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5 breakout bands from Toronto in 2012: #1 Bahamas

Posted by Aldrin Taroy / March 23, 2012

BahamasOver the last few weeks we've been taking a look at local bands that are on verge of breaking out in 2012. For our final instalment, we present Bahamas.

Who is Bahamas?

Bahamas is the solo project and stage name of Afie Jurvanen, a Toronto-based musician who has worked with many local acts, most notably as piano and guitar player for Feist. Bahama's 2009 album Pink Strat earned Jurvanen a Juno nomination in 2010. This year, Bahamas returns with Barchords, an album that stands apart from the rest in 2012 on account of its lush atmosphere, highly-imaginative lyrics, and Jurvanen's inventive strands of guitar picking.

Sounds like...

"Barchords are the simplest way to get an idea across. They're used in country and jazz and punk rock and they're straightforward and powerful," says Jurvanen, "I guess I like those ideas representing the album. I suppose I was trying to continue the guitar theme from my last record too, just to further embrace the instrument and, ultimately, celebrate it."

The name Bahamas evokes a getaway and — if you let them — the songs on Barchords will transport you. Tales of heartache and loneliness are bittersweet in Jurvanen's hands. Take the album's arresting opener "Lost in the Light:" the spirit of its melody wanders with a dreamy, drifting quality.

The ticking "Time and Time Again" plays like a waiting game with an exhalation and sigh from Jurvanen and the caress of his guitar. And on "Never Again," he reaches for the moon, repeating "never again" as a pledge to everlasting love and echoes of deepening drums graze and bewilder.

Jurvanen unleashes it all on the scrappy and rich "Your Sweet Touch" — one of the album's standout tracks — where the wails of his guitar recall the wild, soulful notes that brush Feist's rampant "Sea Lion Woman".

Worth keeping an eye on because...

If you enjoyed Doug Paisley's folk record Constant Companion or Bry Webb's Provider, then you'll love Barchords, which falls somewhere in between (with a little mix of M Ward). Find some time to discover Bahamas and listen to Barchords, an LP that could earn the earnest and comforting Jurvanen some serious time in the spotlight.

Previously in the series:

Photo by Dave Gillespie

A big thanks to the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic for sponsoring the long hours of listening to music, attending gigs and chatting up groupies that went into writing this post.



Zzzzz / March 23, 2012 at 03:40 pm
D. B. / March 23, 2012 at 05:27 pm
I really dig Bahamas - I saw him play several years back and was really blown away by him playing and casual presence.

Another band EVERYONE in Toronto should check out is Whaletooth. Another up-and-coming indie-pop band that has one of the best live shows - packed with energy and musicianship.
J / March 23, 2012 at 05:32 pm
dude is so so talented
such an incredible guitar player.
Jenny / March 23, 2012 at 11:33 pm
Wow, what a find. Thanks for sharing such a great artist with the rest of us.
yash / March 24, 2012 at 07:35 pm
Kool artist but I wish to see him live
Tori / April 19, 2012 at 09:20 am
Sounds like Jack Johnson!
Charlie Bateson / April 21, 2012 at 02:40 am
I saw Bahamas in London at the saint pancras old church. It was all acoustic, him and two singers candle lit with no amplification. About 70 to 100 in pews. Spellbinding. Probably the best gig I have ever seen and I only discovered his music two days before. I'm still a bit speechless to be honest! Toronto seems to be a hotbed of musical genius!
Gen / August 24, 2012 at 12:17 am
Saw him tonight on Conan...I love them instantly...
Daniel / September 19, 2012 at 12:01 am
I saw him tonight in Philadelphia, and he was really excellent. I think the most accurate way to describe him is this:

He is Bill Callahan from Smog if Bill Callahan was a little more lively, then he meets up with an especially inspired Dirty Projectors to provide backup vocals and complicated riffs, then the influence of Chuck Berry comes in. His live show was even better than the album.
Jonathan replying to a comment from Daniel / September 21, 2012 at 03:44 am
Holy Mackerel,
That Daniel guy is right on the money.
Junie / September 21, 2012 at 11:54 am
Just discovered Bahamas through CBC radio! Love it!!

I know the Eaton Centre just launched a live music series featuring local artists. I think the next several sessions will focus on Canada Walk of Fame artists. Check this link out for a short clip, this girl has a really sweeet, soothing voice/songs:
paul / December 13, 2012 at 07:56 pm
i had remonition that the world will bring bad ice falls and do alot of damage top the earths crust in 2012 so BEWare folks! im a sceptic and a believer.get cover wherever u can ....this is not a joke@!!
airn / January 13, 2013 at 01:49 pm
I can't get enough of this music. Great melodies, love his voice. On constant repeat, THANKS for the music, Afie.
laurie / September 23, 2013 at 05:08 pm
I seen yea's at Farm Aid Loved you's.
laurie / September 23, 2013 at 05:08 pm
I seen yea's at Farm Aid Loved you's.
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