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Toronto by way of Montreal hardrock act Yamantaka//Sonic Titan have been getting a lot of love lately. First the Japanese noh-wave rockers had their debut shortlisted for this year’s Polaris Prize. Then, they signed to local indie heavyweight Paper Bag Records. Now the collective are indicating that they plan on unleashing a brand spanking new rock opera at Pop Montreal this fall.

In preparation, the band have released a new single via the Adult Swim Single Series. 

View artists exemplify the communal spirit of community radio and the Canadian arts scene in general, like Rich Aucoin. The Halifax native recently released his beyond excellent full-length debut, We’re All Dying to Live, recruiting over 500 Canadian musicians and artists to participate in the project. You can read the full-story about the album’s creation here, and watch the lo-fi nostalgia of his new video for album stand-out “It” below. You won’t regret it.

Foo Fighters fit on the top shelf of modern alternative rock music today and Wasting Light, their seventh album, is their best one yet. All of the band’s previous six albums went platinum or gold. But only the first two were represent the grungy alternative rock band for which the band garnered mass recognition. Wasting Light is the first real evidence that the group are regaining their original momentum by going back to the grungy garage sound. Returning to fold after years on the periphery, Pat Smear’s punk rock guitar sound is clearly heard on stand out track “White Limo.” Other highlights include “I Should Have Known” and “Dear Rosemary” for which the band collaborated with legendary Hüsker Dü and Sugar guitarist Bob Mould and finds frontman Dave Grohl working with former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic for the first time in a decade and a half.

I have a lot of respect for the amount of work on the songwriting aspect of their career. This is the sound of a band going back to their roots to find a new groove in common ground. Wasting Light shows what the band are all about: making catchy modern day rock and roll for the long haired fans of the grunge scene grown up from the nineties. It also shows that the band is keeping their minds open by using new collaborations and ideas to maintain their image in the spotlight and appeal to even more fans. Wasting Light proves Foo Fighters are far from finished their musical journey. – Alejandro Espinoza

“White Limo”

On first glance, Regina Spektor seems pretty much like any other “folk” artist – a mild mannered singer referencing the environment and politics. But she’s so much more than that.

Her lyrics, which can be observant, blunt, funny, and nostalgic, don’t always match the musical sentiment as lines like “Sea is just the weather version of the skies” from “Folding Chair” or “Someone next door is fucking to one of my songs!” from new track “Bobbing for Apples” show. She looks at the world in unique ways,  pointing out things we didn’t notice even though we were all looking at the same thing.

Her latest release, Regina Spektor: Live in London, displays a nice selection of her catalogue, as well as three previously unreleased tracks: the aforementioned “Bobbing for Apples” as well as “Silly Eye Colour Generalizations,” and “Love, You are a Whore.” Her music is upbeat and she certainly isn’t using a voice machine to record her songs as her live performance displays. She sings wonderfully, but stays loyal to the sound found on the records. The only difference here is that it is recorded live from a stage and not in a studio. Overall I would consider “Live in London”  a nice capture of her music live. – Nicole Rubacha

“Folding Chairs”

It’s been said that art should reflect the era in which it was created, that it should act as a bookmark in history. With wars wagged and fought, poverty and joblessness hitting record numbers, a world facing a recession and the revolutionary event of an African-American United States president, the world as we know it has changed drastically. Even still, Wake Up is just that.

Wake Up does this amazing job of drawing from the triumphant and politically-charged music of the 1960s and 1970s to bookmark our current times. The songs were specifically chosen by John Legend and the Roots’ iconic drummer, Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson, for their relevance and then played live in the Roots definitive Philadelphia hip-hop style.

On songs like “Hard Times”  – a cover of  Baby Huey & the Babysitters’ 1971 song –  ?uestlove’s drumming sets the mood for Black Thought to summarize the desperation of our economic times. Meanwhile, “I Can’t Write Left Handed,” Bill Withers 1973 anthem for a soldier shot in the Vietnam War, the Roots’ guitarist Kirk Douglas changes the original’s tone from sympathetic to absolutely triumphant. Combined with John Legend’s voice, you get this song that pulls you in to the story of a wounded soldier, and then ignites your soul for his courage and his struggle. Every song on this album contains a very valuable message.

John Legend’s voice belongs on an album like this. At times he reminds you of Marvin Gaye in his rawness and intensity. With the legendary Roots behind him, these covers sound like new songs created with for our time, something rare for a cover album. Wake Up is a must have album for anyone that enjoys live, positive and soulful music. – Orrett Morris

“Wake Up Everybody”

Elaborate wizardry is inherent in pop music; it’s a genre built on giving semi-fresh perspectives to topics that 95% of the world’s 13-29 year-olds deal with on a regular basis. Needless to say, pop music these days has become rather disingenuous, even for pop. It has all the sugar and only half the fizz as good ol’ days.

Robyn, is an exception to all that. She makes honest pop music, filled with heart and drenched in all the synths you could ever want. Arguably the best thing out of Sweden since ABBA, Robyn found success early at 15 when she released her first album Robyn Is Here. Now, 14 years later, and Robyn has founded her own label, Konichiwa Records (which she is the only artist that is/ever will be signed to), and is doing things on her own terms.

Body Talk Pt. 1 is the first of three records set for release this year. For those familiar with her last album, and her work with Royksopp and fellow Swede Klas Åhlund, Body Talk is a natural progression. Her heart-felt electro-pop sound is never more evident than on “Dancing on My Own”, the first single, about seeing her lover with someone else in the club. “Dancehall Queen,” my personal favourite, is a reggae-inspired track from famed DJ/producer Diplo. Another standout is “Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa”, a haunting yet beautiful, Swedish folk song. Given the tone of the record, “Jag Vet En Dejlig Rosa” is an oddly natural ending to this eight track offering. There’s really nothing bad to say about the album, other than the fact that I wish it was a bit longer. – Candice B.

“Dancing On My Own”

Local heroes Broken Social Scene are actively promoting a fan-made video for their track “Meet Me In the Basement” from their very excellent Forgiveness Rock Record.  They say:

This video was made as a response to the G20 Summit in Toronto June, 2010.
The rest speaks for itself.
It was sent to us by a lover of our music who wants to remain anonymous.
We are very proud to share this mash-up with you.
– Broken Social Scene

The vid chronicles one of the most fucked up summers on memory as anarchist douche-bags broke our city and the police, in turn, broke it’s citizens. Check out the paranoia-inducing video below.

Back on April 9, CHRY had the pleasure of hosting Toronto singer songwriter Peirson Ross for an hour long performance and interview with programmer Madeleine Alderson . Ross was kind enough to play three tracks for us, including a pretty damn fantastic cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne,” the video of which is posted below.

Every once in a while you get two goof-balls who decide to collaborate and record energetic and up-beat music. I think it’s safe to say that when Josh Reichmann and Sebastien Grainger come together there is no chance of a dull moment.

Hence, Bad Tits.

With a band named as such, a 7”/digital EP entitled Garbage Night, and an album cover consisting of what is clearly to be perceived as…well, garbage, one can only imagine a horrific sound without any previous knowledge of the individual artists. However, their music is actually not that “bad,” but rather, as I’d like to think, exciting and fun.

The duo formed back in ’09 when Toronto was in the midst of a very unpleasant garbage strike. The city may have reeked badly but the band’s tracks, “Reincarnate Yourself” and “No Skin” (available to stream on the band’s MySpace page), will definitely funkify your ears. “Reincarnate Yourself” will get your hands drumming, feet tapping, and head bobbing whereas “No Skin” will give you something to dance and sing to.

The band just released their first music video for “Bankok Hilton,” featuring beautiful women in 50’s styled hair-dos, short skirts, tight tops, and… dancing ducks? Yep, it only seems right with a band like this. Garbage Night, which drops this June on Hand Drawn Dracula Records is a must have for this summer.

Bad Tits. Trashy cover. Good tunes. – Andrika De Lanerolle

“Bankok Hilton”