Posts Tagged ‘An Horse’

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Awkward Kisser

Telekinesis, An Horse and Oh No Forest Fires at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo if an artist has already proven themselves to be gifted at both writing a song and recording it, as was the case with Michael Lerner of Telekinesis, is it really fair to expect them to be superb live performers as well? Especially if you take into account the fact that the album – Telekinesis! – was essentially a solo project and the band assembled after the fact? I say not really. Obviously a scintillating stage show would be welcome, but I went into Wednesday night’s show at the Horseshoe with modest expectations.

And anyways, any cravings I had for manic rock shenanigans were well satiated by local openers Oh No Forest Fires. I’ve tried in the past to accurately describe the quartet and their sound, but think they themselves did so more succinctly by namechecking The Dismemberment Plan in their NXNE one-line RIYL. This isn’t to say they sound like the the dear, departed DP, but they are similar in the way they meld virtuosity with anarchy and make it power-pop sweet without compromising their weirdness quotient. Their compact warm-up set drew heavily from their 2008 debut The War On Geometry and featured lots of sweaty flailing and great tunes. Long set or short, these guys always give a tremendous effort and don’t disappoint.

Aussies An Horse I’d seen during CMW and the duo were certainly making the most of their work visas, this being their third show in Toronto in the past three months. The hard work appeared to have been paying off, however, as a pretty good-sized crowd had gathered by the time they took the stage and kicked off a set that was far superior to their CMW one if for no other reason than singer/guitarist Kate Cooper was able to perform without fear of being electrocuted by poorly grounded equipment. You’d be amazed how much mortal fear can disrupt a performer’s vibe. She was also sporting a new guitar, a very fetching racing-striped orange Fender Mustang with a P90 in the bridge which significantly beefed up their sound – it may seem a minor thing, but when you’re working with as few ingredients as An Horse are, every bit counts. Unchanged were the quality of the tunes from their debut Rearrange Beds – taut, anxious and melodic, and worthy of the attention the audience was giving them.

Most drummers with songwriting ambitions will do anything to get out from behind the kit and play frontman. Not Michael Lerner. A one-man show through the writing and recording of his debut album, when he put together his touring band he opted to take the role of drummer for himself. Now I know as well as anyone that finding a good drummer is probably the hardest part of assembling a band, but watching them set up the stage with the drum kit right up front, I had to wonder if this was going to be a good idea. And watching Lerner drop his sticks at least twice during the first song while not singing directly into the mic, it really appeared as though it wasn’t but within a couple of tunes, he’d settled in some and was mostly keeping it together. There were still more gaffes than you’d have gotten with a dedicated drummer and I think he gave up on singing the second verse of “Tokyo” entirely, but by and large acceptable. On the unqualified positive side, the songs really came kicked in a live setting, benefiting from some of the ragged energy the quartet imbued them with. They weren’t the most charismatic bunch but were exceedingly friendly and looked to be having a great time, cracking jokes and poking fun at one another. With an album barely a half hour in length, it wasn’t surprising their set was short, padded out with a sprightly Kinks cover, and while I don’t know if they left anyone wanting more, no one was left wanting either. Hopefully next time around they’ll have polished up just a bit more – maybe Lerner will have a better grip on those sticks – and maybe have some more tunes in their bag.

I Heart The Music has an interview with Oh No Forest Fires, whose next gig is this Thursday evening at the Drake Underground as part of I Heart Music’s NxNE showcase. Love Shack, Baby talks to An Horse.

Photos: Telekinesis, An Horse, Oh No Forest Fires @ The Horseshoe – June 10, 2009
MP3: Telekinesis – “Coast Of Carolina”
MP3: Telekinesis – “I Saw Lightning”
MP3: An Horse – “Postcards”
MP3: An Horse – “Camp Out”
MP3: Oh No Forest Fires – “It’s Not Fun And Games Until Someone Loses An Eye”
Video: Telekinesis – “Tokyo”
Video: Telekinesis – “Awkward Kisser”
Video: An Horse – “Camp Out”
MySpace: An Horse

eye, Metro and The Age interview Phoenix, who have managed to sell out Monday night’s performance at the Phoenix. This is going to be good.

Pink Mountaintops mainman Stephen McBean talks to eye – they’re in town on Sunday, June 14, for an in-store at Sonic Boom at 3PM and a proper show at the Horseshoe that evening.

Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears are sticking around in town for a bit after opening up for New York Dolls at Lee’s Palace on June 30, and will play an in-store at Criminal Records on July 1 at 3PM.

Video: Black Joe Lewis & The Honey Bears – “Sugarfoot”

Los Angeles’ Airborne Toxic Event have a date at the Phoenix on October 19.

MP3: The Airborne Toxic Event – “Sometime Around Midnight”
MP3: The Airborne Toxic Event – “Wishing Well”

Black Book welcomes The Kills to their offices for some arts and crafts fun.

NME reveals that Richard Hawley’s new album is complete – Truelove’s Gutter will be out on September 21 and yes, the title is another Sheffield reference. As if you had to ask.

Out interviews Bat For Lashes’ Natasha Khan. There’s also a new remix of “Daniel” by Tara Busch up for grabs in exchange for your deets.

Cornershop Studios talks to Andy Williams of Doves, who have themselves a new video.

Video: Doves – “Winter Hill”

Under The Radar has confirmed that the Jim James/M Ward/Conor Oberst-powered supergroup The Monsters Of Folk have gone from a strictly touring concern to a studio one, and will release their debut album on September 22.

NPR has an interview and session with Jason Lytle, who will be opening up for Neko Case at Massey Hall on July 14.

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

Imaginary Friend

Review of Telekinesis' self-titled debut

Photo By Jenny JimenezJenny JimenezAs I’ve been complaining to anyone who’ll listen, the fact that it was the first of June yesterday – less than three weeks to Summer – and only ten degrees centigrade on my bike ride to work (that’s 50 Fahrenheit for you residing in non-metric backwaters) was simply unacceptable.

But maybe it’s the result of some sort of climatological karmic balancing act to make up for one of the Summeriest records of the year so far, the almost self-titled debut (the record title has an “!” tacked on) from Seattle’s Telekinesis, being released in the dead of Winter back in February. The brain-child of Michael Lerner, Telekinesis is a delicious glob of chewy power-pop goodness that has moments as infectious as anything you’ve heard this year – hear the chorus to “Tokyo” just once and you’ll be ready to sing right along by the time it comes around again. The record strays from the recipe enough to offer sufficient variety over its barely-half an hour running time to establish that they’ve got range beyond just peppy hooks – there’s some quieter, melancholic moments and slightly more ragged rockers – but all share the most important ingredients, namely Lerner’s unaffected vocals, the unfussy and effective arrangements, and an unerring sense of melody. There’s not much new here, but complaining about that is like complaining your cold drink on a sunny afternoon is like your last cold drink on a sunny afternoon. Shut up and enjoy.

Telekinesis, who gear up as a full band for live performances, are currently on the road and will be in town next Wednesday, June 10, for a show at the Horseshoe. God willing, it’ll have warmed up some and feel a bit more like Spring, never mind Summer, by then. Decider interviews Lerner and Rolling Stone has a profile of the band, and another one on Aussies An Horse, who are also on the bill with locals Oh No Forest Fires. This will be an excellent show.

MP3: Telekinesis – “Coast Of Carolina”
MP3: Telekinesis – “I Saw Lightning”
Video: Telekinesis – “Tokyo”
Video: Telekinesis – “Awkward Kisser”

Daytrotter has The Submarines in for a session.

Clash and MusicOhm have interviews and Spinner’s Interface a session with Grizzly Bear. And Drowned In Sound has basically gone Grizzly-crazy the last week and a bit. The Grizz are at the Phoenix on June 5.

Stereogum gets a status report on Heartland from Final Fantasy – look for it before the year is out, but no further specifics were forthcoming.

Pitchfork reports that Sigur Ros are working on a new album with an eye towards an early 2010 release.

Son Volt have a new album in the can called American Central Dust and will be releasing it on July 7.

MP3: Son Volt – “Down To The Wire”

Exclaim has the official announcement of Ohbijou as the newest signing to Last Gang Records. Which makes perfect sense, as I’d always thought they would be the perfect labelmates to Crystal Castles. Beacons is out now in the UK and here digitally and will get a physical release June 16 – there’s a release party at the Opera House on June 25.

VIMBY has a backyard performance and video interview with Great Lake Swimmers’ Tony Dekker. Paste also has a video performance, but they stay indoors.

Two Hours Traffic tell CBC Radio 3 that they’ve completed work on their sophomore effort and will be releasing Territory on or around September 8. More endless touring to follow.

Sprung from the ashes of Mclusky, Wales’ Future Of The Left are staging a North American tour this Summer in support of their new album Travels With Myself And Another, out June 23, and will be at the El Mocambo on July 15, tickets $10. The Washington Post and Clash have interviews with the band’s Andy Falkous.

MP3: Future Of The Left – “Arming Eritrea”
Video: Future Of The Left – “The Hope That House Built”

Minnesota’s Now Now Every Children have a date at the El Mocambo on August 2 with Bad Veins. Their new album Cars has been on fairly heavy rotation all this past weekend – there’ll be a proper review sometime in the future – but for now I’ll just say I’m very much looking forward to this show.

MP3: Now, Now Every Children – “Everyone You Know”
MP3: Now, Now Every Children – “Sleep Through Summer”
MP3: Now, Now Every Children – “Cars”
MP3: Bad Veins – “Gold And Warm”

The Weakerthans are returning this Fall for a gig decidedly more intimate than their April Phoenix gigs – look for them at the Mod Club on September 23. Via NXEW.

And if you think late September is way too far into the future to start blocking off time, you may not want to know about the Destroyer date just announced for the Horseshoe on October 3, or the fact that tickets will be $13.50. There’s no new album news to report but there will be a new vinyl/digital EP released on August 18 with the epic-length “ambient disco” track “Bay of Pigs” as the a-side. In the meantime, here’s some stuff from his last excellent full-length, Trouble In Dreams.

MP3: Destroyer – “Dark Leaves Form A Thread”
MP3: Destroyer – “Foam Hands”

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Letters From A Voyage To Sweden

NYC Popfest with Cats On Fire, Liechtenstein, The Tartans and Don Lennon at Don Hill's in New York City

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt seems a bit ridiculous to say that I was in New York City on Friday night with nothing to do, but right up until the middle of last week, it looked like that was what it was going to be. Which isn’t to say I would have spent the evening watching television in my hotel room… but that was certainly not beyond the realm of possibility. I’d been considering hitting up the Friday night show of NYC Popfest, despite not knowing any of the acts on the bill, mainly because Don Hill’s was conveniently located just down Greenwich Ave from my hotel, but when the “special guest” was revealed to be The Radio Dept playing a second show in addition to the one I’d booked this whole trip to see, well that sealed it.

Doors for the show opened some 70 minutes later than scheduled, so there wasn’t hardly anyone inside when local solo act Don Lennon started the evening off. An acoustic singer-songwriter sort, Lennon’s songs were interesting, tuneful and topical and certainly clever, but not especially funny. Which isn’t to suggest that lyrical cleverness needs to be delivered with humour, but Lennon’s narratives seemed to be all set up and no punchline – or maybe he was just more deadpan than I was capable of appreciating.

Los Angelenos The Tartans required no such close examination to appreciate – they wore their influences and the sound on their cardigan sleeves. The five-piece band were like factory issue twee-pop with bouncy rhythms, boy-girl harmonies, instrument and lead vocal swapping and strategically-placed melodica, glockenspiel and handclaps… but while they certainly nailed the look, they only managed to graze the sound. Certainly, their tunes were peppy, sing-song friendly and melody-laden but the lacked the sort of personality that would have been necessary to really make an impression. On the plus side, they were still very much a new band and obviously talented – there’s no reason to think that with time, the substance and focus won’t come. But at the moment, they’re not there.

The Radio Dept, I will cover tomorrow along with their headlining performance at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Patience!

I wasn’t completely truthful when I said earlier that I knew nothing of the bands playing this show – I’d gotten a few mailings last week about Swedish trio Liechtenstein, so I had a notion of what to expect from them. Unfortunately, while the samples I’d been given held some promise, their live experience didn’t do much to deliver on that. With their ’50s-primitivist retro-pop sound, the best parallel I can draw is Vivian Girls, but while Liechtenstein are unquestionably better musicians and are arguably pursuing more interesting creative paths, they don’t make it sound especially catchy – and if you’re playing something called Popfest, you better have some hooks at the ready. Their new record Survival Strategies is out June 2.

I realize that I’ve sounded rather down on everything covered so far, but don’t interpret that as my having a bad time – none of it was by any means bad, simply unimpressive and when you’re facing a large bill with a lot of unknowns, you’re hoping at least one of them will turn out to be a genuinely pleasant surprise rather than just a way to pass the time. Final band Cats On Fire, over all the way from Finland, didn’t out and out wow me but they certainly managed to get me to overcome my disdain for their name and wrapped things up on a high note. Charming and upbeat and hailing from the Smiths school of pop, they didn’t necessarily do anything new – new isn’t really the motivating factor for a lot of indiepop – but they did it well and with vigor. Mattias Bjorkas was an animated and entertaining frontman, all archness and gyrations, delivering tunes from their newly-released album Our Temperance Movement amongst others. After a sweaty set they were called back for an encore and had the crowd properly worked up for the indie-pop dance party that followed. Me, I went back to the hotel and got some sleep.

Photos: Cats On Fire, Liechtenstein, The Radio Dept, The Tartans, Don Lennon @ Don Hill’s – May 15, 2009
MP3: Cats On Fire – “Horoscope”
MP3: Liechtenstein – “Roses In The Park”
MP3: The Tartans – “My Baby Doesn’t Care For You”
Video: Cats On Fire – “Tears In Your Cup”
Video: Liechtenstein – “Security By Design”
Video: Don Lennon – “Last Comic Standing”
Video: Don Lennon – “Where Is The New Adventure”
MySpace: Cats On Fire
MySpace: Liechtenstein
MySpace: The Tartans
MySpace: Don Lennon

The Yorkshire Evening Post interviews A Camp’s Nina Persson and Spin has a couple MP3s available to download – the new single and an acoustic version of a track from Colonia. A Camp play the Mod Club on June 1.

MP3: A Camp – “Love Has Left The Room”
MP3: A Camp – “I Signed The Line” (Harlem Session)

Denmark’s Mew manage to take the blue ribbon for most ridiculous album title of the year. No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I’m Tired Let’s Wash Away is out August 25.

Dazed Digital has the premiere of the new video from Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, out May 29, as well as an interview with Christian Mazzalai from the band. They’re at the Phoenix on June 15.

Video: Phoenix – “1901”

Dallas Morning News and Metromix talk to Annie Clark, aka St Vincent. She’s finally announced a Toronto date and will be at Lee’s Palace on August 8 – via For The Records.

Underworld are at the Kool Haus on August 11.

For a limited time – like the rest of today – NME is offering a couple downloads to mark the release of the new Manic Street Preachers album Journal For Plague Lovers. A remix by The Horrors, James Dean Bradfield’s favourite new band and one of many contributing to a forthcoming remix album of Plague Lovers, and a cover of The Horrors’ “Vision Blurred” from Primary Colours by the Manics.

MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Doors Closing Slowly” (Horrors remix)
MP3: Manic Street Preachers – “Vision Blurred”

NPR welcomes AC Newman to the World Cafe for a session.

Telekinesis and An Horse are teaming up for a Summer tour that includes a June 10 stop at the Horseshoe. There’s new videos from both and an MP3 from the Aussies to whet your appetite for the gig.

MP3: An Horse – “Camp Out”
Video: Telekinesis – “Awkward Kisser”
Video: An Horse – “Camp Out”

The Washington Post interviews The Thermals.

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Canadian Musicfest Day One and Two

6 Day Riot, An Horse and more at Canadian Musicfest

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangYou know what they say about the best laid plans, right? Well I should have known after assembling my complete itinerary for Canadian Musicfest last week (I’ve opted to not be difficult and just accept the new branding), it would get – if not thrown out the window then at least shaken up significantly.

Thursday night started as intended, at the Silver Dollar to see Ketch Harbour Wolves, but I’m sad to report that their live show failed to impress the way their recorded output has. Whereas on tape they manage to channel their dramatic impulses in a way that made for compelling songs, on stage it manifests itself in rather dubious stage moves and general melodramatic hamminess. I’m sorry but there’s no place for dramatic arm motions, air grabs or pointing at the audience. There’s just not. Their actual musical performance was quite good, but I couldn’t get past the presentation.

Photos: Ketch Harbour Wolves @ The Silver Dollar – March 12, 2009
MP3: Ketch Harbour Wolves – “Words”
MP3: Ketch Harbour Wolves – “Leaves”
MySpace: Ketch Harbour Wolves

There was no disappointment, thankfully, for the return to these shores of London’s 6 Day Riot, who did dazzle at NxNE last year. With a new album in the can and set for a June release, the band mixed in a batch of new songs with the familiar. For the unfamiliar, imagine a heady brew of folk and pop made with tom-heavy rhythms, klezmer horn lines and Tamara Schlesinger’s strong and sweet vocals. It was heartening to see that a healthy audience had gathered to see them and though they stayed a typically Torontonian distance back from the stage, they seemed to be won over. And to me, even without the thrill of discovery that came with their show last year, it was still just loveliness.

Photos: 6 Day Riot @ Rancho Relaxo – March 12, 2009
Video: 6 Day Riot – “Go Canada” (live on

It was at this point I was supposed to dash out and hop in a cab to the Gladstone to catch The Week That Was, but the fact that they’d had a 1AM Saturday show added to the sched and I was just feeling lazy kept me at Rancho a bit longer. And it was also an opportunity to see Megan Hamilton & The Volunteer Canola, whom I’d been meaning to see since first catching her open for My Morning Jacket way back in 2005. What can I say, I’m slow about stuff sometimes. And in the interim, her sound has evolved from a plaintive, high lonesome country-folkiness to a more electrified sound that almost borders on bar-rock boogie at points but manages to stay distinctive thanks to Hamilton’s just slightly off-kilter vocals. Her new album See Your Midnight Breath in the Shipyard is out April 7 and has a slew of shows in the city and surrounding regions in the next few months – check out her MySpace for specifics.

Photos: Megan Hamilton & The Volunteer Canola @ Rancho Relaxo – March 12, 2009
MP3: Megan Hamilton – “Cat Tail Legs”
MP3: Megan Hamilton – “Detroit”
MySpace: Megan Hamilton & The Volunteer Canola

And that was it for day one. Anything else that had my interest was simply too out of the way for someone who had to work the next morning so I called it at three and headed home. And that brevity is why I’m also diving right into Friday night with this post. A night which, once again, began at the Silver Dollar.

The draw was Montreal’s Little Scream, whom I saw in January supporting Land Of Talk. And while she still has no internet presence to speak of – Google led me back to my own review – she hasn’t been idle in the intervening months, having traded in her acoustic guitar for an electric. And though she had already been amplifying and distorting the acoustic, the shift to a solidbody instrument did seem to give her a more visceral sonic presence – maybe it was the knowledge that she could beat on it and not worry about damage. And still, I can’t figure out what I find so compelling about this performer – she seems simultaneously distracted and focused, folkish and pure rock. Maybe once she gets some samples online someone can tell me what I’m hearing. Until then, I guess I’ll just keep seeing her live and trying to figure it out for myself.

Photos: Little Scream @ The Silver Dollar – March 13, 2009

From there, it was time for what would be my only foray from the Spadina-College corridor the entire weekend, to see An Horse at the Tranzac. The Australian duo had just appeared on Letterman a few nights earlier and it was tough to say if that had translated into extra interest in their showcase – I think it’s safe to say that the wide-eyed front row, decked out in An Horse t-shirts and clutching items for autographs, had had this date circled on their calendars for a while regardless. Playing songs from their debut Rearrange Beds, getting a North American release tomorrow, the duo were nothing short of impressive. Though their formula is as simple as it gets – guitar and drums and not even any soloing – and executed just as simply with dry, barre chord guitar work and straight-ahead, driving beats. But the songs are terrific – compact and hook-laden, occupying that space at the edge of anxiety yet not becoming angst and delivered in Cooper’s charmingly thick accent, a winning combination. And full props to the pair for not losing momentum when Cooper’s mic attempted to electrocute her early on in the show. An Horse will be back in town April 21 for a show at the Horseshoe with The Appleseed Cast. Attendance recommended.

Photos: An Horse @ The Tranzac – March 13, 2009
MP3: An Horse – “Postcards”
Video: An Horse – “Camp Out” (live on Letterman)
MySpace: An Horse

And here, again, is where I went off-schedule. I had intended to hop on the streetcar back to the Silver Dollar for The Darling DeMaes but Mike from For The Records convinced me to accompany him down the street to Central for French act Angil & Hiddentracks, about whom I knew nothing but hey – isn’t that part of the point of festivals like this? And if nothing else, they take the prize for most confounding act of the festival (from my limited sampling). Their ethos seems to be as willfully eclectic and lyrically absurd as possible, mashing together rock, jazz, classical, hip-hop, whatever, with a distinct Mark E Smith-ish style into something that, if nothing else, was certainly distinct. A few of their songs appealed but unsurprisingly, they were the more conventional compositions and made me suspect I was missing the point.

Photos: Angil & Hiddentracks @ Central – March 13, 2009
MP3: Angil & Hiddentracks – “Trying To Fit”
MP3: Angil & Hiddentracks – “Narrow Minds”
MySpace: Angil & Hiddentracks

At that point, I called it a night. That’s right, two days, six acts. Hardly a marathon, I know. I did better on Saturday by a fair margin, but I’ll get into that tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

The Canadian Music Week That Was And Will Be

A look ahead to Canadian Music Week/Fest

Photo by Ian WestIan WestCanadian Music Week – sorry, Canadian Musicfest, as the showcase component has now been renamed – is a tricky time for me, because as much as I’d like to take in as much of the shows on offer as possible, I need to be mindful of saving energy for the big show – SxSW – the following week. To this end, I tend to be very particular about what I choose to see during CMW/F, avoiding if I can bands I’ve seen or can easily see again. Ironically, this usually means I don’t see all that much Canadian music during Canadian Music Week.

One of the acts definitely circled on the schedule is Sunderland, UK outfit The Week That Was, whose main claim to fame is being the spinoff project from Field Music drummer Peter Brewis. My interest in this band surprises me a bit because though I tried, I was never able to get into Field Music. Their attempts to meld prog rock and folk just sounded too studied and wasn’t able to connect, but after seeing their self-titled debut show up on more than a few 2008 year-end lists, I decided to give the new band a shot and it was a wise choice. The Week That Was sheds those more rustic touches and more fully embrace the rock – the drums are thunderous – without abandoning Field Music’s quirky musical sensibilities. TWTW feels more like a band than a project, so it just figures that this North American jaunt is their swan song, at least for the foreseeable future – the Brewis brothers are getting Field Music out of mothballs. Here’s hoping they bring some of the looseness of The Week That Was back to the mothership.

The Week That Was have two shows in Toronto this week – one at 11PM on Thursday, March 12 at the Gladstone Hotel and another at 6:30PM at the Mod Club opening up for The Ting Tings. The former is part of eye‘s three-night throwdown at the Gladstone and as such, they’ve got an interview with the band. Update: And apparently The Ting Tings have taken offense with the non-reverential tone of Brewis’ interview and have booted The Week That Was off the bill for the Mod Club show. But they will still be kicking it Saturday night, now at the El Mocambo at 1AM.

MP3: The Week That Was – “Scratch The Surface”
MP3: The Week That Was – “Learn To Learn”
Video: The Week That Was – “Scratch The Surface”
Video: The Week That Was – “Learn To Learn”

For the curious, the rest of my CMF schedule looks a little like this:

Ketch Harbour Wolves (Thursday, March 12, 9PM @ The Silver Dollar) – Toronto combo whose debut EP impressed last year and whose follow-up (available for free download on their site) was I Heart Music’s co-album of the year for 2008. That’s no faint praise.

MP3: Ketch Harbour Wolves – “Words”
MP3: Ketch Harbour Wolves – “Leaves”

6 Day Riot (Thursday, March 12, 10PM @ Rancho Relaxo) – The highlight of NxNE 2008, this London outfit is returning to Canada to win over Toronto once again and preview material from their forthcoming second album Have A Plan, targeted for a June release. They’re also playing at 1AM on Saturday, March 14, at Bread & Circus.

The Week That Was (Thursday, March 12, 11PM @ The Gladstone) – see above

Little Scream (Friday, March 13, 8PM @ The Silver Dollar) – One-woman Montreal act who made an impression opening up for Land Of Talk back in January. And still no website of any kind.

An Horse (Friday, March 13, 9PM @ The Tranzac) – Australian guitar-and-drums duo whose debut Rearrange Beds is set for release on March 17. Scrappy and catchy, they could be good. Actually, make that “should”. Hell, I’ll even commit to “will”. The Badger Herald has an interview and Filter has more North American tour dates, they they got a little “!”-happy, only the March 24-27 dates are with Wintersleep. An Horse are also appearing on Letterman the evening of the 11th.

MP3: An Horse – “Postcards”

The Darling DeMaes (Friday, March 13, 10PM @ The Silver Dollar) – Alternately folky and noirish, this Montreal band were initially a random selection so that I didn’t end up going home at 10PM on a Friday evening (not that I would have minded that) but I’m now actually quite interested to see/hear them and find out which side of them shows up. Their EP is up for grabs for free on their website.

MP3: The Darling DeMaes – “With A Magnifying Glass”
MP3: The Darling DeMaes – “A Day In Her Life”

We See Lights (Saturday, March 14, 8PM @ Bread & Circus) – They’re Scottish, and let’s be honest – all things being equal that’s probably enough to get me out to see you. There’s also a lot of them and have that sort of earnest folky cacophonous thing going on. They’re also playing on Thursday night at 9PM at Rancho Relaxo.

MySpace: We See Lights

Sofia Talvik (Saturday, March 14, 9PM @ Bread & Circus) – Swedish artist who recorded a duet with Bernard Butler before he became producer to the stars. Her fourth album Jonestown has its share of standard singer-songwriter fare, but also enough standout material to merit attention.

MP3: Sofia Talvik – “My James Dean”
Video: Sofia Talvik – “It’s Just Love” (with Bernard Butler)

The Morning After Girls (Saturday, March 14, 10PM @ The Tranzac) – Australian drone-rockers who didn’t impress too much with their first record compiling early EPs, but the new stuff from their forthcoming album Alone, due in May, sounds a lot more dynamic and interesting. Grab a download at RCRDLBL.

Video: The Morning After Girls – “Shadows Evolve”

The Assistants (Saturday, March 14, 11PM @ Neutral) – It’s jangly, homegrown power-pop. Can you go wrong? I certainly hope not.

MP3: The Assistants – “Fiction”

Obviously what I plan to see is not all that I endorse. Here’s some randomness with other bands playing the festival and worth your time:

eye talks to Angela Desveaux, who’s playing the Gladstone on Thursday at 10PM.

I Heart Music has uploaded a session from late last year with Jenn Grant. She’s at the Reverb at midnight on Saturday night.

Handsome Furs, who are the reason you won’t get into the Horseshoe anytime past 9PM let alone just before their midnight set Friday evening, have a new video from Face Control, which is out this week. Chart talks to Dan Boeckner about the new record (and again), which is currently streamable.

Video: Handsome Furs – “I’m Confused”
Stream: Handsome Furs / Face Control

Radio Free Canuckistan, Xtra and Chart have interviews with Gentleman Reg, who helps anchor the Thursday night lineup at the Horseshoe with an 11PM set.

The Toronto Star talks to Malajube, closing out the Sirius Satellite Radio showcase at the El Mocambo on Thursday night at midnight.

And while it’s not technically a CMW/F show, it’s certainly in the spirit of and features bands participating in – I speak of a matinee show on the Saturday, March 14 at the Trash Palace (converted theatre near Bathurst and King W) featuring The Rural Alberta Advantage, Dinosaur Bones, Great Bloomers and Peachcake. It’s an all-ages gig, starts at 2, over by 5 and admission is $6. And your fancy-pants CMF wristband won’t count for jack.