Our friends, Kasador, have done it again! Coming off the release of their debut self-titled album Kasador – the video for their second single ‘Talk About It’ was released October 18 on AUX, and has not fallen short of any expectation. The past three years have been a whirlwind for Kasador and it is evident that this band has gone through significant changes since they first debuted as Will Hunter Band. From their style, to their growth in talent, experience and even members – Kasador has become a band to watch. Their music captivates the listeners beyond their strong musicality, catchy beats, powerful choruses, lyrics you relate to and melodies that enchant and embrace what it means to be young – but simply because they are five guys doing what they love for people who love music.
The past two years the boys have found themselves sharing the stage with Canadian greats such as Lights, Arkells, July Talk, Wintersleep, U.S.S, and Current Swell. Most recently, Kasador opened Queen’s University Homecoming ReUnion Street Festival, playing with Walk Off the Earth for the second time.
Following the release of their first single ‘Neighbourhood’, in January 2016, and the full release of the album Kasador September 13th the boys have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. Profiled by accredited websites such as Allan Cross’ A Journal of Musical Things, EXCLAIM! and Indie Trendsetters, Kasador is seeing more and more success with each day. The strong feedback has resulted in regular rotation from radio stations such as The Edge (Toronto), CBC Radio 1 and The Drive (Kingston), Boom 99.7 (Ottawa) and throughout campus radio stations like CFRC (Queen’s University).
‘Talk About It’ – directed by Brett Pedersen, is edgy and artistic, giving vibes visually like Catfish and the Bottlemen’s – ‘Twice’. The dark silhouetted tone of the video perfectly matches the single’s young and edgy soulfulness that rock and roll used to have, mixed with the sound of new age indie rock.
The Summer of 2016 had Kasador playing shows across Ontario, with a special show in Brooklyn, New York with Wintersleep and Whitehorse. With the success of this show, Kasador is now prepping for a more extensive USA tour Winter 2017. Watch out for them on their upcoming tour dates:
This past weekend festival-goers were treated to the triumph that was Field Trip, kicking off Toronto’s summer of popular music, food and art festivals. Vault writers Spencer Swayze and Nick Castel summed up some of their thoughts from the event that brought together some of the best summer energy this city has to offer.
One of the most unique aspects of Field Trip was it’s location at the Fort York National Historic Site in downtown Toronto. As newcomers to Field Trip, it was hard to know exactly how that kind of small space would lend to so many full-blown artists and shows. One entrance, required climbing down fortification walls and through a large courtyard, just to access the main stage. A little deeper in and low profile 18th century buildings become the walls for a community of local vendors reminiscent of Wolfe Island Music Festival or Wayhome. One of Field Trips strongest qualities was it’s overall feeling of intimacy and community, which was definitely aided by it’s small size. Nothing was too far away, and every spot had great views.
Who was there
On day one, Toronto native Jazz Cartier put on one the most memorable shows in a long time, without question. Whether it was his DJ’s hilarious exclamations, or the 20+ water bottles Jacuzzi must have brought on stage with him to drench the crowd, Cartier and crew knew just how get an audience off the ground. It was clear to see that a large majority of the crowd were loyal Jazz Cartier fans as every hook and tag line was shouted back at him. The crowd went absolutely mental when Cartier climbed off his stage and on to the literal hands of his audience. For nearly a full song, the Toronto rapper stood straight up on the hands of his loyal fans beneath him, a set-trick not easy to pull off. Jazz’s set was engaging, full of energy and inspiring for other up-and-coming Toronto artists. Hopefully we can look forward to seeing Jazz on the main stage at next year’s festival.
With no album on the way, and not much released in the past few years, Robyn took a different approach with her show on day two, choosing to play a fully remixed set. Buried in the show were some of her biggest hits, “Hang With Me” and “Dancing On My Own” which went over well, even if the crowd sometimes had a hard time knowing when to sing along (where was Call Your Girlfriend??). Her stage presence however was on point, spending time away from the mic passionately dancing with an entourage of backup dancers, mirrors and lights. Unfortunately, no encore which felt a bit like an unfinished end to the weekend of music.
Unique and worthwhile
For most of Toronto’s inner-city families, a 20-30 minute drive to Fort York for a day filled with music and games was a no brainer for parents. Field Trip encouraged this family-friendly atmosphere by setting up certain performances meant for kids, such as Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning, Kevin Drew and Justin Peroff’s performance of songs about bananas and ponies. This was a refreshing scene for a music festival, adding a certain carelessness initiated not by drugs or booze, but rather the laughter and play of kids and their parents. Other notable mentions of the weekend included headliners The National, DIIV, Charlotte Day Wilson, Eliot Sumner and Basia Bulat – a Toronto native who has no trouble showing her true colours with her music.
Beautiful weather on day one had nearly everyone smiling ear to ear, and if it weren’t for the sound of the train or glimpses of the CN tower, it was easy to forget how urban it actually was. Especially with people dancing barefoot in the grass or basking in the sun. Despite a late day two start due to rain, the positive energy was still evident. In the evening, the dramatic weather created some pretty stunning backdrops as the setting sun and towering clouds marched along the horizon. During Ra Ra Riot’s set on the TD Stage, the sun broke through the clouds, creating a golden rain shine for those of us dancing in our Indie 88 poncho’s (good one guys).
Reflecting on the weekend, what made Field Trip special was not just it’s lineup, but rather those special moments dancing in the rain or hoisting up your favourite artists. If anything, Field Trip was proof that little sanctuaries are possible in the middle of the urban goliath that is Toronto. For us, we’ll definitely be coming back.
Canadian Music Week is one of the most exciting points of my year. There are two components to CMW: the festival and the conference. This year, I was able to snag a sweet festival wristband for week-long access to some amazing shows. The festival is held in bars and venues all throughout downtown Toronto. This year, the festival was held from May 2-8 and featured some Vault friends and favourites: Billy Moon, Blve Hills, Ivory Hours, Royal Canoe, The Kents, Lost Cousins, and Wild Rivers (to name a few).
Tuesday night started out strong with a jam-packed Silver Dollar Room featuring two of Kingston’s favourites, Wild Rivers, and Lost Cousins. These shows never fail to pull a huge Kingston crowd, and everywhere you looked you’d see a familiar face. Both of the bands treated us with a mix of our favourite tunes with some fun covers mixed in. This crew was definitely a great way to kick off an amazing festival.
When I first saw the CMW lineup, I saw that Royal Canoe was playing on a Wednesday evening at the MOD Club, and I was ecstatic! Hailing from Winnipeg, this band released one of my absolute favourite albums of all time, Today We’re Believers, released in 2013. Their live show was just as amazing as the album because rather than using extensive backing tracks, the band plays every part to every song live every single time. The crowd was lucky to get the chance to hear a set that mixed their older favourites in with a few glimpses of upcoming tracks. The new songs had a heavier vibe but stuck to the electronic weirdness feel that we all know and love. Needless to say, it has been too long and it’s time for some new Royal Canoe. They’re definitely going to deliver.
During Canadian Music Week, the festival had bars open and serving until 4am, with huge showcases guaranteed to make any music lover happy. With such an amazing lineup of artists on CMW’s bill, they needed all the time they could get and it’s not surprising that on a Thursday night at the ungodly hour of 1:30am concert-goers were dancing into the early morning.The sounds of Ivory Hours playing at the Horseshoe Tavern had people enjoying being up way past their bedtimes. After a successful tour across Canada in April these boys still had an amazing energy to put on a great show. Make sure to check out their full-length album Morning Light and maybe grab one of those new new vinyl!
Friday night was a huge night for CMW, with a sold-out show at the Opera House featuring Busty and the Bass. Recently signed with Indica Records, Busty and the Bass were eager to release some new tunes. Their new single titled Miss Judge that was released at the end of April, is a sneak peek of what’s to come with their newest EP at some point in June. I was amazed at the number of people that filled the venue, all with “a passion for good times and great music,” as the band would describe it. They encored with a sweet cover of I Try by Macy Gray, which had the entire crowd singing at the top of their lungs.
Little India showed up on my ‘Discover Weekly’ on Spotify not too long ago and ever since I’ve been hooked. They are a group of four guys from Vancouver, BC performed twice during CMW.The show I went to was on Saturday night at a little place called the 300 College Club that serves all of their drinks in classy red cups. Little India’s creative riffs and harmonies had a nostalgic rock vibe with an 80’s pop feeling. Despite apparently “singing too hard at karaoke” the night before, they still had a huge sound and played an impressive set.
After the Little India show I ran to the Dakota Tavern to see the Vault’s very own, The Kents, play a sold-out show. With a line down the block I almost didn’t think I would get in! Once I got in I caught an amazing Prince tribute and their new single, The Stakes. Make sure to check out their new Waking – EP, that comes out on June 1st!
One of the best things I learned this year at CMW: getting a wristband and being able to go to multiple shows in one night while avoiding shelling out your life savings on cover is well worth the initial investment. If you don’t want to go to as many shows as I do (I want to go to them all), the cover you pay at the door help support the artists, festival, and the conference. Canadian Music Week is an amazing opportunity for artists to get their name out there and play some shows and for fans to be able to see their favourite bands live.
Ottawa may lie in the (likely frozen) backwaters of more vibrant and visible music scenes in Montreal and Toronto, but every so often Ottawa alt-rock bands are able to capture the attention of listeners outside the amalgamated city limits. Live 88.5s Big Money Shot has been partly responsible for this; armed with the Weezer-recalling “Juliette,” a certain band called Hollerado dominated the radio for years after winning the contest when I was in middle school.
More recently, Sault Ste. Marie import Kalle Mattson gained some measure of prominence after competing in 2012, but that thankfully is not the last we’ve heard from the rocker. Between 2014 and 2015, Mattson released both a promising album Someday, the Moon Will Be Gold, and the trimmed-down Avalanche EP. The latter release follows Mattson as he switches gears and turns toward the centre, developing his pop sensibilities while retaining an innate knack for crafting down-to-earth, Horseshoe Tavern-friendly chants. “New Romantics” dips into well-trodden ‘80s influences, but Mattson’s voice offers a compelling, high-register earnestness that lends a sense of completion to the anthem. That track immediately leads into “Baby Blue,” a gorgeous, introspective candidate for the encore of his set that shows Mattson is as if not more comfortable on acoustic guitar as electric.
A couple months back, Mattson posted a cautiously optimistic update on the progress of his next album, joking that he has “no clue” whether it’s any good but admitting it may be “really exciting,” but this belies the confidence present in The Avalanche EP. Kingston folks can catch Mattson’s solo opening set for Jason Collett this Wednesday (May 11th) at the Grad Club. Jason Collett’s work is, of course, part of the endlessly enjoyable canon of Broken Social Scene-affiliated projects and his latest release, Song and Dance Man, was well-received. With Collett hailing from the nucleus of the Canadian music community, it’s only fitting that Mattson can represent a voice closer to its fringes.
I have to admit this was the first time I’ve heard Twin Rivers, the garage-pop band from Vancouver, BC. Although some may believe this discounts an opinion, it helps form connections with the music purely based on its sound. Settle Down is one of the ten songs featured on Twin Rivers’ upcoming sophomore album, Passing Shade, releasing June 17. I can’t wait. This album is exactly what I could use this summer.
Settle Down’s guitar riffs resurface memories of evenings by the water, watching the sunset with good company. I already feel nostalgic for the memories that this song will become the soundtrack to. The chorus fits a similar bill. Every time I listen, I imagine an evening drive through the city, joking with friends, people-watching through the window. It speaks to the beginning of many individual narratives; the ones of those in the city, of those closer, and yours. Combined, the music asks me, “How will your summer go?” As such, I recommend listening to Settle Down relaxing with friends after an eventful day. The song fits perfectly within memories – memories that haven’t been made yet. Memories for which I’m already feeling a sense of nostalgia. This may have been the first time I’ve heard Twin Rivers, but I can definitely tell you it won’t be the last time I hear them – in real life or when I replay summer thoughts.
This was my experience. Listen to the track below and enjoy your own. Cheers!
Toronto’s Moon King put on one of the tightest and most enjoyable performances I have had the pleasure of attending in Kingston, this year. The duo that is Daniel Benjamin and Maddy Wilde electrified the Mansion Thursday night with a powerful blend of electronic and indie-rock. Opening the show with one of the duo’s first songs, Apocalypse, the audience immediately knew they were in for a high-energy, head-banging set. Supported only by a third member on the drums, Moon King left me stunned by the raw-power that 3 individuals could bring to a stage. After walking us through some new material and old favourites off their first LP, Secret Life, Moon King closed off the night with album opener, Roswell. When played in succession, Roswell and Apocalypse seamlessly transition from one another; acting as if they were on long track. When played at opposite ends of Thursday’s set, the two songs truly gave the performance a sense of “wholeness”; as if the performance had come full circle.
I had the chance to sit down with singer/songwriter Daniel Benjamin before the show to talk about the band’s influences, recent signing with Last Gang Records, and upcoming projects.
Check out our little Q&A below:
A: “Maddy and I have been playing shows together since we were kids. We grew up playing music together and listened to a lot of the same bands in high-school. When we discovered music as something exciting, we discovered it at the same time. Everything we found out about, we found out about together. I had a lot of songs written that I didn’t have an outlet for, I figured Maddy was the best person to perform them with. We ended up doing just that. That was about 4 years ago.”
Q: How has your brother Airick (AKA. Doldrums) been an influence in your music? And vise versa?
A: We influence each other a lot. Airick’s project started a few years before Moon King and I was performing in the live version of his Doldrums set. We were doing a lot of raw, loop-based, free form stuff, which I think got me interested in electronic music. I was writing songs with more melody attachment and started to notice that my brother’s music started to reflect this as we would show each other songs. In the same way, my music started to get more electronic and noisy. Really recently, I think we’ve started to switch a little bit because I’m starting to write songs that are more beat-oriented where he is writing music that is more song-oriented. It’s a lot of back and forth.
Q: How has signing to Last Gang Records helped Moon King?
A: “Last gang has been a very established label for years so they have a pretty good understanding of how difficult it is to be an artist. They also help us outside of Canada a lot as they have offices in London and LA. For a big label, they’re very relaxed and open to ideas. A lot of labels seem too focused on curating their sound and focusing on the brand. I think Last Gang is very focused on the artist and helping them do what they want to do. They’re very diverse. I’ve been really happy with them so far.”
Q: What have been some of your favourite places to play?
A: “My favourite thing is to go somewhere “exotic” where you feel a bit like an outsider. If you show up in a very small town like, for example, our show in Oxford Mississipi, it is unusual to have an indie rock show at all. At these kind of shows we feel like we have something new to bring. Shows in Toronto, on the other hand, have a million things happening with lot of bands playing every night. That’s cool, but thinking you’re kind of the only show in town is a special feeling.”
Q: Favourite acts to play with?
“In the last year we got to play with a lot of really good bands. We did a European tour with “Tops”. That was great. We did something like 30 shows with “Alvvays“, including Kingston. Actually Kingston We did a de-ja vu show in the same venue with roughly the same lineup, a year later. Very weird – I was like ‘we already did this’, but those guys are awesome. We also played with one of my favourite bands from New York, “Mr. Twin Sister“. We did a U.S. tour with them in the summer. “Fucked up” as well. I think the amount of times we’ve got to play with bands that I actually really like and listen to is great. I love it, I feel very lucky.”
Q: What do you think of the Canadian Music Scene right now?
A: “I think everybody is listening to everything. It’s the way it should be I, think. It is very possible for a purely electronic or purely rock band to have the same audience. When you talk about music after a show or something, it’s surprising how much people care about it. That’s what keeps you going, because shit is hard. If it wasn’t for that, having someone to talk to that really cares about what you’re doing, it would be very easy to give up. I think the most important thing about music is that people stay supportive and keep showing artists that they care about what they’re doing.”
Q: What would be your dream collaboration?
A: “There is a composer named Harold Budd that I listen to all the time. Mostly ambient piano stuff, but also electronic “dream like” music. I’ve been very inspired by his stuff for a few years now. I would love to do something with him. He’s like, VERY old, but he’s still putting out stuff every year or two. I think it would be so cool to go in with a few songs or something and just listen to what he could do on top of it.
Q: Anything big coming up?
A: ” We just finished another record a couple weeks ago. I don’t think the record will come out for a while, probably not until the end of the year. These things take a while. I think the plan is to play these Canadian shows for now, then as things start to ramp up near the end of the year, we’ll probably start getting busy again. Last year was crazy, we played I think 100-110 shows. This kind of off-and-on thing works better for everyone.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the band’s LP, Secret Life, here.
I grew up on one religion, Dave Monks. The soundtrack to all of my memories switch between A Lesson In Crime and Elephant Shell. So when Tokyo Police Club finally released the single “Not My Girl” earlier this year I could finally breath again knowing there was more music to come. In honour of the bands ten-year anniversary since their debut album A Lesson in Crime the four-piece New Market natives are releasing a two-part LP, Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Parts 1 & 2) Fun fact: the title is a pun on the Smashing Pumpkins seminal 1995 album.
Part one is set to release this Friday, April 8th. The best way to describe the five track EP is new era TPC. Their previous album Forcefield, released in 2014, was an ode to lost love and their lost sound. To me, that’s the beauty of Tokyo Police Club. They purposely shut out the countless microtrends of indie rock. And in case you have noticed, indie rock is basically pop now and Tokyo Police Club has embraced the bubble gum alternative glam feel perfectly through Melon Collie Part 1. I’ll be the first to admit that this is not Tokyo Police Club’s best album but I think that is part of its charm. It’s quirky and upbeat nature makes us crave the next song. Each song takes it time to unfold. Lead single “Not My Girl” is built on layers of anticipation ending with an epic guitar solo and overcoming chant. Each song is its own anthem. “Losing You” is the millennial relationship all wrapped up into a quick verse that hits too close to home for many of us. In a recent interview with CBC Music Monks describes the album as “capturing the moment and being ourselves. It was this spontaneous feeling of, ‘These songs are rad, let’s put them out.’” This approach has worked to their advantage, yet again. Tokyo Police Club screams youth, they are constantly producing music that never grows old. Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness is just another example of Tokyo Police Club expressing their talent in such a raw and fearless way.
I’ve been pretty keen for this album to come out for a while. We’ve had Toronto Rapper Guapo of the Saints play several of our Vault house shows over the years and I recall some of the tracks on Trembling being performed at the shows so its cool to see things come full circle ya know? As usual Guapo’s erudite lyrics and quick-witted metaphors and similes had me laughing and having those ‘ah’ moments you get after hearing a particularly clever line.
This album has a decidedly more hip-hop beat than his last project McGillmatic which worked with more dub and electronic beats. The album has 19 tracks which are all pretty solid which is something to say given that this is his 4th mixtape. I’m not much of a songwriter and I have trouble writing in a journal more than six times in a year but to create 4 mixtapes with 12+ songs on each one that all slap deserves a bow and a lil’ flourish. Anyways I haven’t written for the blog in a while since I finished uni but to crawl out from the crypt to do a write up for this album is something for which I definitely have ganas.
Before many of us realized Majid Jordan is actually two people, they were on top of the world, having had a hand in crafting arguably the most ubiquitous song of 2013, Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” But despite the hallowed OVO co-sign, their recent self-titled record takes little for granted. When singer Majid Al Maskati muses on how “easy it is to fall into a cycle” on the opening track, he’s far from satisfied with resting on his laurels. This track, coupled with early album standout “Make it Work,” perhaps represent Majid Jordan at their hardest working; the snare drum beat sizzles, and Al Maskati’s vocals fit seamlessly in the tense, futuristic song. Later on the album, “Something About You,” ascends gradually, reaching the heights of the Marilyn Monroe towers by Square One before circling back to the funk-tinged hook.
Leaving the club credentials of “My Love” aside, the record indicates how comfortably Majid Jordan fit into the space on the margins of a night out; they are adept at setting the pre-club mood and perhaps more so at easing the late night comedown. Two and a half years after “Hold On,” Drake remains as potent a cultural force as ever, and Majid Jordan continues to play their part in sound-tracking the OVO universe.
After months of anticipation, constant refreshing and virtual tears from Instagram antagonizing, the Wayhome lineup is finally here. Last July in “a town in North Ontario” to quote last years headliner Neil Young, Burls Creek, Barrie ON hosted the inaugural WAYHOME festival. This magical three day campers dream wow’d festival goers from across the globe. The breakout event held international acts like Alt-J, Sylvan Esso, ODESZA and Kendrick Lamar, as well as Canadian natives like Brave Shores, Alvvays and of course Kingston’s very own The Lost Cousins. WAYHOME brought festival goers from far and wide out to the fields to experience the experiment that became the pinnacle memory of everyones summer. Of course, if you didn’t attend, there was no shortage of social media documentation. Whether it was selfies on the campsites, group shots on colourful plush toys by WAYBOLD or the Giant SOON structure built in the main field, you got a kernel of the WAYHOME experience. It was a time for people of all music tastes to come together and celebrate great artists, delicious food, wonderful people and of course the craziness that makes for the legendary memories we hold onto until next year. Well folks, the time has come!
With headliners like The Killers, Canadian megastars Arcade Fire and none other then the returning disco-tech hero’s LCD Soundsystem. After 4 years of hiatus, LCD Soundsystem will be returning to the festival circuit at massive events like Bonnaroo, Gov’ Ball and Coachella. They will also be headlining the festival that stole our hearts last season and we cannot contain our excitement. Like in acting, there are no small acts, just small actors, which is definitely the case with this years WAYHOME lineup. Even the “smaller” sets that have been announced are nothing shy of greatness. Coleman Hell, The Paper Kites and OH WONDER are just a few of the acts that have me antsy with excitement. Writing this article makes me, as well as other Vault members and fellow Wayhomies, over the moon. This year the festival is expected to return to great new heights, as well as stay true to the carefree, individualistic and creative atmosphere that they projected last year. From the creators of the festival perfection that is Bonnaroo, Wayhome hopes to transport you to better place. A place where it’s about the music, the art and the appetite for life. A place where we can escape from our everyday worries of Instagram LPM (likes per minuet, if you didn’t know- which I’m sure you did) and wondering what the next hipster hair-trend will be (ps. lavender locks are so last season). Wayhome is a place is for the whimsy of life to bring you to a higher ground, to get to a level where you can just be there, with your people and smile, maybe even laugh. I know this sounds super high and mighty, like I’m telling you this festival will bring you to a new spiritual level where some Shaman will tell you “you’ve been cleansed of your demons” but trust me, I speak the truth. Wayhome is an experience and it’s one you’ll never forget. So gather up your friends, dig up that tent thats been buried in your garage since kindergarten and buy a ticket because festival season is right around the corner and you’ll want to be ready. See you SOON.