Feist, Daniel Caesar and more new music
Introducing the Toronto Star’s Weekend Music Digest, a roundup of new music, concert listings and more.
This week’s roundup includes new music from Feist, Daniel Caesar, DEBBY FRIDAY and more. Click here to listen along to the Spotify playlist.
Album of the Week
It’s been a while since we’ve heard new music from Leslie Feist, the Canadian musician who over the past two decades has navigated roles as an artistic songstress, a badass rock star, your child’s favorite singer and, most recently, the moral conscience of indie rock. “Multitudes” is thus a fitting title for the 47-year-old’s sixth solo album, an elegant and mostly-hushed collection of songs inspired by both grief and new life.
In 2019, Feist adopted her first child. Two years later, in the midst of pandemic lockdowns, she lost her father. On “Multitudes,” Feist transforms emotional upheaval into art-pop experiments on songs like “In Lightning,” and graceful folk songs like “Love Who We Are Meant To.”
“You can’t begin to prepare/ For forever before/ She’s sleeping right over there,” Feist sings over gently-picked guitar on “Forever Before,” a moving ode to motherhood performed in the spirit of her musical forebearer Joni Mitchell.
Feist plays History in Toronto on May 18.
More new releases
- Metallica’s 11th studio album, “72 Seasons,” marks the metal titans first album since 2016. Strap in, this bad boy is over 77 minutes long.
- Montreal duo Bodywash have released their sophomore LP, “I Held the Shape While I Could.” If you like Beach House, check these guys out.
- Indie rock/alt-country singer Angel Olsen has released a new EP titled “Forever Means,” which collects songs from recording sessions from her critically acclaimed album “Big Time.”
Star Tracks: The best new music this week
Daniel Caesar: Disillusioned (feat. serpentwithfeet)
“I’m scared of getting older, it weighs upon my shoulders,” Daniel Caesar laments on “Disillusioned.” The 28-year-old Toronto native, who became a household name in 2021 thanks to his feature on Justin Bieber’s chart-topping hit “Peaches,” may be clinging to his youth, but his music sounds remarkably mature on his third LP, which dropped last week. Featuring an impressive roster of R&B heavy-hitters — including Mustafa, serpentwithfeet Ty Dolla $ign, Omar Apollo and Raphael Saadiq — “NEVER ENOUGH” strikes a fine balance between the gospel-oriented sound of his 2017 debut and the more experimental production of his sophomore album. The result is a smorgasbord of gooey hooks and earworms that range from downtempo ballads (“Cool,” “Toronto 2014”) to neo-soul anthems (“Let Me Go,” “Unstoppable”), all tied together by the undeniable charm of Caesar’s voice.
Debby Friday: What A Man
Don’t sleep on Debby Friday. The Nigerian-born, Toronto-based electronic artist made a huge splash in Canada’s underground music scene last month with the release of her supremely confident debut, “GOOD LUCK.” Thunderous and full of swagger, the high-octane project swings wildly between industrial rock, pop, techno and drill music, as chugging bass lines and distorted percussion clash with squealing guitars and robotic synths. But it’s Friday’s voice — sweet, but razor sharp, laced with just a hint of menace — that provides the glue on “GOOD LUCK,” moving effortlessly between the euphoric electro-pop of “SO HARD TO TELL” to the industrial sludge of “ WHAT A MAN.” Friday has arrived like a force of nature, one that sounds like nothing else.
The National: Your Mind Is Not Your Friend (feat. Phoebe Bridgers)
Given the state of indie rock in the year 2023, it’s difficult to think of a more natural (or algorithmically-obvious) collaboration than dad-rock journeyman The National and Queen of Sad Girl Indie Rock Phoebe Bridgers. Instagrammable lyrics (“Don’t believe in the manifestation Your heart’ll break”? Check. Twinkly dramatic piano part? Check. Charmingly twee music video? Check.
On paper, this does not sound like a particularly fresh or interesting idea (and I’m a massive fan of both artists). But in practice, it works — Bridgers and vocalist Matt Berninger clearly have great chemistry here, and the harmonies hit that sweet spot. Will Aaron Dessner producer the followup to “Punisher?” Probably.
Newly announced concerts
- SZA has announced another string of dates for her massive tour in support of her second album, “SOS,” which recently topped the charts for 10 consecutive weeks. She’ll return Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on Oct. 4 — huge news for those who were unable to score tickets to her February show (like me). Tickets are on sale Friday. good luck.
- Canadian indie folk singer Dan Mangan is heading on tour in support of his latest album, “Being Somewhere.” The tour includes plenty of Ontario dates, including an appearance at the Queen Elizabeth Theater in Toronto on October 28.
- Indie rock bands Cloud Nothings and Wavves are embarking on a co-headlining tour of North America this summer, including a stop at The Phoenix Concert hall on June 14. The two bands released a collaborative album, “No Life for Me,” in 2015.
Toronto Concert Calendar
FRIDAY, APRIL 14
Get ready to mosh: the Olympia punk rock/ riot grrrl legends play the second of two shows at the Danforth Music Hall Friday.
SATURDAY, APRIL 15
The indie rock duo, made up of Anishnaabe songwriters Daniel Monkman and Adam Sturgeon, released their stirring debut album, “Sewn Back Together,” last year. Read the Star’s profile here.
SUNDAY, APRIL 16
The Maryland rapper, known for her unique blend of hip hop, punk and hyperpop, is touring in support of her seventh mixtape, Las Ruinas, which came out last summer.
MONDAY, APRIL 17
Over the past several years, former Chairlift singer Caroline Polachek has reinvented herself an art-pop diva — a sort of modern Kate Bush, stretching the limits of pop music through sonic experimentation and bizarre visuals. Her brilliant fourth solo album, “Desire, I Want To Turn Into You,” arrived in February, and was met with universal critical acclaim (expect to see it at the top or near the top of most albums of the year lists this winter) .
Check out this interview with Polachek in Pitchfork, in which she describes the difficulty of finding mentorship as a woman in the music industry:
“Here’s the thing with mentorship generally: The landscape of how people consume music changes drastically every five years. So what advice, really, does one generation have to give to the next? Very little. Discovering yourself is the only thing that can be taught in that way. Because every generation and microgeneration has to rewrite the rules and come up with new ways of navigating and creating meaning—in a way that previous generations not only can’t advise on but maybe even can’t understand.”
If you prefer indie folk to avant-garde pop music, head to the Phoenix to check out John Darnielle and the boys, who are touring in support of the band’s 21st album, “Bleed Out.”
Miscellaneous from around the music world
The theme song for Super Mario was among the 25 recordings recently added to the National Recording Registry, which collects “audio treasures worthy of preservation for all time.” The theme, composed by Koji Kondo in 1985, is in good company with other recently added songs like Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin.”
Rush singer and bass god Geddy Lee narrated a promo video for the Blue Jays home opener. This makes me incredibly happy:
Freddie Gibbs reacted to DJ Akademiks posing with Donald Trump:
Arlo Parks responds to a fashion brand that clearly does not know what kind of music she makes. (Read the Star’s profile on Parks here.)
More from Twitter and TikTok:
Read more music writing from the Toronto Star:
Metallica’s Kirk Hammett loves Toronto — but he won’t be playing here anytime soon
Dallas Green on hope in the new City and Color album: ‘There was a time where I would have gone in the complete opposite direction’
Lana Del Rey finds solace in family on her deeply personal ninth album
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