Various High Art for the Low Down

It’s hard to run an underground music venue in any city, but in a city like Toronto, where rent is like, a blagillion dollars, it can be next to impossible. That’s what makes High Art for the Low Down so impressive, that plus the music scene it’s helped nurture in the city’s southeast end. Acting as a truly DIY collective in a loft down in the middle of nowhere (read: not on Queen St.), the venue has hosted countless punk and hardcore shows since it started up in 2005. This compilation pulls together some High Art regulars for a compelling trip to the practice spaces of some of Southern Ontario’s grimiest bands (although there a few contributions here from way, way out of province). From the vaguely operatic punk rock of 68pornomags to the weird pseudo-klezmer of the Kettle Black, High Art is surprisingly consistent and varied for a comp of this nature, which also includes tracks from the likes of Springloaded, the Burnitdowns and Rammer. If you can’t make it to the Big Smoke to check out the venue for yourself, this collection of appropriately dirty sounds will have to satisfy you for now. (Independent)