Bands Spotted: February Edition

In the second edition of Bands Spotted, the list of local talent continues to impress. These five bands and singers showcase Toronto’s versatility in the music industry. From jazz to some Nashville influence to piano-pop and even 90s grunge, it’s guaranteed that there’s something that will please all ears. Here are Novella’s top five bands for February.

Tear Away Tusa

Tear Away Tusa: Photo by Austin Gibson

It’s always about bringing something different to the music scene, especially when trying to grab a lasting impression as an up-and-comer. Tear Away Tusa brings a dynamic essence blending jazz, funk, soul and even hip-hop elements to their pop songs. The indie-soul band from Guelph, Ontario consists of Erin Tusa (vocals), Shane Rodak (rhythm guitar), Sam Schwartzbein (guitar), Adam Kurgatnikov (bass), Ely Weisbrot (drums) and Danny Berezowski. Erin’s vocals are soulfully powerful and execute a wide range. The song that’s a personal favourite is We Fall that adds an incredible jazz tune with backup vocals that perfectly compliment Erin’s. They will be playing with another one of Novella’s favourite bands, Ivory Hours, at the Horseshoe Tavern on March 7th. Listen to their EP Into The Digital Age.

Luke Austin Band

Luke Austin Band

After listening to their single Long Road Home, we can’t wait to hear more from Luke Austin Band. The Toronto-based band adds a touch of Nashville in our vibrant city. Lead vocalist and guitar player Luke Austin wrote the single during a country train tour via Rail Canada, where he performed for train passengers during their trip. The rest of the band members include Kennedy Pollard (Lead Guitar), Bryan Swartz (Bass Guitar) and Mike Ferguson (Drums). Luke’s raspy vocals and the hard-hitting guitar melodies are the true epitome of rock and roll. Stay tuned for their album that’s underway.

Mike Evin

mike evin photo by Emma-Lee
Mike Evin: Photo by Emma-Lee

Mike Evin has recently released his new single Have I Ever Loved from his fifth upcoming full-length album called Life As A Lover. The new single by the singer and songwriter is just a taste of how amazingly uplifting and soulful his music is. His lively vocals combined with the wistful piano add an upbeat element to the heartfelt lyrics. Life As A Lover was produced by JUNO-nominated Howie Beck (Fiest, Walk Off The Earth) and will release later this year. Though he’s from Montreal, he’s now settled in Toronto where he will be playing upcoming shows including one at the Supermarket on February 12th.


KASHKA: Photo by Jason Gordon

Toronto singer/songwriter Kat Burns plays under the name KASHKA. Her last full-length album Bound was released back in 2013 receiving rave reviews and also released an acoustic EP Bones a year later. Burn’s sweet and soft vocals are a pleasure to listen to. She kind of reminds me of a modern take on the popular Irish indie-rock band The Cranberries. Her music blends pop, electronic and folk giving each track from Bound a magnetic energy from start to finish. She will be playing at the Cameron House on February 11th.

Heavy Hearts

Heavy Hearts: Photo by Courtney Michaud

Heavy Hearts released their EP Somewhere A While Ago yesterday. The grunge rock band from Niagara, reminds you of the good old 90s when bands played in their parents’ garage blasting the guitars, drums and powerful vocals. The EP features a glimpse into the band’s small town life with the feeling of “watching those you know move away and grow as individuals while you feel stuck in one place.” Listen to their EP for a good grunge throwback.

Bands Spotted: January Edition

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We have some major talent in this city. With the music scene continuing to flourish, the amazing musicians coming from our neck of the woods will truly have a lasting impact in the music industry. This month, there are five bands on our radar that spark a unique presence with their music whether it’s adding classical strings, electric organs or mixing various genres to create one epic sound. Without further adieu, here are the top five up-and-coming bands that everyone should look out for.

Common Deer

Common Deer is not your average folk band. The Toronto based band creates a unique sound that blends spellbinding classical string instruments with modern day riffs. Members include Graham McLaughlin, Adam Hart-Owens, Liam Farrell, Sheila Hart-Owens and Connor Farrell. They have self-proclaimed their music as Cinematic Alt-Folk, perfectly describing the band’s soulful and powerful strings combined with charming vocals. Common Deer will be performing at 3030 Dundas West for a free show this Saturday, January 17th. They’re definitely worth checking out! Listen to their EP HERE.

Will Hunter Band

This new indie pop/rock band has already opened for some notable Canadian indie bands including The Arkells and Two Hours Traffic. Will, the lead singer, started performing acoustically in Kinsgston, Ontario before expanding the band to create a unique dynamic with Don ‘Pineapple’ on drums, Cam Wyatt on lead guitar, Boris Baker on the bass and Colin Simonds on piano/synth. Will Hunter Band released their first EP called Last Summer in August 2014. When listening to the album, don’t be surprised if it makes you want to stomp your feet to the folk-inspired songs blended with a touch of funk. Last Summer is available for purchase on iTunes. Check out their website and get the band’s latest updates HERE.

Ivory Hours

All the way from London, Ontario, Ivory Hours is definitely a band on our radar. Siblings Luke Roes (guitar) and Annie Roes (piano) are the lead vocalists while Chris Levesque plays bass and Thom ‘Tommy Gun’ Perquin rocks out on the drums. The dreamy alternative pop band released their second EP, Mary, this past summer and it was no doubt the ideal summer road trip playlist. Not only have they played a few music festivals including Lachie Music Festival, but they have also opened up for some notable bands including Sam Roberts Band, Delhi 2 Dublin and Wake Owl. Their next show in Toronto will be at the Horseshoe Tavern on Saturday, March 7th. Read more about this band on their website.

Big Lonely

Indie-rock band from Burlington, Ontario released their first LP called Close Your Eyes, Keep Talking in 2014. Big Lonely band members Jake Heise (vocals, guitar), Cole Mortillaro (drums), T.J Bowman (bass) and Ciarán Downes (vocals, guitar) produce emotional lyrics with eruptive instrumentals. Close Your Eyes, Keep Talking is the ultimate heartbreak album that can be played on repeat because who doesn’t like a good old fashioned breakup song? Their single Dirty Clocks premiered on Exclaim! on November 6th. They will be playing in Toronto Thursday, January 22nd at the Dance Cave. Listen to the LP HERE.

The Medicine Hat

The band from Guelph, Ontario has really created unique powerful music that blends the juxtaposition between biblical sounds from the electric organ to the alternative rock with the classic bass and drums. Band members Nabi Bershe, Aaron Hoffman, Elliott Gwynne, Michael Boyd and Tyler Bersche recorded their debut album Old Bones all over the place including basements, forests, bars, old playgrounds, churches and trains. Visit their website to listen to this epic debut album HERE . Looking forward to hearing some new music from the band in the near future.