Tag: Toronto ON

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Joseph W. Salusbury is a rising Toronto-based singer/songwriter and producer, who started off his professional career with a number of songwriting and production credits include cowrites on Majid Jordan‘s “Something About You” and Illangelo‘s “Your Future’s Not Mine, and vocal production on Nelly Furtado and Blood Orange‘s “Hadron Collider.” Back in 2017, Salusbury stepped out from behind the production booth and the relative anonymity of being a go-to songwriter with his solo recording project Joseph of Mercury. That year, he released three singles “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside,” which quickly established the Canadian singer/songwriter and producer’s sound — slow-burning synth pop that drew from the likes of  David BowieElvis PresleyFuture Islands and Lower Dens among others, paired with his baritone crooning.

Since the release of his debut EP Find You Inside, the Toronto-based Salusbury has been prolific, releasing a number of singles, including his latest single “Pretty Blonde Boy.” Centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, strummed reverb-drenched guitar, a languid backbeat and Salusbury’s achingly plaintive baritone, “Pretty Blonde Boy” is a slow-burning Tears for Fears meets The Smiths-like track inspired by it’s creator’s deeply personal and devastating experience of loss. “Two of my oldest, closest and dearest fiends, both taken too young and barely years apart. If there’s a word beyond ‘brother’ than that’s what they were,” Salusbury explains. “Love wasn’t just enough to balance out all that they carried on their shoulders. Their losses were devastating, breaking me in a way that I’m not sure will ever heal. It was in such eerie succession. They were mirrors of one another, both drawn into this senseless and tragic spiral of prescription pain meds and heroin, combined with fentanyl. Often the brightest lights go out the fastest . . .

“Overwhelmed with grief, I recorded the vocal performance in between tears and clenched fists. As time passed and I gained a resigned joy and acceptance among the sadness, ‘Pretty Blonde Boy,’ began to like an open road, rolling hills… the sun rising, or maybe setting, with that warm magic hour glow and a cool breeze, driving with nowhere to be. In tribute and memorial, for those burdened with pain or crisis, this is a testament to trying to be okay again. To find beauty, appreciation and gratitude in what feels hurtful, hollowing and unfair. ” 

New Audio: Toronto Psych Rockers Possum Release a Languorous and Funky Single

Slated for a July 2, 2021 release through Ideé Fixe Records, Lunar Gardens, the Toronto-based psych rock act Possum’s self-produced, sophomore album reportedly finds the quintet — Brandon Bak, Tobin Hopwood, Patrick Lefler, Christopher Shannon and Bradley Thibodeau — intently pushing their sound into new directions, while exploring the intersection of influence and intuition.

Sonically, Lunar Gardens reportedly finds the band veering into uncharted realms — with the band crafting material that meshes elements of jazz, komishe, funk and psych. And thematically, the album touches upon telepathy, though transference, Ley line riding; it’s a psychic exploration of the collective cortex, the capture of cosmic energy and the alignment of astral flux. Trippy shit, indeed.

“While Space Grade Assembly dealt more with space in a cold literal sense, Lunar Gardens’ approach is more ‘space as metaphor for consciousness in all of its infinite expanding fractal forms’, a surrealist escapist space fantasy of impossible spaces — the type of place you might go when the things are too heavy here in 3D,” the Toronto-based quintet says of the differences between their debut and forthcoming sophomore album. “If we were talking movies, one might say Space Grade Assembly is 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lunar Gardens is The Holy Mountain.”

The album’s first single “Gala at the Universe City” is a slow-burning and languorous song featuring wah-wah pedaled guitar, a steady motorik-like groove and Rhodes stabs, harmonic and funky bass lines weaved around lyrics that tell a tale about universal meeting of the minds. To my ears, the song reminds me a bit of Zappa and The Mothers of Invention covering Can with a slithering, musty funkiness.

New Video: Toronto’s Jiants Release an Anthemic Brit Pop-like Single

With the release of their critically applauded self-titled debut, 2016’s self-titled debut, Toronto-based Jiants — former professional skateboarder Jesse Landen (vocals, guitar), Adam Kesek (bass), John Sirdevan (drums) and the band’s newest member Joe Delfin (lead guitar) quickly established a sound that meshes 90s alt rock with sensibilities. 2018’s Taylor Knox co-produced follow-up Odd Trouble found the band meshing infectious rifts, melodic keyboard lines and Landen’s vocals to create a sound that managed to be nostalgia-inducing yet wholly theirs.

Earlier this year, the Toronto-based indie act released their latest EP, Wait Here and the EP’s latest single “Some Kind of Loser” is a decidedly Brit Pop-inspired anthem, featuring a gorgeous and cinematic string arrangement by Drew Jurecka, layers of shimmering guitars and rousingly anthemic and dryly ironic chorus paired with Landen’s plaintive and sun-cracked vocals. Sonically, the track — to my ears, least — reminds me quite a bit of Urban Hymns-era The Verve, Love Is Here-era Starsailor and Oasis. But as the Landen and company admit in press notes. “Some Kind of Loser” “is about charting your own path. These lyrics reflect on how it would ultimately be beneficial learning to work together and respect each other’s paths.”

The song was “born out of a rough day in the studio that was followed by some upcoming shows falling apart in advance,” Jiants’ Jesse Landen continues. “I was half-hoking around thinking about much time and energy I was spending obsessing over music stuff and feeling like a bit of a dork. I think everyone can relate to that in some way. But that’s when it dawned one me that sometimes you might have to just learn to enjoy the rollercoaster because I know that I was going to continue making and sharing music, regardless of the results.”

Directed by Hart Dylan Webster, the recently released visual for “Some Kind of Loser” is a cinematic ode to 120 Minutes-era MTV.

New Video: Join Toronto’s MONOWHALES on an 80s Inspired Journey Through Space and Time

Emerging Toronto-based indie act MONOWHALES, three self-described “weirdos” as they say on their Facebook page, released their latest effort Daytona Bleach earlier this year. The album, which according to the band was a long time coming, was the result of a painful yet rewarding period of introspection and personal growth for the trio: “This album is about accepting who we are, and holding it up for all to see,” MONOWHALES explain. “We are a group of people that deal in extremes. We’re either way up, or way down, but no matter what we are always moving forward.”

“He Said/She Said (I Wait)” Daytona Bleach’s latest single is a rousingly anthemic and dance floor friendly bit of electro rock that reminds me quite a bit of Version 2.0-era Garbage with the track being centered around scorching guitars, drum machine enhanced four-on-the-floor, buzzing bass synths and sultry vocals. But despite the swaggering, take-no-shit delivery, the song is underpinned by personal experience of modern life in a pandemic:

“Seems like we are all running around on our hamster wheels at home,” the band says. “As we look around surrounded by fake news and sickness, I sit frozen, feeling catatonic in my body. Yet, my mind can’t stop running. My thoughts race in perpetual anxiety as I wait for life to resume its course.

“He Said/She Said (I Wait)” is about delusionally interpreting and trying to accept what is going on around me while constantly immersed in a dissociative state.

Directed by Ievy Stamatov, the recently released video is a surreal journey through time and space, seemingly inspired by a nostalgic fascination with 80s graphics and technology.






Cole Koch is an emerging Toronto-based producer. His debut single, “Lockdown NYC” was part of a batch of material originally conceived as a way to keep busy and sane during pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns. The project began to take a life of its own — to the point that it became a full-time endeavor.

Centered around scorching guitars, tweeter and woofer rattling 808s, squiggling synths and a rousingly anthemic hook, Koch’s urgent and forceful debut single manages to nod at The Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan and John Carpenter soundtracks. Fittingly for a song that sounds as though it could be part of the soundtrack for our dystopian present, “Lockdown NYC,” is inspired by real life events: Last March, Koch was booked to play The New Colossus Festival. While the festival mostly continued as planned, with the occasional venue closure and cancelled artist, it wasn’t until he finished his set, which was coincidentally at the end of the festival, when the urgency of the moment snapped into focus. With shops, restaurants and most travel shut down, Koch and his friends found themselves in the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns without food, money or their passports.

After a handful of nights sleeping whenever they could, Koch and his friends decided that the only way they could do to get back home was to hitchhike — but with the complete lack of traffic on the roads, that was easier said than done. Eventually, the group of friends came upon a young couple heading back to Toronto. That couple snuggled them across the border under blankets and suitcases.

The new single, which was released by Kanine Records is a the beginning of a batch of material the Toronto-based producer will be releasing throughout the year. And I’m looking forward to hearing what’s next.

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Toronto-based psych rock duo Lammping — vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mikhail Galkin and drummer Jay Anderson — released their critically applauded full-length debut Bad Boys of Comedy last summer. The album, which featured the noise rock meets shoegazer-like “Greater Good,” helped the band establishing a fresh and eclectic approach to psychedelia while eschewing easy categorization, with the material drawing from Tropicalia, Turkish psych, New York boom-bap hip hop beats and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Shortly after the release of Bad Boys of Comedy, the Canadian psych rock duo started working on a new batch of songs, songs that found the duo further pushing the boundaries of psych music in new directions. While their newest material is still rooted in Anderson’s thunderous drumming and Galkin’s melodic riff, the duo have added samples, drum machines and some expanded instrumentation, adding to their overall sonic palate. The end result, New Jaws EP is equally indebted to Stereolab, De La Soul, Kraftwerk, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer and Sleep. As the duo explain in press notes, the EP serves as a bridge to their sophomore, full-length album an effort that reportedly will find the Canadian duo eschewing cliched stoner and psych rock tropes while attempting to find a new path in heavy music.

“Jaws of Life,” New Jaws EP‘s latest single is a trippy song centered around a morphing and mind-bending song structure: the song’s heavy metal-like first half is centered round Anderson’s thunderous drumming, Galkin’s fuzzy, Black Sabbath-like riffs and distorted vocals. But roughly half way through the song, it quickly turns into a jazzy and lysergic jam featuring twinkling keys, and an extended, wah wah pedaled guitar solo. Sonically, the track is a heady synthesis of 70s AM rock, psych rock and grunge with enormous hooks.


Live Footage: METZ Live on KEXP — At Home

With the release of their first three albums, the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ developed a reputation for thriving on an abrasive restlessness. However, before they set to work on their fourth and latest album, last year’s Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk rockers — Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals). Chris Slorach (bass) and Hayden Menzies (drums) — set a goal for themselves and the album: they intended to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating, most-pit friendly bludgeonings.

Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, Atlas Vending sees the band attempting to craft music for the long haul, and with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant, as they — and of course, the listener — navigated through life’s trails and tribulations. The end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world, but while arguably being among their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their catalog and careers.

Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Interestingly enough, much like its immediate predecessor, Atlas Vending offers a snapshot of the modern condition as the band sees it; but unlike any of their previously released work, the album’s 10 songs were specifically written to form a musical and narrative arc with the album’s songs and sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

As a result of the album’s cradle-to-grave narrative arc, the album’s material runs through a gamut of moods and emotional states, starting off with the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood, all the way to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. There’s also a bit of subtext to the proceedings: getting older in an industry seemingly suspended in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

Over the course of last year, I wrote about six off the album’s released singles:

Album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” which may be the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their entire catalog.
“Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become.
“Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric ripper that’s an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world surrounding you.
“Parasite,” a frenetic and pummeling ripper that they filmed at The Opera House in Toronto.
“Pulse,” a furious roar, full of the anxious and uncertain dread that was familiar to daily life during the Trump Administration.
“Framed by the Comet’s Tail,” Atlas Vending’s most punk-like song, centered around the bitter recrimination and heartache of betrayal and the desperate desire to just say “Fuck all of this!” and start over.

The JOVM mainstays closed out 2020 with an explosive live session for KEXP that they recorded at Palace Sound, which features a handful of the album’s singles performed live. KEXP recently released the video — and it makes me miss live shows immensely. I suspect it’ll make you miss live shows, too.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays METZ Take the Viewer on a Nightmarishly Sisyphean Journey

I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ throughout this site’s decade of existence. Atlas Vending, the JOVM mainstays’ fourth album was released earlier this month through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records.

The band’s three previously released album found the band thriving on an abrasive restlessness, but before they set to work on Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album: they intended to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating, mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.

The end result is an album that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

Because of the cradle-to-grave narrative arch, the album’s material runs through a gamut of emotions and emotional states, starting off with the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood all the way to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. Of course, as a result, the album finds the band tackling the inevitable — getting older in an industry seemingly suspending in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

So far I’ve written about four of the album’s released singles:

The album’s first single, album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” which may be the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their entire catalog.
“Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered around a deeply adult sense of regret, as the song features a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become;
“Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric ripper that’s an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world surrounding you.
“Parasite,” a frenetic and pummeling ripper that they filmed at The Opera House in Toronto.

“Pulse,” Atlas Vending’s latest single is a furious roar, full of the sort of anxious and uncertain dread that has become our daily lives during the Trump Administration — and in the last few of days before a momentous, history altering election. Our lives at this very moment is desperate and urgent; we all feel this and know this, even if we are loathe to admit it.

Directed by Jeremy Gillespie, the recently released and murkily shot visual for “Pulse” follows a space suit wearing astronaut on a nightmarishly Sisphyean journey through a Brutalist world fitting the pummeling and forceful soundtrack.

New Video: Soccer Mommy Releases a Creepy and Dread-Fueled VIsual for “crawling in my skin”

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and creative mastermind behind the critically applauded indie rock project Soccer Mommy. Allison first picked up guitar when she was six — and as a teenager, she attended Nashville School of the Arts, where she studied guitar and played in the school’s swing band. In 2015, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began posting home-recorded sons as Soccer Mommy Bandcamp during the summer of 2015, just as she was about to head to New York University (my alma mater, no less!), where she studied music business at the University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

While she was in college, Allison played her first Soccer Mommy show at Bushwick, Brooklyn’s Silent Barn. She caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal — and after spending two years at NYU, she returned to Nashville to pursue a full-time career in music. Upon her return to Nashville, the acclaimed Swiss-born artist wrote and released two Soccer Mommy albums — 2016’s For Young Hearts released through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection released through Fat Possum. Allison’s proper, full-length debut 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based artist has toured with Stephen Malkmus, Mitski, Kacey Musgraves, Jay Som, Slowdive, Frankie Cosmos, Liz Phair, Phoebe Bridgers, Paramore, Foster the People, Vampire Weekend, and Wilco.

Before the pandemic, Allison was gearing up for this year to be a massive year: she started off 2020 by playing at one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and joined a lengthy and eclectic list of artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. Her highly-anticipated sophomore album color theory was released to critical praise earlier this year — and like countless artists across the globe, she was about to embark on a headlining tour with a number of dates sold-out months in advance that included a Glastonbury Festival set. And she was supposed to be make her late-night, national TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring at an indefinite halt, Allison, like countless other artists recognized that this period offered a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas and new ways to connect with fans. Combining her love of video games and performing, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based artist had a digital show on Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend. The show was so popular, that the platform’s servers crashed, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Of course, Allison has also played a number of live-streamed sets, including ones hosted by NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork‘s IG Live Series. She also released her own Zoom background images for her fans to proudly show off their Soccer Mommy fandom.

Earlier this year, Aliison and her backing band embarked on a Bella Clark-directed 8 bit, virtual music video tour that had the act playing some of the cities she had been scheduled to play if the pandemic didn’t happen — Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. And instead of having the virtual shows at at a common tourist spot or a traditional music venue, the members of the band were mischievously placed in rather unusual locations: an abandoned Toronto subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge. Of course, the video tour featured color theory single “crawling in my skin,” a song centered around looping and shimming guitars, a sinuous bass line, shuffling drumming, subtly shifting tempos and an infectious hook.

Allison recently released an Adam Kolodny-directed, fittingly Halloween-themed visual for “crawling in my skin” that’s full of creeping and slow-burning dread that reminds me of Roger Corman’s Edgar Allan Poe movies with Vincent Price. “I’m excited to put out this video for crawling in my skin right at the end of spooky season. I hope everyone enjoys this video and their Halloween! 🎃“ Allison says.