What a pleasure it is to find in the monoculture of the current musical moment a group of musicians bold and talented enough to be various. In an era when music lovers seem to be required to like one thing, one style, one genre we get the protean of the Julian Taylor Band confident enough in their own abilities to delimit the genres and let the soulful beats resound from wider horizons. Here we have rhythm and blues, hard rock, thoughtful folky songs, and even a little hip-hop. In one way it signals something new —an exciting amalgamation of musical styles too long held apart. But in another way it’s a return to roots – the roots of the Toronto sound. You can’t listen to this album and not recall that Toronto has always been “the meeting place”. And just as many tribes and peoples always came through the nexus of this landscape so the musical tribes have continued the tradition. Not surprising then that this collection of songs erupts from the same musical epicenter that gave us Blood, Sweat & Tears, The Band, and Buffalo Spingfield hand-in-hand with cultural heavies like Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Steppenwolf and Joni Mitchell. Julian Taylor is a natural heir to this rich tradition– something he shares with two other proponents of the Toronto sound, Drake and The Weekend. His music arises naturally from deep steeping in the historically mixed musical milieu that begat it. It has the comfortability of an open mind a wide palette and an experienced and inspired musical talent. So, welcome to the smorgasbord. I think you’ll find it very flavourful. Or as the song says “Ooh that spice is nice.”
Fast Romantics are a Toronto-based band first formed in Calgary by Matthew Angus and Jeffrey Lewis. Following some early independent releases the band began work on their first LP, Afterlife Blues (2013), shortly after moving to Toronto, with producer Howard Redekopp (New Pornographers, Teagan & Sara). The album was in some sense a process of discovery for the band, as they grew into their sound, encompassing new influences as Angus began to refine his songwriting. The album’s first single, “Funeral Song,” was an early culmination of this process, and rapidly garnered an audience via heavy radio play, propelling the band into a year of consistent touring highlighted by prominent slots at Virgin Fest, SXSW and CMJ.
American Love, the aptly titled new album is a nod to the type of cinematic storybook romance Hollywood has conditioned us to search for. But in real life, love is often subject to chaos beyond our control, and American Love doesn’t deny the social and political turmoil we’re living through.
“The triumphant ‘Julia' could be a lost hit for Elvis Costello and the Attractions. It's chiming, high-fidelity indie rock with, indeed, an awesome, dirty guitar line throughout that hooked me right away.” -NPR