The Beautiful Unknown have just had their song "Perfect Wave" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vFKxP0gNIk
added to the massive new video game "Shaun White Snowboarding"
"Why pick a decade or era and ape it, why not pull out all your influences and squeeze them into something fresh." So The Beautiful Unknown have the Groove of the Yardbirds, the swagger of The Who, the quirk of Bowie and the timber of Joy Division. It's modern music the way it should be played.
If we aren’t hearing more about this absolutely brilliant band soon there’s something very wrong with the world.
Fucking great band!
Hugh Cornwell (The Stranglers)
As the last note rang out barely 45 minutes later, I felt flush with the exhilaration of having witnessed something great…the only thing standing between TBU and stardom would be time and a few more stages.”
Truth Explosion Magazine
With Barlow's sultry voice, which sounds like a mix of Queens of the Stone Age's
Josh Homme and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, and Derek Downham's crazed playing on both the drums and guitar, the band impressed throughout.
The Beautiful Unknown has been able to blend a few different styles to make a sound of their own, something that can be an elusive target for many bands. … it is difficult for me to explain exactly how that sound surfaces. Some of the songs were so powerful that I had to lower my camera just so I could just take in the whole stage all at once.
Thomas Barlow Guitar & Vox
Derek Downham Drums & Vox
Kirt Godwin Lead Guitar
Ryan Gavel Bass
The Beautiful Unknown gets world wide attention after being added to the new Shaun White Video Game. TBU has teamed up with Burton Snowboards for a new interactive CD, the CD will be available at all Burton Demo Days across the country.
"TBU's new single Perfect Wave has just been released and is making headway fast at Rock Radio"
The Beautiful Unknown's debut album "Riot In The House Of Ruin" was released in early 08. The indie single "Spinning In MY Grave" was released to radio in 07 and went top ten on rock and alternative radio in Ottawa and Winnipeg. In Montreal, on the city's biggest rock station "Spinning In MY Grave" stayed at #1 for 3 weeks!
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Much like the NXNE festival, I have a love/hate relationship with CMW which breaks down as simply as...Much like the NXNE festival, I have a love/hate relationship with CMW which breaks down as simply as I love them because they are a yearly in-your-face reminder of just how much talent Canada produces that doesn't necessarily get as much attention as it deserves, and I hate them because I don't get to see even a tenth as many of the bands playing as I would like due to inconvenient timing and more importantly, the lack of an expenses account suitable for total coverage.
This of course, wouldn't be stopping me this year. As long as one remembers that they are always no more than a well placed promoter friend away from the show one wants to see, cash should never be an issue. Of course, having your editors CMW press pass doesn't hurt either. Small assurances as such go a long way when you're planning on covering a band that very well could be blowing up and laying waste to a town near you sometime soon. My money was already on 2006 as the year of The Beautiful Unknown.
My introduction to TBU had come by way of a email from fab local promoter Anna Von Frances of Sport Pig fame with an attached CMW press release for their upcoming gig at the Drake, and a link to their myspace page where I found a few of their songs posted as well as a spot-on remake of the Stones "Street Fighting Man".
Cut ahead a week or two following a flurry of emails, several phone calls and a quick stroll south, I was waiting outside the Drake for pare to arrive with the press pass, when I was saved from impending hypothermia by the arrival of Ms Von Frances who's connections [read: media pass] helped the door staff to understand that they were in the presence of someone important, about official business, and not to be trifled with over such things as cover.
We had just grabbed drinks and were thawing out as TBU took the stage to play for the few faithful that were there for their very early opening slot on the bill. It was a damn good thing that the downstairs live room was so small; an average sized venue would have appeared deserted in comparison given the anorexic turnout so far. Whoever was in charge of scheduling for the night really needed to have their head examined. TBU weren't exactly a household name just yet, but it was almost criminal to pencil them into a timeslot that practically guaranteed them the least amount of exposure.
No matter though, there would be other gigs up ahead, and besides, what does a small turn-out mean anyways? Not much if I think about a guy I knew years ago that had seen Nirvana play their first ever Toronto show at Lee's Palace when he was one of only about 90 people in attendance that night. Given the way TBU laid down their set, I couldn't really tell if they noticed, much less cared about how many people happened to be there. Judging by the lack of audible conversation throughout their set, I figured that the people already there were actually into the band, and when it comes right down to it, that's the only thing that really matters. As far as I'm concerned, there should be one rule above all others understood by the crowd at any given show: Be interested or be GONE.
TBU played a particular brand of rock n' roll that had a deliciously retro feel with a more than liberal nod to the things that made the 70's worth remembering without sounding the slightest bit contrived. Far from being just another garden variety retro throwback, it was as though they had just tapped in, mainlined and only half-returned to the here and now.
From the consummate swagger of opener "Spinning In My Grave" to the raucous stomp of "Riot In The House", my jaded seen-it-all sensibilities were blindsided completely. All I could do was picture these songs pumping out of a festival sized PA in the height of summer to thousands of screaming fans.
If the truth be told, I had come to the show expecting another halfway decent local band, certainly nothing special; the idea that I would be blown away by them hadn't even entered my mind. This is the very thing that keeps me checking out new bands, regardless of how jaded I think I've gotten. Surprise isn't dead and neither is rock n' roll.
As the last note rang out barely 45 minutes later, I felt flush with the exhilaration of having witnessed something great. I quickly came to the conclusion that if there was any sense or reason in the world, the only thing standing between TBU and stardom would be time and a few more stages so here's to sanity in 2006.
NXNE June 2008
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The Beautiful Unknown @ Hard Rock Cafe Friday June 13, 2008 @ 11:30 AM By: ChartAttack.com Staff ...The Beautiful Unknown @ Hard Rock Cafe
Friday June 13, 2008 @ 11:30 AM
By: ChartAttack.com Staff
Band: The Beautiful Unknown
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Venue: Hard Rock Cafe
Date: June 12, 2008
Reporter: Cameron Gordon
Toronto toughies The Beautiful Unknown ruled the (high) school not to long ago and they bring a laundry list of collegiate sensibilities in an effort to rock you, me and everyone we know.
Comment: Stage confidence can take years to develop, but the four members of The Beautiful Unknown seem to be naturals in the performance department. Their brash, self-assured stage show was entirely impressive and they were fazed in the least by the modest crowd, insightful singalongs and busting out signature rock star moves left, right and centre. Definitely a band to keep an eye on.
Achievement of Rock 'n' Roll Expectations
80-100: Exceeds skill and knowledge expectations, i.e. rocked us so hard we peed our pants.
70-79: Achieves required skills and knowledge. Meets rock 'n' roll standard.
60-69: Demonstrates some skills. Approaches rock 'n' roll standard.
50-59: Demonstrates some required skills and knowledge in a limited way.
00-50: Has not demonstrated required skills or knowledge.
Learning Skills: E=Excellent, G=Good, S=Satisfactory, N=Sad Really
Oral And Visual Communication
Eye Contact: E Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
Pronunciation: E Musically, The Beautiful Unknown recall Ash, The Strokes and other bands who manage to capitalize on their youthful exuberance. They were clearly well preferred for this showcase and I hope that there were at least a few VIPs in the crowd, because these guys deserve to be noticed. Plus, I bet teenage girls would think they’re “way cool.”
Stage Presence: E
Stage Banter: E
Use Of Stage: E
Level Of Participation: E Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
Problem Solving: G The Beautiful Unknown did a great job of keeping energy levels up and actually seemed to gain steam with each passing number. Even their slightly off-tempo material packed a punch and they never relied on token "introspective" numbers to cool down. As an audience member and first time fan, this is something that’s always appreciated.
Work Habits: G
Audience Participation: E
Other Skills And Areas Of Interest
Charisma: E Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
Problem Solving: G The Beautiful Unknown are future fashion icons, mixing tops, pants and sheet-kickers in a most alluring fashion. Truth be told, I don’t know couture from a hole in the wall, but these guys just looked the part… that’s gotta count for something.
Indie Rock Footwear: G
Nods To Disposable Fashion: E
Cool Equipment: G
Level Of Inebriation: G
Actual Ability: E
The Beautiful Unknown's catchy songs and great live show will ensure they will be a prominent feature of the Toronto music scene.
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The Beautiful Unknown—March 3 at the Drake During the international showcase at the Drake Hotel for ...The Beautiful Unknown—March 3 at the Drake During the international showcase at the Drake Hotel for CMW, Toronto band The Beautiful Unknown were a little stumped as to how they made it onto the lineup. "I'm from the 905," vocalist Tom Barlow said, "I think that qualifies me." But although they didn't fit in with the night's theme, the four-piece made every effort to entertain.
The Beautiful Unknown were the very image of mod rock in their matching black attire. They gave the punters a taste of the Beatle- influenced rock that will be on their album coming out in the summer, starting with the song, "Spinning In My Grave." With Barlow's sultry voice, which sounds like a mix of Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos, and Derek Downham's crazed playing on both the drums and guitar, the band impressed throughout their short 30-minute set. During "Riot in the House of Ruin," Downham was playing so fiercely he looked like he was going to break all of the strings of his guitar. They finished the set with a pounding version of "No Getting Through to You." The Beautiful Unknown's catchy songs and great live show will ensure they will be a prominent feature of the Toronto music scene.
The Beautiful Unknown
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Will The Beautiful Unknown be able to keep their name once they become widely known? That is the que...Will The Beautiful Unknown be able to keep their name once they become widely known? That is the question I pondered on the way home from The Beautiful Unknown's video release party Friday night at The Silver Dollar Room. The new video that was at the centre of the celebration is for the track Spinning In My Grave. Before the band took the stage and played a very well received set, the video was introduced and played on a big "screen" (a white sheet).
Derek Downham On Drums
Tom Barlow Has A Bit Of Jim Morrison In Him
With lots of friends and fans in the audience, and a load of complimentary Jägermeister shots distributed among them, there was plenty of excitement among the crowd. The excitement was proven to be well justified, friends and Jägermeister aside. Although the set started off with a song that had a little too much of an 80's taint for me, their true style became apparent over the next hour - a style with an interesting and engaging mixture of influences. I could hear (and see) an underlying influence from The Doors, but the overall sound didn't actually come across like music from that era. In fact, The Beautiful Unknown has been able to blend a few different styles to make a sound of their own, something that can be an elusive target for many bands. And, yes, there is a hint of 80's influence running throughout most of their compositions, but between the varying vocals, the riveting guitar, and the some of the best drumming you'll hear in the city (or anywhere), it is difficult for me to explain exactly how that sound surfaces.
Derek Sweats It Out
Portrait of Tom
Hiding In The Shadows
Some of the songs were so powerful that I had to lower my camera just so I could just take in the whole stage all at once. Derek Downham is an incredible drummer who is brilliantly active, and his ability to sweat out some the most amazing percussion is worth watching. He eventually left the stage drenched from his performance. But before anyone ended up leaving the stage, Kyle Riabko was invited up and given an electric guitar. He melded in well, and the five of them on stage tore it up. At least a few fans moved in on the stage to scream out their support. It was clear that everyone was adrenalized by the show, and I was no exception. There was a buzz in the crowd as the performers joined the audience at the bar for a few post-performance beverages.
Be sure to check out The Beautiful Unknown on MySpace, although I'll warn you now that some of their existing recorded material didn't have the same impact on me as their live performance. Best bet is to give Spinning In My Grave a listen, just to get a feel for the kind of music you can expect, and if you like it (even a little) get yourself out to one of their shows to really experience their music.
nxne Hits and Misses
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Beautiful Unknown Healey’s, June 10 When Beautiful Unknown’s charismatic frontman Tom Barlow d...Beautiful Unknown
Healey’s, June 10
When Beautiful Unknown’s charismatic frontman Tom Barlow demanded that the listless audience gathered at Healey’s “fuckin’ dance!” he should have realized that he was talking to Toronto music fans. The fact that cluttered area in front of Healey’s stage isn’t exactly conducive to dancing didn’t exactly help matters either.
It wasn’t for lack of trying on the band’s part. Their incendiary garage rock tunes and Barlow’s excellent stage presence should have propelled more people out of their seats. At one point Barlow came down off of the stage and sat on a photographer’s lap and took his picture with her.
He brilliantly skewered the whole too cool for this shit, arms crossed and head nodding (something I’ve dubbed the Hipster Bop) that passes for dancing at most local rock shows.
A smokin’ hot blonde and a slightly paunchy older man were the only ones who heeded his command to get up and dance just before they performed their final song. Barlow actually hugged the guy to show how grateful he was.
Barlow has a definite star quality about him and his bandmates are no slouches either. If we aren’t hearing more about this absolutely brilliant band soon there’s something very wrong with the world. And damn it, next time fuckin’ dance!
- Andrew Horan
A typical set is one hour of blood sweat and rock.
We play our album, we may play a cover or two if the moon is right. "TBU's new single Perfect Wave has just been released and is making headway fast at Rock Radio"
There are no upcoming dates at this time.