The top Toronto bands and artists to watch in 2015 have been making noise and keeping sweaty bodies in motion in the city's basement venues, playing experimental cello at SXSW, rapping at Kensington Market house shows, and touring the world in already-successful projects. Some are established figures in the Toronto music scene as musicians, promoters and label heads, while others are fresh faces, but all impressed us in 2014 and are set to become names-to-know in their respective genres in the year ahead.
Here are 10 Toronto bands and artists you need to know about in 2015.
If you haven't heard of New Fries, you haven't been listening to the city's promoters, bookers, and label heads over the holidays - their name is on nearly everyone's list of acts to watch. Recommended for Lydia Lunch fans and people who sit at home feeling sad about a world without the broken noise of Aids Wolf, pick up their Fresh Face Forward cassette from Pleasence, and catch the "freak trio" of art punks at Class of 2015 #6 on January 24th.
Drummer / producer Maya Postepski isn't only a member of Austra and past member of Trust. As a DJ, she's been remixing the likes of Hidden Cameras and The Naked and Famous, and she performs solo as strange and wonderful electronic artist Princess Century. Watch out for Princess Century's follow up to 2013's Lossless .
Artist, record label owner, promoter, and musician, Victoria Cheong was everywhere in 2014, opening for Tanya Tagaq, DJing at Tim Hecker's show, and releasing the work of some of Toronto's most exciting artists through Healing Power Records. A member of numerous projects including HVYWTR, Cheong's dreamy solo project brings psychic waves of Not Not Fun style lo-fi dance to Toronto.
Expect to hear more from Toronto rapper Jaye Adams, aka Jazz Cartier. A member of the Get Home Safe crew along with Derek Wise, Cartier is readying himself to emerge from the udnerground scene to be Toronto's next superstar - and with his intense vocal stylings and after-hours production, the word is he has good reason to be.
If living in Toronto has given you a laissez faire attitude about bands with curse words in their names, don't let that make you overlook S.H.I.T. Not Dead Yet's Greg Benedetto was inspired by the name of his own band when christening their practice space-turned-venue S.H.I.B.G.B.'s on Geary, and our punk and hardcore writer Shazia Khan describes them best: "a flurry of derisive howls, reckless drumming and guitar tones drenched in battery acid."
Singer-songwriter and pianist Stacey released one of our favourite EPs of the year - and her only 2014 release was a remix EP. STACEY's popping up on solid bills around Toronto including the Drake's What's in the Box. She's now putting the finishing touches on full length follow up to 2013's non-remix EP, which was released in a pretty cool format. Lyrics of nostalgia and longing are simple and vulnerable. I don't want to make promises to Lana Del Rey fans, but I don't want to keep secrets here, either.
If your tastes run toward techno, house duo Ebony are probably already on your local radar. Sylvermayne and Jordan Gardner reportedly met at Bambi's, and weave influences as diverse as classic soul, r&b, and Detroit techno into their sound. Catch them tonight at Mansion's New Year's Eve party.
Now Toronto-based, Tanya Tagaq collaborator and Bold As Love Collective member Cris Derksen played the most recent Emergents show at the Music Gallery, and gallery director David Dacks cites her as one to watch in the new year. The cellist blends traditional Aboriginal sounds with contemporary experimentation and electronic elements.
One couldn't put a list like this together in Toronto without an appearance from the aptly named Buzz Records family. Katie Monks, Liz Ball, Jimmy Tony, and Benjamin Reinhartz's fuzzed-out whammy of a track "Candy Mountain" made our list of the best songs of the year, and they're carrying the city's grimy (nu?)grunge torch into the new year.
Now co-running new music and art space Ratio in Kensington Market, Picastro member Nick Storring is a long time figure in Toronto's drone and experimental communities as a musician, composer, and curator. The prolific artist just released Endless Conjecture on Orange Milk Records and Gardens on Scissor Tail Editions, and will appear on Long Winter's limited edition Nick Storring/Bile Sister split on vinyl at the January 9 show. His release with Bespoken was also a 2014 highlight.
The top 10 songs from Toronto during 2014
The top 10 Toronto albums of 2014
The top 10 Toronto music videos of 2014
The top 10 breakout bands from Toronto in 2014
The top 10 concerts in Toronto during 2014
The top 10 dance parties in Toronto during 2014
What did we miss? Leave your picks for the Toronto bands or artists who will rule 2015 in the comments.
Photo via shatterjapan.com
by Aubrey Jax via blogTO