Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
Here It Comes
Army Girls lead charge into Canadian Musicfest 2012
Katie SadieSo yeah, Canadian Musicfest kind of screwed me over this year. For the past however many years, we’ve had a good arrangement: Canadian Music Week, as it was once know, runs the week before SXSW and allows me to a) get into some semblance of game shape for a club-hopping festival, b) check out some bands that I might otherwise have to find time to see in Austin, and c) allow me to build up a backlog of content to allow me to keep posting while I’m experiencing taco country. Everybody wins. But for this year, for some inexplicable reason, CMW/CMF decided to move to the week AFTER SXSW, not only invalidating all of the above points but also making next week doubly busy as I try to plough through gigs of SXSW content and still hit the clubs for CMF. And oh yeah, go back to work.
All of which would be more acceptable if the schedule shift had been to accomodate some impressive talent in the festival lineup; I don’t think I’m creating any scandals by saying that that is not so much the case. Compared to past years, there’s seems to be a real dearth of either breakout or on-the-cusp acts, be they local or international – or maybe I’m just not up on what the kids are into these days. They still like the I Mother Earth? Really? Anyways, none of this is to say there’s nothing worth seeing next week – not at all – it just might take a little more research to fill out one’s schedule. I’ve done some of that research. Let me share some of it with you.
Army Girls – It’s a bit cruel that the only showcase I could theoretically make for this duo – my pick for the best up-and-coming act in Toronto – is at the most remote venue in the city and appears to be scheduled so that the set’s no longer than 20 minutes, but even so I will bet that it’d be worth the trek. Amazingly hooky guitar pop with the right amount of abrasiveness.
Thursday, March 22, 10:30PM @ Parts & Labour
Friday, March 23, 2:00PM @ The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music
Stream: Army Girls / Close To The Bone
Lake Forest – you might think that a solo project from The Wilderness Of Manitoba’s Will Whitwham a touch redundant since he sings lead and writes most of the WOM material, but his debut album Silver Skies stands apart enough to justify itself while offering plenty to appeal to fans of his band.
Thursday, March 22, 1:00AM @ The Cameron House
Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Singer-songwriter whose debut Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm has made him something of a rising star in his native England; nothing wrong with taking the opportunity to see him in an intimate setting in case he catches on similarly over here.
Thursday, March 22, 11:00PM @ The Cameron House
Friday, March 23, 9:10PM @ Supermarket
Neufvoin – solidly anthemic guitar rock from hailing from the
fjords of Norway wilds of Finland. They’re still young – a debut album is supposed to be out this Spring – but they already sound sophisticated and assured. Was originally just looking for something to fill a time slot but now I quite want to see these guys.
Thursday, March 22, 12:30AM @ El Mocambo (upstairs)
Friday, March 23, 9:00PM @ Rancho Relaxo
Fred – I’m pretty sure I’ve seen these Cork (Ireland) natives on the lineups for past CMWs and NXNEs both, so they’re no strangers to our city. But if they’re still strangers to you, and you like big, friendly pop-rock of the sort that fills their new record Leaving My Empire, then you ought to get acquainted.
Thursday, March 22, 11:00PM @ The Rivoli
Husky – recent signees to SubPop who fit the label’s rustic/bearded division perfectly, despite hailing from Australia rather than the Pacific Northwest. Their debut Forever So is out July 10; get on board now.
Saturday, March 24, 2:45PM @ The El Mocambo
Saturday, March 24, 9:00PM @ The Garrison
Sunday, March 25, 9:00PM @ The Velvet Underground
Louise Burns – Vancouver artist whose debut Mellow Drama made my shortlist for the 2010 Polaris Prize; I wasn’t surprised she didn’t make the shortlist but I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had. For some reason, she’s got no official showcase – just this day show. So if you’re free, take advantage of the opportunity. Update: An official showcase has been added.
Wednesday, March 21, 10:00PM @ The Drake Underground
Thursday, March 22, 4:00PM @ The Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music
And this isn’t all I’d recommend at all, but I need to save some stuff for my actual festival coverage, yeah? Yeah. And the full, three-day sched for those Toronto Institute For The Enjoyment Of Music afternoon shows is over here
BlogTO gets to know The Elwins, whom they declare one of the city’s breakout bands for this year. I don’t disagree. Their next show is March 25 at Rancho Relaxo as part of the Canadian Musicfest grace note and if you ever wanted to see the band, along with Luke Lalonde of Born Ruffians cover Beyonce – this is your lucky day. There’s also an interview at Exclaim where they talk about how they personalised their tour down to SXSW for each tour stop.
Forest City Lovers have made a date at The Great Hall on April 19. Tickets $12 in advance.
Beatrice Martin is also featured in a fashion spread for Brixton. Which in and of itself wouldn’t necessarily be noteworthy, but it also allows me to point at this fashion shoot for The Bay featuring some familiar local musician faces belonging to Diamond Rings and Fucked Up, amongst others. Sassy!
Macleans looks at the ongoing trend of ’90s Can-rock bands hopping on the reunion bandwagon, including The Inbreds and Treble Charger, both of whom are getting high billing at Canadian Musicfest next week.