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Toronto concerts this February pack in infectious pop, stadium (Arcadium!) rock stars, and politically incisive rap to help get you through these difficult times (you can take that to mean whatâs currently in the news, or Valentineâs Day - many sources of dread to choose from).
And even though city officials - and/or 4chan? - seem firm on killing our joy, a.k.a DIY venues, there are still a few indie gems in the mix, at least for now.
Two quirky and California-based songwriters, Cate Le Bon and Tim Presley are constantly joined at the hip; they teamed up as freeform-pop band DRINKS a couple years ago and have continued to leave marks on each other’s solo endeavours since. A joint tour brings them to the Velvet Underground.
Yasiin Bey seems to have made good on threats to retire, but fellow Black Star founder Talib Kweli is set on staying active. The conscious rapper recently announced a collaboration with The LOX’s Styles P entitled The Seven and is heading on tour in its honour with Kweli protege K’Valentine.
The rising chanteuse experienced major personal growth in 2016, which she’s continuing to expand on by penning a new column about her life over at Noisey. Musically, it appears the cycle of big-league English debut Roses is winding down, but not before she can put on one more display of booming, evocative pop at the Danforth.
Well brahs, we now live in a universe where Anthony Kiedis literally saved a baby’s life during a taping of Carpool Karaoke, so any snark I might’ve had about the Peps being irrelevant is effectively void. Let your unabashed funk fandom free at the ACC this month as they continue promo for Danger Mouse-manned LP The Getaway.
This Montreal noise crew loudly threw off the shackles of the music industry last year with Drool Sucker, the first in a planned series of no-rules EPs. The next in the series is nigh - CREEP will be out in February - so they’ll hit up The Baby G to tease it, with T.O. bands Mimico and Sprawls joining the party.
Pleasence Records has been key in fostering the best parts of Toronto’s weird music underbelly for about seven years. This artfully curated evening at the Music Gallery features some current signees: a solo set from ex-AIDS Wolf guitarist Alexander Moskos, the melted-cassette sounds of ZONES and extreme vocal experimenter Doom Tickler.
The recently resurfaced duo just played the Horseshoe in the fall, but are now doing a legit, full-blown tour in light of their long-awaited new LP out this past Friday. Craig Finn of The Hold Steady comes through as the opener - he’ll also release a new solo album this spring.
Montreal post-punks Ought have earned heaps of love in their short lifespan, but frontman Tim Darcy is already scratching the solo itch. His soon-to-be-released album sounds like it’ll take on smoother, folksier territory that Ought’s pointed riffage usually wouldn’t allow.
Now that she’s cornered the market on vaguely depressing/horny pop anthems and got stuck in your head on countless occasions, it’s time to check out Tove Lo in person. This is the kind of gig that usually winds up somewhere like REBEL, but thank your lucky stars you get to go to beautiful Massey instead.
Speaking of being thankful, bless Killer Mike and El-P for turning around another batch of fearless, intelligent, motivating hip-hop in the wake of America’s swift demise (and that batch is free by the way - hit their website for the download). Head to the Danforth to get amped enough for the revolution.
This L.A. trio is young to the music world and on the cusp of their first full-length, but get them on your radar now. Their slick, moody synthpop, ideal for fans of The xx or Chvrches, is thoughtful, inclusive and most importantly, catchy as hell.
Georgia has a rep for sludgy prog metal (see: Mastodon, Baroness), but Withered are an interesting divergence; they sound more like they forged their stuff in a frozen Norwegian forest than the American south. Anyway, like most Georgian metal, it rips. Assail your ears when they take over Coalition with Immortal Bird, Vile Creature and Klarg.
Lead photo by
Brian Morton. Writing by Shazia Khan.
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