Check out Graham Wright’s playlist of top Toronto picks.
Who knew that our northern neighbors in Ontario, Canada had such a banging indie rock scene? Tokyo Police Club keyboardist Graham Wright does. Ahead of their upcoming show at Warsaw on March 12, we asked Tokyo Police Club to share some music from their favorite Canadian artists. Wright responded with 8 tracks from Toronto-based artists, which makes sense given that Tokyo Police Club are originally from the greater Toronto area.
“When we started being a band, it felt like anybody running around Toronto with a guitar and the ability to do gang vocals got at least a chance to make a go of it as a touring band,” Wright told AdHoc. “These days I see a lot of extremely good bands kicking around with a fraction of the attention they deserve and not even one 7.3 Pitchfork review to their name. I consider this a great injustice that this playlist is my attempt to correct.”
Check out Wright’s playlist below. Tokyo Police Club return to Brooklyn to play Warsaw on March 12.
1. Partner – “Play The Field”
Graham Wright: It’s really hard to write funny songs that aren’t, like, joke songs. Partner makes it look easy on this banger (and all the songs on their extremely kickass album, In Search Of Lost Time). Not only do they land the jokes, they use them to build towards an actual emotional point, which really is threading the needle. They sing about mundane shit and make it feel transcendent, which is what life is basically. Also, loads of harmonized guitar solos.
2. Pkew Pkew Pkew – “Glory Days”
I like Pkew Pkew Pkew for lots of reasons, but maybe the main one is that they seem to really be having fun being a band and they’re not, like, mad about it. Maybe for some people driving around and playing guitar with their friends really is an unbearable burden, but my experience has been that it’s just kind of a really nice time. Getting drunk and ordering pizza is just as worthy of being sung about as being really sad all the time or whatever, and I commend Pkew Pkew Pkew for their service in this area. Song bangs.
3. Teenanger – “Dawn”
An overlooked aspect of a city’s whole thing is what it’s like to drive through it at night. Obviously, L.A. is the undisputed champion of night driving vibes, but I consider Toronto to have a decent claim to a spot in the top 10. Something about the way the streets empty out, maybe, or the 24-hour streetcars that glide along the main streets ceaselessly. It’s hard to put into words, but this song captures the feeling perfectly so just listen to it!
4. Casper Skulls – “O My Enemy”
I got into Casper Skulls when they were kind of a zippier post punk band, but for some reason, I felt like the music was always resisting being what I wanted it to be—I think I just wished they’d pick up the pace already. Instead, proving once again that I am constantly wrong, they slowed it down for this number and it turned out to be just the ticket. A band who are very much coming into their own, which is always exciting to be around for.
5. Wlmrt – “Emergency Money Available”
Speaking of picking up the pace! I just found about this band in an article about “the sound of Toronto right now” in the venerable Toronto institution NOW, and I wish it hadn’t taken me so long. This song just sounds so vital; it sounds like an idea being frantically captured just as it’s being had. Certified banger.
6. Joseph Shabason – “Forest Run”
The elevator pitch for this record—“extremely good saxophone player plays the saxophone around recordings of intimate conversations with his mother”—raises all kinds of red flags for me. But at its best (and I think this song is that), this record deftly navigates those flags like a downhill skier in the Olympics. This has been my audition to write reviews for an alt weekly. Thank you for listening.
7. The Weather Station – “Thirty”
You say so much stuff about all kinds of songs, and then a song comes along and defies description because it’s just so plain good. This is one of those songs. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it.
8. The Meligrove Band – “Really Want It”
Okay this isn’t a new song, but the lack of widespread acclaim for my beloved Meligrove Band (RIP) continues to infuriate me, and if you thought I’d miss a chance to spread the gospel, you thought wrong!