#ICYMI, a roundup of noteworthy musical happenings in the city some call The 6ix.
LAL: The musical duo known as LAL is back. Over their nearly 20-year history, Rosina Kasi and Nicholas Murray have created music that shuns both genre and labels; the resulting sound is organically electronic and passionately political. Their fourth studio project, Find Safety, drives home themes of inclusiveness, activism, and speaking truth to power.
Owners of the DIY music venue and recording studio Unit 2 on Sterling Road—which functions as a home space with a specific focus on social justice activism and queer and bisexual people of colour communities—the duo have been committed to social issues and aligning with grassroots movements such as Black Lives Matter and Idle No More. And this comes through in their nine-track album: Kasi’s vocals are stronger than ever, while Murray’s continued experimentation with ambient sounds provides a rootsy, explorative soundscape.
Yuka: This Toronto-based ensemble definitely have that old-school funk, soul, and R&B vibe down cold. Featuring vocalist Claire Doyle—the previous incarnation of the band was an instrumental-only affair—Yuka’s new album From The Ancients is short but sweet at eight tracks, running the gamut from James Brown-type funk licks, The Meters-era bass grooves, to a playful reworking of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” Think Sharon and the Dap-Kings: a modern approach to classic soul music. From the ancients, indeed.