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CMW Mega Preview Part 2

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Here we go with the second half of our CMW Mega Preview, highlighting one band for every letter of the alphabet. Except for Q and U, because nobody really likes those letters anyways. Check out Part One here.

Mangled Meat
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Based on the photo alone, this Guelph based electro-industrial artist seems like a freewheeling, fun loving sort of fellow. On the subject of CMW bands with meat-related names, honorable mention also goes out to Chicago’s Meatwave, who get bonus points for naming themselves after an Onion headline.

Nyssa
The former singer for Modern Superstitions takes thing in a more electronic direction for her solo project.

ooluu
In a previous life, this Ottawa band was apparently known as Oompalunatiks. ooluu is a much better name, so good on them.

Partner
Sackville’s Partner put on a fun show and are pretty good at stage banter. They’re playing the Silver Dollar for 3 nights in a row, so there’ll be plenty of opportunity to check them out.

Return For Refund
You might think it’s a bit obvious to make a joke about asking for a refund if you aren’t impressed by this band’s set and you’d be right … but I’m not above making obvious jokes. This should be abundantly clear by now.

Secret Guest
I love these guys! I hear they’re going out on a tour after this with TBA! (see above re: obvious jokes)

Twin Peaks
Who else is totally stoked about that Twin Peaks cast announcement that came out the other day? Maybe this band is. (Public service announcement: This isn’t the Chicago garage rock outfit, but rather two ukulele playing ladies from Fort St John, BC, which could also be good.)

Vallens
Great band. Nothing funny to say here. Just go see them.

Wolkoff
The Panic Manual wrote about this Brooklyn based electro-pop artist’s song “Homecoming” a while back, so rather than say anything more about her, I’ll just tell you to go and read that. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

X Ambassadors
I’ve never even listened to these guys, but I get the impression that they’re fairly popular and they’re one of only 2 bands whose name starts with “x” on the lineup so I basically flipped a coin. They’re also playing a hotel ballroom with Tegan and Sara so that could be interesting I guess. Or go see something at The Silver Dollar instead. Whatever, you’re going to do what you want to do and I’m not the boss of you anyways.

Yngwie Malmsteen (and also Zakk Wylde)
We close out the alphabet with two guitarists who will both be a part of the Generation Axe show at Massey Hall alongside Steve Vai, Nuno Bettencourt and Tosin Abasi. Stop by and maybe you’ll see some Arpeggios from Hell! The most extreme!

CMW Review: Fat White Family, May 8, The Horseshoe

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“You have no idea how much we suffer,” said Fat White Family guitarist Saul Adamczewski as they took to the stage. “Every day is the same.”

Whether he was expressing his ennui and existential angst brought on by the rigours of touring, or just referring to their issues with the sound at the venue (According to Adamczewski, they need a lot of reverb to cover up how “shit” they are), it was an amusing way in which to introduce themselves. And with introductions out of the way, the Fat Whites got right down to business, delivering a drunken, shambolic yet engaging show to a packed Horseshoe Tavern. Singer Lias Saoudi prowled about the stage like a man possessed – he definitely adheres to the “I am a golden god” school of rock performance techniques.

In terms of energy and attitude, Fat White Family definitely delivered. It wasn’t exactly the most polished performance, but that hardly matters – close enough for rock n’ roll and all that.

CMW Review: Gold Lake, FRANKIE, May 7

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During Gold Lake’s set at The Drake Underground, singer Lua Rios mentioned how happy they were to be in Toronto, even going so far as to refer to it as “our favourite city.” While most bands are probably buttering up whatever city they’re playing in when they say something like that, apparently these guys mean it. Inspired by a trip here for NXNE with a previous band, Rios and guitarist Carlos Del Amo decided to make the move to North America, relocating from their native Madrid to Brooklyn. Because Brooklyn is apparently just like Toronto? Who knows.

Rios’ soulful and spacey vocals were the focal point of their sound, floating atop the band’s lush, pretty pop. In reading a few other reviews of the band’s sound, I’ve come across the word “shimmering” as a descriptor and it seems fitting. The band has even made note of this, referencing it on their Bandcamp page: “Gold Lake shimmer, or so they say….”

From shimmering, we move to twinkling, namely the self-described “twinkle rock” of Vancouver based band FRANKIE. Though I’m not entirely sure what twinkle rock entails exactly, I suppose there is a certain twinkling, sparkling, perhaps even shimmering element to the band’s sound. With lots of instrument switching and three singers displaying strong harmonies throughout, they played an enjoyable set at The Paddock to a fairly full house. And while the term twinkle rock may suggest a certain lightness, there was also a bit of heft to their sound as well as a slightly dark undercurrent at times, both lyrically and sonically.

CMW Review: Ben Lee, May 7, The Great Hall

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Ben Lee had some exciting news to share with us at his show at The Great Hall … about a show he played the night before. “Last night I played a gig in the Qantas lounge at LAX. It was a high point – I finally became the guy at the airport bar.” OK, not necessarily the most exciting news, but he seemed pretty stoked about it. And while that might seem an odd thing to get excited about, especially for a seasoned performer like Lee, it illustrates one thing about him – Ben Lee is a totally positive, upbeat guy. Hell, he can even make death seem kind of positive.

Lee mentioned how a couple of years back he was somewhat obsessed with death and even volunteered as a “death midwife.” This led, in turn, to what he referred to as his young daughter’s first existential crisis. All of this was the inspiration for a new song he played, “Everybody Dies,” which he described as a children’s song. And it was, in fact, an upbeat, kind of positive, matter of fact look at death. He followed that up with another new one, “Happiness,” which actually sounded way more like a kid’s song than the previous one. But that’s OK.

At one point, Lee opened it up to requests. A few people shouted out some song titles, among them “Cigarettes Will Kill You.” “Is it not a bit boring without the piano part?” asked Lee before convincing the audience to help him by singing said piano part. He ended his set off with two of his best known songs, “Catch My Disease” and “We’re All In This Together.” He initiated another singalong on the latter song, asking the crowd, “Are you guys ready to get corny?” Yes, Ben, it seems like people are ready and willing to get a little corny with you.