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The Grove Festival: Palma Violets

Palma Violets sound a little bit like Bowie doing his best Sid Vicious impression; it’s Garage Rock on peyote. The light organ play in the background, the overuse of the bass drum, the borderline manic guitar, it all works; even the happy shakers on their track ‘Set Up for the Cool Cats’ sound more like a social commentary then some motif they learned from Fleetwood Mac. Admittedly I did not know who they were when they came on the stage. The Grove Festival was advertised as a ‘Boutique Festival,’ so…

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Ken Yates – Twenty Three album review

The twang of the steel guitar hits you instantly; the silvery plying of emotion from your body. Something about the sound of wilting metal that takes you instantly to an expanse of field somewhere in the Midwest…Ken Yates debut EP Twenty Three is everything that that initial note promises, stories of love and loss, simple songs thoughtfully penned without grand ambition, secrets of life extracted from caught moments in time. So here’s the thing about good folk music; its melody and lyricism in equal measure. You can say whatever you…

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The Grove Festival: Girl Talk

I tip my hat to the event planners who had the foresight to put Girl Talk on before Hot Chip, who played before Phoenix. The three of them were a proper jab-hook-uppercut combo that bowled us all over. Girl Talk…There are not a lot of curtains to pull back here, so-to-speak. No insights that one cannot deduce for themselves if they’ve heard even just one of Gregg Gillis’ tracks. You could play 30secs if any of his mixes to a stranger on the street who seemingly has no understanding of…

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The Grove Festival: Gaslight Anthem

Occupying in my personal opinion the best time slot for natural light, Gaslight Anthem is one of those successful underground bands who everyone loves and no one has ever heard of at the same time. Proper Indie starlettes, it is so incredibly obvious when you see them live why they have accrued such a loyal cult following. They may not be mainstream, but when lead singer Brian Fallon offered up his microphone, like he did last year at another concert, it was Eddie Vedder who rose to the challenge to…

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The Grove Festival: Phoenix

Phoenix started their set with the first track from their new album Bankrupt!, aptly titled Entertainment. By this time the park had completely filled up, and people were pressing aggressively towards the blue lights filtering off of the stage. I was behind a fence, stage right, watching the sea of neon wayfarers fist pump through the first few tracks. By all accounts the energy was there. Girlfriends were propped up on their boyfriend’s shoulders, there was a lot of looking back to see if the people behind you were seeing…

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The Lumineers at Edgefest 2013

Have you ever been to an outdoor festival that should have been rained out? Have you ever stood in a field with thousands of other sopping wet party-goers waiting for the last band of the day, thinking to yourself, ‘I’ve got this far. I can make it another hour’? Last night Edgefest was nearly obliterated by the rain. Rivers of rain and cried tears pooled in the park’s crevices, wet teenagers who couldn’t feel anything anymore anyway huddled under tarp that they ripped down from the fencing, and I actually…

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Wampire – Curiosity album review

‘Curiosity’ is bass heavy electric infused rock. Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps, the duo manning the Wampire control center, use their debut EP to explore the nature of death and existence. You can hear them sort the themes out through their instruments; the bass line illustrates their happy-go-lucky attitude, the drums exemplify the chaotic nature of their reality, and their voices show their languid acquiescence to the aforementioned. The track Outta Money is extremely well layered. It, as with most of the other tracks on the EP, has a haunting…

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Alpine – A is for Alpine album review

Alpine showcases their languid vibey feel in the first two tracks of this EP wonderfully. Lovers 1 and Lovers 2 blend seamlessly into one another and the combined voices of Phoebe Baker and Lou James create a dream-like world where listeners are free to float down a rainbow river and wave to the unicorns munching lazily at the water’s edge. The drum play on these tracks, especially the continuous ripple of the symbols on Lovers 1, feels like a fat rain drops landing on a placid lake, an aqua shiver…

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NXNE Day 3: The National, Yonge Street and Dundas Square – Toronto

No Toronto festival is complete without an appearance at Yonge and Dundas Square. NXNE is one of the few festivals who makes good use of the square, scheduling a number of performances each day. The square has water fountains whose pools exist under the square, fountains that burst water into the air at intervals, and usually a grouping of tables and chairs. Most of time, when bands play here people gather and are able to spread out, maybe even sit down. However, when bands like The National play the entire…

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Little Boots – Nocturnes album review

Nocturnes, is Little Boots’ second studio album, released years after her moderately successful debut album, released in the midst of a burgeoning 90’s synth revival in Britain, and released among several other studio albums paying tribute to the aforementioned movement, each featuring female vocalists working the hardware themselves. MNDR and Amanda Warner come to mind, Robyn (who actually had a career in the 90’s,) and Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell. She’s swimming in congested waters to say the least. Is this album groundbreaking? No, it feels like more of the same….

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