Tag: Toronto ON

New Video: Hush Pop Returns with Ethereal Visuals for Shimmering EP Single “Oasis”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Hush Pup, an experimental pop/synth pop act, which splits their time between Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Featuring core duo Ida Maidstone (vocals, Yamaha synths, Casio synths, Beat Finder) and Fizzy (bass, EFX, Beat Finder II) with contributions from Torrie Seager (guitar), the Canadian act describes their music as sounding “a lot like driving at night through the board game Candyland — soft cotton candy trees brush up against windows of your glass car, as you ride towards a friend’s cabin nearby the molasses swamp.”

The band’s latest efforts the Flower Power EP and Panacea, a romantic film-inspired album will be released next week through Lone Hand Records, and as you may recall the Beach House, Anemone and 4AD Records-like “The Hours” was centered around a shimmering and looping guitar line, propulsive beats, Maidstone’s ethereal vocals, a soaring hook and equally ethereal synths. Continuing in a similar, ethereal vein, the act’s latest single “Oasis” is centered around shimmering and undulating synths, propulsive beats, a looping and shimmering guitar line paired with Maidstone’s vocals ethereally floating over a fever dream-like soundscape. 

Filmed, edited, and conceptualized by Mike Perreira, the recently released video for “Oasis” features some experimental footage of water and other particles overlaid with old footage of the band from a music video that never came to fruition. The editing was kept fairly loose in order to let the natural light and movement come together organically, so that the video resembled a dream, further emphasizing the ethereal nature of the song. 


Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Brampton, ON-born, Toronto, ON-based DJ, violinist, singer/songwriter, sync pop artist and JOVM mainstay Maya Killtron. Now, as you may recall, Killtron received national and international attention with the release of her debut EP, 2012’s Hipster/Gangstaand as a result of the surrounding buzz around the EP, Killtron made appearances across the North American festival circuit, including appearances at Miami’s Winter Music ConferencePride TorontoThe Halifax Jazz Festival and CMJ. Adding to a growing profile,  “Back For More,” her collaboration with New York-based production duo Love Taps received praise from Stereogum and Huffington Post for a sound that possessed elements of moomba and R&B. The equally attention-grabbing video showcased a sadly bygone New York. “Back For More” also received the remix treatment from  Smalltown DJs, The Slow WavesEyes Everywhere, Brothers In Arms and City Kid Soul — with the City Kid Soul remix being named in the Top 5 at Toronto’s Bestival.

Killtron’s latest full-length effort, Never Dance Alone is slated for a March 22, 2019 release, and the album reportedly was made specifically for dancing through your problems. The album’s latest single “Red Dress” continues a strong run of 80s synth funk/80s R&B-inspired club bangers as it’s centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, an anthemic hook and Killtron’s sultry pop belter vocals  — and while much like its predecessors, the track will bring I Feel for You-era Chaka Khan to mind, the track features a disco-inspired string arrangement that hints at JOVM mainstays Escort. Interestingly, the song is an uplifting, feminist anthem, complete with a much-needed “go out and get it, girl,” vibe.









Live Footage: Sam Fender Performs “Hypersonic Missiles” on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”

Newcastle, UK-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Sam Fender has received attention both nationally and internationally over the past couple of years for crafting rousingly anthemic, arena rock-like material that broadly focuses on hard-hitting social issues and draws from his own experiences growing up in Northeastern England.

Last year was a big year for the Newcastle-based Fender, as she was featured on BBC Sound of 2018‘s shortlist, which he promptly followed up with a sold-out headlining UK tour. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Fender ended 2018 with the release of the Dead Boys EP, an effort that featured the attention-grabbing “That Sound,” a power chord-based arena rock friendly track that featured enormous raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worth hooks, soulful vocals and a bluesy vibe that brought  The Black Keys, Slaves, Royal Blood and others to mind — and “Play God,” a politically-charged song that openly talked about how special interests and the 1% really control the world as we know it, paired with an self-assured, ambitious bit of songwriting.

Interestingly, the rousing, Springsteen meets Modern English‘s “Melt With You“-like “Hypersonic Missiles” is the JOVM mainstay’s first bit of original music this year, and while centered around arena rock and classic rock-inspired hooks, reverb-drenched power chords, thunderous drumming and Fender’s urgent and impassioned vocals, the song is an unconventional love song about two star-crossed lovers making the best of whatever time they have left while the world burns down — and an incisive commentary on our apathy and confusion in the face of our self-destruction that cries to the listener “hey man, wake the fuck up and do something!”

“This song started out when I saw the term ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ in a newspaper. It’s a newly developed Russian missile that travels at something like nine times the speed of sound, which is essentially unstoppable,” Fender explains in press notes about the song’s inspiration. “America currently has no defence against such a weapon, they would be helpless in the wake of an attack, as you have roughly six minutes from the time it is launched to the time it strikes.

“In many ways, Hypersonic Missiles is an unorthodox love song. It’s main focus is on the world around the narrator, who is a complete tin foil hatter. They are convinced the world is on its last legs; they know that it is rife with injustice but feel completely helpless and lacking the necessary intelligence to change it while remaining hopelessly addicted to the fruits of consumerism.

“Amongst all the chaos is love and celebration, there is this glimmer of hope that runs through the song, a little notion that no matter what happens, these two people are gonna have a fucking good time regardless of the tyrants that run their world, and regardless of the imminent doom from these ‘Hypersonic Missiles.’”

2019 looks to be a breakthrough year for the Newcastle-based singer/songwriter and guitarist — he recently made his US network TV debut, performing “Hypersonic Missiles” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and he will be playing his first North American headline shows with stops in Toronto, Los Angeles — and a sold out Rough Trade show on March 20, 2019.  (You can check out tour dates below.) Fender will also be playing several sets at this year’s SXSW, which I’m sure will catch quite a bit of attention across the blogosphere. 

New Video: Moon King Releases an 80s Computer Generated Visual for Shimmering and Hazy Club Banger “Neon Lights”

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Toronto, ON-born and-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded solo electro pop project Moon King. Now, as you may know, the act initially began as a solo recording project but may be best known for a several year period in which Benjamin collaborated with Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure a few years ago, Benjamin returned to his roots — writing and recording as a solo project. Coincidentally around the same time, Benjamin relocated to Detroit, MI, where he spent a year working and living in the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck. .

Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired the Hamtramck 16 mixtape, a mixtape that not only documented his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place but was also a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach with the material capturing his increasing obsession with electronic dance music. His forthcoming album, Voice of Lovers is the first full-length album of new material since he began fully embracing underground house, techno and electro pop — and the material finds the Canadian-born songwriter, producer and electronic music artist in a state of discovering and experimentation in which he synthesizers something fresh and unexpected out of dollar bin disco, new wave, eurotrash and more.  “There are a lot of quick cuts and transitions and the songs are pretty short, it’s meant to feel a bit breathless or disorienting, like driving around and dropping in at a few different clubs in a night. Lyrically the songs are little stories from the last couple of years…… trying to live in the US as a non-citizen, listening to records at the apartment in Hamtramck, late nights out at parties like Freakish Pleasures and Macho City, trips with the crew to Montreal, being on tour during the 2016 US election, spending the holidays alone in Detroit, the deaths of George Michael & Prince and the unfinished Moon King record from 2015. It’s dark and fun and a little nihilistic but ultimately positive.”

Voice of Lovers’ first single is the 80s synth funk meets Teddy Riley/New Jack Swing meets classic Chicago house track “Neon Lights.” Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering boom-bap-like drum programming, soulful vocals from Vespere and a rousing hook, the song manages to sound as though it were released in 1983 or so. And while evoking sultry and hazy summer nights, the track actually has an achingly lonely quality to it — as though the song’s narrator was spending time playing their favorite albums to gear themselves up to head out to the club. 

The recently released retro futuristic video by Stacie Ant uses computer-generated 3D figures dancing and singing along to the song in 80s-inspired clubs and outfits, complete with period-specific special effects to boot. 

Look for Voice of Lovers on April 2, 2019 through Arbutus Records. 

AlphaCub is an up-and-coming and rather mysterious, Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based singer/songwriter, electronic music producer and electronic music artist. Centered around a cinematic, 80s synth pop-like production that features Canadian artist’s plaintive vocals, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, aa soaring hook and a fiery guitar solo, his latest single “Night Heart” is influenced by his childhood growing up in the quiet and remote countryside — but while possessing a yearning for a time that seemed much simpler, for a place he can never quite have again and for a person that will forever remain in his past. “Growing up in a quiet place along the countryside, I fell in love with the darkness. I always fascinated by that one, distant light that shone from the forest or near the ocean,” AlphaCub says in press notes. “The only thing I love more is the wild night that I embrace trying to reach that glow.”


The up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter, electronic music producer and electronic music artist’s forthcoming album Night Heart is slated for a March 22, 2019 release through Culvert Music.



New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TR/ST Releases a Murky Industrial-like Single off Forthcoming Third Album

Over the past few years of this site’s almost nine year history, I’ve written quite a bit about Toronto, ON-born, Los Angeles, CA-based JOVM mainstay Robert Alfons, best known for his solo electro pop recording TR/ST. Now, as you may recall, Alfons has released two critically and commercially successful full-lengths 2012’s self-titled effort and 2014’s sophomore effort Joyland. Interestingly, Joyland was a decided change in sonic direction for the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based electronic music producer and artist with the material  being much more pop orientated while possessing a muscular, club banging thump.

Five years have passed since the release of his sophomore album and as it turns out, the Toronto-born, Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstay had been writing and recording new material in a farmhouse in Southern Ontario and Los Angeles, where he recently relocated. During those writing and recording sessions, which resulted in his forthcoming two album effort Destroyer 1 and Destroyer 2, Alfons worked with a cast of all-star collaborators  that included Austra’s Maya Postepski, with whom he collaborated with on his self-titled debut; Postepski co-wrote and co-produced six of the album’s songs. Alfons also worked with co-producers Lars Stalfors and Damian Taylor to further refine the album’s sound. As Alfons eventually learned during the Destroyer writing and recording process was that patience would wind up being a major ingredient and influence on his songwriting approach and the album’s overall sound. 

“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,” Alfons says in press notes. “But it wasn’t feeling cohesive; things weren’t aligning in a clear direction. My first two records were put out so close to one another that I think of them as one. 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.”

Destroyer 1’s first single “Gone” was built around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, stuttering beats, a motorik groove and a soaring and incredibly anthemic hook. And while managing to have a radio friendly accessibility, the song is centered around a swooning and urgent Romanticism that recalls 80s synth pop and New Wave — in particular, New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle,” comes to mind. “Unbleached,” Destroyer 1’s second and latest single is a murky single co-written by Maya Postepski that features layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, explosive hi-hat, and an infectious and anthemic hook paired with Alfons’ plaintive vocals ethereally floating over the mix. Interestingly as Alfons says in press notes “So happy to share the first collaboration song that me and Maya wrote for the album. This was an ode to the sound of rats running in the roof!’ 

The Destroyer 1 is slated for an April 19, 2019 release through Grouch/House Arrest Records with The Destroyer slated for a November release.

New Video: Acclaimed Toronto Producer Harrison Teams Up with RALPH on Soulful 90s Synth Pop Inspired Track

With the release of his 2016 full-length debut, the critically applauded, Juno Award-nominated Checkpoint Titanium, the Toronto-based electronic music producer, electronic music artist Harrison turned from DIY bedroom producer, posting tracks on Soundcloud to a nationally and internationally acclaimed artist and producer, at the forefront of his hometown’s R&B tinged electro pop scene. 

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the acclaimed Canadian’s sophomore album Apricity, (which is defined as “the warmth of the sun in winter”) found him at a point where he was evolving his sound and approach, figuring out ways to translate ideas and challenge existing conventions more effectively while working with an equally acclaimed set of collaborators including Daniela Andrade, IaamSaam, BADBADNOTGOOD’s Matty Tavares, Prince Innocence’s Talvi, Basecamp’s Aaron Tiem, Prince DCF and RALPH among others. 

Interestingly, Harrison quietly released a set of B-sides through Bandcamp that will be included as part of the Apricity Deluxe bundle, which also will include an official Fingerboard, and a limited edition 140g, Black Smoke LP copy signed by Harrison, as well unlimited Bandcamp streaming; but let’s talk about Apricity’s sultry, 90s synth pop-inspired summer banger “Your Girl.” A collaboration featuring up-and-coming local vocalist RALPH, the track is built upon a dense, hook-driven production consisting of lush layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, RALPH’s soulful, come hither delivery and chopped up vocal samples. Directed by Ft. Langley, the video stars Doug Paton as “The Man” and is a slick, hilarious and absolutely incisive commentary on consumerism and advertising becoming a part of our innermost dreams and fantasies. 

Featuring core duo Ida Maidstone (vocals, Yamaha synths, Casio synths, Beat Finder) and Fizzy (bass, EFX, Beat Finder II) with contributions from Torrie Seager (guitar), the Canadian act Hush Pup, which splits their time between Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada is an experimental pop act that describes their music as sounding “a lot like driving at night through the board game Candyland — soft cotton candy trees brush up against the windows of your glass car as you ride towards a friend’s cabin nearby the molasses swamp.”

The band will be releasing the Flower Power EP and Panacea, a romantic film-inspired album on a double cassette through Lone Hand Records in March — and the band’s latest single from that effort is the shimmering and atmospheric “The Hours.” Centered around a shimmering and looping guitar line, propulsive beats, Maidstone’s ethereal vocals, a soaring hook and equally ethereal synths, the track to my ears reminds me quite a bit of JOVM mainstays Beach House and Anemone, as well as the sound of much of the roster of 4AD Records heyday. But as the band explained to me in email “‘The Hours’ is a song about kindness. It’s about being sweet and slow as a practice. It’s inspired by a scene from an Allen Ginsberg documentary, where he conducts a workshop that integrates spirituality into artistic practice.

“Watching this, I felt as if he had created a kindness crew. ‘The Hours’ is written from the perspective of this crew. They’re taking time to gentle and they’re high on that concept.”