Ace Noface | Toxic Charm

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Rock: Modern Rock Rock: Adult Alternative Pop/Rock Moods: Featuring Piano
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Toxic Charm

by Ace Noface

Ben Folds minus the fuzz, Keane minus the synth pads, it's Pure Piano Rock for the Brave.
Genre: Rock: Modern Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Regret
2:42 $0.99
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2. Whiskey Bottle
3:08 $0.99
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3. 2000 Bikes
4:28 $0.99
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4. Snakes
3:20 $0.99
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5. Concept
2:53 $0.99
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6. Siren Song
2:46 $0.99
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7. Bright and Shiny
3:19 $0.99
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8. Mercy
4:18 $0.99
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9. Gotta
3:54 $0.99
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10. YSAP
2:07 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Words like “inspiring” get used so casually that their meaning loses power. But in the case of Ace Noface, and his new album, Toxic Charm, one immediately becomes present to the true meaning of words like inspiration and courage. The musician, living with a terminal illness, is facing his fate with courage and conviction by creating rich and resonant piano-based rock that is in turn hypnotic, jarring and spellbinding. Ace’s life and music is the ultimate example of living what is possible in the face of any circumstance.

Listening to Toxic Charm, you can hear the plaintive vocals, the resonance of the piano and the rolling presence of the rhythm section – it’s a huge sound for such few instruments, but it makes sense, given that Ace makes the most of what he’s got.

At one time the bassist for an indie-rock band, in 2005, Ace was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, an incurable and degenerative neurological disorder. The diagnosis, obviously, was devastating. Ace remembers, “I really shut down mentally and emotionally for six months. I spent most of my days playing on the Internet and listening to music – I couldn’t deal.”

But a musician friend took a stand for Ace, and informed him what might be possible. “He told me that even though I couldn’t play an instrument anymore, I had to continue making music,” Ace recalls. “He said that he knew that was what I had to do to make some sense of the diagnosis and give meaning to the rest of my life, as opposed to just suffering. So I developed a sense of purpose for my life – probably more than any other time.”

To begin, Ace had to learn a whole new way of making music; using one finger, some computer software and email. It was a daunting task, but Ace quickly found a benefit. He explains, “When I’m writing music or lyrics I completely get lost in it – I forget that I have any kind of disability.”

It’s a fascinating process that Ace takes us through: “I’ll hear a melody or a chord progression in my head and then I’ll get in front of music notation software and I’ll use an onscreen keyboard to enter the notes. I’ll write either melody or a piano part. Then I’ll go back to it in a few days and come up with other parts, as well as the melody and piano line. Then I put the music away for a couple of weeks, and I’ll free associate lyrics – a lot of my lyrics come from random writings. Then I sit in front of a text editor and rhyming dictionary and the song will often just write itself straight out of my subconscious.”

It’s a process that has resulted in the mesmerizing Toxic Charm, an album of piano-based rock reminiscent of bands like Steely Dan, the Fray, and Five For Fighting – a sound that hearkens to classic pop, but is fixed firmly in the here and now. There isn’t a wasted note on the album – each sound is perfectly placed and sounds completely natural and right. Ace’s vocals are soulful and heartfelt, and on songs like “Regret,” he faces his reality squarely, and the courage with which he does touches a chord in anyone who listens. “2000 Bikes” sparkles with a melodic shine, telling the true story of Toronto bicycle thief Igor Kenk, who was behind the stealing of over 2000 bicycles. Ace gets inside Kenk’s head, making the listener take a turn standing in his shoes – even creating compassion for a man that was perhaps the most hated man in Toronto.

And in “Whiskey Bottle,” Ace recounts a delusional, yet quasi-spiritual experience he had (the outgrowth of a bipolar condition), seeing what he describes as, “the eye of God in the logo of Maker’s Mark bourbon,” while doing shots one night. By turns joyous, sorrowful, uplifting, spiritual and emotionally relentless, the album is the sound of a man looking back upon his life – the good and the bad, the joy and sorrow and hearing it all become one, seamless whole.

Ace’s actions in the face of his disease have already won him notice and acclaim. The Chicago Tribune has written of him, and this coming fall, Ace will perform on the Jerry Lewis Telethon to raise funds and awareness to fight ALS. But it’s really the example of his work, his defiance in the face of a grim fate, and the songs on Toxic Charm that will be his legacy. Ace concludes, “When faced with a difficult situation, everyone has a choice to make – to let it define you as a person, or make the most of the time you have left. What I’m committed to leaving behind as a legacy is the truth I’ve learned: Anyone can achieve their dream, no matter what the circumstances.”

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Reviews


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TC Skier


This is a great album. Despite being rather complex in nature, the melodies are super catchy and I keep finding myself humming the tunes on my own. The production is excellent and the singing is also great. It's nice to see the culmination of a lot of hard work into something really beautiful. Mission accomplished, Ace!
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Heather Lev

Toxic Charm
The album “Toxic Charm” is remarkable, not only because it shows deep feeling and musical complexity, but because every note was written and arranged with the use of only one finger over the course of a year.

Ace No Face, the composer of “Toxic Charm,” fills the album with brooding, soul-searching, sometimes shattering songs, like the opening song, “Regret,” “Concept,” “Bright and Shiny,” “Mercy,” and “Gotta” about how to deal with the hardest issue any person can face: one’s own mortality. Ace is a young man suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressively disabling and ultimately terminal illness, and wrote the entire album using only one finger, his computer, and a hired singer. Ace’s talent shines beyond his unimaginable situation.

Ace is uniquely qualified to speak about many spiritual issues—and also a highly talented writer who covers topics like serial bicycle thieves, manic episodes, and annoying girlfriends.

His songs are deceptively simple in arrangement, using only piano, bass, vocals and percussion, but the interplay of the instruments is often ingenious. The chord progressions are original, using complex jazz chords and expressing emotions ranging from anger and sadness to a charming sense of humor. The singer chosen for the album is expressive, and the interplay of bass, piano, and vocals is often playful and thought-provoking.

This album is great and you won't regret buying it.
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RobKast Radio

Love Them!
IMPRESSIVE !!!!!
Al this work !!!
Thank U for sending your album + bio.
In between i see the video's from your work.
I'm speechless, to see this all.
And very soon, i play some of the songs, and put the url's from You Tube, from you at work.
This is amazing, what a power !!!!!
Now in RobKast 160, 3 of the songs, Regret, Whiskey Bottle and Snakes.
Amazing Work, Thank U
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Mossip - Andrea Guy

Like Them
What can you say about Ace Noface's Toxic Charm? You can say a lot of things but first and foremost you have to say that this truly a labor of love. But that's said so many times about albums, but maybe when you understand that Ace Noface is an artist suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease, you'll understand what a labor it was. Each song was created with a music program and one finger, quite an achievement but more so is the fact that he's created a great piano driven rock album that will appeal to fans of classic rock as well as more alternative music as well.

The songs certainly contain a lot of his struggle with his disease and coming to terms with what is ultimately going to happen to him, but the music is really more inspirational than pity me and they do so with great beauty.

Take the album opener "Regret" that starts out "Put your life in order my friend. Soon your life will come to an end. With this task you will ask. Have you done more harm than good." Not the cheeriest lyrics, certainly but they show a man that is slowly coming to grips with his illness. That theme is reoccurring in songs like Concept where he ponders the way atheists see God. In much the same way Gotta details the way he has to go on.

Its not all life and death ruminations though, 2000 Bikes is a song about a bicycle thief from Toronto, and Ace seems to get into that man's mind to probe his motives. In YSAP, Ace tackles hatred by using the simple words "You're Still A Pussy." Perhaps not pleasant language but it gets the point through.

Sure the themes are strong but the album still is very listenable, its more than that. Its a life affirming album and a testament to one man's will to make music. I'm proud to have had the opportunity to listen to this creation to have been touched by his work.
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Camels Back and Forth

Love Them!
Fantastic lyrics and songs...Snakes is brilliant!

Update: Now that I know more, I'm totally blown away. This is smart, important and rockin'!
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Ken Browde

Toxic Charm
Excellent album and I will be sending this to my close friends for their birthday gifts but I'm keeping one in my car for drive-time. Great stuff, Lee!
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