The top 10 Toronto couple bands
Sometimes the very best musical partner also happens to be a romantic partner. You already know you get along (at least for the most part, hopefully!), probably have similar musical interests, and chances are, there's some undeniable chemistry that adds an extra something to the music you make together.
Aww. Cue all the wisecracks of "making beautiful music together" if you must (groan). Sure, there's the risk of couples' quibbles interfering with songs and business, but when it works, it just works. In honour of Valentine's Day coming up (but hold the romantic mush, please!), here are some Toronto-based bands that make some very good music and also happen to consist of couples.
With the perfect mixture of ramshackle sound and witty lyrics, garage rock duo-couple Good Conduct are Lee Fever and Adam Neil, who both take lead vocals and switch between guitar and drums. The duo have one album under their belt, The Best and The Brave, released in 2013 (available via their bandcamp). Look out for their upcoming self-released EP, Bang That Nail in the Coffin at the end of March and a local release show.
Lullabye Arkestra has been part of the Toronto music scene since 2001 and a couple for longer. Drummer Justin Small and bassist Kat Taylor-Small met at the first Wavelength Anniversary and released their first official album, Ampgrave on Montreal's Constellation Records. The married metal/garage rock duo have a daughter named Jolene and interestingly had a limited run of their very own Etnies skate sneakers.
Bluesy rock 'n' roll duo Jamie Fleming and Sarah Kirkpatrick were once a trio, but after their drummer left the band, Sarah - co-vocalist and keyboardist - took over drumming duties as well. Jamie sings lead vocals and plays guitar. Recorded in Memphis, Tennessee at Ardent Studios, the two released This Shakin' House as an official duo in 2014. Unsurprisingly, their old country/Americana-esque sound has garnered some attention in the southern parts of the US.
Whitehorse, Six Shooter Records' married couple darling band currently reside in Hamilton, but were based in Toronto for some time before picking up for Steeltown. The duo even wrote a song about Rob Ford called "Boss Man." Prior to officially collaborating as a band with an actual name, Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland had both already found success as solo artists who sometimes collaborated on one another's albums. Their newest album, Leave No Bridge Left Unburned is out February 17.
Daniela Gesundheit and Dan Goldman are the married duo of Snowblink. Their lovely, chill tunes are sweet and dreamy (their gorgeous, swaying rendition of "Blue Moon" is a personal fave) and self-described as "non-denominational devotional pop." Their most recent album, Inner Classics was released on the Arts & Crafts label in 2012.
CHOBO is Jessica Cho and Benjamin Boles, self-described as "live improvised electronic music." Cho is a classically trained pianist and Boles is a guitarist (and also a music writer) - together they use drum machines, synths, looping pedals to make ambient house music.
The fairly new-to-your-radar Toronto band is duo and couple, singer/songwriter Julie Fader and Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh, backed by Andrew Roy, Dean Stone and Andy Lloyd. Walsh's electronic beats and Fader's lovely, ethereal vocals are atmospheric, night time music. Their forthcoming debut record Reminisce will be released on Hand Drawn Dracula this year in late March.
Feminist queer performance art band, Vag Halen is a force to be reckoned with right now in Toronto's music scene. They're not just a cover band - they purposely perform classic tunes by typical "cock rock" hair bands and kick a lot of ass while doing so. The message is undeniably far different when popular but misogynistic songs are delivered by queer women. The band is fronted by Vanessa Dunn, aka Vee Stun, who is married to Vag Halen's bassist Katie Ritchie, formerly of The Organ.
Dancey synthpop group Dragonette are probably the most commercially well-known band on this list. The trio is comprised of singer Martina Sorbara, bassist Dan Kurtz (also of The New Deal) and drummer Joel Stouffer - Sorbara and Kurtz are the married couple. Since their debut album Galore (which produced the catchy-as-heck single "I Get Around"), Dragonette has released two more albums, a remix album and gained worldwide popularity.
Synth/electropop duo Prince Innocence are Josh McIntyre and Talvi Faustmann. Initially a long-distance couple and band (McIntyre was in Toronto; Faustmann was studying in Montreal), Prince Innocence are now living together in Toronto. Vocalist Faustmann writes the lyrics and melodies, and is also in charge of the band's visual aesthetic. McIntyre, also known as the mastermind behind Little Girls is the producer. Together, their dreamy songscapes are mesmerizing and captivating.
Slim Twig and U.S. Girls
Max Turnbull (aka Slim Twig) and Meghan Remy (aka U.S. Girls) have their own respective bands/projects, run Calico Corp., their own label together, collaborate musically (Slim Twig produced U.S. Girls' album Gem) AND they've formed a new band together with Simone TB, Carlyn Bezic and Amanda Crist called Darlene Shrugg. Oh yeah, and they're married. Pretty sure this is the exact definition of "having it all."
Who did we miss? Add your suggestions in the comments.
Photo by Brian Morton
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