Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

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This Toronto band’s label debut is an exquisitely passionate work of vintage folk rock that exudes a tingling, calming warmth throughout. based out of Toronto, Little Kid’s Kenny Boothby finds himself inspired by this idea of transfiguration – a complete change of form or appearance into a more beautiful or spiritual state. far-ranging in both its sonic palette and its subject matter, this is a record of unusual depth and clarity from a songwriter who has spent the better part of a decade honing his craft and a lifetime building the perspective his songs so deftly express. these are personal songs that look outward, that seek to tie together the bigness of the world and the smallness of the everyday with both subtlety and humility. this is a must for fans of the band, trace mountains and early wilco.
“one of the best, but highly underrated, Toronto-based acts of the last few years”
humbling, and quietly brilliant  An arranging and writing master of contemplative pop returns to mull and muse on religion. Everything Ken puts out is amazing. It’s so hard to pick a favourite track but this is one of the highlights for me. Little Kid’s sound has grown in all the right ways. They perfectly straddle the line of comforting/intimate lofi and rhythmic indie-rock. The whiplash-like transition from ‘Think It Over’ to ‘Missionary’ is like a breath of fresh air every time, and there are lots of these gems within the album,  just an amazing, beautiful, haunting album. loved this band since they released logic songs. they hold such a special place in my heart!

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Little Kid is:
Kenny Boothby – vocals, classical guitar, casio sk-1, casiotone mt-40, piano, tapes, clarinet, banjo, kazoo
Broderick Germain – drums, percussion, casio mt-40, casio sk-1
Paul Vroom – bass, vocals

‘I’m learning how to say goodbye / to let you go and face the tide / to wrap my feelings in a song,’ sings Dana Gavanski on the title track of her debut LP, “Yesterday Is Gone”. To wrap her feelings in a song: this is the task Dana has dedicated herself to with this record. It’s a goal common to many songwriters, but few approach it with such aplomb. By turns break-up album, project of curiosity, and, as Dana puts it, ‘a reckoning with myself’, Yesterday Is Gone is her attempt to ‘learn to say what I feel and feel what I say’: an album of longing and devotion to longing, and of the uncertainty that arises from learning about oneself, of pushing boundaries, falling hard, and getting back up.

Born in Vancouver to a Serbian family, Dana has always harboured a desire to sing. In her final year of university in Montreal, she picked up the guitar left by her ex-partner and decided to re-learn. But with a father in film and a painter mother, other art-forms clamoured for her attention. She spent a summer as her producer father’s assistant in the Laurentians, in a derelict hotel-turned-office that looked like something out of The Shining. The long days behind a computer cemented her desire to make music, ‘because it was so impossible to play that I needed to, in order to feel like it was real.’ The income she saved that summer funded a year of writing religiously, leading to EP Spring Demos in September 2017, which Dana describes as ‘whatever was coming out of me. A flood.’

Following Spring Demos, Yesterday Is Gone reflects Dana’s aim ‘to make something bigger, more thought through’. Steeped in determination and uncertainty in equal measure – ‘I just wanted to write a good song’ – the album took shape after she returned from a writing residency in Banff, Alberta. She left the residency resolved not to worry about her songs being ‘too obvious’. She’d begun to learn the art of empty time, of being alone with her emotions, losing herself in a landscape. She thought of Vashti Bunyan, riding for hours and writing, writing, writing. She considered how she might use writing to make sense of her life after the tumults of a break-up and a new city. Adrift in Toronto, Dana struggled to feel at home and connected to people, but the solitude also allowed her to ground herself in writing. She kept office-style hours at her bedroom desk every day until she started to understand the writing process, to see that ‘transforming a burning desire into something clear and tangible is a vulnerable and delicate act. You have to be able to let things happen, to accept losing control.’

The record is a co-production between Dana, Toronto-based musician Sam Gleason, and Mike Lindsay of Tunng and LUMP. While Sam helped Dana bring out the tunes, Mike’s input marked ‘the beginning of developing a sound that was closer to what I had in my head’. Though excited by the other elements of a song introduced during production, Dana and Mike were keen on ‘finding essential things, not overblowing, keeping things bare and letting the elements speak for themselves’. Not that the sheer variety of sounds and instruments didn’t overwhelm. ‘But you have that feeling,’ Dana says, ‘then you just pick up an instrument. At the base, you do know what you want. It’s about how to chip away at what you don’t want.’

The album shapeshifted as it passed through the hands of Dana, Sam, and Mike, taking on different tastes, feelings, and visions. When Dana performed the songs with a band, they found new form again. She was intrigued by performers like David Bowie and Aldous Harding, who inhabit different personalities on stage, physically tuning themselves to their music. ‘Watching these kinds of performances,’ Dana says, ‘I feel my body longing to express myself in exaggerations … to leave behind self-consciousness and become this energy.’

But a three-month trip to Serbia in autumn 2018 really pushed performance to the forefront of Dana’s mind. She took singing lessons to learn how to sing with the resonance that defines traditional Serbian song. Stirred by the bombast of fifties, sixties, and seventies music, including the high-energy kafana, or café music, as rooted in expressive pouts as it is vocal resonance, the trip incited a yearning to completely inhabit herself on stage. ‘I often feel we’re all just these controlled bodies,’ she says. ‘Sometimes I just want to make a snarl with my lip and keep it there.’

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Stood on a crowded train last spring, Dana sang the Macedonian song Jano Mome to an audience of cheery Scottish ladies. The moment, brief but beautiful, lays bare Dana’s craving for live spontaneity. But it also reflects her injection of stylish drama and vivid emotion into the folk landscape that inspires her, from contemporary singers H Hawkline and Julia Holter, to stalwarts Fairport Convention, Anne Briggs, Connie Converse, and Judee Sill. Expressive urges run all through Yesterday Is Gone. Moments of beguilement splinter a backdrop of tenderly picked guitar, bass, synth, and poppier elements, which commune to produce her own kind of wall of sound. Each component is meticulously placed, yielding a deeply sincere response to the chaos of human emotion.

‘Often we have to go a little far in one direction to learn something about ourselves,’ Dana says. The months of solitary writing and self-doubt testify to this, but they’ve led to Yesterday Is Gone: an optimistic, steely-eyed gaze into the future.

Released March 27th, 2020, on Full Time Hobby Records , Music & lyrics written by Dana Gavanski Dana’s debut album “Yesterday Is Gone” is out now!.

Buildings burning in every direction; macabre unknowns in your friendly neighbour’s basement; undecided voters sharpening their pencils: under pressure we could call Kiwi Jr’s Cooler Returns “timely.” But what year is it, again? On their sophomoric smash-up released world-wide by Sub Pop Records, Kiwi Jr cycle through the recent zigs & looming zags of the new decade, squinting anew at New Year’s parties forgotten and under-investigated small town diner fires, piecing together low-stakes conspiracy theories on what’s coming down the pike in 2021. Put together like a thousand-piece puzzle, assembled in flow state through the first dull stretch of quarantine, sanitized singer shuffling to sanitized studio by streetcar, masked like it’s the kind of work where getting recognized means getting killed, Cooler Returns materializes as a sprawling survey from the first few bites of the terrible twenties, an investigative exposé of recent history buried under the headlines & ancient kings buried under parking lots.

Not so long since their debut Football Money in archaeological time, unending grey eons later in the dog years of quaran-time, spiritually antipodean Canadians Kiwi Jr return to disseminate this year’s annual report to the shareholders, burying the incriminating numbers in the endless appendices of a longform narrative record, a 3,000 word tract for stakeholders to pore over.

Opener “Tyler” builds a Frankenstein of all your musician exes; don’t you remember “falling apart in the green room while they drank half the headliner’s rider?” In “Waiting In Line” we’re still slumbering at the bar, agitation skyrocketing contemplating “what breed of beast protects the back door.” We hear “it isn’t past until it burns,” in “Maid Marian’s Toast” but what explains the accompanying & extensive itinerary of incinerated Eastern Canadian eateries? Investigated off the clock by Kiwi’jrs amateur arson division, suspicion is cast on all: The Cook, The Regular : Ms. Scarlett, Colonel Mustard. Throughout these crises, histories, and head games Kiwi Jr. don’t expect you to be taking notes or checking dates – and on the back nine, when “Omaha” demands proof that “Woodstock ever happened in the first place,” perhaps the freewheeling guitar groove underfoot tells us all we need to know about who’s been flipping through the festival files, air-drumming along to the complete 10-CD set.

Opening with a sweet melody on 12-string guitar, the band offer up even more evidence that ‘Cooler Returns’ is set to be one of the best releases of 2021. Reminiscent of a forgotten 70s classic, its fairground piano and bouncing rhythms are prefect for blowing away the January blues.

These stories – memories of Augusts past, unrepressed & transcribed fast – go down easier thanks to meaningful changes enacted in 2019’s KiwiCares Pledge: delivering on a promise to transition from Crunchy to Smooth by 2021, the caveman chug of Football Money has been steamed & pressed with the purifying air of a saloon piano – operated with bow-tie untied – and a spring green side-salad of tentatively up-tempo organ taps & freshly fluted harmonica.

A chronically detuned spin of the dial through swivel-chair distractions & WFH daydreams, an immersive ctrl-tab deluge cycling through popular listicle distractions like the unentombing of Richard III, or the deja vu destruction of the Glasgow School of Art, Kiwi Jr sing this song to an indoor audience, crisscrossing cancelled, every other prestige distraction source wrung dry, only song writing remaining to deliver engrossing tales to the populace, just how I imagine it worked in the old days.

Fixing loose ingredients into a sturdy whip, Kiwi Jr beam in live from the 9-5, striding into 2021 with a mastered brainwave that comes equally from the back room of the record store as the penalty box. And how do we, left holding this box of deliberate entanglements, sign off to those as yet uninitiated, undecided, uncertain, unseen, absent return coordinates 

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Kiwi Jr.’s “Cooler Returns”, featuring the title track, “Undecided Voters,” “Maid Marion’s Toast,” and “Waiting in Line,” will be available January 22nd, 2021 worldwide through Sub Pop with the exception of Canada through the band’s Kiwi Club imprint. The album was produced by Kiwi Jr., mixed and engineered by Graham Walsh (METZ, Bully, Preoccupations) in Toronto, and mastered by Phillip Shaw Bova at Bova Labs in Ottawa, Ontario.

Kiwi Jr. is Jeremy Gaudet (mic, guitar), Brohan Moore (drums), Mike Walker (bass), and Brian Murphy (guitar). 

releases January 22nd, 2021  Sub Pop Records

Another band we count as friends are Toronto’s PUP, who play a more aggressive, shout-y form of punk. Widerman credits Sum 41 guitarist Dave Baksh for giving invaluable help during Monster Truck’s early years; their 2011 EP Brown is named for the swarthy guitarist, who lent a ton of gear for its recording. While there isn’t necessarily a well-defined Canadian sound, one thing many players have in common is a focus on subtlety rather than pyrotechnics. 

“One of the things I’ve noticed with Canadian artists in different media is there’s a lot of individuality,” Wilcox says. “Everyone from Neil Young to Joni Mitchell to whoever. Partly because there’s a certain feeling of isolation in winter. I don’t know.”

“I prefer guitar players who are able to tell stories through what they play,” says PUP guitarist Steve Sladowski, who cites Mitchell and Bruce Cockburn as some of his favourite Canadian players.

“Even someone like Alex Lifeson is somehow an understated guitar player. Playing in Rush, in a power trio, he’s happy to play what needs to be there. There’s some way of playing this really technical music and really proggy but never overplaying.” This guys have great pop sensibility and a penchant for great melodies, all dressed up in a jagged suit of chaos and energy. 

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For PUP, a band whose breakout album begins with the all-time great kick off line “If this tour doesn’t kill you then I will,” the only thing worse than being trapped on tour for a year is being trapped without the possibility of touring for a year. Innumerable great young bands have seen their touring careers stalled by the pandemic, and PUP is one of them: Instead of seizing the momentum of 2019’s phenomenal Morbid Stuff with another round of shows, the Toronto punk band is trapped at home and getting their aggression out with a characteristically misanthropic EP, This Place Sucks Ass. Titled after a routine tour refrain-turned-pandemic commentary (“at this moment in time, it feels so fucking real—wherever you are, it sucks ass right now,” frontman Stefan Babcock explains), the 17-minute release compresses the band’s infectious feel-bad punk energy into five new ragers and one cover.

While the sounds might vary, one thing that unites guitar bands is the hours they spend slogging it out on Canada’s endless highways (when you calculate the distance between Canada’s big cities, it starts making a lot of sense that Tom “Life is a Highway” Cochrane is a canuck). 

Sladkowski points to two other highly aggro bands who have managed long careers in the north as examples of the creative risks bands can take in Canada

Released October 23rd, 2020

here’s an album what’s got ten types of songs.

The January Song, that’s a country-lobster city-lobster type song.
The April Song, dying type of song.
Grace, that’s a dying and living type song.
Mercy, “milk-of-human-kindness”, that’s an eye-of-the-dog, three-types-of-souls type song.
The Pool of Blood is a two paths type of song and The August Song is a one path type of song.
White Lichen, that’s a “you break it you buy it” type song.
The October Song, that’s a “you bought a ghost story and there are no refunds” type song.
Ghosts Explode, that’s a living and dying and worship the sun type song.
The Golden Days are Hard, now that’s a you-know-me-better-than-I-know-myself type of reckoning type song.

there are several additional type songs that these ten pick up here and there like stray radio signals ricocheting off street lamps and open palms and little rocks collected between the sidewalk and the yard. feel free to take note of ’em but a comprehensive list won’t be much more useful than the one we’ve got here anyhow.

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Westelaken is
Alex Baigent – electric bass, upright bass, synth on track 1, backing vocals (all over the place but most prominently in tracks 1 and 9)
Rob McLay – percussion, synth on track 10, backing vocals (including harmonies on tracks 1 and 8)
Jordan Seccareccia – guitars, vocals
Lucas Temor – piano, banjo, backing vocals

 

released August 21, 2020

Okay, so here is a few facts to pique your interest in the Toronto rockers. First, they count Sir Elton John as a fan. Impressive for sure. Second, they will be supporting Passion Pit on their 10th year anniversary tour after previously gaining support on a supporting slot for Death From AboveAnd thirdly, the band straight up rocks and their style has won not only accolades and admiration, but a Juno award as well. We are thoroughly impressed by almost everything the band has created and we think they are sure to reach near combustible levels of notoriety with tracks like “Desdemona”.

In their early teens, sisters Jordan and Kylie Miller joined Eliza Enman-McDaniel and guitarist Megan Fitchett to form the pop punk quartet Done with Dolls in their hometown of Toronto.

The band undertook a tour in 2011 opening for Allstar Weekend, By 2013, Fitchett had departed the group, being replaced by Earl, and the band adopted a more adult sound and the name The Beaches from the neighbourhood of Toronto where the Millers and Enman-McDaniel grew up.

The Beaches released two EPs, The Beaches (2013) and Heights (2014), before signing to Universal Music’s subsidiary Island Records in 2016. They released their debut full-length studio album Late Show in 2017.[6] The album was produced by Emily Haines and James Shaw of Metric. The band won Breakthrough Group of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2018.[8][9] Later that year, they received a SOCAN Songwriting Prize nomination for their song “Money”.

In 2019, the band released its third EP, The Professional. It was accompanied by the singles “Fascination” and “Snake Tongue”.[11] They toured Canada, opening for The Glorious Sons and Passion Pit. The band was selected as the opening act for the only Canadian stop on the Rolling Stones’ 2019 No Filter Tour, they appeared as the on-field pre-game entertainment before the kick-off of the 107th Grey Cup in Calgary, performing “Fascination” and “T-Shirt”. They later announced a 2020 headlining tour of Canada.

The Beaches from new EP “The Professional”, available now!

Band Members
Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Eliza Enman McDaniel, Leandra Earl

Oh brother, Toronto’s finest return with the darker, maladjusted nephew of last year’s Morbid Stuff… “This Place Sucks Ass”. Including a mother of a cover of Grandaddy’s “A.M. 180” alongside five other anxious, bitter and angry classics, this record sure ain’t for mom and dad.

Our NC exclusive version of “This Place Sucks Ass” is pressed on White, Orange and Green Swirl Vinyl, in a limited edition of 600 pieces

“This Place Sucks Ass” EP. October 23rd. Yes, that’s a real title. Yes, it started as a joke that felt like it came true. No matter where you live or what your circumstances, this EP is about the place you are from & the place you are at now. Because both of those places suck ass. New song “Rot” out now. thisplacesucksass.com

The EP features three songs from the Morbid Stuff sessions, two covers, and then a brand new track that is single “Rot,” which was written and recorded this year. “Rot” features that super-charged punk / power pop sound that the band has fully made into their own, on full display with all of the chaos that this year has brought.

You can pre-order it right now! Bundles include t-shirts, sweatpants, totes, colour your own vinyl variants and “This Place Sucks Ass” pencil crayons. The EP art was designed by our pal Brandon Lepine. We also have the vinyl as an animated picture disc!.
To celebrate the EP release, we are doing our first ever livestream show on October 23rd. The show will be called “THIS STREAM SUCKS ASS – THE PUPTHEBAND LIVESTREAM EXPERIENCE” & it will be broadcast live from Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto. Directed by Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux.

We are eternally grateful for any & all support. We hope this music finds you safe, as healthy as you can be, and committed to the fight for social justice. We’ll see you out on the road as soon as it’s safe for us all to be together again!

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We’re called PUP. We’re 4 dudes from Toronto. We play loud music. You’ll like it. Or maybe you won’t. Listen and love it / hate it / whatever.

Releases October 23rd, 2020

With a name that sounds like a remote village in Sweden, Westelaken are actually a quartet from Toronto, Ontario. Having first emerged back in 2018, with their self-titled debut, the band have had a productive 2020, releasing a split-EP with fellow Torontonians Hobby, as well as one of their own, The Pool of Blood. While that record only arrived last month, the band have wasted no time in following up with their most impressive step to date, brand-new album, The Golden Days are Hard, ten songs that show both the variety and quality of Westelaken’s songwriting.

In some ways, Westelaken could be pinned as an alt-country band, yet they’re not one that fall neatly into any particular box. Across the ten tracks they span influences and genres, from the Neutral Milk Hotel-like opening track, The January Song, through to the title track, a 10-minute opus, which combines the emotional vocals of Daniel Johnston with the bar-room balladry of Kyle Craft. Lyrically too, The Golden Days are Hard is a record that explores the layered emotions of modern living, an album laced with fear, resignation and just a touch of hope, it muses on topics of death, friendship, and finding the kindness that’s still left in humanity. While it could have been a heavy record, The Golden Days are Hard manages to portray a brightness that’s beyond its themes, it sounds like a bold next step, from a band whose talent could take them anywhere.

here’s an album what’s got ten types of songs.
The January Song, that’s a country-lobster city-lobster type song.
The April Song, dying type of song.
Grace, that’s a dying and living type song.
Mercy, “milk-of-human-kindness”, that’s an eye-of-the-dog, three-types-of-souls type song.
The Pool of Blood is a two paths type of song and The August Song is a one path type of song.
White Lichen, that’s a “you break it you buy it” type song.
The October Song, that’s a “you bought a ghost story and there are no refunds” type song.
Ghosts Explode, that’s a living and dying and worship the sun type song.
The Golden Days are Hard, now that’s a you-know-me-better-than-I-know-myself type of reckoning type song.

there are several additional type songs that these ten pick up here and there like stray radio signals ricocheting off street lamps and open palms and little rocks collected between the sidewalk and the yard. feel free to take note of ’em but a comprehensive list won’t be much more useful than the one we’ve got here anyhow.

Westelaken is
Alex Baigent – electric bass, upright bass, synth on track 1, backing vocals (all over the place but most prominently in tracks 1 and 9)
Rob McLay – percussion, synth on track 10, backing vocals (including harmonies on tracks 1 and 8)
Jordan Seccareccia – guitars, vocals
Lucas Temor – piano, banjo, backing vocals
with
Paul Vroom – “organ” on track 3, backing vocals
Rachel Bellone – vocals on track 3
and Slurry (Rachel Bellone, Tago Mago, Patrick McKenna, Steven Lourenco) on group vocals
Released August 21st, 2020

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Dana Gavanski has had something of a break-out year in 2020, her debut, Dana Gavanski has had something of a break-out year in 2020, her debut, Yesterday Is Gone, drew widespread acclaim following its release back in March. By all rights, Dana should currently be touring the album far and wide, however with those plans now on hold until 2021, she is finding new ways to share her music with the world. Her latest project is a brand new covers EP, “Wind Songs”, due out next month, and this week Dana has shared the latest single from it, her cover of Chic’s track, At Last I Am Free.

This period of enforced isolation came at a particularly odd time for Dana, not only was it meant to be a triumphant moment, marking her album’s release, it also came shortly after relocating to London. Channelling this isolation into something positive, “Wind Songs” arrives as a comforting draft of familiarity, by tapping into some of her favourite songs, Dana taps into a wider love of music, and its ability to root us. Take, At Last I Am Free, it is a track Dana only discovered in the last year, yet takes a special place with her, not least for Robert Wyatt’s beautifully odd rendition of the song which, “blows my mind, with his bizarre but amazing vocals and arrangement: that soft and gentle mellotron flute that pushes the song along coupled with his shrill wizardly voice“. Dana’s own take is led by her crystalline vocal, shimmering atop a warble of electronic keys and pulses of rhythmic piano. Wind Songs feels like a beautiful aside, a look at the songs that made Dana Gavanski the fascinating musician she is, and hint at just how much more there is still to come from her.

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Dana Gavanski is a singer/songwriter currently residing in London.

“Wind Songs” is out August 14th via Full Time Hobby /Flemish Eye / Ba Da Bing Records.

It’s going to be clear to you and everyone else at the party that the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes discography could more than suffice for a day full of blowing up stuff. But in case you’re looking for some more recent bratty punk and some original songs, Pup’s newest album, 2016’s The Dream is Over, can freshen up your punk rock playlist.

The Toronto four-piece makes it look effortless as they turn songs about wanting to kill your buddies into shout-along anthems. The album title comes from a phrase the lead singer Stefan Babcock’s doctor used after Babcock actually shredded his vocal cords. So on a holiday when accidentally killing your friends is a real possibility and screaming is a must if you want to be heard, this record seems appropriate.

PUP’s ability to channel anxiety, depression, and generalized misanthropy into pummeling pop-punk hooks is an endlessly renewable resource. The band is also a good enough live act to justify the fact that half their lyrics seem to be about the exhaustion of touring. In 2019, the Canadian quartet followed up 2016 breakthrough The Dream Is Over with the equally great — and equally antisocial — Morbid Stuff. It helps that lead singer Stefan Babcock is one of punk’s great chroniclers of malcontent, even, and especially when he leans on self-deprecation: “Half the crap I say is just things I’ve stolen from the bathroom walls of shitty venues across America,” he snarls in “Full Blown Meltdown.”