As this year starts to get steady on its legs, we’ll all need to find some new strength as well. This month’s picks will do just that for you – all of these acts radiate confidence and are really starting to come into their own. Let’s take a note from their songbook and get going!
Action Makes – This garage/psychedelic rock band has the ability to catch your attention and hold onto it with a tight grasp that will last quite some time. The band’s dedicated followers have waited for their debut self-titled album for years, but if you’re like me and are just getting to know them now, you’ll wish you’d heard of them sooner. With an oomph that it can knock you over and send you tumbling backwards and enough bad-ass attitude to draw you right back in, the album was hopefully well worth the wait for those early followers.
Peter Elkas – If you like light-hearted country, classic rock melodies and dancing, Peter Elkas and his band have a new album that will be right up your alley. Elkas is back stronger than ever on Repeat Offender, his followup to 2007’s Wall of Fire. Full of warm guitars, a horn section and Elkas’ great voice, this album is definitely one to look forward to in these next few weeks. If you find yourself turning into a drooling fan, check the band out in March at the Dakota Tavern for a five week-long residency. They played the first night of Jason Collett’s Basement Revue in December and it was a performance I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
Sister – Formed by the two Gillis sisters of Plumtree fame (the band that inspired Scott Pilgrim), this new group has already had such a promising start. They rang in the New Year in Toronto at the Tranzac party where they captivated the room. Carla and Lynette, who alternate vocals, have come together in delicate folk-pop, that can elicit the most lucid dream state you can get to (if you try). Here’s hoping we start to see more of them around though, as right now Sister sightings are still pretty scarce.
Elk – Another Toronto garage/psychedelic band blazing a trail is this foursome based out of Toronto, St. Catherines and Welland. They’re the new to Action Makes’ older sound, which is not at all a bad thing. These guys will release their second album, Balm Beach, on the 17th. It’s got that jumping packed-to-the-walls basement party feel, with hair in the air everywhere and sweaty realizations of rock’s future. The band will celebrate the release on the 21st at the Horseshoe with Chang a Lang.
Here are some shows you should check out this month:
Baths and Braids at the El Mocambo on Feb 19– Chillwave and avant-garde electro will bring the fans of bedroom-made music in.
Jenn Grant, Olenka and the Autumn Lovers and Rae Spoon at the Horseshoe on Feb 19 – So much folk to warm your heart you’ll be set until the end of winter.
Tennis and The Darcys at the Horseshoe on Feb 25 – More summery lo-fi with supporting act by local rockers.
Smith Westerns at the Horseshoe on Feb 28 – young psychedelic rock (in whatever context that exists), but it is quite fun.
As always, you can read more of my music musings at RoundLetters.