See Brighter, Brightest on tour Aug 11 2012
Right For Me is the debut full-length album from Toronto, Ontario’s Brighter Brightest
, and the title alone should tell you everything you need to know about the band. Having played together since they picked up instruments, Brighter Brightest have been forging their own path ever since.
Derek Hoffman (vocals, guitar), Alex Westgate (bass, vocals), Kyle Topping (guitar) and Ryan Mansbridge (drums) are childhood friends who found mutual interest and common purpose in music. Together, they have crafted a timeless, yet relevant take on pop/rock rooted in the punk rock scene. The sound has matured along with the members, and has developed into something honest that appeals to an audience beyond their traditional Warped Tour crowd.
“Our relationship with one another is really that of four brothers as opposed to band-mates or friends,” says Hoffman. “We all share the same struggles and triumphs and even though we are all so busy outside of the band, every time we come together we can pick right back up where we left off.”
It is this sense of camaraderie that allows the band to push forward in creating their own opportunities. In the summer of 2010, the band agreed that their next step needed to be a strong full-length record, preferably produced by someone with experience and notoriety. Together, the band pooled the resources to lock in renowned New Jersey based producer Machine, whose previous credits include a broad range of successful artists – from Every Time I Die to Gym Class Heroes, Four Year Strong to Lamb of God – his trademark is taking a band’s own sound and helping them cultivate it. It was this unique approach that appealed to Brighter Brightest. In November of 2010, the band traveled to New Jersey to begin tracking Right For Me. The four band members, and two of their best friends crammed into a single hotel room at the Howard Johnson in Weehawken, spending their days at the Machineshop, and emerged with something they are extremely proud of.
“Going to New Jersey was definitely an amazing experience.” Hoffman remarked. “As the record came together to be what it is now, it was a pretty great feeling.”
Throughout the process of writing and recording the album, the band was followed by a camera crew from the new MuchMusic program “Discovered” (premieres August 16th at 10PM EST). Over the 6 months or so of shooting, the band discussed the challenges, the triumphs and the adversities they faced as friends and as a band throughout the process of making Right For Me. The documentary style show captured the band in their basement jam-space in Aurora writing, rehearsing and fine-tuning the tracks, then followed them to New Jersey for an intimate look at how the record came together in-studio.
With the album completed, the most rewarding feeling for the band is that they have been able to do it all their way, on their own terms. That’s the theme of the album’s title track, which not coincidentally happens to be the bands favourite song from the record.
“Right For Me is about doing what you love and what is right for you, regardless of what others think.” Hoffman explains. “Live your life for yourself, do what you love and love what you do.”
That is a message that they convey to their fans as often as possible, and try to remind themselves of regularly as well.
“As a band, we aren't trying to be anything other than ourselves. We make music that we love and we love sharing it with people. We make music the only way we know how – honestly.”
With their video for the lead single, “Everyday” having seen heavy rotation, MuchMusic’s Discovered program finished and a new video for the song “Right For Me”, the hard work continues for the band.
See The C'mons play Aug 29 2012!
Developing and perfecting something with great care takes a certain kind of patience and desire. When it comes to the art of crafting music that cuts deep, it takes a certain combination of a certain kind of people to dream up sounds and ideas that are in their own way something special. As if overnight, 5 complete strangers ended up at the right place at the right time and set the mold for a new sound as the C’mons
. The perfect combination of completely different people as an alt-rock band from Toronto, ON.
Before the group crossed paths, they were busy finding their own feet. Prior to Toronto, front woman Stephanie Bosch was developing her own sound out West in Edmonton, AB. Crafting music and releasing 3 solo CDs under generous rotation, Steph had already played the 2009 Edmonton Folk Fest, 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and received various grant money which finally gave her the push she needed to move out East.
"I highly encourage you to check her out. Cause she’s good.” Alan Cross,Exploremusic.ca
Settling in Toronto was the real start to things. Playing locally in Toronto, Steph quickly realized there was something missing. After multiple and very random Craigslist hunts, Steph finally met lead guitar player Scott Hanenberg in early 2011. Scott has a more formal background, having studied music at university, and sound recording at a Toronto college. Despite their different approaches, Scott and Stephanie quickly developed a strong chemistry as friends and performers. After a summer of performing with the The Arkayo, the two made a choice to branch off together, longing to find others who shared this same connection.
After taking a couple of months off to talk about the direction they were headed, Scott and Steph stumbled upon drummer Cory Snider. Cory – a jazz-influenced drummer fresh out of StFX University – was just the fit they needed. Attending school for music was something Cory and Scott both shared. Scott, a Queen’s University graduate also shared an extensive musical background. It was then the trio started to notice how their perfect combination of differences made them so special.
Then came knocking someone completely from left field. A chance decision to re-enter the world of music brought to the band a well-rounded veteran of the Toronto music scene and the anchor the group needed – Jamie McDowell. Similar to Stephanie, Jamie has little musical training, but won the group over with his ability to use his bass as an extension of his thoughts. Excited, the group started working away and lined up a series of local shows within weeks of forming.
Still, something was missing and the puzzle was not quite complete. Then Scott invited Roslyn Green out to rehearsal. Armed with her violin and an open mind for adding another layer to their rock-infused upbeat flow, Roslyn stepped in as the final piece of the puzzle. With a rich classical background, Roslyn was quick to pick up keys and start performing with the group.
Finally: the perfect combination of the perfect kind of people. The C’mons hit the ground running and quickly recorded a 3-song EP in the spring of 2012. Performing at Canadian Music Week and NXNE, the newly formed group has been working hard to share their music with any ear they can. This summer, they played Toronto Pride (alongside the parade) and have more upcoming shows through this summer and into the fall.
Now that you know a little more about where they come from, it’s important that you hear what they’re all about. Anyone who has ever seen them perform live can tell you: a C’mons show is for the folks who like to stomp their feet, clap their hands and dance their asses off. With an interesting mesh of personalities and style, these guys aim to please… and surely deliver.
He has been hugely buzzed about since releasing his mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra (2011), nabbing him first place on the BBC’s “Sound of 2012” list. Recently garnering attention with his viral blog-o-sphere letter that arrived a week prior to his digital debut LP release- the letter that openly discussed the artist’s past romantic feelings for someone of the same sex. He pulled off his first television performance on The Jimmy Fallon Show on July 9th without garnering Lana Del Ray levels of infamy, and has collaborated with big names such as Kanye West, Jay-Z, and the Queen B (Beyoncé). I am of course referring to the recent sensation that is Frank Ocean and his first solo record Channel ORANGE (2012).
Ocean’s mix released last year made waves with soulful lyrics and stories about tantalizing encounters layered with fucking, marriage, drug highs, and emotional lows- all the while sampling MGMT’s “Electric Feel” and Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing”. Other key references the mixtape made were to iconic cinema, from director Stantly Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut
(1999), to long running television series Murder She Wrote.
References to iconic motifs were not lost in the artist’s new work, Channel ORANGE
Ocean plunges into a multiplicity of perspectives as he straddles various worlds of experience. Partying it up one moment with the “Super Rich Kids” who are looking for ‘real love’, a lyrical sample from Mary J. Blige, transitioning then to a hard drug criminal character’s turmoil in, “Crack Rock”. From the sexualized female Queen Cleopatra as the object of Ocean’s affections, to buff jock Forrest Gump who is ‘Runnin’ on my mind boy’. These characters, fictional or not, act as icons for Ocean; visual stand-ins fleshing out the story arcs in his listeners’ minds.
“I do feel more like a visual artist”, says Ocean in his BBC Interview, “… when I pull from that place, it comes along with pictures. When I am trying to make a song, even the form of it, even the part that doesn’t have words… it is still really trying to make a photograph out of something you can never see” (BBC Sound Of 2012)
Ocean reaches to craft plot structures with his repertoire of elegant words, involving listeners in his story telling. In songs “Lost” and “Pilot Jones” he describes characters that couldn’t help but be seduced into metaphysical drug trips where sobriety was an unexciting option. We are privy in the latter half of the album to Ocean’s more obviously personal struggles of the heart in songs like “Bad Religion”, where, like his Tumblr letter, transparently reveal the havoc reeked by romantic desire as he sings, ‘If it brings me to my knees/ it’s a bad religion/ oh unrequited love… it’s a bad religion/ to be in love with someone who could never love you’.
His soulful sound is comparable to that of John Legend, who Ocean has written for in the past. Also present are elements of N.E.R.D (surprise, surprise- Pharrell Williams gets credit on the album), mixed with his own seductive charisma. The record plays like one who is channel surfing, getting a glimpse into a new story with every click of the remote. However, instead of this being a dissonant distraction, it is a testament to Ocean’s talent in his ability to create such diverse stories that are engaging and continue to resonate when the songs are over.
Though we would be foolish not to see the Tumblr letter as what it is, a chance to drum up publicity for the release, acknowledging this isn’t necessarily a negative reflection of Ocean or the work. To do so would detract from the fact that Ocean is talented. His debut album and mix tape before it act as a solid, genuine delivery of that talent.
Top tracks to look out for: Pyramids, Bad Religion, Forrest Gump Channel ORANGE
has officially been available for both digital download and in stores since July 17th, 2012
Frank Ocean played a SOLD OUT show in Toronto @ The Kool Haus Tuesday, July 31st.
_by Michael Natale
The 80’s-pop-synth drenched sound of Brooklyn based musician Twin Shadow, also known as George Lewis Jr. is back with his sophomore album Confess. This sequel to his LP Forget (2010) incorporates many of the same textures as its predecessor with its new wave inspirations, but has progressed in terms of the artist’s conceptual direction.
Tracks from the previous album, “I Can’t Wait” and “Slow” more clearly allude to concepts of tumultuous love that are now palpable throughout this second record.
For this reason, Confess
is an aptly titled album. Lewis Jr.’s entrancing vocals reminisce past experience akin to one reliving scenes shot with a super 8 camera. However, he is not simply regaling listeners of his life story, but rather wrenching lyrics from a place inside of himself that were, until now, known to few. He does so as if clenching through the pain of the past, expensing only those pure emotions amassed in connection to specific memories.
“I Think that everyone for the most part writes about memory” says Lewis Jr. in an interview, “… If it’s about your past, it’s lush and full and has a lot of power” (Pitchfork Media, 2011).
This high stock in the power of memories, and he emotions associated with their particular brand of nostalgia, appear to be what Twin Shadow is after this time around. As opposed to his more scattered first LP, Confess
reveals a clearer mind’s eye vision of scenes retrieved from memory. Clouded haze has been moved aside for more actualized lyrics and vocals that focus attention to pained heartbreak, longing, and loss. Songs like “Run My Heart” send a shot to the living organ in us all, describing a naïve denial of love after suffering, spitting lines like, “You don’t run my heart/ you don’t run my heart so don’t you dare”. Such lyrics are commonplace on the album as if lifted from a John Hughes script.
Many cinematic comparisons have been made to Twin Shadow’s music. It is hard not to with tracks like, “When the Movie’s Over”, which self-implicate associations of the artist’s music to that of 35mm positive filmstrip. In line with this rhetoric, can we not say that his new release breaks the conventions of the sequel not living up to the original? –Well, I’m saying it.
Top tracks to look out for: Run My Heart, Patient, You Call Me On
Confess has been available for digital download and in stores since July 10th
Twin Shadow and his motorcycle attire descend on Toronto later this month, playing two shows @ Lee’s Palace July 30th and 31st.
You should probably be there…
by Michael Natale
Toronto is a far cry from the beaches of California, but Best Coast
’s show at the Phoenix Concert Theater this past weekend, Jul 21st brought lead singer Bethany Cosentino and her counterpart Bobb Bruno’s
usually warm and fuzzy love-in for their west coast home to the Canadian north. Fans and critics alike were quick to weigh in over the change up from the light, lo-fi fuzz-pop of the band’s first disc, Crazy For You
(2010) to the higher quality production and melancholic emotions on their recent release, The Only Place
(2012). Not met with instant praise when it dropped this past May, the live performance of the new material fit well into Best Coast’s repertoire of 60’s sing-song melodies better than expected.
The opener, Those Darlins, a southern garage rock band from Tennessee were both energetic and charismatic in spite of their Kiss meets Freddy Krueger inspired ensembles. They knew how to work the stage, jamming with tunes reminiscent of Best Coast, but possess a much grittier disposition. They were a complementary entre to the upcoming main course.
Best Coast began their set with classics like, “The End” and “Goodbye”, encapsulating the turbulent high-low-high-school-like dramatics of angst ridden youth in love. Consentino led into their new disc’s efforts announcing track “Last Year”, which marked the band’s subtly new lyrical direction, commenting on the confusion and struggles of change over time. The new record’s direction deals with more complex issues, inviting audiences into the cracks beneath the sunshine and dried veneer of hairspray while still diluting its despair with a return to simplistically relatable lyrics. Though the new work has not surpassed the original, touching performances of tracks, “No One Like You” (which Consentino dedicated to Toronto), and “Up All Night” were well integrated into the lineup of old hits like, “Our Deal” and “Boyfriend” that closed the show. Also we can’t forget the band’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Storms”. This was beautiful in knowing Consentino’s love for Fleetwood, but reeked a bit of egoist promotion of their involvement in the upcoming Fleetwood Mac tribute album. Overall, Best Coast’s new material seemed to benefit greatly from a live performance as opposed to the recently weak studio release.
The band have crafted a simplicity complementary to their sound, not taking themselves too seriously while still delivering potency. Though The Only Place
might not have been a knock out of the park as a sophomore record, it has at the very least avoided getting lost in overindulgent ambiguity that is noxiously common in the indie scene.
Consentino’s vocals are the best they have ever been. Her personality charming (even trying on a Toronto Jay’s cap belonging to her bassist), while Bobb’s more modest stage presence remained awkward yet endearing. Combined, the duo’s passionate performances connect to their devoted fan base. This devotion is surmised not only from those roaring in praise, mouthing EVERY lyric, but also from those who’s awkward canter was actually genuine dancing. One gentleman in particular decided to leapt on stage for a solo shimmy. Such a tether to one’s fans is something every band should aspire to weave, bridging from stage to audience through their craft.
You probably should have been there…
___by Michael Natale
At the Drake on Sunday, the opening band was a one man show by Vancouver born and raised, Teen Daze
. His set-up looked simple and his stage presence evoked a humble feeling. This was the set I was anticipating, and initially came out to see. Each song carries a low-fi and soft electronic build-up. The songs are essentially what you would imagine a name like “Teen Daze” would entail, except the daze part leads to gazing just as much as swaying. I was able to check out Teen Daze through Hype Machine and several music blogs. After this, I was lucky enough to discover the true talent at the sometimes underrated Drake Hotel Underground. As the opening for an incredible lineup I was highly impressed by the sounds. I love the way the venue is set up downstairs, underneath the hotel with couches located at the side of the venue. The space in front of the stage was not occupied, which seemed to rattle Teen Daze during the first song of his performance -- completely understandable. His presence seemed reluctant, and once he spoke and suggested people to move in closer for the experience, the set instantly escalated. There was an element that elevated us to really experience his music, and I was digging it. The songs progressed gradually, and dreamy waves of chil-ectronic were heard for the most part.
This style of music is emerging into a lot of music today, and the sounds Teen Daze has shared online and in his live performance, were just such a refreshing reminder as to why it is expanding. I came to see Teen Daze the same way I saw Grimes last summer, where I was unexpectedly blown away by her NXNE performance at an underground venue. On this night, Teen Daze's music has a twinkling vibe that almost seems like visual sounds as much as any sound really. It feels like the potential for this artist to expand online is quite big and real, if you consider what happened to Grimes -- not long ago her video views were in the mid thousands and are now in the millions -- I could see Teen Daze reaching this kind of audience, too.
I believe the next time Teen Daze takes the road to Toronto, you and whoever else should experience the lo-fi synth that Canadian music has been mastering. His debut LP All of Us Together
has been released since May 22, 2012. It will surely be played for when I want to unwind or experience a bit of lucid dreaming here and there.
___by Elizabeth Kahn
Coldplay LIVE at the ACC July 23 2012
On July 23, 2012 Coldplay took Toronto by storm in the way only such a supergroup can, on the first of a two-night scheduled appearance here in the city. Smearing the ACC with their trademark sing-along dance-along heart-felt songs, fluorescent Xylo Myloto-inspired confetti and wristbands -- they totally brought the stadium and loyal crowd to life -- and we were fortunately there to capture it all!With opening sets by the wonderful Emile Sande and Marina & The Diamonds.
BANDS: We The Kings
, Blood on the Dance Floor
, Miss May I
, Of Mice & Men
, Breathe Carolina
, New Found Glory
, Pierce The Veil
, & Taking Back Sunday
DATE: July 15, 2012
VENUE: Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
PHOTOG: Matt Klopot
livemusicTO chats with producer/dj Morgan Page at Edge Fest 2012 about his beginnings as a EDM artist back in college and his Grammy nominations. Also how he came to collaborate with Canadian artists like deadmau5 & Tegan and Sara and what's new and exciting in his career.
livemusicTO Chats with Ash and Jay from U.S.S. at Edge Fest 2012 about their early beginnings as a band, local media, winning over new fans, and staying kind.