Tag: Toronto ON

Emerging Vancouver-based indie pop act Vox Rea — siblings Kate Kurdyak (lead vocals, piano, guitar, bass), her sister Lauren Kurdyak (vocals, piano) their childhood friend Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher (vocals, percussion) and Mitchell Schaumberg (vocals, piano, guitar, bass) can trace some of their origins back to when the Kurdyak Sisters and Hansen-Boucher singing in choirs together as children.

Lifelong academics at heart, the Kurdyaks attended a small liberal arts schools in the mountains, where Kate studied philosophy and Lauren studied ecology. And while at the school, they met Mitchell Schaumberg and started playing school parties under the name BEEF. Although they started the band as a lighthearted endeavor, the trio quickly realized the creative chemistry they all shared, and would later meet up all over the world for late night, liquor-fueled writing sessions that would eventually comprise Vox Rea’s earliest material. But more on that later. . . .

The Kurdyak Sisters and Hansen-Boucher formed the indie pop trio The Katherines, which released their full-length debut To Bring You My Heart back in 2017 through 604 Records. The album amassed over one million Spotify steams with songs off the album appear on a number of prominent playlists including New Music Friday, Pop All Day, Hot Hits Canada, Indie Pop Chillout and the Canada Viral 50 chart. The Katherines were featured in a number of major media outlets including Vice, MTV, Vancouver Sun, the National Post — and they’ve performed on morning shows in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Accompanied by a top-notch backing band, the members of The Katherines have toured across Canada and have made stops along the national festival circuit. including Rifflandia, NXNE, Juno Fest, Canada Day Vancouver and Denim on the Diamond, among others. And adding to a growing profile, the trio had songs appear on TV shows like Orphan Black, Reboot and The Order.

The Vancouver-based quartet’s latest project together Vox Rea is a bit of a sonic and stylistic departure. Citing influences that range from Arcade Fire to Friedrich Nietzsche, the members of Vox Rea, the act’s full-length debut chronicles a group of artists trying to come to terms with their generation’s place in the larger human story — and thematically, the album’s material touches upon addiction, self-doubt. lust, identity. independence and grief. And as a result, the album can be seen as a soundtrack to the confusion and euphoria of coming of age in a world seemingly on the verge of annihilation. The band’s unique brand of noir pop finds them crafting material that features classically inspired string arrangements, three part harmonies, brooding atmospherics and a seamless mesh of digital and analog while underpinned with raw emotionality.

Written in collaboration between the Kurdyaks, Hansen-Boucher, Schaumberg, Luca Fogale, Begonia, and Joël, their Connor Seidel, Tim Buron, Derek Hoffman and Joel Stouffer-co-produced Vox Rea full-length debut was written in apartments in Vancouver, Toronto, Berlin, Montreal and Boston — and was recorded during a snowy winter in the Quebec forests.

Vox Rea’s latest single “Dose Me Up” is a slow-burning, atmospheric ballad centered around a stunningly gorgeous lead vocal and three part harmonies, twinkling piano, brief bursts of shimmering guitar, stuttering drumming and electronic plinks and a soaring hook. Sonically speaking, the track may draw comparisons to Cloud Castle Lake‘s gorgeous Malingerer, PJ Harvey and others but with all the sturm und drang of one’s 20s.

Live Footage: METZ Perform “Parasite” at The Opera House Toronto

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink covering the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. And as you may recall,. the act’s fourth album, Atlas Vending was released last week through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records.

Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.

The end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole — with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

Naturally, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. And in some way, the album finds the band tackling the inevitable — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

I’ve written about three of the album’s singles so far: the album’s first single, album closing track “A Boat to Drown In,” one of the most expansive and oceanic tracks of their catalog; “Hail Taxi,” an explosive and deceptively prototypical METZ track that’s centered around a deeply adult sense of regret, as the song features a narrator, who desperately attempts to reconcile who they once were with what they’ve become; and “Blind Industrial Park,” a rapturous and euphoric METZ-styled ripper that’s actually an ode to the naivete of youth and the blissful freedom of being unbranded by the world surrounding you.

To celebrate the release of Atlas Vending METZ played a special livestream at The Opera House in Toronto. Last night’s set found them playing Atlas Vending in its entirely with an encore that featured fan favorites ‘Negative Space” and “Wet Blanket” off their self-titled, full=length debut.. The band released a frenetically shot live footage of pummeling new ripper “Parasite.”

You can still get tickets for the live stream of night 2 at The Opera House, which will air at 3PM ET, Noon PT, 8PM BST, 9PM CEST, 8PM AEST. Tickets available here: tickets.

INNR CIRCLE is a rising Toronto-based Panamanian-Canadian R&B artist, who has started to receive attention both locally and nationally for a sound that meshes elements of New Wave, dream pop and R&B paired with a striking and dynamic vocal register and earnest, lived-in songwriting. The rising Canadian artist’s latest single “Take” has begun to receive attention from a number of tastemakers: “Take” has been featured on Spotify’s New Music Canada, YouTube Music’s RELEASED, as well as Next in Queue, Sine Language, Alternative Hotlist and Your New Alternative playlists — and after hearing the single you’ll see why the Toronto-based artist is so buzz worthy.

Centered around a sinuous bass line, shimmering synth arpeggios, a decidedly Tropical air , a shuffling two-step inducing rhythm and INNR CIRCLE’S achingly plaintive and sultry vocals, the track sonically reminds me JOVM mainstay Washed Out to mind while featuring a a narrator, trying to pursue an old relationship that he fucked up. And as a result, the song touches upon loneliness, longing, frustration, despair and self-flagellation in a way that’s neurotic yet familiar.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays METZ Release a Cinematic and Epic Visual for Euphoric Single “Blind Youth Industrial Park”

Throughout the course of this site’s 10-plus year history, I’ve spilled a lot of virtual ink covering the Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the last couple of months, you might recall that he longtime JOVM mainstays fourth album Atlas Vending is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records.

Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greenberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they (and the listener) navigated life’s trials and tribulations.

Reportedly, the end result is an album’s worth of material that retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind. Much like its immediate predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole — with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory.

Naturally, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simplistic sensations of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. And in some way, the album finds the back taking what’s inevitable for all of guys — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in perpetual youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.”

As it turns out, METZ’s currently mission is to faithfully mirror the inevitably painful struggles of adulthood while tapping into the conflicting relationship between rebellion and revelry — particular in a period of profound and seemingly unending bleakness. I’ve written about two of the album’s singles so far: “A Boat to Drown In,” the album closing track, which finds the band moving away from their long-held grunge influences and crafting one of the most expansive, oceanic tracks of their catalog — and “Hail Taxi,” a deceptive return to form centered around an aching and deeply adult sense of regret, as the song features a narrator, who attempts to reconcile who they once were and who they’ve become.

“Blind Youth Industrial Park,” Atlas Vending’s third and latest single is a rapturous and euphoric ripper done in true METZ style — enormous, rousingly anthemic hooks, Eadkins urgently howled vocals, pummeling drumming and towering feedback drenched power chords. But at its core, the song is an ode to the naivety of youth and the blissful freedom of being unburdened by the world around you with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail.

Directed by Dylan Pharazyn, the recently released and cinematically shot visual for “Blind Youth Industrial Park” was shot in Queenstown, New Zealand as is set in a dystopian and futuristic planet with futuristic technology that may be derived from aliens. We follow the videos protagonist Ayeth on a nomadic walk through an epic landscape with a severely wounded companion. The video’s protagonists are followed by an armed militia. “I started thinking of the feeling of war or samurai films, beautiful but dark and violent… but then I had this idea to work up a more unique world… I started to think of a more futuristic setting — more unusual and dream-like with the story set on a distant planet where there is future technology and some kind of alien magic… like a futuristic fable,” Pharazyn says of the new video. “I loved the idea of the hero Ayeth on this nomadic walk through an epic landscape… I loved the strength in her and the pairing of her with a wounded companion, something really human and vulnerable… I wanted that emotive warmth countering the cold military images.”

 

Speaker Face · Phosphorescence

Speaker Face is an award-winning Toronto-based experimental electronic act that has developed a reputation for crafting a sound that meshes the organic with the synthetic through the use of acoustic instruments, sampled natural sound, computers and synths as a way of immersing the listener in melody, groove and atmosphere.

“Phosphorescence,” the first bit of new material from the Toronto-based act in four years is an atmospheric and eerie track centered around shimmering and arpeggiated Rhodes, looped finger-plucked violin, shuffling beats, wobbling  and layered vocals that seems to evoke the mist of seawater off rugged coasts and the briny smell of the sea.

“‘Phosphorescence’ is a complicated love song for the West Coast of Canada: British Columbia,” the Toronto-based pop outfit explain. “We feel so welcomed by the land and connected to the nature where Trent grew up, but recognize that many people were displaced to allow our presence.

“‘Phosphorescence’ is a thank you letter to those who were here long before us, specifically the Coast Salish, and the early 1900s Japanese settlers, who were interned during WWII.”

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays METZ Releases an Explosive Meditation on Life. Loneliness, Delusion, and Death

Throughout the bulk of this site’s 10 year history, I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Toronto-based punk trio and JOVM mainstays METZ. With the release of their third album, 2017’s Strange Peace, the trio — Alex Eadkins (vocals, guitar), Chris Slorach (bass) and Hayden Menzies (drums) —  pushed their songwriting in a new direction, as they crafted some of their most personal and politically charged work with the material capturing the anxiety, uncertainty, fear and outrage of the 2016 election cycle. 

Last year, the JOVM mainstays released Automat, a collection of METZ’s non-album singles, B-sides and rarities dating back to 2009 on vinyl for the first time — including, the band’s long out-of-print (pre-Sub Pop) recordings. Essentially, the album was designed as chronological trip of the acclaimed Canadian act’s lesser-known material that included a bonus 7 inch single, which featured three covers: a cover of Sparklehorse’s “Pig” off a very limited 2012 Record Store Day split single, originally released by Toronto-based record store, Sonic Boom; a cover of The Urinals‘ “I’m a Bug” originally released on YouTube in 2014; and lastly, a previously unreleased, explosive  cover of Gary Numan’s “M.E.” 

The JOVM mainstays fourth album Atlas Vending is slated for an October 9, 2020 release through their longtime label home Sub Pop Records. Their previously released material found the band thriving on an abrasive relentlessness but before they set to work on Atlas Vending’s material, the Canadian punk trio set a goal for themselves and for the album — that they were going to make a much more patient and honest album, an album that invited repeated listens rather than a few exhilarating mosh-pit friendly bludgeonings. Co-produced by Uniform’s Ben Greennberg and mastered by Seth Manchester at Pawtucket’s Machines with Magnets, the album finds the band crafting music for the long haul, with the hopes that their work could serve as a constant as they navigated life’s trials and tribulations. 

The end result is an album that reportedly retains the massive sound that has won them attention and hearts across the world — but while arguably being their most articulate, earnest and dynamic of their growing catalog. Thematically, the album covers disparate yet very adult themes: paternity, crushing social anxiety, addiction, isolation, media-induced paranoia and the restless urge to just say “Fuck this!” and leave it all behind.  Much like its predecessor, Altas Vending offers a snapshot of the the modern condition as they see it; however, each of the album’s ten songs were written to form a musical and narrative whole with the album’s song sequencing following a cradle-to-grave trajectory. And as a result, the album’s material runs through the gamut of emotions — from the most rudimentary and simple of childhood to the increasingly nuanced and turbulent peaks and valleys of adulthood. So in some way, the album find the band tackling what’s inevitable for all of us — getting older, especially in an industry seemingly suspended in youth. “Change is inevitable if you’re lucky,” METZ’s Alex Eadkins says of the band’s fourth album Atlas Vending. “Our goal is to remain in flux, to grow in a natural and gradual way. We’ve always been wary to not overthink or intellectualize the music we love but also not satisfied until we’ve accomplished something that pushes us forward.” 

Interestingly, Atlas Vending closing track “A Boat to Drown In” is the album’s first single and while continuing the band’s long-held reputation for crafting enormous, aural assaults centered around layers of distortion fueled powered chords, thunderous drumming, a mosh pit friendly hook and Eadkins urgent and howled vocals. But unlike their previously released material, “A Boat to Drown In” finds the band moving away from their grunge influences with their most expansive track to date, a track that finds them at their most oceanic. According to Eadkins, “A Boat to Drown in.” is “. . . about leaving a bad situation behind. About overcoming obstacles that once held you back, rising above and looking to a better future. The title refers to immersing yourself fully into what you love and using it as a sanctuary from negativity and a catalyst for change.”

Directed by Tony Wolski, the incredibly cinematic visual for “A Boat to Drown In” follows a painfully lonely and isolated young woman’s slow-burning descent into delusion, — including a passionate affair  with an enormous (and frisky) teddy bear that we discover never existed. Eventually we pull out and see this woman turn from being emotionally broken to numb and devoid of feeling,. “The song has a beautiful, crushing numbness to it that we wanted to mirror in the visual,” Tony Wolski explains. “So we chose to romanticize our main character’s descent into her delusions of love and togetherness. At a time when everyone’s simultaneously coping with some sort of isolation, a story about loneliness—and the mania that comes with it—seems appropriate to tell.” 
 

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.

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.