List of coverage from Juno Fest

The Juno Awards took place this weekend and surprisingly they did really well! Congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

I didn’t get to attend the actual awards, but I did do some coverage of Juno Fest, a two day festival leading up to the awards, full of nominees and friends.

Here’s my coverage for Spinner. On Friday I checked out Said the Whale, who went on to win New Group of the Year the next day, and Horsey Craze, the Neil Young cover band formed of members from the Constantines and Lullaby Arkestra. On Saturday, I saw Hannah Georgas and Basia Bulat, both who were nominated for Best New Artist.

Friday:

Said the Whale Blast Through Hits at Juno Fest

Horsey Craze Rock Out With ‘Like a Hurricane’ and More at Juno Fest

Saturday:

Hannah Georgas Dedicates Song to Mother at Juno Fest

Basia Bulat Wins Over Crowd With Auto Harp at Juno Fest

Album Review: Peter Elkas – Repeat Offender

The following was originally published on Exclaim.ca.

peter elkas repeat offender

Peter Elkas
Repeat Offender
By Jessica Lewis

Released in the dead of winter, following Valentine’s day emotional crash, the former member of Local Rabbits and Joel Plaskett Emergency returned solo (but with backing band) for a solid third album on complicated relationships. It’s scorn or be scorned, yet Elkas creates a warm atmosphere full of soul and early rock influences. Recorded between his basement and Giant Studio, Repeat Offender delivers lively songs featuring relaxed guitar, piano fit for a bar and Elkas’s silky timber. Most of the numbers are memorable, such as the album’s middle ground of “Tiny Valentine” and “Misery.” It’s fit for cleaning your home, slow bike rides or some other activity that lets you reflect during a long day. The most noticeable flaw is Elkas’s plain lyrics. They’re not a crime, but they can feel basic, at times, with distracting lines like, “misery loves company” or “on a bicycle built for two.” (New Scotland)

Last week’s AUX articles

Here is a list of my web clippings from AUX.tv last week:

Top 10 Dancing Thom Yorkes

Sam Roberts Band announce release of new album, Collider

Dog Day announce new EP and free download of “Scratches”

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: Nightbox’s “Pyramid”

Arcade Fire, Crystal Castles, and Justin Bieber take home NME Awards

Arcade Fire manager responds to record exec’s Grammy slam

Muppets team up with LCD Soundsystem

U2 to headline first night of Glastonbury festival

Justin Bieber’s lock of hair in auction for almost $7K

January to mid-February articles

Alright, alright. Sometimes I forget to update my portfolio on here, but if you’re a Twitter follower or a Facebook liker, then you haven’t missed a thing.

Just in case, here’s what I’ve been up to in January and February so far (there was definitely a lull in my work when I spent a few weeks recovering from tonsil surgery).

AUX:

Video interview with Badly Drawn Boy

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: Destroyer’s “Chinatown”

Mexico’s Chikita Violenta tackle international markets with Arts & Crafts

Watch the trailer for Ages and Stages, a Meligrove Band documentary

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: Katie Moore’s “Montebello”

Allie Hughes to have wedding-themed concert in Toronto

Austra announce debut album, Feel it Break

DOWNLOAD OF THE WEEK: Hey Rosetta! – “Welcome (Live)”

EXCLAIM:

We Are the City Reveal New High School EP
(this also includes tour details and the first single, free download)

SPINNER:

Jason Collett Begins Annual ‘Basement Revue’ Series in Toronto

DORK SHELF:

February Monthly Music column

From Far and Wide New Music Challenge

Friday Finds: Fifty Miles from Vancouver and Geotic

This week, we’re gettin’ all up in some trendy musics!

fifty miles from vancouver

Fifty Miles from Vancouver will land you in France, where the surf rock is shimmery and the life is eternal. I’m not really sure why the whole surf rock thing is a roaring style these days, and I’m also not partial to the drum machine of practically the same beat in every song, but other than that I find these guys pleasant, mostly with the back and forth spacey guitars. If surf rock is gonna be around, I like it in my background.

If you want the waves to keep a’comin, check out French Films from Finland.

geotic mend

Another really popular movement these days is chillwave. I tend to get my chillwave fix from BC’s Teen Daze (you’ll already know that if you’re a frequent reader here) and that’s about all I need (especially because dude pumps out so much material — he just released another full length My Bedroom Floor and is almost finished a full length for side-project Two Bicycles). But as the genre is proving to be a force that won’t be reckoned with just yet, I decided to keep looking for more pretty musics. I came upon Geotic, which is the side-project to Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld. Geotic just released a full length for free, Mend, which I find to be really nice. Especially during naps. What I enjoy about chillwave is that these kids with computers can find such a special way to tap into a moment of sensory overload: on Mend, when listening to “Smiling Husband,” the picture is so easily painted out for you with just the title and the emotional sounds. If you’re into this stuff, it’s moving.

RoundLetters’ Top 10 EPs of 2010

In terms of EPs, 2010 was the year I took a lot of chances and found an equal amount of gems. Sweet treasure chest for me! Here are my favourite ten:

looking glass the first real target 10. Looking Glass – The First Real Target

This spin-off of British pop-rock band My Sad Captains released a pleasant set of four tracks, a bit softer than the band’s previous material, but albeit quite similar. Still, it found a comforting spot with me, as folk guitars and synths combine in a lullaby formula. I should have posted about them months and months and months ago, but somehow it escaped me. So this is a thrice extra urged statement that you should check them out. Stream the tracks and download “Best Foot Forward” here.

soley theater island9. Sóley – Theater Island

Sóley Stefánsdóttir might be known more for being one of the cutest members of Icelandic pop group Seabear, but her solo work is quite compelling on its own. I found out about her when realizing she would open for Seabear, but unfortunately missed the set. I bought the EP anyway, something I’m usually not likely to take a chance on. But I’m glad I did, as Theatre Island is precious in the most precious of ways. Almost childlike, detailing imaginative stories with a high, pretty voice and an eerily dreamy piano. (She sings in English, by the way, just as in Seabear, who you should also check out.) Download the title track here.

BEACH Cover8. Wildlife – Wildlife EP

Alright, so this isn’t a technical EP like the rest, apparently it was more of a teaser for the album. Nonetheless, it came to me through Exclaim and I was caught on a surprising hook. There was something about the song “Stand in the Water” that felt familiar, and no matter how hard I tried to place where I’d heard it before, it kept coming back anyway. I’ve had more time with this ‘EP’ than their album this year, so I’ve put it in this category. Every bit of Wildlife is played with such force, it’s hard not to take notice. Read my full review. Download three tracks here.

kurt vile square shells7. Kurt Vile – Square Shells

Ah, Kurt Vile. You mysterious, odd character. I was introduced to Vile when I interviewed him for Aux, and his musicianship definitely leaves a mark on anyone. He’s a creative type, the kind of guy that will never fully let you onto his secrets, and you actually don’t even really want to know. His soft psychedelia lets him waltz over a number of topics and emotions, but it also lets him be genuine. This EP can settle you into a nap full of colourful dreams or a rolling train ride (his music always reminds me of The Darjeeling Limited). I’m looking forward to his next album in 2011. Download “Invisibility: Nonexistent” here.

arms ep
6. ARMS – EP

ARMS came to me as one of those lucky ‘I actually clicked on a press release email link’ times. So glad I did! Their dreamy, woozy tunes with an equal wail of a voice is charming, adventurous. I’ve actually been quite surprised they didn’t get as big as I thought they would this year, as they so deserve it (and fit the demographic of interesting Brooklyn indie rock). I know they’ve been playing quite often though. Hopefully 2011 brings them even more luck. Download the EP here.

little city going and the gone5. Little City – The Going and the Gone

Little City is a local Toronto band, whose down-to-earthness is obvious. The Going and the Gone, a five song-long introduction to the group is like the perfect greeting: warm, friendly but leaves you wanting to get to know them more. “Bright Glow” is still one of my favourite songs of 2010. Little City could use a little more footing around the local scene, but I see it happening for them within the next year. Read my full review. Download “Bright Glow” here.

megafaun heretofore4. Megafaun – Heretofore

It’s so hard not to fall in love this band the moment this EP/mini-album/what have you begins. It’s like a blanket covering you, and even though you’re totally content in this fuzzy moment, you also want to get up and explore what’s going on with the guitars and the electronic blips and bleeps. It moves more into banjos on rocking chairs on the porch category, but by golly it’s fun. Read my full review. Download “Volunteers” here.

courier news fixtures3. Courier News – Fixtures

This EP came to me through Exclaim as well. I get tons of really indie stuff in my folder, but it’s rare that something sticks out to me like a diamond in the rough. Courier News of Winnipeg broke through for me with soulful, distinct voices and a nice balance manned by keyboards and random instruments. Read my full review. Download the entire EP (for the holidays) here

milks rectangles dirty gold2. Milks and Rectangles – Dirty Gold

It’s been nice watching this band grow. But I’ve been from a distance (they’re from PEI and will finally play Toronto this coming CMW, get excited), so it would have been nicer to see it more up-close, but I’m glad I can still reap their benefits. They continually show how hard they’re working on top of really catchy tunes. This time around, they’ve become a little darker, more confident and it’s exciting. I hope to see much more of them in the future (especially on an album list!). Download the EP (and previous ones as well) here.

bravestation ep1. Bravestation – 2010 EP

This was a pretty obvious choice for me. Besides my #1 EP of 2010, this Toronto band deserves awards in the ‘most hard-working,’ ‘friendliest’ and ‘solid production’ categories (oh and the ‘we adore Foals’ one). They’re on the prowl to impress you, and I don’t see how they could fail at that. This EP packs a lot into fifteen minutes with lush vocals, spacey synths, airy guitars and groovy bass/drums. This EP came with so much more than that though; the band pushed the local scene a lot since the summer release, bringing flattering and crazy crowds to numerous venues and always providing a fun time. Read my full review and interview. Download the EP here.

 

Really, Really Honourable Mentions: Long Long Long, Dora Alexander, Freedom or Death

Download of the Week: Sebastien Grainger’s remix of Holy Fuck’s “Red Lights”

The following was originally published on Aux.tv.

holy fuck red lights sebastien grainger

When thinking back on Holy Fuck’s 2010, one of the most notable moments was when they released a video for “Red Lights,” featuring cats getting into all sorts of chaos. Sebastien Grainger, of Death From Above 1979, Bad Tits, and solo work fame, has gotten in on the shenanigans with his remix of the single.

mp3 download: “Red Lights” – Holy Fuck (Sebastien Grainger remix)

Download of the Week: Action Makes’ “Let Them Go”

The following was originally published on Aux.tv.

action makes free download let them go

“If you love someone, then let them go… How would you know!?” It’s a statement and then an excited question, almost a curse, that snarls from Toronto psychedelic rock band Action Makes, daring you to pay attention. The packed song (off the self-titled album, out yesterday) will hit you in the chest, knocking you over. Then that heavy-laden question will just keep coming back.

mp3 download: Action Makes – “Let Them Go”

RoundLetters Mix #2: On-the-Go

arms band

Similar to playlist #1, this was concocted purely for driving purposes as well as to show off what I’ve been listening to or just some fun songs. This list came straight from the passenger seat with the nifty iPod feature On-the-Go. It was for the drive to/from a family visit in Long Island with my dad and brother. This time, not too much careful thought was put into it. There are a lot of Track 1s, singles and even a few slight past blasts.

From new-wave city sounds to danceable melodies to folk to experimental electronics, Mix#2 fared pretty well.

Featuring ARMS, Chilly Gonzales, Land of Talk, Suuns, The War on Drugs, Milks & Rectangles, The Drums, Long Long Long and more…

Click here to see/stream the entire playlist. Enjoy!

Download Zeus’ new track, “Hot Under the Collar”

Zeus, photo by Chris Marshall

THIS IS ONLY AVAILABLE TODAY. DOWNLOAD THE SONG TODAY. In order to be more up-to-date on these downloads, visit AUX.tv every Tuesday.

Toronto rock band Zeus have held their own Ill Eagle Studio close to their collective heart for this year’s Say Us, but on a new 7”, the band takes us to the living room of another Toronto band, The Golden Dogs, for a more laid-back party feel.

mp3 download: Zeus – Hot Under the Collar