The Love Machine @ El Mocambo

The Love Machine @ El Mocambo
The Love Machine @ El Mocambo

. : : December 10th, 2011 : : .

 

A couple of months back, I posted a 2011 recording from Toronto band, The Elwins. I’d already posted the evening’s headliners, Paper Lions, about a week after the concert. But I’ve somehow neglected to include The Love Machine‘s set from that evening yet.

 

Which is weird because I distinctly remember being really excited about their set and hoping to see more.

 

I did a poor job on following through, hadn’t heard a peep from them since, and figured their story ended the way so many young bands do.

 

Although it seems they’ve only released a single and EP since (within a couple of years of the debut LP Sweater Weather they were promoting back in 2011) and their .com website is offline, their social media remains relatively active and it looks like there were live shows as recent as 2018. Band members are pursuing other endeavours, but as far as I can tell, these guys are still at it!

Read More...

Portugal. The Man @ ACL

Portugal. The Man @ ACL
Portugal. The Man @ Austin City Limits

. : : October 30th, 2013 : : .

 

When Portugal. The Man performed at Austin City Limits in 2013, they were still three and a half years away from their breakout single, Feel It Still. By this time, I’d already seen the band perform a few times and if you told me that by 2018 the band would be nominated (and win!) a Grammy Award for Best Pop Group Performance, I wouldn’t believe you.

 

That’s not to speak on their talent or their worthiness of such prestige — On the contrary, I thought they were fantastic! But they were heavy, and psychedelic, and more than a bit avaunt-guard. Their debut album, Waiter: “You Vultures!” featured the song AKA M80 The Wolf, one of my favourite rock songs of the decade. Their follow up disc, Church Mouth, was experimental, bluesy, and challenging.

 

Their third album, Censored Colors, is when a pop-sensibility seemed to start to sneak in. But to the extent that they’d be Grammy-worthy? Seemed highly unlikely.

 

At that point, they were releasing new albums’ worth of material annually and continued to do so for their first six discs(!). It wasn’t until the Danger Mouse-produced Evil Friends, released in 2013 and the album being promoted on this ACL performance, that the band began taking time between album cycles.

Read More...

Conduits @ Mohawk Palace

Conduits @ Mohawk Place
Conduits @ Mohawk Place

. : : March 20thth, 2012 : : .

 

The Omaha, Nebraska music scene seems to be particularly incestuous (in the best way possible).

 

The 2000’s saw an explosion of talent from the scene, including Azure Ray, Cursive, Bright Eyes, The Faint, and many others. If you are a fan of more than one or two of them, you were likely to see a familiar face or three among the groups, especially when touring.

 

It’s far from uncommon for members of the particular scene to be members in two, three, even four other local bands. It’s equally common to see love and support between the bands; they’re often rep’ing other musician’s albums during interviews, online social media posts, and — more often than not — bringing them on tour.

 

So it wasn’t surprising when Tim Kasher, front-man for both Cursive and The Good Life (not to mention his ever-expanding solo body of work), brought along Conduits in the opening slot for a Cursive North American tour in 2012. Conduits were signed to Team Love, a indie record label started by his buddy Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes’ fame, and the band featured The Good Life percussionist, Roger Lewis.

Read More...

Beams @ Bell Media Studios

Beams @ Bell Media Studios
Beams @ Bell Media Studios

. : :January 17th, 2015 : : .

 

Beams is a band hard to accurately pin down. Their music generally derives from classic folk instrumentation, but it’s the hyphen in the genre that seems to be contested.

 

One part alternative-rock, one part roots, another part psychedelic: I’m not exaggerating to say I’ve seen literal back-and-forth arguments on Reddit debating how exactly to classify the band — and I expect that’s by design.

 

Featuring a handful of Toronto’s most widely-recognizable indie musicians, everyone’s bringing something to the buffet, so to speak. Members have been featured here on the blog as participants in The Postage Stamps, Hamilton Trading Co., Freedom or Death, and Danielle Duval, but have also contributed to acts such as Dany Laj and the Looks, the Diableros, Ace of Wands, The Paper Makers, and many others.

Read More...

Nicole Atkins @ Late Show with David Letterman

Nicole Atkins @ Late Show with David Letterman
Nicole Atkins @ Late Show with David Letterman

. : : January 9th, 2015 : : .
 

Hey, remember about a month ago when I said I only had one more Nicole Atkins recording to share?
 

I was happily mistaken!
 

I also captured her performance on Late Show with David Letterman in January of 2015. At this point, Letterman was only four-months from retirement, but still brought the excitement and enthusiasm for his musical guests like it was his first week on the job.
 

Nicole and co. perform a version of Neptune City‘s War Torn that trades the lush keyboards of the recorded version for dreamy, reverb-drenched guitars that ultimately delves into a crunchy, distorted punch-in-the-face climax.

Read More...

Dave Hause @ Lee’s Palace

Dave Hause
Dave Hause @ Lee’s Palace

. : : July 17th, 2015 : : .

 

Sometimes I don’t know what I was thinking.

 

This Dave Hause recording has been sitting on my hard drive(s) for over five years, and even though the performers on either side of the night’s line up — Chris Farren and Rocky Votolato respectively — have been posted to the blog, this one has been sitting quietly, unshared.

 

It was already transferred, EQ’d, track-split, and (like the Paula Perri tapeI posted previously) abandoned at the point requiring a bit of time and research: figuring out the set list and putting together the info.txt file.

 

It’s criminal that so low a hurdle needed to be crossed for this recording to see the light of day. The quality of the tape is fantastic. The performance is great. I’d even posted an earlier set of his, so it’s not like he was a complete unknown around these parts!

Read More...

Paula Perri @ Drake Underground

Paula Perri @ Drake Underground
Paula Perri @ Drake Underground

. : : May 10th, 2012 : : .

 

I regret that this Paula Perri recording hasn’t seen the light of day in almost a decade.

 

It was recorded May of 2012, in a busy mid-month week packed with a handful of other Hater-High favourites (including Rocky Votolato and Amelia Curran), opening for Pearl and the Beard at what is in my estimation the best sounding venue in town: the Drake Underground.

 

But as a sapling among the tall trees, this tape was left to dry out. It was EQ’d and tracked, but abandoned somewhere between encoding to FLAC and creating a text file.

 

Listening back now, I’m glad I didn’t put it out as it was. The original EQ pass I did was thin, brittle, and doesn’t do Paula’s performance justice. This new version is more balanced, with the bottom-end brought up significantly to balance out the lack of bass in the performance.

 

Unfortunately, I’m a day late and a buck short. In the nine years that have passed, Paula transitioned from a promising performing career with an ardent fan base to a booking manager, event programmer, promoter, professor and VP of an event planning firm.

Read More...

The Elwins @ El Mocamobo

The Elwins @ El Mocambo
The Elwins @ El Mocambo

. : : December 10th, 2011 : : .

 

The Elwins may have been the hardest working band in Toronto.

 

For a hot moment, it seemed like I couldn’t shake a stick without it getting tangled in the band’s gear. They were perpetually performing opening slots for a variety of artists I’d trek out to see across the city in all kinds of venues, for artists big and small.

 

Somehow, although it seemed like I was accidentally catching their act every couple of months, I only ended up with one recording in my archive that has hitherto never seen the light of day.

 

At the time of this performance, the band had two EPs to their name but have since padded their resume with an additional EP, 10 singles, and four LPs. Coupled with constant touring with the likes of Dashboard Confessional and the Fast Romantics, you can see why I’d bestow them the title “Hardest Working.”

Read More...

So Many Dynamos @ KEXP Studios

So Many Dynamos @ KEXP
So Many Dynamos @ KEXP

. : : October 22nd, 2006 : : .

 

I’m still trying to get through the backlog of unreleased or lost tapes I have, and it stretches pretty far back.

 

The good news is, it’s been a great way to rediscover fantastic music that may have fallen by the wayside in recent years.

 

Take for example, So Many Dynamos: my favourite dance-punk band who’s barely made a peep in the last seven years. They seem to still be active, but barely; their Facebook has a single post from May 2020, and nothing since or before until you scroll to July 2017.

 

Although it’s not my usual taste in musical genres, their 2006 album Flashlights (oh my god, it’s been 15-years!?) was an instant hit for me. I shared it with friends, shouted it from rooftops, and played it endlessly.

 

I even scoured KEXP Radio’s now sadly defunct lossless radio archive and captured this excellent performance the band put on in their studio shortly after the album’s release.

Read More...

Nicole Atkins @ Public Square Park

Nicole Atkins @ Public Square Park
Nicole Atkins @ Public Square Park

. : :September 5th, 2020 : : .

 

Nicole Atkins‘ fifth album, Italian Ice, was released just shy of a year ago. The world was a different place then. Sure, COVID-19 was a thing, but it was still on it’s first escalation. Musical artists were struggling with whether to postpone albums and upcoming summer tour dates amid the uncertainty and, artistically speaking, we were at a comparative standstill.

 

Unable to keep the LP under wraps, Nicole proceeded with the album’s release, and promoted it with radio appearances and a weekly streamed “porch performance” from her home, featuring a variety of musical guests.

Read More...