Friday, June 28, 2013

Happy Pride and Canada Day: Quadron's "Hey Love"

Pinned Image

For Pride Weekend and Canada Day, two celebrations that center around honour and love, this feel-good sound makes me all kinds of happy.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Throwback Thursday: The Guthries' "Season to Leave"

I met someone recently who toured with Matt Mays, and it reminded me just how much I love the Canadian rocker and all of his previous musical endeavours. Before finding his way to rock radio airwaves with his El Torpedo boys, Mays led a band called The Guthries - an Atlantic country-rock crew of high school friends and siblings known for a stomping blend of jangly instruments and big Americana family harmonies. On The Guthries' early tracks, it's easy to recognize Mays' coined growl leading the troops, but the rootsier repertoire tips you off it's from a past life. Although a great sound - and actually more to my liking - the old stuff isn't as edgy as what Mattt is known to rip nowadays.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Hot, Hot Monday: Date Palms' "Yuba Reprise"

Date Palms

If you've found refuge in an air conditioned establishment or cleverly stayed inside today, you might not be fully aware of exactly how hot it is outside. At 32 degrees without the humidity, the air in the city is thick and still - leaving every two steps in front of you a wall of shaky heat.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Royal Wood's "I'm So Glad"

On a particularly sunny Thursday, I thought it would be nice to give one of my biggest Toronto crushes and certainly one of Canada's most beautiful voices, Royal Wood, a throwback nod for his 2008 ballad "I'm So Glad." The dapper man behind easily one of my favourite love songs,  and Sarah Slean's hubby, actually penned the swaying guitar and piano classic for his oldest brother's wedding before it became a first dance favourite for many more fans in the years to follow.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Best New Track: Washed Out's "It All Feels Right"

Sounding familiar in title to 2011's "Feel It All Around," I'm not overly suprised that Washed Out's equally sensory new single "It All Feels Right" is just as calming and dreamlike, both lyrically and melodically. Still sounding and feeling like the soundtrack to a ripping tide or surfer's sunset (I think his aim with every lethargic new track), Ernest Greene's newest is almost methodical in its tried and true ingredients: flowery synths and strings that swirl around a clunky beat and that handsome, sleepy croon. Swoon.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Happy Yeezus Day.

Following teasers galore, video projections on building walls around the world and the usual uneasy controversy surrounding Kanye West's seemingly irreverant song titles and lyric snippets - Yeezus has finally arrived. The rap icon's sixth solo album - featuring singles "I Am a God" and "Black Skinhead" - officially begins flying off shelves today as one of the most (if not the most) anticipated albums of 2013 thus far. Paving the way with cocky claims and public appearances during his earlier years on the scene, West has confidently tacked on brilliant reasons to be as outlandish and unapologetic in his pursuit of world domination in the past decade; namely, one of the most prolific rap albums of our time (2010's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy), and now, the even darker collection of fearless barks and raw confessions found on Yeezus.

Even amidst Yeezus' pushy, God-like assertions, West has grown a little more sinister, sexually frustrated and generally more combative in this genius 10-song rap attack. Such growing animosity towards his competition, the industry and "the man" - spit alongside electro zaps, industrial clamour and anthemic build-ups - is proof that regardless of how confident Ye is in his hip-hop supremacy, he's never really done, satisfied or through with the others. Even though we can't imagine him getting much better or more ruthless in his takeover, something about the tone on Yeezus tells us that West thinks his New God Flow has actually only just begun. I can safely say, at this time, that Yeezus will be one of 2013's best and most interesting releases.

Watch this "Black Skinhead" performance, which is hands down one of the most mind-blowing performances I've seen in awhile.

Friday, June 14, 2013

TGIF: The National @ NXNE

I've been out of office for a few days and, sure enough, am now running out of office again. Before I go, I have to leave you with a snippet to get everyone excited for what promises to be the most breathtaking show tonight down in Dundas Square, as part of Toronto's North by Northeast (NXNE). One of my absolute favourite bands, The National, are playing the free headlining show - and in our tiny Canadian Times Square, I have no doubt the whole experience is going to be surreal and mesmerizing.

From their latest album - another beautiful addition to their rich discography - here's a tune I can't wait to hear live. Also, the video is just perfect.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Throwback...Wednesday?: Washed Out

I realize it's not the Instagram and Twitter-approved day of throwbacks, but these 2011 favourites needed to be revisited. During a sunny commute this morning, the golden stand-out from Washed Out's extroardinary 2011 album Within and Without reappeared after a year or so of retirement, and let me tell you - it felt good. "Amor Fati" has been a warm weather staple since it's inception; the chillwave anthem is a completely addictive slice of sunshine in itself. The gorgeous earworm is full of rippling synth and cutie Ernest Greene's dreamy bedroom chant, and almost feels like the band moniker, in that it actually washes over you from the first mellow beat. "Amor Fati" led me to happily revisit the rest of the echoey album (and tracks below), leaving me with the feeling I'll be stuck on these sounds like it's summer of 2011 all over again.

I jumped aboard the Washed Out train right at the debut. From first listen, it wasn't hard to hear that neither Greene's dazed or rhythmic tunes fell into the stoner chillwave category you'd expect from a young producer, but boasted a depth and melodic brilliance I hadn't heard yet; the kind that's recently resurfaced in the similar sounds of Rhye and Toro Y Moi's latest. Every second of Within and Without was, and still is, really affecting.

I'm just about ready for a follow-up album. What do you think?



And this Chris Isaak cover? Swoon.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Civil Wars: "The One That Got Away"

I suppose The Civil Wars' "indefinite hiatus" is over? While I don't think the brand new single is nearly as captivating as any of their debut ditties, the latest is at least another chance for their lovable, twang-laden harmonies to ring loud - especially after thinking the pair had forever called it quits. With a darker message and smoky electric guitar, the two are no doubt trying on a new hat for size with "The One That Got Away." I don't mind the new flavour, but I certainly hope they aren't done with the sugary songbird melodies they established in 2011. Those seemingly effortless ballads were a simplistic sort of something else, but, perhaps the difference in ambition and creative clashing have now set John Paul White and Joy Williams on a moodier path. To be determined - the self-titled album is expected in early August.

What do you think?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Lykke Li and David Lynch: "I'm Waiting Here"

A few years off of Lykke Li's Wounded Rhymes release and David Lynch's gorgeous Crazy Clown Time (which included a number of breathtaking collabs, also), the indie songstress and American TV director and producer - and surprisingly astute music man - have teamed up on a pretty new track, "I'm Waiting Here."

The bonus track off Lynch's freshly announced upcoming album, The Big Dream, "I'm Waiting Here" is a perfectly poetic and trippy dream of a number - the kind of sound both Li and Lynch nailed down in their respective past solo works. In the modern doo-wop waltz, Li's childlike vocals breathily cascade over the slow heartbeat thump, making the romance of the swaying ballad palpable from her first coo. Featuring a spoken word middle eight (true to the song's promenading make-up), "I'm Waiting Here" is already contemporary jukebox one week into its existence, as far as I'm concerned. Watch the fitting new video below, or stop what you're doing and pay this little beauty a slow dance.

The Big Dream drops July 15.

Friday, June 7, 2013

TGIF: Broken Social Scene on Jimmy Fallon

I was very proud to watch Canadian indie-rock heroes, Broken Social Scene, kill it last night on Late Night with Jimmy Fallona reunion the late night funnyman seemed ecstatic to introduce and a rocking preview of what they'll be doing Saturday night at Field Trip Festival. Performing both "Almost Crimes" and "7/4 Shoreline," the band sounded just as good as I imagine they would have jamming in Toronto dive bars ten years ago.

It's great to see the talented crew back together and it should be even better set to the backdrop of their stomping grounds, for what band member Jason Collett says will be "akin to a family reunion. There's going to be a lot of high fives and hugs going on." Can't wait.

TGIF! Also, a link to the Rolling Stone Magazine article on the band's one-night reunion.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Arts & Crafts Artists

field trip

The countdown to one of Toronto’s most exciting musical anniversaries – Arts & Crafts’ 10th birthday, otherwise known as Field Trip festival – continues today with a multi-faceted Throwback Thursday.

The label has changed and shifted over the years from only holding its flagship band, Broken Social Scene (and all of its spin-offs), to signing on a number of other incredible Canadian acts – including Dan Mangan, Zeus, Cold Specks, Bloc Party and so many more.

Here are a five throwback Canadian classics from some of this weekend’s stellar line-up - Broken Social Scene, Stars, Jason Collett, Zeus and Bloc Party. Giddy up.




Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Hayden: "Old Dreams"

With the countdown on until some of Toronto's favourite musicians take the stage at Saturday's Arts & Crafts Field Trip festival (to celebrate the label's 10th anniversary), let's listen only to the festival's extroardinary musicians for the remainder of the week. The docket begins with Hayden, one of Toronto's most legendary folk icons who released the gorgeous and poignant Us Alone in early 2013 - his first release on the A&C label, but his seventh album in his 18 years on the Canadian music scene.

"Old Dreams," in particular, found a special place in my heart as soon as it was released. His voice is characteristically achy, while the twinkling piano-led melody is inviting and dreamlike on an album that's, in essence, just that. The notoriously private Desser took a hiatus to start his family, before beginning work on Us Alone - a stripped-down 8-track release that's shed many of the bells and whistles of previous albums. Us Alone is, in my opinion, one of his most beautiful - indesputably reassuring his place as one of Toronto's most beloved treasures.

It may be an unadorned Hayden ditty, but those are some of his best, after all. And, either way, it's more than enough to keep us fascinated with him after all of this time.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

New and Catchy Charli XCX: "Interior"

Charli XCX 'Interior' True Romance Stream

On the heels of Cyndi Lauper's 30-year "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" anniversary, this generation's sparkplug indie-pop princess Charli XCX just released 2013's earworm hit - and it's equally soaked in amazing 80s percussion pops and lasering synths.

Instead of eye-rolling at Charli's cheesily hiccuping "You fell in love with the interior design of my heart," it's hard not to excuse the hilarious decorator references, because, quite simply - this is just too shamelessly addictive to hate. Her accent-caked vocals, although characteristically sweet at only 20 years of age, pierce through the pop glitter and funky keyboard effects in awesome pop growls - adding a little edge to party princess' ditty.

Maybe the bubbly single from True Romance feels almost too goofy at moments - but, it's lovable, it's still better than mainstream radio pop and it's one that I would gladly bounce around a shiny dance floor to.