August 31, 2014

The Balconies release new video for Good and Ugly

Back at the beginning of the summer, The Balconies released a video for the tune "Good and Ugly" from their début full length album Fast Motions. It's an amazing tune, with a fun, dramatic video. Check it out:

August 30, 2014

New Deep Sea Diver

I caught Deep Sea Diver opening for Telekinesis at The Horseshoe Tavern. I was impressed with Jessica Dobson and the band's tunes and musicianship. Now they've got a new EP called Always Waiting coming out September 2 and we get to hear "One by One" right now.

It's an impressive and intricate tune with plenty of guitar interplay and clear but intense vocals. I'd see this band again in a heartbeat.

Pic from Facebook.

August 29, 2014

Lake Street Dive

Don't you just love it when you're surfing around checking out music and you click on something that just, well, clicks? This is what happened to me when I clicked on a performance by Boston's Lake Street Dive on Conan. They were doing "Stop Your Crying" and I just loved it.

I've now made arrangements to see their show at The Danforth Music Hall tomorrow night. Pics to follow.

Here's that performance on Conan, and a few more fun, jazzy, soulful tunes.

Pic from Facebook.

August 28, 2014

Platinum Blonde at The Ex

Platinum Blonde were absolutely huge in the 80s. I saw them perform a free concert at Toronto City Hall - Nathan Phillips Square - for about a bajillion people. It was one of the first shows I was allowed to go to without parental accompaniment and apparently the news reported a "riot". That raised blood pressure at home, and I certainly don't remember riot.
What I do remember is great music. The Standing In The Dark album had recently come out and hits like "Doesn't Really Matter", "Not In Love", "Sad Sad Rain" and the title track were massively popular. The power trio held the frenzied crowed in rapt attention with their polished 80s guitar pop.
I don't think I saw the band live again until this past Friday, August 22 when they played the Bandstand at The Ex. The band looked great and they sounded tight, stripped back down to their original trio formation. The songs sounded fresh and alive with a tough edge. Besides the requisite hits, they went back in their catalogue to a tune called "Don't Tell Me No" that was never on record but someone bootlegged it at Maple Leaf Gardens and put it on the web. They went back as far as their days as a Police cover band and did a great rendition of "Message in a Bottle". They toughed-up songs like "Contact", which had a very synthed up arrangement on record, to great effect.
In 2012, they released an album called Now & Never and two strong singles - "Beautiful" and "Valentine" - made it into the setlist. As they closed out with their all-time big single "Doesn't Really Matter" (yup, that intro voice is Mark's mum) they announced, "Toronto, we are back!" Nice to see you back! I hope to hear lots of cool music and experience great live shows in the future.
Here are some of my favourites from their set:

"Not In Love" This one was filmed at Platinum Blonde's massive Toronto show that I was lucky enough to attend back in around 1984.

"Sad Sad Rain", which I've had in my head since the show.

"Standing In The Dark"


"Hungry Eyes"


"Doesn't Really Matter"

"Crying Over You"

"Take it from Me"
"Leaders in Danger"
"Video Disease"
"Not in Love"
"Sad Sad Rain"
"All Fall Down"
"Message in a Bottle"
"Don't Tell Me No"
"Standing in the Dark"
"Lost in Space"
"Situation Critical"
"Somebody Somewhere"
"Hungry Eyes"
"Doesn't Really Matter"

Encore of "Crying Over You"

August 27, 2014

Check out Jeen

Jeen O'Brien sings with Brendan Canning in Cookie Duster. On her own, she's just Jeen and she released an album called Tourist. She's released a video for the powerful indie pop track "Buena Vista" which features a steam-train beat, relentless bass-line and shout-along vocals. The rest of the album sounds very promising as well.

"No Fade"

"NY Island"

"Everywhere I Go"

"Hole In My Heart"

"Way Up"

August 26, 2014

The Spoons at The Ex

The Spoons played The Ex (a.k.a. The CNE or The Canadian National Exhibition) on August 21. I haven't seen the band play live since the very first time I saw them at The Ontario Place Forum (a revolving stage that featured amazing free concerts from great acts during the 80s, that has since been replaced by the Molson Amphitheatre). That show also marked the very first time that I ever took pictures of a live band. I borrowed a camera of my father's and shot the show. As I recall, the pictures were pretty terrible, but it's a great memory for me, and it was great to come full circle to photograph the band again, some thirty years later.
Gordon Deppe was very nostalgic for the 80s. He mentioned his love of the 80s and missing the 80s a couple of times and at one point remarked, "We never left [the 80s]!". He even mentioned the Ontario Place Forum and that very show that I shot. He said he'd be in heaven if they brought that venue back. It certainly was a unique venue and a source of great memories for me, too.
The band featured founding members Deppe and Sandy Horne plus a great keyboard player and solid drummer. They sounded great and were well worth seeing. They played songs from all the way back to their first album and included solid tunes from their latest, 2011's Static In Transmission.
They kept things interesting by putting a few new spins on the classic tunes, doing a "Forever Young" like ballad intro to "Tell No Lies" and playing a modernized version of "Nova Heart" that sounded like they let Skrillex at the tune. I'm looking forward to their next show in Toronto at The Mod Club on November 6 with original keyboard player Rob Preuss. I'm putting in a special request now that they play the tune that this blog is named after. Fingers crossed!
Here are some highlights from the set:

"Arias & Symphonies"

"Smiling In Winter"

"Old Emotions"

"The Rhythm"

"You Light Up"

"Nova Heart"

"Romantic Traffic"

"Bridges over Borders"

"Tell No Lies"

They played two sets:

Set One:
"Arias and Symphonies"
"Smiling In Winter"
"Old Emotions"
"The Rhythm"
"The Waterline"
"Escape With You"
"You Light Up"
"Nova Heart"

Set Two:
"Time Turns Around"
"Romantic Traffic" 
"Star Maps"
"Bridges Over Borders"
"Tell No Lies"
"End of Story"
"Nova Heart 2014"

And here's another flashback. I've mentioned before about seeing The Spoons on a CHUM-CITY simulcast. Well, some kind soul has put it up on YouTube. I remember seeing this show as a kid. Does anyone out there have the video side of this?

August 25, 2014

New music from The Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad are putting out a new album on October 28. It's called Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave and here's the first tune, "There's A Girl In The Corner". It's every bit as moody and melodic as we have grown to expect from the Scottish lads.

They're heading out on the road and are in Toronto on October 19 at The Phoenix Concert Theatre opening for We Were Promised Jetpacks. I saw both of these bands at The El Mocambo a few years back and they are both incredibly powerful live acts. I hope to be in attendance at the show!

Pic from Facebook.

August 24, 2014

TURF Day 3: Band 4: Man Man

Man Man from Philly were the last band I shot at TURF and this post brings to an end my TURF coverage for 2014. Hope you liked the photos. I can't wait to do it all again next year.
Man Man's set was an eclectic, fun time. They featured off the wall tunes and instrumentation and more costume (or at least jacket) changes than a Katy Perry show. They played their cool single "Head On (Hold On To Your Heart)" just before everyone cleared out for Neutral Milk Hotel.

"Head On (Hold On To Your Heart)"

"Piranhas Club"

"Rabbit Habits"

"Loot My Booty"

August 23, 2014

Say Yes release EP

I caught Say Yes opening for The Balconies back in February. They rocked in a most amazing way. I've been watching and waiting for a proper release from these three, and now is the time. Their self-titled EP is out now on Dine Alone Records. Take a listen via Exclaim.

They're playing Riot Fest in Toronto on September 6 and 7. Don't miss these guy on Sunday. Here's the video for "Sunrise". Awesome tune.

August 22, 2014

New Death From Above 1979 tunes

Death From Above 1979 have returned from the dead with a new album on the way. The Physical World comes out September 9 and then they hit the road. Check out two tunes "Government Trash" and "Trainwreck 1979".

It sounds exactly like you'd expect. Cool bass riffing, pounding beats and hooky vocals. Nice.

Pic from Facebook.

August 21, 2014

Dead Soft video for Everything

Dead Soft are a grunge-power-pop band from Vancouver. They've got a normal-then-things-get-weird-but-not-as-weird-as-From-Dusk-Til-Dawn video. The song's called "Everything", their self-title début comes out August 30 and I'm sure they'll be touring.

Pic from Facebook.

August 20, 2014

TURF Day 3: Band 3: Gogol Bordello

I'd like to hear someone accuse Gogol Bordello phoning it in. I wouldn't believe it after seeing them this one time. This band has enough energy to light Toronto for a month. In a heatwave. This gypsy punk mash-up of a band came to TURF Day 3 to get everyone bouncing. Mission accomplished.
In case you were worried about getting to much sun and not enough cooling refreshment, Gogol Bordello also brought wine and offered it to the crowd, straight from the bottle. In spurts. I ended up getting between the wine bottle and the crowd at one point and ended up with a gypsy baptism of sorts. Good thing that lens is weathersealed.
If you're in the mood for crazy high-energy vodka-chugging party music, there's nothing better than Gogol Bordello. And judging from the dust cloud that rose from above the crowd near the stage, lots of people were in the mood.
Gogol Bordello delivered an amazingly high-powered setlist. Here are some highlights:

"We Rise Again" was a powerful opener

"Wonderlust King"

"My Companjera"

"Trans-Continental Hustle"

"Immigraniada (We Comin' Rougher)"


"Start Wearing Purple"

"Pala Tute"

And they closed it all out with "Ultimate"

August 19, 2014

More new New Pornographers tunes

The New Pornographers' new album Brill Bruisers comes out next Tuesday. We got to hear the title track, followed by "War On The East Coast" and now "Dancehall Domine". It all sounds great. Some of the best pure power pop ever produced. Can't wait to see these guys again on tour. Too bad they're not hitting up a free show at The Ex again this year.

August 18, 2014

TURF Day 3: Band 2: July Talk

July Talk is my favourite band right now. First I liked their tunes. Then I saw them live. And that was it. I was smitten. Blown away.
So when I saw that they were on the line-up for TURF, I knew I wanted to be there. And I was. And after my appointed three songs no flash in the photo pit / VIP area, I didn't walk away. I stayed right down there to enjoy the show. And they were every bit as over-the-top energetic, passionate and captivating as they were the first time I saw them. But this time they were in the great outdoors, winning over new fans as they blew the minds of their existing fans. Such a cool show.

And then there was plagiarism. Or maybe a case of "great minds think alike". I'm not sure. On TURF Day 2 I was chatting with my friend when I said, hey, do you ever notice that when you're at a concert, the appropriate answer to "How you doin'?" is "Woo hoo!" but when you meet someone on the street and they say "How's it going?" you say "Good" or "Fine" but never "Whoo Hoooo!" and I thought it would be great to go back to work after vacation and when someone said "How are you?" or "How was your vacation?", I'd say "Whoooo! Hooooo!". So then I'm watching July Talk on TURF Day 3 and Leah goes on the same riff. That was my joke, dammit. But I think she probably told it much better.
The band is amazing to watch on-stage. From Peter Dreimanis slapping himself to get wound up at the start of the show, to the seductive magnetism of watching Leah Fay slowly removing a juice box from her purse, then stripping the straw naked and placing it between her lips. Captivating. If you get the chance, see this band live. They've got a host of tour dates on their site. And they've got a new album on the way... No details yet, but they did pay new tunes. Can't wait!

And then there's the fact that I've taken so damn long to get this post up because I had too many cool pictures to choose from and couldn't cull them down to something reasonable for this post. And I certainly didn't want to repeat the shots I posted in my TURF Tease post.

"The Garden"

"Summer Dress"


"Guns + Ammunition"

"Paper Girl"

"Let Her Know"