July Talk
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July Talk

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

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





Oh boy. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. It’s my first review for The Buzz and I get to write about July Talk? Lucky me!

Well, maybe I’m being a bit misleading. The show, which was this past Wednesday, was actually billed as a Matt Mays show, with July Talk opening. Now, I’ll get this out of the way right off the bat: before heading up to Le Cabaret Du Mile End, I had no familiarity with Matt Mays. I was going for July Talk. But this gave them a chance to win me over with a live show (the way Metric did back in the day). That’s got to be the best way to get introduced to an artist, right?

Toronto’s July Talk started things up and boy, did they not disappoint. They began with "The Garden" and went straight into "Guns and Ammunition", two blood-pumping songs perfect for getting the crowd into the mood. And let me tell you, these guys are all about the ‘mood’. Their indie rock/heavy blues hybrid sound is unique and catchy enough to get your head bobbing, but it’s their stage presence that really makes watching them a treat. Co-front duo Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis have a sexual, aggressive and often (somehow?) adorable chemistry. When they aren’t biting and hair-pulling, Peter is jumping around like a maniac and Leah is coyly teasing the audience.

As the show went on, they did a great job of getting the Matt Mays fans up from their seats and in front of the stage. Of course, all of their popular songs were played, and more than a few unreleased ones as a special treat. Maybe a new album in the works? After the show, Leah graciously headed over to the merch booth where she enthusiastically greeted fans. She and Peter were happy to sign my girlfriend’s shirt! While I lost track of Peter after the set, Leah spent much of the main attraction jumping and dancing in the audience. - INDECENT XPOSURE


Meanwood and Stella Ella Ola started the night off energetically with their foot-stomping soul rock and summery garage pop, but it was July Talk's night to shine and that they did.

With manic energy, Peter Dreimanis's raspy Tom Waits-like voice started the set. Leah Fay wasn't in sight yet, but just as it was time for her part in "The Garden," she pranced on stage in a sultry black dress and red scarf.

July Talk played an out-of-order rendition of their entire new self-titled album. Dreimanis and Fay's presence on stage was animated yet convincing. Dreimanis was aggressive in both musicianship and persona, borderline stalker-like in facial expression.

Conversely, Fay was sweet, angelic and beautiful. Though seemingly innocent, she continuously teased the Dreimanis with flirtatious actions such as using the mic stand as a dancing pole or simply with her sparkly smile.

The two knew exactly how to captivate the audience and played off each other with perfect chemistry. Themes of masculinity versus femininity, not to mention love and hate, were organically displayed. Dreimanis's seemingly whisky-soaked voice and Fay's Amy Milan-like soft tone only added to the drama. Their bandmates were not forgotten and were often included in some angry and flirty moments. Though July Talk were quite theatrical, it all appeared spontaneous and not rehearsed.

Towards the end, Fay jumped into the audience and people came out of nowhere to pour what looked like fake blood all over her. She climbed back on stage for "Let Her Know," and the fake blood splashed the crowd at the front as she removed her shoes and jumped about.

An encore with their latest single "Paper Girl" ended their set. Everybody burst out singing during the earwormy chorus, "If you want money in your coffee, if you want secrets in your tea, keep your paper heart away from me." The line was impossible to forget for the rest of the night. - EXCLAIM

"The Coppertone Wails, July Talk Impresses, and Dirty Mags Garner Buzz at the Shoe"

"A solid line-up was put together to kick-off a Septembe thirsty Thursday at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern with; up-and-comers July Talk, prolific performers The Coppertone, and the buzz-producing The Dirty Mags.

July Talk got things going first attracting a hand-full of people at the Horseshoe to the front of the stage, but it wasn’t long before all attention was on them. July Talk’s live show could be described better as performance art rather than just a straight up performance. Lead vocalists Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay Goldstein act-out the music on top of playing it. No, not in the way actors in musicals act-out the music, July Talk let their bodies translate the feeling of the music, no choreography involved; just frantic movements about the stage. Their sound is like a dirtier, grittier, and bluesier Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros with the inter-play of Dreimanis and Goldstein’s voices. July Talk hit such a frenetic tone in their set, I was afraid they would spontaneously combust. Luckily for those at the Horseshoe, July Talk didn’t burst into flames, and they ended their set to loud applause from a crowd that had grown significantly since they took the stage..." - The Take Media

"July Talk's summer vocation"

'It's about capturing chaos,' says Leah Fay, the Toronto band's co-vocalist, about their second album

'Bonnie and Clyde were trying to tear everything apart, but, for us, we're trying to bring everyone together."

July Talk's Peter Dreimanis is commenting on the comparison made of himself and his co-vocalist Leah Fay, and the infamous pair of Depression-era bank robbers who stole with swagger and a poetic manner.

He and Fay are speaking on the rooftop patio of a recording studio where they're about to record a follow-up album to their Juno-nominated 2012 self-titled debut. They are a dashing pair: he, a gruff-voiced romantic with pale blue eyes and a shock of brown hair; she, a thoughtful, sweet-voiced beauty in a Jenny Lewis T-shirt.

On stage, the nature of the Toronto five-piece is raw, with copper wiring for nerves and a flair for dynamics.

Stylistically, July Talk flips from punk blues to angular indie rock and pop. The genre promiscuity has been a source of frustration to some.

"We're not interested in pissing people off," Dreimanis says. "We're just interested in messing with expectations."

How they met

It was at a small bar in Toronto's west end, on a summer night in which most of the area establishments were celebrating the anniversary of the city's great blackout by going unplugged and candle-lit.

Fay, a performance artist who paid the rent by slinging lattes, was singing and playing an acoustic guitar with a friend when Dreimanis sat down in front of them and began clanking beer bottles to the beat. It was a crude (if endearing) form of musical courtship, which ended with the bottles smashed to the floor. "I brushed him off at that moment," Fay recalls.

But soon after, they bumped into each other at the Dakota Tavern, and Fay was intrigued by Dreimanis's naturalness.

"He spoke with this crazy sincerity that I couldn't ignore," she explains. "It was a quality that I find rare in Toronto, especially from someone in their early 20s."

What did Dreimanis, a music-video filmmaker and a former member of indie-rockers Mohawk Lodge, say to her? "I told her that her voice was in my head and that I wanted her to listen to some music I had made."

The two (who are not a couple, other than musically) began collaborating, eventually coming to the decision that July Talk needed to be a five-piece rock band, not a pair of yin-yang duetists. Guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles fit the bill.

How they grew

July Talk recorded its debut album in 2012, before they had done any touring.

The approach involves a bluesy take on the rock intensity of the Constantines and the pop savvy of Metric.

The aesthetic is conversational – a dialogue between the band and listener, and between the the Waitsian gravel of Dreimanis and the prettier tone of Fay. For example, on the garage blues of the song Garden: "True love has its benefits and I play to reap them; You've got hips and I've got lips, and I plan to keep them."

The band's reputation grew as they toured the club circuit relentlessly. This summer, July Talk is booked for some two dozen festivals, playing not only to larger audiences but also to fans who aren't necessarily aware of the band. "It's a totally different beast," says Dreimanis, comparing the small halls with the big-field affairs. "It's Sunday at 3 p.m., and you see these expressionless faces staring back at you. It's hard to feel confident when you're looking at that."

But at last weekend's Toronto Urban Roots Festival, something clicked for him as he watched Cal-rock heroine Jenny Lewis perform. "She sang a lyric, and it struck me at my centre. My whole body was shaking inside, and as I looked around I realized I was standing there with that same dumbstruck look on my face." It was an epiphany for Dreimanis, who realized that what is going on in an audience's collective head is more important than anything its members are doing physically. "It's a scary thing looking out at 20,000 people looking at you blankly, but you have to be okay with it."

The next step

For its second album, July Talk's challenge is to learn how to capture the intimate spontaneity it practises in concert and get it down on tape.

"When we're on stage, I feel like we're exactly who we are – true and honest," Dreimanis says. "In the recording studio, we haven't gotten there yet." Fay agrees.

"It's about capturing chaos," she says, citing a moment at the Toronto festival when she jumped on Dreimanis and knocked his Telecaster out of tune.

"How do you capture that breaking point in the studio? How do you capture that vulnerability?"

As there are no easy answers, the conversation continues for July Talk. Bonnie and Clyde never wished to be taken alive, but Dreimanis and Fay absolutely do.

"We're trying to be potent versions of ourselves, wherever we are in that moment," Fay says.

"It will be desirable to some, and really revolting to others."

July Talk plays the Big Red Fest, Charlottetown, July 12; Victoria, July 13; Winnipeg, July 18; Barrie, Ont., July 19. - BRAD WHEELER - Globe and Mail


July Talk S/T (October 2012 - White Girl Records)



Upon returning to his hometown of Toronto from a final European tour with his band, Peter Dreimanis sat sweaty and half-drunk in a candlelit basement bar, nursing a drink, debating his next musical pursuit. Lulled in lethargy, he paid little attention to the beat-up acoustic guitar being passed from patron to patron around him; that was until it found its home in the hands of Leah Fay.

It took only seconds of strumming and dreamy, dulcet singing for Dreimanis to realize he’d met his muse. He sat listening, dumfounded, dreaming up ideas for what could come to be between the two of them. Clear-headed the next day, he started his search for the stranger from the bar with whom he seemingly shared a soul. He found her; they founded July Talk.

Despite their relatively young union, the primary pair behind July Talk has already established its own sonancy: a sound rooted in roots and Americana with the dual-voice charm of Johnny and June, the creepy quirkiness of Tom Waits, and the hooks of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It’s a very unique blend that borrows from different decades and domains, though where those influences begin and end is cleverly disguised.

Most special about a July Talk experience, though, is the foiling of Dreimanis and Fay as personas; who they are inside or outside of the public eye and just what it is that exists between them. Lyrically, the pair plays with the juxtaposition of gender roles and perspectives, distorting social preconceptions. It’s often a war waged between clashing personalities in a frame that shares two perspectives of the same relationship – at times conflicted, at times chaotic, most times just downright bewildering.

The opposition between the two forces is only heightened when the band brings its buzz-building show to the stage as both Fay and Dreimanis physically exercise their interpersonal demons via everything from bite marks to blown kisses. Even the line between spectator and spectacle blurs as some crowd members in themselves become a canvas for the art being produced onstage.

It’s a relationship full of extremes, both poetic and musical. The lyrics seem to skew an onlooker’s perspective of the ever-morphing relationship these two share. The sonic dynamics, on the other hand, are equally polarizing, from whiskey-whetted lyrics at the forefront of a few softly-strummed chords to a flurry of frantic shouting, overdriven guitars, and pulsating rhythms. The loudest louds, the most haunting quiets.

July Talk is currently at work on their debut LP, eyeing a fall 2012 release on White Girl Records. Should it contain even a fraction of the passion and in-your-face frenzy of one of the band’s performances, there’s no question it’ll capture ears and propel them to new plateaus in new places.

In the meantime, see them soon, because as their audience continues to expand, so too does the likelihood that they won’t remain a secret much longer. As the story of their origins only exemplifies, you really never know who might be listening at any given time.

Band Members