Indie Week Band of the Day: The Beaches

By: Sheena Lyonnais October 12, 2013

Toronto’s the Beaches are an edgy all-girl rock band that has landed international attention even though they have yet to graduate from high school. They did a “Blurred Lines” influenced video for their track “Absolutely Nothing” that caught them some acclaim, but it’s their new video for “Loner” (71,235 YouTube views and counting) that catches my eye. Sexual party scenes paired with shots taken around the city are backed by drum-driven imagery of the band tearing it up. The whole thing evokes a familiar Pretty Reckless vibe but with an improved Joan Jett attitude. They draw deserved comparisons to the Runaways for their youthful energy and fearlessness. Their debut EP was produced by Raine Maida and “Loner” is the campaign track for French Connection’s fall/winter ad campaign. This is a band people are talking about and after catching them at Indie Week you will too.

{http://soundcloud.com/thebeachesband/loner}

Be sure to catch the Beaches perform at Toronto Music Scene Indie Week After Party on Oct 18 alongside TJ Hollywood, Wildheart and the Ascot Royals. https://www.facebook.com/events/179932262193711

Toronto Music Scene is an official partner of Indie Week Canada. Follow us on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Indie Week @IndieWeek. For a full list of bands check out www.canada.indieweek.com

Album Review: Basia Bulat – Tall Tall Shadow

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By: Hilary Johnston October 11, 2013

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Basia Bulat’s third record, Tall Tall Shadow, had big big shoes to fill after the release of her gems Oh, My Darling and Heart of My Own in 2007 and 2010 respectively. She gathered the big guns to produce this record – Arcade Fire’s Tim Kingsbury and The Suburbs producer Mark Lawson – ultimately breathing new life into her old soul. 
 
Bulat’s chops have never been more obvious – delving into complex time signatures and bright melodies. “Promise Not to Think About Love” features happy percussive handclaps in contrast with heartbreak-laden lyrics, the nod at the ’60s girl group aesthetic balanced out by some of the more tender moments of the record. “It Can’t Be You” beautifully pairs Basia’s trembling vibrato with the pretty chirp of a plucked charango (a small stringed instrument in the lute family) while “Paris or Amsterdam” comes across as perfectly simplistic. At times distracting from the rustic bones of her songs, Bulat’s addition of electronic parts, particularly synth lines and the odd growling guitar, distance Tall Tall Shadow from the gentle strength of her earlier work. In the case of “The Wire,” for instance, I think less would have been more.
 
Tall Tall Shadow is perhaps Bulat’s most full-realized work and is likely to capture the ears of the unfamiliar while satisfying her veteran fans. She somehow managed to boldly step forward while remaining in her shadowy comfort zone.
 
 
Basia Bulat – Tall Tall Shadow
{http://soundcloud.com/secretcityrecords/basia-bulat-tall-tall-shadow}
 
 
Be sure to follow Toronto Music Scene on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Hilary Johnston @hilary_johnston

Indie Week Band of the Day: Diamond Bones

By: Sheena Lyonnais October 10, 2013

Montreal’s Diamond Bones couple the dreamy elements of shoegazey pop with raw emotion. They call themselves a “tribal dream pop trio” and the description suits them well, as they combine claps with a woozy sadness that signals the end of summer. The music selection available online is small, in part because the group has spent August working on their debut album, but previews suggest listeners can expect a soft and smoky ambience. Comprised of Isabelle Banos, Michelle Bensimon and Lana Cooney, Diamond Bones provides lush soundscapes easily exemplified in their debut track, “Home Is Where.” The band is a little bit like Toronto’s Diana, but with slightly less 80’s midtones and pop sensibilities. A dreamy performance should be expected.

{http://soundcloud.com/diamondbonesband/home-is-where}

Toronto Music Scene is an official partner of Indie Week Canada. Follow us on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Indie Week @IndieWeek. For a full list of bands check out www.canada.indieweek.com

Also be sure to check out the Toronto Music Scene Indie Week After Party on Oct 18 featuring: The Beaches, TJ Hollywood, Wildheart and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/179932262193711/

Indie Week Band of the Day: The C’Mons

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By: Sheena Lyonnais October 9, 2013

Local band The C’Mons have their music down. Polished indie pop influenced by vocalist Stephanie Bosch’s folk background and a delicate edge perhaps attributed to her roots as a hockey loving Albertan. They have a large repertoire of fun covers such as “Crazy In Love” by Beyoncé, which spices up their at times subdued sensibilities, a result of soft violins and poetic originals that weave throughout the duration of their catalogue. What’s great is they put their own spin on things, perhaps best exemplified in their cover of “Semi Charmed Life” by Third Eye Blind. It remains true to the C’Mons’ style yet maintains the catchiness of the original. If the “do, do do’s” don’t prompt a drunken sing-a-long it would be a shame. 

Toronto Music Scene is an official partner of Indie Week Canada. Follow us on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Indie Week @IndieWeek. For a full list of bands check out www.canada.indieweek.com

Also be sure to check out the Toronto Music Scene Indie Week After Party on Oct 18 featuring: The Beaches, TJ Hollywood, Wildheart and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/179932262193711/

Indie Week Band of the Day: Jung People

By: Josh Parsons October 8, 2013

Subtle, yet dynamic, Calgary’s Jung People are surely not to be missed this Indie Week. This post-rock duo artfully balances the energy of punk rock with the endless drone of Krautrock, developing a sound that begs to be devoured live. The duo’s forthcoming double LP, Golden Bristle, showcases a dedication to repetition and rhythm and a penchant for cultivating a distinct mood in each track. If you’re looking for something thoughtful, political, delicate and profound, Jung People is the band for you.

Toronto Music Scene is an official partner of Indie Week Canada. Follow us on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Indie Week @IndieWeek. For a full list of bands check out www.canada.indieweek.com

Also be sure to check out the Toronto Music Scene Indie Week After Party on Oct 18 featuring: The Beaches, TJ Hollywood, Wildheart and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/179932262193711/

Indie Week Band of the Day: MOOD

By: Sheena Lyonnais October 7, 2013

Oh why hello Brit-rock influenced, black eyeliner wearing, blazer sporting band from Barcelona. MOOD is like a trimmed down gypsy version of Jet, a band of wandering souls creating dancey, druggy music that would find itself at home at the Dance Cave. These guys have a decent following back home, but Indie Week represents their journey to make a name for themselves internationally. Some of their tracks feature horns, smashing symbols, and melodies that are very Franz Ferdinand, and each is interesting in its own right. “Slave” is a good example of this. MOOD is worth checking out for novelty alone, but I imagine the familiar yet eclectic tracks should keep you around. 

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Toronto Music Scene is an official partner of Indie Week Canada. Follow us on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Indie Week @IndieWeek. For a full list of bands check out www.canada.indieweek.com

Also be sure to check out the Toronto Music Scene Indie Week After Party on Oct 18 featuring: The Beaches, TJ Hollywood, Wildheart and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/179932262193711/

Indie Week Band of the Day: Erik Lind & The Orchard

By: TJ Liebgott October 6, 2013
 
 
Erik Lind & The Orchard are a four-piece band from Montreal that can go from playing Canadiana folk songs like “Great White North” and switch it up to upbeat indie tracks like “War Outside.” They say they sing songs about Canadian winters and their hometowns, but really they are songs about isolation and longing. Be sure to check out their Great White North EP streaming on Bandcamp before checking them out at Czehoski’s on October 17th. 
 
{http://soundcloud.com/eriklindandtheorchard/sets/great-white-north-ep}

Toronto Music Scene is an official partner of Indie Week Canada. Follow us on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Indie Week @IndieWeek. For a full list of bands check out www.canada.indieweek.com

Also be sure to check out the Toronto Music Scene Indie Week After Party on Oct 18 featuring: The Beaches, TJ Hollywood, Wildheart and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/179932262193711/

Indie Week Band of the Day: Lovely Quinces

By: Hilary Johnston October 5, 2013

Lovely Quinces is Dunja Ercegović, a Croatian folk singer-songwriter piquing my curiosity for this year’s Indie Week. Ercegović’s unusual vocal style gives her straightforward songs some edge; the folk tunes complementing her deep growl as nicely as the lighter, airy high notes. The newly released five-track album, No Room for Us, is fraught with character and would likely appeal to the Serena Ryder fans among us. I am intrigued to see if she brings a band or if she will brave the stage solo, and what shape her songs will take on as a result. I suppose there’s only one way to find out.

{http://soundcloud.com/lovelyquinces/no-room-for-us}

Toronto Music Scene is an official partner of Indie Week Canada. Follow us on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Indie Week @IndieWeek. For a full list of bands check out www.canada.indieweek.com

Also be sure to check out the Toronto Music Scene Indie Week After Party on Oct 18 featuring: The Beaches, TJ Hollywood, Wildheart and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/179932262193711/

 

Indie Week Band of the Day: The Franklin Electric

TJ Liebgott October 4, 2013

The Franklin Electric are a folk meets pop, Montreal music collective. Boasting eight members as well as guest contributors, The Franklin Electric captures rootsy and moody acoustic songs flanked by lush horn sections that gives them a vibe similar to artists such as Dan Mangan and Bon Iver. Although having only been around a short time, The Franklin Electric have already begun making waves by recently winning a Nashville  songwriting contest for their song “Old Piano” and the release of their debut album This Is How I Let You Down.

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Toronto Music Scene is an official partner of Indie Week Canada. Follow us on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Indie Week @IndieWeek. For a full list of bands check out www.canada.indieweek.com

Also be sure to check out the Toronto Music Scene Indie Week After Party on Oct 18 featuring: The Beaches, TJ Hollywood, Wildheart and more. https://www.facebook.com/events/179932262193711/

Japan’s Guitar Wolf Take No Prisoners With Torontonians

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Josh Parsons Ocotober 4, 2013

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In recent years, Japan’s colossal rock ‘n’ roll ambassadors Guitar Wolf have toned down their nearly endless world tour. Now 26 years after its formation, they have returned to Toronto for an intimate night of painfully loud music and bizarre stage antics. 
 
This time around, the trio were booked at the Hard Luck Bar on Tuesday (October 1st); a cozy second floor conference-room-turned-guerilla-bar that was hardly a third of the size of the venues they typically inhabit. I’m not going to lie – I wore earplugs. It’s tough to admit, but to say that the show was going to be loud was an understatement. The trio are famous for their blow-out sound, and the screeching feedback is enough to make the bravest eardrum shudder.   
 
The Tuesday night set began with a bumbling roadie hastily assembling a projector screen at the very front of the stage.  He then proceeded to project a stream of Guitar Wolf’s wildly hilarious music videos, showcasing a love of North America B-movies, zombie flicks, Kung Fu and, of course, blistering rock ‘n’ roll. Our palates had been wetted, and the tension in the crowd reeked of leather and anticipation.
 
The trio finally walked on to the tiny stage and, after yelling a couple incoherent slogans, launched into a thundering, monolithic version of its latest single “Beast Vibrator,” from the album of the same name. It was full-fledged sonic warfare and the airwaves crumpled under the deafening distortion. In no other way can one be so literally moved by music, albeit in the most brutal and visceral way.
 
Within seconds, frontman and guitarist Seiji was sweating more profusely than the drip of a Brita filter while the bassist, U.G. “Bass Wolf,” was literally kicking the crowd back.  In fact, they hardly stopped playing for more than a few seconds during the entirety of the set, tearing through such classics as “Jet Generation” and “Teenge U.F.O.” without flinching.  
 
The band returned for a whopping three encores, the first of which culminated in a frantic performance of “Fujiyama Attack” and provoked the audience to chant along and thrash about. The final encore featured the infamous on-stage human pyramid routine, using the audience as the base. Seiji surmounted the bodies with mic in hand, having just enough time to belt a few lines before his shoddy engineering project crumbled beneath his rock ‘n’ roll immensity.  
 
It was a gloriously absurd ending to a ridiculously deafening concert, with the trio quickly scurring in to a changing room, as if in fear of the energy they had just unleashed. They should be proud knowing that the imprint of fearless rock ‘n’ roll has been burnt into the minds (and eardrums) of a fresh batch of eager Torontonians.
 
                                                                                                                                                        (U.G. “Bass Wolf”) 
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(Photos courtesy of Aaron Joo)
 
 
Be sure to follow Toronto Music Scene on Twitter @TorontoMusic and Josh Parsons @ParsonsAles