It’s hard to ignore the classics, but it’s worse to overlook the rising stars. Each month, we pick five artists worth lending your ears to. June’s selections highlight a few up-and-coming acts making noise in indie rock, alternative and r&b/hip-hop.
NOTES: You could say Greys is the bastard child of the pop punk in-breds Arietta but the group’s simple description tags (“loud rock band”) say that’s just.. well, wrong. The Toronto act does have a vehement ring that doesn’t care if you go deaf and unlike other Canadian noisemakers, there’s a pit of emotion behind it. The urgency in guitars, the sharp drum taps and the vocals that stab in you in the back between breakdowns mesh together, keeping your attention on a string. Or in some cases, splatter your mind all over the floor.
NOW PLAYING: Ultra Sorta EP (Concession Records)
NOTES: Rock n’ roll lives in Texas (trust us) and though the Austin group are not MTV popular, their blend of psychedelic rock, blues and jazz are like Pop Rocks for aging Quicksilver Messenger Service followers. Adding a fourth member for their fourth release has given White Denim a jam band mentality; lazed vocals ripple on while colourful rhythms float around your ears like haze after a smoke sesh. Take a full glass of D and it acts as a retreat away from indie’s new-found conformity, or as Rolling Stone puts it, takes “rippin’ flute solos” and reintroduces the beginnings of the Grateful Dead.
NOW PLAYING: D (Downtown Records)
NOTES: Just when you thought rhythm and blues died, up rises Toronto-based Abel Tesfaye (aka. The Weeknd). The virtually unknown crooner, who’s brand of tortured, seductive soul music has been pushed by musicians like Drake, has garnered enough praises to make his 2010 self-released debut the third highest scoring R&B album ever via professional reviews. The reason? The low-profiler embraces theatrical beats (think Thank Me Later), letting them set the tone for a reflective moment that ties up and exposes a man’s hidden weaknesses through lust, longing and naked honesty.
NOW PLAYING: House Of Balloons (Self-Released)
NOTES: “Talk talk, it’s all you do / So I never talk to you,” claims the 23-year-old, multiple-band wizard on a lead track titled “Imaginary Person”. While Ty Segall orchestrates a fuzzed out garage noise that’s similar to Wavves, Black Lips or whatever other group you feel obliged to throw into the conversation, the San Francisco songwriter doesn’t stick to the lo-fi basics. His maturity is present, making his persona more inclined to make you shimmy with a pretty young thing than shout about how much life sucks.
NOW PLAYING: Goodbye Bread (June 21st – Drag City)
THE ORPHAN, THE POET
NOTES: Just when ambient rock appeared to be deceased, the Ohio quartet bring it back in a way that’s polished, blending each member’s skill to create a distinctive style. The honesty in the strings, tempos and David Eselgroth’s voice omit shards of Copeland and a more alternative Lydia, but once the pitch grows, so does their ability to personally connect with a listener’s masked emotions. Scratch the surface a bit more and a similarity to present-day Thrice shows The Orphan, The Poet are feeding on a promising future.
NOW PLAYING: Translating EP (Self-released)
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