Hi Toronto. Let’s try not to look out the window/at the weather forecast and let’s just focus on the positives of February instead. No, you won’t be able to go to shows in shorts and yes, it might be a struggle to leave your cozy home for the less-than-cozy club, but ah the struggles of being a year-round music fan. It’s definitely not as sleepy of a month as January was, if that’s any consolation… and it’s bringing us ever closer to full-fledged festival season. Here’s what I’m looking forward to for February.
Whether its instrumentals to get you moving or a sexy soundtrack to get you in the probably-going-to-be-terrible movie-watching mood, keep an ear out for these February albums.
Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (Feb. 10, 2015)
Label: Sub Pop
Genre: Folk, alt-country
For fans of: Fleet Foxes, The War on Drugs
Why you should care: You may recognize his name from time spent drumming for Fleet Foxes, but I Love You, Honeybear marks J. Tillman’s second effort under his Father John Misty moniker. Expect him to continue to make a name for himself with its release.
Listen to: “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)”
Fifty Shades of Grey Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Feb. 10, 2015)
Genre: R&B, rock
For fans of: Sexy hits! Or, I don’t know, the bands (The Weeknd, Sia, Beyonce, Ellie Goulding, The Rolling Stones, etc.) on the soundtrack?
Why you should care: Are you as excited for Fifty Shades of Grey as I am? If you answered yes to that question, then we should probably both work on getting excited because I, for one, am already rolling my eyes at the idea of seeing this movie. Most of this stems from the fact that the book this movie is based on is itself based on an already god-awful book/movie franchise, but hey – Twilight had some pretty great soundtracks, so there’s hope this will be one of the few positives to come out of an otherwise ridiculous film. Also: remind me to start writing fan fiction so I can sell the rights and profit greatly.
Listen to: “The Weeknd – Earned It”
Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges & Claws (Feb. 17, 2015)
Genre: Folk, indie
For fans of: Iron & Wine, Nick Drake
Why you should care: It’s been seven years since Jose Gonzalez released an album under his own name, but that doesn’t mean he’s been out of the music game. In the time since, he’s worked on his band – Junip – and contributed some stellar material to soundtracks, including The Secret Life of Mr. Walter Mitty stunner “Step Out”.
Listen to: “Leaf Off / The Cave”
A Place to Bury Strangers – Transfixiation (Feb. 17, 2015)
Label: Dead Oceans
Genre: Shoegaze, post-punk
For fans of: The Soft Moon, The KVB
Why you should care: Let’s be honest – there are times when you just need to put on loud-as-anything music and turn everything mundane into something still mundane, just slightly more aggressive. Thankfully A Place to Bury Strangers aren’t afraid of a little noise.
Listen to: “We’ve Come So Far”
Public Service Broadcasting – The Race for Space (Feb. 23, 2015)
Label: Test Card Recordings
Genre: Experimental, electronic
For fans of: British Sea Power, old BBC videos
Why you should care: I loved Public Service Broadcasting’s first album and am admittedly curious as to where the English duo will go with their sound of electronics and spoken-word sampling. Curious and hopeful!
Listen to: “Signal 30”
Dan Deacon – Gliss Riffer (Feb. 24, 2015)
Genre: Electronic, experimental
For fans of: Animal Collective, Fuck Buttons
Why you should care: Everyone’s favourite party-in-a-live show returns with another album of new material to get the masses dancing. Use this as the soundtrack to practice your dance moves.
Listen to: “Feel The Lightning”
Gang of Four – What Happens Next (Feb. 24, 2015)
Genre: Post-punk, new wave
For fans of: Television, Wire
Why you should care: The success of more recent bands such as Bloc Party and Franz Ferdinand have helped put Gang of Four back on the map and they’ve capitalized on the spotlight, reforming in 2004 and releasing their second album of new material.
Listen to: “Broken Talk feat. Alison Mosshart”
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve been slacking on my concert count for 2015. But here comes February to the rescue (… she says, sitting in a warm climate, not yet prepared for the coldness of Toronto in February.)
Billy Idol @ Massey Hall, Feb. 4, 2015
Tickets: $74.84 – $110.84
Genre: Rock, punk
Why you should go: With the English rock idol set to play Massey Hall, expect to see the seats packed full of leather jackets and pouting snarls.
Listen to: “Can’t Break Me Down”
The Tragically Hip @ Air Canada Centre, Feb. 19, 2015
Tickets: $33.00 – $144.25
Genre: Rock, alternative
Why you should go: Fulfill your Canadian duty and go see The Tragically Hip while double fisting double-doubles from Timmys. Just, uh, make sure you get the hell out of the ACC before Feb. 22 rolls around. Heaven forbid you find yourself at that end of the Can-rock spectrum.
Listen to: “Bobcaygeon”
Ariel Pink @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Feb. 19, 2015
Genre: Lo-fi, psychedelic
Why you should go: The controversial Los Angeles musician will bring weird to the Phoenix. Be there to bask in the eccentricities.
Listen to: “Put Your Number In My Phone”
Swans @ The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Feb. 20, 2015
Genre: Post-punk, noise rock
Why you should go: By this point, your ears should have safely stopped ringing from Swans’ loud-loud-loud NXNE set at YDS, where they opened for St. Vincent. Good thing you’ll be able to relapse into deafness with the band set to play the considerably more intimate Phoenix Concert Theatre. Go. Bring earplugs.
Listen to: “No Words No Thoughts”
Theophilus London @ Tattoo, Feb. 20, 2015
Genre: Hip hop, electronic
Why you should go: Bring a birthday cake. Three days before Brooklyn-based rapper Theophilus London celebrates turning 28, he’ll play an intimate show in Toronto.
Listen to: “Do Girls”
Suuns @ The Garrison, Feb. 25, 2015
Genre: Post-punk, noise rock
Why you should go: The Garrison will undoubtedly feel dark and gloomy – and probably pulsate a fair bit – care of Montreal’s Suuns. Please, for the love of all things good and holy, leave any and all “sunny”-type puns at home.
Listen to: “2020”
Animal Collective (DJ Set) @ The Drake Underground, Feb. 26, 2015
Genre: Electronic, experimental
Why you should go: Because what’s a monthly tip sheet of mine without the inclusion of a DJ SET? Go see Animal Collective DJ while secretly wishing this was a full – or even just Panda Bear – band set instead.
Listen to: “What Would I Want? Sky”
Outside of Toronto borders, the Grammy Awards will be given out on Feb. 8. Who’s going to be the night’s big winner? How will the performances go? Does anyone watch the Grammys? All the important questions!
Something may or may not be happening at The Great Hall on Feb. 10 that may or may not be related to a festival that may or may not be called Wayhome. See you there or maybe don’t see you there. Who knows. Maybe this is how mass kidnappings happen.
Remember when I said February would bring us one step closer to full-fledged festival season? Well ease into it by jumping in with both feet via the fine folks at Wavelength 15. They’ve put together a fantastic three nights of music (Feb. 13-15) – including my can’t-wait-can’t-wait-can’t-wait, highly-anticipated controller.controller comeback – plus a whole lot of pre-actual-festival pop-ups. It’s going to be one for the books. Or at least one for the internet year-end lists.
It’s going to be a busy February, everyone. Yay. See you out there – and send me an email if I missed anything you’re really looking forward to!