And CCM is back for the next installment of our Osheaga preview. Last time, we finished looking at all the Canadian artists based in Montreal. This week, we’re moving our focus upriver to Lake Ontario and bringing you all the Osheaga bands hailing from the Greater Toronto Area and its outskirts.
These days, Etobicoke is getting more than a bad rap for birthing two politico brothers–ones that are currently reducing the city of Toronto to a global laughingstock. All too bad, as the ‘Coke is also the birthplace of renowned singer-songwriter Basia Bulat. Bulat, at 29 years of age, is already a vet of the Canadian folk scene, and her latest release Tall Tall Shadow was nominated for Adult Alternative Album of the Year in this year’s Juno Awards.
Having grown up under the tutelage of her music teacher mother, Bulat is an adept multi-instrumentalist; take in Bulat’s show and you shouldn’t be surprised to see the autoharp, dulcimer, ukelele and charagano as part of her demurely dazzling set.
Taking their name from the Toronto hood where they grew up, The Beaches are poised for a breakout set at Osheaga. This raw, rollicking four-piece only got their start in the early days of 2013, and consists of two sisters (guitarist Kylie Miller, bassist/vocalist Jordan Miller), and their high-school friends (drummer Eliza Enman-McDaniel, keyboardist Leandra Earl). Their searing brand of rock was undoubtedly born out of many late-night gigs at rock clubs (though perhaps not any bars–none of the band members have even hit their 20s yet), and so The Beaches here have started a fire in the Toronto music scene that is quite unlike their idyllic namesake.
Their self-titled debut EP was released last year, with production credited to Canadian rock staple and Our Lady Peace frontman Raine Maida. Expect more fiery rock out of these girls in the near future.
The life of a DJ/producer may, at first glance, seem like one of luxurious excess and divine blitheness. But you only have to follow hard-working Torontonian Grandtheft to get a greater idea of all the rigors that being a successful, globetrekking mixmaster entails. It’s exhausting enough that even typically chilly customs agents give their sympathies to the man that hits up more than 150 locales in a year.
A very busy man; when Grandtheft isn’t on tour, he is in the studio. Just recently he was in Miami working on the next Major Lazer release alongside other esteemed producers like Diplo. And his own trap-hop trappings have just begun to expand. Shakers like “Give Me More”, with its ratatat snares, high-pitched vox and bass candy drops, can’t be a better example of where-we-at-now here in 2014.
Plus, with a stache n’ shades combo like that, how can you go wrong in the DJ/producer biz?
“Love at first sight” may not be the appropriate phrase to describe the first meeting between July Talk‘s leading, dueling power couple, Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay. Instead, “Love at first listen” may be more on the mark, as both took notice of each other at an impromptu singalong acoustic session at a bar. Fay, with a soothing voice of a celestial being brought to Earth to lift you above, and Dreimanis, with a throat stuffed with razor blades and mud, bursting out of the ground and dragging you into hell by your ankles. And that, kids, was how July Talk was born.
Add in bandmates Ian Docherty, Josh Warburton and Danny Miles, and you have a group that many herald as one of the Next Big Things in the Canadian music scene. Where does such hype emanate from? You can count a nomination for Breakthrough Group of the Year at the 2014 Juno Awards; you can take in their notoriously kinetic live performances complete with fake blood and feather cannons; or, you can just listen to Dreimanis’ and Fay’s vocal sparring held over a hard rock danceathon and fall along in love with them.
You don’t know Drew? Perhaps one of the most significant contributors to Canadian music in the new millennium, Kevin Drew co-founded the now-legendary Broken Social Scene with Brendan Canning in 1999, and proceeded to wreck shop over the indie rock scene for all of the noughties. But with the Canadian super-collective presently on hiatus, what’s an Etobicoker to do, besides smoke crack and run for mayor?
Between slapping his face on local-brand body butter and being stopped at the border, Mr. Drew also has a new solo album you should get to know: Darlings, just released last month. Continuing on the themes of dirty intimacy and self-conscious braggadocio he explored with BSS, Darlings further cements Kevin Drew as a musician that you don’t need, you want. Or as Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979 puts it: “I don’t always bathe / With other men / But when I do / It’s Kevin Drew.”
The last of today’s Toronto installment, we have what may be the most ‘mainstream’ artist on this list, but saying that shouldn’t make you dismiss the years of hard work Ryder has accomplished getting to that level. The standby tale of a singer-songwriter starting from the bottom, breaking into the industry, and achieving nationwide acclaim and recognition–that has been Ryder’s story.
No stranger to singing in public since she was 7 years old, Ryder would then move out at 17 to live in Peterborough and perform whenever and wherever possible. Her first recording break came when a local label owner noticed her singing during a set change of a local theatre act. As serendipity goes, Ryder’s talents would give her more fortune as she landed gigs on CBC Radio as well as attracting the attention of Canadian music stalwart Hawksley Workman.
Move forward to 2014, and here we have Ms. Ryder, co-host of the 2014 Juno Awards, and, as the ultimate sign of you”ve-made-it, winner of this year’s Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Ryder will arrive this summer in Montreal more well-renowned than ever and in the prime of her career; as such, it would be a shame to miss the performance of one whose career has proved emblematic of the Canadian musician rising to success.
That’s all for this installment. Next time, in our final section, we will look at all the Canadian artists from the rest of Canada, from sea to sea!
Check out more in Osheaga 2014: The Canadian Bands!
Author: Nathan Christie