Words by Jacqueline Howell & Photos by Dave MacIntyre
We were really lucky to catch The Foreign Resort in Toronto last week near the start of their (mostly) U.S. tour. The Foreign Resort landed in Toronto to treat the local crowd to a good taste of their brand of Copenhagen post-punk and dark new wave. Supported by solid Texas synth- duo Nite (for the duration of the tour) made a terrific contrast musically. It was a full night of music with additional support from Toronto’s Depression Era & The Shyness of Strangers.
While we were newcomers to seeing TFR live, that’s not to say they are new to music: The Foreign Resort has been producing music since 2009 (five releases) and have toured the U.S. “relentlessly”…”playing more than 350 shows across The United States and Europe with performances atSXSW, Iceland Airwaves, CMJ Music Marathon and one of the world’s largest Goth festivals Wave Gotik Treffen in Leipzig, Germany” (via the band’s official webpage). The band has toured with The Raveonettes, A Place to Bury Strangers and Swervedriver, and have shared bills with DIIV, The Soft Moon, The KVB and Slowdive.
Their latest release, The American Dream (2015 US, 2016 Germany) is an accomplished set of songs that interrogate universal themes and concerns: “Suburban Depression” and “Skyline Decay” are titles which clearly suggest these themes. “Suburban Depression” hammers with a Joy Divison / early Cure resonance that is most pleasing to the post-punk ear (an ear that doesn’t make these comparisons lightly). Furthering the universality of experience that is borderless is the entirely different sounding “Under Bright Neon Stars” with its rise in tempo and vocal tone, it’s higher rhythms that form the perfect counterpoint to the other two songs.
As the band has an impressive back catalog, they were able, at this gig (and flexible, and confident enough) to offer the audience the choice to pick a track from a very large list. Agreement was reached, and off they went. This created a moment of intimacy in a downtown Toronto venue that once again made us forget about any assumptions of national differences, as solid music has always been able to unite rooms of people from many different places. Musical vocabulary is shared, utterly boundary-less to the initiated, and the accompanying sounds are wordless and wash over you. It’s a rare moment of utter cohesiveness and real musical discovery, for those of us new to the party. The range of the band’s musical styles is large- remember, post-punk, darkwave and new wave all have subgenres within them. The gods that invented this music, like Ian Curtis, Robert Smith, or Hooky (who made the bass almost into a lead vocal, not even just pioneering bass as a lead instrument) have their own genres, too, that we reach for only when utterly warranted and earned, like right here, tonight.
The best music, the one you wait for, the one you diehards go to 3-day festival bills in all weather conditions for; is like love itself, when you find it at last it will always feel like your own secret discovery and right on time, even if there have been at least 350 gigs in roughly your wide part of the messy world for some years gone by. Cause you are there, at last, in the right place, at the right time, getting the right opportunity with a very special band of musicians. For an hour, at most, inside spectacular live music, you are at the center of the universe. Wherever you are in the world.
You can still catch The Foreign Resort (with NITE supporting) on their current tour in the following American cities: September 28th, San Francisco; September 29th, San Diego; September 30th, Los Angeles; October 1st, El Centro, California; October 2nd, Phoenix. More show information/tickets here.
The Foreign Resort’s Bandcamp page
The Foreign Resort’s official website
The Foreign Resort’s Facebook page
Electronic – Dreampop duo NITE are Kyle and Myles (they are twin brothers) and they hail from Winnipeg, Manitoba, but are based in Dallas, Texas. Their music is bright, compelling and truly evocative (in the best way) of the best of early 80s synth pop music we still love and cherish, with melodic sung harmonies and the important optimistic synth sounds that got us kids through The Cold War back then and are just as necessary in the complex world of today. It’s a great time for this music to thrive, and it’s heartening to know that young bands are taking up this music in a serious way. A lot is created from the duo who perform on both keyboards and guitars as well as share vocals. Catch NITE on tour with The Foreign Resort on the dates listed above and look out for their upcoming new music.
NITE’s Bandcamp page
NITE’s Facebook page