Concert review: The Kissaway Trail & The Temper Trap

 

The Mod Club was an indie-rock haven last night. The opening band was Danish quintet Kissaway Trail. If you’re a fan of The Raveonettes, Mew, Flaming Lips and Arcade Fire you may have just found your new favourite band.

Kissaway Trail, led by the two-lead vocals of Thomas Fagerlund and Soren Corneliussen recently released their second album Sleep Mountain. Check them on on MySpace. Their songs are joyously pessimistic but yet beautiful with an epic sound, that despite the tangible dissonance, just works.

One of the last songs they performed was a cover of Neil Young’s Philadelphia, which left something to be desired. If you’re going to come all the way to Canada to do a Young cover, you better make sure you’ve nailed it. Don’t be fooled by first impressions. When it comes to recreating our best, we’re tough critics here in the great white north.

Here’s the video for the first single off their new album:

On to the main event. The Temper Trap comes to us all the way from Melbourne, Australia with the exception of lead singer Dougy Mandagi, who’s vertical rhythm makes your mind wander beyond the stage. There are still some live performance kinks they need to work out, including Mandagi’s banter with the audience, but nothing that the hefty tour schedule they have lined up won’t fix.

Highlight moments include….

1. The energetic clap-a-long to my favourite TT tune, Love Lost

2. The inevitable storm of fervour during Sweet Disposition, their latest single…surely given a bountiful boost thanks to the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack.

3. The irresistable instrumental Drum Song, which saw Mandagi pour water on a mini drum kit and beat the drenched hell out of it.

You can find my amateur video of Rest on YouTube:

a weekend in the city.

Today is the first Friday of spring. In honour of this momentous day, I’d though I’d let you know about some cool shiz that’s happening this weekend and some other fun ideas. Here’s a look at a torontette weekend.

TONIGHT: Film Fest & food

Skip on over to Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor West) to check out the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour featuring 9 unique films tonight. The tour’s getting lots of buzz – a must see. After the show is over, pop into El Salvadoran Tacos El Asador (690 Bloor West) for the city’s best tacos, South American soccer and cheap beer.

SATURDAY: Kick-ass girls on skates,  Fun in the dark & Motown

Two words. Roller. Derby. Don’t even think twice, just click right here to read all about it.

As I’m sure many of you already know, tomorrow night is Earth Hour, starting at 8:30pm. Why not have an earth hour cocktail party? Turn the lights off, serve worldly concoctions and observe our city in the dark. Or get dolled up for PROM V: NOIR, the annual ROM soiree for the city’s finest femmes et hommes.

If you’ve got a craving for live music, Wrongbar is where you need to be for the Mayer Hawthorne and the County show: a throwback to Motown REVIVED…you’ll be wishing you wore your pantsuit and platforms. His music is intoxicating retro-genius. Listen to him on myspace here.

SUNDAY FUN DAY: South on Queen, tix fix & vintage

When you wake up Sunday morning (or Sunday afternoon if you’re like me) feeling the aftershocks of the night before, you’ll need a good lunch spot. And when I say “aftershocks”, I of course mean that you’ll still be feeling the soul in your veins from the Hawthorne show…I definitely am not referencing  the withdrawal blues…get your minds out of the boozy-gutter…we’re all responsible adults here. Harlem Underground is where you need to go (745 Queen West) for some southern-fried chicken wings, jambalaya and corn bread that’ll make you cry hallelujah.

With your belly full, stroll down the street to Rotate This (801 Queen West) and check out what new concert tickets they have on sale. The great thing about this place is that they don’t charge you the blasphemous fees like online ticket sellers do. Bring cash and an open mind.  A few of the many they have on sale right now:

Two Hours Traffic : on myspace

Sleigh Bells : on myspace

Best Coast : on myspace

Feeling proud as a peacock with your newly purchased, awesome show tickets it’s time for a little vintage shopping. 69 Vintage Collective (sister store to 69 Vintage) on Bloor West is my favourite. Recently reviewed by Toronto Life, this store manages to appeal to all tastes. If you are a vintage scourer with unlimited patience, you can go the ‘buy the pound’ route. If you feel inclined to support local independent vintage dealers, you can head upstairs and check out their individual showcases. And if you are in the mood for some good quality, unique pieces, the store’s your playground.

I hope this gives you some good ideas of things to do this first weekend of spring. Lots of love. Happy Friday.

You’re invited to the xx after party. Believe it? Believe it.

In one of my first posts, I listed the xx with jj show on Sunday April 4th as one of the top shows to check out this spring. The show is now sold-out, so if you haven’t gotten your dirty paws on a ticket yet, you’re going to have to put your charm on overdrive and swindle your way into a ticket to the Phoenix.

However, I just got word that AUX TV is throwing the official after party with The xx, who will be DJing the night away at The Garrison. To make this even more super cool (which I didn’t think was possible) it was just announced this afternoon that Bruce LaBruce will be opening the xx DJ set. AUX TV illustrates LaBruce as, “a writer, filmmaker, photographer, all around underground legend and DJ.”

Why is torontette sharing this with her readers you ask? Because the dear people at AUX TV are opening the Garrison doors of this after party to you, at a VERY reasonable price. Free. All you have to do is show them the love by becoming a Facebook fan on the AUX TV page and you’ve got the green light. And for all the deets, RSVP to the event page.

You can bet I’ll be there. Definitely worth the Monday morning hazeys.

Artist Love (No. 3): Kisses

KISSES

From LA, boyfriend-girlfriend twosome Jesse Kivel (vocals) and Zinzi Edmundson (keyboards) bring us Kisses. Their first single, Bermuda is dreamy and reflective, just as much as it’s sunny and sexy like the island it’s named after. There is a certain Miami Beach, 70s discotheque sensation that makes Bermuda danceable without overshadowing its ‘je ne said quoi’ secret garden of sublimity.

These two are not only pop sensations, but a journalist tag-team:  Edmunson is a writer and fashion blogger and Kivel spends his free time as a travel writer. This is in fact how Bermuda came to be. It was written in a way to grasp the warm and tingly feeling that results from escaping to an exotic destination, however without ignoring the undercurrent of aching detachment from loved ones that can follow. Perhaps something that Kivel knows all too well from his days as a wandering worldly wordsmith.

Kisses only has a one-shot deal to release Bermuda as a limited edition 7-inch single with the Transparent label. It comes out April 19. They have enough tracks for an album, and even have an album title (The Heart of the Night Life) but no full record deal. Perhaps…correction…Definitely the release of the single Bermuda will spark some interest, it’s only a matter of time.

Visit their website, click on the homepage and only one sentence appears: Always leave a little to chance.

I like it.

Bermuda – Kisses (right-click to download)

xo

torontette.

Artist Love: Wolf Gang & Tanlines

A new feature I’m starting called Artist Love, will spotlight up-and-coming bands, a la Torontette.

Because it’s the debut week, here are two….

WOLF GANG

Wolf Gang a.k.a. Max McElligot is a London School of Economics dropout who instead of bookworming it, chose to put out effortlessly good music. When you listen to this British gent of electro-theatrical pop, his influences shine through: David Bowie, Talking Heads, and Eurythmics. Clash Magazine labeled him as “the man of the synth-pop moment.”

“The King and All of His Men” seeps glammy vibes, and oozes catchy “ooos” but tugs on the heart strings with its lovelorn lyrics.

“Back to Back” is harmonic, lovely, smooth and gushy in a dark, lovesick kind of way. If this song doesn’t ring true in a universal sense for you dear reader, you are one cold-hearted mo-fo (I have imposed a strict no cursing rule on torontette).

The King And All Of His Men – Wolf Gang

Back To Back – Wolf Gang

Check out Wolf Gang’s myspace page.

TANLINES

Tanlines is New York duo Eric Emm, guitarist and ethereal vocalist, and Jessie Cohen, synthesizer extraordinaire. They teamed up recently to make electronic music, having both come from other bands. Cohen: Professor Murder and Emm: Don Caballero and Storm & Stress. They debuted their first album, Settings at SXSW this week with four shows, check out their interview with Spinner Magazine from down in Austin this week.

A word of advice, that I found out the hard way. When googling this band, don’t just do a search for “tanlines” but make sure to have the word “band” in there too. Otherwise what pops up isn’t exactly PG and sure to garner a few strange looks if you’re in a public place…perhaps like an airport. Mildly embarrassing.

The Memory Tapes remix of “Real Life” is brimming with island fever. I prefer this remix, but I have shared the original too.

And with “Saw” I just can’t stop listening to it on repeat, repeat, repeat.

Real Life (memorytapes remix) – Tanlines

Real Life – Tanlines

Saw – Tanlines

Check out Tanlines on myspace.

Stars are out again

Our favorite Montreal indie sweethearts, by way of New York City and Toronto are releasing their 5th studio release, titled The Five Ghosts on the newly established band imprint label Soft Revolution Records through Vagrant Records.

Stars fans can finally breathe easy with this new album, set to drop on June 22….they have kept us waiting: their last release, In Our Bedroom After the War came out in 2007.

The Five Ghosts is described by singer Amy Millan as “quintessential Stars”, and was written collaboratively by all five group members. “‘We have never written an album with this much cohesion and unity,” said Millan in a press statement. “It is the first time we’ve had the luxury of being together in a huge room writing songs off the floor.”

The first single “Fixed” will be available on iTunes soon and a U.S. and Canadian tour will follow this summer. In the meantime, Stars have created a YouTube channel where they are posting videos highlighting the making of The Five Ghosts.

THE FIVE GHOSTS TRACKLISTING:
1) Dead Hearts
2) Wasted Daylight
3) I Died So I Could Haunt You
4) Fixed
5) We Don’t Want Your Body
6) He Dreams He’s Awake
7) Never Been Good With Change
8 ) The Passenger
9) The Last Song Ever Written
10) How Much More
11) Winter Bones

Tour dates will be announced on the Stars website: www.youarestars.com . Do I even have to ask?

torontette. xo

Spring in your step

Ever since our gold medal hockey win, Toronto has been blessed with beautiful weather, much unlike March’s standard fare we have to bare. The past week and a bit, the sky’s been golden and blue…your neighbours have been friendlier, you’ve thought twice about shouting curse words at the pedestrian you almost ran over (we Torontonians are relentless at J-walking aren’t we??) and you generally feel more upbeat and anticipatory of spring’s blooms.

There’s something about listening to fun music in the sunshine. Whether you’re driving, walking to work, or enjoying a glass of vino at home, experiment with the tracks below instead of the usual wintery blues. I dare you not to smile, and definitely not to dance.

To stimulate your senses, I’ve included the neon-flavoured music video of My Turn by Basement Jaxx. Gotta love bears in bathing caps smashing hearts to a soundtrack of electronic teenage melancholy.

Torontette’s “spring is in the air” top 10.

1. Wake Up (feat. FrankMusik) – Acid Girls

2. Teenage Color – College

3. My Turn (feat. Lightspeed Champion) – Basement Jaxx

4. Keep the Lights On (Home Video Remix) – Wave Machines

5. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (The Teenagers Remix) – Vampire Weekend

6. Ring Ring – Sleigh Bells

7. Changes (GLOVES Remix) – Van She

8. To The Light House (Millionyoung Remix) – Memoryhouse

9. Baby I’m Yours (Color Blaster rmx) – breakbot

10. We Wont Stop (Redial Remix) – Barretso