Cuff the Duke

New in Toronto Music: Cuff the Duke, Dress Rehearsal, Mad Ones, The Micronite Filters, The Bicycles

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Last night I happened to pass a young man on the sidewalk as we were headed in separate directions. I'm not one to eavesdrop (most people are boring), but I couldn't help but overhear him during the few seconds we crossed paths. He was rather ineloquently pleading with someone, judging by his tone a lover, to spend the night with him. His voice was raised, not in anger but in that certain desperation one gets at 3 a.m. when he realizes that he's left the bar alone and that the only way to keep warm is an old spark.

A humbled person is a binary, either they're to be held in esteem or to act as a punchline. I had to laugh as he rolled off his slurred pleas and broken promises, and, almost immediately, empathy welled up in my heart for the the poor sleepy person on the other end of the phone who had to deal with all this shit. What's interesting is that the same sentiment, more or less, is at play in the new Cuff the Duke single "Stay" except it's enormously well articulated and romantic. So today I pay testament to the power of music. In this first example we hear its powers to take the punchline away for a greater truth.

Dress Rehearsal are originally from St. Mary's. Now, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I have never actually been to St. Mary's, even though I understand it to be a pillar community in Southwestren Ontario, and if I am anything it's a Southwestren Ontarian. And, you know, I've seen the "St. Mary's this way sign" literally hundreds times turning onto Highway 7 after 26 (coming west from the great town of Tavistock) but alas I always turn at Klomps Nursery!

That is, I have never been to St. Mary's until listening to the Dress Rehearsal album Somewhere Under the Weather which, through the power of music, has transported to me to this quaint but vibrant small town community.

Look, I get a little mad sometimes. Whether it be little things like burning my hands while cooking or banging my head on counter doors, or worse, when people biking on sidewalks have the audacity to tell me, a pedestrian, to move out of their way, etc. etc. But the transformative power of music is able to help me deal with my anger so that I'm able to convert this emotion into empathy, which fuels a desire to change.

So, in a sense, we are all Mad Ones. But in a much more specific sense, the Mad Ones are a local toronto band with a great new EP coming out! Let these brave emotional martyrs be the Mad Ones, and you can simply be a fan. Join them at the Horseshoe on February 1st on their "Furever Tour."

Where have all the tough SOBs gone? It's a question I oft ask myself in this ever more timid world. Tough people still exist — certainly ones who could pound me to a pulp and dribble me around like a basketball — but they have funny haircuts and get their muscles from modern gym equipment and various powders. As such, I can't help but feel falsely nostalgic for the days that bruisers roamed the world with potbellies and porkpie hats and chewed on things like matchsticks or blades of grass.

Luckily for me the power of music is able to transport me (emotionally) to this place where old-time tough guys are in a perpetual bar room brawl, smasing bottles over each other's heads, but never kicking one another when they're down. The "Ballad of the Bankers Son" is a beautiful homage to these ways written by the Micronite Filters on their new album Chasing Ghosts. It evokes the grand SOB energy that's so lacking in this world.

As evidenced this week, "the power of music is a curious thing / It makes one man weep and another man sing / Change a hawk to a little white dove/ More than a feeling that's the power of ... music."

Well Huey, I've got one last piece of news for you. The Power of music is so strong it even has the ability to resurrect. For The Bicycles tomb has been altered, the stone has been moved, and the band has risen! We shall all rejoice in their new album Stop Thinking So Much (out April 2nd) and revel in all their glory. In the meantime take the first single "Appalachian Mountain Station" as a covenant.



Hi, Eric here. If you are a Toronto musican, band, promoter, fan or some other person I can't think of off the top of my head related to new music in Toronto, please send me your stuff at (ericboshart [at] blogto [dotcom]).

Photo by Jackman Chiu

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