Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

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The Tiny Desk Concert is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It’s the same spirit ,stripped-down sets, an intimate setting, just a different space. For PUP’s Tiny Desk (home) concert, the Toronto group refused to dial down the volume, filling Babcock’s neatly-furnished living room – complete with an Ontario pennant  and just maybe making a few enemies down the street in the process.

My neighbours hate us, and I don’t blame them, Babcock said. Volume complaints aside, that admission feels like a perfect summary of the band’s penchant for spinning stories of chaos into catchy-as-hell, shout-along songs. With bandmates Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula and Steve Sladkowski masked to adhere to COVID safety protocol, PUP wastes no time here, immediately setting the tone with “Rot” from the group’s aptly-titled 2020 EP, “This Place Sucks A**. From there, the set spans the band’s discography, spotlighting two cuts (“Kids” and “Scorpion Hill”) from 2019’s Morbid Stuff and “Reservoir,” a track off the group’s debut.

And to NPR officemates who think you’ve escaped an earsplitting in-office set with this (home) concert, let the handmade “Ceci n’est pas une Tiny Desk” (“This is not a Tiny Desk”) sign serve as a warning: When the Tiny Desk returns to NPR HQ and the U.S.-Canada border reopens, prepare to have your workday interrupted.

The Band: Stefan Babcock: vocals, guitar Nestor Chumak: bass, vocals Zack Mykula – drums, vocals Steven Sladkowski: guitar, vocals

Set List: “Rot” “Kids” “Reservoir” “Scorpion Hill”

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The Weather Station (the project of Toronto-based singer/songwriter Tamara Linderman) is releasing a new album, “Ignorance”, on February 5th via Fat Possum Records. This week she shared another song from it, “Atlantic,” via a self-directed video for the track. 

Linderman had this to say about the song in a press release: “Trying to capture something of the slipping feeling I think we all feel, the feeling of dread, even in beautiful moments, even when you’re a little drunk on a sea cliff watching the sun go down while seabirds fly around you; that slipping feeling is still there, that feeling of dread, of knowing that everything you see is in peril. I feel like I spend half my life working on trying to stay positive. My whole generation does. But if you spend any time at all reading about the climate situation circa now, positivity and lightness are not fully available to you anymore; you have to find new ways to exist and to see, even just to watch the sunset. I tried to make the band just go crazy on this one, and they did. This is one where the music really makes me see the place in my mind; the flute and the guitar chasing each other, wheeling around like birds, the drums cliff like in their straightness; I love the band on this one.”

“Ignorance” includes “Robber,” a new song The Weather Station shared in October via a self-directed video for it in her directorial debut. “Robber,” an atmospheric horn- and string-backed track, When the album was announced in November, Linderman shared its second single, “Tried to Tell You,” via another self-directed video for the track. Ignorance is the follow-up to The Weather Station’s acclaimed self-titled and self-produced fourth album, released in 2017 by Paradise of Bachelors.

In a previous press release, Linderman said the album was built on rhythm. “I saw how the less emotion there was in the rhythm, the more room there was for emotion in the rest of the music, the more freedom I had vocally,” she says. Linderman, who plays guitar and piano on the album, was aided in this cause by drummer Kieran Adams (DIANA), bassist Ben Whiteley, percussionist Philippe Melanson (Bernice), saxophonist Brodie West (The Ex), flutist Ryan Driver (Eric Chenaux), keyboardist Johnny Spence (Tegan and Sara), and guitarist Christine Bougie (Bahamas). Linderman co-produced Ignorance with Marcus Paquin, who also mixed the album. 

“Atlantic” from The Weather Station’s new album ‘Ignorance’ out February 5th, 2021

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METZ has shared a new video for their song “Framed by the Comet’s Tail”, directed by the band’s drummer, Hayden Menzies. The visual companion to a personal favourite track of Menzies’ from Atlas Vending was created within a set of self-imposed limitations; it was all shot by Menzies on his phone, edited at home, with no borrowed content. He says of the video “It’s not a literal interpretation of the song by any means, but a document of random firing synapses of the mind during isolation.” Watch the video now.

This week we also announced the first Atlas Vending tour dates and tickets for our 2021 European and UK tour are on sale now. If you can’t wait until 2021, join us next week for a very special livestream of Atlas Vending in its entirety from The Opera House in Toronto.

“Atlas Vending” is Metz’s most dynamic, dimensional, and compelling work of their career, and is now available worldwide from Sub Pop Records.

What people are saying about Atlas Vending:
“Atlas Vending is the sound of a band fully confident in itself and delivering their biggest and best work yet.” ★★★★ – Upset Magazine

“The Toronto band maintain a formidable degree of power and velocity throughout their fourth album yet… provide more welcome respites from the ferocious barrage they’re otherwise highly skilled at delivering.” [8/10] – Uncut

” A record which draws on 35 years of North American alt-rock excellence, while still stamping its creators’ own identity firmly across its grooves.” [4/5] – Kerrang

”By gathering everything the group has done to date and mixing it together Metz manage to create a perfectly potent cocktail, one filled with nostalgia, sadness and grinding euphoria.” [8/10] – Loud and Quiet

“The expansiveness of the sonic palette on Atlas Vending just gives the band more room to paint outside the lines.” [8/10] – Under The Radar

“A record that feels both raw and refined, this will shake you to the core”★★★★ – DIY Magazine

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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

“Ignorance”, is the new album by the The Weather Station, It begins enigmatically; a hissing hi hat, a stuttering drum beat.  A full minute passes before the entry of Tamara Lindeman’s voice, gentle, conversational, intoning; “I never believed in the robber”.  A jagged music builds, with stabbing strings, saxophone, and several layers of percussion, and the song undulates through five minutes of growing tension, seesawing between just two chords.  Once again, Toronto songwriter Tamara Lindeman has remade what The Weather Station sounds like; once again, she has used the occasion of a new record to create a new sonic landscape, tailor-made to express an emotional idea.  Ignorance, Lindeman’s debut for Mississippi label Fat Possum Records, is sensuous, ravishing, as hi fi a record as Lindeman has ever made, breaking into pure pop at moments, at others a dense wilderness of notes; a deeply rhythmic, deeply painful record that feels more urgent, more clear than her work ever has. 

On the cover, Lindeman lays in the woods, wearing a hand made suit covered in mirrors.  She was struck by the compulsion to build a mirror suit on tour one summer, assembling it in a hotel room in PEI and at a friend’s place in Halifax.  “I used to be an actor, now I’m a performer” she says.  In those roles, she points out, she often finds herself to be the subject of projection, reflecting back the ideas and emotions of others.  On the album, she sings of trying to wear the world as a kind of ill fitting, torn garment, dangerously cold; “it does not keep me warm / I cannot ever seem to fasten it” and of walking the streets in it, so disguised, so exposed.  Photographed by visual artist Jeff Bierk in midday, the cover purposefully calls to mind Renaissance paintings; with rich blacks and deep colour, and an incongruous blue sky glimpsed through the trees.

The title of the album, Ignorance, feels confrontational, calling to mind perhaps wilful ignorance, but Lindeman insists she meant it in a different context.  In 1915 Virginia Woolfe wrote: “the future is dark, which is the best thing a future can be, I think.”  Written amidst the brutal first world war, the darkness of the future connoted for Woolfe a not knowing, which by definition holds a sliver of hope; the possibility for something, somewhere, to change.  In french, the verb ignorer connotes a humble, unashamed not knowing, and it is this ignorance Lindeman refers to here; the blank space at an intersection of hope and despair, a darkness that does not have to be dark. We are so proud and relieved to finally announce that my next album, the fifth Weather Station album, is set for release February 5th. It’s called “Ignorance”. It’s the strangest record I’ve made, and also the most pop record I’ve made. It’s a bit of a monster. It’s available now for pre-order through Fat Possum Records and Next Door Records and also my new web store. Cover art by the one and only Jeff Bierk. Today also marks the release of a new song ‘Tried To Tell You’ with accompanying video. 

Ignorance

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