Kicking off the week is UK buzz band Bad Sounds. The group released their debut album Get Better this past autumn and are making their first trip to North America, with a stop at this year’s South by Southwest Festival. They’ll also be opening for BROODS, including their stop at The Phoenix on April 12th. Tickets are $22 plus fees, and can be purchased at Rotate/Soundscapes or at Ticketweb.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since Passion Pit released their debut album Manners, but the album came out in 2009, and here we are. To celebrate, the band is doing a ten year anniversary tour, which includes a stop at The Danforth Music Hall. Tickets are $45 plus fees and can be purchased at Rotate/Soundscapes or Ticketmaster.
Last week, Charly Bliss announced they’ll be releasing their sophomore album Young Enough, via Barsuk Records, on May 10th. With the announcement has also come a short tour, but alas no stops in Toronto. With most of the summer, and the autumn still open I think it’s safe to assume an announcement in the not so distant future. In the meantime, you can pre-order the album HERE.
Though it’s a bummer that Field Trip has been cancelled, and the summer festival outlook for Toronto looks quite bleak, the one added side effect of this is that it will allow us to get to see some bands play more intimate gigs than we’ve gotten to over the last decade. The first example of such is Broken Social Scene, who have played exclusively larger venue/festival shows in Toronto (aside from that random Lotto Max club show in 2016 at The Phoenix). All of that changes on April 24th & 25th, when the band plays a two-night stand at The Danforth Music Hall. Advance online tickets for night one have sold out, but you can buy tickets for the 25th HERE, or go to Rotate/Soundscapes to get tickets for either night (as of Sunday, Feb. 10th). They’ll be performing in support of their new Let’s Try the After Vol. 1 EP, which will be released this Friday, Feb. 15th, via Arts and Crafts.
Fresh off of their own two-night stand at The Danforth, Blood Orange makes their return to Toronto on May 26th, opening for Florence and The Machine. They’ll be playing Budweiser Stage, with tickets starting at $49 plus fees for lawn tickets. You can find those online HERE.
Since we’re on the topic of two night stands at The Danforth, I’d be remissed to leave out this weekend’s fantastic double bill of Kurt Vile & local freak-folkers The Sadies. Vile is touring in support of his latest effort Bottle It In, and will be playing two sold out nights Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to keep your eyes on the Collective Concerts twitter account to see if there will be any tickets available at the door, because this promises to be a fantastic evening of music.
This week’s cover is Kyle Craft‘s cover of “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” by Sharon Van Etten. The song is from his album Girl Crazy, which is a full cover album of songs originally recorded by female artists. It also features songs by TLC, Blondie, St. Vincent & Cher, to name a few. You can find it on Spotify, or listen to the full album HERE. Kyle has no upcoming tour dates, but you might be aware that Sharon Van Etten is playing The Danforth Music Hall TONIGHT! If you didn’t listen to my previous posts, I am sorry to inform you that this one has sold out. If you want to find a way to go, same advice I gave for the KV show applies.
Los Angeles duo Foxygen have announced they’ll be releasing their new album Seeing Other People on April 26th, via Jagjaguwar. No tour has been announced as of yet, but the new album can be pre-ordered HERE.
Jessica Pratt‘s new album Quiet Signs was released on Friday and has been receiving generally positive response. Based on the early reviews, you might want to be sure to get tickets for her show at The Garrison soon, because at $15 this one is likely to sell out.
Yesterday marked the fifteenth anniversary of the release of Kanye West‘s debut album The College Dropout. It’s crazy to think that, as it feels like he’s been around forever, but regardless of what you might think of Ye now, you’d be hard pressed to find someone at the time that wasn’t excited about the new direction that he was taking hip-hop in. Make no mistake, with the influence that Kanye has had on the sound of hip-hop since its release, this album is something that should be celebrated and remembered.
2018 was a huge year for Hamilton’s Arkells. They played a massive hometown show at Tim Horton’s Field in the summer, and followed that up with the release of their album Rally Cry in October. Coinciding with the album release, they announced a cross-Canada tour for this year, which features a stop at the biggest venue they’ve yet to play in Toronto (much bigger than the show I shot 11 years ago from the photo below). They’ll be headlining a show at Scotiabank Arena this Saturday, with Lord Huron opening. There are still tickets available, and they can be purchased HERE.
This week, The Rolling Stones made some news lasst week when a couple of giant Stones logos popped up around the city (you know, the ones with the lips and the tongue), with the hashtag #stonesnofilter and the date 06/29/2019 written below them. “Stones No Filter” is the name of their current tour, and just this morning they announced they will be playing a show at Burl’s Creek. Tickets go on sale this FRIDAY at Ticketmaster. No info on pricing as of yet, but the time is listed as 2:00pm-11:00pm, so this could be quite the big festival event. Stay tuned for more info as it comes.
In my Week 3 Playlist, I mentioned that Black Belt Eagle Scout would be playing a show at The Horseshoe Tavern with Julia Jacklin on April 28th. I bring this up because Julia’s new album Crushing will be released on February 22, via Polyvinyl. Grab your tickets for $12 plus fees at Rotate/Soundscapes or online HERE.
Thursday is Valentine’s Day, so I’m sending out Richard Ashcroft‘s “A Song for the Lovers” out to everyone celebrating this year.
If you have yet to make plans for V-Day, the good news is that there is no shortage of things to do in the city (see below). However, if you were hoping to take your loved one to see Men I Trust at Lee’s Palace, the bad news is that it looks like you’re going to have to hit the second-hand market, because advanced tickets have sold out.
Ending off this week is Dinosaur Jr.‘s “Over Your Shoulder” because it’s the final song on one of my favourite albums of theirs, so why not? Also, if it can randomly show up on the Japanese billboard charts after 25 years for no reason, then that’s good enough for me.
Notable concerts this week
Note: * indicates a show I may be taking photos at
02/11 – Naked Giant w/ Twen @ Baby G
*02/11 – Sharon Van Etten w/ Nilüfer Yanya @ Danforth Music Hall
02/11 – As It Is w/ Point North @ Velvet Underground
02/12 – Coin @ The Opera House
02/12 – Mandolin Orange w/ Mapache @ The Phoenix
02/12 – Soulfly w/ Kataklysm, Incite & Alukah @ Mod Club
02/12 – Boy Harsher w/ NGHTCRWLR @ The Garrison
02/12 – Magic Giant w/ Castlecomer & Weathers @ Velvet Underground
02/12 – William Fitzsimmons w/ Jim and Sam @ Longboat Hall
02/13 – Warbly Jets w/ Moonwalks & Keegan Powell @ The Drake Hotel
02/13 – Max @ The Dakota Tavern
02/14 – Men I Trust w/ Michael Seyer @ Lee’s Palace
02/14 – Lebarons w/ Hamilton Trading Co, Christopher James Culgin & Flight Risk @ The Horseshoe
02/14 – David August @ Mod Club
02/14 – Dboy w/ Big School & Bike Thieves @ Bovine Sex Club
02/15 – Sate w/ Ready the Prince, The Crooked & U.N. Jefferson @ The Horseshoe
02/15 – Dr. Dog w/ The Nude Party @ The Phoenix
02/15 – Palisades w/ Savage Hands, Dorian Grey & The Ocean Cure @ Hard Luck
02/15 – Lost Cousins w/ The Pick Brothers Band @ The Great Hall
02/15 – Run with the Kittens @ The Dakota
02/15 – Chastity w/ Greys & Casper Skulls @ The Rec Room
02/15 – Walk Off the Earth @ The Sony Centre
02/15 – Communism w/ Patrick Brealey, Freeman Dre & The Kitchen Party @ The Cameron House
02/15 – WAVELENGTH Winter Fest – Melissa Laveaux @ The Garrison
*02/16 – Kurt Vile & The Violators w/ The Sadies @ Danforth Music Hall
02/16 – WAVELENGTH Winter Fest – Anemone @ The Garrison
02/16 – Arkells w/ Lord Huron @ Scotiabank Arena
02/17 – Kurt Vile & The Violators w/ The Sadies @ Danforth Music Hall
02/17 – Peter Murphy w/ David J @ The Phoenix
02/17 – Current Joys @ Mod Club
02/17 – David Keenan @ The Drake
02/17 – Antibalas @ The Horseshoe
02/17 – WAVELENGTH Winter Fest – Elisapie @ The Garrison
02/17 – WAVELENGTH Winter Fest – Nehiyawak @ The Monarch Tavern
Yesterday was the birthday of Gord Downie. I didn’t get to see any of their dates on the final tour in person, but this is a photo of the last time I saw The Tragically Hip play: a series of 3 song mini-sets at Supermarket to promote the release of Now for Plan A.
I couldn’t tell you what the other two songs were that they played, but seeing “Grace, Too” in that small venue brought me back to being the teenage fan I used to be. It reminded me of how great a frontman Gord Downie was, and also how much of a role that group played in my youth. The Hip made me expect more from a live show than just playing carbon copies of songs from their album. The way Gord would improvise stories in instrumental breaks, or ‘fight’ with his mic stand, or just point to someone in the audience and connect with them for a moment, they always made their audience feel like a part of something. Each night, and show, was a unique experience.
Gord may be gone, but he’ll never be forgotten. Happy birthday.
This week’s playlist begins with Emily King. The GRAMMY®-nominated recording artist’s new album Scenery was released this past Friday, via ATO Records, and the early word is positive. The reason she’s first up, aside from “Can’t Hold Me” being a pretty solid lead-off song, is because she will actually be playing in Toronto TONIGHT (Feb. 4th – sorry if you are reading this too late). She’ll be at The Mod Club, and as of this morning tickets are still available at Rotate/Soundscapes. If you have no luck that way, I am sure there will be tickets at the door.
The week before last, we received the sad news that Field Trip Festival has been cancelled for this summer. It’s a bummer because Field Trip always felt like the unofficial start to summer, and that, coupled with the fact that summer festivals in Toronto are pretty much non-existent now, makes it feel like even more of a blow. Last year’s version was great, notably the performance of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who headlined the Saturday evening. The YYYs currently don’t have anything in the works, but singer Karen O has announced a new joint effort with Danger Mouse. The new album, called Lux Prima, will be released in March, and features the previously released title track, as well as new song “Woman.”
Four days into the new year, Lizzo released “Juice”, the upbeat lead single to her newly announced album Cuz I Love You. The album will be released April 19th, and coincides with a spring tour that brings her to The Danforth Music Hall on May 16th. General ticket sales start this Friday, but if you pre-order the album you’ll get access to the ticket pre-sale. That starts at 10am TODAY, so get on it if you want to “beat the box office”.
Natalie Prass recently came through town with a stop at The Danforth, opening for Kacey Musgraves. This past week, both announced that they’ll be back in Toronto by year’s end. Prass will now be headlining, and makes an appearance at The Horseshoe on April 14th, with tickets available at Soundscapes/Rotate for $14.50. Kacey, on the other hand with be playing the much larger (and seated) Sony Centre. General onsale is also this coming Friday, but there are a bunch of pre-sales happening, and coming up this week. If you happen to know any of those passwords, you’ll want to get to Ticketmaster and order those ASAP because this one’s likely to sell out quickly.
Speaking of the Sony Centre, last summer I got the chance to photograph and see David Byrne. This was a big deal for me, as I am a big fan of Talking Heads. When I caught word of the setlists having a healthy mix of songs I’ve come to love, deciding to go was pretty much a no-brainer. I was especially excited to see my favourite Talking Heads song, “Born Under Punches (Heat Goes On)” was going to be played. What made the performance even more fantastic was that I version performed was closer to the amazing cover version Angelique Kidjo released early last year on her rendition of Talking Heads’ album Remain In Light.
The reason I decided to include this cover this week (aside from it being one of my favourites) is because this coming Friday, Hot Docs Cinema will be continuing their “This Film Should be Played Loud” series with a screening of Stop Making Sense. The film features footage of Talking Heads’ four-night stand at Hollywood’s Pantages Theatre and is widely considered to be one of the best concert films ever made. The film is played at Hot Docs annually, and word is that there will be dancing in the aisles, so if you are a fan and have not seen it yet there could be much worse ways to spend your Friday night. Get your tickets HERE, and don’t forget for only an extra $5.31 you can get both a popcorn AND a beer. What a deal!
If the name Nilüfer Yanya rings a bell, it’s likely because I mentioned in a previous playlist that she will be opening for Sharon Van Etten at The Danforth Music Hall next Monday. What you might not know is that she’s going to be releasing her debut album, called Miss Universe and it’s scheduled for release on March 22, via ATO Records. She has been tipped as an artist to watch by The Guardian, and the first single from the the album, “In Your Head”, definitely illustrates why. There are still tickets available for the show via Ticketmaster, so if seeing Sharon alone wasn’t reason enough to pick up the tickets, there you go.
The last year and a half has been busy for Phoebe Bridgers. After releasing Stranger in the Alps in the autumn of 2017, and working with Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker last year to release and tour the boygenius EP, she somehow managed to fit in some time to record and release an album with Conor Oberst. The duo call themselves Better Oblivion Community Center and they surprise released their self-titled album digitally last week, with a physical release coming Feb. 22nd, via Dead Oceans. A U.S. tour has been announced, with no dates north of the border but hopefully we’ll see a second leg after their tour ends in May.
Brooklyn’s Teen Body released the first single “Validation” from their upcoming album Dreamo, which will be released April 12th, via Broken Circles Records. The album is their eight-track follow-up to their 2016 debut Get Home Safe and marks a step forward for the band. As of right now they only have the album release show scheduled, but I’ll be sure to update if the band announce a tour.
And now for a band that has announced a tour. After years of not coming to play club shows in Canada, Guided By Voices have made good on their promise that “the club is open” by announcing a return date at Lee’s Palace for July 13th (tickets available at Rotate/Soundscapes). That show will mark their second appearance at Lee’s in eight months, having played an epic two-and-a-half hour show there in October. They’ll also have a full album’s worth of new material, as they just released their new album Zeppelin Over China this past Friday. According to their website, they’ve also got two more albums coming out this year with 2 other albums, Warp and Woof & Rise of The Ants, listed on their discography page, so if you don’t get tickets for the show in July, it probably won’t be long before you get another chance.
February 1st saw the release of a few new albums, but also marked the 25th anniversary of Green Day‘s Dookie. In honour of the anniversary, I decided to include the song that introduced me to them in ninth grade, “Longview”. No tour dates announced at the moment, but could we perhaps see a 25th anniversary tour? Guess we’ll have to keep an eye out for that.
HÆLOS has announced they will be releasing their sophomore effort, Any Random Kindness, on May 10th via Infectious. Along with the album comes a spring tour that includes a stop at The Garrison on March 30th. Tickets can be purchased at Soundscapes/Rotate for $15 + fees.
The Strumbellas have been riding high for the last couple of years on the success of their 2016-released album Hope and it appears as though they are ready to follow that up with a new album. Rattlesnake is due for release on March 29th, via eOne Music. They’ve got a U.S. tour plotted out at the moment, ending June 14th, so I would expect we see a Canadian tour sometime this summer in support of the new album.
SACRED PAWS just signed a deal with Merge Records last week, and to commemorate they have released their new single “Brush Your Hair”. There is no mention of a new album quite yet, but they do expect to be announcing a tour in the spring so if you like what you hear, keep an eye out for that.
ShadowParty released a new Marigold EP, which features a single edit, live version and Daybreakers remix of the track. The track is originally taken from their self-titled 2018 debut, released on Mute Records.
Molly Sarlé may be known as being one of the three vocalists from American folk trio Mountain Man, or maybe even as a member of Feist‘s touring band, but now she’s taking the center stage with a release of her own on the way. The first single “Human” is a warm, jangly song and Sarlé’s vocals make you feel like you’ve been put in a trance that you won’t want to come out of. Produced by Sam Evian, it’s a promising debut to be sure. Her debut EP will be released sometime this year, via Partisan Records and I am very eagerly awaiting to hear what’s next.
Also releasing her debut album at some point this year is Claude Fontaine. The Los Angeles-based songwriter and singer released her debut single “Cry for Another” last week and announced she will be releasing her album later this year via Innovative Leisure. The album promises to be “a love song to classic reggae and Brazilian music, and an album honoring that feeling of finding a home away from home.” Expect announcement of a release date later this year.
Finishing off this week, Ólafur Arnalds will be at Roy Thomson Hall this Friday, performing songs from his stellar 2018 album re:member. There are still seats available, and they can be purchased online HERE.
Notable concerts this week
Note: * indicates a show I will be taking photos at
02/04 – Emily King @ Mod Club
02/05 – Feeder @ Lee’s Palace
02/06 – Sister Nancy @ Radio
02/07 – The Devil Makes Three @ Mod Club
02/08 – Gryffin @ Danforth Music Hall
02/08 – Jarreau Vandal @ The Garrison
02/08 – Unearth/Darkest Hour @ Hard Luck Bar
02/09 – LP @ Danforth Music Hall
02/09 – Kalle Mattson @ The Drake Hotel
02/09 – Exmag @ The Rivoli
Growing up in the early 90s, one of the music groups I distinctly remember getting into was R.E.M. In 6th grade, I was starting to listen to music other than whatever was being played on Buffalo, NY’s KISS 98.5. Part of this was making new friends in school that were into different music I wasn’t aware of. Another part of this could also be attributed to the fact that I started watching MuchMusic, when they actually played music videos. But it was around this time that I really started to seek out music. It was also then that R.E.M. released their album Out of Time, and when I got that cassette tape for Christmas, I remember feeling really excited to be starting my musical journey away from Pop/Top 40 radio.
In the summer of 2008, I had the fortunate opportunity to photograph the band on what ended up being their final proper tour. At that point, I had equipped myself with a greater knowledge of their back-catalogue, but my favourite moment of that show was seeing the band perform the song that first drew me in, “Losing My Religion.” The mandolin took me right back and reminded me of why I was a fan in the first place.
The reason I bring this all up is because Dan Mangan, who plays the Danforth Music Hall tonight, released a cover of said song last week. In speaking of it, Dan stated: “I really wanted to try and approach it from a new angle. There’s no point in attempting to sing like Michael Stipe – there is only one Michael Stipe. So I tried my best to let it live in a new light while paying homage to the original.”
Hearing Dan’s version, though different, gave me that similar feeling of discovery. Though very familiar with Dan’s music (this post could easily have been a TBT to Dan Mangan shows) I felt I was hearing something very familiar have new life breathed into it. It’s a lovely cover, and I can only hope that some 6th grader out there hears it and in 25+ years remembers Dan’s music as fondly as I remember R.E.M’s.
Every Monday morning you can find my weekly playlist here. Feel free to follow on Spotify and let me know what you think. If you’d like to have your music considered, or have an upcoming event in Toronto, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kicking off this week’s list is Montreal’s Sorry Girls. The group played on Saturday night, as part of Exclaim’s Class of 2019 series, and showed why they were selected with a set of dreamy, jangly pop that had the packed crowd moving. As of right now, the band doesn’t have any more shows scheduled in the area, but I’ll be sure to let you know when they’ve announced a return.
Durand Jones & The Indications released their second single, the politically-charged “Morning in America” from their upcoming album American Love Call. The album will be out March 1st via Dead Oceans/Colemine Records, and they’ll be touring through the U.S. in support. No Toronto date as of right now, but I’ll be sure to update if they make their way north of the border.
One group that will definitely be coming to Toronto in the near future is Foals. Last Monday, they premiered “Exits”, the first single from their upcoming album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part I, which comes out March 8th. They’ll be at Rebel on 4/22 in support of said album, and presumably again (though maybe in a larger venue?) toward the end of the year, when Part II comes out in the autumn. Tickets for the April show are available at Rotate This and Soundscapes, but if you don’t feel like braving through the cold, here you go.
Early last week, Embrace announced prodigy producer Hana Vu has been added to the March 7th Wet w/ Kilo Kish show at Velvet Underground. The teenager made waves last year with the release of her song “Crying on the Subway” and the subsequent release of her EP, How Many Times Have You Driven By. This is one of those chances where you won’t want to miss the opener. Tickets available at Rotate This and Soundscapes.
Later in March at Velvet Underground, you’ll also be able to catch Yves Tumor, who recently came through town as an opener for Blood Orange at the Danforth Music Hall. He’ll be headlining this time, in support of his acclaimed 2018 album, Safe in the Hands of Love. The show is on Saturday, March 23rd and the reasonably priced tickets ($15 + $5.91 fees) can be purchased HERE.
Apparat, aka Sascha Ring, announced his new album LP5 will be released on March 22, via Mute Records. No North American tour dates, but if you’re in Europe in the spring and want to check him out, tour dates can be found HERE.
Vampire Weekend made headlines last summer, when they opened their Lollapalooza set with their song “A Punk” three times in a row. Maybe with that in mind, at the beginning of last week, they teased Thursdays release of two new songs “Harmony Hall” and “2021” with a two hour guitar loop aptly named “120 Minutes of Harmony Hall.” As promised, on Thursday, they released the two new songs from their upcoming album Father of the Bride, which comes out later this spring. They’ll be dropping 2 new songs next month, and the month after prior to the release.
Maggie Rogers‘ name has been popping up quite a bit lately. She just released her album Heard it in a Past Life on January 18th, and opened for Mumford and Sons at the Scotiabank Arena in December. She makes her return to Toronto with an all-ages, two-night stand at The Phoenix on March 21 & 22. Tickets are currently sold out, but the Ticketweb sale page does say “limited tickets may be available at the door.” If you like what you hear, you’ll want to keep an eye on Embrace’s twitter account for updates on that front.
Chris Cohen has announced the release of a new Self-Titled album, which will be out March 29, via Captured Tracks. He’ll be hitting the road in support, with a show at The Horseshoe Tavern on April 15th.
You might not be familiar with Pip Blom yet, but 2019 promises to be a big year for the up and coming indie rock band from Amsterdam. Last week they announced the release of their debut album, Boat, which will be released May 31st via Heavenly Recordings. Prior to that, they will make their first U.S. appearance in March at South by Southwest and based on the early buzz around the new single “Daddy Issues” a proper North American tour shouldn’t be out of the question.
Now some news on a band you most definitely are aware of. Last week Weezer surprise released an album of cover songs called The Teal Album. The album includes their 2018 cover of Toto’s “Africa”, along with other needless covers of songs by Tears for Fears, A-Ha, TLC & more. In my mind, there’s only one Weezer cover that needs to be heard, mainly because it’s from the era I love the most, and it covers the band that heavily influenced their early sound: The Pixies. That’s why I’d say if you have to listen to one Weezer cover the rest of your life, make it “Velouria”.
Speaking of The Pixies, they also made new last week when they announced they have partnered with Signal Co. No1 for “Past is Prologue, Pixies” Podcast Series, which will document the making of their new album and the band’s history. The forthcoming LP is scheduled for release in the autumn and will be previewed with the 12 part podcast series that premieres June 27th. Until then, the band will be back on the road with Weezer, continuing their 2018 tour. If you didn’t catch them here last summer, the closest stops on this run are March 13th in Montreal and 14th in Albany, NY.
Another act that toured through Toronto last year was Florence + The Machine, who played the Scotiabank Arena in support of last year’s High As Hope. Last week, the band released a non-album single called “Moderation”, which has made its way into recent concert setlists. With a two month gap between the end of their current tour on March 25th, and a lone North American appearance at Governor’s Ball in NYC, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some tour dates announced in the not so distant future. Maybe a stop at Budweiser Stage to open the summer concert series?
The Black Lips & Fucked Up announced last week that they’ll be playing a concert at The Phoenix on April 25th, and they’ll be bringing along NYC’s Wooing. Last year saw the band release their debut EP Daydream Time Machine, following that up at the end of the year with two more new songs. This appears to be the first time they will make their way to Toronto, so it will be a good chance to catch the band on the rise.
Next on the list is Pavement, who don’t have any news specific to them. However, Spiral Stairs (Scott Kannberg) and Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks have both announced tour dates in Toronto. Spiral Stairs play The Horseshoe Tavern on March 24th, and Malkmus plays The Great Hall on May 1st. . Tickets for both shows are available at Rotate This and Soundscapes.
Exclaim’s Class of 2019 ended on Saturday, with the final show at The Horseshoe Tavern. Orville Peck played both of the first 2 nights in Hamilton and Toronto at the beginning of the month and since, has announced the release of his debut album, Pony, via Royal Mountain & Sub Pop. If you didn’t get a chance to catch his show at The Monarch Tavern, he also announced a new show at The Great Hall on April 13th.
Other concerts this week
Note: * indicates a show I will be taking photos at
01/28 – The Soft Moon @ Velvet Underground
01/28 – Half-Alive @ The Drake Hotel
01/30 – Dawes @ The Danforth Music Hall
01/30 – Dan Mangan @ Tiny Record Shop (in-store @ 6pm)
01/31 – Dan Mangan @ The Danforth Music Hall
01/31 – The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer @ The Horseshoe Tavern
02/01 – John Maus @ The Opera House
*02/01 – Tallies @ The Drake Hotel
02/01 – Yonatan Gat @ Lee’s Palace
02/01 – After Funk @ The Horseshoe Tavern
02/02 – Ripe @ The Mod Club
02/02 – Shane Koyczan @ The Danforth Music Hall
Photos from Rapport, Sorry Girls and Ellis.
Rapport were featured in my Week 1 playlist. You can check that out here: https://tunesinto.ca/2019/01/07/playlist-failure-to-some/
Ellis was featured in my Week 2 playlist, and just announced earlier this week that they’ve just signed a record deal with Fat Possum/Royal Mountain and are releasing their fantastic debut EP The Fuzz on vinyl. If you’re a fan, you might want to pre-order that now, as it’s limited to 300 copies.
Earlier this week Showtime announced that it has acquired the TV broadcast rights to Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men. The first two episodes of the four-part docuseries about the legendary hip-hop group will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 28th, with the docuseries scheduled to air on Showtime in the spring. According to the Showtime website, the series will give us the real story of the Wu-Tang with never-before-seen footage and interviews recounting the obstacles traversed to stay united as one Wu family.
The most recent time I saw one of the members of Wu-Tang was just under four years ago, when I shot the Ghostface Killah & Badbadnotgood show at The Opera House. Though it was just under a week before the release of their joint album Sour Soul, they only ended up performing one song (“Raygun”) from the album. Instead, they leaned heavily into Ghost’s extensive solo and Wu-Tang back catalogue, and threw in a few covers (The Jackson 5, Ol’ Dirty Bastard & Nas, respectively), which suited the fans just fine.
To read my review and see more photos from that show, be sure to check them out here: https://tunesinto.ca/2015/03/09/photos-ghostface-killah-badbadnotgood-the-opera-house-thursday-february-19-2015/
To see my pics of Badbadnotgood from their in-store performance at Sonic Boom Records during Canadian Music Fest 2012, click here: https://tunesinto.ca/2012/03/27/cmw-photos-badbadnotgood-sonic-boom-friday-march-23-2012/
To see my pics and and a link to my review of Ghostface Killah at Rockpile East in 2014, click here: https://tunesinto.ca/2014/12/07/photo-ghostface-killah-rockpile-east-november-28-2014/
Every Monday morning, you can find my weekly playlist here. Feel free to follow on Spotify, or let me know what you think. If you’d like to have your music considered, please email me at email@example.com.
Kicking off this week, I wanted to lead some good news for anyone reading who’s been unable to buy advance tickets for some of the shows I have posted about, due to them being sold out before my posts. On Friday, Collective Concerts announced that Death Cab For Cutie will be playing a show on June 20th @ Echo Beach, with support from Jenny Lewis. Tickets go on sale this coming Friday, January 25th at Ticketmaster, but if you can’t wait until then there are some pre-sales being done by Spotify, Collective Concerts and Indie88 that you could probably sign up for. Or you can always wait until Friday and go pick your ticket up at Soundscapes and Rotate This, and check out their Death Cab, Jenny Lewis or Postal Service vinyl offerings to prepare yourself for what’s sure to be a lovely evening of music.
A couple of weeks ago, I showcased Sam Evian on the playlist, with his song “IDGAF”. This is just a reminder that he’ll be opening for Cass McCombs at The Horseshoe Tavern on March 11th. If hearing him didn’t convince you to pick up tickets, maybe Cass’ new song “The Great Pixley Train Robbery”, off of his forthcoming album Tip of the Sphere (out February 8th via ANTI- Records), will help. Seriously, you’re not going to get a much better double bill for $17.50.
Then again, if you’re into female-fronted, guitar-driven 90s rock sounds, Julia Jacklin and Black Belt Eagle Scout could be more up your alley. Julia will be playing songs from her upcoming album, Crushing, which will be release February 22nd, while Black Belt Eagle Scout is touring their 2018 album, Mother of My Children. They’ll be making a stop at The Horseshoe Tavern on April 28th, and this one only costs $12.00 and should be worth every penny.
Notice how the prices keep dropping! Continuing on that trend, Dan Mangan announced that he’ll be stopping in to Tiny Record Shop on January 30th for a FREE in-store performance at 6:00pm. I haven’t been to their new location yet, but can only assume they’re a little tight on space still, so you might want to get there early for that one, especially considering that his show the next night at The Danforth Music Hall is sold out.
Speaking of sold out shows at The Danforth, Toronto’s PUP have not one, but two sold out shows there on June 7th & 8th. They’ll be playing in support of their forthcoming album Morbid Stuff, which is set for release on the band’s brand new label Little Dipper, in partnership with Rise Records/BMG on April 5.
Since the release of Gemini in 2010, Wild Nothing has been one of the artists driving the dream pop genre, and they haven’t altered the formula too much in the albums since, including last year’s release, Indigo. One song cut from the release of that album, “Blue Wings” was released last week as a new single and though it does sound like a Wild Nothing song, I also can’t help but feel like it has a bit of a Cut Copy sound to it – which I like.
Nothing new on the Cut Copy front as far as music or a tour, but their fellow countrymen POND have announced a new album, Tasmania, which will be released March 1st on Interscope Records. The album is said to act as a sister album to 2017’s The Weather, and they will be announcing tour dates later this year – likely after the summer festival dates played by Tame Impala, who the band shares some of its members with.
None of those Tame Impala festival dates are here in Toronto, but if you want a similar sounding experience in the tighter environs of The Drake Hotel, be sure to check out Blac Rabbit when they come through town on April 2nd. Growing up in the “mecca of hip-hop”, Brooklyn, NY, identical twins Amiri and Rahiem Taylor were raised with a wider variety of musical influences, including 60s, 70s and 80s pop, funk and soul. The twins started out performing Beatles covers on the subway, and gained popularity one year ago this week when New York Nico, the “Unofficial talent scout of New York City,” posted this video of one such performance to his 120K+ followers on Instagram. The last year has seen the group’s popularity increase, including recording a cover of The Beatles’ “Michelle” for a Gucci ad campagin, and an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Look for them to play songs from their 2017 self-produced, self-titled EP, and likely some new material, as the band plans to release their debut album Interstella in the Spring. This is definitely a chance to catch this band on the rise, so make sure to pick up your tickets at Soundscapes and Rotate for $15.00ea.
Now, as Blac Rabbit’s bio noted, Brooklyn is considered by many to be the “Mecca of Hip-hop”, and touted as the home of artists such as Notorious BIG, Jay-Z, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, ODB, Big Daddy Kane, etc… it’s hard to argue. However, when it comes to some of the all-time greats, you can’t sleep on Queens, the home of Run-DMC, LL Cool J, Nas, Chuck D (of Public Enemy), Mobb Deep, and, the subject of Hanif Abdurraqib‘s upcoming Love Letter to a Sound, a Group, and an Era, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest. I’ve been reading his collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until they Kill Us, and cannot recommend it enough. I’m very eager to see how he tackles Tribe, and will be sure to pick it up on release next month. If you’re interested, be sure to pre-order Go Ahead in the Rain here: https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/abdurraqib-go-ahead-in-the-rain
One documentary series that has been exploring the origins of hip-hop, and beyond, is the aptly named Hip-Hop Evolution. Hosted by Canadian Rap sensation Shad, the Peabody-winning series has done a thoroughly fantastic job of putting together a hip-hop historical timeline. It also does an effective job educating people not only on the music itself, but the socioeconomic factors surrounding the release of many of the genre’s staple songs. The four episodes that make up Season two were added on Netflix in the Fall, including the final two episodes that showcase New York artists, such as many of the aforementioned Brooklyn/Queens artists, and more.
Based on where the series is at, it may be some time before we get to hip-hop outside the United States, but Shad himself can definitely take some credit for consistently being one of the best MCs north of the border in the last 10+ years. Last year saw the release of his 5th studio album (Six if you count his album released under the moniker, Your Boy Tony Braxton) A Short Story About A War, and though it clocks in at a tight 39 mins, the dense album demands multiple listens. He finished off 2018 with two nights at The Great Hall, so it might be some time before he returns, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see his album pop up on the Polaris shortlist this year.
If you finish the eight Hip-Hop Evolution episodes, and are looking for something else on Netflix, Killer Mike (one half of Run the Jewels) has a new series called Trigger Warning With Killer Mike in which he aims to challenge the misconceptions of what it means to be black in America. I have only watched the first two episodes so far, with the first involving its host “living black” for three days. It showed how a positive thing like the end of segregation had a negative consequence on black businesses, and how difficult it is in society today to keep dollars circulating within the black community, where during segregation black people had to buy from their own communities. It ended with a strong message that in order to fight systemic racism and oppression, both black people and “allies” need to support black businesses, and each other. It definitely challenges the status quo, and I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the episodes.
I was introduced to Killer Mike through one of my all-time favourite artists, Outkast, and there is news on both Andre 3000 and Big Boi from this week. First, it was just announced that Big Boi was added as a performer at the upcoming Superbowl Halftime show. Performing along with the previously announced Maroon 5 & Travis Scott, it at least guarantees that Atlanta’s rich hip-hop legacy is represented, seeing as that’s where the Superbowl is being held this year. Going back to They Can’t Kill Us Until The Kill Us, do yourself a favour and read his essay “The Night Prince Walked on Water”, in which he gives his account of the greatest Superbowl Halftime show ever. Seriously, just check the book out.
In other Outkast news, Andre 3000 popped up with vocals featured on the new James Blake album Assume Form, which was released on Friday. “Where’s The Catch?” is vintage 3 Stacks, with lyrics like: “Come with me, come with me, calming me down, Be chamomile, calamine lotion. Camel motion, humpin’ on the flo’ (Yeah).” The rest of Blake’s album is quite good and showcases how far he’s come as a producer since his first album in 2011. He’ll be at The Sony Centre, likely sans musical guests, on February 27th. Tickets can be picked up HERE.
Now, as far as the biggest concert announcement last week, that would be the one made by The Who, who announced a new album and tour. They’ll be at Scotiabank Arena on June 1st, and tickets aren’t cheap. That being said, The Who were once the “loudest band alive” according to the Guinness book of records, or at least according to Sam Weir from Freaks and Geeks, in the clip from below. Though only one season long, the show did an entire episode dedicated to The Who, and it is one of the most memorable. Back to The Who, their new album is still unnamed, but will be released later in 2019.
Also announcing a new album last week was Brian Jonestown Massacre. The new album will be self-titled, and released on March 15th (via Anton Newcombe’s A Recordings), but for now “Hold That Thought” is on here because it’s one of the songs I forgot to put on my end of year playlist. What a jam!
For this week’s cover, “Bonnie” Prince Billy‘s album I See a Darkness just turned 20 years old this past Saturday. Released on January 19, 1999, the album was received very positively, with Pitchfork ranking it their ninth best album of the 1990s, and Mojo dedeclaring it the twentieth best album released during the magazine’s lifetime. The title track also caught the ear of Johnny Cash, who recorded a haunting version of the song, along with “Bonnie” Prince Billy singer Will Oldham doing backing vocals for his album American III: Solitary Man.
Rounding out the playlist this week, is Strand of Oaks (the solo indie project from Tim Showalter) who dropped an early contender for song of the year. “Weird Ways” is the lead single from his forthcoming album, Eraserland (out March 22 via Dead Oceans), and it starts out sounding like a Ryan Adams song until building into a full on sonic tour-de-force. The sound can be attributed in part to My Morning Jacket, who, unbeknownst to Showalter, booked studio time to help him record songs that he never thought would see the light of day. If the rest of the album is anywhere near as good, I’m sure we’ll see it on plenty of end of year lists. A tour has been announced through May, though there is no Toronto date as of yet. Hopefully we get the second or third leg, because this feels like something you won’t want to miss.
Other concerts this week
Note: * indicates a show I will be taking photos at
01/22 – Guster w/ Henry Jamison @ The Mod Club
01/22 – The End of the Ocean w/ Tides of Man @ Lee’s Palace
01/22 – The Lemon Twigs w/ Jackie Cohen @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre
01/22 – The Lil’ Smokies w/ Michigan Rattlers @ The Drake Hotel
01/23 – Mineral w/ Tancred @ Lee’s Palace
01/23 – Anika @ Velvet Underground
01/23 – MØ w/ Abra @ The Danforth Music Hall
01/23 – Juan Waters w/ Nyssa, Sunshine & The Blue Moon @ The Horseshoe Tavern
01/24 – AHI w/ Kalyna Rakel @ The Horseshoe Tavern
01/25 – Kongos @ Lee’s Palace
01/25 – The Amity Affliction w/ Senses Fail @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre
01/25 – Lee Harvey Osmond – Record Release Party @ The Horseshoe Tavern
*01/25 – Ellis w/ Sorry Girls, For Jane, Rapport & TyriqueOrDie (just added) @ The Monarch Tavern
01/26 – Little Junior w/ Good Kid @ The Horseshoe Tavern
01/26 – Daley/JMSN @ The Mod Club
01/26 – Kallitechnis w/ Do Not Push @ The Drake Hotel
As the year gets underway, and the summer festival lineups are being revealed, I am trying to temper my excitement. In the last ten years, Toronto went from not having any big outdoor summer festivals to a major summer festival destination. One of the festivals that has gone by the wayside, was TURF – Toronto Urban Roots Festival. The fest ran for four years from 2013 through 2016, and was a definite highlight of those summers. I even had the opportunity to shoot the first two as one of the festival photographers, which was exciting to be able to have my photos presented to a much bigger audience than I could get on my own.
Gary Clark Jr. performed at the 2014 incarnation of TURF, and I bring this up because last week he announced he has a new album being released. The album is called This Land and is scheduled for release on March 8th. Watch the video for the politically-charged title track below.
A U.S. tour has been announced through May, with no Toronto date as of yet. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the summer brings us.
Every Monday morning you can find my weekly playlist here. Feel free to follow on Spotify and let me know what you think. If you’d like to have your music considered, or have an upcoming event in Toronto, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fresh off of having the title track from Separate Rooms be selected #2 by Canadian fans, and landing in the Top 100 of 2018 by CBC Radio, Megan Bonnell has announced a spring tour, which will see her performing at The Great Hall on April 4th. Presented by MRG Concerts, tickets are $19.99 + fees, and are available HERE.
Jeff Tweedy had a busy second half of 2018, promoting the release of both his memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), and its companion album WARM. 2019 doesn’t look to be slowing down, as he will be touring, with a newly announced show at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 3rd. The bad news is that tickets sold out super quick (as one would expect at this point in Mr. Tweedy’s career). The good news is that for those who did manage to snag tickets, you can request the songs you’d like him to play HERE. It doesn’t mean that he will definitely play the song, but it’s pretty cool that he gives the fans the chance to offer their input.
Back in 2013, Jeff’s band Wilco toured with some guy named Bob Dylan (with some other band called My Morning Jacket opening for them), making an appearance at the
Molson Canadian Amphitheatre Budweiser Stage. Bob Dylan is one of the subjects of a Documentary entitled, Festival. I bring this up because the film details the experience of the Newport Folk Festival in the 60s, which features live footage of Dylan’s early electric performances. That documentary is playing this coming Saturday, January 19th at the Hot Docs Cinema as part of their “This Film Should Be Played Loud” series, and you can get tickets HERE. Oh, and speaking of Newport Folk Fest, guess who’s playing this year? Some artist name Jeff Tweedy
We now turn our attention to the other side of the globe. With the recent rise of Australian talent, Stella Donnelly is a name you won’t want to sleep on. She’ll be in town on Sunday, March 24th @ The Drake Hotel. The show is brought to you by Collective Concerts, and tickets are a very reasonable $13.50 + fees. They can be picked up at Rotate This & Soundscapes. Earlier this week, she dropped the first single from her upcoming release Beware of the Dogs, entitled “Old Man”, and if the song is any indication of how good that album will be, she appears poised to follow in the footsteps of recent Australian successes Courtney Barnett and Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever. The album will be released March 8th, via Secretly Canadian, and can be pre-ordered HERE.
On April 11th, Patty Griffin will be coming to Toronto, in support of her soon to be released eponymous 10th LP. All that is known is that she’ll be performing somewhere in the city, and that she’ll be playing songs from that album, like “The River”. Stay tuned, and I’ll update with the details once they are out.
*EDIT* – A venue has been announced. Patty will be at The Danforth Music Hall on April 11th. Ticket info to be announce.
It’s been over four years since Sharon Van Etten released Are We There, but she’s got a new album on the way this Friday entitled Remind Me Tomorrow, via Jagjaguwar. Last week, she released the video for new single “Seventeen”, which can be seen below. In a Twitter post, Van Etten states: “It is with tears in my eyes that I share with you my love letter to NYC. Places I’ve lived, lost and found myself, let go of and embraced. Thank you to everyone that held me up over the years. Here is ‘Seventeen’, directed by the incredible Maureen Towey.”
It’s been a couple of years since my last visit to New York, but boy did that video make we want to go back. It also reminded me of some of the great places in Toronto that I’ve loved over the last seventeen years since I first moved here, and some of the new ones that have popped up recently. Even though some of my favourite spots are gone now, Toronto is still a city I am proud to have grown to call home. One place that was almost lost, but has successfully been revived is where Sharon will be performing next month, with a performance at The Danforth Music Hall on Monday, February 11th. Tickets are $27.50 + fees and can only be purchased at Ticketmaster. Sorry folks, the record shops sold out of these one quickly. Nilüfer Yanya will open the show.
Also coming out this week is Steve Gunn‘s new album The Unseen In Between, via Matador Records. There’s no Toronto date on his upcoming tour, but with new material I think it’s a safe bet that we’ll see him sometime before the end of the year.
Warbly Jets released their Propaganda EP earlier this month, and will be playing next month at The Drake Hotel on Wednesday, February 13th with support from Moonwalks & Keegan Powell (of Chastity). Tickets are $15.00 + fees and can be purchased at Rotate This & Soundscapes.
So, do you remember the band Guster? I saw them way back in 2000, when they opened for The Tragically Hip at Darien Lake, and was a fan of their song “Satellite” from their 2006 album Ganging Up On The Sun, but can’t say I ever kept up on them. Well, it looks like they’re still kicking around, as they’ll be playing The Mod Club on Tuesday, January 22nd, and they’re going to be playing music from a new album called Look Alive which is being released this Friday. Who knew? If you’re into checking them out, tickets are $25+ fees, and Rotate This & Soundscapes have you covered.
In birthdays this week, Dolly Parton birthday turns 73 on January 19th. Growing up in a home where my parents listened to a lot of country, I heard my fair share of Dolly’s work, and I was always a fan of her duet with Kenny Rogers: “Islands in the Stream.” So to celebrate, I’ve chosen to include the Feist & Constantines cover because, let’s face it, whenever you get a chance to throw in one of your favourite bands, you just have to do it. Neither artist has any tour dates scheduled at the moment, though I did get a chance to see the Cons in Hamilton over the holidays and they played a few of the unreleased songs they’ve been playing at their random shows over the last few years. Here’s hoping a new album comes soon, as this April marks the eleven year mark since their last album, Kensington Heights.
Girlpool‘s new album What Chaos is Imaginary will be release on February 1st, via ANTI- Records. They’ll also be coming to town on April 20th, performing at Longboat Hall with Hatchie as the opener. Not a bad bill for $17.50 + fees (Good job, Collective!). If you’re reading this, you might want to hit Rotate or Soundscapes to grab those tickets up before they sell out.
February 15th marks the release of HOMESHAKE‘s new album Helium, via Royal Mountain Records. He’ll be taking the new album on the road with a quick jaunt through Europe before coming back for a tour of the northeast US/Canada, which includes a stop at The Phoenix Concert Theatre on Sunday, March 31st (with support from Yves Jarvis). Tickets can be purchased at Sonic Boom…Ha! Just kidding. Pick them up at Rotate or Soundscapes, or online HERE.
Ibibio Sound Machine have a new album, Doko Mien, being released on March 22, via Merge Records. They’ll bring their explosive live show to The Mod Club on March 23rd, and tickets can be purchased HERE (for $35 + fees).
Ryan Adams announced last week that he would be releasing 3(!) albums in 2019, the first of which will be called Big Colors (not sure if he’ll release a version called Big Colours here in Canada, but he did hint at it for the UK). For those who have followed his career, you’ll know this isn’t the first time he’s been so ambitious. 2005 saw the release of three albums, including 29, Cold Roses, and my personal favourite of his albums, Jacksonville City Nights. So far, two songs from Big Colors have surfaced. “Doylestown Girl” (video above) and “Manchester” were both premiered locally in Pittsburgh and Manchester, UK. Expect those songs to hit streaming platforms soon, as well as information about album #3. Oh yeah, realized I didn’t mention that album number two is called Wednesdays.
Closing out this week’s list is my pick for artist to watch in 2019: Ellis. She’s been steadily building buzz since the release of lead single “The Drain” last summer, and the subsequent release of The Fuzz EP in November (stream or purchase HERE). Her performance next Friday, Jan. 25th at The Monarch Tavern, as part of Exclaim’s Class of 2019 is the first show of what I’d expect to be a busy year. Tickets are $9.50 and can be purchased HERE. You won’t want to miss it.
Other concerts this week
01/15 – Martha Wainwright @ The Great Hall
01/17 – Wax Atlantic w/ Carleigh Aikans & Espanola @ The Dakota Tavern
01/18 – Wing Night (The Band) @ The Horseshoe
01/18 – Mappe Of @ The Drake Hotel
01/18 – Blue Sky Miners, w/ Olivia and the Creepy Crawlies @ Lee’s Palace
01/18 – Rusty @ Velvet Underground
01/19 – Mappe Of @ The Drake Hotel
01/19 – Biblical w/ WHOOP-Szo & Ian Blurton’s Future Now @ The Horseshoe Tavern
01/19 – Still Woozy @ The Garrison
01/19 – Iron Priest with Twisted Sista @ The Velvet Underground
01/20 – Cory Wong @ The Horseshoe
01/20 – King Princess @ The Danforth Music Hall
Be sure to check back next week! And if you have any suggestions or comments, please leave them here, or email at email@example.com.
So the one thing I have realized this week is that there is a lot of music news, and it’s hard to keep everything I want to post contained to one playlist. There’s just so much content that sometimes you have to split things in half (sort of). That’s why I’ve opted to add a weekly Throwback Thursday post where I can highlight one of the artists from the week that I’ve already had a chance to see/shoot in the past, but also provide some news on them.
It seems that I’m not the only one with a lot of content that I’d like to share. Yesterday came with an announcement that Foals will be releasing new material this year in the form of TWO albums this year, entitled Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost: Part I & 2. They announced this via their Twitter account.
This is exciting, as it likely means we can expect some touring from the band, presumably summer or end of the year, and there’s nothing quite like seeing this band live. The photo above was from one of the most lively & intense shows that I can remember. The band was having some technical trouble, and clearly didn’t want it to affect their show, so they just took out all of their aggression through their performance. The show ended with Yannis making his way through the crowd and climbing on to the bar at the back to sing to the crowd during “Two Steps, Twice.” It was a show/experience that can never be duplicated and I feel very fortunate to have caught that specific performance from them.