Song of the Day: New Starts – Asbestos Roof

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“Asbestos Roof” is the latest single from New Starts, a new band featuring former Hefner frontman Darren Hayman. As it turns out, New Starts is a fitting name for the band, as Hayman made a conscious decision to be open and collaborative and to take a different approach when making the album (or a new start, if you will), essentially employing the George Costanza strategy of doing the opposite of what your instincts tell you to do. As Hayman explains,

Even though I wrote all the songs, I wanted the songs to belong to everyone during arrangement. I decided that I would say ‘yes’ to every suggestion from the band, regardless of my instinct.

New Starts’ debut album More Break-up Songs is due out on August 16 via Fika Recordings. Check out the video for “Asbestos Roof” below.

Song of the Day: Los Bitchos – Don’t Change

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“Don’t Change” is the latest single from London’s Los Bitchos, taken from their upcoming second album Talkie Talkie, out August 30 via City Slang. And, quite frankly, it’s a blast. Check it out.

Memorable Shows at The Phoenix

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It was announced this week that The Phoenix Concert Theatre was either closing or moving somewhere due to Condo development or something. After 33 years in the same spot, the venue is set to close its doors in January of 2025.

Anyone who enjoys live music in Toronto has been to The Phoenix, which, if we were to be honest with ourselves, was kind of just a meh venue. It was situated in a slightly out of the way spot, the sightlines at the back were trash and for some reason they would swap the male and female bathrooms sometimes depending on the show. Either way, it was still a place where many memorable shows took place. Here are a few of mine, in no particular order.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs/TV on the Radio (2004)
Yeah Yeah Yeahs were touring for their debut record Fever to Tell and, as you can imagine, this show was awesome. I had just moved to Toronto like a year before and I had never seen anyone perform live like Karen O did. It was also notable because it was someone in TV on The Radio’s birthday and they brought out a cake and sang Happy Birthday after.

PJ Harvey (2004)
This show was memorable to me because the Phoenix on Friday/Saturdays would have early shows for concerts, meaning they ended at 9pm. This is because at 9pm all the clubbers come and do whatever they do. For me, PJ Harvey playing an early show on this October night allowed me to pull off a double show – PJ Harvey at the Phoenix from 7 to 9, and then the Libertines at the Opera House from 10 to midnight. What a great night of concert going.

The Beautiful South (2006)
This show was memorable because I was an idiot and didn’t know the show started at 8pm. I arrived at 9:30 after a soccer game to just hear the last song and the encore. They never toured Toronto again. Sad times

James (2008)
The first time I encountered a James live show. They are amazing live – every song is a singalong and you just get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside whenever you see James live. Can’t wait for their show in October. This was a memorable one because it was just an awesome show and I remember my friend Mark saying afterwards, “I wish I knew their songs more.”

Manic Street Preachers (2009)
My first Manic Street Preachers experience. It was hard to believe they can fill Wembley in London and they come over here and play the Phoenix. The crowd was great and the band was great. This was one of my favorite shows ever, and the last song – “A Design For Life” – where James climbed the speakers and sang along with an adoring crowd is still etched in my mind to this day.

The xx (2009/2010)
Hot off the heels of their stunning debut album, The xx chose the worst possible venue to play their music. They were paired with Friendly Fires, who were also gaining popularity but had a completely different vibe. The mish mash of bands and a very chatty crowd resulted in an uneven debut performance. Still, it was the first time we saw The xx, who have since gone on to much more spectacular things.

What were your favorite shows at the Phoenix?

Song of the Day: 7ebra – Normal Song

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“Normal Song” is the latest single from Malmö-based sister duo 7ebra, out now via PNKSLM Recordings. Check it out.

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