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Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review: HIGHS EP"

The underground bowels of Toronto’s music scene is turning heads, garnering both international and local attention, and Highs in particular is vying for a shot to be heard. During its humble beginnings, they were nothing more than a prototype of bedroom-composed sounds. Guitarist, Doug Haynes put together a trio of demos, and later released them online. The result: a sudden fixation on the transcendent echoes of four gifted musicians. Back in July of 2013, Highs released their self-titled EP, HIGHS – a collection of five strong tracks. The indie-pop band draws influences from — what I can hear — similar musical styles like Two Door Cinema Club‘s upbeat guitar rifts heard in “What You Know” to Hey! Ocean‘s whimsical lyricism in “Big Blue Waves,” but they possess a sound distinctly their own. The entire EP flows with instances of metaphoric storytelling; to say the least, the lyricism found within these songs reminds me of a campfire sing-along session. Imagine sitting on a wooden log, with a fire brimming in the centre. Across from you are Doug Haynes, keyboardist Karrie Douglas, drummer Kevin Ledlow and guitarist Joel Harrower. The second they start to play the music, you can instantly feel the vibrations of every note, every chord in the ground below, and in the rustling trees around. The narrative direction of their words is vivid, and almost voyeuristic because they paint a cinematic visual through the power of anecdotal hymns. In songs like “Nomad,” you’re shown the journey of a person who has reached the age of accountability (“I land through the deserts plains/ down from the mountain range/ I can hear the winds calling your name/ but give it up”) , and chooses to leave home, but at the expense of hurting someone he loves. The clean progression of their building harmonies swells like the courage of a modest mouse in “Harvest,” while the embedded antics of their melancholy vibe forces your hands to clap along with the banging drums in songs like “Cannibal Coast.” There is a rich catalogue of sound that went into making this EP as it pivots between folk ballads, and alternative rock. Some of its influences came from Tanzania, and surprisingly this collection of music resounds with an elevated feeling in the air. With these cruise-worthy rhymes, you’re shown the highs of growing up, the highs of leaving home, and the highs of spiritual escape. Overall, this self-titled EP is flawed, only by the regretful choice to hold back their true potential; however there is a glimmer of hope that these tiny giants might tunnel through the mainstream barricade, and land themselves on national charts . It’s only a matter of time before they reach an all time high. Check out High’s self-titled EP streaming on http://www.highsmusic.com/, or buy the EP on iTunes. Here is a live recording of Highs’ “Summer Dress.” - See more at: http://www.bestfan.com/blog/2013/11/album-review-highs-ep-in-progress/#sthash.5Ppjxaxl.dpuf - Bestfan

"Op-Ed: Top 10 Canadian songs of 2013"

HIGHS are hands down one of the most exciting acts to pop up this year. With a heavily afropop-inspired sound and great pop sensibilities, they could be compared to acts like Vampire Weekend, but to hear their pristine harmonies is to hear a revelation. "Summer Dress" kicks off their debut, self-titled EP in stellar fashion, beginning with a propulsive, repeating guitar riff before adding in killer percussion and keys, plus the aforementioned vocals, ending in a busy but breathtaking track.

Read more: http://digitaljournal.com/article/363368#ixzz2qDCJMDxx - Digital Journal

"Introducing: HIGHS"

I still think of CMJ 2013 as a sort of personal religiously sexual and/or sexually religious awakening, mostly because of the sheer number of insanely talented musicians none of us have ever heard of. Not even you, you pretentious internet trolls.

The downright best discovery that came from CMJ was Toronto-based foursome HIGHS. Started in a bedroom studio in late 2012, HIGHS is comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Doug Hayes, keyboardist Karrie Douglas, drummer Kevin Ledlow and guitarist Joel Harrower. Their debut self-titled EP is an impressively definitive taste of the band’s ability to write, perform and produce inescapably fun music.

Their EP is full of tracks that swell from artfully chill to what the band calls “monstrously upbeat.” Track #1 “Summer Dress” is a testament to this breed of dynamic indie-pop, complete with powerfully candid harmonies and the refined pulverizing of a couple floor toms. Listen below and download the full EP here. - All Things Go Music

"10 breakout acts of CMJ 2013"

After experiencing the true buoyancy that comes with listening to Highs self-titled EP, I was more than eagerly anticipating their performances at CMJ. The intricate guitar licks, gentle harmonies and palpable energy are all beautifully translated to the stage, and the members are as charming as I expected. There’s a certain levity and weightlessness to their songs that makes you feel a bit lighter too, and after the exhaustion of CMJ week, seeing them on Saturday was exactly the pick me up most of the audience needed. Though the band may be headed back to their home of Toronto, their catchy percussion and melodies will be playing in our heads for weeks. - The Wild Honey Pie

"CMJ 2013 Artists to Watch"

The music nerd in me could listen to Highs all day long purely to appreciate the rhythmic mastery (some very fine hemiolas) in their percussion, but you should listen to them all day too for a few reasons: they blend that compulsory cheeriness stemming from the afrobeat-style guitar licks with harmonies of commanding presence due to the higher register of both male and female vocals. And, not to mention, nothing gets you dancing like the sound of a drumstick hitting the edge of a snare drum. So music nerd or not, listen to them all day, then catch them at the Banners party at Pianos on Tuesday night! - The Wild Honey Pie

"Introducing: HIGHS"

The easy comparison to make in describing Toronto’s HIGHS is a certain NYC band who’s name references the undead, but I think HIGHS deserves some love on their own merits. That’s not to say that the comparisons aren’t warranted (they are), but there’s more to HIGHS than just afro-beat rhythms married to pop melodies. Starting life as demos written by guitarist Doug Haynes, the songs were fleshed out and made alive by the addition of Karrie Douglas (vocals and keyboards), Joel Harrower (vocals and guitar), and Kevin Ledlow (drums). Douglas’ vocal contributions are what sets them apart, and hers and Haynes’ interplay crackles with the same chemistry that Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell do.
Shit, I just made a comparison, didn’t I?
The HIGHS EP is available for download from the band’s Bandcamp page right now. Quick, go get it and draw your own comparisons/conclusions. - Quick Before It Melts

"HIGHS // Interview & Concert Review"

Under the twinkle lights of the Rivoli, HIGHS opened to a burgeoning crowd. Lending an individual twist to the generic indie-pop genre with their staple afro-beat style, HIGHS brought the atmosphere to its peak. The band played several songs from their self-titled EP before kicking off into songs from an upcoming, full-length album.

The onstage presence of the band is one of humbleness; the group gives off a sense that they’re merely glad to be here. As musicians, being humble is kind of innovative, although storming off the stage, or onstage arguments actually did wonders for Guns n Roses, in regards to their fan base, if not their rap with the media.

In person, the band is just as approachable, and I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon chatting with them over french toast about life, and of course, music.


AMBY: How did the band come to be “the band”? Where did you guys meet?

HIGHS: [Doug] We all have a connection with Queens University. At one point in time we had all gone to Queens. I met Carrie [singer] and the drummer Kevin in Queens teachers college, and Carrie knew Joel… [Joel interjects] Because we went to the same church. [Doug] We didn’t know each other, but through mutual connections we knew each other.

AMBY: How did you decide what genre to focus on?

HIGHS: [Joel] I feel like we don’t write to be in a genre. We rewrote our bio and the first line is “HIGHS is a pop band.” Because I think that, at it’s essence, it’s definitely a pop band. Just really hooky, I guess.

AMBY: Do you come from different backgrounds musically, and then had to decide which direction to go in, when it came to genre?

HIGHS: [Joel] It hasn’t been a big decision making process because Doug and Carrie make most of the music together. Doug has been in a lot of bands, Carrie is classically trained [in piano]. [Carrie] With me, I was classically trained, but I really took advantage of a lot of diverse school experiences. I did a lot of musical theatre, jazz stuff, my family is really musical. Wait what was the question again?

AMBY: How did you decide which direction the band was going to go, musically?

HIGHS: [Carrie] Early on we knew that we wanted to work on some music, and it was kind of like “What kind of stuff did we want to play?” We talked about this last night, Doug asked “Do you want to do more folky stuff..?” [Doug] I’ve written solo stuff and band stuff, and I think it’s so much more enjoyable and fun to write in a band setting, you can feed off the other members, so I feel like it was just a natural progression to what we were doing. The songs do vary in genre slightly, but as much as it was mildly formulated, the songs just kind of grew. [Carrie] We’re influenced by what we’re listening to, but we listen to diverse music too. I think a big thing was the whole afro-beat influence.

AMBY: The afro-beat is very prominent in your music, and that comes from the time you spent in Tanzania, correct?

HIGHS: [Carrie] Yes.

AMBY: Did you all travel to Tanzania?

HIGHS: [Doug] That was Carrie and myself.

AMBY: What made you decide to go to Tanzania?

HIGHS: [Carrie] We were in teachers college, and they have a program called the Alternative Practical Programs, and so you can go anywhere in the world for a couple of months as a part of your teaching degree. So we decided to be a part of this group that went to Tanzania, and lived in this small village in the middle of no where and taught in the elementary and high schools there. We learned a lot and grew very close through that experience. It was hugely influential on our lives as a whole, and that translates into our music.

AMBY: Do you have plans to go back to Africa any time soon?

HIGHS: [Carrie] We’d love to.

AMBY: The band wasn’t together before Africa, that came about after, correct?

HIGHS: [Doug] Yes. We often get asked how long we’ve been together for, and it’s still very recent. I think, concretely, we formed in December.

AMBY: Well, then that’s exciting to be doing some shows around the city.

HIGHS: [Doug] Yeah, we’re still relatively new, so we still have a long way to go.

AMBY: So far you’ve been getting a lot of excellent feedback. Reviews on your site are all very positive. How does that make you feel?

HIGHS: [Joel] Well, I will say we haven’t posted any of the bad reviews [laughs]. We are feeling so well-supported. To be honest I’ve been blown away by the support, especially last night, it was such a humbling experience. It’s amazing doing something that you love to do, and have people respond so positively. A big focus of the band has been to project positivity.

AMBY: How do you feel about all this comparison to Vampire Weekend?

HIGHS: [Doug] For me, personally, I like Vampire Weekend, and so to be compared to another band which I admire is always a good thing. Even if we don’t agree with the comparison, which in this case we do, it’s always a humbling experience.

AMBY: Do - A Music Blog, Yea?

"The 12 best bands we saw at CMJ"

Probably the biggest surprise of this year’s CMJ was Toronto’s HIGHS who made their NYC debut this past weekend, and thanks to tips from Crack In The Road and The Wild Honey Pie, I stuck around at the latter’s all-day Cameo Gallery showcase to check out the band’s 3pm set. The four-piece’s all-too-short thirty-minute set ended up being one of my favorites, as I was finally exposed to the band’s Local Natives-like gorgeous harmonies, their Vampire Weekend afropop percussive tendencies, and their Dirty Projectors layered guitar-lines, all pulled together by profound lyricism and an incredibly tight live performance. So don’t be surprised to be hearing more from these guys. - Listen Before You Buy


Announcing themselves with a flurry of demos towards the latter end of last year, Toronto’s HIGHS are back with their debut EP proper. Featuring the previously heard Summer Dress and Nomads, their monstrously upbeat, vaguely Vampire Weekend-esque pop is bewitching and beautifully composed. There’s a real togetherness and understanding to their sound, with Harvest being arguably their most complete track to date. Check out the full EP below, and keep up with the group via Facebook. - Crack in the Road

"HIGHS I Wood & Wires"

We recently took a trip up north with HIGHS to Camp Miniyowe in Muskoka, and shot a few songs inside the camp lodge. Take a minute to check these guys out. They’re working on their debut LP, and if you haven’t heard of them yet, you definitely will soon enough! Watch performances of Nomads and Summer Dress, both off their forthcoming record, below! - Wood & Wires

"Track: “Nomads” by HIGHS"

With winter supposedly here it doesn’t seem that way here in Texas. It’s more of a mix of late summer and fall which makes me yearn for the beaches on the coast. Highs is definitely that group that makes my yearning for the beach that much worse. HIGHS is a group from Toronto,Ontario with a large upbeat sound, with a strew of vocals that make me shiver (in a good way). Their demo is now available via Bandcamp and is free to download. Looking forward to an album release which would also lead to an album review. I’m going to be keeping my eye on this group. You should too. - Hanus


It’s been a while since we’ve posted some Canadian talent, so lately I’ve been on the lookout for some up and coming Canadian bands to share. Luckily our fans are looking out for us. Our friend Chris who has been following closely since the very beginning of Yeti Music, sent us a link today to this lovely band hailing from Toronto. Highs is a very new band with only three demos to their name, but what a fantastic start. Each track bounces along with joyful and vibrant percussion matched with ear pleasing harmonies. In a way their music is reminiscent of Trails and Ways, who have been getting a lot of play around here. Although they are relatively new, their brand of indie-pop is a tight and calculated thing of beauty and suggests a very bright future for Highs. I’ve heard they have a new EP coming out very soon, so we’ll be ready to scoop it up as soon as it’s released. Check out their bandcamp to hear more music. - Yeti Music

"Introducing: HIGHS"

Oh Toronto you’re breaking my heart. Alongside Melbourne and Manchester, the Canadian city is one of the most exciting hotspots in the world for new music. Quartet HIGHS are just the latest in a long line of brilliant new acts hailing from Toronto to appear on CitR, with their vaguely Balearic, Vampire Weekend inspired pop. On their two debut tracks, Summer Dress and Nomads respectively, they’re found in a jovial mood, almost too upbeat for this god-awful dreary weather we’re experiencing at the moment.

With jangly Foals guitars and mixed female/male vocals, self-described as ‘inclusive and memorable’, HIGHS two demos are brimming with potential. With their debut EP on the way, here’s hoping they cement their place amidst the other acts that make Toronto such a fascinating city. - Crack in the Road

"Indie Week Report Card: Highs @ Nocturne (Main Room) 88%"

Sound 5/5

Combining driving rhythms with catchy boy-girl melodies and Vampire Weekend-esque guitar lines, throwing in countless group sing-alongs and a few handclaps for good measure, Highs caught the continuously growing audience off-guard. The Toronto four-piece may be the beautiful love child of Library Voices and Modest Mouse.

Performance 4/5

The band handed out sticks and tambourines towards the end of their set to help get the audience involved. The gesture was unnecessary, as mostly everyone was already clapping along.

Professionalism 4/5

The members of Highs seemed a little green – slightly shocked by the positive response from the crowd. Beyond that, they kept the banter short and sweet, and let the music speak for itself, which was all that is required when the songs sound like this.

Aesthetic 5/5

Anyone who haphazardly slaps on face paint, presumably five-minutes before they take the stage, gets full points for aesthetics. Otherwise, they just looked like four people who would have been out and about at the weekend’s festivities.

Authenticity 4/5

Highs is a perfect band name for these guys and gal. Their music is catchy indie-pop, and they look like they are genuinely having a good time performing it. You would be hard-pressed to not have enjoyed this band.

Overall 22/25 - Toronto Music Scene

"'Finding positivity along your journey'"

A trip halfway across the world to Tanzania was all it took to jump start the three man band Highs.

Band members Doug Haynes, Karrie Douglas and Kevin Douglas Ledlow are a trio of comical coincidence.

“When we realized we all had ‘Douglas’ in our names, we thought ‘Hey! We should be the Douglas Band!’ and obviously we didn’t name ourselves that, but we felt like it was destiny,” Haynes said.

For the indie pop band, it’s all about using their music to have fun and making sure the audience is having a good time.

The band does this by wearing face paint and sometimes giving the audience their own drum sticks so they can join in on the music, Haynes said.

You may have to listen to some of the band’s songs more than once to pick up on the musical bits and pieces of afrojazz and dance pop intertwined in the melodies.

“Instead of one basic rhythm, we try to get a lot of eclectic percussion,” Haynes said. “We try to incorporate some afrobeat rhythms, and it’s kind of got some reverb at times, and some trebly guitar.”

Songs like “Nomads” and “Year of the Dragon” offer a very soothing appeal, as their free-form calls to the senses in an almost primordial way.

“There’s a lot of this natural theme to our music, like if you look at our lyrics there’s this theme of nature and exploring,” Haynes said.

Unlike many indie bands, the group doesn’t have a lot of breakup songs, or songs based on social issues.

“There’s a lot of stuff we could write about that we might feel compelled to write about, but a lot of our stuff is about finding positivity along your journey,” he said. - Queen's Journal

"Highs Give Us Something Fresh With their Video for 'Mango' [Premiere]"

HIGHS produce the kind of music that makes you forget it’s winter. Their effervescent pop is light, fresh and sweet, and their newest track “Mango” takes that aesthetic we know and love to new levels, infusing some old school Paul Simon sounds. With twinkling guitars and a quick beat, the track aims to please, just like the accompanying video. Following a girl as she happily walks in the supermarket, jumps on a bed and goes to a party, this visual essentially shows us the perfect moments that this song might soundtrack. Check out the video directed by Keenan MacWilliam above and get ready to bounce. - Wild Honey Pie

"Canadian talent to shine yet again at The Great Escape"

Toronto’s HIGHS make fresh-faced guitar pop that hits a spectacular place somewhere between C86 and a more contemporary indie sound. It’s gloriously upbeat and forwarding thinking - perfectly suited to a few days by the sea! - The Line of Best Fit

"Top 10 Artists To See Tuesday, October 21, 2014"

Toronto indie poppers who sound like they spent just the right amount of time listening to Graceland - CMJ 2014


Still working on that hot first release.



Described by Exclaim! as a band “that seem destined to go places quickly,” Toronto’s HIGHS have been rapidly building momentum with their unique approach to pop music.

Fast-becoming the darlings of Toronto’s vibrant music scene, alt-pop creators HIGHS’ much-acclaimed musical blend has taken them from bedroom demos to festival stages in a matter of a few short years.

The band’s self-titled EP – a 6 tracker that reflects growing up, the concept of home and spirituality – was produced and engineered at Verge Music Lab by Steve Major (Death From Above 1979, Island, Whitehorse, Great Lake Swimmers) and lead to the band inking a recording deal with Montreal-based Indica Records (Half Moon Run, Phantogram, The Gaslight Anthem) in 2014.

“Nomads” of the bands’ debut EP saw a major sync placement in the movie trailer for
 John Cusack’s Adult World, while international recognition has lead to placement inthe Top 30 Hype Machine charts, CMJ Top 200 charting positions, and single “Summer Dress” reaching the #1 spot on CBC Radio 3 for 6 consecutive weeks.

Having shared stages with Cold War Kids, Twin Forks, Hey Ocean, Kopecky Family Band and Rich Aucoin across their native Canada, HIGHS recently played slots at the UK's Focus Wales and The Great Escape. This summer the band played WayHome Music & Arts Festival, Wolfe Island Music Festival, and more.

Following a busy fall which will see them joining Modest Mouse & Royal Canoe for some shows and heading out west to perform at Rifflandia festival, the band will be releasing their full-length debut album. The album was carefully coaxed and crafted during a spring studio session with producer Luke Smith (Foals, Lily Allen). The album is due for an early 2016 release.

Band Members