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The top 5 Toronto bands to watch in 2014

Posted by Aubrey Jax / December 29, 2013

Toronto bands to watch in 2014The top 5 Toronto bands to watch in 2014 will be the ones to play the year's must see shows, and release must-listen albums. Some of these acts might be on your radar already, but it's about time you took them seriously. This year a ton of bands and artists from near and far will make a name for themselves in Toronto by working hard, making original or hella-tight sounds (maybe even both!) and generally charming fans and media alike into an oblivion of devotion, but for now these are our the projects we're most excited about.

Zoo Owl
Zoo Owl is a new-ish project from Bryan Sutherland (Opopo, Saturns). This is solid electronic pop that should get your pals dancing at the kitchen party pre-drink while squinting at you and saying "what IS this?" Fans of Doldrums - or people who feel like they should like Doldrums at least - should sample this. Chances are you'll like the taste. Catch him at Wavelength 14, and I've heard tell of a cassette wrapped in white leather.

Graze is a collaborative project between Christian Anderson (better known as XI) and Adam Marshall who runs the New Kanada imprint. While the two Toronto natives met in Berlin, Anderson is back in TO, and the now mostly online collaboration has been making waves with the unique, stripped back techno found on their debut Edges (stream it here). Xlr8r loved them at Mutek, and while the album is meeting rave reviews apparently Graze is intended to be a live project, so watch for them in 2014.

Bile Sister
Toronto's weird side is really starting to grow, like psychedelic poison ivy creeping up the wall of your condo. Bile Sister is emerging as a stand out wtf-wave artist - Silent Shout named her track "Reptile Tenaka" as a highlight of the Fruits compilation (which made our top 5 comps of 2013), and Wavelength put the same track on their 100 Essential Canadian Songs From 2013. In 2014 she'll play the Music Gallery with Nifty and - spoiler - those crazy vibrating sub-pac things. Her next release, which will follow up twisted banger Faucet, is due on Healing Power in the new year.

Lido Pimienta
If you didn't notice the sparkle explosion of Lido Pimienta's high energy, posi sound bending in 2013, that's okay, maybe you were busy? Pimienta was Weird Canada's pick for the first All Toronto's Parties, and her track "La Capacidad" was one side of the first limited edition Long Winter 7". Vocals (often in Spanish) evoke the spirit of Bjork or Braids but are also more relaxed and inviting. If you're not playing this at your summer backyard parties this summer you're doing something wrong. Catch her this winter at Class of 2014 and Wavelength 14.

Paradise Animals
Paradise Animals are a group of synth loving Toronto musicians who do this baritone vocals tropical pop thing, a little like LA's Kisses (so good!) with more reverb and gloom - singer Mark Andrade is likely permanently harassed by bad dreams but rises stoically out of bed anyway. Don't compare them to Toronto's spooky pop icons Trust - unless you can't resist. The local darlings in the making are currently in self described hibernation while finishing up their debut album, due in 2014. For now, you can check out their 2013 EP on Bandcamp.

Photo of Lido Pimienta via Facebook



Mariam / December 29, 2013 at 01:49 pm
no shy kids?
Jesse / December 29, 2013 at 05:28 pm
As a member of a newer band that has intellectual lyrics that stand for something. We play passionate, energetic music coupled with engaging, amusing and well executed live shows.
The promoters we work with really enjoy us, and book us regularly.
One thing I feel that is often, and unintentionally, over looked by professional blogs and writers of the "best of" lists are the bands that play the small bars that are filled with energy and personality. Take my band, JOATMM, for example. We are a punk band that stands for unity and equality.
I invite you to check out our Facebook page and take a listen.
Matt replying to a comment from Jesse / December 29, 2013 at 07:48 pm
In other words: "My mom says I'm cool!"
lukas / December 29, 2013 at 08:10 pm
lido and zooowl yeeeeahhhh
Sad Troll / December 29, 2013 at 09:58 pm
Gobshite / December 29, 2013 at 10:13 pm
Doug Ford & The Slug
blood / December 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm
"people who feel like they should like Doldrums"

i will now retire from everything
D / December 29, 2013 at 10:32 pm
Cool, but surprised KC Roberts & the Live Revolution aren't on the list. Best live band in the City- hands down.
Mario / December 30, 2013 at 02:03 am
m replying to a comment from Jesse / December 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm
Funny you should mention that "JOATMM". I worked at a bar you played at. The show ran a speck late (like most shows do), and one of your band members (pretty sure it was you) spent 20 minutes demanding that we remove the previous band 2 songs into their set (like all "professional" shows would do...), telling me you/he were/was a professional, and calling me everything from "retarded" to "incompetent." I assure you many people in the music industry have taken notice, they just think you're assholes.
Brian / December 30, 2013 at 02:59 pm
they all suck
thanks for wasting my time
Zoo Owl is the worst of all of them
Daniella / December 30, 2013 at 03:11 pm
What about 5th Projekt? They are great!
Eva / December 30, 2013 at 03:13 pm
Similar sounds. Not the same genres, not by any means, but not much variety listed here. Would have been nice to see some more rock, punk, alternative, anything other than this psy-electronic-y stuff. Boo to this article. It doesn't appeal to the masses. Two thumbs way down. I'm not a big pop fan, but Falls (for example) is a great Toronto based band that has a rock-pop sound. They seem to be doing great things. I've heard lots of Toronto bands over 2013, none of which are listed here. Boo.
Fred / December 31, 2013 at 02:46 am
Perhaps the word "The" should be removed.
How about "5 Bands I Will Like in 2014" ?
kjaryap / December 31, 2013 at 12:07 pm
"Would have been nice to see some more rock, punk, alternative"


you have 50 years of this crap to listen, it is not the sound of now or the future :P
Scott / December 31, 2013 at 01:06 pm
Juice is a great band with funky, dance inducing tunes. They should be on this list.
Melissa / December 31, 2013 at 01:47 pm
This list is probably the worst I've seen with bands created by computer synthesizers and repetitive sounds with no kick. I mean let's be weird, because maybe, JUST MAYBE it'll disguise the lack of talent we all have.

And who wrote this article? A judgmental hipster lacking in grammatical skills?

(e.g. "If you're not playing this at your summer backyard parties this summer you're doing something wrong.")

If this is the direction where music is going in, I'm stuffing cotton balls in my years until 2015 that may breathe new hope for Toronto's music industry.

lido pimienta / January 1, 2014 at 11:47 am
Thanks for the mention, it means the world to me.
Much more happening in the new year - lots of bands deserving this attention, we are working on building more community so that the music we are making travels even more.

Much love even to people saying electronic music is obsolete and lacks talent. Without a producer, most rock albums would not be able to be mixed properly and the amount of work and effort building a track using small sounds actually is very complex and requires lots of well...Intelligence.

Thanks again for all of the support and to those in this comment board saying we suck, I really hope one day if you go to my show by chance or for whatever reason, I am able to win your heart over and show you a good time!

But you also dont have to like me, that would be boring, instead maybe let's use our energy and put it to good use, like this website right here: - lets take some time and write letters of support to detainees :)

Much love,
PlainJane / April 13, 2014 at 09:12 pm
The Strumbellas, fresh from their Juno win.
Mark / April 13, 2014 at 09:42 pm
The Balconies! How can you forget them!
M / April 13, 2014 at 10:34 pm
Reenie! Her soul-pop band hits the spot, can't believe they're not here.
Jenny / April 14, 2014 at 01:43 am
seriously guys, haven't u heard about NORWAY???
They have a gig on Wednesday at The Central
J replying to a comment from Jesse / April 14, 2014 at 08:50 am
Punk Band... They suck and attract a very small public. It cannot be compare to a real band that plays music that people actually enjoy and not a bunch of kids scramming and dressed like homeless.
Albert / April 14, 2014 at 09:16 am
The Sea Monsters!!music/c1jmr
lemony-fresh / April 14, 2014 at 05:28 pm
Put off by the fact that all the "bands" on this list are strange electro-synth drum machine vocal groups. Is that really the creative extent of Toronto Music? Where's KC Roberts and The Live Revolution, Blackburn, Not the Moon? Really disappointing article...

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