Saturday, July 03, 2010

To Ontario Premier McGuinty.

[Another non-music post, but this here's my only truly public forum.]

To: Dalton McGuinty, Premier, Government of Ontario
CC: MPP Rosario Marchese, MP Olivia Chow, Councillor Adam Vaughan

Dear Premier McGuinty,

You and your government must not weasel out of your duty to the citizens of this city and this province. I am astonished, appalled, and frankly disgusted by your position on the calling of an independent public inquiry into what happened outside the fence last weekend.

Police officers broke the laws of this country on numerous occasions. It is impossible to escape this fact unless one deliberately overlooks overwhelming supporting evidence. It is abundantly clear to me that police officers did so, with impunity, occasional sadism, and often with a complete disregard for basic human rights. Gross violations occurred even on the lawn of your very own legislature.

Your government must take action so that we, the citizens of Ontario, can know the truth about what happened and why. I fully support the Canadian Civil Liberties Association’s and Amnesty International’s calls for a public inquiry. All three levels of government---federal, provincial, and municipal---have much to account for. I had held out hope earlier this week that you respected the laws of our land, and would take swift action. Your words and deeds since then make it clear to me that you have chosen to blatantly ignore the facts of the situation. I cannot understand why you would do so, except that you must be shockingly misinformed. Please inform yourself, Premier, and work with Prime Minister Harper to open a full, independent, public inquiry. Doing so is plainly necessary, and the first step to healing the wounds that this past weekend and all the decisions taken up to it left on my city.

I firmly believe that Toronto, for all its flaws, is the best city in the world, and that Canada, for all its problems, is the best country in the world. This past weekend left me and so many other proud citizens feeling sadness and anger. Mid-Saturday afternoon the latter feeling was focused on rioters; very quickly thereafter the police earned my disdain. I am just as disappointed and enraged even now, a week later. My dismay, frustration, and anger at the governments who allowed the G20 summit to take place in my city are not gone. But what actually happened demands an inquiry, and soon. I implore you to reconsider your stated position on a public inquiry dealing with the security measures and police actions.

In addition, your government must provide a full, clear explanation of the handling of the Public Works Protection Act fiasco. You yourself, sir, must accept responsibility for misleading the people of this province. This was, at the very least, a breach of public trust. You should be ashamed of yourself. I hope you will apologize and explain yourself. It is the only honourable thing to do in this matter.

Thank you,

Jennifer Polk
Toronto, ON

Want to write your own letter?

You can contact the premier at

My MPP for Trinity Spadina is Rosario Marchese (; my MP is Olivia Chow (, and my city councillor is Adam Vaughan (

Monday, June 28, 2010

To the Toronto police.

[This has nothing to do with music, but I'm reeling and need to get this out there.]

This weekend was arguably the worst in Toronto’s history.

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper invited the G20 to Toronto, he essentially welcomed black bloc terrorists to come here, too. And come they did, as I saw myself in the many photos, videos, and reports from the scene. (I stayed in my apartment just north of downtown the entire weekend.) With the weekend over, but with my mind still reeling, I have a few words for the Toronto police and the other officers who came from all over the country to “serve and protect.”

Where were you, police, when your cars were set on fire and you let them burn? (You left them unattended on purpose, didn’t you?) Where were you when vandals smashed windows downtown, terrifying customers, salespeople, shop owners, and on-lookers? A friend of mine was on Yonge that afternoon, and saw the aftermath: shocking damage and terrified employees at American Apparel and elsewhere. There were no cops in sight, until he rounded a corner, and there you were, seemingly doing nothing. While you stood around, innocent people were left without protection.

Meanwhile, your offices—trained, armed, and in formation—were marching on peaceful demonstrators in Queen’s Park, right near the official “protest zone.” You were doing the same elsewhere, too, on Saturday. I’m sure some of the protesters were being jerks, but what can you expect? You threateningly surround people, stop them from walking in their own city, and keep so many others away.

Later, Steve Paikin's reporting on the evening happenings on the Esplanade grabbed my (and everyone else's) attention. What on earth was going on with you, police?

And yet Saturday night my main thought was of the terrorists who wreaked havoc on downtown streets. Come morning, and the news that more than 500 people had been arrested and detained, my feelings started to shift. As the hours went by and I watched videos, saw photos, and read tweets and news reports of your “tactics,” I changed my mind about you. It became clear to me that the police, as a group, had become the terrorists. There was no violence anywhere that I heard about. Except, that is, for violent acts you perpetrated yourselves. You amassed in force on demonstrators and “riot tourists” in the east end, the west end, and the heart of downtown. Trained officers were ordered to scare innocent people in ways I never thought I’d see in Canada. For shame.

This week you have a lot to answer for. And no doubt you’ll face legal proceedings, brought upon you by some of the hundreds of people whose civil liberties you took away and the dozens you beat with your batons and wrestled to the ground with inordinate force. People in Canada are allowed to assemble, walk the streets, talk to each other, ride their bikes, and to feel safe and secure while doing so. This weekend, you—by not stopping black bloc violence and by your own horrifying movements—made this city unsafe for the people who live, work, and play in it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Break time.

I'm taking a wee break from this blog while I concentrate on the lots of actual work I have to do. You can still find me occasionally over at Sticky Magazine. I like that project a lot, and feel I can contribute something worthwhile to it once in a while. I wish I had more time and energy, but oh well. Until later!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: Horse Feathers w/ The Wilderness of Manitoba @ The Drake Hotel, 28 April.

This was one of those rare seated shows---as in, butts-on-floor---at the Drake Hotel's basement music venue, and, my, was it ever lovely. I'd heard of and sampled Portland, OR's Horse Feathers in the past few weeks and was seriously considering hitting up the show, but the announcement that the Wilderness of Manitoba would open sealed the deal for me.

The Wilderness of Manitoba---always Scott Bouwmeester, Will Whitwham, Stefan Banjevic, and Melissa Dalton---took to the stage just after 9pm, with their drummer, Sean Lancaric. The band doesn't always bring Sean along for gigs, and it was a nice treat for me to see them in full force in such a nice-sounding room. They started off with a couple songs from their 2009 debut EP, Hymns of Love and Spirits, namely, "The Great Hall" and "Bluebirds." The crowd was quiet and respectful to the point of being completely silent during many of the songs and little breaks between them. The first few rows were made up of people sitting on the hard floor. It made for a nice setting, with the Drake's good lighting and stage dressing. "Hermit," the first single from the WOM's first album, coming in June, was next.

The first two highlights of the set for me were "Dreamcatchers" and "Orono Park," performed next. The tribal, driving drum beat and harmonies were great on the former; the latter's banjo / guitar / ukele arrangement was beautiful, as were the Will and Melissa's harmonies and call-and-response vocal tradeoffs. And I gotta say: If audience members weren't completely sold on this band by this point, they have no souls. "Evening," a song originally penned and recorded by Will's mother, Wendy Blackburn, in the 1960s, was next, following by the newer "St. Petersburg." Both are gorgeous, and fan favourites. A couple more new songs ended the performance---"November" and "Summer Fires." The buildup at the beginning of "Summer Fires" was stunning. Just great.

Catch the WOM opening for Matthew Barber at the Mod Club on 12 May, and for Basia Bulat (and Julie Doiron) at the Phoenix on 4 June.

Download: The Wilderness of Manitoba, "Hermit" (When You Left the Fire, 2010).
Watch (below): The Wilderness of Manitoba, "Orono Park" (Southern Souls live performance, 2009).

Photo credit: WOM by Zuzana Hudackova.

After a healthy break to get things properly set up, during which we were treated to Owen Pallett's Heartland over the house system, Horse Feathers performed in the headlining spot. (Timber Timbre's self-titled album was the soundtrack before WOM's set.)

I'm not nearly as familiar with this band's output---and, indeed, it was their first time performing in Toronto---but others in the audience clearly were, showing keen appreciation during and after songs. Like Toronto's WOM, this band trades in lush 4-part harmonies and country- and folk-inspired arrangements. But there are classical elements in their ballads, too.

The band played a lovely 12-song set, plus an encore. To me, many of the songs sounded alike, but to my mind that was just fine. "Curs In the Weeds," performed two-thirds of the way through the set, seemed like their hit number; it was warmly received by those around me.

Horse Feathers will be back around this part of the world in July for the Hillside Festival in Guelph.

Download: Horse Feathers, "Belly of June" (Thistled Spring, 2010).
Download: Horse Feathers, "Curs in the Weeds" (House With No Home, 2008).

Monday, May 03, 2010

A few things: Woodhands, Delhi 2 Dublin, The Acorn, Shawn Clarke.

My favourite live band has a new remix EP out this week. Who's that, you ask? Woodhands! (D'uh.) Download the EP for free from the band's label, Paper Bag Records. Here's what you can look forward to:

Track Listing:

1. Pockets (Diamond Rings Mix)
2. Dissembler (Mathemagic Mix)
3. Dissembler (French Husband Mix)
4. CP24 (Teen Mix)
5. Pockets (Jeremy Glenn’s Stay Real Dub)
6. Dissembler (Dan’s Piano Version)

Catch Woodhands on the road this summer:

May 25 @ Habourfront Centre, Toronto (Inside The Musician’s Studio)
July 1-2 @ Sled Island, Calgary
July 3 @ Pride Festival Outdoor Main Stage, Toronto
July 12 @ Le National, Montréal (with Passion Pit)
July 15 @ Blues Fest, Ottawa (with Champion)
July 24 @ Evolve Festival, Antigonish


There's a weird "world music"-type Vancouver band you may have heard of called Delhi 2 Dublin. Their mix of, let's see [checking press release], "Bhangra, Celtic, Dub Reggae and Electronica" is creative. They've landed high-profile gigs like Canada Day on Parliament Hill and a free Yonge-Dundas Square performance last summer, and while I doubt indie music tastemakers like Pitchfork would approve, interesting, fun music is interesting, fun music. Their second album is out on Tuesday. It's called Planet Electric.

(That was them at Hillside Inside.) Oh, and if you like what you hear, you can "like" it on Facebook, too. If the band gets itself 7,000 fans by the end of 4 May, it'll offer up the EP version of its new album as a free download to everyone who wants it.

Delhi 2 Dublin celebrate the release of their album at the Drake Hotel on 11 May. Tickets are $15 at the door.


One of my favourite bands, The Acorn, whose album is due out on 1 June, have released the first single off it for free download. Head over to Paper Bag Records to preorder No Ghost. The band is in Toronto on 11 June for a show at Lee's Palace. For full Canadian tour dates, check here.

Download: "No Ghost" (No Ghost, 2010).


I got a CD in the mail recently from a guy named Shawn Clarke. I've met Shawn a few times at shows, and have seen him play saxophone with Olenka & the Autumn Lovers and Timber Timbre. He's also got a nice arts & culture blog that I read. Shawn's got a musical project of his own and performs around town in singer-songwriter-type evenings. And it's his own album, Like Birds Too Tired To Fly, that came for me. Why am I telling you this? Because I finally today tore off the cellophane wrapping and popped the disc into my stereo, and I loved what I heard! Seemingly simple, yet meaningful songs with strong vocals and good arrangements. I need to listen more. Right now.

Ticket/CD Giveaway: Brett Caswell @ Supermarket, 12 May.

Ontario roots rocker and piano pop crooner Brett Caswell and his band the Marquee Rose are releasing a debut album on 18 May called A New Balance. This will be Caswell's first offering since 2007's Love Waiting EP. Ahead of the release, the band is celebrating with a few Ontario shows, including 12 May's at Toronto's Supermarket.

Here's a taste of the new disc:

Download: "A New Balance" (A New Balance, 2010).
Download: "Needle In the Groove" (A New Balance, 2010).

Nice, eh?

Thanks to Audio Blood Media, I've got a pair of passes and a copy of the new disc to giveaway to one lucky reader! For you chance to win, email me by 11:59pm on 10 May, and put "Brett Caswell" in the subject line of your message. (I'll let you know the next day if you're a winner.) The CD release show also features Bass Lions, so should be a lovely event. Please don't enter unless you can actually attend the event, which is 19+; your CD will be at the merch table for you. And if you don't win, you can still go. Tickets, available at the door, will go for the inexpensive price of pay-what-you-can.

Fine Print: Brett Caswell & the Marquee Rose w/Half Full, Bass Lions, and Colin Moore @ Supermarket, Wednesday, 12 May, 9pm, pwyc.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Ticket/CD Giveaway: Ketch Harbour Wolves @ The Horseshoe, 8 May.

Ketch Harbour Wolves, crafter's of the no. 1 Canadian EP of 2008, are celebrating the release of a new album, Anachronisms, at the Horseshoe on Saturday, 8 May. Well, sort of: The album won't be released for real until June, but you can hear the new songs and pick up an advance copy of the new disc at this show.

Here's a track from their last EP, and you can head over to the band's website to download the whole thing for free (until 2 June). And one from the new album.

Download: Ketch Harbour Wolves, "Animals" (Dead Calm Horizon, 2008).
Download: Ketch Harbour Wolves, "Damascus" ( Anachronisms, 2010).

Thanks to the band, I've got a pair of tickets and a copy of their new CD to give away to one of you! For a chance at them, email me by 11:59pm on Thursday, 6 May. (I'll let you know the next day if you're a winner.) Please put "Ketch Harbour Wolves" in the subject line so I'm sure not to miss your entry. The only restrictions are that you must be 19+ to get into the show, and you must actually go to the show to pick up your CD!

Watch a video recorded in Kingston for the song "Body Without Organs":

Fine Print: Ketch Harbour Wolves (CD pre-release) w/ Clothes Make the Man, Sandman Viper Command, and Drink Up Buttercup @ The Horseshoe Tavern, Saturday, 8 May, 9pm, $7.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Q & A (and CD Giveaway) with Robert Gibson from Optical Sounds.

This is the fifth installment of my interview series with people in and about the Toronto music scene. Previous ones featured Mitch Fillion (Southern Souls), Mike Smith (Muskox, etc.), Randal Ball (WreckingBall Entertainment), and Ben Mueller-Heaslip (What's All This Then?! podcast).

Robert Gibson runs local record label Optical Sounds. The label's got four releases under it's belt, and some of those have garnered significant praise, raising the profile of OS and the company it keeps. It's no doubt been a big help, too, that Gibson and the musicians on his roster are fully behind each other's musical endeavours. "Part of what is making Optical Sounds such a powerful force on the local scene," according to music writer Joe Strutt, "is that they are a community of fans and friends as much as anything else. When they bring out a band, it's because it's a band that they want to hang out and listen to." To my mind, that kind of integrity is key to building a fanbase, ensuring the music the label puts out will get heard (and purchased) by the right people.

If you're into psychedelic, garagey rock and the like, keep reading for your chance to win copies of the label's last two releases on CD! (Giveaway details are after the interview.)

Jen: When did your start the label, and why? What were your intentions for it?

Robert: The label started mid July 2008. Long story short, I moved to Toronto and found myself in the middle of an unbelievable selection of bands. A bunch of bands that honestly seemed like the sweetest people ever. They all partied together and support each others artistic dreams. I just couldn't believe that bands like The Hoa Hoa's, The Disraelis and Action Makes did not have anyone in the business behind them.

I just thought - all these bands and this scene needs is a platform. A place where they can all unite and have someone do all the "business" stuff and shit bands shouldn't have to do themselves. They all seemed to fall loosely within the psych/garage genre, my favourite! So, it made sense.

We don't have any specific intentions for it. I mean, we wanted distro and we've managed that with the help of Outside Music. We want to continue to add artists have the same ideas as us an get the music heard by as many people as possible. That's about it.

If it gets bigger, we'll totally embrace it and if we just kind of maintain where we are now - well, that's fine we're quite proud of how far we've come in less than two years.

Jen: Yeah, for sure. The label and its bands seem to have a devoted and ever-growing group of supporters. How you do decide which bands you want to sign?

Robert: Again, there's no real formula here, I guess just a feeling. I've met with bands I've been keen on in the past but aren't stable or willing to put in the effort necessary for a working relationship. As if, "you're a label, doesn't this mean we made it?"

Without getting in to too much detail, I look for bands that a) have tremendous music that fits into the genre we've become known for and b) have some start up money of their own. As a label, I don't pay for a band's manufacturing. They do. And, together, we make it a priority to ensure that all money taken in is filtered to the band and paying off the debt from manufacturing costs first and foremost. After that, any profit made is split fairly. And by "fair" I mean, a large majority of it goes back to the bands.

In return, I offer them the advantages that the label has managed to amass: the name, studio space, distribution, media contacts, US and Canadian college radio contacts, industry contacts, booking, promotion, publicity, festival gigs and, of course, participation in any of our "unique venue" shows that we've become kinda synonymous with.

Jen: Your latest release is from an American band. Are there special challenges or rewards that comes from working with a group not located in your home city?

Robert: Magic Shoppe is Josiah Webb. We met him at a Hoa Hoa's and Disraelis gig in Buffalo, NY and he was just the biggest fan of what we had going on. We partied with him all night and when we woke up he was on the label. I swear that's how it went down . . . I think.

Regardless of where a band is from, like I said, if their music is what we're after - we're interested. He recorded, mixed, mastered and manufactured his debut Reverb EP a year or two prior to The Night In Buffalo and was just looking for the right place to release it. Optical Sounds was in and we couldn't be happier with it all. He even went as far as to suss out some USA colleges for us that we should be targetting. We're both in agreement that the label and the band are better off with the relationship in place.

Specifically, the distance is a bit of a challenge - he lives in Boston, MA now. So, getting together to chill and hash out ideas isn't convenient. BUT, we now have a place to crash in Boston and the label has made a small imprint in the States!

Jen: You guys were pretty busy recently, showcasing at CMW, in New York City, and then down in Austin. What's the value for your label and its bands of such trips?

Robert: Well, the value is in the experience. I said earlier (sorta) that there are no assholes in this scene. We won't tolerate it. So, it's like going on a great road trip with your besties. Epic parties and the best of laughs have accompanied us on all the trips we've taken. Obviously, the exposure we get from such gigs is a huge bonus and fan bases have expanded.

We hope our bands get the opportunity to do a lot more travelling in the future. You hear that, all you agencies and booking managers? ;)

Jen: Now that you've been at this for a bit, what are the major lessons you learned or misperceptions you had about running a record label?

Robert: Well, first and foremost I've learned too much to list here in detail. Basically, I knew absolutely nothing about the music business. I had a taste in music and people around me who were in great bands, that's it. Everything from managing band personalities, budgets, manufacturing, distro, publicity, booking, networking, etc., etc., etc. have all been learned on the fly. I'm learning every single day from everyone around me - the bands, industry friends and new people I seem to be meeting all the time. I must be getting old because I am consciously enjoying every bit of this new knowledge.

I think because I knew so little, I had very few expectations to begin with, so there are only so many glaring misperceptions. Because we're a DIY, startup label that is still relatively new, we all knew full well that we'd be learning everyday, sometimes taking a few steps back to take one giant leap forward.

The most glaring misperception I had at the beginning that we had to be a "professional" as possible. I assumed we needed this shiny, cutting edge website, publicity, someone to do pro photoshoots, a graphic designer, etc. Turns out, we don't need any of it. If the music is strong enough, fans will find it. And, if the personalities involved are engaged and helpful, these things find a way to get done.

Jen: That's good to hear. Still must be a ton of work, though! What's in the works for Optical Sounds for the rest of 2010?

Robert: So far this year, we've done CMW, SXSW, and released a Magic Shoppe EP amongst other shit . . .

We're excited for the rest of the year. I'm expecting new releases from Action Makes, Planet Creature, The Hoa Hoa's and (fingers crossed) Postcards. We're also close to confirming the addition of Revolvers to the label and we'll re-release their incredible debut (Apocolypse Surfin') that they released themselves last year. The Disraelis are in a bit of a crossroads right now and we'll know more about their plans soon. They're either going to re-group and record some of the best music this city has heard in a while or totally dis-band. Which would suck, but these things happen.

We'll be celebrating our 2 years of existence in mid-July and anyone who has taken in our "unique venue" parties in the church, legion, loft space, etc. will be happy to hear what we have planned. Stay tuned for that.

A website I've been trying to re-launch since forever will be ready this year too. Finally.

Lastly, while we're passing on NXNE this year, Halifax Pop Explosion is all set up, so, some of our bands should have their first gigs out East.

Jen: Thanks so much Robert, and good luck with all the upcoming happenings! And now . . . the giveaway details!

Thanks to Robert and Optical Sounds, you can win copies of the label's two more recent releases: CDs from Magic Shoppe and The Hoa Hoa's! For your chance at the discs, email me with "Optical Sounds" in the subject line, and do so by 11:59pm on 15 May. Make sure to include your physical mailing address in your message. I'll pick a winner at random.

Indie Music 118 (29 Apr - 5 May 2010).

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 or subscribe to this blog. Make sure to check the rest of my blog for show reviews and photos, giveaways, and downloads. You can get lots of other suggestions at Stillepost, the weeklies, and venue websites, etc.

On Saturday head to Queen's Park for the Freedom Festival. There will be a bunch of bands and musical acts of various kinds performing all day long (noon-8pm), and all for free. Full details here.

THURSDAY (29 apr)

* Thursday Night Confidential presents Hulepega Sound System @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 9pm, free.

* Ronley Teper & her Lipliners (2 sets) @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

SynthFest Showcase #3 feat. The Peace Leeches, Hunter Eves, and Hmmm @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

The Wilderness and Benefit of the Free Man @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Diemonds, Rusted Dawn, and Fog Of Leprosy @ Bovine, 9pm, $5.

WreckingBall Entertainment presents Octobres Ending, Galore, and Ofir Gal @ The Piston, 9pm, $5 w/ canned food donation for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Fourlines @ 12:00a, Counterpoint @ 11:00p, Everyone’s Talking @ 10:00p, and This is Bombs @9:00p. Lee's Palace, 8:30pm, $6.

The Family, Dress Rehearsal, the Bats Pajamas, Backbone Beat, and Johnny Lane @ The Silver Dollar Room, 9pm, $6?

* The Long Haul, Jadea Kelly (CD release), and Joshua Cockerill @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $10.

Canadian Invasion presents Amanda Mabro w/ NLX @ The Rivoli, 8pm, $10.

*Kevin Kane, Sean Macdonald, and Shelby Lamb @ Cameron House, 9pm, $10.

Groovetastic Entertainment presents Tiger Bar [Garage] Groove feat. The Tight Ship, The Ostrich Tuning, Karoshi, and WOLFCOW @ Tiger Bar, 9pm, $10 for one person, $11 for two, $7/$8 for Groovetastic members. Download a sampler including all the artists playing the show here.

FRIDAY (30 apr)

Kat Rogers @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7:30pm, pwyc.

Ian Blurton's Happy Endings, Reverse Mount Rushmore, and DJ Vania @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Revolution Love, Danger! Danger!, Chang-A-Lang, and The Quiet Revolution @ The Silver Dollar, 9pm, $6?

Smack feat. Coko Galore, Adolf Glitter, and Pinup Saints, w/ DJ Triple-X @ Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 10:30pm, $7 (b4 11pm, $10 after).

* Donlands & Mortimer (EP release), Wax Mannequin, Sean Nicholas Savage, Blue Hawaii (Braids sideproject), and Tonka Puma @ Kapisanan (167 Augusta Ave), 6:30pm, $8. All ages. Followed by...

Snakes & Ladders / Dap Duo Afterparty feat. John Milner You're So Boss, Moscow Moscow Moscow, and Hut, w/ DJ Peter Project @ 286 Lisgar St. (side door), 11:30pm.

State of Mind @ 12:00a, Stagehands @ 11:00p, and tba @ 10:00p. Lee's Palace, 9pm, $8. If anyone wants to buy a Stagehands' CD, just mention "historyjen" and you'll get it for $5 instead of $8.

Shatter The Hotel: A Dub Inspired Tribute to Joe Strummer - Official Canadian Launch Event feat. Dubmatix (live), Prince Blanco & the Clash Assassins (live), Citizen Sound (DJ set), Nate Wize (DJ set), and special guests @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $8 or $15 incl. CD. Proceeds to Strummerville: The Joe Strummer Foundation for New Music.

* Young Rival (CD release) w/ Make Your Exit, Songs From A Room, and People in Grey @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $10 (or $8 adv).

Dearly Beloved @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8-11pm, $10.

* Run With the Kittens (CD release) w/ Friendly Rich and BA Johnston @ The Great Hall, 8pm, $10 (adv, or $12 door incl. CD).

SATURDAY (1 may)

ARLT (from Paris) and Eric Chenaux @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 8pm, pwyc.

Fred Spek's CaMp CoMbO @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Charge of the Light Brigade (feat. Luke Sneyd) w/ Clockwise @ The Velvet Underground, 8:45pm, $5. The headliners have a new EP, freely available here.

Frailfragment, Bella Clava, and Broken Suns @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 7pm, $5.

* English Words, the Love Machine, and Davey Parker Radio Sound @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6. Download English Words' EP for free here.

* Late Night Live feat. Action Makes, Luau Or Die, and VOWLS @ Silver Dollar, 10:15pm, $5.

Courtesy Blush, This Is An Empire, and Elos Arma @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $6.

Mr. Something Something w/ guests @ The Rivoli, 8pm, $10.

SUNDAY (2 may)

* Gather Round feat. Hamilton Trading Co., Jordaan Mason & the Horse Museum, and Towns & Cities @ The Boat, 9pm, pwyc.

* Steamboat (Sundays in May and June) @ The Dakota Tavern, 10pm, $5.

MONDAY (3 may)

Elvis Monday feat. The Caraways, Kuru, Caramel, the People Of Canada, Radio Belle, and Jilted Lovers Club @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

TUESDAY (4 may)

* Tomboyfriend @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10:30pm, free. The band has a new album, Don't Go To School. I like what I've heard!

* The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Paint @12:00a, The Joy Formidable @11:00p, The Digs @10:00p, and Ten Kens @9:00p. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free. Get a free download by entering your email address in the widget below:

* Mixylodian, Gregory Pepper & His Problems @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.


PWYC Wednesdays feat. Blood Rexdale & the Walls Are Blonde, Grounders (ex Our History of Cowboys), and Towns & Cities @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc.

Free Boat Rentals, Drumheller, and Mimo @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Paquin Music presents Wil and guests @ The Rivoli, 8pm, $10.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Watch this: Born Ruffians, Valery Gore (live), METZ (live), Circle Research.

Born Ruffians will release a digital-only single on 4 May. It's called What to Say, and the B-side is the song "Plinky Plonky." On 1 June, their second full-length will come out. It's called Say It, and I, for one, am highly anticipating it! Here's the video for the first single, directed by Jared Raab with help from computer programmer and artist Rob Bairos:

Go see Born Ruffians all over North America in June. I'm aiming to be at their tour kickoff on 28 May at the Horseshoe Tavern.

Download: Born Ruffians, "Sole Brother" (Say It, 2010).

Valery Gore performed at Sonic Boom during Record Store Day. Here's a live video:

And METZ was at Sonic Boom that day, too.

Circle Research recently released a new album, Gardiner Express. Here's a video for one of the songs on it, "You Don't Know Me."

A few things: The Sadies, The Darcys, Caribou, Young Doctors in Love.

Monday night I had the privilege of going to see the Sadies perform a short but blistering set at the intimate Rivoli for an invite-only audience. The Sadies are, I think it's fair to say, Toronto music legends. Their new album, Darker Circles, is out on 18 May. You can listen to it over at Outside Music. The band---headed by brothers Dallas and Travis Good, with bassist Sean Dean and drummer Mike Belistky---knows how to provide a stand-out live performance complete with impressive musical tricks. Catch them at Lee's Palace on 22 May.

The Darcys are giving away the digital version of their new 7", The House Built Around Your Voice. Trade your email address for the songs. They've got a release show at the Horseshoe Tavern on 3 June, after they come back from a month-long tour. The band is featured on a great new Toronto music website I recently discovered, The Take.

Polaris winner Dan Snaith, AKA Caribou, is back with a new album, Swim. The album is currently streaming in full. Go listen, it's really fun, lots of great beats. The band is currently touring in Germany, and will headline a sold-out all ages show at the Phoenix on 3 May to kick-off the North American part of its tour.

Some of you might be interested, too, in a remix project that's now underway. Go download the parts, and then upload your contribution. The competition ends May 7.

Last Thursday, I went to see a newer Toronto band called Young Doctors in Love. They've been playing around town a bit to build an audience, after having celebrated the release of their first EP, 5 Golden Greats. That EP's been garnering some really positive reviews, and I agree: it's a stellar beginning. Last week's show an Earth Day celebration, and so the band went for a minimalist configuration, and unplugged entirely for a couple tunes. Given the chatty-chatty audience at Sneaky Dee's that night, it's didn't really work as well as it might have (like, say, at Tranzac's front room), but it was a valiant effort that certainly made more than a few people shut-up and pay attention.

As for me, I'm keen to see the band perform with a little more oomph; they show great promise. Solid, catchy pop songs, lovely vocals, great bass lines . . . now just add some more energy to the live performance, and it'll be great. Highlights included "Eloise And Her Sister Marta," "Oh Caroline," and "(And If You Really Want To) Say That Again," all off the EP.

Download: Young Doctors in Love, "Eloise and Her Sister Marta" (5 Golden Greats EP, 2010).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Watch this: Daniel Romero w/ Misha Bower (live), Great Lake Swimmers, The Ghost is Dancing (live), Dan Mangan (live).

Thanks for Matthew McAndrew for this lovely video. Matthew's review, photos, and another video from the recent Daniel, Fred and Julie show are up on blogTO.

Great Lake Swimmers have a new video:

The Ghost is Dancing perform "Battles On" during their Third Floor Session, a project of Ryerson University students. You can also download the entire live session for free.

Dan Mangan. I can't put my finger on what that guy has, but he's go it. So much of it. Just great.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Indie Music 117 (22-28 April 2010).

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 or subscribe to this blog. Make sure to check the rest of my blog for show reviews and photos, giveaways, and downloads. You can get lots of other suggestions at Stillepost, the weeklies, and venue websites, etc.

THURSDAY (22 apr)

Blocks Recording Club presents Thursday Night Confidential feat. Animal Monster, Shadow Self, and Hoover Party, w/ DJ Rob Gordon @ The Gladstone Hotel (Melody Bar), 9pm, free.

Massey Harris, Mona Dhanjal, and Yawn Temiseva @ The Imperial Pub, 9pm, pwyc.

WreckingBall Entertainment presents HeartCore, the Dress Whites, and Whosarmy @ The Piston, 9pm, $5 w/ canned food donation. The Dress Whites are on at 11pm.

Paint, The Black Fever, and In Support of Living @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Earth Day Show feat. Young Doctors In Love, recordbreaker, Volenska @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5.

Devil Eyes, The Soupcans, Potions, Dildoniks @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

* The Untold City presents Robots////US III feat. PDF Format, Put the Rifle Down, Green Splat, OPOPO Rmx, and DJ Matt Weed @ Wrongbar, 9pm, $7.

Regression (Wolf Eyes), Spykes, Dog Lady, Drainolith @ Teranga, 9pm, $7.

Paper Bag Acoustic Sessions feat. Adam Green, the Music Project, and Kiersey Rand @ Supermarket, 7:30pm, $8.

Unknown Funk Hero Presents The Beat Lounge feat. Circle Research (CD release) @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $5.

Download: Circle Research, "Out of This World" (Single).

FRIDAY (23 apr)

Cousins, Jon McKiel, Duzheknew, and Wolfcow @ Whippersnapper Gallery, 8:30-11:30pm, $?

Vesper Hours, Tommy & The Tall Girls, Gentlemen...The King!, and Nitty Gritty @ The Piston, 9pm, pwyc.

Missing Matter, Space With Air, Macro Fiesta @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

Drunk Woman, The Hunting Horns, and Turantula @ The Silver Dollar, 10pm, $5.

APE (CD release) @ 12;30p, Tenth Planet @ 11:30p, Volitionaire @ 10:30p, and Wentworth @ 9:30p. Lee's Palace, 9pm, $7.

* Yukon Blonde, Sports: the Band, and Fox Jaws @ The Garrison, 9pm, $8 adv.

Wild East 2 feat. Jumple, Wordly Savages, and DJs Gypsy Viking and Medicineman @ Bread & Circus, 9pm, $10. You could get in for $5. Details here.

SATURDAY (24 apr)

* Heavy Trash (in-store) @ Sonic Boom, 2pm, free. All ages. Bring a canned food donation for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

Sarah Greene and Abigail Lapell @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 7-9pm, pwyc.

Mantler, the Soundtastics, and DJ Jeremy Finkelstein @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm, pwyc.

Turdfest feat. John Milner You're So Boss, Birth Defelt, Hell Hell, Snake Pit, and Induced Labour @ Creole Ballet School, 375 Dovercourt Rd, 9pm, $3. All ages.

* City Mouse Records presents Ryan Masters & the Pinnacle People, Secret Connection (Rajiv Thavanathan), and Kira Sheppard @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8-11pm, $5.

WreckingBall Entertainment presents The Ninja Funk Orchestra, Slave to the Squarewave, and Dream Jefferson (formerly Owel Five and Corboe) @ The Piston, 9pm, $5.

Canadian Indie Movement (9pm), Tia Brazda, Carly Manley, and Beth Moore (6pm) @ The Central, 9pm, pwyc/$5.

* The Holy Cobras w/ Tundra Fun, and the Mutters @ Silver Dollar, 10:15pm, $6.

The Crazy Dreams Band (Mouthus), Cousins Of Reggae, Karaoke, and Dentata @ Teranga, 9pm, $7.

The Dyadics, The Standstills, Cure Gravity, and Bangladesh @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $10.

The Cliks @ 12:00a, The Framework @ 11:00p, and tba @ 10:00p. Lee's Palace, 9pm, $10.

SUNDAY (25 apr)

* Gather Round w/ Hamilton Trading Co, the Strumbellas, Laura Peek, and Irene Chu @ The Boat, 9pm, pwyc.

* The Weather Station w/ Lisa Conway and Arkana Music @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10:30pm, pwyc.

BBtBB4 presents The Roman Line, Streetcore, The Honkies, and Brooklyn Fletcher @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5.

Heavy Vessel presents Rouge and the Cry Break @ Teranga, 8-11pm, $5.

MONDAY (26 apr)

* Daniel, Fred and Julie (in-store) @ Soundscapes, 7:30pm, free. All ages.

Elvis Monday feat. Drunk Hussy, the Whole Entire Universe, Broken Bricks, Little City, and Rob Moir @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

Shoeless Monday feat. Tedd @11:15p, Manic 27 @10:15p, and Coldjack Band @9:15p. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

* An Horse and Hannah Georgas @ The Garrison, 9pm, $10.

Van Noise Promotions presents The Go Time w/ Grand Scale, Night of The Snake, and Illuminate the Sky @ Sneaky Dee's, 7pm (early show), $10. All ages.

TUESDAY (27 apr)

* Hannah Georgas (in-store) @ Criminal Records, 6pm, free. All ages.

The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nites feat. The Red Boy @11:40p, The Mississippi Kings @10:50p, Lifestory @10:00p, The Scenario @9:10p. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free.

Toonie Tuesdays feat. Nightmares, City Sweethearts, Chang-A-Lang, and the Get Nuns @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $2.

Locomotive 8, Tribulations, Nate Siegler & the Gentiles @ Bread & Circus, 9pm, $5.

Freebie, Laura Peek, and Pkew Pkew Pkew @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Stephen Staley (Lowest Of The Low) @ C'est What, 10pm, $6.

WEDNESDAY (28 apr)

Fat as Fuck, BF Soul, and Juice @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $2.

Canyon City and MJ Cyr @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Sunbear @ The Dakota Tavern, 9pm, $5?

The PiNG presents SPACE TOURiSM feat. Pholde, dreamSTATE, BETA Beta Cloud, and General Chaos Visuals @ Supermarket, 8pm, $6.

* Horse Feathers w/ the Wilderness of Manitoba @ The Drake, 8pm, $10 ($8.50 adv).

Harlem @11:00p, Teenanger @10:00p, Tropics @9:00p. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, $10 (or $9 adv).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Indie Music 116 (15-21 Apr 2010).

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 or subscribe to this blog. Make sure to check the rest of my blog for show reviews and photos, giveaways, and downloads. You can get lots of other suggestions at Stillepost, the weeklies, and venue websites, etc.

This past week I took in the Low Anthem and the Barr Brothers on Saturday (review here) and then Krupke on Tuesday night. The latter was just as bizarre as I expected, but I found myself enjoying their quirky pop tunes more and would like to see what comes next for them. Loved the clarinet player!

THURSDAY (15 apr)

5th Projekt and Peter James Project @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm, $5.

Dubbs w/ Serb Superb and The Dirty Nil @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

WreckingBall Entertainment presents People in Grey and Amber Long @ The Piston, 9pm, $5 w/ canned food or nonperishable food item donation.

Mia Sheard w/ the Low Notes @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, $5.

TMW presents The Working Title, The Bulletproof Tiger, Life in Vacuum, The Charming Ruins @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

Queen Licorice @ 12:00a, Retro Radio @ 11:00p, Electric Karma @ 10:00p, and Opendoor @ 9:00p. Lee's Palace, 8:30pm, $6.

* Parks & Rec, Luke Nares, and Kate Rogers Band @ Supermarket, 9pm, $7.

Supersoulsound Funk Review presents the Main Thing w/ friends and DJ General Electric @ Wrongbar, 10pm, $10 (or $5 before 11pm).

* Jeremy Greenspan (Junior Boys) and Mantler @ The Garrison, 9pm, $10. (?!)

Fred Spek's CaMp CoMbO @ Dominion on Queen, 9pm, $10.

FRIDAY (16 apr)

Nathan Cyprys, Ian Docherty, and Our Little Hourglass @ Rearview Mirror, 8pm, pwyc.

Anagram, Tropics, Doldrums, and Of A Pony And A VCR @ 64 Augusta (enter through back door), 10pm, $5.

Frantic City presents The Flying Bordelos, Shbti, and Hut @ Mitzi's Sister, 10pm, $5.

Thousand Cures @12:30p, The Waxmen (CD release) @11:30p, Rollin Jack Dandies @10:30p, Datura @9:30p. The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $7.

* TWM presents The Cheap Speakers (EP release), Mark Berube & the Patriotic Few, Lordy Lordy, and Big Crimes @ El Mocambo, 9pm, $8.

Download: The Cheap Speakers, "Tongue" (EP, 2010).

Lullabye Arkestra w/Burning Love, Brave/Deeds, and Reverse Mount Rushmore @ The Garrison, 9pm, $10 (adv). Go get yourself a free EP from the headliners.

Friendlyness & The Human Rights w/ Samba Elegua @ Hard Luck Bar, 10pm, $10.

D-Sisive and Okay City @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, $10.

SATURDAY (17 apr)


* International Record Store Day! Deals at Sonic Boom, Criminal Records, Sunrise Records, Soundscapes, Vortex, Slinky, Penguin, Neurotica, Hits And Misses, Song & Script, and Rotate This. Sonic Boom has bands---really good bands---from 3pm until late. And Sunrise has bands, too. Fun!

No Apathy! presents All Ages DIY-Punk Matinee feat. Ancestors, Kale, and !Attention! @ Kapisanan Philippines Cultural Centre (167 Augusta Ave.), 4:30-9pm, $5/pwyc. This is a dry event. All ages.


* Bidiniband and Laura Peek @ Holy Oak, 10pm, pwyc.

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

The Book of Gnomes @ The Local, 10pm, pwyc.

* MJ Cyr, Lara Martin, and Farideh @ The Cameron House, 9pm, $5.

Jojeto w/ Stereokid @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 8pm, $5.

The Effens, Noble Rogues, and Davey Parker Radio Sound @ Silver Dollar, 10pm, $5.

TWM presents LSD Spider, Cursed Arrows, Black Magick Fox, and The Bat's Pajamas @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

Dustin Bentall @12:15p, The Coast @10:45p, and tba @9:30p. The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $8.

* WreckingBall Entertainment presents Queen tribute night feat. Hamilton Trading Co., Luau Or Die, MJ Cyr, StereoGoesStellar w/ Luke McMaster, Mittenz, The Danger Bees, Stagehands, The Johnson Report @ The Piston, 8:30pm, $8 w/ canned food donation.

The MuseBox presents Living Room pt II feat Meaghan Smith and Zoe Sky Jordan & Colleen Dauncey @ 507 Queen Street West, 8-11pm, $10. Proceeds to the Credit Valley Hospital Foundation.

The Gay Blades, the Press, Julia Set Generator, and Monster Truck @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, $10.

* The Junction, Amos the Transparent, and the Darcys @ Lee's Palace, 9pm, $10.

* P.S. I Love You, Nich Worby, and Madam Raz @ 102 Ossington Ave. (enter through back), 9:30pm, $10.

SUNDAY (18 apr)

MONDAY (19 apr)

Celebrating Steve Reich feat. Professor Fingers (ProF) and TorQ Percussion Quartet @ Salon 21, Gardiner Museum, 3rd floor, 7pm, free. "Space is limited so please register here to guarantee a spot."

Elvis Monday feat. The Lovely Killbots, Julie C, the Whole Entire Universe, Adam Downey, The Wild Core, Adam Sullivan, and Eric Miinch @ The Drake Hotel, 9pm, free.

TUESDAY (20 apr)

* Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite feat. Plants & Animals (CD release) @ 10:40p, The Barr Brothers @9:50p, and Mike O'Brien @9:00p. The Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30pm, free!!

Toonie Tuesday feat. Sons of the Moon, Jeb Bush 2012, Seven Joint Ride, The Good Times, and more @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $2.

* No Shame presents Rich Aucoin, Bent By Elephants, and Lisa Bozikovic @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5.

Burn Down the Capital presents Sightings w/ Young Mother, Roman Pilates, and The Swyves @ The Boat, 9pm, $8.

WEDNESDAY (21 apr)

PWYC Weds w/ Courtesy Blush, Radio Belle, and AVH Colour Team @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, pwyc.

Wednesdays Go Pop! feat. The Autumn Stones (debut), more @ Supermarket, 9pm, pwyc.

Watch this: Arietta, Gentleman Reg, $100 (live), Beth In Battle Mode (live).

Arietta have a new video for "Old Habits Die Young." The guys are hitting up a bunch of different cities over the next few months. If you're into mathy rock with a pop heart, you might dig them. Energetic live shows!

Earlier this year Gentleman Reg released a cover of Stevie Nicks' "Wild Heart" on a digital-only EP (Heavy Head). And now there's a video, shot and directed by Colin Medley and Jared Raab. The video is near-copy of the Nicks' clip that was the inspired. More details here. Love G Reg!

Simone and Ian from $100 performed at last weekend's Dap All-Ages afternoon show. Here's one of the songs they did, as filmed by Justin Beach. More videos from the event---which also featured Doldrums, Maylee Todd & Pegwee Power, and Grand Analog---over at

As Simone says at the start, $100 has a headlining show at Lee's Palace on 14 May as part of what's being called the "Blue Fog Revue." Also appearing will be Andre Etheir, Castlemusic, Eiyn Sof, Nordic Nomadic, Rick White, and Wyrd Visions. Advanced tickets are available from Soundscapes and Rotate This for $12, or you can get in for $15 at the door. Sounds pretty great to me.

Beth in Battle Mode played its last set ever a few days ago. I couldn't go (for reasons which escape me now), but thankfully Justin was on hand to record it for me! Ok, not really for me. For all of us. Here's part 1 (of 7). The rest are here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ticket/CD Giveaway: The Dress Whites @ The Piston, 22 Apr.

It's been a little while since I've put up one of these giveaways, but thankfully the Dress Whites have given me the chance to change that!

The Dress Whites have been on hiatus since the fall, and they've taken the time to write and record new material. The band's got a couple recent discs under their belt: 2008's album My God, The Shame, and last year's The No Fun EP. They've got a show coming up at the Piston a very new venue in the former space of the Concord Cafe out at Bloor near Ossington. On Thursday, 22 April, the band promises to perform almost all new material! A sneak peak at a new Dress Whites' album?

Have a listen to some of their older tunes:

Download: "The Mule" (The No Fun EP, 2009)
Download: "My Crooked Temper" (The No Fun EP, 2009)
Download: "Give Up the Ghost" (My God, The Shame, 2008).

Thanks to the band, I've got a couple tickets and copies of both their EP and My God, The Shame to give away to one lucky person. Want a chance at this super-sweet prize-package? Just email me. Put "Dress Whites" in the subject line, and your full name in the body of the message,a and do so by Tuesday, 20 April at 11:59pm. If you win, you're name with a +1 will be on the guestlist at the show, and you can pick up your other winnings at the merch table.

Fine Print: WreckingBall Entertainment presents The Dress Whites, Heartcore, and Whosarmy @ The Piston (937 Bloor St. W.), Thursday, 22 April, 9pm, $5. 19+ (Facebook event)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A few things: Megan Hamilton, Nightwood, Doc Pickles, Silver Speakers.

The talented, wicked-smart, beautiful, and otherwise awesome Megan Hamilton, who last fall relocated to Kingston, Ontario, has a central/western Canada tour coming up next month. It starts in Ontario and then she and her band will make there way out to Vancouver and back in a van. I wish them well! Go see them if you can. They are in Toronto on 14 May at the Holy Oak, host to many charming lower-key (but still rocking) shows.

Download: Megan Hamilton & the Volunteer Canola, "From Here to Vancouver" (See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard, 2009). I just had to offer up this one... ;-)

Here's the promo video for the tour:

A couple Thursdays ago I went to see a young Montreal band called Nightwood. The trio played at the Boat to a boisterous group of well-wishers and fans. I've been hearing some good things about this band from local music bloggers, and I wasn't disappointed by their set. Great vocals! Spunky attitude! So cute! My favourite song of theirs that I heard that night was "Sunken Mountain."

Download: "Sunken Mountain" (Carta Marina, 2009).

Wavelength co-founder and longtime MC Doc Pickles (Duncan McDonell) has been making music on his own and with friends for many years. And when he's done putting songs together and making some recordings, he shares them with the world, for free. He recently finished one such project, an "audiozine." It's called Move the Cube, and it's available here. In return for downloading the tracks, all Doc asks is that "you make some free songs for people." Anyone who knows him knows Doc's musical philosophy is basically that: Start your own band! Do it now! Do it often!

But that's not all. After doing Move the Cube back in early March, Doc recorded two more albums of free stuff, Throughth and Tesseract. If you check Internet Archive's own archives, you'll find plenty more Doc Pickles' compositions. Over at the Wavelength blog, Jonny Dovercourt tells us more about Doc and his music.

Another free recording comes from Tyrone Warner's Silver Speakers. The 6-song EP, called Fracture Clinic, may be downloaded here from GravenRecords. Here's a taste:

Download: Silver Speakers, "Wrong Blood" (Fracture Clinic, 2010).

Tyrone writes that the EP "is about my own struggle with faith and the battle against the physical implications of anxiety and depression. . . . The album also includes a cover of my favourite Mountain Goats song, and a echo-drenched version of an old hymn. Please note, this record has not been mastered, so at times it may be quieter than the highly compressed/produced tracks in the rest of your audio collection. Thanks for listening."

Friday, April 09, 2010

Watch this: Woodhands, We Are Busy Bodies show, Jason Collett, Young Rival.

My favourite live act, Woodhands, have a brilliant new video! I'm so pleased. It features the gorgeous and charming Maylee Todd in a love triangle with band members Paul Banwatt and Dan Werb. Maylee sings a duet with Dan on this track. Just awesome.

I just came across this neat like video documentary of the We Are Busy Bodies show during CMW that featured Japanther, Doldrums, Rich Aucoin, Quiet Hooves, and Boys Who Say No. Looked like a great show. And check out Eric Warner's snazzy new website for his WABB label/company.

Jason Collett, you sexy/geeky man.

Hamilton 60s-inspired pop-rockers Young Rival have an album coming out in short order, and are headed off an a big tour with Born Ruffians in a couple months. Here's their video for their song "Authentic." It's really cute. I approve.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Review: Primary Colors party feat. These Are Powers, Javelin, Doldrums @ And And And Space.

Event promoter Alex from Primary Colors organized a memorable night Tuesday, 30 March. Bringing in Brooklyn bands These Are Powers and Javelin, with support from Toronto's Doldrums---a new project feat. Airick Woodhead (Spiral Beach), Alex Laurence (the Miles), Chris Lyons (Heartbeat Hotel), and Andy Smith (Heartbeat Hotel). But that wasn't all; this wasn't just a regular show. Put on in an unknown venue that included handmade decorations, a mood room, projections, and one bizarre performance art piece, the event was as much show as it was interactive art space for those into that kind of thing.

I'd seen These Are Powers once before: a 2am set at Silver Dollar during last year's NxNE music festival. They blew me away with their eccentric hyper electro grooves and sensual energy. Their performance demanded that I dance, no matter the hour or the state of my tired feet. It was a very unexpected surprise. This was their first time back in Toronto since then, and I was keen on going to see them.

A friend and I showed up just shy at 11pm, unsure of what we were getting ourselves into. Located on the top floor of a building in an alley off Queen St. West, And And And Space is a muti-room (yet open-concept) space with exposed wooden beams and original hardwood floors. We got ribbon around our wrists instead of handstamps; there was a DJ playing in the front room, but no one was dancing. The pillars were decorated with long, thin strands of silver, and most of the partiers looked, well, pretty hip. (I wore my hot pink skinny jeans, and felt rather more colourful than everyone else, but otherwise fit right in.) In one small room band members were selling merch, in another, cans of PBR were going for $4, and the third was some kind of well-lit chill-out room, with cut-out bits of pastel-coloured paper layed all over the floor, ready to be stuck to the wall. Most of the people were hanging out in the hallway and larger areas in the front and back. There were balloons and sheets covered the ceiling over the stage area.

And then it sounded like a band had started to play. According to a schedule I'd glanced at earlier that day, I had missed Doldrums, but here they were. No doubt the as-yet sparse attendance had pushed things back. Airick and co. hit drums, tapped electronic noise makers, turned dials, and vocalized into distorted mics. A few people feined dancing, but most of us looked on, listening. It was exciting for me to see this new band, with men I'd seen perform in other bands before. The convergence of sounds and experiences, thinking about how these things come together---I felt like a bit of an insider, even though I'm really not. As for the noise they were making, it was far from offensive, but it was not really to my taste. There were elements of tunefulness, but the emphasis was on creating bizarre soundscapes. And after maybe 15 minutes, they were done.

Between sets---and at this point I had no idea what was going to happen next---my friend and I people-watched, took in the decorations, and sat in the chill-out room while fellow-attendees made good use of the paper shapes. I was surprised the event was rather less than full, and got the sense it wasn't because the place was at capacity. To those who stayed home: you missed out! Suddenly, something was happening... video projections behind Laura McCoy, performing semi-silently and alone. She did some moving around, and some mumbling, but I could only half see for all the people in front of me.

Finally, a few minutes before 12:30am---thank goodness I didn't have to be anywhere Wednesday morning---Javelin came on. Their vibe was very different than what I'd just heard and seen. More accessible and dance-oriented, Javelin slowly got people moving. The duo's music wouldn't have been too out of place in a regular club, but the band members themselves were pretty much the opposite of slick-looking. Heart-shaped red balloon in hand, I danced at the front, alongside rather younger partiers. The set was fun; I will keep an eye out for these guys.

With it now approaching 1am, the venue was decently-populated if not full. There was a long waiting period, perhaps by design to give us all time to mill about, taking everything in. Sari and Romy from Ghost Bees had shown up, doning masks and clear plastic coverings. A few other people put masks on, too, and moved about amongst the skinny-jeaned crowd. (Like so.) I couldn't tell if anyone else was getting impatient, but despite the distractions, I was ready for things to get going. About 1:30am, These Are Powers started playing. I had high expectations. At first, I wasn't sure about them. But before long, I had made my way to the very front, less than a foot from front-woman Anna Barie's synth table. (I was reminded of that uber-packed Woodhands' show at Teranga in January 2008.) Dancing ensued. It was not the full-out frenetic experience it might have been---cramped quarters made this difficult---but being so close to the beats and personal energy of the trio had its effect. The band performed a great set, full of songs both new and familiar, intense and driving. Beside me, the men from Doldrums let loose, jumping up and down with abandon. Behind me, people danced, too. But no doubt the energy was somewhat lost on those toward the back.

Given the hour and the heat---promoter Alex had to close open windows during These Are Powers' set, presumably to keep the noise in and any complaints at bay---I didn't linger much after the set. As I put my coat on in the alley, a woman called out to me, "Hey, pink pant-her!" It made me smile. Great party, cool bands, awesome space, respectful and interesting crowd---success! I gotta get myself to more of these Primary Colors events. And so perhaps should you.

Indie Music 115 (8-14 April 2010).

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 or subscribe to this blog. Make sure to check the rest ofmy blog for show reviews and photos, giveaways, and downloads. You can get lots of other suggestions at Stillepost, Zoilus, the weeklies, and venue websites, etc.

Lots of good shows happening over the next 7 days no matter what your particular tastes. I've highlighted a few that I'm most interested in over at Sticky Magazine. I can't believe I have to miss Old Man Luedecke's free in-store performance this evening!

THURSDAY (8 apr)

* Old Man Luedecke (in-store) @ Criminal Records, 6:30pm, free.

Reverse Mount Rushmore, Crop Failure, Sleep for the Nightlife, and Whipping Boy @ Bread & Circus, 9pm, pwyc.

Doug Tielli @ Holy Oak, 10pm-midnight, pwyc.

WreckingBall Entertainment presents Broken Bricks, Worldly Savages, and the Lemon Bucket Orchestra @ The Piston (937 Bloor St. W.), 9pm, $5 w/ canned food donation.

Let There Be Art (art exhibits & live music) feat. The Dank, The Vicious Guns, No Brigade, Revolution Love, more @ Neutral, $5

AfterpartY (CD release) w/ You Vs Me @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5.

Burn Down the Capital presents Man Made Hill (LP release), Pants & Tie, Daniel Francis Doyle, and J FM, w/ DJ Sylvermaybe @ The Boat, 9pm, $7.

mily Brown, Steve Brockley, and Christine Bougie @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $8.

FRIDAY (9 apr)

Fake Date, Mindbender, and Andrew Masuda @ NACO Gallery (1665 Dundas St. W.), 8:30pm, pwyc.

Soft Copy, Super Repeater, and Hybrid Moments (debut) @ Teranga, 9pm, pwyc.

Bend Sinister w/ Darlings Of Chelsea and Voodoo Bunny @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

Clothes Make The Man, The Dirty Tricks, and Solitary Sun @ The Garrison, 9pm, $5.

All Night Long, Commandeer, and DJs Lazy Ray, Pooyan, and guests @ Wrongbar, 10pm, $5.

* Beth in Battle Mode (final show) w/ the Speaking Tongues and Make Me Young @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5.

* BikeSauce Bicycle Resource Centre fundraiser feat. Abdominal & the Obliques, Hooded Fang, Entire Cities, and Bike Jazz w/ dancers @ Blue Moon (725 Queen St. E.), 9pm, $5-$10.

Sara Kamin, Meaghan Tonjes, and Katey Morley @ the Rivoli, 8:30pm, $10.

SATURDAY (10 apr)


Lovely Picnic 005 feat. Pat LePoidevin, Sarah Keshen, and Nathan Cyprys @ Project 165 (165 Augusta), 3pm, $5/pwyc.

* Daps Duo All-Ages V feat. Grang Analog, $100, Maylee Todd & Pegwee Power, and Doldrums @ Kapisanan Philippine Centre (167 Augusta), 2:30-6:30pm, $7. All ages. Free for kids 12 and under.


* The Golden Dogs, Sports: the Band, and the Modern Superstitions @ El Mocambo, 9pm, pwyc.

Orang Pendek, Holy Mount, and the City Above @ Rearview Mirror, 9pm, $5/pwyc.

* A Pitter Patter Fest fundraiser feat. Maylee Todd, Cigarettes, and Mooseblood @ Bread & Circus, 10pm, $5/pwyc.

Trinket Trance Presents Tripping Hazard, Clara Engel, Little Silver Tabby, and Stripping Buzzard @ The Cameron House, 9:30pm, $6/pwyc.

Life Sized Dream, Picture Me Free, and the Get Nuns @ The Bovine, 9pm, $5.

* Whale Tooth, Ten Kens, and the Elwins @ Silver Dollar, 9:30pm, $5.

TWM presents Volcano Playground, Indian Handcrafts, Hands & Teeth,and In Plain View @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $6.

* The Flowers Of Hell, the Hoa Hoas, and Ostrich Tuning @ The Garrison, 9pm, $8.

Sleigh Bells, Young Empires, and DJs the Frandiscos and guests @ Wrongbar, 10pm, $10.

SUNDAY (11 apr)

Marcel Aucoin and Michael Holt presents the Piano Salon feat. Katey Morley, Dave Meslin (talk), Amy Medvick, and Catherine Brown @ 592 Palmerston Ave., 7pm, pwyc ($5-10 sugg). Snacks and drinks provided, and feel free to bring your own contributions.

* Gather Round feat. Hamilton Trading Co., the Strumbellas, Pat LePoidevin, and Giant Hand @ The Boat, pwyc/$5.

Burn Down the Capital presents Peace,Loving, No White God, The Dead Are Those Who Have Died, Quartetto Graphica, and DJ Random @ Teranga, 9pm, $6.

MONDAY (12 apr)

* Elvis Monday feat. the Royal So and So's, John Milner,You're So Boss, the Whole Entire Universe, the Champion Heartache, the Peace Leeches, and Scarlet Coppins @ The Drake Hotel (Underground), 9pm, free.

TUESDAY (13 apr)

The Pink & Black Attack presents The Daily Times and Romeo Liquor Store, 9pm, free.

* MV+EE, Chris Corsano & Mick Flower, and Spiritual Sky Blues Band @ The Boat, 10pm, $10 or $5 w/ Josephine Foster/Baby Dee ticket.

WEDNESDAY (14 apr)

Lisa Marie Kruchak, Micheil Gray, and David Solomon @ Mitzi's Sister, 9pm, pwyc.
Wednesdays Go Pop! feat. Wildlife, the Archives, and Steve Gleason @ Supermarket, 8:30pm, pwyc.

Bellewoods, Eve & the Ocean, and David Juliet @ The Garrison, 9pm, pwyc.

Low Down Dirt and Graydon James & the Young Novelists @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.