The top 5 Toronto bands to watch in 2014 will be the ones to play the year's must see shows, and release must-listen albums. Some of these acts might be on your radar already, but it's about time you took them seriously. This year a ton of bands and artists from near and far will make a name for themselves in Toronto by working hard, making original or hella-tight sounds (maybe even both!) and generally charming fans and media alike into an oblivion of devotion, but for now these are our the projects we're most excited about.
Zoo Owl is a new-ish project from Bryan Sutherland (Opopo, Saturns). This is solid electronic pop that should get your pals dancing at the kitchen party pre-drink while squinting at you and saying "what IS this?" Fans of Doldrums - or people who feel like they should like Doldrums at least - should sample this. Chances are you'll like the taste. Catch him at Wavelength 14, and I've heard tell of a cassette wrapped in white leather.
Graze is a collaborative project between Christian Anderson (better known as XI) and Adam Marshall who runs the New Kanada imprint. While the two Toronto natives met in Berlin, Anderson is back in TO, and the now mostly online collaboration has been making waves with the unique, stripped back techno found on their debut Edges (stream it here). Xlr8r loved them at Mutek, and while the album is meeting rave reviews apparently Graze is intended to be a live project, so watch for them in 2014.
Toronto's weird side is really starting to grow, like psychedelic poison ivy creeping up the wall of your condo. Bile Sister is emerging as a stand out wtf-wave artist - Silent Shout named her track "Reptile Tenaka" as a highlight of the Fruits compilation (which made our top 5 comps of 2013), and Wavelength put the same track on their 100 Essential Canadian Songs From 2013. In 2014 she'll play the Music Gallery with Nifty and - spoiler - those crazy vibrating sub-pac things. Her next release, which will follow up twisted banger Faucet , is due on Healing Power in the new year.
If you didn't notice the sparkle explosion of Lido Pimienta's high energy, posi sound bending in 2013, that's okay, maybe you were busy? Pimienta was Weird Canada's pick for the first All Toronto's Parties, and her track "La Capacidad" was one side of the first limited edition Long Winter 7". Vocals (often in Spanish) evoke the spirit of Bjork or Braids but are also more relaxed and inviting. If you're not playing this at your summer backyard parties this summer you're doing something wrong. Catch her this winter at Class of 2014 and Wavelength 14.
Paradise Animals are a group of synth loving Toronto musicians who do this baritone vocals tropical pop thing, a little like LA's Kisses (so good!) with more reverb and gloom - singer Mark Andrade is likely permanently harassed by bad dreams but rises stoically out of bed anyway. Don't compare them to Toronto's spooky pop icons Trust - unless you can't resist. The local darlings in the making are currently in self described hibernation while finishing up their debut album, due in 2014. For now, you can check out their 2013 EP on Bandcamp.
Photo of Lido Pimienta via Facebook
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO