The History of TEA

teaminiBroken Pencil Review – Terrence Dick

TEA (Toronto Experimental Artists) began with label guys Clay Phillips and Mark Harrington over 17 years ago, “TEA Artists and musicians pooled themselves together with their resources and skills to help promote their works in an affordable way. Pooled resources include many of the TEA services today: recording, mastering, graphic design, photography, radio promotion, film/TV placement, record label development, CD manufacturing, compilation CDs, consulting etc. When we first began to work together, we found it difficult to make it cost effective for the independent musician. Over time we grew and began consulting independent artists in the many different directions they can go, with affordable packages tailored to suit their needs and budget. TEA prides itself in being an artist friendly community that can help connect artists together and bring them what they may need or want, and help develop their own connections in the industry.”

tea-v-131“TEA Compilations began with bringing artists together with the intention of creating a buzz in all areas of the media – radio, print, film, internet and live performance,” says Phillips “Many compilations today are just music convention mail bag fodder at very expensive pricing with no follow up for the artists. The main reason for our compilations is the sense of community it can bring for all involved. A chance to share, hear feedback and receive much needed information for artist growth and connectivity within the industry. TEA has had some great successes at radio, print media and film with most comps hitting the charts and getting great reviews. Strong artists on our comps have included: Andrew Spice & Emm Gryner, Car Bombs & Allah, David William, Mike Criscione, Robbie Cooper, Little Sunday, Unit 731, Daisy DeBolt, Jill Jack, Power Boxx and many others.”

As for Toronto Experimental Artists, Phillips says: “Anyone can submit music to us for our compilations, but that doesn’t mean it will make it on. We seek out good music on the internet we feel very passionate about. The range of music on our comps is usually: pop, rock, blues, hip-hop, R&B, folk, electronica, ambient, acoustic, experimental, and singer/songwriter.

Toronto Star Review – Car Bombs & Allah – TEA Volume 4

Car Bombs & Allah – John Terauds “What’s On Editor” The Toronto Star

This new indie rock band sounds like it leans toward emo – except that it’s named Car Bombs & Allah. That would imply a sound that’s a bit more, uh, explosive. Either way, it’s not a name anyone can overlook these days. “I got flack from my girlfriend, from my mother and even from the guy who recorded our EP” says the bands guitarist/vocalist/harmonica player Cory Thibodeau . “I could just as well have called the band “The United States of America Supports Democracy Worldwide.'” “It’s just so absurd, equating God with car bombs. It just doesn’t fit,” says Thibodeau, commenting as much on current affairs as on every artist’s need to get noticed in a sea of choices.

On the phone from his home base in Ottawa, Thibodeau turns out to be a smart, affable guy. He also reveals that Car Bombs & Allah is very much a work-in-progress. He has, bass player Scott Badour and new drummer Isaac McFaul bringing their fledgling outfit to town tonight as part of a showcase of emerging musicians/bands at the Reverb Room & Holy Joe’s. Car Bombs & Allah shines on TEA Volume 4’s second track, with the song “North American Suntan”

Thibodeau says he recently received an email from a man in Washington D.C., who had been turned onto Car Bombs & Allah by an ad on the music website Pitchfork. “I don’t know what it is in Canadian water?,” Thidodeau quotes the man as saying, “but you have amazing rock up there.” The water must also flow through Ottawa, if Car Bombs and Allah is any indication. For more on the band, visit

John Terauds editor The Toronto Star – sample portion of review

Toronto Star Review – Andrew Spice – TEA Volume 2

Andrew Spice – John Terauds “What’s On Editor” The Toronto Star

Thank goodness for Canada’s steady supply of low-key, intelligent, sweet-and-bitter indie singer/songwriters. Andrew Spice, a 22 year old Winnipeg born singer/keyboard player is quietly beginning to make a name for himself in our city. Spice is one of 18 diverse acts participating in a showcase of performers under the Toronto Experimental Artists umbrella (the bill has a bit of everything, from prog-rock to ska to punk)

There is a powerful emotional depth to the surface simplicity of the lyrics on Spice’s recent 10-track debut album – Pretty Demons, On the record, Spice is backed up on bass, guitar, keyboards, percussion and organ by Emm Gryner, for whom he has no end of praise. “She’s done so much for me,” he says. “I met her for the first time when Emm opened for Alanis Morissette in a Winnipeg arena six years ago” After listening to his music Emm suggested Spice put together a demo recording – which led eventually to Gryner producing Pretty Demons……

John Terauds editor The Toronto Star – sample portion of review