April Toronto Music & Concerts Tip Sheet

This isn’t an April Fools’ joke, but it is the last month before we throw ourselves deep into festival season. Enjoy the (relative) rest and relaxation while you still can, but if you’re feeling impatient and/or ambitious, there’s still plenty to hear and go to for the month of April. Here’s my monthly roundup of things to look forward to in the music world.

ALBUMS

Last month I joked about the possibility of Kanye West dropping an unexpected album. Joked is the key word there because then Kendrick Lamar went and actually did that. Dammit Kendrick. And dammit for it being really, really good. But I digress, because looking ahead to the month of April there are still some great releases to make note of. Will one of them be Kanye though? Forever waiting. 

East India Youth – Culture of Volume (April 7, 2015)

Label: XL Recordings

Genre: Electronic, pop

For fans of: Lo-Fang, Sylvan Esso

Why you should care: The second album from East India Youth sees the English electronic musician continuing to build his sound, stripping electronics from Speed Racer cartoons like it’s nobody’s business. After his debut, Total Strife Forever, picked up a 2014 Mercury Prize shortlist nod, expect critics to be keeping an eye on this one.

Listen to: “Turn Away

Moon King – Secret Life (April 15, 2015)

Label: Last Gang

Genre: Alternative, dream pop

For fans of: Doldrums, DIANA

Why you should care: I’m stealing this recommendation from Live in Limbo’s Dakota Arsenault, who pegged 2015 as the breakout year for Toronto’s Moon King. The band has been around for a little while so they obviously have a good grasp on their sound, even though this is technically the band’s full-length debut. The duo make the kind of rock that punches, swings, and sounds like you’ve gotten stuck in some sort of dream where there are b-movie unicorns that are still pretty cool – even if all their horns are stuck on with duct tape.

Listen to: “Roswell

Passion Pit – Kindred (April 21, 2015)

Label: Columbia

Genre: Electronic, pop

For fans of: Grouplove, Matt & Kim

Why you should care: Apparently people do still care about Passion Pit! I’ll concede that their 2009 Manners debut was excellent, but I was decidedly less impressed by 2012’s Gossamer. This makes Kindred kind of a big deal: it’s where I’ll draw my line in the sand. No pressure though.

Listen to: “Lifted Up (1985)

San Fermin – Jackrabbit (April , 2015)

Label: Downtown Records

Genre: Baroque pop, post-rock

For fans of: Lucius, Lost in the Trees

Why you should care: I was decidedly underwhelmed when I saw San Fermin open for Courtney Barnett last year. I can extend them the courtesy of assuming it was an off day for the band, however. Hopefully time in the studio on their sophomore record will show off a prettier, more complete-sounding side of the Brooklyn group.

Listen to: “Jackrabbit

Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer (April 21, 2015)

Label: Carpark Records

Genre: Grunge, rock

For fans of: Roomrunner, Milk Music

Why you should care: Speedy Ortiz had a really big 2013 with the release of Major Arcanada. Pitchfork buzz helped, the publication awarding it a Best New Music designation. April welcomes the four-piece’s much-anticipated follow-up. 

Listen to: “The Graduates

Blur – The Magic Whip (April 28, 2015)

Label: Parlophone

Genre: Rock, alternative

For fans of: Gorillaz, Pulp

Why you should care: This is Blur’s first album in 12 years. Twelve! That’s a lot of years and, while both Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon have indeed been busy men with their non-Blur time, it’ll be nice to have them back. I’m even going to go ahead and say it: woohoo.

Listen to: “Lonesome Street

CONCERTS

On the live side, it will be a busy April with a lot of bands coming out of hibernation. Ahead of a busy summer of long days in the sun and late nights in the venues, here’s what’s coming through the wonderful city of Toronto.

The Franklin Electric @ The Drake Hotel (April 2 & 3, 2015)

Tickets: Sold out

Genre: Folk, alternative

Why you should go: They were last here for CMW and also opened for Ben Howard, clearly making a good impression amongst the locals. How good? The Montreal band managed to sell out both shows in Toronto.

Listen to: “This Is How I Let You Down

Wand @ The Silver Dollar (April 3, 2015)

Tickets: $12.00

Genre: Psychedelic, rock

Why you should go: They’re not an easy band to Google – but they at least got a Victoria band going by the same name to cease and desist with the shared monikers. Now the real Los Angeles four-piece is ready to take on the world, and that includes a stop at The Silver Dollar in support of 2015’s Golem.

Listen to: “Self Hypnosis In Three Days

OK Go @ Phoenix Concert Theatre (April 7, 2015)

Tickets: $25.00

Genre: Rock, alternative

Why you should go: I’ve regrettably never seen OK Go in concert, but if the American band’s videos are any indication… this is going to be one fun show.

Listen to: “I Won’t Let You Down

Jose Gonzalez @ Phoenix Concert Theatre (April 13, 2015)

Tickets: Sold out

Genre: Indie, folk

Why you should go: Expect plenty of plaid and beards at The Phoenix Concert Theatre on April 13. Also expect a lot of gorgeous folk songs care of the Swedish artist.

Listen to: “Leaf Off / The Cave”

Earl Sweatshirt @ The Opera House (April 14, 2015)

Tickets: Sold out

Genre: Rap, hip hop

Why you should go: The 21-year-old just put out the ever so excellent digital release of I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside last month. It was a quieter drop than Kendrick Lamar’s, no doubt, but you’d be kidding yourself if you don’t think people are going to catch on to the own wave of hype that Earl Sweatshirt’s been building. This show will mark the physical release of the album, too, so make sure to pick up your copy at the merch table.

Listen to: “Grief

Jessy Lanza @ Tattoo (April 23, 2015)

Tickets: $3.00 with RSVP / $10.00 without

Genre: Electronic, R&B

Why you should go: Red Bull Sound Select continue with their carefully curated show offerings. This edition features the Polaris Prize short-listed Jessy Lanza and it’s only three bucks if you RSVP in advance. The Hamilton musician is immensely talented with her electronics, so get on it and be wooed.

Listen to: “Kathy Lee

Iska Dhaaf @ The Drake Hotel (April 24, 2015)

Tickets: $11.50

Genre: Post-punk, alternative

Why you should go: Don’t hold a Mackelmore cameo against them and don’t sleep on this show, either. The duo is thick in rhythm and melodies. It’s intense, it’s catchy, and it’s going to be a good time. 

Listen to: “Everybody Knows

2CELLOS @ Massey Hall (April 28, 2015)

Tickets: Sold out

Genre: Instrumental, classical

Why you should go: Hear me out on this. They may be two guys with cellos covering contemporary songs, but this will 400% make you wish you’d paid more attention in high school strings class. Or at least didn’t play the viola. Stupid, stupid viola.

Listen to: “Thunderstruck

Sufjan Stevens @ Massey Hall (April 29, 2015)

Tickets: Sold out

Genre: Folk, indie

Why you should go: If you see me there, don’t mind me. My eyes will just be leaking continuously through Sufjan Stevens’ entire show as he plays songs from his absolutely beautiful 2015 release, Carrie & Lowell. Bring all the Kleenex, you’re going to need them.

Listen to: “Should Have Known Better

What’d I miss? Tell me on Twitter or send me an email. See you at some shows!

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