All throughout this week, Color contributor Aidan Johnston will be blogging daily from the NXNE Festival in Toronto. Make sure to check back everyday for great photos, stories and reviews from around the festival!
Converse is throwing a stacked showcase at Wrongbar each night till Saturday (today!), when they’re also throwing a party and a mini ramp contest at the Bait Shop. The line up on Thursday went a little bit like this.
A galactic symposium has brought together Isaac Emmanuel, Michael Italia, and Melati Malay, where after discussing each other’s influences over a game of space chess they formed Young Magic. Their debut album Melt is an apt title, collecting a blend of sonic sounds to form psychedelic, soulful beats. While the songs are an interesting mélange, they didn’t translate well to the stage. Maybe it was due to a poor sound mixer, but a nearly impenetrable wall of sound greeted the audience, making it impossible to pick up on the songs intricate arrangements. Until they tweak their stage act, this is best listened to through the same laptop speakers on which it was produced.
Hundred in the hands must be getting paid cash in Hand for this gig
Picture this: You walk into a boutique in Copenhagen. The clothes on sale there are not available in colors, only shades. You look around and realize that aside from the two icy clerks at the cash register, you are ALONE. You pick up a t-shirt and ask if it comes in a smaller size. The staff tells you that there are no sizes, just variations of it’s scooped neck. There’s a pause, their many rings chatter as they whisper about what to do with you. You edge towards the doors slowly, but you’ve forgotten your still holding the shirt. The tag triggers the security alarm, but in place of shrill bells comes Hundred in the Hands blend of blade runner noir electro pop, your paralyzed with fear and the only way to get your limbs moving again is to dance. Fortunately they have songs for that, like ‘Dressed in Dresden’, ‘Build in L.o.v.e’ and from their new album Red Nights , the ice princess single “Keep it Low”. You exit the store unscathed, aside from the comment the staff made about your bag. By the end of their performance the whole room was moving to their lively set, great sound and a great album.
Guitarist Jason Friedman finished too a hundred hand claps
If you are a band whose toured without even releasing album, received a respectable golf clap from pitchfork, and performed a breakthrough showcase at SXSW, then yes, you are a buzz band. But being a buzz band is not enough; you also need your music to be so different that critics have to create a new term to describe it and decided upon Future Pop. This is the hype that follows Montreal/Halifax duo Purity Ring.
Purity Ring plays a light activated whack-a-mole
Before the set, the two take time to string up blankets and set up lanterns making the stage look set for a high school one act from the classes dud group. Once they take their positions, I realize this was a clever move, they’ve closed off the large empty patches of the stage bringing everyone’s focus into just them and making the ensuing dark pop all the more intimate. Drummer and producer Corin Roddick lays down dubby hip hop inspired beats while vocalist Megan James echoes peculiarly cute lyrics. Haunted vocal snippets permeate each track, making James’s voice sound even more beautiful when it shines through the moody bass. The lanterns alight, giving the show an interesting visual edge, and when the blogsphere slut ‘Belispeak’ bursts through, the packed, sweaty bar was head banging as hard as their pruned bodies would allow. For such a young band they played extremely tight, and like so few, lived up to the hype. While I enjoyed the entire package of seeing them live, Im not sure Purity Rings Future Pop would garner repeat listens from me. But who knows, maybe I’m just living in the present man.
Listen to Melt Here http://youngmagic.bandcamp.com/album/melt-2012
Hundred in the Hands Red Nights is out now. Find out more here http://thehundredinthehands.com/
An album is coming in the future for Purity Ring. Experience the future, now on youtube
Aidan Johnston is your NXNE correspondent—biking, cabbing and crawling his way across Toronto to deliver coverage that's as unofficial as an after-party. Check back everyday and you might just find your new favourite band!