Tag: Toronto ON

Lammping · Greater Good (side A)

Lammping is an emerging Toronto-based psych rock act featuring multi-instrumentalist Mikhail Galkin and drummer Jay Anderson. The duo’s full-length debut Bad Boys of Comedy is slated for a July 21, 2020 release through Nasoni Records — and the album’s material, which is rooted in power chord-devein riffs and thunderous drumming finds the duo taking a fresh and eclectic approach to psychedelia while eschewing easy categorization: the material draws from Tropicalia, Turkish psych, New York boom-bap hip hop beats and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young-like multi-part harmonies among other things.

Bad Boys of Comedy‘s second and latest single is the noise rock meets shoegazer-like “Greater Good.” Centered around dense layers of fuzzy and distorted power chord-driven riffs, thunderous boom bap beats, layered harmonies and an enormous arena rock friendly hook reminiscent of Foo Fighters, “Greater Good” as the emerging Canadian psych duo explains is an exploration of working class paranoia that feels — and sounds — remarkably accurate.

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Live Footage: PUP’s Quarantine Session Version of “Anaphylaxis”

Formed back in 2015, Toronto-based punk act PUP — Stefan Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula and Steve Sladowski — quickly became punk scene darlings with their first two albums, which received critical applause from The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone and a long list of others.

The band’s third and latest album, last year’s Morbid Stuff found the band maturing and further honing the approach and sound that won them international attention — by doubling down on the gang’s-all-here vocals, big power chord-driven choruses and lyrics about death. And as a result, the album’s material teeters between gleeful chaos and bleak oblivion while delving into Stefan Babcock’s struggles with depression. In some way, admitting his depression allowed him to take some control — and to laugh in its face.   The album was released to critical applause, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, the band wound up making their late-night Stateside television debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers. They also supported the album with a largely sold-out world tour that found them on the road for most of the year.

The band’s latest single, the breakneck  “Anaphylaxis” is the first batch of new material from the band this year and the single which features shouted, “the gang’s-all-in” vocals, rousing hooks, enormous power chords and thunderous drumming is the sort of song that’s simultaneously a mosh-pit friendly ripper and the “raise-a-beer-with-your-buddies-and-shout-along” anthem, centered around lyrics that balance sincerity with heavily winking irony. Everything is falling apart all around us — and holy shit, ain’t it kind of funny that it is?

“I got the idea for the song when I was at my partner’s cottage and her cousin got stung by a bee and his whole head started to swell up,” says singer Stefan Babcock. “His wife, although she was concerned, also thought it was pretty hilarious and started making fun of him even as they were headed to the hospital. He ended up being totally fine, but it was just funny to watch him freaking out and her just lighting him up at the same time. It reminded me of all the times I’ve started panicking for whatever reason and was convinced I was dying and the world was ending and no one would take me seriously. In retrospect, I always find those overreactions pretty funny. So we wrote a goofy song about being a hypochondriac and tried to make our guitars sound like bees at the beginning of it.”

The band got together — virtually — to record a live version of the song that features three of the members  playing in their houses or practice space with the band’s Stefan Babcock in the backseat of his van. “During our quarantine, I couldn’t go to our jam space,” the band’s Stefan Babcock says in press notes. “I also live in a small apartment and my neighbours understandably get very annoyed and/or concerned about my mental state when they hear me yelling my head off about getting stung by bees or killing my bandmates or whatever garbage these dumb songs are about. So I started making demos and recording in my car in a parking lot across the street from my house. Every few minutes, cops would slowly drive past to see what the unhinged kid in the busted up Ford Escape was doing. But I’m white, so lucky me, my biggest worry was that they’d judge my precious lyrics. White privilege is real. Defund the police.”

New Audio: Emerging French Producer Oris Beats Teams Up with Julián Cruz on a Sultry and Atmospheric Single

Oris Beats is an emerging 22 year old Paris-based producer whose work is inspired by R&B, Drake and 40. Interestingly, the emerging French producer can trace the origins of his music career back to when he turned 15: he started bursting with musical ideas whenever he listened to sounds. Since then, the emerging French producer has produced material from a series of equally emerging artists including Kyle Dion’s “Hold On To Me,”  and “Timed Out” Anfa Rose “Talented,” and “Tangier,” and Pso Thug’s “Demoniak 2.” 

Last year, Oris Beats took a trip to Toronto in which he met a series of artists — and he got the idea of working with some of them on his latest EP With You. The EP’s latest single “Won’t Forget,” is a slow-burning and atmospheric track, centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, wobbling low end paired with Julián Cruz’s plaintive vocals. The end result is a track that’s sultry yet brooding. 

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the 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. By 2015, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began posting home-recorded songs as Soccer Mommy to Bandcamp during the summer of 2015, just as she was about head off to New York University, 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. The Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist caught the attention of Fat Possum Records, who signed her to a record deal. After spending two years studying at NYU, Allison 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 through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection through Fat Possum Records. Her proper, full-length debut, 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, Alison has wound up touring 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 COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was gearing up to be a massive year for the young and rising singer/songwriter and guitarist: she began the year by playing at one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and had joined a list of contemporary artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. Allison’s highly-anticipated sophomore album color theory was released to critical applause — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Nashville-based artist had been gearing up for a massive year: she was about to embark one a headlining tour with a number of dates sold-out months in advance, along with that, she had lined up appearances across the global festival circuit that included a stop at Glastonbury. Additionally, she was supposed to make her late-night, nationally televised debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring being on an indefinite half for the music industry, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist recognized that this was a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas. Combining her love of video games and performing, Allison held a digital concert on the online gaming platform Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend it. The concert was so popular, that her fans crashed the platform’s servers, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Allison has also performed a number of live streams events, including  NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork‘s IG Live Series. And she also recently released her own Zoom background images.

Recently, Allison and company embarked on a an Bella Clark-directed 8-bit virtual, music video tour in which the band plays some of the cities she was meant to be passing through — Minneapolis, Chicago,Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. Instead of virtually playing at the more common tourist locations or a traditional music venue, the members of the band are mischievously placed in unusual locations: an abandoned Toronto area subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge and more.performing album track “crawling in my skin.”

Continuing some wildly creative ways to maintain the momentum of her full-length debut, Allison recently launched a singles series, Soccer Mommy & Friends that sees some of her most accomplished friends and associates covering her work — and Allison covering their work. The singles series will see contributions from MGMT‘s Andrew VanWyngarden, Beabadoobee, Beach Bunny, Jay Som and a list others — with releases dropping every two weeks. The singles series first release finds the acclaimed Oakland-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Melina Duterte, the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed indie rock act Jay Som covering Soccer Mommy’s “Lucy.”

Interestingly, Jay Som’s take on “lucy” turns the jangling guitar pop anthem into a shimmering and brooding track, centered around atmospheric synths, thumping beats and ethereal vocals that to my ears reminds me quite a bit of Air’s ethereal remix of Beck’s “Heaven Hammer.” “I had an extremely fun time recording the ‘lucy’ cover,” Duterte says in press notes. “Sophie has such a special way of entwining catchy melodies and sometimes dark chord progressions. I feel very lucky to be a part of this comp!”

All net profits from Bandcamp sales from the series will be donated to Oxfam‘s COVID-19 relief fun. Oxfam is working with partners to reach more than 14 million people in nearly 50 countries and the US to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 in vulnerable communities and support people’s basic food needs and livelihoods. As we’re all aware women and girls usually bear a disproportionate burden of care in a crises like COVID-19, and Oxfam has a proven record of helping women cope during and recover after these crises in ways that allow them to be safer and stronger than ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Andrade is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who first came to attention with his previous band Paradise Animals. When Paradise Animals called it a day in 2017, Andrade continued working on music with his solo-recording project TIO and through collaborations with Green Go and Favours.

Marney Isaac is a multi-instrumentalist — primarily cello and bass — who has played in a number of bands in the Toronto and Guelph area, since the 2000s. She’s also Andrade’s life partner and creative partner in their latest musical collaboration together, New River Beach, a project that derives its name from a beloved summer vacation spot the couple return to every summer with their family in Issac’s hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick.

Written and recorded in their Toronto area home, after their young children went to bed, the duo’s debut single “The Right Place” is a lushly textured yet gauzy fever dream centered around shimmering synths, thumping 808s, reverb-drenched vocals, a propulsive New Order-like bass line, sampled live drumming and a soaring hook. And while sonically, the track reminds me a bit of Canadian JOVM mainstay Rich Aucoin and others, “The Right Place” with a shoegazer-like attention to texture and mood, the track finds the duo employing a unique creative process: Issac plays almost all of the instrumental parts and after laying down the arrangements, Andrade shapes the parts into a cohesive whole using Ableton, creating a seamless synthesis of the organic and electronic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Indie Artist Soccer Mommy Goes on a Virtual 8-Bit Tour

Sophie Allison is a Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, best known as the 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. By 2015, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist began posting home-recorded songs as Soccer Mommy to Bandcamp during the summer of 2015, just as she was about head off to New York University, where she studied music business at the University’sSteinhardt 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 through Orchid Tapes and 2017’s Collection through Fat Possum Records. Her proper, full-length debut, 2018’s Clean was released to widespread critical acclaim, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, Alison has wound up touring 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 COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was gearing up to be a massive year for the young and rising singer/songwriter and guitarist: she began the year by playing at one of Bernie Sanders’ presidential rallies and had joined a list of contemporary artists, who endorsed his presidential campaign. Allison’s highly-anticipated sophomore album color theory was released to critical applause — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Nashville-based artist had been gearing up for a massive year: she was about to embark one a headlining tour with a number of dates sold-out months in advance, along with that, she had lined up appearances across the global festival circuit that included a stop at Glastonbury. Additionally, she was supposed to make her late-night, nationally televised debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

With touring being on an indefinite half for the music industry, the Swiss-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist recognized that this was a unique opportunity to get creative and experiment with new ideas. Combining her love of video games and performing, Allison held a digital concert on the online gaming platform Club Penguin Rewritten with over 10,000 attendees, who all had to make their own penguin avatars to attend it. The concert was so popular, that her fans crashed the platform’s servers, forcing a rescheduling of the event. Allison has also performed a number of live streams events, including  NPR’s Tiny Desk At Home (which she kicked off) and Pitchfork’s IG Live Series. And she also recently released her own Zoom background images. 

Recently, Allison and company embarked on a an Bella Clark-directed 8-bit virtual, music video tour in which the band plays some of the cities she was meant to be passing through — Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Toronto, and Austin. Instead of virtually playing at the more common tourist locations or a traditional music venue, the members of the band are mischievously placed in unusual locations: an abandoned Toronto area subway station, a haunted Chicago hotel, a bat-filled Austin bridge and more. Interestingly, the video four features the virtual band playing the album’s latest single “crawling in my skin.” Centered around looping and shimmering guitars, a sinuous bass line, shuffling drumming and subtly shifting tempos, the track reveals a remarkably self-assured young songwriter, who has an unerring knack for pairing earnest songwriting with an infectious hook. (Oh, and you’ll see the band adhering to social distancing rules while virtually performing!)  

“It’s really hard having our tour be postponed because I was really excited to play all of the songs on color theory for everyone, ‘crawling in my skin’ in particular,” Allison says. “I hope this little 8-bit performance can hold everyone over until the tour can happen.”

New Video: Toronto’s PUP Releases a Hilarious Claymation Video for Breakneck Anthem “Anaphylaxis”

Formed back in 2015, Toronto-based punk act PUP — Stefan Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula and Steve Sladowski — quickly became punk scene darlings with their first two albums, which received critical applause from The New York Times, Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone and a long list of others. 

The band’s third and latest album, last year’s Morbid Stuff found the band maturing and further honing the approach and sound that won them international attention — by doubling down on the gang’s-all-here vocals, big power chord-driven choruses and lyrics about death. And as a result, the album’s material teeters between gleeful chaos and bleak oblivion while delving into Stefan Babcock’s struggles with depression. In some way, admitting his depression allowed him to take some control — and to laugh in its face.    The album was released to critical applause, and as a result of a rapidly growing profile, the band wound up making their late-night television debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers. They also supported the album with a largely sold-out world tour that found them on the road for most of the year. 

The band’s latest single, the breakneck  “Anaphylaxis” is the first batch of new material from the band this year and the single which features shouted, “the gang’s-all-in” vocals, rousing hooks, enormous power chords and thunderous drumming is the sort of song that’s simultaneously a mosh-pit friendly ripper and the “raise-a-beer-with-your-buddies-and-shout-along” anthem, centered around lyrics that balance sincerity with heavily winking irony. Everything is falling apart all around us — and holy shit, ain’t it kind of funny that it is?

“I got the idea for the song when I was at my partner’s cottage and her cousin got stung by a bee and his whole head started to swell up,” says singer Stefan Babcock. “His wife, although she was concerned, also thought it was pretty hilarious and started making fun of him even as they were headed to the hospital. He ended up being totally fine, but it was just funny to watch him freaking out and her just lighting him up at the same time. It reminded me of all the times I’ve started panicking for whatever reason and was convinced I was dying and the world was ending and no one would take me seriously. In retrospect, I always find those overreactions pretty funny. So we wrote a goofy song about being a hypochondriac and tried to make our guitars sound like bees at the beginning of it.”

Directed by Callum Scott-Dyson, the recently released claymation video for “Anaphylaxis” features a hero — or perhaps an anti-hero — whose paranoia has him envision a world in which the bees are out to get revenge. Of course, the bees do get him. And the subsequent allergic reaction causes him to freak out and imagine the very worse. 

New Audio: Toronto’s Pantayo Releases a Cinematic and Modern Take on an Ancient Folk Sound

Pantayo is a rising, Toronto-based Filipino-Canadian quintet that aims to explore and expand upon what’s possible for contemporary kulintang music, a traditional and ancient folk music, centered around arrangements of percussive instruments, including gong, sarunay, gandingan, bendir, dabak and others by blending the atonal sounds of the instruments with electronic production in a way that nods at punk and R&B. 

The Filipino-Canadian quintet’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Telephone Explosion Records was produced by Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s Alaska B. Written and recorded between 2016-2019, the material is centered around discussions diasporic Filipino and queer identity. Each of the act’s five members have different experiences of settling in Canada — and naturally, that has filtered into their songwriting and art. “One way that we can make this world feel like home for folks like us is to mix the kulintang music that we learned with different sounds and song structures that feel familiar to us,” Pantayo’s co-founder Kat Estacio says in press notes. 

The album’s material is a sort of audio diary, revealing how the act has grown together as songwriters and performers during the period of time it was written. Much of their self-titled album can trace its origins to when the members began workshopping and performing traditional kulintang pieces while adapting kick drums and synths to the modal tuning of the gongs — and as a result, allowing the band to incorporate modern sounds and techniques. “If you listen to the recordings of our rehearsals and songwriting sessions, you can hear us deconstructing the kulintang parts section-by-section and practicing our songs in different styles,”the band’s Eirene Cloma (keys, vocals) explains. 

The self-titled album’s latest single is the atmospheric and cinematic “V V V (They Lie).” Centered around syrupy slow and droning synths, complex polyrhythm and plaintive vocals and harmonizing, the track — to my ears — reminds me quite a bit of early 80s Peter Gabriel and fellow Canadian electronic act Doomsquad while being an inventive way to bring the ancient into a modern day context. 

Interestingly, the track was written and put together one the course of a single day with the group finding inspiration, to an extent, in bubble tea. “The composition of the song was as a lot like a cup of bubble tea,” says the band. “We added 2 cups of blended percussion as the base, then some analog synth tapioca pearls to keep the texture interesting and fun, and finally topped it off with a few tablespoons of fresh tropical vocal fruits for some added sweetness.”

I’m having a major technical issue which has screwed up my own editorial schedule — but we’ll make do with what we can.  Technology can be a real asshole y’all. So let’s get to it: Starting his career as a member of Staggered Crossing, Julian Taylor is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter, whose sound meshes country, 70s AM rock and folkas you’ll hear on his latest single, the tightly crafted honky tonk-like track “The Ridge.” 

Interestingly, the track finds Taylor, an indigenous person of color reflecting on what life was back during his grandparents day in Maple Ridge, BC and his own experience as an indigenous person of color in a primarily white world. As a Black American man, the song evokes things I’ve felt personally — as though I’m not completely accepted anywhere.

 

New Video: Rising Canadian Pop Artist GRAE Releases a Sultry Jazz Age-Inspired Visual

GRAE is a rising Toronto-based singer/songwriter and pop artist. Initially inspired by Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814, which she played on repeat as a child, the up-and-coming Canadian started playing piano and guitar when she was very young. Last year, GRAE released her attention-grabbing debut EP New Girl, which landed on the cover of Spotify’s Outliers Playlist — and since its release, has amassed over 2 million streams.

Building upon a growing profile, the Toronto-based artist will be releasing her highly-anticipated sophomore EP Bang Bang — and the EP’s first single is a slow-burning and sultry “Slow Down.” One part seductive Quiet Storm-like soul, one part jazz chanteuse and one part slickly produced pop, “Slow Down” the track is centered around a palpable sexual tension: its narrator is about to give into her temptations and rush into intimacy without knowing if the situation will be good for her. Most of our romantic relationships are initially centered around the confusing push and pull of lust, shame and our desire to be connected to someone — and the song evokes those feelings with an uncanny accuracy.

“‘Slow Down’ was fun to write because I had never explored this kind of topic before,” GRAE says in press notes. “I find, as a woman, sometimes it’s hard to express your wants and desires, in fear of being judged or shamed. So I wanted to touch on this subject to get more in tune with that side of myself.”

Directed by Priya Howlader, the recently released video for “Slow Down” employs a minimalist concept: the up-and-coming Canadian artist as a jazz chanteuse, performing the song in front of a red curtain. While performing the song, she winds up seducing an intrigued onlooker — and as the video progresses, we see that the pair have an unmistakable and irresistible sexual chemistry in which they’re pulled closer to each other.

“The video stems from a vision I had of me singing in a old jazz cafe in front of a classic red curtain,” the up-and-coming Canadian artist explains in press notes. “Priya, the director, really made it come alive with her treatment and ideas. The concept is minimal but so beautifully executed.”