Zeus, Stars and other indie greats play Mudtown Music fest Aug 9-10

Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Zeus, Stars and other indie greats play Mudtown Music fest Aug 9-10

In 2010, it looked as though Zeus were destined to become Toronto’s local Beatles – but a media blitz and heavily hyped debut retro-pop-rock album, Say Us, solidified their place in indie rock circles. These days, things have normalized for the Jason-Collette-backing-band as they work on a follow-up to last years’ acclaimed Busting Visions. And the band makes sure to find time to tour small-town Ontario. Zeus join indie heavyweights Stars, Hannah Georgas and Young Galaxy at the Mudtown Music & Arts festival (Aug. 9-10) in Owen Sound — and the lineup is no doubt worth a road trip from Toronto. Gearing up for the festival, Mike O’Brien and Neil Quin of Zeus kindly answered my questions on their alleged Northernness and what to expect on their upcoming album.
-MC (more)

The best of NXNE 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013
The best of NXNE 2013

Another successful NXNE crawl is over, and here are the fruits of my labourious bar-hop around town. (more)

Q&A with Smif-N-Wessun at NXNE (Small-town white girl schooled by straight-outta-Brownsville rapper)

Friday, June 14, 2013
Q&A with Smif-N-Wessun at NXNE (Small-town white girl schooled by straight-outta-Brownsville rapper)

Rappers will speak their minds. One of the best interviews I’d had in a while was with The Pharcyde a couple of NXNE festivals ago, where Uncle Imani called me out for asking questions in “code language.” And since 90s hip hop brings me back to a cherished time in my youth, it just never gets old. So, before classic NYC hip hop duo Smif-N-Wessun play NXNE’s traditional hip hop closer at Yonge-Dundas Square this weekend, I got real with them for a 24 hours story which ran Wednesday. (more)

7 acts to see at NXNE 2013

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

There are 1000 bands playing NXNE this year, and this is the first time I’ve heard of Tourism Toronto championing the growing festival and music scene here as a major attraction. So, before NXNE becomes the monster that is SXSW, you might enjoy some of its remaining intimacy — and the fact Canadian bands still rule the schedule. Get a wristband here, and consider the following Can-con acts.
-MC (more)

How to be a “rock star DJ”, featuring Justice at HARDfest

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
How to be a “rock star DJ”, featuring Justice at HARDfest

This summer, Toronto is hosting the most EDM-saturated, Skrillex-ified festival circuit it has ever seen. The turnout at HARDToronto Saturday (an extention of L.A.’s HARDfest feat. Justice and M83) was impressive – still in the thousands – considering we had the choice of Osheaga and Deadmau5-headlined Veld festivals on that same night. (more)

Blog digging producer Ryan Hemsworth a long way from Halifax

Thursday, August 2, 2012
Blog digging producer Ryan Hemsworth a long way from Halifax

Ryan Hemsworth, a 22-year-old bedroom producer from Halifax, has risen to recognition over the past year with a couple of blog-hyped EPs, and is now commissioned to do remixes for the likes of French “electro-bro” Brodinski’s label, Bromance Records. I discussed his strategy in the July issue of AUX’s ipad magazine. Aside from producing for nu rappers like Main Attraktionz, he’s got a knack for remixing a mash of genres, from pop to RnB. Speaking of which, you’ll likely hear his 48-hour-old remix of Frank Ocean’s Thinkin Bout You this Saturday as he plays Wrongbar’s monthly SLOWED event in Toronto. (more)

Sound In Motion saves the soul of Toronto electronic dance music

Monday, July 16, 2012
Sound In Motion saves the soul of Toronto electronic dance music

There we were, inside a west-end warehouse at an electronic dance music festival in 2012, and neither a big drop nor a WUB WUB WUB to be heard. The walls indeed throbbed, but with 4/4 beats and that deep soulful vibe I can only imagine was present at the original Warehouse. (more)

NXNE in review: Best bands, BBQ love-ins, and worst party shutdowns

Tuesday, June 19, 2012
NXNE in review: Best bands, BBQ love-ins, and worst party shutdowns

After a day’s recovery, we bring to you our post-mortem on NXNE, where aside from gang violence fears, venue debacles and news of tragedy there was stellar music to be heard. NXNE retains its rep as Canada’s best music fest, which is quickly becoming more and more like SXSW in scope and profile, but given what happened here over the past week it’s probably best Toronto irons out a few kinks before hosting something of that proportion. - Marsha Casselman, Richard Trapunski
(more)

NXNE preview: Unrefined Canadian

Monday, June 11, 2012
NXNE preview: Unrefined Canadian

The challenge of this week’s NXNE festival: Buy a wristband, bar hop, and drunkenly discover some overlooked local gems among all the Ghostface and Flaming Lips hype. Here are my suggestions, some of which are relatively new, so I can’t vouch for the quality of their live show. But you’ll be drunk anyways.  - Marsha Casselman (more)

‘We are all lonely’ – and other revelations with Kyle Bobby Dunn

Tuesday, June 5, 2012
‘We are all lonely’ – and other revelations with Kyle Bobby Dunn

There isn’t much of a “scene” for wordless, beat-less drone music; so if you’re going to produce it, be prepared to relish time by yourself. Canadian producer Kyle Bobby Dunn thrives in this lonesome endeavour, as you can hear on his second double album Bring Me the Head of Kyle Bobby Dunn, out on UK label Low Point this month. (more)

Album Review: Mares of Thrace “The Pilgrimage” is the most evil thing

Thursday, April 19, 2012
Album Review: Mares of Thrace “The Pilgrimage” is the most evil thing

Tearing out of the gate with all the fury and ferocity of their fire-breathing, flesh-eating namesakes, Calgary doom-noise duo (and newest members of Sonic Unyon Metal) Mares of Thrace have unleashed the follow-up to their critically-acclaimed 2010 debut The Moulting. Titled The Pilgrimage and broken into three acts thematically tied to the biblical story of King David and his seduction of Bathsheba, this record is without a doubt one of the most evil things I have ever had the privilege to listen to. (more)

Revelations from CMW: Tampons, A&R hawks and heavy metal acceptance

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Revelations from CMW: Tampons, A&R hawks and heavy metal acceptance

Having recovered from Canadian Music Week, we have a few observations to share beyond the usual “this band played, they were good” reviews. (more)

CMW Preview: Dentata’s got bite

Friday, March 23, 2012
CMW Preview: Dentata’s got bite

3 a.m. is no time to begin writing. But Canadian Music Week has had me up all night, bouncing from one sweaty, gross venue to the next. I guess many of us will have to do the same thing today. It’ll be a tough slog. Toronto’s Dentata are much tougher than that. In fact, they’re the most hard-bitten thing you’re likely to hear during CMW. In what seems to be a nebulous mix of indie rock bands and singer-songwriters (and I must stress I love seeing these artists as well), Dentata are mean, scary, and rough. (more)

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Books: The history of Toronto’s scene

A photographic narrative of Toronto’s punk history 1976-1980 by Don Pyle

A Broken Social Scene Story by Stuart Berman

Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s by Stuart Henderson

An Oral History Of Punk In Toronto by Liz Worth

The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995 (10th Anniversary Edition)