December 20, 2015

Tame Impala Live in Melbourne

Earlier this month we headed out to Sidney Myer Music Bowl, an outdoor venue in Melbourne (read lawns) to see a major stage of Tame Impala's national tour. The group toured Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth (for 2 shows in their hometown) - heading exclusively into outdoor amphitheaters to promote their latest album Currents. They put on a ripper of a show for hours, playing through their entire selection, accompanied by a visual trip, and ending with fireworks (literally), It was clear it wasn't just the nationalism that sold these shows out across the country.

While this group is extremely well known in Australia (with Currents even being named the ARIA Album of the Year), they have only recently started to make major waves across North America. With their psychedelic rock feeling similar to much loved bands like MGMT, Neon Indian or Empire of the Sun, their sound provides a perfect vibe to graze to at the beach, mountain-side or for an easy afternoon backdrop. Although the band has been around for a long time, last year was clearly a breakout year globally - with blog aggregator hypem declaring them the 4th most blogged band of the year. Here's another mention for ya mates. If you haven't stumbled across these guys just yet, take a look at their album below (start with Let It Happen) - could be a nice addition to your selection. Or if you're feeling in the mood - get your horn out and listen to one of their older tracks - Elephant.

October 17, 2015

It’s not friendly, but it’s where I lay up…

With the release of What a Time To Be Alive – Drake and Future have added another notch to their rapid fire campaign of content into the hip hop market. Drake has been more strategic than ever lately, with this mixtape controlling the top of the charts, and his unrelated single Hotline bling, holding the #1 position on iTunes singles – while everyone continues to salivate for Views of the 6 – his upcoming release that has been building buzz for years now (or so it seems...).

This mixtape was released exclusively to Apple Music for a couple weeks, managing to rack up over 25m streams, before going live to Spotify and all the other outlets. Spotify has been responding to these exclusivity agreements, with the same effectiveness as it had when dealing with TaylorSwift, which is unfortunate. Spotify did have a good head start before Apple got into the market, locking down a lot of smart people (see linkedin for an expensive group of Ivy leaguers and ex-consultants), but we still see the music landscape continuing to fragment, which could actually be a good thing?

As I listen to OVOSound Radio on Beats1, (which Drake is getting paid 19 million annually), he clearly has bought into Apple and their business model for music. At this point Drake is a business himself, with many more ventures than just music. To start, the man has more partnerships than a Nascar driver, with product and companies named in his music taking him to the next level in terms of endorsements (call your ass an uber I got somewhere to be / I get boxes of free Jordans like I play for North Carolina / I avoided the coke game, went with Sprite instead / I just got me the Mercedes Pullman, if you haven’t heard about it you should hit up Google / I pull the knife out my back and cut they throat with it momma, I'm Game of Thrones with it momma / Versace Versace Versace, etc.).

All of this is exciting, but it is nothing like what he has done for Toronto. In my time, I have never seen a city rebranded like this – moving from the street name effectively moving from T.Dot to the 6ix in less than a year. The content marketing strategy he has is unrivaled, even in the corporate world. The level of community that he can bring with things like OVOBounce, OVOfest, Nomad, section 416 at the Air Canada Centre is ridiculous, and if this isn’t a case study on how to capitalize on popularity I don’t know what is. He took this to the next level with the beef with Meek Mill – putting the city behind him (with meme’s at OVOfest) – and delaying him at the border, to prove that Toronto can stand up. On top of this, being the Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors has improved his position and the team’s – allowing him to solidify his credibility in the scene, and letting MLSE truly launch the We the North campaign with almost guaranteed results.

In the last couple of years Drake (and supporting cast) has put Toronto on the map, and while 'Merica is a different beast, if Kanye can be President, it’s safe to say Drake can be at least Mayor of the 6.


June 15, 2015

Alt-J in Melbourne

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to see Alt-J live in Melbourne and it was quite the treat. The UK lads were welcomed with open arms to a sold out show, which was replicated in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane shortly after.

These guys put on a great performance, with a nice contrast between melodic songwriting and quick indie rock. In the arena the energy would swing drastically from the calm visions built in "Arrival to Nara" to the haunting translucence of "Hunger of the Pine" to the earthy undertones in "Dissolve Me" - keeping the audience interested in every note.

Playing the part of opener was Asgeir, an Icelandic folk band that is gaining global notoriety - after an extremely successful local launch (10% of the Icelandic population now owns their first album).

March 26, 2015

The Lazys

I was recently introduced to The Lazys by a friend of mine from Sydney who is particularly close to the band, so close that she was actually included in their leading music video - in Shake It Like You Mean It (below). These guys are a perfect fit for this blog, as they are based in Australia, but actually found some really good success touring across Canada a little while back.

Described as a new age ACDC - The Lazys are bringing back rock and roll in a big way. With a heavy sound, strong guitar riffs, a style you can get behind and the look to match, these guys are prime candidates to bring Aussie Rock into the limelight. As you would expect, most of this groups' music actually isn't the type of thing that you would hear on the radio, but to appease the masses, they have recorded a few tracks that everyone can get down to. Apparently they are even better live (which isn't hard to believe), and it's definitely on my list to make it out to a show the next time they are around to experience it first hand.

The group will be in Canada for another tour in 2015 - coming into Toronto on May 7th at the Phoenix.Concert Hall. If you're in the 6 it's going to be worth it to make it out.