Off the Couch Blog

Welcome to our blog! This is where you'll find longer previews and profiles on upcoming or ongoing events in and around Ottawa. We've got fresh tips on what's new and exciting in town, as well as interviews with local movers, shakers and party makers. If you're into it, you too could join our team of volunteer bloggers!
By — Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 9:53am
Ottawa guitarist extraordinaire Lucas Haneman has a new project, the Lucas Haneman Express and this Friday April 24 they’re releasing their album, Welcome Aboard. Lucas is a guy who lives and breathes music. Playing the guitar since he was six, he was an ambitious player from the start, sitting down to figure out Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album by ear when he was eight and performing at the Ottawa Bluesfest when he was still in high school. Since graduating from Concordia’s jazz program he’s been working as a session musician, performing and recording with all kinds of projects from jazz trios to the folk-pop group Go Long. I met up with Haneman and his fiancé Megan Laurence (herself a vocalist and teacher in town) to hear more about the new band, the making of the album and what to expect... Read More
By — Saturday, April 11, 2015 - 1:34pm
“Vinyl is back?” “Are people really buying vinyl again?” “Oh, this is neat.”  These are just a few things you may have heard if you were in a record store during the past five years. Yes people, vinyl is back and has been for a while, a long while. For that matter, did it ever really leave, considering how many records are out there? There are possibly more K-Tel compilation records that survived the vinyl purge than original copies of the Beatles’ White album. Now, that is weird. This Fall and during the Christmas season, a friend working at a local music outlet said that people would come into the store, walk around, pass the vinyl, look at it, continue walking, circle around the store, come back and look at it again, stare at it for a moment and then ask a clerk, “Is vinyl really... Read More
By — Sunday, March 29, 2015 - 11:02am
Last Monday evening, part of the lineup of the 2015 Ottawa Bluesfest was leaked. Soon after, a press release circulated, making it official. Music fans in Ottawa rejoiced at the announcement. Most of us thought we would have to wait until April to find out what acts would be playing this summer. Reactions on the lineups have been mixed. Some people are really excited and have bought their festival passes as soon as they came online Wednesday. Some aren't really impressed with the lineup and are hoping there will be bigger, more impressive acts added to the lineup in April (although the latest addition of Kanye West to the bill is definitely bringing a lot of hype around the festival). Regardless, true fans of Ottawa music are definitely pleased... Read More
By — Friday, March 27, 2015 - 4:14pm
Arms of the Girl is Ottawa’s solution to those looking for a little country with their folk music. This female fronted band consists of locals Carolyn Côté, Afton Penny, Chris Zimmerman and David Cutler. These four musicians are also teachers, “One thing that's unique is that we are all music teachers,” says frontwoman Côté. “It's amazing to share our time and watch our students grow.” Their twangy take on a southern folk sound is unique to the rest of the folk landscape in the capital, and have been compared to artists like Alanis Morrisette, Sheryl Crow and the Barenaked Ladies. But don’t get too comfortable with their previous direction; they’re constantly changing their sound. “I think what's great about Arms is that we're constantly evolving,” Côté says. “Lately we've been working on... Read More
By — Wednesday, March 25, 2015 - 11:12am
To be honest, I’m not usually too affected by winter. The cold snowy weather, the long slushy commutes or musky fresh-air free apartments are just something I’ve learned to get accustomed to as part of life in Ottawa. But this winter (particularly February) has felt painfully long and this year, for me and many others, there was no escaping the grips of cabin fever. With mid-March looking more like mid-January, it seems we are just going to have to start spring ourselves. If this sounds all too familiar to you, Peter Zachar, Andrew Grosvenor and Gavin Dyke may have just what the doctor ordered.  What better way to celebrate the impending change of the seasons than to launch yourself enthusiastically forward with energy and passion and a rallying cry that says “Winter can kiss my a... Read More
By — Thursday, March 19, 2015 - 8:57pm
Ottawa bands need artist managers. Period. The Harris Institute in Toronto churns them out, and that city is swimming with artist managers. In Ottawa, I can name only a few, and I personally know of only a few such agencies. The local music scene is on the rise. I recall a brief shining moment in 1998/99 that was similar, when This Minor Tremble (formerly Protein) & Starling were oh so close to grabbing that brass ring, putting Ottawa on the map nationally, and finally luring the music industry to descend upon our fair city to see what all of us here already know: that Ottawa music is the best! Everybody does their part in this town. Live 88.5 has their Big Money Shot. Megaphono -locally organized- occurred this winter, including panels and seminars to teach artists the business side... Read More
By — Sunday, February 15, 2015 - 7:48pm
Back away from the jogging pants and your mom’s leopard print snuggie. At least for one night.  If you’re looking for something to break you out of hibernation mode, look no further than Babylon on February 18th.  Chicago alt-hip hoppers Sidewalk Chalk will be rolling into the nation’s capital, bringing more heat than a Hot Pocket that’s been cooking in the microwave for over 4 minutes. The show is part of Rocksteady Bookings (RSB) monthly Bars & Breakbeats series, which has quickly established itself as a go-to for Ottawa heads. In its latest iteration, RSB once again proves they know how to build a bill that won’t disappoint with Alex Silas & the Subterraneans, CrooKid Bass (rappers KING and Yu$$o), Lost Kids and Spitten Image supporting our out of town visitors. RSB... Read More
By — Monday, February 9, 2015 - 10:09am
During Megaphono this week, there were two panels that discussed how to get your original music on played on TV and on radio. The panelists featured experts in their fields who are currently employed on the receiving end of artist submissions; from TV,  there was Malia Hall (Mothlight Music), Mikaila Simmons (Instinct Ent.) and Liana Tassone (Third Side). From the radio side, there was Erin Flynn (CHUO), Dave Aardvark (CKCU) and Mar Sellers (CIUT). All of the panelists shared a general consensus: make your music as easily accessible as you can and make sure it’s ready to be heard. The timeline for both TV and radio is tight. If they like what they hear, they need to be sure all of the important boxes are checked so that they can seamlessly add it to their programming. This included... Read More
By — Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 9:17am
If you’re looking for a quirky, crafty and all-around fun Friday night, check out the Hearts ‘n’ Crafts Karaoke Craft night. There will be karaoke hosted by Ottawa legend and glamour queen China Doll, a fortune cookie valentine craft workshop (nothing says love like something handmade) and lots of bingo. And this is no run of the mill, cash prize bingo either. Playing here comes with the chance to win all kinds of prizes just right for a very romantic date night. Any of these things on their own is pretty great, so when you put them all together... well, you’ll just have to come and see how good it can get. It might be the only place to celebrate Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, community and D.I.Y. all in one night. The event is a fundraiser for the Ravenswing Arts and Music Fair, an... Read More
By — Wednesday, February 4, 2015 - 9:16am
If you weren’t able to make the panels for Megaphono, you’ve definitely missed out on some key tips and tricks to survive in the music industry as something other than a musician. The first panel was titled “Wearing All The Hats” and simultaneously looked at what current musicians have done within the music industry to survive financially and still be able to pursue their craft, as well as what they would encourage up and coming musicians to explore to ensure the best possible result. The first panelists were Jim Bryson, Lynn Miles, Mike Dubue and Matt Ouimet who have all had varying experiences within the music industry. Bryson gave a lot of... Read More

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