2019 – Week 5 Playlist: Born Under Punches

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.

Guided By Voices @ Pitchfork 2011. Shot for original Tunes in T.O.

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.

Strumbellas - TURF -3
Photo of The Strumbellas when they played the 2nd of two consecutive years at TURF. Shot for the festival.

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

2019 – Week 1 Playlist: Failure to Some

Good morning!

I present the first playlist of the new incarnation of Tunes in TO. I’ve made some notes on each of the artists I’ve included below, so you can see why they’ve been chosen for the week. I’m looking forward to doing this on a weekly basis, and you’ll be able to find this post every Monday morning. Feel free to subscribe, or let me know what you think.

2018 was a good year for Kacey Musgraves. Though I wasn’t a big fan of her disco/country crossover hit “High Horse”, I find myself repeatedly listening to the song I’ve included here, “Slow Burn.” She’ll be at the Danforth Music Hall this coming Friday, January 11th, with support from Natalie Prass. This one’s been sold out for a long time, so if you’re looking for tickets, good luck.

Eerie Wanda‘s new album Pet Town is set for release on January 25th, via Joyful Noise Recordings.

The week before that, Deerhunter‘s new album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? will be released, via 4AD Records. The album will be released on Friday, January 18th and they’ll be performing at the Danforth Music Hall on February 21, with support from Mary Lattimore. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster for just over $40 (incl. fees).

Over the holidays I discovered Kanopy, the free streaming service where all you need to start an account is a library card. One of the movies recommended was Hearts Beat Loud (see trailer above), which was an entertaining story about a father/daughter who gain fame when they record a song in one of their jam sessions, which ends up becoming a viral hit. It stars Nick Offerman and the track’s vocalist, Kiersey Clemons, and there is a lot more to it than I just described, but it’s worth seeing if you’re into quirky comedy.

One of the albums Nick Offerman’s character recommends in the film, as the owner of a record store, is Animal Collective‘s Merriweather Post Pavillion. That album turns 10(!) years old this week, and one of my favourite memories involving them is seeing a bunch of fans dancing to “Brother Sport” during their headlining set at Pitchfork Music Fest in 2011.

Animal collective dancers @ pitchfork 2011
People dancing in the dirt during Animal Collective’s set at Pitchfork Music Festival in 2011.

I found General Crush on the weekly new release playlist on Spotify. “Who is that?” is my first exposure to them, but it’s a pretty good first impression. Looking forward to hearing more.

Blackalicious just announced a show here in Toronto, and they’ll be at Lee’s Palace on March 2nd. We last heard from them in 2015 with Imani Vol. 1. As it was intended to be the first release in a trilogy, perhaps we’ll get to hear some of Vol. 2. Tickets are $23.50 (+ fees) and available at Ticketfly.

I’ve decided I’d like to include a cover with every playlist, and seeing as how David Bowie‘s birthday this week (January 8th), I thought I’d celebrate by including one of my favourites: Warpaint‘s cover of “Ashes to Ashes”.

Golden Daze‘s dreamy sounding new album Simpatico will be released February 15th, via Autumn Tone Records.

Though I’m not a gamer, I was pretty excited to find out that D’Angelo had a new track that appeared in Red Dead Redemption 2. Not holding my breath for a new album anytime soon, but it’s always good to know D’Angelo is still working on something. His last album, Black Messiah was fantastic, and lead single “Ain’t That Easy” was one of my favourites of 2014/2015.

One thing I decided to do last year was to finally start watching Schitt’s Creek. I can proudly say I have caught up (including the holiday episode) and I am looking forward to the new season, which starts tomorrow. One of the loveliest moments in the last season was when Patrick (Noah Reid) serenaded David (Dan Levy) with an acoustic rendition of Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best.” I know I said I wanted to have one cover per week, but given the timing, for this week I’ve decided to make it two.

Beliefs‘ Jesse Crowe released her solo project Praisesfirst album In This Year: Ten of Swords at the end of 2018, via Hand Drawn Dracula. Catch her performing her dark, electronic sounds this Friday, January 11th at Baby G. Tickets are $10.00 and can be purchased in advance via Ticketfly.

Tallies released a series of singles to finish off 2019, and their anticipated debut album will be released this Friday, January 11th, also via Hand Drawn Dracula. Give it a listen, or check it out live at their album release show at The Drake Underground on February 1st. Tickets are only $13.50 and they’ve still got them at Rotate This and Soundscapes.

Rapport are part of Exclaim’s Class of 2019 series and will be playing on January 25th at The Monarch Tavern. The band are made up of ex-Moon King/Spiral Beach vocalist Maddy Wilde, Kurt Marble and Mike Pereira (Most People). “Unconscious” is the only song they have on their Spotify page, so maybe they’ll just play this song over and over? Only way to find out is to hit up The Monarch to see them (and Ellis!)

exclaim_class_of_2019_poster

After recent opening spots with Big Thief, Whitney, and an upcoming tour with Cass McCombs, Sam Evian seems poised to be on the verge of breaking out. Check them out at The Horseshoe Tavern in support of he aforementioned Cass McCombs on Monday, March 11th. Tickets are $17.50 (+fees) and according to their site, Soundscapes still has them, but Rotate This is sold out. You can also buy them through Ticketfly, and seeing as how they’re selling out you might want to scoop them up sooner, rather than later.

After postponing their gig in September, Cuff the Duke rescheduled their show at The Rivoli for this coming weekend, with not one, but two shows on Friday, Jan. 11th and Saturday, Jan. 12th. Tickets for Friday night are still available at Ticketfly for $20.00 + fees, but Saturday is sold out.

Lastly, I am a vinyl collector, and since Christmas just passed, I was gifted with a copy of TV on the Radio‘s fantastic debut Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes from my wife. I decided to put the song that hooked me on to the band in the first place. Here’s hoping we see something new from them in the coming year.

tvotr
Photo I took of TV On the Radio. Phoenix Concert Theatre. July 2, 2018.

Be sure to check back next week! And if you have any suggestions or comments, please leave them here, or email at ryan@tunesinto.ca.

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