canadian music week

CMW Review: It It Anita, May 10, Supermarket

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Playing as part of the early evening Bonsound Booking Bash show at Supermarket, Belgian noise rockers It It Anita put on a show that was hard to ignore. I don’t just mean that their performance was brash and in your face, alternately noisy and melodic, (it was) but also that it was literally hard to ignore – these guys play loud.

The Liege-based band lists the likes of Fugazi, Metz, Sonic Youth, and Pavement as influences and the sonic touchstones of all of those acts were definitely there in their sound – the way that the members traded off vocals within songs especially brought Fugazi’s live dynamic to mind – though there was also a definite Sabbath-meets-post-rock vibe to one extended number they did near the end of their set.

With the band setting up onstage in a configuration wherein all the members were facing each other as they played, it was almost like you were sitting in on an intimate session in the band’s practice space rather than a show. That intimacy worked in their favour and made for a memorable show.

CMW Review: Slow, The Dirty Nil, May 9, The Phoenix

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Midway through their set at The Phoenix as part of Canadian Music Week, Slow singer Tom Anselmi introduced their song “Have Not Been The Same” as “a classic from the annals of Canadian rock history.” The statement was meant to be somewhat self deprecating but was also kind of true – “Have Not Been The Same” is definitely a cult classic among Canadian rock fans of a certain age, a groundbreaking and influential enough tune to make it the namesake of Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995, a book which detailed the development of the Canadian alternative rock scene of the 1980s and 1990s, thus cementing their place in CanRock history.

On the other hand, Slow, while beloved by fans, never reached the same level of fame and notoriety of some of the other bands featured in that book, which might account for the sparse turnout at The Phoenix on Wednesday night. Though the band may never have reached a certain level of fame, they certainly helped to pave the way for later bands such as openers Single Mothers and The Dirty Nil. Sadly, many of the fans who showed up for those bands weren’t really all that interested in seeing a bunch of old timers, making it seem almost like two different shows in the same venue on the same night. A few of the youngsters stuck around, but there were definitely no moshpits happening for the headliners.

While they may have overshot a little on the size of the venue, Slow still put on a fun show and Anselmi’s still a great, engaging, energetic frontman. Perhaps because they’ve been away for so long, the band played like a band maybe half their age, still displaying some of the attitude that inspired their infamous Expo ’86 performance. And though they didn’t quite get the same type of youthfully exuberant fan response as The Dirty Nil did for their set, Slow still put on a show that absolutely satisfied the dedicated fans who stuck around.

CMW Review: Japanese Breakfast, April 20 & 22, Silver Dollar

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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On the first night of their three night residency at the Silver Dollar, Japanese Breakfast put on a thoroughly entertaining show, playing various tracks from their latest, Psychopomp, along with a number of new songs from the band’s upcoming album, reportedly due out this summer and described by Michelle Zauner as a failed concept album. Of the new stuff, the best of the bunch was the closing number, a song about falling in love with a robot that featured a spoken word intro and autotune effects throughout. As sci-fi concepts go, it puts the band in the company of the likes of ELO or The Alan Parsons Project, which is a good thing in my books.

That first show was impresive enough that I ventured out a couple of days later for their final night at the Silver Dollar and while the setlist was similar, featuring favourites such as “In Heaven” and “Everybody Wants To Love You” (“This song is about oral sex. Pay attention.”) as well as the aforementioned robot love song, the band also ended their set with a version of The Cranberries’ “Dreams,” described by Zauner as “a cover for the old people.”

Earlier that night, Zauner gave a shoutout to opener Liam Betson, who she referred to as her favourite Toronto musician. “Drake is my second favourite,” she added, describing how she tries to imitate his swagger, specifically the way he calls audience members out with an “I see you.” While she claimed she wasn’t at that level yet since she gets too shy, Zauner is nevertheless an engaging, energetic frontwoman, commanding the crowds’ attention.

Though Zauner admitted that it was “a lot of pressure to play three shows in the same place,” it was clear that by the end of their three night run, the band had made a memorable impact. Mentioning how they had come through twice before as an opening act at the Horseshoe, she asked if anyone there that night had been to those shows. “Thank you for coming out again,” she said. “It’s our time to fucking shine.”

I couldn’t agree more.

CMW Song Of The Day: Yi – Not So Dead

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week, Song of the Day | Leave a comment

Yi is the collaborative effort of Jordan Allen of Rolemodel and Jesse Crowe of Beliefs.

The pair started writing together in winter of 2015 and the end results were a pair of EPs, fittingly titled EP1 and EP2. According to band’s bio, EP1 embodies “the quiet of winter pushing forward into the waking of the spring,” which seems a fairly accurate description of the Dinosaur Jr-esque “Not So Dead.” Meanwhile, EP2 will deal with “the frantic energy autumn presents.” EP1 will be released April 14th via Hand Drawn Dracula.

Yi will be playing the Silver Dollar on April 20th alongside Teagan Johnston ,Luna Li, The Seams, Japanese Breakfast, and Heaven For Real.