Author Archives: Theresa Micallef

The Best in Canadian & International Talent comes to Toronto for NXNE June 13-19

It’s a red letter year for NXNE as it has been for Candian music all around! From Shad to Fucked Up, Red Mass to Candy Coated Killahz, we are getting pretty darn excited for what’s to come just seven short days from now!!

650 bands, 40 films, 50 pannels. Phew! Tackling NXNE can be a daunting task. Here are a few picks to help you weed through the plethora of sweet sounds next week from TVD Toronto’s Krishna Nair.

Careers in Science
Toronto band Careers in Science don’t quite fit into the angsty, anarchic niche that punk bands have carved for themselves (and into their arms). In fact, they have taken the joy in Joy Division and gone beyond the dark somberness of DIY punk band depression to create a revelry of virtuosic guitar playing, energetic drumming and pure, uncorrupted rock n roll ideologies. While drawing inspiration from band like Black Flag, Fugazi, Big Black and Minor Threat, all members of the band are unapologetic Devo fans (drummer Eric Borque even sports a Mark Mothersbaugh tattoo). Their shows are lively, devoid of unnecessary banter and a celebration of youth, power and rock n roll.
Rancho Relaxo Wednesday, June 15 @ 1AM

Braids
Braids are a sign that music cannot be classified or pigeon-holed nowadays. Some might say the Calgary-based quartet are electronic art rockers while others would place them in the ever-bloating dream pop category. However, ethereal is a word that often gets hurled around when describing Braids, and anyone who has heard vocalist Raphaelle Standell-Preston will testify to their out-of-body exporting skills. Clearly cerebral and as far removed from the mainstream as one can get, Braids offers audience an intoxicating mix of subtle electronica, tribal chants and surreal lyrics. Their shows are carefully constructed to showcase their deft ability to create an atmosphere that is both unreal and comforting at the same time.
The Garrison Friday, June 17 @ 11PM
The Great Hall Saturday, June 18 @ 11PM

Teenage Kicks
Hailing from Toronto, Teenage Kicks (yes, like the classic Undertones track) are a rare entity during these mass produced, autotune-driven, commercial dark ages that we live in. Lead vocalist/guitarist Peter Van Helvoort has a blues-based sensibility that is fundamental to the rock n roll sound yet is thoroughly refreshing to hear today. Teenage Kicks are loud, abrasive and seem to be yelling out to those who have fallen by the rock n roll wayside. They have reduced music to its most basic elements without the filly adornments that are considered de rigueur nowadays. With guitars, drums and vocals all crying out for attention, the Teenage Kicks will ensure that the NXNE stays fun and rambunctious.
The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern Saturday, June 18 @ 9PM

Chang-A-Lang
Chang-A-Lang, the lo-fi garage-pop trio from Toronto has always known how to put on a splendid show. With catchy pop hooks, killer guitar riffs and lyrics celebrating the mundane realities of everyday existence Chang-A-Lang certainly appear to be a bunch that enjoys what they doing. This positive energy is transmitted towards their audiences and turned them into one of the most lauded live acts on the indie circuit. Apart from being brilliant musicians, the trio possesses an intellectual sense of humor that gives their songs a quirky quality reminiscent of Wes Anderson flicks. This is certainly one of the most exciting bands to watch out at this year’s NXNE.
Bovine Sex Club Saturday, June 18 @ 11PM

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The Black Keys Play Toronto’s 2011 MMVAs June 19th

Special to TVD Toronto: Kris

Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney, also known as The Black Keys are bringing their grassroots blues infused rock sound to Toronto at the Much Music Video Awards on June 19th. Fresh from their triple Grammy win, the Akron, Ohio natives have fashioned a career out of producing a sound that is distinctly raw and visceral in approach but polished enough to grab the attention of today’s finicky listeners. While coming across as purists who have stumbled on the big time, the Keys have been active for a decade but only recently tasted mainstream success with 2008’s Danger Mouse produced, “Attack & Release”. PS3 and X-box aficionados might recognize their tracks, “Tighten Up” and “Howlin’ for You” off the FIFA 11 and NHL 11 soundtracks respectively. The two songs are off their Grammy winning 2010 album, “Brothers” which has been lauded by even artists like the ever excoriating Liam Gallagher as being one of best LPs of 2010. Their performance at the MMVAs promises to be a treat for all those who like their rock bluesy, primitive and unfiltered.

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Heavy Metal Kings at Opera House April 20th

Special to TVD Toronto: Adam Micallef

On international weed smoker’s holiday (4.20) a sellout crowd of underground Hip-Hop fans of all ages assembled at Toronto’s Opera House to see The Heavy Metal Kings preform one of their first ever shows. The newly formed rap duo comprised of Vinnie Paz from Jedi Mind Tricks and Ill Bill from Non-Phixion was continuing a tour that began just three days before their first ever album release on April 5, 2011. Both rappers are well known & respected in the underground Hip-Hop world for lacing hard beats with even harder lyrics both as solo artists and with their respective groups.

As soon as the show began the crowd lit up, both with camera phones and greenery. With all the weed smoke filling the air, you would have thought that might have helped to subdue an otherwise rambunctious all ages crowd, but that was not the case. Almost instantly the floor area closest to the stage broke out with several violent mosh pits. Even the Opera House security kept their distance from the chaos, mainly contained in a few small pockets of people who clearly enjoyed moshing. At one point a fan attempted to grab Ill Bill. Bill quickly addressed the crown to let them know the rules: “If you touch me, I’m gonna touch you, hard”. Needless to say, nobody made any attempts to get at Bill or Paz for the rest of the show.

The two artists spent the majority of the show alternating fan favourites from their past solo & group albums. This made for an intense dynamic that maintained the crowds energy level near it’s peak for the entire show. The hit’s just kept rolling as fan’s were fortunate to hear many of their favourites such as Ill Bill’s “Black Helicopters”, & Jedi Mind Tricks “Heavenly Devine”. Vinnie Paz also preformed several tracks from his first ever solo album “Season Of The Assassin” which was released in June of 2010. It was clear to anyone who had witnessed Paz preform live in the past that he had made tremendous strides as an MC & as a live performer. His delivery was much clearer and his breath control was excellent, allowing him to carry his unique sound right through to the end of his verses, a feat that Bill who’s delivery sounded slightly forced was unable to accomplish.

After leaving the stage for a few moments the Heavy Metal Kings returned to the stage. They announced that they would be preforming one more track, but not before lighting up some of Toronto’s finest herbal medicine to celebrate 4.20. As Bill puffed away on a joint, he joked about how Vinnie was not a weed smoker. The crowd began to holler for Paz to take a hit. Eventually Paz gave in to the peer pressure and took a few tokes. The pair then cranked out the original “Heavy Metal Kings” single they had collaborated on for the Jedi Mind Tricks album “Servants In Heaven, Kings In Hell”. The crowd once again erupted with enthusiasm. By the time they left the stage their was no doubt that Vinnie Paz & Ill Bill were indeed “Heavy Metal Kings”.

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Review: Raekwon at the Opera House April 15th

Special to The Vinyl District Toronto, reviewer Adam Micallef brings us his take on the Raekwon show at Toronto’s Opera House this past Friday. Sadly he missed opener Miles Jones – always a crowd pleaser. Here’s what he had to say about the rest of the show.

Hundreds of Wu-Tang Clan fans descended on The Opera House in Toronto’s east end this past Friday. Although on this night only one member of the clan was scheduled to perform, loyal Wu followers would not be disappointed as Raekwon, one of The Clan’s more popular members, delivered a classic Wu-worthy performance.

At 12:15am he hit the stage garnering thundering applause from the entire venue, accentuated when the crowd noticed Rae’s attire. Rae came to T.O. aiming to please, rocking a fitted Blue Jays’ cap and Vintage Toronto Maple Leaf’s Jacket. He began the show performing his verse to “C.R.E.A.M.” with the rugged style he’s been famous for since he burst onto the Hip-Hop scene in 1993. This was one of the few times he stopped short of preforming an entire Wu-Tang song by himself, usually without missing a beat. He even took time to do a tribute to the late Old Dirty Bastard as he rapped “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” with a little help from the over 700 fans who’s actions throughout the night could best be described as “wilding out”. The entire set was comprised of classic material with songs such as “Ice Cream”, “Killa Bees” & “Criminology” much to the delight of the crowd that showed utter appreciation for Rae’s dedication. He did manage to squeeze in his new single “Rock ‘N’ Roll” from the Shaolin Vs. Wu-Tang album that was released last month.

Exactly one hour after his set began Raekwon ended the night with an exceptional performance of one of his biggest hits “Incarcerated Scarfaces”. The only real criticism was that the one hour set was a little bit short for a rapper who has released five solo albums on top of the five albums he did as a member of The Clan. It was obvious that many fans, myself included were disappointed that there wasn’t an encore, but even still it would have been difficult to leave The Opera House upset after watching such a superb performance from one of Hip-Hop’s pioneers.

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Montreal’s GIRL Play Toronto Alternative Arts & Fashion Week April 27th

Before slick new wavers GIRL come to play Toronto Alternative Arts & Fashion Week |FAT| on April 27th at 99 Sudbury decked out in their signature white suits, check out the vinyl they’re leaving behind in their Montreal apartment.

Courtesy of Louis Lupien of GIRL

1. Rarest piece of vinyl in GIRL’s collection: GEORGE BENSON : THE OTHER SIDE OF ABBEY ROAD
[Maybe not so rare, but pretty good music.]

2. Most spins in GIRL’s collection: RADIOHEAD : IN RAINBOWS
[Don’t remember what happened exactly at that time. But when it came out, we listened to it non-stop for half a year.]
3. Newest purchase in GIRL’s collection: ARCADE FIRE : THE SUBBURBS
[Brilliant music by brilliant people.]
4. Coolest looking cover in GIRL’s collection: JOY DIVISION : UNKNOWN PLEASURE
[We would actually kill to have a cover designed by Peter Saville]
5. Favourite vinyl by a Montreal band: JAUNE : JEAN-PIERRE FERLAND
[Not a band, but one of the best french album ever]
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New online directory seeks to market and promote Canadian Urban artists and industry professionals


TORONTO, ON– The producers of the Toronto Urban Music Festival are excited to announce the initiation of the Urban Music Directory, the first and only online Canadian database created for the benefit of Canada’s vibrant and growing urban music community.  Toronto Urban Music Festival Incorporated would like to invite urban artists and industry professionals from across Canada to submit their information to be included in the free online directory now at http://urbanmusicdirectory.com/

With a public launch set for the summer of 2011, the Urban Music Directory has opened its doors to collect new artist and industry contacts effective immediately. Urban artists and associated industry members are encouraged to add their information to this digital platform and connect to a Canadian and international audience.

The free online database will connect thousands of artists, bands, DJs, musicians, record labels, producers, promoters, festivals, booking agents, managers, music attorneys, clubs, associations, media and more — providing an essential one-stop guide to connect, collaborate and discover new audiences and industry resources.

Along with comprehensive contact information, urban artists and industry professionals will have the opportunity to add enhanced features including bios, as well as links to download and share music and other features to be announced around the site’s official launch.

Sign up for the online directory today at www.urbanmusicdirectory.com

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Saidah “that’s not a voice, that’s a weapon” Baba Talibah at Revival Thursday March 10th

If you haven’t seen this Toronto treasure live yet, you are missing out!! The lady AOL Spinner calls, “…personal, full of complex emotions and mature themes… a breath of fresh air compared to so many callow R&B sentiments,” Exclaim! touted as a “stalwart soul-rock firebrand”  and City On My Back describes as, “Otherworldly. Transcendental. Heart-melting. Hypnotizing. And Heavenly. This is the beginning of something the world needs to see.”

Saidah Baba Talibah is all that and more. Saidah’s show isn’t just a show, it’s an experience, something you just don’t see enough of these days.

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French Reggae Act DUB INC in town for CMW

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Black History Month Top Ten from Corby’s Orbit

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Paul Corby of Corby’s Orbit – an open format radio show on CKLN 88.1 FM out of Toronto every Friday from 11 a.m. til 2 – when he interviewed good friend & tenfour publicity client Nick Teehan earlier this month before his show with The Jessica Stuart Few.

After hearing about Paul’s profile in Toronto’s music community and seeing first-hand his passion for and knowledge of good music of all kinds new and old, we thought he’d make perfect guest writer for TVD Toronto’s Black History Top Ten series.. and I was right.. Thanks Paul!

Black History Month Top Ten
The virus of “best-ism” that is raging through blogs and journalism, especially since the recent turn of the decade can really only ever end in a trail of disagreeing and often disagreeable comments of “what-about’s” and “how-could-you-forgets.”

My reason for bringing my Black History Top Ten into the agonizing focus of public scrutiny is more for educational purposes. Black history on record speaks of a knowledge that is, at flashpoint moments, culturally advanced in a global sense. It bears study for its warnings, its influential powers of unification, and its unqualified equation of love with spiritual power. These ten records are all pivotal in the evolution of black people’s music, mostly for the good of the whole world, though some represent the end or the tipping point of the artist’s relevance, a pinnacle that could only lead to a slide. Yes, they are also often provocative, bewildering or severe. These are some of the ones that drastically altered my D.N.A.

Let’s count up and down. The list reads equally well backwards and forwards.

10) Abbey Lincoln’s Devil Got Your TongueGitanes, 1992. With a voice almost frivolous in its freedom, the woman who was left out of the paternalistic mid-century American critics’ circle for her afro-radical and insistent relevance delivers a record of simple universal beauty. Sing-song choruses and profoundly healing lyrics on subjects of ancestry, race, the nature of music and spirit. “Dance before the mirror, reflecting holy fire.” Buy it when you see it and pay whatever they ask. Also: We Insist: Freedom. Now!

9) Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey/Garvey’s Ghost, 1975/1976, Island. Echoing from hereditary depths of slavery and obscurity this cry of redemption rang from every shop and shebeen in Jamaica in the summer of ‘75 as Bob Marley began his conquest of the rest of the world. Horns that shout elephant, desiccated harmonies and Aston Barrett’s bass excavating low C’s while Winston Rodney calmly recalls the indignities and horrors of centuries: “We MUST pull it… With shackles around our necks.” Chilling. The “Ghost” dub version followed in 1976 with mesmerizing magnifications of the original’s murmurs. Also: Social Living.

Read More »

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Shaun Boothe’s Unauthorized Biography of Muhammad Ali

Happy family day, Toronto!
The third of 12 installments in Shaun Boothe’s Unauthorized Biography Series pays homage to Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr aka Muhammad Ali.


Next week will conclude our Black History Month feature of Shaun Boothe’s Unauthorized Biography Series, but not to worry.. there’ll be lots more to come on Shaun, as his debut album is due out this summer.
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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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