Music in the Streets – The September Edition

This isn’t everything that’s happening in the Toronto music scene this month, but it should cover the young professional who hasn’t realized that the TIFF movie they have to see this year is already sold out.

Suckers, we got our tickets. Ok, no we didn’t. This guy took them all. He sees all TIFF movies. He’s seen every movie. Ever. In fact, it’s not just movies. He’s watching you right now. And critiquing. Your plot is weak.

But because you’re reading this, your character development is promising. 

Riot Fest
The kids are back to school, the air is cool (can a non-sequitur precede its premise?), and you’ve been officially eliminated from your co-ed baseball playoffs; but if these events typically signal the end of summer, no one told the festival circuit.

Riot Fest’s 3rd annual stop in Toronto surely offers its most impressive line-up to date, highlighted by the Flaming Lips, The National, and The Cure, as well as your full dose of CanCon, including Metric, City and Colour, re-united DFA 1979, and The New Pornographers.  

Another upside to this year’s festival is they’ve moved it to Downsview Park to allow for the addition of multiple feature stages and a carnival atmosphere sure to cure your CNE hangover. On the other hand, the downside to this year’s festival is they’ve moved it to Downsview Park. See what we did there?

Downsview Park. Sept. 6-7. $94–$289. All ages.

Dirty Bird BBQ
We knew the city had developed a fancy new outdoor space down at the foot of Sherbourne Street, celebrated for it’s forward-thinking environmental design and sustainability practices, but did they have mega-dance parties in mind anywhere in their plans? Who cares, let’s go with it.

And go with it we shall on September 7th, when Sherbourne Common is invaded by San Francisco house label Dirtybird Records and their simple theme: “Friends, a BBQ, and a sound system in the park.”

But if label head Claude Von Stroke’s bangin’ sets aren’t enough to get you down to the revitalized east-end waterfront, then perhaps free food will. That’s right, the BBQ part is free – of course, we mean free as in included in your ticket price – while supplies last. And even more fun: the label actually tours with their own chef. What? Dare we say, a San Francisco treat?

Sherbourne Common. Sept. 7. $25. 19+

How To Dress Well
Before James Blake and The Weeknd were celebrated for expanding and modernizing the sounds of R&B, there was Tom Krell – signer, songwriter, and producer behind How to Dress Well. It was Tom Krell who introduced the blogs to avant-garde interpretations of borrowed ideas from the late 80s and early 90s. It was Tom Krell who created “indie R&B” by re-imagining (and usually distorting) the forgotten samples and loops from acts like Ready for the World, TLC, Shai, and Soul II Soul.

Well, five years and three full lengths in, How To Dress Well’s “What Is This Heart” is easily his most accessible work to date, and as a result, we expect the most enjoyable live show, too. Gone for the most part are the ghostly, lo-fi production elements and indiscernible song deliveries, replaced with crisper structures and more obvious pop songs, which in a way suggest a more confident position of artistic offering. Like it was even possible for this guy to improve.

Well, he did, so don’t miss this moment in music history.

Virgin Mobile Mod Club. Sept. 12. $15. 19+

Sam Smith
Here at Music in the Streets, we have only one rule: if you were the guest vocalist on Disclosure’s cross-over hit ‘Latch‘, we’ll tell our readers about your show… regardless of how we feel about your album (meh). This is the only rule that can’t be broken. And we’ll prove that later.  

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that we’ve also heard this young-man-slash-soul-singer-du-jour is learning his live craft quickly, and replicating that heaven-sent voice you may be used to hearing from more polished recording sessions, on stage brilliantly. We suspect this is a show you take your partner to. And based on the whisperings in the streets, we also suspect this is a very hot ticket. So hurry.

The Guvernment. Sept. 21. $47.50. All ages.

Second Chances: War on Drugs & Ought
We warned you about the opportunity to see War on Drugs before they got any bigger in April; and we pressured you to see Ought by hinting at an “album of the year” nomination in July

Well chances don’t grow on trees, you know.

And so since both bands are back in town in September, we’ve got two words: Don’t. Screw. This. Up. (Two words per band, obviously)

War on Drugs: Phoenix Concert Theatre. Sept. 15. $26. 19+
Ought: Hard Luck Bar. Sept. 19. $12 (seriously, $12 for Ought). 19+

Stayin’ Alive at Your Day Job: Newer Music That Unfortunately isn’t in the Streets This Month

The Record: The New PornographersBrill Bruisers
The Rule We’re Willing To Break: So technically The New Pornographers are in the streets this month, but we weren’t able to gush about Brill Bruisers above. And this album gushes. Guitar-driven power-pop, fuelled by killer hooks and playful synth apreggios, and defined by song variation and unpredictability which shouldn’t surprise when you boast four legitimate lead singers – plus some impressive guest stars – in the album line-up.  In the streets, at your desk, on a run: this album is the new Orange. 

The Record: Cold SpecksNeuroplasticity
The Sound: “Doom-Soul” (or “Goth-Gospel”) isn’t as scary as it sounds. Cold Specks is the stage name of a young 20-something from Etobicoke, whose voice and southern-tinged spirituals post her far, far beyond her years. And if you’re hearing for the first time, we think her debut, ‘I Predict a Graceful Expulsion‘, is even better. Just don’t listen in the dark…


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