Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Friends In Bellwoods 2 release party @ Lee's Palace, 28 Aug.

On Friday night I went to one of the best shows I've been to all year. At Lee's Palace I and several hundred others were treated to an excellently put together and performed show to celebrate the release of the Friends in Bellwoods 2 compilation. The evening featured Waterloo-based electro dance group Bocce, hometown favourites Ohbijou, the lovely Forest City Lovers, and the expanded band version of Jonas Bonnetta's solo project, Evening Hymns. I have seen all these bands before (though not Evening Hymns as a 7-piece), and went into the show expecting to have a nice time. I did not expect the musical spectacular that it turned out to be. Silly me.

I missed the first song or two of Evening Hymns' set, and when I got there the venue was already pretty busy. A good sign. Jonas was still playing that sparkly silver guitar I saw him use during a solo performance a few months back---good. The addition of Sylvie Smith (The Magic) on backing vocals, James Bunton (Ohbijou) on drums, Gavin Gardiner (The Wooden Sky) on guitar, Andrew Wyatt (The Wooden Sky) on bass, and others made for an impressive lineup. Mid-way through their set, Sylvie Smith took over lead vocals, singing her contribution to the compilation, "On Our Own." On the record, her voice is strong and clear; live, it was even better. A real standout track. Another inspired moment was when most of Jonas' band cleared off, making way for the members of The D'Urbervilles, dressed up to mimic their friend Taylor Kirk (Timber Timbre), whose song "Magic Arrow" they covered for the album. And so they performed it for us. Great stuff.

Jonas recently arranged for Out of This Spark records to release his next album, coming out on 3 November. Promises to be a good one. Listen to "Dead Deer" on his MySpace. Or just watch this live video, taken by Colin Medley at a Wavelength show a while back:

Next up was Forest City Lovers, one of the top local folk-pop acts. This band had fewer tricks up its sleeves, but did bring in extra strings for a few songs (Jenny Mecija and Anissa Hart from Ohbijou). More importantly, the band performed a strong set with their full lineup. It was nice to see them sound so good and seem so confident in their set. Good! I like this band a lot, but the stars never fully align whenever I see them live. Friday night, they did. They played their track off the compilation---"Minneapolis," which also kicks off the preview podcast I did last week---as well as songs from their recordings. Look for a new 7" from the band sometime in the next few months.

The biggest draw of the night was Ohbijou, a band that's had a lot of successes over the past year, building on a longer history of community involvement and strong musicianship. I missed out on their CD release show earlier this summer, so tonight was my chance to get up to speed on how the band's been doing. And, well, they were great. I've sometimes found Ohbijou's recorded output hard to really get into. I am a fan of the folkier indie rock out there, but for a some reason Ohbijou never did it for me as much as it does for so many other people. Friday night was the moment when things clicked between me and the band. Casey Mecija and the rest of her bandmates seemed really excited for the event, and their energy added sparkle to their quiet songs. The didn't play too many of their own songs, calling up guests---Nils Edenloff (The Rural Alberta Advantage); Reg Vermue and Kelly McMichael (Gentleman Reg); Basia Bulat; and others---to sing and play with them, and it all made the set more festive. Consider me now much more firmly in the fan category.

At this point things could have ended, but no: the event's organizers had one more band for us. Bocce took to the stage ready to get the real party started. And my oh my did they ever. The dance floor was hopping and the guys seemed not at all phased to be playing to such a large crowd after such brilliant sets of music. I hung back near the soundboard, but it gave me the perfect sightline to witness the craziness of Casey, Kat Burns (Forest City Lovers), and Greg Santilly (The D'Urbervilles) rapping. During the encore, seemingly everyone who had performed that night, and even some who hadn't, piled on stage, jumping up and down and having a blast. So was everyone in the audience. Take a look for yourself.

What a great night of music. You can purchase a copy of the 40-song double-disk compilation from a variety of actual and virtual stores. All proceeds go to the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank. Details here.

[Photo credit: staceymccool.]

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shout Out / Review: The Wooden Sky @ Sonic Boom, 24 Aug.

On Monday evening local roots rock band The Wooden Sky played a free set in the basement of Sonic Boom Records in the Annex. The place was nearly full, and we were all treated to a full set of songs new and old. The 5-piece performed tracks off their new album, If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone, just out this week, as well as 2006's self-titled disc. The band's front-man, Gavin Gardiner, was in fine form, and the other band members were too. I was sitting at the front with a few others, and enjoyed myself immensely. I've seen this band a couple times in the past, but it's been many months, and it looks like they've settled into their new lineup really well.

The new album will appeal to the band's existing fanbase: there are no big surprises here. And it should solidify The Wooden Sky's place as one of the country's top younger (but experienced) roots bands. Gavin's got a great voice, and tells compelling stories. The string-heavy band---bass, guitar, banjo, violin, but also keyboard, harmonica, and percussion---adds intensity and musical interest. The addition of female backing vocals on the disc adds a new layer to the band's sound. The first track, "Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)," captures the band's calmer moments well. On the second, the pace is quickened and keyboard comes in; on the third, the drums play a larger role. But then we're back to a quieter mood... until the freneticism comes in part-way through the fourth song. And so it goes. There are few standout tracks on the album. But this isn't a slight: it's all worth listening to. My own favourites are the less rockier ones, including "An Evening Hymn," "Something Hiding For Us In The Night," and these two:

Download: "Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)" (If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone, 2009).
Download: "Oslo" (If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone, 2009).

The band's been on the road this summer, playing living rooms, backyards, and other smaller spaces. They head back out near the end of September, backing up Elliott Brood across the continent. Sounds like a brilliant pairing to me.

[Photo credit: Frank Yang.]

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Indie Music 94 (27 Aug - 2 Sep 2009).

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.

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.

There are some top-notch inexpensive shows happening over the next 7 days. Hope you have a change to enjoy some of them!

THURSDAY (27 aug)

* Ronley Teper's Lipliners w/ Dwight Schenk @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm (start time), pwyc.

* Nifty (Matt Smith) EP release w/ Alex Lukashevsky and Animal Monster @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 10pm, free.

Davey Parker Radio Sound, Foxes in Fiction, Acres of Lions, and Sugar Fight @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

* Braids, Knots, and The Phonemes @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, $5.

Burn Down the Capital presents Pterodactyl, Two Bears, Disguises, and The Meat @ The Boat, 9pm, $5-$8.

Bravestation, The Proper Charles, Apple Pi @ The Rearview Mirror, 9pm, $5.

Music for Money, Willow Rutherford, Calamity Royale @ The Music Gallery, 7pm, 8pm, $5/$8.

Hume, Brides, Carl Didur, No White God, and Blue Tape Red Tape @ Hotshot Gallery (181 Augusta Ave.), 8pm, $6. Free pancakes.

The Mahones, The Delinquints, Nightmares, and Liam Lonegran @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $10.

FRIDAY (28 aug)

* The Daredevil Christopher Wright @ Criminal Records, 6pm, free.

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

* Cancel Winter and Clothes Make the Man @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

* The Smith Westerns w/ The Bang Bangs, The Superstitions, Planet Creature, and Danger Danger @ The Silver Dollar Room, 9pm, $7.

Basia Lyjak, Crued, and Voodoo Bunny @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $7.

Looks Linear, Alphabot!, and Donlands & Mortimer (acoustic) @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $7.

* Still Life Still (CD release) w/ The Paint Movement, Dinosaur Bones, and Boxes & Bags @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $10. Includes new CD.

Download: Still Life Still, "Pastel" (Girls Come Too, 2009).

Starvin Hungry w/ The Mercy Now & Tokyo Sex Whale @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm.

SATURDAY (29 aug)

If you missed the Lee's Palace extravaganza on Friday night, you have another chance to join the celebrations for the Friends in Bellwoods compilation: at Tranzac, all day. Later on, there's plenty more good shows happening:

* Friends in Bellwoods 2 release party & BBQ @ Tranzac, noon-11pm, $10 (or $8 w/ non-perishable food donation). All ages. Here's the full lineup:
12:10 – Bruce Peninsula
12:45 – Kate Rogers
1:20 – Great Bloomers
1:55 – Sylvie Smith's Country Band
2:30 – Sebastien Grainger
3:05 – The Low Notes
3:40 – The Phonemes
4:15 – Tusks
4:50 – Canadian Wildlife
5:25 – The Cutting Edge (The Wooden Sky sideproject)
6:00 – Dinghies (Stringer/WAMO/Ohbijou)
6:35 – Kite Hill
7:10 – Bellewoods
7:45 – Lisa Bozikovic
8:20 – Kids On TV
8:55 – Emma McKenna
9:30 – Germans
10:05 – Snowblink
10:40 – The Acorn

* Secret Session feat. The Books Elusive, The Balconies, and Modernboys Moderngirls @ TARA 554 Queen St E), 8pm, free. 19+.

The Strip w/ Grady Kelneck @ Not My Dog, 9pm, pwyc.

* T H O M A S @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Latte D. Kyd, Hunter Eves, First Person Shooter, and Made By A Virus @ Neutral, 9pm, $5.

* The Mark Inside, Fjord Rowboat, and Nick Kervin @ The Boat, 9pm, $tba.

* TWM presents The Lovely Killbots, Jane Vain (solo), and Extra Happy Ghost @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

Download: The Lovely Killbots, "Little Shape" (Primrose Lane, 2008).

* Anagram, Actual Water, and Sun Ra Ra Ra @ Silver Dollar, 10:30pm, $5-6.

The Spitfires and The Organ Thieves @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Cedardale w/ Kid Stallion, Time Brings Change, Killing for Friday, Ages of Men & Treestar @ Unique Cafe (319 Oakwood), All ages, 7pm, $7.

Campfire at the Cameron feat. Shawna Caspi, Ian Reid, and Jon McLurg @ The Cameron House, 10pm, $8

* The Speaking Tongues (7" release) w/ John Schooley @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm, $5?

Kill the Lights (CD release) w/ Final Flash @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $10.

Sherri Woodstock Memorial feat. Clarkson Go, Little Millionaires, Brigid Dineen, and Bowman @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $10.

Jefferson Deathstar, The Ryde, Record Breaker, and Chris Koster @ Lee's Palace, 9pm, $10.

SUNDAY (30 aug)

Although this isn't the long weekend, there are a ton of great shows tonight! I'll be at Wavelength, but if the quieter stuff (followed by a dance explosion, maybe [Maylee]) isn't what you're in the mood for, don't fret:

Zine Dream Arts and Crafts Fair feat. Carl Didur, James Anderson, BrainTrust, Andre Charles Theriault, Nick Flanagan, Zeesy Powers, and Anna May Henry @ Tranzac (92 Brunswick Ave), noon-6pm, pwyc.

* Wavelength 478 feat. Maylee & Pegwee Power, The Weather Station, and Wilderness of Manitoba, hosted by Doc Pickles, and visuals by General Chaos @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, pwyc ($5-$10 suggested).

Download: The Wilderness of Manitoba, "Evening" (Hymns of Love and Spirits, 2009).

* Eric Chenaux and Muskox @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* Zine Dream 2 After Party feat. Pacific Trash Vortex, Magic Cheezies, Danger Bay, and ManMadeHill @ Concord Cafe, $3.

Brides, Dirty Beaches, Brave Radar, and DJ Broken Treefort @ Teranga, 9pm, $5.

The Beauties @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm. Every Sunday.

* TWM presents The Speaking Tongues, The Skirt Chasers, John Schooley, Dead Sexy Sheila @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

* Throw Me the Statue, Brunettes, Nurses, and Siberia @ The Boat, 9pm, $10.

MONDAY (31 aug)

Angela Bower (residency) @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7pm, pwyc. Catch guitarist Christine Bougie and pianist Dafydd Hughes every Monday.

Download: Christine Bougie & Dafydd Hughes (AKA Angela Bower), "The Rat" (This is Awesome, 2008).

Shoeless Monday feat. Ty Hall & The Ez 3, Suncapades, and Redinger @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

* Murder Folk Night 6 feat. Andre Ethier, Michael McManus, The Murder Folk Scratch Band (Ryan Kamstra & Jeremy Knowles) and more @ Board of Directors Gallery (1082 Queen St. W.), 7-10pm, pwyc. This week's guest curator is Carl Wilson (Zoilus).

TUESDAY (1 sep)

Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Thank The Accademy, Datura, The Fantasy Defender, and Nate Daniels Band @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

Pink and Black Attack presents The Bag Ladies, Big Ass Cracker, and The Thinly Veiled Double Entendres @ The Bovine, 9pm, free.

Great Aunt Ida and Paul Linklater @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Fred Spek's Camp Combo @ The Cadillac Lounge, 9pm-midnight, pwyc. (Every Tuesday in September.)


Wednesdays Go Pop! feat. Luau or Die, Orangutan, and Matthew de Zoete @ Supermarket, 8:30pm, pwyc.

Hobson's Choice @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra w/ Mina Omi (dancer) performing Cephalopodae Dance Suite and other pieces @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

The Strumbellas, Electric, Breathe, and Breaching Vista @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $4.

Groovetastic Entertainment presents Summertime Grooves feat. Truman Peyote, Mirky Thunder, Owl Farm, The Johnston Brothers, and Two Year Touqe @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

Download: Truman Peyote, "New Wife, New Life" (Light-Lightning, 2009)

Samantha Martin & the Haggard @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm, $5?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Podcast 52 (27 Aug - 2 Sep 2009).

And we're back! Jen and Tyler met up with Casey Mecija and James Bunton at the Bellwoods house to talk about the Friends in Bellwoods 2 charity compilation, just out this week in stores and online. With two disks, the compilation includes songs by 40 different bands and artists, including Mecija and Bunton's own Ohbijou, Gentleman Reg, Basia Bulat, Final Fantasy, Great Lake Swimmers, Sebastien Grainger, and tons (well, 34) more. We've got 6 of the songs on this podcast: Forest City Lovers ("Minneapolis"), Canadian Wildlife (AKA Jenny Mecija, "Winter's Moon"), Hooded Fang ("Highway Steam"), The Low Notes ("Glory Glory"), Sylvie Smith ("On Our Own"), and Ohbijou ("An Ode to an End").

For more info on the compilation and the release parties this weekend, click here. It's out now in record stores and online. Information about the Banff residency program that Casey and James talk about can be found here.

Listen at Zygiella
Download the podcast
RSS (subscribe / download this and past podcasts)
iTunes (subscribe)

And see you Friday at the release party at Lee's Palace!
Check back tomorrow for my listings for this weekend and into next week.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Music mixes.

If you're reading this on the blog site---and not through a reader service---you've probably noticed the play button thingie on the bottom left corner of your browser. If you click play, you'll hear all the mp3s I've got posted on the page, whether it's a podcast or an individual song. Nifty, right? Frank over at Chromewaves has the same thing. (I stole it from him.)

A couple Toronto music blog sites have recently put up summer music mixes, and since there's some good stuff on each one, I figured I'd share:

The Panic Manual Summer Compilation

Indie Music Filter: Volume 6

And there's the ongoing mixtapes put together by Justin Beach at NxEW. These are all music, unlike my podcasts, which you can find here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Indie Music 93 (20-26 Aug 2009).

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.

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.

THURSDAY (20 aug)

Indiecredit 3 feat. In English, Daniel Daniel & the Small Wonders, and The Proper Charles @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5. All proceeds go to

* The Owle Bird and The Weather Station @ The Music Gallery (Fellowship Room), 7pm, $5.

ROTM, Bottom Rockers, Bella Clava, and Camden Blues Band @ Smiling Buddha, $5.

* Sandman Viper Command, Pants & Tie, and Monnakoe @ El Mocambo, 9pm, $5.

Fat City, The Bynars, and The Leonids @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

* Stop Die Resuscitate (live album preview w/ guests Nirmala Basnayake, Cris Derksen, Swaguar, and The Blacklight Association of Canada), Madrid, and Cris Derksen @ Drake Underground, 9pm, $5.

Sadie May Crash, Stop Drop N Skank, APPLE pi, and DJ Misty @ Bovine, 9pm, $5.

* Coconuts vol. 1 feat. Foxfire, The Ghost Is Dancing, and DJs Shit la Merde and Jackie Phoenix @ Tiger Bar, 9pm, $5?

Mechanical Flowers and Gardenia @ Cameron House (Back Room), 10pm, $5.

Junior Battles, The Snips, Party At The Moontower, and Brights @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5.

The Gruff and Oh Susanna @ Dakota Tavern, 9pm, $5.

Taylor Mitchell and Christina Martin @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, $5.

* The Warped 45s (CD release), The Beauties, and Romney Getty @ Horseshoe, 8:30pm, $8.

The Clearing and The Haslund Project @ Holy Joes, 9pm, $10.

A.M. and The Backbone Beat @ The Rivoli, 8:30pm, $10.

FRIDAY (21 aug)

AVH, The Runaway Catholics, and Invasions @ Cameron House, 9pm, pwyc.

* Burn Down the Capital presents DD/MM/YYYY, Brides, Open Star Clusters, and Bahh Black Box @ Teranga, 9pm, $5.

Bellewoods, Sean Walsh & the National Reserve, The Hunting Horns, and Ryan Rothwell & the Zoonotics @ The Canadian Corps Legion Hall, 7 pm, $5.

The State of Things and Vicious Guns @ Bovine, 9pm, $5.

* Catl and Bradley Boy (2 sets each, alternating) @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm, $5. Catl won the Toronto Blues Society talent competition last week.

The Visitors, The Kamalas, and The Ugly Sticks @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm, $5.

The Darlings of Chelsea, Hell Yeah Fuck Yeah, DCT, and Nightmares @ The Silver Dollar Room, 9pm, $6.

Parks & Rec, The Rest, Luke Nares & the Strays, and Morning Fix @ Lee's Palace, 9pm, $7.

* TWM presents The Burning Hell, The Schomberg Fair, The Unsettlers, and The Quantum Jitters @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $7.

* Fox Jaws (CD release) , Major Grange, and Rival Boys @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $8 (or $15 incl. CD).

* The Framework, Giant Baby, Julia Set Generator, and Cut Throat Britva @ Horseshoe, 9pm, $8.

Doctor Payne & the Disease, Your New Friends @ Clintons, 9pm, $10.

* Bowser Attacks eat. PDF Format, Tetris Hold Em, Dead Beat Blast, and Toys are Just @ Bread & Circus, 9pm, $10. Or print this out and get in for $7.

Hotboxxx presents Half Ton Knights (CD release), Fridays Karma, Blind Race, and more @ Rivoli, 9pm, $10.

* Whale Tooth and Dinosaur Bones, w/ DJ Hemingway @ The Whippersnapper Gallery, 9pm, $10. Includes 1-year subscription to Broken Pencil magazine.

Stuck In the City presents Title Fight, Gypsy, !Attention!, and Emergency @ The Poor Alex (772A Dundas St. W, upstairs), 7:30pm, $10. All ages.

* Mark Pesci presents Brutal Knights, Daily Void, Sedatives, and Molested Youth (probably) @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $10.

SATURDAY (22 aug)

*Blood Ceremony (European Tour Fundraiser) w/ Saffron Sect, The Farnaby Consortium, screening of The Wicker Man (1973) @ Trash Palace, 4-10pm, $10. Bands at 4:30pm, 5:15pm, and 6pm, with the movie at 7:30pm.

* presents Secret Sessions feat. Gravity Wave and Arietta @ TARA (554 Queen St. E), 5 pm, free. All ages. For more info, check out the Secret Sessions website.

Chere Francoise and Lara Martin @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

The Synthesis Project, Hugs Honey Hex, and The Ladom Ensemble @ The Music Gallery, 7:30-11pm, $5.

Chang-a-lang and The Lowercase @ Press Club, 9pm, $5.

Paint (CD release) w/ The Stormalongs and Arctheline @ The Velvet Underground, 8:30pm, $5.

The Wind Up Radio Sessions and The Owle Bird @ The Drake, 8-11pm, $5.

Heatcore (CD release), Moore, Moondog Uproar, and The Get Down Sound @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $6.

TWM 48 feat. Thrillharmonic, Ten Kens, and Cobra @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $7.

Don Cash, Times Neue Roman, Young Flux, more @ Neutral, 9pm, $8.

* Mark Pesci presents the Bicycle Film Fest Closing Night Afterparty feat. The Dutchess & The Duke, The Bitters, Heaven, Mutating Meltdown, and DJs Mikey Apples, Gabe Knox, and Mark Pesci @ Studio Gallery (294 College St.), 10pm, $8 (or $10 after 2am).

* Rah (7" release) w/ Alpha & Omega, Hazardous Waste, Fortune Teller, and Bored Stiff @ The Poor Alex Theatre, 8pm, $8 (or $12 w/7").

Blues Underdog w/ Tory Lanez @ The Rivoli, 9:30pm, $10.

* The Paint Movement @ The Mod Club, 10pm, $10. Email the band for free guestlist, and show up before their 11pm set time. Details here.

SUNDAY (23 aug)

Katey Morley and Dinah Thorpe @ Slack's, 6-9pm, free.

* Wavelength 477 feat. The Lollipop People, Purple Hill, and Zanin's Magic Crayon, hosted by Doc Pickles, w/ Visuals by General Chaos @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, pwyc ($5-$10 suggested).

* Weird Weather, Mathias Kom, Lisa Bozikovich, and more @ 887 Dovercourt Ave., 8pm, ?

The Beauties (residency) @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm, $5.

Les Bad Guys (2 sets) w/ Jamie Nudds @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

MONDAY (24 aug)

* The Wooden Sky (in-store) @ Sonic Boom, 7pm, free. All ages. Copies of their new album will be for sale.

Elvis Mondays feat. John Milner You're So Boss, Hellaluya (only show), more @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

Shoeless Monday est. Half Ton Knights, Top Johnny, and Unknown Culprits @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

Zanin's Magic Crayon w/ The Assistants @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, free.

* Inner Islands: Songs from Coasts and Lakeshores, presented by Simone Rubi & Daniela Gesundheit feat. Snowblink, Daniela & Misha, Seth Pettersen & the Undertow, Bahamas, Tall Tales, Daniela & Simone, Simone Rubi w/ duet guests @ The Music Gallery (Fellowship Room), 8:30pm, pwyc. Each performer will play 3-4 songs.

TUESDAY (25 aug)

Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Last Broadcast, Scott Mission, Crash Karma, and Acres Of Lions @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

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

Showcho 1st Anniversary feat. Kathleen Phillips (comedy), The Dress Whites, Deadpan Powerpoint (comedy), Morro (theatre), Anderson Council, and more @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc/$5.

Arietta, Lost Cities, Missing In Venice, and The Smile @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5.

Blues in D, Dora Alexander, and Alistair Blaik Bundale @ The Music Gallery (Fellowship Room), 8pm, $5.

!Attention, Emergency, Make Do and Mend @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

WEDNESDAY (26 aug)

PWYC Weds feat. Krupke, Politique, and Gates Gates Gates @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc/$5.

Graydon James (CD release), Parks & Rec, and Polyester Heart @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9:30pm, $5.

Datura, The Artful Vandelays, and Touch Me Airborne Plague @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

* Everything All the Time, The Magic, and The Balconies @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $5.

* ETAOIN SHRDLU (CD Release), The Canaille Electric Trio, and I am Robot & Proud (solo) @ Music Gallery (Fellowship Room), 9-11pm, $5.

Matthew de Zoete, Steve Puchalski and Orphan George @ Graffiti's, 9pm, pwyc.

Hail The Villain w/ Something Worth Saving and Bleeker Ridge @ The Rivoli, 8pm, $10.

Podcast 51 (20-25 August 2009).

This one's just Tyler by himself, and it's very lo-fi. (I've been busy busy.) Includes music by In English ("Never A Part Of Me"), Junior Battles ("We're Not Coming Down"), The Schomberg Fair ("Angel's Wings"), The Wilderness Of Manitoba ("Summer Fires"), Blood Ceremony ("Children Of the Future"),and The Dress Whites ("Far Away"). Enjoy!

Listen at Zygiella
Download the podcast
RSS (subscribe / download this and past podcasts)
iTunes (subscribe)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Review: SummerWorks Music Series.

The SummerWorks festival is over for the year. Like last year, I only went to the music events, and ended up seeing 6 of the 9 shows, all at Theatre Centre. Here's what I saw (and thanks to Garry Tsaconas for all the photos):

Two Quebec-based acts started off the festival, Karkwa and Miracle Fortress. I planned to miss the opening band because I had my heart set on seeing another band elsewhere at that time, but as it turned out, the show at Theatre Centre was running late and so I got to see half of Karkwa's set. Prog-rock isn't really my thing, and with the crowd completely seated (except for me and a photographer friend), the mood was a little too toned-down for my liking. But these guys impressed some people, and if I felt like listening to ambient pop-rock music, I now know where to turn. Miracle Fortress, a solo act this time around, got audience members up and moving. Graham Van Pelt's spastic dancing, posing, and creative music-making was one of the highlights of the festival for me. It wasn't so much that I really liked what I heard, but the performance---including the blown fuses which interrupted the set twice---was great fun and weird enough to take me just out of my comfort zone. The last, encore song was a hit with me and everyone else. (See also Joe's take on the show.)

The next night was the show I was most looking forward to of the whole festival: DD/MM/YYYY and Montreal's Think About Life (also featuring Van Pelt). The last time I'd seen oddball post-punk rockers DD/MM/YYYY I'd been working the door, and had thus been much too distracted to get my fix. And Think About Life... well, wow. Their performance last summer at Sneaky Dee's remains one of the most explosive sets of live music I've ever seen. Since then they've come out with a second, more accessible full-length, chock-full of dance hits. The show was expectedly pretty great, though to my mind the cavernous nature of the venue took away from the experience somewhat. Dancing? Yes. Moshing? Not so much. And still there were plenty of people sitting on chairs not moving an inch. Although I heard later that the show was a sell-out, by the time DD/MM/YYYY took the stage, the crowd had thinned a little. Not quite as epic as I'd wanted, but I certainly got my dance on and I hope both bands earned themselves new fans. In a smaller---or just more crammed space---watch out.
Garry caught TAL in mid-pose during their set---this is a band that isn't afraid to get sweaty and dance like crazy on stage and in the crowd. This must have been before frontman Martin Ceasar climbed a lighting tower and flung gold sparkles all over us, with elan.

I took Saturday off (completely) but was back at SummerWorks come Sunday night, this time for newish Arts & Crafts signees Still Life Still and wacky electro group Kids on TV. The weather was dreadful that day, and as I rode my bike to the venue I was treated to a mildly terrifying lightning show up ahead of me. No doubt the elements accounted for the sparser than anticipated turnout for this show. No matter: Both bands put on energetic sets fit for dancing. My first time seeing Kids on TV did not disappoint. Ridiculously fun, even with three (3!) blown fuses during their set. SLS grew on me. These kids got something. And, by the numbers of people dancing up a storm, it looks like I am getting on the bandwagon relatively late. (Joe's got his take up here.)

Guest music programmer Eric Warner got the night off on Monday, but Tuesday the festival was back on, with Boys Who Say No and Fox Jaws. I'd seen both these bands before, but only once each, so was keen to take them in a second time. Fox Jaws, a Barrie-based band with an new album coming out super soon---and a release party Friday night at El Mocambo---impressed me. Complex rock arrangements, intense drumming, smoky rock vocals by lead Carleigh Atkins, and all-'round tightness are stand-out features of this band's sound. Canadiana rock isn't at the top of my own favourite genres list, but these guys/gal do it well. Here's to hoping their new disc goes over well with fans old and new. Boys Who Say No took advantage of the venue's setup and brought props along for their energetic set. (Cardboard cut-out larger-than-life raccoons, skunks, pigeons, and other garbage-eaters, and helium-filled garbage bags.) I don't get all of what they do musically, but BWSN have got some great tunes---I especially like the ukelele ones---and the vocal chops of Luke Correia-Damude really helps pull things together. A strong show featuring strong musicianship and two of the best voices around. Satisfied, I decided to take Wednesday night off.

The Out Of This Spark show last Thursday---on the day of label owner Stuart Duncan's birthday---was one of the most fun shows I've been to in a while. And also one of the hottest. As in sweltering. OOTS labelmates Forest City Lovers and The D'Urbervilles each played a short set of five songs each. As FCL ended their last song, bassist Kyle Donnelly transitioned seamlessly into "Spin the Bottle," a song by his other band, the D'Urbs. His bandmates joined him on stage---well, on stage and on the floor, where the instruments were set up---snapping their fingers and doing their best to get the (then) seated crowd energized. Soon enough we were standing, dancing, and clapping ourselves. After their short set was done, and after a short break, the D'Urbs and FCL came back together en masse as the "Family Band." It was really fun! There was so much energy and excitement in the crowd and on stage (floor, actually). Look:

This was a brilliant set (if not the tightest musically). I never would have thought that such a collaboration would have worked out so well, and to both band's advantages, but was I ever wrong. The double drumming and hard-hitting guitar and bass lines really pumped up Forest City Lover's quiet songs, without making them lose any of their charm. But, for me, the D'Urbervilles' songs as played by this larger band were the best part of the set. The kick provided by the extra drummer and Mika Posen's well-mixed violin lines and Kat Burns' less-well-mixed backing vocals really filled in the band's sound in a great way. Yay! What a special night. (Here's what Joe thought.)

I missed out on Friday's show---featuring the impressive Sunparlour Players and Josh Reichmann---but was back at the Theatre Centre for the final show of the series. This one brought together Great Bloomers and Germans. Great Bloomers were ending up a cross-Canada tour, so I expected a large crowd and a tight set. Check. Germans were coming back after a lengthy hiatus, and I'd never seen them before, so wasn't quite sure what to expect. The night ran quite late, and it was hella hot in there---hotter than even Thursday night's sweat-fest---and so by the time Germans came on there were perhaps less people than there might have been given the occasion. The band sounded a little less than perfectly practiced, but they've got some great songs. I'd definitely want to see them again.

And there you have it. A great outing for just one festival, I'd say. Thanks to Eric and everyone involved in the series!

Shout Out: Friends In Bellwoods 2.

On 25 August, Out of This Spark records will be releasing the Friends in Bellwoods Compilation 2, a double disc of musical treats featuring some of the city's---and the country's---best bands and musicians. The compilation was edited by Casey Mecija and James Bunton from the band Ohbijou, and many of the tracks were recorded at Casey's bungalow near Trinity-Bellwoods Park.

The big parties happen next weekend (details below), but pre-release celebrations for the discs are happening tonight (Wednesday) at the Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar). The weekly Granny Boots series is hosting the free party, starting at 7:30pm, with a promised end time of 11pm, so you can get home and into bed and back out to work tomorrow morning without losing any sleep. (Isn't that nice of them?) The show will feature performances from Gentleman Reg and Katie Sketch ("delicious duets"), Diamond Rings (AKA John O'Regan from OOTS band The D'Urbervilles), and Casey Mecija, Ohbijou's frontwoman. There will be video screenings, too. Look for new videos from Ohbijou, Diamond Rings, Kids on TV, and Katie Stelmanis.

To get you in the mood for the parties tonight and next weekend, here are a few tracks from the compilation:

Download: The D'Urbervilles, "Magic Arrow" (Timber Timbre cover)
Download: The Phonemes, "April, Let’s Send His Colleagues An Email"
Download: Tusks, "New To Old Money"

Some of the other rare, unreleased, and new songs on the discs include ones by some of my favourite acts: Forest City Lovers, Basia Bulat, The Acorn, Timber Timbre, Gentleman Reg, Great Lake Swimmers, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Hooded Fang... and so much more! There are some great new finds in here for me, and some great tracks from these and other bands I already know and love. The songs tend toward the folky, rootsy, acoustic-y, though there are plenty of more rocking tunes. Proceeds from the compilation's sale go to the Daily Bread Foodbank, so you can feel charitable in your purchase. Copies are available from iTunes, Sonic Unyon, or Zunior. Head over the Friends in Bellwoods website for more info and links.

The compilation will get some fitting release events. The big party is next Friday, 28 August, at Lee's Palace. The lineup includes Bocce, Ohbijou (special set w/ guests), Forest City Lovers, and Evening Hymns. Promises to be a great night of music. Tickets are $12 in advance (from Soundscapes and Rotate This) or $15 at the door. I predict a sell-out. Special guests include Sylvie Smith (from The Magic), Rolf Klausener (The Acorn), Nils Edenloff (The RAA), Gentleman Reg, and The Wooden Sky.

On Saturday, 29 August, there's a full day of music starting at noon at the Tranzac. Tickets are $10 (or $8 with a non-perishable food donation), and the event is all ages. The lineup is crazy-good, beginning with Bruce Peninsula and ending with The Acorn. This event is also a BBQ. Awesome.

Here's the full track listing for the compilation:

Disc One

1. Forest City Lovers – Minneapolis
2. Le Pigeon – Freezing Rain
3. Basia Bulat – My Heart Is A Warning
4. The Acorn – Slippery When Wet
5. Canadian Wildlife – Winter’s Moon
6. Double Suicide – Touch The Sun
7. Great Bloomers – Find My Way
8. Lisa Bozikovic – The Letting Go
9. Bellewoods – Kneel On The Apron
10. Kate Rogers – The Same Party
11. Timber Timbre – Water
12. No Kids – All That Heaven Allows
13. Snailhouse – Don’t Go Anywhere
14. Final Fantasy – Red Sun (Demo Version)
15. Sylvie Smith – On Our Own
16. Bruce Peninsula – In Parallel
17. Gentleman Reg – For Trust
18. Evening Hymns – Cedars
19. Kite Hill – Tom Thumbtack
20. The Bellwoods Crew – Staten Island Waltz

Disc Two

1. The Dinghies – The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
2. Bocce – Inspiration Bellwoods
3. Kids On TV - Poison
4. Katie Stelmanis – Believe Me
5. The D’Urbervilles – Magic Arrow
6. Sebastien Grainger – Home Is The Light
7. Violence – Living Off The Land
8. Ohbijou – An Ode To An End
9. Great Lake Swimmers – Send Me A Letter
10. The Low Notes – Glory Glory
11. Snowblink – When Pushed From A High Branch
12. lice - yggdrasil
13. Emma McKenna - Happiness
14. Richard Laviolette – Media Song
15. The Adam Brown – Joy Rider
16. The Phonemes – April, Let’s Send His Colleagues An Email
17. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Rough And Tumble
18. Tusks – New To Old Money
19. Hooded Fang – Highway Steam
20. The Wooden Sky – My Old Ghosts

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Indie Music 92 (13-19 Aug 2009).

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.

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.

Just the hits this week. I'm running out of time! The Oxford Hotel is having a final weekend of shows before closing forever. All the details are here. I'll fix up these listings over the next few days.

THURSDAY (13 aug)

Uglystick, The Pink Noise, Magic Cheezies, Ultra Thin, Dwarfstar, and JFM @ Teranga, 9pm, $3.

James O-L & the Villains, Tarantula, and Ron Leary @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

* The Junction (CD release) w/ The Reason and Songs From A Room @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $7.

Bloody Panda, Orca, and Orn @ The Smiling Buddha Bar, 8pm, $8. Doom!

Miles Jones (CD release), hosted by Deadly Hedley, w/ DJ Serious and DJ Dopey @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, $10.

* [SW] Out Of This Spark presents The D'Urbervilles and Forest City Lovers (a "collaboration") @ Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10.

FRIDAY (14 aug)

High Art for the Low Down presents The Rebel Spell, Endprogram, Broadcast Zero, GSTS, and Chaos Disorder & Panis @ Rearview Mirror, 8pm, $5.

Broken Bricks and The Fishwives @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm, $5. All ages. Good young rock bands.

* TWM presents Caledonia (CD release), Chang-A-Lang, and The Locusts Have No King @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

* Bishop Morocco, The Two Koreas, Metz, and Pace The Stairs @ Silver Dollar, 9pm, $6.

* [SW] Sunparlour Players and Josh Reichmann Oracle Band @ Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10.

SATURDAY (15 aug)

* Secret Sessions presented by feat. The Most Serene Republic and The Junction @ TARA (554 Queen St. E.), 5pm, free. All ages. For more information on this series, see this website.

Luau Or Die, The Innocent Guns, and Sean Cosier @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm, $5.

* Revolvers (CD release), The Caraways, and Drunk Woman @ The Silver Dollar Room, 10:30pm, $5. Revolvers got a couple nice reviews of this disk in the weeklies.

* Primary Colors presents Peace, Love, and Hippie Shit feat. Juiceboxxx, Romo Roto, ROMINS, Anaeq, John Milner You're So Boss, w/ DJs Botox Corvette, Dougie Boom, and Ghostrashcat @ F-13 (156 Augusta Ave), 9pm, $5.

TWM presents Make Your Exit, Michou, and Trevor James & the Perfect Gentlemen @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $7.

* Luke Lalonde (Skeleton Me), The Manson Family Picnic, and Allie Hughes @ Whippersnapper Gallery, 9pm, $8.

* [SW] Germans and Great Bloomers @ Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10.

No Official Capacity presents Woods of Ypres, Inflict, and TBA @ The Annex WreckRoom, 7-10pm (early show), $10.

Kidstreet @ The Mod Club, 11pm (set time), $10, or email infoATyyzrecordsDOTcom to get in for free. (Don't be shy: the band has unlimited guestlist.)

SUNDAY (16 aug)

* Wavelength 476 feat. The Ooohh Baby Gimme Mores, Gobble Gobble, and Professor Fingers, hosted by Doc Pickles, w/ visuals by General Chaos @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc ($5-10 sugg).

Clara Engel, Laura Aidanblaise, and Dwight Schenk @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

MONDAY (17 aug)

Elvis Mondays feat. Gira Gira Gif, John Milner You're so Boss, Triplight, Bella Clava, People of Canada, and more @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

* Pony Da Look, Buildings, Romo Roto @ Trash Palace (89-B Niagara St.), 8-11pm, $5.

TUESDAY (18 aug)

The Ambient Ping presents Decade! The Ping's 10th Anniversary Party feat. Wally & CJ Jericho, Kalte, dreamSTATE, and visuals by General Chaos @ Supermarket, 8pm, $6.

WEDNESDAY (19 aug)

* Granny Boots presents Friends In Bellwoods II release pre-party feat. Gentleman Reg & Katie Sketch, Diamond Rings, Casey Mecija (Ohbijou), and Emma McKenna, with DJ May@ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 7:30-11pm, free. Plus videos by Ohbijou, Diamond Rings, Emma McKenna, Kids on TV, and Katie Stelmanis.

PWYC Weds feat. Last of the Bandits, Plastics Inc, and Make Me Young @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc ($5 sugg).

* Wombat Wednesdays feat. I Am Robot & Proud, T H O M A S, Radius & Helena, Gravity Wave, Ginger & Irene, and Circus School, w/ DJ Matt Blair and installations by Jesse James Laderoute @ The Tranzac (Main Hall), 8pm, $5. With

* Carolyn Mark, Sunbear, and $100 (duet) @ The Horseshoe Taverm, 8:30pm, $8.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Shout Out / Review: Bahamas @ The Dakota Tavern, 6 Aug.

Looking back at my weekly listings, I've been recommending an act called Bahamas ever since January of this year. At this point, the band/solo project had no MySpace, and I can't remember what I knew of the band in order to recommend it. (I don't just randomly star shows!) The next month, Bob saw them perform at Tranzac. If I didn't know it before, I knew once he posted his photos of the gig that Bahamas' Afie Jurvanen was playing live (at least occasionally) with one of my favourite drummers, Greg Millson from Great Lake Swimmers. That would certainly have piqued my interest. Plus, Bob liked what he heard. Come July Bahamas released his full-length album, Pink Strat, on Nevado Records to much acclaim. No doubt Jurvanen's experience backing Feist and other well-known artists played a part in him getting as much exposure as he did this early on.

I finally got around to seeing Bahamas perform last Thursday at the Dakota Tavern, a spot where I knew he'd performed a few other times this year. Before I did, I make sure to get myself a digital copy of the record, and proceeded to listen to it obsessively. It's a fantastic record that showcases his understated voice, great guitar work, and impressive song-writing chops. Folky love-songs and laments are just what I'm into most days, and I immediately fell in love with the record. That night Jurvanen, in a baseball cap, cut-off jeans shorts, and long-sleeve shirt over a dark tank top, was surprisingly nervous, he told us, but I couldn't tell. (I think nervous might fit his style pretty well.) Backed that evening by The Weakerthans' drummer Jason Tait, and performing for a whole lot of Arts & Crafts types---all friends, I assume---his set really hit the spot for me. At points during the set there were people shushing the talkers in the audience, and a handful of women at the front were busy chattering away, paying no attention to the man singing breezy, bluesy roots rock a few feet away. That's unfortunate, but Jurvanen didn't seem to mind too much.

Here are the first and last tracks of the album. If your tastes are anything like mine, you'll want the rest of the disk ASAP.

Download: "Lonely Loves" (Pink Strat, 2009).
Download: "Whole, Wide, World" (Pink Strat, 2009).

Bahamas is opening for Amy Millan this fall, with a stop in Toronto at the Mod Club on 15 October.

[Photo credit: Afie Jurvanen at Guelph's Hillside festival in July.]

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Indie Music 91 (6-12 Aug 2009).

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.

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.

The SummerWorks festival gets started tonight. Full details are here. I've listed all shows below, too, with [SW] in front of them. I'll be at most the shows, but other good bets (if you're me) are starred (*) below. Sometimes I really with I could be at two or three places at once.

THURSDAY (6 aug)

* The Tom Fun Orchestra (in-store) @ Criminal Records, 6pm, free. All ages.

* The Torrent (CD release) w/ Emma McKenna, VIVIV (Ken Reaume), Southern Charles, and visuals by Philippe Blanchard @ The Painted Lady, 9pm, pwyc. The album will be available for free.

The Pale Horses, Rockyard, and A-collision @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

StereoGoesStellar @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $5.

Serving Charity & Gettysburg present Alright Alright, Alter Kakers, and Fidget @ El Mocambo (Upstairs), 8:30pm, $5.

ex~po, Great Dane, and Todd Harrison & friends @ Holy Joe's, 9pm, $5.

Toys Are Just (EP release), Broken Bricks, Dwight Schenk, and Needle Foot @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5. Get the EP for another $5.

Apple Pi, Dee Addario, and Major Grey @ The Music Gallery, 7pm, $6.

Erika Werry (CD release) w/ James Chris James @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm, $6. Get the CD for another $6.

Haggard Feast 2 feat. The Guest Bedroom, Pacific Trash Vortex, Rat Tail, Bag Tag, and DJ Death Adder @ Sneaky Dee's, 9:30pm, $6.

* Wayne Petti & the Thieves w/ Bahamas @ The Dakota Tavern, 9pm, $7?

The Jing Bang Show (EP release) @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $7.

* The Tom Fun Orchestra @ 11pm, The Coast @ 10pm, and Carmen Townsend @ 9pm. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $8.

Ministry of the Environment (CD release), Jadea Kelly, and Janine Farragher @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, $8.

* [SW] Miracle Fortress w/ Karkwa @ The Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10 (adv tix avail.). All ages.

FRIDAY (7 aug)

Funkadesi @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 8pm, free.

* OOTS Presents VI feat. Princess Century (Maya Postepski), Tirra Lirra, and T H O M A S @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Share (solo) and others @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm.

Vilipend and Titan @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Save for Web (animated GIF show) w/ New Feelings, Actual Water, and Jon McCurley @ Xpace, 8pm, $5.

Chris Velan, The Expos, and Matt York @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8-11pm, $5.

Trainlight, Chasing Aimee, Futures Past, and Chase the Light @ The Rivoli, 9:30pm, $5.

* TWM 47 feat. The Job, Mother Murder, Invasions, and DJ Andy Capp @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

Chinese Food, Echo Riot, Ryan Masters, and The Stormalongs @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $6.

Mark Bultin Band @ 12:30pm, Exxxxtra Juicy @ 11:30pm, Citizen Erased @ 10:30pm, and The Runaway Catholics @ 9:30pm. Lee's Palace, $7.

* NoBunny, White Wires, Statues, City Sweethearts, and First Base, w/ DJ Mark Pesci @ Silver Dollar, 9pm, $9 (or $7 adv at RT, SS).

* [SW] DD/MM/YYYY w/ Think About Life @ The Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10 (adv tix avail.). All ages.

* The Framework (EP release) w/ Make Your Exit and RIkers @ El Mocambo (First Floor), 9pm, $10.

SATURDAY (8 aug)

Aux.TV Secret Session feat. Michou and Final Thought (acoustic) @ TARA (554 Queen St. E.), 5pm, free. All ages.

Alex Grantham, Chris Blachford, Lucian Thomas, and Iman Wain @ The Free Times Cafe, 8:30pm, pwyc.

* Rival Gang Theatre and Brooke Manning @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm.

Bravestation (CD release), Mad Highway, and Carmen Elle @ The Silver Dollar, 11pm, $5.

Tenth Planet and Nathan Down @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

* Pree, A Young Wife, and Daniel Roth & Luke Nares @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8-11pm, $5.

TWM presents Le Bus, Cool Dad, Owel Five, and Corboe @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

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

The Human Statues w/ The Free Press and Coco Love Alcorn @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $10.

* [SW] The Got To Get Got w/ Oh No Forest Fires @ The Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10 (adv tix avail.). All ages.

Riot God @ 12:30pm, Latefallen @ 11:30pm, Ultra Violence @ 10:30pm, and Nerve @ 9:30pm. Lee's Palace, $10.

SUNDAY (9 aug)

* Poor Pilgrim Island Show 3 feat. Feuermusik Big Band, $100, Wyrd Visions, Castlemusic, Isla Craig, Bruce Trail, Transcendental Rodeo, N!fty, and The Silt, w/ installations by Yuula Benivolski and Xenia Benivolski @ Toronto Island, 3pm-12am. Here's the map (you'll need it).

Sing-A-Long Sundays, hosted by Steve Singh @ The Drake Hotel (Lounge), 9pm, free. Every week.

The CFL Sessions (CD release) w/ Cameron Murray @ Tranzac, 7:30pm, pwyc.

Marcel Aucoin & Michael Holt present The Piano Salon feat. John Kameel Farah, Dave Bidini (reading), and Erika Werry @ 1164 College St. (Chris Banks' home), 7pm, pwyc. Bring food and drink to share.

* Wavelength 475 feat. Actual Water (members of The Creeping Nobodies and Brides), The Famines, and Boars (members of ICPMABOYC), hosted by Doc Pickles, w/ visuals by General Chaos @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, pwyc ($5-$10 suggested).

* The Beauties (residency) @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm, $5.

* Shotgun Jimmie, Hamilton Trading Co., Horses (7" release), and Dave Schoonderbeek @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Les Bad Guys (residency, 2 sets) w/ Jerry Leger @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

* [SW] Still Life Still w/ Kids On TV @ Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10 (adv tix avail.). All ages.

Starlight Mints @ 10:15pm and JP Inc @ 9pm. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $10 (or $9 adv).

MONDAY (10 aug)

Elvis Monday feat. In Plain View, Poppyseed, Mercurymen, John Milner You're So Boss, and The Whole Entire Universe @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

Shoeless Monday feat. Stokka @ 11:15pm, Death of Me @ 10:15pm, and Snipes @ 9:15pm. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

The CFL Sessions and Dog is Blue @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, pwyc.

TUESDAY (11 aug)

* Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Burn Planetarium @ 11:50pm, Love Machine @ 11:00pm, Walk Off the Earth @ 10:15pm, Down In Ashes @ 9:30pm, and The Answer @ 8:45pm. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

The Pink & Black Attack presents Caution Inc. and Ball Harness @ The Bovine, 9pm, free.

The Ford Prefects (Fake Prom Band 2004) @ The Embassy, 8pm, free.

The Dead Elm Society of Canada w/ Carmen Elle @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

CaMp CoMbO, as part of Mysterion's East End Burlesque Riot @ Dominion On Queen 500 Queen E., $6.

* [SW] Boys Who Say No w/ Fox Jaws @ Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10 (adv tix avail.). All ages.

"These Black Spaces" by Cory Latkovich @ The Music Gallery, 7pm, $8/pwyc. "Avant garde composer and cellist presents his experimentations in whisper melody, improvisation, and pointilistic music."

WEDNESDAY (12 aug)

* Miwa Gemini w/ Shawn Clarke, Tanya Philipovich, Nich Worby, and 72 South 1st @ The Cameron House (Back Room), 9pm.

Hobson's Choice (EP release) @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

* Wednesdays Go Pop! presents Summer Songbirds feat. Wendy Leung, Melissa Dalton, and Lara Martin @ Supermarket, 9pm, pwyc.

PWYC Weds feat. The Backbone Beat, Saskatoon Guitar Destroyer, The Natural Shocks, and Jay Sparrow @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc.

Quarry Records presents Paul Anderson, Robyn Dell'Unto, and The Ascot Royals (acoustic) @ Graffiti's, 9:15pm, pwyc.

* Wombat Wednesdays feat. The Magic, The Skeletones Four, Wet Dirt, Justin Chee, and The Meat w/ DJ Daps Duo, comedy by Gene Abella, and Installations by Jesse Foster (Germans) @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 7:30pm, $5.

Blackie Jackett Jr. (country side project with members of Finger Eleven) @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Black On Black @ 11:40pm, The Boo @ 10:50pm, All For Nothing @ 10:00pm, and The Andy Brown @ 9:10pm. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $5.

Travis Porter & present Callahan, Dancing With Paris, and Dorian Gray @ Sneaky Dee's, 7:30pm, $5.

* [SW] Matthew Barber w/ Claire Jenkins @ Theatre Centre, 10pm, $10 (adv tix avail.). All ages.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Podcast 50 (6-15 Aug 2009).

This week's podcast is all about the music portion of the SummerWorks Festival. Tyler and I talked to Eric Warner, this year's guest music programmer, about all the bands playing and other projects he's involved with. Featuring DD/MM/YYYY ("I'm Still In the Walls"), Still Life Still ("Pastel"), Boys Who Say No ("No I Won't"), Forest City Lovers ("Monsters"), Sunparlour Players ("Battle of '77"), and Germans ("I Am the Teacher").

The Music Series runs 6-15 August, with shows every night except Monday, 10 Aug. All shows are at the Theatre Centre at Queen and Dovercourt, have a 10pm door time, are $10 in advance (or at the door), and audience members of all ages are welcome. See the website for all the lineup details. And see you there!

Listen at Zygiella
Download the podcast
RSS (subscribe / download this and past podcasts)
iTunes (subscribe)

Fiftieth podcast!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Review / Giveaway: The Junction's "Another Link In the Chain."

The Junction, a Toronto-based three-piece (with suburban roots), released their second album last week. A great example of danceable Canadian indie pop-rock, Another Link In the Chain will appeal to indie kids as well as commercial radio stations programming for the broader music-listening audience.

This is a group clearly inspired by the rock they grew up with in the 90s and indie rock bands of the 2000s. By bringing these two influences together with a nod to classic Brit-pop, the Junction has crafted a strong rock album that should appeal to indie rock fans as well as audiences looking for something a little more accessible. Expect melodic guitar lines, heavy drumming, clear vocals, and so on. But just when you might think you’ve got the band’s sound pinned-down, screamo-vocals, handclaps, tambourine, and horns come in to shake things up. It all makes for a good outing with enough interest in to keep me from getting bored, but plenty of pop-rock hooks to keep the kids happy.

The first single is the happy, peppy, rock anthem “My Love Was There”—obviously so. It’s sure to get audience members jumping, clapping, and singing along. “And if you hear my song, sing along, sing along. A-La da da....” Fun! I don’t like the fade-out at the end, but that’s probably a wise radio-friendly decision on the band’s part. Other strong pop-rock tunes include “Pick Your Battles,” the slower Brit pop-inspired “Miles in Denial,” “Level with Me,” and “Lonely Road.” “No Road” showcases the band’s rockier side. Not all songs work as well, but nothing completely disappoints. The band has a sound that’s both a little interesting and totally accessible. Catchy and fun, it should translate well in a live setting (though maybe not all those horns).

Download: “My Love Was There” (Another Link In the Chain, 2009)
Video: “My Love Was There
Download: “Miles in Denial” (Another Link In the Chain, 2009)

The Junction celebrate the album’s release in Toronto at the Horseshoe Tavern on Thursday, 13 August. Support acts include rockers The Reason and Songs From A Room. Thanks to Audio Blood Media, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show, plus a copy of the new CD. Yipee! If you want in on this, send me an email with “The Junction” in the subject line and your full name in the body. If you win, your name + 1 will be on the guestlist; you’ll be able to pick up your CD at the merch table. This is +19 show. The deadline to enter is 11:59pm on 11 August.

I’m giving away a copy of the album over at, so if can’t make the show feel free to enter that giveaway!

The Junction have a few shows in southern Ontario coming up:

Aug. 8 @ Rock the Mill, Cambridge
Aug. 13 @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (CD release)
Aug. 15 @ Secret Sessions at TARA, Toronto (5pm, free, all ages)
Aug. 28 @ Call the Office, London
Aug. 29 @ MC/DC Festival, Toronto

[Top photo by David Waldman.]

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Shout Out / Review: Jon-Rae Fletcher @ Sneaky Dee's, 26 July.

Last Sunday night I went to Sneaky Dee's as I usually do for the weekly Wavelength series. The bill that night was especially strong and seemingly tailor-made for my tastes: up first, young roots pop-rockers Great Bloomers (whom I've gushed about before); then Montrealers Flotilla (ditto); and finally, country hero Jon-Rae Fletcher, on a summer tour with two of his bandmates. I enjoyed everyone, and was thrilled to see such a large crowd for a Sunday night show in July. But Jon-Rae, whom I'd seen perform back in March at Lee's Palace during Canadian Music Week, completely blew me away.

It's a rare thing for me to see a band and during the course of the set decide that I must own the record they are promoting. I see a lot of bands, and I enjoy most of them. I like the live concert experience and don't listen to a whole lot of music on my off-time. Jon-Rae got to me, though. It took a few songs, but slowly, and then all of a sudden, I started to feel that I was witnessing a true musical genius. (The Lee's Palace gig hadn't left much of an impression on me.) The songs weren't complicated: At one point the trombone player, having to play an unrehearsed song, asked Jon-Rae how it went. The response was, "it's in G. It's the same as all the other ones." But the relatively simple arrangements for voice, guitar, bass, and trombone, or else Jon-Rae solo (voice and guitar), grabbed me in a way few bands have. What a wonderful set. Many of the people in the crowd were singing along, clearly familiar with the songs off his 2008 solo album and the older ones he used to perform with Jon-Rae & the River, a band I never got to see. He seemed a little taken aback by one excited (drunken) female "heckler" who proclaimed her love for him and etc. But most of us retained our composure, and he treated us to an encore after firmly stating that he was done for the night. But heck, this was Wavelength at Sneaky Dee's, where he'd seen some of his favourite shows ever (so he told us---"fuck, it's good to be back at Sneaky Dee's). How could he not?

I didn't have enough cash on me to get a CD, but as soon as I got home, I went and bought it off Zunior. Here are a couple tracks:

Download: "Maria" (Oh, Maria, 2008)
Download: "Downtown" (Oh, Maria, 2008)

My blogger friend Joe's got a superb review of the Friday-night Jon-Rae show at the Imperial Pub, plus a live recording of "Best Of My Time." Seems like the set-list was the same or similar at Sneaks.

Photo credit: Jon-Rae Fletcher @ Lee's Palace in Toronto, March 2009, by Bob Battams.

Review: RAA, Hooded Fang, Wilderness of Manitoba @ The Horseshoe, 30 July.

I'm taking a rare weekend night off from the local music scene. No particular reason: just feeling a little tired and wanting to spend some time by myself. It affords an opportunity to do some organizing, and---as a break from that---tell you about last night.

The Rural Alberta Advantage played at the Horseshoe, to a sold out, jam-packed crowd of friends new and old. It was their "hometown" CD release for Hometowns, the album they put out independently in early 2008, but have now re-released on Saddle Creek, their new US record label. They've been touring the US this summer, after earning a lot of buzz when they opened for Grizzly Bear in a church during SxSW. Their beautiful, exciting record got heard by thousands of new people thanks to eMusic back in November. And the band's been on the up-and-up since then. But us here in Toronto have known we had a treasure for some time. And so, more than 4 months after their last Toronto show, the RAA came back to us.

The night started off appropriately lovely, with the gorgoeous vocal harmonies and instrumentation of a newer Toronto band, The Wilderness of Manitoba. Some of the members of this band had hosted the RAA at their home back in March, and Nils, Amy, and Paul must have liked what they heard then and invited the WOM to perform last night. The band seemed both comfortable and a little nervous about performing in front of so many people on the relatively large Horseshoe stage. Very quickly they created a happy, calm mood with their nature-inspired songs. At moments they reminded me of Fleet Foxes; at others, of Great Lake Swimmers. "Evening" was a set highlight, as was their last song, whose name I don't know. (Sorry, oops.) The mix was a bit off, and the instrument changes between songs took a second or two too long for my tastes, but I chalk that up to a venue like the Horseshoe not being super familiar with their vocal-heavy, acoustic sound, and the band's lack of experience in playing bigger shows. Overall, a pleasing opening set that made them a good number of new fans, no doubt. As I write this I'm listening to their first EP. It's not yet officially out, but those of us at the show got a chance to pick it up. It's great. I may listen to it all night. I look forward to seeing how this band develops.

Next up was Hooded Fang, another local band with a very Canadian name. This group specializes in pop, and came out of nowhere in 2008 to blow the local music scene away with their happy energy and catchy hooks. Not to mention the strong vocals of leads Daniel Lee and Lorna Wright, and good musicianship showcased in their recorded output. Last night the band---whose female members dressed for the celebratory occasion that it was---performed many of the songs off its self-titled EP, as well as some new ones that will presumably appear on their full-length, coming out this fall. A new release from Hooded Fang makes me happy. Unfortunately, the band was rather low-energy last night. Their lack of pep meant they couldn't keep the attention of some of the people up at the front (where I was), and it's really too bad. Perhaps it was nerves, because by the last song a few more of the band members seemed into what they were doing. If they'd had that energy all night, it would have been a fantastic set.

Last up was of course the stars of the evening, the reason why we all paid $13 or more to be there, and why the show sold out even before the first band started playing. The road has done wonders for this always-strong band. I fall in love all over again with the RAA every time I see them, but last night was extra special. Amy Cole's backing vocals were stronger than ever, piercing or blending in with the songs perfectly; Paul Banwatt's inventive, exciting drumming was on better display than ever (helped by a stage set up that had him in a row with his bandmates); and Nils Edenloff's singing was more confident and his banter less awkward (but still endearing). The crowd was jubilant and singing along, and the band was thrilled with the turnout. It was super hot in there, but I didn't really mind. The only negative---other than the drunken few causing a bit of trouble at the front---was that the show wasn't particularly intimate, so we didn't get to hear "Goodnight," a live-only song they perform once in a while, as appropriate. Ah well, I can't have everything.

Oh, RAA, you are amazing. We loved you before, but you looked and sounded completely at home playing for 350 or so people in a way that I did not expect. (Silly me.) What a great way to celebrate your years of hard work and more recent acclaim. It seems a bit strange to me that a band I've seen 15 or so times here in Toronto pretty quickly got much bigger than they were, played a bunch of shows elsewhere, and then came back even better than they were before. And yet there you have it. How exciting.

[Photo credit: Thanks to suckingalemon for the top photo of Nils. There were lots of good photographers at this gig, and a few other local bloggers. Eye and NOW were there, too.]