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Topanga

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
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Those who like energetic, infectious indie rock need only wait another week. That's because on February 15th Toronto quartet Topanga release their debut 7" Oceans.

The single (with flipside "Mabu"), was produced by Jon Drew (The Arkells, Tokyo Police Club).

Topanga are currently preparing their debut full length, so this hot little number will have to tide you over for now.

Topanga play a 7" release show at Sneaky Dee's in Toronto on February 24th. - Snob's Music


Topanga's garage-punk track "Lionheart" opens our collection this week - a song that starts off with a monster-movie scream - something we all probably did as kids when we heard that final school bell ring. "Lionheart" has it all: vein-surging riffs, snappy shouts and chants, claps, and drums that will knock the thoughts of work out of your head. - Blog TO


Tomorrow, Topanga releases their debut 7?, Oceans, on Hollerado’s Royal Mountain Records, available as a free download through the band’s website and on hand-numbered silk-screened vinyl February 21. Recorded with Jon Drew (behind the boards for bands like Tokyo Police Club and Fucked Up), you can download or stream the b-side to Oceans, “Mabu,” below. Then check out Topanga’s upcoming tour dates and how to win tickets and a copy of their record. - AUX


Guess what, Topanga are not American. Turns out they are from Toronto. Perhaps you already knew that, and why wouldn’t you? For the life of me I don’t know why I assumed these four fine gentlemen were from south of the border (they’ve actually been covered by the Ack on the hill before), perhaps it was their excellent, Boy Meets World-reffing name that threw me off.

Whatever the case, I’d been ignorleteing (ignorlete, a music blogger word I just made up, feel free to use it) emails about them because of it. As per usual, my ignorance and confusion was working against me, as Topanga write “irresistibly catchy, riff-heavy songs dripping with energy and wrapped in the essence of youth.” All of which I can get behind.

And I’d better get behind them whilst they are still in the hill’s wheelhouse, because with their sound, and with the backing of indie radio favourites Hollerado (who are putting out Topanga’s new 7? on their label), it seems very likely that this is a band that won’t need help from the likes of us very much longer. The songs on their recent 7?, Oceans and Mabu (yes, that Mabou), burst by in a brief flash of drums, wailing riffs and earnest, shout-alone melodies, all of which leaves me hoping there’s a full-length in the works. Oh, and what’s with the Mabou connection? Frontman Stefan Babcock explains:

They were inspired by time I spent living out of a 1995 Toyota Camry on Canada’s East Coast. I named the car “Mabu” after the Mi’kmaq name for a small harbour town on the shore of Cape Breton Island, where one night I accidentally drove her into a lake. I have since driven Mabu into many other lakes and other places cars shouldn’t go.

Accidentally drove your car into the lake? Who hasn’t pulled that move once or thrice. - HeroHill


Aside from their great Boy Meets World-copping namesake, Toronto band Topanga craft poppy, punky indie rock built on strong harmonies, catchy guitar lines and a sonic, emotional edge. On their website, listeners can download their first EP Oceans for free and stream the titular track and a b-side "Mabu." It's fairly irresistible. - Toronto.com


The shouty-yet-melodic pop-punkish set was definitely turned up to 11 on the energy scale.

Best Moment: Seeing that Topanga was nervous about playing a brand new song as their encore performance, only to have the crowd love it just as much as every other song the band played throughout the night.
Miscellaneous: We’re starting to hear more and more good things about Topanga. Some big CMW acts are big-time supporters of this band, as we were told by both Wildlife and Rich Aucoin that we would not be disappointed by Topanga. They were so right. - Torontoist


Producer Jon Drew has worked his magic on Fucked Up (Hidden World, The Chemistry of Common Life) and Tokyo Police Club (Elephant Shell), and now he lends his dense rock sound to Toronto indie outfit Topanga. “Oceans” is one of two newly released songs by the band, who are distributing download codes in Pog form. (Yes, those pogs.) Press play, rock out, repeat. - CHART


In this age of social networking, face to face contact has taken a bit of a back seat. Or at least that’s what we’re told. I don’t actually think that our friends on Facebook have really replaced anything, more that they've added another layer to the social experience. Still, it’s always nice to see that people enjoy getting together.

And one way that I enjoy my friends is through our monthly book club. Maybe it’s the focus, or the wine… what ever – it is a truly fun way to get something useful done and well, eat snacks and drink wine.

On today’s show I’m joined by Zach Mycula, drummer for the Toronto band Topanga. Not only do these guys get together to practice and play, but they also meet weekly for a weekly Record Club, which is a great idea.

They post the album up for discussion on their tumblr site, so you could play along at home, too. Here's the gist:

"The four of us have this tradition we call “Record Club”. It’s like a book club, but with music. Every Sunday one band member picks a record for the rest of us to listen to. It’s a pretty sweet excuse for us to hang out together, drink beer, and talk about our favourite bands.?"

I’ll talk to Zach about the club, and touring stories at other types of clubs. But before then:

DO YOU BELONG TO ANY CLUBS??

Or if you want to get any clubs going on a less face-to-face way, here's your chance.
- CBC Radio 3


Legend has it that the self-proclaimed ugliest band in the world started in Toronto after drinking so much that one of the band’s would-be members puked. There may be a few plotholes in the narrative, but that’s story the band members are going with. Since then, Topanga has recorded its first few songs in a slaughterhouse-turned-recording studio and played at NXNE. The guys behind Topanga are Stefan Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula, and Steve Sladkowski (the aforementioned puker and also the official band drunk tweeter). Despite the band’s curated party animal reputation, its music is delightfully and surprisingly sober and soothing. Topanga is releasing its 7-inch, Oceans, this month. - The A.V. Club


Toronto newcomers Topanga recently inked a deal with Hollerado's Royal Mountain Records label, and they are gearing up to release their new seven-inch this month. The single is due out on Wednesday (February 15), and you can now listen to the A-side "Oceans."

The release, which also features the B-side "Mabu," was produced by Jon Drew (Tokyo Police Club, Arkells, Fucked Up), and it's no surprise that it caught Hollerado's ear, since these fiery tracks are packed with scorching guitars and hooky harmony-laden pop melodies.

In a statement, Topanga frontman Stefan Babcock explains that these are "two rambunctious songs full of gang vocals and unbridled enthusiasm. The songs were inspired by time I spent living out of a 1995 Toyota Camry on Canada's East Coast." Fittingly, that car was nicknamed Mabu.

Stream and/or download "Oceans" below. The vinyl is due out on February 21 and includes custom hand-numbered, silk-screened posters/sleeves, available in red, yellow, green and blue. This week Topanga will also kick off a string of Ontario tour dates. You can see the schedule below.

Tour dates:

2/16 London, ON - Call the Office *
2/24 Toronto, ON - Sneaky Dee's (Oceans release show)
3/2 Montreal, QC - L'Esco ^
3/8 London, ON - APK Live #
3/10 Guelph, ON - Jimmy Jazz
3/17 Oshawa, ON - E.P. Taylors (Durham College)
3/24 Kingston, ON ON - Mansion House &
3/29 Hamilton, ON - This Ain't Hollywood

* with Hollerado and the Snips
^ with Honheehonhee
# with the Balconies
& with The Junction
- Exclaim!


A relatively new, young Toronto four-piece upping the Canadian pop-punx in a way we sorely lack. This new seven-inch Oceans was produced by Jon Drew and was scooped up by Hollerado’s new label, Royal Mountain Records, and it’s a deliriously infectious, too-short gut-punch. Yes, please! More, please! - AUX


It’s been a year since I first saw Topanga live. I was hooked since that faithful second night of CMW2011 at the Silver Dollar at 2am. These guys are just fun; as people and as musicians. They all clearly love what they do, and love that they’re doing it with each other (ok, that sounded dirtier than anticipated). All jokes aside, Topanga knows what it takes to make an impression with every performance. It goes to show that comfortability with each other can go a long way on stage. They are gracious, humble performers that know that you can’t just depend on the music to get your point across during a live show. Though really, their tunes are really effing good so everything else they put forth is just gravy. Their music is what the indie kids are feeding into their ear holes right now, and has the stability to be timeless I’m sure.

Topanga ended their set with a whole whack of covers and invited members from each of the bands that played before them on stage to sing along (with the exception of The Dirty Nil since they had to leave early on); starting with Weezer’s “Surf Wax America” with Peter from Teenage Kicks on vocals. Next was Gob’s “I Hear You Calling” with Adam from Sweet Mack. Everyone came on stage for their closing number “Last Night” by The Strokes. I lose my shit whenever bands do this at the end of a night, I wish this happened more. The crowd was good and sloshed by the last few tunes so everyone was in high spirits and loving life. Happy Paint Satrick’s Day, Durham. - The Take Media


Live in concert, Topanga is what rock and roll is all about: loud, catchy riffs, full-bodied vocals, and raw energy. Taking to the stage at Jimmy Jazz on Mar. 10 to promote their new seven-inch Oceans, they were the spicy meat in a tasty indie-rock sandwich between Boys Who Say No, and local act Bill Killionaire.
Topanga’s stage presence exuded enthusiasm and charisma. Jumping around the tiny stage with sock-footed front-man Stefan Babcock occasionally climbing on amps, they were quick to get the audience dancing along. For all the prancing about, it was a wonder they hit any of the right chords at all, let alone maintain the tight sound they did.
Talking to Babcock and drummer Zack Mykula after the set, they answered a question that must be on any listener’s mind: is the band named after the character of the same name from the TV show Boy Meets World?
“Yeah, she’s the love of our lives,” said Babcock says, also adding that Topanga is a picturesque canyon in California, a fact that resonated with the band, who wrote many of their songs either about or while camping.
Their song writing is also inspired by Mabu, Babcock’s rickety car that has survived several misadventures, including being driven into a lake and braving questionable roads in the Northwest Territories. The car is currently being held together with a ballpoint pen.
The band has only been together for about a year, but has gained rapid success thanks to the support of Hollerado, who asked them to tour and signed them to their label, Royal Mountain Records. Oceans was produced by John Drew, who has worked with Tokyo Police Club, Arkells, and Fucked Up.
“He made us a real band,” said Babcock.
Part of the reason their sound is so tight is likely that Mykula and the other members of the band – guitarist Steve Sladkowski and bassist Nestor Chumak – have been long-time friends; Mykula and Chumak have known each other 13 years. The band hails from Toronto, but Sladkowski studied jazz guitar at the University of Guelph, graduating in 2010.
Their success hasn’t come without hard work, though. Babcock said the band typically plays three to four shows a week at venues around Ontario, while simultaneously keeping full-time jobs. It isn’t uncommon for them to get to bed at five or six in the morning after a show and make it to work bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by nine.
“We’re pretty much the worst employees ever,” Mykula jokes.
As I left them to have a beer or two, Babcock added, “That’s another reason we’re terrible workers. No self control.” So it turns out they are what rock and roll is about off-stage, too. - The Ontarion (University of Guelph Student Newspaper)


I write Quick Before It Melts alone, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a collaborator. You see, my cat, Rufus, is usually close at hand when I’m sitting at my desk working on posts. Actually, he’s usually right on the desk, either between my body and the keyboard (awkward for typing) or between keyboard and monitor (much more comfortable). He’s been hanging out this way for quite some time, and has developed his own unique taste in music. As I jump around from sample track to sample track, he acts as a barometer of sorts. if a song doesn’t scare him away, then it’s usually worth another listen; if he starts rubbing his head on the desk and turns belly side up for a rub down, I take it to mean he’s giving the current song his seal of approval.
The boys in Toronto based band Topanga have a fan in Rufus. He’s digging their debut single “Oceans” something fierce, as am I. It’s produced by Jon Drew, whose proven track record working with Tokyo Police Club, Fucked Up and Arkells hints at what you should expect from Topanga: scrappy, guitar driven pop brimming with enthusiasm, spirit, and a little touch of devilishness. I missed their recent gig in Welland supporting Hollerado at the Rex Hotel, but folks in Oshawa, Kingston and Hamilton shouldn’t make the same mistake: March 17, Oshawa at E.P. Taylors (Durham College); March 24, Kingston at Mansion House (with The Junction); March 29, Hamilton at This Ain’t Hollywood. - Quick Before It Melts


A few Fridays back, saw two absolute powerhouses of the on-the-rise Toronto indie-music scene celebrating with music releases at Sneaky Dee’s and the Horseshoe Tavern. I can only imagine how many people were collectively in attendance at those shows, so admittedly we’re rather stoked that both Topanga and the Elwins will be on the stage back-to-back on Sunday night of the festival at Rancho Relaxo.

If anyone has the energy and enthusiasm to still be standing — and more than likely drinking — at the end of the festival, it’s Topanga! Their music literally shoots out of an indie-rock cannon. The only other band I can really think of that does indie-rock with this much enthusiasm and energy right now is Honheehonehee — and not surprisingly, those bands have become quite fond of sharing bills together.

Having just released a 7? titled Oceans, Topanga’s star just continues to rise. The only complaint I have about it is it leaves me wanting so much more than just two songs! Perhaps that’s because the whole she-bang only runs for just under five minutes? Topanga have been putting the punk ethic into explosive Toronto indie-rock since 2011. The 7? was recorded with the help of Jon Drew (Tokyo Police Club, Fucked Up, Arkells) and is being released by Royal Mountain Records, who are one of the most forward-thinking and exciting label outfits going right now. In fact, I have a little gentlemen’s bet with Vince of Royal Mountain Records that Topanga won’t even have any of their seven-inches left by the end of the festival. That, my friends, is a problem well worth having.

I’d be being totally and unfairly biased if I didn’t mention that you actually have two chances to see Topanga during the festival, as they’ll also be playing the Silver Dollar at midnight on Thursday. The only downer about that is it means that they and Honheehonhee will be in the same time slot. The plus side is they both play loud enough you might be able to hear them from anywhere in between the two venues. In the meantime I strongly suggest looking up @Topangamusic on the Twitter as they are probably the most entertaining Toronto act to follow there, as far as I am concerned.

What I really love about Topanga is that they aren’t only writing and playing great music but they are out there supporting it and living it constantly. All types of music. Topanga aren’t too cool for you in a time when being too cool is all too cool, if you catch what I’m saying. It’s actually why they are a perfect crescendo to what will be a festival at Rancho Relaxo booked by Two Way Monologues with that very same ethic.

One more time: Sunday March 25th at 12:00 sharp. You can see the full lineup for the night here – just scroll down to Rancho. If you want you can buy advance tickets as well, or you can save a few bucks and get em at the door. Just come early because if there is any justice in this indie music world, that show is going to be crammed!

Listen here! - Two Way Monologues


Topanga will release Oceans, the debut 7-inch , which will then be available for free digitally on February 15. Oceans - and its b-side Mabu - are a perfect introduction to the ridiculously infectious enthusiasm that defines the Toronto quartet.

Physical copies of Oceans will be available at select indie retailers February 21. Each copy of the limited run includes custom hand-numbered/silk-screened poster sleeves (available in red, yellow, green and blue) and custom Topanga digital download POGs.

Topanga will celebrate the release of Oceans February 24 at Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto with Modern Superstitions, Grounders and The Fabulous Yawn in support.

Singer Stefan Babcock talks about the tracks: “They were inspired by time I spent living out of a 1995 Toyota Camry on Canada's East Coast. I named the car "Mabu" after the Mi'kmaq name for a small harbour town on the shore of Cape Breton Island, where one night I accidentally drove her into a lake. I have since driven Mabu into many other lakes and other places cars shouldn't go.”

This release follows a stellar year for Topanga - the band went from playing its first ever show to performances at Pop Montreal, CMW and NXNE and dates with Parlovr, Young Rival, The Darcys and more. - UnNomDeGuerre


Toronto, Ontario’s Topanga have released their sophomore EP Oceans, which follows up 2010's Lionheart EP. Oceans sees Topanga release their first physical 7?, which is also available for free download.

Topanga channel the indie folk aesthetic of early Fake Problems tied with a distinctly Canadiana feel ala Thrush Hermit and The Weakerthans, given that all the aforementioned parties had a little too much whiskey on a Tuesday night. It’s catchy, it’s infective and it’s endearing.

Download Oceans for free from Topanga here. Catch up with Topanga on one of their upcoming Ontario tour dates. - The 1st Five


The oldest and most fundamental ingredient in rock music is passion — something that Toronto band Topanga have in spades. The band — Stefan Babcock and Steve Sladkowski on vocals and guitar, Nestor Chumak on bass and Zack Mykula on vocals and drums — is a four-piece rock group from Toronto. Young both in terms of age and also band longevity, they are every bit as robust and memorable as the teen heartthrob from whom they adopted their name.

Fast becoming known for their high-energy sets, Topanga formed out of jams around August 2010 and have been gaining momentum ever since. The band wasted no time in recording their chemistry, and in fact their first gig together as a unit was their EP release show in January 2011.

Despite what they may have yet to achieve in terms of their band's age, they've made a clear and unmistakable impression in the last year on the Toronto music scene and beyond, playing over 50 shows across Ontario and Quebec and performing festivals like Canadian Music Week, NXNE and Pop Montréal in 2011.

And while they are all individually talented and technically sound, the most commanding details of their performances are in their high energy and positive vibes. But you needn't take my word for it — that debut EP I mentioned is now and has been available all along for free download in exchange for a Like on their Facebook profile at facebook.com/musicoftopanga.

"We're all kind of shocked at the last year," frontman Babcock said. "Not to say we don't take the band seriously — because we absolutely do — but we really didn't expect to care quite so much."

Now in 2012, Topanga is showing no signs at all of stopping. They've recently finished a monthlong jaunt in-studio with megaproducer Jon Drew, who has famously produced brilliant albums by Tokyo Police Club, Arkells, Fucked Up and more.

"He is magical," Babcock said bluntly, smiling. "He makes us sound like a real band ... we're really excited to share our new music with the world."

The plan to do so is outlined at present in two stages: first, Topanga is planning a 7" release in February before taking the road to tour in March; and second, the band is preparing a full-length album to be released thereafter. While there are no dates announced at this time to come to London, it's a safe bet that it won't be long before they do.

more information on Topanga, visit them online at musicoftopanga.com and check them out on Twitter @topangamusic. Don't forget that their debut EP, four excellent high-energy tunes, the likes of which are sadly scarce on the scene these days, is available for free download on Facebook. - Interrobang (Fanshawe College)


Friday night was one for the record books. With at least four incredible shows going on in the city, it was a music lover’s dream (so many choices!) – and nightmare (why I can’t be everywhere at the same time??). Tasked with choosing just one venue, there was nowhere else I could possibly be than Sneaky Dee’s. As Topanga inspired my very first attempt at a “show review” last May, I knew I wanted to be there to celebrate the release of their 7” Oceans/Mabu.

Having released their previous EP exclusively online (for free!) this 7” represents their first physical release. Produced by Jon Drew (Arkells, Tokyo Police Club) and coming complete with handmade collectible POGs and a silk-screen poster, it is definitely worth the $5.

To say the crowd was eagerly anticipating the arrival of Topanga is a serious understatement. With Sneaky Dee’s jam-packed right up to the stage (Twitter tells us there was a line down the street by 11pm-ish), the drunken cat calls, hoots and hollers from their friends and fans began even before Stefan Babcock (vocals, guitar), Steve Sladkowski (guitar), Nestor Chumak (bass) and Zack Mykula (drums) set foot on stage. Not wasting any time at getting the party started, an instrumental Boney M intro launched right into the raucous new single “Mabu,” a love song written about Babcock’s beloved car. A controlled sort of crazy, Babcock had the biggest smile on his face as he bounced around the stage in his socked feet. A little animal, he even leaped up on to Mykula’s drum kit during the second song, “Back Against the Wall.”

The band then ran through “Sick & Cold,” “Never Try,” and “Yukon,” which showcased Sladkowski’s technical expertise on guitar. There was also some pretty sweet synchronized jumps by all three front-men. And let’s not forget Mykula. Donning his “Don’t Fuck with the Truck” T-shirt, he was a monster on the drums. More like “Don’t Fuck with Mykula” I’d say.

By the time they came to sun-soaked single “Oceans” Sladkowski’s glasses were off and it was game-on. The crowd responded with an unparalleled intensity, rushing the stage, falling over the monitors and drenching Babcock in beer – all in good fun of course. Their set came to a close with an incredible cover of the Hives’ “Because I Wanna” and Babcock launching himself into the crowd during “Lionheart.” With him out of the way, members of the audience finally jumped on stage and took over the mic.

Refusing to allow the night to end just yet, “one more song” was demanded. The band came back to the beer-soaked stage for their first ever encore. Demonstrating their range of musical interests, they went with a rocked-out version of “Our Retired Explorer” by The Weakerthans. Friends Dean Povinsky and Dwayne Christie of Wildlife hopped up and sung along to the catchy refrain of “Oh Antarctica!” before Povinsky also made the dramatic leap into the crowd’s arms – absolutely incredible! “The Shield,” a song about getting drunk with your grandparents, finally ended their set.

If you like fun, you will love Topanga, and their live show is definitely a Must See. The most apt description is perhaps this: “It’s like “BRRRR, ROCK, and then like FUN TIME, like PARTY TIME, like DANCE, DANCE TIME.” It comes with the following guarantees: 1) They will melt your face off. 2)They will insist you get drunk with them. 3) Most importantly, they will win your heart – for keepsies. - Buying Shots For Bands


Toronto indie rock quartet TOPANGA are known around the city for their rowdy live shows laced with witty banter and (occasionally crowd-supported) always ridiculous antics... - The Indie Machine


The chemistry on display and the banter between songs prove that the four friends that make up Topanga are inseparable. Playing their songs fast, loud and with enthusiasm, Topanga are exactly the kind of band you want to see in the tightly packed basement venue... Topanga brought boundless energy to their quirky and irresistibly catchy single “Lionheart.” - Spill Magazine


Toronto’s Topanga have been on the radar for a while now after releasing their debut EP at the beginning of the year. If you haven’t had the chance to pick it up, head over to their Bandcamp page to download it for free.

The band just released a live video for Lionheart – check it out below. In other news, they will be playing NXNE on June 18th at The Comfort Zone – get out and show your support. For more info on Topanga, visit them over on Facebook.

VIDEO POST
- The Indie Machine


Speaking of bands incapable of being boring, Toronto band Topanga began their set at Comfort Zone nearby shortly after The Schomberg Fair finished at El Mocambo. Exceptionally dark, Comfort Zone made it incredibly difficult to photograph the band performing, although made up for it in sound.

The band sounded great in that small space, playing songs from their four-song EP including fan-favourite "Lionheart", for which they just shot a music video. Their live concert completely belies the fact that they've been gigging together for six months or less, and is worth a watch at every opportunity.
- Interrobang


A couple days ago Topanga released an acoustic video for a song of theirs, The Shield, shot at Ash Bridges bay in Toronto. This performance is full of infectious joy and put a huge smile on my face. Take a couple minutes from your day, and check it out. While you’re at it, have a listen to Topanga’s other stuff. Watch the video here, get acquainted with Topanga (and download their EP free) here. - Sound Vat Music Blog


VIDEO BLOG + LIVE ACOUSTIC PERFORMANCES

"Topanga is the kind of band you want to take to the beach. They can whistle in a coastline of jet-skis, bikini babes, and vodka soaked watermelons one minute, and take you for a long walk along the water, with a bottle of wine and book of Spanish poetry the next. Even cops seem to love them." - The Thrill Is Back // CFRU 93.3 FM


I was surrounded by positive vibes that night – the energetic, well-populated crowd, the encouraging attitude among the bands, and I guess that natural tension release that comes with a Saturday night. Because of all this, I was pumped and ready when Topanga started their set.

There is no argument that Topanga is in their element on stage. Their tunes are catchy, spirited and fresh. Lead singer Stefan, has no qualms with talking to a crowd and reels them in to ultimately win them over by the end of the set. Anyone who wasn’t a fan of these guys at the start of the show was definitely on board by the end of their set. Lead guitarist Steven is completely relaxed and plays with ease, yet the intricacies of his riffs and solos are undeniably impressive. The band as a whole have a well defined identity and sound which simply fuels the fire of their stage presence and overall flare. There is a big difference between being well rehearsed and being comfortable on stage that I notice some bands tend to overlook, but that definitely isn’t the case with Topanga.
- The Take Media


The best way to describe Toronto band Topanga can be summed up in just one word, fun. Sometimes you listen to a band and you just know that it was formed on the basis of a group of good friends that just want to have a great time, play music, drink beer and get laid. All of their songs have quirky hooks, are soaked in energy and seem like they would be the perfect backdrop for a sloppy drunk kegger! Just check out their video for “Lionheart” released today to see what this band is about. I guarantee it'll be more fun than watching season three of Boy Meets World. To tell us more is lead singer Stefan.

INTERVIEW FOLLOWS... - Toronto Music Scene


Topanga’s music is full of a boozy energy that makes for a lively, crowd-pleasing set. This local 4-piece is comprised of Stefan Babcock (vocals, guitar), Nestor Chumak (bass, vocals), Steve Sladkowski (guitar, vocals) and Zack Mykula (drums). For the most part, their songs are quick hitters that easily get the crowd moving and singing along. In fact, most of the crowd at Sneaky Dee’s gathered right up against the front and belted out their big choruses like that of the catchy “Lionheart.”

The guys in Topanga give the impression that they’re just there to have a good time and to make sure the crowd is having just as much fun. While Babcock fronts the band with such exuberance, Sladkowski revealed that Babcock isn’t quite as skilful of a guitar player. He quickly made up for it by saying, “That’s okay. You’ve got such a pretty voice.”

Currently they’ve got their EP available for free from their Bandcamp. It’s a lot of fun, so check it out! But be sure to catch them live, as Topanga’s energetic live show is how they’re meant to be experienced.
- Buying Shots For Bands


For some reason – not just to scan back episodes to find members of Rilo Kiley patrolling the halls – I watched a ton of Boy Meets World when I was younger. I knew the ups and downs of young Corey Matthews, his principal, best friend and long time girlfriend as well as I knew my own friends. Hmm. That sounded less lame before I typed it out.

So, when @roundletters suggested I check out Toronto’s Topanga, how could I say no? Naturally, I assume a band that plays Gob covers – side note, remember how bad ass You’re Too Cool was? – took their name from Danielle Fishel’s character on the show and really, that’s the only introduction I need.

Their debut, self-titled EP is four songs full of gang vocals and energetic, huge riffs. I don’t really hear much of the folk side of the folk/punk description as the ramshackle, rough hooks are driven by sweat and beers, not tears in beers, but that doesn’t take away from end result. “Lionheart” and “Back Against the Wall” surge forward with a reckless urgency that is all but forgotten in today’s scene and “Fogo Island” melds horns and metal guitars into a frantic, swirling outro, hinting at bolder arrangements in the near future for this young band. Even when Topanga slows it down, like they do on the country-fried, slow burner “Whiskey & Water”, the song feels more like the smooth, warm burn you get from a shot of brown than an airy, anthem for the people.

And really, let’s be thankful for that. We have enough sad-sack, finger pickers putting cliched hearts on thrift store, cowboy shirt sleeves. Topanga seem quite happy to plug in, get loud, drink beers and have fun. With summer starting, who can’t get behind that?
- Herohill


This foursome have so much energy that it’s hard not to get pumped up when listening to racing party rock songs like “Lionheart” and “Back Against the Wall”. Their four-track self-titled EP is contagious, has a good balance of raw attitude and soft justice, so it’s an all-around good selection for backyard activities. - Dorkshelf Music Blog


"Lionheart is a rousing indie rock track that bursts forward with the energy and excitement that Tokyo Police Club had a few years ago... The catchy chorus, gang vocals and upbeat nature of the track definitely brings forth a familiarity that one can’t quite place..." - The Panic Manual


"Whiskey and Water” is a tune that is as gorgeous as anything Wilco or Drive By Truckers ever made. You should go download the EP if only just to hear that song, I’m serious... Throw in the fact that they’ve only been together for less than a year and there’s nothing stopping them. - Turn The Record Over


"[Topanga was] nothing short of amazing, effortlessly transitioning from the dance-party infused rock songs from their EP to punk rock jams to a twangy tune about drinking with your grandparents... Mull over the fact that they have only been together for a few short months!! You would never think that based on their comfort and presence on stage. Throw in Stefan’s witty stage banter... and the band’s unyielding energy and you can be sure that these guys have a great future ahead of them!" - Ciao Bella


Discography

Topanga - Oceans 7-inch (2012)
Topanga - Lionheart EP (2011)

Photos

Bio

Topanga is Stefan Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zack Mykula and Steve Sladkowski – four childhood friends that write irresistibly catchy, riff-heavy songs, dripping with energy and wrapped in the essence of youth.

Fresh-faced, high-on-life, and ambitious-as-hell, these youngsters spent the past year quickly gaining a reputation for their rambunctious live shows complete with explosive gang vocals, airtight hooks, and unbridled enthusiasm.

Their latest offering, the "Oceans" 7-inch, was produced by Jon Drew (Tokyo Police Club, Arkells, Fucked Up) and was released via Royal Mountain Records on February 15, 2012.

The release of "Oceans" follows a stellar 2011 for Topanga, one in which the band went from playing its first ever show to performances at Pop Montreal, CMW and NXNE and dates with Parlovr, The Darcys, Dinosaur Bones, The Junction and more.

All that - plus a scrappy four-song EP the band floated online - helped grab the attention of both Drew and Hollerado, with the latter offering up a support slot on their recent winter tour, and agreeing to release the forthcoming 7-inch on its burgeoning label.

Since then, Topanga has been repeatedly championed by Exclaim!, CBC, The A.V. Club, and CHART, as one of the most exciting young up-and-coming live acts, and AUX recently named the "Oceans" 7-inch as one of their Top 5 Rock Releases of February.

The band will tour "Oceans" through spring and summer, including dates with Sloan and Hollerado, with a full length scheduled for fall 2012.

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PRAISE FOR "OCEANS"

"a deliriously infectious, too-short gut-punch. Yes, please! More, please!" -AUX

"fiery tracks packed with scorching guitars and hooky harmony-laden pop melodies" -Exclaim!

"brilliant, effortless pop-punk" -The A.V. Club

"Press play, rock out, repeat" -CHART

"Oceans and Mabu burst by in a brief flash of drums, wailing riffs and earnest, shout-along melodies" -Hero Hill

"This is some seriously catchy stuff... more Topanga please!" - Craig Norris, CBC Radio 3