Tag: Toronto ON

New Video: Introducing Toronto’s Ass-kicking, Hard Rocking SATE

SATE is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter and rock frontperson, who sings empowering messages backed by a band that meshes blistering hard rock and gritty blues. The Canadian artist and her backing band have developed and honed an emotionally charged and critically applauded live show, which has led to tours across Canada, the States and Europe, and festival appearances at Afropunk Brooklyn, Paris and London, Paleo Festival, Lott Festival and Secret Garden Party.

Her full-length debut, 2017’s Red, Black, and Blue, the Toronto-based artist thematically pursued her spiritual connection to the black panther, the red robin and the blue butterfly. With her recently released sophomore album, The Fool, the rising Canadian artist pursues her connection to the tarot — with the album’s title derived from the hero of the tarot deck, The Fool. In tarot, The Fool card is about beginnings and trust; of essentially jumping off a cliff with no real plan but an ultimate faith and trust in the universe.

According to SATE, The Fool is an anthem for anyone who has dared to dream and work towards their greatest self. Album title track “The Fool,” is a slow-burning synthesis of soul, neo-soul and power chord-based arena rock centered around SATE’s powerhouse vocals.

Earlier this year, the Toronto-based artist released a gorgeously shot, short film, which features “The Fool,” as well as a sampling of other material from the album — and from what you’ll hear, SATE is a badass, kick ass and take names sort of superstar in the making. And goodness that voice! The video is centered around themes tackled on the album, while showing the Toronto-based artist railing against stereotypes of all sorts, along with a collection of women who kick ass.

Rising Toronto-based singer/songwriter Oliver James Brooks can trace the origins of his music career to fiddling with his father’s old acoustic guitar while growing up in a small Ontario town. About five years ago, Brooks began turning those early fiddlings into fleshed out songs. And since then, the Canadian singer/songwriter and musician has begun to build a national profile: He has received airplay on CBC and has been compared to Kurt Vile and Elliott Smith by Divide & Conquer and Gordon Lightfoot by XS Noize. He has also played at IndieWeek back in 2019.

Brooks’ recently released third album Storm Chasing was recored on an old Tascam 388 8-track tape machine, at Gavin Gardiner’s All Day Coconut Studios with the exception of some overdubs here and there. Written over the course of the past five years, some of Storm Chasing‘s material was written while Brooks lived in Brooklyn. The album thematically and lyrically touches on childhood memories, sadness, love and optimism among others.

In the lead up to the album’s release last week, three of its singles were released to critical applause from Americana UK, Indie88 and The Young Folks. The album’s fourth and latest single, the breakneck shuffle “Ya Ya No” is centered around shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, a steady backbeat, Brooks easy-going vocals and an infectious hook within a song that sonically brings Tom Petty and JOVM mainstay Steve Wynn to mind.

Toronto-based indie outfit Dilettante can trace their origins back to 2016. During the spring, mutual dog lovers Natalie Panacci and Julia Wittman started a band so their dogs could hang out more. Along with The Black Cats’ Zachary Stuckey; Said the Whale’s, Iskwe’s, The Recklaws’ and Scott Helman’s Bradley Connor; and Candice Ng, they formed as For Jane, a “dog’ rock pop band with a Kate Bush meets Sinead O’Connor sensibility that prominently featured Panacci’s and Wittman’s contrasting vocals and mesmerizing harmonies.

As For Jane, the Canadian indie act released their debut EP, 2018’s Married with Dogs, which featured “Car,” a track featured on CBC Music and The Edge. Earlier this year, the act announced a change in name, seemingly influenced by a massive lineup change that has left Panacci and Wittman as its creative core, as well as a decided shift in sonic direction.

The Toronto-based act’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a Spring 2022 release — but they’ve also recently released the album’s first single, “Bonnie,” an 80s New Wave inspired, synth pop confection featuring glistening synth arpeggios, wiry post-punk guitars fed through a bit of reverb, an angular bass line and the duo’s achingly plaintive and mesmerizing vocals. The end result is a song that to my ears reminds me a bit of Til Tuesday‘s “Voices Carry” but with a sultry, coquettish air.

tiger lily is a rising Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based Asian-American singer/songwriter and pop artist. But she can actually trace the origins of her career to fronting a Seattle-based all-female grunge band, which built up a regional profile: That band received praise from The Seattle Times and was once named “Seattle’s Best Underage Band” by Seattle Weekly. Adding to that growing profile, the band also received airplay from KEXP.

Stepping out into the spotlight as a solo artist, the Seattle-born, Los Angeles-based pop artist has opened for Grammy-nominated duo Social House — and she has amassed over 70,000 followers across Tik Tok and Instagram. But more important, tiger lily is a vocal advocate for greater representation of Asian Americans and other POC artists in the music industry — with interviews appearing in Audiofemme, Spin Magazine and others.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of this year. you might recall that I wrote about the rising Asian American artist’s collaboration with Seattle-born and-based electronic music producer Fluencie, a collaboration that the duo can trace back to when they met as students at Ingraham High School. “juneau, alaska” was a slickly produced, radio friendly, Top 40-like confection that began with an acoustic guitar pop introduction before quickly morphing into a Taylor Swift/Phoebe Ryan-like banger centered around shimmering and wobbling synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and an enormous hook. But underneath the song’s crowd pleasing surface, the song is rooted in an aching nostalgia for a period of time that seemed simpler and can’t be had again.

tiger lily’s latest single finds her collaborating with rising Toronto-based electronic music producer and artist MKSTN. During the course of the past year, both artists have released tracks to praise from Spin Magazine, Stereofox and Earmilk and landed on Spotify playlists like Fresh Finds, Indie pop and Make Out. MKSTN also had his music played in sets by artists like Martin Garrix and JOVM mainstay Washed Out. tiger lily on the other hand, also played benefit shows, which raised money for charities that supported POC and LGBTQ+ lives.

Although the duo met virtually, their collaboration together “like we’re an indie movie” is a achingly nostalgic bop centered around a dusty lo-fi-like production featuring twinkling synth arpeggios, shimmering hi-hat bursts, a strummed electronic guitar figure, skittering beats serving as a silky bed for tiger lily’s breathily sultry cooing. Sonically, the track — to my ears, at least — reminds me a bit of Washed Out’s earlier work.

As the artists put it, “We connected over the internet. We thought it’d be cool to capture Tumblr and internet culture into our take on a modern indie movie soundtrack. The song was inspired by Spotify playlist names and distant memories of spontaneous trips to chase a summer love. As the hook, sung over Paris field recordings and lofi riffs goes, ‘kiss me in the rain like you’ll only ever love me / like we’re in an indie movie.’”

New Video: Rising Toronto-based Act Tallies Releases a “120 Minutes” Era MTV-like Visual for Shimmering New Single

Toronto-based dream pop outfit Tallies — Dylan Frankland (guitar), Sarah Cogan (vocals, guitar) and Cian O’Neill (drums) — had a breakthrough 2019: Their self-titled, full-length debut was released to critical praise from the likes of Under the Radar, DIY Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, MOJO, Bandcamp Daily, Exclaim!, KEXP and others. Adding to a growing profile, the Canadian indie trio have opened for Mudhoney, Hatchie, Tim Burgess and Weaves.

The Graham Walsh and Dylan Frankland co-produced “No Dreams of Fayres,” was recorded at Toronto’s Palace Sound, Baskitball 4 Life, and Candle Recording and is the first bit of new material from the rising Canadian outfit since their full-length debut. While the new single continues to see the band draw influence from Lush, Beach House and Cocteau Twins, there’s a greater emphasis on shimmering guitars — paired with deeply lived-in songwriting and a razor sharp hook. Sonically reminding me of The Sundays‘ “Here’s Where The Story Ends,” the Toronto-based dream pop act’s newest single is ironically upbeat, as it documents Sarah Cogan’s struggles with depression — in particular, the moments when she was trying to work it out but couldn’t find the energy to do so.

“‘No Dreams of Fayres’ is a reflection of thoughts that I remember going through my mind when I stayed still in bed,” Tallies’ Sarah Cogan explains in press notes. Feeling as though staying still in bed was the only thing that would help the sadness – basically, disconnecting myself from family, friends, and having a life. Finding the way out of depression was hard but possible. ‘No Dreams of Fayres’ is also about the realization of letting yourself feel real feelings but not mistaking them for emotions. I had to learn to get a grip of what I wanted out of life and go for it with no self-sabotage – which was music, as cliché as it sounds. It pulled me out of bed, physically and mentally.”

Directed and shot by Colin Medley and edited by Christopher Mills, the recently released video for “No Dreams of Fayres” follows a discman listening Sarah Cogan, as she wanders around a snow-covered Canadian town with stops at a record store, a local eatery, the lakefront, and an empty bandshell, before heading to a local bowling lane to meet her bandmates.

New Video: Toronto Garage Psych Outfit Wine Lips Releases a Furious Ripper

Started as a part-time project between founding members Cam Hilborn (vocals, guitar) and Aurora Evans (drums), the rapidly rising Toronto-based, garage psych rock outfit Wine Lips — Hilborn and Evans, along with Jordan Sosensky (guitar) and Charlie Weare (bass) — hit the stage together for the first time in late 2015. The band began playing shows in and around Toronto, eventually stretching out organically to the surrounding towns and cities, then into Québec

By mid 2017, it was clear that the band members were ready to make a full-time commitment. That year, they released their self-titled full-length debut through Fried Records, which they supported with a five province tour with a stops in the country’s Maritime Region — Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. A chance meeting resulted in an April 2018 tour of Hong Kong and China, where they were received by enthusiastic audiences.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Toronto-based garage psych outfit released their sophomore album, 2019’s Stressor, which they supported with relentless touring across North America until the pandemic struck. But the band was able to amass an ardent following — and some of their material has been featured prominently on television and Netflix.

Much like countless artists across the world, the members of the band spent the bulk of last year, holed up at London, Ontario-based Sugar Shack Studios, where they wrote and recorded their Simon Larochette-produced third album Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party. “The record is crazy! We really spent a lot of time getting the songs to sound exactly the way we wanted,” Cam Hilborn says in press notes. ” I think this is the best stuff we’ve recorded and I’m super stoked with the end result!” 

Slated for a Fall release through Montreal-based Stomp Records, Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party is reportedly a collection of psych rock bangers influenced and informed by the likes of The Hives, Bad Nerves, Dead Kennedys, Thee Oh Sees, Idles, Ty Segall, Buzzcocks and Parquet Courts.

Clocking in at 90 seconds, Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party‘s first single “Eyes” is a sweat and beer fueled mosh pit ripper centered around scuzzy power chords, frenetic drumming, rousingly anthemic hooks and Hilborn’s shouts and yelps. Play this one at ear splitting volumes and rock out. You’ll thank me for it.

“Eyes is a song about feeling burnt out creatively, mentally and physically. Something so many of us can relate to, even more so over the past year and a half,” Wine Lips’ Hilborn explains in press notes. “It sheds light on situations where you find yourself powering through the days with different coping methods brought on by late nights, alcohol and promiscuity, and seeing how far you can push the limits of your body before you find yourself defeated and broken down.” 

Directed and filmed by Sammy J. Lewis, the recently released video begins with a woman smoking a cigarette in a seedy, garbage-strewn Toronto alley. The cigarette smoking woman sees a slightly opened garbage bag with a glowing light coming out of it. Curious, the woman opens the bag and dives into a frenzied live performance of the song.

“Sammy had the idea of making it look like the band was playing inside a garbage bag, so we did a classic performance video but tried to make it a little more interesting with crazy fast paced cuts and some added green screen fun,” Wine Lips’ Hilborn says of the video. “It was super fun, super sweaty and we felt like trash by the end of the day.”

New Audio: Toronto’s Absolutely Free Releases a Sprawling, Politically Charged Single

Acclaimed Toronto-based psych pop act Absolutely Free — multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Matt King, Michael Claxton (bass, synths) and Moshe Fisher-Rozenberg (drums, synths) — is an offshoot of experimental rock outfit DD/MM/YYYY, an act whose multi-rhythmic, boundary pushing raison d’être provided a springboard for Absolutely Free’s sound and approach. The Canadian psych trio’s full-length debut, 2014’s Absolutely Free. received a Polaris Prize nomination and received widespread critical applause from the likes of PitchforkThe FADERStereogumBrooklynVegan,Exclaim!Under the RadarPopMattersAllMusic and countless others. 

During the past decade, the members of the Absolutely Free have cultivated and developed a long-held reputation for an unorthodox approach to both conceiving and performing music: Since the release of Absolutely Free., the Toronto-based psych pop act have released an array of multimedia projects and releases including 2019’s Geneva Freeport EP, which features U.S. Girls‘ Meg Remy. And adding to a growing profile the’ve toured alongside the likes of AlvvaysYouth Lagoon and JOVM mainstays Preoccupations and shared bills with Beak>, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, U.S. Girls and Fucked Up

Absolutely Free’s highly-anticipated Jorge Elbrecht-produced sophomore album Aftertouch is slated for a September 24, 2021 release through Boiled Records. Deriving its name from a the name of a synthesizer function, the album is fueled by the trio’s desire to “. . . to create an album that wasn’t bound by a physical ability to perform it live, to not only expand our palette, but also to consider the live performance as something completely separate.” Culling from myriad of influences including krautrock, New Wave, early electronic dance music, and an array of international psych and funk complications, the album sonically and aesthetically finds the trio shifting in, around and between analog and digital sounds, and real and fabricated images while simultaneously reveling in and refuting the loss of tactility. Thematically, the album explores narratives of hegemony, grief and exploitation in the present while sustaining curiosity for the unknown post-everything future. 

Last month, I wrote about Aftertouch album single “Interface,” a dreamily maximalist song featuring glistening synth arpeggios, percussive and angular guitar blasts, a chugging bass line and an insistent rhythm paired with plaintive vocals that reminded me of Amoral-era Violens — in particular, “Trance Like Turn.” The album’s latest single “Remaining Light” is a sprawling track with two distinct parts — a cinematic and atmospheric instrumental introduction featuring twinkling keys, glistening synths and clinking marimba. At around the 2:20 mark, the song slowly morphs into a slow-burning and brooding bit of pop featuring King’s plaintive, reverb drenched vocals ethereally floating over the mix.

Continuing a run of expansive and mind-bending material, “Remaining Light” was originally written in 2016 and was informed by the disturbing trend of rising gun violence against marginalized populations at the time of its creation. The song thematically tackles the weighty issues of structural racism, poverty and injustice that are embedded into society’s often corrupt and exploitive systems — all while sounding like a slick synthesis of The Fixx’s “Sign of Fire” and Amoral-era Violens.

“‘Remaining Light’ expresses the frustration felt towards invincible and corrupt institutions that uphold structural inequities, including police brutality and manufactured poverty experienced primarily by racialized communities,” the members of Absolutely Free explain. “Written during a heat wave in the summer of 2016, the song dishearteningly remains as relevant as ever today.”

New Video: Toronto’s BADBADNOTGOOD Releases a Gorgeous and Mind-bending Visual for Expansive “Beside April”

The acclaimed Toronto-based jazz-inspired act BADBADNOTGOOD — currently founding members Chester Hansen (bass), and Alexander Sowinski (drums) with Leland Whitty — have developed and honed a sound and compositional approach that draws from hip-hop, electronica, jazz, acid jazz and prog rock — and famously for jazz based interpretations of hip-hop tracks, which has allowed the acclaimed Canadian ensemble to collaborate with Kendrick Lamar, Tyler The Creator, Earl Sweatshirt, Denzel Curry, Danny Brown, Mick Jenkins, Ghostface Killah and others.

Interestingly, BADBADNOTGOOD can trace its origins to its founders — Hansen, Sowinski and Matt Tavares — bonded over a mutual love of MF Doom and Odd Future. As the story goes, the band played a composition based on Odd Future’s music for a panel of their jazz performance instructions, who unsurprisingly didn’t believe it had much musical value. Instead of listening to their instructors, the band released the composition as “The Odd Future Sessions, Part 1.” The track eventually caught the attention of Tyler the Creator, who helped the video go viral.

BADBADNOTGOOD followed up with their full-length debut, 2011’s BBNG, which featured interpretations of A Tribe Called Quest, Waka Flocka Flame and of course,. Odd Future. Building upon a growing profile, the members of BADBADNOTGOOD recorded a live jam session with Tyler The Creator in Sowinski’s basement, with videos from the session amassing more than a million views each.

The Toronto-based act’s sophomore album 2012’s BBNG2 was recorded over a course of a ten-hour studio session. Featuring guest spots from Leland Witty (saxophone) and Luan Phung (electric guitar), the album was a mix of their own original material, as well as renditions of songs by Kanye West, My Bloody Valentine, James Blake, Earl Sweatshirt and Feist. That year, the band was the official Coachella Festival house band, backing Frank Ocean and Odd Future over the course of its two weekends.

Their third album, 2013’s III featured “Hedron,” which was featured on the compilation album Late Night Tales: Bonobo. They also assisted with the production and composition of The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack.

The band’s fourth album, 2015’s Sour Soul saw them collaborate with Ghostface Killah on what has been described as a hip-hop album that nodded at jazz. They ended the year with covers of a handful of holiday standards, including “Christmas Time Is Here” with Choir! Choir! Choir!

Leland Whitty joined the band as a full-time member in early 2016, and the band quickly went to work producing “Hoarse” off Earl Sweatshirt’s full-length debut Doris and “GUV’NOR,” a remix, which appeared on JJ DOOM’s Keys to the Kuffs (Butter Edition). Capping off a busy year, they released their fifth album, the somewhat ironically titled IV, which featured Future Islands’ Sam Herring, Colin Stetson, Kaytranada, Mick Jenkins and JOVM mainstay Charlotte Day Wilson. The album was also named BBC Radio 6’s #1 album of the year.

The Canadian outfit’s highly anticipated psych jazz album Talk Memory is slated for an October 8, 2021 release through XL Recordings. Composed in conjunction with legendary Brazilian composer Arthur Verocai, the album features features guest spots from Karriem Riggins, Laraaji, Terrace Martin, and a list of others. Perhaps more so than their previously released material, Talk Memory sees the acclaimed act actively capturing some of the focus, energy and improvisation which is at the heart of their live show.

For the band, a song is a living, breathing entity that naturally changes and evolved as it’s played in different settings. The album plays with that thinking. After years of relentless touring, the band paused and refreshed and looked at their history and experiences before starting out on the creative process for the new album. And as a result, a sense of reflection and renewed communication is at the heart of their new creative approach. Interestingly, that led to the album’s title. While their earliest material took place very quickly, the band took on a much more international approach: The album was written over a two year period, with the band expanding upon the album’s material in the studio, rather that on the road.

Talk Memory’s latest single “Beside April” is an expansive and breathtakingly gorgeous composition featuring a cinematic string arrangement, skittering syncopated drumming and a mind-bending and expressive guitar solo. The end result is a song that — to my ears — is one part indebted to Brazilian psych rockers and JOVM mainstays Boogarins, one part jazz fusion, one part shimmering film score.

Directed by Camille Summers-Valli, the accompanying visuals draw some inspiration from the first motion picture, Horse in Motion 1878. The video itself manages to be simultaneously surreal, trippy and gorgeously shot. Plus, there’s a majestic horse that’s really the star of the entire affair. “There was really special energy around this video,” Camille Summers-Valli says. “The band wanted to do something with horses and equestrians. That’s where this begun. Funnily enough, I am petrified of horses. But it felt like a good way to overcome my fears. Subconsciously through a process of reading, finding references and discussing with my team, I started to piece together the puzzle of what this video could be. We shot this in Georgia; where the casting was incredible. The horse also was wonderful. So strong and majestic, we just wanted to do this beautiful creature justice. The magic aligned, so many great hard working people pulled this video together.”

Toronto-based punk rock duo Vangelism features two members, who have been rather nomadic throughout their music careers with stops in Montreal, Nashville, Brooklyn, Toronto and Japan in a number projects — some really good, some really bad but all totally worth it. And through these various projects, the members of Vangelism have opened for a diverse and eclectic array of artists across three continents including The Stranglers, Death From Above 1979, Nashville Pussy, Electric Six and even Bon Jovi.

The duo released their full-length debut last fall to some fanfare: DSP’s like Spotify and Amazon featured the album and its material on a number of official editorial playlists. The album also received praise from the likes of Digital Tour Bus and Mystic Sons.

Building upon a growing profile., the duo have plans to release two consecutive EPs but before those EPs, two stand alone singles — the first sees the Canadian tackling Elastica’s 1995 smash hit “Connection.” While being a fairly straightforward and loving cover that retains the song’s melody and buzzing power chords — but delivered with a punk rock sneer.

New Video: Toronto’s Hot Garbage Release a Trippy and Menacing Visual for Anthemic, New Ripper “Sometimes I Go Down”

Toronto-based psych outfit Hot Garbage — Alex Carlevaris (lead vocals, guitar), Juliana Carlevaris (bass, vocals), Dylan Gamble (keys, synths) and Mark Henin (drums) — will be releasing their Graham Walsh-produced full-length debut RIDE through beloved Montreal-based label Mothland on October 29, 2021.

Coming hot on the heels of some extensive North American touring including opening for Ty Segall, Meatbodies, L.A. Witch and JJUUJJUU, as well as stops at LEVITATION and Sled Island Festivals, the Graham Walsh-produced RIDE was recorded mostly live off the floor at Palace Sound and Basketball 4 Life Studios to to better capture the band’s raw energy, developed and honed from relentless touring. Sonically, the 33 minute album, which also features a guest spot from Kali Horse’s Sam Maloney on percussion, reportedly sees the Toronto psych rockers meshing core elements of 60s and 70s psych music, post punk and desert rock but while also speeding through motorik krautrock, nodding at surf rock and flirting with garage rock paired with otherworldly textures. Thematically and lyrically the album’s material tackles the afterlife, depression and freedom — but also rejoices in soft mantras and uplifting verses. The end result is an album’s worth of material that simultaneously evokes dread, beauty, wonder, horror and mystery.

RIDE’s first single “Sometimes I Go Down” is metallic mesh of psych rock, post punk and kraut rock featuring scorching guitar fuzz, thunderous drumming, droning and glistening organ, boy-girl vocal harmonizing and a relentless motorik groove paired with enormous hooks. While the band mentions that the song draws influence from Sonic Youth, Wand, L.A. Witch and Kikagaku Moyo, I also hear hints of Directions To See a Ghost era Black Angels.

Hot Garbage’s Alex Carlevaris says of the new single “It’s okay to feel down sometimes and need space. We as people have to accept that, allow that and have a healthy and realistic idea about having shitty days, feeling like shit and still loving ourselves. Also recognizing that others around us may need it and being patient with people.”

Directed by William Suarez, the recently released video features the members of Hot Garbage getting on the phone to make or receive phone calls using a four-way split screen. Whether or they’re actually speaking to each other in a four way call is up to you but you’ll notice that each of the characters is acting a little off — perhaps because something is after them? A mysterious black clad figure suddenly appears and each character disappears — that is until the end when the tarot card playing woman shows the figure the card she just pulled out during her reading. Trippy.