Death Party Playground
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Death Party Playground

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2016 | SELF

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2016
Band Pop Indie





Waterloo, Ontario alt-rock/power pop outfit Death Party Playground premiere “Love + Fidelity” on Rawckus. The song is from their forthcoming full-length album, LP, Little Joy, slated to drop January 17.

Guitarist Kyle Taylor describes the album, saying, “These songs squeeze a little joy out of a darker time. It’s trying to have fun in spite of it. It’s purposefully not letting something break you.”

A multi-instrumentalist, Taylor worked as a hired gun for punk and indie bands in Ontario. On his own time, he wrote and recorded original music. As he discovered and refined his sound, he began working with Dylan Bravener (bass), Sam Kargus (drums), and David Bruneau (piano).

Taking the name Death Party Playground, between 2013 and 2017, the band released a number of songs on Bandcamp, along with a compilation called Bruce Willis’ Jog Playlist #3. Technicalities aside, Taylor regards the soon-to-be-released Little Joy as the band’s debut album, a genuine reflection of the band’s evolution into an integrated unit.

Recorded in a renovated church in Oakwood, Ontario, the structure’s organic acoustics and clean resonance allowed the band to attain an inimitable scope of sound.

The result is superbly innovative yet captivating music.
“Love + Fidelity” opens on a grand drum fill flowing into shimmering jangly guitars and radiant keyboards projecting a Brit-pop wall-of-sound reminiscent of the Beatles mixed with The Byrds, only more potent, chock-full of gleaming, surging colors.

Slightly nasal vocals, deliciously flavored with quixotic timbres, imbue the lyrics with ebullient energy and beau coup harmonic depth, as the voices interweave and blend.

“Said a word sounded like forever / And now I can’t remember.”

On the solo section, glowing keyboards and spangled guitars merge into glistening washes of streaming colors, as choir-like vocal harmonies soar on crystalline tones.

“Love + Fidelity” has it all: sonic punch, a galvanizing rhythm bathed in a flood of bright textures, and wonderfully vibrant vocals. The result is superbly innovative yet captivating music.

Follow Death Party Playground Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud - Rawckus Magazine

"Needle Drop: Death Party Playground, “Still Memories”"

Waterloo, Ontario-based Death Party Playground create wily power pop anthems, soaked in the tradition of Springsteen and Tom Waits.

Their latest single, “Still Memories,” boasts some thick, nostalgic vibes, sparkling with hope and reflection. “It’s a bit of a rock lullaby about resolving the pain of the past into something positive,” lead singer Kyle Taylor says. “A holistic reminder to appreciate the entire experience, both good and bad.”

Taylor’s poignant songwriting is accompanied by bright, folky guitars, all the way until the final lift, towards the end of the song, where the listener is invited to sing along, dance, and just have fun despite it all.

“These songs squeeze a little joy out of a darker time,” Taylor reflects. “It’s trying to have fun in spite of it. It’s purposefully not letting something break you.”

“Still Memories” is lifted from the band’s debut album Little Joy, due in stores January 17th. - The Vinyl District


“Sounds like” is probably the most common comment you’ll hear about music. Any music. Expect no exceptions with Kitchener Waterloo, Ontario quartet Death Party Playground and Little Joy, their new and ‘first’ album at the same time. New, since they do have recorded material, and quite a bit of it, released through Bandcamp, but the band’s main man Kyle Taylor considers it their true debut.

So what are Death Party Playground debuting with? No, it doesn’t sound like or have anything to do with death, or any other kind of metal, but it certainly has a sound you can connect DPP to, and that is certainly the late ’80s sound, a blend of Candy Apple Grey, Hüsker Dü, and The Replacements’ “All Shook Down”. You can throw a few other power pop elements in there too.

Is there a problem with the concept of “sounds like”? Not if it sounds good, and it makes you pull the stuff it was inspired by off that dusty shelf it is lying on and give it a few spins.

I don’t know if that was the intent Death Party Playground had here, but that is almost exactly what you get – the reincarnation of an excellent sound. Whether or not the band will ever reach the heights of either Hüsker Dü or The Replacements is another question, but it is certainly a possibility if Little Joy is any indication. - Spill Magazine

"Five Questions With… Kyle Taylor of Death Party Playground"

Death Party Playground makes serious rock and roll imbued with the wonder we all experienced when we first dropped the needle on a spinning black disc. Their full-length debut album Little Joy, out Jan. 17, is really the story of bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Taylor’s creative evolution. Based in the thriving university town of Waterloo, Ontario, Taylor has been a fixture on the local music scene for over a decade and began sharing his catchy power-pop anthems under the Death Party Playground banner in 2013.

Many of these, as well as a cache of new material, have been collected on Little Joy. On one hand, it showcases Kyle’s undeniable lyrical and melodic skills, but at the same time, it displays how Death Party Playground has become a true band, with bassist Dylan Bravener and drummer Sam Kargus providing the rhythmic backbone. The results are a combination of late-‘70s New York energy and early-‘90s Britpop drama, but most of all it’s the sound of a group of young musicians discovering their distinctive chemistry.

Songs like Love & Fidelity and Rubber Man literally leap out of the speakers, a far cry from earlier versions of these songs that made the rounds on the 2017 EP, Bruce Willis’ Jog Playlist #3. In many ways, Little Joy is the perfect example of how Taylor’s experimentation to this point has paid off, mostly in the lessons he’s learned about how to make a message more powerful by saying less.

Death Party Playground performs January 25 at Maxwell’s in Waterloo and you can hear more at

What makes Little Joy stand apart from your past work?

This is the first full-band release as Death Party Playground. In the past, I've recorded everything myself and played most of the instruments, but thanks to a grant from the K-W Arts Fund, Joe Shugan came on board to handle the recording this time around so I was able to focus just on playing and producing. We went into much more detail on Little Joy, ironing out some kinks and wrinkles that I might've let slide in the past.

What songs on the record are you most proud of and why?

Still Memories is a particular achievement. It's an important song to me, one I'd written some time ago that never made it off the back burner. It's in an open tuning and a lot softer than what we typically play so it wouldn't transition well to a live band. For the album, our drummer Sam and I took the original demo I'd made, which was only an acoustic guitar and two vocal parts, and fleshed it out with bells, percussion, four-part harmonies and a live string quartet. It has a beautiful swirling feel to it.

Love & Fidelity, alternatively, is a special moment in time we captured. We did all the bed tracks live-off-the-floor and Love & Fidelity really took off. I think we recorded it first thing in the morning and Sam was on fire. Dylan's bass lines just bounce all over the place and our keyboardist David played a great part. I'm pretty happy with that one.

How would you describe your artistic evolution so far?

My earlier songs were filled with lyrics. I try to say the same thing with less now. If it can be said with less, it’s usually a bit more poignant and powerful. Starting out, I never paid much mind to how different words are sung, and which ones sound nicer than others. I always consider that now. The importance of a good opening line wasn’t realized until later. It’s the listener's first impression, so it’s important. Knowing where to “cut the fat” from a song can be critical to whether it works or not. I also try to pay attention to the space between songs during a live performance. The show doesn't stop because the song stops. All the best live bands keep it rolling somehow.

What's been the biggest change in your life over the past year?

Well, I had a wild year. It started in Los Angeles and ended in Rio, Brazil, with a ton of places in between. I was on more planes last year than in my entire life combined. I basically realized that home is something you can take with you anywhere you are, which I guess is the same as saying “home is where the heart is.” I think that's true.

What's your best touring story?

Years ago, in a different band, we were set to play the Don Pedro in Brooklyn. At the time, none of us in the band had a car, but we were lucky enough to borrow a gracious friend's car for the tour. So we pull up to the Don Pedro and somehow lock our keys in the car. It's not our car, we're from a different country and we can't just call CAA to break into it for us. On a long shot, we walk into Don Pedro and ask if they know anyone who could help. “Yep, let me grab so-and-so, he's a car thief.” Sure enough, the man comes out with us, looks around on the street for a bit, finds a thin piece of metal on the ground, and picks the lock in less than 30 seconds. It was amazing. Nice guy. - FYI Music News

"PREMIERE – Death Party Playground releases new single, “Rubber Man”"

Waterloo, ON-based power pop band, Death Party Playground was formed in 2013 and is really about the creative evolution of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Taylor. The band will be releasing their new album, Little Joy on January 17, 2020. Today, we are happy to unveil their brand new single, “Rubber Man” ahead of the release.

On one hand, the album showcases Kyle’s undeniable lyrical and melodic skills, but at the same time, it displays how Death Party Playground has evolved into a true band, with bassist Dylan Bravener and drummer Sam Kargus providing the rhythmic backbone. The results are a combination of late-‘70s New York energy and early-‘90s Britpop drama, but most all it’s the sound of a group of young musicians discovering their distinctive chemistry.

Check out “Rubber Man” below and be sure to stay up to date with Death Party Playground via their socials. - Canadian Beats Media

"Death Party Playground Will Lift Your Spirit Up With New LP "Little Joy""

Ontario, CA Indie band Death Party Playground are smashing through the music scene with their notable electric melodies! The band's goal is to spread a sense of positivity and spunk into their listener's lives, especially during times of hardship. The band's intentions are pure, and their sound even purer. We're excited to introduce their most recently released LP titled "Little Joy". The track features a prominent theme of content and elation, which can easily bring a sense of jubilation into any listener's day (including ourselves).

Death Party Playground begins their LP with the track "Love & Fidelity", a robust and energetic instrumental performance. This is what will jumpstart that feel-good, spirited atmosphere. One element to "Love & Fidelity" that we really enjoyed was how this lively energy was maintained authentically throughout the entire track. Once Death Party Playground introduces the vocals in this song you can easily hear and feel the complementary blend of harmonies. They sing with a sense of stamina that is both heart-warming and feels incredibly rejuvenating. It's hard to imagine not gaining any sort of vitality through "Love & Fidelity", especially considering how real the vigor is experienced. Death Party Playground is spreading its indie craft in such an aspiring way, and "Little Joy" is the type of LP that can effortlessly display this.

Listen to Death Party Playground and their new LP "Little Joy" here.

#BuzzMusic - BuzzMusic

"Snapshots: Death Party Playground - "Love & Fidelity""

The work of Waterloo, Ontario-based band Death Party Playground is bristling with the kinetic hum and buoyancy of classic power pop. Shouldering that particular musical mantle from bands like Big Star and Cheap Trick, they create a melodic miasma of churning rhythms and sing-along choruses that effortlessly rises into the upper atmosphere. It’s easy to become instantly hooked on their brew of catchy arrangements and fist-pumping pop bravado, but it’s equally likely that you’ll also become submerged in their subtle lyrical observations which provide an emotionally engaging viewpoint smuggled inside a grand burst of theatrical sound and spectacle.

Having worked his way through the various punk and indie scenes in Ontario, singer-guitarist Kyle Taylor draws upon a wealth of experience and musical histories as he crafts his own songs from within the belly of a former whiskey distillery in the heart of Uptown Waterloo. A multi-instrumentalist known for his affinity for his guitar (which he named “Queen Jane”) and his childhood upright piano, he gradually gathered together a collection of musicians to help him flesh out these early songs. Framed by bassist Dylan Bravener, drummer Sam Kargus and pianist David Bruneau, the group would eventually adopt the moniker of Death party Playground, doling out a series of Bandcamp releases between 2013 and 2017.

Having evolved and further refined their collective rhythmic impulses through these initial recordings, the band has recently announced that their official debut record, “Little Joy,” will be shared on January 17. With the majority of the new album recorded in Oakwood, Ontario in a renovated historic church, the band was able to harness that magisterial environment for their own desires and impulses. Romantic melodies and muscular rock and roll echoed within the confines of that holy place, and they captured every second of it for our enjoyment.

When discussing the upcoming record, Taylor explains: “These songs squeeze a little joy out of a darker time. It’s trying to have fun in spite of it. It’s purposefully not letting something break you.”

On recent single, “Love & Fidelity,” the band embrace the blissful pop proclivities of their rock and roll forebears, dividing their time between shimmering moments of euphoria and something a bit rougher around the edges (just toss The Replacements in with Big Star and Cheap Trick and you’re getting there). Guitars shake and shimmy while drums are beat half to death and bass lines slither down your spine into your leg muscles. The charging keys littered throughout the song inject an almost Springsteen-esque mythology into the proceedings, lending the song an emotional depth and musical scope that never fails to impress. - The Southern Sounding

"Death Party Playground – Love & Fidelity / Bright New"

Love & Fidelity is the first composition on Death Party Playground’s (DPP) new release, Little Joy. The track benefits from major Barenaked Ladies vibes, uniting a front-forward, confident set of lead vocals with splashy drums and assertive guitar riffs. Immense drum fills provide the head, while the guitars (~1:50 mark) bring the fire. This song will be burying itself in your brains for the foreseeable future.

Bright New’s beginning instrumental section calls back to Gone Away-era Offspring as the act adds considerable more emotional intensity to it. When the vocals are added into the mix, the track shifts to a haunting, neo-trad goth approach.

Death Party Playground are exciting, both in terms of how catchy their output is and how well done the instrumentation and vocals come through on these singles.

Death Party Playground – Love & Fidelity / Bright New / 2020 / Soundcloud / Bandcamp / - Neu Futur

"Death Party Playground Releases Little Joy (album review)"

Death Party Playground Finds Joy Despite Pain

Death Party Playground is a power pop rock n roll band hailing from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The band has been working together since 2013 to forge their original and authentic brand of power pop. Separately, the members of the band all have some serious musical chops. While they have several smaller releases and a “best of” compilation on their Bandcamp, their LP Little Joy is what they consider their debut release. The album is made up of tracks that take influences from the past but still manage to feel fresh.

To be completely honest, I am wholly unfamiliar with power pop as a concept. I usually avoid pop music like the plague and haven’t listened to the radio since before the days of Napster. I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy this album, I’m just saying that my frame of reference for Death Party Playground’s sound might be different than that of their usual audience. That being said, let’s talk about Little Joy.

The Overall Sound

It’s really hard to nail down an overall sound for this record. One track will be full of synths that remind me of something out of the eighties and another will have a cool fifties vibe. I can say that the production is clean as a whistle and the mixes on these tracks are pretty much perfect. In my experience, there is a fine line between “eclectic” and “all over the place”. The difference there is the skill with which all the disparate pieces are put together. Little Joy is definitely an eclectic collection of sounds.

I don’t think you can listen to this album and not feel it. Even if you’re not connecting with the lyrics on an emotional level, it’s easy to just vibe with Death Party Playground. Most of the songs have their own unique sound but they all contain the same infectious groove. If you’re not studying the lyrics, this would be a great album for a little music therapy at the end of a long day. A couple drinks and a this album will improve just about any mood.

The Real Unifying Concept

The one thing that ties this album together is the lyrical content. I said you could just vibe to this record if you weren’t studying the lyrics because doing so changes the whole experience. These lyrics seem very personal. Most of them deal with loss and moving on. To my ears, it sounds like an album mostly populated by breakup songs. Not in the usual whiny self-righteous way, though. The lyrics depict a man who has been hurt but doesn’t wish ill on his former partner. It’s a mature look at relationships and loss that seems to be rare in the grand scheme of things. Instead of an emotional journey to the depths of melancholy, you get the bared soul of a man just trying to move on from someone he thought was “the one”. I’m sure plenty of us have been there at least once.

In short, the songs on this album may be sonically eclectic but the soulful, honest, and relatable lyrics really tie everything together like a good rug.

Standout Tracks

While this whole LP is packed with poppy goodness, there are a couple tracks that really stand out to me.

Love and Fidelity

Death Party Playground know how to kick off an album, that’s for damned sure. This sounds like something that would have been on the top of the charts in the heyday of pop rock. The guitar work on this track is killer. It reaches out and grabs you from the first note. The song closes with a great keyboard solo followed by some woah-ohs. I honestly didn’t even know keyboard solos were a thing that could be cool. Good on you, Death Party Playground, good on you.

Bright New

I love the way this track opens. It starts with a bass line, then the drums come in, followed by some understated keys. By the time the guitars and vocals dropped in, I was already hooked on this track. To my ears, this is one of the more rock-heavy songs on the album. The mellow instrumentals behind crooning vocals remind me a little bit of Bush. I liked Bush back in the day, so this is a nice little throwback for me.

I think my favorite part of this track is how goddamn melancholy it is. Seriously, “Bright New” is the saddest damned track on the album. The main bit of the chorus is, “You’ll have bright new days to come even after all we’ve said and done, but I’m never going to last alone”. That’s one heavy line. It’s one that I think anyone who has ever been through a big breakup would be able to relate to. Not only does this song have a great groove, it’ll also hit you in your feelings.

Final Thoughts

All in all, would I recommend this album? Definitely. I may not be super familiar with the genre where Death Party Playground is at home, but I do know quality tunes when I hear them. Whether you’re having a drink after a long day or having a good cry after having your heart stomped on by an ex, Little Joy is a solid soundtrack.

Hopefully you saw that the whole album is available to stream within this article and you’re already listening to it. If you want to check this one out on the go, you can find it on Soundcloud and Spotify. If you’re not big on streaming media, you can always buy a copy of the album. Either way, you’ll be sure to get some joy out of Little Joy. - Slickster Magazine

"Alt Jangle Pop From Death Party Playground With New Single ‘Love & Fidelity’"

Based in Waterloo, Ontario, power pop artists Death Party Playground are set to release their new single, ‘Love & Fidelity’, the first track from their forthcoming album, ‘Little Joy’, which comes out on January 17.

Their sound comes from a diet of Bruce Springsteen, and Tom Waits, while having pop punk sensibilities of the likes of Wheatus, Busted, and They Might Be Giants – even The Cure and The Rembrandts.

Front man Kyle Taylor started out in the punk and indie scenes of Ontario, playing as a session musician with whomever would have him, honing his skills while late at night he crafted his own tunes and recordings, using a former whiskey distillery as his base. It paid off, with Kyle becoming a proficient multi-instrumentalist, with his especial favourites being his guitar – “Queen Jane” – and his childhood upright piano. He called upon bassist Dylan Bravener, drummer Sam Kargus, and piano man David Bruneau, to help him flesh out the songs.

Although they’ve released some of their recordings on Bandcamp between 2013 and 2017, as well as a “best of” compilation, they consider ‘Little Joy’ to be their debut release. Most of the album was recorded in a renovated historic church, in Oakwood, Ontario, with its natural acoustics and harmonic resonance helping to capture what became the album’s signature sound.

Speaking of the album, Taylor says,

“These songs squeeze a little joy out of a darker time. It’s trying to have fun in spite of it. It’s purposefully not letting something break you.”

‘Love & Fidelity’ comes storming out as if from a barn door, fierce and furious, all guitars and percussions, before Taylor launches into the lyrics, as fast as the instrumentals. It’s a track that will get you – if not up and dancing, definitely bopping in your seat, with its catchy hooks and melodies. Underneath the upbeat-ness of the track however, there’s a more sad message, as they sing of a relationship that seems to have sounded the death-knell.

‘Little Joy’ will be released on January 17th. You can find Death Party Playground on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. - Essentially Pop

"Canada’s Death Party Playground Releases “Love & Fidelity”"

Death Party Playground has been releasing tunes on Bandcamp for more than 5-years now, but their true debut release is coming in the form of their upcoming EP Little Joy due out on January 17 of next year. The jangly alt-pop 3-piece has a sound somewhere between The Rembrandts and The Cure and their debut single is showcasing all of it. - Indie Current

"Death Party Playground Premiere Their Power-Pop Ballad “Like Anything Else”"

With the release of their latest album a mere 3-days away Ontario, Canada’s Death Party Playground is premiering one final single to stoke the flames of their power-pop fire. “Like Anything Else” tick all the traditional for power-pop while adding a uniquely Canadian twist to the tunes. DPP is really molding their northern sensibilities with an American pop aesthetic to make for some pretty enticing tunes.

The full album, dubbed Little Joy is due out Jan. 17 and it pushing the envelope of power-pop to its farthest reaches. Death Party Playground is taking what was done before them and making it their own, to bring some of the most unique pop tunes out to their audience. - Indie Current


Little Joy by Death Party Playground has been a long time coming. I remember hearing early versions of some songs in the final track list about two or three years ago at Becky’s Apartment when they released the Bruce Willis Jog Mixtape #3.

Those familiar with Kyle Taylor and his passion project, Death Party Playground, will instantly recognize the trademark, Springsteen-esque brand of story-time rock and roll that they have been peddling at venues around KW. The recent offering — an independently released full length project supported by a local arts grant — provides fans with a more polished sound.

Fleshed out with a wide range of lush instruments, the album is maximalist when it wants to be and minimal when it needs to be.

What stands out is Taylor’s ability to craft music that isn’t bound by time or space. The album feels nostalgic in a way that’s hard to pin down; sometimes it’s the vocal harmonies, sometimes it’s a familiar drum pattern.

Little Joy is ultimately the perfect mix of throwback ear-worm tracks and contemporary rock ballads. The album will have you feeling feelings: some of which are familiar and some of which that are totally new.

The emphasis is always on the feeling. - The Community Edition

"Death Party Playground releases “Love & Fidelity” off upcoming album ‘Little Joy’"

Death Party Playground is an Ontario based band with a power-pop/alt-rock sounding new single that sets the stage for their upcoming legit debut full-length album. The single “Love & Fidelity,” along with most of the soon-to-be-released album Little Joy, was written by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Taylor. It’s fast and fun with lyrics that have more depth than you might expect. About the album’s lyrics, Taylor said “These songs squeeze a little joy out of a darker time. It’s trying to have fun in spite of it. It’s purposefully not letting something break you.”

Little Joy is set for release 1/17/20, and though the band has released material as singles and as a compilation album, Taylor considers Little Joy to be their debut album. Throughout the album there is a connecting feel and theme. Kind of a signature that they think of as a ‘catchy mix of romantic melodies that dance over a pumping and electrified rock-n-roll.’

There are well executed harmonies that no doubt were helped through recording the album in a historical old church filled with natural acoustics and harmonic resonance. Taylor has an interesting quality in his voice, a cadence that makes it memorable and easy on the ears.

Take a listen to “Love & Fidelity” - OnStage Magazine

"LP in Focus: 'Little Joy' by Death Party Playground"

To be honest, I have been listening to soft indie tracks for so long now that I needed a little break from the overlapping loops of tenderness and sorrow. 'Little Joy' seemed to offer exactly that - with pop music that sounded classic and a little pre-90s. Written and composed by Waterloo, Ontario-based band 'Death Party Playground', their jangly alt-pop falls somewhere between The Cure and The Rembrandts!

'Still Memories' is one of the more Simon and Garfunkel meets The High Kings at the advent of the 2000s and it pertains a wintery, festive vibe that could bring a warm smile on your face at the end of a dull, tired day. 'Redcoats' and 'Bright New' are soulful and bright and have the x-factor that makes pop sound like its own self. The tracks are organised in a way that one moment you feel like your heart is warming up and the next you could feel this hint of melancholia imbibed somewhere deep inside the otherwise lively lyrics and rhythmic instrumentals.

What makes the whole experience even more worthwhile is their genuine approach and interpretation of pop. They define pop, make a few alterations about the usual tenets that constitute it without overdoing things or making things look or sound too overwhelming.

Little Joy seems to have combined mid-80's Springsteen instrumentation with early-‘90s Britpop drama and there, there - you have the perfect cocktail served to you by the right bartenders who are subconsciously cooking up a surreal artwork of colours, tones, flavours, strokes and seasons. 'Break the Rain' remains another favourite track that is a strange portrayal of melancholic. It uses strong beats, is rather high on rhyme and reason and yet, the lost-among-the-crowd vibes sway over you and you can't but ignore the magic of élan vital; the perpetual motion of seasons keep transcending into colours, and that the contrasting tones give rise to a kind of perpetual drive that keeps us going but nonetheless makes us question on the implication of moonlight on the naked skin and vice versa. 'Break the Rain' on a certain note, does sound like rain - or waves crashing across a timid shoreline.

The band has done a rather impressive job with the vocals - the passion and depth of involvement are both visible in every single track included in the LP.

The instrumentals are absolutely in sync with the vibrant lyrics and they blend in truly well. The classic pop approach coupled with the vibrancy, spirit and perspective of the holistic experience that the LP is definitely impressive. The LP releases on 17th January. Fans of hard rock, all kinds of pop, R&B and psychedelic rock should lend a keen ear. It is for certain that they wouldn't be disappointed. - The Perspectives Blog

"Indie Pop Group Death Party Playground Drop Unique “Still Memories” Off of New Album “Little Joy”"

Sometimes when we are cruising through our inbox and socials, an artist pops up and we are hooked by name alone. This time we are taking an easy Saturday morning and checking out the latest single “Still Memories” off the upcoming indie-pop Death Party Playground Little Joy LP . Founded by multi-instrumentalist Kyle Taylor, Death Party Playground was the result of many late-night recording sessions within a whiskey distillery. Honing his craft in his own time in between freelancing throughout the Chicago punk scene and solo sessions, Kyle Taylor eventually recruited the best talent available to make their sound a reality. Overtly fond of his guitar “Queen Jane” and his childhood piano, Taylor and Death Party Playground’s style remind us of a classic Springsteen and Waits blend.

While Death Party Playground has dropped multiple tracks and releases on Bandcamp since 2013, even dropping a compilation of them called, Bruce Willis' Jog Playlist #3, Taylor himself considers Little Joy their official debut. Death Party Playground took plenty of care in recording Little Joy, primarily crafted within a historical church utilizing the beautiful aesthetic and natural sounds. For just a little taste of the result, Death Party Playground dropped “Still Memories”, harnessing the beautiful romantic melody to entrance new audiences with their style. If “Still Memories” is an example of the power of Death Party Playground, we can’t wait for the rest of Little Joy! Little Joy will be officially live on January 17th, so keep your eyes peeled!

Makes sure you check out “Still Memories” on Soundcloud below! - Modern Neon Media

"PREMIERE: Death Party Playground Release New Single “Still Memories”"

Today, we are joining forces with the lads of Death Party Playground for the release of their new single “Still Memories,” a song that blends vocals and acoustic harmonies in such an eerie way, filled with haunting resonances that fit the pseudo-dark lyrics.

Waterloo, Ontario-based Death Party Playground create authentic power pop, soaked in the tradition of Springsteen and Tom Waits.
Kyle Taylor cut his teeth as a hired gun in the Ontario punk and indie scenes while spending many late nights crafting his own tunes and recordings from a former whiskey distillery in the heart of Uptown Waterloo. Kyle became a proficient multi-instrumentalist, with a soft spot for his guitar “Queen Jane” and his childhood upright piano. As his sound began to solidify, he worked with bassist Dylan Bravener, drummer Sam Kargus, and piano man David Bruneau, to flesh out the material. - Vents Magazine

"Death Party Playground - Little Joy"

Death Party Playground kicks off its album Little Joy with a perfect, power-pop couplet: "You said a word/It sounded like forever." You may miss this lyric's true genius upon first listen, just as the song's narrator misheard what his partner actually said. It is seriousness disguised by sweetness. One definition of power-pop music is smart lyrics, dressed in irresistible electric guitar-based rock & roll. Or an easier to remember description: mid-Sixties Beatles music. Not everything Death Party Playground matches or lives up to a Beatles-esque high standard, but there's enough good music on this ten-song set to highly recommend it.

The album's prettiest song is "Still Memories," which is infused with chamber pop instrumental sweetness and lovely vocal harmonies. Revealing the act's sonic variety, "Girls" rocks gently with an insistent electric guitar groove. It's one that would fit nicely into Bruce Springsteen's repertoire; one can easily imagine The Boss giving it his distinctly gruff vocal tone. Then there's "Break the Rain," with its lullaby feel. This is a soft, quiet song filled with longing. "I wonder if I'll see you again," they sing.

Death Party Playground is a name that doesn't always fit the act's music because much of this music is, contrastingly, the life of the party. - antiMusic

"Death Party Playground… due to drop an LP early 2020!"

Death Party Playground is Dylan F. Bravener, Sam Hill, David Bruneau, and Kyle Taylor, and this fearsome foursome is tearing up the indie pop scene with their flavorful originals that all seem reminiscent of something familiar that you can’t quite put your finger on. You catch some hints of Mumford and Sons and The Strumbellas from the harmony vocals along with a strong splash of The Cure in the instrumentation. It’s a fun combination that seems mostly upbeat all while remaining laid back.

Something to look forward to is the release of their upcoming album, Little Joy, filled with catchy, vibey songs that you will dig if you’re into that combination of sweet sounds. Little Joy is due to be released at the beginning of 2020. Your New Year’s resolution list should include listening to more indie. This LP would be a great start! - Rock N Roll Industries Magazine

"Death Party Playground Sends Sonic Sensibility to the Strive and Stream Set With "Little Joy", the Ontario Outfit's Latest Album"

Indie Rock is a canvas at times as topicless as topless. An artist can scream threats of patricide or shed childbirth witnessing tears - on the same song - and those super-fan versed in deep well alt genre variety would simply accept it as shared truth, or at least kick ass creative. Canadian croon and tune crew Death Party Playground promised the aforementioned anger-to-anguish amusement park intention on their anticipated new project "Little Joy". Scheduled to stream wherever WiFi exists starting January 17, 2020, they know it's their best work. "These songs squeeze a little joy out of a darker time," shares frontman Kyle Taylor. "It's trying to have fun in spite of it. It's purposefully not letting something break you."

Songs titles such as "Like Anything Else", "Love & Fidelity", "Break the Rain", and "Still Memories" reflect a conceptual patience found on the group's "Bruce Willis' Jog Playlist #3" project from year's past. Death Party Playground recorded the majority of "Little Joy" in the thrawls of a renovated Oakwood, Ontario church since adapted for reuse. A multi-instrumentalist married to his guitar, Taylor also used to record in a whiskey distillery. How these make-shift musical mancaves affect their work, specifically on this offering, remains to be seen, heard, experienced and, if we're all so fortunate, never forgotten. - Loot & Riot Magazine


Combining late-'70s New York energy with '90s Brit-Pop drama, Waterloo ON's Death Party Playground make serious rock 'n roll. Fronted by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Taylor, DPP's full-length debut album Little Joy finds Taylor's visionary power pop coalescing around a true group effort for the first time, with bassist Dylan Bravener and drummer Sam Kargus providing the rhythmic backbone. Songs like "Love & Fidelity" and "Rubber Man" literally jump out of the speakers, displaying Taylor's undeniable lyrical and melodic skills. - Country Music News International Magazine And Radio Show

"Review - "Bruce Willis' Jog Playlist #3" - Death Party Playground"

Waterloo’s Death Party Playground may not be a new upstart to the scene, since the band has been around since 2012, but the three members have only recently launched themselves into recording with both a single and an EP out this summer.

It’s Bruce Willis fandom worn proudly on the five-track Bruce Willis Jog Playlist #3, a tribute to the steely-eyed days of one man’s rising 80’s persona. Much like their inspiration, the three members of Death Party Playground are going hard on their summer release, a dancing, pumping mix of broken hearts and better nights.

Superhero soft spots are revealed on “Love & Fidelity,” as the chorus chimes on and on with, “Said a word, it sounded like ‘forever’” as the lyrics pour over something that “should be easy.” Keys soar over the bridge, turning garage punk vocals into summer pop.

Kyle Taylor goes heavy on the drums for “Rubber Man,” shaking off the doom and delight of the album’s open, and easing the band back into its southwestern rock groove. Muffled vocals compete with deliberate feedback and crashing intros as the EP feeds the adrenaline junkie title hero with a prolonged scream on “Rose.”

It’s fast but melodic garage rock in the Death Party Playground—a rejected lead with a heart of gold racing for that last minute save as Taylor and bandmates Dylan F. Bravener and Colin White let it all out on the last two tracks. But it’s the lingering promise of a happy ending in “Forever More,” and the mystery of playlists #1 and #2 that give Bruce Willis Jog Playlist #3 something more than a kitschy feel and a real shot of turning this into a franchise.

Top Track: “Love & Fidelity”

Rating: Strong Hoot (Good) - Gray Owl Point

"Getting to Know Death Party Playground"

“A wild group of hellion velvet ravens influenced by a rising 1988 Bruce Willis and the innocent contractors who lost their lives working on the Death Star.”

That’s how a local band, Death Party Playground, is described on their website. It’s not a description you often see with an upcoming band — there’s no forced sophistication or hints of the band trying to be something they aren’t.

But it fits them perfectly, because Death Party Playground is band that understands they can’t take themselves too seriously. Not if they want to keep the brand that’s been distinguishing them from the other up-coming bands within the tri-city this past year.

Death Party Playground first emerged onto the music scene in 2012, but didn’t solidify their position until 2017 when they released their EP Bruce Willis’ Jog Playlist #3 in June.

The band consists of four members: Kyle Taylor on guitar and vocals, Dylan F. Bravener on bass and vocals, Sam Hill on drums/percussion and vocals, and last but never least, David “The Human Inferno” Bruneau on keyboard and guitar.

“It’s like Death Cab for Cutie … once you know the music the name works differently,” Taylor explained when I expressed the apprehension I had felt about going to see them preform.

Their band name is a bit more shocking than someone like me — a person who almost exclusively listens to bands like Dry the River or Whitehorse — is used to. But Taylor was spot on. While their name is macabre, it fits their music perfectly. Dark but still playful, sometimes even uplifting.

“We call our genre ‘story-time rock and roll’,” Hill said as he and Taylor tried to describe exactly where DPP — as I’ve begun colloquially calling them — fit in within the tri-city music scene.

“I started calling it theatre music, but story-time rock and roll sounds better. Theatre music, you know, there’s a flare for the dramatics,” Taylor said this could also be an apt description of their band.

Currently, the tri-city seems to have their music scene made. One large, dominating hard-core punk scene with blues and jazz sprinkled within different sections of the cities.

“We didn’t necessarily fit in last night either, but that’s not a bad thing,” Taylor said, referring to a show they had played at Night School on Jan. 28.

“It’s not like what it was in the seventies or eighties. You can’t just bank on just being a huge, huge band. But with the internet and how information travels so fast you can definitely gather a following in certain places, enough to make some money at least,” Hill said.

“Seems to me that you can’t really make money anymore. If we get to a point where we fill a place like Starlight up, that amount of people, that seems pretty great and I’d be pretty satisfied with that,” Taylor said.

DPP also has released a single Hello, Sunshine, consisting of two songs “The Count” and “Bright New”.

“Some of the songs I’d already written before we made this band,” Taylor said, explaining how they all write their music.

“So I would show Sam the drum part, but he always just makes it better. Our keyboard player, it’s the same thing — he always adds better stuff then what I would’ve done. Dylan, our bass player, I don’t write any of his stuff. He’s always been with me, so he puts all his own stuff down.”

“Me, being the drummer, I bring a specific kind of style. It’s more than just rock, because I played in a jazz quartet for three years, so I bring other influences. But I never — ever, ever, ever — play the same fill twice in shows,” Hill said, explaining how he likes to keep his performances unique.

“It means — if you come to the show — if you come to two different shows and you come to listen to same song. It will not be the same drum part; it’ll be slightly different.”

There’s a prevalent theory in literature that once you write a story it’s no longer yours. It becomes this living, tangible thing that can become so much more than what you originally intended. DPP understand this aspect of art, this uncontrollable part, and they shape themselves around it.

“I can do the solo-sets that I have, and they’re fun — a bit more personal, but it’s definitely better to play in a band. Because a song breathes on its own. I can write a song, but it becomes something more when people play it together, I really like experiencing that,” Taylor explained.

You can see Death Party Playground live on March 22 when they play at Harmony Lunch. I know, it’s feels like a long time off. So, in the meantime try out what I’ve been doing; go onto their website ( and obsessively replay their music until it’s the only thing you know. - The Cord

"[LISTEN] Death Party Playground - Rose"

“Rose” is, in the end, a rousing alt-rock barn-buster, but Death Party Playground take some peculiar twists getting there, including outlandish breaks and jarring changes in mood. - Ride The Tempo

"Cassette Review: Death Party Playground "Bruce Willis' Jog Mixtape #3" (3 Nines Compact Cassettes)"

Right away when I see the name Bruce Willis it takes me back to how few actors (and actresses) there are today making similar career paths as Die Hard himself. Now, you can just as easily scroll through IMDb as I can and find the full list of Bruce Willis movies so I don't need to name all the names, but just know that there are some Bruce Willis movies which aren't as good as the others. But when Bruce Willis is in a good movie, it's a great movie. "The Fifth Element", "Pulp Fiction", "The Last Boy Scout", "Sin City" and of course my personal favorite "Twelve Monkeys" (Which also has Brad Pitt in it, who much like Bruce Willis will put out something I don't care about like "Legends Of The Fall" but then also something I do care about like "Kalifornia")

Bruce Willis is just one of those actors where... To put it plainly, I recently signed up for a free Hulu trial and in browsing their movie selection I found one called "Vice", which happens to have Bruce Willis in it, and my thought was "Well, if I'm ever in the mood I'll watch that", like somehow just feeling like "Yeah, I'll watch a Bruce Willis movie" is a thing more than what the movie actually is. In some ways I want to feel that same way about Death Party Playground-- I'll listen to a song or album by them and not have it so much based upon what format it is on or what other people might say.

There is both an introduction and closing audio clip to this cassette, both of which mention Bruce Willis, and then there are audio clips in between some of the songs which is kind of cool. At one point someone says that the telephone was simply invented and Bell didn't worry "Oh, if I invent the telephone who will I call" Is that from a Bruce Willis movie? More importantly, what actors will there jogging mixtapes about ten years from now because I can tell you right now, Ben Affleck isn't cutting it.

Listening to these songs takes me back to a time when I was younger. There are these organ tones which come out like I've not heard before. So what you have to think of is to take a band such as Schatzi or The Rentals who have more of a synth/Moog sound to their music. But then you take those organ tones you'd find in the later years of The Gadjits and put them in their place. I feel as if I've not heard this done in this manner before and that's actually pretty cool.

Somewhat pop, somewhat punk this just reminds me of something I would've listened to back in the early 2000's and don't listen to now because, well, they just don't make music like this any more. From The Reunion Show to Step Lively, Digger to High Pop, there are elements of The Beans and The Benjamins in here. There are also older feels like The Cure (but in a more upbeat way, so maybe let's just say dreamy?) and even Buddy Holly. It's got that twee sort of Oneders thing down fairly well.

In my younger years, I would drive out of my way to see bands I liked or even just bands I heard about that were supposed to be good because dialup was still a thing and Napster hadn't come along yet and even then it wasn't like you had the same access to music as people have now. I imagine some band from Hopeless Records or Fearless Records- but back from the days of Useless I.D. and Allister- comes here and Death Party Playground opens for them. That's where they fit into my timeline but yet, hearing them now, all these years later is just as amazing. - Raised by Gypsies Blog

"[LISTEN] Death Party Playground - I Don't Get Along With You"

Their name might suggest thrash metal but Waterloo’s Death Party Playground are more along the lines of weirded-out slackers. “I Don’t Get Along With You” starts out slow and wonky, but later on it detonates with cymbals and guitar notes flying all over the place. - Ride The Tempo



The story of Death Party Playground is really about the creative evolution of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Taylor. Based in the thriving university town of Waterloo, Ontario, just west of Toronto, Kyle has been a fixture on the local music scene for over a decade, and began sharing his insanely catchy power pop anthems under the Death Party Playground banner in 2013.

Many of these, as well as a cache of new material, have been collected on the band’s first full-length album, Little Joy, to be released in January 2020. On one hand it showcases Kyle’s undeniable lyrical and melodic skills, but at the same time it displays how Death Party Playground has evolved into a true band, with bassist Dylan Bravener and drummer Sam Kargus providing the rhythmic backbone. The results are a combination of late-‘70s New York energy and early-‘90s Britpop drama, but most of all it’s the sound of a group of young musicians discovering their distinctive chemistry.

Songs like “Love & Fidelity” and “Rubber Man” literally leap out of the speakers, a far cry from earlier versions of these songs that made the rounds on the 2017 Death Party Playground EP, Bruce Willis’ Jog Playlist #3, which Taylor effectively put together on his own. For Kyle, it was a big change to finally bring in others to help execute his musical vision, and perhaps the biggest recruit for Little Joy’s supporting cast was engineer Joe Shugan who guided the band through initial sessions at a renovated church found on Air BnB, with overdubs done later at Shugan’s home studio.

“When I first spoke with Joe about making this record, I told him my priority was to make it sound as lively as possible,” Kyle says. “When I listen to the album now, it’s full of colour and life, and it sounds like us. It seems simple enough, but at times it can be hard to do; so many factors can cause a recording to fall flat. Joe paid great attention to detail and helped keep the project moving along. He did a great job.”

The finishing touches came after Taylor spent a couple of months in Los Angeles after recording was completed, where the distance provided a fresh perspective on what they’d laid down, as well as the album’s final title. “Joe would send me mixes when I was in Santa Monica, and I would listen to them while I ran at a nearby track,” Kyle says. “It turned out to be a great way to gauge our progress! By the time I’d heard nine of the ten songs, it really started to feel like an album and Joe felt the same way.”

Kyle adds, “One night after I’d played a set at the Silverlake Lounge, a friend took us to a bar in Echo Park that was called Little Joy. I just thought that was perfect. Each song on this album squeezes a little joy out of a dark time. So that became the title, Little Joy.”

In many ways, Little Joy is the perfect example of the old adage that an artist has their entire life to make their debut album. Taylor’s experimentation to this point has certainly paid off, mostly in the lessons he’s learned about how to make a message more powerful by saying less. The nuances of language have also extended to his approach to singing, as well as the importance of grabbing the listener straight out of the gate with a killer opening line. If this all sounds like Songwriting 101, it’s because Kyle has always looked to the masters such as Dylan, Prince and Springsteen for inspiration, even if their work might not have a direct correlation with his own.

It all comes down to always striving to do your best possible work, something that’s been ingrained within Taylor ever since he read a quote from Nietzsche about how one’s maturity comes through reacquiring the seriousness they had as a child at play.

Death Party Playground makes serious rock and roll imbued with the wonder we all experienced when we first dropped the needle on a spinning black disc. Little Joy will bring those memories back, and then some.

- Jason Schneider (Jason Schneider Media)

Band Members