April 30, 2015

Two new tunes from Torres

Torres is an emotive singer-songwriter from Macon, GA, currently based in Brooklyn. Check out a post I did after seeing her live at The Horseshoe opening for Strand of Oaks for some pics and many tunes.

She's got a new album called Sprinter coming out on May 5. I featured the tune "Strange Hellos" a while back and now I'm happy to share two new tunes. Give them a spin:


"Cowboy Guilt"

And here's the official video for the powerfully incredible "Strange Hellos"

She's got lots of live dates upcoming, including a May 23 stop in Toronto at The Garrison.

April 29, 2015

Summertime pop from Brave Shores

Brave Shores are Toronto siblings Jay and Stefanie McCarrol. They create catchy electropop music perfect for dancing and generally enjoying like your favourite ice cold drink on a hot summer day.

Their EP came out back in October and they are appearing at The Mod Club on May 8 for CMW.

Their current single, "Never Come Down", is a pop gem, an earworm of the highest order, and a song that deserves to be heard everywhere this summer.

"Dancing Underwater"

Pic from Facebook.

April 28, 2015

New Elbow song - What Time Do You Call This?

Elbow is a band that's been on my radar and in my collection for many years, but it wasn't until I saw them live at the Danforth Music Hall that I really "got it".

This band, that creates such moving and beautiful music, has a new tune for us to enjoy. It's called "What Time Do You Call This?" and it's from the new Simon Pegg film Man Up. The soundtrack album comes out May 25 and the film is out in the UK on May 29.

Give it a listen:

April 27, 2015

TURF Feature: SATE

A week ago today, the Toronto Urban Roots Festival - TURF - announced the first round of bands in their line-up. It's quite an impressive list. I mentioned in my post, and in previous coverage, that one of the things I like best about TURF is discovering new artists.

I saw the unfamiliar name SATE in the small print at the bottom of the TURF line-up poster. I tried Google and failed. Then some nice person on Twitter had SATE's handle in their Tweet. Thank you!

SATE is Saidah Baba Talibah, daughter of Salome Bey, renowned Toronto-based singer-songwriter, composer and actress. SATE's music is energetic, moving, and aggressive while being catchy, melodic and passionate.

Check out the powerhouse tune "Warrior" and make sure you get to TURF early to experience her music in person.


Pic from Facebook.

April 26, 2015

New Sumo Cyco video for Fighter

Sumo Cyco are a hard hitting Toronto punk/alternative/rock/metal band. I caught them when they played and won Indie Week 2013. Their début full-length album Lost in Cyco City is available now and they've recently released a single and video for the song "Fighter". They direct their own entertaining videos so if you like what you see, check out more on their Youtube Channel.

They've just been added to the Vans' Warped Tour line-up and they tour pretty constantly. They put 110% into their live shows so I recommend seeing them live.

Pic from Facebook.

April 25, 2015

New tunes from Deep Sea Diver

I caught Deep Sea Diver at The Horseshoe Tavern when they opened for Telekinesis and I was impressed. They recently announced that their second album is completed, but didn't provide a release date. Here's a cool live performance by the band, including some brand new music.


Pic from Facebook by Sarah Murphy.

April 24, 2015

New music from Kathryn Calder

I first experienced Kathryn Calder's music when I discovered Immaculate Machine. I love some of their tunes like "Broken Ship", "Invention '77", "Jarhand" and "Dear Confessor". I've experienced her solo on her 2010 album Are You My Mother? and 2011's Bright And Vivid. More recently, I've seen her and photographed her with The New Pornographers.

Kathryn now has another solo album, this one self-titled, that just came out on April 14. Take a listen to a couple of beautiful indie pop tunes:

"Take a Little Time"

"Song In Cm". Kathryn describes it as, "...a quiet song about despite ultimately having to go through life on our own, it’s so much better with the company of the people we love and who love us in return.

April 23, 2015

New song from Fast Romantics called Julia

Back in late November 2014, I caught Fast Romantics at The Drake Hotel. Here's a link to that post. I found them to be a joyous, rousing and triumphant live band. At that time, they were heading into the studio and I was excited to hear the new tunes.

Well, that wait is over. Here's a brand new tune from the band called "Julia". It's a fun-sounding indie pop tune that should put a smile on your face.

April 22, 2015

New song from Dawes called Things Happen

Dawes have a new album on the way. It's called All Your Favorite Bands and it comes out June 2. Here's "Things Happen". It delivers more of the easy going California classic rock vibe that they're known for.

They're on Letterman tonight and they've got a host of tour dates up on their site.

April 21, 2015

New video from Public Animal for Careful

Public Animal are an incredibly tight and powerful Toronto band fronted by the twin vocal and guitar/keys assault of Ian Blurton and Caitlin Dacey with the pounding, guttural rhythm section of Eric Larock and Ryan Gassi.

They've just released a new video from their 2014 release Habitat Animal, which was my third favourite album of 2014. It's for the amazing tune "Careful", which was my second favourite tune of 2014. Check it out below.

You can catch the band live at the Mod Club on April 24 opening for Skull Fist.

April 20, 2015

Toronto Urban Roots Festival (TURF) reveals line-up

So many important things happening today. First, it's 420.

Second, today's the day that The Toronto Urban Roots Festival, TURF for short, has unveiled their line-up for 2015! The big names include Of Monsters and Men, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Wilco, The Avett Brothers, Neko Case, UB40, Cake and Lord Huron. Also on the bill are Desaparecidos featuring Connor Oberst, Deerhunter, Built to Spill, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Shakey Graves and Will Butler. I'm personally excited about some more of the small-print acts like Fishbone, Skydiggers, The Elwins, NQ Aruckle, Ron Hawkins and the Do Good Assassins and Restorations. In total, there will be 46 acts across three stages, so more acts will be announced as we get closer to the show date.

Due to the Pan-Am Games, the festival is later than usual. It's scheduled for September 18-20 at Fort York Garrison Commons. This year's focus is on the Toronto scene with a local artist kicking things off on each of the three stages each day. The biggest challenge that I see for TURF is the other festivals, including Riot Fest, that are scheduled for the same weekend.

TURF ticket info:
  • Earlybird Tier One 3 Day Passes, 3 Day Front of Stage VIP Passes, and 3 Day VIP Plus Passes go on sale Thursday April 23 at noon through Ticketfly, and then at Rotate This, Soundscapes, and The Horseshoe Tavern Friday April 24 at noon
  • Earlybird Tier One ticket sales end on Wednesday June 10 at Midnight
  • Single day line-ups and tickets will be announced June 8 and on sale June 11
  • The Club Bonus Series, which features many of the festival performers, appearing in venues like Lee's Palace and The Horseshoe Tavern, is back and will be announced in early July
Here are some of the acts that I'm most looking forward to. Of course, one of the things that I like best about TURF is the acts that I discover by seeing them at the festival.

Of Monsters and Men

The Avett Brothers

Neko Case



Built to Spill

St. Paul and the Broken Bones - quite the build-up from Mr. Letterman. I think these guys will put on a super-fun show.

Fishbone - I haven't seen these guys since the second Lollapalooza tour back in 1993


Chuck Ragan

The Elwins

NQ Arbuckle

Ron Hawkins and DGA (Do Good Assassins)

Restorations - really like what I hear on first listen. Look for a more in-depth post on these guys.

Just in case you missed it, you can see all my TURF coverage from 2014 and 2013 by clicking right here. I've got pics of such artists as July Talk, Gogol Bordello, Gaslight Anthem, Hey Rosetta!, Drive-By Truckers, Shovels & Rope, Black Joe Lewis, Deer Tick, Gary Clark Jr., London Souls, The Hold Steady, Frank Turner, Lowest of the Low, Matt Mays, Dawes and more.

Pic from Indie 88.

April 19, 2015

Hans Wenzel

Hans Wenzel is a singer-songwriter from the US of A calling Greensville, SC, San Diego, CA, and Norwalk, CT home. His music sounds like soulful southern rock. It's storytelling music told with Hans' unique, soulful and emotive voice with elements of southern classic rock, blues, soul and a hint of country. I think that Hans would be a great addition to the Toronto Urban Roots Festival late this summer.

Check out two tunes from his forthcoming Greyhound '77 album. I'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the album when it comes out later this spring.

"Greyhound '77"

"The River"

Pic from Facebook.

April 18, 2015


Antemasque features Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez of At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta. Their music is powerful, intricate, intense, gritty and energetic.

"In the Lurch"


Photo from Facebook by Anneke Peeters.

April 17, 2015

Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band

I was surfing around checking out some of the acts on the Coachella bill that I wasn't familiar with when I found the fuzzy hard stoner desert rock of Brant Bjork and the Low Desert Punk Band. Brant was previously in Kyuss and Fu Manchu. Check out some tunes:

"Buddha Time (Everything Fine)"

"Ain't No Runnin'"

"Stokely Up Now"

Pic from Brant Bjork's site.

April 16, 2015

Classic Canadian Alternative: Wild Strawberries

Since this band is pretty easy listening, it's not going to fall within the classic definition of alternative, but they were an important part of the musical landscape for me and were part of the early 90s indie movement, so I'm including them in this series.

Wild Strawberries are Roberta Carter-Harrison and Ken Harrison. Their 1994 album Bet You Think I'm Lonely garnered them several hits and a Best New Band Juno nomination. Check out some of this duo's fantastic music.

"Life Sized Marilyn Monroe"

"Bet You Think I'm Lonely"

"I Don't Want To Think About It"

Pic from Facebook.

April 15, 2015

Dave Hause

Dave Hause is a singer-songwriter from Philly. His music is pure, storytelling songwriting at it's finest. It's got elements of great roots and rock music that I'm sure comes across amazingly well on stage. He's got two full-length albums, 2011's Resolutions and the 2013 release, Devour.

He's on tour and hits Toronto for an appearance next Wednesday, April 22 at The Horseshoe Tavern.with Kalle Mattson and Rob Moir. I hope I'm able to be there.

Check out some of Dave's fantastic music:

"Same Disease" from Devour

"We Could Be Kings" from Devour

"Time Will Tell" from Resolutions

"C'Mon Kid" from Resolutions

Pic from Facebook by Jen Maier.

April 14, 2015

New video for Best Coast's Heaven Sent

Garage rock mainstays Best Coast have a new album California Nights on the way for a May 5 release. They're on tour and appearing in Toronto for NXNE.

I'm absolutely loving the tune "Heaven Sent"

"California Nights"

Pic from Facebook.

April 13, 2015

Time Festival announces 2015 line-up

Time Festival is back this year at Fort York on August 15, presented by Embrace, and they've just announced the line-up. It's a diverse festival with elements of dance music, jazz, indie/alternative and Die Antwoord, a spectacle all their own.

I caught Die Antwoord at Riot Fest and can attest to their live show being a great one to experience. I also caught DIIV opening for Japandroids at the end of 2012 so I can vouch for their live show.

The line up includes headliners Die Antwoord along with Mac Demarco, Badbadnotgood, Ariel Pink, Yung Lean, Ryan Hemsworth, DIIV, Alison Wonderland, Tory Lanez, Tommy Kruise, Lobby, and Eliot Vincent Jones.

Early bird tickets are on sale now for $25.

Check out some of the artists at this years fest:

Die Antwoord "Ugly Boy"

Mac Demarco "Passing Out Pieces"

Ariel Pink – "Dayzed Inn Daydreams"

Badbadnotgood "Can't Leave the Night"

Ryan Hemsworth - Snow In Newark Ft. Dawn Golden



"How Long Have You Known"

Alison Wonderland - U Don't Know ft. Wayne Coyne

Pic from BlogTO.

April 12, 2015

The National - Alligator is 10

The National's Alligator came out 10 years ago today. It's one of my all-time favourite albums from one of my all-time favourite bands. However, this didn't happen immediately. This album did take a while to grow on me, but once it did, it became love. The lyrics, the guitar parts, the rhythms, the melodies; it all slowly unveils itself to you over repeated listenings. Truly a gift that keeps on giving.

Here are my favourites from this landmark album.

"Secret Meeting"


"Lit Up"

"Friend of Mine"

"All the Wine"


"The Geese Of Beverly Road"

"Mr. November"

And just because, here's Frank Turner doing "Mr. November" live, improvised style.

Pic from The National.

April 11, 2015

New music from Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men have a new album called Beneath the Skin coming out June 9 and they've released this great new tune. It's called "Crystals" and it features a rousing beat and anthemic vocals. If you don't have tickets for their upcoming May 4 show at Toronto's Massey Hall, I don't know what to tell you, because it's sold out. More tour dates on their site.

Pic from Facebook.

April 10, 2015

New MS MR song Painted

MS MR have given us the first indication of their forthcoming album in the form of the new, high-energy, catchy pop tune "Painted".

Give it a listen:

Pic from Facebook.

April 9, 2015

Classic Canadian Alternative: Pure

Pure got started in 1991 in Vancouver. I was introduced to their 1992 album Pureafunalia in university and really dug their high energy power pop songs. I also enjoyed the follow up Generation Six-Pack that came out in 1994.

Back in 2012, guitarist Todd Simko passed away.

Take a listen to these awesomely infectious tunes.



"Blissful Kiss"


"Tall Grass"

"Love is Cool"

"Anna is a Speed Freak"


Pic from last.fm.

April 8, 2015

New tune from The Maccabees - Marks to Prove It

The Maccabees have a new album on the way later this year and have let us hear a new tune. It's a straight-up, frantically paced alt-rocker called "Marks to Prove It". The video below is brand-spanking-new. Enjoy.

Pic from Facebook.

April 7, 2015

New St Vincent song Teenage Talk

Here's the full version of St. Vincent's tune for the HBO series Girls called "Teenage Talk". It'll change your life.

And here's her performance of the tune on Jimmy Fallon.

April 6, 2015

New song from Radkey - Parade It

I've seen Radkey twice now. Once at The Garrison opening for Blood Red Shoes and once at Riot Fest Toronto. They have just released a new tune called "Parade It" from their forthcoming album. It's an immediate tune complete with chunky guitars, pounding drums and bass, plus lyrics of "love that's really got me down". They worked on their début full-length album in Sheffield with producer Ross Orton. Watch for it this summer and watch for this band on the road including Coachella, Reading and Leeds. They put on a great live show.

April 5, 2015

New Built to Spill

Back in late 2009, long before my ambitions of being a concert photographer, I saw Built to Spill live at Lee's Palace. However, I did write about it.

Now Built to Spill have a new album called Untethered Moon coming out April 21. They'll be releasing the album on vinyl for Record Store Day on April 18. Of course, the album release will be followed by a tour. These guys are incredible live so be sure to check them out when they hit your town or a festival near you.

Check out the two tunes from the new album that have been released so far:

"Living Zoo"

"Never Be The Same"

Pic from Facebook.

April 4, 2015

Radiohead - the Bends is 20

Radiohead's second album The Bends came out 20 years ago. It's widely regarded as one of the best albums ever and it's certainly one of my all time favourites. Many people have summarized the significance and wide-ranging influence of this album better than I ever could so I'll just put up some of my favourites from this alternative music classic. I focused on live versions for most of these tunes.

The full album:

"Planet Telex"

"The Bends" from Jools Holland

"High and Dry" from Jools Holland

"Fake Plastic Trees"



"My Iron Lung"

"Black Star"

"Street Spirit (Fade Out)"

Pic from Wikipedia.

April 3, 2015

New tune from The National - Sunshine On My Back

To coincide with the release of the Mistaken For Strangers documentary, The National have released a tune from the Trouble Will Find Me sessions, It features harmony vocals from Sharon Van Etten and has that cool, laid-back National vibe.

April 2, 2015

Classic Canadian Alternative: Doughboys

John Kaster's been in a lot of bands including The Asexuals, Doughboys, All Systems Go!, and he's released a solo album. It's all been pretty consistently awesome. Doughboys formed in Montreal in 1987 and became one of my favourite bands, delivering a power pop / punk / metal hybrid that just hit me the right way at the right time.

I somehow have it stuck in my head that guitarist Jonathan Cummins and Brendan Canning are brothers but I can't find any evidence of this on line. Let me know if you can confirm or deny this piece of info.

The Doughboy's 1993 album Crush is absolutely incredible. A classic from start to finish. And these guys were incredible to see live. I caught them at Lee's Palace, UofT, and in Vancouver.




"Fix Me"

"Tearin' Away"



"End of the Hall"

"Summer Song"

"Shake it, Annie" from Bionic, Jonathan Cummins' band with Ian Blurton

April 1, 2015

Raketkanon with Florent

Raketkanon are a sludge/hardcore band from Ghent. I was recently turned on to the song and video for "Florent" from their latest release, RKTKN #2, recorded by Steve Albini.

Check it out:

Pic from Facebook.