Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ricked Wicky (Robert Pollard): "I Sell the Circus" (album review)

After a spate of decent-to-solid reunion records from Guided By Voices, Robert Pollard returns on February 3rd with the album I Sell the Circus, under the Ricked Wicky moniker.

The first thing that strikes you about the new record is the guitar tones, which are much deeper a bass than we usually get from Pollard.  That helps turn "Death Metal Kids" into a hypnotizing grind.

With "Well-suited" and "Guts" we're treated to some faster-paced power pop, while "Uranus Flies" provides the most infectious refrain on the album.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hayden announces new album "Hey Love", stream "Nowhere We Cannot Go"

Much-beloved Toronto songwriter Hayden has announced the release of his new studio album.  Hey Love has been tapped for a March 24th release.

Listen to "Nowhere We Cannot Go" here:

Hayden plays Massey Hall in Toronto on February 28th with Dan Mangan + Blacksmith.

Ron Hawkins & the Do Good Assassins: "Garden Songs" (album review)

In the grand scheme of things there's precious little left for Ron Hawkins to accomplish on the Toronto music scene.  The former Lowest Of The Low frontman is a respected veteran who continues to release solid new music.

The latest offering, Garden Songs, comes out on February 3rd.  This time Hawkins adds the twist, probably as a challenge to himself, as the entire album was recorded and mix in one short week.

For this effort Hawkins has teamed up once again with the Do Good Assassins.  Unlike the guitar rock focus of their previous collaboration, this is a far more sparse album.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Two Gallants: "We Are Undone" (album review)

Guitar/drum duos have become incredibly popular in recent years (I wonder how that makes bassists feel).  One of the bands who have taken on the structure is San Francisco's Two Gallants.  The pair will release their new album, We Are Undone, on February 3rd.

The group really manage to run the gamut of guitar/drum sounds.

They open up with classic rock riffage with the title track.  From there they do the snotty Garage rock thing with "Incidental", as well as the expected Blues with "Some Trouble".

New releases for Jan 27th: The Lone Bellow, Ty Segall, Mark Ronson

  • Beams- Review
  • The Do
  • The Dodos
  • Doomtree
  • Emmy The Great- Review
  • Funeral For a Friend
  • The Gay Nineties- Review
  • Hill & the Sky Heroes- Review
  • Howlin Rain
  • The Lone Bellow- Review
  • Napalm Death
  • No Blood Spill
  • Pond
  • Mark Ronson
  • Ty Segall (live)
  • Venom

Monday, January 26, 2015

Beams: "The Gutter & The Glass" (EP review)

Toronto folk-rock outfit Beams made a strong impression on me with their debut full length album Just Rivers.  Now they've returned with two new songs in the form of the 'EP' (that may be a stretch) The Gutter & The Glass.

The lead track, "The Way We Run", boasts all of the elements that made the first Beams album so special.  It's bouncy and melodic, firmly rooted in the earthiness of folk music, but featuring a dark undertone that bubbles beneath the surface.

The flip side, "Black Shadows" features a falsetto harmony and more angular guitars, but doesn't sacrifice very much of the roots foundation.  In some sense, it almost sounds like an Americana version of Siouxsie & The Banshees.

In all, this is a nice little (too little) piece to tide us over until the next release.

Beams play the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto on January 29th.

Track listing for The Gutter & The Glass:

  • The Way We Run
  • Black Shadow

This week in Toronto concerts: Owen Pallett

It's a slow week with the biggest show of note (unless you want to head to Barrie for DFA) being Owen Pallett on Saturday at the Danforth Music Hall.

...also this week:
  • Wild Child, Jan 28
  • Alex G, Jan 29
  • August Burns Red, Jan 30
  • Riff Raff, Jan 31
  • Viet Cong, Jan 31
  • Ben Howard, Feb 1

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Toronto concerts announced this week: Motley Crue, The Sonics


  • Tory Lanez, The Hoxton, Feb 27
  • Wolf Alice, Drake Underground, Mar 3
  • Horse Feathers, Drake Underground, Mar 31
  • Diarrhea Planet, Horseshoe Tavern, Apr 1
  • Max Jury, Drake Underground, Apr 20
  • The Sonics, Lee's Palace, Apr 26
  • Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Sony Centre, May 3
  • Rush, Air Canada Centre, Jun 17
  • Luninato f. David Byrne, St Vincent, Air Canada Centre, Jun 22 & 23
  • New Kids On The Block, Air Canada Centre, Jun 28
  • Motley Crue w. Alice Cooper, Air Canada Centre, Aug 22

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Decmberists: "What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World" (album review)

Right off the top I have to declare that I often find Decemberists albums to be patchy.  A lot depends on whether I get invested in the theme of the record.  If I don't, I tend to find far more filler or underwhelming material than on the ones that suck me in.

Unfortunately, their latest album (which came out this week), What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, fails to get me excited about the concept.  So it's left up to the individual songs to sell me on the record.

Many of the tracks are simply too sterile.  I want some rough edges on The Decemberists' otherwise well-crafted pop rock songs.  The glossy horns on "Cavalry Captain" and the Adult Alternative sound of "Make You Better" do little to compel further exploration.