T.O. Titans – Bands to Chase in 2010 (Part 2)
Welcome to Part Two of our ongoing investigation of Bands to Chase in 2010. Yesterday we brought you our first batch of Toronto bands ready to make some noise in this year’s scene and today we bring you seven more bands likely to catch your attention. Some of these are safe bets to explode while others are longshots, but all are worth following closely.
Laid-back psych-rock steeped in shoe-gaze and indie pop. Sound familiar? We’ve heard rumours that Easy Targets are about to become the newest member of the Optical Sounds roster, a notion that seems too perfect not to happen. Optical Sounds has been batting 1.000 so far, so there’s always a bit of worry when they sign a new band, but Easy Targets sound so effortlessly cool, so teeming with hazy hooks that it’s hard to imagine they would ruin the average. The Silver Dollar’s Dan Burke has put the band on his “Class of 2010” list, an honour that brings with it an opening slot for Montreal’s Clues in the re-opened Comfort Zone on January 16. Sounds like as good a time as any to make the announcement.
Another one of Jonah Falco’s (Fucked Up/Career Suicide) prodigies, these trembling-voiced punks are creating a garage-rockin’ brand of hardcore influenced by early Black Flag, Negative Approach, SS Decontrol, Japan’s Framptid, and “getting liquored up,” says guitarist Warren Calbeck. He says they’ll be recording a 7″ this month, and gig-wise they will be hitting the US and Halifax this year, and playing in Toronto February. “After several demo tapes and live shows, I’m hoping these hipster punks will get their shit together and put out a single and hit the road. The potential is there.” says promotor Mark Pesci.
It’s hard to think of anything less hip than a tribute band, but when you combine Dana Snell of The Bicycles, Malagi Meagher of The Phonemes, Robin Hatch of Sports: The Band (and a former Torontoist contributer), Alysha Haugen and the one and only Laura Barrett, give them a clever moniker and some era-defining source material, all bets are off. This all-female Weezer cover band only plays songs from the Blue Album and Pinkerton (i.e. the only two Weezer albums worth playing songs from), and although they’ve only played one show (the indie-satiating Tranzac New Year’s Eve party), they already have a formidable Facebook following, a built-in fanbase and at least one high-profile supporter. Tell that to your cousin’s Dio cover band, Holy Diver.
“Sometimes a little adversity goes a long way,” Two Way Monologues’ Dan Wolovick says of Black Hat Brigade. Originally from Brampton, Ontario, the indie rockers were quickly gaining steam from their two EPs, a sound that could best be described as a complex mixture of Modest Mouse, Wolf Parade and the old Castlevania video games, when the band faced a potentially fatal setback. Deferring again to Dan Wolovick, “losing longtime band members and having to completely revamp and tighten the lineup was a setback for a band about to burst in a big way. But having to fight through and piece together a new band… will make them just that much more hungry.” 2010 will be a test for the reformatted band, but based on the strength of their two EPs, we think it’s one that they’ll be able to pass.
We can see how Anagram’s trance-inducing noise could cause “acute cerebral aneurysm” (their myspace sounds-like), if it weren’t for that intermittent saxophone somehow adding an element of maturity to their punk swagger, a la James Chance and the Contortions. Anagram are combining psychedelic post-punk with a hint of hardcore, and their experiment is worth seeing live. “I can’t tell you how excited we are for their new LP, we wish we were doing it. Best live band!” says Jon from garage label Telephone Explosion. Guitarist Willy Mason tells us they have a record coming out and gigs up-coming in southern Ontario this spring. Look out for them along with Sun Ra Ra Ra at your local dive bar or Polish combatants hall, straight out the garages and basements of the city since 2001.
If not for Wavelength booker/MC Doc Pickles, we probably wouldn’t be aware of a band as underground and un-Google-able as Karaoke, but when we found out the duo was comprised of veterans Derek Westerholm of the much-loved Creeping Nobodies (who apparently have called it quits) and Venus Cures All “starchild” Michelle Breslin, we had to check it out. Needless to say, it gave us the chills. In Doc’s words, the duo’s sound consists of “creepy beautiful otherworldly acoustic duets.” A good description, but we get the feeling it’ll be even more eerie performed live, hopefully something that will happen a good deal in 2010.
If both Fatality’s name and their debut LP ‘Beers From The Grave’ doesn’t give it away, we’ll give you a hint - they’re full-on heavy metal thrashers, or ‘thrash fuck metal’ as they like to call it. “The tracks are an excellent combination of thrash and beer, but there’s something to be said about their live performances. Drum-offs and beer funnels. Enough said,” says CHRY’s the Red Switch host Matt, who also recommends Ottawa’s Joe Thrasher, an older crew receiving more attention with the retro-metal resurgence. “There’s very few bands out there that have the bravado and tenacity to last in a genre that’s overrun by young and pointless bands, but Joe Thrasher manages to pull it off with a very unique quality. They don’t give a fuck about anybody else and don’t care if you know it. ‘Metal Forces’ is an album to listen to if you like honest-to-god thrash metal.”
Both Fatality and Joe Thrasher happen to be playing this Saturday .