No Doubt is back.
But not without a solid throw back.
The tunes, themselves, are a throwback of course; to the ska days of my youth, spent in checkered accessories, wondering what this reggae thing is all about.
But what No Doubt has always been great at is being No Doubt. Shamelessly so.
Spiky buns, mild drag, gallons of bleach and more bra straps than your common nun can shake a ruler at.
And I love it. Every single second of it.
No Doubt knows what’s good about No Doubt.
And they aren’t changing a bit of it.
The Airplane Boys have been on a mad hot streak lately; from touring with Snoop and being included on the Coachella lineup these two are well on their way to take over the world.
And to make this dreary day a bit brighter, a new download is up on the blog for your listening pleasure. “Dictate” is the latest from the Toronto hip hop super-duo and it’s free for your taking.
So go on. Take it. Enjoy it.
And keep on eye on the meteoric rise.
As the holidays roll around, we’re all about giving and getting. It can be stressful, wondering what to get, if it’ll go on sale, and whatever ever other over-thinking nonsense that’s about to happen.
You know what’s not stressful though? Free music. Legit free music.
Toronto-based indie label Paper Bag Records wants to share some of its roster’s tunes with you, so they’ve compiled a handy Fall 2011 Sampler for your downloading pleasure. Cuff the Duke, Young Galaxy, The Rural Alberta Advantage and more are featured. Haven’t heard of them? Perfect, time for something new on your mp3.
And if you head on over to the website, there’s even more to discover, from covers, mixtapes and another sampler EPs. Right now I’m diggin’ Slim Twig’s mixtape Spit It, Twig! Vol 2. It’s experimental, with perhaps a 50s rock vibe, but only if the 50s were on some kind of hallucinogen. It’s borderline hypnotic.
Spit It Twig Vol. 2 represents my commitment to the free mixtape format I admire so much in artists like Lil Wayne& The Clipse. This time I decided to stretch out my repertoire in directions both more overtly hip hop (‘This Night’s Untold’ & ‘More Mercy, Miss Percy’), and even more abstract (‘The Pink Room’, ‘Perfect Pitch’). This mix also features more collaboration than any of my other releases with contributions from Dirty Beaches, Onakabazien, D-Sisive and a (one-sided-career-fullfilling) collab with David Lynch. The diversity of Spit It Twig Vol. 2 was meant to reveal my intention & future direction with tapes which is to periodically expose experiments, and spontaneous ideas to those who are curious… all for a great price.
Spread a little love this season with new tunes; everyone loves a great discovery!
Last night’s Manitobah Mukluk event was a great celebration of native culture, showing us bit of footwear, food and dance. Lotus Leaf had the good smarts to hold the event in the Bata Shoe Museum, which is one of the cooler places in the city – history, culture and fashion, all neatly bundled up into one multi-level museum? Perfection.
The event showcased an array of mukluks and moccasins, leading to the inevitable topic of conversation: would you wear them? The answer is yes, but please, please not with sweatpants. Give this style of footwear the same respect you’d give to any other shoes -real pants and shirts that have no mention of your alma mater. Mukluks have a great story, read it, treat it well.
The performances were impressive across the board, but it was the DJ crew of A Tribe Called Red that took the crowd by storm, turning the event into a full on dance party. These boys have incredible skills, seamlessly blending their native music with mainstream pop to create a sound unlike anything I’ve ever heard. You feel the life of this music. It isn’t just sounds, it’s a story. And you need to hear it. Luckily, there’s SoundCloud for that.
There are some bands who take you back to another time of your life with little more than a few words and that just-right chord. Green Day always does it for me with Good Riddance (Time of Your Life); Billie Joe starts and I’m back in my grade school gym, wishing I was living in Berkeley. There’s nothing like a school dance in the midst of a Niagara winter to make you want Californian sun.
But I digress.
Other bands bring you back in time not through familiar chords, but through a sound or a feeling. This was the case Friday evening at The Horseshoe Tavern, as three different bands took me back in time for three very different reasons.
We arrived in time for the second band – The Greys. A Toronto rock band that immediately hit a soft spot in my heart. The band was tight, and with a strong vocal lead ended up in some magical place between Pennywise, Against Me! and Anti-Flag. This is raw, loud, powerful rock n’ roll at its best. No gloss, no fancy footwork, just 4 guys giving it their all and taking you along for the ride. It’s the music that reminds what it was to be young and stand for something.
Up next were the Fast Romantics. This Calgary band is newly transplanted to Toronto, but the Calgary in them was easy to see – there’s something wholesome about them, which is only amplified when singing love songs about love songs. There’s a 50s-ish vibe to their sound, which is rather good, even a bit special, once you surrender yourself to it. This took me a bit of time, having just relived the dingy-basement punk show nights of my youth with The Greys, but boyfriend has had FR on repeat ever since, and they’re growing on me.
And last but nowhere near least was another Toronto original, Teenage Kicks. They claim to love old rock and roll, and I’m not going to argue. They claim to write songs that stick with you and make you nostalgic for end of summer gatherings, and I’m not going to argue that either. In fact, I’m not going to argue anything because this was just great music. Stage presence to spare, and an undeniable confidence that a rock band needs to make you fall instantly in love. Do yourself a favour and run, don’t walk, to the next Teenage Kicks show.
Way back in 1995, the internet was still a new enough phenomenon that it merited an entire segment on MTV News. Including clips from that decade’s biggest and best acts (remember when Billy Corgan had hair?), this is a serious throw back to a simpler time when pen-pals still equaled MTV in relevancy.
A personal favourite:
The net has become a blessing for music fans, who can now access data about and often communicate with their favourite acts.
Who could have guessed where that one was going to lead us…
A little while ago we told you about the ever talented Chloe Charles. She went off on her fabulous tour and came back with not only great stories, but a great new band too. Comprised of Toronto natives Charles and Sam McLellan, and Texans Aly Tadros and Douglas Jay Boyd, The Sweetness is the anti- folk supergroup that proves a love of music really can make it all work. Through the support of fans and well-wishers along the way, the foursome has done quite well:
Not only do we mesh perfectly, but the support ranges from donations (fan-funded album and tour), to free meals and documentaries. Most North American shows will be filmed for a documentary by award winning German director Pascal Fetzer.
— Chloe Charles
The live album was recorded with The Strokes producer Gordon Raphael while everyone found themselves in Austin. Soon after, The Sweetness would play at nine (yes, nine) SXSW showcases.
With positive show reviews scattered across the globe, the quartet now brings its sweet sounds to Toronto for a CD release like no other. Cabaret style.
Tonight at The Rivoli, the band invites you and your friends to dress up in your best cabaret-inspired wears for an evening of fun and music. All the details are right here on Facebook, so make sure to check it out and start raiding the closet.