Friday, May 29, 2009

CD Giveaway & Review: Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum's "Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head."

Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum have their debut full-length, Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head, ready to share with the world.

Jordaan Mason sees himself as a misfit in the local music scene. But as one of the hosts and organizers of the Oxford Hotel presents performance series, he's a misfit that's connected to a lot of local and touring acts who work better in backyards and inside homes than they do in bars or clubs. The musicians I most associate with Jordaan are ones he already collaborates with, including Guelph's Chris Yang (who helped out on the record) and the folk duo Sarah D. (whose members are in Jordaan's band). The more polished, accessible Ghost Bees come to mind, too.

Jordaan's backing band features an ever-changing lineup, and the songs on the new record benefit from inventive instrumentation from a dozen other musicians. Take "(S)mother" for example: voice predominates, with quite acoustic guitar, saw, and a sparse piano line rounding things out. He occasionally sings with urgency, and always feeling. The lone solo track on the album, "O Jarhead! O Wife!," sung with only an acoustic guitar as accompaniment, highlights Jordaan's poetic lyricism. The songs aren't rousing tunes like some other larger folk ensembles produce. The closest the band comes to this is the percussion-heavy "The Wrong Parts (Vivian Sisters Singing)." Instead, the songs on this album evoke more reflection, primarily about relationships and intimacy. The lyrics are obscure, yet still highly personal, honest, and occasionally difficult to hear. The opening line from the first song of the album ("Bird's Nest") is "My mouth is filled with his ovaries," and it gets no less vividly strange through the album's 14 tracks. Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum have created a record that can be listened to on different levels, both lyrical and musical.

Download: Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum, "Bird's Nest" (Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head, 2009).
Download: Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum, "Wild Dogs: Divorce" (Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head, 2009).

Courtesy of the band I've got a copy of Divorce Lawyers I Shaved My Head to give away. If you want it, send me an email at historyjenATgmailDOTcom with "Jordaan" in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. Get this in to me by Friday, 5 June, at 11:59pm. If you're in Toronto, the band hopes you'll come to their CD release show to pick up your disk. Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum celebrate the release at the Music Gallery on Saturday, 6 June. (I am told that the band will appear as a 9-piece that night.) See you there?

Fine print: Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum (CD release) w/ Nich Worby and Hamilton Trading Co. @ The Music Gallery, Saturday, 6 June, 7pm, $10 (or pwyc). The music starts at 8pm. At 7pm, in the church's Fellowship Room, there will be a reception featuring artwork by Tara Fillion and Josh Pogue, whose artwork decorates the album.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reminder: Pitter Patter Music Festival (28-31 May 2009).

This starts today! I am working the door at the Central tonight, will be at Rancho Relaxo Friday night, will party at Sneaky Dee's on Saturday, and Sunday will see me working the door at Rearview Mirror in Kensington Market. The whole thing's pay what you can, but I hope that you can afford to pay at least $5. There are some great bands playing these shows.

Have you listened to this week's podcast yet? Tyler and I talked to Keith Hamilton, the man behind the PPMF. All the details about that are here.

My schedule:

THURSDAY (28 may)

Octoberman @ 11:15pm, Sandman Viper Command @ 10:15pm, and Sarah D. @ 9:15pm. The Central, 8pm, pwyc. The Central's behind Honest Ed's, one block west of Bathurst, and just south of Bloor.

FRIDAY (29 may)

Pick A Piper @ 12:15am, Hut @ 11:15pm, and The Fishwives @ 10:15pm. Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc. Pick A Piper promises to be fantastic, like a more percussion-heavy Caribou (which makes perfect sense since PAP features Brad Weber, Caribou's touring drummer). Hut is a side project of members of Hooded Fang, and the Fishwives are new and sound like they will be good fun.

SATURDAY (30 may)

CHARTattack presents The Diableros @ 1am, Sports: The Band @ 12am, Terror Lake @ 11pm, and Archipelagos @ 10pm. Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc. The Deebs will preview many of the new songs that they will record this summer for their third album.

SUNDAY (31 may)

Cursed Arrows @ 12am, The Speaking Tongues @ 11pm, Chang-A-Lang @ 10pm, Mt. Royal @ 9pm, and Drunk Woman @ 8pm. Rearview Mirror, 7pm, pwyc. The venue is at 193 1/2 Baldwin St. in Kensington Market. These are all bands I want to check out. I've seen The Speaking Tongues before, and they always put on a blistering show. The rest sound pretty rocking, too.

Some of these details may change, but this is what I think is happening! Come join me, or go out and discover other new (or familiar) bands this weekend.

Ticket/CD Giveaway & Review: Flotilla @ Tranzac, Thursday, 4 June.

Montreal band Flotilla’s second full-length album, One Hundred Words for Water, is full of musical surprises of the best kind. Flotilla is hard to pin down, genre wise. Some tracks are solidly indie art-rock, but there’s a jazzy flavour underlying the whole album. Add a bit of cabaret, folk-rock elements, a dash of electronica, nonstandard time signatures, and occasional mid-song mood changes, and you’ve got Flotilla. Veronica Charnley’s vocals are the standout element, but the inclusion of harp lines throughout—a classical harpist is one of the band’s four regular members—also differentiate this band from others. Sonic surprises abound, but the intention is not to startle; rather, it is to delight. This beautiful, impressive album should find a place in the hearts of lovers of good music with a variety of musical tastes. [Full disclosure: Veronica was my best friend in grade 4 :-).]

Toronto audiences can hear Flotilla first-hand next Thursday, 4 June, when they release their album at the Tranzac with John Tielli's Metal Kites and Culture Reject. A great bill, at the right venue. Courtesy of Flotilla, I've got a pair of tickets to the show plus a copy of the new disk to giveaway to one lucky blog reader! To enter, email me at historyjenATgmailDOTcom. Please include your full name in the message, and "Flotilla" in the subject line. Get your entry in to me by 11:59pm on Tuesday, 2 June. If you don't win, tickets are available at the door for $8.

For a sense of what you're in for, here's a couple tracks from the new album, a couple from Flotilla's debut full-length, and a bonus track from Culture Reject. Enjoy!

Download: Flotilla, “Charlie, I’m Through” (One Hundred Words for Water, 2009).
Download: Flotilla, “A Thousand Jacobs” (One Hundred Words for Water, 2009).
Download: Flotilla, "Beneath the Snow" (Disaster Poetry, 2006).
Download: Flotilla, "Secret Love" (Disaster Poetry, 2006).
Download: Culture Reject, "Inside the Cinema" (Culture Reject, 2008).

Flotilla will be touring the new release in central and eastern Canada in June and July. Check their MySpace for details.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Over the Top Festival diary.

This weekend I took in the Over the Top Festival. From start to finish, I saw: Ghost Bees, Timber Timbre, The Ghost is Dancing, Clues, Woods (in-store), Bayonets, Tune-Yards, Think About Life, Oh No Forest Fires, Five Blank Pages, Tiny Masters of Today, The Guest Bedroom, The Budos Band, and Green Go. I could conceivably have seen a few more acts, and I suspect some people did. Still, that’s a lot of music.

The Ghost Bees / Timber Timbre lineup—I missed headliner Baby Dee—is one I’ve noticed before, but I had never seen them play together. Both bands were great Thursday night. Timber Timbre guitarist/vocalist Taylor Kirk’s got a new band backing him up these days, including the wonderful Mika Posen on violin, Shawn Clarke on baritone saxophone, and Simon Trottier on lap steel. The live performance has a different vibe than the record. Perhaps less moving for me, but still impressive. Timber Timbre recently signed with the indie superlabel, Arts & Crafts, so lots more people will get to hear the record.

Ghost Bees is composed of twins Romy and Sari Lightman, who both sing and play guitar and mandolin, respectively. Their weird folk songs are beautiful and deeply satisfying. I can’t imagine how an audience could not fall in love with them. Their unique chemistry on stage—or, on chairs on the floor, in this case—is very appealing to take in. They’ve added the talented percussionist Maya Postepski to their lineup the last couple times I’ve seen them perform. She worked better with them this time around, but I’m not completely sold yet on her place in the band. (No slight intended to Maya, who adds so much to Bruce Peninsula and Katie Stelmanis’ band.) Ghost Bees and Timber Timbre are currently on tour, so check them out in your town if you have a chance. You won’t regret it.

After Timber Timbre’s set, I headed to Sneaky Dee’s to catch The Ghost Is Dancing. These local popsters were just back from touring their great new record, Battles On. Their set was much tighter than I remember them being the first time I took in a show. High energy, as expected, and not just because Oh No Forest Fires’ frontman Rajiv Thavanathan was playing guitar for them. During the set some of the band members shed layers. A few songs in, vocalist/keyboard player Lesley Davies exclaimed to no one in particular that it was so hot on stage. She shortly took her dress off, and reappeared in her underwear. Ha!

The band that I was most keen on seeing Thursday night was Clues, a new band out of Montreal headed up by Alden Penner of the now-defunct Unicorns. The band was preceded, unexpectedly, by a well-dressed, bizarre pan flute and vocal/duo called Jerusalem In My Heart (thanks Chris). Clues therefore started pretty late, and rather than build up anticipation, the weirdo mini opening set was kinda lost on the crowd. It was cool and all, but this is not what we came to hear. I’m pretty sure one lone guy in the middle-left of the dance floor started to slowly clap during one long song, as if to signal to those around him that he’d had enough. Rude, but not shocking given the context. I don’t think the band noticed.

But then we got Clues. I had spent some time with (part of) their self-titled album, and was curious to see it performed. The five-piece was a curious mixture of down-to-earth and hipster-pretentious, and they took a smidge too much time between songs switching up their instruments. If they hadn’t let the energy levels drop every few minutes, it would have been a significantly more exciting set. Sure, a handful of songs came across as rather same-sounding, but their percussion-heavy, slightly off-the-wall pop tunes were cool. In the end a little too cool for me, but I can imagine this band really tearing the roof off a place. (P.S.: Clues, play a show with Born Ruffians if you really want to win me over.) [Photo credit: Alyssa K. Faoro.]

The next evening I got an early start to things, checking out Woods’ in-store performance at Soundscapes. This Brooklyn-based folk-pop trio sing into bullet mics which distort their voices to give the band a slightly other-worldly sound. It’s always a real treat to see a band in this beautiful record store, and Friday was no different. I hung around for a time afterward, chatting with friends, browsing, and waiting for other friends to arrive so we could go for dinner. [Photo credit: Robert Yarmolinsky.]

Dinner went longer than anticipated, and I therefore got a late start to my show-going Friday night. I missed out on great opening (and closing) acts at WhipperSnapper and The Music Gallery, but no worries. I made it out to the Polish Combatants Hall in plenty time for the ridiculous, punky Bayonets, bashing out 1-minute tunes preceded by zany song introductions. Memorable mostly for the brevity and energy of their set, I feel no need to see this band again, but I can think of lots of occasions where they’d go over well. Entertaining. Next up was Tune-Yards, the solo project of Sister Suvi front-woman, Merrill Garbus. As one of the few people in the crowd with some foreknowledge of her, I was stoked. She did not disappoint, looping robust tribal vocals, skippy electric ukelele, and uncomplicated drum hits. The crowd—the ones with an ear for the interesting—was buzzing during and after her set. She’s doing something that no one else I know of is doing, and doing it really well. [Photo credit: Garry Tsaconas.]

Tune-Yards touring mates Think About Life were celebrating the release of their new full-length album on Friday and so a party was in order. The last time they played in town was back in July, and that show was perhaps the best show I went to all year, in no small part because of the insanity of the crowd reaction to front-man Martin Ceasar and the crazy dance-party vibe that his backing band provides. Family is more accessible than their 2006 self-titled release, and I was expecting a rather larger crowd than showed up. Whether it was all the other great shows happening that night or the odd venue, the place did not fill up. But those of us who were there, and especially the first few rows, had a blast. An absolute blast. I found myself on the stairs leading up the stage, both to avoid the moshing and so that I could see everything on stage and to my right. Fantastic. In a smaller, darker, more packed room it would have been amazing. Maybe next time. I ended the set on stage with the band and about 20 other dancing fools. Afterward, I had to wait until the sweat dried before I could leave the building. (Eye Weekly’s got a pretty-spot on review of this show.) [Photo credit: Alyssa K. Faoro.]

By the time I got home at 5:20am or so Saturday morning—Friday’s TAL show led to dancing, which led to Ronnie’s, which led to a backyard bonfire in Kensington Market—I felt like Over the Top had done right by me. And so with one more night to go, and with no other obligations, I decided to plan it right and make the most of my wristband. (I first had to get my sunglasses fixed and see about replacing a broken bike pedal: casualties of Friday night’s festivities.) That night I saw 6 bands at 4 different venues.

My first venue was the Mod Club, a place I’d never seen a band before, and of which I had bad memories from being forced to go dancing there once, a long time ago. My apprehensions were instantly put aside when I got in the place and realized it was rather smaller than I remembered, with a nice, big stage complete with awesome lighting—almost to the point of being ridiculous and cheesy, but somehow not—and pretty good sound. I caught Oh No Forest Fires, who bounded around with abandon. Even the bass player, the most subdued of the bunch, managed to knock down a guitar amp. The kids at the front were amazed and probably inspired to start their own spazzy rock bands. I’m not in love with this band’s music, but I do quite like it, and I am always entertained by their live shows. So much fun. And incredibly tight considering how much jumping around they do. This is definitely a band worth looking into. It would be great to see them play on a much bigger stage to a much bigger crowd. They are most certainly up to it. [Photo credit: Garry Tsaconas.]

The next band I saw is one that won’t ever grace a stage again. The Mod Club show was the final one for Five Blank Pages. I missed the very end, but the parts of the set I did see—from the very front row, and then from further back in the room where the sound was much better—were a great way to end a solid 7-year run. The band performed their lovely Canadiana pop-rock songs accompanied by some musical friends on backing vocals, extra guitars, cello, violin, and trombone. For more on this band, check out my review of their most recent EP. [Photo credit: Garry Tsaconas.]

Just down the street at the WhipperSnapper art gallery there was a rather smaller crowd taking in rather younger, rockier bands than FBP. I arrived while the headliners, the New York-based Tiny Masters of Today, were setting up. And they were indeed tiny: lead by 15– and 13–year old siblings, with a drummer who couldn’t have been much older, these kids really impressed me. Sure, the girl’s not much of a singer (yet) and had to hand her bass over to her brother when it needed a quick tune-up, but they were legitimately good. I would expect more of adults, but what a treat to see these youngsters perform. The festival was all-ages, but except for one kid whose age I know, I suspect everyone in the audience was older than the band members. Their punky, garage-rock sound got repetitive toward the end, but I was so charmed by their musical ability and stage presence to mind too much. [Photo credit: Joe Fuda.]

My second show of the night over, I biked on over to Sneaky Dee’s expecting to spend a few minutes hanging out before dashing off again. Instead, The Guest Bedroom had just started playing, and wow—what a great set. I stayed for most of it, figuring the much-hyped Budos Band would start a little later than scheduled. When I think of their set, doom pop is the first and only description that comes to mind. Sandi Falconer’s vocals were strong and crisp, the tone was very dark, but the music was still kinda catchy. Odd, and extremely well done. This band would make for a good counterpoint to Oh No Forest Fires’ happier, less experimental vibe.

A friend of mine on Friday night had urged me to check out New York’s The Budos Band at the Polish Combatants Hall the next day. Their Afro-funk sound seemed like a good bet, and certainly something I wouldn’t get a chance to hear live again anytime soon. I arrived late, but the show was running even later, so I had time to chat with the few people in the audience I recognized. There was a large crowd out for this one, and it seemed to me like the venue was not far off it’s 350-person capacity. There was a great deal of excitement in the air, at least up near the front, and some of us were getting a little peeved about the by now very late start to things. But then the front lights were mercifully turned off and the band—a 9–piece this Saturday night—took to the stage. As soon as they did, the dancing started. I had a pretty fun time boogie-ing down surrounded by strangers, but had to watch the clock. Technical difficulties annoyed me even more: the band had to stop playing for a while so their sax player could repair his instrument. I guess there was nothing to do done about it, though perhaps next time the band will know to bring along some repair tools just in case rather than having to rely on the venue having what they needed. A fun set, but let’s just say that I wouldn’t have been happy if I’d paid the $18 cover at the door, or had gone out of my way to pick up $15 advance tickets. I left at 12:50am, about an hour into the band’s interrupted set, so I could catch one last band. [Check out some photos of the show here.]

I ended my Over the Top experience with one of my favourite live acts, Green Go. Although my feet were hurting and I’d already done a lot of dancing, there’s no way I can avoid busting a move to this electro-pop band out of Guelph. These guys (and gal) are brilliant. It’s too bad the crowd was rather thin and that there wasn’t much enthusiasm beyond the front row. But for me, it was awesome. And, just because I’m crazy, I ended the night with one more hour of late-night (2–3am) dancing at the Boat. Thank you, Over the Top Festival. See you next year.

[Check out Eye's mini documentary about the festival here.]

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Indie Music 82 (27 May - 2 June 2009).

Like this list? Join my Facebook group to get my weekly Toronto indie music listings. Subscribe to my weekly podcast (or download the episodes) here, or through iTunes. Or just listen to the latest one, and all the other ones, at Zygiella. Make sure to check the rest of my blog for show reviews and photos, giveaways, and downloads.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto, all for $10 or less. If I'm missing something you think I should list, or you have any comments, let me know. I star (*) shows that most interest me.

This weekend I took in the Over the Top Festival. From start to finish, I saw: Ghost Bees, Timber Timbre, The Ghost is Dancing, Clues, Woods (in-store), Bayonets, Tune-Yards, Think About Life, Oh No Forest Fires, Five Blank Pages, Tiny Masters of Today, The Guest Bedroom, The Budos Band, and Green Go. I could conceivably have seen a few more acts, and I suspect some people did. Still, that’s a lot of music. I’ll post a full recap and review of the festival on my blog soon.

Sunday night I was out again, this time for a special edition of Wavelength at Sneaky Dee’s, my favourite venue. Remember Toronto II featured the reunion (sort of) of four bands that owned the scene in the 1990s and early 2000s: Grasshopper, The Electric Shoes, Katrocket, and Doc Pickles’ band. All the acts were good, and different, and though Grasshopper’s Derek Madison hurled himself, his guitar, and other stuff around stage, and birthday boy Jonny Dovercourt was on-stage screaming during the closer, “Neptune,” my favourite act was Steve Heyerdahl’s Electric Shoes. The crowd was a chunk of years older than I’ve come to expect on Sunday night, and the place was pretty busy, full of nostalgia and old friends reconnecting. I didn’t know these bands back in the day, but the excitement of the evening was infectious. A fun night. And thank goodness for earplugs.

Monday night I got word that Rock Plaza Central was doing an intimate performance at midnight at the Tranzac’s front room. A few minutes into the release day of their new album, the 6-piece band played an hour-long (at least) set to no more than 25 audience members. Yawd Sylvester joined them on piano for a couple songs. Near the end of the show, the band’s drummer punk-rocked it out, bashing his cymbals to the ground, swearing at his bandmates (in jest, of course), and leaving them to play on. Quite the rousing set by what is essentially a literary folk-rock ensemble. It felt special to be there. Or “magical,” as Chris Eaton, the band’s front-man, put it.

This week I'm recommending the Pitter Patter Music Festival, happening at various venues in Toronto (and 7 other Ontario cities) Thursday through Sunday. I'll be at Rancho Relaxo on Friday night, Sneaky Dee's on Saturday, and The Rearview Mirror in Kensington Market on Sunday (running the door; come say hello!). And I will likely be other places, too. You know me: I love show-hopping when I can afford it. The PPMF is all pwyc, so it's totally affordable.

For all the details, see the festival website.

WEDNESDAY (27 may)

* Dog Day (in-store) @ Soundscapes, 6pm, free. All ages.

Wednesday Go Pop! feat. Fox Jaws, The Decade of Sleep, Stereos, and Eve & the Ocean @ Supermarket, 9pm, pwyc.

Download: Fox Jaws's "Warm Winter Coats" (Goodbye Doris, 2007).

A.M. Mayhem 1: Hall & Oates vs. Huey Lewis & the News @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5. (Bands you may know covering other bands you may know.)

* Donlands & Mortimer (CD release) w/ T H O M A S, Yuka, and Boys Who Say No @ The Boat, 9pm, $8. (Or $12 at the door gets you in + a copy of the new album.)

THURSDAY (28 may)

* Thirsty Thursday (All-Girl Edition) feat. Liz Hysen, Alejandra Ribera, Ronley Teper, The Pining, and poetry by Damian Rogers @ 61 Jefferson Ave, ground floor, 8pm, pwyc. "All proceeds go to Heels on Wheels' Ride to Conquer Cancer fundraising efforts."

Megan Hamilton w/ Rhiannon Thomas @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Epigram, Ostrich Tuning, Hotel Hotel, and Salesman @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

Little Foot Long Foot (CD release) w/ My Shaky Jane @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $5.

The Terrible Twos, Teen Anger, The Bon, and Deutsche Bank @ The Silver Dollar Room, 10pm, $6.

* Dog Day (CD release) w/ The Burning Hell, Wildlife, and Pacific Trash Vortex @ Lee's Palace, 8:30pm, $7.

Download: Dog Day's "Rome" (Concentration, 2009).
Download: The Burning Hell's "The Berlin Conference" (Baby, 2009).

Totally Ripped, Sex Negatives, The Dead Are Those Who Have Died, and Disguises @ Smiling Buddha Bar, 9pm, $7.

FRIDAY (29 may)

* The Weather Station @ Ward's Island Association Clubhouse, 8pm, pwyc.

Download: The Weather Station's "East" (The Line, 2009).

The Ryan Driver Quartet @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

The George Casey Band, Luckyfool, The Monitors, and The Stormalongs @ The Silver Dollar Room, 9pm, $6.

Tin Star Orphans (CD release) w/ Graham Wright (Tokyo Police Club) @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $10.

* Slim Twig (CD release) feat. Slim Twig & the Young Hussies (playing covers), Slim Twig & the Mercy Mercenaries, Wyrd Visions, and others @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $10.

Download: Slim Twig's "Phantasm Inquest” (Contempt!, 2009).

Primary Colors presents Girl Sip Big Gulp (Under the Kitchen Table) feat. Videohippos, Ear Pwr, Gastric Female Reflex, and Botox Corvette @ United Steelworkers of America (25 Cecil St.), 8pm, $?

SATURDAY (30 may)

Robert Hedge @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* The Rest @ Neutral, 11pm (set time), $6.

Download: The Rest's "Sheep In Wolves' Clothing" (Everyone All At Once, 2009).

* Still Life Still, Dinosaur Bones, and La Casa Muerte @ The Velvet Underground, 5:30pm (early show), $10 (adv). All ages.

Download: Dinosaur Bones's "N.Y.E." (Dinosaur Bones, 2008).

SUNDAY (31 may)

Wavelength 465 feat. Dwight Schenk, Bent by Elephants, and The Max Woolaver Band, w/ DJ Heavy Evie-D, visuals by General Chaos, and hosted by Doc Pickles @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc ($5-$10 sugg).

Download: Dwight Schenk's "Ready for Judgment Day" (Natural Disasters, 2008).

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

MONDAY (1 june)

The Michael Holt Ensemble @ Church Of The Holy Trinity, 12:15pm, $5 sugg.

TUESDAY (2 june)

Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. If Looks Could Kill, Mambolo, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, and Beth In Battle Mode @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

Download: "A Little-Known Fact" (Hot Science, 2009).

* Octoberman (solo) and Great Aunt Ida @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* Mt. Royal and Proof of Ghosts @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

GoodSoundsGood presents Marianne Turner, Robyn Dell'Unto, and Mary Simon @ Supermarket, 9pm, $6.

Current favourites.

A few different people have asked me recently what are my favourite bands. I have so many, but I think my two most played bands are the amazing Great Lake Swimmers and the fantastic Born Ruffians. These are followed closely by the Acorn. I will love Cuff the Duke forever and always. And while were in the folky genre, I love Basia Bulat (esp. live), Forest City Lovers, Ghost Bees, $100, The Wooden Sky, Timber Timbre, and The Weather Station. More poppy stuff that I think is awesome includes The Rural Alberta Advantage and Two Hours Traffic. Amos the Transparent makes me happy. For weirder stuff, Slim Twig is great. Laura Barrett is brilliant, as is Tune-Yards. The best dance music ever (right now) is made by Woodhands and Green Go. Maybe the best show I ever went to featured Think About Life, Miracle Fortress, Ruby Coast, and Adam & the Amethysts.

Since I am Toronto-centric, my picks are inevitably Toronto-centric, but when I was in Berlin in November I saw Okkervil River and Shearwater on the same bill. Heaven.

Satisfied? I can post .mp3s for download if you like. Leave a comment with your request(s)!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Podcast 41 (28-31 May 2009).

On this episode Tyler and Jen talk to Keith Hamilton, creator and organizer of the Pitter Patter Music Festival. Featuring songs by Sandman Viper Command ("Oh Yeah, It's Fusion"), Parlovr ("On the Phone"), Pick A Piper ("Yellowknife"), Two Year Touqe ("Sea Unicorns"), Golden Isles ("Zombie Heart"), and The Champion Heartache ("Emergency"). Many new, good discoveries this week!

The festival is happening this weekend in many venues across 8 different cities. Tons of good bands and shows to check out. Full details here. Check back closer to the festival start to make sure you get the most up-to-date schedule, whether you're in Toronto or elsewhere in Southern Ontario. I'll have more on the festival later this week.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Indie Music 81 (20-25 May 2009).

Like this list? Join my Google Group to get my weekly Toronto indie music listings. Or, the Facebook group. Subscribe to my weekly podcast (or download the episodes) here, or through iTunes. Or just listen to the latest one, and all the other ones, at Zygiella. Make sure to check the rest of my blog for show reviews and photos, giveaways, and downloads.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto, all for $10 or less. If I'm missing something you think I should list, or you have any comments, let me know. I star (*) shows that most interest me.

Musical highlights from last week include the spazzy electro soul awesomeness of Pants & Tie; the very different rock 'n' soul of Steamboat (both of which fall into the I-can't-believe-I'm-experiencing-this category) with spectacular guests Mantler (!), Andre Ethier (!), $100, Sandro Perri, and others; and a solid Wavelength bill with standouts Emma McKenna and Braids. These three shows put me back $5+$6+pwyc($5)=$16. Unbelieveable. Where did you party last week?

This weekend is the Over the Top Festival, which is amazing. AMAZING. I had a chance to talk to the fest's creator and curator, Eric Warner, a week or two ago. He told me about some of the bands he's brought in, and now that I've had a chance to check out some of the others on my own, and after thinking about all the local acts that are playing, I can't get over the strength of this festival. For all the details and---more importantly---free songs from most of the bands playing, check out my preview post. You will not be disappointed. (And check out my other recent posts for giveaways you can enter.)

Here are some non-festival suggestions.

(20 may)

Colin Fisher @ Tranzac (Tiki Room), 8pm, pwyc.

Reverse Mount Rushmore, The Assistants, Fourthwall, and Compound Band @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $4.

* Kids on TV, Katie Stelmanis, and Gentleman Reg, w/ DJ Black Cat feat. The House of Monroe @ Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, 10pm, $5 or free with any ticket from a Wed screening from the Inside Out Film Festival.

* Charlotte Cornfield w/ The Keys, Laurent Bourque, and Leif Vollebekk @ The Rivoli, 7:30pm, $8.

THURSDAY (21 may)

The Champion Heartache, Rikers, Dirt & Diamonds, and Wildlife @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $4.

The Prince Brothers (CD release) w/ Jennifer LFO and Annelise Noronha @ The Rivoli, 8pm, $5.

Mein, Clydesdale, The Changes, Revolvers, and The Paper Makers @ The Silver Dollar Room, 8:45pm, $5.

Pace The Stairs, TONNN, We Were Former, and Toddler Body @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Buckets Of, The Knifings, and Mandeverest @ Clinton's Tavern, 10pm, $5.

Adaline w/ Katie DuTemple & the Staytoughs and Carmen Elle @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 10pm, $6.

Intertia Entertainment presents Keelhaul, Sin Dealer, and The Womb @ The Annex WreckRoom, 8pm, $10.

FRIDAY (22 may)

* Woods (in-store) @ Soundscapes, 6pm, free. All ages. GO TO THIS.

* Simeon Ross and Sigrun Stella @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm.

Pop With Brains feat. Morning Electric, Green Splat, Everything All the Time, The Vicious Guns, and The Job @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $5. Art for sale. Proceeds to CAMH.

* Catl w/ Bradley Boy (2 sets each) @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm, $5.

* Steam Whistle Unsigned 10 feat. Parallels, Kidstreet, and Ministry of the Environment @ Steam Whistle Brewing (255 Bremner Bldv), 8pm, $5.

Corduroy, The North, and Romeo Liquor Store @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

* Amos the Transparent, Make Your Exit, Whale Tooth, and The Lovely Killbots @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $7.

Balboa, Drunkula, and Poisonous Glass @ El Mocambo, $8.

* Mark Berube and the Patriotic Few w/ Ketch Harbour Wolves @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8-11pm, $10.

SATURDAY (23 may)

Groovy Religion (reunion show) @ The Rivoli, 9pm, pwyc.

Stagehands, Sex Butler, Mermen Attack, and The Potholes @ The Silver Dollar Room, 9pm, $6.

Permanent Bastards, Songs from a Room, Julia Set Generator, and Revolvers (EP release) @ Lee's Palace, 9pm, $7.

Vanderpark, Faded Blue, Woodward Co., and Cody Allan @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $8.

SUNDAY (24 may)

* Wavelength 464: Remember Toronto II: Band Reunited feat. Grasshopper (1991-96), The Electric Shoes (2000-04), Kat Rocket (1993-2001), and Tiger Bomb (1995-2003), w/ DJ Snake Vomit & the Half-Digested Possum, visuals by General Chaos, and hosted by Doc Pickles @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc ($5-$10 sugg).

* Toronto 9th Annual Bob Dylan Tribute hosted by Shawn Clarke w/ Dave Borins, Amy Campbell, Sarah Loucks, and Noah Zacharin @ C'est What, Sunday, 24 May, 9pm, $8.

MONDAY (25 may)

* Murder Folk Night 3 feat. Damian Rogers, Dave Borins, and Kate Boothman @ Board of Directors Gallery (1082 Queen St. W.), 7-10pm, pwyc.

Mark Pesci presents Daniel James Gang, The International Datelines, and Rackshot @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

Ticket/CD Giveaway & Review: Slim Twig @ Horseshoe Tavern, 29 May.

First, I review Slim Twig’s new album, Contempt!, then I tell you about the ticket + CD giveaway.

Back in October I included Slim Twig (band and man) on my list of the top 10 hottest Canadian bands of 2008. The local Toronto weeklies are big fans, too. To wit: this, and this. But the success of Slim Twig was never a given. His music is . . . weird. Which is part of the point. Slim has little patience for most of the “indie” music being produced today. Even a perfunctory listen to his discography will make this abundantly clear. Recent releases include two EPs put out by Paperbag RecordsVernacular Violence and Derelict Dialect—in 2008, this debut full-length, and an EP (Spit It Twig!) featuring previously unreleased material and remixes of tracks off of Contempt! (Download that last one for free here.)

Slim Twig makes unnerving, boundary breaking music with an urban, futuristic, and retro (yes, both) vibe. His gutsy sonic experimentations layered on traditional rock lines are not for everyday—at least not for me—but when I’m in the mood for something different, I know where to turn. There’s an interesting interplay between old and avant garde in Contempt!, and the band handles theme repetition extremely well. Yet this isn’t free-for-all experimental, new age, art-school noise: Slim Twig’s got pop-rock (and hip hop) sensibilities. The new album won’t do anything to win over the masses, but as the word spreads the musically-bored should take note.

This is an album with attitude, and one that gets better with repeated listening. His music evokes the sights, smells, and characters of a city core, but not the downtown most of us experience. “Hidden” is both futuristic and old-school; “Phantasm Inquest” is avant garde, carnal, poetic, disturbing, obsessive. I can see songs like “Alley Spying,” “Mansion Haunting,” and others showing up on soundtracks of gritty films about urban life. Some of his soundscapes are just downright eerie, and earnestly so. The abrupt ending of “Spirit Hunting”—and of the album—is fitting. The window into Slim Twig’s bizarre mind has been closed. The sun’s come up and it’s time to move on. Or go back and listen all over again.

Download: “Young Hussies” (Contempt!, 2009).
Download: “Phantasm Inquest” (Contempt!, 2009).
Download: “Birthing & Birthing" (Derelict Dialect, 2008).
Download: “Brothl Hunting” (Vernacular Violence, 2008).

The Toronto release party for Contempt! is happening Friday, 29 May, at the Horseshoe Tavern. The night will feature a set by Slim Twig with his band, a set of covers featuring Slim Twig performing with members of $100, Actual Water, The Creeping Nobodies, and Huckleberry Friends, and opening the show will be Wyrd Visions. Broken Tree Fort and Tropics (Slim’s other band) will also appear. This unique show will not be for the musical faint of heart, but those of us keen on the weirder end of the post-rock spectrum should enjoy the experience. Thanks to No Shame, I’ve got a pair of tickets to the show AND a copy of the new CD to give away. For a chance at them, e-mail me at historyjenATgmailDOTcom with “Slim Twig” in the subject line. Please include your full name in the message, and get this to me by 11:59pm on Wednesday, 27 May.

Fine Print: Slim Twig (CD release) feat. Slim Twig & the Young Hussies (playing covers), Slim Twig & the Mercy Mercenaries, Wyrd Visions, and others @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $10. 19+.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Podcast 40 (21-23 May 2009).

This is a special episode all about the Over the Top Festival, featuring the festival's creater and organizer, Eric Warner. Jen and Tyler have a conversation with Eric, and play songs from bands performing during the 3-day event, including Clues ("Remember Severed Head"), Think About Life ("Johanna"), The Wooden Sky ("North Dakota"), Woods ("The Dark"), Tiny Masters of Today ("Skeletons"), and Five Blank Pages ("Stem Skin & Pit").

Eric tells us about how the festival has grown over the years---he started it when he was but 17 years old!---and that he's really excited about the inclusion of the play "The Book of Judith." Eric's also been, and is, involved in a bunch of other music-related projects over the years, and he shares some of his experiences with us. He stresses how a lot of supportive, friendly people have really helped him out and made being "on the outskirts of the scene" a really positive thing for him. Bands he's really keen on seeing at this year's festival include Clues, Bayonets, Think About Life, Woods, The Budos Band, and Tiny Masters of Today. But every band is one he's keen to see perform. Too bad he'll be so busy running from place to place and making sure everything's running smoothly that he'll get little chance to take in the bands he's booked!

The Over the Top Festival runs this weekend (Thursday-Saturday) at a variety of regular and alternative venues around town. There are advance tickets for many of the shows, available at Rotate This and Soundscapes. You can also purchase a festival pass, which gets you into all the music, films, plays (but not "The Book of Judith"). Tickets for most shows will also be available at the door. All music events are all ages. There's great stuff happening!


To make for this, head over to this special festival preview post, full of free songs to download from the artists performing, and all the show details.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Over the Top Festival preview!

The Over the Top Festival is happening this weekend in Toronto! Music and film and theatre. It's nuts, and all organized by one guy (Eric Warner, with help from his friends). Music is what most interests me, so here's what you need to know to make the best of your Thursday through Saturday. There are advance tickets for many of the shows, available at Rotate This and Soundscapes. You can also purchase a festival pass, which gets you into all the music, films, and plays (but not "The Book of Judith"). Tickets for most shows will also be available at the door, though many of them will likely sell out. All music events are all ages.

There are a few shows that I don't have opinions about because I don't know the bands playing and haven't had time to check out their music yet. From what I do know, though, this festival is super stacked and musically varied. There are some really top-notch bands and bills being presented, and the shows are definitely worth the cost of admission. If I can make it out, I'll be at the Clues show Thursday night---the other two shows are stellar, too; hard decision. On Friday, I can't not go to the Think About Life record release show with the brilliant Tune-Yards. But I will most certainly be made to regret not being at the Music Gallery or WhipperSnapper that night, and I've got friends playing at the 6 Nassau event. AH! Saturday . . . uh, oh dear. If I've got the energy---and the cash---the Five Blank Pages finale followed by what's happening at Sneaky Dee's. You can catch both without missing much because of the timing. Or else start at WhipperSnapper.

All the details, links to the bands and Facebook events, and lots of free music below. If you click on the "play" icon on the bottom left of this window, you can listen to all the music instead of downloading each individual track:

THURSDAY (21 may)

Clues w/ The Ghost Is Dancing and The Darcys @ Sneaky Dee's, Thursday, 21 May, 9pm, $11. (Clues includes members of The Unicorns and Arcade Fire.) Facebook event.

Download: Clues, "Remember Severed Head" (Clues, 2009).
Download: The Ghost Is Dancing, "Rogues & Heroes" (Battles On, 2009).
Download: The Darcys, "I'm A Ship" (Endless Water, 2007).

Baby Dee w/ Timber Timbre and Ghost Bees @ 6 Nassau, Thursday, 21 May, 8pm, $11. Facebook event.

Video: Baby Dee, "Safe Inside the Day" (live performance)
Download: Timber Timbre, "Demon Host" (Timber Timbre, 2008).
Download: Ghost Bees, "Vampires of the West Coast" (Tasseomancy, 2008).

Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains w/ Dinosaur Bones, Friendly Foes, and Bayonets @ WhipperSnapper Gallery, 8pm, $10. Facebook event.

Download: Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, "By Cover Of Night (Fire Fight)" (Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains, 2008).
Download: Dinosaur Bones, "N.Y.E." (Dinosaur Bones, 2008).

FRIDAY (22 may)

Think About Life (CD release) w/ Tune-Yards and Bayonets @ Polish Combatants Hall, Friday, 22 May, 8:30pm, $10. Facebook event.

Download: Think About Life, "Set You On Fire" (Family, 2009).
Download: Tune-Yards, "Fiya" (Bird-Brains, 2008).

The Wooden Sky w/ Evening Hymns and The Silver Line @ The Music Gallery, Friday, 22 May, 8pm, $10. Facebook event.

Download: The Wooden Sky, "North Dakota" (When Lost At Sea, 2006).
Download: Evening Hymns, "Sentimental Reasons" (live in studio, 2007).

MV+EE w/ Woods and $100 (duet) @ WhipperSnapper Gallery, Friday, 22 May, 8pm, $10. Facebook event.

Download: Woods, "Rain On" (Songs of Shame, 2009).
Download: One Hundred Dollars, "No Great Leap" (Forest of Tears, 2008).

Mecca Normal w/ Dave Borins and The Wilderness of Manitoba @ 6 Nassau Street, Friday, 22 May, 8pm, $11. Facebook event.

Download: The Wilderness of Manitoba, "The Great Hall" (live recording).

Hunter w/ Ulysses & The Siren, The Narrative, and Cool Dad @ Sneaky Dee's, Friday, 22 May, 9pm, $10. Facebook event.

Download: Cool Dad, "Lookin' For A House" (Delaware, 2009).

SATURDAY (23 may)

The Budos Band w/ wordPEOPLE, and DJ John Kong @ Polish Combatants Hall, Saturday, 23 May, 8:30pm, $15. Facebook event.

Tiny Masters of Today w/ Windom Earle, The Superstitions, and The Paint Movement @ WhipperSnapper Gallery, Saturday, 23 May, 7pm, $12. Facebook event.

Download: Tiny Masters of Today, "La-La Land" (La-La Land, 2008).
Download: The Superstitions, "Boy In Black" (The Beginning Sounds In the End, 2007)
Download: The Paint Movement, "Faults" (Our Eurythmy, 2009).

Green Go w/ Shellshag, Fiasco, The Guest Bedroom, and Bayonets @ Sneaky Dee's, Saturday, 23 May, 9pm, $10. Facebook event.

Download: Green Go, "Fool Me Once" (Borders, 2009).
Download: The Guest Bedroom, "Stranglehold" (Treading Water/Blowing Smoke, 2008).

Five Blank Pages (final show / EP release) w/ Oh No Forest Fires and Boys Who Say No @ Mod Club, 6:30pm, $10. Win tickets to this show here. Facebook event.

Download: Five Blank Pages, "Stem, Skin & Pit" (Young Glow, 2009).
Download: Oh No Forest Fires, "You Know What That Is... Trouble" (The War On Geometry, 2008).

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ticket Giveaway: 9th Annual Bob Dylan Tribute Night, 24 May.

A couple Sundays from now, 24 May, is the anniversary of Bob Dylan's birth. An annual musical celebration's been happening in Toronto for the past 8 years, and the 9th is taking place on the date in question at C'est What (67 Front St. E). The night will feature "music from 5 decades of Bob Dylan." Hard to go wrong with that, eh? Local singer-songwriters and Dylan fans Dave Borins, Amy Campbell, Sarah Loucks, "Big Daddy Z" Noah Zacharin, and host Shawn Clarke are the night's Dylan interpreters. "This year is the best of the Dylan performers so far," says the event organizer, Ryan Ayukawa. Click through to the various MySpaces . . . I think you'll agree that the lineup does indeed seem stacked with talent.

For a taste of what you can expect, have a listen to Shawn Clarke's version of "One Too Many Mornings." (The photo to the left is of Shawn Clarke recording a Dylan cover.) And, although he's not performing that night, I thought I'd share with you Dog Is Blue's rendition of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright." And, 'cause I'm feeling like sharing, here are two more Dylan covers.

Download: Dog Is Blue, "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright" (Bob Dylan cover; unreleased)
Download: Cat Power, "I Believe In You" (Bob Dylan cover; Jukebox, 2008)
Download: Johnny Cash, "It Ain't Me Babe" (Bob Dylan cover; Orange Blossom Special, 1965).

Thanks to Ryan Ayukawa, I've got a pair of tickets to give away to the show. These events have a tendency to sell out, so there will be a healthy crowd of Dylan lovers there that night. You too? Email me at historyjenATgmailDOTcom if you want a chance at winning! Please include your full name in the body of the email, and "Bob Dylan" in the subject line. Get this in to me by 11:59pm on Friday, 22 May.

Fine Print: Toronto 9th Annual Bob Dylan Tribute hosted by Shawn Clarke w/ Dave Borins, Amy Campbell, Sarah Loucks, and Noah Zacharin @ C'est What, Sunday, 24 May, 9pm, $8. 19+. Facebook event. For more information on the event, get in touch with Ryan at open.conceptATsympaticoDOTca.

Photo credit: Ryan Ayukawa.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Podcast 39 (14-19 May 2009).

Jen and Tyler welcomed Bryan David Ward and Justin Myler from the Brampton / Toronto band Black Hat Brigade to the podcast this week. We talked about their new record; the interplay between song-writing, performance, and recording; touring and building a fan base; promotion and fundraising techniques for bands; and some other stuff. Featuring songs by Black Hat Brigade ("Kitchen Party"), The Speaking Tongues ("Run To My Door"), Mantler ("Hoped For Chance"), Radius & Helena ("Double Dragon"), The Craft Economy ("Big Purse Lil' Dawg"), and Diamond Rings ("All Yr Songs" [taken from here]).

Black Hat Brigade have a new EP out called Fathers. Their CD release party is happening 29 May at El Mocambo as part of Pitter Patter Fest. The new disk has been getting nice reviews. Plus, I like it.

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Ticket/CD Giveaway & Review: Five Blank Pages.

After seven years and three albums—2004's Spaces to Occupy and Abandon, 2007's full-length Last Blush, and the new Young Glow EP—Toronto-by-way-of-Brampton band Five Blank Pages are calling it quits. The two remaining original members Noyan Hilmi and his wife Pinar Ozyetis reunite with their former drummer (Noyan’s sister Chelen, helping out on the kit but mostly singing backup; Michael Reles is the band's current drummer) and bassist (Rajiv Thavanathan) to play their final show on Saturday, 23 May, at the Mod Club. Also serving as a CD release party for Young Glow, the show will be opened by up-and-coming popsters Boys Who Say No, and Rajiv’s main band these days, Oh No Forest Fires. Five Blank Pages will be joined on stage by many special guest musicians who will no doubt give the band’s warm, melodic pop-rock tunes the treatment they deserve. I was at FBP’s last CD release show, and can attest to the specialness of the extra live instrumentation. This will be a great evening of local music, starting with the completely bop-able BWSN and the semi-spazzy pop of ONFF, and ending with a fitting celebration of a group of great musicians and wonderful people.

And what about that new record, you ask?

The EP opens with a slightly unsettling keyboard melody that right away signals that this new recording is a bit of a departure for the band. And, as it turns out, the melancholic mood on Last Blush’s standout track, "Marrow," is all over this album. In the full-length, "Marrow" seemed oddly placed among happier songs, but looking back—and now with Young Glow in my music player—I see where the mood fits.

The first track, “Stem Skin & Pit,” isn’t the Canadiana comfort rock-pop that I expected. (I guess I wasn’t paying attention to the title.) Fast-paced drumming, synced up boy-girl vocals, quick time signature changes, and a slow-but-rocking guitar part midway through builds on other musical layers. “To No One” shines the vocal spotlight once again equally on Pinar as it does Noyan, and the mood is subdued here, too. There’s a sense of urgency, apprehension, but finally comes acceptance. The song’s last minute and a bit is a stark change. We’ve moved forward, not having forgotten the earlier worries, but having come to terms with them. Noyan takes us back to more familiar ground on “Cardigan,” but the album’s mood remains consistent. This tune reminds me a little of the Rural Alberta Advantage’s calmer moments. In other words, strong vocal, keyboard, and drum lines combine for a somewhat melancholic air. The electric guitar takes centre stage later on, and when the backing vocals come in we’re back at hopeful acceptance. Pinar’s Rebekah Higgs / Megan Hamilton-esque vocals are one of the album’s strengths. This is something else I hadn’t expected from FBP, but it’s a happy treat for me. The juxtaposition between the sweet, sustained singing and the heavy rock instrumentation on “What an Ending” bring the EP to a close. What an ending, indeed.

Download: Five Blank Pages, “Marrow” (Last Blush, 2007).
Download: Five Blank Pages, “Stem Skin & Pit” (Young Glow, 2009).

Courtesy of Five Blank Pages and Over the Top Festival, I’ve got a pair of tickets to the show on 23 May and a copy of the new album to give away to one lucky person. In addition, the band’s letting me give away a digital download of the EP. If you want a chance to win the tickets/CD, email me at historyjenATgmailDOTcom with “FBP, ONFF, BWSN” in the subject line (ha! sorry), and get that to me by 11:59pm on Thursday, 21 May. The show’s all ages and relatively early, so anyone with plans to be in Toronto that evening can enter. For a chance to win the digital download, email me with “I want the Young Glow” in the subject line (ha! groan). Same deadline, but this time anyone, anywhere in the world can enter. In each case I’ll need your full name in the body of the email. Good luck!

Here’s to you, FBP! You were one of the first bands that I latched onto when I started going to shows a couple years ago. Thanks for the memories, and good luck with everything that comes next.

Fine Print: The Over the Top Festival presents Five Blank Pages (final show / CD release) w/Oh No Forest Fires and Boys Who Say No @ The Mod Club, 6:30pm, $12 ($10 in adv). All ages. (This one will be over by 10pm, so no straggling!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Indie Music 80 (13-19 May 2009).

Like this list? Join my Google Group to get my weekly Toronto indie music listings. Or, the Facebook group. Subscribe to my weekly podcast (or download the episodes) here, or through iTunes. Or just listen to the latest one, and all the other ones, at Zygiella. Make sure to check the rest of my blog for show reviews and photos, giveaways, and downloads.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto, all for $10 or less. If I'm missing something you think I should list, or you have any comments, let me know. I star (*) shows that most interest me.

I go to too many shows a week, and when it comes time to recap my outings, I usually can't remember what I saw. But this week I pretty much stayed away from music, except for a lovely backyard shed show on Saturday and Wavelength on Sunday. I went from quiet folk to noise rock for those shows. Should do that more often.

What about you?

This week there's the usual assortment of good and I-don't-know on the listings. Scroll down for some suggestions, and press "play" to hear/download a handful of tracks from bands performing. I'm aiming to check out Vertiver on Friday---heck, it's free and not so far away, Steamboat's release party on Saturday, and Wavelength on Sunday. Katie Stelmanis and Diamond Rings! Lots of other good bets.

(13 may)

* Francis & the Lights w/ Mantler @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, free.

Download: Francis & the Lights, "On A Train" (A Modern Promise, 2008).

Cigarettes (Brad Casey) w/ Maggie Meyer @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

Ronley Teper's Lipliners @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

PWYC Weds feat. Royal Manor, Slides, and Tundra Fun @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc.

Inertia Entertainment presents Misery Index and Wetwork @ The Annex WreckRoom, 7pm, $10. All ages.

THURSDAY (14 may)

* T H O M A S (CD release) w/ Fraser Gielen, Donlands & Mortimer, Nancy & Co., Quiet Hooves, and Bird Names @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc ($10 for the CD).

Friends of This Ain't the Rosedale Library presents Sheila Heti (reading), Malcolm Sutton (reading, images), Alex Lukashevsky (music), and The Torrent (music) @ The Boat, 7:30pm, pwyc. Proceeds to the bookstore.

Michael Holt, Dave Celia, and Peter Murray @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

The Low Heroes, Moondog Uproar, Sea Of Gold & Burgundy, and Luke Nares @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $4.

* WreckingBall Entertainment presents The Speaking Tongues, The Skirt Chasers, and Knock Knock Ginger @ Clinton's Tavern, 9pm, $5.

Download: The Speaking Tongues, "Run to My Door" (Wild Sound, 2008).

TWM presents Rich Girl, l’Affumer, Agpak Mum, and Left of Zero @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

Drunk Woman presents Honky Night in Canada feat. The Strumbellas, Sunbear, Christian D & the Hangovers, Soloman, Taylor Mitchell, and members of the Diableros and Proof of Ghosts @ The Silver Dollar Room, 9pm, $6. "Drunk Woman will perform a set of Sun Records classics by the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis."

Download: The Strumbellas, "Underneath a Mountain" (unreleased, 2009).

Francis & the Lights w/ Mantler @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, $10.

FRIDAY (15 may)

* Vertiver (in-store) @ Sonic Boom, 7pm, free. All ages. Bring a donation for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Francis & the Lights w/ Mantler @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, free.

* Pants & Tie, Golden Girls, and The Famines @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5

Pop Noir (dance party) feat. Picturesound (live) @ The Boat, 10pm, $5.

* Junior Battles, Horses, City Sweethearts, and Prevenge @ The Silver Dollar Room, 9pm, $6.

Beautiful Nothing, Audio To Mute, Winslow, and tba @ Annies On Queen, 9pm, $7.

The Jar Jar Par Party ("Space Costume Dance Party and Gungan Birthday Extravaganza") feat. 3 Guitaros, Sean Ward, Radius & Helena, and DJ Diana @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 8pm, $7 (or $5 w/ space costume).

* Mean Red Spiders, Soft Copy, Sunbear, and Rat Tail, w/ DJ Tara White @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc.

SATURDAY (16 may)

* The Stables (2 sets, as part of Dan & Terri’s rehearsal dinner) @ Rancho Relaxo, 9:30pm, free.

Hugh and Rosie's CD Release for "Even Kercy: The Latest Lucubrations of Hugh Oliver and Michael Rosenthal" @ Tranzac (Tiki Room), 8pm, pwyc.

* Europe in Colour, Kinetic Stereokids, and The Craft Economy @ The Silver Dollar Room, 10:30pm (late doors), $5.

Download: Europe In Colour, "Last Flight to Paris" (Europe In Colour, 2007).

That's What She Said (CD release) @ Smiling Buddha Bar, 9pm, $8.

The Speakeasies, The Kramdens, Kid Coma, and Dancehall Free For All @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $8.

The Wilderness, l'Affumer, and The Lowercase @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, pwyc.

Download: The Wilderness, "The Bard" (CIUT live recording, 2009). Download the whole live EP here.

The Von Drats @ The Cadillac Lounge, 10pm.

* Steamboat (2 sets; EP release) w/ Andre Ethier, Sandro Perri, Mantler, Alex Lukashevsky, $100 (duet), and Doug Paisley @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm.


* Wavelength 463 feat. Katie Stelmanis, Emma McKenna, Braids, and Diamond Rings, w/ DJ Brad Ketchen, hosted by Doc Pickles, and visuals by General Chaos @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, pwyc ($5-$10 sugg).

Video: Diamond Rings, "All Yr Songs" (live performance, filmed by Colin Medley).

The Calrizians and Luau or Die @ The Cadillac Lounge, 9pm, $5.

Download: The Calrizians, "Hernando's Hideaway" (Don't Let the Smooth Taste Fool You, 2007).

MONDAY (18 may)

Krallice (in-store) @ Sonic Boom, 5pm (probably), free. All ages. Bring a donation for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Shoeless Monday feat. Yr New Friends, Forces, and The Vibe @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

Mark Pesci presents Tyvek, So Cow, The Bang Bangs, and Magic Cheezies @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $10.

TUESDAY (19 may)

* Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Flowers Of Hell, The Superstitions, and In Support Of Living @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

St. Dirt Elementary School @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

Fred Spek's Camp Combo @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Room), 8:30-10:30pm, pwyc.

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

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Podcast 38 (6-12 May 2009).

This week Jen and Tyler are joined by Tyler Johnston, Shehzaad Jiwani, and Brian Craig from the band Arietta. In between the gabbering we play songs by Arietta ("Northearned"), Cancel Winter ("The Silence"), METZ ("Soft Whiteout"), Hamilton Trading Co. ("Element"), This is Picture ("Photoshop"), and Cold Dead Hands ("All the Juice").

Topics of conversation include what it's like being a DIY band, the recording process, the "tech rock" world, and how I met Tyler J. (the one in the pink hat.) All equally enthralling topics.

Arietta are celebrating the release of their first full-length, Migration, on Thursday, 7 May, at the Horseshoe. The album is now in stores and online. Click here to download "Into the Deep," another song off the new album.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Indie music 79 (5-12 May 2009).

Like this list? Join my Google Group to get my weekly Toronto indie music listings. Or, the Facebook group. Subscribe to my weekly podcast (or download the episodes) here, or through iTunes. Or just listen to the latest one, and all the other ones, at Zygiella. Make sure to check the rest of this blog for show reviews and photos, giveaways, and downloads.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto, all for $10 or less. If I'm missing something you think I should list, or you have any comments, let me know. I star (*) shows that most interest me.

Last week was nuts, music-wise. I went to see Baltimore's Ponytail on Wednesday night (also Romo Roto and Brides; review here). Thursday I was at Wrongbar for Green's Go CD release, and I loved their and The Magic's sets. The opener, Everything All the Time, had people talking, too. Must see more of them. Friday I caught Chris Yang and the marvelous Diamond Rings at Tranzac. (Check out Colin Medley's recent video of a Diamong Rings performance.) And then come Saturday it was time for another CD release show. This time, Great Bloomers's @ the Horseshoe, where I also enjoyed Sports: The Band (much improved over the past few months) and the one-time-only performance of Gavin Gardiner & the Cutting Edge. (Gavin's main musical project is The Wooden Sky.)

This week there's lots more great stuff to do. I'm looking forward especially to some quieter stuff at Delaware House Saturday night. Scroll down for tons of inexpensive suggestions, as well as a handful of song downloads to get you in the mood.

TUESDAY (5 may)

* Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Bella Clava, Boxes & Bags, Tin Star Orphans, and The Balconies @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

Great Aunt Ida and The Book of Gnomes @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Ugly Stick, Endangered Ape, Hot Blood Bombers, and Deutsches Banks @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm.

* Wildlife, Rich Aucoin, and First Aid Kit @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

GoodSoundsGood presents Moulann, Dee Planche and Tanika Charles @ Supermarket, 9pm, $6.


PWYC Weds feat. My October, Hospital Grade, and Elk Face @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc.

* Blacklung Curatorial Vol 3 feat. Isla Craig and Doug Hoyer @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* I Have Eaten the City, Honest I's, Battleship Ethel, and Neil Cavalier (film) @ Cinecycle, 7pm, $5.

* The Disraelis, Chang-A-Lang, Amanda Rogers, and Old Seed @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Kevin Kane, The Two Twenty Twos, and Patrick Brealey @ The Rivoli, 8:30pm, $10.

THURSDAY (7 may)

The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra and Karl Mohr @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* Doug Hoyer, Jenny Omnichord, Mixylodian @ The Boat, 9pm, $5

TWM presents Mixylodian, The Liptonians, Julia Set Generator, and Owel Five @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

* Heartbeat Hotel (ex-Mariposa), Romo Roto, John Milner You're So Boss, and Brame Face @ Tiger Bar, 9pm, $6.

Download: Heartbeat Hotel, "TVPO" (Transbastardized Orphan under a Harvest Moon, 2009).

* Trinket Trance presents Tripping Hazard (CD release), Wax Mannequin, Run with the Kittens, and Secret Public / Wonderful William's Philharmonic @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $7.

* Truth Explosion Magazine presents Arietta (CD release), The Junction, Tera Melos, and Cancel Winter, hosted by Serb Superb @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $7.

Download: Arietta, "Into the Deep" (Migration, 2009).

* White Whale 5 Year Anniversary feat. The Mohawk Lodge, Tusks, Octoberman, Poorfolk, and Eamon McGrath @ The Dakota Tavern, 8pm, $?

FRIDAY (8 may)

* The Oxford Hotel presents Matt Sajn, OK Vancouver OK, Katie Caron, and Slowly Slowdy @ The Oxford Hotel (117 Oxford St.), 7pm, pwyc. In the backyard, if the weather's good.

Alex Leggett and Zoe Sky Jordan @ The Velvet Underground, 9pm, $5 (or $2 w/ student ID).

* Pontiak and Wyrd Visions @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8-11pm, $5.

PDF Format, Battle Lava, TouchBoy, and Tetris Hold Em @ Bread & Circus, 9pm, $5.

Download: PDF Format, "We Shall Eat Krill" (This Is What It Feels Like, 2009)

* 84.85, Bombaman, and DJs @ The Boat, 10pm, $5.

TWM 41 presents Isle of Thieves, Born to Busk, and Luau or Die @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

Picked On, U.T.I., and Sick Error @ Annie's on Queen, 9:30pm, $6.

* Machetes, The Hoa Hoa's, Les Gars, and Invasions @ The Silver Dollar Room, 9pm.

Right On Media presents Jay Spectre w/ Katie DuTemple & the Staytoughs @ Supermarket, 10pm, $8.

* Ketch Harbour Wolves, The O'Darling, and Wilderness of Manitoba @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $8 (adv tix are avail. from

Download: The O'Darling, "You're Directing" (A Nice EP, 2008).

SATURDAY (9 may)

Kidstreet @ The Mod Club, 10pm, $10. BUT, email infoATyyzrecordsDOTcom to be put on the guestlist for free entry. Don't be shy about this. (You just have to show up at the club before 11pm, when the band starts playing.)

* Snowblink, Evening Hymns, and The Wilderness of Manitoba @ The Delaware House, 9pm, pwyc.

Download: Snowblink, "Rut and Nuzzle" (Hibiscus & Rosehips Compilation, 2009).
Video: Evening Hymns, "Dead Deer" @ Wavelength, filmed by Colin Medley.

* Paul Linklater and Brent Randall & His Pinecones @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Download: Brent Randall & His Pinecones, "Bluebirds, Flowers and Other Things" (We Were Strangers in Paddington Green, 2009).

Elephant Stone (ex-High Dials) and Kevin Kane (ex-The Grapes of Wrath) @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8-11pm, $5.

Fire Hydrant (last show, 2 sets), Pick a Piper, and Henrietta Lacks @ The Cameron House, 9pm, $5.

Mark Pesci presents Urban Blight (record release), Waste Management, Omegas, Mad Men, and Bad Choice NYCTO @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $10.

* Muck & the Mires, The Primordials, and The Superstitions, w/ DJs Frantic Tim and Flipped Out Phil @ The Silver Dollar Room, 10pm, $10.

SUNDAY (10 may)

Tin Star Orphans and Boys Who Say No @ WhipperSnapper Gallery, 3pm, pwyc. All ages afternoon show.

* Marcel Aucoin and Michael Holt present the Piano Salon feat. Laura Barrett w/ Ajay Mehra (music), Michael (talk about music), and Bob Wiseman (piano) @ 786a St. Clair West, 7pm, pwyc. Feel free to bring food and drink to share. This is at the home of Ben and Kristin Mueller-Heaslip.

Download: Laura Barrett, "Nobody Cares About the Railroads Anymore" (Harry Nilsson cover).

* Wavelength 462 / We Are Busy Bodies presents METZ, Little Girls, and Pacific Trash Vortex, w/ DJ Skip, hosted by Doc Pickles, and visuals by General Chaos @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, pwyc ($5-$10 sugg).

* Gather Round Season Finale feat. Hamilton Trading Co., Trevor Murphy, and Braxton Clover @ The Boat, 9pm, pwyc.

MONDAY (11 may)

* Mt. Royal, Rah Rah, and tba @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Download: Rah Rah, "Tentacles" (Going Steady, 2008).

TUESDAY (12 may)

Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Transwell, Robot Man, Cold Dead Hands (CD release), and Rival Boys @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

No Brigade, Revolution Love, This Is Picture, BingeNinja, and The First Seed @ Rancho Relaxo, 8:30pm, $5.

* Rah Rah, The Cheer, and Brent Randall & his Pinecones @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $5.