Monday, October 27, 2008

Hottest Canadian Bands (just below the radar), 2008

Matthew from i (heart) music asked me to put together a list of the 10 hottest Canadian bands of 2008. My thoughts, along with those of other Canadian music bloggers, journalists, and promoters, will enable him to compile some kind of definitive list. After a year of going out to a lot of indie shows in Toronto, keeping track of all the lesser known (and sometimes known) bands based in, around, or passing through Canada's largest city, and bringing you some of their music through my podcast---over 80 bands or solo artists featured in the past 5 months---I'm ready to have a say. So, yes, just call me one of those people.

The following bands have all had really good years. While their members may not be able to call music a full-time career, they've all carved out a spot for themselves in the crowded (indie) music scene in this country. Festival spots, sold-out shows, critically acclaimed and/or chart-topping albums, (campus/CBC3) radio play, and general visibility in the music press and Toronto's bursting-at-the-seams music community are all part of the the hotness equation. Not yet "big time" musical acts, they are on their way to getting there. Some have made forays into the US and elsewhere, while others haven't. A few are signed; the others await. But all these bands were just below the mainstream in 2008, and are now poised to become well known. (Oh, and yeah, this is a pretty Toronto-centric list. Well, what can I say? I'm a pretty Toronto-centric woman.) If you haven't heard these bands, take note and have a listen. Go see a show if you're able. Chances are you'll enjoy yourself.

Ok, here we go. This will be fun.

1. Woodhands.

When I'm in the mood for a crazy, sweat-soaked, jam-packed dance party, there's no better group to turn to than the now half Toronto-, half Vancouver-based Woodhands. Well known in Toronto even before the release of their full-length album (and 12" vinyl), "Heart Attack" (Paper Bag) in April, the band's hit up some major US markets and a whole lot of Canadian ones since then. And they even played a few shows in Beijing after being flown out there as part of a Canadian cultural trade mission thing. Nerdy by day, Paul Banwatt and Dan Werb bring out the crazy in young women and men only minutes into any nighttime set I've seen them play here in Canada. The band has opened for Crystal Castles and just finished off a Canada-wide tour opening for Cadence Weapon. Dan and Paul are off to Tokyo in November as part of another musical trade mission. Europe shouldn't have to wait too much longer.

2. Laura Barrett.

The first time I saw Laura Barrett play a proper set was New Year's Eve 2007 at Tranzac. The at-capacity small front room was very nearly completely silent, totally enthralled by Barrett and her various kalimbas and bass pedals. Space and place is important for Barrett---see her perform at a busy bar or club, and make sure to keep to the front if you want to hear---but in the right setting she really is a star. Her new album, "Victory Garden," shows off a quirky songwriting talent that we already knew existed, but this time all the extra musicians and orchestrations make for a much fuller, satisfying listening experience. Sci fi-loving Laura's still present, but confident, mature songwriter and lyricist Barrett shines through. After 2008 shows at important music festivals in North America, European exposure, and now vying for the role of queen of the adult indie darling set, Barrett should continue to win accolades from an ever-growing group of fans the world over. Listen to the CD release show over at CBC Radio 2. And check out Barrett's marvelous sometime show-mates Ghost Bees too.

3. The D'Urbervilles.

Playing with Woodhands for a few shows in November is the Guelph-formed band, the D'Urbervilles. This hardworking group of youngsters (compared to me) played shows across the country this past year and garnered attention for themselves with their album, "We Are the Hunters," released in 2008 at a sold-out show at Toronto's Tranzac in March. A special session on CBC's Radio 3 and a prime spot on the CBC's Saturday night showcase at the Horseshoe during NxNE gave the four-some more country-wide exposure. Their sound is manly indie rock, in the vein of a younger Constantines. Illness forced some show cancellations in the summer, but at Pop Montreal the band proved they are back on track and ready to keep getting bigger and bigger. Listen to the D'Urbs Radio 3 Session here. Other bands to pay attention to include bassist Kyle Donnelly's other project, Forest City Lovers, and The Magic, in which guitarist Tim Bruton also plays. Now, that's a whole lot of musical excellence.

4. Bruce Peninsula.

This indie gospel choir / psych folk rock band from Toronto is a kind of super group with a roving band of members in their live shows including stellar permanents Misha Bower, Matt Cully (who co-DJs the popular dance party, Goin' Steady), Neil Haverty, and occasionals Katie Stelmanis, Casey Mecija (Ohbijou), master percussionist Maya Postepski, Taylor Kirk (Timber Timbre) and the now-departed (from the band) Isla Craig. They sing traditional songs (read: Negro spirituals) and their own ethereal, haunting originals, which work as well---if differently---in places like the Horseshoe Tavern as they do at St. Andrew-by-the-Lake Church on Toronto Island, where the band celebrated the release of their 7" several months back. That show, which quickly sold out to friends, fellow musicians, and local scenesters in the know, was something else. The band toured out to the East Coast in the late summer of 2008, no doubt impressing wherever they went. Watch for the band's full-length to drop soon. It's called "A Mountain Is A Mouth."

5. Ruby Coast.

Unless you're paying close attention to the indie blogs in Canada or have found yourself in the middle of a teenage mosh-pit at a Ruby Coast show in or around Toronto, you probably haven't heard of this young band. But if hotness is defined as having had a great year---ending it far from where you started it---then Ruby Coast clearly belongs in this list. With a style close to that of their busy, popular friends Born Ruffians and Tokyo Police Club, these guys are the latest Toronto pop export to get the kids bouncing. Most of the members hail from Aurora, ON, a community north of the big smoke, and the oldest members are just barely out of their teens. But their youth---and the drummer's high school schedule until he finished his June exams---hasn't kept the band from playing bigger and better shows all year, including opening for Tokyo Police Club on a few occasions. The guys have been doing a bit of touring lately in support of their recently-released EP, "Projectable Collections," mostly a rerecording of their excellent "Ruby Coast" EP handed out at shows earlier this year. Get yourself to one of their wild, high-energy shows if you can, but maybe avoid the very front unless you can handle the inevitable moshing. Watch for the word to spread and maybe a label will finally land these guys.

6. $100.

Folk rock at its best, $100 features a killer pedal steel guitar and surprisingly weathered vocals from a surprisingly young woman, Simone Schmidt. Their summer release, "Forest of Tears" (Blue Fog, 2008), was recorded in just 13 hours, and is just lovely. Serious lyrics and memorable music are hallmarks of the band's sound. Kept from extensive touring by illness, $100 packs smaller venues in Toronto, appealing to a diverse crowd of music lovers with discerning taste for songs about pain and the hard life, from alt-country enthusiasts to the coolest indie kids. The band features members of Jon-Rae & the River and other well-respected bands. In the coming weeks look for a 7" release and a smattering of shows to celebrate.

7. The Rural Alberta Advantage.

The RAA have been among Toronto's indie favourites for some time, and with the release of their first full length, "Hometowns," back in February their star only grew. Playing sporadically to enthusiastic, loyal fans in Toronto over the course of the year, including a capacity crowd for their NxNE show, this year also saw the band play successful shows in various centres through eastern Canada. The self-released album's been getting rave reviews from critics and regular folk across the continent. Comparisons to indie essentials Neutral Milk Hotel and Wilco are not unfounded. Hampered in part by the success of Woodhands---drummer Paul Banwatt plays in both---the band has had to turn down show offers (to open for The Dodos, for one) and hasn't been able to tour as extensively as it otherwise might have. And yet. All this underground pressure must lead somewhere, and heck it has to be soon. I predict some lucky label will snatch up the RAA in late 2008 or early 2009, rerelease "Hometowns," and we'll see the band take itself out west and beyond. Catch the band opening for The Acorn and Ohbijou (!!) at Lee's Palace on 27 November. Oh, and one thing, Nils & co.: use that Facebook page to tell your fans about shows, ok?

8. The Pack A.D.

Wow, talk about relentless touring. This Mint Records duo (Becky Black and Maya Miller) have been on the road, it seems, nonstop for the past several months. 2008's new release, "Funeral Mixtape," and Mint's rerelease of their first effort, "Tintype," back in January, earned the band spots on campus radio charts and picked up solid reviews from music writers and fans alike. The couple of times I've seen them play the Horseshoe, they've put the place on fire. And, the first time, around, it was 2:30am. Raw, powerful vocals, hard-hitting blues guitar, and ferocious drumming are what make the Pack A.D. such crowd-pleasers. Their sound is a bit of a throwback to years past, but the sheer emotionalism and energy apparent in the recordings and especially their live shows make them one of the few standouts in the crowded blues-rock genre.

9. The Golden Hands before God . . . .

Windsor-born, now Montreal-based, this garagy-rock (rawk) shoe-gazy six-piece features an extremely memorable ushanka-clad tambourine man (Jamie Greer) and has made a name for itself through raucous live shows and a great 2008 debut album, "Here" (Pop Echo). I saw them open for a couple local acts way back in January, and was impressed, but most of the small group of people there didn't seem to care much. By the time NxNE hit town a few months later, these guys were being paid attention to, and as well they should be: these veteran rockers have a diverse, interesting sound. (The record doesn't bore you with repetition.) Here in Toronto they've got themselves onto excellent bills in recent months, and after their move to Montreal, they should be ready to rock out and melt more faces all over Canada and the US.

10. Slim Twig (band and man).

Ah, Slim Twig. Now signed to Paper Bag, Slim Twig, the band and the man, have had a good year. The band released the EPs "Derelict Dialect" and "Vernacular Violence" in 2008, and have recently come back from a Canadian tour. Slim's other project, Tropics, a duo with drummer Simone, had a busy year too, and in late November will open for the Constantines for a few Ontario shows. Although I suspect both bands are a bit too weird for the mainstream---despite my first encounter with Slim Twig being as an opener for Born Ruffians---they are perfect indie fare. Tropics is perhaps the more accessible of the two, though Slim Twig (the band) had a lot of buzz about it during NxNE, and didn't disappoint come show time. This here's a young man with a whole lot of talent who will no doubt dabble in a whole lot of genres for the next several decades. See him in the 2007 Canadian film The Tracey Fragments, too.

Indie Music 57 (27 Oct - 2 Nov 2008).

Like this list? Join my Google Group to get my weekly Toronto indie music listings. Or, the Facebook group. Subscribe to my weekly podcast here. Or just listen to the latest one, and all the other ones, at Zygiella.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more, and never ones that require advance ticket purchases. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, let me know.

The week gets off to an early, exciting start with shows by Sarah Harmer, Mt. Royal, and a Houston indie pop band called The Western Civilization all happening Tuesday. That night, Run With the Kittens ends its longstanding weekly residency spot at the Cameron House's front room. The band started playing other gigs last week and are off on tour soon. Wednesday's looking pretty good too, with the O'Darling playing a set at the Concord Cafe, an excellent bill happening at Sneaky Dee's, Montreal band Flotilla at Tranzac's main hall, and at least two good local indie acts at the Boat as part of LAUGstock that night. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday bring with them a whole slew of Halloween-themed shows that encourage costumes, and will knock off some of the cover prize if you show up not as yourself. Personally, I plan on skipping all of these, though if not, then I'll see you at the Boat on Thursday for an intelligent bill put together by Ross Hawkins (Idle Tigers). Otherwise, you'll probably be happy at the Dakota Tavern on Friday night (and Thursday, too, and if someone knows the cover charge for these shows, please tell me). Chinese Food's releasing their new album at the Horseshoe on Saturday with the Ketch Harbour Wolves and Key Witness. This should be lovely, and where I'll be unless I'm at the Opera House (Born Ruffians w/ Henri Faberge & the Adorables and Hooded Fang, $12). Catch London-based Olenka & the Autumn Lovers with Polyester Heart on Sunday at the cozy Press Club.

Later this week help legendary Canadian punk band celebrate the release of its latest LP. The 4th Annual Fucked Up Halloween Weekend is happening at Sneaky Dee's and the Reverb, with free after parties at Rancho Relaxo each night at 1am, Thursday through Saturday. The regular shows don't make my list---they cost more than $10 and advance tickets are recommended. But find all the deets here: Get on it, and show up for 8pm door time on Thursday if you wanna see $100, Katie Stelmanis, Final Fantasy, Vivian Girls, and Fucked Up all play on the same bill.

MONDAY (27 oct)

Angela Bower (AKA Christine Bougie & Dafydd Hughes) @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7pm, pwyc.

Shoeless Monday feat. Bare Trees Band @ 11:15, Faded Blue @ 10:15, and Taylor Sanderson @ 9:15. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

* Elvis Monday feat. Witchever (CD release), Carraways, Alphabot!, Vowls, The Human Statues, and The People Of Canada @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

Bryan Arcand w/ The Jing Bang Show @ The Cameron House (Front Room), 9:30pm, pwyc.

Nicole Dueck, Jeremy Rempel, Chris Warren, Luke Jackson, and Tom St. Louis @ Tranzac (Tiki Room), 8pm, pwyc.

Panic Density presents Nicole Rampersaud (trumpet) @ Tequila Bookworm, 9pm, $5.

Dan Kosub, The Mike Butlin Band, Dom Deluca, and Ian McDonnell @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $5.

Sweatshop Union w/ Art of Fresh, D-Sisive, and Alex Dimez @ Velvet Underground, 10pm, $10 ($8 adv tix avail).

TUESDAY (28 oct)

Honey & the Money @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 8-10pm, free.

* The Dakota Tavern and War Child Canada present Sarah Harmer @ The Dakota Tavern, 8pm. "No Tickets. First come first served." Go early to get a spot!

B'MO' Crazy, Anna Sudac, and LOFTMusic @ Concord Cafe, 8pm, pwyc.

The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Sandman Viper Command @ 11:40, Tickle Me Pink @ 10:50, Night Flowers @ 10:00, and Three Star Seed @ 9:10. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

The Pink & Black Attack present The Terminals, Hated, The Rusty Trombones, and Thrashards @ The Bovine, 9pm, free.

Anne Louise Genest @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

Gearuptogo Sessions @ Somewhere There, 8-10pm, pwyc. "Noisism."

Marianne Turner and Eve & the Ocean @ Not My Dog, 9:30pm, pwyc.

* Drumheller @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

CaMp CoMbO @ Cadillac Lounge, 10pm-midnight, pwyc..

Hobsons Choice @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, pwyc.

* Run With the Kittens and Sky Shark @ The Cameron House (Front Room), 9pm, pwyc. This is their last show at the Cameron House.

Moshpit Orchestra, Tandy on Friday, and Dr. Doom & the Superficial Vegetables @ Free Times Cafe, 8pm, pwyc.

* The Western Civilization, Entire Cities, and Free Kisses @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $3. The Western Civ is an indie pop band from Houston. They sound lovely.

* Mt. Royal, Ben Somer, and Hungry Lake @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

* Gang Gang Dance @ 10:30, The Octopus Project @ 9:30, and Jeans Team @ 8:30. Lee's Palace, 8pm, $10.

* The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra with Thollem McDonas @ Arraymusic Studio (60 Atlantic Ave., Suite 218), 8pm, $10.

WEDNESDAY (29 oct)

Granny Boots @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 7:30-10pm, free. Lineup tba.

The Annex WreckRoom & IndieCan Radio present IndieCan Wednesdays feat. Andrew Hunter & The Gatherers, Japhy Ryder, and Final Flash @ The Annex WreckRoom, 9pm, free.

Laura Repo @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

David Celia @ Czehoski, 9:30pm, free.

PWYC Weds feat. The Magnificent Sevens, Bellewoods, and The Cunninghams @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc.

George Casey @ 10:45, Telfer @ 9:45, and Hell Or Highwater @ 8:45. Lee's Palace, 8pm, $4.

The O'Darling, Meredith Jordan Buchanan, and Slapback Mountain @ Concord Cafe, 9:30pm, $5.

Ryan Driver & Erika Werry @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* LAUGHstock presents This is Picture, Whatever Happened to Corduroy?, To Tell, and Smile Case @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

The Book of Gnomes, The Outlanders, and The Lake Vernon Drowning @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $5.

Brian Gladstone and Wendell Fergusson @ Free Times Cafe, 8pm, pwyc.

* Wombat Wednesdays presents Flotilla, Mikey Muscat (w/ band), and Maylee Todd @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 8:30pm, $7 (or $5 if you're wearing a costume). This month's Wednesday shows at the Main Hall at curated by Kat Burns (from Forest City Lovers).

Cat Jahnke @ Cadillac Lounge, 9pm, $6.

Victor Bateman & Alex Lukashevsky . . . then quiet @ Somewhere There, 8-10pm, $6. (The second set is 30 minutes of silence.)

The Flints w/ Echo Hermits @ C'est What, 10pm, $7.

* (weewerk) presents Proof Of Ghosts, Hospital Bombers, Julie Fader, and Leif Vollebekk @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5. Holy shit.

THURSDAY (30 oct)

Les Singes Bleu @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 7 -10pm, free. "French cafe songs with a modern twist."

Sexy Dance (Evan Shaw & Tim Shia) and Mentor (Marcel Aucoin) @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

Rachelle van Zanten with tba @ C'est What, 9pm, free.

Ayal Senior, M. Mucci, and Acapulco Whore (debut) @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm, pwyc.

The Loaders @ Graffiti's, 9pm, pwyc.

Live Jazz Thursdays feat. Jon Feldman Quartet @ Tequila Bookworm, 9pm, pwyc.

National Tragedy ep. 5 feat. Isla Craig, The Knot, Picnic Boy, and Ptarmigan @ The Renaissance Cafe, 9:30pm, pwyc.

The Smile, Orca, and Whiskey Priest @ Siesta Nouveaux, 8:30pm, $5.

J Funk and The Organ Trio @ Concord Cafe, 9pm, $5. Prize for best costume.

Ben Kunder & the Careless @ The Cadillac Lounge, 9pm, $5.

The Emotionally Unavailable Mariners w/ Samantha Martin & The Haggard @ Supermarket, 9pm, $5. Uh, not sure if this is the correct opener. Samantha Martin's MySpace says her band is playing that night at Slack's.

* Alphabot!, Pants & Tie, Idle Tigers, and Noisedive @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Pigott Bros., Ryan Christopher, and Joah Kanter @ Holy Joe's, 9pm, $5.

The Wilderness, Divine Is Nothing, and Little Bunnies @ Clinton's, 9pm, $5.

The Does, The Assistants, and In Support of Living (DJ set) @ Smiling Buddha, 10pm (start time), $5.

Devil's Night Party, Carnival Diablo Theme, with DJ Misty, guest appearance by Toronto Roller Girls, and live performances by Machetes and War Bride (members of Bukkake Katholik) @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

* Andrea Ramolo (CD release), The Ory No'Man Too, and Cindy Doire's Lady & the Bandit @ The Dakota Tavern, 9:30pm (start time). If there's a cover---and I imagine there is---I don't know what it is.

Hammersmith:Forgers Of Metal, The Virginia Wolves, and Bloodgrass @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $5.

FABRik RECorDs presents FUnhUnT Devil's Night Party feat. bands tba @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5 (or $3 if you're in costume).

Local Alternative Rock N Roll feat. The Expos @ 11:40, Stereohoax (CD release) @ 10:50, Unbelievers @ 10:00, and The Knockouts @ 9:10. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $5.

Black Sabbath Tribute Night feat. Sun of Sabbath, 13th Floor, On the Verge, LOA, and Ultra Magma, w/ special appearance by Bludwash @ Silver Dollar, 9pm, $6.

Tamarack and Oriana Cheung @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $8.

Trey Mills, Joey Bentley, and Jeff Scott @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, $10.

Adam Fallon, Proxy Set, Peter James Fox, and Matt Wilson @ Free Times Cafe, 8pm, $10.

Hotboxxx Devils night feat. Impulse, Waxmen, Hungry Ghost Festival, Playdeaf, and Rival Kartel @ The Rivoli, 8pm, $10.

Devil's Night feat. Infighter and Monday's Fiction, followed by DJs MRK and Bobbi Guy @ The Mod Club, 8pm, $10 (or $8 adv).

* Fucked Up LP Release Weekend Afterparty feat. Lullabye Arkestra and tba @ Rancho Relaxo, 1am, free.

FRIDAY (31 oct)

One Hundred Pound Head and Paul Dutton @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10:30pm, pwyc.

Bill Wood & the Tarnations @ Graffiti's, 9pm, free.

KC & the Moonshine Band @ Cadillac Lounge, midnight, pwyc.

At Odds With Even and The Hormoans @ The Savannah Room, 9pm, pwyc.

The Stormalongs, Hookers, and The Western Dream, and more Halloween stuff @ Clinton's, 9pm, $3/pwyc.

The Evil Bitches, Tundra Fun, and DJ Alvaro @ Not My Dog, 10pm.

Halloween Show with Sheba Mojtahedi, Jon Travis, Carl Lorusso Jr., Mark Cassidy, and Soles Mojo @ Free Times Cafe, 8pm, $5/pwyc.

Themis, Space Tank, and That's What She Said @ The Black Swan Tavern, 9:20pm, $5.

Robin Black and The Vicious Guns w/ DJ sets by the Darth Virgos AL911 & Billy Geek @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Anagram, DCT, Lunchmeat, Labour Of, and DJ Troubleshhh @ Silver Dollar, 10pm, $5.

Foxfire and Hot Blood present Foxfire, Parallels (DJ set), and Mikey Apples (DJ set) @ Dejour Loft (Queen & Portland back alley), 11:55pm, $5.

leftover daylight @ Arraymusic Studio (60 Atlantic Ave., # 218), 9pm, $10 or $6. Details here:

* TWM 27 presents Insurgentlemen, The Dress Whites, Whale Tooth, and The Cheap Speakers @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6. Good solid Rancho/Dan Wolovick bill.

Mysterion's Haunted Halloween Birthday feat. The Von Drats, King Bees, Mysterion & the Wolfman, and more @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, $5.

* The Deep Dark Woods w/ Kate Maki @ The Dakota Tavern, 8pm. If there's a cover---and I imagine there is a small one---I don't know what it is.

The Next Best Thing w/ DJ Chill P @ The Rivoli, 8pm, $10.

* The Rocky Horror Picture Show Revue w/ opening sets by Electro/Punk Star and Senor Kasio @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 8:30pm, $10, "The songs from the movie [will be] performed live by an all-star Toronto band."

Chizzy's Haunted Halloween Bash feat. Toy Box, My Darkest Days, Easy Sleezy, and Stiletto @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $10.

Fucked Up LP Release Weekend Afterparty feat. Teenanger and tba @ Rancho Relaxo, 1am, free.

SATURDAY (1 nov)

Rachelle van Zanten @ 10:30 and The Dixie Flyers @ 8:30. The Dakota Tavern.

The Hot Five Jazzmakers @ C'est What, 3pm (start time), $5.

Necrotric Night feat. The Voodoo Idols, R.I.P., and DJs Nico, Evil Painclown, and Rock & Roll Jenny @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $5.

Patrick Boyle @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 6pm, pwyc.

Lesbian Blues From the 30s @ Tranzac (Tiki Room), 8pm, $tba.

Jay Crocker, Cat Fur Omelette, and Proof of Ghosts @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 9pm, pwyc/$5. "Avant-pop/improv/folk/noise from Toronto and Calgary."

* Bring Colour to their Lives (fundraiser event) feat. Modernboys Moderngirls, Famous Players, and Alphabot! @ The Boat, 9pm, "donations appreciated."

Rosemary Phelan Trio w/ Trevor Mills @ Free Times Cafe, 8:30pm, $5/pwyc.

Sensoria Saturday feat. Syntonics and XI w/ host Sidenote, video by Videocake, plus Quim and C.O.I. @ Augusta House, 10pm, $5 (or free before 11pm).

Sarah Wyse's Birthday Party w/ Dirty Tricks @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Steve Fever, Half Past Four, Tyranny of Love, Linda Mercer, and Themis @ The Black Swan Tavern, 9:20pm, $5.

The FAM Invades Toronto feat. Make Me Young, Citywide Vacuum, Another Saturday Knight, and Two For The Cascade @ The Savannah Room, 9pm, $6.

The New State, followed by Kensington Station (dance party) @ Neutral, 10pm, $6.

Alan Bloor @ Somewhere There, 8-10pm, $6.

* Chinese Food (CD release) @ 12:30, Ketch Harbour Wolves @ 11:30, Key Witness @ 10:30, and Urban Planner @ 9:30. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $8.

Chaddy w/ many special guests @ The Rivoli, 8pm, $10.

Monster Halloween Bash feat. Russian Roulette, Purge, ROA, Strive for Nothing, Theory: Astray and Ghost of Calico @ Kathedral, 8pm, $10.

Fucked Up LP Release Weekend Afterparty feat. Urban Blight and Mad Men @ Rancho Relaxo, 1am, free.

SUNDAY (2 nov)

Greenbelt @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 5pm, pwyc.

* Olenka & the Autumn Lovers, Polyester Heart, and Nick Zubeck @ The Press Club, 7pm, pwyc.

J and Edward Regozo / Rachenne Regozo / Brandon Navia @ Free Times Cafe, 8pm, pwyc.

Wavelength 437 feat.
Noah23, Pash (ly), The Greenbelt Collective, and Karaocake @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc.

Woodchoppers Association @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

The Ice Bears Tour: Prince Po of Organized Konfusion feat. Prince Po, Atherton, Edreys, Paulie Rhyme, and SickTricks @ The Boat, 9pm, $10 (or $8 adv at Play de Record).

Monday, October 20, 2008

Indie Music 56 (20-26 Oct 2008).

Like this list? Join my Google Group to get my weekly Toronto indie music listings. Or, the Facebook group. Subscribe to my weekly podcast here. Or just listen to the latest one, and all the other ones, at Zygiella.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more, and never ones that require advance ticket purchases. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, let me know.

Uh... it's too early to write anything proper. I saw five new (for me) bands in the past couple days, all at Sneaky Dee's. That really is a great venue. I don't get Huckleberry Friends, but they are definitely something to see. The Guest Bedroom was awesome! Antler was lovely, as was Rough Skeletons. I'm sure I would have enjoyed sBach, a touring act, if I'd been less concerned about them making the ringing in my ears worse. (Partial solution to my problem: standing at the very back and wearing earplugs.)

The X Avant New Music Festival is happening at the Music Gallery and other places this week. I've listed a couple of the cheaper shows below. For all the details, check Do it. If you're keen on any or all of Slim Twig, Masia One, Winter Gloves, or Gentleman Reg, you'll want to head to Soundscapes to get a free ticket to their (collective) show at the North York Central Library on 15 November. Tickets are also available (until they run out) at North York Central, Toronto Reference, Albion, Northern District, Parkdale and Malvern branches.

Oh, and thanks to everyone who entered the draw last week for the Craft Economy CDs! I made my roommate draw names out of a hat, sort of. Copies will go out to Steve F. and Mason W. soon.

MONDAY (20 oct)

Angela Bower (AKA Christine Bougie & Dafydd Hughes) @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7pm, pwyc.

Elvis Monday feat. The Miles, Luxury Bob, La Casa Muerte, Lori Nuic, Jon & Roy, Hyena Dog Robbery, and The People Of Canada @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

Panic Density feat. Shunga (Jessica Stuart, Steve Ward, and Felicity Williams) @ Tequila Bookworm, 9pm, pwyc.

Bryan Arcand and Their Shallow Valley @ The Cameron House (Front Room), 9:30pm, pwyc.

Groovy Mondays feat. Cory Danyluk & Sarah Jane Card and Jenn Ryan @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm (start time), $3.

* Krista Muir w/ Luther Wright and The Schomberg Fair @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $8.

QUIP and The Melodies @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, $10.

Sebastien Grainger (CD release) and Josh Reichmann Oracle Band (EP release) @ Supermarket, 9pm, $10.

TUESDAY (21 oct)

Jay Amar @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 7-10pm, free.

Bitchin' Sessions (free improvisational music; three sets) @ The Gladstone Hotel (Art Bar), 8-11pm, pwyc.

* The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Hot Panda @ 11:40, White Lies @ 10:50, Japanese Motors @ 10:00, and The Labor Of @ 9:10.The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

The Pink & Black Attack presents Christian D & the Hangovers, Sarah Skellington, and The Sour Notes @ The Bovine, 9pm, free.

Dustbowl Thieves @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

"Southside" Jimmy Byron @ Graffiti's, 9pm, pwyc.

Shawn Clark and Barzin @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* Showcho feat. Fraser Young, The Human Statues, Claire Ness, Truth Is..., and Nika Smith @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc. Variety show.

* Run With the Kittens @ The Cameron House (Front Room), 9pm, pwyc. Their looooooong weekly stint is coming to an end next week.

Lara Martin, Wendy Leung, and Melissa Dalton @ Free Times Cafe, 8pm, pwyc. This should be lovely.

Nudie & the Turks and The Brothers Cosmoline (Dan Kershaw) @ The Dakota Tavern, 9pm, pwyc.

Innes Wilson & his Opposition, Stew Gunn, and Debbie Suede @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Fish Tank Dreams, Joelle Turner & Chloe Charles, and Heather Sande @ Concord Cafe, 9pm, $5.

Heaven and Pirate/Rock @ Supermarket, 8:30pm, $5/pwyc.

Kate Rogers Band (CD release) w/ Makita Hack & the Logrollers @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 8pm, $10.

WEDNESDAY (22 oct)

The Innards Brothers @ The Cameron House (Front Room), 6-8pm, pwyc. "Colonel Tom Parker and Tony Allen perform old time country music."

Granny Boots feat. Emma McKenna, Jen (Dance Yourself to Death), and Carmen Elle, w/ DJ Dreidel, a screening of "Queeropolis: Toronto 1972-2008" by Alexis Mitchell and Tori Foster, and projections by MC Joan Nestle @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 7:30-10pm, free.

The Annex WreckRoom & IndieCan Radio present IndieCan Wednesdays feat. Alex Tintinalli Band, Jason Ford Band, and Secret Suburbia @ The Annex WreckRoom, 9pm, free.

Kevin Hearn @ Czehoski, 9:30pm, free.

Rock 'n Roll Pornography presents the CASBY Awards Afterparty w/ Guitar Hero live on stage and a live performance by Run With The Kittens @ Bovine Sex Club, 9pm.

The Billie Hollies and Jack & Ginger @ Tranzac (Tiki Room), 7pm, pwyc.

Laura Repo @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

PWYC Weds feat. The DGB, The Dank, Slow News Day, and The Grim Preachers @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc/$5.

Cory Danyluk & Sarah Jane Card and Shira G @ Free Times Cafe, pm, $5/pwyc.

Brave Neu! Worlds: A Tribute to Klaus Dinger feat. Ghostlight and Heavy Water, part of Music Gallery's X Avant festival @ The Drake Underground, 8pm, $5.

Wombat Wednesdays presents Words Around the Waist, The Pining, and Isla Craig @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 8pm, $5. This month's Wednesday shows at the Main Hall at curated by Kat Burns (from Forest City Lovers).

LAUGHstock presents The Flying Museum Band (CD release) w/ Max Galactic & the Cloud of Evil, The Big City Nights, and Flowertown Ave @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

2nd Annual Magazine Awards Online Recognition Night & Food Drive feat. performances by Pavlov's Dogs Orchestra, J-CLX, Random Robbery, Special Ops, Melissa Bel, and Thank the Academy @ Smiling Buddha, 8pm, $5. Bring food to donate.

Rival Gang Theatre and Iain Ferguson @ C'est What, 9pm, $6.

Alt Country Roots Night feat. Shuyler Jansen @ 11:40, The Beauties @ 10:50, Luther Wright & The Wrongs @ 10:00, and Shade @ 9:10 @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $7.

* Broken Sons (CD release), Morning Electric, and Vacuity @ Tattoo Rock Parlour, 9pm, $8. Rock music!

No Official Capacity presents Cheap Beer & Metal Night #3 feat. We, The Undersigned; What's He Building In There?; and The Isosceles Project @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $8.

Joni Nehrita and Layah Jane @ Supermarket, 9pm, $10.

THURSDAY (23 oct)

Andy Butler & the 905's @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm, free.

Polyester Heart and tba @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

The Element Choir, Ten Ten, David Sait, and DJ Craig Dunsmuir @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 8:30pm, pwyc ($9 sugg). An improv choir, Japanese-inspired folk music, and Ghuzeng improvs.

Double A Jazz @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 8-10pm, free.

The Disease and Yuka @ Concord Cafe, 9:30pm.

Baltic Avenue "Sistering" Fundraiser @ Supermarket, 8pm, pwyc.

Live Jazz Thursdays feat. Patrick Boyle's Lonely Pretty Women and Dan Gooch Quintet @ Tequila Bookworm, 9pm, pwyc.

Ronley Teper's Lipliners and Lisa Fyna & the Boys @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Brooke Saracino, Jeffrey P Jones, and Dinah Thorpe @ Free Times Cafe, 8:30pm, pwyc.

Illatease and tba @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $3. "Free CD at the door."

Pitter Patter Nights presents Wintermitts, Greenbelt Collective, and Alanna Brown @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Owle Bird (CD release) @ Cinecycle (behind 129 Spadina Ave.), 8-11pm, $5.

EndProgram, Cambridge, and Broadcast Zero @ Siesta Nouveaux (High At for the Low Down, 15 Lower Sherbourne St.), 7pm (early show), $5. BYOB.

The Peach Band, The Sitwells, Slow Motion Explosion, and Eric Fisher @ Smiling Buddha, 8:30pm, $5.

* TWM presents Streetlight Light, Provincial Parks (formerly Howl), and recordbreaker @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

* Child Bite, Clydesdale, The Vestaloynes, Fuckrock (debut), and Nohawk @ Silver Dollar, 9pm, $5.

* Tradition, Nifty, Castlemusic, and Alex Lukashevsky (Deep Dark United) @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $6.

Sophomore Productions presents Lexington, Something Worth Saving, Soul Plane, Trick Of Disaster, Typo, and In Lights @ El Mocambo (Upstairs), 6:30pm, $5 (w/ canned food donation) or $7. All ages.

Book Launch (E. Thomson's _Journal_) feat. Out of Line Improv and Run With the Kittens @ Clinton's, 9pm, $10.

* Fast Folk Underground 20th Anniversary Show feat. The Mahones, The Warped 45s, and Eugene Ripper @ The Dakota Tavern, 9pm, $10 (incl Eugene Ripper CD).

Jagermeister presents Crash Kelly w/ Dean Lycker @ Tattoo Rock Parlour, 9pm, $10.

FRIDAY (24 oct)

Tattooed Kidd @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 8-10pm, free.

Philippe Flahaut Blues Trio @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

War Resisters Benefit Show feat. Sing Leaf, Basement Arms, and Pinto Publico @ The Beansprout (1307 Bloor St. W.), 8:30pm, pwyc. All ages.

Miss Chrissy presents Slop, Trough & Trot! @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

State of Mind, Brook Harris, and The Waking Moments @ Free Times Cafe, 8:30pm, $5/pwyc.

The Calrizians and Luau or Die @ Graffiti's, 9pm, pwyc.

tba, The Svens, The Vive Quebec Libres, Department of Justice @ Clinton's, 10pm (start time), free.

Trance Sitar (Prosad, CD release) @ Concord Cafe, 8pm.

Steven Ross Lee / Blue Mambo Swing @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, $5.

Cedar, Leonids, and Mother Murder @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $5.

Epigram (CD release) and Fire Hydrant @ The Boat, 9pm, $5. Space rock and such.

Kensington Hillbillys (CD release) @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm.

Jetset Motel w/ guests @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm.

William Delray, Robbie McQuillan, Sara Labadie, and Bill Brautigan @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, pwyc.

The Common Dears, Great Lenin's Ghost, Beekeepers Society, and Flying Eyes @ Silver Dollar, 9pm, $5. Sounds cool.

Local Alt Rock feat. MiNDPiECE (CD release) @ 12:00, Goodbye Glory @ 11:00, and Zhivago @ 10:00. Lee's Palace, 9pm, $5.

Winhara (CD release) w/ Union City and Annelise Noronha @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $5.

Local Indie Alternative feat. Woodward Company @ 12:30, Bella Clava @ 11:30, In My Coma (CD release) @ 10:30, and Supernal @ 9:30. The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $6.

Dave and Chuck Show Party feat. Cereal Box Surprise, Phil Jacobs, West End Riot, Man With Target, Stu, Bee Rock Steady, Unbelievers, Ape, Wolfman, Oklahoma Bomb Squad, and Hollywood Swank @ El Mocambo (Upstairs), 7:30pm, $2 (b4 8:15pm), $6 (after), or $5 w/ canned food donation.

leftover daylight @ Arraymusic Studio (60 Atlantic Ave., # 218), 9pm, $10 or $6. Details here:

TWM presents Hi-Hat Compilation 2 Release Party feat. The Job, Make Your Exit, Gypsophilia, After the Weather, and Telejet @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $7 or $10 for the CD too.

Kidd Rasta & the Peacemakers w/ Bloodgrass (debut) @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $10 (incl free CD).

Toronto After Dark Film Festival Gala Closing Party feat. MC Mysterion the Mind Reader, Orco Muto, and DJ Scheven (from Controller Controller) @ The Bovine, 9pm, $10.

SATURDAY (25 oct)

Country Saturdays feat. The Wanted @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 7-10pm, free.

The Giant Baby and Davis Payne @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, free.

The Pocket Quintet @ Tequila Bookworm, 9pm, pwyc. Catch them every Saturday.

Those Damn Kookies, Sitcom, Left Of Zero, and Tripping Hazard @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, pwyc.

Samantha Martin & The Haggard @ The Dakota Tavern, 9pm, $5.

Paper Saw, Foxes in Fiction and the Doses @ Smiling Buddha, 8:30pm, $5.

Chris Bartos and friends @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7pm, pwyc.

History of Petty Crime @ Free Times Cafe, 9pm, pwyc.

Must Stash Hat @ The Imperial Pub, 10pm, $3. Cover includes a piece of birthday cake.

The Pariahs w/ DJ Vania @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Grande Fir and Robert Hedge (7" release) @ The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, $5.

Burn Down The Capital presents Women In Tragedy (LP release), The Pink Noise, and Toddler Body @ Teranga, 9pm, $5. All ages.

* Beth in Battle Mode and The Hey Now @ C'est What, 9:30, $5. I really like BIBM.

FUnhUnT "RENT" Party feat. Boxes & Bags and Oscar Brown @ The Casa Muerte Academy of Sciences (676 College St W, above Mr Sub), 9pm, $5.

Ninja Funk Orchestra w/ Paramedic and Bill Murray @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

The State of Things @ Rok Boutique, 10pm, $7 (or $5 if you join the mailing list at

Shoot the Cameraman and more @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $5.

Extermination Music Night Fundraiser feat. Brides, New Feelings, Feuermusik, Life of a Craphead (not music), Jesse James Laderoute (sound installation), and catering by Manila Surprise, with door prizes @ Sneaky Dee's, 9:30pm, $7.

Tim Alberts / Philip Cottrell (CD release) @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 8pm, $10. All ages.

SUNDAY (26 oct)

* Brunch w/ Lisa Bozikovic and Emma McKenna @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 11am.

CANCELLED * The Diableros, The Speaking Tongues, Terror Lake, The Miles, and Hamilton Trading Co. @ the Boat (outside, as part of Pedestrian Sunday), 1pm (start time). If it's raining, the show will be moved inside, to start at 8pm.

The Kettle Black, Promonium Jesters, and Adaptive Reaction @ High Art for the Low Down, 2pm, $5.

AIMToronto Orchestra, part of Music Gallery's X Avant festival @ Polish Combatants Hall (206 Beverley St.), 3pm, free.

Laura Hubert @ Mitzi's Sister, 3pm.

Dr. Zoo @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 8-10pm, free.

Ivy Mairi and tba @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 5pm, pwyc.

Solar Cycle 24 feat. Alan Glicksman @ The Gladstone Hotel (Art Bar), 2-5pm, free.

Alex Woodrow, Ariel Brink, and Shaun Devlin @ Free Times Cafe, 8pm, pwyc.

Wavelength 436 feat. Vowls, Azeda Booth, and the Jessica Stuart Few @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc. Wavelength is fantastic, even when it's not, if you know what I mean.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Draw winners are . . .

Because a bunch of people wanted a Craft Economy CD, I did a draw to see which two would get one. And the winners are Mason W. and Steve F. Thanks everyone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

CD Giveaway: The Craft Economy.

Three things: (1) no podcast this week, (2) I'm giving away pretty, fun CDs, and (3) come to Sneaks with me on Saturday for free! See below . . .

The Toronto-based band has given me a couple disks to give away. If you want one, send me a message at historyjenATgmailDOTcom including your mailing address. The CDs, which are beautifully printed, are numbered special edition disks containing 9 songs: the entire "All on C" EP (2007) of 6 songs plus two new ones off their upcoming release. The Craft Economy offer danceable 80s-inspired indie pop with male-female vocal playoffs, handclaps, frenetic drumming, and happy synths. Their live performances are tight, energetic, and great fun, and the CD creates a party atmosphere too, but without being unthoughtful.

Get a sense of the band's sound here:

The band has played shows around town at all the indie hot spots, recently played Pop Montreal, and you can catch them in Toronto again soon when they release their newest EP. If, for one, intend to be there.

Here's the track listing for this special edition disk:

1. Menergy
2. Big Purse Lil' Dawg
3. (break)
4. The Crash
5. Drag On
6. Ok. Ciao. Bye.
7. Until It Squeaks
8. Lives of Captured Scientists
9. The Kissing Song


I've got myself a guestlist spot + 1 for a show tmrw (Saturday), and I find myself without a date! Message me at historyjenATgmailDOTcom if you want to join me, and we'll figure things out. Here are the details:

* sBACH, The Guest Bedroom, and Huckleberry Friends @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $10 ($8.50 adv tix avail.). But free for me and . . . you?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Indie Music 55 (13-19 oct 2008).

Like this list? Join my Google Group to get my weekly Toronto indie music listings. Or, the Facebook group. Subscribe to my weekly podcast here, or just listen to it at Zygiella.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more, and never ones that require advance ticket purchases. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, let me know.

Happy Thanksgiving! I had a relatively quiet week, seeing as I was recovering from Pop Montreal. I saw Brasstronaut at Criminal Records---a cool 4-piece from Vancouver---and then went to Supermarket for the Oh No Forest Fires CD release show. Good bands, but the sound was dreadful and angered me. So much so that I may not go back there, not for a rock show.

This week go check out Lioness after you vote on Tuesday (Sonic Boom, 7pm, free), then end your evening at the Tranzac. Head back to the Tranzac on Wednesday for the Rural Alberta Advantage, or if you're feeling more energetic, check out the lineup at Sneaky Dee's. Thursday could find you back at Sonic Boom (Jay Reatard), then the Cameron House (for Roots), Tiger Bar (No Shame-style indie folk-pop), or the Horseshoe Tavern (indie pop-rock). Sneaks or Mitzi's should please on Friday, or, head to the Boat for more electro-dancy fare. There are a whole bunch of good things happening on Saturday, and a couple promising alternatives to Wavelength on Sunday night. And, of course, none of these shows will bankrupt you.

MONDAY (13 oct)

Angela Bower (AKA Christine Bougie & Dafydd Hughes) @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7pm, pwyc.

Panic Density feat. Aaron Lumley and Daniel Gaucher @ Tequila Bookworm, 9pm.

Bryan Arcand and Gabe Nespoli @ The Cameron House (Front Room), 9:30pm, pwyc.

Groovy Mondays feat. Lucas Stagg, Andrea House, and Peter Tremblay @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, pwyc.

Dan Goldman, Luxury Pond, and Partytime @ Tranzac (Tiki Room), 8pm, $5.

Fake Problems, Roman Line, Orphan Choir, and Streetcore @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $10 ($8 adv tix avail).

TUESDAY (14 oct)

* Lioness (in-store) @ Sonic Boom, 7pm, free.

Tomboyfriend, as part of TINARS @ The Gladstone Hotel (Ballroom), 7pm, free.

The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Birthday Boys @ 11:40, Daniel Wesley @ 10:50, Paramount Styles (ex Girls Against Boys) @ 10:00, and Monsters Of The Deep @ 9:10. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

Elvis Monday feat. Skullians, People Of Canada, Hyena Dog Robbery, zhowndz, Dear Mr. Halpin, and more @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

The Pink & Black Attack presents Over Power and Delinquints @ The Bovine, 9pm, free.

Ugly Bug Band and Steve Ward @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

* Antler, Picastro, and Dora Bleu @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Willie & the Poor Boys @ Cadillac Lounge.

Nancy Silverman @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, pwyc.

Run With the Kittens and Sky Shark @ The Cameron House (Front Room), 9pm, pwyc.

Best of the Open Stage with Marcus Walker, Sarah Calvert, Alanna Brown, Christine Tier, and Alicia Sales @ Free Times Cafe, 8:30pm, pwyc.

Bryan Van Dusen (CD release) @ The Mod Club, $10 (incl. CD).

WEDNESDAY (15 oct)

Acoustic Espionage @ Silver Dollar, 6-9pm, free. This is a newish weekly songwriters open stage event, hosted by Tim Harrison and Noah Zacharin. Plus, "$3.99 Buffet with purchase of any Amsterdam product." Followed by High Lonesome Wednesdays w/ Crazy Strings (bluegrass music).

Granny Boots @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 7:30-10pm, free. Lineup tba.

The Annex WreckRoom & IndieCan Radio present IndieCan Wednesdays feat. Kenny Munshaw, Black Diamond Bay (ex The Dears), and Eamon McGrath @ The Annex WreckRoom, 9pm, free.

Jody Giesbrecht (from Saskatoon) and Jeremy Kenneth Kallistos vonRempel @ Tranzac (Tiki Room), 7:30pm, pwyc.

Laura Repo @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

PWYC Weds feat. Miss Scarlett, St. Clair, Blood Rexdale & the Walls Are Blonde @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc.

Wellington Wellington's, Malcolm Sinclair, and Slapback Mountain @ Concord Cafe, 9:30pm, pwyc.

Don't Worry, Darlin' @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* Wombat Wednesdays presents The Rural Alberta Advantage, The O'Darling, and Thom Gill @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 9pm, $5. This month's Wednesday shows at the Main Hall at curated by Kat Burns (from Forest City Lovers).

* LAUGHstock presents The Smile, Whiskey Priest, Hush Money, and Gunnar Rapido @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Black Olives, AntiTrust Division, and Snowblower @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $5.

New Music Night feat. Blurring the Line, Jeff Beadle, and Mike Butlin Band @ Clinton's, 7:30pm, $5.

Jeffrey Brothers Band and The Waxbills @ Tattoo Rock Parlour, 9pm, $5.

Virginia Dimoglou, Zachary Bennett, Anne Sutherland, Paul Kolinski, and Todd Harrison @ Free Times Cafe, 7pm (early show), pwyc.

Fighter/Lover and The Hey Now @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, $5.

Paper Lions w/ The Emotionally Unavailable Mariners @ Supermarket, 9pm, $6.

Tyler Yarema and Marshall Dane @ C'est What, 9:30pm, $6.

Justin Heming (The Brown Hornets) Fundraiser feat. Planet Earth (3 sets) w/ "Tons of Special Guests" @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $10/pwyc.

Young Widows, METZ, Angram, and Citay @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $10. Avd tix avail.

THURSDAY (16 oct)

* Jay Reatard (in-store) @ Sonic Boom, 7pm, free.

Carly and Mark @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm, free.

Club Django @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 8-10pm, free.

Frankie Whyte & the Dead Idols w/ Moore @ Rok Boutique, 9pm, free.

The Falling Trees, deadpanorama, Smurf Endorphins, and eesla @ Concord Cafe, 9pm, pwyc. Proceeds to the MS Society of Canada.

Michael Brennan (CD release) @ The Cadillac Lounge, 9pm.

Live Jazz Thursdays feat. Brian Seligman and Steve Ward @ Tequila Bookworm, 9pm.

The Book of Gnomes and Mahogany Frog @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Sarah Loucks, Dustin Sendejas, and John Davey @ Free Times Cafe, 8:30pm, pwyc.

City of Craft presents Sticky Fingers: Art Auction & Show feat. Gravity Wave, Vowls, Southern Charles, and PDF Format @ The Boat, 7:30pm, pwyc/$5.

* City Roots presents Marianne Turner, Nonie Crete & Eugene Rea, and Jadea Kelly @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, $6.

The Mutaneers (CD release), BS101, and The Johnnys @ Clinton's, 9pm, $7 (incl. CD).

Bank Bue Sky and more @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $tba.

Greg Cockerill (CD release) w/ David Baxter & the Goners @ The Dakota Tavern, 8pm, $tba.

ADA, Slow News Day, and Rossif Sutherland @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $tba.

Darkside presents Night of Terror feat. Cities Between Us, Storyteller, and The Fallacy @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

FABRik Records presents FUnhUnT feat. La Casa Muerte, The Grass, Oscar Brown, Anna Sudac, and Ah! La Lettre (Gabi from Boxes and Bags) @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

* No Shame presents Forest City Lovers, Fall Horsie, and Stacey Lloyd Brown @ Tiger Bar, 9pm, $5. Get there early---this will fill up!

THE AMBiENT PiNG presents Impossible Structures feat. Little Oak Animal and Spacenoiz @ Renaissance Cafe, 8pm, pwyc/$6.

Andy Carey and tba @ C'est What, 9pm, $6.

Dreamscape Fundraiser feat. Scott Jackson, Relic, Scarlem D, and Mr. Blue @ El Mocambo (Upstairs), 9pm, $7 w/ can of food.

Girls With Guitars Fest feat. Linda M., Belinda Brady & Lindsay Broughton, Elana Harte, Sara Kamin, and Robyn Dell'Unto @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $7.

* Vancougar @ 12:00, Sylvie @ 11:00, Said The Whale @ 10:00, and Awkward Stage @ 9:00. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $8.

Tenth Planet w/ Nathan Down @ Tattoo Rock Parlour, 9pm, $8 (or $5 adv).

No Official Capacity presents Abandon All Ships, A Flame In December, Synastry, Our Lady Of Bloodshed, and tba @ Kathedral, 7pm, $10. All ages.

FRIDAY (17 oct)

The Swinging Blackjacks @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 8-10pm, free.

"Caging Gods" Book Launch feat. Pace the Stairs, Turboturbo, and DJ Thugs&Jugs @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, free.

Little Brown Bat @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Joanna Chapman-Smith, Kate Reid, and Sarah MacDougall @ Free Times Cafe, 8:30pm, pwyc.

Tim Gibbons @ Cadillac Lounge, 10pm.

The Daily Times (CD release) w/ Broadcast Zero, and The Deficits @ Clinton's, 8pm, $5.

Mohagany Frog, Battleship Ethel, and The Cleef @ The Boat, 10pm, $5. Dance!

Before the Flood, Little Foot Long Foot, and Shawn Clarke @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, $5.

* Ten Kens (CD release), Chang-a-lang (formerly the Salarymen), Whale Tooth, and Sunriser @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5.

No Other Way, Hammersmith, and Blood Runs Cold, w/ DJ sets by the Darth Virgos AL911 & Billy Geek @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Toronto After Dark Film Festival Opening Party feat. Rue Morgue, Circus of the Damned, and DJ Shannon @ The Annex WreckRoom, 10pm, $5 (free with movie pass).

leftover daylight @ Arraymusic Studio (60 Atlantic Ave., # 218), 9pm, $10 or $6. Details here:

TWM presents Pale Horses, The Broadcast, Picturesound, and Radio Revival @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

* Vancoucar, The Bon (debut), Terror Lake, and The Blooming Rosebuds @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm (start time), $6.

Mother Mother @ 10:00, Dance Yourself To Death @ 9:00, and David Martel @ 8:00. Lee's Palace, 7:30pm, $8.50 (adv tix avail.).

Five Star Trailer Park (tour kickoff), The Matavaras, and The Hypocrites @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $10.

SATURDAY (18 oct)

Country Saturdays feat. Joanne Mackell & the Paradise Rangers @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 6-9pm, free.

Nudie & the Turks @ Cadillac Lounge, 10pm.

Left Of Zero, Sitcom, and Those Damn Kookies @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, pwyc.

Lucas Stagg w/ Paul Macleod @ The Dakota Tavern.

The Hot Five Jazzmakers @ C'est What, 3pm (start time), $5.

The Flying Museum Band, The Scarlett Fever, The Sherbourne Canons, and Red General @ Smiling Buddha, 9pm, $5.

Patrick Boyle @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 6pm, pwyc.

* Nick Rose and Tacoma Hellfarm Tragedy @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Heather Chappell, Guy Smagghe, and Lis Soderberg @ Free Times Cafe, 8:30pm, $5/pwyc.

* The Oxford Hotel presents Jordaan Mason, Basket of Figs, Paleo, and Whatever Jailer @ The Oxford Hotel (117 Oxford St.), 8pm, $5. BYOB.

Diemonds, Skull Fist, and Rackshot @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

The Hoa Hoa's, Gettysburg, Pirate/Rock, and Meinblues @ Silver Dollar, 9pm, $tba.

* TWM presents Megan Hamilton & the Volunteer Canola, Ryan Shearing & the Ghost of Belle Star, A Sea of Gold & Burgundy, and Patrick Brealey & the Knives @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

* Fox Jaws, The Hots, and Brett Caswell @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $tba.

* Crystal Antlers, Sports: The Band, Vomit Mountain, and Hot Friends @ Teranga, 9:30pm, $8.

Terrorhorse w/ Mortify, Dismata, and Kneedeepinthedead @ Siesta Nouveaux, 7pm, $8. All ages.

* sBACH, The Guest Bedroom, and Huckleberry Friends @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $10 ($8.50 adv tix avail.).

Summerside, Awake & Dreaming, Life in Sound, and Use as Directed @ The Annex WreckRoom, 5pm, $10. All ages.

* No Shame Presents Hexes & Ohs (CD release) w/ Europe In Colour and Everything All The Time @ The Velvet Underground, 7pm (early show), $10 (or $8 adv).

Eclectic Minds w/ live performances by RevoClik Artists (BLVD, Diaz, Dre, and ThaVoice), True Notion, Funksway, Killaz, and Fyahorns & The Brigade @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $10 (or $5 adv).

Arkana Music w/ Avi Granite 6 @ Concord Cafe, 9pm, $10.

SUNDAY (19 oct)

Sheesham & Lotus @ Mitzi's Sister, 3pm.

Michael Brennan @ Graffiti's, 4-7pm, pwyc.

Scotty Campbell @ Cadillac Lounge, 4-7pm.

The Red Eyed Boys @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 5-8pm, free.

The Riderless @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7pm, pwyc.

Marie-Josee Houle @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 7pm-midnight, free. French cabaret.

Gordon's Acoustic Living Room @ Free Times Cafe, 8pm, free.

Wavelength 435 feat. Antler, Rough Skeletons, and Ghostkeeper @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc.

* Canaille, Transcendental Rodeo, and Thrashed Jeans @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Greg Cockerill @ Cadillac Lounge, 9pm.

Toronto After Dark Film Fest presents The Zombie Walk After Party feat. The Von Drats @ 5:30, The Rock Ons @ 8:30, and Skulls @ midnight. The Annex WreckRoom.

Hungry Ghost Festival, The Kettle Black, and Persona @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Boxes & Bags, A Balkan Singing Group, and Anna Sudac @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Brasstronaut @ Criminal Records.

I’ve been lying in bed for nearly two hours, attempting to sleep. This is unhelpful. So, rather than continue to be annoyed by my inability to sleep, I figured I’d get up and do something potentially useful: tell you about the band I saw today.

Criminal Records played host to a Vancouver jazz-pop group called Brasstronaut. They played Pop Montreal last week, and I heard good things about their performance. On Wednesday they were at the Drake for their first ever Toronto show, which also featured two local indie favourites, Invasions and the Two Koreas. Being good, I didn’t go, but decided to hit up the in-store on Thursday to get a sense of what I’d missed.

The foursome—joined here in Toronto by a friend on bass clarinet (I think that's what it was)—offer up soulful, jazz-infused music. They sound like nothing I’ve heard in the indie scene recently, but if I had to explain them to a friend, I’d say they are like a more thoughtful, calmer Will Currie & the Country French. Less pop, more jazz, and with better vocals and a wicked trumpet. But maybe it’s just the prominence of the piano in the songs that makes me think this.

The band played about 45 minutes in the intimate back end of Criminal Records, a small shop on Queen West that you'd miss unless you were looking for it between American Apparel and the new Urban Outfitters. The crowd was sparse at first, but more young indie-hipster music fans filled in as the band played. I really appreciated hearing an indie band make such good, permanent use of non-standard (for indie) instruments. Just an electric upright double-bass, keyboard, trumpet, and drum kit, with some xylophone and other percussion; no guitar or bass, and no rock 'n' roll antics. The recorded tunes on their EP feature some strings, but I gotta say that I prefer the pared down, less jammy live versions. I would happily go see them again, next time they come to Toronto.

(Photo from Brasstronaut's MySpace page, and not from Thursday's in-store.)

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Weekend Picks (8-12 Oct. 2008).

Like this list? Join my Google Group to get my weekly Toronto indie music listings. Or, the Facebook group. Subscribe to my weekly podcast here. Or just listen to it at Zygiella.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more, and never ones that require advance ticket purchases. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, let me know.

Last weekend I was in Montreal and didn't have time to compile a full list for this week. So, instead, here are some suggestions for this weekend. There's lots to do in the indie world. I will check out a show or two before I head to Ottawa for Thanksgiving. Everything on the list below should be good/great, depending on what you're in the mood for.

Something called Indie Week is happening now. I don't really know what this is, but there are a few decent shows happening at venues around town. Cover for each is $10 or more, but you can get a wristband to see all the shows for $10. I haven't listed the shows, but you can find out more information on the festival here:

THURSDAY (9 oct)

Brasstronaut (in-store) @ Criminal Records, 6pm, free.

Christianne (CD release) w/ Andrew Devillers and Lucy Idlout @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Proof of Ghosts, August, and Orca @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

TWM presents Sound & Structure, Sleep for the Nightlife, and Star Map Caravan @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

No Shame presents Bad Flirt (CD release) w/ Howl and Engines with Names (members of Ruby Coast) @ Tiger Bar, 9pm, $5.

Parker, Ministry of the Environment (CD release), and Luke Michielsen, w/ DJ Vinyl Fluid @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, $5.

Cadence Weapon w/ Woodhands and Stop.Die.Resuscitate @ Lee's Palace, 9pm (start time), $10. Adv tix avail.

Hunter & Cook Magazine Party feat. Anagram, Corpusse, $100, and Josh Reichmann Oracle Band @ Wrongbar, 9pm, $10.

FRIDAY (10 oct)

The Buttless Chaps (in-store) @ Criminal Records, 6pm, free.

Ghost Bees, Emma McKenna, and Steven McKay @ Tranzac (Tiki Room), 9pm.

Andy Swan and J.J. Ipsen @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Oh No Forest Fires (CD release) w/ Black Hat Brigade and Dinosaur Bones @ Supermarket, 9pm, $5.

Pants & Tie (12" release) w/ Pink Noise, Slow Hand Motem, and DVAS (DJ set) @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $tba.

The Buttless Chaps w/ Wax Mannequin and Tim Vesely (The Rheostatics) @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, $5.

Thomas Function w/ The Unionist Ministers, and The Job @ Silver Dollar, 9pm, $8. Adv tix avail.

SATURDAY (11 oct)

Mark Berube & the Patriotic Few (CD release) w/ The O'Darling @ Cervejaria, 9pm, $tba.

Snowblink and Ryan Driver @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Young & Sexy w/ Neins Circa @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, $5.

Action Makes, The Speaking Tongues, Electric Lions, and the Skirt Chasers @ Silver Dollar, 9pm, $5.

Tripping Hazard, Little Foot Long Foot, Left of Zero, and The Assistants @ Lee's Palace, 9pm, $6.

TWM presents The Vive Quebec Libres, Rival Boys, Nineteen Seventy Seven, and Bold Saber @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

SUNDAY (12 oct)

Alex Lukashevsky @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 2:30pm, pwyc.

Wavelength 434 feat. Viva Mexico Mariachi, The New Kings, and Guy Dallas @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc. omg lolz.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Thoughts inspired by Pop Montreal.

I've got a pretty decent handle on what this city (Toronto) has to offer, indie music-wise. There are of course hundreds of bands I haven't yet seen, but very few other people have probably seen as many local bands as I have. I have seen hundreds. Going out multiple times a week for a year adds up. It's now time for me to be more focussed on other projects (dissertation included) and be more choosy about where I go and what I see. I want to avoid boredom and jadedness. Maybe I'll even hit up a show that costs more than $10 once in a while. I don't think I've seen more than 5 of such shows in the past year. Great Lake Swimmers hits up Lee's on my birthday. Maybe "hits up" isn't the right expression. Strolls into and charms. I kinda want to go, and stand at the front, and hope there aren't idiots around me making noise. That would make me cranky.

I've also been pondering a bit about what bands and performers have made an impression on me this year. Music bloggers like to tell their readers what's best and hot and up-and-coming and ready to explode, etc. Perhaps I'll get in on that game. Why not, eh. I can be one of those people, right?

This thinking comes out of a good, but mixed, time in Montreal. It was a little strange, I thought, to go to another city just to see (for the most part) bands I see here and (as it turned out) hang out with friends and musicians I spend time with here. I did really appreciate seeing different venues and how Toronto (and environs) bands were received in Montreal, but there was less surprise than their might have been. I think there were just a lot of Torontonians in town. Heck, I kept running into them everywhere. The other thing is that I got the impression that there are more smaller clubs in Montreal (150 or less, sometimes much less) than there are here, relatively speaking. So that most of the shows I went to were full or nearly so. It made for a great environment, but also meant that I couldn't get into a bunch of shows on the weekend nights because they filled up early. Oh, and finally, this: Montrealers don't dance and they do the horseshoe formation just as much as Toronto audiences do.

I didn't make it to any of the industry panel discussions and the like. I did hit up the craft fair thing (Puces Pop) on Saturday, which was great, and have heard that various afterparties were awesome. I didn't go to any. The 1.5 hour, 3 bus trip home to my sister's place put a bit of a damper on things. But also, and more importantly, even though I ended up knowing a bunch of people, I don't know any of the Montrealers who were out and about, and I'm not connected in the slightest with the labels or promoters hosting shin-digs. So, boo to that, and next year---if I go---let's hope that instead of waiting at a deserted bus stop for 40 minutes at 3am, I get a text message telling me to come to a party.

I should probably write a little bit about a few of the performances I saw, and post a few photos. There were some memorable ones. Maybe later this week.


So, this isn't me complaining about a bad performance. It's me confessing my lack of strength to handle a blood test. I even left the doctor's office to go have lunch before coming back to face the withdrawal, and it didn't do any good: I still had to lie down for an hour before I was well enough to leave. And then I ate the pie I had packed with me and had a hot chocolate. And then I came home and slept for 5 hours. I am feeling better but haven't accomplished anything dissertation-related since I came back from Montreal.

Special podcast.

Since I was out of town all weekend, Tyler stepped out on me and did his own podcasting with local musician Rajiv Thavanathan.

Rajiv is a member of the band On No Forest Fires, who are having their CD release party at the Supermarket on Friday, 10 Oct., with their friends Black Hat Brigade and Dinosaur Bones also playing. Promises to be an explosion of indie pop-rock dancing frenzy! Rajiv used to host the indie music podcast for blogTO, so think of this as new podcaster interviewing old podcaster.

Take a listen to this special podcast 14 at Zygiella, subscribe to it on iTunes, or get it through your favourite reader service here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Back from Pop.

Hey all, I'm back from Pop Montreal, and recovering. Since I was out and about all last weekend, I have no list prepared for this week. I may do something later in the week. And maybe a special podcast.

Here are some photos of my time at the festival.