November 30, 2011

Keys N Krates 'Let it Rain'

Time flies, doesn't it? It's been already one year since Bryen and I had an interview with Matisse from Keys N Krates last year. (Click here to read the interview) The Toronto hip hop trio released a new album, 'Blackout' earlier this month and today CBC Radio 3 featured one of the tracks from EP, Let It Rain which is a perfect song to bring your spirit up on a wet day like today. You can also download the full album from here for free. Enjoy.

 Latest tracks by Keys N Krates 

November 29, 2011

Austra Covers Roy Orbison's 'Crying'

Feel It Break, the debut album of the Toronto electro band, Austra, has been one of my favourite albums of 2011. It electrifies me with gravitative electro tunes and with marvelous vocals.  The six piece has put together a nice deluxe version of the record via Domino Records, which is available from today. In addition to the full master pieces on the A-side, A number of fantastic cover songs are included in the B-side with unreleased tracks, such as Joni Mitchell's 'Woodstock' and 'Roy Orbison's 'Crying.' The Orbison's cover is now avaiable for streaming via Sound Cloud.

 Austra - Crying by DominoRecordCo

Speaking of covers by Austra, have you guys have of this one?-The Stroke's 'Alone, Together'?

Austra is performing at the Phoenix on December 1st in Toronto

November 24, 2011

Fucked Up participate in charity concerts with P.S I love you and Sloan

Heading to Aussie-land to open for the Foo Fighters next week and appearing on George Stroumboloupoulos's Tonight on CBC, the month of December looks very hectic for Toronto rock band, Fucked Up. 

In addition, they just announced their two charitable concerts at the Great Hall in December. The first one is on December 21st with P.S I Love You and Quest for Fire, for the COUNTERfit's drug users memorial project and The Barrier Lake Legal Defense Fund. The hardcore rock band is to showcase 78 minutes of their 3rd album, David Come to Life.

On December 21st, Fucked Up will also present a benefit show with Bonjay, Obijou and Sloan.

Both shows are All-age and the tickets are available from their online store. You can also grab the tickets from Rotate This (801 Queen St W) and The Soundscapes (572 College St West)

My prediction for 2011Bucky Award

A few more days until the voting for this year's Bucky Award is open. You have it till November 27th to cast your vote and voice up who deserves this years' award. Click here to vote on their official website.

This year, I decided to share my vote with you all. Yay or Nay? Let's hear what you all think about my vote!

Best Song
The Rural Alberta Advantage- ' Stamp'

In my opinion, this category is the hardest one to choose having such a glorious lineup like Dan Morgan, Mother Mother, Austra, and Hey Rosetta!, who all released such good albums this year.  No one can beat them having such compelling melodies with blasting drum beats.

Most Canadian Song

Brand New Artist

This category should be between Braids or Austra, who showcased their musicman-ship on Polaris Award this year. Austra's debut album, 'Feel it Break'. completely blew my mind from the very first listen and electrified me to the point that I overlistened to the album. 

Best Live Act
The Sheepdogs
They won the Rolling stone's cover challenge this year by attending at Brono music festival. They should win this category. 

Best Vocal

Best New Band Name
Honhee Honhee

Sexiest Artist
Handsome Furs

Best Lyrics
Mother Mother-The Stand
"It's like paradise spread out with a butter knife"

Best Video
Hollorado-Good Day at the Races
I think the slow moving of the racing on the ostriches is priceless.

Best Reason to Learn French
Coeur De Pirate- 'Adieu'

November 22, 2011

The Elwins - "Help A Bro Out (M-O-V-E-M-B-E-R)"

It's only one more week to go for those of you who have been participating in Movember to raise awareness for men's health, specially prostate cancer. While some people keep it simple and grow a tiny bit of moustache, others go extreme with their impressive 18th century inspired glorious facial hair.

Have you ever recognized a person by looking at his moustache? Last Thursday I was at Piston, catching up with a friend of mine,  sitting in the booth and delighting in the good old day tunes like Led Zeppelin. Then a couple of guys with amazing moustache walked in the back of the bar, dropping off their gear for the gig of the night. Whenever they passed by our booth, I was ogling their moustache.

The very next day, Ben Caplan, Halifax based singer songwriter with distinct big beard, posted this video on Facebook.

The moment that I saw four guys in the video, my eyes opened as widely as possible, espying their remarkable facial hair. " OMG, that's the guys from Thursday night." What a coincidence, right? After further looking into the band information, I also found out that they will be opening for Paperlions and the Love Machine for Super special Christmas show by Exclaim! at the El Mocambo on December 10th. 

I said to myself that this is some sort of sign that I should be in touch with the band... Guess what!? Q &A session with the Elwins coming up very shortly. Meanwhile enjoy the video and donate what you can. stay tuned.

New Hands,'This I've Heard'

I love getting emails from artists and bands, with their music submissions to Music Psychos. From the very first word of the email, I build up the imagination of the person who is writing the email. It is as if I had a little present in front of me and I was unwrapping it slowly and opened it at the end. If you are in a band or make music, please feel free to contact me anytime. I try my best to ensure to get back to you shortly. 

Today, I received a very interesting email from a Hamilton based band, New Hands. What stuck me the most was their second line in the email saying, "We hate each other."- Really??? At first, I had a big question mark in my head, yet, as continued reading the email I could feel the love amongst the band members. They probably spend most of the time, making music together, not hesitating to share any of their musical taste. 

After forming in 2009, while most of the members graduated from high school and now they are ready to exit from their 10's (Really? wow), the electro rock quintet are marking the milestone by releasing their first single, 'This I've heard." The fun synth melodies strike instantly with the first listen, which is a reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem. It is hard to believe that these young guns can produce such mature sounds (by saying this, I sound very old, don't I?)  I guarantee you that it’s worthwhile to keep your eyes on this band. 

You can check two songs from the below link. Enjoy!

November 21, 2011

Howie D, Back To Me

I know lots of you folks are now into indie music. But what about ten years ago?-Everyone sort of  has 'a crush on pop artists' phase in our life, who occupy TV screens 24/7 in our youthful days:  No Doubt,  Spice Girls and  N'Sync, just to name a few from my generation. My pop artist crush was the boys group Backstreet Boys. I remember watching Japanese news, where they reported the arrival of BSB at the Narita Airport, where thousands of their Japanese fans awaited for the boys. I'd never thought to this day that I would actually meet one of the members from the group-Howie D.

I had a privilege to see Howie D at a private CD release party last week with a company that I work at, Lug- a lifestyle company, who specializes travel bags and accessories. His recent release, Back to Me, brought him back to Toronto, with a premiere of a music video, 'Lie to Me', which is not publicly available yet. This song embellishs his great vocal range- ( According to Bryen, Howie D has the highest vocal range among the boys which I strongly agree.)

I have to admit though, from the night, my favorite BSB boy has changed to Howie D from A.J and Nick. I was just working at the Lug booth, however, he stopped by at the booth and made sure to greet each one of us. He must have been exhausted from the long flight back from Tokyo to Toronto, working all day long and standing still at one spot with a big smile on his face, welcoming all his fans to take pictures with him over the hours.

I wanted to share with you all that you have a chance to win his CD and signed Lug bag. It is very easy to enter: All you have to do is to tell Lug why you want to win this signed bag (easy an breezy) and send it to The Deadline is November 30th. Good luck everyone!!!

November 17, 2011

The Rural Alberta Advantage revealed a new video, 'Tornado 87'

Toronto folk rock trio, The Rural Alberta Advantage have been hectic since the release of their sophomore album, Departing.  With the smash-hit of the album and endless tours in the nation, supporting various artists and bands, including the most recent tour with Sam Robert Band,  no one can stop their momentum.  The trio recently released a new video, 'Tornado 87' from the album. This music video contains a good few minutes of a drama at first and gradually commences the song along with the storyline. 

The Rural Alberta Advantage once again sold out their hometown show at the Phoenix tonight, November 18th. You are lucky if you grabbed your ticket on time!!!The Rural Alberta Advantage once again sold out their hometown show at the Phoenix tonight, November 18th. You are lucky if you grabbed your ticket on time!!!

November 16, 2011

The Love Machine @Horseshoe Tavern on November 15th

Tuesday's Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite at Horseshoe Tavern is one of the reasons that makes Toronto indie music friendly, while providing free shows with a number of local artists. However, these gigs are H&M shows ( I am not referring to the hipster beloved mega fashion chain, I mean Hit and Miss) Last nights show with infectious indie pops including, Heavy Hearts, Hue and Kevin Kane band was definitely inclined toward the 'Hit' parameter. The headliner of the night, The Love Machine celebrated their vinyl release, Sweater Weather,  with a fairly packed venue on Tuesday night. 

Starting off their sweaty and energetic performance, Ottawa indie pop rock outfit slammed the audience with their single Love Is On Your Side.  As the bassist, Jordan David spotted familiar faces in the audience and proclaimed his sincere joy to be there with his family and friends, the feeling of contentment overcame each member, which infected the atmosphere of the venue. They kept feeding them with  90's punk pop fetching tunes, including Anniversaries, and Sweater Weather. The great mix of lead vocals between Sean Prescott and Allan Gauthier, was worth noting. A special guest, Kate, join for a song, J.C and The Gamblers on the stage with the quartet, and flourished the performance. They didn't forget to showcase their new song, which The vocal/guitarist, Sean Prescott, mentioned it to be included in EP after Christmas. 

My favourite moment of the show was when they played No Matter. Gauthier's lead vocal beguiled the emotional triumph as the song escalated gradually toward the chorus. This song was  partially reminiscent of Weezers (meant as a compliment of course) as it contains a perfect mix of power pop and lyrics that the audience could related to. 

November 15, 2011

We barbarians released a new video, 'Headspace'

Brooklyn-Long Beach trio, We Barbarians, unveiled their new video, Headspace, via Filter today. They will be back in town on December 3rd at Sound Academy with their newly release EP, Headspace, to support Hamilton indie rock quintet, Arkells. They are going to bring their hard hitting and highly energetic performance to Toronto again.

The below is the rest of their tour date. 

11/30/11 – Grantham, PA @ Messiah College
12/3/11 - Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy w/ Arkells
12/5/11 – Syracuse, NY @ Shine Underground
12/7/11 – Boston, MA @ Great Scott ^
12/8/11 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge ^
12/9/11 – Brooklyn, NY @ Glasslands ^
12/11/11 – Chicago, IL @ Schuba’s ^
^ w/ Tribes

November 13, 2011

Butch Walker, 'Drinking With Strangers'

The moment that I finished reading 'Drinking With Strangers' by Butch Walker, I went to my bed room to find my little box with all the ticket stubs from the shows that I've been since 2005. The very first show was The Killers at Molson Amphitheatre in 2005 with my ESL fellows, Shuta from Japan.( This year, I went to Barrie to see Green Day with him, too) Then, I found this ticket slip-March 5th, 2009, Butch Walker at Lee's Palace, which I was looking for.

Things were very different for me around the time. I was in school trying to finish my study at Ryerson. What I studied and what I knew was accounting, tax and number crunching, spending most of my days in the library. While I was still listening to some indie music when I studied, I hadn't been to the show for years.( The last show before was V-fest in Toronto island in the summer of 2008, when Noel Gallagher got assaulted on the stage...) It was also the same time that I got to know Bryen, too. After being influenced by him, I was so eager to go to any shows with him. I remember the day I got the ticket at the last minute at Sunrise records at Yonge and Dundas for this singer songwriter from the states, Butch Walker, who has a DVD of his live footage in Japan. Bryen convinced me to join him and Danielle for this show and told me to check out his music from his previous album, 'Letters.' I ran to HMV, but all the stuff that I could find for Walker was his new album at the time,' Sycamore Meadows', which became my favourite record of his work, The show was a wake-up call and indeed very special to me still to today. I rediscovered my passion for music and Walker's songs became my root songs. I've interpreted the lyrics with my own perception and with my past experience and I had numerous occasions that his songs saved my days. Anyways, enough about how much I love Butch Walker...

This bibliography by Walker was a mind opening experience for me- He shares the details of how the music industry, back in 80's, 90's and even today, works, his personal life along with his struggles and achievements with his career and the crucial reality over the pie split among different parties and the share of 'publishing rights.' He repeatedly says in the book that "There is a difference between a good song and a hit song.", which is something to note from the book. I often hear this from different people- "This artist/ band is underrated." I used to use the phrase all the time after finding any good local bands and talking about them on my blog. But this book actually made me realize that there is no such thing as 'being underrated.'-Music is good as long as you can relate to it or if it makes you excited or emotional in any different ways and if you remember the song over decades. In that sense, Walker's work is definitely good music to me.

My favourite part of the book is when he talks about lyrics from Sycamore Meadows, which I would say is the most personal album that he has released to date. It was surprising to know the background stories of some songs.

If you have some spare time or like to know the insight of the music industry, this is the book that I would like you to grab.

Ben Caplan and the Casual Smokers on November 16th, at Supermarket

I cannot be more excited to find out about Nova Scotia native Ben Caplan's return to Toronto. With the release of the debut album, 'In The Time of the Great Remembering,' Caplan has been consistently touring in Europe and  Canada. From this week, he is back on the road again for  his tour of the East Coast and Ontario.  

After witnessing his mind-blowing performance in September at Drake Hotel, Caplan surely earned a spot in one of my favorite artists. He is not only the one of the nicest guys that I've ever interviewed with, but also I can easily include his show as one of the Top 5 live show that I saw this year so far. (Click here to read the show review) His outrageous showmanship is something that you do not want to miss.

This show is also going to be something special too. The Audio Blood fellas are going to be supporting his live act, including Steve and Liam from the Balconies and Sarah from The Marquee Rose. It is going to a fun night on the hump day.

November 10, 2011

Bry Webb shares two new tracks from his upcoming album via Exclaim!

The Constantines' frontman, Bry Webb is ready to release his first solo album, Provider next week on November 15th via Idée Fixe, which I have been very excited for. Webb unleashed two songs, 'Asa' and 'Undertaker' from the album via the indie music magazine, Exclaims yesterday! Check it out.

Final Thought CD release party

If you are a huge fan of today's alternative pop rock bands, such as Fall Out Boy or Panic! at the Disco, you might want to check out this Toronto trio, Final Thought - They just unleashed their new album, What We Need, this Tuesday and are celebrating its release tomorrow, November 10th, at Hard Luck Coffee. It's sort of a guilty pleasure to me to listen to such rapid catchy tunes, especially the single, This Party. I am actually very interested to find out how they would sound at a live show. 

The cover is only $10 and the door is at 7p.m. Enjoy the night with energetic bands. 

November 9, 2011

Q &A with The Love Machine

Ottawa indie pop rock band, the Love Machine have whipped up a frenzy following the release of their new album, Sweater Weather
The quartet answered questions for Music Psychos! Check it out!!!

1. The third album, Sweater Weather, was released earlier this year and now you guys are ready to release the vinyl, which sounds quite different from the past releases of the band.  What do you think deviated from the past materials? Any specific influence on the sound (Aside from constant touring over years)?

A. Our main goal with this recording was to write as much material as possible. We went into the studio with around 20 ideas that all had potential to be on the record. We knew it would sound different because we decided as a group we were just going to finish songs and change up arrangements if need be. With our past releases Sean was the main voice for a vast majority of the songs which isn’t the case for Sweater Weather. With touring and constant writing our band dynamic changed, Sweater Weather is highlight of the natural growth and evaluation of each member in the band and the overall sound that is The Love Machine. We let the songs come first and put aside ego, making it a point to let the songs really shine. In terms of a specific influence on the sound it really came from a lot of experimental jams that consisted of finding our voices and using them in ways we had never done on record before.

2. As indicated with the band name, the writing process is organic and collaboration has been the key element for you guys. What have been the benefits and drawbacks of the process?

A. The benefits of having four songwriters include more song choice, more options to finish songs and more ideas, which is key for writing unique music in this day and age. Most bands depend on one member to write vocals and create the structure of a song, this works for a lot of groups but its just not how we choose to go about the process. The problems arise for us when we are trying to focus on a single idea when we have so many to work with. It also doesn't help when some of the members are divided on ideas. However it is better to have four heads than one. If we really find ourselves split between ideas we will often demo the songs and listen back and list out what we like or dislike.

3. Any interesting stories to share with us from the road or your energetic stage performances after attending a number of festivals this year?

A. This year has been great. We had the privilege of playing and attending some of the greatest festivals this country has to offer. We spent a lot of time seeing some of our favourite acts like Dawes, The Sheepdogs, Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, Deathcab for Cutie, Alberta Cross, The Roots and many more. We also got lucky while hanging out at Osheaga in Montreal. We ran into some of the members of The Flaming Lips, we helped them set up for their show by blowing up what seemed to be hundreds of giant balloons that we had to wrangle into a huge net. We then joined them on stage as dancers dressed up in Wizard Of Oz costumes.

4.If you could tour with anyone from Toronto, who would you pick?

A. This is a tough one because Toronto is home to a lot of great Canadian bands. Off the top of my head I would choose Tokyo Police Club. I think the shows would be fun and a good time would be had.

5. What motivated you guys to enter in the competition for Live 88.5's Big Money Shot competition

A. The motivation for entering the Live 88.5 Big Money Shot came from seeing what it has done for the careers of some of our friends. Since entering the contest we have met with a lot of really great people and a lot of great bands. We try to stay away from battle of the band type contest but some opportunities are too good to ignore.  Since entering the contest we have won $25,000 and could potentially win another 30k in development which for an independent band such as ourselves is huge. In this business making money can be a hard thing so unless you getting grants to help record or fund tours its all coming out of your pocket. So when you add life and everything that comes with it like rent, bills, and living expenses into the equation it can be a scary thing.

6. What word would you use to describe 2011 and why?

A. The one word I would use is Exciting. It feels like we are really figuring out our positions as musicians, songwriters and people. A lot of hard work has been put in over the years and doors are opening and it feels good to look back and see yourself grow.

7. What can we expect from the release party on November 15th at Horseshoe Tavern?

A. You can expect a great time full of surprises. We have been waiting to grace the stage of the legendary Horseshoe Tavern. When we talked about the release party this was one of the first places that came to mind. We are very much looking forward to this show and happy to be releasing Sweater Weather on Vinyl in this fashion.

8.Anything planned up after the release party and 2012?

A. So far our 2012 includes recording some new material. Not set on how we want to release it but you can expect some video projects and more touring.

Thank you so much to The Love Machine for your time for Q &A. The Love Machine has a free vinyl release party at Horseshoe Tavern on Tuesday, November 15th. 
Don't miss a fun night with a great music!

November 8, 2011

Christine Leakey, 'Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure'

It's been a heck of a long journey for Hamilton singer songwriter, Christine Leakey. She's waited for 14 years to finally unleash her debut album, Tapping Trees in a Trinket Box of Treasure, which is set to be released in early 2012. - Yes, you’ve heard it right, 14 years. I was nostalgically remembering what I was doing back then this morning when I was reading the email from Leakey. I was most likely chasing after cool Japanese rock bands, including X Japan and L'arc~ En~Ciel with my best friend, while trying to learn how to play the guitar from her cool sister, who was in high school. It was around the time that my passion for music also blossomed and started listening to my dad's Beatles' CDs, too. 14 years certainly seem a long time ago. 

I didn't think that I would end up in Toronto, Canada, writing about a lady who also started learning how to play the guitar in 1994 and pursued her dream by writing a copious amount of tunes and performing with a number of different artists, including Iggy Pop. However, she lost amazing opportunities to sign up with record companies tragically. 

The happy moments of her growing music career were scattered by her injury, which made her unable to perform the guitar and forced her to walk away from record deals. Since then she didn't give up on her dream. -14 years later, she is now ready to release her debut album in 2012. Once said in my favourite movie, Shawshank Redemption, "Get busy living or get busy dying"-She chose the first and never gave up on her dream since with a strong hope to release her music someday.

With all her hard work over years, Leakey is counting down till the release date. She is currently offering a preview of the album via Bandcamp. You can enjoy three tracks from the album. My favorite tune is 'Lovely'. Starting with the intro of a soft guitar tune, her voice flows in smoothly, which reminisces 60's aesthetic folk pop melodies. 

November 6, 2011

Cold War Kids @the Phoenix on November 4th

Since the release of their third album, 'Mine is Yours' earlier in the year, Long Beach based indie rock band, Cold War Kids, have been non-stop touring across the continents. The quartet returned to Toronto for the second time in the year at the Phoenix on November 4th. 

I settled myself on the second floor on the balcony with my friends to obtain a better view as the venue was already packed due to a late arrival. As I was able to enjoy the sound system and look at the whole venue, including the audience on the floor, it gave me a very different prospective as if I was a third party, not being a part of the audience. It almost made me feel like I was watching a live show DVD or YouTube video. 
(I had once sat at the same spot for the Black Lips' gig as I was scared of the moshpit, but it was the  very first time to observe a show with a mellow atmosphere.)

Cold War Kids slowly warmed up the crowed and took them a little while to set them ablaze. It was when they performed their third song, 'Hang Me Up to Dry', that the audience went nuts and the entire venue sang along with the alluring tune. Since then, they mesmerized the crowed by mellifluous verses created with throbbing drums and bass and a gruff and emotional vocals of Nathan Willett, while banging on the piano. It was a great mix of their three albums, including their hit tracks, 'Hospital Bed', 'Saint John,' 'Something is Not right with me," and 'Louder Than Ever' to name a few. The crowed recognized each song right away by just hearing the intro of a song and grooved along with the captivating tunes.

There were moments, including two or three songs in row that the momentum of the permanence instantly descended. The force of the audience sporadically fluctuated and I couldn't help thinking what a band needs to keep the audience attentive for one and half hours for the full set. Don't get me wrong by what I say here. I don't mean that they are boring to witness. Cold War Kids are one of the best performers that I've seen this year and definitely have great tunes that instantly keep the audience gallant. It was just very interesting to sense the huge gap of the reactions of the audience  between songs throughout the gig.