Canadian Music Week

Canadian Music Week 2011 Preview

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | 1 Comment

Toronto – Another year, another Canadian Music Fest.  From March 9 through to March 13, a whole lot of bands both Canadian and otherwise will be filling venues throughout the city.  Here’s a selection of the ones who caught our attention.

Alcoholic Faith Mission: If you’ll forgive the bad alcohol based pun, these Danes have had a good buzz going lately.  Ricky wrote about them here.

Alcoholic Faith Mission play Rancho Relaxo on March 9 @ 12:00 pm, The Dakota on March 11 @ 12:00 pm, and The El Mocambo on March 12 @ 8:00 pm.

Alcoholic Faith Mission – Closer To Dallas by Paper Garden Records

Butterfly Explosion:These Irish shoegazey alt-rockers have been described as “My Bloody Valentine meets M83 meets Sigur Ros in Heaven.”

Butterfly Explosion plays The Hideout on Thursday, March 10 @ 2:00 am.

Butterfly Explosion :: Closer by Harmless Noise

Charlotte Cornfield:This Montreal based singer-songwriter offers up some catchy folk-rock that has already garnered her radio play on the CBC as well as appearances at the Hillside Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival, the Ottawa Folk Festival, and Pop Montreal.

Charlotte Cornfield plays Thursday, March 10 @ 8:30 pm at Sneaky Dee’s as part of the Audio Blood showcase.

Elephant Stone: Awesome sitar tinged, poppy psych rock from Montreal.  They’re playing here before they head to SXSW to play about a billion shows.  Should be a good time.

Elephant Stone play Rancho Relaxo @ 1:00 am on Friday, March 11.

Elephant Stone – Bombs Bomb Away by 360degreemusic

Heavy Cream: Fun, energetic punk rock from Nashville.  They definitely bring the goods live.  Their video for “Watusi”is all kinds of awesome and features smoke bombs, ouija boards and various shenanigans.

Heavy Cream play Wrongbar @ 11:00 pm on Saturday, Mar. 12.  Also on the bill are The Pack A.D. and Ty Segall.

J Mascis/Kurt Vile/James Vincent McMorrow:  If you’re looking to stay in one place for awhile, this is a pretty good lineup.  The Dinosaur Jr. frontman and Mr. Vile will offer up some guitar heroics while McMorrow brings the mellow folk tunes.

At The Great Hall on March 11.  James Mc Morrow @ 9:15 pm, Kurt Vile @ 10:00 pm, Kurt Vile @ 11:00 pm.

Janet Jackson: Because you never know when you might witness a wardrobe malfunction in action.

Janet Jackson plays The Sony Centre on March 12 and 13.

Maestro Fresh Wes: Let your backbone slide!

Maestro Fresh Wes plays Maro on Saturday, March 12.

Monster Truck: Let’s face it, monster trucks are awesome.  They can crush other, smaller vehicles and have cool names like Grave Digger.  Therefore, a band named Monster Truck must also be awesome.  The Hamilton band’s bio describes their sound as “big like metal, classic like rock, fierce like punk and sweet like pop.”  

Monster Truck play 2 shows on Friday, March 11 @ 11:00 pm at The Bovine Sex Club and  @ 2:00 am at Lee’s Palace. 

Runnin’ by Monster Truck

Topanga:Calm down, Boy Meets World Fans.  Danielle Fishel will not be appearing at CMW.  However, this Toronto band, whose rambunctious sound falls somewhere between folk and punk, will be. 

Topanga plays The Silver Dollar @ 2:00 am on Thursday, March 10. 

Topanga-Loose Circus by Topanga

Young Galaxy: Ricky wrote about them here.

Young Galaxy play Lee’s Palace on March 10 @ 11:30 pm

There you have it.  Just a small sample of the many bands playing Canadian Music Week.  Enjoy.

CMW / SXSW Preview: Austra

Posted on by Ricky in Canadian Music Week, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Toronto – Watching the The Wedge last night, I was fully introduced to Austra, a new band featuring talented singer Katie Stelmanis. The song played was called Beat & The Pulse. The song was very appropriately named, as it had a ridiculously dirty beat that instantly captured my attention. Combined with Katie’s tremendous, sometimes haunting vocal work, this is one mesmerizing tune. The video captured the essense of the song nicely, coming across as a mix of a risqué American Apparel commercial (pointed out by Melody from Singing Lamb) and a scene from those illegal night clubs in Eastern Europe. You can watch the video here.

Austra’s debut album Feel It Break comes out May 17th on Paper Bag Records in Canada and on Domino Records everywhere else.

They will be playing at the Wrongbar on March 10th for Canadian Music Fest

The event page for that show is here

Their official showcase at SXSW will be March 17th, Emo’s Main Room, at 9:00 PM, although I suspect they’ll be playing 5 or 6 other shows like every band who makes it down there.

Austra – Beat & The Pulse (Extended Version) by DominoRecordCo

CMW/SXSW Preview: Alcoholic Faith Mission

Posted on by Ricky in Canadian Music Week, South By Southwest | 1 Comment

Toronto – Between the Raveonettes, Efterklang and Alphabeat, once could argue that Danish indie pop music is on a definite rise. You can add Alcoholic Faith Mission to that list. A quintet (why is there six in their press picture?! whose the extra mystery person?) met in Brooklyn and formed their mission statement in that fabled borough. Despite being from the land of Danes and.. Danish, the group now resides in Brooklyn and probably record their music in some cool loft in a restored factory. The band has had several releases already, but it was with their most recent release Let This Be The Last Night We Care that caught the eyes of the most important people on Earth – music critics. When your mustache has caught the attention of Esquire, you have clearly done something right.

What about their music, you say? Well let me point out that their EP cover for their latest release, Running With Insanity

Looks a lot like Caribou‘s Swim

What does this say about the music? nothing. However, if you go deeper, you can say that great minds think a like and Caribou’s album was awesome and so by nature, due to the great minds theorem, the Alcoholic Faith Mission EP will be great as well. That might be thought of as lazy/creative journalism, so instead, I’ll say that from what I’ve heard of their material, Alcoholic Faith Mission is full of toe tapping, upbeat and warm music that is great for spring time listening. The winter is soon to be over, the sun is on the horizon and listening to the title track of this EP, it’s hard to think otherwise.

Alcoholic Faith Mission is playing BOTH CMW and SXSW, which is awesome, since I just wrote a preview article for two events for the price of one. Yay me.

CMW: Rancho Relaxo, March 9, MIDNIGHT
CMW: Dakota Tavern, Friday March 11, MIDNIGHT
SXSW: Probably everywhere

Alcoholic Faith Mission – Running With Insanity by Paper Garden Records

CMW: 2010 Festival Highlights

Posted on by Mark in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | 1 Comment

Toronto – Well the dust has settled on another Canadian Music Week. I’ve had an opportunity to take a step back and have a good think about the shows I’ve seen, so I’m ready for my recap.

Best show:
It’s a tie between Plants & Animals and the last 20 minutes that I saw of the Handsome Furs set. I’m going to go with the Handsome Furs because it was so intense and energetic.

Best show from a band you have never heard before:
Bahamas. He is a solid guitar player and singer. Of the Jason  Collett/Zeus/Bahams trifecta, it was the aesthetic of the Bahamas songs that I was most drawn too. In terms of musicianship, he seemed like a cut-above his band mates.

Worst show:
The angry music during the middle of the Constantines set at the Indie music awards had me high-tailing it out of the Royal York before they were finished.

Best CMW moment:
The Handsome Furs encore. Because encores are so rare at music festivals like CMW that have strict set times, and because it was so good.

Worst CMW moment:
There are two worst CMW moments. The first would be showing up early to see Joel Plaskett, only to wait in line for the better part of an hour in the cold windy rain. On top of that, they were running behind so the doors opened late.

The second is a vicarious moment. I met a young woman who was so discouraged about the Plants & Animals lineup that she decided to forego that show to make sure she got to see the Handsome Furs. She arrived at the El Mocambo early but accidentally went upstairs instead of downstairs. When she realized her mistake, they wouldn’t let her in downstairs. This was a shared culpability situation, but better handlers at the door could have easily avoided this problem.

Here were Paul’s moments at CMW

Best Show: Parlovr @ Sneaky Dee’s. It was 2 AM. They seemed totally drunk, off the cuff, and a little bit goofy, but still blew me away with their songs and their stage presence (which was actually probably due to the apparent drunkenness) and proved that they were more than just another band of Montreal hipsters.

Best show from a band you have never heard before: A tie between The Atlas Moth And P.O.S.

Worst show: Nothing totally sucked, but Homicide @ The Comfort Zone was a bit of a letdown. Mind you, I only caught like 1 or 2 songs.

Best CMW moment: Separado! That movie just made me feel good.

Worst CMW moment: The mandatory coatcheck at The Phoenix. I’m fine with keeping my coat on, thank you very much.