December 28, 2011

Best of 2011: Best Live Act Part 2

Let’ continue with the last half of the picks of Best of 2011.

5. The Darcys at Horseshoe Tavern on May 14th

Another artist who was hyped up as the best in 2011 is Toronto art rock band, The Darcys. The quartet became more popular than ever before with their self-titled debut album via Arts and Crafts in this fall. I caught their performance when their fellow Toronto rock band, Dinosaur Bones played at Horseshoe Tavern on May 14th. Each member of the Darcys weaved their instruments together to form a quilt of sound-each stitch in the quilt was more important than the last. The words meant so much. And the hooks popped up, as if out of nowhere. It left the audience feeling transcended from the traditional sense of an audience. It was more like we were witnessing a completion of an art work. (Click here to read the full review)

4. Paper Lions on at Horseshoe Tavern June 24th

No one rocks my heart out like PEI pop rock band, Paper Lions. After discovering them during Canadian Music Festival, opening for the Balconies, I continued dropping by at their shows - 5 times this year! Moreover, I had a great opportunity to have an interview with the band on December 10th for their holiday show. (Click here) Their catchy danceable verses with witty lyrics and their cordial live performance with captivating tracks from their latest EP, ‘Trophies’. I bathe in the astounding hooks every time I'm at their shows.

3. A Primitive Evolution, Battle of the band at Hard Rock Café on February 16th

With a lovely invitation from my friend Dani to join her for the semi-final for the Hard Rock Café’s Battle of the Bands, I witnessed a performance of Toronto gothic rock quartet, A Primitive Evolution. Their stage presence separated them from the rest immediately when they commenced their show. The show went into overdrive when girls in costumes and mascots jumped on the stage. Despite the crowded stage, the dynamic performance of the band was still the centre of attention. This show reminded me how much I love going to gigs and made me realize that I have missed too many of them lately. (Click here to read my full review)

2. Ben Caplan at Drake Hotel Underground on September 14th

I instantly felt my pulse beat faster when I first saw Nova Scotia singer songwriter, Ben Caplan, turn into a musical beast on the stage. It became very obvious that Caplan took the audience by storm not only with his witty and frank talk between songs, but also his charismatic and propounding voice. This musical prodigy is something that you HAVE TO witness in 2012. (Click here to read my full review)

1. Death From Above 1979 at Sound Academy on October 29th

At last, my best of 2011 live show act is the return of Toronto duo, Death From Above 1979. I've waited over 7 years to finally witness them perform in 2011. I saw them twice this year, once at Osheaga Music festival in Montreal and their Toronto show on October 29th. ‘Rock like it is the first show you have ever seen and the last show you will ever see- Exclaimed Sebastien Grainger to Toronto fans. The duo blasted their hit tunes from the album, 'You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine', casting a hurricane at the venue. It was the most intense show that I have ever been to.-one mosh pit after another, which people at the front attempted crowd surfing numerous times, drenched in sweat. It became the show that left a mark in my heart, which will last forever. (Click here to read my review)

Thank you so much fellow music psychos for your supports in 2011. I will strive to provide more interviews and show reviews in 2012!!!

December 27, 2011

Best of 2011: Best Live Act Part 1

We only have a few more days in 2011 and I thought I would sum up this year with my pick of best live acts as I went to more shows than ever before in 2011. Enjoy!

10. The Sheepdogs at Horseshoe Tavern on March 23rd via Canadian Music Festival

It was before Saskatoon rock band, the Sheepdogs, became so well-known due to the winning of  the cover of the Rolling Stone magazine. I was fortunate enough to witness their stellar harmonies flown with 70's class rock tunes during Canadian Music Festival. One of their songs, 'Southern Dreaming' consists the guitar riffs which caused a stuck tune syndrome instantly and the two guitar verses met in the air perfectly. (click here to read my full review).

9.Thomas Dybdahl on July 19th at Drake Hotel Underground

Norwegian singer songwriter, Thomas Dydahl delivered an intimate show on July 19th at Drake Hotel Underground. His attentive eyes on the audience in order to engage with them was something to note from the night. I especially fell in love with his performance in the sense that Dybdahl was creating a one -time only experience with the audience, which made me feel privileged to be a part of the show. (click here to read the full review)

8. Arctic Monkeys on May 21st at Kool Haus

Brits rock giant, Arctic Monkeys, delivered a thunderous performance on May 21st at Kool Haus. It felt quite surreal to capture their show with my own eyes as they performed their greatest-hit songs throughout the show with their latest album, 'Suck it and See'. Their cohesiveness of the sounds was impressive. No matter how fast their guitar riffs were running through, everything came together seamlessly with lead singer, Alex Turner's compelling voice. I cannot wait to see them again on March 18th with The Black Keys at ACC.(Click here to read the full review)

7. Tokyo Police Club on January 15th at Kool Haus

My very first show in 2011 was a great kick-off of the year. Toronto pop rock band, Tokyo Police Club ignited a fire in long-waiting fans at Kool Haus on January 15th with Two Door Cinema Club. I danced my butt off with their captivating tunes and sweated out in the middle of winter. The climax of the show was priceless as Tokyo Police Club covered the stroke's 'Last Nite' with their opener of the night, Two Door Cinema Club. (Click here to read the full review)

6. Butch Walker and the Black Widow on October 18th at Mod Club Theatre

My favorite singer songwriter, Butch Walker stopped by town with his newest release, The Spade at Mod Club on October 18th. I did not write a review of this show as I found it very personao, as he is one of the reasons that I am writing a music blog today after witnessing his mind-blowing show at Lee's Palace in 2009. Standing alone on the stage with a single acoustic guitar, he showcased older songs, even from Marvelous 3's  'Every Monday' and 7 Cigarette Lighter Love Song' and 'Alicia Amnesia' from his first solo album, 'My Way.' Then called the full band, Black Widows, to perform songs off from 'The Spade.' I have a couple of videos from the night, check it out (Click here) His performance always brings me tears in my eyes and this night was no exception. Again, if you haven't seen him perform, I strongly recommend you do. 

December 21, 2011

The Kills Covers Silent Night

Are you all enjoying your Christmas week? It's only 4 days until Christmas! With all the holiday coverage that I have done, I am most excited to share this with you all  - The Kills just released their cover of Silent Night this morning to brighten up your holiday season. 

The stellar acoustic guitar verse flows softly with Alison Mosshart's lusting vocal. Check it out! 

Happy Holiday Season everyone :D

December 20, 2011

Dress Rehearsal, "The Lazy River Road"

Toronto indie four piece band, Dress Rehearsal,  have released a new EP, The Lazy River Road.

River Blue consists a buoyant intro with acoustic guitar riff and amplifies the intensity gradually toward the end.- "Subdued, yet Propulsive" as described by Bryen Shi, as we were both listening to the song. Morning Grey, on the other hand, hinders its tempo, yet the stripped down tune triggers an emotional touch with beautiful vocals and harmonica.

You can download both songs for free from their website. (Click here)

Dress Rehearsal are also working on a cover project, including, Joanna Newsorn, Beirut and Bon Iver. Something extra for you to check out. (Click here)

December 19, 2011

Download Mother Mother's Christmas Song for Free

BC pop rock band, Mother Mother, have a unique gift for you all. The Vancouver quintet recored a new song, Hit Er Miss Christmas and you can now download their Christmas song for free from the below link. This very fun song is filled up with cute harmonies. Be sure to check it out :D 








Inner City Elegance, Swearing like a Sailer

Toronto is a magical city when it comes to encountering people from other side of the earth. The diverse ethnicity in the hub allows us to share and learn from each other. I always tell my Brit friends that it is such a coincidence that we ended up getting to know each other in a city, we both didn't grown up in
Toronto based heavy punk rock trio, Inner City Elegance, are all in the same boat. The three individuals from different parts of the world (Brazil, Newfound land, and Alberta) all ended up in one band in Calgary a few years ago. With  a strong passion for music, three young men started crafting thunderous tunes collaboratively,  coincidently or meant-be. Then they veered their destinations together to pursue their music career.

Their music is fuelled up with vigorous distorted guitar riffs and thunderous screams. You can feel it through the new video, 'Swearing like a sailor'  If you are into a hard rock/ punk roaring verses, Inner City Elegance is the next one on your list to check out.

December 17, 2011

Interview with Paper Lions

December 10th, 2011 at El Mocambo - In a bomb shelter-like rough plastered space, just right in front of the washroom at the venue, I had the privileged to do an interview with PEI indie pop rock band, Paper Lions prior to their holiday show. 

2011 has been a hectic year for the PEI quartet with non-stop tours throughout the year including their residency at Super Market in Toronto and Rolling Oyster Revenue tour this fall. Their cordial live performance, with captivating tracks from their latest EP,"Trophies" and new songs unveiled in September, is something that you should've experienced. I've already seen them five times this year and I was so stoked to chat with them.

Thank you John and Colin so much for the interview.By the way, I personally crafted a real 'Paper Lion' with Origami paper before the show and gave it to them. 

December 13, 2011

The Caretakers, Flower for Peace

Music is a means for all of us in various situations. Some listen to music to relax, entertain, or associate it with a moment of their life, marking their milestones to remember. Others express their feeling through a chain of melodies. 

A Toronto country rock band, the Caretakers, have striven to depict and convey one message across the nation.-World Peace. Having asked themselves,"Where have all the protesting songs gone?", the trio has come to craft original tunes to spread the message of love and peace themselves. The upcoming sophomore album, 'Love, War and Propaganda' will be packed with these songs,

The first single from the album, 'Flower for Peace' was released on the Remembrance Day. You can download it for free via their website and there is also an option to make a donation to War Child Canada, who generously support these children who have been affected by the meaningless fights in the war zones all over the world. 

So let me ask you-Why can’t it be Christmas everyday?”

December 12, 2011

Edgefest to reveal 2012's lineup

102.1 The Edge's hottest summer festival, Edgefest, has to be one of  Toronto’s biggest music festivals in the city as we no longer have V-fest. 

I have to say that I am very pleased with 2012's lineups. -Billy Talent, Death From Above 1979, Silversun Pickups, The Sheepdogs, Young The Giant, The Dirty Heads, USS and The Pack A.D will be dropping thunder on the main stage. 

In addition, there are tons of talented indie artists on the side stage as well: Acres Of Lions, The Balconies, The Coppertone, The Darcys, Hacienda, Indian Handcrafts, Library Voices, Said The Whale and The Whale ToothIt's the perfect lineup to celebrate its 10th anniversary! 

The festival takes place on July 14th, 2012 at Downsview Park. You might think it's too early to talk about it. But guess what, the ticket pre-sale starts today with an early-bird discount. The tickets are now at $39.50 for a limited time only and while supplies last. It is cheaper than any other mega music festival. So why don't you score your ticket today! 

Indie Christmas tune III

Indie Christmas tunes I and II have been exceptionally popular thanks to all of ya! I have a couple more that I wanted to share. Ones that you've probably haven't heard of.

1. The Films - It's Christmas (What's the Difference)

The Films are an indie rock band from Charleston, SC, who I have adored since the release of their second album, 'Oh, Scorpion.' The physical copy of the album is not even available in Canada, but I scored mine in Japan two years ago. The band is now on a long hiatus due to their individual side projects. The lead singer, Michael Talent has been actively pursuing his solo career as well as his new project with Cary Ann Hearst, called Shovels and Ropes. The bassist,  Jake Sinclair has been with Butch Walker for the past few years, focusing on his producing career and playing bass with the artist. I am not 100% sure about the band's future, but whatever comes out from these young folks is something that you should keep your eyes on, especially with Trent and Sinclair.

They put together a song in 2008 and a confession to a girl that he's dating.

2. hue-In December

I know, we need something more local, right? Here is a perfect Christmas song that you can even download for free. Toronto indie pop rock band, Hue, released a new song via their Bandpage on Facebook. You can score your copy by clicking here. This song is a classic Hue sing-along tune that you wanna know before their holiday show on December 15th at Rancho. Click here for more details.

3. Paper Lions - Jingle Bell

I just had an awesome time interviewing Paper Lions over the weekend before their holiday show at El Mocambo with the Love Machine and The Elwins. While I work on the reviews, some great pictures and videos, you can check out this 'spooky' holiday carol.

Or you can enjoy the Christmas carols sang at the end of the awesome holiday show from last Saturday with Paper Lions, the Elwins, The Love Machine and their fellow Toronto musicians. See how many people that you can spot from the video!

I hope you all enjoyed the little holiday song coverage! Let me know if you know any awesome holiday songs! We got a few more weeks to enjoy the holiday spirit!

December 7, 2011

Q &A with the Elwins

Ladies and gentlemen! Feurd from the Toronto pop rock band, The Elwins (Remember the moustache video?) kindly spared some time to answer questions for Music Psychos!!! Enjoy! 

1. What inspired you guys to write the song, Help Out a Bro (M.O,V.E.M.B.E.R)?

We love moustaches! Also we think that Movember is a really great cause. Some of our families have been affected by prostate cancer in the past and it seemed like a great way to raise the awareness. We thought it would be fun to write a song and do a silly video to help spread the word and get involved!

2. Who do you think deserves 'the best moustache of the year' ?

Our drummer Travis deserves it! I think the best moustache of the year should go to all the dudes with faint hair on their upper lips. The ones who brave the month and didn't mind looking a little silly in order to support a great cause. 

3.  If you describe 2011 in one word for the Elwins, what word would it be and why?
Non-stop! 2011 was a very busy year for us, and a lot of fun. During the summer we played a ton of shows all around Ontario including a full out tour of summer camps for kids. It was very heartwarming. We finished up our record and released a single, shot some videos, and then recorded another short collaborative record that will be coming out soon. It is the first of an on-going series entitled 'Elwins & Friends'. The series will be us going on a musical retreat with a couple of our favorite musician friends and doing an album together in a week. The first one features Thom Gill and Drew Smith! Now we are finishing up the year with a Christmas song contest where fans can write holiday themed lyrics that we will write a song to! Check the contest video here:

4.  If you can tour with anyone from Toronto, who would you like to be on the road with and why?

There are so many amazing bands we would love tour tour with from Toronto. One that always comes to mind is our friends, Born Ruffians. They are the best dudes and play amazing tunes. It would be awesome to get the chance to hang out with them and see them play a whole bunch!

5. Anything that we can expect from the holiday show at El mocambo on December 10th with Paperlions and the Love Machine?

Yes! You can expect some wonderful Holiday goodness. Sing-alongs and your favorite seasonal tunes. I think we'll bring in a couple of special goodies and treats as well to make everyone feel at home. We want it to feel like you're sitting in front of the fire with some hot cocoa! 

6. Do you guy have anything planned up for 2012?

In 2012, our very first full-length record, 'And I Thank You' will be released! We are super excited about it. It will be coming out near the springtime! With the release we will be touring like mad all across North America. We'll be hitting up many festivals as well, such as SXSW in Austin. 

7.And last, any words for Music Psychos fans, Toronto indie music fans, and moustache lovers? 
Have fun, look after each other and enjoy the Holidays. Cheers!

Thank you so much Feurd!!! The Elwins have a hectic 2012 ahead of them with their new releases. (Exciting!!!) Let's celebrate the holidays with them on December 10th at El Mocambo with Paperlions and The Love Machine! This is going to be a wicked show to end all the goodness of 2011.

Indie Rock Christmas Tune Part II

As I had some good feedback on the Indie rock Christmas tunes, let's continue with more Christmas tunes!!!

6. Great Lake Swimmers-'Song for the Angels'

Different in comparison to other Christmas songs, this beautiful folk duo have this beautiful tune, 'Song for the Angels.' The remarkable hauling of the vocal and acoustic guitar reminds me of a quiet morning in the winter. This song can definitely be a holiday tune, right?

7. Butch Walker-'Last Christmas'

I have to squeeze in my favorite singer songwriter's Christmas cover on my playlist. Butch Walker produced and collaborated with a Japanese actor, Yuji Oda back in 2004, when he visited Japan for the first time to open for Avril Lavigne. Last Christmas is my favorite holiday song by far and Walker's cover just completes the song. (I of course like the original version by Wham!)

8. Foxy Shazam-' Heaven On their Minds'

This song is completely different from the rest of the songs on the list.- The loudest one of all. Last year, Foxy Shazam participated in a complication album, Gift Wrapped. The Cincinnati rock stars covered' Heaven On their Minds'

9. Weezer- 'The First Noel'

Who thought this holly Christmas carol can be so Weezerized!

They also have an original Christmas tune, called 'Christmas Song' It was included in the B-side of the Green Album. (Apparently the B-side is only available in Japan)

10. Arcade Fire- A Very Arcade Xmas

At last, but not least, Arcade Fire also have an awesome Christmas tune, called A Very Arcade Xmas. This is kind of a joke by the Monteral collective, but I like it as it is.

December 6, 2011

Foxy Shazam announced a new album release in 2012, 'The Church of Rock and Roll'

The Cincinnati glam rock band, Foxy Shazam, spent a lot of time on the road this year with their 2010's self-titled album, including Warped tour and opening for Panic! at the Disco. Only these of you who have witnessed their acrobatic, dynamic and mind-blowing stage performance can understand the excitement of this news as the band proclaim themselves as the  "Michael Jordan of Rock N' Roll"

Foxy Shazam announced their third album release on Janualy 24th 2012, called "The Church of Rock and Roll." The trailer of the album is now available. It's such a powerful start of 2012 to have them release a new record!!! Their first single, 'I like it' is now avaiable for free download from their official site. Check it out!!!

Indie Rock Christmas tunes!

"I don't want a lot for Christmas..."- How many times did you hear Mariah Carry's hit Christmas track from TV and radio already? Tis the season, all the music you hear in the office or malls are all same'o, same'o. Doesn't it drive you crazy!?- It sure drives me crazy.

Here is a remedy for you! There are tons of christmas songs and covers by indie artists/bands which you haven't heard of.  I've put together a playlist just for you folks!!! Hope you like it.

1. Julian Casablancas- 'I wish it was Christmas'

The Stroke's front man, Julian Casablancas didn't forget to celebrate his solo debut with this song. I remember he closed his very first solo show at Kool Haus in Toronto 2 years ago with this song.

2. The White Stripes-Candy Cane Children 

One of the most striking and saddest breakups in 2011. The White Stripes has a plaintive holiday tune from their early release. I thought one of their finest tunes, 'Doorbell' was their Christmas tune until I discovered this song.

3. Yeah Yeah Yeah,-'All I want for Christmas'

When I was putting together this list, Nick, told me to put this one on the list, so I did.

4. The Raveonettes-'Christmas, (Baby Please Come Home)

The Danish surf rock duo, the Reveonettes have created an alternate cover of this song

5. She &Him-'Christmas Waltz'

Zooey Dechenel has been very hectic with directing and acting in her new TV drama, New Girl.' That's not only thing that she is occupied with. The actress/singer has released a Christmas cover album with her band, She & Him.

December 5, 2011

Yamataka/Sonic Titan-YT//ST

I've listened to a number of 'East meets West' music in the past, perhaps due to my background. Many artists and bands have strived to infuse different elements from two opposite worlds into one form of new sound, while leaving me unimpressed with the mix of two as most often they collide in the middle and I can't help but feeling a huge gap between.

I came to know about this Montreal based psychedelic/opera collective, Yamataka/ Sonic Titan. I was checking on Facebook as usual, and noticed that Lonely Vagabond 'liked' this Japanese named band on the site.  He is one of my inspirations, who is a Toronto Indie music guru. (Alan Cross talked about him on his blog a month ago. If you don't know him, then click here) And today, they just received a review of 8.2/10 from Pitchfolk. At this point, I could't help but checking out their new LP.

Thier new LP, 'YT//ST',  was released in September. As they describe their genre as 'Noh-Wave", which indicates the creative heights and satisfactions of genre fusion. It starts with this ritual howl in 'Raccoon Song', echoing through with thunders. It smoothly follows with the following song, 'Queens', with the high-pitched aethentic harmony. It builds up gradually with drums beats and grungy distorted guitar riffs. With the final tune, 'Crystal Fortress Over the sea of trees', the collective showcases the great mix of various genres from psychedelic to opera, including facets from the two ends of the world. This EP struck me like nothing that I've heard recently. 

I also found this video, 'Counting Track', from their official website,  which made me eager to see them live. Kaboki-style white-painted faces (It's not like Kiss, more like Edmond Honda from the Street fighter...) is something peculiar yet, very alluring. It is so easy to be intoxicated in the atmosphere that they create. .