TIO, the mysterious cold-wave project from Toronto, hits all the right notes for us here at Silent Shout, and the video for “A Simple Way” is a wonderful introduction to their brand of sexy creepiness.
The band has some superstar backers, working with producer Roger Leavens (Diana, Born Ruffians, DD/MM/YY) and Toronto luminary Josh Reichmann as a “visual and tonal confidant,” who directed the colourfully terrifying video above. Other than those tidbits of information, though, we know nothing else about who this band is, and we kind of like it that way: their music lends itself perfectly to mystery and intrigue.
“A Simple Way” takes layer upon layer of reverbed-out vocals, placing them delicately over a throbbing bass line and slow but still propulsive beats. With this latest single, Toronto’s TIO have quickly become one of our favourite new bands to watch and we eagerly anticipate the release of their debut EP later this year
One can be forgiven for not being familiar with the work of Montreal’s Johnny Couteau. He’s still pretty much an underground phenomenon, despite releasing one of the finest albums of last year, the unforgettable From the Infamous Mind of a Psychoactive Runner. Set in the post-Fukushima dystopia of Tchernobeach, the album’s towering ambition brought an entire radiation-poisoned world to life, while remaining true to its electronic post-punk roots with simple-but-killer synths and melodies.
So, after a record like THAT, what does one do next? The answer: a Valentine like no other. We’re honoured to premiere the first-ever Johnny Couteau video, for a new single entitled “Is My Baby Love Real or just a Hologram?”
The video reveals M. Couteau to be a dark, menacing figure clad in black, white and red, wearing heartbreak-line sunglasses, and living in a windowless basement located at the edge of the world. A perfect visual persona, over-the-top and suitably appropriate for the conceptual nature of the project. It was directed by Kaspar’89 who also made the remarkable video for “Icicle” by Low Factor (who makes a brief cameo here). The song itself is a post-punk epic featuring skronking sax and phased bass, one that rises to a chaotic frenzy only to switches gears into a deadpan spoken chorus. Co-produced and mixed by Pierre Guerineau of Essaie Pas fame!
Apparently we can expect two EPs from Couteau this spring and they’ll probably be incredible given his track record so far. Can’t wait.
Toronto’s For Esmé make soul-searching electro-pop created for the walk home from the after-party: you’re still pumped with energy from the excellent night, but also introspectively going over the events in your mind. “Just Yet,” with it’s infectious vocal hook of “I finally found a way!” tells us that we should just ignore that nagging doubt that maybe we said the wrong thing to the right people, and embrace honesty and self-acceptance.
Co-produced by James Bunton (Light Fires, Ohbijou), a Silent Shout superstar in his own right, the track is Robyn-esque in its alterna-poppiness especially with the ever-present pulsating arpeggiated bass line.
2015 seems poised to be a big year for the band with a performance at the inaugural WayHome festival and the release of Sugar, their sophomore record which is due out later this spring. Based on the strength of “Just Yet,” we have high expectations for more triumphant introspection.