Song of the Day: Pale Waves – New Years Eve

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Manchester 4-piece Pale Waves are back with another single, and you know what, I’m shocked they didn’t make the soundtrack of Stranger Things. Both of them evoke this nostalgic innocent feeling in your heart that just warms you up. Heather Baron-Gracie and one of the characters on Stranger Things also both seem to favor psuedo-goth makeup. It’s a new-wave match made in heaven.

Having released three solid catchy as hell singles this summer, it seems like Pale Waves are on their way to some success. Check them out! They are touring for the first time in North America beginning tomorrow.

Pale Waves 2017 North American Winter Tour

11/12 – Boot & Saddle – Philadelphia, PA
11/13 – Songbyrd – Washington, DC
11/14 – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
11/16 – Baby G – Toronto, ON
11/17 – Cattivo – Pittsburgh, PA
11/18 – Rumba Cafe – Columbus, OH
11/19 – Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
11/20 – Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
11/22 – Lost Lake Lounge – Denver, CO
11/24 – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
11/26 – Sunset Tavern – Seattle, WA
11/27 – Fox Cabaret – Vancouver, BC
11/29 – Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA
12/01 – House of Blues Voodoo Room – San Diego, CA
12/02 – The Moroccan – Los Angeles, CA
12/03 – Valley Bar – Phoenix, AZ
12/04 – The Perch – El Paso, TX
12/06 – Three Links – Dallas, TX
12/07 – Stubbs Jr – Austin, TX
12/08 – Rudyard’s – Houston, TX
12/09 – Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA

Concert Review: Shout Out Louds, November 6,Mod Club

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One of the more well known lines of lyrics from the Shout Out Louds comes from one of their most famous singles:

“Let’s call this a come back!”

As I stood there, revisiting a band I’ve seen three previous times, I was wondering … is this a comeback?

The Swedish pop band recently released their fifth record Ease My Mind, their first in four years. In indie-music timeline that’s like 12 years. The buzz hasn’t been large even though the album is solid. This was reflected Monday night as a half packed Mod Club greeted the band. Comparing it to their last show, which was a rather packed Opera House, you had to be just slightly disappointed at the turnout. Time, however, is unforgiving.

Despite what I assumed was a disappointing crowd, the group took the stage and enthusiastically introduced the group to their new stuff with the track “Paola”. For the uninformed, this was like meeting an old friend. Warm tones, pleasant arrangements and also a dash of that undeniable Swedish pop touch. The new stuff, just like the old, is full of hooks that make you go hmm, this is good.

Obviously the older tracks were the ones that got the crowd going, with the undeniable beeps and boops of “The Comeback” signalling the start of the “hits” phase of the show. Man, that track is fucking good. “Tonight I Have to Leave it” was the epic point of the night, with lead singer Adam Olenius venturing into the crowd, urging people to “give love”. It might seem a bit pre-meditated (he did the same thing at the Opera House show) but in times like these, a positive message is always appreciated. I was particularly pleased that they played (closed) with the track “Impossible,” which has got to be one of my favorite tracks of the ’00s. Say what you want, ending the show with your best song is NEVER a bad idea.

For better or worse, Shout Out Louds have never really left the warm space they have created since 2007’s amazing record Our Ill Wills. While some can see it as a self imposed limitation, I think their music fills a particularly nice indie-pop niche. There’s always a space for nicely arranged hook filled pop music and on Monday night, the Shout Out Louds was a great example of that.

Concert Review: Black Kids, October 30, The Garrison

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“We are glad to be back in Toronto! It’s been … a minute”

I almost detected a note of disappointment or resentment when Black Kids front man Reggie Youngblood said this during their comeback show at the Garrison on Monday night. That quote made me think of Flight of the Navigator, an ’80s movie with this amazing poster:


In this movie, a little kid falls into a creek, wakes up a few minutes later and realizes it’s actually 8 years later. The reason? He actually went on board a space ship for a few minutes but because of the space-time continuum, those minutes actually played out to years in Earth time. It’s also mentioned in Interstellar but why reference that when you can reference an obscure ’80s movie? Anyways the kid finds that everything has changed around him and has difficulty adjusting.

The quote reminded me of that movie because, in a way, it’s only been a minute since Black Kids released their debut album Partie Traumatic to much acclaim and popularity, yet the world has changed so much since. Let’s take a trip back down memory lane. Black Kids exploded onto the scene about ten years ago with a bevy of fun pop singles that were perfectly tailored to indie dance floors. People loved indie music. People loved gang vocals. They sold out the Phoenix if I recall. The world was theirs.

Only it wasn’t.

No idea what happened, but the group faded from the scene and so it was to much surprise that they released a new album this year. Rookie is their sophomore effort and it’s a solid album, full of a lot of the fun elements that made everyone like them so much a full decade ago. Yet the band only played to half capacity at the Garrison. No longer the fresh face on the block, the world that Black Kids came back to is rather different. Yet it’s only been a minute.

Now that I’ve got my wide reaching and probably incorrectly written theory out of the way, the show itself was very enjoyable. The group excels at danceable songs and the new record fully supports that. The show was heavy on new material as one would expect, and the small but enthusiastic crowd had a fun time dancing and jumping around to the tunes. One girl actually spelled out IFFY (a song on their new record) like one would do when the Village People sing YMCA. It was rather charming. One of the great things about seeing a band that time might have forgotten is the act of rediscovery and it made me realize how good some of the songs from Partie Traumatic are. It speaks volumes that I still knew the lyrics to “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You”. For their part, the band seemed to have a great time. Maybe this is a new beginning. I’m sure the fans at the show would hope so.

Concert Review: Yoko and the Oh No’s, Jukebox the Ghost, October 29, Lincoln Hall

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HalloQueen. What is it? How do we celebrate? Is it recurring? Will there be costumes? Candy? Dancing? Ghosts?

In order: Jukebox the Ghost’s made up holiday. By watching Ben Thornewill channel Freddie Mercury onstage and rock a sweet ‘stache. Yes. Yes. No (unfortunately). Yes. Yes.

For the third year in a row, Jukebox the Ghost celebrated their very own holiday – HalloQueen. The night started with Yoko and the Oh No’s, a perennial Chicago favorite. Lead singer Max Goldstein was sporting a red mullet and some thick, thick blue eyeshadow. The svelte David Bowie look-alike crooned his way through Bowie favorites “Starman” and “Space Oddity.” Love.

Next up was Jukebox. The trio crooned, cavorted, and capered their way through “Hollywood”, “Good Day”, “Schizophrenic”, and a new song about growing old and getting boring (not that I would know anything about that. #yolotilten.) Jukebox explained that they would be finishing up their set, stepping aside for a costume contest, and then Queen would take the stage. The trio talked about what an honor and a dream come true it was to be opening for the Mr. Freddie Mercury himself. A great guy, but apparently pretty hard to understand with the accent and all.

Mr. Bowie was back for the Halloween costume contest. While Buddy the Elf made a good show, the prize eventually went to Ms. Amelia Earhart.

And then Queen took the stage! Starting things off with “We Will Rock You”, Mr. Mercury and his thick, luxurious mustache dominated the stage (although at one point he couldn’t quite remember the lyrics to his own song. Weird.) Hitting so many high notes (literally and metaphorically) including “Bicycle Race” and “Under Pressure”, Queen hit all their highlights. Happy Halloween to us.