Friday, 31 August 2012

New Music: Toy- Lose My Way + Music Video

Toy are a new buzz band out the U.K. featuring former members of Joe Lean and The Jing Jang Jong (The name of that band sort of rings a bell). The Guardian describes Toy's sound as "shoegazing, psychedelia, post rock, goth and post punk as well" and everything in between I suppose. To me they sound a lot like The Horrors which coincidentally Toy toured with recently.

Toy recently released a music video for their single Lose My Way that has the band performing in silhouette with popcorn coloured lights exploding in the background. Watch the video below.

Toy will release their self-titled debut album in North America on September 11th via Heavenly Recordings and Fontana North.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

New Music: Melody's Echo Chamber- I Follow You + Music Video

Way back on July 17th The Aural Report introduced new artist Melody's Echo Chamber which features French singer Melody Prochet and production from Tame Impala singer/guitarist Kevin Parker.

After releasing a split 7 inch with New Zealand indie rockers Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Melody's Echo Chamber are on to bigger and better things and she has just come out with a new single plus accompanying music video for I Follow You. The chilled track is perfect for a summer day with heavy synth textures and a slow meandering guitar that edges toward an Tame Impala-esque psychedelic guitar swirl at the very end.

The LSD inspired music video for I Follow You stars Melody taking a dip in a pool with a backdrop of psychedelic palettes, wild horses and a tiger lurking in the background. Watch the video below.

Melody's Echo Chamber is playing selected North American cities with The Raveonettes through late September and early October including a show at The Phoenix in Toronto on October 2nd. Check your local listings for all  tour dates.

Melody's Echo Chamber will release her self titled debut album on September 25th via Fat Possum Records.

New Music: Crocodiles- Picture My Face (Teenage Head Cover)

San Diego shoegaze band Crocodiles are giving away a left over track from their Endless Flowers sessions. The song is a cover of Teenage Head's Picture My Face.

Teenage Head are arguably the best punk rock group to ever come out of Canada. The band started in Hamilton Ontario in 1975 and are still playing shows today despite the fact original member Frankie Venom died of throat cancer in 2008.

Crocodiles perform a pretty faithful rendition of the track. Download below via Soundcloud.

Purchase Crocodiles Endless Flowers on iTunes.

Crocodiles - Picture My Face

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

New Music: Peace- Your Hand In Mine

Peace are a post punk outfit from Vancouver Island's Ladysmith British Columbia, which also happens to be the home of Pamela Anderson. I wonder if Pammy knows about this band and if so, is she a fan? I kinda doubt it. Judging by her relationships with rock stars it can be assumed she likes her music loud, metal (or rap metal) and played by bro's with big hair.

Peace have just released a single called Your Hand in Mine that sounds an awful like Interpol, while the songwriting reminds me of fellow British Columbians' The New Pornographers. Either way it's quite good. Give Peace a chance and listen to the song below:

Peace have just signed to Suicide Squeeze Records who will release the band's sophomore record on October 16th.

New Music: Anna Calvi- The Wall (The Invisible Cover)

British singer-songwriter Anna Calvi has turned the electronic track The Wall by The Invisible into a  slow bluesy ballad. Before today, I can say I have not heard any music by The Invisible, but now I need to check them out because this song is really good. Listen to the original here.

You can download Anna Calvi's cover of The Wall below via Soundcloud.

Anna Calvi "The Wall " (FREE DOWNLOAD)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

New Music: The Joy Formidable- Wolf's Law + Music Video

When A Place To Bury Strangers came to Toronto last spring with headlining band The Joy Formidable, I was little apprehensive about seeing the featured group. Not sure why....I bought The Joy Formidable's vinyl album and have been a big fan of their music since being introduced to them while listening to British radio.

Was I in for a big surprise because the band were one of the most high energy groups I have ever seen. Pixie singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan was a whirling dervish of fun riffing on her guitar and dancing around like a mad woman while drummer Matt Thomas was a real comedian and kept cracking jokes. The last show on the tour is always the best.

Now after a short turnaround The Joy Formidable have released a new single called Wolf's Law. The song is a ballad and is decidedly more low key than the power pop on their previous album The Big Roar.  Watch the video below.

New Music: High Highs- Once Around The House + Music Video

I don't have much information regarding High Highs. They are from Brooklyn and/or Australia and make beautiful haunting indie folk music similar to Fleet Foxes. Their debut album will be released in early 2013 and will be on Elton John's label Rocket Records.

The music video for Once Around the House finds a young woman following a stream of Christmas lights that lead into a lake. The girl dives in the water and the video ends. You never find out if she found the end of the lights. Here is hoping the string of lights was not infinite.

Watch the video for the hauntingly gorgeous Once Around The House below.

Monday, 27 August 2012

New Music: Frightened Rabbit- State Hospital + music video

Scottish bands like to make big melancholic emotional music and Frightened Rabbit are one of the best at capturing that sound. The band return with a new single called State Hospital which will be featured on a new EP with the same name.

The single is a somber, gloomy track and the accompanying music video exemplifies the song's dreariness with a young girl in a hospital gown walking around a cloudy cityscape while reliving painful memories and contemplating suicide. All is not lost though, as at the very end of the video the girl decides against jumping. Watch the video below:

Frightened Rabbit are on tour in the U.K. and will return to North America in the fall, including a stop at The Mod Club Theater in Toronto on October 10th. Check your local listings.

Frightened Rabbit release the EP State Hospital on September 25th in North America via Canvasback.

New Music: Fine Times- Hey Judas

Hey..... I've been in this type of relationship. A girl is just dating you for your bank account. She cuddles and caresses you with one hand, while she takes her other hand and reaches around to your back pocket to take all your money from your wallet. She disappears for days, unreachable, until she runs out of cash and comes running back looking for more. You become a glutton for punishment, especially after being in a relationship with her for five long years. At least the sex was good.

Fine Times know what I am talking about. The Vancouver indie pop duo have just released a single that focuses on that very subject. The track features synth laden textures with a big catchy chorus daring-an ex girlfriend perhaps-to take all my money, my money my money. Download below.

Fine Times will release their debut self titled album on September 18th via Light Organ Records.

Fine Times: "Hey Judas"

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Favourite Songs: Hawkwind-Silver Machine

This is awesome!!! Listen to Lemmy Klimister sing the space rock classic Silver Machine before going on to infamy as the leader of speed metal heroes Motorhead.

Hawkwind are a British psychedelic space rock band that started in the early 70's and have released over 25 albums to date. Although they are still a going concern the only original member left in the band is vocalist and guitarist Dave Brock.

Lemmy Klimister was the bass player for Hawkwind from 1971 to 1975 before being kicked out after being arrested for drug possession in Windsor Ontario. He went on to form Motorhead which was also the name of the last song he wrote for Hawkwind.

Silver Machine was released in 1972 and went to #3 on the UK charts. The song was featured on a Various Artists compilation called Glastonbury Farye.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Music Video: Japandroids- The House That Heaven Built

Here is a music video to get you ready for Saturday night. Watch as Japandroids go on a drinking binge while they play shows and tour across Canada. The first part of the video was filmed at Toronto's infamous Lee's Palace while the rest of the video shows the band partaking in other stereotypical Canadian behaviour like travelling to a cottage and buying beers at The Beer Store.

The House That Heaven Built is a track off of Celebration Rock which is another one of my favourite albums of 2012 so far. The song is getting some heavy airplay on Toronto new rock radio station 102.1 The Edge. Not sure that is a good thing because the track might be squeezed between Stain'd and Three Days Grace on the radio station's play list. But whatever, I am glad they are starting to get some attention.

Japandroids are touring Europe right now and will be back in North America to play shows starting in November which includes a date at The Phoenix in Toronto on December 11th. Check your local listings.

The album Celebration Rock is available now via Polyvinyl Records or on iTunes.

New Music: The Soft Pack- Tallboy

It is a another super hot summer day here in Toronto and that can only mean one thing, drinking beer, drinking lots and lots of beer. And what is the best way to drink beer? By the pint of course. But if you are at the beach or the park, you will not access to pint glasses so tallboys of lager and ale are the preferable way of cooling off, so to speak.

Along the same vein, San Diego garage poppers The Soft Pack have just released a new single called Tallboy from their forthcoming new album Strapped. The track is heavily melodic with organ and horns driving the tune. The lyrics spell out T-A-L-L-B-O-Why and seem to lament the effects of binge drinking. But don't let that discourage you, grab a beer and listen.

The Soft Pack will be touring throughout North American in September and October including a date at The Garrison in Toronto on October 9th. Check your local listings.

Strapped is available September 25th via Mexican Summer.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Music Video: Frankie Rose- Know Me

Not sure why,  but every time I hear the song Know Me I think it's Memoryhouse and not Frankie Rose. Maybe it's my ears, but there seems to be similarities in the singing voices between Frankie and Memoryhouse singer Denise Nouvian.

The album Interstellar has been out for a while now and features Frankie branching out from her lo-fi roots and making some really nice new wave and dream pop sounds. Interstellar is one of my top albums of the year so far.

The video for Know Me was produced by clothing chain Urban Outfitters and features Frankie in a futuristic world where everybody is wearing virtual reality glasses. After having her eyes examined in the back room of a bar she seems liberated when she takes her glasses off....or something like that. The video looks like a deleted scene from the movie Blade Runner.

The album Interstellar is out now on Slumberland Records. Buy it!!! It is really good.

Frankie Rose - "Know Me" from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.

New Music: Daughter- Smother

London alternative folk trio Daughter have garnered some serious buzz across the pond where they have been selling out shows, plus in North America they were one of the highlights of this year's SXSW music conference. As a result, they have been rewarded by signing to iconic U.K. record label 4AD. Led by singer Elena Tondra, Daughter's music can best be described as hauntingly beautiful.  The band released two EPs back in March- The Wild Youth and His Young Heart- and are currently readying a new LP. You can stream the majority of the songs from the two EP's on the band's Soundcloud page.

Meanwhile the band have just put out a single called Smother which will be released on 7" on October 1st via 4AD in Britain and Glassnote in North America . Listen to the track below and then download the eerily gorgeous song Love from The Wild Youth EP.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

New Music: Happy New Year- Twins

I remember hearing the song Twins by Australian artist Happy New Year- real name Eleanor Logan-a couple of years ago, when the she released it on 7 inch, and thinking this is a really nice noisey shoegaze track. Happy New Year is back and she has re-released a cleaned up, mesmerizing psychedelic dream pop version of Twins for her self titled debut album which came out on Tuesday. You can buy the album via Crikey! Records.

Watch the video for the new version of the song below and then download the song via Soundcloud.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 'TWINS' from Crikey! Records on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Music Video: Grimes- Genesis

Okay, I just watched the crazy new video from favourite of 2012, Polaris Prize nominated artist Grimes and had to throw it up on the blog. The girl really is outrageously stylish and I might even harken to say she is trying to be the indie Lady GaGa.  I really love Claire Boucher's hair in all of her videos, but I suppose it is all wigs and extensions. Watch the hair crazy video below:

New Music: Youthfall- From Fallen Eyes

I don't have a lot of information about these guys, but I do know that Youthfall  are couple of brothers from another world known as Metaphasia (actually there from London U.K.) who make some really good dream pop music. The song From Fallen Eyes is a lo-fi gem with foggy vocals and Cocteau Twins Victorialand era guitars. Listen to the track below and then go to Soundcloud to hear some of their earlier work.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

New Band: Highasakite

A new Scandanavian band can only mean one thing; highly melodic pop music that is so sweet it will give you cavities. New Norwegian trio highasakite fit the the nordic music template perfectly.

The song Indian Summer evokes the season it was named for, a hot spell after the first frost in autumn when the leaves have fallen from the trees. The track features infectious hooks, big choruses and airy synths that would be perfect listening on a warm October day.  Download the track below and head over to Soundcloud to here the four song Indian Summer EP.

Monday, 20 August 2012

New Music: King Krule- Rock Bottom

Up and coming carrot topped Scottish singer King Krule, aka Archy Marshall, has just released a new single called Rock Bottom. Judging by the greatness of this song, the future looks bright for the 18 year old formerly known as Zoo Boy.

Rock Bottom starts out like classic Aztec Camera before the song changes direction into a more percussive beat with flittering guitar riffs. Kinda like dub step mixed with Edwyn Collins. Very impressed by the lyrics of Rock Bottom as they seem to be written by someone much older. This kid seems to be wise beyond his years.  Listen below via Soundcloud.

No details on a new album from King Krule but the single will be released on September 24th via Rinse.

New Band: Father Sculptor

Father Sculptor are a new band hailing from Glasgow Scotland that sound like they are heavily indebted to The Smiths. The music of the song Rhein, with it's shimmering guitars and the deep croon of lead singer Thomas David,  plays great homage to the Morrissey/Marr band.

Meanwhile, the song Frances strays slightly away from The Smiths sound with it's big choruses and textured synth that is probably more like the music of fellow Scottish bands Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad..

The band has been releasing a song every two weeks over the summer and you can download them from Father Sculptor's website. Listen to Rhein and Frances below via Soundcloud.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Favourite Songs: Portishead- Machine Gun

This song came on my iPod the other day while I was walking to work and provided the perfect anecdote to wake me up and energize me for the working day.

 Portishead released their aptly named Third album in 2005 after a six year hiatus. Geoff Barrow needed to re-invent the trip hop sound of their band, especially after the songs off of their first albums had become hits with middle of the road Starbuck's Coffee drinkers.

 The result was the harder edged first single called Machine Gun. The track has thundering repetitive beats made to sound like a machine gun (obviously), icy synths which are backed by Beth Gibbons bleak, beautiful voice. Play the track loud and if possible play it on CD or vinyl where the sound is infinitely better than playing an mp3 of the song or You Tube video on your computer.

Machine Gun is available on the album Third. Buy: Amazon or iTunes

Watch the mind blowing dystopian music video below.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

New Music: The Soft Moon- Die Life

Oakland California dark wave post punk project The Soft Moon are back with a new single called Die Life. The Luis Vasquez led Soft Moon's eponymous debut album was one of my favourite records of 2010. Now they return with a bleak industrial instrumental that would not be out of place on a Nine Inch Nails album. Download the track below via Soundcloud.

The Soft Moon play an extensive tour throughout North America and Europe in the final four months the year, including a gig at The Drake in Toronto with Cold Showers on Sept. 22nd. Check your local listings.

The Soft Moon release their sophomore album, Zeros, on October 30th via Captured Tracks.

Friday, 17 August 2012

New Music: Permanent Collection- One Thousand Sins

Permanent Collection is a new shoegaze outfit from San Francisco featuring former Young Prisms member Jason Hendardy. The band have just released a punk rock shoegaze single called One Thousand Sins which will be a track on their new album Newly Wed, Nearly Dead. Download the single below via Soundcloud.

Permanent Collection's new album Newly Wed, Nearly Dead is out now via Loglady Records.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

New Music: Black Marble- A Great Design

Brooklyn artists Black Marble have just released a cooler than cool coldwave song called A Great Design. When you have finished working up a sweat dancing to all of the great summer jams released this season, cool off to some awesome coldwave music courtesy of Black Marble. Listen below via Soundcloud.

Black Marble release their new album, A Different Arrangement, on October 9th via Hardly Art. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

New Band: Cold Showers

BC is the lead single from new Los Angeles post punk band Cold Showers debut album Love and Regret. The track has a propulsive beat backed by jangle guitar that leads into a more shredding shoegaze guitar near the end. The guitar work on the song is aided by Andrew King of psych indie rock band Crystal Antlers. The dark pop reminds one of Joy Division or modern acts like DIIV and The Soft Moon.

Cold Showers release Love and Regret on October 9th via Dais Records.

Download BC and a bonus cover of The Cars Double Life courtesy of Soundcloud.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

New Music: Lykke Li- Silver Springs (Fleetwood Mac Cover)

Today marks the release of Just Tell Me That You Want Me, the all star tribute album to the career of Fleetwood Mac. The album has 17 tracks with a diverse list of artists including Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top fame, MGMT, supermodel-and the ex Mrs. Jack White -Karen Elson, Marianne Faithfull and Daniel Lanois muse Trixie Whitley.

I listened to the album this afternoon at work while doing reconciliations (fun!!!) and found it be somewhat disappointing. I will not attempt to review the album- I will leave that to the professionals at Pitchfork and Spin-but I do have a few observations.

It is funny, because when I was a kid I hated Fleetwood Mac. Only after The Smashing Pumpkins released a cover version of Landslide I started seeing them in a different light and came to appreciate the band's talents. This is well before I discovered that Fleetwood Mac had a first incarnation as a blues rock band led by the reclusive Peter Green.

Just Tell Me That You Want covers most of the bands years including a few Peter Green era songs- the highlight being Billy Gibbons boogie rock version of the 1969 single Oh Well. Other highlights of the album are Washed Out's chillwave rendition of the Mirage track Straight Back and The New Pornographer's rendition of Think About Me from Tusk.

There are three noteworthy flops on the album. MGMT weirds out with vocoder to Future Games and The Kills fall flat with an industrial blues version of the classic Rumours classic track Dreams. The worst song is Best Coast doing their version of Rhiannon. The recording of this track seems rushed and Bethany Cosentino's singing is horrific.

And finally, the best song on the album is Swedish chanteuse Lykke Li's version of the non album B-Side track Silver Springs. Originally Silver Springs was supposed to be included on Rumours but was relegated to a B side after some in-band fighting between Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. Lykke Li brings the track back to life with her haunting voice drowned with reverb, making the song her own but not straying from the emotional depth of the original. Listen below via Soundcloud.

Buy the album Just Tell Me That You Want Me on iTunes

New Music: Capital Cities- Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O'Connor cover)

Technically, Nothing Compares 2 U is actually a Prince cover, as the purple one wrote this for his side project The Family. However, Sinead O'Connor did a pretty good job of covering the power ballad and took it to the top of charts in several countries-it was her biggest hit.

Now, Los Angeles electro pop band Capital Cities has come along and turned the song into a summer jam with plenty of synths and a horn section. I think Prince would approve of this funky, groove driven, not so serious rendition of his song. Perfect tune to listen to before summer comes to an unwelcome end. Download the track below via Soundcloud.

Monday, 13 August 2012

New Band- Mode Moderne

Mode Moderne are a five piece band from Vancouver that specialize in dark gloomy new wave dance music. The throwback new romantic sound reminds me of 80's bands like Modern English, Blue Peter and New Order.

The band just released an EP, Strange Bruises, which was put out on Vancouver based Light Organ Records. Watch the video for the song Nightly Youths, stream the track Foul Weather Fare and then go to Soundcloud to stream the entire EP.

Mode Moderne "Nightly Youths" from Light Organ Records on Vimeo.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

New Band- Ummagma

This is an update to an earlier post regarding the band Ummagma.

Last week I write a post about the emerging new Ukranian-Canadian band Ummagma. Admittedly, I wrote the piece after only listening to three songs. I have now found the time to listen to their two albums, and after hearing all of the various influences that their music has, I think that this couple deserve a little more attention.

Ummagma is a Ukranian-Canadian duo comprised of Alexander Kretov and Shauna McLamon. Both Shauna and Alexander share songwriting duties, while Shauna takes care of most of the vocals -with a couple of exceptions-and Alexander is responsible for the instrumentation and recording of the music.

Ummagma began as an affair of love and music in 2003 in Moscow which eventually grew into a musical partnership and loving marriage. They began making music together and set up their own home studio in Kiev, and through the years continued to upgrade their recording and studio equipment until last July when they released two debut albums, Ummagma and Antigravity

Ummagma's music has a lot of different influences including shoegaze, dream pop, indie rock and prog rock. The band are compared to an array of different bands including The Cocteau Twins, Blonde Redhead, Talk Talk, Lush and the Bowery Electric. After listening to the two albums, comparisons to Asobi Seksu (Lama), Peter Gabriel (BFD) and Exitmusic (Beautiful Moment) would not be unwarranted. Listen to all three songs below.

I was initially skeptical of all of the different musical styles on the albums, but came around after hearing how good the song-writing and production is. The songs musical styles run from highly texturized, to euphoric, ethereal, dreamlike and ambient to rhythmic and beat driven.

There a lot of bands that have made albums with varying influences that went on to become classics- I am thinking Girls self titled album and The Clash's London Calling. I am not saying Ummagma's albums are classics, but they are very good.

Listen to their debut albums Ummagma and Antigravity on bandcamp.

Other links for Ummagma:

YouTube (which includes four music videos)

Friday, 10 August 2012

New Band- Moon King

The new indie pop band Moon King are Toronto indie rock fixtures with a lot of friends. The duo of Dan Woodhead and Maddy Wilde used to be in the indie rock band Spiral Beach, plus Dan has also worked in his brother Alrick's band Doldrums, and more recently with Grimes. Not only that but their new EP Obsession I is being released on August 14th on the label One Big Silence which is run by Fucked Up's Mike Haliechuk.

Last week the band released the garagey dream pop single Only Child and today they have released a second single form the EP called Sleeping In My Car. Listen to the two songs below.

Download: Moon King- Sleeping In My Car

Moon King - Only Child from One Big Silence on Vimeo.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

New Band- Night Sins

With all of the sunny electro pop I've been posting lately it is time to do something on the opposite side of the 80's influenced synth pop spectrum and feature some goth music.

Night Sins describe themselves on their Facebook page as "Members of Salvation, Mother of Mercy, and Nothing take on coffin bound groans that creep through the corridors of one's mind like a half-recalled glimpse into the beyond. Christian Death/Bauhaus/Samhain possession with haunting vocals that hearken the ghost of Peter Steele." All I can think of when I read  this statement, and when I hear their new single Spectral Bliss, are Peter Murphy and The Sisters of Mercy. Listen for yourself below:

Night Sins are working on their new LP, New Grave, which will be available this fall via Avant! Records.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

New Music: Electric Youth- The Best Thing

When I saw the movie Drive last Fall, not only was I blown away by the movie, but also by the cool electronic soundtrack which featured the electronic duo Electric Youth. One of the highlights of the music in the film was the Electric Youth/College collaboration for the retro infused song A Real Hero. Their eighties influence is apparent, even in the name of their band, which is the same as a Debbie Gibson album from the same decade.

The duo have just released a new single called The Best Thing. If chillwave was around in the eighties it would have been a lot cooler and would have sounded like this. Listen below via Soundcloud:

Download: Electric Youth- The Best Thing via iTunes

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

New Music: Xylos- Fiction In 4 Moves

Another day, another synth happy 80's influenced band hailing from Brooklyn. It is getting to be boring- the amount of bands coming from Brooklyn that is- definitely not the music.

Xylos is a five piece synth pop band led by the smooth voice of singer Monika Heidemann. Earlier this summer the band released the song Summerlong and now they are back with the single Fiction in 4 Moves.  Both are perfect retro dance songs to work up a sweat to on these hot summer nights. Apparently Xylos are working on their sophomore album and it should be out soon.

Stream both Fiction in 4 Moves and Summerlong via Soundcloud below:

New Music: Wild Nothing- Paradise

Jack Tatum bedroom project Wild Nothing returns with Paradise, the second single off of his forthcoming album Nocturne. He has also set up a neat website that tracks the lunar cycle for the next few weeks apparently symbolizing the restlessness that he felt when creating the new album.

The new single is more synth and dance oriented and is a little bit different than his usual jangly guitar dream pop songs. Take a listen to the first two singles Shadow and Paradise via Soundcloud below.

The new Wild Nothing album Nocturne will be available on August 28th in North America via Bella Union and Captured Tracks.

Download: Wild Nothing Paradise

Stream: Shadow

Monday, 6 August 2012

Featured New Artists- Ummagma and bassDrumsnareDrum

Last week a got a couple of requests in my E-mail inbox to feature songs from two new bands. Read about and listen to the two new artists below:


First up, I received a nice E-mail from a girl named Shauna McLarnon, the singer in a band called Ummagma.  Ummagma are a Canadian/Ukrainian duo that features Shauna and Alex Kretov and are influenced by many styles including post punk and shoegaze. I couldn't resist posting about this band because Shauna was a student at Trent University in Peterborough Ontario, which is near where I grew up. The music is quite good too.

The band have already released two albums, Antigravity and S/T,  which you can check out on bandcamp. You can also listen to their songs on Soundcloud.


Next, I received a request from Europe to feature a electronic producer named Jake Ridley, aka  bassDrumsnareDrum. His music is electronic chillout dream pop and features the vocals of up and coming vocalist Betty Steeles. bassDrumsnareDrum has already been featured on BBC radio DJ Pete Tong's weekly dance music show, which to electronic dance musicians is like gold.

bassDrumsnareDrum have just released a new EP called Pause/Rewind which you can listen to on Soundcloud. Download or listen to the song All We Need below:

The Jesus And Mary Chain- Live at the Phoenix

When The Jesus and Mary Chain announced a new tour back in April after playing fairly successful shows at SXSW, I knew I could not miss this once in a lifetime opportunity and rushed to buy a ticket before it sold out. I had never seen these guys play before, even though they are one of my all time favourite bands. I also knew the The Phoenix is a relatively small venue and sure enough it did not take long to sell out.

The concert started with Toronto based dance band Nightbox, who were an odd choice to open for the more sullen shoegaze main attraction. Nightbox mixes synth pop with party disco and reminded me a lot of Friendly Fires. The crowd seemed appreciative of their music but there was a also a lot of people ignoring the band or mocking them. One tweet from a well known Toronto indie rocker (who shall remain nameless) stated "Worst opener ever". You can't please everyone.

In the time space between the opening band and the main attraction, the concert theatre started to fill up. This usually brings out the idiots (you can read more about this on favourite blog indie kid vs dance kid) who need to make a final beer run or want to get a better position in close the stage. I was pushed aside numerous times with not even an "excuse me" as douchebags who arrived late selfishly shoved their way up closer to the stage. You think that an older crowd would be more behaved, but I was proved wrong.

The Jesus and Mary Chain arrived on stage at 10:45 PM, and the notorious bickering Reid brothers looked pretty good for guys who are noted for their past drug and alcohol abuse. Guitarist William Reid still has hair that looks like he stuck his finger in a light socket.

The band quickly proved they are still king when it comes to shoegaze right from the get go with the Sound of Speed classic Snakedriver. The aural assault of punk , post punk and Spector wall of sound 60's pop ladened with William Reid's terrorizing guitar licks and deafening feedback sounded fantastic throughout their 14 song opening set. The music was so loud that singer Jim Reid had to cover his ears for most of the set (the poor guy is probably legally deaf by now) to try and hear himself sing.

The first surprise of the night came whenFrench Canadian actress and Mad Men star Jessica Pare-aka Megan Draper- came on stage to help out with the backing of Just Like Honey (It just so happens that Jessica's boyfriend John Kastner is former lead singer of the punk band The Asexuals and now JAMC's guitar technician). She did a fairly admirable job of singing the few lines near the end of the song-unlike Scarlett Johansson who butchered it at Coachella a few years ago. However, there was a second surprise, as Jessica did not leave the stage, and singer Jim Reid announced "they were going to play a song they have not played in a while." Jessica stayed to sing the Hope Sandoval part of the duet with Jim Reid for the song Sometime Always. They screwed up a few bars in and had to start the song again, but after all was said and done the rendition was nearly perfect. Glad Jessica didn't break into the song Zou Bisou from that infamous Mad Men episode.

The only other mis-step on the night was when the band started playing All Things Must Pass. About a quarter of the way through the song, guitarist William Reid botched a cord and Jim decided to stop the song. The short tempered Jim Reid then berated his brother on stage, and if I understood his Scottish burr correctly, he basically told him he was a fuck up. They were able the finish the song and the rest of the concert without any major incidents. The only other criticism I had of the show was that the light show seemed to be lacking and the dry ice seemed to dissipate too fast in the hot summer night.

The set ended with a very Stooges-like punk rock version of Reverence. That was the highlight of my night.
Download: The Jesus And Mary Chain- Reverence

The band played two encores, the first made up of three songs (see set list below) and the second one song. The second encore was kind of funny, as many of the people in the crowd headed for the exits, the band re-appeared and announced that they had forgot to play one song. They then launched into a raucous version of their classic song Sidewalking, much to the chagrin to the people who had already made their way out of the concert hall. Lesson learned-it's never over until it's over.

Set list:
Head On
Far Gone and Out
Between Planets
Blues From a Gun
Teenage Lust
Cracking Up
All Things Must Pass
Some Candy Talking
Happy When It Rains
Halfway To Crazy
Just Like Honey (featuring Jessica Pare)
Sometimes Always (featuring Jessica Pare)
The Hardest Walk
Taste of Cindy
Never Understand
2nd Encore

Watch: The Jesus And Mary Chain- Sometimes Always (featuring Jessica Pare) live at The Phoenix

Watch: The Jesus and Mary Chain- Sidewalking (Live)

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Favourite Songs: The Style Council- Long Hot Summer

To start...... a small rant

It is already the August long weekend, and the older I get it seems like summers are passing by quicker than when I was younger, even though the summers in Toronto seem to be getting longer. In fact this year Toronto barely had a winter with hardly any snow and the warm weather started in the last week of March when the city received record temperatures in mid 20's Celsius. Normally in early March Toronto would still be under a blanket of snow and people would travel to the ski hills for their recreational activity. The freaky weather this year is probably all due to global warming and climate change.

There is an article in yesterday's Huffington Post about NASA, and leading global warming scientist James Hansen releasing statistics giving more proof of the existence of climate change. The simple facts of global warming aside, the statistical information shows that climate change is happening right before our eyes.

Climate change, which was a huge issue a few years ago, is largely being ignored by politicians around the world today, while our own Prime Minister seems to be oblivious to the fact that he and his government are a major contributor to global warming with his aggressive national energy policy which includes the piping of oil from the Alberta tar sands to the British Columbia coast to ship to crude hungry China. Politicians need to wake up and stop worrying about padding the profits of giant oil companies while using the same old bullshit that they are creating jobs. As usual, conservatives feel that ignorance is bliss and that everything will be okay in the end.

Segue to the song.....

The early eighties in England had a soul resurgence with the emergence of artists like The Blow Monkeys, Paul Young, Sade, Simply Red and The Style Council (Paul Weller would probably shoot me for grouping him in with some those artists). After the break up of The Jam, Paul Weller and Mick Talbot went in a more soulful direction and formed The Style Council in 1983. The song Long Hot Summer was their third single and was released on 7 inch, on a 12 inch EP called A Paris and on the LP Introducing The Style Council.

The laid back soulful single is a nice reminder of when Curtis Mayfield ruled the charts. Although, the single is far from being a cheery summer song with lyrics about a troubled relationship. Download the extended mix of the song and watch the amusing music video below:

Download: The Style Council- Long Hot Summer (Extended Mix)

Saturday, 4 August 2012

New Music: Crystal Castles- Plague

Quick post today... I have beer and barbecue awaiting me on the other side of town.

Loving Plague, the new single from hometown 8 bit stars Crystal Castles. The sound of the single is not much different than the music on their previous two albums. It is still the same skittish euphoric electronica they have become known for.

No word of a new album yet, but in the meantime they are teasing us with their new song which you can download below via Soundcloud.

Friday, 3 August 2012

New Band: The Cast Of Cheers

No I am not writing about Ted Danson, Shelly Long, Woody Harrelson or George Wendt, I am writing about a new Irish indie rock band called The Cast of Cheers. According to NME , the band got their name because they all worked at the same pub together.  NME is already doing a pretty good job of hyping this band, and have included them on their RADAR tour (Next Generation Tour), which is a tour around England that focuses on up and coming artists and groups.

These guys will predictably be compared to fellow countrymen Two Door Cinema Club, but have different music styles including dance punk like Bloc Party and dance math rock like Foals.

The band just released their debut sophomore album, Family, in the U.K and is available at Rough Trade.

Download: The Cast Of Cheers- Family

Stream: The Cast of Cheers- Animals

Thursday, 2 August 2012

New Band: Tashaki Miyaki

Almost everything I've read about Tashaki Miyaki either compare them to The Jesus & Mary Chain or flat out state that they are the new Jesus & Mary Chain....and here they are in Toronto opening for Florence & The Machine tonight and playing their own show at The Garrison on Saturday, while Jesus & Mary Chain play tomorrow night and they are not on the bill. That's a shame!!!

Tashaki Miyaki seem to be getting grouped in with the girl group indie all-stars like Best Coast, Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls, but I'd say their sound is more shoegaze than the lo-fi garage rock of those bands. Their sound is more akin to J&MC best buddies Mazzy Star.

Tashaki Miyaki have already released a self titled EP on Halloween of last year via The Sounds of Sweet Nothing and now they have just released a new song called Tonight.

Listen to Tonight, watch videos for Best Friend, Something is Better Than Nothin', and Get it Right plus hear a bonus cover of The Everly Brothers All I Have to Do Is Dream.

Tashaki Miyaki - Best Friend (Official Video) from Juan Iglesias on Vimeo.

Tashaki Miyaki - Somethin' Is Better Than Nothin' from The Sounds Of Sweet Nothing on Vimeo.

Tashaki Miyaki - Get It Right from The Sounds Of Sweet Nothing on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

New Music: The Luyas- Fifty Fifty

Montreal band The Luyas have released a new song called Fifty Fifty, which is the first single off of their upcoming new album Animator. Featuring lead singer Jessie Stein's sugar sweet voice, it sounds like the band have evolved from experimental pop to a more accessible dream pop sound.

The follow up to last year's Polaris long listed record Too Beautiful To Work, Animator features production from Pietro Amato, Jase Lasek of Besnard Lakes and horn and string arrangements from Arcade Fire's Sara Neufeld.

Animator will be released October 16th via Paper Bag and on Dead Oceans outside of Canada.

Download the new song Fifty Fifty below via Soundcloud.

New Music: Bloc Party- Day Four

Bloc Party are back with the second single from their forthcoming new album Four. The song is called Day Four and I like this better then their debut single that was released a couple of weeks ago. The music is more focused on Kele Okereke's soft voice and is backed by gentle synths with a hint of lush angular guitar. Stream the new song below.

Bloc Party's new album Four is out on August 21st via Arts & Crafts