December 31, 2012

Best of 2012: Top 10 songs:

Since I got a great feedback on my top 5 live show in 2012, let's continue with my best top 10 songs of 2012! Since I couldn't decide the order, it is in no particular order!

The Wooden Sky-Angelina

One of my favorite albums of the year is Toronto folk rock band, The Wooden Sky's sophomore effort, Every Child A Daughter, Even Moon A Sun. Angelina is their first single off the album. This tune is soaked in delicate melodies that aced the perfection in simplicity of folk music. I love listening to this song and get lost in the song completely.

Zeus-Anything You Want Dear

Toronto rock band, Zeus released their anticipated second record, Busting Visions, which I've probably listened to hundreds times. I just saw them again at Drake Hotel Underground for What's in the Box series, and reconfirmed how talented they are! Impeccable harmonies and unison separate them from any other bands from Toronto.

Kishi Bashi-Bright Whites 

This song, Bright Whites by Kishi Bashi is a rather recent discovery of mine. However, the moment that I heard this song,  It gave me an instant chill and joy at the moment that my ears were tickled by high pitched voice with a march of jubilant melodies, I can't wait to see him in the New Year when he comes in town in February. 

Bahamas-Caught Me Thinkin'

Toronto folk singer songwriter, Bahamas, aka, Afie Jurvanen released his second album, Barcodes early this year. Whenever I listen to this song, I recall he came out prior to his sold out show at Dakota Tavern and showcased this song in the cold weather for the fans who were waiting in the line for a long time.  

The XX-Angels

Three years after their debut album, Brit pop rock band, The XX unleashed their second album, Coexist in September this year. The first single off the record, Angels is definitely one of the songs that worth mentioning.  From the first listen, I was surely withdrawn into its beautiful tune and the intimate vocals. Yet, my attention was lured towards its lyrics, which I pictured a girl who discovered a love with someone, yet trying to find a means to express her feeling shyly. Nontheless, this tune is pretty xx-celent

Jack White-Sixteen Saltines

Since the breakup of the White Strips, Jack White has stepped up his game to showcase what he can offer to his fans. His latest album, Blunderbuss and the tour with The Peacocks( all female bands) and The Buzzards ( All male band) has kept him busy all year. This song, Sixteen Saltines is my favorite song off the album.-it's fully of Jack White-ness. 

Diamond Rings-I'm Just Me

Toronto singer songwriter, Diamond Rings is a new pop sensation. His new album, Free Dimensional. Underneath of his flashy look, he showcases how he really is with his music and lyrics.

Luke Lalonde-Undone

The lead singer of Burn Ruffians, Luke Lalonde has joined the Paper Bag Records this year and releases his first solo album, Rhythymnals. Undone, still has a hint of Born Ruffians in the alluring pop tune. However, Lalonde spiced it up by adding more electronic beats between the fetching melody. 

Paper Lions-Bodies in Winter

PEI pop rock band, Paper Lions, released their new EP, Long Creek prior to their release of the full length album. Their prior album, Trophies, was on my heavy rotation for the longest time, so to be honest, I was very scared of listening to the new materials, however,  this song off the EP, Bodies in Winter proved that they are a real deal! 

Tim Chaisson-Beat This Heart

Nick and I had a great time chatting with PEI singer songwriter, Tim Chaisson this year.Beat This Heart,  his single off the new album, The Other Side welcomed Serena Ryder to co-sing in the song. The song kicks off with an amiable country pop tune with an effortless gentle vocal and a chain of warm acoustic string jams. just like his other songs, his lyrics are very relatable, 

December 30, 2012

Pulp released After You featuring James Murphy

Just in time for the holiday season, British alternative rock band, Pulp, have unleashed a song, After You. The demo of the song existed over a decade ago and it was spiced up by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. The song was only available to those who attended the Sheffield concert, yet thanks to the modern technology, we can listen to it via the Internet. The first recording in 10 years! Have a listen! 

December 29, 2012

Best of 2012: Best Live Act

Another amazing year is about to pass by in the next few days! What were your favorite moments in 2012? This year, I had a privilege to experience SXSW, chat with a number of great artists, and indulge myself with so many mind-blowing shows. The list below is my top 5 memorable shows this year!

5. July Talk at Horseshoe Tavern on June 13th. 

Toronto rock band, July Talk is definitely one of my favorite new bands. I've seen them twice this year at NXNE and their packed CD release party at Horseshoe Tavern. I hope that there will be many more that I can witness in the new year. (Click here to read my full review)

4. Zoobombs at Silver Dollar Room on September 21st

My procrastination at not seeing Zoobombs paid such a high price at the end. After been recommended by so many people, I was at last able to see this Japanese super indie band. Their energy on the stage was like the Godzilla!!! (Click here to read my full review)

3. MUTEMATH at the Phoenix Theatre on September 25th

New Orleans' rockers, MUTEMATH have been one of my favorite bands for a long time since releasing their self-title debut album in 2006. They finally came back to the Canuck land this year. I think I've said WOW or OMG so many times that these words weren't good enough to describe how blown away I was during their set. (Click here to read my full review)

2. RIZE at Tattoo Rock Parlour on March 22nd (CMW)

I can't end 2012 without mentioning this once in a life-time experience of interviewing Japanese rock trio, RIZE and witnessing them rocking out with Canadian audience. The interview with the lead singer, Jesse was something that I will always remember, his enthusiasm and passion toward music and his ability to showcase it through his music.  (Click here to read my full review)

1. Yamantaka//Sonic Titan at the Garrison on January 28th

It is very interesting to look back at how much Toronto-Montreal based psychedelic rock band, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan has achieved in this year. After receiving very positive review from Pitchfork, their ride has escalated immediately. They've signed with Paper Bag Records and their debut album made to the shortlist of 2012 Polaris Music Prize. Their originality, creativity and of course, the hard work earned these accomplishments in a year. I vividly remember the moment that their show started.- the thunder blast and dragons swimming through the venue. Theatrical elements reared the intensity of their performance. I can't wait to see what Yamantaka//Sonic Titan is going to bring in 2013.  (Click here to read my full review and here to read the Q&A with Alaska B)

December 18, 2012

Kishi Bashi: Bright White

Since it is coming toward the end of the year, there are a number of Best of 2012 articles in the world of the Internet. I've landed on this amazing project, Kishi Bashi, after reading NPR's best of 012, where he scored 29th place on the favorite album of the year by the readers.

Kishi Bash is an orchestral pop project established by a multi-instrumentalist, K Ishibashi, aka Kishi Bashi. He's accomplished a number of projects with various talented artists in the past, such as Of Montreal (He is one of the current touring members), Regina Spektor, and Sondre Lerche, and now he is ready to be on the spotlight with his stellar violin/vocal.

Bright Whites, his new single off his debut album, 151a (it's pronounced as ichigo Ichie- 一期一会, which means 'one chance in a lifetime'.) has been on a heavy rotation since I discovered the song. It gave me an instant chill and joy at the moment that my ears were tickled by high pitched voice with a march of jubilant melodies. I haven't encountered any songs in the recent year which takes me to the effervescent paradise with a musical mingle in the air. He is definitely on my watch now! 

Kishi Bashi is playing at The Great Hall on February 11th.

Frank Ryan:Ghosts

All these twitter followings have landed me on new music and it has become one of my favorite ways to discover new tunes. My latest discovery is Frank Ryan, a singer songwriter from Dublin, who recently relocated to Toronto. He recently unleashed a new EP, Dirty Little Liar this fall. Not only was I impressed with his songwriting skill that he has developed since he was 11 years old, but also his vibrant vocal.  

One of the songs off the EP, Ghosts struck me hard from the first listen. The groovy R&B and deep soul feel to it. His whispering voice makes a smooth transition to a crying haul. The maturity in the sound makes it hard to believe that how young he is.( I am assuming that he is late teens or early 20's.) Give it a listen of the song from the below link and he also has a video of a song called, Dirty Little Liar, which is more uplifting pop tune than Ghosts. 

December 12, 2012

City and the Sea -:Strange Feeling

Hamilton based alt rock quartet, City and the Sea, aka CATS( I know, it’s cheeky, right?) have unleashed this new single Strange Feeling. It is the first release in two years after their last effort, Leave A Light On. They are also planning to unleash a new EP, Action Figures in the new year. 

This single, Strange Feeling, equips their Rock’ N Roll melodic hooks with a layer of blasting harmonies. I am especially fond of the ending of the tune, where the grungy guitar unison leads to the ending with an overdriven guitar solo. It's a perfect moment to show off your air guitar skill.

They've also released a music video of the song, which was directed by Angelo Cino. In the music video, they've embedded their affection for Sci-Fi fiction. Check it out!

December 9, 2012

Marie Avery: If You've Got Time

In such a busy world that we live in today, we tend to forget to pace ourselves, drawn in a tide of hectic schedules between work and family. Toronto based singer songwriter, Marie Avery, controls her time and her own pace to steadily pursue her music path. Her step by step approach reflects in her mellow piano with her gentle vocal. This charming melody will sway your body side to side.  

Marie Avery is in the process of releasing a new EP, The Fire in this winter. Stay tuned for more stellar melodies from her. 

What's In The Box: Drake Hotel Underground

How many of you are going to be in town for time off from work during Christmas/New Year? This is the first year in a long time that I am staying in Canada as well. The common question that I  have been asking around is what to do in Toronto during my days off. I am planning to indulge myself in some quality time with my friends and great live shows. My friend suggested this stellar event. -What's In The Box

Drake Hotel Underground is hosting a week long musical festivity right after Christmas, which is called, " What's In The Box." It is quite simple.- each night for 5 days, there are going to be 5 bands for only  $5 dollars to get it. Just like opening up amazing gifts, the venue has prepared super lineups including July Talk, Zeus, Luke Lalonde, Diamond Rings and so forth. Snooze you Lose! There is no reason for you to miss these incredible bands with so little money. 

December 2, 2012

Christian Hansen: Ma-Me-O

It was at the beginning of this year that I witnessed the sweaty and energetic performance by Edmonton based pop rock 4-piece, Christian Hansen at Rancho Relaxio. Despite the shivering cold, they warmed up the venue quickly with their buoyant  pop tunes. One of my dear friends, Anton from Artful Vandelays had mentioned about their dramatic adventure and the fact that it was their first show in Toronto since their move.- The lead singer, Christian Hansen and the keyboardist, Molly Flood, moved to Toronto from Edmonton to pursue their music career. Oh I can see you shaking your head saying that's everyone's story.- Many people have moved to the hub of indie music scene in Canada to challenge themselves. But what made Christian Hansen more braver than other bands is their recognition in Edmonton. They've opened up for Metric and sold out their headlining shows. They've left all that behind and started from scratch in the music scene that thousands of other bands exist. 

In addition to the move, they've welcomed new members. The former basist of Hot Hot Heat,Dustin Hawthorne and You Say Party!'s drummer Al Boyle. With all the adventurous changes this year, they've unleashed a new record, C'Mon Arizona.

The first song/single off the album, Ma-Me-O epitomizes their captivating new wave 80's synth pop sensation. This song captures the uprising pulse from the very beginning and dives into overdrive with infectious chorus of chu-chu-chu chu chuchu. 

It is just a matter of time when Christian Hansen can capture the same enthusiasm of Edmonton fans from Toronto audience.

Pick A Piper: Lucid in Fjords feat. Ryan McPhun

Do you remember a Toronto psychedelic/electro pop collaboration, Pick A Piper, which is led by Brad Weber, the member of Caribou. They've recently unleashed a song on SoudCloud called, Lucid in Fjords. This new song is full of infectious synth beats, followed by tides of melodic whispers. There have been some member changes as the project is evolving, they are back as a 3-piece in the New Year. Yet, it is just the begging of their chapter to step forward with their mesmerizing electric beams