Tag: Toronto ON

New Video: The Mournful Sounds and Visuals of TR/ST’s “Destroyer”

The Toronto, ON-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, best known for his industrial pop recording project TR/ST has released two critically and commercially successful, full-length albums — his self-titled debut received praise from Vice, Pitchfork and The Guardian, as well as a  Juno Award nomination. Joyland, Alfons’ sophomore effort was a major chance in sonic direction, with the material being much more pop orientated and radio friendly sound while possessing a club friendly, muscular thump. And as you may recall, after a lengthy world tour to support Joyland, Alfons managed to write and record a series of singles, including the menacing,  Snap!’s “Rhythm Is A Dancer”-like “Slug,” which I wrote about several years ago. 

Interestingly, the renowned Toronto-based producer and electronic music artist will be releasing his highly-anticipated third, full-length effort, which is slated for release sometime in 2018 and will feature the previously released single “Bicep.” His latest single finds the renowned Canadian producer pairing organic instrumentation — here being, piano, drums and horn (albeit, what sounds like a horn sample) with a slick and lush electronic production featuring thumping beats, samples and looping machines and a soaring hook over which Alfons contributes his mournful and aching baritone. 

Directed by Justin Tyler Close and famed choreographer Ryan Heffington, the recently released video for “Destroyer,” features Heffington in his first starring role, as an intense man, who’s barely holding it together as we’re introduced to him intently walking towards the camera and running elsewhere, before seeing him expressively dancing in a number of different locales in and around the Silver Lake section of Los Angeles. At one point, he runs into a man with motorcycle helmet, who he paralyzes with mere words — sticks and stones may break your bones, and words may kill you, too. Influenced by detailed conversations between each collaborator have influenced a rather symbolic set of visuals based around a desperate, last ditch effort to save a failing relationship. Heffington’s movement manage to express joy remembered, self-reflection, turmoil, ache and longing, further emphasizing the song’s overall vibe.  

Live Footage: Arte Concert Snapshots Presents: Metz at Le Trabendo Paris

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past three years or so you, you’d recall that with their 2014 self-titled debut and their 2015 sophomore effort II, the Toronto, ON-based trio and JOVM mainstays METZ, comprised of Alex Eadkins (vocals, guitar), Chris Slorach (bass) and Hayden Menzies (drums), received attention across North America and elsewhere for a sludgy, face-melting, power chord-based, noise punk/thrash punk sound reminiscent of Bleach and In Utereo-era Nirvana, A Place to Bury Strangers, Japandroids and others. 

The band’s third full-length album Strange Peace was released earlier this year through Sub Pop Records, and the album finds the band actively pushing their sound and songwriting in new directions while retaining the furious and blistering energy of their live shows; but perhaps much more importantly, Strange Peace may arguably be among the most politically charged material they’re written and recorded to date, capturing the uncertainty, fear, divisiveness, bitterness and growing socioeconomic inequality of the age of Trump, Putin, Kim Jong Un, rampant capitalism and so on. As the band’s Alex Eadkins explained in press notes, “The songs on Strange Peace are about uncertainty. They’re about recognizing that we’re not always in control of our own fate, and about admitting our mistakes and fears. They’re about finding some semblance of peace within the chaos.”

The Canadian punk trio have been relentlessly touring to support their latest album and throughout most of November, they were touring throughout the European Union, and the tour included a stop at Paris-based music venue Le Trabendo, which was filmed by ARTE Concert and La Blogotheuqe as part of their continuing concert series, Snapshots. Unsurprisingly, the footage of Strange Peace’s “Mr. Plague” and “Eraser” manages to capture the band within their sweaty, strobe light flashing, intensity, forcefully snatching the title of “World’s Loudest Band,” and “World’s Noisiest Band” from all challengers. While in the past, they would play extremely straightforward versions of their material, this Paris set finds the trio gently teasing new musical ideas from bits of inspired improvisation. Along with the band’s passionate and frenzied performance, check out the French audience, who are absolutely losing their shit to these guys

Adrian Underhill is a Vancouver, British Columbia-born, Toronto, Ontario-based singer/songwriter, who has a number of stints in indie rock bands in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, before the low-key release of his solo debut EP in 2012; however, sometime after that, Underhill completely revamped his songwriting process, employing keyboards, synths and drum machines, which found him gravitating towards a slinky R&B-inspired pop sound but paired with a simple and very direct, earnest lyricism.

Describing the writing process for forthcoming album, CU Again, Underhill says “I sat with a keyboard and one drum machine and tried not play much with production ideas. The tunes have a classic, 70s songwriter vibe, even though we ultimately pushed the production into a very different realm. This simple, direct way of songwriting is me at my best.”

The recording sessions for CU Again found the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter collaborating with British electronic production Kindness (also known as Adam Bainbridge), best known for his work with Robyn, Solange and Blood Orange with the renowned producer and Underhill working on electronic elements in Montreal before they went to Los Angeles for at three-day session with a live, funk supergroup that included JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk (drums) Keith Eaddy (bass) and Brandon Coleman (keys). And the end result finds the material being a seamless blend of Kindness’ electronic production with warm, organic instrumentation as you’ll hear on CU Again‘s swooning “Weather,” which pairs a looped and chopped keyboard sample with stuttering and skittering drum programming, arpeggiated synths and Underhill’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics on how time changes people and their moods, like the weather.  What makes the song interesting to me is that it walks a careful tightrope between sincerity and playfulness, familiarity and complete strangeness.
As Underhill adds, “On ‘Weather’, I love how the production came out. Adam (Bainbridge) took my original demo and just kinda warped it and morphed it, almost like a remix, adding new drums and changing the keyboard sounds I had played. Then we added the live piano and synth bass from Brandon Coleman (Kamasi Washington) and Keith Eaddy (DāM-FunK). In the end it’s quite playful and strange – it’s a great combination of sounds.”

New Audio: Charlotte Day Wilson Returns with her Most Soulful and Radio Friendly Single to Date

Charlotte Day Wilson is a  Toronto, ON-based internationally renowned singer/songwriter, who initially began her musical career as the frontwoman of local renowned jazz, funk and soul act The Wayo — and with the release of “After All,” Wilson quickly emerged as an up-and-coming talent within her hometown’s soul, funk and jazz scene, eventually collaborating with the likes of BADBADNOTGOOD and River Tiber. Now, if you had been frequenting this site last year, you’d know that with the release of her full-length debut CDW, which featured critically applauded singles “After All,” “Work” and “Find You,” that Wilson established herself as a singer/songwriter and producer, who would pair thoughtful and personal lyrics that betray a wisdom and experience far beyond her years, with minimalist, electronic production.

“Doubt,” Wilson’s latest single manages to simultaneously be her first bit of new material in over a year and while being a teaser for much more material next year, the song is a bit of sonic left turn sonic direction with Wilson pairing her soulful vocals with a production that nods at Bilal, Erykah Badu and others, as it features fluttering synths, a sinuous bass line, jazz and ballad-inspired drumming with warm blasts of guitar and a soaring hook. And while arguably being one of the most radio friendly songs she’s released to date, the song’s narrator expresses a deep, crippling uncertainty over her own worthiness that feels and sounds like the thoughts and feelings of a fully-fleshed out and confused woman that you may have known at some point.

New Video: METZ Releases Incredibly Vivid Part Live Action, Part Animated Visuals for Album Single “Drained Lake”

With 2014’s self-titled debut and 2015’s sophomore effort II,  the Toronto, ON-based trio METZ received attention across their native Canada and elsewhere for a sludgy, face-melting, power-chord based sound reminiscent of Bleach and In Utereo-era Nirvana, A Place to Bury Strangers, Japandroids and others, and unsurprisingly, the Toronto-based punk trio quickly became mainstays on this site. And as you may know, the trio’s third, full-length album Strange Peace was released last month through renowned label Sub Pop Records, and the new album finds the band pushing their sound and songwriting into a new direction while retaining the furious and intense energy of their live shows; but importantly, the material on the album may be among the most politically-charged material they’ve written to date, seemingly capturing the thoughts and emotions of young people in the increasingly unstable age of Trump, Putin, Kim Jong Un, etc. “The songs on Strange Peace are about uncertainty. They’re about recognizing that we’re not always in control of our own fate, and about admitting our mistakes and fears,” the band’s Alex Eakins explained in press notes. “They’re about finding some semblance of peace within the chaos.”

“Cellophane,” Strange Peace‘s first single found the Canadian punk trio retaining the sledgehammer forcefulness, sludgy power chords and rousing hooks that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and this site, but there’s an underlying, hard-fought maturity — the sort that come as a result of living in an increasingly fearful, uncertain, fucked up world, that feels as though it’s spinning faster and faster towards disaster. And interestingly enough, “Cellophane” seems to say to the listener, “hey man we’re scared out of our fucking minds, too; but we have each other and somehow we’ve gotta stick together and figure it out.” “Drained Lake,” Strange Peace‘s second single, is a jagged and propulsive post-post-punk track with layers of blistering and scuzzy guitars, punchily delivered lyrics and thunderous drumming with the use of a lurching synth line for what I think may be the first time in the band’s history; but while being a revealing look into a band that’s begun to restlessly experiment and expand upon their sound, it also finds the band at their most strident and searching, while being a sneering anthemic “fuck off” to those who don’t — and perhaps can never — see you for who you are. As the band’s Eadkins explained in press notes, the song reflects, “the constant struggle to know yourself and make sense of your life and surroundings. What is my purpose? Holding on to who you are while finding off pressure to bend to what other people want and expect from you.”
Directed by Shayne Ehman, featuring video production from Cricket Cave, the part live action and animated video for “Drained Lake stars Michelle Chug and Woodchip, the cat and will continue the band’s reputation for pairing their music with incredibly vivid visuals — in this case, animated anthropomorphic fork figures playing instruments, a woman that turns into a cat and more. 

New Video: The Surreal and Feverish Visuals for METZ’s “Cellophane”

As it’s turned out, over the past week or two, I’ve focused on a number of JOVM mainstays, who are set to release new material throughout the next few weeks — including the  Toronto, ON-based punk rock trio METZ. And as you may recall, the Canadian punk trio exploded into the blogosphere with 2014’s self titled debut and 2015’s sophomore effort II, thanks in part to a sludgy,  face-melting, power-chord based sound reminiscent of Bleach and In Utereo-era Nirvana, A Place to Bury Strangers, Japandroids and others.

The trio’s highly-anticipated, full-length album is slated for release tomorrow through Sub Pop Records, and the the album, which the trio recorded with the legendary Steve Albini at Chicago’s Electrical Audio Studio live to tape and features home recordings and additional instrumentation added by their longtime collaborator, engineer and mixer Graham Walsh back in Toronto.  Reportedly, the new album finds the band pushing their sound and songwriting in a new direction while retaining the furious and intense energy of their live shows — while thematically, the material may arguably be the most politically-charged yet personally written material to date, presumably at least partially influenced by life in the age of Donald Trump, and an urgent sociopolitical climate in which everything seems to be constantly spiraling out of control. “The songs on Strange Peace are about uncertainty. They’re about recognizing that we’re not always in control of our own fate, and about admitting our mistakes and fears,” the band’s Alex Eakins explained in press notes. “They’re about finding some semblance of peace within the chaos.”

“Cellophane,” Strange Peace‘s first single finds  the Canadian punk trio retaining the sledgehammer forcefulness, sludgy power chords and rousing hooks that first caught the attention of the blogosphere and this site, but there’s an underlying, hard-fought maturity and vulnerability within the song — the sort that recognizes that the world can frequently be an unforgivably brutal, unfair and frightening place, and that although there no easy answers, we can (and should) take comfort from others, and fight for them as much as we’d fight for ourselves. 

The recently released video for “Cellophane” was directed by Shayne Ehman and as he explains in press notes, the visuals “depict a sphere where consciousness is split, and a world of contrast unfolds. The resulting disembodiment disperses one’s spatial awareness and new kinds of empathy develop. Two become three, and it’s only half the story . . . ” Oh, and there’s an adorably goofy, rock throwing octopus, too. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Cold Specks Returns with a Chilly Industrial-like New Single

Over the course of the past handful of posts, I’ve found myself focusing on new material from a series of long-time JOVM mainstays — and if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you’d likely be intimately familiar with the renowned, Toronto, ON-born and- based singer/songwriter  Ladan Hussein, best known as Cold Specks. Now, as you may recall, after spending the better part of 2015 and 2016 touring to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned to Toronto, where she began working on her third full-length album, Fools Paradise, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through Arts & Crafts Records, and from the album’s early batch of singles — the slow burning and atmospheric  “Wild Card,” which was inspired by the refugee experience and an act of unusual and profound kindness towards a stranger, from a familiar yet far away place; the aching and vulnerable album title track, Fool’s Paradise;” and “New Moon,” a song that conveyed the struggle to find stability and oneself after life (and love) have thrown you for a complete and total loop.

Fool’s Paradise’s fourth and latest single sonically pairs Ladan’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with shimmering yet chilly industrial beats and electronics — and while nostalgic, the song possesses a bittersweet tinge to it, influenced in some way by the fact that when Hussein grew up, she never heard much about her parents’ life in Mogadishu before fled the country; in fact, the vision of the country the song evokes seems both uncertain and mythical, all while being something (anything, really) to cling to and understand.  And although the song finds Ladan and her collaborators expanding upon the sound that first caught the attention of this site and the rest of the blogosphere, the new single may arguably be the album’s haunting, fever dream. 

New Video: Check out the “Grease” Inspired Visuals for Joseph of Mercury’s “Angel”

Earlier this summer, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring Joseph W. Salusbury, an up-and-coming Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter and producer, who has a number of songwriting and production credits including 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” — and earlier this year, Salusbury stepped out from behind the production booth and the relatively anonymity of being a go-to songwriter with his solo recording project Joseph of Mercury, and three singles “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside,” which quickly established the Canadian singer/songwriter and producer’s reputation for crafting melancholic, slow-burning synth pop that draws from a diverse range of influences, including David Bowie, Elvis Presley, Future Islands and Lower Dens among others, paired with his aching baritone crooning.

Salusbury’s Joseph of Mercury debut, Find You Inside was released last week, and as you may recall, to celebrate the announcement of the EP, he released a live and hauntingly spectral rendition of EP single “Without Words” featuring the up-and-coming Canadian pop artist accompanying himself with guitar. And personally, what made that rendition so compelling is that the live version pulls out the raw, aching emotion at the core of the song in a way that nods at both Roy Orbison and Nick Hakim.

“Angel,” the fourth and latest single off the Canadian pop crooner’s recently released EP finds Salusbury meshing 60s pop and classic R&B, anthemic 80s arena rock and contemporary electro pop in a way that reminiscent of both the aforementioned Nick Hakim and Roy Orbison, and of Daughn Gibson — and much like the sources that influenced the song, “Angel” is a sweet, almost old-timey love song written in a way that may of his contemporaries frankly just seem incapable of doing. As a result, the song is a swooning yet slow-burning  and contemporary torch song in which the song’s narrator confesses his love and devotion with an visceral ache.

Directed by Cannes Short Film Festival-nominated director Gemma Warren, the recently released music video for “Angel” pays homage to a famous scene from Grease in which Joseph play the part of the Teen Angel, originally played by Frankie Avalon, and as a result the video possesses a hazy, dream-like nature.