These are the last remaining weeks before the only sounds vibrating your tympanic membranes are Christmas carols.
You’re gonna think you want them. You’re gonna put them on. You’re gonna feel festive. Then you’ll realize you can’t get away. They’re everywhere. Help. There is none. So take advantage of the time you have now.
‘Cause this isn’t everything that’s happening in the Toronto music scene this month, but it is everything that’s better than Christmas music. You’ve been warned.
TV ON THE RADIO
For some of you young professionals (YPs), TVOTR almost single-handedly defined the first decade of music in the new millennium. A genre-bending assortment of post-rock, electronica, avant-garde, and even doo-wop, forever widened the landscapes within which artists felt confined to produce. Their debut, the Young Liars EP: a stunning masterpiece of Dave Sitek arrangements and Tunde Adebimpe vocal melodies; then their second full length, Return to Cookie Mountain, hailed as 2006 album of the year by a few magazines you may or may not have heard of: Rolling Stone, Spin, Slant, Stylus, and Pitchfork (ok, that last one actually put it at #2; but if we didn’t admit our exaggeration, you wouldn’t have looked it up; so let’s call it #1).
And the later years have simply brought consistent release after critically acclaimed collection, to say nothing of their climatic live performances. But wait, this column is about live performances; so do yourself a favour, and see TVOTR before you trip over a pumpkin.
Phoenix Concert Theatre. Nov. 12. $29.50.
Dan Snaith – main man behind Caribou, former Polaris Prize winner, classically trained pianist, math doctorate, and hot dog eating champion* – is back in town, in support of yet another unanimously lauded album, Our Love. For some, it must get pretty tiring being so successful and celebrated. Alas, we’ll never know.
More to the point, we compliment some acts by describing their live shows as true to their album sound (think, Antony & the Johnsons); while others, we commend for adding those extra elements of stage presence and the unexpected (think, Twin Shadow). Although a solo act in studio, Caribou tours as a four-piece, bringing ever more intensity to his liquid melodies, much heavier instrumentation, and the often epic showstopper, the drum kit duet. And while we’ve seen Caribou in other towns, where he’s equally likely to sell out the medium sized venues, there’s no matching the passion of his Toronto appearances, as he returns home to where it all began.
Danforth Music Hall. Nov. 24. $22.50.
*Editor’s Note: Dan Snaith has never won a hot dog-eating contest. In fact, he’s a vegetarian, who’s also never had a single taste of alcohol or any drug. And that’s what it takes to be famous and successful. Just ask Nick Nolte.
RUN THE JEWELS
If the music industry had an award show anywhere near as credible as the Oscars (sorry, Grammys, MTVs, AMAs, and Billboards: you all fail), the timely release of Run The Jewels 2 would be generating a fair amount of that end of season award buzz, so common to whatever Meryl Streep’s in each year.
El-P and Killer Mike have once again joined forces, or better yet, compiled their anger and spite, but also creative genius, to produce one of the most vicious, exhilarating, and cerebral rap albums in recent memory. Well, let’s be honest: probably since the last RTJ release; or maybe El-P’s last solo effort. RTJ2 will end the year as the best rap album of 2014. You heard it here first. And here’s something else you’ll hear from us first: as insane as these two can get on stage together, Killer Mike “sermonizes” at length, seemingly between every song. Take it from our experience, for better or worse, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to grab another beer without missing a moment of frenetic performance. Amen.
Danforth Music Hall. Nov. 26. $20.
HIGH SCHOOL REUNION: MOIST, THE TEA PARTY, AND SLOAN IN THE SAME MONTH?
While some of us YPs were finding our indie groove in the 90s, others were decidedly less interested in distinguishing more creative art forms than nailing Barney lyrics. For the latter, this post does not apply to you. Feel free to go back to taking pouty-lipped selfies and tagging them, “#bored”. And then adding 200 more hashtags. And 300 more selfies. Fun.
But back to you, 90s high school heroes: November’s your chance to do it all over. Remember this? Or this? How ‘bout this? Now imagine all three, but with Red Bull and vodka. And (hopefully) better hair.
Moist. The Danforth Music Hall. Nov. 22. $33.50–$45.50.
The Tea Party. Koolhaus. Nov. 27. $35.
Sloan. Phoenix Concert Theatre. Nov. 29. $28.50.
Stayin’ Alive at Your Day Job: Newer Music That Unfortunately Isn’t in the Streets This Month
The Record: Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait
The Sound: A bit of a stale year in hip hop has seen a creative market correction over the past few weeks. Solid releases from RTJ, DJ Quik, and newcomer Milo, are only outshone by another debut – that of Long Beach MC, Vince Staples. West coast rap with loads of political commentary, backed largely by local producer Hagler’s mesmerizing beats. You’ll long for one of those car stereos that make your trunk vibrate.
The Record: The Budos Band – Burnt Offering
The Sound: “Black Sabbath meets Fela Kuti”. Their words, not ours. Burnt Offering marks more a departure in nomenclature (previous albums titled, “I”, “II”, and “III”) than in sound. Still, a band three albums deep in straight up Afro-funk introduces just the right amount of psych-metal. No, really, it works. Trust us. We’re doctors*.
*Editor’s Note #2: We’re not doctors.
Cover image from: istock.com/toxawww