Bleak Life 2 will be launching on April 30th, bringing three days of ear-scorching punk and metal to one of Ontario’s best local music scenes. True to the community-based spirit of DIY, the festival will feature local & regional bands, as well as touring acts, and will be taking place at an eclectic mix of venues around the city. Audio Reckoning recently got together with Matt Hargrove, one of the founders of Bleak Life, to talk about the challenges of putting on an indie festival, the inclusiveness of punk culture, and the magic of doing it yourself. 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.
A little while back, I reviewed the debut album from Canada’s finest instrumental band, The Huaraches. The record is excellent, but I wanted to dig into their story a bit more. Their bassist Steve Sottile and I chatted over email about the genesis of the group, tobogganing into recording sessions, how the president of Queen’s University reacted to their bizarre video shoot, and the dangers of playing guitar with a sausage. 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
Dave Marsh is a man of many colours. Besides his main gig as the drummer for the Joel Plaskett Emergency, he’s also a member of cult-status rockers The Super Friendz. He’s a guitarist and singer/songwriter: he makes his own records with his own band, known as Dave Marsh and The True Love Rules. Besides being a gentlemanly percussionist with a distinct stylistic flair, he’s also an entertaining raconteur. He speaks easily and seems to enjoy the art of conversation. You can imagine him socializing easily in any setting. He could swing with Gene Krupa or drink with Sinatra. He could cover himself in glitter and hang with Bowie at Ian Hunter’s place. He could chew some straw and help Roy Rogers saddle his horse. He could chill on the dock at your cottage, with a cold drink and some hot licks. 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
Joel Plaskett and the Emergency are conquering Canada, one town at a time. After an already extensive Spring/Summer tour to support their innovative new record “Scrappy Happiness”, Joel and his stalwart band were back on the road in Sepetember and October, and will continue to bring the rock to the people of Canada well into the New Year. Continue reading