Archive | April, 2014

Monthly Roundup: April 2014

30 Apr
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Toronto’s The Lad Classic, one of Canadian Content Machine’s featured bands of April.

This month, Canadian Content Machine featured a record number of bands here on our pages!

Going out decidedly not like a lamb, March ended as we were finishing our coverage of the Juno Awards 2014 in Winnipeg (for those that missed our predictions lists, you can check them out here, here, and here). April, thankfully, was much nicer as temperatures warmed, and we had plenty of new music to listen to boot.

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New Album Reviews!

The Remarkable World of Mac DeMarco – His new album, Salad Days, reviewed

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Mac DeMarco.

For those interested in the offbeat (or just plain strange), we featured Mac DeMarco, now residing in Brooklyn by-way-of-Toronto-by-way-of-Montreal-by-way-of-Vancouver-by-way-of-Edmonto-by-way-of-Duncan, British Columbia. Yes, this lo-fi weirdo has certainly travelled around a bit, but the introspective nostalgia of his new album, Salad Days, should prove that there is more than meets the eye. Read our review of Mac DeMarco’s Salad Days here.

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Listening to the Wind & the Wild: Their new EP reviewed

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Wind & the Wild.

Next, we looked at Montreal’s Wind & the Wild, who just released a new EP titled (naturally) Wind & the Wild. This fine folk foursome have been winning hearts and minds of fans across the country. Their new EP is the perfect soundtrack for your road trip. Don’t forget to catch them at The Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec, on May 23. Read our review of Wind & the Wild’s Wind & the Wild here.

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The Lad Classic: Their new, appropriately titled EP, Thunder, reviewed

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The Lad Classic.

Toronto’s The Lad Classic made a huge impact this month with their release of Thunder. “New Classic Rock” seems oxymoronic, but there is no better description for this group as they turn their amps to eleven and destroy the eardrums of many a willing listener. “Cadillac Jack”, Thunder’s lead single, can already be heard on rock radios across the country. And don’t worry if you prefer it a little (or a lot) softer: the band also does acoustic sets, with one coming up May 3rd at The Cameron House, Toronto. You can check out our review of The Lad Classic’s Thunder here.

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After All These Miles! Jonathan Estabrooks makes a long-awaited debut

Jonathan Estabrooks.

Jonathan Estabrooks.

And now for something richly different. Ottawa-bred baritone Jonathan Estabrooks has, for many years, been hard at work performing in musical theatre, opera, and classical concerts. This April was finally the time he made his studio debut, the classy and classical These Miles. You can listen to Estabrooks in person when he performs at the legendary Roy Thomson Hall with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for three shows on May 20-21. Read our full review of Jonathan Estabrooks’ These Miles here.

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Remain Calm and Carry On Listening: Coronado’s new EP reviewed

Coronado's Carlos Coronado.

Coronado’s Carlos Coronado.

A band that is getting a lot of well-deserved attention lately, we took a look at Coronado’s new EP, Remain Calm. The Toronto band has been quite prolific, with their second release in two years and they are already previewing new songs from their next release at their live shows. Speaking of which, check them out in our Concert Reviews down below. Read the full review of Remain Calm by Coronado here.

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How to Live Life to the Fullest with Harlan Pepper: An Interview with Dan Edmonds and Review of their Latest

Harlan Pepper.

Harlan Pepper.

A band whose sound bespeaks wizened maturity despite being fresh out of high school, Hamilton’s Harlan Pepper continues to capture audiences with their new album, Take Out a Twenty and Live Life to the Fullest. Produced by rock vet Colin Linden, the album’s mix of folksy psychedelica with electric vibes will surely rein in the accolades as the year goes on. Our reviewer also had the chance to talk with the band’s frontman, Dan Edmonds. For the complete take, read our review of Harlan Pepper’s Take Out a Twenty here.

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New Band, Album, and Track Previews!

Trigger Warning: Felicia Harding brings both the new and classic with Isobel Trigger

Isobel Trigger's Felicia Harding.

Isobel Trigger’s Felicia Harding.

Victoria’s Isobel Trigger, led by frontwoman and vocalist Felicia Harding, is a band that has captured our attention over and over again. You may have already heard them from their 2009 release Island, and perhaps you’re listening to their latest single right now. “Dust and Bones”. Their new EP, Nocturnal is set for released this summer, and our writer was pleased to say that it will offer something new while retaining Isobel Trigger’s distinctive sound. Find out more by reading the album preview here.

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The Glorious Rise of The Glorious Sons

The Glorious Sons.

The Glorious Sons.

These hulky boys from Kingston put Canadian listeners on notice last year when they won 97.7 HTZ-FM’s Rock Search. Now, The Glorious Sons aim to build on their wave of success, hitting airwaves across the country with hard rock hits like “Mama”. Pretty good for a band that is not even two years old. Catch The Glorious Sons when they blow through Southern Ontario in May, with dates in Burlington and Barrie. Read our full feature on The Glorious Sons here.

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Keeping Score on CANVAS: Their new single reviewed

CANVAS. Photo Credit: Hudson Hayden.

CANVAS. Photo Credit: Hudson Hayden.

And here we are with the hugely-hyped CANVAS, making a big splash with their newly released single, “Keeping Score”. Comparisons to Pendulum and Muse are well-warranted here, with a bombastic, synth-driven sound that will surely be setting fires across Canadian playlists this year (and why not the world?). Expect big things out of this Toronto five-piece, and if you’re there during Canadian Music Week, don’t forget to catch them at the Czehoski Bar on May 8th. Check out the full review of the new single by CANVAS here.

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Reissue Reviews!

Two Sides of Born Ruffians: Their reissue, Birthmarks Deluxe, reviewed

Born Ruffians.

These Midland natives released their fourth studio album Birthmarks to critical acclaim last year. But, it looks like Born Ruffians aren’t finished yet; their new reissue Birthmarks Deluxe features an entirely new disc brimming with acoustic reworkings and new material. Don’t worry, as our reviewer will tell you, this reissue is all killer and no filler. Read the full review of the reissue here.

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Concert Reviews!

Indie Mondays at The Sister: Mip, Luau or Die, and The Outbred Inlaws

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The Outbred Inlaws.

Every Monday at The Sister, one of Parkdale’s most reputed bars, you can check out some up-and-coming live acts at Indie Mondays. On Monday, April 14th, one of our writers checked the venue out and took in some fine local Toronto acts: an understated one-woman performance from folkster Mip, a blistering set from surf rockers Luau or Die, and a rollicking, Ramones-worthy show put on by headlining act The Outbred Inlaws. While the bar hasn’t put together a new Indie Mondays set at the moment, you can check out our full take on how this one went here.

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Concert Review Quickie: Coronado @ The Piston, April 24th, 2014

Coronado at The Piston.

Coronado at The Piston.

As mentioned before, Toronto’s Coronado is getting plenty of attention from us, and quite deservedly so. They put on an excellent live performance on Thursday, April 24th at The Piston bar in Bloorcourt. As a very pleasant surprise, they finished out their set with plenty of new material to move to, with standouts such as “Lighter than Air” and “Congratulations” . You can next catch them at Dance Cave supporting Moving Units on May 30th. Read the full review of Coronado’s live show here.

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Festival Previews!

Osheaga 2014: The Canadian Bands

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We also finished our series featuring each and every Canadian band playing at Montreal’s Osheaga Festival in August. Notable bands you may or may not have heard of include The Beaches, July Talk, Royal Canoe and much more! If you haven’t booked your tickets and made plans for your summer trip to Quebec, do so now! Check out Parts 3 and 4, both published this month.

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So, that’s all for April, folks. But don’t expect us to lay down lightly now that better weather is here. The month of May will bring plenty of new albums to review, concerts to see, and bands to check out. Some of the artists we will be reviewing shortly include Halifax’s Cousins, Ontario metalheads Drofnosura and DeSever, and Toronto rapper More or Les. Also, we will be doing full coverage of Canadian Music Week 2014 in Toronto, complete with band spotlights, venue breakdowns, and concert reviews. Don’t miss out!

For your Canadian music fix, keep checking in with Canadian Content Machine!

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Osheaga 2014: The Canadian Bands (Part 4: All the Rest)

30 Apr

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And for the last time, Canadian Content Machine takes a look at all the Canadian bands playing in Montreal’s Osheaga Festival in August. For the past installments, we have been looking at artists that call the big two cities of Montreal and Toronto their home. You can find our earlier installments here:

Part 1: Montreal

Part 2: Montreal Redux

Part 3: Toronto

For our final part in this series, we are looking everywhere else in true sea to sea fashion, from the Pacific to the Prairies to the Atlantic. Let’s kick off the last part by heading west to Vancouver, B.C., where we will find…

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Bear Mountain

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Bear Mountain, and no, we are not talking about the lovely local scenery of Lotus Land. Here is a group that describes themselves as a “triangle dance band from the future”, which fits in well with their geometric-shape-as-head motif. Also an apt description of their sound–a dreamy take on alternative rock that sounds organically futuristic. It’s the kind of music you listen to as you look up at the stars on a clear, Canadian summer night and wonder about the universe. I mean, just take a look at their website–canoes, the backwoods, and SPACE!

The band released their debut XO last year, and will soon start recording their next album in Toronto. So if you’re catching their set at Osheaga, expect to hear some new material.

 

Cyril Hahn

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Okay, so I may be cheating a little bit here. Technically, Cyril Hahn, producer wunderkid, was born and raised in Bern, Switzerland. But he is also currently calling Vancouver his home of homes; Cyril first came to Vancity for his studies, but like any good artist he abandoned them in favour of making music. So he earns a spot on this list, and one well-warranted.

Cyril is known for his deft hand in spinning smash pop threads into subdued, chillout pieces of electronica. Indeed, his breakout came with his utter transformation of Destiny Child’s “Say My Name”, turning the R&B staple into something that feels wholesomely different. Stay attached to Cyril’s SoundCloud as he is quite the prolific one, and while his remixes continue to gather 1 million+ views on Youtube, you should also check out his original hits like the crystalline “Perfect Form”.

 

Hey Rosetta!

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Our easternmost band on this list, Hey Rosetta! hails all the way from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Perhaps spending your time on The Rock leads to one being introspective and appreciative of life, because those are the feelings put across by the music from this six-piece. It is no wonder they named themselves after a stone famous for its communicative properties–the band richly translates their sound through a nurtured balance of melodies and and rhythms.  Their lyrics are plaintive and intimate while the instrumentation is joyous and optimistic, leading to a quality sound that has already attracted plenty of listeners.

While frontman Tim Baker and the band have been a little quiet the past while, it is for good reason. Their fourth studio release is being worked on as we speak, and so this August you will likely catch a couple of new tunes at their Osheaga set.

 

Matt Mays

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Matt Mays is only in his early 30s, but he has already garnered a lifetime’s work of music behind him. This Cole Harbour native has been performing since before the new millennium dawned, first coming to prominence as a member of the East Coast band The Guthries. Mays immediately made a mark, and when the fabled group disbanded (too soon) in 2002, the decade was left open for the bohemian rocker to stampede through.

He has since done tons for the Maritime music scene, including collaborations with Quebec counterpart Sam Roberts, and forming his own mini-legendary outfit known as Matt Mays & El Torpedo. You may remember that group back in 2005, when their hit “Cocaine Cowgirl” saturated Canadian airwaves.

Mays has now gone full solo; his last album, Coyote, was released in 2012.  The starry-eyed high-schooler that joined The Guthries has now grown into the been-there done-that vet with thousands of live shows under his belt, so when you take in his set at Osheaga, you’re taking in years of hardworn Nova Scotian rock.

 

Royal Canoe

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A band that we’ve covered previously, Winnipeg’s Royal Canoe is just the act you may need if you’re looking to unwind on a sunny Montreal day and just have fun. This indie/electronic band runs six in person all by way of Manitoba, and utilizes guitar, drums, vocoder, synths, violin and whatever else you can make a sound out of. Each member does more than play their part as they skit from instrument to instrument, all in the aim of putting on a performance you will likely never have experienced before.

Where does all this extreme variety come from? As the band cites, it could stem from the dynamic prairie seasons that swing from the blissful blue summers to the harsh, relentless winters. The title of their 2013 release Today We’re Believers may make more sense when you look at it from the perspective of Winnipeggers, experiencing above-zero temperatures for the first time after a seemingly immortal winter cycle. Winter is coming? Not anymore, and as flowers blossom and summer grows nearer, Royal Canoe lends just the perfect sort of fantastism to soundtrack your 2014.

This madness carries over to their live sets too, so get into the swing of things and join Royal Canoe when they play their set at Osheaga.

 

Ryan Hemsworth

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The final act to close out our entire series on each and every Canadian band at Osheaga, and who better to do so than Halifax’s Ryan Hemsworth? This young DJ and producer had already done his part when he released his debut Guilt Trips last year on distinguished indie label Last Gang Records. The album was a smash success, highlighted with Hemsworth’s recent win at the 2014 Juno Awards in the category of “Electronic Album of the Year”.

So as the year moves forward, expect more acclaim for Hemsworth and more deliciously offbeat tracks to be released. With a penchant for snazzy R&B samples and spazzy 16-bit bursts, expect this fine fellow to make his mark this summer in Montreal.

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Well, that completes our list! Hope you enjoyed taking a look and having a listen of all the Canadian Content that will be playing at this summer’s Osheaga festival! Let us know what you think of these acts in the comments below.

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Check out more in Osheaga 2014: The Canadian Bands!

Part 1: Montreal

Part 2: Montreal Redux

Part 3: Toronto

Part 4: All The Rest

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Author: Nathan Christie