February Monthly Music

Alright, it’s the second month of 2010. What do you think of this year’s music so far? I think it’s had a fantastic start, but hey, that’s just me. Anyways, while the concert season is hopefully nearing the end of that boring period where nobody tours because it’s to cold, there are still some great shows and artists to check out in February that will amp you up and propel you into March. After all, it’s a shorter month, so let’s squeeze some more excitement into it!

Three Toronto bands you should know:

Woodhands – They found critical acclaim in the US and China for their last album, Heart Attack, so it can only go up from here for Remorsecapade. Their loud, sweaty dance parties are always talked about for days afterward, the perfect goal for musical hosts. The album was only released a few days ago, but there’s already been an incredible amount of hype. They’re fun, bold and quirky; it’s good to see something so different and exciting on the Toronto scene in between the usual splendors. Don’t miss your chance to see them since they will be going back to the States and possibly China again this year.

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The Balconies – This trio has recently moved to Toronto from Ottawa, and we have welcomed them with open arms. They’re already gone and touring Eastern Canada right now (but you will see them play a show here this month). They’ve got this interesting sound that blends ‘80s pop guitars with the huge difference between their voices (which works in their favour). They had a great 2009, so here’s hoping they’ll have an even better 2010.

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Bruce Peninsula – We’ve seen the release of their most recent album, A Mountain is a Mouth, and it was wonderful. The troupe of incredible singers (the instruments come later) are still riding that wave and will see tour dates in the States over the next few months, including South by Southwest, a big music festival in Texas (Woodhands will be there too). This album is one that will definitely brighten up a dreary February day or at least make it more contemplative.

Three up-and-coming Toronto bands:

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Whale Tooth – Yeah, I know they’ve been around for quite a while, but I don’t think they ever broke the barrier they definitely should have. So, let’s all get together and push that thing! While “Hibernation Song” suggests reveling in the non-touring weather, it still has this pop motivation that doesn’t quit. They’re taking this year slow so far, but are working on new material. You can catch them play a show here this month though.

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Burn Planetarium – Based in Guelph and Toronto, this band has recently seen a spike in their popularity, probably due to a session on Southern Souls and a few concerts scattered around. But it’s just appetizing to know that they’re currently working on new material as well. Their EP was cutesy and enjoyable but I hope that they take their music to new levels for the album.

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The Hoa Hoa’s – Sure, they were on the cover of Eye Weekly before Christmas, but they’ve still got a ways to go before being one of those obvious Toronto bands. That’s not a bad thing. They’re different from any Toronto band I’ve heard possibly ever, as they’re heavily psychedelic and trippy. They seem to kind of go wherever the wind takes them, and I think that mentality is a good one to have.

Three Toronto concerts that you shouldn’t miss:

Gentleman Reg at the Drake Underground, February 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th – This Toronto musician who seems to be everywhere is celebrating this year’s release of his solo album, Jet Black, with a residency at the Drake Underground every Wednesday this month. The residency, Heavy Head, is named after his recent EP. Be sure to catch one of the shows, I hear he puts on a heck of a performance. He has invited Hooded Fang, By Divine Right, the Balconies, Sheezer, Dance Yourself to Death, Evening Hymns and more to play along with him, so pick the band that pleases you most and you’ve got a winner! I also know Reg’s been dabbling in dance music lately with Dan Werb of Woodhands and some other kooky things with Owen Pallett, so he’ll probably be experimenting a lot during the residency.

The Editors at the Phoenix, February 16th – Another fancy British band with monumental electric guitars and dark vocals will visit us once again. I’ve enjoyed their past work, but I haven’t checked out their most recent album In This Light and on This Evening. I hear it’s full of quirky lyrics and a new 80’s vibe, and that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing.

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Wavelength Music Festival is running from Feb 10th to 14th at various venues – This Wavelength 500 will be the last festival that Wavelength puts on after a decade. They have plans to start a festival series, but no longer can you hop by on a weekend and see some random tiny indie band. Be sure to check out Evening Hymns, Bruce Peninsula, The Constantines and Diamond Rings.

One other Toronto show you shouldn’t miss:

I’m going to be putting on a concert at the Only Café on Feb 6th! The pub/café is at 972 Danforth Avenue, right off of the Donlands subway stop. I have a fantastic lineup of local bands: Flashlight Radio, a folk-country duo; Ghost Trees, a psychedelic indie-pop songstress and Two Zebras, a self-described “geek pop” melody maker who has just moved here from Scotland. For more information, go to my blog RoundLetters! Hope to see you there!

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