Archive for May, 2009

Pink Mountaintops

May 31st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This band is better-known as the smaller side-project of another bigger band led by the same dude. It’s obvious, isn’t it. Nope, not The Raconteurs. This B.C. band makes fuzzy, semi-psychedelic rock and folk – lo-fi style. The band of the week is…




So I gotta go to sleep soon because I’ve got work tomorrow but here’s what I will write about the Pink Mountaintops: led by bearded guru Stephen McBean (who also leads Black Mountain), Pink Mountaintops began as a fuzzier, more stripped down outlet for McBean’s psych-folk…but it was pretty lame…until now.



Pink Mountaintops third album, Outside Love, is inexplicably awesome. Embalmed in fuzzy noise textures, the album’s songs are grand in their own simplistic way despite the small production and simplistic arrangements. This never sounds like a fully-fledged band the way Black Mountain does and it’s not supposed to. Even when there’s strings, drums, cellos, guitars, etc., it always sounds homely and pocket-sized. But that’s what gives it its charm.


So yeah, Outside Love, sick album and therefore Pink Mountaintops = awesome band. Get on it.

Click here to purchase Outside Love.

The Weathermaking Challenge

May 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

My buddies in The Weathermaking Challenge are playing tonight at The Cat’s Eye (it’s right near Museum Station, google it or something). Check it out, great band. Also, I hear the band that’s going on at 7 is amazing…

Donlands And Mortimer at The Boat, May 27th

May 29th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I headed over to The Boat just in time to catch Donlands And Mortimer‘s EP-release set. And I’m glad I did. I, without exaggeration, will say that it was not only the greatest performance I’ve ever seen them give, but it was a truly special and spectacular performance I will not soon forget. For those unaware or who missed my last write up about the band, Donlands and Mortimer are a six-piece rock band with a strong jazz influence and lush brass-orchestral sound. Though, according to keyboardist John Spence, every member of the band now contributes to the writing, it appears as though the bands songs are divided between the more pop-oriented Carmen Elle songs and the jazzier, more intricately composed Steven Foster-sung songs.

As for their set at The Boat: the entire band was topless and covered in paint (including Carmen Elle, the “vaginal 1/6th” of the band”). They were energetic, charming (especially Carmen Elle), bursting with energy and tight. The new songs went over beautifully and at times bordered on being positively epic. Playing to a packed room, D and M delivered in a big way and may have just proved themselves one of the major contenders in the Toronto music scene, I hyperbolically bullshit you not.

Awesome Album Covers!

May 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

You were wondering why people on acid stare at their hands in disbelief: it’s because their hands are staring back.

WL 464: Tigerbomb/Kat Rocket/The Electric Shoes/Grasshopper at Sneaky Dees, May 24th

May 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Remember Toronto II: that was the title of this Sunday’s Wavelength, in which Toronto bands that broke up as long as 13 years ago reunited to rock the pants off a next generation of Toronto’s indie kids. And did they? 

First act Tigerbomb (not the Virgin-signed electro act of the same name) was…unimpressive. Two dudes pretty much goofing around (songs?) with a guitar, keyboard, and at one point Jonny Dovercourt came up and played drums. Not that he was their drummer – he just played some drums behind them. They were none the worse for it. Sorry Doc, but the set was middling, uninteresting and indulgent. Tigerbomb had heart…but not much else :(  

Kat Rocket faired better. A pop-rock quartet with a female singer/drummer, they played a noisy but ultimately somewhat consumer friendly set of 90’s Canadian female-fronted alt-rock. Not terrible – not great either. 

The Electric Shoes were pretty good. Sounded Dinosaur Jr.-esque, big wall of noise. The lead singer was hilarious: he looked like a Jack Black in School Of Rock character in pure rock heaven, busting out heavy, J. Mascis-style solos, and jumping around, even into the crowd at one point. 

By the time Grasshopper went on the place was PACKED. Seriously, it was jammed wall to wall and everyone seemed to be really excited and there was a lot of “this is going to be really loud”. And it was really, really, really loud. Probably the loudest band I’ve seen just stopping short of My Bloody Valentine. Yeah, Grasshopper broke up in ’96, but it seems that the band’s legend lives on. Lead singer/guitarist Derek Madison – with his crazy dreadlocks worn up and those big glasses – is a conspicuous personality in the Toronto music scene and the band is namechecked several times in Stuart Berman’s recent book This Scene Is Broken. I’m glad to say that this is one case in which the band lived up to the hype. Were they loud? FUCK YEAH THEY WERE LOUD! And with two drummers they sounded ridiculously powerful, it was amazing. Their songs were great as well, sounding like an explosive mix of punk, grunge, hardcore and shoegaze. The one recording on their myspace doesn’t do them a shred of justice. 


May 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s artist of the week is a distinctive-voiced Canadian songwriter known for his sharp melodic sense and obscure lyrics. He’s been releasing albums for the last ten years, evolving slowly and strangely with each one. In addition to his solo work, he’s also a member of the New Pornographers, Hello Blue Roses, as well as the indie-supergroup Swan Lake. Who else could it be but…

Yes, the ever-lovable Dan Bejar has gone from making lo-fi solo four-track records to a respectable indie artist with a backing band and dedicated fan base. Though his sound has transformed from the goofy homespun pop of City Of Daughters to the synth-orchestral Your Blues to the sharp rock of Trouble In Dreams, his wiry, elastic vocals and ridiculous lyrics have remained consistent throughout the years and his various side/additional projects. 
Though Destroyer is quite an original, critics sometimes compare him to glam rock artists like David Bowie and Marc Bolan. I’ve never really thought the comparison was very appropriate, though he does have a penchant for Bowie circa Ziggy Stardust-esque guitar sounds. His vocals set the stage for sound-alikes like Colin Meloy and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounsworth and are among the most recognizable in the indie-rock universe. 
Despite the fact that his records include a myriad of instruments and additional musicians, they always feel very much like smaller, solo-albums, possibly due to added emphasis on Bejar’s vocals and guitar lines. Strangely, his work with The New Pornographers and Swan Lake feel very much like the product of a band, despite being definitely Bejar-ian in construction. 
Oy. I don’t know, I’m falling asleep I’m so tired….Destroyer rocks. End of story.

Over The Top Festival ’09: The Superstitions/Tiny Masters Of Today at Whippersnapper Gallery, May 23rd

May 24th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Wow. What a night. Maddy and Nadja: big thanks for everything. Anyways…

Me and my buddy Mandelbaum wanted to get to the show early enough to catch Windom Earle’s set but between pick ups, drop offs, LCBO runs and the subway, it was past 9 by the time we finally got to the Whippersnapper Gallery and we missed them. Next time guys.
We did make it time though to see The Superstitions. I’ve already written about these guys; they played The Horseshoe just a bit ago. You can check out that article here. The 101: solid British Invasion-style garage rock with a singer who needs to loosen up a little. She did look particularly stylish last night though…just saying…I liked her get-up….
And of course, TINY MASTERS OF TODAY!!! I know these guys are only 13-15 or whatever and they’re oh so cute, but don’t believe the hype or the quality of their recordings. Amazing what a solid producer can do. True the drummer is damn solid, but this teenage power-trio did not impress. In fact, I’m pretty sure I saw a lot of people walking out during their set. They sounded sloppy, the singing was mediocre, and the charm of their recordings was nowhere to be found in the entire middling set. Everyone thinks, “Wow! they’re only like 13!” but honestly…they sounded it and a shitty sound mix didn’t help…I wish the Tiny Masters Of Today better luck tomorrow. 

Over The Top Festival ’09: Bayonets, Friendly Foes, Dinosaur Bones, Sebastian Grainger at Whippersnapper Gallery, May 21st

May 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Simone likes beards. Just thought everyone should know (she doesn’t want you to). I found this out while waiting around for the show to start, letting her and Sari Delmar (Audio Blood Media) check out Stuart Berman’s new book, This Scene Is Broken: the book about Broken Social Scene and their rise to indie-stardom. Me and Danny were talking about how Kevin Drew has actually gotten better looking with age and Simone said it was just because he grew a beard. Ok, I’m not gay or anything, but Kevin Drew is a gorgeous man. Have you ever looked into his eyes? It was like the first time I heard “Almost Crimes”…Feist is a lucky woman. 

We only caught about 2 minutes of Bayonets‘ set, so basically about five songs or so. Fast, loud, hardcore-influenced, maybe a bit of punk, pixies influence as well. Solid, but didn’t leave much of a lasting impression. 

Friendly Foes faired far more fulfilling. A tight power trio from Detroit, Friendly Foes played a powerful, poppy set of indie-inflected pop-rock (no radio-rock connotations intended). They had their own sound, and though it may not have overly distinctive, it worked and was their own and that’s all it needed to be. The charismatic performances of all three members didn’t hurt either; they put on a great show. 

Dinosaur Bones also delivered a great performance. The band’s been going for a year and half now and already they’re booked to play Edgefest and are working on a full-length. Since the last time I saw them they’ve gotten a bit better, not that they were bad before. They sound a little less like Coldplay and The Strokes, a little more like themselves, though they’ve still got that late-night Strokes vibe about them and Ben Fox’s vocals definitely owe something stylistically to Casablancas’ persona. For some weird reason I’ve always felt like they’ve got some kind of latin-flavor but I don’t know if that’s a label appropriate for them and I don’t know why I’ve gotten that feeling…anyways…it was good, check back soon for a full profile piece on them in which we reveal why Branko doesn’t like pants. 

By the time Sebastian Grainger went on, it wasn’t that late but me and Danny were both just really tired, I don’t know why. We stayed for a couple songs and they were all great: yeah, it’s still got some of the meaty-grind of Death From Above 1979 but its more rounded out, more pop format. It’s too bad we just couldn’t stay for the rest of his set. 

Over The Top Festival ’09: Who Is Eric Warner?

May 21st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Welcome to Grubtunes’ coverage of Over The Top Fest 2009, the Toronto-wide all-ages music festival taking place Thursday May 21st to Saturday May 23rd. 


Those in the know are aware that Over The Top Fest is the brainchild of Toronto’s Eric Warner: a 25-year-old entrepreneur who’s been setting up concerts around Toronto for the last ten years. Warner is also the owner of We Are Busy Bodies, a record label and management company that works with bands like DD/MM/YY, Meligrove Band and By Divine Right. 


Unassuming in appearance, though articulate, Warner seems surprisingly modest and mild mannered for a young, successful businessman who runs a respectable label, management and promotional company and deals with some of the bigger names in indie rock on a day to day basis. 


Warner got into the concert business at the tender age of 15, beginning with a small concert in a small anarchist store in Kensington Market called Who’s Emma? (which sadly no longer exists):


“I started writing a zine when I was 14 called Wacked Out and then from there I put out a few issues, I was like, “You know what, I’ve been able to interview bands, I’ve been able to do these different things – I’m gonna try and put on a concert.” My friend Zack at the time had put on a few shows, so he gave me a little bit of insight and a few other friends gave me some insight and I thought, “ok, I’m gonna go for it.” Says Warner. So that kind of worked out really nicely and I gained some experience, like, “You know what? This is cool, let’s try doing this again.” And then my second show also sold out, and then it was like, “Ok, I’m gonna keep trying to do this,” and it kept growing and growing.


In 2002 Warner began the now-annual Over The Top Festival. He was 18.


“The goal of it was to put on an all-ages music festival – at that point it didn’t expand into film and theatre – to allow people of all-ages to have the opportunity to see bands that were really interesting or really great that were not only Canadian, but international as well. And really, that’s how it started initially and each year more shows were added and the focus kind of opened up a little bit more to allow me to program more theatre, film, art events, and things of that nature.”


In 2002, the festival had acts playing at three different venues. Now in its eight year, the festival includes events of several different mediums taking place at upwards of 40 venues located across the city. And it’s still all all-ages, which, in Toronto with its ridiculously tough liquor-license laws, makes everything a lot harder and a lot more expensive. But undaunted, Warner is already thinking about how he’s going to make next year’s Over The Top bigger and better.


“I want to keep making it interesting as possible for people in terms of engagement but also making sure that I’m reaching the audiences at all times.”


And although Warner claims that he’ll be checking out every single event twice each night of the festival, he did mention that he was particularly looking forward to seeing Woods [8 at the Whippersnapper Gallery on Friday, the 22nd] and Tiny Masters of Today [7 at the Whippersnapper Gallery on Saturday, the 23rd].



Awesome Album Covers!

May 20th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

A fairly accurate depiction of Mr. Pop in a suit + one of his adoring red-and-yellow-painted groupies enjoy a glass of wine together