Class of 2014

The top 5 indie bands from the Class of 2014 in Toronto

At the beginning of each new year, The Silver Dollar hosts a show series featuring a selection of fresh bands that stand out as the best bets to rise above the rest in the indie ranks. The Class of 2014 series will fill up the Silver Dollar on five separate dates: January 3rd, 11th, 17th, 18th, and 24th. How can you trust that these bands are any better than the terrible noise rockers that jam in the basement of your apartment complex?

Put your faith in Toronto's indie scene saviour, Dan Burke, who has collaborated with Wavelength Music Series, Silent Shout, Arts & Crafts' Aaron Miller, and the hardcore scene's Mark Pesci to book the most promising acts. The Silver Dollar understands that you spent all your money on hard liquor to help you through the holidays, so these shows stay in the $7 range. Each installment of the Class of 2014 will have a totally different vibe, with wicked new talent from a wide array of genres. The highlights below are definitely worth checking out - in a year from now, you'll be able to say "I knew them when."

Alex Calder
Kicking off the series will be Montreal-based composer Alex Calder, singing his washed-out vocals over a lo-fi grumble of basic drums and tinny guitar. The 23-year-old played drums in Mac DeMarco's band Makeout Videotape and has since explored his own songwriting skills on his self-recorded EP, Time. Critics are paying close attention, he's been reviewed by Pitchfork, Exclaim, and a whole slew of other music blogs. This year he set a fast pace for himself, releasing new songs and videos, touring throughout Canada and the US, keeping in touch with fans... and even recording an anime make-up tutorial vid.

Fresh Snow
The Wavelength curated show on January 11th will have Toronto favourites Fresh Snow performing their synth and guitar powered instrumentals. This July, they released their debut full length "I" to a whirlwind of positive reviews, quickly turning these guys into what I'd call Toronto hometown sweethearts, cause just about everyone named them as a band to watch. Year end lists reflected that, we named them in our top albums of the year, and Gray Owl, The Toronto Star, The Grid, Torontoist, and NOW all had similar things to say. In December, they graced the cover of NOW before taking part in Long Winter. They will keep it coming in 2014.

In collaboration with Silent Shout, The Class of 2014's third installment will feature two Toronto teens that make up the soul/rap duo, Bizzarh. Their one-of-a-kind cosmic hip-hop sound has gained them a ton of attention, and their freshness to the scene makes this act that much more promising. They released Soft Porn EP in the summer, and followed it up by hosting underground late-night parties known as Aftershock. You might have seen them at Wavelength's Outdoor Music Festival, or when they took over Wrongbar for NXNE earlier this year.

Red Mass
This band does things a little differently. The Montreal-based rock band is an ever changing collaborative project that brings together artists and musicians from all over the world. Their creations are influenced by punk, rock'n'roll, roots, metal, folk, pop and experimental music. Their roster is only growing as their releases become more and more frequent, and they're quickly racking up festival and blog cred. On January 18th they will pack onto the Silver Dollar stage for the punk/hardcore edition of Class of 2014.

Akua's solo career is off to a promising start, having received musical comparisons to Rhye and Jessie Ware, and opened for Katy B, Solange and Cody ChesnuTT. She spent 2012 making herself seen and heard at NXNE, Pop Montreal , CMW and Tinderbox Music Festival. Following that, 2013 saw the debut of One's Company EP, which caught the attention Pigeons & Planes, Okayplayer, MTV Iggy, Exclaim!, Yours Truly, IndieShuffle and Earmilk. Her future is bright, she'll keep things rolling by touring her EP this year while working on a collection of new material.

Photo of Bizzarh via Jah Grey

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