This is the Monthly calendar for The Townehouse Tavern, Sudbury's long time venerable home of live music. Can we sum it up? We love to present Rock, Indie Rock, Punk, Heavy, Soul, Jazz, Blues, World, Folk, Bluegrass and more. It's got to be something interesting and we'll try and present it. We do full bands mostly on the weekends and mostly solo acoustic acts during the week. We were the starting point for hundreds of bands since 1991... from The Tea Party to Nickelback... the Hopping Penguins, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir... to Born Ruffians, Yukon Blonde... Those who might be the biggest music stars of tomorrow, might be playing here tonight.
Our kitchen cranks out the finest Burgers in the north. Made from local, fresh, never frozen, steroid free ground beef, our Burgers are hand made fresh every day. We are proud to use local potatoes for our handcut Fries, along with any other items on our menu that can be sourced locally. We have the best hand made Veggie Burger around... The Beet and Hemp Burger... hearty salads... soul satisfying appetizers ... mmm... Deep Fried Oreos... We love to cook from when we open at 11:00am (12:00pm Sundays) until 2:00am each day.
We love to entertain groups for everyday and special events... Business, Family or Friends. We love to help out community organizations with Fundraisers. We love to provide great entertainment and food in a safe environment. We love families but we do ask for Age of Majority after 9:00pm. We love Craft Beer and fine libations but if you look under 25, we need to see your ID when you order, and we do ask that if you do consume alcohol, please drink responsibly.
For Catering Information... contact Veronica Desjardins
For Reservations... call the restaurant at 705.674.6883
For Band Booking, Special Events information... contact Paul Loewenberg
Ask any musician in Canada what defines Sudbury and they will most likely say, The Townehouse Tavern. As a mid sized venue, this room has seen almost every popular band in the country over the last 30 years.
From Nickelback to Bedouin Soundclash, The Tea Party to The Weakerthans. Feist and Sarah Harmer. Our Lady Peace to Alexisonfire. The Townehouse is known for it’s diverse music from Rock to Funk, African Traditional, Folk, Klezmer, Metal, Ska, Reggae, Soul, Punk, Garage, Jazz, Blues and Bluegrass and Outlaw Country. The Townehouse is one of the few incubators of live music to have lasted 30 years in this country.
When The Townehouse began to bring in interesting music, it tapped into the cultural vein of the country. Everything else in this generation of the Arts community blossomed from this corner. The Townehouse was the start of the change that transformed Elgin Street and steered downtown back towards a centre of cultural capital.
Continuing on Thursdays ... we are having more dinner music!! Every Thursday 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Don't wait for the weekend to fill your life with music... Music at Sundown is a great chance for you to finish your work day with a little play. Enjoy the music with dinner. Come and see the fantastic talent we have in the north on a weekly basis. Great dinner, Great music. Thursdays - 5:30pm to 8:00pm. No Cover.
Enjoy a flashback through time every Wednesday night at THE TOWNEHOUSE with HUGH JAZZ!
The amazing sounds of live gypsy jazz, delicious delicious food and beer will transport you to the romantic period of the early 20th century. HUGH JAZZ performs live gypsy jazz in the Paris "LE JAZZ HOT" style playing jazz standards made famous by artists such as Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. Relive the golden period of jazz through the post-prohibition era deftly executed by:
J.P. Gignac - Fiddle, Percussion, Jigs and Reels
Eric Plangger - Guitar
Christopher Garlic - Drums
Also fronting the band is amazing vocalist Will Himsl.
Will brings many years of Sinatraesque swing and latin jazz experience to the band covering everything from Fly me to the Moon to killer classics from Stevie Wonder. Not to be missed!
Music starts at 8:30 PM.
Pass the Hat. A $7.50 donation to the band is suggested. See you there!!!
Another new season of bands, food, good times to be found at The Townehouse Tavern and our sister restaurant, The Laughing Buddha. Some of us are students, some are teachers. Many of us just work regular jobs from Engineers to Baristas and we just want to hang out in a place that has a laid back atmosphere, good food and good music. Take in the Elgin Street Scene and see where the arts live in Sudbury. From the guitar store at the top of the street (Cosmic Dave’s, 420 Elgin) through the School of Architecture and beyond, Elgin Street is full of the restaurants, galleries, coffee shops, a tattoo parlor and music stores that breathe life into this city. Add to that the Theatre Centre, Book Stores, Clothing Stores, and Craft Galleries. Smack dab in the centre… ground zero if you will… is the place where it all started, The Townehouse Tavern.
We have been your hosts of the best live entertainment for decades… on our stage you saw Sudbury’s first appearances of Nickelback, Our Lady Peace, Sloan, D.O.A., SNFU, Bedouin Soundclash, Tokyo Police Club, Hollerado, Alexisonfire, The Constantines, The Planet Smashers, The Salads, The Trews, Finger 11, Swollen Members, Philosopher Kings, Kardinall Ofishall, Choclair, Snow, The Tea Party, The Headstones, The Rheostatics, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Corb Lund, Serena Ryder, Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean, Oh Susanna, Damnhait Doyle, Yukon Blonde, The Wooden Sky, Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas, Jenn Grant… classic acts like Razor, Anvil, Nash the Slash, The Paul Collins Band, The Fleshtones, The Viletones, Jad Fair, Fishbone… We’ve had the members of Joe Strummer’s Mescalaros come and pay tribute to Joe after he passed… Jon Spencer came around with Heavy Trash, his post Blues Explosion band with The Sadies. Our house musicians put together several shows each year to pay tribute to the great moments in music… The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Kinks, Memphis Soul, Tom Waits, David Bowie, Prince and more. We present Blues, Rock, Jazz, Indie, Underground, Funk, Outlaw Spacerock, Darkwave, Ska, Reggae, Punk, Noise, Folk, Bluegrass… anything!! We do it because filling your life with music is a good life.
Yes, we've got the best Burgers in the north. Did you know that now we can do most of our sauces as Vegan? We hunted down some great Vegan Hotdogs so now we can make fresh Vegan Corndogs for you, anytime of day... We have a selection of Vegan Cheeses... some from Daiya and some from the Kind Choice Food Co. in North Bay. We are making our Vegan Chili around the clock and giving you lots of Vegan options for Burgers, Salads, Appetizers... and even our desserts. Peruse... ask your server for the Vegan Menu. The food is not just kind to your insides... it's kind to the planet.
Patios!! A reminder that the patio is still our work environment for employees. There is NO SMOKING allowed on the patio area. No Alcohol can be removed from the patio.
Starting May 22nd, Nickel City Trivia will run out of the Townehouse Tavern every Tuesday night at 8pm. This trivia night includes multiple choice, picture, music, general, and local trivia questions as well as weekly prizes and specials.
We will be doing $6.00 Stack pints on Tuesdays plus you will still get treated to live music right after the Trivia is done...
Whether he's playing with his own solo band or other various outfits, he can't be kept off Canadian stages. Ryan puts most of his energy in his passion for studying acoustic traditional blues, jazz and old time music. This led him to spending a winter in New Orleans where he wrote the majority of the material featured on Steppin’ Down South. This album is saturated with the sounds and rhythm of New Orleans streets.
Steppin’ Down South captures the sound of hillbilly blues and jug band jazz. Recorded live off the floor by Bob Hamilton at Old Crow Studios in Whitehorse, Yukon. With Patrick Hamiltonon banjo, kick drum and vocals. Kieran Poile on fiddle, Justin Rubenstein doubling on trombone and trumpet and Christian Leclerc on tuba. Ryan McNally’s genuine style and performance is a breath of fresh air.
McNally was raised in rural Quebec, south of Montreal along the U.S. boarder. He began pursuing music at the age of ten when he first picked up the guitar. In his late teens and early twenties he would seek out musicians he would hear at cafes and bars for lessons in finger style blues. He continues to work in studying with teachers into his schedule while he is performing on the road.
Currently McNally is experimenting with scoring music to films as well as musical direction for theater. All while keeping up a busy solo career and a steady touring schedule.
A night of Rock and Roll, Post-Punk and Pop Rock
The Almighty Rhombus
Bunch of heavy hitters backing Marc Donato's working-man rock and roll
Toronto post punk
Up Here festival Alumni - WHOOP-Szo's music is as hard to pin down as their whereabouts at any given time. It hops between meditative folk pop and heavy sludge without warning, rarely played the same way twice. They’re a true psychedelic group in the sense that their personal identity as a band and as people are inseparable from the collectivism of community. For WHOOP-Szo, punk, DIY and psych principles go beyond music scene bubbles and fuse with Indigenous solidarity and healing through music.
Joining WHOOP-Szo are UP Here local faves Usurpents.
Having shed their skin many times, these snakes are hard to catch. Experimental punks Usurpents will take over your minds, squeeze you tight and rattle your brain.
JUST ADDED: Known Associates and Magic Pelvis
Formed in a north bay housing unit, known associates has been pissing off their neighbours since birth, now finally doing something productive with their creative juices
Beefy boies, toight butts and sweaty guts.
Join us for a bone crushing, ear splitting evening while WHOOP-Szo join us for a weekend of fun, introspection, aggression and positive release!
Come in between 9:00pm and 10:00pm - $5.00
After 10:00pm - $7.00 at the door
Each year, Blues for Food is a great day in the Downtown Sudbury core. We see a bunch of great bands and catch up with people that we often haven't seen since last summer... it's the first real event of the Summer season. The Townehouse is just a short walk from the Blues for Food tent on Durham st... so stop in and fill up on food on your way there... and then join us after Bed for Food for the Whiskey River Blues Band... we'll keep the joint jumping all through the night. We will start playing shortly after 9pm, so you have just enough time to finish up after The Bluez Brotherz at Blues for Food... stroll on over and keep the party going...
CG Entertainment Green North Entertainment & R-Evolution Media StudioPresents: -------> Madchild <--------
Live in Sudbury at The Townehouse on June 15th!! with special guests: Robbie G & Animal Nation
TICKETS ON SALE NOW: https://bit.ly/2qswfuS
VIP Meet & Greet takes place before the show starting at 7pm SHARP
doors open at 9pm
show starts at 10pm
19+ licensed event
GET TICKETS ONLINE HERE => https://bit.ly/2qswfuS
tickets: $20 adv. $25 at the door
$45 - VIP Meet & Greet
VIP Meet and Greet takes place at 7pm SHARP (limited tickets available)
British Columbia rapper Madchild is proving himself to be something of a madman when it comes to work ethic. Following the release of last year's solo LP The Darkest Hour, he's set to spend a significant portion of 2018 on the road.
As you'll see by the near-endless list of tour dates below, Madchild will be travelling around Europe, along with embarking on a newly announced 40-date Canadian tour. It's a long, long list of shows that's truly impressive.
In addition to the tour, Madchild will reissue his debut album Dope Sick on red and white vinyl through Suburban Noize Records on April 21 as a Record Store Day exclusive.
Huttch is back in Sudbury at The Townehouse Tavern with a brand NEW full length album! Come Rock out with your buds
Opening up the night
The Dazed 10:45pm
The Keyframes 11:45pm
With every week, month and year passing by, Elijah & The Back Burners are burning it up in some local bar, tavern, lounge or hall. This summer we got on the bill for the 2018 Summertime Blues Festival down in Owen Sound, Kelso Beach, ON.
For the Back Burner line up and set list, we will be showcasing rocking tunes in the genres of Jazz Rhythm and Blues, Classic Rockabilly and good old #JerryLeeLewis style Rock and Roll on piano. Not only all rocking blues music, but Elijah will be introducing Back Burner influence originals, with hints of folk/alternitive rock and country. On Lead and rhythm you have both myself and Robert Winter wailing the guitars. Meanwhile, to give you a slap of a exciting rhythm swing, you have Ben Wardo and Andrew G keeping the train alive.
Elijah and his Backburners will be rocking it with all the others at the 2018 Summertime Blues Festival down in Owen Sound, Kelso Beach, ON.
Hailing from northern central Ontario, Elijah delivers a glimpse of pure Rock and Roll, Jazz Rhythm and Blues and full Swing Rockabilly on guitar and piano.
Pacer (Toronto Sweetheart Pop Tarts)
The Effens (Toronto Grunge Glam)
The Ape-ettes (Local Garage Pop Heroes)
Townehouse Tavern (206 Elgin Street)
Doors at 11pm
$10 at the door
Come eat some riffs with a side of fries
After you've been hanging in the sun and eating BBQ all day at the Stack Brewing Burgergeddon... hop on the bus back to the Townehouse and enjoy an evening with the Bad Hombres. Spencer and Don mix it up between the Guitar and Drums, playing their favourites, some of your favourites... The whole idea was to just get out and make everybody party their bums off once in awhile.
“Soulful, honest, hilarious and smart” – Fingers on Blast
That’s Ottawa, Ontario’s Indie-Folk artist Pat Maloney. The happily inderpendent singer-songwriter encapsulates the Canadian spirit of a humble, passionate storyteller (Joel Plaskett, Gord Downie, Valdy), with an often self-defaming sense of humour. In a rich baritone, he sings heartfelt “story songs” based on his experiences on tour, his personal life and his place in the big blue world.
Three full-length albums deep since 2013, Pat’s catalogue is inclusive and free of pretention. However genre hopping, he draws cohesion from master storytelling at his live performances. It’s hard to pin down Pat’s musical influences. Although he considers himself akin to adult alternative songwriters like Father John Misty, Ryan Adams or Tom Waits, he refuses to betray the influence from his years as a drummer in punk & hip-hop outfits. Stepping away from full-length album efforts for now, he is poised to release two digital singles in 2018, funded in part by FACTOR’S Artist Development program.
Twice the winner of the Canadian Organization of Campus Activities (COCA) Singer-Songwriter of the Year award, Pat Maloney is known in national folk music circles as a hard working road warrior on a never-ending tour. In a short four years since taking up music full-time, Pat has played a thousand shows all over Canada, The United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States. He has had several songs hit #1 on a number of Canadian campus folk charts.
“Considering an endless access to a century of popular music, and my love for a wide variety of styles, it would be unfulfilling to pigeon-hole my creativity into one genre of music. I write what comes out naturally without stuffing it into a box. I’m not really a folk singer, I just sound like one sometimes.” - Pat Maloney
Friday, June 29th - Save the Strange + Guests - 10pm, $7 at the door
Saturday, June 30th - Billy Moon, This Great Divide, White Hot - 10pm, $10 at the door
NLFB holds late night court at the Townehouse as the official After Hours Venue... get your Festival weekend pass and get in for FREE at the Townehouse every night of the festival!!
- King Abid Doctor Nativo
Tickets are available at the door (10$), Thursday Pass and Full Festival Pass holders (only) get in for no extra charge.
Full schedule: https://nlfb.ca/events-schedule/
Full lineup: https://nlfb.ca/artists/fresh-kils-vekked/
Rhythms of interbreeding, both of cultures and languages, Heythem Tlili's reggae-dancehall (alias King Abid) is well anchored in our century where physical and artistic borders become one. From his Tunisian origin, his passion for Jamaica and love for his adopted homeland Quebec, 'The King Slave' presents us with an authentic electro beat encouraging us to get together in festive movement. The King brings together an impressive range of artists, each collaborating in their own way, creating a world of sounds never heard before. It includes; Karim Ouellet, Claude Begin, Poirier, Booget, Eman and Bob Bouchard. all of these great artists come together, leaving their own trademarks to create unique sounds. It's an uncommon blend of African and American traditions with a flavourful and modern touch that King Abid offers on his trendsetter album. King Abid's musical singularity has earned him the title of Radio-Canada's musical revelation in their world music category for 2017-2018.
Doctor Nativo is one of Central America’s most exciting new talents. His music explores themes of Mayan spirituality, social justice and folk wisdom, punctuated by an explosive sound combining reggae, cumbia, hip hop, and Mayan traditional music. His first solo album, Guatemaya, is out in June of 2018. The album's title track is something of a folk hit in Guatemala, contributing to a renewed sense of identity among youth in the country, while inspiring audiences around the world to sing along with the catchy hooks.
For additional information on other artists and details: https://nlfb.ca/
BBBRTHR - BBBRTHR is the alter ego of Sudbury's Paul Waltenbury. After spending most of the year writing new material for his second upcoming LP, he’s ready to share some observations, concerns for our future, and revel in the joys of our collective humanity. Genres have never fit Waltenbury very well. His process is a constant evolution, forever travelling into uncharted territory as soon as things feel too comfortable. A one-man-band of thick, dynamic vocal layering, snappy synths, hip-hop undercurrents and a whole lot of barbed hooks to catch you and reel you in.
AFRIKANA SOUL SISTER
Afrikana Soul Sister fuses the distinct sound production of Jean-François Lemieux with the untamed percussions works of Joanie Labelle and Fa Cissokho as well as Djely Tapa's voice. Coming from a griot family, Djely Tapa is the daughter of Kandia Kouyaté, one of mali’s most revered singers, and Djely Bouya legendary singer and dancer. This quartet delivers a refresh organic-electro-afro-house sound, linking organic, cultural music and digital creativity. Afrikana Soul Sister is an open door for improv, tradition and imagination.
Matt Foy MUSIC Casper Skulls
Tickets are available at the door (10$), Full Festival Pass holders (only) get in for no extra charge. (Saturday Pass tickets do not include Saturday Aft. Hrs)
Full schedule: nlfb.ca/events-schedule
Full lineup: nlfb.ca/artists
Driven by 50’s and 60’s instrumental music Matt Foy will take you on a cinematic journey through dust bowls, dive bars and speedways. Having played with countless projects over the years with some of Sudbury’s best musicians, Matt Foy occasionally allows the spotlight to shine on him and his love of early guitar music. If Ennio Morricone, Link Wray, Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth and Daniele Luppi formed a band it might sound a little like Matt Foy. Foy is a recipient of Northern Lights Festival Boréal’s Jackie Washington award.
Casper Skulls emerged from the Toronto exurbs in 2015, bursting onto the local scene with a studied sound and supercharged live performances. Following an early 7” on the band’s own label, Hip Priest, the quartet released the Lips & Skull EP on Buzz Records in late 2016. Described by MTV as a collection of “confrontational art rock that bleeds with sincerity,” and drawing comparisons to luminaries like Television, The Fall (The Toronto Star), Pavement, and Sonic Youth (Noisey), the EP attracted immediate attention from audiences first in Toronto and increasingly up and down the Eastern seaboard as the band toured outside of Canada for the first time. The real-life couple seek to represent lived experience in immense detail – engaging with a diverse palette of references, both musical and lyrical, to explore two intensely personal perspectives of emotional growth.
For additional information on other artists and details: https://nlfb.ca/
Canailles Aron D'Alesio
The party's not over yet! Join us at the Townehouse Tavern for some extra fun and dance the night away to 2 more great acts.
Canailles is a fine tale that began when eight inspired souls came together in 2010. They have since established themselves as wild weavers of North American roots, while amply indulging their penchant for late-night carousing and everything that comes with it. Canailles are a self-taught bunch who have created an instinctive sound enriched by the members’ diverse backgrounds. Gospel, blues and other old-time traditions are embraced and proudly elevated into a wall of contemporary acoustic sounds. Their performances are the ultimate expression of everything that brings people together. Their third opus, Backflips, was released in the spring of 2017.
In a basement under a commercial development in downtown, Hamilton’s Aron D’Alesio set to work each night. Removed from distractions and almost invariably alone he would settle in, focusing on minute details as he tinkered, intent on managing each aspect of performance and tone as he meticulously fit the interlocking layers of his arrangements together piece by piece. The Young Rival singer and guitarist is inspired by early rock n’ roll, but his self-titled debut album has also been described being perfectly at home in a David Lynch film soundtrack. It’s beautiful, nostalgic, haunting, and often a bit eerie, all at once.
Combining influences from the roots of jazz, bluegrass, blues, funk, and rock, Road Waves is constantly pushing new boundaries, and is an up and coming improvisational act with a huge dose of energy.
With fresh sounding originals inspired by the likes of The Beatles, The Allman Brothers, The Grateful Dead and more, they are sure to invigorate and liven up any audience, and with their 2nd album released on May 11th - Road Waves will have you thinking about them long after they play.
Elliott BROOD is a three-piece, folk-rock/alt-country band based in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Their brand of fuzzed-up roots music makes for a captivating and frenetic live performance. That energy has always translates to the band’s five acclaimed records. Their style has been called everything from ‘blackgrass’ to ‘death country,’ but those descriptions don’t capture the transcendent heights of their unique approach to roots music.
Fall 2017 saw the band release their sixth full-length studio album Ghost Gardens via Paper Bag Records. The album title alludes to a phenomenon whereby the perennial gardens of houses and buildings having been abandoned or forgotten for years or even decades, continue to grow and reappear year after year, despite their original caretakers' absence. Summer and Fall of 2018 sees EB play festivals and clubs all across the country.
The road to Ghost Gardens began with the rediscovery of lost demo songs from early in the band’s career, nearly a decade and a half ago. The misplaced hard drive had long been forgotten in a garage sitting dormant in an old suitcase. The rediscovered recordings were demos and rough sketches of song lyrics and melody ideas. On Ghost Gardens, Elliott BROOD get to relive their past through a lens that is wiser both musically and lyrically.
In 2013, Elliott BROOD won a Juno Award for their World War One inspired album Days Into Years. Over the course of their career they have been nominated for a total of five Juno awards. In 2009 they were shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris Music Prize and in 2012 the band found themselves nominated for a Genie Award for their original song “West End Sky” that was featured in the film Grown Up Movie Star.
Elliott BROOD are Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet and Stephen Pitkin
Canadian folk mainstays Great Lake Swimmers have revealed plans for their next full-length album. The Waves, The Wake will arrive on August 17 via Nettwerk.
The band returns to Sudbury on Saturday, September 29th at The Townehouse Tavern. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 13th, 10am.
The new LP was recorded in a 145-year-old church in London, ON, and hears frontman Tony Dekker abandoning his usual instrument of choice. He ditched the acoustic guitar this time around — even on songs that were initially written on six strings, like "The Talking Wind," he transposed the notes into woodwind arrangements.
"Over the process of writing and recording The Waves, The Wake I became somewhat disenchanted with the sound of the standard acoustic guitar and typical folk-rock lineup," Dekker said in a statement. "So with the help of co-producer Chris Stringer we tried to find ways to expand the palette of acoustic instrumentation to include woodwinds, harp, congas, marimba, vibraphone, piano and lute. The focus was to find musicians and arrangers that would suit the songs, rather than have a regular backing band as we have done in the past, and that resulted in a more minimalist, scaled back approach."
He also called the upcoming album the most "varied" record the band have ever made, which he hopes will be reflected in their live set-up, as well. In addition to upcoming shows throughout the spring, Great Lake Swimmers will embark on a tour of western Canada this fall. See the upcoming dates below.
Furthermore, the band has teased the new record with a video for "The Talking Wind." The opening track will also appear on a teaser EP dubbed Side Effects, which features three songs from the upcoming full-length. That release is due out April 13.
Tickets - https:// www.eventbrite.com/e/ dear-rouge-tickets-45724939 525
VIP Ticket options
Phase One - $34.99
Digital Download of Phases (Hi-Res)
Phase Two - $54.99
Phases VIP Tour Laminate
Exclusive tour t-shirt designed by Danielle
Pre-Signed Phases Tour Poster
Dear Rouge Custom Bag
Unreleased Phases Demo’s & B sides Download Link
Digital Download of Phases (Hi-Res)
Since putting out their debut EP in 2012, Drew and Danielle McTaggart have been on a somewhat breathtaking upward trajectory. That independent release led to another one, and the accolades began to flood in: a B.C.–based radio award, songwriting prizes, a sweet record deal, charting singles, and a 2016 Juno for Breakthrough Group of the Year followed in short order.
For all intents and purposes, says Drew, it was the most ecstatic period of their lives. He and Danielle—partners in life and art—had quit their day jobs to focus on music full-time; they’d wholly channeled their energies into honing their sinewy, hook-driven indie rock. “It was the highest time of our lives,” he says now. “But we realized that, at the same time, a lot of our friends back home in Vancouver were going through incredibly hard experiences.” The contrast was jarring. While the McTaggarts were gearing up to work on their sophomore LP, Drew’s cousin passed away; other friends were in the midst of harrowing life transitions. Before long, they realized that the contrast between those emotional extremes had provided a psychological backdrop for Dear Rouge’s creative process. “It really got us thinking,” says Danielle, “half the album became about the joys we were experiencing, while half the album was about pain and hardships.”
With writing and recording came clarity, and what Dear Rouge realized was this: regardless of what you’re going through at a given moment, that reality is always in flux. Equal parts hopeful and harrowing, that epiphany is at the heart of what became Phases, the pair’s stellar, stadium-sized revelation of an album. Created through sessions with carefully chosen collaborators—including aces Tawgs Salter and Mike Wise, West Coast stalwart Steve Bays, producer Ryan Worsley, Canadian indie visionary Dan Mangan, pop savant Sterling Fox, and others, Phases captures a massive stride forward in the band’s evolution.
The ethos of the album title is encapsulated in the songs themselves, which neatly map out the all-too-human experience of being ferried through constantly changing states of mood and mind. On tracks like “Wicked Thing” and “Live Through the Night,” Danielle explores darker psychic recesses, homing in on how affection can veer toward obsession, and how past demons can thwart forgiveness. She shifts gears for the exuberant fizz of “Boys and Blondes,” offering up a sly anthem of feminist empowerment, and taps into a kind of epic grace for “Stolen Days,” a gorgeous tribute to Drew’s late cousin.
If Dear Rouge’s approach to Phases could be summed up in a phrase, it would be this: “grit and gloss.” It’s a mantra that sums up the balance of sheen (pristine synths, Danielle’s laser-focused vocals) and punchy grime (unfettered guitars, propulsive percussion)—and, says Drew, it speaks to “who we are as people.” That yearning for equilibrium and authenticity was enhanced by their decision to produce Phases in studios across North America: they did stints in Toronto, Montreal, and Nashville, as well as back home in Vancouver, and spent time polishing and perfecting the songs in New York City. Being away from home, the McTaggarts explain, was liberating, daunting, and wholly necessary. Being immersed in NYC culture—from indie bands at the Knitting Factory to art exhibitions at the MOMA, from Broadway shows to the neon dazzle and hectic bustle of Times Square—provided ample inspiration. And outside their familiar bubble, they felt compelled to work harder and strive for higher standards of excellence.
The results speak for themselves. In its open embrace of life’s unpredictability and its dedication to clearheaded songwriting that resonates long after the last hook, the last beat, the last note has died out, Phases marks…well, a new phase in Dear Rouge’s development. It’s a document of both the emotional depths Drew and Danielle McTaggart plumbed to come up with unflinchingly personal, honest material, and the ground they covered in their efforts to push themselves sonically and aesthetically. More importantly, it’s a truly awesome listen, whether you opt for a choose-your-own-adventure tour through individual tracks or an immersive emotional rollercoaster from beginning to end.