High Heels Lo Fi rawks it good & hard in All Sass No Class Kick Ass EP

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Front: Spacker Dave Vestaloyne & Cynthia Gould. Back: Jackie Moore & Doug Lea – photo by J. Roorda Photography

Garage glitz raunch rock band High Heels Lo Fi is revving up to launch their new EP All Sass No Class Kick Ass on February 23 at Cherry Cola’s – and my ears got a sneak preview of the record.

High Heels Lo Fi is: Cynthia Gould (vocals), Doug Lea (drums), Spacker Dave Vestaloyne (bass) and Jackie Moore (guitar); check out their bios. The sound is total kickass punk goodness – and these guys are a blast to watch live. I last saw them at Cherry Cola’s last week, and they were all wayward Catholic school girl with their plaid skirts and dirty mouths, rockin’ hard and reckless. And it was awesome!

The EP’s title All Sass No Class Kick Ass pretty much says it all. Gould’s vocals are cocky, sly and sexy – going from a deep growl to a ‘who’s your rough mamma’ come hither; and the instrumentals are loud, driving and tight. The EP playlist goes something like this:

“Get Me Some” – A rawkin’ and unapologetic punk seduction.
“Unfuckable” – Lust from afar turned to revulsion.
“Eff the Day Job” – A big fun drinking anthem featuring cowbell! (by Lucy)
“How Small is It?” – Calls out all the obnoxious ways certain men try to show what a big man they are – and how they give themselves away.
“Can’t Lose with Booze” – Full of cock and cocktails, a 2+ minute rawk out dance party to the band’s philosophy as a drinking problem with a punk band.

The EP launch on Tuesday will also feature guests King Beez and Blind Cats. I can’t make it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Keep up with High Heels Lo Fi’s shenanigans here.


Jessica Speziale’s “Brace Yourself” music video

Jessica Speziale launched her first official music video for her song “Brace Yourself,” one of the featured tracks on her Dear Reverie CD, on Saturday night at Cherry Colas in Toronto, during the Music City North music fest.

Here’s the video, scripted, directed and shot by Bruce Nagy:

I interviewed Speziale about the video on the blog recently. You can check that out here.

You can also find Jessica Speziale on her YouTube and Facebook sites, and follow her on Twitter.

“Brace Yourself” – Interview with singer/songwriter Jessica Speziale

IMG_0101Jessica Speziale is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter whose powerful vocals easily shift between  kick-ass beats and sultry ballads, with R&B-inspired pop/rock sounds. I had the pleasure of attending the launch of her CD Dear Reverie, featuring the rockin’ out, guitar-driven “Brace Yourself,” which has now become Speziale’s first official music video. With some new recordings under her belt, Speziale is now looking ahead to the video launch, happening Saturday, March 22 at Cherry Colas in Toronto, during the Music City North music fest.

I won’t be able to attend the launch, but got a sneak peek at the video got in touch with Jessica Speziale for an interview over email.

LWMC: First off, congrats on the music video for “Brace Yourself”! Its fast-paced editing, and evocative locations, moments and images really illustrate the song well. What made you decide to go with “Brace Yourself” for your first official music video?

JS: Thank you so much! When I met with director/screenwriter/videographer Bruce Nagy, it came down to three songs. We decided on “Brace Yourself” because of the storyline. Bruce felt it was the strongest and came up with the idea right off the bat! I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out.

LWMC: Can you tell us a bit about the process of putting the video together? Who wrote the script for you/envisioned the story, and who shot and edited it?

JS: It was all Bruce Nagy!! (laughs) When we first selected the song, we talked about some of the themes in the song, the origin of the song, and the visual that I see when I play the song. Bruce used that imagery to enhance a jilted love storyline that he came up with. We met for coffee and listened to the song and went through the lyrics piece by piece. He then took all the ideas from that meeting and drafted the storyboard so that I could properly visualize what was in his mind. Once the storyboard was fully discussed and edited and approved by us both, I set out to assemble the cast and the scheduling! When it came to editing, Bruce did all of the technical work, and we went back and forth with ideas and drafts. Bruce is an incredible person to work with. He is incredibly patient and focused, and he made sure that I was part of the entire process.

LWMC: What was your favourite part of that process? And your least favourite part?

JS: I have to say my favourite part was the actual filming!! One day, we shot the full cast and extras in the Distillery District and at Bruce’s place. It was just such a fun day with amazingly talented friends! My least favourite was probably the editing! (laughs) It took so much longer than I imagined it would! And it’s the nit-picky part, so it can be tedious.

LWMC: Without giving too much away (I’m not down with spoilers), I really love the Tarot reading scenes and the Tarot card imagery that was used throughout various points of the woman’s journey in the video. The lyric that hooks me into it is in the chorus reference to April 1st, which brings to mind the Fool. How did you come to use Tarot symbolism in the video?

JS: We really needed something that tied all the scenes together! Some kind of image. The song is written about a thunderstorm and that whole notion of being reminded that we’re small beings on this planet. So, the tarot cards made sense as the, sort of, outside force that communicates with the audience to narrate the story. Fortune telling being a way that the universe communicates with humans, right? So, it was an idea that really struck a chord with us. And we used it!

LWMC: Are you planning on doing any more vids of Dear Reverie songs?

JS: I would really like to! I’m speaking with a couple different directors right now about doing another one off Dear Reverie. While that’s in the works, I am really starting to get focused on the next album, too 🙂

LWMC: Besides the video launch on March 22, any other upcoming gigs you’d like to shout out?

JS: If you’re in Hamilton, I’ll be at the Underground on March 28th!

LWMC: Anything else you’d like to share?

JS: I’d just like to send a huge, huge thank you out to the team that made this video possible – especially Bruce Nagy – and I really hope to see you all at the release party on March 22nd at Cherry Cola’s! 10pm screening!

LWMC: Thanks, Jessica!

JS: Thank you!!! :D:D

As for the “Brace Yourself” video itself, you’ll have to wait until Jessica Speziale makes it public on Saturday, March 22. Head on over to Cherry Colas to see that happen live, along with a live performance of the song – otherwise, drop on back here after the launch and I’ll have it posted.

In the meantime, you can check Jessica Speziale out on her YouTube and Facebook sites, and follow her on Twitter.

Four amazingly talented women sing in support of Female Eye Film Festival

Now that was a late school night, chickens. After a big, long, late day and less than five hours’ sleep, mama’s feeling tuckered out this morning.

But there was no way I could feel tired at the Female Eye Film Festival fundraiser at Cherry Cola’s last night – that place was so pumped full of positive vibes and incredible sounds, not to mention lovely and talented ladies, I couldn’t feel anything but energized and inspired.

Heather Hill

Heather Hill opened the night with a scaled down band (Mike Freedman on guitar & Russ Boswell on bass), giving the folks a nice sampling of tunes from her recently released Leuty Station CD – including a few of my personal faves: “Last Train,” “Leuty Station” and “Second Chance.” These songs have the same power and emotional impact performed by a three-piece band as they do with the full complement Hill had with her at the launch – and that’s largely due to Hill’s stage presence and vocal chops, not to mention the two great musicians she had up there with her. Check her out here: http://www.heatherhill.ca/fr_blog.cfm

Meredith Shaw

Meredith Shaw belted out some bluesy original pop tunes, bringing it with some sexy vocals, accompanied by guitar and bass (and you gotta love a female bass player who rocks the upright!). Loved the little lights Shaw had strung up on the mic stand – they added a fun, festive glow to her set. Like she said: “It’s Christmas ‘cuz we say so.” You can find Shaw here: http://www.meredithshaw.com/

Amanda Davids

Amanda Davids took us to the church of soul with her sexy smooth, funkified R&B sound that made you wanna dance. Here’s where she’s at: http://www.amandadavids.com/site/


Last up of this already incredible program of talented female music artists was Patrizia. I wanna say Debbie Harry meets Maria Callas meets Celine Dion here ‘cuz – from Carmen to Queen – this lady belts out some seriously powerful rock/pop-infused classical and classical-infused rock/pop that you can feel vibrating in your chest. Patrizia’s co-ordinates are: http://patriziamusic.com/

A great evening of music and support for the Female Eye Film Festival – and shouts to the Female Eye organizers and the folks at Cherry Cola’s for this great fundraising event. The Female Eye Film Festival runs June 20-24 – for more info, please visit their website: http://www.femaleeyefilmfestival.com/

Heather Hill & Angela Saini
Heather’s awesome boots

Just for fun, here are a couple of more pics – Heather Hill and Angela Saini (who came to give her support) and, just ‘cuz they’re so awesome, a close-up of Heather’s boots.

Female Eye Film Festival fundraiser @ Cherry Cola’s Thurs, May 24

For all of y’all who are celebrating Victoria Day today – Happy Victoria Day! Please remember to drink responsibly and practice safety first with those fireworks.

Once the fun high of this long weekend wears off, what’cha gonna do? How about the Female Eye Film Festival fundraiser, this Thursday, May 24 at Cherry Cola’s Rock ‘N Rolla Cabaret & Lounge.

The evening’s festivities will feature performances by Meredith Shaw, Heather Hill, Amanda Davids and Patrizia. Cherry Cola’s is located at 200 Bathurst Street, Toronto and the show starts at 9 p.m. $10 cover includes one drink. http://cherrycolas.com

Heather Hill @ Leuty Station CD launch

This is the perfect chance to catch some amazing talent, especially if you happened to miss Heather Hill’s Leuty Station CD launch, and support a great film fest as well.

The Female Eye Film Festival runs June 20-24 – and the opening feature is the film version of Eric Peterson and John Gray’s play Billy Bishop Goes to War, directed by Barbara Willis Sweet. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1830503/

For info on the festival, please visit the Female Eye website: http://www.femaleeyefilmfestival.com/

Send in the clone

What can I tell you, busy times – again – and I’m wishing I had a clone so I could get to all the stuff I want to see.

Alas, I am still working within the limited construct of this single corporeal self and the rules of social triage dictate that I must prioritize. And some events just won’t make it.

Case in point: two friends and I took our chances on rush tickets for Soulpepper’s production of Kim’s Convenience on Monday night. Well, in the end, it was just me as neither of them could make it. I was #3 for rush tix – but the guy who was first in line scooped up the last two seats. Took a chance that they’d have some cancellations or no-shows – and spent some time starting to read Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking on my new eReader – but no luck. Oh, well. At least I caught the Fringe production. Would have really liked to see it again, but personal scheduling and ticket availability being what they are, it’s not going to happen. My advice: get your seats in advance or you’ll miss out. http://www.soulpepper.ca/performances/12_season/kim%27s_convenience.aspx

Luckily, I did purchase an advance ticket for Nightwood Theatre’s production of The Penelopiad – and will be off to Buddies in Bad Times to see that tonight. I also strongly advise advance ticket purchases for this. http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/show.cfm?id=774

Also coming up: adorable and talented singer/songwriter Meghan Morrison is doing a gig at Cherry Cola’s on Friday night. Definitely a good thing to come out for. Here’s Meghan’s website: http://www.meghanmorrisonmusic.com/fr_home.cfm

My Saturday will be filled up with a few gatherings with friends: a brunch, a dinner and a birthday party (at a pub with karaoke). And it occurred to me that I haven’t been to the movies in a while, so maybe Sunday.

Will be back with the scoop on these and any other upcoming adventures soon…