Scotia Music Awards. The group is currently on tour in western Canada and will come home to accept Group, Album and Alternative Recording of the Year honours. A pair of distinctions went to both Jenn Grant (Female Artist and New Artist) and Joel Plaskett (Songwriter and Entertainer of the Year). Other local notables to walk away with awards include Wintersleep (Video for “Fog”), Urban Surf Kings (Aboriginal Recording), IV (DJ), The Contact (Inspirational Recording), Little Derek & the Haemo Blues Band (Jazz/Blues), Mir (Pop/Rock Recording), Dammien Alexander (Urban Recording) and—ironically—Classified for Boy-Cott in the Industry in the Hip-Hop Recording category. Congrats go out to Coast friend Chris Smith for snagging Visual Artist of the Year.

Nominate yourself: scene@thecoast.ca

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