Toronto’s ones to watch: the indie rock edition

Keep your eye on these local musicians, from a Halifax-born supergroup to a star who has already conquered the fashion world


“Indie rock” has become a catch-all term for anything from sultry electronic and ghostly grunge to shimmering garage pop and ethereal piano ballads. Fittingly, our list of indie rock artists bound to break big in 2016 covers all these bases – and then some. 

Maylee Todd 

Maylee Todd the disco-funk queen is gone! Long live Maylee Todd the sultry electronic star! – at least judging by the two new singles from her third album, Acts Of Love, out later this year. Todd says the album focuses on “spiritual quests through meditation and psychedelics,” a journey you can experience first-hand at one of her multimedia Virtual Womb shows, during which audience members lie on the floor gazing up at projections synched to her music. 

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Mieke

As a globe-trotting, billboard-covering model, Elissa Mielke has already conquered the fashion world. Now she’s taking on the music scene. Last summer she released a four-song debut collection of indie pop showcasing her cooing vocals atop smooth piano melodies and dreamy accoutrements like echoing backups and subtle synth lines. She’s currently writing and recording new songs. 

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TUNS 

Rumblings about Halifax supergroup TUNS first began last September, and six months and a couple of shows later (including one at last weekend’s Long Winter), here’s what we know: 1. The band includes Sloan’s Chris Murphy on drums, Super Friendz/Flashing Lights’ Matt Murphy on guitar and the Inbreds’ Mike O’Neill on bass. All three sing. 2. They’re named after the Technical University of Nova Scotia (now Dal Tech). 3. First single Throw It All Away is a jangly, guitar-driven ditty with boyish three-part harmonies. 4. Expect a release in 2016. 

Listen to Throw It All Away here.

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Pony

Pony are all sun-drenched West Coast vibes set in gritty downtown Toronto. Think infectious guitar hooks and singalong choruses, all covered in reverb. The self-described “garage pop sweethearts” released their first EP last summer – one of its songs, Don’t Go, appeared on Degrassi – and are recording their second effort later this year. The new EP tackles subjects beyond boys, like social anxiety and female masturbation. 

With Greys and Chastity at the Smiling Buddha on January 30.

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Twist

Laura Hermiston began Twist in 2013 as a lo-fi grunge solo project that’s since evolved into a four-member band with a bigger, more powerful sound. A new record comes out on Buzz Records later this year, and Hermiston says it definitely leans toward pop, the first half consisting of “heavy guitars and big drums and bass” and the second side more experimental and produced by Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt. (He also co-produced Side A with Hermiston.) 

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Prince Innocence

Prince Innocence’s songs are a study in opposites. Singer Talvi Faustmann‘s vocals are cool and detached, while producer Josh McIntyre‘s R&B-influenced synth pop is warm and lush. After ditching their management company because their work became unfulfilling, the duo will self-release their long-awaited EP, Easy Life, and a music video later this winter – all on their own terms. 

With She-Devils, Clairmont the Second and others as part of Wavelength Music Festival at the Garrison February 14.

music@nowtoronto.com | @SamEdwardsTO

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