by carl wilson

Calgartopia Riseth?

"There was no pre-existing culture for us, really, so we had to make it up. And since no artists can afford houses here, we had to basically build an imaginary castle that's based on music and art."

"My friend in Edmonton claims everyone there is jealous of how connected the Calgary scene is. Even if you don't like each other's music, there's this mutual support and respect that's really incredible."

Shows in churches, autonomous festivals, proliferating side projects, inventing your own culture... It's striking how much the Calgary musicians that Sarah Liss talks to in this week's Eye sound like Toronto musicians four years ago. It makes sense - Toronto was going through a wave of high-speed gentrification etc. in the early 2000s that seemed to call for a critical-creative response; Calgary's gone through a hyperwarp version of such processes the past couple of years that would also breed urges to express another perspective. It's good to be reminded that it's not as monolithic as easterners sometimes think. Go, alt-Calgary!

Meanwhile a few of us old Torontopian hands were chatting last night about how we haven't kept up so much with new happenings (new bands, in particular) since that moment semi-passed - at first consciously displeased with the more homogeneous stuff that seemed to be emerging, and then just distracted. It's like the Grade 8s who snub the Grade 7s but simply don't know the Grade 6ers. So I'm going to try to make a few field trips to other corners of the playground in the next month. Anybody want to recommend newish acts (defined as having surfaced since, say, early 2007) that I should make a point of hearing, ideally ones that aren't just catchy indie-pop?

General | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, July 03 at 3:45 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (13)



along with the magic, households is also a guelph band to watch. but guelph has been cooler than toronto for a while, right?

Posted by allana on July 13, 2008 4:49 PM



spiral beach... but you probably know already/ partied with their parents.

Posted by jeanette on July 13, 2008 3:48 AM



What can add to this list, I wonder?
I won't repeat any of the aforementioned artists (green go, the magic, bocce, bruce peninsula, ruby coast... oh shoot), but of newer Toronto bands, I'm all about...

Great Bloomers, Timber Timbre (took my seeing it live to really get it, holy damn), and just this past weekend I stumbled across a very very young band, practically still grade sixers, with enormous talent - 'The Superstitions'. That little girl has a big big voice on her.
and though they don't hail from Toronto, they were born here and so I throw Ghost Bees to the top 'o the list.

Posted by Lauren on July 8, 2008 3:54 PM



the middle school scenario perfectly describes what I and quite a few others have been feeling for some time!

Posted by PG on July 8, 2008 2:48 PM



The artist isn't new, but the record is: "In Bed With Don Cash" by Don Cash. It's awesome. Highly recommended to anyone concerned by the cultural disconnect between uptown and downtown Toronto. I can't think of another Toronto artist who speaks to both spheres with equal fluency and insight.

Posted by mike dub on July 7, 2008 1:49 PM



Rebel Rhythm is a new Latin funk band releasing their first disc at Supermarket this Thursday (July 10th). Its no-nonsense production is the best I've heard on any Latin funk disc from Canada in a long while - maybe ever.

I'll also mention LJX, whose debut album last year was one of the best reggae releases in Canada this decade. Very strong lyrics & guitar work.

Posted by dacks on July 7, 2008 7:12 AM



Also - Tropics!

Raddest band in the city.

Posted by Chandler on July 6, 2008 1:36 PM



Grade 8 is a special time in a middle schooler's life. It's your duty to initiate the sixth graders, whether it's stuffing them into lockers or inviting them to drink in your parent's basement.

I second $100 - they are Toronto's only alt-country worth their weight in loonies.


Katie Stelmanis (obviously)
Slim Twig (psycho-David Lynch-rap-rockabilly)
Bruce Peninsula (though they are probably not new)
Huckleberry Friends
Foxfire (see them live - Broken Social Scene meets Parliament Funkadelic with a dash of Donna Summer)
Ruby Coast (though they're the pinnacle of catchy indie pop - Born Ruffians with more hormones)

Posted by Chandler on July 5, 2008 10:41 PM



Dwight Schenk has a few bands going on that are really really great (including being part of the weather station.) One project is with Scott Good (soon to be composer for Vancouver Symphony) called Vonegut and the Slaughterhouse Orchestra...He also started Basement Arms and even his solo stuff under the name of Slipper Orchestra.

Pure talent.

Posted by brian on July 4, 2008 12:39 PM



yes, Rozasia counts as a previous-generation band to me (also because it's clearly a sequel to Lenin i Shumov). I haven't heard the Haggard Beast comp, thanks, though i know most of those bands - on the post-'topia theme, though, it's amusing to note that it's called Fuck You Toronto in implicit rejoinder to the old Toronto Is Great! comp.

Kevin, i've only heard about half that list so that's a good start.

Andrew - why Gang Gang Dance? That seems kind of a random place to set the bar.

Posted by zoilus on July 4, 2008 12:33 PM



Rozasia emerged early 2006. You've probably heard most of these:

Slim Twig/Tropics
$100 (full band version or duo, both great)
The Weather Station
The Magic (Geordie Gordon's new band, pop but great)
Green Go/Bocce (Guelph electro party bands)
Hooded Fang (also catchy pop)

Posted by Kevin Parnell on July 4, 2008 8:30 AM



Did Rozasia emerge before 2007? I'm sure you've seen them before either way, but I love that band and I wish they had a higher profile...And there's Rammer, but they broke up. I recommend the Haggard Beast comp if you haven't heard it yet.

Posted by Chris on July 3, 2008 10:53 PM



wanted: one toronto band as good as Gang Gang Dance. plz thanx.

Posted by andrew on July 3, 2008 9:50 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson