Bahamas

5 breakout bands from Toronto in 2012: #1 Bahamas

Over 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.


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