“And the sea was all lighters, it was all lighters,” sings The New Pornographers frontman and primary songwriter Carl Newman in “Brill Bruisers,” the opening track from his band’s brand-new record of the same name. From the first downbeat of “Brill Bruisers,” the chorus of which paints the scene of a massive crowd swaying in unison, the band’s sixth studio album is a high-energy, melodically complex affair. And according to Newman, that dynamism is very much by design.
Tim Cohen is no stranger to a busy schedule—his main outfit, The Fresh & Onlys, has released three albums in the past four years, while Cohen has released three other albums in as much time with his side project, Magic Trick.
Reggie Watts is absurd. Most people who see his hybrid act (which combines improvised, one-man-show music with Monty Python-esque, Dadaist humour, and social commentary) are left wide-eyed, but also smiling. He's that afro'ed, sweater-wearing man with the 10 octave range your friend was trying to tell you about, who went on Conan, Ted Talks, and Letterman, with nothing prepared, spoke in accents, and then created an incredible-yet hilarious song in front of your very eyes.
JJ are one of the harder bands in the world to pin down. Since their emergence in 2008, they have been eternally mysterious, keeping us hopeless as to guess what their next move might be. Their releases are always self-titled - except when they're not, and they are just as likely to release a gentle, atmospheric dreamy pop song as they are to work with contemporary pop artists (like their 2011 Ne-Yo collaboration "We Can't Stop").
Kip Berman has blossomed into one of the most candid and earnest pop frontmen in the cycle today, which is impressive considering the success his band, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, has achieved over the last several years.
You could say that The Shilohs sound a lot like the better power-pop acts of the sixties and seventies—your Kinks and your Big Stars. So much so, in fact, that you might say that’s exactly what The Shilohs frontman Johnny Payne was going for on their full-length debut, So Wild, released last year. And you wouldn’t be wrong. But, The Shilohs’ brand-new self-titled LP is much more diverse than their previous release.
ODONIS ODONIS is surely Toronto’s modern-day champion of 1980s-era industrial gristle. Mixing intense walls of sound with healthy doses of surf, punk, and earworm melodies, their shoegaze noise-pop has grown up in the city's vibrant DIY scene, alongside bands like METZ, Soupcans, and a slew of other punk/lo-fi acts that emerged from the now defunct Buzz Garage. Comprised of Dean Tzenos, Denholm Whale, and Jarod Gibson, the trio is preparing to release their anticipated second full-length on Buzz Records.
What sort of electrifying concoction can arise from the following: a 1990‘s cover band, New York City, life-long friendship, beauty, and synths? Why Brooklyn’s, RELATIONS, of course. The new wave nostalgia on their recently released Songbirds album is the result of a cultivated, and well-versed musical career.
If art is the best barometer of a civilization’s condition, our neighbours south of the border may have learned more tuning into a New York radio station than during last month’s state of the union address. With some luck, they might’ve caught a song from The Secret History’s Americans Singing in the Dark. The album is a literary work in indie pop packaging, and songwriter-in-chief Michael Grace Jr.
Tess Parks and Teenanger are two of our favourite acts, not just out of Toronto, but anywhere. We smashed them together because we wanted to play God. They interviewed and took photos of each other and this is what we got. “There’s peanut butter in my chocolate! There’s chocolate in my peanut butter!” Together they taste like this.