“I’m Not Alright” goes full tilt deep house for @LoudLuxury with a chill vocal by @BryceVine

LOUD LUXURY and BRYCE VINE, “I’m Not Alright”

“I’m Not Alright” has a lot going forward for it to land it onto dance club playlists and keep the worldwide radio audiences happy who found Toronto’s Loud Luxury (Andrew and Joe) through the massive “Body”.  And with a penchant for including unique vocalists like both brando (“Body”) and Anders (“Love No More”), this time the boys partner with the very chill but always fun Bryce Vine.  I caught Bryce’s show last year and he knows how to captivate an audience with his good-natured, self-deprecating humour.  “I’m Not Alright” sometimes comes off as a close cousin of Milky Chance’s “Stolen Dance”, but with a deep house melody that is also reminiscent of Kungs & Cookin on 3 Burners’ “This Girl”.  Bryce’s voice is often set against a quieter acoustic portion of the song before the bass rhythm kicks in.  While “I’m Not Alright” isn’t quite as easy a sell as “Body”, Loud Luxury have another winner that will please their fans and keep the radio airplay prominent.

“Runway Lights” by Toronto’s @WilsonBowes brims with pop radio potential

WILL BOWES, “Runway Lights”

You’ve already met singer/actor and sometime voice actor Will Bowes through this blog with both his solo songs and his music as singer with the R&B/pop collective called Gold Complex.  “Runway Lights” is his new single and its appealing melody and uplifting lyrics are just what pop radio needs right now in Canada to help cut through a lot of samey-sounding dross.  Will has a rich, soulful and expressive tone which makes every word mean something, and could be a breakout talent to watch this year.  The production is straight-forward and compliments both melody and voice.  Sometimes you can’t ask for more than a pop song that has the goods and “Runway Lights” should do well and perhaps attract attention from beyond Canada in the process.

Will Bowes plays The Drake Hotel in Toronto on Monday, July 22 – see you there!

 

Published in: on July 16, 2019 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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More intriguing alt.rock from new #Toronto duo #Homestead with “Rather Be Friends”

HOMESTEAD, “Rather Be Friends”

If last month’s “Runaway” was an interesting slice of alt.dance music, then “Rather Be Friends”, by Toronto duo Homestead (producer/guitarist Liam DeBoer and vocalist Joël), ups the intrigue ante a few more notches.  You must stick with this one.  The beginning definitely starts off a little slow, but just after the minute mark things start to brew, and electronics creep in.  Then with some change-ups to Joël’s vocal, at times sung/spoken, the mystery of the song starts to reveal itself – who is it that would actually ‘rather be friends’ here?  The last minute of the song is well worth waiting for, as Joël’s vocal totally rocks out and catches you by surprise.  Like with “Runaway”, there’s a lot of mystique in “Rather Be Friends”, but this time it’s more rock-flavoured and could appeal to fans of Toronto’s Edge 102 or Indie-88, where it should find favour on either of their playlists.  I guess we will never entirely know what’s up Liam’s and Joël’s sleeves, and because of this, a few songs in, Homestead as a project has a lot of potential.

Published in: on July 16, 2019 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sweden’s @DimitriVangelis and @Wymanofficial go big and majestic with Toronto’s @Dzekoofficial in “The King”

DIMITRI VANGELIS & WYMAN and DZEKO, “The King”

“The King” is definitely an intriguing instrumental release that will go a long way at festivals.  Swedish duo Dimitri Vangelis and Wyman truly go big and majestic with this one in partnership with my fellow Torontonian, the Juno Award-nominated Dzeko (whose set I got to see back in March in Miami).  “The King” could easily be a set opener, with its sweeping start which leads into a minute and a half of solid A+ trance… and then it comes to a halt, taking its well-paced time to build up again after 40 seconds or so.  If this wasn’t done so right, the audience could easily bail on the song, but one could visualize some kind of royal making his or her pointed and quiet walk, only to raise his/her hands to let the proceedings recommence.  And so, let the crowd go wild for the rest of the song’s 3:29.  “The King” is one unique song for the electronic dance music world so be prepared to hear it all summer and into the winter festival months.

Toronto’s @RiverTiber returns with gentle, soulful alt.pop of “Taurus”

RIVER TIBER, “Taurus”

There have only been a handful of songs released by Toronto’s River Tiber since the acclaimed Indigo album a few years back.  Multi-instrumentalist Tommy Paxton-Beesley must definitely have a few cards up his sleeves to help guide us where he is going next after an album full of hip hop and electronic influences that showed he can tackle any style and succeed.  So with “Taurus” – and I do understand Tommy falls under that sun sign – we have a gentle, soulful alt.pop song with some folk influences that seems to bring out in its lyrics some common traits of a Taurean – being committed and resolute.  There are no drums here, just guitar, bass and piano, all of which are played by Tommy, with ever-able assistance from long time pal Justin Nozuka, who also sings backup vocals.  So while “Taurus” goes down easy, it does make you wonder what’s coming, always worth the wait in the evolution of River Tiber.

Published in: on May 26, 2019 at 10:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Toronto’s @NikkisWives offers imaginative new single “Real Girl”

NIKKI’S WIVES, “Real Girl”

Toronto trio Nikki’s Wives continue with singles to preview their next EP or album with “Real Girl”.  It’s about the public’s perception of women in music or the arts in general, often forgetting about the real person underneath the persona.  The song is pretty theatrical and definitely away from the band’s harder, edgy sound.  It was appropriately showcased at the concert I saw in April with some on stage play, as you will see from my second photo below.  Nikki’s Wives is a band that offers bold new music with tight instrumentation, a top notch singer, and great interplay among the band of Nikki, Dylan and Nate.  As they continue to break out, 2019 is your year to get to know Nikki’s Wives 🙂

 

Published in: on May 20, 2019 at 11:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Toronto producers/DJs @weareFlightSchl have out-of-the-box radio hit with “Figure It Out” with vocals by @CVBZmvsic

FLIGHT SCHOOL and CVBZ, “Figure It Out”

If you reside in Canada and listen to pop radio, then without a doubt you have already heard “Figure It Out” by Toronto producers/DJs Flight School with vocals by L.A.-based singer/songwriter CVBZ.  With help from winning an iHeartRadio contest for this independent release, the Toronto’s Guillaume Viau and Conor Stief, who each had separate careers on the bubble mainly as remixers, joined forces to become Flight School.  “Figure It Out” features the distinct voice of CVBZ, who has already been written about in these blog pages several times as one to always watch.  The song should by all rights be this year’s “Body” (the Loud Luxury smash) at radio, and I expect it will follow a similar path to be a worldwide hit.  Very rarely these days do songs breakout from radio but “Figure It Out” is that positive and worthy exception!

flightschool

Published in: on April 28, 2019 at 3:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Canadian trio @NikkisWives return with crunchy rockin’ anthem “Lemonade”

nikkiswives2

NIKKI’S WIVES, “Lemonade”

The Toronto-bred trio of Nikki, Dylan and Nate are back with a bigger but more familiar sound that still has lots of edge in “Lemonade”.  It reminds me of a cross between Gwen Stefani’s 2000’s solo work (particularly “Hollaback Girl”) and 80’s hair metal band anthems, and certainly stands out among the plain-ish rock of today.  Nikki’s voice is powerful and engaging, the guitar work is ablaze, and the drums pack a big whomp.  “Lemonade” is a fun song that will definitely be of interest to more than just the alt.rock fans who caught on to Nikki’s Wives with their last release, the EP Motorcourt.

Nikki’s Wives play a free RSVP-only event on Friday, April 5, 2019 at Lee’s Palace in Toronto (I’ll be there! 🙂 ).

Published in: on April 3, 2019 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“I Saw The Devil” is soulful alt.pop from Toronto by Carlaw with vocalists @JamesCollins1 and Stephanie Bleakley

CARLAW and JAMES COLLINS & STEPHANIE BLEAKLEY, “I Saw The Devil”

“I Saw The Devil” is a nifty slice of soulful alt.pop that showcases a number of Toronto performers.  I’ve written about singer/songwriter/actor James Collins a number of times, and his vocal here is smooth and restrained, in contrast to Stephanie Bleakley’s dynamic wallop which recalls other Canadian women like Dalbello or Simone Denny. 

And what of lead artist Carlaw?  Well I may be wrong, but I think it’s likely a pseudonym or new name for those talented guys The Boomtang Boys, who’ve had many Canadian hits of their own from the 90’s through to the 2000’s such as “Squeeze Toy”.  They co-wrote “I Saw The Devil” with James, and someone else also gets a songwriting credit – now’s the time for the interesting back story!  That someone is Canadian actor Jason Priestley, currently in “Private Eyes” but most noted of course for “Beverly Hills 90210”. 

As James tells me, “”I saw the devil… I embraced him, but I pushed him away” was a direct quote Jason had commented to his wife and sister when he came out of a coma, after his tragic car racing accident.  Jason also gave me his blessing in having a song written around that quote… a quote written in his memoir.”

So let that quote be your guide, along with the multitude of talent behind “I Saw The Devil”.

Toronto’s @GoldComplexband returns with the R&B/jazz/pop fusion of their album New Soul featuring “Meant To Dance”

GOLD COMPLEX, “Meant To Dance”

It’s been a while since we heard from Toronto’s Gold Complex, an eight member R&B/jazz/pop collective that released its first EP a few years back.  Since that time, I’ve also written about their lead singer Will Bowes and his solo work.  Gold Complex’s album New Soul – which includes “Backbone” from their EP – is everything that you could like about a fast-paced, effortless record that straddles many genres.  Will can be a powerhouse singer given the song, and we’ve heard his softer but potent solo songs too.  And the band is incredibly tight – these musicians have each other’s backs, hard enough to do with eight personnel.  But if there’s a song to focus on here, to me it’s the lively, diverse “Meant To Dance”, one of the more pop-oriented songs on the album but it’s incredibly radio friendly.  It’s got a delicious pause around the minute mark which can make or break a song, but it shifts wisely into high gear right after, and then unleashes Will’s fierce voice.  The rest is a delightful mix that has a lot of 70’s flavour.  And a dance remix could open up “Meant To Dance” to clubs too.

I was fortunate to see Gold Complex in concert for one of their sets in Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday, March 9.  They are better live than on record, and this is where Will’s wide vocal range has the opportunity to flourish.  I hope to see them again, perhaps in a more intimate setting, either indoor or outdoor, for full effect!

Published in: on March 13, 2019 at 10:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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