POWERS at Adelaide Hall by Simmon Li

By way of writing a short feature on POWERS, I wanted to share a few of their tracks that I thought everyone should have a listen to. This bi-coastal duo has so many great tunes that make you want to move. Without a doubt I am sure you'll find yourself doing a little chair dance.

They're fantastic live as well, and I was very very impressed with their set at Adelaide Hall. I was so hyped that I had meant to shoot a roll of film over the course of their entire set, but ran through it all within the first two songs. THey are just that damn good.

In particular, here are two of their newer tracks I think you could aboslutely check out. The first is a track called Heavy which is just breathtaking. I think you'll really like it.

The second song you should totally check out is one of my faves from earlier last year. It's just a great song that I always play to hype myself up. I'm sure you'll feel the same way. The way the two of them vibe it really works. I had forgotten about this song until they started playing it on stage, and it was just so electric the way they performed it live, it's really a treat to hear and see.

Below are some pictures I took from the entire night. The openers were good, I really liked Nick Lang and James Hersey as well, but as you can probably tell, I was there to catch the headliner. As for POWERS, their pictures were all from the first few songs for your visual pleasure. Believe me, if I hadn't run out of film, I might have kept shooting! They were so dyanamic on stage, it was a ton of fun to witness their performance.

February/March 2017 by Simmon Li

Picture by me!

Picture by me!

Another change on this site... I think I'm going to focus on the photo thing cause I'm really enjoying it. So much that I've got less time to scouer all the places I usually do to get new music... so starting now I'm combining my playlists and doing it every other month. Easier for me to manage and easier for those following along, I think!

Like what you hear? Check out my Spotify! Come listen along.

Here are the highlights from this month's list. If you have time, give the whole list a listen, and hopefully you'll find more songs you like!

  • Shawondasee - Gems of Pure Light - Right from the opening through to the first verse, the aesthetic of this tune grabs me and just doesn't let go. I love the swelling background synths, it really draws my attention and keeps me hooked.
  • VÉRITÉ - When You're Gone - Another banger from my girl. She just announced a new album and has done this amazing thing where her album isn't just a mix of her EP stuff plus maybe 2 or 3 new tracks. I love her and her music. Do yourself a favour and have a listen!
  • Wayfarers - Kings - A fun party starter, this jammer is courtesy of the west coast duo Wayfarers. Not only are her vocals super good with a great hook, the song is also just super damn catchy and chair dance-y. I've definitely rocked out with headphones on to this tune.
  • Fickle Friends - Hello Hello - The newest from these English pop masters is awesome. I've featured them before and their new track is also fantastic, particularly the chorus and the melody. "Still I'm with ya // can I have the boy I wanted? // Hello, hello" there's something about the lyrics that I really like as well, check 'em out here.
  • Neon Indian - The Glitzy Hive - I've been flirting with this whole vapourwave thing on Spotify and through a few other playlists and some of it is cool, but other stuff just isn't me. Neon Indian has a sound that some classify as "vapourwave" and I absolutely love their latest album. This track's a gem, and I'm sure you'll like it.
  • DYLYN - Mimosa - Just a fun little track about not being so damn serious. Have a listen, dance around, and maybe have a mimosa. ;)
  • SNOW CULTURE - No Sleep - Feel the pulse, dance with it, and enjoy the slick vocals. This song builds up and grew on me a lot. There's just something about how it all comes together that I super dig. The arpegios and the guitar stuff, I can't get enough.
  • Death Team - Work - I feel like we've all been here, and I really like the song. Work, we all do it. I mean, luckily, I like my job so I can only identify with this song when there are some tasks I have to just grind through. But we've all been there whether in work or personal life (hello, hello laundry...) Gotta do your work.
  • Astrid S - Breathe - Astrid S had a few hits last year and here she is again rockin' the charts with her new tunes. Feels like she's gearing up for a bigger release and maybe a tour, as this is one of two she recently put out (her newer one, Bloodstreams, is also very good). Check her out!
  • Frances, RITUAL - When It Comes To Us - This duet is really great. I think it's a fantastic combination of both of the artists' styles. I love Frances, and I think this song really puts her in her element with a backing track that's a bit more dance-y than her normal style. Not to say she hasn't tried this sound before, I just like the way she pulls it off and really like it.

January 2017 by Simmon Li

Photo by yours truly.

Photo by yours truly.

New year, new thing... right? Or not. I'm pretty happy with what I've got going on. Perhaps you missed it, but I've revamped the site to also feature some pictures. cool, right? Yeah, of course!

Like what you hear? Check out my Spotify! Come listen along.

Here are the highlights from this month's list. If you have time, give the whole list a listen, and hopefully you'll find more songs you like!

  • B.Miles - Running - A groovy tune that I just love moving to. It's got really slick vocals that are airy and floaty (throwback to an imo 2015 sound), but really enjoyable. I especially like the chorus.
  • VÉRITÉ - Phase Me Out - Musical bae has a new track out and of course I'm gunna put it on here. It's a bit of a different sound, but I really like it and I'm sure you will to! She's hinting at a new EP, so keep your ears peeled for it!
  • R3hab & VÉRITÉ - Trouble - Have you figured out that I am a huge Kelsey fan boy? This one's a bit more dance-y but I'm super into it as well.
  • Skott - Glitter & Gloss - I love the atmosphere on this track. It feels like an epic and I really love the melody. Skott's got a lot of range and she takes advantage of it here. It's a bit more of an electrified sound, but reminds me a lot of her great tune "Porcelain" (which you can listen to here!).
  • Busty & the Bass - Up Top - Nu disco is my jam, for real. This song is amazing. I just know you won't be able to resist moving and dancing.

December 2016 by Simmon Li

Photo by yours truly.

Photo by yours truly.

December's been a busy month, as you can probably tell. I'm excited to point out that, for the first time, I am actually using one of my own pictures for the playlist cover. Very, very exciting! Like what you hear? Check out my Spotify! Come listen along.

Here are the highlights from this month's list. If you have time, give the whole list a listen, and hopefully you'll find more songs you like!

  • Lily Kershaw - Miss America - I don't think it's a big secret that I was quite shocked by the 2016 election. The lyrics on this song really speak to me on a number of levels, and I really like the folk-y vibe that the tune has.
  • Katelyn Tarver - Hate to Tell You - "Like all the other guys, you like my brown eyes. // Told me like eleven times." I really liked this song right off the top, and I've been following Katelyn since I fell in love with her song Weekend Millionaire.
  • The Shacks - Rain - Here's another one by The Shacks (last month, I featured a cover of theirs)! I really like the way the track comes together with the synths and the production on it. It's got a really cool sound profile that I really dig.
  • Sylo Nozra - Two of Us - A great feel, with some really damn smooth vocals. Fun fact, I used to work with this guy back when he was in a punk band! Definitely something different now. Sparse harmonics with a focus on the vocals, there's something about this track that does make me move a bit. Check out the EP titled this_era.
  • River Tiber - West (feat. Daniel Caesar) - Saw these guys live after catching Charlotte Day Wilson, and it was a perfect pairing. I'd describe this particular track as atmospheric with the sound that just keeps undulating into your ear, almost like a smooth wash of delicious sound, like the crest of a wave.
  • The Darcys - Virtual Reality - I like this tune, but I can't quite put my finger on it in the way I can't really figure out why I like vapourware. There's a nice tinge of nostaliga that underpins the new Darcys' sound. A nice jumper, so check it out!

November 2016 by Simmon Li

Photo by Michal Jarmoluk.

Photo by Michal Jarmoluk.

November has been weird so far and has been quite the month in a very strange year. Here's to hoping some music will help you usher the rest of this year along! Like what you hear? Check out my Spotify! Come listen along.

Here are the highlights from this month's list. If you have time, give the whole list a listen, and hopefully you'll find more songs you like!

  • Common, Bilal - Letter to the Free - Given recent events, this song has been definitely one that I have really graviated towards. It's a very powerful song that really, really reflects a mood that underpins a lot of people. Just a powerful song for the moment.
  • Kendrick Lamar - untilted 05 | 09.21.2014 - I love this album so much, and this track because it reminds me that music can be fun. I love the backing so much, because it brings me back to jazz school and it's so cool to hear this kind of stuff outside of that school environment. Definitely a personally powerful peice.
  • Childish Gambino - Redbone - This tune is so singable and I just absolutely love the slowjam that it is. Makes me chair dance for sure!
  • The Shacks - This Strange Effect - The Shacks make this great cover of a song by The Kinks. While the original is good, I really like the comparatively up-tempo take.
  • Anna Straker - Serious - This is a great jammer, and one of her best so far. I've followed Anna Straker since I first heard her this summer, and Serious is the title track off her EP that includes a few of her other tunes (Late Night Swimming, I featured a few months ago).
  • Young Summer - Heart In Slo Mo - I super dig the synths in this tune and her voice. This is a number from her latest EP "You Would Have Loved It Here" - the song has some really great lyrics. A really well put together song, and one I am sure you'll like.
  • NxWorries - Suede - One of my favourite tracks off Yes Lawd! - he's just so talented and even though realistically on the track, he's likely not doing the kit while singing, I've seen .Paak do it and it just impresses me everytime.
  • Geowulf - Saltwater - This is a bit of a groover and I really like the vibe. It's a song about the sea, which is kind of funny for me, as I have no memories or moments in my life associated with large bodies of water. Nonetheless, a great tune!
  • Vera Blue - Settle - A great, airy tune about something very important. Don't settle, and remember all the things you've done!

October 2016 by Simmon Li

Photo by Ezra Jeffery.

Photo by Ezra Jeffery.

It's been a super warm October, and I think all the trees are confused af. Anyway, here's another list for your ears! I hope you find a few tunes to listen to. Just another plug for my Spotify! Come listen along.

Here are the highlights from this month's list. If you have time, give the whole list a listen, and hopefully you'll find more songs you like!

  • Stalking Gia - Young Diana (feat. Deion Gill) - The tune just has such a great hook that starts off right from the top. I really love the rift that the song is based on, and Gia's voice really makes it easy to listen to. I loved her track Second Nature, and this is a great follow-up!
  • Maad - 90's Love - This groover of a tune just gets better and better as it plods along. It's a bit of a slow burn, but it constantly delivers thanks to the great drum and bass. "Damn, they don't make 'em like this no more." The chorus is just golden.
  • Babygirl - Everything's Happening Without Me - A hometown (Toronto for those that might not know) talent, I was really excited to learn that they just put out an EP. Their single, Overbored, didn't really speak to me, but this tune did as I really like the lyrics.
  • Alex Wiley - iNEEDTHAT (feat. Hippie Sabotage) - Great hip hop track that caught my attention as soon as I put it on. He sounds a little bit like Kanye to my ear, and I really like his flow. The production is also really good and the track comes together really well.
  • VHS Collection - Ghost - Sometimes I go on musical discovery journies (usually at odd hours of the day) and something catches my attention. Do you ever see an album or EP cover and you just know it's something you have to listen to? That's what happened with this song. I saw the cover and knew I had to at least give the album, called Stereo Hype a chance. The whole darn thing is good, but Ghost is definitely the most single-worthy in my opinion.
  • Agnes Obel - Stretch Your Eyes - I really dug this tune off the bat. It's such a perfect mix of orchestral soundscapes with captivating pop sensibilities. It also doesn't hurt that Agnes has an amazing voice that just absolutely captures your attention. A great find from NPR's All Songs Considered.
  • Phantogram - You're Mine - Ever since VÉRITÉ put Phantogram on her "good shit" playlist, I've been eating up all the stuff they've put out. I love their new sound and it's definitely captivating enough to be worth highlighting. Another track to check out (but not on this month's list) from the same album: Same Old Blues
  • Royal Teeth - Amateurs - Hey, this song is fun and has a great message. Put it on, dance, and be inspired. We were all amateures at one point!

September 2016 by Simmon Li

Photo by WDnet Studio.

Photo by WDnet Studio.

Another list for your perusal as the fall starts coming around the corner. I hope you find a few tunes to listen to! I've finally settled on the fact that Spotify rocks, and I've updated my profile so it's easier to find ---> Check out my profile!

Here are the highlights from this month's list. If you have time, give the whole list a listen, and hopefully you'll find more songs you like!

  • Say Lou Lou - Stayin' Alive - So, I have to admit I love this song. Say Lou Lou's cover of this classic BeeGees tune hits all the right notes. For some reason, I associate this song with the opening scene of Bushwacked - there's just something about the way the guy is walking around while this song is playing that fits. Anyway... a great cover.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen - Higher - A stunning track from Carly's new EMOTION B-Side EP, I just love the synth and the way the production comes together. It's also got a great chorus.
  • VÉRITÉ - Somebody Else - Another fantastic cover, this time by indie pop queen VÉRITÉ giving a new verion of The 1975's track Somebody Else - while I love the original track as well, I am absolutely head over heels about her take.
  • Elohim - Hallucinating - Speaking of pop queens, Elohim's newest track is fantastic. It starts off with a great, shimmery pop vibe and masterfully ascends (descends?) into a full out a cocophany of sound - horns and strings included. It's such a wonderful flourish.
  • Zuzu - Get Off - I don't usually enjoy punk-ish pop, but the way this song comes together, with a really catchy chorus, was one I knew I'd include in my highlights the moment I heard it. I guess it helps that Zuzu's single follows Margaret Glaspy's lead from last month in terms of sounds I enjoy,
  • Anderson .Paak - Heart Don't Stand a Change - What a chill track. Really gets my chair dancing going and speaks to the part of me that loves to relax to some jazz. This is one of Anderon .Paak's bigger tunes right now, and his album Malibu is really great!
  • Red Rosamond - Looks Can Kill - A bit of a groover, I just love the concept of this song. Badass female spy? This would be her theme song, without a doubt.
  • GOLDHOUSE - Pleasure (feat. Alexx Mack) - This tune is right up my alley in a lot of ways; if you've been following my lists for a bit, you'll know I absolutely love this kind of nu-disco sound. Let's just say this song rings my bell.

August 2016 by Simmon Li

Photo by Zack Minor.

Photo by Zack Minor.

This list is a tad late (as usual, it seems...) but this month has been a great one for music. I hope you enjoy this list, as I enoyed putting it together!

Just a note, I'll likely just stick with Spotify from here on out, as it's what I am really using. I still use SoundCloud, but not as actively as Spotify. Check out my profile!

As always, here are the top picks for this month's list, though give it a listen because I think I'd write about all of these songs:

  • Laura Roy - Don't Chase - I saw Laura perform in Toronto a year or so ago now, and she's got a new self-titled EP out, and this track is definitley my favourite.
  • Scavenger Hunt - River Runs Dry - These guys still rock my heart every time; hailing from LA, Scavenger Hunt specializes in what they call "nostalgia pop" - and I dig it. It all just comes together so well.
  • Skott - Wolf - A second entry by Skott, I featured her song "Porcelain" last month; and this follow-up is similarly stunning. Her voice floats above a fairly sparse production that really draws out the beautiful melody. Definitley worth a listen!
  • The Strike - Eye for an Eye - I'm a bit of a sucker for the 80's drum and synth sound; and this song definitely fits the bill. This song will definitley make you want to move; even if the lyrics are a little dark.
  • Mac Miller & Anderson .Paak - Dang! - There is really only one word for this song: mood. It's so chill and just keeps building on the smooth, light vibe. As soon as the horns come in when Mac Miller takes over, it's just great.
  • Margaret Glaspy - You and I - This song is a little bit out of my wheelhouse of electro-pop, but when I heard the intro I just fell in love. There's just something about how all the elements come together that I really enjoy. I also love the lyrics, so there's that.
  • Viceroy & Gavin Turek - Fadeout - A great tune in a number of ways, I really dig the guitar and the beat that keeps this tune driving. It really makes you want to move.

#August 2016

July 2016 by Simmon Li

This list is super late, because I've just been so gosh darn busy! Moving, starting a new gig, and all these sorts of things. I hope you enjoy, this is certainly one my favourite lists I've compiled!

Just a note, I'll likely just stick with Spotify from here on out, as it's what I am really using. I still use SoundCloud, but not as actively as Spotify. Check out my profile!

As always, here are the top picks for this month's list, though give it a listen because I think I'd write about all of these songs:

  • INGRID - Flex - This is not usually what I put into my lists, but man it's just such a good vibe.
  • Mashrou' Leila - Djin - A bit of a throwback to my summer of 2012 when I was learning Arabic. This band came to play for Pride Toronto, and it was fantastic.
  • P'ARIS - Focus - This tune by a mystery Canadian duo is just so good. The lyrics are a bit dark; and tell the story of a couple going through a hardship.
  • Hey Marseilles - Trouble - This "baroque pop" group has some really good stuff, I just love the way the instrumentation comes together to tell a really interesting story.
  • Men I Trust - Lauren - Not going to lie, the thing that hooked me about this tune was that bass intro. It's just so good, not only in the beginning but throughout.
  • RÉN - Into the Unknown - This song really grabbed me initially because of the beat and her voice, but as I listened more, I really started to enjoy the lyrics as well. Into the unknown, where everything is strange. You have to be fearless, because everything is strange until you spend some time with it.
  • Skott - Porcelain - A soaring voice on top of a really laid back harmonic blanket. It's just stunning the way she sings over the entirety of the tune.

Stalking Gia - Second Nature by Simmon Li

This song is fire. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 Just listen and you'll get it, I've had it on repeat since I found it. The bass, her voice and the sparse production all comes together for a knock-out.

Gia has this to say, from the track premier:

‘Second Nature’ is about the feeling you get in a relationship where things feel too good to be true. It’s about those moments when overthinking gets the better of you, and you feel like you can’t fully surrender yourself to another person.