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Month: November 2011

The Rest @ El Mocambo

. : : October 21st, 2011 : : . I’ve already stated several times that The Rest is one of the best bands I’ve discovered this year. Their forth-coming album, See-Saw, promises to be phenomenal — and that’s not me just whistlin’ dixie: the band has released two songs as a double A-side single as a preview, available now to download for free on their bandcamp page. Having seen them play The Horseshoe Tavern and The Great Hall, I was interested to see how they would fit their plethora of band members on a stage as small as the one at the El Mocambo for the Indie Machine showcase. Turns…

Eamon McGrath @ Drake Underground

. : : October 2nd, 2011 : : . When Eamon McGrath first took the stage as the opening act for Ha Ha Tonka at the Drake Hotel, most of the room was certainly thrown off by the visual dicotomy. With an acoustic guitar in his lap and a violinist and an electric guitarist/keyboardist on either side of him, I know my first thought went to a traditional roots-folk trio. Decked out in a leather jacket over a dark hoodie — with the hood up over a baseball cap — McGrath’s visage suggested something more akin to the Ramones. The resulting sound was closer to a Live In New…

Lily and José @ Drake Underground

. : : October 23rd, 2011 : : . When Lily and José were announced as the opening act for Rebekah Higgs a few weeks back, I assumed they were a little-known duo act, probably from the East Coast. Turned out, it was husband and wife team Lily Frost and José Miguel Contreras, both who have carved out separate, successful musical careers, the former as a solo performer and the second as the heart of By Divine Right. The two of a history of collaborating on each others projects, but this is the first instance I was able to find of the two sharing a set equally under this particular…

The Danks @ Rivoli

. : : September 15th, 2011 : : . After the positioning debacle that was the Boxer The Horse set, my view-antagonists proceeded to the bar. I was hoping this would mean a better view of The Danks, another East Coast group, widely hailed as Canada’s answer to The Strokes. Alas, another more talkative group took the seats in front of me. Depending on how they moved their heads, I sometimes got glancing views of the stage, but I didn’t have enough energy to proactively improve my position. That being said, my impression of The Danks might be as flawed as this recording is, and it’s…

Boxer The Horse @ Rivoli

. : : September 15th, 2011 : : . I’ve got a backlog of recordings that haven’t been posted right away for the last two months or so that I’m struggling to finally sit down and get out. The backlog has accumulated for various reasons; mostly due to time constraints, lack of familiarity, or sub-par sound quality. This first recording, unfortunately, falls into all three categories. Boxer The Horse, named Best New Band of 2010 by CBC Radio 3, played the first opening slot for fellow East Coaster Rebekah Higgs‘ record release party. With a sophomore album not quite in the can yet,…

Maria Taylor @ Drake Underground

. : : November 13th, 2011 : : . Maria Taylor has unquestionably always treated Toronto very well. I’ve been following her career intently since discovering her shortly after the release of her sophomore solo album, Lynn Teeter Flower. Since then, she has made a habit of visiting Toronto twice per year, every other year, on her promotional tours or just for fun. Being north of the border, it’s not unusual for bands (especially ones so deeply entrenched in the southern hemisphere) to skip the cold and the hassle of customs, and come no closer to Toronto than New York. It’s wonderful to have…

Blind Pilot @ Lee’s Palace

. : : November 10th, 2011 : : . I bought my Blind Pilot ticket to Lee’s Palace a couple of months in advance — a rarity for me, as I think I’ve mentioned before. But I wasn’t sure what kind of draw they’d have in Toronto, and I wanted to make sure I could get in. It’s unusual to hear Blind Pilot’s name come up in musical conversation, even though their debut LP Three Rounds and a Sound was one of my favourite musical discoveries of last year. Yeah, OK. I was a bit late to the show. The album was originally distributed in 2008, but like…

Colleen Brown @ Dakota Tavern

. : : November 5th, 2011 : : . I often start my blogs talking about how crazy early I arrive to shows, and all the hi-jinx I get up to at the venue early. My penchant for early arrival often means I’m the butt of playful jokes of friends and family, but every once and I while, I get a sobering reminder of just why I show up to shows so ridiculously early. Let’s back up a little, shall we? Long time readers of this blog may recognize the name Colleen Brown. Last summer, I was privileged enough to see Ms. Brown…

Emm Gryner @ Dakota Tavern

. : : November 5th, 2011 : : . A few weeks ago, Emm Gryner sent out a Twitter message saying (and I might be paraphrasing), “If you don’t like laptops on stage, you’re too old.” Now, for those of you whom read my review / download of her last show in Toronto at the Drake Underground, you’ll likely recall she performed with the SHVRS brothers, a duo that spent the majority of the evening pushing buttons and turning knobs. Not to take anything away from the team; they were very clearly talented and great at what they do, but it was this reviewers opinion that what…

Matthew Good @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre

. : : November 3rd, 2011 : : . This summer, I’ve been all about the East Coast Canadian bands. Meaghan Smith, Paper Lions, and Rebekah Higgs are just a couple of the artists who have called the shore along the Atlantic ocean home that I’ve seen multiple times since the frost melted, but it wasn’t always like that. I used to be much more interested in the West Coast bands. The Organ, Limblifter, and, of course, Matthew Good were the beginning of my love affair with bands out of BC. One band has disbanded, another on indefinite hiatus, and the third has fallen out of favour, the…