This Week in Sound: Ra Ra Riot, The Killers, Tegan and Sara, Two Hours Traffic, Rush

Ra Ra Riot is releasing a new album (Image: Shervin Lainez)

Every Monday, we round up the most exciting music news happening in Toronto. In this edition: Ra Ra Riot change it up for their upcoming album, Tegan and Sara put on an impromptu show at The Phoenix and Rush get inducted into the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.

Ra Ra Riot has made some major changes ahead of the launch of their third full-length album, Beta Love, put out by Toronto label Arts & Crafts on Jan. 22. First, they’re coming out as a quartet, which now sees Wes Miles on vocals, Milo Bonacci on guitar, Mathieu Santos on bass and Rebecca Zeller on violin. Then, Beta Love was recorded in a studio down south in Mississippi — and in a much warmer climate than the New York-born band is used to. The heat, according to the presser, inspired creativity and spontaneity — and songs fused with themes borrowed from “the works of cyperpunk novelist William Gibson and futurist Ray Kurzweil’s musings on the technological singularity and transhumanism.” Deep. Preview the track “When I Dream,” which the band released last week, and catch them in Toronto in March.

After The Killers cancelled their Toronto show due to an illness, supporting act Tegan and Sara decided to put on an impromptu gig on their own at The Phoenix on Saturday. The last-minute show proves that the Alberta-based duo knows that the show must go on. They drew from a range of their pedigreed albums, including tracks from the danceable Heartthrob, slated for release at the end of January.

So you wanna be a rock star? Then a new documentary following the trials and tribulations of three local indie groups might offer up some insight into the music biz. The Scene: An Exploration of Music in Toronto follows The Ruby Spirit, Committed to Rhyme and The Alter Kakers, as well as cameos from music heavyweights Bif Naked, members of Anvil and Tokyo Police Club, and plenty more. Check out the trailer, which dropped earlier this month here. Spoiler: it’s not all sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.


The East Coast’s Two Hours Traffic announced last week the release of the hotly-anticipated Foolish Blood, the follow-up to their Siren Spell EP. The band has reinvented themselves, including a lineup change and a breakup with their longtime mentor and producer Joel Plaskett. Foolish Blood is out on Bumstead on Feb. 19, but you can listen to “Last Star” now.

You’ve probably heard by now that Toronto’s rock gods, Rush, will be inducted into the coveted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Finally. Other inductees this year include Donna Summer, Heart (who periodically lived in Vancouver, so it sort of counts as another Canuck victory, right?), Public Enemy, Quincy Jones and Randy Newman.

And in awesome collab news, Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl teamed up this weekend for an SNL performance. Need we say more?

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