Toronto music

July Talk: “Human Side”

You’ve heard of Christmas in July…but July Talk in December? No, your calendar’s not having an existential crisis. But if you want new music at home and live in person, today we’ve got a recommendation and premiere all packed into one.

Chances are, you’ve never experienced anything quite like July Talk. For the past decade this spectacle of a Toronto sextet has electrified crowds with a relatively unconventional lineup in the indie rock realm; two fronting vocalists, bewitchingly balanced bass and guitar, and most recently the addition of a second drummer. Their 2012 eponymous debut proved right away that July Talk’s raucous chemistry isn’t constricted to the stage, and their full-length formulas have only become more and more refined at a pace of about one record every four years.

But true to their name, July Talk’s identity is an ongoing conversation. While the band’s back-and-forth fury is certainly still there, themes of rebirth, renewed strength, and voicing dissent dominate their fourth LP, Remember Never Before. This masterfully-inventive eleven-track drops January 20th, and July Talk wraps up a week-long U.S. tomorrow night in Dallas. Tonight at 9PM July Talk takes the stage at Antone’s along with Austinites Darkbird for an 18+ show. So if you want to rock out with these ACL Fest veterans, you can squad up to Antone’s OR let it all out on Remember Never Before‘s latest! Buckle up, ’cause from its sparse first downbeat all the way to its cacophonic final chord, “Human Side” is a helluva sendoff to 2022.

The Beaches: “Orpheus”

Like the Jan Brady of national holidays, Labor Day is an oft-overlooked middle child between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. So, quick bit of “birthday” trivia; although it’s American-manufactured, some historians believe Labor Day may have been inspired by Toronto’s worker-centric parades held in 1882. Which means we ought to recognize our neighbors to the North and celebrate with some continental solidarity. However, if you got screwed out of the long weekend for whatever reason, you can find a instant escape with The Beaches.

Their namesake canonically pays tribute to a shared neighborhood, but it also evokes the quartet’s willingness to bury college plans in the sand and fully invest themselves in their music. Nowadays, in light of more than 50 million stream on Spotify alone, three JUNO Awards, and fanship from Elton John, it’s damn near impossible to cast doubt on that decade-old decision. Lately, however, inspired by the likes of Austin’s own Dayglow, The Beaches have seemed to heed changing tides and begun testing deeper waters of indie pop after years in the rock sandbar. This questionable shift comes right after the full-length merge of The Beaches last two EPs and a U.S. tour kicking off next month, but as we’ve learned before, it’s best to trust The Beaches’ intuition. Considering the pulsing, Phoenix-esque, indie pop masterpiece “Orpheus” that just came out? Give ’em all the resources in the world for them to do whatever the hell they want.

Abigail Lapell: “Ships”

Regardless of the providence, Canada and its vast countryside has always made for wonderfully nuanced folk music, be it through Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, or the late Leonard Cohen. Toronto’sAbigail Lapell has been carefully creating her own legacy of modern folk, threading a needle between dark and bucolic. Lapell first showed off her pipes on 2011’s Great Survivor and further rooted her multi-instrumental talents on both 2017’s Hide nor Hair and 2019’s Getaway.

For her upcoming fourth LPStolen Time, Lapell’s masterful skills on finger-style guitar, harmonica, piano once again return to effortlessly complement her eerily beautiful vocals. Abigail Lapell’s going to be in town forSXSWonWednesday, March 16th, and shares Stolen Time on April 22nd. So make the most of Stolen Time‘s two preceding singles between now and then by discovering what ‘Canadiana prairie noir’ means to you. Hint hint, the crawling groove and dynamic range of “Ships” (and its accompanying music video) is a damned good representation, both stylistically and performance-wise.

Ralph: “Strawberry Meltdown”

Dating back to the genre’s inception, the world of pop music has been highly competitive; these days everybody and their mothers wants to be the next Taylor Swift or Dua Lipa. So when a pop singer comes along with something unique that doesn’t try to chase a recent fad, it’s actually pretty impressive. Which brings us to Toronto’s Raffaela Weyman, better known monomynously as Ralph.

With the pristine digital production of the modern era at her fingertips, Ralph bridges a cross-generational gap between ’70s/’80s darlings Stevie Nicks, Sade, Cher, and Donna Summer to current electronic-R&B sensibilities. Ralph’s all set to share her latest EP, Gradience, in its full resplendent glory, but in the midst of unseasonable heat close to Ralph’s home, she’s treated us to an ideal car cruising-bop (be it with the top down or AC on full blast), “Strawberry Meltdown”!