FOR THE BIRDS is revitalizing the independent music scene in their hometown Barrie, Ont. After taking a listen to their latest album, All Kinds of Classy, it’s easy to hear their music is more than for the birds.

In an effort to set them apart from other rock bands in the music scene, members of For the Birds gave themselves quirky yet hardcore names such as Katie Kaboom and Maverick Slim. Their names may seem cheesy, but their music isn’t.

A self-proclaimed chaos-pop-rock band, their upbeat and raw sounds come across on tracks like “Hysterical Pregnancies” and “You Get It From Your Mother”. On most songs, Kaboom’s throaty and raw vocals come across strong and make the lyrics almost incomprehensible, but the overall sound is definitely headbanging music.

Standout tracks on the album include “Ghosts” and “Dedicated But Not Read”, in which the gang’s vocals present in each chorus making the songs richer and more pop oriented. Those two tracks beg for a repeat. The band also knows how finish a song, as the volume and texture at the end of the tracks finalize things with a heavy-hitting, musical punch.

Sounds like: A high-school battle of the bands.

Check them out: You can hear these songbirds on Facebook, or


OTTAWA-BASED PAINTER Crystal Beshara will be in the spotlight this January at the Orange Art Gallery. Her exhibition, Winter’s Promise, will be appropriately on display all month in her first solo show of the year.

Using a wide array of materials such as watercolours, pastels, and pens, Beshara meticulously creates scenic landscapes of the rural and desolate kind. Including images of a lone barn and a crop of corn in the dead of winter, Beshara’s creativity rests in rural images. Drawing influence from her childhood memories, this former farm girl relies on dramatizing landscapes for her paintings.

Having received critical acclaim and an Ontario Arts Council award back in 2007, it’s no wonder this contemporary realist painter receives so much buzz. Whatever medium Beshara uses, each image is strikingly clear and incredibly realistic. It’s evident that Beshara will be a mainstay in the arts scene for a long time coming.

 Looks like: Nature and country dramatized

Check her out: At Orange Art Gallery (233 Armstrong St.) from Jan. 4 to 25.