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"Bionic/The Fucking Machines/Tokyo Sex Whale @ the Dominion Tavern, Ottawa"

Out here in Toronto, it’s very likely that you’ve never heard of Bionic. However, in Montreal they are the band led by grizzled battle dwarf and music writer for the Montreal Mirror, Jonathan Cummings (also of the Doughboys fame - and Ian Blurton is in there too, for good measure). Originally, I didn’t even plan to stay past the recently formed Tokyo Sex Whale. Alas, the giant red beardedness that is Jonathan Cummings lured me back into Ottawa’s dingy Dominion Tavern. Described by Kerrang as “Queens Of The Stone Age buttfucking the Hellacopters with Bad Religion clapping along,” I’d likely throw in some other analogies, like “while the love child of Rob Zombie and Henry Rollins learns how to jam,” just to catch that extra bit of dirty noise that Kerrang seems to have missed.

So I guess the main attraction, Bionic, are best described as dirty, local punkers. The Fucking Machines play a similar kind of music – in the words of one of their own band members, ”it is what it is. Shitty punk music,” particularly that of the pre-1900s variety. Their brash minute and a half ditties about nothing you could talk to your mother about are indeed what they are, which is pretty fucking good. Guitar solos rip only as hard as the Machines’ vocal chords, and though their set is barely more than a minute, they definitely get the job done.

Last but not least was another local band, Tokyo Sex Whale. Oddly enough, the Ottawa three piece isn’t the only Tokyo Sex Whale around, sharing the namesake with a jazz-fusion band from Chicago as well as a reputable Japanese punk band. However, this Sex Whale is definitely the best Sex Whale of them all. TSW bears some resemblance to the well-executed fuzz of Queens of the Stone Age, but whereas the Queens’ vocals are usually lost in the mix, TSW’s front woman Julia Loan throws hers out loudly (if incoherently) in a heavy vibrato (not dissimilar to the Cranberries - take it as you will). With better than average dynamics and unity (especially for a stoner rock band) the only missing element was the absence of harder vocals. Though I spent the whole set wishing Loan would drop into a Karyn Crisis shriek, she seemed more comfortable singing in mid range. For a band that, though made of seasoned members, has been around for less than a year, Tokyo Sex Whale’s already competent music will surely grow heavier and tighter and I think that the whale will likely rise in your town sometime in the near future.

Christopher Langer - Spill Magazine - Toronto

"Welcoming a Whale of a Producer"

Squished into a dimly lit basement studio off Main Street, rock legend-in-the-making Ian Blurton is hunkered down at the board. The Toronto producer (Weakerthans, Amy Millan, Cursed) and C'Mon band man is in town to helm the second, forthcoming record from Ottawa combo TokyoSexWhale.

"Ian is actually 'producing' and making 'suggestions,'" drummer J-P Sadek jokes, making air quotes. "He's really a no-bullshit guy." Having Blurton call the shots (louder, faster, Jager) has led to a trimming of the fat (and hangovers).

"You write a part and you want to hear it over and over," guitarist Paul "Yogi" Granger says, with Sadek adding, "We do tend to wank a bit."

Taut and angsty, the new album will have lead wailer and bass player Julia Loan singing shorter choruses and hollering along with guest vocalist Dan Watchorn of Montreal's Priestess. Whereas their 2007 vinyl debut, Feed the Beast, was sprawling and stoner-ish, the new album is denser. The band turned to Blurton to carefully helm the heavy with the honey.

Big on old-school technique, Blurton laid everything down with little regard for slick post-production.

"The sounds that we're getting today are the sounds that are going to be on the record," Granger says. "It's not going to be doctored after that."

Blurton's studio ethic has improved the band's live show. Expect a "blistering half-hour with no breaks and no talky-talky in between songs," Sadek says. "It's just a bunch of ass-ripping riffs, thunderous beats and gorgeous vocalizing."

TokyoSexWhale plays Babylon, 317 Bank St., Saturday with The Creeps, The Sonic Avenues, The Statues and headliners The Million Dollar Marxists. Part of GaGa Fest. 9 p.m., $6. - The Ottawa Citizen

"Feed The Beast"

Every medium has its nature and vinyl -- cheap symbolism aside -- lends itself to a heavy groove. So, it's fitting for the year-old Ottawa trio to release its debut as a record for all the old-school holdouts. (Modernity fear not: there's a CD-R inserted for those who want to upload songs to porta-pods). Here, the stoner-rock band finds bends in a genre that has been ascribed to everyone from Sabbath to the White Stripes. The pure bog-scraping sludge gets a pop-banger bent with two nearly clubby tracks: Ten Minutes and The Cooler. Vocalist Julia Loan moves from pouty babydoll utterances to stroppy, declarative punches, saving the subtler tones for the B-side. A record's sleeve gives poster artist Dave Aardvark a wide canvas for his cartoonish sketches. That, and the raucous instrumental kickoff track The Whale, is worth the $20 alone.

- Ottawa Citizen

"talkin trash"

Tokyo Sex Whale will be dropping their debut slab of hot wax this July at Babylon, courtesy of Last Drag Records and Birdman Sound. A ferocious yet well honed behemoth of an LP: thunderous drum tracks wrapped around bowel evacuating low end thrust, and enough Big Muff guitar riffage to make Fu Manchu's Scott Hill blush.
On a tepidly humid June
evening, I had the chance to
porchsit with these sonic miscreants
after they had finished
wrapping up their own
rehearsal, and I my own...this
is what was said:

Yogi: Are we being serious about this interview?
JP: Half serious....
upfront: I don't know, you can be as serious as you want to be.
Yogi: What if instead we asked you your own questions?
upfront: That would be crazy...
JP: Wouldn't crazy be something people on "pot" would do?
Julia:: People on "pot"???
JP: Sorry, on "the pot"...sorry we don't smoke weed.
Yogi: I'm gonna ask you the first question... you and Julia, how did you guys hook up?
All: hahahahhhahahahahha
JP: Is that your first question?
Julia: Through JP. See it comes back too.....
Yogi: Because I have a theory, and my theory is that you both got
skreedled, because apparently that is a verb now...
All: (laughter).
Yogi: ....Because all weekend I heard it from Shawn (jam hill), "skreedle this and skreedle that."
JP: Do you want some more chips?
Yogi: No, I'm alright.
Julia: Didn't we get skreedled and jam , Yogi?
JP: Yeah we got skreedled, at the bar...
Yogi: We got skreedled somewhere and then we went to my basement.
Julia: We got skreedled at the Aloha, and then you (Yogi) came up to us and said...
JP: That’s not how it started.
Julia: We were skreedled, and we showed up, and Yogi was there, and he said "lets make an album. Lets go to my place, you guys wanna jam?"
JP: See I've been talking to Yogi for like fucking forever...
Yogi: ...That's how I used to pickup girls...
JP: That's right..See I'd been talking to Yogi forever, and Julia was coming back from Montreal, and she played bass and we've known each other for fucking forever, so I said "we gotta start a band" and got Yogi interested, and
then one day we were skreedled and we decided to go.....
Julia: Well you picked up two girls that night, me and JP.
Yogi: Well, exactly, JP's got beautiful hair
JP: That's right, that's right, you picked up the hairiest girl in Ottawa, but he sucked on my tits all night.
Yogi: That night you played bass
through my PA cabinet, and to this day, it is blown.
JP: Is it still blown?
Julia: Blown.
Yogi: Thanks Julia.

upfront: Stoner rock or desert rock?
JP: Stoner rock or desert rock?......Neither really. We don't get stoned and we don't live in the desert.
upfront:...But you do have a qotsa/ kyuss thing going on.
JP: Yeah we got the vibe, but it’s just kinda what ended up happening.
Yogi: Desert metal man.
Julia: Desert..You're Egyptian.....sand rock.
JP: Yeah, sand nigger rock....You can call it desert rock if you want, we can go back to my saharan roots.
Julia: Sahara rock?
JP: Pyramid rock?
upfront: So how did you get
hooked up with last drag records
and Neal Johnstone?
JP: He fucking saw us and he liked
it, and he asked if he could put out our record. Actually when we decided to even record, we didn't even think of approaching anybody,
we were just going to do a run of cds, and that's it.
Julia: We thought we were too mainsteam for Neal, and then when Neal was like "uh, guys, I’d like to blah blah blah"...
JP: Ok, that's not catching on microphone.
upfront: Well julia said she wasn't going to talk tonight anyways so...
JP: Ok, well then why don't you shut the fuck up, go inside and play some metal slug
Julia: I'm not talking.
JP: Julia's right, the whole thing when Neal actually asked us, we were fucking surprised because he has told me he'll only put stuff out
that other people won't put out. I'm not saying that we would have otherwise gotten picked up, but, you know....
upfront: Are you saying the banditas are such a shitty band that no one else would have put out their album?
JP: Not me, Neal said that.
Julia: Neal never said that.
JP: That's what he said, "I put out stuff that I don't think other people will put out."
Julia: That's true.
JP: That's what he said. I'm not making any value judgements, I'm just telling ya what he said.
Julia: I think Neal just puts out stuff with a girl singer.
JP: There you go, there's that too. Especially the Fucking Machines, those guys have those two chicks up front, that bearded woman, she's crazy.

upfront: Song writing?
JP: We don't do any of that shit. We just rip everybody off.
Yogi: JP writes all the songs, all the lyrics, everything. He comes up with ideas. He sits down with an acoustic guitar and he shows me a G chord, and he says, "This is how you play it."
JP: I choreograph all the stage movements.
Julia: That's what you would like them to believe JP.

upfront: That's interesting because, there's one particular song, that I believe JP sings, something about a
greasy tank driver....
JP: No I don't sing that, I just wrote it.
Julia: You wrote the lyrics?
upfront: Alright, so my question is...."greasy tank driver something something..."
JP: Its’ called "on the wall".
upfront: "Something something on the down low".
JP: "Keep it on the downlow".
upfront: What exactly is he keeping on the downlow?
Yogi: Its the low gear man.
JP: Yeah, it’s keeping it in low gear so you don't, you know, speed through life, man.
upfront: Ok, so it’s not like that episode of law & order: svu where we are informed, via Ice-T, that, "on the down low" is slang for " heterosexual men having homosexual sex"?
JP: I'm afraid that's not at all what I was going for...but you know what, I may have to change those lyrics.
Yogi: You know what would be interesting, if you actually wrote that JP and I are gay, and that's why we actually survive in a band with Julia because we don't care....
JP: No, no we're heterosexual men having homosexual sex.
Julia: And I like to watch.
JP: That's right. We don't actually jam, other people write everything.
Yogi: She does her thing, and people like it when she pulls her strap down this far when she plays, and like I'm just looking at JP.
JP: I'm just looking at Yogi's butt the whole time.
Yogi: I have a huge hard-on throughout the whole thing.
JP: Unfortunately that is not what I was thinking about

upfront: Wow, cool. ok, that's pretty cool. So my last question is: What is your message?
JP: Easy, breezy, japanesey.... message, we don't have a message really.
Julia: What's our message?
JP: What's our message?
upfront: Yeah what are you trying to say?
JP: Uh, what are we trying to say?
Yogi: I'd like people to start switching from hydro to that other one, the environmentally friendly
upfront: Outdoor?
JP: Solar.....oh the weed.
Yogi: No, no there's this thing...I think it’s high time people stopped driving their cars.
JP: Oh, hybrids.
Yogi: That's my message... and grow a beautiful garden.
JP: Our message is ditch your cars, get a bike, and fucking join us for a bike ride, and maybe we'll get drunk and play some tunes together.
Julia: Our message is that we come from Aylmer and we have a lot of anger...
Yogi: Whose got a lot of anger?
JP: We don't have a lot of anger, you do.
Julia: But we're from Aylmer and we have a lot of anger and we need the anger to come out.
JP: We have nothing but homosexual attraction for each other, that's all there is.

Tokyo Sex Whale Album Release Show July 21st at Babylon with special guests; labelmates, The Banditas and Muffler Crunch, presented by Last Drag Records and Birdman Sound. Check the show listings page for more deets. - Upfront Ottawa magazine

"Tokyo Sex Whale: Inside the Meat Locker"

"The only thing that will fuck us up is a bad sound guy," blurts Tokyo Sex Whale drummer J-P Sadek, confidently attesting to the explosive potency of his new band's live act.

Less than a year old, Ottawa's stoner-rock trio is already making a big splash. Headed by Paul "Yogi" Granger on guitars, Sadek on drums and Julia Loan on bass, Tokyo Sex Whale has taken its '70s brand of loud rock (think: Queens Of The Stone Age meets Black Sabbath) to a handful of high-profile stages in such short time: So far the band has opened for Bionic and The Setbacks, and received a personal invitation from Priestess.

But this weekend is just about the band as they release their debut album Feed the Beast with labelmates Muffler Crunch and The Banditas.

The band takes its name from Tokyo Sexwale - a South African businessman and former politician, anti-apartheid activist and political prisoner. But with song titles on their record such as Shit Kicker and Wood Pussy, this Tokyo Sex Whale is mostly about having a good time.

Take On the Wall, for instance. Granger challenged Sadek to write a song about greasy tank drivers. It was around the time troops in Afghanistan were suffering inside hot tanks that lacked air-conditioning - it's a historical point Sadek happily ignores when I ask him if there's any correlation. "I could give you a whole bunch of rhetorical crap about what the tank driver song means politically, but that'd
be bullshit."

Then there's Ten Minutes, a song Loan penned about the flying anime cartoon character Astro Boy. "It's hilarious," she says, "because it sounds like I'm singing about a dildo!"

Despite their carefree attitude, Tokyo Sex Whale are a disciplined bunch that spend endless hours nitpickin' and mixin' - at least the boys do. Loan chooses to stay out of the studio, otherwise known as the Meat Locker. "What comes out, comes out," she says. "I don't like going back in and fixing things."

"Whereas I like to sit there and fuckin' harp on every detail," Sadek adds proudly about a habit he's conducted with former bands Dead City Rebels and The Longtimers. Yogi's the same way. "Yogi had a big hand in shaping the record," Sadek says. "I was going for heavier, Yogi wanted '70s, and he worked it to get us something in the middle."

Tokyo Sex Whale, CD release party with Muffler Crunch and The Banditas on Saturday, July 21, at 8 p.m., $8, at Babylon. (SH)
- Ottawa XPress

"Sex Whale dives in, turns up intensity"

The band's website will tell you Tokyo Sex Whale's influences boil down to one name: Tokyo Sex Whale.

But given the trio's penchant for playing loud, punchy stoner rock that bridges the worlds of punk, pop and metal, one name inevitably spring to many listeners' minds.

"You can't really get away from that," TSW's Julia Loan concedes. "Yes, we all like Queens of the Stone Age, but we don't consciously try to sound like them. We just like that sort of driving music, and we like being a trio.


"Really, I don't think our music sounds that much like them, though ... maybe the instrumental The Whale. But we have a girl singer, so we can't sound too much like them."

Loan, a.k.a. the girl singer (and girl bassist), does succeed at setting TSW apart.

But then, the songs she, guitarist Paul "Yogi" Granger (Ukrainia/Double Pumpers) and drummer JP Sadek (Long Timers) introduce on the vinyl-album Feed the Beast are likewise unique to the band.

Ranging from a slow-burning epic like Rock Widow to the manic under-three-minute screamer Wood P-ssy, the songs on TSW's debut release are, in a word, intense.

"We wanted it to be pretty heavy," Loan says.

"At first, we thought our music would be more 'doomy,' but it just came out as us. I think it's time for a heavier outlet anyway. When people are feeling good you get boy bands and Britney Spears; now, we need something to suit a darker time. That means bands like Priestess and Pride Tiger."

And ... and ... what's that other band again? Oh yeah, Tokyo Sex Whale.




- Where: Babylon, 317 Bank St.

- When: Saturday, 10 p.m., $6 adv.
- Ottawa Sun

"New sounds from Whale of a band"

As enormous a presence as the name suggests, Tokyo Sex Whale outstrips the stoner rock genre-tag slapped on them. Sure, they expel the dark skunky squall, implied by the leafy label, but the Ottawa trio finds new bends in a sound that's been honed by progenitors Black Sabbath and made digestible by Pride Tiger.

Keeping their sound tight requires Julia Loan (bass, vocals) and J-P Sadek (drums, vocals) to judiciously bat away a creeping fromage factor on the part of Paul "Yogi" Granger (guitar, vocals).

"I write the riffs," Granger says, "and they'll veto a lot of them, saying 'that's too bar-rock' or 'that's too metal-core; that's too thrash.' I have a tendency to write cheesy stuff; that's my guilty pleasure; old metal, and Dio and Def Leppard. It just makes me feel good."

Granger, (his "Yogi" nickname comes from an apparent likeness to Count Yorga of the '70s vampire flick) is a self-taught studio man of increasing renown whose shop The Meatlocker has become a go-to spot for the city's harder, louder bands. Five years ago, he began amassing equipment. Since then, he's recorded some 50 acts there, including recent releases from The Bella Bombs and Harshey.

Jeff Welch of The Reverb Syndicate, who recorded their Operation: Jet Set album with Granger, says, "The guy has the best pure ear for rock 'n' roll."

Granger calls his shop "middle-class," with good technology but without the $15,000 microphones of bigger studios. As a result, his fees are lower: $20 per hour, compared to $75 at other places. There's a caveat: he chooses to record only music he likes. It's less of a job that way, he says.

As chief of "The Space" at Main and Greenfield streets -- the rehearsal den for half the city's bands, from the rootsy Bushpilots to throwback punks The Sick Fits -- Granger is well placed to hear emerging sounds from the music scene.

With his new band, he's contributing to it.

Formed in the winter of 2005, Tokyo Sex Whale set out on a doom-metal path, wanting to play drippingly slow sludge, but Granger says it was too depressing -- he's accustomed to the energy of his other bands, Yogi and the Lunatic, the Double Pumpers (new album out in October) and Ukrainia, and so he brought up the energy a couple of volts.

Granger is unsure how the stoner rock tag came about (they're not potheads), though, for certain, there's something about the songs that seep into your head, particularly if you're of the mind to let it take over.

The album is to be released on wax with a CD insert this week.

A vinyl sleeve's wide canvas is a platform for CKCU DJ and poster artist Dave Aardvark. He sketched the floating, cartoonish, sea-like background full of lost treasures: clocks, Krusty the Clown, beer, batteries, barns and creatures. Each thing speaks to a lyric in the songs -- though with no words inserted, you'll have to listen and stare to make the connection, (so it's kind of stonerish after all).

The Tokyo Sex Whale album release party for Feed the Beast takes place Saturday at Babylon, 317 Bank St., with The Banditas and Muffler Crunch. 9 p.m., $8. - Ottawa Citizen


Feed The Beast (12" LP/CD)- released July 21, 2007 on Last Drag Records.



TokyoSexWhale is a Canadian heavy rock band formed in Ottawa, Ontario in 2006 by Julia Loan (vocals/bass), Paul "Yogi" Granger (guitar/vocals) and J-P Sadek (drums/vocals).
Ottawa music scene veterans Sadek (The Dead City Rebels, Fortunate Sons) and Granger (Ukrainia!, Double Pumpers) were joined by Montreal expatriate Loan in the hopes of forming a band that would focus on heavy doom. Their first album, Feed the Beast, was recorded in two separate sessions in Granger’s studio –Yogi’s Meatlocker—and revealed the group’s rock stoner-ish leanings. The album was subsequently released in 2007 on vinyl by independent local record label Last Drag Records, and has garnered them awards for "Best New Band” and “Best metal/hard rock/punk album" in the 2007 Ottawa Xpress readers poll. In 2007 and 2008 they played shows in Ottawa and Montreal with bands such as Priestess, Bionic and The Zoobombs and have been played on numerous college radio stations.
TokyoSexWhale is currently finishing their second album, which was recorded by Toronto producer Ian Blurton (Tricky Woo, Weakerthans, Amy Millan, etc.). Although they have been playing their new material live; a release date has not been set and the band remains unsigned. They are hoping to release the album in late 2009 and tour across Canada in support.