The month of May was an exciting one here at Canadian Content Machine. As we gently eased our way closer to the Canadian summer, we had plenty of new Canadian music to listen to, as well as a few older releases that we thought deserved a second spin. Canadian Music Week 2014 also hit Toronto in the middle of the month, and we featured some special artist spotlights as well as live reviews.
New Album Reviews!
Our first feature of May was this review of Cousins’ latest. The Halls of Wickwire is the third release by this Halifax rock duo, and in our review we see it as their most focused effort yet. Veering between the lovely in “Phone” and the downbeat in “At Odds”, The Halls of Wickwire has more than its share of juxtaposition, leading to a rather original quality toe the album. Check our review of Cousins’ The Halls of Wickwire here.
As far as ideas for concept albums go, dedicating one to a longtime British sci-fi cult tv series can’t be so bad. And that is exactly what Toronto’s More or Les has done, with the release of the Dr. Who-inspired Bigger On The Inside: A Time Traveler’s Mixtape. Throwing spacey hooks and quippy rhymes, this release serves as a worthy hip-hop soundtrack to a Time Lord’s travails. The album also features a guest turn by fellow Toronto rapper Wordburglar. Get lost in More or Les’ Bigger On The Inside: A Time Traveler’s Mixtape and read our review here.
After nearly a decade of activity, it was about time that Timber Timbre brought its dark, moody sound out of the Canadian woods and into the stark, arid environment of the Nevada desert. 2011’s Creep On Creepin’ On was close, but their new release, Hot Dreams, was bang-on in capturing the near-apocalyptic aesthetic. Frontman Taylor Kirk leisurely lays out a grim vision of the future, while recalling sounds of the past. One of the best releases so far in 2014, take a look at our review of Timber Timbre’s Hot Dreams here.
New Band, Album, and Track Previews!
This special two-piece feature on a couple of bands from Southern Ontario, Markham’s Drofnosura and London’s DeSever, put us in a metal mood. Both are fairly new bands with a lot to prove. Drofnosura just released their first EP, I, an excellent piece of stoner metal featuring 10-minute+ epics. And DeSever is steadily gaining steam as well, as this thrash outfit continues to release new tracks in anticipation of a debut album. We hope to feature these bands again in the future! For now, check out our writeup on Drofnosura and DeSever here.
It may be a little unfair to other bands for us to feature July Talk, as they have already received plenty of well-earned attention. But these hellions of Toronto put out such a hurricane of sound that they just cannot be avoided. And of course, what is a good appraisal of July Talk without mentioning their killer live set. If you somehow still need convincing on the force that is July Talk, then read our feature on them here.
If you have been hanging around the downtown club scene in Toronto lately, you might have encountered CrashDex and its frantic drummer, Jaren Hayman. Our writer and photographer Julia Loglisci was able to catch up with the former athlete-cum-musician and get his thoughts on CrashDex as well as his own start in music. For one of the more unique takes in the Toronto scene right now, check out our profile on Jaren here.
On May 20th, Vancouver’s Real Ponchos hit up 3030 Dundas West in Toronto, during their country-wide tour. Supporting their new album, Since I Let You Go, the psychedelic country-rock outfit put on a fantastic show. Read our full review of their concert here.
By the time May 8th rolled around, Canadian Music Week 2014 was in full effect. Many venues in and around the Toronto downtown core showcased bands from all across the country, and it was no different at Adelaide Hall. Here, independent Canadian label Black Box Recordings gathered its roster and put on a spectacular show. Highlights included the very last Toronto show from retiring pop-punk outfit Ten Second Epic, a surprise guest appearance from renowned rapper Classified, and a lights-out performance from Kingston’s The Glorious Sons. Talk about it like you were there, with our live review here.
Second Spins: Older Albums Reviewed Again!
It’s worth taking a second look at Bodhi Jones’ last album, Bones, released in 2013. The Vancouver singer-songwriter has been putting out material since his days as one half of Rider Jones, but so far his popularity seems to have been restricted to beautiful British Columbia. But Jones is not to be underestimated as another guy with a voice and a guitar, and Bones, with its serious themes couched in upbeat songwriting, is proof of how special he is as a musician. Read our second spin of Bodhi Jones’ Bones here.
CLementine may be one of the most obscure bands we have ever featured here on Canadian Music Machine (and we’re not saying that for hipster’s sake). A cryptic tumblr, a number of live performances that you can count on one finger, not even a twitter…CLementine fits all the criteria. But Nathan Daniels‘ project definitely deserves a listen, and that is why we brought their 2012 release Kimberly ’93 back to attention. Find out more about them here.
Special Event Coverage – Canadian Music Week 2014!
Fittingly for a event named as such, Canadian Content Machine made sure to cover every single Canadian band and their hometown in our preview for Canadian Music Week 2014. If you want to find out which band was the only one from the Territories, or exactly how many bands from Saskatoon made it out (if you guessed six, you would be correct), then this is your thing right here.
One of the featured artists during our CMW coverage, rapper Sean Leon certainly deserved mention as one of the hottest up-and-coming musicians in the biz. Fresh off his latest release, Narcissus, the Drowning of Ego, the Torontonian has been released ace tracks like “Firestorm” that are setting flame to the Toronto rap scene. Accompanied within the same musical entourage of IXXI is vocalist Daniel Caesar, who has his own fresh set of hype (just check out his debut mixtape, Birds of Paradise). Both artists played an excellent set for CMW on Saturday May 10th. Hope you were there to catch it! If not, at least you have our spotlight to read; check it out here.
Canadian Music Week also brought out two veteran Montreal rockers: Xavier Caféïne of Cafeïne, and Stephane Papillon of Papillon. With musical careers going back to the ’90s, these men certainly added some well-earned experience to the Canadian Music Week roster. The duo played back-to-back sets at Cherry Cola’s Rock N’ Rolla Cabaret on May 8th, and Papillon played two more shows: The Dakota Tavern on May 9th and The Bovine Sex Club on May 10th. Check out our spotlight on these rockers here.
Other Special Features!
Speaking of those shows, we decided it was about time we gave more attention to the venues that do their best in setting up excellent live performances. Ranging from the eclectic Bovine Sex Club to the crimson bodouir of Cherry Cola’s Rock ‘n’ Rolla Cabaret and Lounge, this short feature should give you a primer on some of Toronto’s most unique live venues. Read the full list here.
That finishes the month of May. Now that we’re in warmer weather, expect festival season to heat up (and naturally, Canadian Content Machine will give you the rundown on all the events happening). Coming soon to Canadian Content Machine: a live review of Timber Timbre, and a rundown of the Vancouver nine-piece Five Alarm Funk!