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Month: July 2011

Paper Lions @ Lee’s Palace

. : : July 20th, 2011 : : . Paper Lions‘ Trophies EP has been on frequent rotation since I saw them open for Dark Mean last month. Their brand of power pop fits firmly up my alleyway. Several of the songs performed at that show are actually as-of-yet unreleased, and I’m anxiously awaiting their forthcoming LP to see how these tracks translate from the live stage to the recording studio. Luckily, I was given the opportunity to experience the next best thing. Hailing from the east coast, I sure wasn’t expecting Paper Lions to make the trek back to Toronto until they had the aforementioned…

Meaghan Smith @ Dundas Square

      . : : July 16th, 2011 : : . I hate outdoor concerts. Outside of the fact that I’m fair-skinned and go from pale to burnt in under 60 seconds, the sound is always horrible, the sight-lines atrocious, the sets too short, and the crowd either wildly aggressive or disappointingly ambivalent. Needless to say, it takes a special performer to drag me out to one of these types of things. This goes double when the festival is held not in some big park in the middle of nowhere, but rather smack-dab in the middle of the heart of Toronto. This was…

Heartbeat Hotel @ Drake Underground

Heartbeat Hotel is a difficult band for me to review. Not because they’re bad, or I struggle to have something to say, but their genre is pretty far removed from my usual that I don’t have any quantifiable frame of reference to write anything original, interesting or particularly intelligent. So, pardon me if this review is relatively short and stream-of-conscious-y. My first and lasting impression of the band, opening for The Wooden Birds at the Drake Underground, was that they reminded me of another local band (and the only exception to my above disclaimer RE: genre), The Postage Stamps (now defunct). The vocals, if one closes…

The Wooden Birds @ Drake Underground

      . : : July 10th, 2011 : : . I went to University in Ottawa, Ontario, which is sort of half-way between Toronto and Montreal, just north of butt fuck nowhere. Despite being the capital of our country, Ottawa doesn’t get many bands stopping through. I think it’s mostly because the town is primarily made up of politicians, the decrepit elderly, and over-stressed college kids. Unfortunately, I fell into my own stereotype when American Analog Set announced that they would be taking an extended leave of absence after their tour for their last album, somewhat ironically titled Set Free. They were hitting…

Ian Kelly @ Rivoli

      . : : July 2nd, 2011 : : . Ian Kelly is primarily based out of the largely french-speaking province of Quebec. As an anglophone performer, that has to be a bit of an uphill battle to begin with. Especially since the heart of his show — or at least the recent one at the Rivoli, opening for Meaghan Smith — was less the songs and more the personality that shone through in the between-song banter. At one such point, he apologizes preemptively for an experiment that transcribes a “piano song” to guitar, reminding the audience that he was “the opening act [and]…

Meaghan Smith @ Rivoli

      . : : July 2nd, 2011 : : . If you’ve been reading this blog for a while (or worse, following me on Twitter), you probably know that I pretty much adore Juno Best New Artist (2011) winner Meaghan Smith to pieces. Her debut album, The Cricket’s Orchestra, was one of my favourites of 2010 — and is certainly my most often lent to friends, whose arms I have to twist to eventually get it back. I’ll be seeing her for a fourth time in a little less than a year next week, and although I’ve since learned the endearing between-song banter…

Dark Mean @ Horseshoe Tavern

    . : : June 24th, 2011 : : . After three surprisingly good-to-great opening acts at the Horseshoe Tavern, it was finally time for the headliners. Hot on the heels of the release of their long-awaited debut LP (in fact, this was the official record release party!), the self-titled album by Dark Mean should have been the hero of the night. I first discovered Dark Mean just a hair under a year ago at a free “local” showcase the Horseshoe runs on Monday evenings. Dark Mean was the first band of the night, playing just before Colleen Brown, the band that lured me out.…

Paper Lions @ Horseshoe Tavern

      . : : June 24th, 2011 : : . Leaning heavily on piano-and-guitar pop/rock and phenomenal vocal harmonies that blended so well they might as well have been pre-recorded samples, it was clear within the first 90-seconds of Paper Lions‘ set at the Horseshoe Tavern that the band could have been checking off items on my “Things I Loves About Music” checklist. It’s no surprise that The Horseshoe had finally filled up in time to catch this little band of brothers and friends from Prince Edward Island on the cusp of making it big. Indeed, they’ve been featured on MTV Live!…