Toronto Music Reviews has an exciting new development you may have noticed. A music player, well, prepare to experience TMR with live music on your mobile phone! To celebrate, I have written an appropriately active article for our first mobile playlist: ‘Canadian Bands to listen to While Biking’. Whether it is global warming or El Nino, Spring has come early this year and I could not wait to bust out my bike.
Biking is a huge part of Toronto culture. It really is the fastest way to get around downtown and the most beautiful way to see the sites of our fair city at, quite literally, your own pace.
Pretend your life is a music video and rock out to some of our personal favorite Canadian musicians. Of course only use one ear and look out for doors!
Five Alarm Funk – Wash Your Face
The Stanfields – The Dirtiest Drunk
Monster Truck – Sweet Mountain River
The Pack AD – Sirens
Little Foot Long Foot – Bridge Concerns
Hollerado - Firefly
PUP - Lionheart
My Son The Hurricane – Poison in the Water
Tiny Danza – Killin It
The Balconies – Kill Count
Mother Mother - Hayloft
The Strumbellas – Did I Die?
The Commoners - Alright Now (Live)
We do try to extend our coverage to those who really need it, but sometimes things are just too much fun to ignore … ‘while biking’. I think that could be a new thing like saying ‘in bed’ after every fortune cookie statement. I hope you enjoy riding or skating or doing whatever fun things you want while listening to this playlist. Enjoy!
Article by: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Edited by: Jesse Kline
“Music, Rock and Roll music especially, is such a generational thing. Each generation must have their own music…”
-Ronnie James Dio
Simply put, this article is an appeal to reason. I know we all love the word 'Rock and Roll', but it must eventually become a term of historical reference, lest it become an indefinable ocean of a genre. I am sorry to type these words, but we might be coming up on the time when we have to let go of Rock and Roll, as a current term. I’m not putting forth a solution, just a conversation. Even if we look at it from a simply clerical perspective, the genre occupies too much space without really adding any definition. In fact, the term ‘Rock and Roll’ conjures a near infinite number of sonic palates if it is not directly followed up with specific details of an artist’s sound. Sometimes this is thrown by the wayside and a style is proclaimed with a simple rock suffix, perhaps out of laziness, perhaps a real lack of vocabulary. This is usually phrased as ‘Folk-Rock’, ‘Blues-Rock’ or ‘Any Other Genre-Rock’.
If I may be so blunt, Folk, Blues, Jazz, Metal, Country, Hip-hop and indeed every conceivable singular genre has at one time or another been sucked into the ever growing mass of Rock and Roll. I think that this stems from a bad habit of journalists and reviewers, one of which I realized I was guilty, and the spark for this article. We journalists tend to rely on genres, especially Rock and Roll, to quickly fill descriptive voids with minimal effort. What I mean is, it is much easier to come out of a show and say, “That was some awesome rock,” than give a detailed description of their musicality, chemistry, lyrics, showmanship, production and then describe how all of that results in a band’s microcosmic niche genre. Let’s not be so lazy as reviewers. What are we contributing unless we dig deeper with our discourse and definitions?
Yes, the original Rock and Roll was a combination of Blues, Country, R&B and western teen culture all simmering together in 1950s. This was also during the early breakdown of racial segregation in America and there were a lot of white kids trying to play Chuck Berry. Yes, Rock and Roll is the original fusion and it is fitting that it should have so many offshoots, but there has to be a line. I cannot abide the fact that Buddy Holly, Kurt Cobain and Kid Rock can all be referred to as Rock and Roll. I am not saying there is a better term, but the first step is discussing it.
“I don’t know which will go first – Rock and Roll or Christianity”
- John Lennon
Although Lennon was referencing The Beatles epic popularity I think there is hidden wisdom in his statement. This is not an argument against creativity or genre mixing. I love that stuff. Nor am I suggesting that every new band needs to create its own completely new genre. I am simply saying that we don’t like change, and this is verging on a generational psychosis. It feels like we are clinging to the term Rock and Roll like a safety blanket or the memory of a home cooked meal. We simply need a better way to talk about current music.
Believe me when I say that none of this is coming from a place of malice, if you have read any of my other posts on this site, you know I love Rock and Roll. It is awe inspiring to think about Rock being so prolific. I cannot count the number of times someone has told me, ”I love Rock and Roll! I grew up on all the same music that my mom and dad did, but then I started listening to Punk and Metal, you know, other good Rock.” It is true that, categorically, Rock and Roll defines much of what music meant in the 20th century, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but the term ‘Rock and Roll’ describes so many genres that it is in danger of becoming meaningless. It is nice to think of Rock as one big family, but the fact is, music is one big family. So there is no need for us to hide under the epic immortal guise of Rock and Roll, because we have music and we always will. As we move farther from the inception of Rock and Roll, we can better realize its effect on current music and thus separate it as a genre. By improving our musical lexicon will better understand what Rock and Roll means to us. Either way, Rock and Roll will always be a mindset, and this much is clear, “Rock and Roll is here to stay” –Neil Young. We will save the rants on ‘indie’ and ‘alternative’ for another day.
Review and Pictures by: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Edited by: Jesse Kline
Here we have lists, ramblings, musings and general coverage of the Canadian Music Scene.