This week's local music round-up also includes songs by mysterious R&B singer dvsn, increasingly less mysterious singer/rapper PARTYNEXTDOOR and not-that-mysterious rapper Matthew Progress
Weaves, Drag Me Down (One Direction Cover)
In other countries, public broadcasters are able to do smart things like ask almost-famous bands to cover already-famous pop songs live on the air as a no-brainer way to generate scads of publicity for all parties involved. In Canada, we have to wait until streaming services such as Rdio do this with our homegrown acts… but since Rdio just went under perhaps the licensing fees associated with Toronto band Weaves’ Rdio-sponsored cover of One Direction’s appropriately titled Drag Me Down single is to blame? Talk about foreshadowing.
dvsn, Too Deep
We probably have the Weeknd to thank for the ‘initially he was shrouded in mystery’ release strategy. Obviously, the music press has a natural inclination to want to know everything about every new artist immediately, but perhaps there is something to be said for letting the music speak for itself. This strategy is especially effective when said music sounds as good as classic harmony groups like SWV and Boyz II Men, as OVO Sound-affiliated mystery singer dvsn’s music does. Too Deep is about that moment when you’re in too deep and you have to pull out even though you really don’t want to. So vague. Follow-up song title suggestion: Deep Behind.
Matthew Progress, Oxygen
Toronto rapper Matthew Progress made our 2015 Ones To Watch list back in January and with about a month of time left before we start watching the ones of 2016, he has delivered a new single and video. Produced by Spvnman, Oxygen takes his gravelly flows and off-kilter beats in freakier and rawer directions than past work. “Oxygen is all about night energy and freedom of expression/identity,” he said in a statement. “I felt like helping people explore and embrace their strange, dark side.” Director Sammy Rawal helmed the song’s blacklit music video.
Fucked Up feat. Tanya Tagaq, Our Own Blood
Throat singer Tanya Tagaq’s Massey Hall concert was one of those career-defining moments that will have everyone who was there saying “I was there” for months, if not years, to come. To those people I say: “Not only was I there, but I was also there when she performed with Björk at the Hummingbird Centre in 2001. So THERE.” (p.s. I was five years old at the time.) As a follow-up, the Inuit musician has collaborated with multi-dimensional punk group Fucked Up on a song intended for “careful contemplation,” according to the band’s Facebook page. Drink it in:
PARTYNEXTDOOR x TM88, Part At 8
Another OVO Sound artist who has dealt the mystery card is PARTYNEXTDOOR. Highlights from the Mississauga musician’s year included stand-out contributions to Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late mixtape, and he finally agreed to be interviewed – for a story in the Fader. He heads into 2016 with plans to release a collaborative EP with TM88, the Atlanta-based producer best known for adding the ‘Kill Bill siren’ to his city’s tried-and-true trap sound. Party At 8 – the EP’s title track – takes the vintage genre-movie vibe even further with squiggly 80s horror movie-esque synths.
Beach Creep, Gone To The Garden
It was a nostalgic year for Toronto’s indie rock scene with many bands indulging in retro shoegaze, grunge, post-punk and dream-pop. It’s like a whole new generation of 20-somethings woke up one day and decided to go vintage record shopping together. Will 2016 be the year they all go major label and start sounding big-budget à la Hole’s Celebrity Skin record? Fingers crossed. In the meantime, let’s enjoy Toronto four-piece Beach Creep’s catchy contribution to this lo-fi canon, Gone To The Garden.