Published Dec 08, 2014Even though Toronto has had no shortage of independent record labels emerge in the past decade, there hasn't been a success story like that of Buzz Records since the heyday of Arts & Crafts or Paper Bag Records. In the short span of three years, Buzz has cultivated and curated a distinct new sound of DIY punk rock that isn't so much "buzzy" as booming. A quick scan of the bill at the label's Krampus holiday-themed party last night in Toronto — Greys, Odonis Odonis, Weaves, Dilly Dally and the Beverleys — and any knowing attendee would've been wise to bring a pair of earplugs.
Although Buzz's sounds are decidedly brash and loud, a style that's so often linked to machismo force and presence, bands like Weaves, Dilly Dally and the Beverleys maintain an equilibrium, so that women are justly represented within the label and onstage. The latter band started the evening off with a quick barrage of self-described "junk punk" that has developed from its early days of thick walls of reverb-drenched guitars to newer material that shows melodic potential. Their loud and fast style can be a dizzying storm at times, with tracks like set closer "Bad Company," but their latest single "Hoodwink" indicates a canorous turn; either way, it shows off range and the ability to create malleable rock songs that can embrace tone or tune.
Dilly Dally were the highlight of the evening, scoring a delightfully disheveled victory as the band crunched out '90s grunge chords while singer Katie Monks ripped through songs like "Candy Mountain" and "Next Gold" with sneers and roars. Although they carry out an aggression akin to Nirvana or L7, it's the crisp melodic hooks that prove Dilly Dally's potential to go from lower-tier act to breakout stars (and mark our words, they just might).
Outlandish oddballs Weaves fought through technical issues, as singer Jasmyn Burke made it clear several times that she was unable to hear her own vocals — even inserting the complaint into their closing song "Take A Dip" — but they still delivered a memorable set of offbeat pop songs. The band mixed sinister riffs and pounding rhythms with Burke's wildly bewitchingly uncanny voice, as she mischievously glided from one side of the stage to the other. With the release of a strong EP this year, 2015 is destined to see Weaves' star continue to rise.
The evening was topped off by Toronto rock staples Odonis Odonis and Greys; the final two acts were a sharp, blistering joy that came to a rumbling and rambunctious end filled with crushing fuzz and boisterous cacophony. Mic stands and keyboards be damned, Odonis Odonis' set not only knocked audiences over, but instruments as well. With a slick combination of clamorous moments, the band also delivered moments of clarity and crystalline hooks that provided structure to their madness.
Headliners Greys took things one step further. Though they opened their set with a unexpectedly jolly cover of the Charlie Brown theme song, the band let loose soon after, playing with reckless abandon as they blew through a succinct but rollicking set of post-hardcore jubilation. Their enthusiasm was clearly reflected by the audience. The headliners seem primed for the same success of contemporaries METZ and Fucked Up.
The amount of burgeoning talent filling the room last night (December 6) was overwhelming, suggesting big things to come for the bands of Buzz Records. The buzz is no longer a quiet murmur — it's a thunderous squall.
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