Buddy Black and the Ghost Umbrellas will guide you down dusty roads. Their ragged music, a guided tour through the history of folk, country, and punk, will lead you from the country down to the sea, to the place where we all come together. Continue reading
Sam Taylor has had a strange and wonderful journey as a musician. He began as a professional jazz singer when he was a child, and he eventually found his way to the guitar and inevitably to the blues. Since then has been plying his distinct trade in Toronto venues and across Southern Ontario. His music is a potent mix of roots genres, which he dubs “soul rock”. With his band The East End Love, he’s been scorching Toronto bars for the last few years.
If falling apart is a necessary part of the process of self-discovery, then the key is to let the pieces fall into some kind of recognizable pattern. On his latest release “Positively Falling Apart”, Craig Mainprize is deconstructing his previous identity as an indie/folk-rocker and recreating himself as a kind of neo-soul electronic poet. Continue reading
“The Cause of Many Troubles” by Dave Marsh & The True Love Rules is a diverse, exciting album about love in all its forms. Presented as a fragmented narrative of all of the phases of love and attachment, it is simultaneously sweet, sentimental, bitter, angry, subtle, lusty, romantic, funny, sarcastic and sincere. Continue reading
High School Sweetheart. A name that evokes innocence and infatuation. A label for the earliest and most vulnerable explorations of love. An ideal that is constantly sought and never really attained, circling back onto itself like a lost wanderer. A memory that haunts. An impassioned cry from a pained soul, wailing into a void just to hear the echo. Continue reading
“Move as quickly as you can/ you’ll never be this young again.”- Never Be This Young
Will Gillespie’s latest album “Learning How to Let Go” is intimate in the extreme. You can hear fingers touching guitar strings. You can hear the air in the studio. You can practically hear the dust floating around the room. Gillespie’s voice is completely unadorned and closely recorded, like he’s singing into your ear without any amplification. The percussion is simple and unobtrusive, letting the guitar and the odd instrumental solo take centre stage, along with the voice. Then there are otherworldly touches of analogue drum machine, which places the album firmly in the present musical climate. It’s an electro-jazz-folk-rock album by a fidgety songwriter who is looking within to find the guidance he needs to navigate the external world. Continue reading
I find it fascinating how Sonic Youth has split up so neatly into its constituent parts. Kim Gordon is exploring abstraction and noise with Body/Head, Thurston Moore is riffing his way through the history of punk and metal with Chelsea Light Moving, and Lee Ranaldo is making arguably the biggest gains by marrying his extensive range of guitar techniques and tones to what might be called traditional rock song craft. Continue reading
The Benefit of the Free Man are one of my favourite Toronto bands. They marry dark poetic meditations with the lush drama of acoustic strings. They employ deeply absorbing rhythms, haunting melodies, and intense dynamics, all combined with a certain stately grace. Their debut EP/mini-album is one of the most affecting listening experiences I’ve had during the last year.
I sat down with their lead singer, the one and only Lee Piazza, to talk about his early love of language and rhythm, the genesis of the band, and the inspirations behind the songs on their first release. Continue reading
Steve Poltz is a restless and creative spirit. He is one-of-a-kind. He’s a true Renaissance man who can change his artistic hat at any given moment. He is a musical shape-shifter who dances between genres. He is a well-spring of creative urges. Since his early days in the San Diego band The Rugburns, he has charted a unique and dynamic artistic path that few others would be able to pull off. Although he is presented as singer-songwriter, Poltz incorporates a wide background in music and the arts into his own unique stew of entertainment. Continue reading
Genius never dies. Sometimes it gets buried under a mountain of indifference. Sometimes it languishes in the wilderness. Sometimes genius has to earn a living smashing things or hauling garbage or some other un-glamorous thing. And every once in a while, genius that was ignored or forgotten is resurrected and earns its rightful place in history. “Searching For Sugar Man” is a documentary that explores the amazing story of one such genius. Continue reading