Jessica Lewis returns for another edition of Monthly Music. If you enjoy this feature, you can read more of Jessica’s musical musings at Round Letters.
While most people are either avoiding or embracing popular holiday music at this time of the year, I’m here to tell you there is other music out there that can cheer up your winter blues. To me, a lot of music can be categorized by seasons. My picks for December reflect this.
Three Toronto bands you should know:
The Constantines – This rogue city band is celebrating a ten year anniversary this winter and will be playing celebratory shows at Lee’s Palace for three nights mid-month. What’s great about this band (seasonally-minded) is that they effortlessly put the rough edges back into the pale wet patches of snow in our concrete jungle. They embrace the sludge and sling it back to the listener songs that will show a snowstorm who means business.
Timber Timbre – Sleepy, are you? Well, Taylor Kirk and company will just make your warm nap even warmer. Only really perfect in black and white, this folk-blues outfit graced the streets in the summer and autumn with the self titled album, but to me, this music is the best in its hollow form.
Forest City Lovers – This cute group occasionally performs with the above-mentioned Timber Timbre as well as separately, but they are extremely strong on their own. They released Haunting Moon Sinking in 2008 and a 7” Phodilus and Tyto in early November. Both are full with pretty melodies, the urge to hold hands and no sense of letting a season get them down.
Three Toronto bands that are up-and-coming:
Ghost Trees – Jamie Steep’s one woman project may start the Feathers EP off with singing about autumn leaves in New York, but it is fitting for this unusually slow change from fall to winter here in Toronto. Steep’s music is definitely sunny in tones and melodies, but incredibly comforting whilst cuddled into a big blanket drinking hot chocolate.
Snowblink – What a fitting name, eh? This duo/trio recently spent some time opening for Apostle of Hustle and Timber Timbre, the kings of Canadian seasonal darkness. So what better transition is there to winter? Snowblink is soft and delicate just like a quiet night snowfall. In fact, they are one of those bands that has music that actually represents their name or vice versa. Their newest album, Long Live, will calm down any riled up snowball fighter.
Two Zebras – Alright, here’s what will get you back up and moving when it’s dark at 5 p.m. This new honourary Torontonian by way of Glasgow, Daniel McGuire, has brought us his delightfully optimistic pop. With songs about pretty girls in coffee shops and, okay, he has a song named “Autumn” (maybe I’m more into autumn over winter than I thought), he will remind you that there were some sunny moments in October and November and that they’ll be back soon enough in a few months.
Three concerts coming to Toronto you shouldn’t miss:
The Hidden Cameras at The Opera House, December 5. This band’s homecoming show has been the talk around town for months now, since their last album Origin: Orphan was released. Joel Gibb and company play swirly yet jaunty pop rock, sure to warm many hearts that night.
Moneen at Mod Club, December 10. What better way to bring yourself in from the cold than a mosh pit? These southern Ontario hardcore rockers are entertaining and practically a hazard live. Fun!
Patrick Watson and the Wooden Arms at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, December 12. These Montreal natives are always interesting to see. From playing the Polaris Prize award ceremony this year walking through the crowd with backpacks of lanterns to a television performance using a toothbrush on a guitar, they prove live that their uniqueness only adds to their beauty. It will be worth it to make the cold trek down to the Ex grounds.