Obama does Drake, a choir sings Justin Bieber and the rest of this month in Toronto music
Every month, we bring you a track-by-track breakdown of the city’s best new music and most anticipated concerts. In this edition: a Sloan offshoot, the Power Rangers play A-Ha, and what if The Weeknd was in an emo band?
Alessia Cara’s tastiest throwback track
Brampton’s biggest R&B export scored a deal with Def Jam Records on the strength of her YouTube pop covers. Now, she’s taking another cue from the Bieber playbook: selling out the Danforth Music Hall this weekend (good luck finding tickets). We’ll spare you another listen of Alessia Cara’s monolithic starter single, “Here,” in favour of “Outlaws,” a blue-eyed soul stunner with blazes of throwback brass atop layers of creamy vocals.
Drizzy gets the presidential treatment
The POTUS gives tons of speeches, some YouTube user has a lot of free time, the Detroit Pistons really want Andre Drummond in the NBA All-Star Game, and everyone loves Drake. Put that all together what do you get? This “Jumpman” supercut.
Indie-rock geeks’ new favourite track
There’s a whole lot of Halifax talent between the three shaggy-haired veterans who comprise the indie-rock supergroup TUNS: Sloan’s Chris Murphy, Super Friendz’ Matt Murphy and Inbreds’ Mike O’Neill. Despite playing just a handful of shows together under their current moniker, they’re headlining January 16’s edition of the eclectic concert series Long Winter at the Great Hall. Here’s their debut single, “Throw It All Away.”
A choir of young Beliebers
They’ve done Adele. They’ve done T. Swift. And now they’ve done the Biebs. A couple hundred members of ubiquitous sing-along society Choir!Choir!Choir! recently packed Clinton’s Tavern to capacity and unironically belted out Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” in four-part harmony.
Muse’s banging anti-war anthem
The English trio has always had a soft spot for apocalyptic storylines and conspiracy theories, and an imposing orchestral aesthetic to match their grandiose themes. Exhibit A: “Psycho,” an early single off their latest album Drones, which features a “Personal Jesus”–like lead riff and confrontational lyrics. Muse plays the Air Canada Centre on January 16.
Fallout Boy meets Justin Bieber
Drake’s magnificent mixtape is the quasi-namesake of If You’re Listening It’s Never Too Late, remix masters Captain Cuts’ monstrous 32-minute mash-up of modern chart toppers—Fetty Wap, Adele, Rihanna—mixed with 2000s emo bands like Jimmy Eat World, Brand New and Dashboard Confessional. Listen for Drizzy himself (singing “Hotline Bling” atop a Say Anything song), AFI dubbed over The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face,” a blend of Justin Bieber and Fallout Boy, and more. It’s strange, silly and superb.
A terrifying glimpse into the minds of METZ
This Toronto trio’s noisy punk rock is the stuff of music critic’s dreams. It’s chaotic, contrarian and consistently loud, and both of their first two albums have been nominated for the Polaris Music Prize. Ahead of an upcoming seven-inch single, METZ released a video for their manic anthem “Eraser” that’s ever bit as frightening as the song itself.
A four-minute staring contest with Majical Cloudz
After opening for Lorde, the Canadian electro-pop duo headlines its own tour, which stops at the Garrison on January 15. Let’s hope Majical Cloudz songwriter Devon Welsh is less creepy onstage than he is in the video for “Downtown,” a single off their pensive new record, Are You Alone?.
A southern-sounding slow burner
The multi-talented Torontonian Raven Shields has lent her soulful drawl and guitar-slinging gifts to local roots-rock bands like Dear Sister, The Wilderness of Manitoba and her own eponymous band, with whom she plays the city’s classiest, coziest new venue, the Burdock, on January 29. Here’s a taste of what to expect: “Take Me Home.”
An ’80s cover by a Chris Hadfield–endorsed nerd-rock band
The pylon-headed, morph-suit-wearing, keytar-clad geeks in Tupper Ware Remix Party played Hadfield’s Generator event and will hit the Horseshoe on January 15 (whether they’ll play “Take On Me” is up in the air). Who are we to dispute the spaceman’s tastes?