Clouds (that look like things)
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Clouds (that look like things)

Band Rock


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"Clouds (That Look Like Things) & HotKid @ The Horseshoe"

I realize that phrases like "next big thing" are thrown around with a lot of frivolity these days, but I really think that Toronto's Clouds (That Look Like Things) are one of those bands that truly warrant such an expression. Tuesday night was my second time seeing them this year and it's amazing how in a few short months, a band that was already pretty impressive to start with had grown to be even more so.

For those who are newer readers of my blog, (or any Toronto blogs for that matter,) Tuesday nights at The Horseshoe means free music by lesser known indie bands. Dave Bookman is a DJ on Edge 102.1, which is a station that has strayed from playing anything new or exciting for about a decade or so. (You can read my rant about this here.) Thankfully, their Tuesday night showcase remains an entity unto its own, and some of the most up-and-comingest bands ever have gotten their start doing this. Clouds was using this opportunity to celebrate the release of their new completely self-made, Hat Factory EP. I'll be reviewing that in the near future, but as far as their performane on Tuesday night goes, I couldn't have asked for anything more. They didn't have a lot of time for banter, so they blasted through their blistering set of emotionally majestic indie pop at a rather quick pace, and the crowd seemed to be absorbing it nicely. I mentioned in a previous review that they have a huge sound, and although I'm not a big fan of stadium shows per se, the music of Clouds is tailor made for such an atmosphere, and it almost seems to be a little too restrictive on such a small stage. This isn't a complaint however, just an observation and it was great to feel their enthusiasm drip into the crowd, many of whom were familiar with the songs. One didn't need to be all that familiar however, to sing along, especially to their closing song, which is a tune that I don't think is on the EP, but was still instantly likable. It seemed as if those that weren't familiar were easily converted, since they seemed to be rushing to the merch table afterwards to pick up their CD. This is the type of band that keeps me excited about Toronto's music scene, and it'll be interesting to see what 2009 has in store for them. - Bob Battams

"Clouds (That Look Like Things) - Hat Factory EP"

I've already reviewed the live show of local up and comers Clouds (That Look Like Things) a couple of times this year, but now it's time to throw up a few words about their unbelievable new EP entitled Hat Factory. The boys are incredibly proud of what they've accomplished here since it was done completely on their own, from the artwork to the recording and mixing of the CD. The album is as phenomenal as their live show is which, if I were being honest, is something that I was a little bit worried about. You don't know how many times I've left a show with a new CD in hand because the band blew me away, only to be disappointed by the time I popped it into my CD player. And when I briefly spoke to synth and violin player Owen Norquay after the last show, he spoke of the EP with such unbridled enthusiasm that the Willy Wonka in me felt terrible about possibly having to break little Charlie's heart. Well, needless to say, I wouldn't be sharing this little anecdote with you if a bad review was to follow, (and generally speaking, I don't waste a lot of time blogging about what I don't like,) and the band has every reason to be proud of what they've accomplished.

The EP opens with a brief atmospheric instrumental opener before lunging into the excitedly synth heavy rocker Stardust, which conjures up images of my 17 year old self at a house party, flailing my arms in the air to the latest Cure song. The following song Weekend feeds on that same vibe and should be added to every party playlist right next to You! Me! Dancing! by Los Campesinos! They get a little bit artsy fartsy (in a good way) with Catclysm, where vocalist Darcy Pease takes his menacing croon and makes it even more maniacal by running it through a series of crazy effects while Kayle Donner rocks a steady thumping drum sound to great effect. The best song in my opinion though, is the slow dance There She Goes, which is augmented by a truly unique sounding electric violin that enters and exits the proceedings at well calculated intervals throughout the song, creating a mood that is as chilling as it is intoxicating.

The Toronto music scene is on fire right now, and other bands are already getting the attention that they deserve, but I can't help but notice that Clouds (That Look Like Things) are still pretty unknown in comparison. Although it's cool to be one of the first to sing their praises, I'd like to believe that it's only a matter of time before all of the local bloggers are also caught up in the hype. - Bob Battams

"Clouds (That Look Like They Could Go Places)"

Hat Factory, the debut EP from Clouds (That Look Like Things), may only be a hair over twenty-two minutes, yet the band accomplishes something fairly impressive in that short time: over the course of just eight songs, they manage to sound like at least two different bands.

On the one hand, there's the Clouds... of album opener "Clouds", or moody closer "Chartered Leaves", or even, to a lesser extent, the electronic-tinged beats of "Cataclysm". This version of Clouds... is more focused on building an atmosphere than on writing songs that go somewhere. While I can certainly appreciate that this appeals to some people, for me this is when Hat Factory is at its weakest.

It's not that Clouds... do atmospherics badly, though. Really, it's more that the other version of Clouds (That Look Like Things) is a lot more fun to listen to. This is the version of the band that does songs like "Stardust" and "Headstrong", the one that sounds like The Dears (pre-sucking) doing powerpop. When Clouds... are doing that, they sound incredible. Hopefully their future holds a bit more epic power-pop, because -- for half of Hat Factory, at least -- it sounds like they could make a pretty interesting career out of it. - i (heart) music

"June 25, 2008 The Effens, Clouds (That Look Like Things), The Svens, The Times, Sadie May Crash @ The Kathedral"

After The Effens exited, the Clouds (That Look Like Things) filled up the stage. The five-piece rocked out like Broken Social Scene with Zack Condon (Beirut) singing. Their big ambient sound beautifully washed over the crowd with blissful synth-melodies and violin flourishes peaking through from time to time. Meanwhile, behind everyone their shirtless drummer fanatically pounded his kit as if trying to express the humanitarian sentiment of the lyrics through percussion. -

"Clouds That Look Like Things Hat Factory"

“Such a small ember that will cloud the whole room” was what my boss just emailed to me about a small recurring inconsistency that he’s tired of seeing. My problems might just be a great analogy for Clouds (that look like things) and their Hat Factory EP release.

I was told a long time ago about the band but didn’t pay much attention. I was given the CD to review with enthusiasm and thus thought I was in for something that would blow me away. It took me about a month and 5 or 6 listens to appreciate the album.

It’s an indie pop rock album with a propensity for grandeur. The high pitched quick strum of the guitar, hard rock drumming and the voice, though usually lathered with effects, is reminiscent of Brandon Flowers or maybe even Robert Smith with subtle lows and awkward highs. It’s the perfect music for the younger generation to discover, it’d be their new indie music, and it’s close enough to radio and distanced enough to be cool for their high school graduation parties.

It gets monotonous at times with only slight changes and probably due to the thick effects filling up the sound spectrum each time. I also feel a little bit of egotism but I could be wrong… or jealous. The album finishes quickly clocking in at 23 minutes but the majority are well placed minutes including, “There She Goes”, “Stardust”, “Weekend”, and “Headstrong”. I think if The Killers agent ever finds them we’ll see them travel the world to 16 year olds losing their minds.

The Hat Factory EP is a small ember, burning hot and bright, creating clouds that look like they might just bring down the house

Score: 7.5

- Tyler Wade - Two Way Monologues


Hat Factory (2008)
-tracked and mixed by Clouds and mastered by Shawn Jurek
-singles include:
"Stardust", played on Toronto Independent Music podcast ( sic_podcast/2008/12/toronto_independent_ music_podcast_85) and by historyjen on Zygiella (
"Cataclysm", played on Thompson Rivers University Radio



We watch the world pass by through cracked glasses, just to say we see it differently. We step outside in the dead of night to take deep, cold breaths, and blow water at the moon. We capture moments with words and other canvases, so that we might live forever. We drink whiskey out of coffee mugs and sit on borrowed couches, laughing at everything, and at nothing, while blowing smoke rings in the wind.

From meanderings in moldy basements to practices in smoke filled rehearsal spaces, Clouds (that look like things) have a sound of their own, and are looking to share their raw, energetic experience with anyone willing to listen, and perhaps move a limb or two.