Hannah Bussiere Kim was raised in the Hogwartsesque Toronto music school run by her parents. Armed only with a piano and a violin, Hannah trained in the fundamentals before packing her musical bindle and journeying to Montreal to master her musical studies in McGill University’s music program. Near the end of her first semester, Hannah was enchanted by an ancient cosmic snail and imbued with a glittering energy greatest realized when she picked up her guitar. Her mortal form could only withstand the sonic vibrancy for so long before her transformation into Luna Li was complete. A ridiculous fantasized back story, no doubt. Like a poorly scripted dream just a bit less clunky than this segue.
As and in Luna Li, Bussiere Kim, along with guitar and synth player Charise Aragosa, bassist Hallie Switzer, and Braden Sauder on drums, create something on the dreamy side of what likely falls in the rock category. While employing harps, horns and Hannah’s violin on record, Luna Li also comes with a garage crash and bang. It’s not just Bussiere Kim’s strong, out-front vocals, she knows well how to tear off a guitar solo. This was evidenced on Dec. 20 when Luna Li played at the Danforth opening for Born Ruffians. Adding to the aural splendor coming off the stage, the trio of voices from the Luna Li women could be the highlight of this young band. I loved this band’s ability to shift moods when Aragosa played synth and Bussiere Kim picked up her violin. Not entirely unlike the crew of female artists properly dominating the indie scene like Lucy Dacus (plus the rest of boygenius), Angel Olsen, Mitski and Middle Kids, Luna Li relies on emotive vocals and thoughtful lyrics to show its power.