Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Listening to Partner is like hanging out with your best friends, assuming your best friends are queer Canadian stoners with hooks for days. For Josée Caron and Lucy Niles, that’s actually true, and their easy chemistry is evident on the excellent “In Search Of Lost Time”, both on the album’s 12 songs and in the goofy skits threaded throughout. What’s even more evident is their musical chops, the kind of righteous riffage that can turn anything from wandering around a grocery store high to discovering your roommate’s sex toy into a slyly subversive guitar-rock anthem.

A lot of rock music the last few years also sounds like the 90’s. Partner a Canadian two-piece that provide full disclosure of the decade that influenced them most, with songs about corny daytime T.V. shows like Maury and Judge Judy, an open affinity for grunge riffs, and a sense of humor that recalls the slacker goofiness of Wayne’s World. Despite their lack of self-seriousness, though, Partner are serious musicians, and In Search of Lost Time is perhaps the best product of the 90’s revival because it doesn’t sound dated at all. The tongue-flicking solos, anthemic melodies, whimsical lyrics and profoundly delectable riffs form truly terrific rock songs that render the generic question, “are they reinventing the wheel?,” moot. This band doesn’t care to make a sweeping impact on the current state of guitar music, they’re just trying to kick back, munch on some snacks, and crank out some kick-ass tunes. That’s rock ‘n roll in its purest form.

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Vocals / Lead Guitar by Josée Caron
Vocals / Rhythm Guitar by Lucy Niles 
Bass by Kevin Brasier
Drums by Simone TB

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Since the mid-90s, Pembroke, Ontario’s Blinker the Star has been concocting some delicious music. 2017’s 8 of Hearts could be classified as alternative rock; in addition, you will hear a good dose of a retro progressive rock kneaded into the dough. At times, there are surprises, like a banjo on track “Heather” and haunting piano with fluttering analog synth on “Caves and Shadows”. Here are well written songs that are highly enjoyable to listen to.

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Darlene Shrugg is the point where loads of great artists meet. The Toronto-based outfit originally came together four years ago, but their live shows and recorded output has been sporadic. They also have little to no presence online, so keeping tabs on their movements has involved some extra leg work. Nothing on record, nothing streaming, nothing on YouTube.

The project was put together by Maximilian Turnbull (used to be Slim Twig) and Simone TB, who for a decade, played in the band TropicsU.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy joined up, along with Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist from electro-pop band Ice Cream.

Now, Fucked Up guitarist Young Guv convinced them to get in the studio and record some material. The result is an album, self-titled, coming out on Upset The Rhythm due out on 27th October. For its first three quarters, the song is an intoxicating ambient symphony, atop which Remy’s angelic vocal floats as if awaiting a lakeside baptism. But in its final minute, the swirling strings and choral harmonies are rudely upended by a frenetic, fuzz-rockin’ finale ‘Strawberry Milk’ is the first track they’ve shared from it. Don’t let the ambient beginnings fool you.

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The Band: DARLENE SHRUGG is:
Carlyn Bezic
Amanda Crist
Meg Remy
Simone TB
Maximilian ‘Twig’ Turnbull

Life After Youth is the first Land of Talk album since 2010’s Cloak and Cipher. After taking a few months off after Cloak and Cipher’s touring cycle, frontwoman Elizabeth Powell got back to work on a followup. Instead, a series of mishaps – post-tour fatigue, a crashed hard drive with new demos, and her father’s stroke in 2013 – turned “a few months” into “a few years”.

While caring for her father, Elizabeth fell under the spell of classical, ambient, and Japanese tonkori music, whose meditative quality aided his recovery. Immersing herself in those sounds would change her entire approach to music making; she started writing songs without her trusty guitar, instead building tracks up from synth beds and programmed loops.
Life After Youth’s centerpiece track, “Inner Lover,” presents the most radical results of those experiments. It’s an audio Rorschach test of a song: key in on the incessant synth pulse underpinning Elizabeth’s pleading vocal (“take care of me!”) and the track assumes an ominous intensity. But when you surrender to the relaxed drum counter-rhythm and subliminal harmonies, “Inner Lover” projects a graceful serenity.

Even the songs built atop more traditional rock foundations exist in that liminal space between dreaming and waking life, confidence and doubt, raw feelings and soothing sounds. “Yes You Were” opens the record with a cold-start surge that’s overwhelming in its immediacy, with Elizabeth’s furiously strummed guitar jangle and wistful lyricism bearing all the adrenalized excitement and nervous energy of seeing old friends (or, in her case, fans) for the first time in ages. And as its title suggests, “Heartcore” is a collision of soft-focus sonics and emotional intensity, with Elizabeth’s crystalline vocals hovering above a taut, relentless backbeat and disorienting synth squiggles. Even the turn-a-new-leaf optimism of “This Time” is presented less as a triumphant comeback statement than a warm reassuring embrace—its beautifully dazed ‘n’ confused psych-pop swirl acts as a calming force as you hurtle toward life’s great unknown. 

Fitting for a song about reconnecting with the world, “This Time” was the product of another fortuitous reunion—between Elizabeth and her old friend Sharon Van Etten, who lent her songwriting smarts and heavenly harmonies to that track, as well as “Heartcore” and the Fleetwood Mac-worthy “Loving.” And Van Etten is just one member of a veritable indie-rock dream team Elizabeth recruited to complete the album: the moonlit ballad “In Florida” was recorded by producer John Agnello (Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile) in his New Jersey studio, with Elizabeth backed by former Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and Roxy Music/Sparks bassist Sal Maida.  To paraphrase the late David Bowie, it’s been seven years, and Elizabeth’s brain hurt a lot. But she stands today as the patient-zero case study for Life After Youth’s therapeutic powers. These are the songs that got her through the tough times. And now, they can do the same for you.
released May 19th2017

This Time – from Land Of Talk’s album ‘Life After Youth’ OUT NOW

Pallbearer are nominally a heavy metal band, but with Heartless, they made an album too big for the confines of any one genre. Heartless draws influence from a vast library of giants — Pink Floyd, Neurosis, Neil Young, Metallica, Smashing Pumpkins, Santana, Mercyful Fate, and on and on and on — but it doesn’t translate or update those texts. It consumes them, ruminates on them, and finds inspiration in them, ultimately manifesting in a work of art worthy of placement in the same vaunted collection. Frontman Brett Campbell’s vocal performance evinces the flexibility, dexterity, power, confidence, and acumen of Mike Patton, but with none of Patton’s snideness or self-satisfaction. Campbell delivers every syllable with absolute sincerity, vulnerability, and commitment.

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Hamilton, Ontario indie-rock trio Basement Revolver have quickly become the bloggers favourite. In the spring of 2016, their debut single caught on with 20+ sites, making way for a well-received EP and mini-tour that summer. A year later, the band’s second EP builds on its predecessor’s sound: wistful, reverb-heavy guitar-pop indebted to the 1990s. It also finds songwriter and guitarist Chrisy Hurn opening up, like on the lead—”a lush track that parallels the health of the mind and the heart with the earth,”

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It’s out on Yellow K Records (Japanese Breakfast) in the US and Fear of Missing Out Records in the UK.

“Champ” is the second full length album from Toronto’s Tokyo Police Club, and as its name suggests, it’s a triumph – an album of taut catchy anthems that display a renewed vigour and fizz and from the young four piece.

Tokyo Police Club first hit their stride back in 2006 when, straight out of high school, their hyperactive mini-album A Lesson in Crime came from nowhere to prove one of the year’s most refreshing releases combining as it did the youthful immediacy of The Strokes first LP and the off kilter discord of Pavement.

The surprise success of A Lesson in Crime led to relentless touring through the entirety 2007, during which time they attempted and failed several times to write and record a full length album. Eventually the band, by now exhausted and burned to the extent that they were falling asleep on stage, took a month off to record. The resulting album Elephant Shell was a slower, sweeter more introspective affair, a surprise for fans of A Lesson in Crime but one that displayed a new found lyricism from frontman-bassist and songwriter Dave Monks.

Tokyo Police Club gave themselves time to recharge, to summon an Olympian spirit for a batch of new songs that burst with a new brightness. Says front-man bassist: “It has 11 songs, a Disney character, fuzzy bits, Canadian spelling, hockey sound effects, me singing the lowest note in my range, and one saxophone note”.

The band decamped from their native Canada to record the album in Los Angeles. “I think we’ve always wanted to make a summer record, something a little more breezy and less hampered down by extremely quick, tight, short songs, and the tracks on this record gave us an opportunity to explore that a little more,” says drummer Greg Alsop. “When it came time to go into the studio, the Canadian climate had turned against us and so we had to travel south to capture the vibe and feel that worked best with these songs.” Stand out songs include the electronic pop of Bambi, the curiously titled duo Favourite Foods and Favourite Colour and the urgently anthemic Wait Up (Boots of Danger). Again Dave Monk’s lyrics are a real highlight with strikingly juxtaposed imagery – “the killer with the coloured kite”, “the national child star in a coat and a scarf, alone in the laundromat”.

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In the four years since the Tokyo Police Club’s last album, our brave heroes from Toronto spent several long winters and many manic nights. “We struggled with finding our spot as a band and owning what we were,” says lead singer/bass player and principle songwriter Dave Monks. “Everyone expected us to come out with another record like (2010’s) Champ, but we didn’t feel comfortable going on the same road we were on. We wanted to go somewhere else; an upward move, so we starting writing and looking around for something new.”

Tokyo Police Club (Monks, keyboardist/guitarist Graham Wright, guitarist Josh Hook and drummer Greg Alsop) knew that a new direction could be their key—but that choice would not be without its pitfalls.

Despite lofty goals and a fervent fan base, Champ had only bumped them up to the next ladder rung, not the express escalator to the top they may have expected. Days and weeks sometimes went by without any band activity. For the first time, two members moved away from Toronto (Monks to New York City, Alsop to Boston). “At times it felt like people maybe lost faith,” says Monks. “And it really came down to the four of us gelling. When we came back to the surface, everyone was really excited again, like they had never left.

“On Champ we were exploring new corners of our band,” continues Monks, “and a lot of it was unintentional, happy accidents. This time around we wanted to have lots of those. We made an effort to make our songs more direct and understandable and maybe cross over to people who wouldn’t normally listen to Tokyo Police Club. And then it was that act of balancing, keeping it ‘us,’ making something universal about it.”

Their first decision was to provide themselves with the time they needed to make something lasting. “We spent so long on Forcefield but we had to, there’s no other way it could have gone down,” says Graham Wright. “We did everything we needed to do to make the record. And we were bemoaning how circuitous most of our process usually is: we go on this weird path and then three days later we end up exactly where we started. But we realized that you have to allow yourselves to go on these insane tangents because every once in a while they make you put three songs together into an eight-minute medley that’s the best thing the band ever did. And if you were too busy trying to be simple and to follow your gut, you would never do that.”

The eight-minute medley to which Wright refers is “Argentina,” Forcefield’s lead track, a polished, earnest, high-octane and slow-burning epic that began as three separate songs in the same key that were stitched together into a seamless conglomeration nearly four times as long as some of the earliest Tokyo tunes. It’s a statement, for certain, but in the context of the process that birthed it, the song serves as more of a symbol of the foursome’s renewed confidence and trust in each other than an experimental jumping-off point.

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The eight tracks that follow sound like the Tokyo Police Club you know and love but somehow manage to reach a little higher into the rafters. The genuine spirit in the catchy choruses of lead single “Hot Tonight” and “Toy Guns” reflects the anthemic music that all four bandmates were inspired by while recording, and “Miserable” features a concert-ready refrain sure to infuse crowds of all sizes. This is a watertight sound that only a band of best friends could make, a band who after ten years of playing music together and over a decade and a half of friendship wrapped themselves up in a force field and gave it their all, realizing who they are in the process as well as what their songs bring to their audience and to each other.

“We became aware that the objective on the songs was to relate,” says Monks. “It wasn’t about being cathartic or poetic or shrouded in mystery, it was just to be super open. I’ve done that lyrically and we’ve done that musically as a band; we’ve been more forgiving to these songs and let them just be the kind of songs they are and not tried to make them flow with the trends. We’re stoked on this record—we think it’s the best record on the planet right now.”

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The strength of songwriter Adam Wendler is found in his uncanny ability to jump between genre borders to create something that is both refreshing and innovative. There are many points within “Deep Water” where you think you can describe his sound with terms like “folk” or “indie pop” but then the next verse immediately destroys any label you thought you knew. Adam Wendler is a passionate singer-songwriter from Goderich, Ontario. Blending catchy melodies with soulfelt lyrics and intricate guitar playing, he captures the hearts of listeners around the globe.

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He is currently releasing singles off his new album Never Go Unknown and we are intrigued to hear more genre bending hits. Wendler has a firm grasp on how to write a catchy hit, but refuses to settle for only that, his layered sound reveals something of more depth than the expected radio hit.

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Recorded at Beach Road Studios
Mastered by Troy Glessner

Piano/Keys/Strings – Zach Havens
Drums – Matt Varey
Bass – Anthony Strome
Banjo on tracks 5, 7 by Mike Reynolds
Backup vocals on track 9, 10 by Dean Reynolds
Additional vocals on ‘Follow Me Down’ by Morgan Landers

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After releasing their debut single, ‘Johnny’. Basement Revolver from Hamilton, Ontario created with this first song encountered an unstoppable wave of support; managing to establish themselves with grassroots endorsements from sites such as DIY Magazine, Indie Shuffle, CBC and Exclaim! Magazine to name only a handful. respected tastemakers hailing ‘Johnny’ a “‘favourite song of the year’ contender” and another said they had a sound that was hard to forget once it took hold. They had stumbled across a sound that is capable of stripping listeners of inhibition, heavy hitting enough to leave a lasting impression on your mind.

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The Hamilton trio moved their eyes towards the release of their debut EP, eventually accepting a record deal from Memphis Industries’ UK sub-label Fear Of Missing Out. The EP proved to be a grand success, eventually racking up over 600,000+ plays on Spotify and nearly 100,000 plays on SoundCloud. ‘Johnny’ and their second single ‘Words’ reached the higher echelon of the Hype Machine chart .

bass/synth player Nimal Agalawatte, drummer Brandon Munro , vocals, guitars Chrisy Hurn

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