January Toronto Music & Concerts Tip Sheet

Let’s get this out of the way: HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s 2015. Jeeze. I’m looking forward to January – and for the rest of the year – and I’m hopefully we’ll see a lot of great music coming through the speakers and stopping in Toronto. So yay for that. Here’s my list of what to look out for this month.


For those of you looking to get a jump start on your “Best Albums of 2015” lists…

Dan Mangan + Blacksmith – Club Meds (Jan. 13, 2015)

Label: Arts & Crafts

Genre: Rock, folk

For fans of: Hayden, Okkervil River

Why you should care: While I wasn’t wholly impressed by Dan Mangan and company’s previewing of the Club Meds material at a late 2014 date, I’ve got high hopes for this album. I imagine the complex nuances performed by his newly-monikered Blacksmith band will sound better on record than they did at The Mod Club.

Listen to:Vessel

Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (Jan. 13, 2015)

Label: Domino

Genre: Electronic, experimental

For fans of: Animal Collective, Ariel Pink

Why you should care: Animal Collective co-founder Noah Lennox returns with his follow-up to 2011’s Tomboy. Expect to fall down a rabbit hole of transfixing electronics that are detailed, complex, and probably more than a little difficult to digest.

Listen to:Mr Noah

Belle and Sebastian – Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance (Jan. 20, 2015)

Label: Matador

Genre: Pop, indie

For fans of: Camera Obscura, of Montreal

Why you should care: Their ninth studio effort comes with high expectations (it’s Belle & Sebastian, after all), coming five years after 2010’s Write About Love. This new album hopes to capture more of a dance-party scene – the Glasgow band listening to vintage Detroit techno and working with Ben H. Allen III, whose past album credits include Gnarls Barkley and Animal Collective.

Listen to:The Party Line

Hanni El Khatib – Moonlight (Jan. 20, 2015)

Label: Innovative Leisure

Genre: Rock, psychedelic

For fans of: Mikal Cronin, The Black Keys

Why you should care: Moving from Dan Auerbach’s studio to his own home-base looks to have paid off for Los Angeles’ Hanni El Khatib. His third album is already picking up buzz – and this could be the year things really steamroll for his desert rock offerings.

Listen to:The Teeth

Sleater-Kinney – No Cities To Love (Jan. 20, 2015)

Label: Sub Pop

Genre: Punk, riot grrrl

For fans of: Bikini Kill, Julie Ruin

Why you should care: I’ve admittedly never been on the Sleater-Kinney bandwagon, but maybe this will change that. Already the Washington band’s “reunion” has fans giddy with excitement. Their 2015 record is their first in a decade.

Listen to:Bury Our Friends

The Phantom Band – Fears Trending (Jan. 26, 2015)

Label: Chemikal Underground

Genre: Rock, experimental

For fans of: San Fermin, We Were Promised Jetpacks

Why you should care: I honestly think Scotland’s The Phantom Band put out one of the most underrated albums of 2014 with Strange Friend. I’m happy to see they’re not waiting too long to put out its follow-up.

Listen to:Tender Castle

Pond – Man It Feels Like Space Again (Jan. 27, 2015)

Label: Modular

Genre: Psychedelic, grunge

For fans of: Tame Impala, MGMT

Why you should care: Widely known for their associations with Tame Impala (three of the five members are/were part of the band), Australia’s Pond look to further capitalize on the pysch genre’s increasing popularity.

Listen to:Elvis’ Flaming Star


How many concerts are you planning to get to for 2015? If it’s a lot, January might make that goal difficult as it isn’t exactly brimming with possibility in Toronto: most bands are wise enough to skip our fair city until warmer weather arrives. That said, I promise there are still a few shows worth your time and chilled bones.

Lia Ices @ The Drake, Jan. 17, 2015

Tickets: $12.00

Genre: Folk, alternative

Why you should go: Things have been on the rise for Lia Ices after she landed a song on an episode of HBO’s Girls. Her show at the Drake Hotel is part of a swing through North America’s East Coast where she’ll be joined by Montreal’s Seoul.

Listen to: Higher

Pharmakon @ S.H.I.B.G.B’s, Jan. 17, 2015

Tickets: $13 online / $15 at doors

Genre: Noise

Why you should go: Pitchfork declared Margaret Chardiet a person to watch in the noise music scene. And her latest album Bestial Burden ranked #5 on our Top 25 Albums of 2014 list. Those are good enough reasons right?

Listen to: Body Betrays Itself

The Vaselines @ Lee’s Palace, Jan. 19, 2015

Tickets: $23.50

Genre: Alternative, rock

Why you should go: The Glasgow-formed, Sub Pop-signed band formed in 1986, so they obviously come with tons of experience. Their show at Lee’s Palace is their first in Toronto since 2010.

Listen to: High Tide Low Tide

Sam Smith @ Air Canada Centre, Jan. 20, 2015

Tickets: $47.00 – $91.50

Genre: Pop, soul

Why you should go: Toronto has been starved for a Sam Smith concert – the popular British singer canceling his previously scheduled September Kool Haus date and many people missing out on his packed show at the Mod Club in April. His January return sees him playing to a much larger room. Expect a lot of high pitched screaming and mom-daughter dates.

Listen to: I’m Not The Only One

London Grammar @ Sound Academy, Jan. 21, 2015

Tickets: Sold Out

Genre: Pop, electronic

Why you should go: After rescheduling their November date at the Danforth Music Hall, London Grammar will test fan dedication by asking people to journey all the way to the infamous Sound Academy. Will it be worth the winter journey? Stay tuned!

Listen to: Nightcall

Zola Jesus @ Horseshoe Tavern, Jan. 22, 2015

Tickets: $16.50

Genre: Psychedelic, pop

Why you should go: The 25 year-old artist comes with 2014’s Taiga – a work she describes as: “Massive, with big brass and beats, [and] crystal clear vocals.” See how that newfound fidelity translates live.

Listen to: Dangerous Days

deadmau5 @ Guvernment, Jan. 25, 2015

Tickets: Sold Out

Genre: Electronic, house

Why you should go: While I’m hugely uninterested in going to see deadmau5 (sorry, kids – DJ sets just aren’t my scene), this marks the final show for the Kool Haus/Guvernment complex. Go shed some tears over the venue’s closing on my behalf, please.

Listen to: Seeya

Owen Pallett @ Lee’s Palace, Jan. 31, 2015 (x2)

Tickets: $15.00

Genre: Chamber pop, experimental

Why you should go: The ever-so-talented Canadian musician plays two shows at Lee’s Palace – a 2:00 pm matinee and a 9:00 pm set. Skip the hassle of deciding between shows and choose the better option: go to both.

Listen to: In Conflict

See you out there! Have a show recommendation or an album we absolutely need to hear? Talk to Live in Limbo on Twitter or send me an email with your picks. Have a great 2015, everyone.

About author

Former Music Editor & Concert Photographer at Live in Limbo. Sarah was born in Toronto. She's worked at some places that you've heard of (like NXNE) and some that you haven't. She is an Academy Delegate at the JUNOs (CARAS). You can usually find Sarah at a concert, on Twitter @beets, or on Instagram @sarahrix. She also likes dogs and cheeseburgers.