NXNE Review: Inlet Sound, June 16, The Detour

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Toronto – My Thursday night at NXNE started at the Detour with Toronto/Hamilton-based Inlet Sound. Despite my many visits to Kensington market, this was my very first time at this tightly packed club. It was a cool little spot; a great place to see a band in an intimate setting. The first thing I noticed was that I was surrounded mostly by young things; many of them seemed to have  just barely crested the 20 year mark. The crowd was so young that a young woman behind me exclaimed, “I feel so old here!”, after which her friend intervened “and she’s only 26!”. Needless to say, this crowd made me feel pretty old.

“I feel really old here!” – 26-year old concert goer

There was something about the music snippet on the NXNE website that had really attracted me to this band. Their studio sounds evoked happy feelings. They had a good variety of instrumentation, including mandolins and violins, and presented a catchy east-coast vibe. I was surprised to find out that the architects of this sound were bare-footed baby-faced young’uns. They played a set of catchy music and have a promising sound. A few more years on the road will definitely help these guys cross the studio/live show divide.

Lost Boys by Inlet Sound

NXNE Review: Jess Hill, June 15, Painted Lady

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, North By Northeast | 1 Comment

Toronto – Ahhh NXNE, my favourite Toronto festival for pure random music discovery. Like CMW, it’s one of those festivals that I enjoy planning my itinerary on the fly. I love to choose a venue or an act to focus my night on, and then largely cast myself to the wind and see where I end up. This year found me at the Painted Lady for opening night.

I arrived for Vancouver-based Jess Hill, a singer-songwriter with a country & blues feel. Her set started with some laid-back tunes. While enjoyable, from the back of the room, her voice sounded muted, maybe even a little mousey. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I can only surmise that like a church pipe organ, Jess’ voice just needed some warm up time before she could let loose.

“[talking about a song she wrote for her dad] … My dad complains about two things: that I don’t play this song enough, and that I talk too much” – Jess Hill

About twenty minutes into the set, it became very clear to me that this young lady had an impressive set of pipes. She could growl like June Carter (of Johnny Cash fame), and I mean that in the best possible way. Her stage banter was cute, if a little rambling, but she also displayed some tongue-in-cheek self-awareness. It was friendly, fun, and great way to open the festival.

NXNE Song of the Day 2: Tomboyfriends – Almost/Always

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Toronto – Known for putting forth campy glam rock concerts, this track from Toronto’s Tomboyfriend seems to channel Of Montreal’s talking but kinda singing vocal deliveries and then infusing it with Canadian rock sensibilities. It is off their 2010 release Don’t Go To School which I have not heard, but based on this one song, the band seems rather promising. Check it out.

Tomboyfriend plays at Midnight on Thursday, June 16th at the El Mocambo (upstairs)

Almost Always – Tomboyfriend by In the Soil

Song of the (Earth) Day/NXNE Preview: Art Brut – Lost Weekend

Posted on by Ricky in North By Northeast, Song of the Day | Leave a comment

art brut

Toronto – You thought we forgot didn’t you? This might be Good Friday, but here at the Chinese blog factory known as The Panic Manual, there are simply no days off.

I love Art Brut. When they first came around in 2005, they sounded so fresh and there was no way you could listen to songs like “My Little Brother” and “Emily Kane” and not sing along. They have a new album out this year, called Brilliant! Tragic!. Produced by Pixies front man Frank Black, this new album sees Eddie Argos attempt a different sort of vocal delivery – singing? I’m not quite sure – it’s more restrained than his usual shouting ways but what remains completely awesome is the memorable lyrics that usually define an Art Brut song.

The first single off this album is called Lost Weekend, which features some of the new Eddie Argos delivery along with a wicked guitar riff. Art Brut now has a song called “Good Weekend,” “Bad Weekend,” and now “Lost Weekend.” Check it out.

They are playing the Mod Club for NXNE on June 17th.