The members of Toronto’s Black Lady Soul may have only assembled two short years ago, but they have already released a full-length record on their own and garnered the attention of the city. Their self-titled debut album was recently released on August 16th. The band—which consists of four members: Manvir Rai (lead singer, rhythm guitar), Amrit Toor (drums), Carson Ouellette (bass) and Chris Woolley (lead guitar)—hosted a release party for Black Lady Soul, the first piece of official production the band has put out. The party, which coincided with bass player Ouellette’s birthday, included a performance by Black Lady Soul and had a great turnout. As an excited audience filled up The Central at Bloor and Markham, it was evident that the energy (partially supplied by birthday vibes) between the band and eager fans was relentless in the best way possible.
The crowd in front of the stage, although humble, emitted the same amount of immense vitality that you would experience in an arena of thousands. By the end of the opening song, the audience was wild for more. The band strategically played a set list that imitated the order of the track list on the album, and it did nothing but glorify how sonically appealing each track flowed into the next.
“We really tried to put together something special,” said Ouellette of the release party, adding, “The support was a lot better than we thought. We’re an indie band, we weren’t expecting as much love and support as we got.”
Interestingly enough, the product of work, which resulted in a full album, wasn’t intentional. Black Lady Soul had originally wanted to put something small together simply to have something to put out as a band—they only wanted to do a few songs at first. But when everything seemed to flow together, the band did not hesitate to let it drive them into what has become an already successful release. Despite being worried about the response they were going to get, Black Lady Soul has already been rated as high as 4/5 on Internet blogs. Having received such positive feedback from listeners has prompted the band to want to venture outside of Toronto, and is even in the midst of applying for the SXSW music festival held in Austin, Texas each year.
If you listen to the tracks on the album, it may be hard to identify Black Lady Soul to any particular genre, but they categorize themselves as mainly alternative rock. Being fans of alternative superstars, such as Radiohead, it is clear where certain influences in Black Lady Soul’s music comes from, and impressing how they are able to transpose that into something that is completely original.
The production for each song on the album was done differently, adding to the uniqueness of the entirety of work. “It’s a conversation, a dialogue, everyone has to find their space until it fits naturally in with each other,” said Ouellette. The bassist added that although writing has never been hard for the group, finding the songs that mean the most to them has remained crucial over the course of the past two years. “There are no boundaries for what anyone can bring, as long as we try it, everyone is happy.”
Black Lady Soul’s August 16th show for the premiere of their debut album ended with a triumph of claps and shouts, before a chorus of cheers brought them back on stage for an encore, which revealed some new music they had been working on. If you missed their last show, you can catch them at their next show on September 20th at the Velvet Underground on Queen Street.
You can now stream and purchase the full album on Black Lady Soul’s Bandcamp, as well as keep up to date with all their upcoming shows and events by liking and following them on Facebookl and Twitter.