10 Toronto Radio Project shows you should be listening to

by Sam Davis

July 13, 2016






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Online station TRP features cutting-edge music, conversation, and concert listings.

Photo: Cadence Weapon, host of Allsorts.

By now you’ve probably heard about TRP – or perhaps you might know it by its more formal name, the Toronto Radio Project – the not-for-profit online radio station that is, quite literally, making hours upon hours of waves, of all sonic sorts, across the underground Toronto music realm.

In just over a year’s time, TRP has filled its schedule with over 60 original radio programs, received the Mixcloud award for Best Online Radio Station in the USA and Canada, and has often been compared to the much-loved New York freeform radio deity WFMU. Whatever your level of familiarity with “the station” might be, TRP is a constantly growing well of music that is quickly becoming a local pastime.

“When we started operating TRP, we didn’t really understand how valuable it could be as a community building tool,” says TRP co-director Michael K. Newton. “I believe it’s solidified itself as a nice connector to presenters, artists, and DJs who predominantly stick to their known genre or taste. You’re merging a lot of hyperactive and creative people who don’t necessarily share the same taste. Throughout history, and especially in music, that’s how all the fun ideas were created.”

Much like families in the days of yore, when folks rushed home each day to gather ‘round the radio box, where budding young musicians were forever changed upon hearing their first notes of the blues, and where fictional broadcasts of alien invasions drove the public to mass hysteria, the listeners of today are tuning in to TRP to hear the latest sounds and the joys of freeform radio, which, of course, there are plenty.

Here are 10 shows you’ll want to get in the habit of rushing home to check out. Or, you can tune in at your leisure since all the archives are posted online. Ah, the joys of technology. This writer must make a disclosure by informing you that he is the host of the two-hour bi-weekly TRP program known as Dog Gone Radio, which, while not included on this list, is something you might also enjoy, if you dig obscure vinyl and strange sounds from faraway lands.

Allsorts (Friday, 4-6 p.m., Monthly)

Hosted by rapper / producer Cadence Weapon, Allsorts offers an eclectic mix of cutting edge rap, R&B, funk, grime, and other odds and ends. “Cadence Weapon has his finger so tight on the pulse that I’d consider him ‘the pulse’ in new music. I’m always discovering a lot from him” says Newton.

Tender Buttons (Thursday, 2-4 p.m., Monthly)

Tender Buttons is one of the best displays of freeform radio at work on TRP. If Brian Wilson was known for “playing the studio,” then Tender Buttons might be considered a show that “plays the radio.” Or something. It’s weird and great and might just provide the ideal soundtrack to your next acid trip.

Infinite Poolside (Thursday, 7 p.m., Monthly)

Another excellent freeform radio exemplifier is Kristel Jax’s Infinite Poolside, a show where music is piped through what seems like countless semi-functional ‘80s digital reverb units to produce a sound that recalls the feeling of hearing music in or at a swimming pool. Previous shows have featured Taylor Swift’s 1989, Dolly Parton’s saddest songs, and R.E.M.’s “Nightswimming”. Also a potential soundtrack for your next trip.

Anachronisms (Tuesday, 2-4 p.m., Bi-weekly)

Described as a show that “explores aesthetic histories through the non-linear presentation of experimental music,” each episode of Anachronisms focuses on a specific region or theme in order to present a music history sound collage. Anachronisms is an educational listening experience where you might find yourself enjoying Renaissance madrigals between the sounds of contemporary dub-techno.

Invisible City Editions (Sometimes)

Invisible City Editions is a show for the consummate crate-digger. Obscure vinyl from all walks of music, listeners might hear anything from Ananda Shankar (Ravi’s nephew) to Ethiopian disco jazz. For anyone who’s ever near the TRP studio at College and Dovercourt, which exists in the rear of City Beat Records, stop in and have a look through the Invisible City crate. You might walk out far poorer, but at least you’ll have some nice records to show for it.

Sisters, I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To (Thursday, 8-9 p.m., Monthly)

Sisters… is a dance music program that features in-depth convos about music and its relevance to gender, race, politics, and the future. “[This show] has a message that you’ll never ever find represented on commercial radio, and that was something we wanted from the start” says Newton.

Split Personality (Wednesday, 9-10 p.m., Bi-weekly)

Hosted by Dean Royal, each episode of Split Personality showcases music from two different labels across pretty much every genre music. For the open-minded, non-judgmental listener of tomorrow.

Work In Progress (Thursday, 8 p.m., Monthly)

Work in Progress is a techno, house, ambient, and experimental music program that focuses solely on music produced by women. In a largely dude-dominated scene, according to the show’s description, the aim is to “destroy dance music’s paternal narrative, one pounding techno track at a time.”

Noise Approaching [formerly Intersections] (Wednesday, 3 p.m., Weekly)

Noise Approaching is something every concertgoer in Toronto should be listening to. Each episode finds host and TRP co-director Michael K. Newton running through a curated selection of weekly live concert listings, highlighting the ones you should be checking out – especially if you’re into guitar music, like Newton is.

Broken Music (Thursday, 9-10 p.m., Monthly)

Perhaps the greatest joy of TRP is the ability to tune in and discover vastly different types of music, both new and old, at any given hour of the day. Broken Music focuses on experimental music from the dawn of the avant-garde/experimental electronic scenes right up to today. “Many [shows] are out of my natural taste spectrum, but that’s what I like most about TRP: discovery.” says Newton.

Tags: Music, Lists, News, Cadence Weapon, infinite poolside, invisible city editions, radio, toronto radio project, trp






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