Indie folksters Evening Hymns, founded by singer and songwriter Jonas Bonnetta, are working away at a new album to be released this year that will be called Spectral Dusk. But to whet the appetites of eager fans chomping at the bit for a little hymnal action, the band has released a first taste of the album: the song “Arrows” is currently available via Soundcloud. The new single plays upon similar themes for the band — love and loss — with a nod to the natural world and a tasty, tribal drum in the background driving the song forward. Check it out below:
Standing in the dark no more, Platinum Blonde ready for grand return
Platinum Blonde officially hit the comeback trail last week when the Toronto band released the first single from its upcoming new album. The band includes original members Mark Holmes (vocals) and Sergio Galli (guitar) as well as Rob Laidlaw on bass and Dan Todd on drums.
“I’m aware that there are thousands of bands throughout the years who have tried this seemingly impossible route of returning to former glory, but our route lies in making new glory,” says Holmes, in an official statement from the band.
Although they've been out of the scene for years, in the '80s the band was a massive success out of the gate with their debut EP Six Track Attack in 1983, followed by multi-platinum selling albums Standing In The Dark and Alien Shores. After the band fizzled out, Holmes stuck around, opening up the club venue, The Mod Club in addition to working as a DJ.
Platinum Blonde performs at Mod Club on June 16. We tracked down Holmes to ask him a few questions, including the obvious one: Why?
Okay, so why the comeback?
Unfinished business! We never really split. With grunge and alternative music making such a strong presence, we didn’t think we could add to that without being followers. So we took some time off until the atmosphere was not hostile to our kind. While doing so many remixes for new bands, I had realized that they seemed to sound a lot like Platinum Blonde. When talking to the artists, I found out that we were a big influence in their sound. So it might be a good time for a dose of the original thing. Time to be leaders again!
Is this project more about celebrating the past, or looking to the future?
Always having respect for the past and embracing the future, but our sound lives in the present.
Seems like every band with success from the ‘80s is making a comeback, with your band, Corey Hart and Men Without Hats scheduled to make appearances in the next few weeks. Is the current crop of bands that bad?
As a DJ, producer and re-mixer I’ve come to love the indie bands of today. However, most radio formats seems to play only hit pop and R&B. The indie scene has managed to overcome this thanks to the Internet.
How long have you been planning your comeback and rehearsing?
It’s been in the works for three years. We were very adamant about having new music. We were not interested in relying on the past glory. We wanted to record an album that meant something.
Best case scenario — where does this go from here?
Being current in the most important thing. The new music is strong and meaningful. To be judged on the music and not the hype would be the best case scenario.
The Tea Party: not just for right-wing nut jobs
In keeping with bands making a comeback, Canadian rock 'n’ rollers The Tea Party, fronted by Jim Morrison lookalike Jeff Martin, are back in full swing with an Australian tour around the corner and a Canadian jaunt scheduled for August. Apparently, fans are clamouring for a new studio album, so to keep them satisfied (or strike while the iron is hot, so to speak) the band is offering up a new live album to be recorded during their Australian tour. But, get this: the band is actually asking for fans to “pledge support and get the wheels in motion” by making a contribution via pledgemusic.com. And it seems to be working. There are all kinds of exclusive offerings — they are going fast — and the band is already at 125 per cent of their target. So, you can expect that album soon, with the band suggesting sometime in September as a likely target date.
Here is one of the band's first hits:
Just in time
Toronto singer-songwriter Justin Rutledge has signed on with Outside Music. This September, the Toronto-based indie label will release a remastered version of his debut album, No Never Alone. Rutledge will make his Outside Music debut as part of the North By Northeast music festival on Friday, June 15 at 10 p.m. at The Drake Hotel. Since his debut back in 2005, Rutledge has earned a reputation as a first-class songwriter and released three subsequent studio albums, including 2010's stunning The Early Widows. Along the way, he has earned a Juno nomination and many other well-deserved awards and accolades.
Invasion of the gingers!
British wunderkind Ed Sheeran, he of the reddish locks and soul-folk style, is finally making his way across the pond. His debut album, a record-breaking sensation in the U.K., is being released in North America on June 12 and he will hit the road for his first North American headlining tour in September. And it was just announced that Sheeran will be playing in town this Sunday, June 17, at Club XS as part of the Perez Hilton’s One Night In Toronto event — with 100 per cent of the profits from ticket sales going to support the work of Musicounts. And, yes, he is still making a stop at the Kool Haus on Sept. 17, which might be a bit of a small venue for this dude. I'm feeling a bump up to at least Massey on this one folks, so don't let that whole "sold out" thing dissuade you. It ain't over! Of course, you could always spend the $90 or $100 online to get a ticket from a re-seller.
Here he is singing his big hit “The A Team” at this past spring's South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas:
What was the first album you bought?
This week, making its grand debut to the Revival Hour, we ask some of Canada's coolest musicians one simple question: what was the first album you ever bought? To kick things off, Ivan Doroschuk of Men Without Hats.
Burnt Weeny Sandwich by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (1970):
“I bought it in Plattsburgh, New York. I'm from Montreal, but we used to go camping in Plattsburgh. I bought it at a Target store, and the reason is that my best friend, who is still my best friend, and was the best man at both my weddings, he had bought Frank Zappa's Absolutely Free. We listened to that until we wore it out. I bought Burnt Weeny thinking it would be along the same lines. But it wasn't. It was totally different, and at first I was really disappointed. Absolutely Free had all these short, cool songs like “Suzy Creamcheese” and “Brown Shoes Don't Make It.”
Burnt Weenie, one side was live and the whole side is basically one song called “Little House I Used To Live In.” It was the real, second version of The Mothers and all the great players were in the band, and Frank's interest in avant garde music had taken off.
Subsequently, I still own the album. I don't play it too much anymore — cover’s galling apart. But it has definitely become one of my top five desert island discs. I listen to it digitally and on CD a lot. I just love the whole thing. It became my favourite period of The Mothers, and all the experimental, avant garde jazz riffing. I don't even listen to Absolutely Free anymore. It sounds corny to me. I really got off on Frank Zappa though, his whole attitude.
On “Little House,” which is live, there is one spot where you can hear the crowd booing one of the security guards in the arena and Frank steps in and says, ‘Hey, everybody wears a uniform, don't kid yourself.' And I've lived by that my whole life. When I was 13, I was like, ‘Whoa, all my friends wear the same jean jackets, yeah, that's like a uniform.’
This guy did what he wanted his whole life, and really pushed the envelope, and stretched the boundaries of what rock music could be. He was not concerned one iota about what the commercial standards were.
He's been one of my musical mentors and idols the whole time.”
Preview new albums from Toronto bands hitting stores on June 12: