Tag: Toronto ON

New Video: JOVM Mainstay RALPH Releases a Sassy Tell Off to an Obsessed Ex

Over the better part of the past year, I’ve written a bitt about Raffa Weyman, a Toronto-born and-based singer/songwriter, best known as RALPH. Weyman quickly emerged into both the national and international pop scene with the release of her bittersweet, disco-inspired debut single “Trouble” in 2015. Building upon a rapidly growing profile. Weyman released a series of attention-grabbing singles that found the Canadian pop artist restlessly bouncing around different genres and styles — i.e., the country and western-tinged “Young Hearts Run Free” and “Girl Next Door. ” a radio friendly hip-hop/pop crossover track.

Since then, Weyman received an IHeartRadio’s Much Music Video Awards Best New Canadian Artist nomination and released her RALPH full-length debut A Good Girl. , “I wrote ‘A Good Girl’ over the course of a year, maybe a little more…and a lot happened in that year,” Weyman explained in press notes. “Because I use songwriting as a type of therapy and a way to explore my feelings, the songs naturally began to reflect everything that was happening in my life. Sometimes I was hurting, other times I was the one hurting someone else, and then to make it more complicated, sometimes I’d be both, like in the last song ‘Cereal’. The album name is a tongue in cheek way of reflecting upon the tracks and their stories, because they represent a multi-faceted character who is good hearted but makes mistakes – no one is ever one thing, we’re not good or bad and shouldn’t feel guilty about it. ​​​​​​”

Now, as you may recall Weyman’s highly-anticipated follow-up to her full-length debut is slated for release later this year. And “Gravity,” the first official single off that forthcoming release was a club-friendly and loving house music homage that brings Daft Punk and others to mind. “No Muss No Fuss,” the EP’s second and latest single is a sassy brush off of a creepy ex, whom she can’t seem to get rid off, centered around thumping beats, shimmering and arpeggiated synths an infectious, ear worm of a hook and Weyman’s self-assured and coquettish vocals. 

Directed by longtime collaborator Gemma Warren and shot on 16mm film, the video follows RALPH exuberantly singing and dancing along to the song in some 90s-inspired club outfits in a variety of different locations. “We just wanted a feeling of effortless fun to translate. We didn’t overthink the shoot,” Weyman says of the video’s filming. “We scouted the day before and drove through Gem’s favorite neighbourhoods (Atwater Village, Silver Lake, Echo Park), just taking pics of interesting looking spots. We wanted vivid colours and weird landscapes that would pop on film – like the golden yellow straw and the stacks of rubber tires. The song has a bounciness to it that makes you want to move, so we wanted to focus on organic, quirky movements instead of actual choreographed dances — playing with hand motions and kicks and spins. The lyrics in the track aren’t supposed to be mean, they’re just honest and a little sassy, so that was the mood we tried to capture.”

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New Video: Toronto-based Pop Artist RALPH Releases a Playfully 90s Inspired Visual for “Gravity”

Raffa Weyman, best known as RALPH is a Toronto-born and-based singer/songwriter, who quickly emerged into both the national and international pop scene with the release of her bittersweet, disco-inspired debut single “Trouble” in 2015. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Weyman went on to release a series of attention-grabbing singles that found the Canadian pop artist bouncing around into different genres and styles — i.e., the country and western-tinged “Young Hearts Run Free” and “Girl Next Door. ” a radio friendly hip-hop/pop crossover track. 

Since then, Weyman received an IHeartRadio’s Much Music Video Awards Best New Canadian Artist nomination and released her RALPH full-length debut A Good Girl. , “I wrote ‘A Good Girl’ over the course of a year, maybe a little more…and a lot happened in that year,” Weyman explained in press notes. “Because I use songwriting as a type of therapy and a way to explore my feelings, the songs naturally began to reflect everything that was happening in my life. Sometimes I was hurting, other times I was the one hurting someone else, and then to make it more complicated, sometimes I’d be both, like in the last song ‘Cereal’. The album name is a tongue in cheek way of reflecting upon the tracks and their stories, because they represent a multi-faceted character who is good hearted but makes mistakes – no one is ever one thing, we’re not good or bad and shouldn’t feel guilty about it. ​​​​​​”

“Gravity” is Weyman’s first single of this year — and it’s the first official single off a forthcoming EP slated for an October 2019 release. Centered shimmering and arpeggiated keys, thumping beats, Weyman’s sultry yet crystalline vocal delivery, thumping beats and an infectious hook, the track manages to be club friendly and radio friendly in a way that will remind some listeners of Daft Punk and others, the track manages to be a loving homage of 90s club culture with a contemporary production sheen. “When I was younger, Electric Circus was the coolest thing happening in Toronto,” Weyman says in press notes about her latest single. ” I would try to stay up late so I could watch the furry cowboy hats and tube tops on TV, and I truly wanted to grow up so I could dance at EC. This song is an ode to 90s house with a contemporary pop flair. I want to make people dance to this one.”

Directed and animated by Toronto-born, New York-based multi-disciplinary artist Annika Cooper, a.k.a Blackpowerbarbie, the recently released video features 2D collage-based animation. The video finds the animated version of RALPH navigating through space — and throughout there are playfully nostalgic 90s motifs and visual jokes that include a robotic dog companion that looks like a member of Daft Punk.”I’ve admired Amika’s work for awhile. There’s a strength and beauty in the women she creates, so I reached out to see if she’d be interested in illustrating a video for me and creating a cartoon Ralph,” Weyman says in press notes. “My vision was a combination of Sailor Moon meets Gucci animation campaign meets Anime meets Britney Spears’s ‘Oops’ video and the results are perfect.”

 

Up-and-coming Toronto-based indie electro pop sibling duo SWANES — Michael and Stefan Bildy — have released a handful of tracks through French indie electro pop tastemaker label Kitsune Records that have caught thee attention of Warp Records and Future Classic, as well as a key nod from CBC’s Radio 1 Toronto. Adding to a growing profile, the sibling duo have been featured on Bandcamp Daily and COLORS, and they’ve landed tracks on several extremely popular Spotify playlists — in particular, the Indie All Stars and Fresh Finds among others.

The duo will be playing dates with Los Angeles-based artist Harriet Brown — but before that they released a new single, the silky smooth “The Hard Way.” Centered around shimming guitar, stuttering beats and a sultry vocal delivery, the slickly produced track nods at Quiet Storm R&B, Hall and Oates-era blue-eyed soul and breezy pop — and sonically, the track reminds me a bit Rush Midnight and others. Interestingly, the track was inspired by a trip the Bildy Brothers took to their great uncle Bruce Beach’s bomb shelter, The Ark Two — the largest nuclear fallout shelter in their native Canada. And as a result, the track possesses a subtle yet palpable apocalyptic air.

Last month, I wrote about the Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based psych rock quartet Possum, and as you may recall the band, which is comprised of Brandon Bak (guitar, vocals), Tobin Hopwood (guitar), Patrick Lefler (bass) and Bradley Thibodeau (drums) met within their hometown’s psych rock and garage rock scenes. The members of the band bonded over their mutual love and appreciation of acts like of CAN, Grateful Dead, Fela Kuti and Ty Segall — but the end result is a sound that can be loosely described as a fusion of garage rock, krautrock, psych rock and ethno jazz, complete with rapid tempo and time signature change, hypnotic riffs and chugging, motorik grooves.

Live, their shows are an immersive experience in which the band pairs high energy performances and trippy sounds with lysergic visual projections by The Oscillitarium. And as a result of their live show, the members of Possum have shared stages with the likes of the aforementioned Ty Segall, All Them Witches, Shannon and The Clams, Bombino, L.A. Witch and Chad VanGaalen.

Interestingly, the Canadian psych rockers have maintained a steadfast and ardent DIY ethos in which they’ve independently recorded, mixed and produced their material using old analog tape machines — and they’ve packaged their music themselves. In fact, Possum’s full-length debut, Space Grade Assembly, which is slated for release later this month continues the band’s DIY ethos with the material recorded almost entirely live and mixed by the band’s Brandon Bak and Tobin Hopwood. Album single “The Hills” was an expansive and heady mix of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chord-fueled riffing, thunderous drumming, Afrobeat and Latin-tinged percussion that found the band’s production nodding at shoegaze, classic psych rock and krautrock simultaneously.

Clocking in at a little over eight minutes, “Worms Hollow,” Space Grade Assembly‘s latest single is a mind-altering and expansive track that’s one part 60s inspired garage psych, one part motorik groove-driven krautrock and one part space rock centered around a focused and urgent performance.

Possum is currently on a lengthy North American tour. Check out the remaining tour dates below.

Tour Dates
June 7 – Chicago, IL (Emporium)
June 8 – Kansas City, MI (TBA)
June 9 – Denver, CO (Second City Music Collective)
June 11 – San Francisco, CA (Knockout Lounge)
June 13 – Portland, OR (Post 134)
June 14 – Seattle, WA (Clock Out Lounge)
June 16 – Vancouver, BC (Static Jupiter)
June 17 – Victoria, BC (Copper House)
June 18 – Nanaimo, BC (Nanaimo Bar)
June 19 – Kelowna. BC (Fernando’s)
June 20 – Kamloops, BC (Blue Grotto)
June 21/22/23 – Calgary, AB (Sled Island Muisc Festival)
June 24 – Regina, SK (TA Vinyl and Fashion)
June 25 – Winnepeg, MB (Handsome Daughter)
June 26 – Minneapolis, MN (Terminal Bar)
June 27 – Milwaukee, WI (Cactus Club)
June 28 – Detroit, MI (Kelly’s Bar)

The Black Fever are an up-and-coming Toronto-based post-punk act, currently featuring Shoe (vocals, guitar), Pat Bramm (bass, back-up vocals), and Dan Purpura (drums), and the band will be releasing their latest full-length album Unarticulated Wants on June 14, 2019. Reportedly, the album’s material thematically reflects the current sociopolitical moment — political instability, growing economic disparity and the everyday dramas of love and life.
The album’s latest single is the mid-tempo hook-driven track “No Work.” Centered around shimmering guitar lines, a motor groove consisting of thumping drumming and a sinus bass line, a slick yet forceful hook paired with Shoe’s plaintive vocals, “No Work” manages to recall Turn On The Bright Lights-era Interpol; but as the band notes, the song possesses  an underlying anxiety that comes from the difficulty that many people — in particular, new, college graduates and young professionals — have finding and keeping a decent job in which they could survive.

Taylor Knox is a Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who can trace the origins of his musical career to over a decade ago, when he was recruited to play drums for The Golden Dogs, an act that was considered one of Canada’s criminally under-appreciated bands — and coincidentally, one of Knox’s favorite bands, too.

During his stint with The Golden Dogs, Knox forged friendships with several other bandmembers, who all go on to form Zeus. As a result of Zeus, Knox was a frequent presence at the band’s Toronto studio Ill Eagle, which naturally offered him the perfect environment and the opportunity to begin experimenting with his own original material. Interestingly, Knox and his then-newly formed Zeus were tapped by Jason Collett to be his regular backing band — and it brought him into contact with an even wider circle of musicians, including Luke Doucet, whom he joined on Doucet’s tour to support his acclaimed Steel City Traveler. He also joined Hayden for the Us Alone recording sessions and subsequent tour. He also played with acclaimed Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin.

With the release of the Lines EP and his full-length debut Love, Knox stepped out into the spotlight, crafting anthemic power pop that has drawn comparisons to acclaimed and highly influential Canadian power pop act Sloan and others. Slated for a June 7, 2019 release, Knox’s sophomore album Here Tonight thematically focuses on the mystery, stillness and artistic inspiration of the night; in fact, Knox’s tendency to be a night owl was a major influence on the album. And when he started writing the material that would eventually comprise his forthcoming sophomore album, he focused on precisely what he was thinking about — and what he wanted to do and say with it. He didn’t want to waste the insight that nighttime has always given him.“I really try to make sure the songs I write come from a place of not something I want to write but something I kind of have to get out. What I’m feeling below what I’m thinking,” Knox says in press notes.

Sonically speaking, the album, which sees Knox working with Josh Korody reportedly sees Knox continuing with the power pop that has won him attention — fuzzy and /or crunchy power chords, forceful drumming and rousingly anthemic hooks; but he sought guidance and inspiration from much more contemporary artists like The Weeknd, SZA and Prince in terms of production and songwriting, as well as the legendary Joni Mitchell. In fact, Korody’s production helped to add new textures to his overall sound, thanks to the incorporation of synths and keyboards to create glistening gutter tones. Knox also worked with Rob Schnapf in Los Angeles, who helped make one song reportedly to sound like one of the best Oasis songs to never appear on an Oasis album.

Interestingly, what sets the Toronto-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer’s sophomore album apart from this previously released work is a free flowing spontaneity that was encouraged by Korody and Schnapf — and that left room for unrestrained creativity. Doing this, he says, “leaves a little bit of room for discovery with the collaborator and room for their influence. I’ve always tried to do that but I did it more this time because I have confidence that I’ll be able to come up with it on the spot.” Adding to that, Knox brought in a number of Toronto’s finest musicians to collaborator for the sessions including July Talks‘ Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay and Tokyo Police Club‘s Dave Monks.

Here Tonight‘s latest single is the rousingly anthemic, Live It Up.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, forceful drumming, a big arena rock friendly hook and an ethereal falsetto, the track recalls 120 Minutes alt rock — in particular, The Posies, The Breeders, Smashing Pumpkins and even more contemporary acts like Silversun Pickups but with the free-flowing air of a bunch of guys jamming and coming up with something incredibly cool and full of furious passion.

 

 

New Video: The Feverish and Lysergic Visuals for Possum’s “The Hills”

Comprised of Brandon Bak (guitar, vocals), Tobin Hopwood (guitar), Patrick Lefler (bass) and Bradley Thibodeau (drums), the Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based psych rock quartet Possum met within their hometown’s psych and garage scenes. And as as the story goes, the members of the up-and-coming Canadian psych rock act bonded over a mutual love and appreciation of CAN, Grateful Dead, Fela Kuti and Ty Segall — with the end result being a sound that’s a fusion of garage rock, kraut rock, psych rock, ethno jazz, complete with rapidly tempo and time signature changes, hypnotic riffs and chugging bass. Their live shows are an immersive experience which finds the band pairing pairing high energy performances and trippy sounds with lysergic visual projections by The Oscillitarium.  As a result of their high energy shows, Possum has shared stages with the likes of Ty Segall, All Them Witches, Shannon and The Clams, Bombino, L.A. Witch and Chad VanGaalen. 

Using old tape machines, the Canadian psych rock act has managed to independently record, mix, produce and package all of their music; in fact, their full-length debut, Space Grade Assembly, which is slated for a June 21, 2019 release through Garment District Records finds the band further establishing their DIY ethos with the material being recorded almost entirely live and mixed by the band’s Brandon Bak and Tobin Hopwood. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “The Hills” is an expansive and heady mix of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin power chord-fueled riffing, thunderous drumming, Afrobeat and Latin-tinged percussion, jowering shoegazer meets 60s psych rock production and kraut rock with a cosmic glow and a muscular forcefulness. As the band explains, “‘The Hills’ came about after our experience at the Frontier Ghost Town – an authentic wild west camp where they once filmed a Charles Manson movie. Sonically, we wanted to travel between the feel of Mylar & Haight-Ashbury era mysticism.”  

Unsurprisingly, the recently released video for “The Hills” is an appropriately feverish and lysergic affair. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay TR/ST Releases an Intimate 80s-Inspired Visual for Anthemic “Gone”

I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based electronic music producer and artist Robert Alfons and his solo recording project  TR/ST over the past few years, and as you may recall, Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful full-length albums — 2012’s self-titled album and 2014’s Joyland. Alfons’ sophomore album was a decided change in sonic direction for him, with the material reflecting a pop orientated leaning while being club banging.

Five years have passed since the release of Joyland and in that time, Alfons wrote and recorded material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and in Los Angeles, where he has since relocated, and worked with an all-star cast of collaborators on his forthcoming two album effort, Destroyer 1 and Destroyer 2. Maya Postepski, Alfons’ collaborator on his self-titled debut co-wrote and co-produced six of the album’s songs. The Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based producer and electronic music artist also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s sound. Interestingly, the key ingredient to creating the album’s material — which will be released on April 19, 2019 and in November 2019 — was patience.

“The environment I work in has always guided me. But it took a long time to submit to the kind of patience these songs were asking of me. I was getting glimpses of what I wanted to achieve with the album,” he says. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction.” Alfons realized it was a question of patience and perseverance. “My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one,” he says, “They just poured out of me.” With The Destroyer, the process was entirely different. “It was so much more careful. I found myself seeking spaces of absolute quiet; I needed them in order to hear what was going on inside.”

“Gone,” one of Destroyer‘s album singles is centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, a tight motorik groove, a soaring and incredibly anthemic hook — but the song may arguably be one of the most accessible, pop orientated songs of his growing catalog, as it features a swooning and urgent Romanticism that recalls New Order‘s “Bizarre Love Triangle.

Directed by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Jordan Hemingway and starring Alfons, the recently released video for “Gone” was shot in a cavern in the hills. Employing a visceral intimacy, in which the viewer is sharing a claustrophobic space with Alfons, the video switches back and forth between Alfons bathed in candlelight and brilliant burst of color and lens flare. “Shot in a cavern in the hills of Los Angeles, the music video for ‘Gone’ is a visual homage to an era of music videos I grew up to,” Jordan Hemingway says of the recently released video. “The jarring angles and visuals mixed with vivid color are meant to match the haunting vocals that sit beautifully over an upbeat sound. Alfons adds, “Filmed over the course of one weekend, I think Jordan did a fantastic job capturing the feeling of desperation and shame in this intimate video.”