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Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Pop Rock


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"Blogging the 2010 Bluesfest: The Love Machine"

Apartment613 is covering some of the Ottawa-area acts performing at this year’s Bluesfest. Today’s post is by Khoi, who hails from Montreal but now calls the capital home. We sent her to cover Ottawa popsters The Love Machine.

Who they are: Energetic indie rockers who know how to make stereotypically staid Ottawa crowds get up and dance.

Discography: The Love Machine EP (2005), If You’re a Bird, I’m a Bird (2007)

Where they played: July 10, 2:45 p.m., at the Hard Rock Cafe stage.

In a word: The Love Machine delivered an all-you-can-dance musical buffet of catchy songs.

In a few more words: It was a day of firsts for me: first time as Apt613 contributor, first time riding my new used bicycle, first time using a bike park (pure awesomeness), first time at Bluesfest, and first time reviewing local musicians. First up: The Love Machine.

I didn’t know what to expect and was happily surprised to find out that this foursome’s musical style is right up my alley. Their songs touch a wide variety of topics including: finding your voice/identity, addiction, friendship, and love. Before you know it, I was bopping along to their songs way more than shooting their performance. They played mid-afternoon so the crowd was modest, but from what I gathered, they already have a good following, which jumped in and sang along with the band. I, on the other hand, was a complete poser.

The guys put on a great show and looked like they were having lots fun on stage, interacting with each other as well as with the audience. At one point, Mike Laing (on drums) exclaimed that he was thirsty, so they jokingly gave grief to their friends for enjoying the show from backstage instead of helping out with refreshments. I liked that. I also liked that they took turns on lead vocals. Clearly, this is an unpretentious band doing what they love: sharing their collective talent through music and live performances.

But was it bluesy? Not so much. They have a few mellow songs, but I wouldn’t qualify them as a blues band; they’re definitely too upbeat for that. Just as Iron Maiden is to heavy metal for Bluesfest. However, for some inexplicable reason, it all works, and we should all be grateful for it.

Do they deserve the exposure? Fo sho! They related well to their audience; even giving fans the option between “Cold City” and “A Little Cursive in All of Us” in an impromptu encore. At the end of it, Allan Gauthier jumped off the stage to hand deliver drumsticks and picks to the joy of front-row fans. Performances like these will certainly keep fans coming back for more. (In case you were wondering, on this hot hot day, “Cold City” garnered the most screams.)

Final thoughts/grade: It’s safe to say that their fan base is growing by the minute. Case in point: while browsing the merchandise tent, people were purchasing their existing two EPs: The Love Machine and If You’re a Bird, I’m a Bird. And there will be one more to acquire, as their upcoming full-length album will be released later this summer. Let’s give them 8 hunka chunka <3 out of 10.


"The Love Machine says it’s time for Sweater Weather!"

So you may see Justin Bieber wearing a Love Machine t-shirt in the future, but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out their new album, Sweater Weather. Ottawa indie rockers The Love Machine have been together since 2004, and have played enough local shows that you, or your mom, should have heard of them by now. The band that released their first album some five years ago would probably have a hard time recognizing their new music. Allan Gauthier, guitarist and vocalist explains, “We just grew up.” It’s been three years since the last record and having that time to perfect the songs allowed them to transform their hooky pop-melodies into more mature rock anthems akin to Kings of Leon or Thrice.

Old fans won’t feel alienated however; three songs have been re-recorded to be included on the latest album (including ‘Squirrels,’ and ‘A little Cursive in all of us’). They will notice a huge difference in vocals and the moody and dark take of the sound. ‘The album is essentially about the last three years of our lives. We’ve all dealt with deaths, break-ups, etc. It’s not like I’m writing a diary, writing about life is the easiest thing I know.” Gauthier adds, “We just love being together and playing.’’

Unique to The Love Machine is that the guys all write as a collective force and that means that sometimes songs can take up to a year to complete, like ‘Be a Path’ (check spooky video here). What they are are perfectionists, feeling out and adding to the 15 new songs in live and jam settings under careful guidance of Jonathan Chandler from Amos the Transparent. ‘Those guys have been like big brothers to us,’ says Gauthier, saying that it was them that introduced them to their label 45 Records (an independent based out of Toronto).

- APT 613

"This week's feature: The Love Machine"

My feelings towards The Love Machine have always been a little complicated. On one hand, I truly believe (and have for a few years) that they're the best live band in Ottawa. They're fun, they're engaging, they know how to write songs that make the crowd sing along -- basically, if you're not having a good time at one of their shows, there's something seriously wrong with you. On top of that, they're possibly the nicest, friendliest group of guys you're ever likely to meet. SO far, so good.

The complicating factor in it all has always been their music. Or, to be more specific, their recorded output. Where live the band is a force of nature, on record they've never been able to fully harness their energy. They've shown flashes of inspiration, to be sure and, obviously, their live performances showed that their songs all had the potential to be phenomenal, but for their first two EPs, The Love Machine were, to be bluntly honest, nothing special. Not terrible by any stretch of the imagination, of course, but unless you were fortunate enough to have seen them live, I can't imagine that either album would've made much of an impression.

The first sign that Sweater Weather would be a break from the norm came in the form of the album's first video. When I said a few weeks ago that it's a little disturbing, I was probably understating things. It's dark, it's creepy, it has a misogynistic horror movie vibe going on -- in other words, it's a lot of things that I never would've associated with the band prior to seeing the video. To top it off, the song itself finds The Love Machine exploring much darker, heavier sonic territory. This wasn't a complete shock, since I'd seen them live a few times and knew they were branching away from their usual brand of emo-tinged power-pop, but I still can't say that I saw it coming.

I'm glad it was put out there first, though, because I can't imagine how shocked I would've been by Sweater Weather had I just gone into it cold. Right from the get-go, the thundering drums and chugging guitars of album opener "Anniversaries" are a clear sign that The Love Machine are no longer the emo-pop band they used to be.

"Anniversaries" and "Be A Path" aren't anomalies, either. On song after song, the band demonstrates the willingness -- and, more importantly, the ability -- to push their personal boundaries into unexplored territories, and on song after song, that willingness pays off. Witness "Width Eyes", in which the band shows a funky side that they'd never before demonstrated, or the slow jam of "Mr. Mr.", which is a lot more soulful than anything in The Love Machine's back catalogue. Perhaps the biggest revelations come from the band taking the step of allowing each member time at the microphone -- a lot of "Width Eyes"' funk comes courtesy of bassist Jordan David's vocals, while whoever is singing lead on "No Matter" and "Lionness" is, quite simply, mind-bogglingly great.

The band hasn't abandoned their old sound entirely, of course. There are still hints of their old emo-pop on tracks like "We Are Squirrels" and "Love Is On Your Side", which makes sense, given that the former also appeared on their debut EP, while they've been performing the latter in concert for a couple of years now. That said, even as these songs show that The Love Machine haven't become a completely different band, they also serve as a reminder of how far the band has come since their early years.

Because, when it comes down to it, there's no way The Love Machine-circa-2005 could've made an album as good as Sweater Weather. This is the product of a band that has grown and matured together, and that has arrived at a point where they're not only ready to make a statement, but also able to do so. It makes for a thrilling listen, and I've no doubt that, at long last, Sweater Weather will serve as a convincing document of The Love Machine's greatness even for those people who haven't seen them in concert.

"In Full Gear"

Fans of The Love Machine won't be disappointed by the inevitable maturing of this city's premier indie band.

Their third disc, Sweater Weather, to be released this weekend, is melancholic in places, but maintains some of the anthemic, clap-happy charge of their 2005 debut EP and If You're a Bird, I'm A Bird, released in 2007.

Those albums -- written when Mike Laing (drums), Sean Prescott (guitar, keys), Jordan David (bass) and Allan Gauthier (guitar, keys) were barely past their teen years -- displayed youthful and impassioned bliss, which was evident at their live shows.

No performance was over until sweat poured down foreheads and the crowd was singing along to We Are Squirrels, and This Is Nuts and A Little Cursive in All of Us.

Those songs have been re-cast on the new album by producer Jonathan Chandler, front man for the band Amos the Transparent.

Chandler and engineer Jason Fee, working out of Liverpool Court studios, helped develop The Love Machine's sound by mixing up arrangements and pulling forth energetic performances from the band's three songwriters, Prescott (the emotive, plaintive singer), David (he of the growling, explosive vocals) and Gauthier (the one with the soulful, affecting tone).

"We needed to capture the songs as big and as in-your-face as they deserved to be delivered," Chandler says.

As consistently big as the songs are, the stylistic throughline is all over the place on Sweater Weather. On previous albums, the full-force pop carried through nearly every track.

Here, the band saunters from gushy lament to uneasy joy to all-out angst, all the while avoiding the doomed-romance and self-discovery clichés. (Download standout tracks Width Eyes, Be a Path and Sweater Weather for a sampling).

The sonic haywire is a deliberate move, Gauthier says. It allows the band members to show their true colours.

"After a while you just grow up. You become better musicians and better friends. You open up a bit more and lose the egos," he says. "This is who we've always been inside."

- Love Machine, Most Serene Republic, Still Life Still, Paramedics, Whale Tooth, Crush Buildings, Loon Choir, Saturday, Aug. 28, Maverick's, Café Dekcuf, 221 Rideau St., 8 p.m., $15. One ticket for both venues.* - Ottawa Citizen

"We Are Squirrels And This Is Nuts"

When the first things you hear in a song are a playful guitar line, sleigh bells, and handclaps, you know you’re in for a great indie-pop song. The Love Machine definitely delivers on that premonition with “We are Squirrels and This Is Nuts” (I love this song name). The next significant instrument to arrive on the scene is a huge synth line with a tone ripped straight out of the eighties. A more conventional instrumentation comes in for the verses- although when layered with the charming lead vocals and snappy background vocals, it’s no less interesting. The song drifts in and out with the instruments, eventually climaxing in a triumphant indie-pop explosion: lead vocals dancing on top of loud guitars, a dance-laden drum line, background vocals all over the place, and a bouncy bass line. And just like that, the song cuts off. It’s a playful ending to a playful song- and with that, these Canadians prove that their music is fun music played by fun people for fun listeners. - Stephen Carradini,

"New Music Canada Track of the Day for Nov. 27, 2007: The Love Machine "We are Squirrels and This Is Nuts: The Family Song""

I first heard this young band at a March break event in Ottawa a couple of years ago. As host, I also sat on the organizing committee which was entirely comprised of high school students.
They booked the event's bands based on who was hot in the Ottawa indie scene according to teenagers.

Of course being the host of Bandwidth at the time—Ontario’s independent music show--I thought my finger was on the pulse of the scene here in Ottawa.

Nope. Leave it to the kids. That afternoon I was introduced to a band just out of high school themselves. They were the best band on the bill.

Nearly two years later The Love Machine have a fabulous brand-new CD out called If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird.

<!--[if !supportEmptyParas]-->I’m sure Grant will play a track on an upcoming podcast but I’ll dip back to the tune that turned me on to The Love Machine. From back in 2005 it's called We Are Squirrels and This Is Nuts: The Family Song.

(When you press play you're going to think you're hearing the opening to an 80s sitcom...)
- CBC Radio 3 - Amanda Putz

"Ottawa Buzz: The Love Machine's Indie-Pop Fiasco"

"An indie pop fiasco" is how The Love Machine's roadie/manager/unofficial fifth member Tom Schofield describes the band's exuberant sound. And that's pretty close — there are enough pop elements (handclaps, synths, soaring vocals) to send the music dangerously close to fiasco territory, but some sort of youthful charm keeps them on the side of melodic success.

"Originally when the band started jamming, they were trying to get the best of both pop and '90s alternative," Schofield explains.

And the jams came after Allan Gauthier, Sean Prescott, Jordan David and Mike Laing all played a battle of the bands — in separate bands, that is. "There's where the friendship starts," Schofield says.

And it led them all the way to a self-titled EP, the response to which Schofield calls "overwhelmingly positive so far." It's enough to spur them on to plan tours and take part in a DVD, which they'll be filming at a headlining show at Zaphod Beeblebrox on April 5. Also on the bill are Turning Into Salt and Kingston Fog, and Schofield encourages people to come and "get your dance on." Toronto folks get their turn too, as The Love Machine hit Sneaky Dee's as part of Wavelength on April 9. -


"Sweater Weather" (2010)

1. Anniversaries 03:14
2. J.C. and the Gamblers 03:22
3. Width Eyes 03:58
4. Make Believe 04:06
5. Mr. Mr. 03:30
6. Be a Path 03:43
7. Love Is On Your Side 03:33
8. A Little Cursive In All Of Us 04:25
9. Lioness 03:29
10. We Are Squirrels, And This Is Nuts 03:46
11. No Matter 02:21
12. Sweater Weather 05:05

"If You're A Bird, I'm A Bird" (2007)

1. Western Bird Calls
2. Green Tea & Honey
3. Stealing Lexi (The Great Con)
4. Godspeed
5. A Little Cursive In All Of Us
6. Creative Company

"The Love Machine EP" (2005)

1. Welcome To The Family
2. We Are Squirrels And This Is Nuts
3. Cold City
4. Sundays
5. Cougars



In a fast-paced world filled with chaos and uncertainty, stands The Love Machine - a band consisting of four hopefuls. Dreamers, some may call them, or optimists, as others may say. But in all reality, The Love Machine are a group of believers; genuine believers in love and a collective positivity.

Nothing about The Love Machine is manufactured. The name simply stands to represent their approach to writing music - as a team of talented and hard-working artists who collaborate with the swift efficiency of a well-oiled machine. This machine’s main function, however, happens to be pumping out indie pop rock tunes that capture the heart and soul of listeners. With a musical catalogue bursting with pop sensibility laced with twists and hooks at every turn and bridge, how could you not fall head over heels with their hopeful ideals?

The Love Machine – consisting of Allan Gauthier, Sean Prescott, Jordan David and Mike Laing – blossomed as a band back in the year of 2004, stemming from the amalgamation of two past bands that had befriended one another. Their chemistry as a group came naturally, as did their collective agreement upon collaborative creation, with each member contributing to the songwriting process. Similarly, each takes his turn on the microphone, thus proving that four songwriters plus four vocalists adds up to the collective sound that is The Love Machine.

The Ottawa natives have shared their music throughout three releases, their most recent being Sweater Weather. The album boasts the band’s ever evolving sound, and sweet production at the hands of Jonathon Chandler (Amos The Transparent). Sweater Weather represents not the departure or straying from the path of The Love Machine’s original sound, but rather a paving of new avenues to where they want to be. It received recognition from the Ottawa Xpress newspaper where they found themselves on the cover and earned the Best Record of The Year praise by Canadian music website I!

It should come as no surprise that these boys know how to kick it live with engaging and dynamic sets filled with crowd interaction and energetic antics. They have taken their live performance across the East Coast on three separate, extensive tours, along with tearing up stages throughout Ontario, playing over 200 shows in their career. The Love Machine has performed with the likes of Moneen, Metric, Passion Pit, and at festivals including Canadian Music Week, NXNE, Pop Montreal, Halifax Pop and Ottawa Bluesfest.

The Love Machine has one simple message for their fans, current and future… Love is on your side!

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