Joel Compass Descends from the Ether with “Astronaut”

September 24th, 2013

JoelCompass-Astronaut1Step back James Blake, there’s another London crooner making waves in cyberspace.

Enter singer/songwriter Joel Compass who’s been teasing us with his soulful and sultry singles all summer. After much anticipation and speculation Compass finally released his debut EP Astronaut on Sept 8th via Black Butter Records with a meager 4 songs tracklist (most of which we’ve already heard).

Quality over quantity here people.

The album is a contemporary approach to R&B highlighting Joel’s lush vocals and rounded out by heavy seductive bass.

Newest track ‘Kiss Love Goodbye’ is the best of the bunch in my humble opinion showcasing Joel’s knee quivering falsetto, spiraling synths, and grandiose percussion.

This is the prefect album to indulge in all night long, if you catch my drift.

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Feeling ‘At Home’ with Keep Shelly in Athens

September 19th, 2013

KeepShellyInAthens_AtHome_608x608Although synth-pop experiment Keep Shelly In Athens have been present online for the better part of three years, they are a new sensation to me.  Which coincides perfectly as they have just released their much anticipated debut LP At Home on that always fantastic Cascine records. Originally signed to Forest Family Records  in 2010, they released a handful of mini-albums, EPs and a cassette-only split single with Disclosure.

The album is a collection of gloriously intertwining moody melodies with driving drums, exploratory synth-riffs featuring the brilliantly lush and sometimes distorted breathy voice of Sarah P. The enigmatic duo named their band after a playful take on the Kypseli neighbourhood in the Greek capital where they hail from.

So go ahead and dip your toes in the serene tide pools of their particular brand of seductive electronica.

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On Repeat: London Grammar

September 12th, 2013

The moment I heard UK front women Hannah Reid’s voice I fell under London Grammars spell. Their sound is an intoxicating blend of trip-hop, trance, with a classical aura and pop hooks brought together by Hannah’s fierce gravel-toned voice that gives Florence Welch a run for her money.

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Dan Rothman and Dot Major complete the trio who have released three singles and EPs: Metal & Dust, Wasting My Young Years, and Strong. If You Wait is their much anticipated debut album released on September the 9th on Columbia/Sony Music Canada. London Grammar also contributed on the breakthrough album of the summer Disclosure’s Settle on the track “Help Me Loose My Mind”.

“Hey Now” begins the album and really sets the tone for whats to come, it is immediately entrancing and demands attention and subsequent adoration. Not that I have any favorites on this album as I love it as a cohesive whole but “Wasting My Young Years” is truly an orchestral ambient masterpiece and definitely a highlight on the album. Hannah’s voice is unabashedly uniform and unforgiving from start to finish flowing effortlessly from one song to the next. “Sights” is also equally gripping, starting with soft piano chords and echoing guitars and finishing with booming vocals and gorgeous instrumentals. The album balances delicately on that line on impeccable dance tracks and soothing songs that build from a coo to a roar and closes on the moody, piano driven title track.

With the Deluxe edition you are treated to six extra tracks: ‘Help’, ‘Darling Are You Gonna Leave Me’, ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’, ‘High Life’, ‘Maybe’ and ‘When We Were Young’.

Simply put, this is one of the best debut albums of the year as this young trio is already being called ‘The next XX’. Stream the album here

 

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March Melt Playlist

March 22nd, 2013

The ground might not have thawed and the flowers sure as heck aren’t blooming, but believe it or not, it’s spring here in Toronto.

So regardless of the frigid weather I am getting into the summer spirit starting with this playlist. A collection of songs that are sure to help you get through the last of the lingering snow. New music from old favorites the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals, The Knife along with some new talent; Rhye, HAERTS and local band Diana.

Click on the album cover to download the playlist.

Enjoy!

*MarchMelt

Photo courtesy of Tim Tadder

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Hear This! The Number Line

March 19th, 2013

When Piper Davis met the Shiver Brothers (SHVRS) sparks must have gone off. Their smooth and sexy electronic stylings are complimented by Pipers sultry voice, think Little Dragon and Goldfrapp.  Listen to their EP and you’ll be an instant fan. They are The Number Line.

For anyone in Toronto they are playing at the Neutral Lounge tomorrow (March 20th) and Saturday March 23rd is their EP release party at The Hunt Club. http://tinyurl.com/c67lp7p

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Toro y Moi – Anything in Return

February 6th, 2013

Toro Y Moi’s third LP Anything In Return has a little bit of everything ranging from poppy beats to lackadaisically cool gems. With Anything In Return, Chazwick Bundick has created his most straightforward musical effort to date. The opener ‘Harm in Charge’ with its clean piano chords purges any last remnants of chill and surges with electronic disco elements. These elements also continue through ‘Say That’ with female vocals gently tucked underneath honest lyrics and that displays pop music at its best. This album speaks for itself and really does not need an introduction, so give it a listen and see for yourself!

Click album cover to stream & download

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  1. Harm in Change
  2. Say That
  3. So Many Details
  4. Rose Quartz
  5. Touch
  6. Cola
  7. Studies
  8. High Living
  9. Grown Up Calls
  10. Cake
  11. Day One
  12. Never Matter
  13. How’s it Wrong
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A is for Alpine

January 30th, 2013

Alpine formed in 2009 adding colour to Melbourne’s musical landscape. Likened to Phoenix, Lykke Li and The xx, they’ve held the mantle of triple j Unearthed Feature Artist and have found friends online, on air and on paper. Fusing synths with honeyed harmonies, hypnotic rhythms and bright beats, Alpine appeared on the scene with a set of demos that quickly caught the attention of music lovers around the world. A Is For Alpine is the band’s first album and proves why they are one of the most exciting and promising acts in Australia right now.

To download click album cover

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  1. Lovers 1
  2. Lovers 2
  3. Hands
  4. Villages
  5. Softsides
  6. Seeing Red
  7. Gasoline
  8. All For One
  9. Too Safe
  10. In The Wild
  11. The Vigour
  12. Multiplication
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2012 Playlist – Songs of Summers Past

January 2nd, 2013

Hi All!

At the end of the year you’ll find a ‘best of 2012′ list on every music blog on the internet. I love reading them and look forward to checking them out each year but didn’t want to make one myself. Instead I made a collection of my favorite songs that I listened to on repeat this year, throughout the spring, summer, fall, and winter and as you will see some songs came out in 2011. This year was filled with loads of concerts and amazing album releases which made compiling this list even more difficult. But iv been hemming and hawing over it for months (as per usual) so im just going to close the books on it and send it out already! I hope you all enjoy it. Now that this bad boy is finished I can finally start on the next one.

Happy 2013 everyone, may it be filled with love, happiness and killer tunes.

xox

K.

Click on album cover to download and here for the track list

*songsofsummerspast

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Brasstronaut Blasts Into the Ether with “Mean Sun”

July 6th, 2012

During NXNE this year in Toronto I had the pleasure of seeing Brasstronaut live, this was my experience. At the bottom there is a link to dowload the brilliant album Mean Sun.

Ever since listening to Brasstronaut‘s second full-length album Mean Sun, I just had to see how this Vancouver sextet made the beautiful sounds that have continued to entrance me upon each listen. Created not in the confines of a studio like previous album Mt. Chimera (a Polaris prize nominee), but while on the road, and across the beautiful landscape of Eastern Europe. The album encapsulates that calming and peaceful experience of perpetually touring unknown and culturally rich places. It’s reflected in its spaciousness and all encompassing qualities. Considering the band wrote the album in a month, the only words fitting to describe the album are: pure genius.

NXNE can be bittersweet — so many amazing acts, but the sets are limited to 45 minutes. Brasstronaut chose their set list wisely, beginning with album opener “Bounce” which showcases the beautiful wailing trumpet and spirited mandolin riffs, played by Bryan Davies Flugel and Tariq Hussain. They followed with the more subdued, but equally mesmerizing title track “Mean Sun” that intertwines unnerving synths and hushed vocals superbly. The lyrics paint a somber story about a fisherman contemplating death while the fish of Grand Banks are dying.

With a simple backdrop and kaleidoscopic lights, the six members are first and foremost good friends who find inspiration in their differing influences. Endearingly, most of their equipment and instruments were kept in vintage suitcases, which also doubled as a stool in the case of Edo Van Breemen‘s (singer, keys, synth).

I absolutely loved the next song “Francisco”… whereas some of their ballads make you sway to and fro coolly, the upbeat percussion on this track denies you that opportunity and your toes automatically tap away with fervor. Another ambitious track, “The Grove,” exemplified Brasstronaut‘s rapacious style and also displayed Sam Davidson on his EWI (electronic wind instrument) on this one — it is effectively a MIDI instrument controlled by his breath. “Falklands” mesmerized the crowd with punchy pop like melodies and drawn out alt-rock sounds, all as if performed under the ocean. Unfortunately the night had to end at some point, and did on a high note with my favorite track “Revelstoke Dam” with its jaunty mandolin riff and soldierly percussion has a somewhat medieval Midlake feel to it.

Click on album cover buy

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Patrick Watson Takes Us On An Adventure In Our Own Backyard

June 7th, 2012

This is an except from an article I wrote for Sticky Magazine covering Patrick Watson’s Toronto Concert.

“In total darkness, the simply dreamy piano melody of “Lighthouse” began, while Watson cooed the delicate lyrics of the song that has always evoked a likeness to Gary Jules’ “Mad World” for me. As he whispered the question “Won’t you shine a little light on us now”, trumpets kicked in with a surge of strings in perfect sequence with the lights booming to life.

My love affair with Patrick Watson’s music began in 2006 when I heard Polaris Prize winner Close To Paradise. However, tonight was all about showcasing Adventures In Your Own Backyard, the bands brilliant fourth album, released in April and recorded mostly in Watson’s Montreal apartment. “Lighthouse” starts the album on such an immense high note that I found it hard to move past it when listening to the album, but the melancholic second track “Blackwind”,  with hollowing falsettos, anxious glockenspiel and hints of pedal steel made it easy to sink into this album and the evening’s set.

Circular disks flanked the stage, projecting black and white footage of a parade, swimming hammerheads, butterflies, soaring birds and abstract patterns. Alongside this, the album continued to unfurl with “Step Out for a While”, as billowing smoke and red atmospheric lighting pulsated brighter with each drum beat & symbol crash. It created quite an eerie atmosphere that loaned itself well to the unearthly carnival feel of the song. The next song, “Quiet Crowd”, was said to be dedicated to the quiet people out there on most nights, but that evening was for the people of Montreal, banging on their pots & pans and encouraging people of Toronto to do the same (with this past weekend’s tragic event, I could clash many pots in demonstration). Things got scaled back for “Words in the Fire”, with Simon Angell (guitar) and Watson gathering around one microphone while a singular halogen light shone on. Robbie Kuster (drums) would casually squeeze in with the singing saw, an aptly named instrument that added a delicate sweetness that sounded like a distant children’s choir. They reminisced about creating this song by a campfire in northern Montreal, where they were asked to play Bob Marley and created this subtly brilliant song instead. It felt like we were being serenaded at that very campfire, until the thunderous applause brought me back to reality.

The show was one beautiful new track after another, with songs like the cheerful “Into Giants” that balances triumphant trumpeting and folksy quaintness and showcases Mishka Stein‘s ability to bring a song together with an unforgettable baseline.  The all-instrumental “The Things You Do” is destined to be in many movie soundtracks, as it is so incredibly moving (Patrick Watson did co-write “To Build a Home” with Cinematic Orchestra after all, so clearly a penchant for grandiose anthemic songs is evident). After “Strange Cooked Road” they took things back to 2009’s Wooden Arms with favorite “Big Bird In A Small Cage”, where the audience got to participate in a sing along. Next was sultry “Morning Sheets” that has a wonderful Led Zeppelin “Kashmir” explosiveness to it, followed by the towering inferno of a title track “Adventures In Your Own Backyard”.

To download Adventures In Your Own Backyard click the album cover.

 

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