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Posts Tagged ‘And So I Watch You From Afar’

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

It Starts And Ends With You

Stream a little stream of Suede, Billy Bragg, Stornoway, and more

Photo By Roger SargentRoger SargentI find it equally amusing/confounding that veteran artists who return after long hiatuses or breakups are almost always initially met with open arms – my favourite band when I was a teenager is back! – but it’s rarely long before that goodwill starts turning a bit sour. Tour the greatest hits that everyone thinks they want to hear, and it’s all “you’re just cashing in on my nostalgia!” but have the audacity to record new material, and with few exceptions the best they can hope for is a tepid, “it’s not as good as your old stuff” or “it just sounds like you”. Which is hilarious because if it didn’t sound like them, the complaint would be, “it doesn’t sound like you”. Who else should they sound like? And how many revolutions do they owe you? 33-1/3 or 45, but that’s it.

I’ve heard the “more of the same” argument leveled against recent releases by My Bloody Valentine and David Bowie – both very good records, by my reckoning – and expect to hear it again now that the release of the first Suede album in over a decade – Bloodsports – is out next week. No, it’s not a return to the glam-rock drama and decadence of their first two albums, nor does it have the, “we’re not dead” defiance that made post-Butler Coming Up such a surprise. It doesn’t even meet the bar of “amazing” that Brett Anderson had said would be needed for the sessions to be released. But it is concise, hooky, and energized in a way that neither Head Music or A New Morning were, and most importantly its swagger and romanticism feel authentically Suede in a way no one else has done in many, many years. And that’s all I would have asked for.

NPR has an advance stream of the new record, and Clash has an interview with the band. And tangentially, Louder Than War has an interview with former Suede guitarist-turned-producer Bernard Butler about what he’s up to these days.

MP3: Suede – “Barriers”
Video: Suede – “It Starts And Ends With You”
Stream: Suede / Bloodsports

In other advance streaming news, CBC Music has a Q&A with Billy Bragg as well as a stream of his new record Tooth and Nail, in stores next week. He’s at The Danforth Music Hall on May 4, and is also interviewed by Music Radar. Update: Apparently the CBC stream is geoblocked to Canada; others should try The Quietus and their Soundcloud-powered stream.

Video: Billy Bragg – “No One Knows Anything Anymore”
Stream: Billy Bragg / Tooth and Nail

PopMatters has got an advance stream of the new Stornoway record Tales From Terra Firma; it’s out March 19 and they play The Horseshoe on May 9. There’s also an interview with frontman Oli Steadman at Music Radar.

Video: Stornoway – “Knock Me On The Head”
Stream: Stornoway / Tales From Terra Firma

Rolling Stone is hosting the advance stream for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s new album Specter Af The Feast, out officially on March 19, while Elle has a quick chat with drummer Leah Shapiro. They’ll tour the new album through the Kool Haus on May 9.

Stream: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club / Specter At The Feast

Belfast post-rock instrumentalists And So I Watch You From Afar are streaming their new album All Hail Bright Futures, out March 19, over at Noisey.

Stream: And So I Watch You From Afar / All Hail Bright Futures

And finally for advance listens, NOT out next week but already available to stream is the first album in seven years from The House Of Love. She Paints Words In Red will be out April 1.

Stream: The House Of Love / She Paints Words In Red

Beatroute and The Province talk to Efterklang, coming to town for a Canadian Musicfest show at The Mod Club on March 21.

Ólafur Arnalds offers The Quietus a list of his favourite albums. For Now I Am Winter gets a North American release April 2.

The Knife have released a second, characteristically batshit video from their new record Shaking The Habitual, out April 9.

Video: The Knife – “A Tooth For An Eye”

DIY and Clash have features on Iceage, coming to town for NXNE on June 15 and 16.

Empire Of The Sun have finally, improbably, announced the release of their second album – Ice On The Dune will be out in June, and to get you excited there’s the inevitable album trailer.

Trailer: Empire Of The Sun / Ice On The Dune

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Wonderland

NYC Popfest with Allo Darlin’, The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures, and White Town at Littlefield in Brooklyn

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangNYC Popfest is wonderful for many reasons, not least of which is a built-in excuse to jet off to New York for the May long weekend. I did so back in 2009 when The Radio Dept. as headliners were enough to get me out to two nights, and while I was already planning on being in town this year regardless, the opportunity to see Allo Darlin’ – who were skipping Toronto on their tour in support of Europe after visiting last year – close the festival out was to be happily accepted.

The Sunday itinerary was a marathon of sorts, starting mid-afternoon and running into the night. I had other stuff to do that day so I only made it to Littlefield in time for the last four acts, starting with White Town. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because England’s Jyoti Mishra has had more worldwide hits than pretty much everyone else on the Popfest lineup – which is to say, one. “Your Woman” was a smash way back in 1997 and while to most White Town is the epitome of one-hit wonder, it was nice to see Mishra happily still making music and releasing records, his flukey brush with success achieved on his own terms. A funny and genial fellow, he performed solo and acoustic overtop pre-recorded backing tracks and proved to have equal facility with twee strummy pop and more electronic-based compositions and you know what? “Your Woman”? Solid tune.

I feel a bit ashamed that I hadn’t ever heard Leicstershire’s Wave Pictures before this evening, despite them having released double digits of albums – the latest being Long Black Cars, collaborated with the likes of Hefner and The Mountain Goats, and were touring with Allo Darlin’ for the past month. But better late than never, yeah? They came with all the hallmarks of good British indie-pop – clever lyrics, sharp melodies – but distinguished themselves with a few forays into crooning ballads and David Tattersall’s serious guitar chops. This isn’t a style of music that you’ll often hear guitarists step up and tear off an extended solo, but Tattersall’s leads were really stylish and interesting, and not just to other guitarists (I would hope). Excellent stuff, and I’ll be dipping my toe into their extensive discography soon enough.

Watching The Ladybug Transistor, I had a sudden sense of deja vu, and that’s because I saw them right here in New York – okay, Manhattan – on a whim back in 2009 at The Cake Shop. Since that show, they’d released a new album in Clutching Stems and though I haven’t heard it – I’ve only a very passing familiarity with their stuff – it was a good set, with their American-ness very much contrasting with the other acts’ British-ness, though not quite in the way you might expect. Their style of pop was very ornate and sophisticated while the other acts’ rawer, C86-ish roots was still evident. They closed their set with a dedication to Robin Gibb, who’d passed away earlier in the day, and in the process were the bearers of bad news to some fans who’d been sequestered away in this corner of Brooklyn all day. Alas.

Every time I’ve written up one of Allo Darlin’s records, the gist of it has been how despite their being an indie pop band, the strength of their songwriting comes from a wistful, melancholic streak. Which is all well and good, but fails to point out that the reason they still qualify as an indie pop band is because they’re a damn good indie-pop band live, what with the big, bouncy, hand clappy pop moves. Their set largely stuck to the uptempo notes of their two records – “Capricornia” and “The Polaroid Song” being highlights, as was Elizabeth Morris trading her ukulele for a Fender Mustang for a few songs of added rock power – and certainly made my night by playing both sides of last year’s “Darren” 7″, including their cover of The French’s “Wu Tang Clan” which I thought would have gotten more of a response from the New York audience, but maybe the Popfest crowd just isn’t down with the Wu. They did slow it down to open the encore with Morris playing the lovely “Tallulah” solo, but closed out on the highest of high notes with members of Wave Pictures and Ladybug Transistor’s Gary Olson subbing in for Monster Bobby on “Dreaming”.

The Hartford Courant interviews Allo Darlin’ and The Daily Reville checks in with Wave Pictures.

Photos: Allo Darlin’, The Ladybug Transistor, The Wave Pictures, White Town @ Littlefield – May 21, 2012
MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is A Drummer”
MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “Dreaming”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Clutching Stems”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Breaking Up On The Beat”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “Splendor In The Grass”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “The Reclusive Hero”
MP3: The Ladybug Transistor – “A Burial At Sea”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “People In My Sleep”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Front From The Front”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Notes For A Book On Buster Keaton”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “I Saw Your Hair Between The Trees”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Long Island”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “We Sugared Our Apples”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Chinese Takeaway”
MP3: The Wave Pictures – “Leave The Scene Behind”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Capricornia”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Tallulah”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is A Drummer”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “If Loneliness Was Art”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Dreaming”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “The Polaroid Song”
Video: The Ladybug Transistor – “Always On The Telephone”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Spaghetti”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Eskimo Kiss”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “If You Leave It Alone”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Blue Harbour”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Little Surprise”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Sweetheart”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “I Love You Like A Madman”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Just Like A Drummer”
Video: The Wave Pictures – “Strange Fruit For David”
Video: White Town – “Invisible Elastic”
Video: White Town – “Missing Her Again”
Video: White Town – “She’s A Lot Like You”
Video: White Town – “Cut Out My Heart”
Video: White Town – “Make The World Go Away”
Video: White Town – “Undressed”
Video: White Town – “Your Woman”

Belfast post-rock maniacs And So I Watch You From Afar will be at The Horseshoe on July 14, tickets $10.50 in advance.

MP3: And So I Watch You From Afar – “The Voiceless”

How do we know The xx have a new record in the can? They’ve announced an intimate North American tour that brings them to The Phoenix on July 28, tickets $30, on sale Friday. It counts as intimate because they could easily play a room three times that size; I mean really, they already have.

MP3: The xx – “Basic Space”

DIY has an interview with Saint Etienne, whose new album Words & Music By Saint Etienne is streaming in whole at NPR ahead of its release next week.

Stream: Saint Etienne / Words & Music By Saint Etienne

Interview talks to Dev Hynes of Blood Orange about his history with Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine.

Prefix talks to Hannah Thurlow of 2:54 about their plans to conquer North America with their self-titled debut, out May 29 release. They play Lee’s Palace on June 15 as part of NXNE.

Hot Chip have released a new video from the forthcoming In Our Heads, out June 12. They’re at The Sound Academy on July 15.

Video: Hot Chip – “Night & Day”

J Spaceman of Spiritualized details a life of musical influences for Pitchfork.

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

SXSW 2012 Night Four A/V

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangA moment of silence for the final SXSW 2012 writeup. Okay, now go read.

Michael Kiwanuka
– English soul singer awarded the lofty title of “Sound of 2012” by the BBC timed the release of his debut album Home Again just right – it came out the day the festival began. Kiwanuka is featured in pieces at The Toronto Star, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Evening Herald, Billboard, and The Independent.

Photos: Michael Kiwanuka @ Stubb’s – March 17, 2012
MP3: Michael Kiwanuka – “Tell Me A Tale”
Video: Michael Kiwanuka – “I’m Getting Ready”
Video: Michael Kiwanuka – “Home Again”

Clock Opera
– Everything you need is at Wednesday’s AV post, plus DIY has premiered the crowdsourced “Clock Operation” multimix assembled from sound clips submitted from dans.

Photos: Clock Opera @ Latitude 30 – March 17, 2012
MP3: Clock Opera – “Clock Operation” multimix

Django Django
– Odd and experimental yet immediate Scottish electro-pop band who’ve just released their self-titled debut. The Edinburgh Journal, The Toronto Star, Musicfeeds, and American Songwriter have features.

Photos: Django Django @ Latitude 30 – March 17, 2012
MP3: Django Django – “Default”
Video: Django Django – “Default”
Video: Django Django – “Waveforms”
Stream: Django Django / Django Django

D/R/U/G/S
– Pseudonym of British DJ and producer Callum Wright, who also does the live electronic thing.

Photos: D/R/U/G/S/ @ Latitude 30 – March 17, 2012

Slow Club
– Sheffield duo who specialize in infectious and enthusiastic pop that traded in some of its folky tendencies for soul on their second album Paradise. Daytrotter just posted a session with the band.

Photos: Slow Club @ Latitude 30 – March 17, 2012
MP3: Slow Club – “Two Cousins”
Video: Slow Club – “The Dog”
Video: Slow Club – “If We’re Still Alive”
Video: Slow Club – “Where I’m Waking”
Video: Slow Club – “Two Cousins”
Video: Slow Club – “It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful”
Video: Slow Club – “Trophy Room”
Video: Slow Club – “Giving Up On Love”
Video: Slow Club – “Come On Youth”

And So I Watch You From Afar
– Belfast outfit who’re really good at hyper-aggressive, almost-metallic, yet still somehow melodic math/post-rock. Their second album Gangs was released last year.

Photos: And So I Watch You From Afar @ Friends – March 17, 2012
MP3: And So I Watch You From Afar – “The Voiceless”
Video: And So I Watch You From Afar – “Set Guitars To Kill”
Video: And So I Watch You From Afar – “A Little Solidarity Goes A Long Way”

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

SXSW 2012 Night Four

Django Django, Michael Kiwanuke, And So I Watch Your From Afar and more at SXSW

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangTaking into account how incredibly efficient I was at catching my must-see bands of SXSW on the first day of the festival, I knew that it was a very real possibility that come Saturday night, I’d have nothing left that I wanted to see… and that was almost the case. Thankfully I’d kept a few things in my back pocket and either skipped earlier in the week for just such a scenario or had been putting off for Canadian Musicfest the following week. It’s called planning, folks. And if those contingencies didn’t work out, well I could just sit back and survey the chaos brought on by the final night of the festival, the return of the University of Texas students after spring break and St. Patrick’s day all converging on 6th St.

London’s Michael Kiwanuka might well have found his way into the spotlight in his own time, but getting named as BBC’s Sound Of 2012 certainly expedited the process. So rather than play one of the festival’s smaller, more intimate clubs for his SXSW debut, he was here on one of the biggest stages at Stubb’s amphitheatre and while it’s possible or probable that something cozier would have better suited him, the way he was able to fill the night sky with just his voice, acoustic guitar and accompanying bassist was remarkable. It’s a simple, time-tested recipe and perfectly suited for Kiwanuka’s romantic, folk-soul songwriting; I admit to being a bit surprised that the BBC went with something so traditional for their usually musically forward-looking honour, but kicking back and just luxuriating in Kiwanuka’s warm vocals, it’s tough to form a good argument against it.

From there it was a necessary to try and navigate the bedlam of 6th – oh, the sea of wobbling people dressed in green – and back to Latitude 30 where odds were I was just going to park myself for the next few hours. First up were Clock Opera, whom I’d seen way back on Wednesday and would be the only repeat act of the week. And it’s just as well because though this was probably the exact same set that I’d seen at The Mohawk, this performance was better in every sense. The crowd was more enthusiastic, the sound was bigger and cleaner, the setting much more atmospheric and the band much tighter. It’s probably no surprise that their last show of the fest was better than the first – there’s a sweet spot for bands at SXSW playing multiple showcases where they’ve settled into the rapid-fire showcase groove before beginning to fall apart from fatigue; Clock Opera hit it just right. Anticipation for their debut Ways To Forget, out April 23, remains high.

Sometimes the drive-by showcase dynamic of club festivals isn’t suited to appreciating certain bands, and they’re unfairly dismissed in favour of something more immediate. Fortunately for Django Django – who formed in Edinburgh but now reside in London – they manage to impress and intrigue while remaining inscrutable such that you may not fully understand why you want to hear more of them, but you do. I did, at least. The built an unfussy kind of art rock – conveniently collected on their self-titled debut – on a deep, inescapable groove full of odd turns and angles and littered with all manner of synths and percussion. As said, it’s not immediately pop but the treasures that lay just beneath the surface are evident; it’s music you may be surprised to find yourself intensely dancing to, but dance to it you will.

Next up was supposed to be someone called Maverick Sabre – a very superficial investigation didn’t make it seem the sort of thing I’d be particularly interested in, but someone had just bought be a whiskey so I opted to hang out for a bit. However, it became clear that it wasn’t going to be what I expected when, instead of a band setup, they wheeled a DJ table onto the stage and at the top of the hour, rather than some hip-hop/r&b the room filled with some heavy electronic beats. It turned out that Sabre (Maverick?) had to cancel and was replaced at the last minute by London-born/Manchester-raised Callum Wright, who operates as D/R/U/G/S. It’s a bit of a shame that I spent about half his set trying to figure out just what was going on and who this was, because he was pretty damn good.

I was actually a bit torn as to whether to stick around for Slow Club, since I’d just seen them in Toronto less than a month prior. That’s one of the peculiar things about SXSW – you’ll find yourself actively avoiding the bands you know and love because it means not discovering something new. But given that there was nothing else on offer that hour calling my name and I was already sitting right there, I let inertia win the day. The early part of their set was mildly calamitous with falling mic stands, failing guitar straps and broken microphones but they took it all in stride and it all became part of the fun; the band was simply too good to be deterred. It was something of a condensed version of the Toronto show with the older material scrapped in favour of focusing on Paradise and the new material earmarked for a forthcoming EP, but all delivered with gusto and enthusiasm by Charles and Rebecca. Such a lovely band.

Avoiding the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day seems like pretty obvious advice but for whatever reason, I did the opposite to close out the festival and hit up Friends Bar, which was hosting a lineup of all-Irish acts in order to see Belfast’s And So I Watch You From Afar. That’s right – even though I probably could have just given a hobo $5 to punch me in the face for the same net effect, I instead went to an Irish bar at 1AM on St. Patrick’s Day on the final night of SXSW to see a really loud, aggressive rock band. But at least I saved the $5. Now I’d listened to their 2009 self-titled debut and like to think I had an idea of what to expect, but rather than some variant of post-rock, it was more a kind of instrumental metal with some hardcore punk and even a touch of traditional Irish folk sprinkled on top – to wit, lots of insane riffing, pogoing around the stage, dueling guitar leads and at least one broken bass string. Then factor in the falling-down drunk crowd moshing, lurching and jigging and you’ve got something akin to mayhem. It was actually fun for a little while to be in the middle of – it certainly wakes you up – but eventually I fled to the fringes of the crowd and then out onto 6th to watch the rest from the street.

And then I left. Seeya, SXSW. Seeya, Austin. And thank goodness I’m done with festival coverage for a while. OH WAIT.

The Guardian talks to Graham Coxon about his new solo record A+E and are also streaming the whole thing ahead of its April 2 release date. And not to be outdone, The Quietus chats with Damon Albarn. No Blur insights are offered on either side.

Stream: Graham Coxon / A+E

Belle & Sebastian have released a video for their Primitives cover, taken from the Late Night Tales, Vol 2 compilation that’s just out today.

Video: Belle & Sebastian – “Crash”

DIY has a feature on and video session with Blood Red Shoes. Clash also has a feature.

Richard Hawley has offered up a stream of the first taste of his new record Standing At The Sky’s Edge, out May 7. And dare I say someone is getting their rock on? Yes, I do believe I do.

Stream: Richard Hawley – “Leave Your Body Behind You”

Keane are coming to town to promote their new album Strangeland, out May 7, and they’re bringing Mystery Jets, who’re putting out their own new album Radlands on April 30. Hm, that’s a whole lot of “-land” titles. Anyways, the Toronto date is June 19 and tickets are $45 in advance.

Stream: Keane – “Silenced By The Night”
Stream: Mystery Jets – “Someone Purer”

The big/best news of yesterday was that Sigur Ros would be releasing their sixth solo album on May 29, entitled Valtari, and if that wasn’t enough, they also released the first video from it. Now all we need is a Toronto live date to go with the Montreal Osheaga appearance in August, yeah? Word is that this is a more ambient kind of record than 2008’s Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust; the first preview certainly seems to bear that out.

Video: Sigur Ros – “Ekki Mukk”

Paste examines how Of Monsters & Men became Iceland’s biggest musical export since, well, Sigur Ros. The Georgia Straight also has an interview and Rolling Stone has a video session recorded at SXSW. Their debut My Head Is An Animal is streaming in whole at NPR ahead of its release next week and they play The Phoenix on April 12.

MP3: Of Monsters & Men – “Little Talks”
Stream: Of Monsters & Men / My Head Is An Animal

Exclaim reports that The Raveonettes will release a new, four-song EP entitled Into The Night on April 24 – they’re also hosting the widget that lets you trade your email for an MP3 of the title track. A new album should be out later this year.

The Jezabels have released a new video from Prisoner; they’re at The Mod Club on April 18.

Video: The Jezabels – “Rosebud”

The Stool Pigeon, Vogue Australia, and Stuff interview Pip Browne of Ladyhawke. The new album Anxiety is out May 28.

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Young Believers

Canadian Musicfest 2010 preview and recommendations

Photo By Ryan Edward MillerRyan Edward MillerCanadian Musicfest 2010 is almost upon us, and while some of my blog brethren have offered their suggestions of what to see by way of their own schedules, I’m going to take a more free-form approach because following my own schedule will probably not yield the optimal experience. Logistics and workloads, not to mention still needing to get my act together for SxSW the following week, are keeping my plans relatively limited in scope but if none of that was a concern, then here’s a day-by-day breakdown of what I can endorse or would at least be curious about – above and beyond what I’ve mentioned in past posts – without concern for how you’d get across the city in 15 minutes without aid of a jetpack.

Wednesday: Canadian Musicfest (and Canadian Music Week) have traditionally been Thursday-Friday-Saturday affairs, but this year they’ve done a pretty good job of making Wednesday more than a token addition to the schedule. No, there’s not as much slated to go for hump day, but if you’ve got a wristband and are looking to maximize it, there’s more than a few options.

Spirits (Bread & Circus @ 10PM) – These ’80s-inflected Hamiltonian synth-rockers can legitimately say that they had Pixies open up for them – the alt.rock legends used a Spirits show as a cover for their secret show prior to V Fest last year. And beyond that, they’ve got some pretty slick new wave/new romantic moves of their own.
Video: Spirits – “Forbidden Flame”

Fucked Up (The El Mocambo @ 1AM) – The reigning Polaris winners are much too big to play the El Mo anymore – but they’re gonna do it anyways. Chaos (and nudity) is pretty much guaranteed. Exclaim has an exclusive on where they’re going on their next record.
MP3: Fucked Up – “Neat Parts”

The Wilderness Of Manitoba (Painted Lady @ 10PM) – This hotly-tipped, harmony-laden folk outfit wins over more and more fans with each performance, so catching them in intimate environs such as this while you can is recommended.
MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Bluebirds”

Styrofoam Ones (The Roosevelt Room @ 9PM) – I used to play in a band with Styrofoam Ones’ drummer. He certainly gets to play louder/faster/harder with these post-punk/dance-rockers than he did with us.
MySpace: Styrofoam Ones

Thursday: Yeah, you’ll have to work in the morning but really – who gets anything done on a Friday? Really? You do? So it’s just me? Huh.

Forest City Lovers (The Drake Underground @ 10PM) – One of the cities finest folk-pop bands just finished recording their third record and are about to head off to their first SxSW. To say they’ll be at the very top of their game is an understatement.
Video: Forest City Lovers – “If I Were A Tree”

The Darcys (The El Mocambo @ 11PM) – Despite some major recent lineup changes, their forthcoming Murray Lightburn-produced album Young Believers should introduce a much larger audience to their unpredictable guitar-laden epics. Also playing at Sneaky Dee’s on Saturday at 3PM. Read an interview at The Brock Press.
MP3: The Darcys – “House Built Around Your Voice”

And So I Watch You From Afar (The Hideout @ 1AM) – Belfast instrumental post-rockers eschew the quiet-quiet-quiet-LOUD-LOUD-LOUD thing for something more lively and melodic than many of their more bombastic peers.
MP3: And So I Watch You From Afar – “The Voiceless”

Neon Indian (Lee’s Palace @ 10:30PM) – Okay, mostly this is curiosity as to what all the fuss is about. Chillwave? What? Really? And the kids are into this, you say?
MP3: Neon Indian – “Deadbeat Summer”

Dinosaur Bones (The Silver Dollar @ 10PM) – These guys have come a long way since I last saw them in August 2008 – or so it would seem, as I’ve done a lousy job of following up on them since them. But people are talking about their grand and moody rock and they’re clearly on the cusp of something.
Video: Dinosaur Bones – “Ice Hotels”

First Rate People (The Garrison @ 9PM) – Mysterious and apparently big in Owen Sound, there’s something undeniably compelling about their synthesis of old school Motown soul, electronic cut-and-paste aesthetic and indie rock earnestness. Plus The National’s Matt Berninger is apparently a fan. Also playing Sneaky Dee’s on Friday at 3AM.
MP3: First Rate People – “Girls’ Night”

Friday: I’ll be camping out the whole night at Lee’s Palace for my co-presented showcase with Billions and would certainly think you wise if you did the same, but if you’re inclined to see what else is out there, maybe add these to your list.

Hannah Georgas (The Drake Underground @ 10PM) – Could this Vancouverite be the next in Canada’s long, proud tradition of terrific female singer-songwriters? From what I’ve heard from her and about her, I wouldn’t bet against it.
Video: Hannah Georgas – “Thick Skin”

Old World Vulture (Neutral Lounge @ 11PM) – Despite giving them a thumbs up at the end of last year, I haven’t yet gotten to see/hear/feel their intense post-rock action in a live setting yet. Operative word “yet”.
MP3: Old World Vulture – “Benny”

PS I Love You (The Silver Dollar @ 12AM) – I’d like to say it didn’t take Pitchfork rave to put something from almost by own backyard on my radar… but it did. And as embarrassing as that may be, I thank them for it.
MP3: PS I Love You – “Facelove”

Phantogram (Supermarket @ 1AM) – The were here just a few weeks ago, but they were awesome and deserve another “hey go see these guys they’re awesome”. So go see these guys they’re awesome.
MP3: Phantogram – “When I’m Small”

Saturday: It’s kind of odd that the biggest show happening during Canadian Musicfest isn’t associated with Canadian Musicfest, but the first part of Saturday night will be spent at the Phoenix to see Joanna Newsom. Happily, it’s an early show so after that there’ll still be time to catch some or all of these.

The Brother Kite (Rancho Relaxo @ 10PM) – I’m so very excited that Rhode Island’s finest guitar-pop band are coming back to Toronto and that I’ll finally be here to greet them – their last album Waiting For the Time To Be Right remains one of my favourites of the past decade and the follow-up, Isolation, is finally being prepared for release. If there’s any show this week that I will put the “don’t miss” label on, it’s this one.
Video: The Brother Kite – “I’m Not The Only One”

Yukon Blonde (The Horseshoe @ 8:30PM) – Yeah, the Horseshoe is always jam-packed from the moment doors open and this year will be no different, but at least the first band is definitely worth seeing. Lots of people like to call Yukon Blonde “classic” rock. I prefer to think of it as timeless – big guitars and harmonies never really go out of style.
MP3: Yukon Blonde – “Wind Blows”

Gemma Ray (Painted Lady @ 11PM) – This Brit’s swaggering, throwback guitar pop ranges from dark noir to folky light. I think I’ve been meaning to see her live for some time – too bad I’m unlikely to catch either this showcase or her other one at The Silver Dollar on Friday night at 10PM.
MP3: Gemma Ray – “100 mph in 2nd Gear”

Revolvers (The Comfort Zone @ 9PM) – Hazy, vintage-tinged psychedelic garage rock that doesn’t bring a whole lot new to the table – almost nothing, actually – but it still done well enough that if you’re into it, you won’t care.
Video: Revolvers – “Rock Y Roll”

Whew. Obviously there’s loads else going on through the weekend, but hopefully if you’re looking for somewhere to start, the above will offer some ideas.

And elsewhere in Canadian music… Spinner has words with The Russian Futurists – they’re playing the aforementioned Billions/Chromewaves show at Lee’s Palace on Friday night.

Chart chats with Amos The Transparent, playing the Horseshoe on Thursday night at 9:20.

Canadian Interviews talks to Gavin Gardiner of The Wooden Sky. They play the Horseshoe on March 13.

Spinner catches up with Woodhands, playing the Opera House on March 11 and the Paper Bag/Chromewaves showcase at SxSW on March 18.

Spinner checks in with Holy Fuck.

The Portland Mercury has an interview with Basia Bulat.

Spinner asks Owen Pallett to list off his favourite video games. And no, none of the Final Fantasy titles make the list. Pallett plays The Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.