Jan 22, 2013

MMXII - Best of 2012


Is January 22nd too late for a "Best of 2012" playlist?  I've been sitting on several of my favourite tracks from the past year, like a mother hen waiting for her musical chicklings to hatch.  However, I feel like there's never really a bad time to listen to a collection of  well-constructed tunes, so here it is.
The list is a real mish-mash of sounds, ranging from folksy acoustic to upbeat dancin' in your moon suit synthpop.  Something for everyone, perhaps. 

Free to stream**, but also free to DOWNLOAD HERE (part 1) AND HERE (part 2)***
1. Poor Moon - Birds
2. Kindness - Swingin' Party
3. Tea Leigh & Luke Reed - Color Theory
4. Chromatics - Kill For Love
5. Parenthetical Girls - Curtains
6. Wild Nothing - Nocturne
7. Brad Fillatre - New Tattoo
8. John Maus - No Title (Molly)
9. Grimes - Oblivion
10. Kent Odessa - Bo Jacksons
11. White Birds - When Women Played the Drums
12. Tame Impala - Apocolypse Dreams
13. Twin Shadow - Five Seconds
14. Wild Nothing - Paradise
15. Tanlines - Brothers
16. Matthew Dear - Her Fantasy
17. Porcelain Raft - Unless You Speak From Your Heart
18. Summer Heart - Stockholm
19. HAERTS - Wings
20. Animal Collective - Today's Supernatural
21. Mac Demarco - Rock and Roll Nightclub
22. TOPS - Turn Your Love Around
23. Postiljonen - How Will I Know/ALl That We Had Is Lost 
24. WALL - Magazine
25. James & Evander + Friends - How It Feels (Major Cities vs. Heart Island Remix)
26. The Darcys - I Got The News (Rey Pila Remix)
27. Child Actor - If You Loved Me
28. Bravestation - Tides of the Summit
29. Zulu Winter - Key To My Heart
30. GOODTIME - Can't Get Away (Jape Remix)
31. Trust - Sulk
32. Ty Segall - The Hill
33. Choir of Young Believers - Nye Nummer Et
**Note: 8tracks doesn't always stream the tracks in the above order.

***If the links to download don't work, please e-mail me at jill@seethemplay.com and I'll get you a copy.

Jul 26, 2012

[FREE MIXTAPE] - Gentlemen Prefer Beats

I've been egged on to make a new mix.  So here it is.

Gentlemen Prefer Beats

00:33 – Matthew Dear – Her Fantasy
04:14 – Korea in the Space – National Anthem
05:12 – Seth Troxler - Aphrika
07:37 – Princess Chelsea - The Cigarette Duet
11:19 – John Maus – Castles in the Grave
12:41 – Trophy Wife - Now That I’m Real (Chad Valley Remix)
14:57 – Stand Up Against Heart Crime - Colours I Dislike
18:24 – Walsh - Girlfriend
20:07 - Roxy Music – Turn You On (Disco Pusher remix)
25:20 - Taken by Trees – Dreams

Jun 18, 2012

[MUSIC VIDEO] Twin Shadow - "Five Seconds"

I've been busy working on the publicity for Toronto's annual North by Northeast (NXNE) music festival, so my noticeable absence from this site can be blamed on all my time and energy being put into that large-scale project.  Now, as the dust settles, I'm ready to commit to blogging once again.  However, I am still contemplating a change in direction/re-branding, so stay tuned for that exciting development!

But back to the music...

A few weeks ago, Twin Shadow released the first single, "Five Seconds", off his new album Confess (out July 12th).  Keeping in tune with George Lewis Jr.'s stylistically 80's synthetic sounds and highly danceable drum beats, "Five Seconds" is the sort of track that will make you want to put your aviators on, pop your retro collar, and dance/air-punch down the street in a angst-ridden musical montage.  Alternatively, it may make you want to beat up a bunch of people and then ride into the sunset on your motorbike with your friend/quasi-ambiguously homosexual lover.  Either/or, really.

The latter storyline is featured in Twin Shadow's very recently released music video for "Five Seconds", which is based on the novel "Night of the Silver Sun".  And guess who wrote it?  None other than George a.k.a. Twin Shadow himself.  He's also the star (go figure).

Test drive Twin Shadow's latest music video here:

And pre-order the album Confess here.

Apr 25, 2012

The War on Drugs - A Pagan Place (Live, Waterboys Cover)

[photo by: David Andrako]

It's no secret that I am hopelessly in love with The War On Drugs. For some reason or another, the folksy and often upbeat soul of this Philly band's sound brings out a wanderer's spirit in me. I feel the blithe beat and I hear the earnestness of Adam Granduciel's vocals and all I can think is: "I want to go." I don't know if there's a destination, but there's certainly a road. I'm not trying to be wildly metaphorical here either. For most of Slave Ambient, all I could envision was summer road trips on a never-ending highway. Perhaps in the same way that a person might be overwhelmed with a certain colour, smell or emotion when listening to a song and please dear god am I still making any sense?

I'm not normally a fan of live recordings of bands (the 'woots' and hollers of crowd usually just make me want to scream "SHUT THE F$CK UP"), but the sound quality captured by nyctaper.com is absolutely top notch. Recorded at the Bowery Ballroom on April 11th, the entire The War Drugs set has been generously made available to fans as a FREE DOWNLOAD, so get on it.

My personal favourite (and the track which essentially pushed me to come out from under my non-blogging rock) is of course the band's cover of the Waterboys song, "A Pagan Place". Please press play, and I wish you sweet dreams of wandering aimlessly down the highway like the hobo that you know you secretly wish you were.

 "A Pagan Place" (Live, Waterboys Cover) - The War on Drugs (2012)

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
                                                        - J. R.R. Tolkien 

Apr 9, 2012

[Show Review] - Perfume Genius - Toronto 8/4/12

I haven't forgotten about you. I just want you to know that.

The last couple of weeks have been a period of transition and change. I've admittedly strayed from my duties online, but only because I needed some time to emote and reflect in the "real world". But last night's live musical performance was so moving, I feel compelled to jump back into my writing once again. Such is the power and the potency of Perfume Genius.

With the fresh release of his latest album Put Your Back N 2 It, Mike Hadreas (accompanied by keyboardist Alan Wyffels) played to a dreamy-eyed sold-out crowd at the Drake Hotel Underground last night. Those of you unfamiliar with the sombre subtlety of Perfume Genius' music should know that Hadreas composes some of the most heart-wrenchingly naked melodies; thematically painful, hopeful, raw. Lyrics that can only be borne from a soul who has been broken, and survived to tell the tale. This is the sort of music that is best appreciated and absorbed through comfortable headphones, lying alone in the dark. Because of the intimacy of such music, I was admittedly curious to see how this translated in the beer-soaked and slight sweatiness of a live show.

In all my years of attending live performances, I have never seen such a large audience be so respectfully still. Transfixed on Hadreas at his piano, no one spoke; or if they did, it was in apologetic whispers. No one tried to shove their way in front of me, or left the floor to get another drink. Naturally, people shyly stole quick photos with their iPhones, but even that felt slightly awkward - as if we were voyeurs gawking at this individual through his bedroom window. Though it was a crowded bar, the humanity in Hadreas voice and lyrics cast a spell over his audience; our shared sufferings, heartaches and happinesses resonating in the belly of Perfume Genius' lyrics.

"Dark Parts" - Perfume Genius, Put Your Back N 2 It (2012)

Perfume Genius continues his tour throughout North America and Europe. While you eagerly await a visit to your city, you can buy the album here (if you haven't already).

Mar 26, 2012

Canadian Music Week 2012

So another Canadian Music Week has come and gone in Toronto, and now it's time to try and write something half-way coherent while I simultaneously nurse my music festival hangover. But beer-stained t-shirts and tinnitus aside, this past week packed in an amazing array of over 900 talented bands and artists, representing a broad range of musical genres. If you were lucky enough to have a wristband, then hopping amongst the 60-ish venues like a Redbull-guzzling ninja became second nature to you by Sunday. While most people have a laundry list of "can't miss" performances, I tend to just throw caution to the wind and blindly let the gods direct me to a randomly selected show. And by gods, I mean friends (new and old).

If you didn't get a chance to make it to CMW this year, then take a peek at some of the highlights of See Them Play's festival experience. Even if you did go, your week was probably vastly different than mine, so have a gander at just a handful of the fantastic talent that you might have missed.


Perhaps more widely known as the guitarist for The Dears, Montréal-based singer-songwriter Patrick Krief seamlessly shredded the stage at The Great Hall Black Box on the festival's opening night. If stylistically you expect to hear a healthy onslaught of juicy riffs and hypnotically progressive guitar solos, then Krief's live show will not (and did not) disappoint. Instrumentally, recently released "Simple Lives" is decidedly more pop than rock, but listeners can't help but be incredibly endeared to Patrick through his soulfully humbled lyrics.

"Simple Lives" - Krief (2012)

Grab your copy of "Simple Lives" from iTunes, and those of you who missed the CMW show can catch Krief again on Friday, April 13th, 8:00 p.m. at The Dakota Tavern.

First You Get The Sugar

Winner of the very official See Them Play CMW Best Band Name award, Montréal's First You Get The Sugar (did you pick up on The Simpson's reference?) revved up a sea of bobbing bodies at the be-twinkled The Painted Lady on Wednesday. Devilishly defying being pigeonholed, FYGTS jumps playfully from grungy punk rock to disco (yes...disco), with effortless flare. Fans old and new can catch these rascally rabbits live at their single release party for "Hannah", March 30th at O Patro Vys in Montréal.

"Pearson" - First You Get The Sugar (2012)


A healthy mix of two-thirds Austrian and one-third Welsh, Bensh lit up what was sadly an empty Gladstone hotel ballroom last Thursday. Setting fire to the airwaves in Europe with the heat of "Doubt", "How Come Nao" and "Sweet Repeater", this lovably eclectic group is quickly picking up steam in North America. It's difficult to pin down Bensh's sound; "Sweet Repeater" settles in nicely with your favourite classic rock ballads, and bouncy tracks like "Juice!" give synth-wizard Sion Trefor ample room to play. With such a broad range right out of the gate, who can resist their charm? The potency of the drumbeat in "Doubt" is enough to put this girl under their spell.

"Doubt (Radio Edit) - Bensh (2011)

Visit Bensh's website to get your grubby hands on their latest ensemble of tracks.

The Autumn Portrait

Representing some of the best of the Canadian west, The Autumn Portrait rocked the Gladstone hotel ballroom like they owned it. Some pretty impressive trad-alt rock emanated from this trio, especially considering the uber-talented bassist Al Pujo came on board for the band's Ontario tour just a mere week or two before they hit the road. Where other bands might buckle under the pressure, The Autumn Portrait flourishes; opening for The Trews in Thunder Bay just because they happened to be in the right place in the right time. As for the music: you'll be sure to fall in love with the rawness of the instrumentals, coupled with Freddie Mojallal's buttery yet bold vocals.

"Awake" - The Autumn Portrait The Design is Over (2011)

Go to The Autumn Portrait's website to get your copy of the band's latest album, The Design is Over, and watch out for some upcoming releases.

The Apache Relay

Sometimes the best musical discoveries occur when you've just stumbled onto a venue, simply because you happened to be in the area. Playing a fiery set at El Mocambo last Friday, Nashville's The Apache Relay may just be one of my surprise favourites of the entire week.

Despite having a range of tempos on the latest album, American Nomad, the band's live set was a handsome onslaught of upbeat (and slightly sweaty) foot-stompers. Their energy was downright infectious, and it resonated throughout the swelling crowd. To be explicitly blunt, The Apache Relay drops the fucking heat on their audience faster than I can drop the f-bomb. Which is fast, in case you were wondering.

"American Nomad" - The Apache Relay, American Nomad (2011)

"Lost Kid" - The Apache Relay, American Nomad (2011)

This band's music is a healthy flavouring of Americana; rooted in carefully simplistic lyrics, with influences of good old-fashioned rock, folk and a coy flirtation with country music. Borrowing a quote from their Facebook page, Paste Magazine thumbed the band as being the "best of what's next". And you know what? I believe it.

Thanks to Dine Alone Records, American Nomad is now available in Canada. Get on it.

Wintersleep's Paul Murphy serenades a packed Horseshoe Tavern

Of course, there were plenty of equally sensational acts that I had the honour of witnessing during CMW, one of the highlights being Dan Mangan's performance as the 'surprise guest' during the Arts & Crafts Showcase. You have to appreciate an artist who makes the effort to really connect with his or her audience. Dan is truly one of the few performers that has mastered that connection, not as a gimmick but because of his innate authenticity. Mangan refuses to adhere to the boundaries of audience versus performer, exemplified when standing on a chair in the midst of his fans and encouraging their participation in a sing-a-long. It is for these reasons that this great Canadian artist is so beloved, not just as a powerful musician, but as a human being. And, at the end of the night, he shook my hand. I am never washing that hand again.

Update: I washed my hand. I had to. It was getting dirty.

Special thanks to the members of Wintersleep, The Darcys, Zeus, The Unquiet Dead, Shotgun Jimmie, Metro4 and many more for making my Canadian Music Week a truly exceptional time.

Also, another special thanks goes out to Dave Jaffer. Without you, I would not have personally met as many interesting artists or industry professionals, drank as many beers or had as much fun as I did. So thank you.

P.S. - What was your favourite CMW experience?

Mar 21, 2012

Les Filles Et Les Garçons - "Night (feat. my girlfriend)"

I know I should probably be writing something clever, witty and topical about what's happening at the Canadian Music Festival in Toronto this week. I definitely will write something to that effect at some point in the next several days (largely in part because there is a lot of fabulous talent out and about this week), but inspiration comes from weird and unknown places, and today I am inspired by a bouncy little French number.

I've admittedly been smitten by the likes of Les Filles Et Les Garçons since Toulouse-native Lucas Nedellec first dropped his magnetic inaugural EP almost a year ago. Though fairly new (as far as I can tell) to the scene, Nedellec has an absolute knack for composing infectiously well-constructed yet completely experimental pieces. Using a variety of highly-addictive synthesized loops and winsome vocals (aren't the cute little French accents of Nedellec and his girlfriend in "Night" just nothing short of adorable?) Les Filles Et Les Garçons is quickly becoming an act to keep a watchful eye on.

Fall in love with (or because of...this song is definitely going to soundtrack the next rom-com I inevitably star in) "Night (feat. my girlfriend)", and download Les Filles Et Les Garçons' 2011 EP. If "Night" doesn't have you up and dancing, then "Uh Uh Uh" definitely will. Or...there's something fundamentally wrong with you. YOU DECIDE.

"Night (feat. my girlfriend)" - Les Filles Et Les Garçons (2012)

"Uh Uh Uh" - Les Filles Et Les Garçon (2011)


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