Tag: Toronto ON

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. 

Currently comprised of Leeds, UK-born, Toronto, ON-based founding member Gareth Parry along with Sebastian Buccioni, Jon Hyde, Sly Juhad Kyle Sullivan, the Toronto, ON-based funk act Gareth Parry and The Out of Towners initially was initially conceived as an old-school boogaloo funk trio playing after-hour dance parties back in Leeds and Manchester; however, since then the band’s founder has helped drive the band’s sound, pushing their sound away clear cut genre boundaries, with their sound drawing from deep house, space rock, blues rock and funk — and “The Post That Hurts The Most,” the first single off the band’s soon-to-be released debut effort Skronk is decidedly influenced by the deep fried Southern rock grooves of The Allman Brothers and The Meters, as well as contemporaries like Lettuce and The Texas Gentlemen, complete with a raw, you-were-there, immediacy.

 

 

New Video: The Brooding Visuals for Beliefs’ Buzzing and Abrasive, Industrial-Leaning Single “Comb”

Currently comprised of founding members and primary songwriters Jesse Crowe and Josh Korody, the Toronto, ON-based indie rock duo Beliefs have released two well-regarded full-length albums over the course of their seven years together — 2013’s self-titled debut and 2015’s Leaper. And although the band has gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the band can trace its origins to a shared love of late 80s and early 90s noise pop and shoegaze. However, the recently constituted duo’s forthcoming, third full-length album Habitat, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through Hand Drawn Dracula Records. The album, which was engineered by the duo’s Josh Korody and mixed by Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh features guest spots from Leon Tahenny, who’s played with Austra, Death From Above 1979 and Owen Pallet on drums and reportedly finds the band completely destructing, remaking and remodeling their self-conscious shoegazer-based sound to pursue an uncompromising new sound and vision, a a way for the band to find their own unique voice and sound. And interestingly enough, the period in which a band finds their own sound and voice may arguably be one of the most exciting and pivotal periods for any band. “I hope that’s the case,” says Crowe. “That’s always how I feel about bands, too – when you listen to something and it seems like it’s leading to a whole other element of a band, when you feel like you’re in the hallway about to open the door to a whole other space that this band is creating. And I hope that that’s what happens with us. We have no real plans at this point. We don’t want to be a ‘shoegaze’ band anymore.”

Interestingly, Habitat was the first time that the band’s founding duo had written an album together, and as Crowe continues, “we wrote 80% of it in a room in four days wth no previous material. It’s as spontaneous as can possibly be” — with material being derived from extensive jam sessions. Adding to the spontaneous nature of the material, the album was recorded and tracked in 16 days and was recorded with no grand design or plan at play; however, interestingly enough the material manages to be influenced by each individual member’s unique interests and obsessions while gravitating towards unfamiliar instruments and instrumentation. Lately, Korody has had an increasing interest in modular synths and avant industrial  sounds, partially influenced by his solo recording project Nailbiter while Crowe had been listening to a great deal of 90s hip-hop — in particular, Portishead‘s Third.  “It’s a dark record, for sure,”  Crowe says of their new album. “I feel like we were drawing a lot more from, like, me being a Goth teenager and Josh only wanting to listen to Aphex Twin and me only wanting to listen to Portishead’s Third for the last year and stuff like that. But also it was time to embody the elements of being a ‘wall-of-sound’ band with some space and the idea of being able to be quiet when you should be quiet, and you can’t do that with three guitars. There’s no space. It just becomes all push and no pull.”

Now, as you may recall I wrote about album single “1994,” a sleek and atmospheric Xiu Xiu, Antics-era Interpol-leaning single that was reportedly a sort of sequel  Leaper‘s “1992,” thanks in part to a song that eschews a traditional song structure; in fact, much like Antics, the song is focused on creating and sustaining a particular mood than whether a chorus should be placed in a particular part of the song or not. “Comb,” Habitat’s latest single is a noisy and abrasive, industrial and mosh pit worthy track consisting of layers of buzzing synths paired with forceful and propulsive drumming and shout worthy, nihilistic lyrics. And while nodding at Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, the song has an almost dance floor friendly stomp at its core. 

Directed by Andrew Matthews and Ivy Lovell, the recently released video for “Comb” features Crowe and Korody with the members of their touring band performing the song  at Toronto-based music venue Baby G under shadowy lighting and strobe lights. 

New Video: The Classic House Inspired Sounds and Visuals of Moon King’s “Ordinary Lover”

Initially begun as a solo recording project of its Toronto, ON-born creative mastermind, primary songwriter, multi-insrumentalist and producer Daniel Benjamin, Moon King may arguably be best known for the several year period in which Benjamin collaborated with Maddy Wilde (vocals, guitar); but with Wilde’s departure last year, Benjamin has returned to his roots — recording as a solo project. Coincidentally, Benjamin also relocated to Detroit, MI around the same time as Wilde’s departure, and spent that year working and living in the Detroit neighborhood of Hamtramck. .

Benjamin’s stint in Hamtramck inspired a new batch of material, Hamtramck 16, a mixtape that not only documents his arrival into a new, unfamiliar place, it also is a radical change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, as the material on the mixtape captures the Canadian producer, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist’s growing obsession with electronic dance music. And while in Detroit, Benjamin began collaborating with local artists and musicians, until he formed a new band — with the intention of crafting a sound that currently draws from disco, classic, Detroit house, synth pop — and even pop.  Mixtape single “In & Out” found Benjamin pairing his dreamy falsetto with a dance floor-friendly production that channels Nile Rodgers-era Madonna (i.e.,  “Lucky Star” and “Holiday“), Tom Tom Club (i.e., “Genius of Love“) and Larry Levan-era house as a driving groove is paired with fluttering, shimmering and cascading layers of synths, a sinuous bass line, four-on-the-floor-like beats and a razor sharp hook. And much like the sound and period, Benjamin is drawing from, the song manages to be incredibly accessible; in fact, if it wasn’t for the subtly modern production, the listener may have been tricked into believing that the song may have been released in 1983.

The mixtape’s second and latest single “Ordinary Love” is a much more straightforward production and song as arpeggio bursts of keys, tweeter and woofer rocking 808s and swirling electronics are paired with Benjamin’s falsetto vocals — and while seemingly influenced by Nu Shooz’s “I Can’t Wait” and classic house, the song manages to reveal a subtly modern production sheen that nods at Octo Octa‘s Between Two Selves and the 100% Silk Records roster. 

Directed by Bronwyn Ford, the recently released music video manages to be a spot on ode to late 80s and early 90s dance music videos, as the video features a diverse and eclectic array of club-goers dancing to the club-baning track; and it’s shot on similar grainy video that will briefly trick some viewers into thinking that they’ve stumbled on to some rarely played house music gem. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Cold Specks Returns with a Spectral and Heartbreaking New Track Off Forthcoming Third Album

With the release of her first two critically applauded and commercially successful albums,  2012’s I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and 2015’s Neuroplasticiy, the Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein, best known as Cold Specks received national and international attention as both albums received Polaris Music Prize nominations and a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, with the release of Graceful Expulsion! And in between writing, recording and touring, Hussein collaborated with Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, Swans and others.

After touring throughout 2015 and 2016 to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to Toronto, where she began working on her third full-length album, Fools Paradise, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through renowned Canadian indie label, Arts & Crafts Records. Now, as you may recall Fool’s Paradise’s first single “Wild Card,” was a slow-burning and atmospheric song, largely inspired by the refugee experience and an act of unusual kindness to a stranger from far away. As Hussein explained in press notes “There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home. My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.”

The album’s title track and second single may arguably be some of Hussein’s most deeply personal song, as the song — and of course, in turn, the album — finds the Somali-Canadian singer/songwriter focusing on and exploring her identity as the daughter of immigrants and as a black woman in a world that’s relentlessly hostile to black folk, while also focusing on finding the resilience to survive through difficult times. Interestingly, “Fool’s Paradise”  manages to further cement her reputation for crafting moody and slow-burning pop but while revealing an aching longing and vulnerability paired with  steely resolve.

“New Moon,” Fool’s Paradise’s third and latest single was produced and mixed by long-time collaboration Jim Anderson at Toronto’s Easy Life Studio and features a sample from Jim-E Stack.  Sonically speaking, Hussein’s imitable vocals, which convey heartache, longing and desperate desire for clarity are paired with a sparse and atmospheric production consisting of undulating synths, stuttering beats, swirling electronics and what sounds like a mournful horn sample. As Hussein explains press notes “The song is a document of a lost year. It was all very strange, beautiful and manic. I found myself developing these intense relationships with strangers and cities. I kept looking up at the moon for some sort of clarity. It would help me measure my lost time, fleeting desire, and frantically plan for the future. Each phase carried more weight. I guess it explores the aftermath of heartbreak. I had to learn to detach, self-care and whisper sweet nothings to myself over and over again.” And as a result, the song evokes that sense of struggling to find both stability and oneself when life has thrown you for a complete and devastating loop.