Tuesday, January 3, 2017

How The Strumbella's Gained Me As A Fan (In Under Fifteen Minutes)

Just as the title would imply, I recently got to see The Strumbella's live at the Danforth theatre.

For three songs.

Two of which, were the encore.

One of which, was Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.

You see, a few months ago I purchased tickets simply due to the fact that they were 15 a pop.

Pretty good deal, right?

Well, considering I'm an impulsive ticket buyer, and do so frequently, I forgot entirely, and the show fell on a day I was working.

A hop, skip, and a boat ride away and somehow we ended up at the show just as the band was closing with Spirits.

And not only did I show up incredibly late, but I also happened to have purchased All Ages tickets at 2 in the afternoon, which, at the time, I didn't realize meant half the audience would be roughly 5 to 8 years old. Which would explain why they played Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer as their final song.

So, although I was late and surrounded by children and their hipster parents (decked out in the snazziest suspenders, flannel, and groomed beards, I may add), The Strumbella's are quite the charismatic bunch.

I really fell in love with their optimism and sincere connection with their crowd. They made everyone in the room feel as though they were one heart of music, beating simultaneously. And let's face it, any band that can impress you in under 15 minutes must be pretty damn impressive.

I can only imagine how exciting and lively the group would be full show and during the 19+ at night; especially at a venue as nice as the Danforth, with it's descending stadium and ample size (not ginormous, and not incredibly tiny).

Not to mention, Simon Wards voice is exactly, if not even better, live, as it is on record. A lively voice with just the right amount of integrity and emotion one could want in a vocalist.

So my recommendation would definitely be to check out a Strumbella's gig next time they're in town.

Just make sure you buy the right tickets... and remember buying them.



Thursday, December 29, 2016

Why I Love The Drums (The Indie Pop Band, Not The Instrument)

Do you like synthy, 80s themed, happy-sad, British-sounding bands?

Well then I have just the thing for you.

Emanating The Smiths and/or The Cure vibes, The Drums is one of my new favourite bands.

Fronted by the enigmatic and charismatic Jonny Pierce, The Drums is an Indie Pop band originating in Brooklyn, and they are fantastical.

With the upbeat resonating sounds of Jacob Graham's synthesizer, Adam Kessler's cheeky electric guitar (up until late 2010), Connor Hanwick's sanguine drums (Until 2014), and Pierce's mysteriously Morrisey styled vocals, the group encompasses the most joyful expressions of sadness and misery.

(Ironically, still called The Drums, the band no longer has a drummer or guitarist as of 2016)

The best way I can describe them are as an artist's artists. And by that, I mean you probably require a background in heavy music listening to truly appreciate it; otherwise it may just sound like a mash of synthesizer modes and incomprehensible lyrics.

I'm really pitching this great, aren't I?

So, I truly hope you can enjoy this band as much as I do, because I'm becoming quite addicted.

The first song I recommend listening to is Best Friend. By far my favourite, Best Friend is not only a perfect description of everything I admire in the band, but is also accompanied by one of my favourite music videos of all time, distinctly just for it's sheer lovability and quirkiness.

The Drums - Best Friend

Other songs I'd recommend trying are Money, I Need A Doctor, Days, and Down By The Water.

Down By The Water was the first song I tried, and to my fault, my conclusion was that they were actually an 80s band. It certainly made me love them.

So enjoy your new band recommendation. More so for me than you, I don't want to think I'm the only person listening to this depressing sh*t at 3am.



Monday, December 19, 2016

Indie Pop Songs Of The Week

It seems as though I have compulsively devised a list of indie songs I found while scouring the depths of Youtube in the wee hours of the morning; and I figure, I am more than compelled to give this list to you.

So if you're in the mood for some sad, melodramatic, synth-y, rock-y, indie, no-name bands, I've got you covered.

(As usual, link to the full playlist will be below)

So there ya' go guys, may your happy attitudes be a reflection of dismal perfection.



Saturday, December 10, 2016

Elysian City's Alternative Christmas Playlist

I've gotta' face the music here everyone (bad pun). It's Christmas time, and just as anyone else over the age of 15 is, I'm freaking the f*ck out.

Maybe it's the endless list of people you have to buy age appropriate, relationship appropriate, expense appropriate gifts for, maybe it's the endless tidying to keep the Christmas decorations looking festive, or maybe it's the horrific anticipation of the dreaded, and inevitable family dinner.

Whatever it is, it f*cking sucks.

I mean jeez, can't we just spend time with the people we care about and enjoy a few days off work?

Why does December have to be an entire month of constant gut-churning panic?

I don't have an answer for you.

I do however, have a playlist for you.

Because hey, we need to get some enjoyment out of this. And I'm sure you, like everyone else, is sick of hearing either the typical Christmas classics (Que. "Santa Baby") or Ariana Grande's lame excuse to make some cash off of a holiday she doesn't even celebrate.

And without further adieu (even though I know you love listening to me rant), here's a playlist of alternative songs for Christmas time.

So there ya' go. Have fun listening to something other than Mariah Carey this season.

God bless Brandon Flowers.



You can listen to the Youtube playlist HERE


You can listen to the Spotify playlist HERE

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mississauga Rapper: John River Review

I find myself quite often only concerned with the adequacy of the band scene in Mississauga and the GTA; alas, today I'll be talking about a local rapper, named John River.

Me? Talking about a rapper?

Who would've thought?

Specifically considering the fact that the only rap/hip hop I listen to consists of artists who were shot sometime between 1985 and 1999.

I know however, that the reason for my distaste doesn't stem from a preference for alternative rock, but from the fact that I believe music should make you feel something. And all too often, rap doesn't make you feel anything anymore. Not like it used to.

I mean, does the line "I got broads in Atlanta, Panda, Panda, Panda, Panda" make you feel something?

Does the line "Frat girls still tryna get even, haters mad for whatever reason, smoke in the air, binge drinking, they lose it when the DJ drops the needle" make you feel for the guy?

No. You sound like f*cking assholes and so what? Cool man; you're messing around with some chicks in Atlanta, do you want a medal or something?

Rappers are too busy nowadays worrying about who can say a line the fastest that they forget being faster doesn't make you better.

They're far too busy trying to make the fucking Billboard 100 by shocking you with their lady repertoire and excessive talk about "f*cking b*tches/making money" that they don't spend any time trying to make the music mean something to them.

In conclusion to the above; John River's music makes you feel something. It makes you feel the pressure and pain he's portraying.

In my personal favourite song, Hope City II, River expresses the stresses of his life as an artist in Mississauga ("'Sauga" if you're cool; but hey, I never said I was).

He portrays a sense of dismay for day-to-day life and the struggle he feels to be the best in such a small industry with such large competition.

My favourite exert from the song (below) details River's realization from meeting his idol, that it would be more in his own favour to be himself rather than attempt to live up to someone else.

"And look, John River used to sound like J. Cole, 
to be honest I was scared and I compared my own flow, 
and his was so much better, 
completely different class, 
in my city I was nice, 
next to him I was trash. 
Until the day came, 
I met him in real life, 
he looked me in the eyes, said 'nigga, you real nice. 
You could be the best, I know it's true' 
he says 'you sound like me, you gotta sound like you' 
I said the rap game was stale and 'you was better than me' 
he says 'you sound like yourself, you could be better than me'" 

And what I love most about this is that I felt it. Almost hypnotizing. From the strength in his voice and the wording, I felt how much what he was saying meant to him. That it isn't about being like the other success's, it's about being your own genre of success.

River has that uniqueness that makes a person stand out from the crowd. He's got that sound and look about him where you just need to hear one song and you'll think "Damn, he's gonna make it.".

Not to mention the song sounds bad*ss and with the video picturing different scenes of the GTA including the Coca-Cola towers (or Marilyn Monroe towers), Nappy's, and Erindale Station Rd, alongside lyricizing the area, it was pretty f*cking awesome.

So thank you John River for making hip hop mean something, when all too often it doesn't anymore.

Check it out and show some love for this local gem guys; you'll be happy you did.