The Power of Three
Off a well-lit alleyway just north of Wellington Street, Spin Galactic‘s redesigned historic space is equally appealing as the highlighted items on the social club’s snack menu. Between the beaming pillars of the cement floored loft, sit a dozen top-lit ping pong tables and a few die hard players — pints in hand — leisurely moving about the room. Behind a semi-private, bleached panel-wood partition, opened enough for discreet speculation from onlookers, you’ll find an Olympic size table, sofa space for 10, and a handful of paddles reserved for the next big match. A gentle voice heard in the background — programmed perfectly to the occasion — bellows comfort and carries the spring of local acumen. Affirming not only Spin’s hospitable touch, but is the perfect soundtrack to watch her (sometimes) colleague, waltz down the stairs and quietly find his place at the bar.
For Toronto-born drummer Justin Peroff, calling King West “The Dubai of Toronto” is no stretch of the imagination, let alone insult to its culture. The streets are littered with fashion-forward professional types, magnetized to booth service and car dealerships, and young money whose concerns can be measured by the size of their pets or questionable savvy when it comes to the disposal of their four-legged friends ‘fury’ so to speak. Enclaved by “hip town” (Queen West), “905 Haven” (Toronto’s club district), and “No Man’s Land” (tomorrow’s East Liberty Village), advertising pedlars, investment junkies, and life sci grads from the country, are the typical residents of this bricks and mordar built neighbourhood. It’s a nightlife lost and found for GTA limo drivers and is thinly scaved by only a handful of homicides; locals here are loyal to Jimmy’s coffee, and everyone has an in at the Spoke Club. Some of the city’s most gorgeous residential architecture hides beyond the alleys, only discoverable by foot though. And monuments like Spice Route or Cheval are slighted only by high-brow entertainment professionals on visit from Berlin. But, provided you’ll pay for it, world class DJs are spinning just about any day of the week around here and in general, it’s a pretty hot crowd you’d be fortunate to rub shoulders with.
Over the last few years solo projects have become an increasingly popular way for Canadian talent to explore their artistic potential (Alexisonfire, The Dears, Tragically Hip), although for Eight and a Half, ‘collective creation’ is the bonding ingredient freshening each member’s artistic careers. And regardless of the (no longer) pending release from The Stills and the release of Forgiveness Rock Record last year, Eight and a Half committed themselves to the band’s self-titled debut long before anyone really knew of tangible meaning behind it.
Allyson Baker has ‘figuratively’ been around the rock and roll block. Having been a part of the punk and blues-rock scene since the early 90s (once a guitarist for Parchman Farm), this Toronto native decided to break free from the pack and develop her own musical project entitled Dirty Ghosts.
For those who have been tracking Baker’s career, it might have been eyebrow-raising, as Dirty Ghosts and the album ‘Metal Moon’ was a completely different musical direction than she had ever taken. Her husband (Aesop Rock helped out on the production side of things) and other collaborators supported her on the journey as Allyson who spoke to me from her tour in Portland told me, “I made Metal Moon spread out over many years. Originally, this wasn’t made as an album to be released but more as a way for me to try different things and experiment.” Allyson explained to me on the phone that after several years living the ‘rock and roll’ lifestyle in bands, she was starting to feel a bit of a burn out and feel the pressure. She needed a creative outlet and her Dirty Ghosts project was giving her just that. “When I started Dirty Ghosts, it was more about writing the music. I didn’t even have a band, so it was really about how I felt the songs out.”
If you haven’t started listening to Austin-based band White Denim yet, the question is why not? This blues-rock band with garage-rock soul has been making waves all throughout festivals like SXSW and CMJ for over a year now and touring with the likes of Wilco. Clearly, they have built up a bit of cred and fans not just critically.
“D” is out now on Downtown Records (US). White Denim will be playing at the Horseshoe Tavern on April 16. I had the opportunity to grill Steve Terebecki (vocals and bassist) with some tough questions prior to their Toronto date. Take a read below:
There is way more than just being a funny gal when it comes to Debra DiGiovanni. A proud supporter of her fellow comedians, a twin and someone who gives back to charitable causes, Debra spoke to me via the telephone: “You know, I was never popular in high school. I had friends and I made them laugh. But I was never seen as a class clown. It wasn’t until I got into my mid-twenties and I broke out of my parents house and became my own person in Toronto.”
It was from here that Debra discovered her inner funny bone through working the phones at City-TV. She tells me, “When I worked at CITY, they really let you just be the person that you wanted to be. Whoever that was. I really discovered that I did have this funny person inside of me because I got to develop this character, this person over the phones.”
Diamond Rings, aka John O’Regan, has been adding some fierce androgyny to the electro-pop scene for some time now and only now has the Juno Awards stood up and taken notice of him. With the masculine baritone coming out of the mouth of a lip-glossed, eye-shadowed skinny hipster, O’Regan has captured the hearts & nominations of the Juno Committee, having been nominated for a New Artist of the Year award.
I had the chance to speak to Diamond Rings regarding his nomination, his new album and the evolution of Diamond Rings, the fashion forward artist.
Now darker and more poppy than ever, Allie Hughes has returned with an explosive project that will just about blow your mind. Not only is she one of the most talented pop vocalists out of Toronto, captured in the bourgeoning electronic pulse of “I Will Love You More” is an endnote that fans across all genres are craving endlessly – a real toe tapping beat.
It’s no surprise Trust’s sold out show at Wrongbar on Saturday was a heavy night leading into a huge month for music in Toronto. The repetitive drones of “Bulbform” have snuffed youth from typical bubblegum dance parties, and stripped down “Sulk” — the record’s pop tilted single — is a phantomland, descending the local group beyond a typical lightness associated with She & Him like dichotomies. After growing weary of heart-bleeding and hopeful romance from Toronto artists in 2011, Trust deploys cliché expectations of indie-electro bedroom bands and the second the outfit dropped their first beat, hometown was on fire.
Drug addict, felon, actress, model, psychotic, etc. Linsdsay Lohan is quite the character, and no matter how much shit has been said/done to her, the girl holds her head high and pushes through. She’s been booked 5 times in the last 5 years (LOL, no not for her acting), has drug charges against her, drinking and driving charges, broke her parole on more than one occasion, she has restraining orders against her, she’s a thief, she’s a hoarder, and yet still through all her mishaps, 25 year old Lindsay Dee Lohan has an intense cult following.
As progressive as it might sound, Young Empires have made a lasting impression on the bridge of Canadian electro-rock music and being newly signed, they’re bound to continue around the world. Self-saddled as Haute Rock, the Toronto three piece is now zippered by a fourth man, has earned a well-deserved corner on an indie label roster and carries the sound behind an image that no other Canadian artist has achieved to date.
Going from a teen heartthrob to a credible actor with longevity, and ever lasting fame is almost impossible to pull off. Looking back at the 90s their are so many forgotten faces; all the Jonathan’s – Taylor Thomas, Brandis (RIP), and Jackson – The Hanson Bros, Rider Strong, Andrew Keegan, etc. none of which were able to hold on to their level of popularity they once had, but for some being a teen dream was just baby steps. Joshua Jackson, James Van Der Beek, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have all gone on to have very successful careers, and will surely leave a lasting impression in TV/FILM, but still none have reached the level of the crowning king of <3throbs: Leonardo DiCaprio.
It’s 2007, the Ed Banger crew is bigger then anyone ever imagined, kids are getting dirty in clubs doing regretable things, and the white lines are never ending. Everyone is a coke dealer, and everyone is in search of the next next after party; COCAINE IS HUGE. The major driving force behind the white mountain was the blogs. Blogs, such as Discobelle, Big Stereo, Palms Out Sound, Discodust, Risky BizNiz & Fluokids, where major players in hyping, up and coming artists, and keeping people addicted to current and new artists. Everyday you could log onto any of these blogs, and find “leaked” tracks, and if, like myself, you followed these blogs religiously, you we’re always hungry. This form of “blog ADHD” goes hand in hand with having everything now now now, and the music just furthered this notion.
Every city girl wants to stay flossy and fresh to death despite the season. Every city girl has that one person they trust with their everything: hair, nails, brows, hell – teeth. Girls taking getting prepped seriously and men, take note: we have a place for you to impress your ladies for a special day or for an upcoming Valentine’s Day treat.
Nestled in the Rosedale neighbourhood – I found Beauty Bar (1114 Yonge Street). Specializing in all things beauty, including (but not limited to) nail services, Brazilian waxing, skin care and electrolysis. Plus, newly added to the team is Joe in the hair department. I had the opportunity to speak with Sofia and Mimi, two fiercely beautiful ladies who told me they would be able to help me prepare for a night out on the town.
If you’re like me, you’re always struggling at the last minute to find the perfect gift for that special someone in your life. Yeah, you could just get them another pair of socks, but you want something different. Something that is going to leave an impression on them. Something that you could potentially share together.