Australia may be known for it’s good beer, UGGs and funny speaking mates who have taken over our westcoast ski resortsbut the land down under has also been bringing us some spectacular electro-pop artists as of late. A few of my favourites include Cut Copy, Empire of the Sun, Van She and Bag Raiders. One group that is beginning to make a big impression over here is Operator Please. These bandmates came together like the perfect plot of a teen movie…at their high school’s Battle of the Bands back in 2005. At only 19 years old, they just released their second full-length album, Gloves, and are rocking the soundwaves around the world with their first two singles, ‘Logic’ and ‘Back and Forth’.
Hooray for Earth is four fellas, Gary Benacquista, Joseph Ciampini, Chris Principe and Noel Heroux, who are originally from Cambridge, Mass. but now call NYC home. I was reluctant to have a listen based on their name, as it sounds like a 70s hippy country-folk group but I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.
‘Comfortable, Comparable’ is a dirty little number, more dancy then their other tracks and definitely not lacking in fun. The guitar solo is a bit premature, but the grabby chorus makes up for it.
Happy Monday everyone. Love, t. xo
Okay, so I know that I said this week I would be sharing some songs from artists that blew me away this past weekend at NXNE. But for today, I am straying and when you listen to these songs, you’ll understand why. I couldn’t pick just one, so here’s the two for one special.
They’re called Villa Nah, and they are from Helsinki, Finland. The first time you listen to these songs, don’t be surprised if no matter where you are – at work, on the subway, on the treadmill – you, for a moment, close your eyes and let the music wash over you like sun-soaked waves of rhapsody. The duo says their influences are drawn from childhood; from the late 70s and early 80s when they were babies. There was so much great music then, and even though Villa Nah’s music is a freshly squeezed delight, it is spiked with nostalgia for this era. NME says that Villa Nah is “reigniting electro pop’s romantic flame.” I sure feel the love, do you?
I hope everyone has recovered from a sensational North by Northeast weekend. This week, Torontette will be sharing some festival highlights…some shows that really made a splash.
Apparently Savoir Adore happened by accident. Brooklyn-based duo Paul Hammer & Deirdre Muro met a few years ago when they were in school and on a whim, started creating music together. They released their full-length debut, In the Wooded Forest last fall.
They played at Sneaky Dee’s last Friday for NXNE and have been getting rave reviews. The track ‘Bodies’ is a pop-rocky hit that will add some sunshine to this rainy day we’re having here in Toronto. If you visit their website: www.savoiradore.com and provide your e-mail, this song and two others can be yours for the listening. Head on over!
Bodies – Savoir Adore
I thought it would be fitting for my song of the day today to be from an artist playing tonight as part of NXNE. So here we are. Young Empires is made of up three homegrown lads: Matthew Vlahovich, Robert Aaron Ellingson and Jake Palahnuk.
‘Rain of Gold’ is dusted with tribal energy and edge and will no doubt get your feet moving faster than lightning. If you like Friendly Fires, you’re sure to like this golden treasure.
They are playing tonight at Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Avenue), slotted for 1am. The other artists playing there tonight: The Sheepdogs, First Rate People, Ghostkeeper, and The Pack A.D.
This year’s NORTH BY NORTHEAST music festival is the biggest ever to take over Toronto. Starting today, there are over 650 bands playing in over 50 venues from the east end to Parkdale. If you’re even the slightest bit interested in checking out a live show or discovering a new band, I highly recommend you step out onto the streets this weekend. And, if you’re a music-obsessed, live show lover like me, this weekend is a little slice of heaven, infused with some of the best new sounds on the block, and around the world.
Looking to find that perfect show to impress your new girlfriend? Or itching for a night on the town full of bright lights, sweaty dancing, and metallic beats? Here is Torontette’s short list of the hottest artists gracing our stages this weekend.
Find all the NXNE deets at www.nxne.com
*all artist descriptions are from Now Magazine.
*shows are organized by date, then by venue.
THURSDAY JUNE 17
- Imaginary Cities: Sounding at once like vintage R&B records and synth-driven, raucous pop rock, their songs are powered by lush, hook-laden choruses and driving verses. WHERE: Mod Club (& Saturday June 19 @ C’est What)
- The Besnard Lakes: Their ’07 release The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse was nominated for the Polaris Prize, they’re artsy indie rock from Montreal and they recorded with members of Godspeed! You Black Emperor. This won’t be a hot ticket or anything… WHERE: Mod Club
- Dinosaur Bones: In just a year, they’ve made a home in Toronto, released a critically adored debut EP, and found themselves sharing stages with the likes of Handsome Furs. Danceable New York-inspired indie rock laced with post-rock ambiance! WHERE: The Horseshoe Tavern
- Free Energy: These buzzing DFA-signed kids craft melodic, hook-laden rock tunes with a heavy dose of bombastic glam and classic dust. Their nods to 70s classics like Journey and The Cars have got them raves in SPIN and gigs on late-night TV. WHERE: The Horseshoe Tavern
- The Ghost is Dancing: With an absolutely stunning live show, TGID is a conglomeration formed out of a group of friends living in Toronto that explodes with a barely contained pop feel which NOW Magazine has described as “flamboyant mini-symphonies that layer exultant choral harmonies.” WHERE: The Horseshoe Tavern
- Ghostkeeper: Calgary-based Ghostkeeper produces raw and electrifying music. A colourful patchwork of heartfelt, outsider blues and noisy pop, perhaps their music can be best understood through their distinctive Northern Alberta origins. WHERE: Dakota Tavern
- First Rate People: “Part folk-rock, part soul, part dance group of talented youngsters, this band has the poppy coolness of Vampire Weekend while being young, cute and relatable.” – MuchMusic WHEN: Thursday June 17, 10pm WHERE: Dakota Tavern
- Young Empires: Young Empires deliver well-manicured dance tracks full of swagger, sexuality, and even a little angst at times. If the sidewalk is your runway, Young Empires belong on your ipod. WHERE: Dakota Tavern
- Bishop Morocco: Jake Fairley (Uncut, Fairmont) and James Sayce (The Deadly Snakes, Tangiers) team up to create ultra-cool reverby dream-pop that somehow sounds like Roy Orbison meets New Order and The Smiths. WHERE: The Drake Underground
- Corduroy: Bright and poppy indie-rock, like the sound of volcanic ashes coating the shimmering skies like fallout during a nuclear holocaust. Yet as tender as a soldier feeding a baby dear with his bare hands. WHERE: Rancho Relaxo
- DVAS: DVAS will take you on a dangerous and sexy journey through disco, funk, and soul with a bounce-heavy set of emotional, summery electro-house anthems. The space sounds of Daft Punk with the pop legacy of Hall and Oates. WHERE: El Mocambo (upstairs)
- The Russian Futurists: Emerging from studio seclusion with an expanded lineup, the band’s new tracks preserve its punchy pop sound but up the dance quotient. New album The Weight’s On The Wheels is The Russian Futurists’ most ambitious creation to date – sure to be a summer monster. WHERE: El Mocambo (upstairs)
- Great Bloomers: Playing rollickin’ piano-based country-tinged roots rock, Great Bloomers astound with subtlety – delicious hooks, stunning harmonies, expert musicianship, songwriting well beyond their years and a wry sense of humour that says “we’re good and we know it.” WHERE: El Mocambo (main floor)
- TapeDeckBros: TapeDeckBros have created a flavor of French-inspired electronic dance music incorporating elements of disco, pop and rock. With their catchy beats, their ‘dirty’ synths and playful sounds Tapedeckbros’ catalogue ranges from dance floor igniting club bangers to soothing compositions. WHERE: El Mocambo (main floor)
- Gold Lake: They’re possibly the coolest band in Spain right now; their energy and mesmerizing shows has got them top slots at the most important summer festivals with bands like Mudhoney, the Sounds and Charlatans UK. WHERE: C’est What (& Sunday June 20 @ Wrongbar)
- Foxfire: They are holograms of people who died. And they’re pretty good at it too. These local party-starters riff off the best sounds from disco, motown and rock and roll, generating plenty of sweat in the process. WHERE: Wrongbar
- kidstreet: kidstreet is mixing electronic sounds with acoustic instruments in a harmonically crowded mashed up way. kidstreet might be that. but mostly it’s just fun dance music. with no capitals. maybe. WHERE: Sneaky Dee’s
- Pop Winds: A great mix of Peter Murphy vocals meets Yeasayer’s Odd Blood, this creative Montreal trio has experimental 80s pop down to a science. Expect weird beats, blasts of chip-tune, saxophone, and dapper vocals. WHERE: Whippersnapper Gallery (& Saturday June 19 @ Lee’s Palace)
- The Coast: They harness the off-the-floor energy of their live show while letting their signature hooky guitar melodies stand on their own. They’ve toured with Tokyo Police Club, Born Ruffians and The French Kicks. You’ll like them. WHERE: The Gladstone
- Best Coast: Led by singer Bethany Consentino, Best Coast sounds the way music sounds when it comes over the beach from the parking lot, where the cutest boy in school is getting out of his car. What’s not to love? WHERE: The Great Hall (& Friday June 18 @ the Garrison)
- Boats: Oddball non-sequiters and madcap make believe from the bewitching helium-sucked peal of Mat Klachefsky’s singing voice seem to make the sort of logic a human brain can comfortably unpack. WHERE: The Painted Lady
- Junior Boys: “Sonically rich pop that unites emotionally charged songcraft with experimental genres (eg – New Order, Beach Boys)… breaks new ground for electro-pop, blending heartfelt vocals with a production style that owes a debt to artists as varied as Timbaland, Todd Edwards, and Fennesz.” electrokin.com WHERE: The Social
FRIDAY JUNE 18
- Dark Mean: Their laid-back indie-pop melodies effortlessly conjure up feelings of timelessness, as band members work without defined roles or limitations. Their songs can travel between overt classical pop and obtuse ambiance without sacrificing any personality or coherence. WHERE: Sneaky Dees
- Wildlife: Wildlife responds to primal instincts in birthing art (!) that revives senses dulled by normalcy and relocates pop rock in a hotbed of driving melodies (!!), evolving into riffs and vocals with punk ramifications, and a captivating live show. Really. RIYL Wolf Parade. WHERE: Sneaky Dees
- Hollerado: These guys are taking Canada by storm with their DIY ethic, insanely catchy guitar pop, and boundless energy and imagination. They just might be destined for greatness. WHERE: Hard Rock Cafe (& Saturday June 19 @ the Mod Club)
- Diamond Rings: Diamond Rings is a creative and emotional outlet for The D’Urbervilles’ lead vocalist John O. Expect to see: make up and colour-coordinated outfits. Expect to hear: MIDI backing tracks and highly emotive lyrical content. Expect the unexpected. WHERE: Wrongbar
- Rich Aucoin: With elaborate stage setups, much theatrics throughout the performance and all of his music being painstakingly written to sync up with the projections of films, you can be sure that Aucoin’s lush orchestral indie pop – like Sufjan Stevens – will touch your heart WHERE: El Mocambo (main floor)
- Ten Bears: Ten Bears are a cheeky but well-meaning sideways jab at everything mundane in today’s indie-rock. Imagine locking David Bowie and MGMT in a small room with some instruments and you’d probably end up with Ten Bears. WHERE: El Mocambo (main floor)
- Rival Boys: Since 2006, they’ve been steadily making a name for themselves in the Toronto indie scene with powerful performances and great songs. “Air tight pop songs that are memorable without gimmick and melancholy without pretense.” -The Untold City WHERE: Painted Lady
- Tundra Fun: Grounded in a raw take on funk, soul, and blues, this trio delivers an eclectic breadth of styles that’s bursting with irresistible rhythm. Their fun and spontaneous songs recall sunny afternoons on Venice Beach. WHERE: The Comfort Zone
- Silly Kissers: Perfect 80s synth-pop with infectious hooks. Cheesy, love-obsessed and innocent – fun stuff for those in need of a Human League flashback. And aren’t we all? WHERE: The Silver Dollar Room
- Whale Tooth: Poppy indie rock with guy/girl vocals and nice harmonies – Born Ruffians meets Rilo Kiley. WT is quickly building a rep as one of Toronto’s favourite indie-pop bands, with impossibly catchy tunes and energetic live shows. WHERE: Rivoli
- Silje Ne: A ridiculously talented multi-instrumentalist / singer / songwriter, Nes is a classical pianist who plays all the parts on her recordings. The songs use loops and effects to create a winning combination of melodic hooks and lush, intricate textural detail. WHERE: Whippersnapper Gallery
SATURDAY JUNE 19
- Digits: Blending indie pop songwriting and danceable electronic arrangements, Digits has been likened to the Junior Boys and Hot Chip. His debut, Hold It Close, was self-produced and received acclaim from blogs and campus radio. WHERE: Whippersnapper Gallery (& Sunday @ the Garrison)
- Hexes & Ohs: Heartfelt boy-girl synth-pop that sounds like the Submarines collided with Woodhands. Slick synth production combined with propulsive dance beats back the couple’s cooing back-and-forth vocal harmonies and melodic, indie-rock-influenced guitar work. WHERE: Bread & Circus
- Airheart: Combining elements of electro house and trip-hop with vocals reminiscent of 1930s dancehall, Airheart is a fresh take on jazzy breakbeat, lo-fi electronica that is presented with live vocals to make you move! WHERE: Bread & Circus
- Vitaminsforyou: Electronica/pop from Winnipeg-born, Montreal-schooled, Toronto-based Bryce Kushnier, who’s been exploring the many faces of his critically acclaimed project for more than a decade. He’s also worked with Do Make Say Think, Hexes and Ohs, and Emm Gryner. WHERE: The Piston
- Jeremy Glenn: Jeremy Glenn is a singer, songwriter, producer, arranger and engineer. With his musical talents being fostered at a young age it’s no surprise that his influences range from Motown to Uptown, soul jazz to nu jazz and new wave. WHERE: The Piston
- Cold Cave: Philly electro-pop act drawing great reviews: “The songs are danceable, dark, instantly infectious. Think ’80s industrial and synth pop over-driven through power electronics.” – stereogum WHERE: Lee’s Palace
- Classixx: Dancefloor-ready electronic pop mixing elements of R&B, hip hop, soul, and classic electro collages. The duo of Michael David and Tyler Blake was previously known as Young Americans. “Pure disco cotton candy.” – LA Times WHERE: The Drake Underground
- Parks & Rec: Originally from Dubai, Lisbon, Petrolia, Sudbury and Ottawa, the members of Parks & Rec all convened in Toronto to play music. Their folk/indie-rock/pop guitar twang, sweet harmonies, and soaring energy have been turning heads around the city. WHERE: The Painted Lady
- Surfer Blood: Great guitar, great hooks, great surf-infused pop from this critical favourite. Their breakout single, “Swim,” was one of 09’s top tracks. They hit NXNE on their way to Chicago’s Pitchfork festival and beyond – you’ll be able to say “I saw them when…” WHERE: Wrongbar (& Yonge-Dundas Square @ 6pm)
- The Raveonettes: In 2009 The Raveonettes released their 4th album, “In And Out Of Control,” a wilfully perverse and heroically diverse collection of pop nuggets. Long-term Ravers can rest assured that the duo’s creative heart remains as delightfully black as ever. One of NXNE 2010’s marquis acts! WHERE: Yonge-Dundas Square
- Phenomenal Handclap Band: “Fills venues with a mesmerizing sound and eight-person stage presence… equal parts psychedelia, proto-disco, heavy rock ‘n’ roll, ’60s soul and hip-hop – a perfect mix of everything from the past 40 years of popular music.” – NPR WHERE: Yonge-Dundas Square