“Let It Go” is bright and tasty future bass from Toronto’s @Wildfirebeats

WILDFIRE, “Let It Go”

“Let It Go” is meant to be played from huge speakers at an outdoor club pool party, with enough high-end future bass sounds to resonate around the block.  It’s all brought to you courtesy of Toronto-based producer Wildfire (aka Paul O’Brien) with bright and shiny synths and a crisp female vocal.  The rhythm of “Let It Go” struts along well until a few well placed drops cause you to lose control and let your body flow right along.  I do believe Wildfire has a lot of potential with “Let It Go”, and the producer has already received past support from the likes of The Chainsmokers and Alison Wonderland.

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Published in: on February 14, 2019 at 11:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Toronto duo @Isla_Den bring chill, danceable, electronic story-making to your attention with “Navi.6”

ISLA DEN, “Navi.6”

I’m not sure what “Navi.6” is all about, but I think that’s part of the appeal behind the new single from Toronto electronic duo Isla Den (aka Ellie and Michael).  This is indie DIY story-making electronica that throws me back to the early 80’s when folks like The Cocteau Twins were emerging to bring another side to the new wave sounds that became more popular, with a vocal here that recalls late 80’s UK groups like The Sundays or The Heart Throbs.  What I also like about “Navi.6” are the inspired tempo shifts, and the spiritual, other-worldly side to some of its lyrics, particularly later in the song.  “Navi.6” is a fine song to generate interest in what Isla Den are all about after receiving some attention last year with a debut EP.  The duo received subsequent acclaim for bringing their songs to life through visuals in concert, and a follow up EP is coming soon.

Isla Den play The Garrison in Toronto on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

Published in: on February 9, 2019 at 11:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Heaven” returns as a bigger bolder dance anthem courtesy of @Dzekomusic & @RiggiandPiros and @beingVeronica

DZEKO and RIGGI & PIROS and VERONICA, “Heaven”

Indeed, the 80’s #1 by Bryan Adams that originally started life as a ballad in a film called “A Night In Heaven” with Christopher Atkins and Lesley-Ann Warren has been reinvented and transformed many times, but none more successfully than DJ Sammy’s Europop version that became a worldwide smash in 2003.  As readers know, I’m particularly selective about what cover versions I enjoy.  And while some may think that 15 years may not have been long enough to welcome a new version to clubland, Toronto’s Dzeko and New Jersey’s Riggi & Piros fire it up and set it ablaze, aided by a winning vocal by another Torontonian, Veronica, who did well in Europe (and particularly Belgium with a #1) last year with “In The Mood”.  So this new version is definitely less pre-fab and more anthemic than the DJ Sammy version, from which it still draws inspiration.  And does it work?  Yep it sure does, for both clubs and radio. I’ll put money on radio stations – particularly in Canada, to support homegrown talent of Dzeko and Veronica – playing it to follow up Dzeko’s collaboration with Tiësto on “Jackie Chan”.  And I’d love to hear some remixers share their new takes on this pop classic to help broaden its appeal to receptive club DJ’s.

Published in: on January 14, 2019 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Check out funky and melodic “I Don’t Really Love You Anymore” by Toronto singer/songwriter @DallasRodin

DALLAS, “I Don’t Really Love You Anymore”

Following up “Spaceship” from earlier this year is “I Don’t Really Love You Anymore”, the latest from Toronto singer/songwriter Dallas.  The song offers a memorable melodic hook which makes it ideal for Canadian pop radio in particular.  It’s got a funky anchor which fits like a glove when played side by side by songs by Rihanna or Melanie Fiona.  The singer’s no-nonsense vocal certainly represents young women who need to take a stand with poor relationships and get out before they do them no good.  But with that underlying narrative, “I Don’t Really Love You Anymore” would also still fit well in a club setting and remixes would benefit it in that regard.

Published in: on November 10, 2018 at 11:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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#Toronto’s @LizLokre delights us with powerful piano ballad “Stop Runnin'” from @LittleItalyfilm

LIZ LOKRE, “Stop Runnin'”

Toronto singer/songwriter Liz Lokre makes the most of a powerful piano ballad called “Stop Runnin'” by having it featured in the recently released and highly acclaimed film “Little Italy” (starring fellow Toronto area native Hayden Christensen, and set on Toronto’s Italian strip on College Street).  The song grabs you from the first few words she sings and doesn’t let you go in its empowering story of self-realization that so many young people can relate to.  The melody and piano playing create a lovely, warm, and inviting cushion.  “Stop Runnin'” could do well, particularly in Canada, at Adult Contemporary radio which would surely welcome such a glowing song with big intentions.  Check out the video for this fine young new talent above.

Published in: on September 27, 2018 at 9:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Listen to passionate, powerful “Mad At The World” by #Toronto’s Will Bowes @wilsonbowes

WILL BOWES, “Mad At The World”

Despite its title, “Mad At The World” is a passionate plea to find more love in us all, as written and sung by my fellow Torontonian Will Bowes.  If you recognize his name, it may be from his appearances on TV as a teen in “Naturally, Sadie” and “How To Be Indie”, followed by appearances in films like personal fave “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”, “Hunting Season”, and “House At The End Of The Street” opposite Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence.  But “Mad At The World” could light the fire for a pop music career for Will, written in response to two recent tragedies in Toronto resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries.  He certainly draws upon classic styles one would associate with Elton John or Billy Joel but that you can also find in recent releases by Harry Styles, James Arthur or Father John Misty.  Will’s gruffer, bluesy tones bathe in the emotion which makes “Mad At The World” a compelling, thoughtful release.

Published in: on September 14, 2018 at 9:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Canadian alt.rock trio @NikkisWives return with EP Motor Court… and a splashy, tight live Toronto showcase

nikkiswives

NIKKI’S WIVES, Motor Court (EP)

Hailing from London, Ontario, alt.rock trio Nikki’s Wives is keeping well afloat of the cluttered indie market by making good, if uncharacteristic choices to help support their tight, well-written songs, which you can hear in their new EP Motor Court below.  The band consists of singer Nikki Whitehead, guitarist Dylan Lauzon, and drummer Nate Baylor.

Readers of this blog know the band from their feature on last year’s dance hit by fellow Canadians Loud Luxury called “Show Me”, one of my favourites of 2017.  And although it was outside of their regular genre, it was enough to kick start getting the band noticed, having opened for the likes of Cee-Lo Green and others since that time while touring North America. 

Last night’s splashy, free (but ticketed) showcase in Toronto at the intimate Rivoli – hosted by Edge 102.1’s Alan Cross no less, and co-sponsored by that radio station and Exclaim! magazine among others where there was an abundance of free drinks and food – showed off a hard-working band yielding fine results from all of that touring with a punchy 30 minute + set focusing on songs from Motor Court.  Led by the immense stage presence of singer Nikki – think Gwen Stefani meets Joan Jett meets Lights – it was a memorable evening that will help take Nikki’s Wives to the next level. 

And what of the songs from the EP?  They’re gritty, aggressive and melodic.  There are a lot of harder rock influences at play here, and the oh-so-true “Breaking Up” is the highlight.  You’ll be hearing much more from Nikki’s Wives throughout the rest of 2018!

Published in: on August 11, 2018 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Toronto area alt.rock quartet @InMyComa returns with uplifting video for “We Are One”

IN MY COMA, “We Are One”

The timing couldn’t be more perfect for an uplifting video which is the visual equivalent of a big, warm hug for everyone, regardless of who you may be.  “We Are One” is the latest alt.rock single from Toronto area quartet In My Coma from their recent album release Next Life.  Taking an inspired cue from Godley & Creme’s seminal 80’s video for “Cry”, the video for “We Are One” (directed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Jasper James and the band) moves through the four faces of the band – Jasper (and his reappearing and disappearing beard), bassist LauraDoll, drummer Mike, and keyboardist/vocalist Linz – amid the smiling and content faces of men, women, young, old, multi-racial and multicultural, all uniquely different but all US.  As much as their previous video for “Beautiful Mind” was noted for its humour, “We Are One” rocks out in anthemic style and definitely commands even more attention for a straight-forward take on its message in a very caring, delightful video.

You can find In My Coma playing a variety of events this summer, including at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition on August 29 at the Bandshell as they once again open for classic Canadian rockers Moist.  

Published in: on July 23, 2018 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Get to know new Toronto production duo @djWavesofficial with “Blinded” featuring James Delaney @jdelaneymusic

WAVES and JAMES DELANEY, “Blinded”

The latest release from Toronto production duo Waves (aka Frankie and Spencer) is “Blinded”.  It’s a good song that is made even bigger and better by what’s all inside.  The production is well-balanced with many highlights, such as some vivid flute playing, as well as a few solid, well-placed drops.  Boston-bred, L.A.-based singer James Delaney has graced a number of fine dance songs – notably Two Friends’ “Emily” – with his expressive and far-reaching voice, and in “Blinded” it’s definitely at its best.  The overall result is a memorable, well-assembled song that will have you swaying till the end.  

Published in: on July 23, 2018 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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With festival and club fireworks to come, @Dzekomusic and @RiggiandPiros give us a definitive summer “Anthem”

DZEKO vs RIGGI & PIROS, “Anthem”

In one short week since its release, “Anthem” from Toronto’s Dzeko and one of New Jersey’s finest dance production duos Riggi & Piros has garnered the support of just about every major DJ in the world, so you can expect EDM domination during the balance of the summer.  All it takes is the 10 deliberate notes in “Anthem” that comprise the unassuming hook and will absolutely slay dance music lovers.  There’s a real throwback melody to late 90’s Eurodisco too within the future house core of the song  that’s highly appealing and causes utter glee with fans of this genre.  With Dzeko now everywhere on the charts with Tiësto and “Jackie Chan”, “Anthem” will follow by conquering festivals and clubs everywhere.  You have been warned!!