Ones to Watch: Heavy & Loud

Hardcore punk, heavy metal, shoegaze-psych and more grab the spotlight in the second edition of our new local music series.


Absolut

The no-holds-barred Toronto four-piece play raw, d-beat hardcore punk with terrifying vocals that sound as if they were bellowed from the depths of the dankest cavern. Absolut’s members throw technical metal proficiency into the mix via blazing guitar solos that never last too long. (Members have spent time in Rammer and Midnight.) Their Punk Survival album (Electric Assault) from last July is sold out, but they’re releasing a new LP, Sleighted, on Swedish label D-Takt & Råpunk this winter. 

Listen here.


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Wrong Hole

On the lighter end of the spectrum are Wrong Hole – lighter because comedian Nick Flanagan is in the band and because the artwork on their debut album, 2012, is a tribute to Rush’s 2112 but with a couch, television and smartphone floating in space. The three-piece, which includes Comet Control’s Andrew Moszynski and Teenanger’s Jon Schouten, play fast garage punk with viciously distorted vocals set against mild drum machine beats, swampy synths and fuzz guitar. The lyrics – about dogs, HDTVs, fantasy friends, having a cold – are a riot.

Listen here. At the Dakota on February 15 with Public Animal.


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HSY

There are many reasons to love HSY, not least because Anna Mayberry is a riveting frontwoman, all blond hair flailing and anguished vocal cries. Since their formation in 2011, the sludge punks have given us EPs, cassettes and a two-song 7-inch that got them Pitchfork attention and a UK tour (it came out on London’s Too Pure). But 2015 is finally the year we get a full-length record. It’s all finished, and the band’s in the process of putting videos and art together for its release (on Buzz Records in Canada, elsewhere TBA) later this year. Expect loud, fervent darkwave fuelled by cracking snare drum.

Listen here.


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Droid

Local metalheads Droid are part of Toronto’s thrashy and classic underground metal scene, which includes, among others, Manacle, Call of the Wild and Cauldron (whose follow-up to third album Tomorrow’s Lost will be out later this year). Droid’s Malfunction demo cassette released in 2013 is long sold out, but new EP Disconnected is set for release on Hard and Heavy Records in the coming months. Influences: Annihilator, Voivod, Motörhead, Celtic Frost.


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Das Rad

For a bouncier, grungier take on heavy, Das Rad’s your band. They move through swelling, orgasmic psych rock and steady, mid-tempo Krautrock drenched in shoegaze noise and made airy by co-singer Ireek Sofakia‘s calming vocals. (Sofakia was also behind defunct DIY venue Academy of Sciences.) Hear it all on their full-length, Radiation, which came out on Toronto’s Pleasence Records (also home to Wrong Hole) last fall. And check out this live review of their recent Long Winter performance.

Listen here.

carlag@nowtoronto.com | @carlagillis

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