Fans of Canadian indie rock were pleasantly surprised a few days ago with the unexpected news that Constantines are reuniting in 2014. For the uninitiated, it’s been four years since the Guelph-born band’s last show together, who were celebrated throughout the 2000s for beautiful and brilliantly written songs such as “Young Lions”, “Soon Enough”, and “Shine a Light”. The latter is the title track of their first album to be distributed worldwide with Sub Pop – if THAT name rings a bell, they were the record label to sign a little band named Nirvana and kick start the grunge movement. As the 5-man group collectively wrote in a comeback proclamation (which you can read for yourself at TheConstantines.WordPress.com), Shine a Light being reissued for its unconventional 11th anniversary is apparently the catalyst for Constantines getting back together.
TURF stakes their claim
Toronto has had a fascinatingly uneven history when it comes to music festivals, but one annual event which looks to have the best chance of “taking root” is the appropriately-named Toronto Urban Roots Festival, or @turfTO on Twitter. It’s run by the same, supersmart people behind successful venues Lee’s Palace and Horseshoe Tavern, and returns to Garrison Commons on the grounds of historic Fort York this July 4-6, with 44 artists performing on 3 stages. TURF is top-heavy on Canadiana talent, featuring locals like Devin Cuddy, Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs, The Stanfields, New Country Rehab, The Strumbellas, Hollerado and Born Ruffians, as well as Sam Roberts Band alongside international imports Gogol Bordello, Local Natives, The Gaslight Anthem and Neutral Milk Hotel. 3-day early bird passes go on sale Thursday, February 27th at noon via TorontoUrbanRootsFest.com.
Drake says sorry to Rolling Stone
Don’t tell Aubrey Graham being on the cover of Rolling Stone isn’t a big deal. The rapper known universally as Drake was the subject of a feature article by the venerable magazine recently, where among many other things, he took a humourous shot at sometimes friend / sometimes rival Kanye West while talking about his own meteoric ascent to the top of the modern-day hip-hop heap. The former Degrassi castmember was fuming, however, when a photo of deceased actor Philip Seymour Hoffman replaced him on the cover…a reaction that was met with an onslaught of criticism online. So much so that Drake found it necessary to post an apologetic blog on OctobersVeryOwn.com entitled, “Tough Day at the Office.” Do you think the star has a point, or was Drake way out of line? Let’s debate on Facebook.com/WhatsYRTake.
Watch: The Darcys – Hold On, We’re Going Home (Drake cover)
Not everything was bad for Drake last week. He may have heard that his ballad-y chart topper “Hold On, We’re Going Home” has been masterfully reworked by fellow Torontonian foursome The Darcys. No, not the suitor from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, although they’re all handsome in their own, bearded right. The Darcys are what you’d call an “art rock” band, and for this particular cover, have sped up Drake’s song and amped up the synths, as well as pretty much stripping it of all its R&B. The result is something much more dark and sinister, diametrically opposed creepy if you will, but very cool nonetheless. If you dig The Darcys’ take on rhythmic contemporary, you should definitely have a listen to their endearing tribute to Steely Dan’s 1977 jazz rock fusion masterpiece Aja. (Hit up TheDarcys.ca.)
- Gilles LeBlanc AKA @ROCKthusiast