Here’s some breezy indie pop to match the weather from Toronto’s Juliana’s Daughter (aka Janice Kwan). “Time + Space” contains a sweetness reminiscent of Ingrid Michaelson and is the highlight from her new EP Lions + Tigers + Bears. Hear more and purchase the EP here.
Natives to Southern Ontario, Church released their first full-length album Either Or late last year. The album bounces back and forth between genres, tapping into early punk rock, modern indie, and everything in between.
The first half of the album lulls the listener into a state of punk serenity. The raw recording almost sounds like a live recording captured in a bar, producing a cool and unique sound similar to underground bands from the punk revolution. Not surprisingly, the band claims the album was recorded in a garage and a bathroom. They didn’t focus on perfecting their recordings, and that’s all part of their charm. As such, Either Or is the perfect kind of album to see live.
The combination of female vocalist Marta Cikojevic and male vocalist Ryan Brownrigg rocks the album back and forth, with the desperation in Cikojevic’s voice contrasting with the powerful but steady voice of Brownrigg. Through this, they achieve a perfect emotional balance in their vocals.
The first highlight of the album is “Brittle and Bare”. In it, the purity of Cikojevic’s voice is on display, with a rhythm section that gives the listener the urge to pull out their lighter and wave it in the air. With some of the strongest lyrics of the album, this song shows the softer side of Church, and makes the listener fall in love with the band:
And then comes “Pissed Jeans”. This song spins the album 180° in a switch to powerful punk rock that demonstrates why Church isn’t just another generic Toronto indie band. The pounding drums in “Pissed Jeans” hit the listener at full force, while the howling vocals from Cikojevic echo amongst the instruments. The fast-paced, high energy song is less than two minutes long, but it’s one hell of a ride:
Although their first album (as a complete group) is only eight songs, Either Or demonstrates how Church can weave their music through several genres, giving their music its own unique feeling of punk rock audacity and soothing harmony.
Deanna Devore‘s dreamy electro-pop sound is intriguing as it is simultaneously smooth and raw. Her chillout singer-songwriter stylings have really developed into a distinct sound on X Number Of Days, her upcoming EP to be released in January. This is perhaps no better demonstrated than on “Where Went Your Heart” which harkens back to days when I’d play Kings Of Convenience records on repeat. Based out of Chicago but originally from Toronto, she’s definitely someone to look out for. We asked her some questions in anticipation of her upcoming release:
Being from Toronto originally, what is it that drew you towards making music in Chicago?
I first went out to Chicago in 2006 to record with a producer/engineer (Bjorn Thorsrud). It could have been anywhere, really. It just so happened that he lives in Chicago and so that’s where I went.
What led to that initial break working with Bjorn Thorsrud of Smashing Pumpkins fame?
I was passed along in a sense from producer to producer, trying to find the best fit. A Toronto producer first heard my music and then put me in touch with someone in LA. I went out there to talk things over with him and was then put in touch with Bjorn Thorsrud, thus resulting in me going to Chicago.
What were some of your major influences for your new album?
I’m into a lot of electronic stuff that for the most part, seems to be coming out of Europe. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Little Dragon, Miike Snow to name a few. That kind of sound definitely influenced my album.
You play multiple instruments on your recordings, how do you translate that to your live shows?
The live set-up includes a synth/keyboard player, a bassist, a drummer, a back-up singer and I play guitar and sing. I do use a loop pedal and so I loop some stuff live as well as having some of the electronic drum tracks play from my laptop.
What is it that you miss most about Toronto?
The food! And family/friends of course…but I do miss Toronto’s ethnic cuisine. Malaysian, Jamaican, Indian, etc. I feel like that kind of food is way more authentic in Toronto.
Freestyling is an important form of expression in hip hop. If you had to freestyle four lines about your new album, what would you say?
X Number Of Days.
The kind of music that sways.
Electronic beats galore.
Won’t you see what’s in store?
Isaac Brock, lead singer of Modest Mouse, makes an extremely unexpected surprise appearance at Broken Social Scene’s last concert of 2008 (November 28th, Toronto, The Sound Academy). The last song he performed: The World At Large.