Welcome back to Sounds of the Week!, the musical musings of members of the Justseeds artist cooperative. For this installment I asked fellow seeders for the sounds that inspired them in 2014, not necessarily things that were released in 2014 but sounds that caught their attention or were the soundtrack to their work.
Here’s the last Best of 2014 list, this time from Mary Tremonte!
1. New Fries
My favorite band in Toronto right now! This no wave-influenced power trio mix jagged discordant beats with yelping vocals from Anni Spadafora, who is also one of my favorite visual artists in town. Bits of Lydia Lunch/DNA, the Raincoats, the Slits, Bush Tetras, loud and bossy and weirdly danceable! Catch them live if you can, and hopefully they’ll repress their rad little nugget of a cassette, Fresh Face Forward, with covers lovingly risographed by Colour Code Printing.
2. I was lucky to catch DJ/VJ collective, A Tribe Called Red at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) a few months after moving to Toronto/Canada, just as Idle No More was picking up steam, and they have been going full force ever since, throwing Electric Pow Wows all over Canada, infusing EDM dance parties with political messages of indigenous dignity and sovereignty. “Sisters,” the first single off their album Nation to Nation was a staple of my danceparties this year. I love the positive girl power of the music video, an affirming release in a year that saw renewed energy and pressure on the Canadian government to look into the hundreds of missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada.
Then they released “Burn Your Village to the Ground” just in time for Thanksgiving, featuring a sweet sample from Wednesday Adams. SO GOOD!
3. One of my all-time favorites Hercules and Love Affair released a new album this year, housier than their first album, in keeping with their recent direction. This album is alternately beachy and warm but also moody and deep. Listen to it here!
4. Blood Orange
aka Devonté Hynes, makes some really sweet smooth jams. If some of the beats sound familiar, note he produced Solange’s big hit “Losing You.” Reminiscent of the Purple One himself, tender loving jams with funky dancey beats. Here’s a taste, Uncle Ace is my favorite, more of a disco jam:
5. SSION have been around for a while, but I finally really got into them through my superbud Julia. Sweet dreamy contemporary queer disco beats. Cody Pritchard, the lead singer, directs most of the music videos, and they are often colorful and campy and a bit bizarre, reflecting their Kansas City art school roots. They played a queer-themed First Thursday event at the AGO this Summer, a fitting match in the space where General Idea had many shows in the 80’s, as their video for “Clown” reminds me so much of G.I.’s classic ripping-the-art-world-a-new-one video “Shut the Fuck Up.” Weird dog-clown outfits! Elaborate sets! Choreographed aerobic dance moves!
(check it out around 5:15! according to my sources, apparently this doggie dance routine used to be on late-night tv in Toronto in the 80’s?!?)
6. Light Asylum
Powerful vocals and dark, sexy, goth-influenced crucial beats made “Dark Allies” is one of my favorite jams. So I catch onto things a little late, it’s still crucial!
7. Le1f brought us some new queer rap jams, including this gem produced by Dubbel Dutch:
“They wanna see me blend in like Real Tree(!)”
Hear the full album here:
8. A moment of silence for Nicky da B, the mega-talented bounce artist who suddenly passed away at the tender age of 24 this year.
He released a full-length album earlier this year, “Please Don’t Forget Da B,” a title that feels extra poignant now Give a listen here:
Here’s a little “Loko” freakout to get you moving in the morning. I love the high contrast b/w with poppin color of this video. GO HOMO!!!
Bonus #9 – not music! Hungry Bottom Comics, by Toronto-based homo-genius Eric Kostiuk Williams. Brilliant! Included in part because he features so much iconic queer music in his comics. Extra synergy — he designed a foldout poster program for SSION’s first Thursday event back in June.