Modern Superstitions
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Modern Superstitions

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | MAJOR

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | MAJOR
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“This sneaky little minx dangles forth a poppy red herring seemingly in dancer of drowning beneath its own new wave styling’s, while covertly seeping through the skin of the unsuspecting listener. So much so that by the time the opening track ‘Go Between’ is driving away the hooks are firmly embedded and the net is tightened. This is achieved largely by weaving infectious melodies around basslines with more than a casual smearing of The Jam about them, and Pied Piper drumbeats that could make a limbless torso tap along. It’s only failing is that it’s too damn short! – Rock Sound: New Music First - Rock Sound


Toronto’s Modern Superstitions pack quite a punch with this, their debut EP, which offers six tracks which encompass a whole bunch of influences, but generally fall under the punk-indie banner. With jaunty rhythms and some spiky guitars, the band echo the cream of the crop of female-fronted punk bands who have strutted their stuff over the years, from Blondie to The Distillers. Meanwhile, there’s a quality to Modern Superstitions’ sound that’s reminiscent of Razorlight. Opener ‘The Go-Between’ is straight forward, setting the scene nicely with blitzing guitars, but is perhaps a little forgettable. Next comes ‘Visions Of You’, where the band’s mix of genres is revealed. One moment vocalist Nyssa Rosaleen is crooning soulfully like some remnant from the golden age of Motown, and then suddenly everything picks up again, and Rosaleen is angrily squawking like the best of them. So does it work? It certainly offers some interesting twists and turns which help keep Modern Superstitions sounding fresh for most of the EP. Meanwhile, the band’s occasional aggro overtures sometimes come off as hack-eyed and tiresome. Overall, this is a generally winsome bunch of tunes which keep you on your toes. - Shout4Music


All The Things We’ve Been Told is an excellent debut release from Toronto three-piece Modern Superstitions: strident guitars, no-nonsense four-on-the-floor drums, solid bass and female vocals are embellished by stripped-back production which fits the sound perfectly. In deciding not to tinker too much with the group’s basic sound, Sloan’s Patrick Pentland has overseen a mini-album which is eminently listenable and in which every nuance can be heard clearly. Imagine The Clash, The Jam or The Who with Deborah Harry on vocals, or The Raveonettes without the distortion and you’ll get the gist. The band’s raw sound should work superbly live, but it also gives an honest feel to this studio set. A full album is certainly something to look forward in the (hopefully) not too distant future. - Music Fix


Modern Superstitions are the youthful sound of a Blondie, a Chrissie Hynde, a bit of 'that' Kate Nash vibe and maybe even a splash of Dexy's Midnight Runners. Where's this going I'm asking myself? I will tell you, straight to the top of your music shopping list. Now for me this good, and I mean really good. Style and a great sound are the fundamentals for these guys. I love it.
Six tracks with a real freshness and urgency about them. It's got so many different genres of style it really is something else. My favourite of all is 'Visions of You', a real jazzy, Motown number. It's got that "ooh-la, ooh-la" chorus, rumberling underlying drums and brilliant twangy guitar. It seems a track way ahead of the band's tender teenage years. It's one of the best things I've heard in ages. I'm also drawn to a punky, Pretenders feel on the track 'Go Between' - the bass line at the start really stands out. Top draw. All six tracks are, as is often the case with these things about lost love or broken hearts. But this time we have a set of songs that I just need to keep playing and playing and playing again. Nyssa Rosaleen's voice is both powerful and silky but above all instantly likeable.
I really can't get enough of Modern Superstitions. The band are from Toronto and need to come over to tour the UK, NOW. This EP goes straight into this year's Top 10 for me. Outstanding. - All Gigs UK


There is a distinct lack of feminine presence in the music scene these days, and whilst this status seems to be improving, it’s still not quite a balanced act yet but it’s bands like Modern Superstitions who make you wish things would change more rapidly.

Kicking off with a catchy pop theme in ‘Go Between’, ‘All The Things We’ve Been Told’ is a listen that entrhalls you with its pop nature whilst being cleverly entwined with some indie rock which we are used to seeing being produced in the UK. Lazy comparisons will most certainly be made with bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s and whilst frontwoman Nyssa bares similar vocal techniques to Karen O, that’s just about where the similarities end. The songs here have attitude and not just in the vocals but in the ripping guitar solos in songs such as the ‘Love That Beats My Heart’. The music is well layered, and there is enough variety in the mix to keep things interesting whilst managing sounding quite minimalistic. The tracks on offer are a varied bunch, showing off the bands musical capabilities from different angles.

The EP clocks in at just under 20 minutes, and it is time well spent if you’re into your indie rock. There’s still room for improvement here, the EP could have done without ‘Everything That Is Not Mine’, which doesn’t offer the EP much, but the rest of the music more than makes up for this. ‘All The Things We’ve Been Told’ is a good EP, but the band have a long way to go to fully impress before a full length record is released. One thing’s for sure, I’m intrigued to see what this band have up their sleeve for future releases. - Daily Dischord


How often have you read about this band or that being touted as ‘the next big thing? The music industry of course couldn’t function without the ‘hype machine’ but more often than not the machinery breaks down dramatically and the band never fulfil their promise.

So I’m certainly not going to promote Toronto’s MODERN SUPERSTITIONS as being in that category. But by f**k me, they’re good! Excellent, in fact – one of he best, if not THE best new band I’ve heard this year!

‘All The Things We’ve Been Told’ EP comprises six tracks spanning twenty minutes. Each track is sufficiently different in content, but succeeds in retaining a definitive style and delivery that stamps the band’s own identity.

OK – so the intros and rhythm on a couple of songs flash up the words ‘Vampire Weekend’ in my head, but there is far more substance to MODERN SUPERSTITIONS and not an ounce of ‘twee’ in their DNA. There is a confident swagger about their music and a maturity that belies their teenage years shines through. And yet it all seems so relaxed. There is no sense of them trying to push any boundaries, to take their songs some place they have yet to visit.

This is most true with the vocal performance of singer Nyssa Rosaleen. Not that this will mean much to many readers, but her tone and inflection seems to (obviously coincidently) combine the talents of Glasgow band Astral Planes’ vocalist Jen Paley and Bec Newman from the now defunct Cardiff band, The Hot Puppies. (Not for Loud Horizon the lazy ‘high profile’ comparisons, oh no, no, no! It may come as a surprise to some writers, but not every female vocalist sounds like or takes inspiration from Karen O!) What I mean is that Nyssa has the ability to swing between late Seventies New York scene ‘cool’ and a more modern, classical style.

Opening song ‘Go-Between’ (see video below for a live performance) is very much bass-led and bouncy with nice little guitar hooks. The vocals are clear, strong, melodic but with a little bit added growl at points, giving off just the right amount of ‘attitude.’ ‘Visions Of You’ has a very familiar initial bassline – like some Sixties soul song, perhaps? And when the chorus comes in, I defy anyone of a certain age (or has recently been to a wedding party) not to think of ‘Come On Eileen’ by Dexy’s Midnight Runners!

‘Everything That Is Not Mine’ sees the band take a little ‘breather’ from the early pace they set, although the intensity builds through the song, dropping and building again. Nyssa’s voice ranges from almost ‘polite’ shouting, to smooth and velvety.

‘Beck And Call’ rather ironically reminds me of Bec Newman from The Hot Puppies, especially so at the chorus. The vocals are high toned, crystal clear and with just that ever so slight tremolo. Again, the song has an infectious bounce, and the ‘Vampire Weekend’ reference pokes its head through again with some of the guitar lines playing over the rhythm section.

‘Love That Beats My Heart’ is a bit more strident in attitude and delivery, veering more towards a pop-punk sensibility, while closer ‘Mercy Line’ starts out more as a little rocker – perhaps with Country Rock influences – and a Sixties style ‘doo wop’ harmony popping up mid-song. It’s quite a fascinating mix of styles.

This is one mightily impressive debut. MODERN SUPERSTITIONS have the look; they have the tunes; they have my support.

Goddamn! Maybe they just WILL be ‘the next big thing!’
- Loud Horizon


Not in a long while have I heard an album bursting with this much youth. That is the best way to describe how I felt when listening to this debut EP from Toronto’s Modern Superstitions.

The six-song EP was even produced by Patrick Pentland of none other than Sloan, a band that Modern Superstitions has had the pleasure to play with before.

The EP itself is highly, almost insanely, catchy. Every song is bursting with spunk and energy, from the blistering opener “Go Between” to the a-la-50's-style “Beck & Call.” This band seems to be a band that can get a crowd dancing really, really quickly.

Lead singer Nyssa Rosaleen has a lot of power in her voice that carries well all six songs, and her vocals are backed up well with great guitar and drums. The insane catchiness I described earlier stems mainly from a few of the song’s hooks. For example, in “Visions Of You” you will often hear “ooh-ah ooh-ah ooh-a ooh.”

There isn’t too much more I can say here- but what I can say is that this EP will be well worth your money, and makes me look forward to what this band can put out next. - grey point pwl


Teeming with as much exuberant enthusiasm as Operator Please hitting legal drinking age thrashing about amongst broken bottles of Bud on the barroom floor, Toronto's Modern Superstitions are infantile enough to get you knocking years off your age in order to surreptitiously sneak into Underage Festival.

Tearing through six tracks oozing undying urgency and an avid major key infatuation, the adolescent trio comprised of Nyssa, Matthew and Harry purvey a musical passion far beyond their years, as Everything That Is Not Mine flits between Shangri-Las harmonies and vehement CBGB punk screech, whilst Visions Of You is Dexy's Midnight Runners chasing Motown bass lines around blocks of battered drum kit. Opener Go Between straddles retrospective sheen pop and a boisterous modernity, all in 4/4 time, Beck & Call with its originality-imbued guitar stabs and sassy vocals recalls She & Him were Zooey Deschanel's primary objective to decapitate Kate Nash in as economical a timescale as possible, and Love That Beats My Heart takes up the brattish pop punk paintbrushes of Be Your Own Pet in order to depict an abrasively beguiling portrait of love, the sort that Blood Red Shoes oft stamp all over. Mercy Line, flailing fervently in rickety guitar shackles is doo-wop overcooked and sounds all too similar to the tumbledown trash of The Rumble Strips, yet there's more than enough meat on the bones of an EP/LP hybrid to aliment many a teenage rebellion bashed out behind bedroom doors slammed shut. - Dots and Dashes


eeming with as much exuberant enthusiasm as Operator Please hitting legal drinking age thrashing about amongst broken bottles of Bud on the barroom floor, Toronto's Modern Superstitions are infantile enough to get you knocking years off your age in order to surreptitiously sneak into Underage Festival.

Tearing through six tracks oozing undying urgency and an avid major key infatuation, the adolescent trio comprised of Nyssa, Matthew and Harry purvey a musical passion far beyond their years, as 'Everything That Is Not Mine' flits between Shangri-Las harmonies and vehement CBGB punk screech, whilst 'Visions Of You' is Dexy's Midnight Runners chasing Motown bass lines around blocks of battered drum kit.

Opener 'Go Between' straddles retrospective sheen pop and a boisterous modernity, all in 4/4 time, 'Beck & Call' with its originality-imbued guitar stabs and sassy vocals recalls She & Him were Zooey Deschanel's primary objective to decapitate Kate Nash in as economical a timescale as possible, and 'Love That Beats My Heart' takes up the brattish pop punk paintbrushes of Be Your Own Pet in order to depict an abrasively beguiling portrait of love, the sort that Blood Red Shoes oft stamp all over.

'Mercy Line', flailing fervently in rickety guitar shackles is doo-wop overcooked and sounds all too similar to the tumbledown trash of The Rumble Strips, yet there's more than enough meat on the bones of an EP/LP hybrid to aliment many a teenage rebellion bashed out behind bedroom doors slammed shut.
- Virgin


If there seems to be something familiar about these youngsters, that's because there is. There's a good chance you've seen them tearing up southern Ontario as The Superstitions over the last couple of years.

This first EP under their new name carries six samples of what the foursome do best: blistering, girl-sung power-pop that's comparable to the Gramercy Riffs or the Blue Sky Addicts (with a little extra punch).

Not everything here is happy-go-lucky (though, truth be told, the album's pinnacle is the "Ooh-ah, ooh-ah" chorus of "Visions Of You"). There are also a few nuggets of thrash lurking about that'll periodically pop in to jolt you out of an inevitable case of euphoric head-bobbing.

Singer Nyssa Rosaleen describes this EP well on "Beck & Call": "Tell me the truth about love. Will it hold me soft or treat me rough?"

It's a decent parallel for the way All The Things We've Been Told treats a listener. - Chartattack


Oh, the irony. Toronto, ON's new hip young rockers, with an affinity for the word "modern" (they even changed their moniker to include it), actually have quite the vintage touch. Most of that feel is due to frontwoman Nyssa Rosaleen's velvety voice, as she pushes it to the limits of rock, paired with up-and-down guitars fit for jukeboxes. This six-song-long EP, dripping with keen attitude and melodies, was produced by Sloan's Patrick Pentland. The four-piece of Rosaleen, Matthew Aldred, Harry Burgess and Ben Reinhartz are transforming the idea of wanting something badly enough into music that can knock you over with one strong chord. Their punch is undeniable, from the fuzzy jams on the psychedelic "Love that Beats My Heart" and "Mercy Line" to the catchy, finger-snapping beat of "Visions of You." Their growth is steady and we'll all be shaking in our boots as they blaze past. - Exclaim magazine


Much has been made of the just barely out-of-adolescence make-up of of the majority of the members of Toronto's Modern Superstitions. On their attitudinal new EP, the childhood friends capitalize on the fire of youth without resorting to pastiche to achieve a sound far older than their ages.

All The Things We've Been Told is a fast-hitting mix of Motown swagger and Pretenders spirit that takes no time at all to establish its strategy. From the amped-up beat of opener "Go Between" (streaming to the right) and the intricate guitar and bass interplay, it's a wonderfully jacked new wave intro for singer Nyssa Rosaleen's straightforwardly sweet vocals, which themselves waste no time showing off their duality; as the song launches into the chorus, Rosaleen dips into a scratchy, throaty growl that never outdoes itself as more than a subtle little snap in the surface.

This is used to even better effect on "Visions of You," where the sparse, sort of dark bass-driven verses belie the chorus. What starts as an "ooh-ahh" whisper quickly (thankfully) turns into a satisfying punk-worthy anthem, with everything but those vocals once again all but hiding in the background. If there was one moment on this EP where a little more, shamelessly bigger guitar feels like it's missing, it would be here. Otherwise, the lines are kept minimal and clean, lead and rhythm nearly indistinguishable, instead weaving themselves all Talking Heads–like into a bigger part of the whole sound.

Kudos must be given to the producer Patrick Pentland (of Sloan fame), who keeps this sound very consistent and focused and also probably had something to do with the tiny country-pop lean in "Everything Is Not Mine," not altogether different than some of his own quieter pop ballads from Sloan's catalogue.

The combo power-pop progressions and post-punk angles of "Beck and Call," a standout on the EP, highlight that these flavours, while decidedly intentional, are also expertly restrained, something that can be said about All The Things We've Been Told—and the young band—as a whole - Torontoist


Discography

All The Things We've Been Told (EP) 2010

CMJ Debut #122
Steve Lamacq BBC6Music
#12 Earshot (Canada)

Photos

Bio

Modern Superstitions are an intense new band hailing out of Toronto, a trio of childhood pals specializing in an original vision that blends pop, rock, punk and Motown with the melodic invention of a White Stripes and the sparse vigor of a Velvet Underground.

Hailed by Chart Attack as a band to watch in the future, Modern Superstitions’ teenage members -- leather-lunged singer Nyssa, guitarist Matthew and bass player Harry -- offer compelling life observations on the dramatically spunky “Go Between” and the powerful “Mercy Line” with an eye on achieving three noble ambitions: great songwriting, integrity and longevity.

A voice of today’s times that will resonate tomorrow and for years to come, Modern Superstitions in the must-hear, must-see band of the moment, and the next necessary step in your personal chain of music discovery. The time for enlightenment is now.

Have shared the stage with… Jay Retard, Reigning Sound, Jeff and the Brotherhood, Sloan, The Hold Steady and more to come...