I headed down to Call The Office last night for an early show featuring ex-Ladytron alum Pop Levi and his backing band simply called Woman. For an early show I still didn't get out of there until eleven, but alas, let us digress for a moment.
The opening band, Surplus Sons, rocked off my proverbial sock(s). A five piece hailing from Toronto, dual guitar, drums, bass, and some newly added keys/organ greatly fleshing out the sound. These kids were high energy and won over a crowd that had never been privy to them before. If asked to describe their sound I'd say something like "in the spirit of their ancestors they steal with vigor from the golden era, Stones, Spencer Davis, and even more recently Oasis, Kings of Leon, and the Hives." I've always hated that cynical way of demeaning a band because their influences seem to be worn on sleeve, rather than kept in pocket. I'd have to keep it simple with they sound like rock and roll. And that is fine and fair to me. You don't see a lot of non -British bands in this indie era openly credit Oasis as an influence, however, these boys do. I'll leave you a favourite track of mine from their EP. You can download the whole thing gratis over at their website Here.
Surplus Sons - Step Stones The track is Definitely Maybe era Oasis with a bit of those backup singers Dylan called upon so economically on a few of his gospel b-sides
Pop Levi has been getting some press as of late for his debut release, The Return to Form Black Magick Party (produced by Devandra Banhart), and its effortless glaze through of glam rock. Onstage, the man and the band are enviably tight, the songs rock, and for a moment you're transfixed. Too quickly, the facade crumbles. The songs aren't simply good enough to allow you to get past the immense amounts of preening and posturing occurring. While I'm sure this is part act, the fact remains that it is a tough act to swallow. Music is built on larger than life ego and image, still, unswallowable if the music can't prop it up. The Guardian profiles Pop Levi more concisely than I could ever care to.
Pop Levi - A Style Called (Crying Chic)
Surplus Sons headline a CMW showcase tonight at the Horseshoe. If you're in Toronto, check 'em out around 1:30. Pop Levi plays Friday at Lee's Palace at the otherwise stellar Outside Music CMW showcase.