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Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

Here It Comes

Army Girls lead charge into Canadian Musicfest 2012

Photo By Katie SadieKatie 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

MP3: Lake Forest – “Autumn Skies”

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

MP3: Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “Ticket To Ride” (Beatles cover)
Video: Benjamin Francis Leftwich – “Pictures”

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

MP3: Neufvoin – “Drunken Captain”
MP3: Neufvoin – “Polar Song”
MP3: Neufvoin – “Villasukka”
Video: Neufvoin – “Polar Song”

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

MP3: Fred – “Eleven”
Video: Fred – “Eleven”

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

MP3: Husky – “The Woods”
Video: Husky – “The Woods”

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

MP3: Louise Burns – “What Do You Wanna Do?”
MP3: Louise Burns – “Drop Names Not Bombs”

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.

Video: The Elwins with Luke Lalonde – “Countdown”

Exclaim and The Georgia Straight talk to Memoryhouse; they play a record release show for The Slideshow Effect at The El Mocambo on April 13.

Forest City Lovers have made a date at The Great Hall on April 19. Tickets $12 in advance.

MP3: Forest City Lovers – “Light You Up”

American Songwriter is hosting the second instalment of The Wooden Sky’s “Grace On A Hill” video session series. The band is at The Opera House on April 20.

Billboard talks to Patrick Watson about his new record Adventures In Your Own Backyard, out April 30. He’s at The Music Hall on May 29.

Congratulations to the newly pregnant Coeur de Pirate, who has just released a new video from Blonde.

Video: Coeur de Pirate – “Golden Baby”

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!

Clash and State profile Grimes. She plays The Horseshoe March 19.

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.

The Grid salutes Exclaim on the occasion of their 20th anniversary. I am doing the same. Exclaim, I salute you!

By : Frank Yang at 10:14 am
Category: General

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post6 Responses.
  1. Jeremy says:

    I’d recommend Winnipeg synth-pop band Royal Canoe, who are playing two showcases. (Their EP is streaming at http://www.royalcanoe.com.) You could catch them at SXSW as well.

  2. Scott says:

    Army Girls sound really good – shame I can’t make EITHER showcase. *sigh* Stupid job… LOL (maybe a late lunch on Friday? *smirk*)

  3. ooo says:

    Neufvoin comes from Kuopio, Finland. Nooooot Norway!!

  4. Frank Yang says:

    sorry! sorry!

  5. So, What Do We Think About CMW? | culture | Torontoist says:

    […] it from before SXSW to after is an inexplicable logistical pain in the ass. I touch on this in my festival preview post from last week. but the fact that they’ve not made comment on their website or Twitter about […]

  6. So, What Do We Think About CMW? – Torontoist | Shipwreck'd! says:

    […] it from before SXSW to after is an inexplicable logistical pain in the ass. I touch on this in my festival preview post from last week. but the fact that they’ve not made comment on their website or Twitter about one […]