Tag: Toronto ON

New Audio: Montreal’s Bodywash Shares a Meditation on Loss and Hope

Montreal-based shoegazers Bodywash — Chris Steward and Rosie Long Dector — can trace their origins back to when the pair met while attending McGill University. But when they met, the pair didn’t immediately share a common musical language: Steward grew up in London listening to celestial dream pop while Dector grew up in Toronto listening to folk and Canadiana. The music they began writing together saw the pair bridging their influences, and with the release of 2016’s self-titled EP and 2019’s full-length debut, Comforter Steward and Rector firmly establishing slow-burning and dreamy material centered around ethereal vocals, intricate guitar lines and pulsating synths.

When touring to support their full-length debut was cut short by the pandemic, Long Decter and Steward used the unexpected hiatus to write. And they wound up writing material that was darker, more experimental and more invigorating than the material on Comforter. Last year, they took the songs into the studio with longtime drummer Ryan White and The Besnard Lakes‘ Jace Lasek, who helped record and engineer the album, which will be released through Light Organ Records.

“Kind of Light,” the forthcoming album’s first single is an expansive track that begins with a slow-burning and elegiac intro featuring glistening organs and a skittering yet propulsive kick pattern that slowly builds up and breaks into a high energy, boom bap-like breakbeat paired with scorching guitar squealing and wobbling bass synths. Front and center is Long Decter’s ethereal and achingly plaintive vocals express profound, heart-wrenching despair, and hope. The song suggests that while loss is natural and expected, there can be hope; that there are only a handful of things that in our lives that are truly permanent — and that for the most part, it can get better.

“I wrote ‘Kind of Light’ in bed,” Long Decter says. ““It was the fall of 2018 and Chris and I were both going through experiences of learning not to trust what feels like home. He sent me a plugin for a new organ sound, suggesting it might provide inspiration. I sent him back chords, a kick pattern, and some vocals about trying to pull your legs back; trying to take your energy out of the wreckage and put it into yourself. The process of deciding what’s worth keeping, what can be reworked and what gets tossed in the fire. A process that is devastating and also weirdly invigorating, because you can see new possibilities opening up in front of you. And you can start to look for light somewhere else.”

Although he’s best known for being one-half of Toronto-based indie electro pop duo Phédre, Dan Lee is also a solo artist in his own right, writing, recording and performing under the moniker Lee Paradise. And with the release of his Lee Paradise debut, 2020’s The Fink, Lee quickly established a sound that’s typically widescreen and is indebted to polyrhythmic psychedelia. 

Lee’s sophomore Lee Paradise album Lee Paradise & Co. is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Telephone Explosion Records. The album’s material started off as a set of mood-focused instrumental sketches. But the sketches became fleshed out songs after he sent the tracks to a an eclectic array of collaborators including Jane Inc.‘s Carlyn Bezic, Scott Hardware’s, No Frills‘ and Ducks Ltd.‘s Jonathan Pappo, Scott HardwareIsla Craig, New Chance‘s Victoria Cheong, Jay Anderson, Mother Tongues‘ Charise Aragoza and Lukas Cheung, and Moon King‘s Daniel Woodhead. The result is an album that sees Lee and company crafting material that defies genre and style conversations with a soulful panache — and in which every aspect of its creation became open to collaboration, from musical performances, lyric writing and vocals, all the way through mixing and mastering.

Late last month, I wrote about “Not Practical,” a woozy yet accessible synth pop-leaning banger featuring copious amounts of DFA Records/LCD Soundsystem-like cowbell, layers of glistening and whirring synths and skittering beats paired with Victoria Cheong’s beguiling vocal. And while being remarkably dance floor friendly, “Not Practical” evokes the swooning and illogical nature of love.

“Leaving,” sees Lee dialing into his self-described cyborg-funk with the song being centered around laser gun blast-like synths, twinkling keys, skittering and clunky thump paired with Lee’s dreamy and meditative delivery and a saccharine-laced, pop chorus. At points, the song evokes the dread and unease of the work week; the desire to escape that life and to never have to do it again; the desire to just up and leave.

Bruno Capinan is a Salvador, Brazil-born, Toronto-based queer, non-binary singer/songwriter and performer, who released their third album Tara Rara earlier this year through Lulaworld Records in Canada. Tara Rara, which translates to “rare desire” in English sees Capinan drawing from and highlighting their Brazilian roots with a strong focus on gender and racial justice, rooted in the Brazilian-born, Toronto-based artist’s experiences as a Black, non-binary person. The album features an orchestra of seven string musicians, 90% of whom are BIPOC and LGQBTIA+, including some of different generations and different cultural backgrounds.

Tara Rara‘s latest single, the breathtaking and effortlessly beautiful “Meu Preto” is arguably the most quintessential and classic samba song on the album. Featuring strummed acoustic guitar, shuffling Latin rhythms, a gorgeous and cinematic string section paired with Capinan’s expressive vocal delivery, full of aching and desperate longing.

Translated into English as “A Song About Two Black Lovers,” the song’s narrator laments the distance between them and their lover, while hoping for a reunion.

New Video: Toronto’s Shirley Hurt Shares Introspective and Gorgeous “Problem Child”

Sophie Katz is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter, musician and creative mastermind behind Shirley Hurt, her latest music project. Katz’s self-titled Shirley Hurt debut is slated for a December 2, 2022 release through Telephone Explosion Records.

Recorded with a highly-accomplished backing band that features Fresh Pepper‘s and The War on DrugsJoseph Shabason (sax, flute), Chris Shannon (bass), Harrison Forman (guitar), Jason Bhattacharya (percussion), Jacques Mindreau (violin) and Nick Durado (piano), the Nathan Vanderwielen-produced, nine song album reportedly sees Katz and company traversing into the furthest corners of experimental indie folk, pop and country to create a singular sound that integrates elements of each with self-assured elegance, ease and unpredictability. Sonically, the album’s material is centered around skeletal arrangements that tastefully slink around Katz’s delivery, which subtly recalls the likes of Joni Mitchell, Carole King and others.

“This album feels lonely and roadworn to me. The woman who wrote this was definitely in the winter of her life,” Katz says. “The landscape feels blue and burnt orange. There is a wistfulness and longing, whether I like it or not.” The album’s persistent tone of propulsive contemplation wasn’t by chance; Katz came up with many of the album’s lyrical and structural ideas while on the road.

The self-titled album’s first single “Problem Child” is built around a 70s AM rock/troubadour-like arrangement featuring Bhattacharya’s assertive and propulsive percussion, Dorado’s dreamy and twinkling keys, meditative strummed and looping guitar lines and fluttering bursts of Shabason’s flute. The sparse arrangement allows Katz’s husky delivery and observant, longing and conversational lyrics to take the spotlight. The end result is akin to Nabokov being paired with gorgeous, spectral arrangements.

Directed and edited by Eli Spiegel, the accompanying video for “Problem Child” is set in a warm and gorgeous, suburban home, and features two women — presumably a grandmother and her granddaughter spending an afternoon together. The older woman is teaching the younger woman a recipe for pie. Throughout the video, there’s a palpable sense of tradition and love –and in a very lovely place.

New Audio: Lee Paradise Teams Up with New Chance’s Victoria Cheong on a Woozy Banger

Although best known for being one-half of Toronto-based indie electro pop duo Phédre, Dan Lee is also a solo artist in his own right, under the moniker Lee Paradise. And with the release of his Lee Paradise debut, 2020’s The Fink, Lee quickly established a sound that’s typically widescreen and is indebted to polyrhythmic psychedelia.

Lee’s sophomore Lee Paradise album Lee Paradise & Co. is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Telephone Explosion Records. The album’s material started off as a set of mood-focused instrumental sketches. But the sketches became fleshed out songs after he sent the tracks to a an eclectic array of collaborators including Jane Inc.‘s Carlyn Bezic, Scott Hardware’s, No Frills‘ and Ducks Ltd.‘s Jonathan Pappo, Scott Hardware, Isla Craig, New Chance‘s Victoria Cheong, Jay Anderson, Mother Tongues‘ Charise Aragoza and Lukas Cheung and Moon King‘s Daniel Woodhead. The end result is an album in which every aspect of its creation eventually became open to collaboration, from musical performances, lyric writing and vocals all the way through to mixing and mastering, all while featuring material that defies genre and style conventions with a soulful panache.

“Not Practical,” Lee Paradise & Co.‘s latest single is a woozy yet accessible synth pop-leaning banger centered around copious amounts of DFA Records/LCD Soundsystem-like cowbell, layers of glistening and whirring synths and skittering beats paired with Victoria Cheong’s beguiling vocal. While being remarkably dance floor friendly, “Not Practical” evokes the swooning and wildly illogical of love.

New Video: Tallies Share Shimmering and Uplifting “Memento”

With the release of 2019’s self-titled, full-length debut, Toronto-based dream pop outfit Tallies — Dylan Frankland (guitar), Sarah Cogan (vocals, guitar) and Cian O’Neill (drums) — exploded into the national and international scenes: The album received praise from the likes of Under the RadarDIY MagazineThe Line of Best FitMOJOBandcamp DailyExclaim!,  KEXP and others. Adding to a rapidly growing profile, the Toronto-based dream poppers have opened for MudhoneyHatchieTim Burgess and Weaves, and they played at the inaugural New Colossus Festival.

The band’s Graham Walsh and Dylan Frankland co-produced sophomore album Patina was recorded at Palace SoundHoly Fuck‘s Baskitball 4 Life and Candle Recording, and is slated for a Friday release through Kanine Records here in the States, Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada and Bella Union in the UK and EU. The album, which was understandably delayed as a result of the pandemic is simultaneously a labor of love and a bold step forward for the Canadian trio: Firmly rooted in their penchant in juxtaposing light and dark, the album continues to see the band drawing from LushBeach House and Cocteau Twins, but with a greater emphasis on shimmering guitars, earnest, lived-in songwriting — and a well-placed, razor sharp hook. 

The album will feature:

  • The previously released “No Dreams of Fayres,” an ironically upbeat single that sonically brought The Sundays‘ “Here’s Where The Story Ends,” while documenting Sarah Cogan’s struggles with depression — in particular, the moments, when she was trying to work it out, but just couldn’t find the energy to do so. “‘No Dreams of Fayres’ is a reflection of thoughts that I remember going through my mind when I stayed still in bed,” Tallies’ Sarah Cogan explains in press notes. “Feeling as though staying still in bed was the only thing that would help the sadness – basically, disconnecting myself from family, friends, and having a life. Finding the way out of depression was hard but possible. ‘No Dreams of Fayres’ is also about the realization of letting yourself feel real feelings but not mistaking them for emotions. I had to learn to get a grip of what I wanted out of life and go for it with no self-sabotage – which was music, as cliché as it sounds. It pulled me out of bed, physically and mentally.”
  • Special,” continued a remarkable run of upbeat shoegazer-inspired jangle pop featuring Cogan’s plaintive vocals, Frankland’s shimmering, reverb-drenched guitar lines and O’Neill’s propulsive drumming paired with their unerring knack of razor sharp, anthemic hooks. Despite its breezy nature, the song is underpinned by an aching and familiar yearning: “‘Special,’ as Sarah Cogan explains “is about longing to be seen and heard by those who matter to you most. Sometimes, feeling invisible is particularly painful when the indifference comes from someone whose opinion means a lot to you.” 

“Memento,” the last single before Patina‘s release on Friday, is a slow-burning ballad featuring Cogan’s achingly plaintive and soaring vocal, Frankland’s shimmering and reverb-drenched guitar lines, and O’Neill’s simple yet propulsive time-keeping paired with the band’s penchant for rousing hooks and choruses. While sounding inspired by 120 Minutes-era MTV college rock/alternative rock, “Memento” is centered in a hopeful and powerful message — one that’s much-needed in our wildly uncertain and perilous time.

“I am a firm believer in ‘what goes down must come up’, people usually say the opposite, but this is a motto I’ve used throughout my life,” Tallies’ Sarah Cogan explains. “When things aren’t going well, they have a tendency to bounce back. ‘Memento’, to me, is my pick-up song. When I sing ‘gotta get you on your way now’, I’m saying that it’s time to move on and move forward. I’ve had many moments in my life where I’ve lost momentum and felt directionless like I’d fallen into a black hole. It’s hard to crawl out of the hole and get back on track. I think there are a lot of people who spend their time thinking about how they need to get back on track. Listen to this song and remind yourself it’s time to look forward and lean into the future.”

Continuing their ongoing collaboration with Justis Karr at IMMV Productions, the accompanying video features slickly edited, nostalgia-inducing stock footage, including a mother playing with and holding her newborn, kids at school, an exhausted mom taking car of her household of screaming kids, an elderly woman playing with a cat and fixing tea and psychedelic imagery sometimes superimposed over the band performing the song. Interestingly, the visual manages to further emphasis the song’s overall themes with exhausted, broken people trying to figure out ways to push forward — sometimes on a daily basis.

New Video: Toronto’s Rapport Shares a Cinematic Visual For Shimmering 80s-Inspired “Can’t Get It To Last”

After a decade of playing in a number of local bands, performing with other artists and stints with Moon King and Born Ruffians, Toronto-born and-based singer/songwriter and musician Maddy Wilde’s long-felt imposter syndrome gave way to a desire to create music that she felt was largely unexplored in the Toronto scene — earnest, heart-worn-on-sleeve pop with her latest band Rapport. Around the same time, her bandmates Kurt Marble and Mike Pereira, who have played in Twist, Ducks, Ltd. and Most People had experienced a similar urge to create earnest pop, despite their professional backgrounds in garage rock, punk rock and glam rock.

With their recently released debut EP Floating Through The Wonderwave, the Toronto-based trio have embarked on an exploration of crafted and breezy pop rooted in Wilde’s intuitive sense of harmony and slick hooks paired with a desire to sincerely capture the essence of sentimentality. But just under the surface, the EP’s material possesses a dark, melancholy quality.

Thematically, the EP touches upon jealous, neuroses and self-doubt while Wilde’s narrators also explore the delicate and uneasy balance between artistic creation and self-promotion. “I had to uninstall social media apps on my phone when I realized they were a major source of anxiety and a hugely addictive waste of time which I could have spent making music,” Wilde says. “My creative practice was suffering as a result. But without these tools, how are artists meant to share their work?”

The recently released EP’s third and latest single “Can’t Get It To Last” is a shimmering bit of 80s inspired pop featuring atmospheric synths, Pereira’s percussive and chugging bass lines, Marble’s 80s rock-like guitar lines and soloing and Wilde’s achingly delicate vocal delivery paired with a soaring hook. While sounding as though it were a seamless mesh of the Stranger Things soundtrack and Brothers in Arms-era Dire Straits, the song on one level could be read as a prototypical broken heart-fueled ballad. But as the band’s Maddie Wilde explains, “On the surface, this probably sounds like your average love song. But it’s really about friendships and growing apart. Close friendships take different shapes- for example, friends who do everything together but have never actually been vulnerable with one another. It’s like maintaining a light and fluffy connection that has never really progressed further than a casual relationship. Friendships like this can go on for ages, and they are valuable, but they don’t seem to last as long.”

Adrienne McLaren brought to life my vision of creating a music video mood similar to that scene in Grease where Danny walks around the drive-in singing about Sandy,” Wilde adds. “For the drive-in movie, we made an experimental film not unlike one that would be submitted as an art class assignment. To get even more meta, we displayed the drive-in music video itself playing on a small Panasonic TV in various locations around the city. A video within a video within a video.”

New Video: Toronto’s Dilettante Shares Bitter and Heartbroken Pop Anthem

Toronto-based indie outfit  Dilettante can trace their origins back to 2016: During the spring, mutual dog lovers Natalie Panacci and Julia Wittman started a band so their dogs could hang out more. Along with The Black Cats’ Zachary Stuckey; Said the Whale’s, Iskwe’s, The Recklaws’ and Scott Helman’s Bradley Connor; and Candice Ng, they started For Jane, a self-described dog rock pop band with a Kate Bush meets Sinead O’Connor sensibility that prominently featured Panacci’s and Wittman’s contrasting vocals and mesmerizing harmonies.

For Jane released their debut EP, 2018’s Married with Dogs, which featured “Car,” a track featured on CBC Music and The Edge. But by early 2021, For Jane announced a name change, largely influenced by a massive lineup change that left Panacci and Williams as its creative core, and a decided shift in sonic direction.

The duo’s Maks Milczarcyk produced-self-titled, full-length debut was released earlier this year, and the album featured “Bonnie,” an 80s New Wave inspired, synth-driven confection that to my ears sounded like a sultry take on  Til Tuesday‘s “Voices Carry” as it featured glistening synth arpeggios, wiry post-punk-like guitars fed through a bit of reverb and an angular bass line paired with the duo’s plaintive and mesmerizing vocals.

The self-titled albums latest single, the Maks Milczarcyk written “Monster” is a gauzy synth bop centered around glistening synth arpeggios, relentless four-on-the-floor, burst of angular guitars, and an achingly bitter and heartache-fueled vocal delivery paired with a rousingly anthemic hook and chorus — before ending with a strummed acoustic guitar-driven coda.

While sonically bringing A Flock of Seagulls and others to mind, at its core, the song’s narrator delivers a bitter and heartbroken tell-off to an ex, she would like to forget. Rooted in a deeply personal experience, the song is simultaneously profoundly universal — to the point that I know many of us have been in the same situation and would be singing along with bitter tears streaking down our faces.

Shot by Video Business, the accompanying video follows one-half of the Canadian duo as she runs down a suburban street while singing the song past empty parking lots and a mall, where she eventually meets up with her bandmate — and they walk off together, perhaps suggesting that healing is in your friends, loved ones and in music.

New Video: Toronto’s Tallies Share Shimmering and Longing “Special”

With the release of 2019’s self-titled, full-length debut, Toronto-based dream pop outfit Tallies — Dylan Frankland (guitar), Sarah Cogan (vocals, guitar) and Cian O’Neill (drums) — exploded into the national and international scenes: The album received praise from the likes of Under the RadarDIY MagazineThe Line of Best FitMOJOBandcamp DailyExclaim!,  KEXP and others. And adding to a rapidly growing profile, the Toronto-based dream poppers have opened for MudhoneyHatchieTim Burgess and Weaves

The band’s Graham Walsh and Dylan Frankland co-produced sophomore album Patina, which was recorded at Palace Sound, Holy Fuck‘s Baskitball 4 Life and Candle Recording is slated for a July 29, 2022 release through Kanine Records here in the States, Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada and Bella Union in the UK and EU. The album, which was understandably delayed as a result of the pandemic is simultaneously a labor of love and a bold step forward for the Canadian trio: Firmly rooted in their penchant in juxtaposing light and dark, the album continues to see the band drawing from LushBeach House and Cocteau Twins, but with a greater emphasis on shimmering guitars, earnest, lived-in songwriting — and a well-placed, razor sharp hook.

The album will feature, the previously released “No Dreams of Fayres,” an ironically upbeat single that sonically brought The Sundays‘ “Here’s Where The Story Ends,” while documenting Sarah Cogan’s struggles with depression — in particular, thee moments, when she was trying to work it out, but just couldn’t find the energy to do so.

“‘No Dreams of Fayres’ is a reflection of thoughts that I remember going through my mind when I stayed still in bed,” Tallies’ Sarah Cogan explains in press notes. “Feeling as though staying still in bed was the only thing that would help the sadness – basically, disconnecting myself from family, friends, and having a life. Finding the way out of depression was hard but possible. ‘No Dreams of Fayres’ is also about the realization of letting yourself feel real feelings but not mistaking them for emotions. I had to learn to get a grip of what I wanted out of life and go for it with no self-sabotage – which was music, as cliché as it sounds. It pulled me out of bed, physically and mentally.”

Patina‘s latest single “Special” continues a run remarkable run of deceptively upbeat shoegazer-inspired jangle pop featuring Cogan’s plaintive vocals, Frankland’s shimmering reverb-drenched guitar lines and O’Neill’s propulsive drumming paired with their unerring knack for razor sharp, anthemic hooks. But despite its breezy nature, the song is underpinned by a an aching and familiar yearning: “‘Special,’ as Sarah Cogan explains “is about longing to be seen and heard by those who matter to you most. Sometimes, feeling invisible is particularly painful when the indifference comes from someone whose opinion means a lot to you.”

Directed by Justis Krar at IMMV Productions, the accompanying video for “Special” features carefully edited stock footage from movies and home videos: The video begins with fingers and toes — dipping into water, or shampooed hair before following a troubled and bored couple, who have deeply unaddressed issues. You can read the pain and heartache in both of their faces, and it further emphasizes the themes at the heart of the song.