Katie’s Daily NXNE 2014 Picks (this is a huge post)


Check out this handy Google map I created for all the venues in my concert picks.



FUTURE ISLANDS (Baltimore emotionally-charged 80s synth) – VICE ISLAND – 830pm


HORSE LORDS (Baltimore experimental kraut) – Adelaide Hall – 9pm


JOYWAVE (Rochester experimental beats) – Drake Underground – 9pm


TOBACCO (Pittsburg Gary Glitter on acid) – Massey Hall – 9pm


TUNE-YARDS (New York Haitian playful experimental) – Massey Hall – 10pm


SYLVAN ESSO (Durham electronic pop) – Drake Underground – 10pm


HOLYCHILD (Los Angeles brat pop) – Tattoo Rock Parlour – 11pm

Can’t catch them at NXNE? They’re coming back to Toronto on July 6th at Danforth Music Hall.

YOU’LL NEVER GET TO HEAVEN (London, ON pop dreamscapes) – Silver Dollar – 11pm


MIMICO (Toronto proggy psych) – Baltic Ave – 12am


SHANNON & THE CLAMS (Oakland garage surf) – Lee’s Palace – 12am


MADE IN HEIGHTS (New York filth pop) – Hoxton – 1am

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TGIF Playlist: April 11, 2014 (Late, by a lot)

Katie did a great post for our 4th anniversary (check it out below) so I wanted to copy her with a similar post, but part way through I realized I’m a way more distracted blogger when I couldn’t get past my 2010 stuff because there was too much nostalgia and too many dead links. Unwatched episodes of Real Housewives may have also had a hand in my laziness…

So, I didn’t get that together in time, but I’d still like to take a second to thank all our readers for visiting the blog and sharing your music with us over these years. I can’t believe this much time has passed, the whole experience was an experiment, one that I’m really happy we rolled with and it’s just cool to see how we’ve grown. I mean, I used to play Hype Machine in the background as I studied during undergrad, didn’t think the blog would be listed there, ever. So consider this a virtual high five (because I’m not a big hugger) to you, our readers, appreciate the support :)

On that note, I hope you enjoy these tracks and they help you kick off your weekend (NOTE: I was also late publishing this post… so I hope everyone already had a great weekend and that this playlist makes the work week more enjoyable)

  • Merrill Garbus can shout it out, sing it slow and it all sounds cool to me. This is a great mellow single from Tune-Yards (check out the other single, Water Fountain here). I feel like a lot of cool ideas and sounds go into their music, but the band makes it all fit really well together, and as someone who plays no musical instruments, that really impresses me. The new album Nikki Nack comes out May 5 so I can’t wait to hear more.
  • Songs like this, The Derevolutions track make me antsy for summer. I’m just done with wearing coats and pants.
  • I got No Mythologies to Follow because I love the Spice Girl’s cover  did (listen to it here), and even though that song isn’t on the album, I think it’s a great debut, the lyrics in the chorus of this song are really sweet, personal favourite being: Someday the wave’s gonna show me the way to the sand. If someone knows where I can find a cute graphic with that text on Pinterest, feel free to leave it in the comments below so I can add it to my board of inspirational quotes. 
  • Infectious pop music.
  • I was obsessed with the Future Islands single Balance (listen here), way back when, so now whenever the band releases a song/album, I’m chasing the feeling I got when I first listened to that track, which is impossible, but this song comes close.

Indie-licious Tues July 30th 2013

2. Cindy+Me – Caged Animals
3. News – tUnE-yArDs
4. Relapse – Twin Wave
5. Happiness (ft. Ira Kaplan of Yo La Tengo) – Eluvium
6. Capsules – Cliffs
7. A Dancing Shell – Wild Nothing
8. Fantasy – Juveniles
9. All You’re Waiting For – Classixx
10. Still Sleeping (ft. Steffaloo) – Chrome Sparks
11. Young Love – Sun Kil Moon
12. Bodies – Mazes


tUnE-yArDs as feminist rhetoric


It’s late, and I just came back from seeing Merrill Garbus – the frenetic, juicy, pulsing source behind New England’s tUnE-yArDs – performing with two headbanded saxophonists and a sombre bass player at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.

The violent pounding of Merrill’s drumstick against skin, the gleaming polish of the Alto saxophone, the reverberations of the electrically charged ukelele… If you think you’ve heard tUnE-yArDs before (and perhaps you’re even bold enough to venture that you understand the deliberately tangled percussion arrangements) seeing Merrill and her band perform is an act of stepping into a kaleidoscope in the process of being shaken wildly.

Many things are improvised, the dialogue is crackling between performer and audience (Phrases such as “This is where we jump!” turn the crowd into a synchronized trampoline act worthy of an indie film scene). Never has a crowd been so happy to crush their brand new Converses for a chance to actually have fun at a concert.

Listening to tUnE-yArDs live is like cracking open a watermelon on your head and letting the juices flow down your neck and shoulders. It’s sticky, refreshing, and “music as statement art” – but what exactly is Merrill saying?

And how exactly is she saying it?

First, it’s important to think about the framework of where she has come from. Her 2009 album BiRd-BrAiNs was entirely self-produced and recorded using a handheld recorder. Likely stemming from a desire to retain economical production costs, this medium captures the echoey vocals and gritty percussive smashes which are now incorporated into her live show on a grander scale.

Despite a particular fondness for the loop pedal, Merrill’s voice remains strikingly pure and unaffected even when layered in triplicate. This stands in stark contrast to many female musicians who enter the business only to be mastered and manipulated beyond recognition, which then forces them to haplessly recreate their live sound for an audience bred on digital perfection.

By pushing the borders on what an “acceptable” female musician should sound like, Merrill not only strives to break the barrier between male and female musicians, but audience members as well. The gender ratio of a concert audience can be pre-determined with a few simple criteria:

1) Is there an attractive female in the band?

One is fine and can draw men in droves, but too many female musicians indicate that this music is more “appropriate” for female fans, and the men will tend to come begrudgingly with their girlfriends.

2) Is she playing the guitar or the keyboards?

The masculinization and feminization of music instruments is inherent in their shape and sound quality – keys are soft, strokable, tamable, and usually used as accompaniment to humdrum romantic power ballads.

On the other hand, a guitar is meant to be pounded, reverberated, and generally abused (think of common visual of a guitar being smashed by an artist on stage). Given the typical gender roles that men and women usually fall into, it’s no surprise that men naturally gravitate towards lead guitarist and women towards keyboard accompaniment.

And this is how Merrill breaks all the rules. She may play a delicate toy instrument – a ukelele – but her methods of playing are aggressive, strong, and forceful. She has the rare ability to play the drums while singing (see: women are great at multi-tasking). A master of crescendo and decrescendo, she instinctively knows when to pull back. No matter her dynamic technique, she never strays into the dangerous pit of twee ukelele players (a 2011 trend which should blow over once everyone’s bangs grow out).

Perhaps she’s not intentionally making any statements at all. But when I see her perform live, I think that maybe it’s a little easier for young female musicians to get messy with their music, to stop sounding sweet and start sounding fierce.

Music for your Victoria Day Long Weekend

These tracks aren’t all particularly new, but who wants to listen to cutting edge indie when you can blare your pre-loved jams at the cottage and break out in a flash mob of karaoke with your friends and/or family.  Here is a break down of some of the music I will be bringing up North this weekend:

OMC  – How Bizarre
This is my face whenever this song comes on.
This is my face when I’m annoyed with WordPress because the quirky song I want to post can’t be uploaded straight from my iTunes and I have to use a youtube version…

TanlinesReal Life
Tanlines is from Brooklyn, but this song sounds more “tropical island” than “New York City” to me

Santigold This Isn’t Our Parade
I couldn’t find a better version of this song (sorry) hopefully it will motivate you to buy the album to get the full effect because it’s worth it

Makes me want to sit back in a Muskoka chair. 

Arcade Fire Month of May
Because it’s the May 2-4 long weekend — get it?

Animal CollectiveWhat Would You Want? Sky
Preparing myself for the new album.

That’s about it. I’m going to save the rest for an actual downloadable playlist since it’s been a while since I made one of those.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!