Off the Couch

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, July 23, 2014 - 7:45pm
It’s about time Ottawa gets to know Jon Hynes. The multi-instrumentalist and indie rock veteran  has been in the background playing with some great bands like Hey Rosetta, the Hidden Cameras and Evening Hymns, and now he's stepping out with his own act. You have the chance to hear, see and meet Hynes this Friday, July 25th at Pressed where he’ll be having a release party for his debut album. Watchful Creatures is a hook-heavy pop-rock record, hot and ready for your ears after 2 years in the making. I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of Jon Hynes until I saw him play lead guitar for Kathleen Edwards in her “last” show at the Ottawa Jazz Festival but I’m glad I did. “Pop-rock” describes Hynes’ music too easily. In his words it’s “pop music with a lot of spin. You’ll get some rock n roll, you’ll... Read More
By — Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 3:41pm
Hip hop sometimes gets a bad rap - pun definitely intended - for not being innovative anymore. As a lover of the music myself, I tend to disagree since there are tons of new artists on the up and up who recognize its origins, but still look to evolve the genre by bringing fresh new perspectives and style. And that, children, is what hip hop at its core is all about – an ever evolving spirit that keeps reinventing itself in a never-ending cycle. So basically music’s version of the circle of life scene from Lion King (but with less Elton John). Each year House of PainT (HoP) nails that aspect of the cycle. It’s the region’s largest hip hop festival for a reason; connecting the past to the present, all while laying a path towards the future of the genre. Happening between September 4 and 7,... Read More
By — Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 11:15am
Who doesn’t love a good dance party? Whether you’re alone in your living room or you’re out with friends, letting your blackbone slide, shaking your hips and shuffling your feet is always a good time… and all it takes is a perfect playlist. The Hornettes will be igniting nostalgia at the Blacksheep Inn on Saturday for the High Summer New Moon Dance Party. Don’t have a ride? No problem! The party starts early with a round-trip shuttle bus that will bring fans from the Canadian Museum of Nature to the revered venue and back. “We really enjoy playing the Blacksheep,” shared guitarist Jeff deValk. “It’s our favorite venue to play in town. It’s a magical place and they are very gracious hosts.” deValk did not expect the party to last this long when he posted a call for singers on Kijiji to... Read More
By — Monday, July 14, 2014 - 8:33pm
What if I told you I had seen someone make some of the most haunting music I had ever heard out of thin air? The melodies were gorgeously fluid, the performance so powerful in its expressivity and the tone warm and compelling. The sound was at the same time very human but also strange and ethereal. I could liken the sound’s quality to that of a trained classical singer, a violin or a cello but these comparisons fall short of capturing what was an entirely unique sonic experience. This was not a dream; it was the Theremin music of Thorwald Jorgensen. And this week, you too can hear the beauty of this music. Thorwald Jorgensen will be performing in two solo recitals as part of the Music and Beyond festival: the first, a noon-hour concert on Tuesday July 15 at Southminster United Church in... Read More
By — Friday, July 11, 2014 - 11:17am
Refreshing. Energetic. Contagious. There are many words that can be used to describe the music of Groenland. Montreal’s indie pop darlings are currently on tour this summer, playing various festivals in Québec. Luckily for us, the band will also be making a stop at this year’s Bluesfest, playing the River Stage on Sunday afternoon. Earlier this week, I spoke to Jean Viver Lévesque, a multi-talented musician (keyboard, electros & percussions) and one of the two founding members of the band to get the inside story on Groenland. Make no mistake; Groenland is more than just indie pop. Their music also features many orchestral elements with a touch of electro. The band is comprised of six members and they play many different instruments. Their debut album “The Chase”, released last year,... Read More
By — Thursday, July 10, 2014 - 9:40am
This Saturday, Ottawa’s own Sound of Lions will take the stage at Bluesfest to bring some much needed R&B and Soul to this year’s lineup. This will be their second appearance at the festival. This week, I had the opportunity to speak with Marco Campagna and Joel Soucy from the band about their upcoming performance at Bluesfest.  The quintet, made up of Whitney Delion (vocals), Will Assaad (guitar/vocals), Marco Campagna (drums) Christian Awad (vocals/emcee/keys) and Joel Soucy (bass) will be performing on the River Stage. Although the band was originally formed by Delion & Awad roughly six years ago, additional members were introduced over time and the current lineup has played together for the last four years.  For those who are unfamiliar with the music of Sound of... Read More
By — Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 9:21am
Here's a big treat for fans of big music. On Thursday night, the RBC Bluesfest is staging one of the more ambitious presentations in its 20 year history: classic rock superstars Procol Harum will be joined on the main stage by Ottawa’s very own NAC Symphony Orchestra. Now, Procol Harum’s megahit single “A Whiter Shade of Pale” can give you goosebumps playing from crummy iPhone speakers – so imagine what it will do to you backed by a full-on world-class orchestra and choir swelling and subsiding along with each passage, propelling lead singer Gary Brooker’s powerful and distinctive voice straight through your soul and into the setting sun. Yeah, it should be pretty good. But don’t take my word for it. Ask the man with the plan. “Since the first time I heard Procol Harum perform with an... Read More
By — Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 10:53am
One week into July, and Ottawa’s music scene has hit full stride. Local music venue House of Targ is set for another week of great bands. One such band is Lemuria, an indie punk rock band hailing from Buffalo, NY. I recently spoke to Alex Kerns, drummer of Lemuria about the band's history and their extensive touring experience. I asked Kerns the story behind the band name. He explained: “At the time when we formed the band, I was reading a lot about ancient myths and conspiracies and I thought Lemuria was the most interesting one of all. Especially because there is a group of people who believe that they are from the lost continent and that the rest of their folks are hanging out inside of Mt Shasta.” This trio of guitar, bass and drums certainly have a sound larger than the sum of their... Read More
By — Wednesday, July 2, 2014 - 11:02am
Ottawa, it’s that time again. Bluesfest time! The RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest starts Thursday, July 3 so get ready for 10 jam packed days of music. Sure, you’ve heard about this year’s big headliners but there are also lots of other great bands to check out. So we, the dedicated and fun-loving volunteers at Couch Assassin, have decided to share our picks for the festival with you, our loyal readers. Here are some of our recommendations: Thursday, July 3 Julie: Scattered Clouds. One of the best local bands around! They have an interesting sound that is dark, experimental, psychedelic and very haunting. You won't forget seeing these guys perform! Alex: Bearshark. I have seen their postings around Ottawa often and... Read More
By — Friday, June 27, 2014 - 3:33pm
One of the best things about Ottawa is festival season. And one of the best things about festival season is that even when you’re tight for time or money, there are plenty of opportunities to catch a free show here and there. On Sunday, June 29, Ottawa art-rock collective Pony Girl plays one such free show as part of the Ottawa Jazz Festival. You can find them on the Laurier Avenue Canadian Music Stage (right in front of City Hall) at noon. I met up with Pascal Huot to talk about the group’s unique approach to making music and what they’re up to for the next little while. Pony Girl’s music has been described as “art-rock aka folk meets electronica” but after listening through their debut release Show me your fears (released September 2013), I have to say that labels, even one as open as “... Read More

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