Archive for June, 2009

The Flaming Lips

June 28th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s band of the week is a well known group of fearless freaks. They’re a little freaky, a little fearless, and a whole lot of awesome. For over twenty years this band has managed to create numerous classic albums of relevant neo-psychedelia, paving the way for a host of imitators and bands that count them as a key inspiration. Though they began as just a bunch of punks on acid, they’ve matured into an institution of audio euphoria and one of the biggest names in major label-signed “indie” rock. This week’s band of the week is…




Led by the awesomely grey-haired Wayne Coyne, The Flaming Lips began as a very noisy band that also happened to like weird sounds and hallucinogenic drugs. As the group matured over the course of several classic albums, they edged closer and closer each time to that signature euphoric sound they have now.


In the mid-90s, a minor hit single with the wonderfully titled, “She Don’t Use Jelly” helped them gain an audience and a record deal with Warner Brothers. As time went on, the Lips got better, weirder and crazier. In ’97 they released Zaireeka, a four-disc album with each disc meant to be played simultaneously on different stereos for a quadraphonic listening experience.


Many would claim that The Flaming Lips broke with The Soft Bulletin, an album now considered a modern masterpiece. Pitchfork even placed it as the third greatest album of the 90s. The Soft Bulletin found Coyne and company almost-entirely ditching noisy guitars in favor of lush synthestration. Lyrically, Coyne aslo dealt with the more pressing issues of life, love and death as opposed to the sometimes more wacky or clever lyricism he’d used in the past.



The Lips followed that masterpiece with another one in Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, a concept album that dealt with the themes of technology and humanity. Again the Lips pushed themselves, making use of strange synthesizers and complex drum-machines. Even so, the Lips adapted themselves beautifully and the album was critically and commercially lauded.


In recent years the Lips have released the ok At War With The Mystics, the tripped out long-in-the-works movie Christmas On Mars, and their next album, the double-disc Embryonic, is slated for release in September. At this point though, it really doesn’t matter if the album is a masterpiece of complete shit, The Flaming Lips have already solidified their reputation as one of the most consistently awesome bands of the last twenty years and their exceptional discography will be treasured by warm-hearted stoners for decades to come.

Awesome Album Covers!

June 27th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Is that “dragon” wrapped up in…christmas lights?!?!?

Found Internet

June 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Though I was at first under the impression that this would be an internetless summer, luckily, such is not the case. I’ve found access to the internet and will be updating Grubtunes regularly as usual. So keep checking back in for new review and write-ups and what not. 

Goodbye Toronto (for the summer)

June 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

This is my last blog entry of the day. I think I’ve done about four, five…six or something today? A lot, anyways. Tomorrow I’ll be leaving for BC to work at a camp in Kelowna for the next two months. I will (hopefully) continue updating Grubtunes while I’m there, but it wont be the daily updates on Toronto concerts anyone who reads this blog might be used to. 
Anyways, to all the bands out there that I love and are awesome, I wish you the best of luck and I look forward to singing your praises when I return. To all the bands I’ve written negatively about in the past, you’ve got two months to keep playing and getting better and hopefully the next time I see you I’ll be able to write, “I was wrong, these guys are great.” And even if you’re not, I’ll go slightly easier on you when I get back. I’m still gonna call bands on it when they don’t live up to the hype while better bands linger on in obscurity, but I’ll try and word it less cruelly, alright? And if you think I gave your band an unfair rap or was too quick to speak or maybe just caught you on a bad night, in September, invite me out to one of your shows and I’ll gladly reconsider my position if you prove that I should do so. If not, I won’t write another bad review, I’ll just leave it. 
Anyways Toronto, I’ll be back. Hope you’ve enjoyed the last couple months as much as I have and I hope that next year will be even better than this one has been.


June 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This week’s artist of the week is multi-talented, multi-faceted performer and producer who has worked in various radically different genres of music. A nice Jewish boy from Toronto who spends a lot of his time in Paris apparently, people are familiar with his work as producer of Feist’s albums Let It Die and The Reminder, though few are aware of his own substantial body of work. This week’s artist of the week is…

Originally known as rapper Chilly Gonzales, Jason Charles Beck got his start in the music industry as leader of the band Son. They released three albums with Warner Brothers before Gonzales moved on to his next musical venture. Gonzales relocated himself to East Berlin and became a rapper, adopting the name “Chilly” Gonzales. He released three rap albums on the German label Kitty-Yo before moving on to his next phase: a classically-influenced solo pianist. 
In 2004, Gonzales released the excellent Solo Piano, an album which went on to become his best selling album to date. The album is an exquisite collection of instrumental piano compositions that showcase Gonzales’ incredible skills as a subtle and nuanced composer. 
In 2008 he released Soft Power, a great album indebted to the soft rock of the 70s which also featured tracks that harkened back to his skills as a rapper and a classical composer for piano. 
I gotta run off to a party right now so I’ll just write that his last two albums are my favorite. His rap albums are fun and showcase his extraordinary skills as a producer but are goofy and featherweight in comparison to his other work. A prodigious talent, I can only imagine what Gonzales’ next brilliant project will be.

Win Modern Boys Modern Girls Tickets, CD!!!

June 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

On June 27th Modern Boys Modern Girls will be playing at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern with The Balconies, Everything All The Time and Gentlemen Husbands. Grubtunes in collaboration with Audio Blood Media is giving away two tickets to the show as well as the Modern Boys Modern Girls album, I Might As Well Break It, as well as a demo copy of The Balconies‘ in-progress full-length. 

To win, email me at and let me know what inspired Modern Boys Modern Girls to name themselves that. First person to do so wins. How do you find the answer? Well, maybe check a couple blogs for articles about MBMG…maybe even this one…the tags would be a good place to start…
(Contest is only open to those living in Ontario and 19+)

Toronto Digs Dinosaur Bones

June 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

In the chorus of the song “Royalty”, Dinosaur Bones lead singer Ben Fox sings in his Julian Casablancas-esque midnight coo, “The bourgeoisie got me playing for free.” Contrary to the impression I was under though, Fox is not a communist.


            “That particular song or chorus is about like jumping through hoops to play the game of making it as a band,” says Fox. “Having to do things that you don’t necessarily want to and the struggle that is maintaining credibility while having to play the game.”


The bourgeoisie must like what they see: the Toronto-based indie-rock quintet, Dinosaur Bones has been in existence for roughly a year and half and they’re already playing Edgefest. Not only that, but they’ve already got over 70,000 views on their Myspace, and the other week I heard the aforementioned “Royalty” playing from the sound system of a College St. restaurant.  


Dinosaur Bones began when lead singer/songwriter Ben Fox – tired of living in Montreal where he’d been in school – returned to Toronto with a bunch of songs he’d written while in La Belle Province. He set out to start a band and so he grabbed a couple old band mates and…


“Badabing,” says Fox. “Dinosaur Bones.”


One band member in particular seems to have benefited immensely from Fox’s return and Dinosaur Bones.


“He [Fox] found me. I was wandering the streets aimlessly, I had a beard about six feet long, and he found me and cleaned me up,” says bassist Branko Scekic (jokingly), a well-known (and often pant-less) fixture of the Toronto music-scene. “He saw a twinkle in my eye and gave a kid from the ‘burbs a chance. He saved my life basically when it comes down to it.”


With the lineup solidified, the band began playing shows frequently, often alongside their friends’ bands like Boxes and Bags, Still Life Still, La Casa Muerte, The Miles, Kaliedascope City, and others in the new generation of rising Toronto indie bands. Along the way, they even had time to release an eponymous EP that was well received by the likes of Hero Hill, N.Y.E. and


            Dinosaur Bones are planning to begin recording in August for what will be their full-length debut. The group is currently touring around Ontario, with NXNE performance at The Horseshoe set for June 19th, followed by their Edgefest performance at Downsview Park the next day. And following that, the band plans to continue touring in the fall.

Noisebox EP Free Download

June 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

Last night was the last Noisebox show and it went really well. I like to end every year with an EP release at the Drake and I was happy we could do it again this year. Next year I’ll be starting a new band or something so stay tuned for news about that. In the meantime, since tomorrow I’ll be heading off to B.C. for the next two months and only a couple people were able to grab copies of the new three-song EP, Begins With The Letter, I’m posting it online for people want to DL it. Here’s the link. 

EM: Hank and Lily at The Drake Underground, June 22

June 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

They may have taken a long time to set up and then played a reallllyyyyy long set, thereby delaying my own band’s set by more than an hour, but Hank and Lily were incredible. I’ve been writing so many great reviews lately that I’m almost scared people are gonna think I’ve gone soft and stopped trashing bands (although I have made a point now to be somewhat kinder…), but for the last week almost all the music I’ve seen in this city has been unbelievably great and it seems like all the hot girls have been released and are now flooding the streets. But yeah, Hank and Lily, wow. 

First thing about this band is that they’re amazingly theatrical. Everyone’s dressed up in creepy costumes, with masks and weird hairdos and Lily’s supposed to be a nymph or something crazy. The theatre aspect alone was brilliant and then there’s the music and it was also really great. Pretty much went hand in hand with the creepy kind of haunted-woods vibe so maybe like a campier, more rockish Ghost Bees or Espers. Amazing audience involvement also, great, great show. 

NXNE 2009 Day 4: Danny Fields/The Sonics/By Divine Right/Jason Collett/DD/MM/YYYY/Metz

June 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Day 4 was just as fun as every other day of NXNE. Unbeknownst to me, despite my having read the festival guide a bajillion times, the legendary Danny Fields – the man who signed The Stooges and The MC5 to Elektra and was involved with Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, The Doors and Nico in various ways – was speaking in one of the NXNE conference rooms. I was lucky enough to sit in on the conference and Danny’s stories were great and he was great at telling them. One story went something like this…

“I remember one time, I was with Andy Warhol, and this beautiful young girl was crawling across the floor towards Andy. She gets to him and begins licking his shoes and Andy just nudges her away with his foot, like the way you’d nudge a dog away. So this girl starts heading towards the window. And she put one arm out. And one leg out. And she’s going to jump out of this 6-story building we’re in. So I say, “We can’t have this happening,” and I go and grab her and pull her back inside. And Andy says to me, (slow, detached, monotone) “Dannnnyyyy. Why’d you stop that girl? I wanted to see her jump.” That was what was cool in the 60′s, being detached, aloof. But now that I think about the ugly, old, toothless, alcoholic that girl has become, I think Andy was right; I should’ve let her jump!”

He also told a story about the legendary Nico taking a piss in public in New York City back in the day. Cuz she was cool like that.
After my volunteer shift ended I head over to Yonge-Dundas Square to catch the reformed Sonics‘ set. I stayed for a couple songs, including the old favorite, “Strychnine”, which I covered back in the day with The Plastic Fantastic Lovers (you remember em, :P). 
I left pretty quickly though cuz I had a long walk to make it over to the Whippersnapper Gallery to see By Divine Right. Of course, By Divine Right is better known now for being a band that once featured both Brendan Canning and Feist than anything else, but the now-trio is still a kick-ass indie-pop band. Despite my having very little cash, I would totally have shelled it out for one of their albums if they had had any at merch. 
Next stop: The Horseshoe for Jason Collett. It was great to see the place packed to the brim for the A&C; songwriter’s set. Out of all the BSS guys, Collett is the one I most relate to, as the man is a classicist pop songwriter like myself. The first half of his set was a little slow. He played a lot of new songs but the first two or three he played failed to intrigue. Once he hit, “Charlyn, Angel Of Kensington” though, everything started to pick up. He played more new songs, except these were wayyyyyyy better and he also played “Out Of Time”, which the crowd went nuts for. And by the crowd, I mean me. But yeah, it was great. 
After the longest walk we got to Bo (bassist in Boxes and Bags, co-leader of La Casa Muerte) ‘s new place where a craaaazy jam was going down. We got there around 2ish and just missed Japanther’s set. I was beyond pissed cuz the whole weekend I’d wanted to see Japanther, who played not one show, but like four! And when I heard they were playing at this thing, I figured I’d see em here. And I missed them. Fuck. I did get there in time to see DD/MM/YYYY and their set was great. If you haven’t heard them yet, this upcoming Toronto band plays explosive, arty, multicoloured indie-pop. 
Metz was on after and they sounded good but I wasn’t crazy into their whole hardcore indie shtick. 
Just want to take a second to write about this place. Located around Sterling and Bloor, this place, which has either yet to be given a name or I’ve yet to hear it, looks like an indie-kids wet dream venue. Scruffy, arty, with lights, couches, a makeshift bar in the back, an incredible soundsystem and fucking balloons, I’m labeling Bo’s new place the greatest venue in all of Toronto as of now. It was amazing. 
We left just before Spiral Beach went on because we figured it’d take us long enough to get home at 3:30 and we’d seen those beaches a million times before (thoug
h they’re always great). And yeah, I got home at like 5:30. But what a night and what a NXNE. Great year.