Whale Tooth
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Whale Tooth

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Band Pop Rock

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If you’re trying to use the official North By Northeast program to figure out what shows you should see, you’ve likely come away with the impression that the festival is stocked with a trillion bands who sound like Radiohead—or at least think they do. We asked a bunch of real experts—Toronto artists playing the festival—to tell us about their not-to-be-missed NXNE picks. - The Grid TO


The first single from Whale Tooth’s upcoming album Search Party is the rocking “Wolves”. Quite possibly one of the coolest dance-rock singles in recent months, it owes much to the group's Canadian indie scene alumni that could include Mother Mother or Metric. Great riffs, unforgettable hooks, and a pounding rhythm raises “Wolves” over any and all other tunes included on their previous and only release, Whale Tooth EP. This is not to say the EP isn’t excellent as well, but the band has obviously matured a lot in a short time. Expect Whale Tooth to make massive waves over the coming years.



The official video for “Wolves” was released on June 12 over on YouTube and it’s got a Sin City-esque near-monochrome with a splash-of-colour aesthetic. The band also recorded a live acoustic version in Trinity Bellwoods for NXNE 2011 and it is the New Canadian Music Video of the Week.
- New Canadian Music


Toronto five-piece Whale Tooth pride themselves on their live show — their debut album conveyed the same kind of raucous urgency and technical prowess. New album Search Party has that same urgency, and with Darryl Neudorf (Neko Case, Jim Bryson and The Weakerthans) behind the boards, the band was able to capture that mood entirely.

Search Party will be out next month, but until then, you can hear the album exclusively on Rdio. We’re digging it so much, we’ve invited them to play our North by Northeast shindig on June 15. Even if you won't be there, turn up Search Party and throw one of your own. - RDIO


Dose.ca editors Leah Collins and Jon Dekel have shared their NXNE picks. Plus, we’ve recruited two NXNE vets -- Broken Social Scene’s Brendan Canning and Whale Tooth’s Norm Maschke -- to give their showcase suggestions. Canning will be DJ-ing NXNE’s Record Show Saturday, June 16 at the Hyatt Regency; Whale Tooth are at The Great Hall Thursday, June 14, and both artists will be playing an exclusive Rdio event Friday, June 15. - Dose


At our Oh Canada event at the CMJ Music Marathon in NYC on Tuesday (19/10/10) night, Toronto’s Whale Tooth may have stolen the show, thanks to the ultra-charismatic stage presence of singer Elise LeGrow. They certainly had the crowd buzzing. This video for “Hibernation Song” (a track from their five-track self-title EP) might give you a taste–but you should really see these people live. - Explore Music


Some time around 9pm, Toronto’s own Whale Tooth took the stage for a short, sweet set of indie-pop tracks. Whale Tooth provided just the kick needed to inject a new level of energy into the crowd. With their album Search Party set to be released in July, the band pointed eagerly-anticipating fans to Rdio for an exclusive pre-release streaming over the next month. - Pete Hates Music


NXNE is perfectly timed for Whale Tooth (or perhaps it’s the other way around?). Their new album and first full LP, Search Party, just started streaming this week on Rdio. The band has impressive rock and roll chops, and a powerhouse in lead singer Elise Legrow; we’ve never seen a bad set from Whale Tooth, and don’t expect they’re going to start now, while promoting a new album.

Go if: You’re into fast-paced rock and roll with a frontwoman who can belt with the best of ‘em.
- Torontoist


EP REVIEW

"So I'm sitting here listening to an advance copy of the upcoming debut EP by a local band called Whale Tooth, and I'm immediately blown away by the band's sophisticated ability to craft a clever and danceable pop song. Their immediate appeal makes their "just over a year" existence come across as a cleverly fabricated myth since they sound like a band with experience on their side. The diversity of the Toronto music scene is already very impressive, and this local band is already making waves as a stellar addition to the scene.

The EP opens with Hibernation Song, a delicious refurbishing of a late 70's new wave sound; the kind that Elvis Costello and Joe Jackson used to present with perfection. Track two is Six Billion, a power pop song that showcases very strong male / female vocals that shy away from the usual romantic interplay and just keep things light and fun. Sleepwalking is a mellower song, where Elise LeGrow's vocals sound eerily similar to Monique Powell (of 90's ska-punkers Save Ferris), albeit displayed with a sultrier, jazzier lilt. Speaking of that ska punk sound, Marlboro Beach Bonanza starts to dip into that territory a little bit, creating a vibe that is sure to get the crowds dancing like wild at the local dive bar or beach party. And the EP goes out with a bang by ending with Clever, a song that is exactly that, both lyrically and in the infectious way that it presents itself. I can't wait to hear that one in a live setting as well, especially since I'm sure that it too will get the crowds dancing around all hyperactive-like.

In an indie world that has a tendency to take itself too seriously at times, it's exciting to come across a band that remembers first and foremost that music is supposed to be entertaining. Lately the local scene has been cranking out a few bands that take this idea to heart, and I believe that Whale Tooth has embraced this idea, and added their own unique twist to it. With their recent addition to the Hi Hat Recordings roster, I predict big things for Whale Tooth in 2009." - Its not the band I hate, Its their fans


It's time for Toronto indie-rockers Whale Tooth to release a recording. They've had a busy year: playing shows, recording tracks, and (in all likelihood of late) shoveling snow.

They'll be releasing their debut EP at Sneaky Dee's tomorrow night, and they've promised cheap beer, good music, and dancing. That's right - you will dance.

I joined the band for a pre-rehearsal chat over a pint at Squirrely's.

I asked Norm (guitar, vocals) why they thought that Sneeky Dee's would be an appropriate venueThere is nothing sexual in what you are about to read.)

"Basically, we wanted to pick a medium sized venue. You don't want to blow your load, initially. Why book Lee's Palace for your EP release? Medium-sized record, medium-sized venue. [Sneaky Dee's] is good, because everyone in our age group seems to like Sneeky Dee's. Good food, good beer."

While perusing Whale Tooth's MySpace page, I found a link to MuchMusic's First Spin (the link has been removed, because their single, 'Hibernation Song' has been removed). But let it be known that for just over a month, nestled between Coldplay, Jay-Z, and Katy Perry, were Toronto indie-rockers Whale Tooth. When I mentioned it to the band they all laughed.

"Honestly, that was all our publicist. We really don't know how it happened. She just sent us an e-mail telling us that she had gotten us on that list. It's a bit of an accomplishment, I guess you can say."

What immediately stands out on the EP is the striking diversity in style in all the songs. They're not all drastically different as individual tracks, but the broad spectrum of style between 'Hibernation Song' and 'Sleep Walking' is worth noting. Elise (vocals) handled this question.

"What's great about our group is there is such large difference in our diversity and style. What usually happens is someone brings something to the table that they came up with on their own. We all play with it for a bit, we chew on it, and usually it ends up becoming the song you hear. Every once in awhile someone brings a finished song, which is amazing. Like Alex [vocals, guitar] did with 'Hibernation Song'. For the most part, it's a pretty collective process."

Word on the street is that Whale Tooth likes to make people dance.

Elise: "Absolutely!"

Mike (bass): "You gotta deliver."

Norm: "That's pretty much our whole live show! There's nothing worse than seeing a boring band on stage. So, if we're supposed to be the entertainment for the night, then we want people to walk away saying that (a) 'that band was awesome' and (b) 'that band made me want to dance'."

Elise: "It's pretty much our goal. I like to dance; I dance on stage... it's the energy of fun times."

Whale Tooth rock Sneeky Dee's tomorrow night. If their EP is well received, then we can count on a full-length album from Whale Tooth within the year.

Photo by Ming Wu. - BlogTO


"...Taking Bellewoods' stately pace and ratcheting up about a zillion percent were middle act, Toronto's Whale Tooth and their highly danceable, feel-good pop led by Elise LeGrow and Norm Maschke's terrific vocal chemistry. LeGrow's jazz training was evident as soon as she opened her mouth but she rather than overpower things, she demonstrated exactly the right amount of style, verve and charisma to be a magnetic frontperson - bouncing around the stage like a superball also helped. Their songwriting is definitely on the breezy side, maybe a little too much so for some, but there is no denying that live, they're a good time and a half." - Chrome Waves


In a recent interview with Now Magazine Norm Maschke or Toronto's Whale Tooth said "If a song gets my feet moving when I'm playing, then someone else will probably dance to it too." That statement goes a long, long way to summing up the appeal of the band. The songs aren't complicated they are lively and fun and fast and catchy. It could almost be described as new wave in feeling except that Elise Lewgrow's vocals add have a touch of blues to the songs that make the vocals stand out in a way that they frequently do not in dance pop.

As always though I'm not here to tell you what to like and what not to, give them a listen and see for yourself. If you want more info check out that Now Magazine article or this one from Blog TO or Pop Culture Will Eat Itself. You can also check them out on Myspace or chat them up on Twitter.

You can also catch them live at The Whipper Snapper Gallery in Toronto tonight, at the Drake Underground on Monday (Aug 24), or Monday (Aug 31) at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield on Sept 12 or at Lees Palace on Sept. 25 with Oh No Forest Fires, Fox Jaws, and the Balconies! - North by East West


Discography

Whale Tooth EP - February 2009
Wolves Single - June 2012
Search Party - July 2012

Photos

Bio

With the release Search Party, Whale Tooth have proven themselves to be the rarest of emerging indie rock acts – a band that’s capable of delivering the same intensity and force on record as they display on stage. While Whale Tooth demonstrated that talent as early as their 2009 self-titled EP, on Search Party, their debut full-length record, lead singer Elise LeGrow, bassist Mike McCreary, drummer Sep Noroozi, and guitarists/vocalists Norm Maschke and Alex Denike have honed their capacity for capturing the energy of their live show on record to an even finer edge.

"We all want the same thing when we go to a rock show; high energy and a tight band,” LeGrow says. But while many bands share that vision, very few pull it off as well as Whale Tooth does – live, or on record. Their ability to do so is a product of the chemistry that’s existed between Whale Tooth’s members since day one, and the fact that each member brings a highly diverse set of influences, well-developed musical chops and strong personalities to the collective mix.

“We’re like five pillars”, Maschke says. “Everyone’s opinion carries the same amount of weight.” Operating as a collective can be challenging at times, Maschke admits, but the benefits far outweigh any potential downside. Although there have been struggles along the way, the rare chemistry Whale Tooth share has kept them together. “Every band that sticks around goes through a lot, but we want to make this as successful as possible and we all love doing it. There are no slackers in this band.”

Given Whale Tooth’s ample chops as players and the pace they tend to keep up on the road, anyone who did slack off wouldn't last long. Since forming in 2008 the band has shared the stage with the likes of Tokyo Police Club, Mother Mother, Sloan, and performed showcases at festivals across North America including CMJ, Rifflandia, CMW and NXNE.

Characterized by compact arrangements, LeGrow’s powerhouse vocals, the complex rhythmic interplay between Maschke and Denike's guitars and Noroozi and McCreary’s pulse-pounding grooves, Search Party plays out very much like the band’s live show; a relentless set of undeniably hooky, high-energy rock. Nowhere is that more evident than on album opener and lead single, ‘Wolves’, an urgent, infectious and eminently danceable track that sets the tone of the record, sonically and lyrically, right from the outset.

Although that tone is somewhat darker than the band’s initial EP, it’s a natural result of their coming of age as a collective musical force, as well as their individual efforts to find their place in the world artistically and personally. “That’s definitely a recurring theme,” LeGrow says. “Having gone through all the regular trials and tribulations a band goes through, the way that we work together has changed and we’ve become a much more cohesive unit, but it’s broader than that. We’re all in our early to mid twenties. We’re all growing and learning, passing into adulthood, searching out love and trying to find ourselves as artists and as people.”

The result represents a refinement of the Toronto-based band’s sound, rather than a complete departure, Maschke explains: “When you get a few years deep into it you have a better idea of what you want your sound to be.” Arriving at that sound was an organic process, he adds, informed by their experiences on and off tour, individually and collectively, over the past four years. “We’d gone down a fairly bumpy road towards the end of 2010 and maybe that’s reflected in the writing process, but we wanted to write a record that flowed smoothly. And I think the statements we’re making on this record and the kind of questions we’re asking reflect a more evolved view of the world and of our own situations.”