Waxahatchee is Katie Crutchfield. She's from Alabama and she writes emotional, introspective music whose delivery ranges from a whisper to a scream. Her debut was recorded in her bedroom and called American Weekend. Her second album, Cerulean Salt came out in 2013.
Now Waxahatchee has a new album on the way called Ivy Tripp and it comes out April 7.
Dream Police (they live inside of my head, they come to me in my bed, they're coming to arrest me, oh no!) are an offshoot of The Men. It's an, "American musical production by Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro." The album's called Hypnotized. These tunes are a noisy, riffing, wailing, pounding, languishing, mesmerizing good time.
Viet Cong are from Calgary. The band is vocalist/bassist Matt Flegel and drummer Mike Wallace, who were in Women, plus guitarists Scott Munro and Daniel Christiansen. They create dark, intense music with layers of influences that span the last several decades.
They're on tour and appearing in Toronto for a sold out show at The Garrison January 31.
The album Viet Cong came out January 20. Check out a couple of tunes:
I read a review of a Chicago Split Single show that a band called Bailiff opened. I took a listen to the linked track and really like what I heard. Check out this immensely fun, funky, catchy, rockin' tune.
I know I'll be checking out more Bailiff music. Will you?
It's been about two years since I first wrote about Purity Ring. I really like their beautiful and evocative electronic music. They've got a new album called Another Eternity coming out March 3. Take a listen to a couple of tracks from the new album. Sounds like a solid follow up to such great tunes as "Fineshrine" and "Belispeak".
I have The Zolas' 2010 album Tic Toc Tic and I liked some of the indie rock on it. I recently heard the tune "Invisible" and realized that I'd lost track of the band. Their second album Ancient Mars came out in 2012. Check out some tunes:
Annie Clark, St. Vincent, put out one of the best albums and some of the best songs of 2014 with her self-titled fourth studio album. This album is about to get the deluxe release treatment, which can be looked as at an opportunity to have the album with a whole bunch of extra tunes, or it can be looked at as a thinly-veiled attempt to get you to buy the main songs all over again. I'll let you be the judge. It comes out February 9.
The deluxe album features extra tunes like "Pieta" and "Sparrow" which I posted previously, "Del Rio", the Darkside remix of "Digital Witness" and "Bad Believer". "Bad Beliver" is a pretty awesome, high energy tune that's well worth adding to your collection. "Del Rio" is intensely quirky in the way we expect from Ms. Clark.
Check 'em out:
St. Vincent's on tour and comes to Toronto's Danforth Music Hall on March 3-4.
Also keep your ears open for another new track called "Teenage Talk" on HBO's Girls.
I've mentioned Split Single's finely crafted power pop a few times before. The Fragmented World album has yielded "Monolith" and "Last Goodbye" and featured prominently on my Best Albums and Best Songs lists for 2014. Now they've released a clip for the title track, "Fragmented World". Looks like Jason's having a bad day with a great song as the soundtrack.
The Juliana Hatfield Three released Become What You Are in 1993. It had great tunes like "My Sister", "For the Birds", "A Dame With a Rod", "Feelin' Massachusetts", and "Spin the Bottle". In short, a great, great album. Now, 22 years later, Th Juliana Hatfield Three is back with Whatever, My Love, which comes out February 17.
They're hitting the road in February and March so if they're in your town, you should check them out. Here are a couple of tracks from the new album. Always good, bouncy tunes from Juliana.
The Districts have a new album called A Flourish and A Spoil coming out February 10. They're on tour and playing The Horseshoe in Toronto on February 18. I hope to be there.
I already posted the great tune "4th and Roebling" and now we get to hear another tune. This one's called "Peaches" and it's got some great powerful melodic lines running through it and a super-intense build. Can't wait to see these guys on stage again and I recommend everyone else does the same.
I just caught an old edition of Jools Holland and really enjoyed Seasick Steve's performance. Check out "Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks" and "Don't Know Why She Love Me But She Do". Yes, that's John Paul Jones on bass.
What's loud and shouty and catchy and a song that I'm attracted to like I'm attracted to food that's bad for me? It's Bear Hands' tune "Giants". If you haven't heard it already, give it a listen and see what it does for you.
With all the great music released during 2014 and all the bands that I photographed, there weren't as many days to post about some of my favourite older music as there once was. Now that we're into a relatively slow period of concerts and new releases, I can write a bit about some cool stuff from past years. A bunch of cool songs from The Verve Pipe popped up in a playlist yesterday and inspired this post.
The Verve Pipe are from East Lansing Michigan and formed in 1992. Their biggest tune is "The Freshmen" which I featured in one of my lyrical snippets posts. They play straight up alternative rock with well-crafted, anthemic and catchy songs.
I wrote aboutSpeedy Ortiz' Major Arcana album about a year and a half ago. Since then, they released the Real Hair EP. They've kept the noise and chaos in the music while not losing any of the melody. Cool stuff.
TV on the Radio put out a critically acclaimed album called Seeds in November of 2014. I had all the best of intentions to spend a bunch of time with the album and even go see them when they played at The Phoenix Concert Theatre here in Toronto, but sadly it never happened.
The first two tunes are powerful, high energy songs all but guaranteed to get you moving and the second two veer into more easy going territory.
I really connected with The Go! Team's first album, 2004's Thunder, Lightning, Strike. It combined old sounds that could have come from 70s cop show theme music with school-yard chants and a new energy in a way that really resonated with me. Their 2007 and 2011 albums Proof of Youth and Rolling Blackouts didn't make as much of a dent in my psyche.
Now they've got a new album called The Scene Between coming out March 24. Check out the title track and see what it does for you.
And just because, check out a few from Thunder, Lightning, Strike.
There's a band called The Cult that were big in the late 80s and 90s. There's a band called Cults that has been big in more recent times. There's a band called Heart from the 70s and a band called Haerts that's up and coming. There's Brit Daniel's indie rock band Spoon and the 80s Canadian new wave band The Spoons. There are lots of other bands with similar names that don't seem to cause confusion in the marketplace.
There's a band from Spain called Deers and there's a band from Montreal called The Dears. The Dears have sent their lawyers after Deers and otherwise forced them to change their name to Hinds.
Why is this? Not sure. And why did Deers just give in? Not sure. You may say that since the other bands added an "S" or an "S" and a different spelling whereas Deers and Dears are homonyms that it makes a difference. I'm not so sure. I think "The" is a pretty big differentiator. I think it's pretty lame on The Dears part. Especially since nothing they've done since the Smiths-like "Don't Lose The Faith" has really made a mark on my radar. Oh well, just my opinion.
And so, to help Hinds get past their forced name change, which is a pretty major setback for any band, here's some of their tunes. I guess if there's any bright side to this story, it's that I would probably not have heard of Hinds otherwise.
Hüsker Dü is one of my favourite bands. They're hugely influential to my musical taste and Bob Mould in particular is a huge influence and inspiration. They're one of those bands that inspired countless other artists and changed the hard rock/punk/alternative music landscape. Thirty years ago this month, New Day Rising was released.
The tunes on this album are power pop tunes boiled down to their purest form and played with amped up intensity. Songs like "New Day Rising", "I Apologize", and "Celebrated Summer" remain amongst my favourites, whether in their recorded form or when played live.
Ron Hawkins, one of my all-time favourite songwriters, and his band The Do-Good Assassins have a new album called Garden Songs coming out on February 3.
Most of these songs have been released previously, but these are all-new versions of some of Ron's most contemplative tunes.
1. Peace and Quiet
2. Kingdom of the Sun
3. South Ontario
4. Small Victories
6. Garden Song
7. Saskia Begins
9. Waitin' on Something That's Already Here
This video for "Kingdom of the Sun" was shot at Toronto's Don Jail. What a beautiful, evocative tune with fantastic harmonies. Great song!
And here are some tour dates. I hope to be out to see this great band when they stop in Toronto.
02/05-07 Toronto, ON - The Drake Underground
02/12 Waterloo, ON - The Starlight
02/13 London, ON - Call The Office
02/14 Sarnia, ON - Paddy Flaherty's
02/27 Kingston, ON - The Grand Theatre
03/07 Hamilton, ON - This Ain't Hollywood
03/13 Buffalo, NY - The Tralf
I caught Beliefs early in 2014 opening for Toy at The Horseshoe. I've been looking forward to new music from the band and it looks like spring 2015 is when that will happen. Check out the tune "Tidal Wave" from their forthcoming album. There's no release date set but the album will be called Leaper.
I really loved California X's 2013 self-titled début album and I especially loved the tune "Spider X". They've got a new album called Nights In The Dark coming out January 13 and here are three intense, darkly rockin' tunes:
So there's a band from Austin, Texas that calls themselves Prince. Maybe they've never heard of that purple-obsessed guy who used to be Prince and then became an unpronounceable symbol and then became Prince again? Maybe they're just seeking publicity from the lawsuit / cease and desist letter that's probably coming their way. The $200 song on their Bandcamp is another interesting tidbit. And maybe if the search engines pick up that I've got concert pictures of Prince, my SEO will improve.
Prince's December 17 show at The Garrison opening for Lemuria was their first time in Toronto. They told us about the "blizzard" they experienced. I put blizzard in quotations because that the word that the singer used to describe the snowfall that didn't even stay on the roads that we had that day. Unless they experienced a blizzard somewhere else. The singer also kept his sweater on throughout the set because of it's Christmas feel.
Prince plays tight, punky tunes that feature aggressive guitars and vocals that wouldn't be out of place in the 90s, punctuated by walls of feedback. I hope I find out what they eventually change their name to so I can hear more of their music...
Here's their 2 self-titled EPs:
And their $200 single "How Ya Been Feelin'/More of This":
I had a great time seeing Lemuria and their "infectious, energy-filled power pop" at Riot Fest Toronto. I posted my pics and a bunch of tunes then and I expressed my desire to see them again. They were booked to play Adelaide Hall on December 17. I was looking forward to seeing Lemuria again and to checking out a venue that I had never been to before. Sadly, Adelaide Hall suffered an electrical fire and the gig had to be relocated. The familiar Garrison was the new location.
Lemuria played a short but powerful set, cementing what a great band they are in my mind. They played tunes from their most recent album, 2013's The Distance Is So Big, their most recent EP, Turnstile Comix #3, their 2011 album Pebble, and their 2008 album Get Better. Recommendation: check these guys out next time they're in your town. I know I will.
I'll admit that I'm more of a Radiohead fan than a Thom Yorke solo fan. I like the intensity and power of albums like The Bends and OK Computer. That's why it took me a while to check out Thom's new tune "Youwouldn'tlikemewhenI'mangry". But it only took a listen for me to be overwhelmed by the beauty of this tune. Magnificent.
If I did a best of list that focused on the coolest bass hooks or the biggest earworms then Big Data's "Dangerous" featuring Joywave would probably be at the top of the list. Since I didn't do such a list, here's that catchy number for your listening and dancing pleasure. Somehow I can't resist posting this tune.
Every year, I promise myself that I'm going to spend time with all the best-of lists from other publications and discover the great stuff that I missed in 2014. I never seem to get around to it.
I'm not sure if this is truly a miss, since I see it on one of my many lists of stuff to post about, but I never did get around to posting about this tune in 2014 and so it never made it on to my best of lists, although it certainly could have.
It's Knox Hamilton's powerful, melodic pop tune "Work It Out". If you missed it too, give it a listen.