Watch Kira May perform “Never Broke A Bone” live at the Project Galley in Toronto

Watch Daniel Romano perform “I Won’t Let It” featuring the lovely Sarah Harmer

Thought Beneath Film get into the holiday spirit performing “Christmas Day”

Wildlife - “…On The Heart”

Review by Tim Martin

Certain music seems to play well with constantly changing landscapes. They are fast-paced tracks that scurry by like rowdy children. Best listened to driving on a highway through the mountains, on a sailboat caught by a squall, or reading The Arrival by Shaun Tan. …On The Heart is an album of leaving, moving, shaking, and breaking. The musicality is a reckless adventure, one in which you are never sure whether Dean Povinsky will be able to keep singing. Both because of his relentless belting, and the obvious fractures like thin fingers across the songwriter’s exposed heart.

It wasn’t until I heard of their formative stint touring around Glasgow that I understood Wildlife!’s Scot-rock tendencies. Despite the home base of Toronto, they appear to be bedded down in the same musical soil that produced bands like Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad. Particular highlights would be indie-pop anthem “Born to Ruin,” complete with a repeating hazy distorted guitar riff, heavy snares, and a shouting/singing vocal backdrops, the brighter electric noodling and charismatic build of “Lightning Tent,” and the string-laced “Bonnie.”

Any artist with the default setting of fortissimo needs to work hard to provide dynamic changes and subtleties, leaving room for resounding crescendos. …On the Heart features a number of synth-led tracks that function as a deep breath between the cardiovascular workouts that many of the songs become. They begin with “If It Breaks,” a beautiful shimmering minimalist reverberation, which leads perfectly into the album. “(Arrythmia)” and “(Pulse)” provide a similar respite, without taking away from any of the album’s powerful emotional feel and rhythmic momentum.

So hop onboard, the sails are bursting with wind, the sun shimmers on the water, and the land is whipping by. Catch your breath, feel your heartbeat, and listen well because this voyage will reward your ears.

Dog Day - ‘Fadeout’

Review by Andrew Patterson

Dog Day is a relatively unassuming band. So unassuming that I find myself wondering pessimistically if I even like them. Every time they release an album, I say to myself ‘Do I really need another Dog Day album?’. And then I look to my record shelf and I see that I own all of their records. So, whetted by the fond memories of albums past, I listen toFadeout, the band’s fourth album in a steady five-year run, and I am pleasantly reminded (fool that I am!) that I do need more Dog Day. In fact, I think everyone could use a little Dog Day here and there. Suddenly, I feel grateful that people like Seth Smith and Nancy Urich continue to make art that so effortlessly overcomes my hyper-critical listening habits.

Fadeout finds the husband and wife duo working in familiar territory, making evocative, moderate rock music: songs that sound deceptively simple because they are immaculately constructed, with much of the heavy machinery tucked inside. Moving seamlessly through classic-rock tropes, down into sullen, confessional songwriting, Dog Day have come to inspire the oxymoronic adage ‘always the same, always different’.

There is something beautiful about a band who understands itself well and continues to move gracefully through a career of their own accord, blissfully unaware of trends and industry. It’s the type of beauty that inspires ‘Favorite Band’ talk and, over time, results in a discography in which any given release may be argued best.

And so, having listened through Fadeout for the tenth time in as many days, I’m no longer wondering if I like Dog Day. Under the spell of the duo’s inspired writing and eerily detailed production, I’m starting to think that Fadeout may be the finest record in their quintessential catalogue.

Watch Mark Berube perform “Confessions To A Streetlight” in an alley in Montreal

Watch Young Galaxy perform “Crying My Heart Out” live at Monarch Tavern in Toronto.

Gentlemen Of Leisure - S/T

Review by Andrew Patterson

Truth is, you can do almost anything you want over a really good bass line. And if you get the mixture right, just right, really straightforward pop songs can reach a state of wonderfully refined fulfilment. They allow you to have fun; what’s more, they feed you. You feel seriously good listening to them, full up.

The first signs of recorded life from Toronto’s Gentlemen Of Leisure grant you this sweet freedom. The duo, featuring Drew Smith (the Bicycles) and Matt McLaren (Steamboat), make highly accessible, infectious neo-soul with no punches pulled. And while the idea of R&B appropriation in late 2013 might not seem so exciting, the duo prove to be impeccable songwriters and players as they move deftly through an entire musical history: late-sixties Jackson 5 jangle, seventies disco and quiet storm slow burners, mid-nineties R&B influence and even early-aughts top 40 touchstones. Bolstered by stellar mixes from the saintly Sandro Perri and featuring guest spots from Toronto’s own power-diva, Maylee Todd, Gentlemen Of Leisure is a resounding success.

All of the six tracks feel unique, as though each one were it’s own mini genre exercise, and flow wonderfully into the next like a well-curated mixtape. Lyrically, the songs are perfectly reuctionist: strictly sexy or sad (or some combination thereof). Their resonance depends entirely on how susceptible you are to their well-cast spell. Don’t bother resisting, listening is much more freeing.

Watch Union Duke perform 2 new tunes at Morba in Toronto