Family Tree - Toronto's Noise Scene

FAMILY TREE: Toronto’s Noise Scene

Induced Labour to Odonis Odonis, drawing a line between the most influential Torontonian noise bands from the past five years.

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- Jun 27, 2014

This morning we premiered Untold Noise, a documentary that takes a look at Toronto’s established noise rock scene and the climate of creativity that spawned it. Watch it here.

The doc specifically focuses on three bands -  SoupcansHSY and THIGHS - as well as a number of individuals integral to the scene’s ongoing success and longevity. But it's so interconnected you can't focus on three bands (or even one) without winding through multiple others. That just speaks to the supportive community that exists between a handful of principled and prolific artists.

To that end, we’ve compiled a primer in the form of a family tree of bands that splinter off from the musicians in the film. It's also a great steam-blowing playlist. Enjoy.

Cartoons

Denholm Whale, Buzz Records’ representative in the doc, is in a number of bands including the garage-grunge up and comers Mexican Slang, but at the time he co-founded the Buzz Garage with Jude from HSY, he was mostly known for his band Cartoons. They put out a few releases, including a tape via Not Unlike and a split with Hellaluya. This project is pretty much defunct, though some rough unreleased demos have made their way online recently. They’re such hot items they’re selling for pretty exorbitant prices. Dude’s gotta pay the bills. Former bassist, Dim, now plays in Fucket.

Odonis Odonis

Along with Jarod Gibson, the drummer from THIGHS, Denholm also plays full time in this band, the brainchild of Dean Tzenos. Dean started this project following his work in the band Ten Kens. I have it on good authority that both Jarod and Denholm were recommended to Dean by METZ’ Chris Slorach, who had a brief stint in the band. What likely started out as moonlighting for Denholm and Jarod in 2011 has quickly manifested into a full-time gig. Odonis Odonis are white-hot, coming off the critical success of their debut record Hollandaze, and more recently, with the follow-up Hard Boiled Soft Boiled.

Michael Jacket

THIGHS have called it quits since Untold Noise was shot, but its members have kept themselves busy with their various projects. Rory and Mark play in Pants and Tie, while Jarod and Mark co-run the Not Unlike record label, which recently released Lee Paradise (Dan Lee from Hooded Fang)'s Water Palace Kingdom. On the same label, Jarod debuted his bassy, skittering drum-based project, Michael Jacket. He has yet to perform the material live.

Danger Bay

Danger Bay - "Deadly Santiago" Live off-the-floor at SGTM Church

Active between 2009 and 2011, Danger Bay featured the talents of Pleasence Records’ Deirdre O’Sullivan, Wavelength’s Jonny Dovercourt and THIGHS’ Brendan Howlett.

New Positions

This recent collaboration between HSY’s Jude and Neil Rankin from Gay rides HSY’s darkwave into a hissing, black pool.

Hellaluya

Hellaluya were formed roughly the same time as HSY (who went by Hussy at the time), and was essentially the same band, but with their members configured differently. Hellaluya’s main creative force, Alex Low, handled drums in HSY for a period of time. Hellaluya’s sound constantly changed, but was built on a foundation of garage rock, and veered from there into more electronic, noise and sample-based sounds depending on the song.

Hut

They might not have known it at the time, but Hut were a sort of supergroup that formed in the immensely creative scene that developed around the Buzz Garage and another venue at the time, The Academy of Sciences. The band featured Alex of Hellaluya, Dan from Hooded Fang/Phèdre, Daniel Woodhead from Moon King/Spiral Beach, and Michael Butler aka Beta Frontiers.

Teen Tits Wild Wives

One of the many projects of HSY’s bassist Brandon Lim, and another chaotic mess spawned from The Academy of Sciences, Teen Tits are a six person band that make spastic, genre-bending noise. It’s not always noise, though - they seem to weave in and out of it live, letting their songs form out of something that seems formless. Though the Academy of Sciences is gone, they alone are its torchbearers.

John Milner You’re So Boss

Though this band of taquito-loving noisemakers aren’t directly linked to any of the bands in the film, they’re close enough. Guitarist Ron and drummer Andy are both in Teen Tits, and the band actually played the HSY record release show filmed for Untold Noise. They were also recorded by Jon Shapiro of Induced Labour, and mainstays of the Pleasance lineup.

Toronto Homicide Squad

This blistering two-piece, featuring Brandon from HSY and former Soupcans drummer Gideon Steinberg, are a relatively new band, but they’ve been very active. So far they’ve issued a handful of cassettes, and a 7’’ that was produced by legendary Toronto punk lifer Don Pyle.

Tranz DéFoncé

Straight up noise assault from Dave from Soupcans, along with members of Man Made Hill, Disguises and Wolfcow.

Induced Labour

Induced Labour - "Final Show" Part 2

Highly influential, short-lived group that just won’t seem to die. Not that we want it to. This band’s influence and reach is so staggering they’re an article or film unto themselves. Their first 7’’ was the first thing released by Pleasance Records. The band can trace to just about any band on this list, and practically any Toronto band on Chart Attack. A reunion show took place during last year’s NXNE at Double Double Land, featuring Dave Blevans from Soupcans on guitar.

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