Bands Spotted: August Edition

It’s August, which means next month is September, which also means summer will be officially over. While we begin to weep for the end of patio and beach season, we have spotted a few bands from our city that have shared some catchy tunes with us this summer. Check out their music below.

The Elwins

unnamed-5

Founded in 2008 when they were just in high school, Matthew Sweeney (vocalist/guitarist), Travis Stokl (drummer), Feurd Moore (keyboard and guitar) and Frankie Figliomeni (bass guitar) combine a fresh energetic pop sound. The band from Keswick, Ontario released their latest EP Play For Keeps releasing a stop motion video for their lead single “So Down Low”. Check it out!

Milo McMahon

unnamed-6

Born and raised in Dublin, the singer made the move to Toronto five years ago in order to focus on his music career before settling in Montreal. After the success of his debut LP, Big City Hustle, McMahon came out with his most recent EP last month, Who I Knew. McMahon describes his music as blending “aspects of alt folk, surf core, and what my treeplanting buddies call screef rock” grabbing inspiration from his “transatlantic upbringing – from my early years in Ireland to my summers plugging trees in northern Canada.” His EP exudes versatility and fun tracks that mix some folk with psychedelic rock.

Johnson Crook

johnsoncrook

This alt-country band is bringing some boot stomping country to Toronto. The members consist of singer/songwriter Noel Johnson and bassist Jared Craig who later brought on Trevor and Nathan Crook to complete Johnson Crook. The band has released two successful singles in February 2015, which is just a preview for their upcoming EP. Take a dive into some country with “Call Me Home” and “Minnedosa Manitoba”.

Spells of Vertigo

sv

Spells of Vertigo released their first EP Soaked last month. The members include Keegan Powell (guitar/vocals), Dan Marranca (bass guitar) and Jon Lubanski (drums). The alternative rock band will play at the Phoenix Theatre on Friday, August 21st for 102.1 Edge Next Big Thing Finale.

On Our Radar: Sofar Sounds Toronto

Crowd at a Sofar Sounds night in Toronto

Ever feel like listening to live music without hearing all the chitter chatter from a big venue? Well, Sofar Sounds brings together music lovers from all over the world in an intimate setting, where the focus lies solely between you and the music. Novella talked to Brandon Lablong, one of the producers of Sofar Sounds Toronto, and talked about how Toronto has responded to the intimate setting shows, the bands that have already performed with Sofar and how you can get exclusively invited to the private shows that are scattered throughout Toronto.

Read about Sofar Sounds Toronto, our first feature for the ‘On Our Radar’ segment, and find out why they top our list.

Tell me a little bit about Sofar Sounds and why you decided to bring it to Toronto.

Brandon: Sofar Sounds Toronto produces secret, invite-only concerts in intimate settings (including people’s living rooms) where dedicated music fans can discover their new favourite sound from both local and international artists. We put on shows once a month, letting members of our mailing list sign up for spots on the first of each month. Admission is limited, with room for 80 people or less, and we frequently sell out within minutes (our waiting list gets pretty long). The show venue is only revealed 24 hours before showtime and guests only find out the featured musicians once they arrive.

Run by a dedicated team of volunteers who are passionate about music, our goal at Sofar Sounds Toronto is to bring a truly unique experience that not only showcases great local and international talent, but also introduce serious music fans to interesting venues and locations around the city they might never have been before.

Is the goal just to work with local bands from our city? Or would you be open to bringing in other local bands from all over the world?

Brandon: We’re very open to welcoming bands from all around the world. Our goal is to provide opportunities for bands to get exposed by the international soundscape and to open the ears of music fans to new sounds from around the globe. Our music selection is like choosing a dish off a menu. There is amazing Canadian cuisine but you’re missing out if you don’t try a new flavour every once in a while.

At each of our shows we have a professional audio technician, photographer and videographers. We produce audio tracks and video for each band that gets put on our international YouTube and SoundCloud pages. Our YouTube channel has over 62,000 subscribers from around the world and is among one of the most highly viewed music channels on YouTube. In March, we actually got a million hits!

I recently interviewed a singer-songwriter from Toronto who has had more luck in Europe. He’s said that the difference between the European audience and Toronto audience is that they actually stop and listen to the music, whereas Toronto treats band nights as a social gathering – people catching up with friends. Do you agree? Do you think Sofar Sounds can change the way Toronto listens to music?

Brandon: It’s funny you say that. One of the comments we get from our bands is how eerie it is to perform to a quiet, attentive audience. I tend to agree though that when people go out to a show, the music might be seen as ambiance more than the attraction. Although, as we’ve seen there is a strong contingent of music lovers who respect the craft and believe going to a concert is no different than walking through an art gallery or seeing a play. I think it largely comes down to value.  If someone values what they are getting, they will give it the attention it deserves. By limiting our attendance and holding back on revealing the venue and artists, we create a stronger demand for the product and therefore more value.

What has been the reaction in Toronto with hosting these music nights in an intimate setting?

Brandon: I think the reaction has generally been good. Having it in an intimate setting creates a very unique way for the audience and the artists to interact.

Which bands have you worked with already? 

Brandon: We’ve had a load of amazing bands already. Our February show featured Bellwoods, Kira May and Art & Woodhouse. Following that we hosted an International Women’s Day show in March with Stacey, Emma Lee and Katy Carswell. Finally, our latest show in April featured AHI, Nick Ferrio, Birds of Bellwoods and Ivory Hours.

How can our readers find out about one of the secret shows?

Brandon: Get on the Sofar Sounds newsletter by visiting sofarsounds.com. Sofar Sounds is now in more than 100 cities and we encourage you to check out a show not only in Toronto but whenever you visit one of these cities.

Anything else you’d like our readers to know?

Brandon: If you want to get involved, beyond attending a show, contact toronto@sofarsounds.com. We are always looking for new bands, people who want to host a show in their space (whether that’s a home or business) and volunteers to help with production.

Catalyst Releases Video for their first single ‘No Obituary’

Catalyst

Catalyst is a new electric heavy melodic rock band to hit the streets of Toronto. Band members consist of Chris Taylor, Mike Tompa, Matt Schmidt, Avery Mocha and Shane Bowley, all of who come from other bands – Kingdoms, Abandon All Ships and Aspire. Last week they released a music video for their first single “No Obituary”, which was self-produced by their guitarist, Mike. This is just a sneak peek of Catalyst’s first EP, which will be released sometime this summer.

The black and white video showcases a raw performance by the band. The powerful vocals, explosive drums and electrifying guitars make for one impressive headbanging rock track. Playing in an abandoned warehouse-type setting shows the band literally rocking out as if no one’s watching. Watch the video below!

Support local music and purchase the single, at your own price, on their Bandcamp.

 

Friday Night Trend is Summer Ready with New Single “Wasted Youth”

Friday Night Trend

Friday Night Trend premiered a video for their new single “Wasted Youth” last week. This upcoming pop/rock band from Toronto is led by Reid Soper. The video was directed by Part & Parcel, which showcases a guy running through the streets of Toronto while the band jams out in a basement.

“We’re looking forward to the coming summer after a long and brutal winter here in Toronto, Canada. This new song is the perfect soundtrack to uninhibited summer nights and a promising sign of things to come. Running, biking, or walking, while the party never stops…Bellwoods Park, Bayfront, streetcars, College Street, Queen Street, all of the neighbourhoods and underpasses…through what seems like the entirety of the city.”

Their new single is summer ready, watch below.

Purchase the single on iTunes and stay tuned for their upcoming album!

Ivory Hours Debuts New Video For “I Won’t”

One of our former Bands Spotted featured artists, Ivory Hours, debuted a new video for their single “I Won’t”. The alt-pop band from London, Ontario features Luke Roes (Vocals, guitar), Chris Levesque (bass) and Thom ‘Tommy Gun’ Perquin.

The dance moves and fans lip singing along to the lyrics exudes a charm that matches perfectly with the single. From the psychedelic flashing lights to the 80s styled close-ups and the slow-motion midair jumping, it definitely has that summer anthem appeal.

“I Won’t” is just a sneak peak into their new anticipated album that’s set to release June 9th. Watch the video below.