Posts Tagged ‘Canadian. Toronto’

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In April , 2020, Toronto’s Scott Hardware will be releasing “Engel”, his second full-length album, and first on Telephone Explosion Records. It will mark the end of a three-year process of writing, recording and letting down his guard (for better or worse.)

Engel, the recently-released sophomore album from this Toronto artist is literally and figuratively seraphic. It was inspired by the 1987 film Wings of Desire, which followed angels around a pre-unified Berlin as they comforted its populace. On Engel, Hardware imagines these angels hovering over him and his loved ones, and the backdrop is piano-led art-pop, filled with graceful swells of tender vocals and off-kilter instrumentals.

His last album, 2016’s Mutate, Repeat, Infinity, was the culmination of a years-long obsession with the HIV/AIDS crisis and how it was shaped by capitalism. Hardware’s early years after coming out were shaped by the courage of people close to him who were dealing with difficult diagnoses.“Looking at these situations from a macro/societal lens must have been the only way I could process and share those years of my life and my loved ones’ lives with an audience” Hardware recalls. “From a writing and production standpoint, I was trying to re-imagine various eras of dance music and sound as urgent and vital as they would have in their heyday of the ‘80s and ‘90s.”

Within a year of moving back (to Toronto) from Berlin, Scott watched Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire and was immediately filled with its inherent curiosity. The film, in short, follows angels around pre-unification Berlin as they listen to the thoughts of the mortals they are surrounded by. “I sought with this album to capture the film’s velvety feeling – in turns funny, depressing, dark and mundane – in LP form” Hardware says. “These songs imagine Wenders’ angels buzzing around my friends, my family and I. Writing from their point of view allowed me unfettered access to my own thoughts about them and myself.” In the title track, the subject is in a relationship with a mischievous angel (named Engel,) who is probing his mind against his will. “Here he comes to comfort me, but like a fly around my head I’d sooner swat him dead,” is sung over an off-the-grid deconstructed house piano. A symphony of creaking trains and industry envelops the banging piano and delicate strings on the chorus while our hero complains “He’s here with that look again, he knows what’s happening, inside,” not, it would seem, ready for this level of vulnerability.

 Engel is filled with touching, elegant art-pop that evokes the flaws and triumphs of everyday people. Plush strings and piano are perfectly suited to this brush with angels while the occasionally jarring electronic textures that adorn this LP point to the world’s beautiful yet cruel disarray. Hardware’s rich vocals are so gorgeous that they embody the noble, supernatural and biblical qualities of these winged healers.

Taken from Engel – TER055 out April 3rd on Telephone Explosion Records.


Pop punk isn’t dead—it’s just evolving, and nothing showcases that better than the progression of Pup. Their self-titled album from 2013 started off like any other catchy, poppy band obsessed with group chants, which is precisely what we needed at the time. 2013 was a pretty desolate year for pop punk, with a Wonder Years album The Greatest Generationand The Story So Far’s What You Don’t See, but not much else resembling anything you’d want to listen to outside of a Warped Tour playlist. Pup were the answer to our post–Bomb the Music Industry!, pre-worry. years, changing the mold of what we thought the genre had disintegrated into.

From Pup “UP” to 2016’s The Dream Is Over, the band explored their anger, sadness, and general discontent with the direction their lives had gone. While those albums were heavy-hitters in their own right, they were made for a specific time in Pup’s life. Like their predecessors, Pup have done what all pop punk bands must eventually do: they grew up. On “Morbid Stuff”, you can see their age. The group chants are louder, harsher, more unapologetic, while their words are uncensored, confident, and sincere. They’ve embraced the uniqueness of their perspectives, and in turn created a piece of confessional art. Morbid Stuff came at a time when we’re all craving transparency and honesty, and told us it’s OK to feel like shit. It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to tell people when you care about them. It’s OK to be loud. Instead of simply dealing with the curveballs that life throws your way, this record presents the option of fighting back.

Toronto band, Pup have released a further video for the album’s title track that gives us a glimpse at their live show, but from the fan’s perspective. The new video for “Morbid Stuff” was recorded live and shot on cheap, hand-held cameras that were given out to 19 gig-goers that the band personally connected with in advance of their recent London dates. This video continues PUP’s longstanding tradition of putting their fans first, like when they asked fans to record their own version of “Free At Last” without ever even hearing the song and only knowing the lyrics and chords, or when Pup leaked the news of their latest album and new song “Kids,” via a zine sent to fans through their Little Dipper label imprint. The “Morbid Stuff” video, which premiered yesterday across the nineteen fans’ social media accounts, showcases the sweat-stained euphoria of the band’s show and once again captures the unique bond between Pup and the people that come to see them live, screaming every word.

Toronto rockers PUP released their great third album Morbid Stuff which found the band crafting their most cathartic collection of songs yet. With blazing guitars, blasting drums and the perfect amount of gang vocals, Morbid Stuff, as described by a friend, is nostalgic, sassy and it fucking rips!


Alvvays are a Canadian Band with one of 2014 best pop records, with its gorgeous sunny weather feel and jangle guitar, the eponymous debut album from Canadian indie band Alvvays (don’t be fooled, you just pronounce it as Always) is full of C86-sounding jangles and emotional hooks. a particularly poppy and energetic sound, they’re the perfect antidote to the miserable weather outside. There’s a real air of Camera Obscura and to some extent She & Him about Alvvays and there’s no doubt in my mind that these guys will soon emerge from the underground.”


The lenses in their glasses are real, they know who all the bands pictured on their Tumblr actually are, and they have made one of the most jangle-filled and impressive debut albums of 2014 so far. The band started as a solo project for Molly Rankin, the daughter of famous Celtic musician John Morris Rankin, who died in a road accident when Molly was just 12 years old. But Alvvays don’t focus on the morbid; instead they offer a diary-like insight into their lives. “Alcoholism, depression and parties and relationships seem to always exist in whatever I write,” Rankin said in a recent interview. After picking up Molly’s best friend, keys player and childhood neighbour Kerri Maclellan plus bandmates Alec O’Hanley, Brian Murphy and Phil MacIsaac along the way, the Toronto group worked on their debut album with Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh and producer John Agnello as well as fellow Canadian Chad VanGaalen at his excellently named Yoko Eno studio in Calgary. Together they elicit the twinkly thrills of C86-era indie, The Magnetic Fields, Pavement or, if you prefer, Best Coast. The band Alvvays most often resemble, however, is 4AD’s Camera Obscura. ‘Archie, Marry Me’ is by far the best song on this album – a bona fide hit

It’s full of sun-bleached summer jams like ‘Adult Diversion’, a tale of obsessively following a loved one from afar, and the Phil Spector-esque ‘Party Police’. The spectral ‘Red Planet’ concludes the album with the sound of waves lapping against the shore, set against a woozy synthesizer as Rankin sings, “I waited out here for you, but that was just delusional.” It’s a stunning end to a great debut record laced with melancholy and beautiful moments.