Archive for the ‘Toronto’ Category

Les Cooper knows how to set the mood. Hailing from the Toronto area, this multi-instrumentalist and producer has a long history of orchestrating ambivances through working with musicians, symphonies, and television shows. With his new release Noise, Cooper uses his decades of skills to paint portraits of uncertainty. Gentle but tinkling rhythms and a solid emotional core make Noise a really flavorful listen.

Noise starts with “Stranger,” a tune that gets a little deeper under my skin with each play. The album’s second track, “Noise,” shimmies with a bossa-nova flavor and hummingbird vocals of Caroline Marie Brooks. Despite its anxious lyrics, it vibes more like abandoning Saturday evening plans for Hulu rather than braving the outside world. It ends up being a standout track, the most upbeat of the bunch, and the one with the “date night with the boo” flavor. It’s also a great showcase of Cooper’s vocals, which are warm with a touch of elevating rasp.

Gorgeous video for Best Of You by Anne Douris

“Best of You” is a thoughtful nodder about being stuck under the weight of others’ good intentions, when the world, even at its best, can be smothering. “And the world pulls you ’round/and the sky pulls you down to the ground,” Cooper illustrates, that illustrates powerlessness to one’s routines. Further, “Keep It Down” seems like an answer to “Noise,” like the far end of a relationship when curling up doesn’t seem like the safe place it used to be. Cooper conveys that sense of and tension isolation in his lyrics. It rolls with a country melancholy played on something with a bow (“cinematic strings” he calls them in a blurb). Together, these three songs seem to (in my mind) illustrate the conflict of whether internal spaces are fences or prison walls, or perhaps a bit of both.

Noise is a great record for lovers of acoustic guitar sounds with not-too-much electrical diddling. It’s just so carefully put together that it’ll draw you in and trap you. I get flavors of Massive Attack and later-years Talk Talk. Check it out.

Noise LPLes Cooper WebsiteLes Cooper Instagram

Les Cooper Himself

Les Cooper a Toronto’ based producer, mixer, multi-instrumentalist, JUNO award winner, and very cool name haver, has released his debut single, “Stranger.” It starts with buzzy tones before Les’s haunting vocal slides into consciousness. Layers upon layers of swirling instrumentation weave through Cooper’s mellow voice. The speaker of the song seems to carry a very intense and public hurt as it tells the pain of feeling left behind after someone else’s success: Everyone will say that you’re the one that shook them up/the one that tore them down. There is a sense of the speaker struggling through this rawness as they encounter this person’s exploits in other places: Everyone may write about the things you did, the lies you told, the hearts you broke. I get the sense that the hurt may be public, but the speaker feels quite invisible, like they’re the one becoming a stranger. It’s a good atmospheric mellow. I wonder what he’ll come up with next.

Listen to “Stranger” on your preferred platform

Les Cooper Instagram

SATE takes NYC

Posted: February 13, 2019 by Soda in Music, NYC, Rock, Sate, Toronto
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Last Tuesday night, it was Springtime in February in NYC, but…it was HOTTER. THAN. HELL. over at Berlin on Avenue A as Sate and her band took the stage for a free and early show. Small in size is Berlin but that did not deter the Toronto native and her beast of a band from making it seem like the biggest show in town. As her boys walked onto the stage the energy already felt different, a statement was about to be made. Moments later Sate would arrive right behind a sample from The Exorcist film… “Do you know what she did? Your cunting daughter!” looking like a powerful goddess with her braids tied back to appear like long ram-like horns with her head shaved on the sides in literal leather and lace boasting a shirt that read “Be Polite You Fucker” we were already all sold – You know how sometimes you’re at a gig and halfway thru it the band really hits their stride? Well, right out of the gate this outfit was absolutely on fire. As someone who reviews shows I don’t really like to be on my phone during them and I often don’t take a lot of photos or notes at gigs either, if any at all. I just stand there and try to absorb everything I can. – And on this night and millions of others I did just that –   “Sate”: Satisfy a desire to the full – no namesake could ever be worn more true as this woman, this powerhouse, lead her band thru a fierce 8-song set. Covered in sweat, Sate blurs the lines of everything you think you may know…about anything. It’s so goddamn refreshing. Don’t come to her shows with any preconceived notions, cause your ass best stay out in the cold. The chemistry between the singer and her band was so powerful, I’m talking Godzilla baby! It’s just a group of people absolutely on the same page, tight and in tune. These are real songs from real people and there is very little to apologize for.

Sate setlist 2.05.19 Berlin NYC

Sate setlist 2.05.19 Berlin NYC

Sate writes songs about making her mark (Famous), Family (What Did I Do), power (Warrior) and everything in between. During this show I felt like we were all a part of some killer party. The audience was a melting pot and hung on every song only wanting more in the end. To say that we were satisfied would be very true, but sated? Not at all cause everybody in that room wanted more and more and more! Brave and bold, every song was a burner, especially new single “Dirty Little Lie” which also has a killer new video to go along with it. Plain and simple, if you have the opportunity to see this outfit live, DO IT and thank me later, but thank them first.

SATE