In a world where the lines between genres continually blur, Theo Vandenhoff‘s ensemble emerges from the misty streets of Toronto, bearing the torch of post–punk with a tinge of gothic allure.
The band, a concoction of local and overseas talents—Theo Vandenhoff on vocals and synths, Sava Solar on drums from the Canadian front, and Callum Crombie on guitar, Tom Nixon on bass from the Leeds, UK contingent—has begun to carve their niche in the alternative scene. Sharing stages with notable acts like Pink Turns Blue and Automatic, they’ve been subtly validating their presence.
As autumn leaves begin to spiral in the cool breeze, today marks the independent release of their single “Temper,” coupled with a visual enticement—a music video. Backed by Sonic Boom, Canada’s largest independent record store, the release is a soft prelude to the announcement of a 30-day UK tour with Crywank.
Theo Vandenhoff initially embarked on this musical voyage as a solo act in a quaint living room studio, with nothing but his imagination and a vision to meld goth rock and sophisti-pop influences into a contemporary sound.
The inception of the full band in his sophomore EP “In The Throes Of Love” was nothing short of a metamorphosis, engendering a sound that’s rich, visceral, and cathartic. The addition of Tom Nixon, Callum Crombie, and Sava Solar has not only amplified the essence of the music but also transmuted the live performances into a vibrant, pulsating sonic tapestry.
“The intent is for our recordings to more tangibly recreate the energy of our live performance”, remarks Vandenhoff, “the band provides this warm and pulsating sonic tapestry through which I weave my vulnerability. It’s a new dynamic and it works, it feels like an exorcism”.
The sonic narrative of “Temper” stems from an ephemeral moment of witnessing a crow chasing a red-tailed hawk over the bustling streets of Toronto. This vision brewed in Theo’s mind and eventually transpired into a song that explores the entanglement of love and sex, and the blurred boundaries between pain and affection.
This self-contained process, where every note and rhythm is birthed and nurtured within the band, exudes in the song.
The jarring and dissonant wall of sound in the final verse of saxophone, courtesy of Murray Heaton, signifies the sensation of pressure building, metaphorically illustrating a crescendo of human intimacy. The video that accompanies “Temper” is as unapologetically cheeky as the lyrics, encapsulating the raw essence and tongue-in-cheek nature of the song in a visually raunchy narrative.
The core of this feature unfurls as Theo and Tom share a curated playlist that’s as sensuous as it’s sonorous.
Labelled as the sex playlist, it’s a sultry blend of tunes designed to resonate with the rhythm of heartbeats entangled in lustful endeavors.
From the existential dread of The Church’s “Destination” to the erotic beats of Erotic Drum Band’s “Plug Me To Death”, this playlist is a cascade of auditory titillation. The sensual tension and sonic seduction meander through tracks like Rowland S. Howard’s “Dead Radio” and Fad Gadget’s “Coitus Interruptus”, each song is a chapter in this lustful narrative.
As Theo Vandenhoff and his ensemble venture across the UK & Ireland with Crywank, from November 6th to December 10th, 2023, and with the release of “In The Throes Of Love” on vinyl, CD, cassette tape, and streaming platforms on November 24th, the horizon looks promising.
Through the veil of melancholy and romanticism that enshrouds their music, there lies a raw narrative waiting to be heard, felt, and seen. And as for the listeners, the journey through Theo Vandenhoff’s musical narrative might just be the sensuous escape they’ve been yearning for.
The Sex Playlist
The Church – “Destination”
Starting off with some existential dread, not usually something I would want to think about in a sensual context. However, there’s a sort of sultry sonic tension to this that subverts that. It ebbs and flows and teases and resolves to the rhythm of two bodies in motion. Especially in the rhythm of foreplay. If you have this album on vinyl you can’t really go wrong putting it on with a lover around.
Rowland S. Howard – “Dead Radio”
Rowland S. Howard is a sexy man with a sexy voice. If there is any objectivity in art that may be it. “You’re bad for me like cigarettes – But I haven’t sucked enough of you yet”, come on.
Crime & The City Solution – “The Greater Head”
I seem to have unintentionally started this list with 3 Australian bands. Not sure if that’s my personal bias or if something about growing up down under makes you insufferably horny. I mean they did name the majority of their wilderness after the best style of pubic hair. This one is similar to “Destination”, all atmosphere – Simon Bonney reaching out in anguish. Not sure what he’s saying but if anything that’s probably a good thing.
Portishead – “Roads”
Trip-hop was made for fucking. That’s it really.
Krisma – “Black Silk Stocking”
A no-wave classic that is as catchy as it is sultry. This song makes you feel as though you’re being seduced by a Russian spy in a dingy West German sex club.
Fad Gadget – “Coitus Interruptus”
No sordid sex playlist would be complete without some Fad Gadget. No need for acting coy with Frank Tovey in your ear. This one creates an inviting atmosphere for some impact play, open handed only for me please. The more flushed with red you are when it ends the better. In my opinion at least.
Jane Birkin – “Leur plaisir sans moi”
When it’s over and you and your lover find yourself clutching each other in your sweat soaked sheets, how do you feel about falling love? In many situations that is a bad idea, so DO NOT put on Jane Birkin unless you’re absolutely sure that’s what you want. This song is a powerful elixir, use it wisely.
Power Station – “Get It On (Bang a Gong)”
Power station took one of the sexiest riffs and somehow made it even sexier. Thicker tone, fatter drums, if this isn’t a toe curler then I don’t know what is.
Sordid Sound System – “Neon Noir”
Dubbed as ‘psychedelic dungeon disco’, the sordid nature of the Neon Noir EP lives up to the project’s name. Filthy beats to move your arse to.
Erotic Drum Band – “Plug Me To Death”
Is there anything more erotic than layers and layers of drums and percussion? Didn’t think so. Some classic late 70’s string and horn sections only add to the sex appeal. Mid coital air saxophone anyone?
Neu! – “Leb Wohl”
Every lustful undertaking must come to an end. The heart rates must slow, the sweat must dry and the legs must cease to shake. Nothing nurses me through the slow crash of hormones better than Leb Wohl, setting me softly back down in reality.