Toronto music blogs that break music to the masses
Toronto music blogs, and the bloggers that run them, can be thanked for exposing music lovers to many new and ground-breaking musicians that have surfaced over the years. Although there are many blogs posting amazing concert reviews, there's a smaller, more select group that devotes themselves to tirelessly seeking out the latest tunes.
Here's my list of noteworthy Toronto-based blogs that introduce up-and-coming music.
Chart Attack originally started off as an online magazine in the early '90s. In the broadest sense, the website exists to bring you independent, alternative music. Having said that, they're always posting music that pushes the limits of its genre. With a team of roughly five main contributors, each member has something different to add, creating a sense of diversity in the site's content.
Posts have featured artists such as Daughn Gibson, The Shins and DIIV. Aside from featuring new music, they have recently introduced interviews with artists such as J. Tillman, a former Fleet Foxes member.
Blake Shoji, founder and editor of Earmilk started off as a computational physics student at the University of Waterloo. After realizing that there was no chemistry between him and university life, he started Earmilk, a blog that features new and upcoming music across all genres. The layout has been recently redesigned, making it easier for music lovers to navigate through specific genres, some of which I didn't know even existed (witch-house and post-dubstep, for example).
One of the unique features on the website is the integrated music player located at the top of the website. There are daily features that have single posts dedicated to a certain theme. All in all, this Toronto-based website has dozens of writers from across the United States and Canada, and an impressive range of musical diversity.
Before Tristan, the editor-in-chief, was hustling music, he was hustling as a bank teller. As a break from his bank life, he started Sidewalk Hustle and was later joined by his girlfriend. Having grown up in Toronto in the '90s, he's always had a love for hip hop. However, he doesn't limit himself to the genre--expect everything from Diamond Rings to Quadron to Die Antwoord.
They recently put together the Saint Motel show at the Horseshoe and every so often they set up collaborative events with clothing brands. They'll also be officially representing Virgin at the Osheaga festival. As for what's on Tristan's iTunes? He recently added Frank Ocean's "Pyramids," and a random shuffle yielded A$AP Rocky's "Goldy."
Friends with Both Arms
Nada, the founder of Friends With Both Arms has gone from doing showcases for SXSW to hosting secret shows where artists perform for a small crowd in a living room. Despite her busy life, she's been maintaining the music blog since 2009. If you're into dad-rock, indie-folk, experimental - to name a few - this is your go-to blog. Lately she's had a preference towards female musicians such as Francoise Hardy.
Rather than doing typical artist interviews, she's had guest artists create exclusive mixtapes for the blog. This not only offers more insight into what the artists are listening to, but also creates exposure for the artists themselves. To get a feel of what music to expect from this blog, some of her postings include songs by Family Band, Bowerbirds, Cate Le Bon and others.
Indie Music Filter
Rather than bombarding his friends with e-mails about new bands and shows, Chris Budd directed his energy towards launching Indie Music Filter. His eclectic tastes include indie-rock, electronic, folk, shoegaze, post-rock and more. If you can't dedicate yourself to making a regular habit of visiting the website, check out his monthly playlists. The posts are concise, focusing on key tracks, videos and artist, and encouraging readers to seek out more information about interesting artists. Recent posts include songs by Los Encantados, Trails and Ways, and The Echo Friendly.
Gold Soundz began as Grubtunes: a blog started in 2007 to enhance Marc's writing skills, with the bonus of keeping his friends up to date with new tunes. Recently, he's been posting mainly shoegaze music, with songs by Hellaluya, GoodWolf and Western Affairs. Rather than fluffing up the music reviews, the content is to the point and he tells it as it is. Despite having a preference for shoegaze, his most played song is "Dilly" by Band of Horses and the first song to come up on iTunes when shuffled was "Richtung Shicksal" by Broilers.
This year will mark the ten-year anniversary of Chromewaves. In that ten year span, the blog has been featured in many lists - "Best Music Blogs" by Eye Magazine, "100 Greatest Websites" by FHM Australia, "English Canada's Best Arts & Entertainment Blogs" by the CBC, and more. Frank Y holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Waterloo but is currently a web developer at a major Canadian newspaper - he's also the site's primary contributor, and his musical tastes steer towards indie rock, such as Saint Etienne. The site offers not only upcoming show listings, but also the chance to preview an artist's music before attending the show.
Photo by Tomitheos in the blogTO Flickr pool