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Posts Tagged ‘Brasstronaut’

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Bye Bye

A CanCon post, since there’s absolutely nothing newsworthy happening in Canada or Toronto right now

Photo By Ted BoisTed BoisYup, quiet as hell up here. Though I heard from somewhere that people have been waiting for a video of some kind to surface…? Well here’s five new ones.

Stereogum has premiered the new chicken farm-set clip from Destroyer, taken from Dan Bejar’s forthcoming Five Spanish Songs EP which will be out on November 25. He’ll be on stage at The Opera House – not The Great Hall, as originally scheduled – all by his Bejar-ness, on November 9.

Video: Destroyer – “Bye Bye”

Or there’s the new video from Metric, for the title track of last year’s Synthetica, which got unveiled to the world via Rolling Stone.

Video: Metric – “Synthetica”

Young Galaxy also have a new video, squeezed out of the new tracks on the Ultramarine Deluxe reissue. They play The Hoxton on November 22.

Video: Young Galaxy – “Privileged Poor”

Islands have a new video from their latest release Ski Mask. There’s also interviews at The Coast, The Chronicle-Herald, and The Aquarian.

Video: Islands – “Wave Forms”

And Vancouver’s Brasstronaut have a new clip from last year’s Mean Sun.

Video: Brasstronaut – “The Grove”

And in non-video/crack-related news, Kashka is marking the release of Bound – her debut album as Kashka – by streaming the whole thing, and it’s lovely. Anyone who was sad about the end of Forest City Lovers will have reason to be happy again. There’ll be a record release show at The Great Hall on December 5.

Stream: Kashka / Bound

No Joy have just released their Pastel And Pass Out EP and are streaming another song from it for your enjoyment. They’ll play The Garrison on December 6.

Stream: No Joy – “Second Spine”

Exclaim has an advance stream of the new Misery Makers Vol. 1 EP from Chains Of Love, out as of this week.

Stream: Chains Of Love / Misery Makers Vol. 1

Exclaim talks to Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, whose Alaska B lists off her favourite video game soundtracks for Chart. They’re celebrating the release of Uzu tonight at The Garrison.

Beatroute talks to Shad; he’s back in town at The Danforth Music Hall on January 31.

Vancouver electronic-industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy have announced a date at The Sound Academy on February 18 in support of their latest release, Weapon, released earlier this year.

Stream: Skinny Puppy / Weeapon

The Quietus, aux.tv, and Beatroute talk to Spencer Krug of Moonface.

NOW has an interview with Braids.

Vue profiles The Darcys.

Magnet interviews Basia Bulat as a precursor to her taking over their website for the week.

Altar TV has a video session and The Calgary Herald an interview with The Belle Game.

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Genesis

Prism Prize refracts spotlight on Canadian videos

Photo By Claire BoucherClaire BoucherWhereas the Polaris Music Prize already has a seven year track record of honouring the top Canadian album, the Prism Prize is new on the scene – unaffiliated but sharing a similar mandate, but focused on the art of the music video rather than the album.

And while some may have assumed the art form was on the decline due to the fact that their traditional medium – broadcast television – no longer plays them, the internet as well as the low cost of entry to powerful high-definition recording equipment and editing software has given creators unprecedented means to make some seriously impressive shorts. And the Prism Prize aims to reward them with both recognition and a $5000 prize to be split between the artist and the video production team.

A jury of Canadian music media types have been voting on any video created in the 2012 calendar year and as of yesterday, the short list of ten finalists was announced. It’s not an unfamiliar set of names for those who keep up with the Can-indie – congratulations to Rich Aucoin, Drake, Grimes (twice), METZ, Mother Mother, Maylee Todd, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan, and Young Rival – but what’s nice about this sort of prize is a) even if you don’t care for the artist or the song, you can still find the video worthy, and b) it takes well under an hour to get through every candidate. Handy if you’re a juror. Which I am, I should mention, and I should probably get started on my ballot.

The winner will be announced on March 24.

Video: Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II” (Vincent Morriset)
Video: Rich Aucoin – “Brian Wilson Is A.L.I.V.E.” (Noah Pink)
Video: Drake – “HYFR” (X)
Video: Grimes – “Genesis” (Claire Boucher)
Video: Grimes – “Oblivion” (Emily Kai Bock)
Video: METZ – “Wet Blanket” (Scott Cudmore)
Video: Mother Mother – “The Sticks” (Chad VanGaalen)
Video: Maylee Todd – “Baby’s Got It” (Reynard Li)
Video: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko” (Emily Pelstring & Ruby Kato Attwood)
Video: Young Rival – “Two Reasons” (John Smith)

And this seems a good time to point out some recent domestic video released. Hayden just put out one to coincide with the release of Us Alone. There’s conversations with Mr. Desser at The National Post, NOW, Exclaim, and Spinner. He plays The Dakota, Cameron House, and Rivoli next week on February 20, 21, and 22 respectively.

Video: Hayden – “Rainy Saturday”

Two Hours Traffic have put out the first video from their new record Foolish Blood as well as making a stream of the whole thing available at Exclaim. It’s out next Tuesday, February 19, and they’re at Lee’s Palace on March 21 for Canadian Musicfest.

Video: Two Hours Traffic – “Amour Than Amis”
Stream: Two Hours Traffic / Foolish Blood

This would be the second video from the second Suuns record Images du Futur. It’s out March 5 and they headline Lee’s Palace on March 23, the Saturday night of Canadian Musicfest.

Video: Suuns – “2020”

Brasstronaut have a new clip from last year’s Mean Sun.

Video: Brasstronaut – “Bounce”

It’s not an official video, but this live clip of Evening Hymns covering Big Star in France (I think) is well worth watching. They play The Great Hall on Saturday night as part of Wavelength’s thirteenth anniversary series, which is underway now and is the subject of features in NOW and BlogTO. And tangentially, Wavelength talks to The Magic – also featuring Evening Hymns’ Sylvie Smith and playing Wavelength’s Sunday night showcase at The Garrison.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Thirteen” (live)

Spinner talks to Rachel Zeffira about her solo debut The Deserters, which is out March 12. A new, non-album bonus track is streamable at Chart.

Stream: Rachel Zeffira – “Wintertime”

Consequence Of Sound has premiered a new song from the forthcoming Chains Of Love album Misery Makers, due out this Summer. Surely I can’t be the only one to notice that singer/guitarist Rebecca Marie Law Gray is no longer in the promo photos, or audible on this recording…?

Stream: Chains Of Love – “Come And Play”

Daytrotter has posted a studio session with Destroyer.

A.C. Newman records a World Cafe session for NPR.

Beatroute talks to Purity Ring, who’ve made a new Soulja Boy cover available to download. Because apparently there exists someone called Soulja Boy and he writes songs.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Grammy”

Canadian University Press has a sit-down with Jay Ferguson of Sloan.

aux.tv talks to some of the artists who contributed rarities to the Have Not Been The Same compilation of ’90s Can-rock that soundtracked the book of the same name.

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Violent Youth

This Crystal Castles album stream was brought to you by the letter “C” and the number (III)

Photo By Marc PannozzoMarc PannozzoIt’s true that Crystal Castles had to push the release of their third album (III) back a week from this past Tuesday to next, but they only barely needed the extra time. The record went up as an advance stream earlier this week at MuchMusic, offering further evidence that the Toronto duo of Alice Glass and Ethan Kath have come a long way since the glitchy, more spectacle than songcraft hype of their 2008 self-titled debut. (III) is still built on bent beats, shrieked vocals, and chopped-up synths, but is far less confrontational, far more melodic and sophisticated, and is arguably more about something – talking points around the record are decidedly social-political – than just acting out. And you can still dance to it like a spaz.

Pitchfork has an interview with the duo. It went better than The Village Voice’s.

MP3: Crystal Castles – “Wrath Of God”
MP3: Crystal Castles – “Plague”
Stream: Crystal Castles / (III)

The 405 meets Japandroids, back in town at The Phoenix on December 11.

Blurt and The Georgia Straight meet METZ.

PS I Love You have released a new video from Death Dreams, and CBC Music has both an interview and video featurette on the making of the clip.

Video: PS I Love You – “Saskatoon”

The Alternate Side has a session, and Beatroute and The Santa Cruz Sentinel interviews with Diamond Rings, back home for a show at The Mod Club on November 29.

The Province, The Globe & Mail, Beatroute talks Metric, headlining the Air Canada Centre on November 24.

Billboard and Beatroute have features on Stars, who are opening up that Metric show at the ACC.

Evening Hymns are giving away an EP of live recordings made on their recent European tour via Facebook; warning – you may have to “like” them. Forewarned. They play The Church Of The Redeemer on December 15.

Daphni have released a video from Jiaolong.

Video: Daphni – “Ahora”

DIY talks to Chains Of Love.

Brasstronaut have released a new video from their latest record Mean Sun.

Video: Brasstronaut – “Mean Sun”

Poster boys for, “never believe us when we say we’re breaking up again”, The Lowest Of the Low are the latest Canadian institutions who’ll be helping The Horseshoe turn 65, setting up shop at the bar for two nights, December 19 and 20, tickets $26.50 in advance.

MP3: The Lowest Of The Low – “Bleed A Little While Tonight”

DIY talked to Damian, Jonah, and Sandy of Fucked Up prior to this year’s Polaris Prize gala, while CBC Music gets Mike Haliechuk to talk about his writing process for the band. They play The Great Hall tonight for the first installment of Long Winter.

The Vancouver Sun, Georgia Straight, Beatroute chats with A.C. Newman.

DIY has a video session with Patrick Watson. He plays Massey Hall on December 6.

Beatroute and The Vancouver Sun chat with Rose Cousins.

DIY has an interview with Kathleen Edwards.

Exclaim have got a stream of Have Not Been The Same, the compilation of Canadian indie rock rarities from the likes of Sloan, Weeping Tile, and Doughboys, and companion to Have Not Been The Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995, due out next week.

Stream: various artists / Have Not Been The Same

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

NXNE 2012 Day Four

Of Montreal, The Deer Tracks, and Brasstronaut at NXNE

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangJune 16 had been circled on many calendars of Toronto music-goers for months, thanks to the intersection of Radiohead, The Flaming Lips’ free headlining set at NXNE, and LuminaTO events. So, of course, I ended up doing none of the above and even only hit three NXNE-related shows… but at least they were good ones?

And I got started early; Vancouver’s Brasstronaut were on early at Yonge-Dundas Square, auspiciously following a 14-year old cover band. That was just a circumstance of scheduling, though, as there was little in common between the tweens reinterpreting Guns’N’Roses and the sophisticated six-piece jazz-pop ensemble. It’s no small thing to make an argument for the clarinet as a rock instrument, but they managed to do just that with a set drawn from 2010’s Mount Chimaera and their just-released Mean Sun that sounded simultaneously driving and mellow, a good match for the prevailing festival-goer’s mood of being both exhausted and excited. Or maybe just mine.

The Vancouver Sun, The Ottawa Citizen, The Georgia Straight, Pique, and Uptown have features on the band while Exclaim talks to frontman Edo Van Breeman about his upcoming Swiss prison sentence. No, that’s not a metaphor.

Photos: Brasstronaut @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 16, 2012
MP3: Brasstronaut – “Hollow Trees”
Video: Brasstronaut – “Requiem For A Scene”
Video: Brasstronaut – “Old World Lies”

After an afternoon of record shopping, sweaty bike rides and general hangs, it was back to Yonge-Dundas for the start of the evening’s main programme and Of Montreal. When the original NXNE lineup was announced, it seemed like a no-brainer that Of Montreal would lead into The Flaming Lips and the combined psych-rock impact would result in Guinness record for spontaneous simultaneous lobotomies. No such luck – Portugal. The Man were inserted in between to mitigate the effects – but Kevin Barnes and company certainly set the tone for what the headliners would be offering.

This was actually my first time properly seeing Of Montreal since SXSW 2006; technically I saw them at Primavera Sound last year – where they were also on several hours before The Flaming Lips – but only sort-of paid attention on account of the “holy shit I’m in Spain” thing. There had been opportunities since then but I just hadn’t taken them, what with the band’s albums over that time becoming increasingly strange and patchy and despite the promise of over the top visuals, not enticing me to check it out. As such it was interesting to see them again up close and note that rather than the ringleader of the shenanigans, Barnes now looked a bit nonplussed about it all – as though he’d accepted that his lot was to be the epicentre of it all, and that he was mostly okay with it. I certainly remember him seeming more engaged before.

And there was plenty to be engaged in, what with the band’s performance being augmented with technicolour dancers in outrageous costumes, but all of it also a good reminder that with the likes of the giant breasts hidden under the glittery capes of the dancers’ first costume change, they really weren’t so family friendly but more subversive – like a musical Ralph Bakshi cartoon, but so ridiculous that it was unlikely that anyone would legitimately take offense. And for as difficult as some of their recent albums have gotten, they were able to cherry pick enough perfect disco-pop to make up a set that was nigh-impossible to not dance to. And if someone’s kid got an eyeful of some giant, shiny fake breasts, what of it?

Spinner, The National Post, and Paste have feature pieces on Of Montreal.

Photos: Of Montreal @ Yonge-Dundas Square – June 16, 2012
MP3: Of Montreal – “Wintered Debts”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Dour Percentage”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Famine Affair”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Id Engager”
MP3: Of Montreal – “An Eluardian Instance”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse”
MP3: Of Montreal – “The Party’s Crashing Us”
MP3: Of Montreal – “So Begins Our Alabee”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Rapture Rapes The Muses”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Disconnect The Dots”
MP3: Of Montreal – “A Question For Emily Foreman”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Pancakes For One”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Penelope”
MP3: Of Montreal – “One Of A Very Few Of A Kind”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Dustin Hoffman Gets A Bath”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Dustin Hoffman Thinks About Eating The Soap”
MP3: Of Montreal – “Spoonful Of Sugar”
Video: Of Montreal – “Spiteful Intervention”
Video: Of Montreal – “L’age D’or”
Video: Of Montreal – “Famine Affair”
Video: Of Montreal – “Coquet Coquette”
Video: Of Montreal – “Mingusings”
Video: Of Montreal – “An Eluardian Instance”
Video: Of Montreal – “Id Engager”
Video: Of Montreal – “Gronlandic Edit”
Video: Of Montreal – “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse”
Video: Of Montreal – “Suffer For Fashion”
Video: Of Montreal – “Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games”
Video: Of Montreal – “So Begins Our Alabee”
Video: Of Montreal – “Requiem For OMM2”
Video: Of Montreal – “Disconnect The Dots”

For many festival-goers, if you weren’t at Yonge-Dundas Square for The Flaming Lips on Saturday night then you were doing it wrong. Perfectly fair, but as I’d said since my festival preview, my one must-see band for the weekend was Sweden’s Deer Tracks and if it came down to a conflict with Wayne Coyne bubblewalking over the gathered throngs, then Wayne was going to lose out. And it did and he did.

The decision was certainly helped along by reports from earlier dates on the tour that confirmed that their live show was great; if there was a question, it was whether there’d be many people there to see it. They were clearly the odd band out in the lineup at The Rivoli, amidst singer-songwriters and following a blues trio to say nothing of being on at the same time as The Lips, so I expected that it would be lightly attended and whomever was there probably wouldn’t be their audience. And who was? Well, anyone who liked gorgeous electro-pop that was simultaneously dancey, demure, and dramatic and unabashedly arty without any of the attendant aloofness. With two-thirds of their Archer Trilogy released – the third instalment is due this Fall – David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors (and their keyboardist and drummer) crammed what seemed like an epic tale into just over 30 minutes, rendered with synths, guitars, bowed saw, glockenspiels, clarinet (again!) and both Lehnberg and Lindfors’ soaring, emotive voices.

It was a more than welcome set of otherworldly beauty in a festival too easily described by adjectives like “garage”, and when the show was over and I turned around to hightail it to my next stop, it was more than gratifying to see that a good-sized crowd had gathered and looked to have enjoyed the show as much as I had. It deserved an audience.

NOW talked to The Deer Tracks ahead of their festival appearance.

Photos: The Deer Tracks @ The Rivoli – June 16, 2012
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Meant To Be”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Tiger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fall With Me”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Slow Collision”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “12sxfrya”

That wasn’t the final stop of the night – more on that tomorrow – but it was the last NXNE 2012 showcase; a great end to another great fest, though despite being as exhausted or moreso than I normally am, I didn’t actually see as many showcases as I typically do. Not sure how that happened, exactly. But as we wrap things up, for more festival-y things check out this oral history of NXNE as told to aux.tv and this conversation with festival found Andy McLean at Billboard.

Since Spinner footed the bill for the big Flaming Lips show, they get the big interview with Wayne Coyne. Them’s the rules.

The Toronto Star and Toronto Sun chat with Janelle Monáe, who kicks off the Toronto Jazz Festival at Nathan Philips Square tomorrow night.

Clash talks to Kristian Mattson about what it’s like being The Tallest Man On Earth.

PopMatters asks 20 questions of We Are Serenades.

First Aid Kit have released a new video from The Lion’s Roar. They’re at The Danforth Music Hall on September 26.

Video: First Aid Kit – “Blue”

Swedish punk rock newcomers Holograms have made a date at The Shop Under Parts & Labour for September 11, tickets $10.50 in advance. Their self-titled debut is out July 10. Tupac does not make an appearance.

MP3: Holograms – “Chasing My Mind”
MP3: Holograms – “ABC City”
Stream: Holograms – “Monolith”

The Line Of Best Fit has premiered the new single from El Perro Del Mar, which is also available to download. It comes from her new album Pale Fire, due out later this year.

M4A: El Perro Del Mar – “Innocence Is Sense”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Innocence Is Sense”

Sigur Rós has rolled out another video from Valtari, though this one comes with a warning that it may not be suitable for people with good taste as it contains Shia Labeouf. No, it really doesn’t matter that he’s naked – that he’s in it is bad enough.

Video: Sigur Rós – “Fjögur píanó”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Of Monsters & Men.

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Ram Ram

Let The Deer Tracks guide you around NXNE this year

Photo By Sofia StolpeSofia StolpeNXNE-spotting happens on two levels: there’s the micro, where you pore over the year’s lineup and try to figure out how you’ll spend the four hopefully-warm nights in June club-hopping and seeing bands new and familiar; and there’s the macro, where you see how this year’s festival as a whole experience measures up against past years and assess how the event is trending as Toronto’s flagbearer in a world where cities are increasingly judged by the quality of their music festivals. Or at least, that’s how I look at things. I may well be a freak.

First, the bands my strongest recommendation for the fest because it’d have be strong enough to convince you to a) miss a whole hell of a lot of great stuff including part of that free Flaming Lips show and b) brave the shitshow that will be a closed-off Queen St. W as MuchMusic tools up for the Bieber-fied MMVAs the following night. But that said, I still think that seeing Sweden’s Deer Tracks would be worth it. The duo of David Lehnberg and Elin Lindfors craft the sort of eclectically airy, hybrid electronic-orchestral pop that might have you looking for the Morr logo on the spine (they’re actually on The Control Group, if it matters), but tied together and given both weight and lift by their buoyant melodies and harmonies. If I can be allowed to invoke some Scandinavian stereotypes, they marry the otherworldliness one would expect of Icelandic acts with the impeccable pop sense of the best the Swedes have to offer.

They’re in the midst of a three-part album cycle entitled The Archer Trilogy, Part 2 with the third part coming later this year. It’s kind of a shame that their tour is hitting during NXNE because had it been any other time of year, or even any other night or time slot of the fest, they’d be getting a lot more attention. But as it is, if you find your way to The Rivoli at 10PM on Saturday, June 16, I suspect it’ll be worth your time and effort. The Georgia Straight had an interview with them ahead of their Vancouver show earlier this week.

MP3: The Deer Tracks – “W”
MP3: The Deer Tracks – “Dark Passenger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Meant To Be”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Tiger”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fall With Me”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Fra Ro Raa / Ro Ra Fraa”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Ram Ram”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “Slow Collision”
Video: The Deer Tracks – “12sxfrya”

And the official though surely incomplete day-by-day, hour-by-hour, “hey you should maybe go to some of these” is as follows:

Tuesday, June 12
The Weather Station @ Kops/Lavish & Squalor, 4PM – Another highlight of this year’s CMF, Tamara Lindeman will play selections from her excellent All Of It Was Mine at this in-store before her official show at The Great Hall Lower Theatre at 10PM Wednesday night.
MP3: The Weather Station – “Everything I Saw”

Wednesday, June 13
Army Girls @ Supermarket, 9PM – I can’t foresee a day when I won’t recommend you go see this Toronto duo, though hopefully soon enough my recommendation won’t be necessary – everyone will just know. They’re also at Jang Bang the afternoon of the 14th for a day show, The El Mocamobo at 10PM that night, and a day show in Trinity Bellwoods on Sunday afternoon at 3:45PM. And don’t be surprised if they add a few more appearances before the week is done – the benefits of traveling light and rocking hard.
MP3: Army Girls – “T W I C E”

Eternal Summers @ The Drake Underground, 10PM – Virginia-based trio who make hazy, lo-fi pop that doesn’t care that Altered Zones doesn’t exist anymore. Their second album Correct Behavior will be out July 24.
Video: Eternal Summers – “Millions”

July Talk @ The Horseshoe, 10PM – Toronto punkabilly outfit who flat-out stole the show/fest at this year’s Canadian Musicfest; can they do it again? Don’t bet against them. They’re also at Lee’s Palace on Saturday night at 9:30PM.
M4A: July Talk – “Paper Girl”

Porcelain Raft @ The Drake Underground, 12AM – Pseudonym of New York-based Mauro Remiddi who crafted his debut Strange Weekend from a lifetime of globetrotting, sound-collecting and genre-defying. So what does he do for a follow-up?
MP3: Porcelain Raft – “Unless You Speak From The Heart”

Thursday, June 14
The Men @ Grasshopper Records, 3PM – New York band whose latest effort Open Your Heart sounds like the best of Sonic Youth and Mission Of Burma being mashed into your eardrums with extreme prejudice. A can’t-miss for the fest, and besides this in-store – if you haven’t heard of the store, consult The Grid – they also have official showcases Thursday night at The Garrison at 1AM and Friday night at Wrongbar at 12AM, and will also be appearing at the NXNEXPERIMENT BBQ on Friday afternoon.
MP3: The Men – “Ex-Dreams”

Smith Westerns @ Gibralter Point, 5:30PM – We don’t see many acts being shipped in for one-off, non-festival parties but that’s what’s happening with this Noisey/Jansport to-do on the Toronto Islands where Chicago’s glam-garage punks will do their thing amongst what is sure to be tastefully-executed branding.
MP3: Smith Westerns – “Still New”

Boxer The Horse @ The El Mocambo Upstairs, 8PM – Scrappy guitar pop from Prince Edward Island that’s a happy blend of Plaskett and Malkmus; their second full-length French Residency was released back in March.
MP3: Boxer The Horse – “Rattle Your Cage”

The Seedy Seeds @ The Painted Lady, 10PM – Trio proves that smart pop can be fun and fun pop can be smart and good bands have come from Cincinnati since The Afghan Whigs. Their last record Verb Noun came out in early 2011 and it’s still turning out videos.
Video: The Seedy Seeds – “Telephone The Constrictor”

Exitmusic @ Wrongbar, 10PM – Darkly cinematic electro-pop from a husband-and-wife duo based out of New York (but half-Canadian!). They were just here in May but have since released their debut full-length Passage, so hey – welcome back.
MP3: Exitmusic – “The Sea”

Cousins @ The Velvet Underground, 11PM – Halifax lo-fi garage-pop duo whose The Palm At The End Of The Mind is making friends and annoying neighbours everywhere. They’re doing a double-header Thursday night, with a 2AM show at The Annex Live.
Stream: Cousins / The Palm At The End Of The Mind

The Hundred In The Hands @ Wrongbar, 12AM – Los Angeles synth-rock duo whose new record Red Night arrives this Tuesday, just in time for the festival. Clash has a feature on the band and Hype Machine is streaming the album, though that metaphorical baton may get passed to another site once the album is officially out tomorrow.
MP3: The Hundred In The Hands – “Keep It Low”
Stream: The Hundred In The Hands / Red Night

A Place To Bury Strangers @ The El Mocambo, 1AM – Legendarily loud and strobe-happy New York industri-rock outfit who will be previewing their new record Worship, due out on June 26 and from which they’ve begun streaming another new song. Pity the band who’re supposed to be playing upstairs from them at the same time slot (that’d be Revolvers, who deserve better).
MP3: A Place To Bury Strangers – “You Are The One”
Stream: A Place To Bury Strangers – “And I’m Up”

Friday, June 15
2:54 @ Lee’s Palace, 9PM – British sister act bringing the spirit of dark, goth-gaze guitar-pop from the ’80s and ’90s back on their just-released self-titled debut. There’s interviews at Loud & Quiet and NOW and Daytrotter just posted a session.
MP3: 2:54 – “The March”

The Danks @ The Dakota Tavern, 10PM – Garage-y pop from the Two Hours Traffic family who’re getting an awful lot of mileage out of their 2009 debut Are You Afraid Of The Danks?, though apparently it’s just come out in the US so I guess they’re excused.
MP3: The Danks – “Die Young”

Hooded Fang @ The Silver Dollar, 10PM – One of Toronto’s premiere retro-pop fun factories in band form, their second album Tosta Mista is nearly a year old so they’ve surely got five or six more albums ready to go. They’re also playing The Horseshoe on Thursday night at 10PM.
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Den Of Love”

Útidúr @ The Gladstone, 11PM – Even if I didn’t simply like upping Icelandic acts (and writing out their wonderful accents), I’d be endorsing this Reykjavik collective because the big, Beirut-y/Fanfarlo-y orch-folk sounds of their debut This Mess We’ve Made is all kinds of charming.
Stream: Útidúr / This Mess We’ve Made

Friends @ Lee’s Palace, 11PM – Brooklyn outfit specializing in buzz of both the synth and hype varieties have just dropped their debut album Manifest! and will be looking to make Lee’s look like Bedford Station on a Saturday night. Vulture has an interview with singer Samantha Urbani and The Guardian has a stream of the album.
Video: Friends – “Mind Control”
Stream: Friends / Manifest!

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan @ The Garrison, 12AM – Audaciously arty and yet visceral Montreal collective whose debut YT//ST will probably be celebrating a Polaris long list nomination by the time they take the stage. And odds are that’ll only be the beginning. They’ve also got an in-store at Sonic Boom confirmed though dates and times for those have still to be confirmed.
Stream: Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / YT//ST

Widowspeak @ The Garrison, 1AM – Brooklyn quartet whose self-titled debut ahs made my long-term dreams of forming a country/shoegaze band and creating a genre called “bootgaze” utterly redundant. Thanks a lot, Widowspeak.
MP3: Widowspeak – “Harsh Realm”

John Maus @ Lee’s Palace, 1AM – Unintentionally controversial university professor and electro-classical composer whose last album We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves came out in the Fall.
MP3: John Maus – “Head For The Country”

Saturday, June 16
Brasstronaut @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 1PM – Vancouver prog-pop outfit whose second album Mean Sun came out just last month. They’re also at The Gladstone on Friday night at midnight and The Vancouver Sun, Spinner, NOW have interviews.
MP3: Brasstronaut – “Hollow Trees”

Zulu Winter @ Urban Outfitters, 2PM – A rare UK signing to Arts & Crafts, this Oxfordshire-bred band’s peppy, guitar-and-synth-laden debut Language – out June 19 – files nicely alongside the likes of Phoenix and Bombay Bicycle Club. In other words, “stuff the kids like”. They’ve also got evening showcases at The Rivoli on June 14 at 12AM and Lee’s Palace on June 15 at 2AM.
Video: Zulu Winter – “Silver Tongue”

Of Montreal @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 7PM – Veteran Athens, GA, Elephant 6 survivor psych-freaks who’d have made a mind-bending one-two punch with The Flaming Lips if someone hadn’t gone and booked Portugal. The Man between them. Pssh. Their latest Paralytic Stalks came out earlier this year.
MP3: Of Montreal – “Wintered Debts”

Robyn Dell’Unto @ The Cameron House, 8PM – Mississauga-based pop singer who impressed when guesting with Rose Cousins at The Rivoli last monthI’m Here Every Night came out in 2010 – I did, it’s fun. You should too.
Video: Robyn Dell’Unto – “Just A Bird”

The Flaming Lips @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9PM – If you need an introduction to The Flaming Lips then clearly you’ve gotten to this website by accident. Note that the allotted 20 minute set up time between the preceding act and theirs is ridiculous and I wouldn’t expect Wayne Coyne’s bubble walk to begin any earlier than 9:15. There’s Lips interviews at NOW, Spinner, and The Toronto Star, Coyne writes a piece about creativity for NPR, and while their Record Store Day-exclusive collaborative album Heady Fwends – amongst whom Erykah Badu no longer counts herself – will be getting a wide release June 26, The Lips are also planning a proper (?) studio album for release later this year.
Video: The Flaming Lips – “Fight Test”

Revolver @ The Gladstone, 10PM – A relatively late addition to the fest, the French pop outfit known for multi-part harmonies and cellos will be showing off their latest album Let Go, released back in March. The schedule also has them on at 1AM at The Painted Lady that same night, though it’s in conflict with another band’s set so…
MP3: Revolver – “Get Around Town”

The Lumineers @ The Horseshoe, 11PM – Denver-based trio whose self-titled debut has made them one of the alt.country/folk/roots stories of the year. The Horseshoe is kind of the perfect place for them.
Video: The Lumineers – “Ho Hey”

Limblifter @ The El Mocambo, 12AM – It’s not a festival without some kind of ’90s reunion; this year it’s Limblifter, which is several steps up from last year’s Rusty. Yes it is. Spinner talks to Ryan Dahle about getting the old band out of mothballs.
Video: Limblifter – “Tinfoil”

Bleached @ The Silver Dollar, 1AM – The three-night, garage-rock Silver Dollar residency is kind of a NXNE/CMF fixture now, and this year that honour goes to California’s Clavin sisters in Bleached. In addition to the Silver Dollar dates – the Thursday and Friday shows are at midnight, as opposed the 1AM slot on Saturday – they’re playing the Bruise Cruise the afternoon of the 16th, bringing the rock to the Toronto harbour.
Video: Bleached – “Think Of You”

Sunday, June 17
Raekwon & Ghostface Killah @ Yonge-Dundas Square, 9PM – Things are mostly wound down on Sunday but the traditional hip-hopping of the Yonge-Dundas mainstage continues with a little Wu-Tang flavour; Raekwon the Chef recently relocated to Toronto so there’s a hometown angle to this one as well.
Video: Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah – “New Wu”

That’s just a handful – okay, a couple handfuls – of recommendations for the week; there’s certainly more to see and for more tips, check out these festival minisites at Spinner and NOW and the feature pieces at The Grid, The AV Club, BlogTO, and Hype Machine.

As for what I was saying earlier about how NXNE is faring as a festival, the fact that there’s many more day shows than even last year, which had more than the year before that, is an encouraging trend. We’re not yet seeing conventional venues opening up during the day, but the number of in-stores, parties in unconventional spaces, and just more stuff going on during the day before the official programme starts up – it’s all very encouraging and while those who seek to compare NXNE to its similarly-acronymed Texan cousin will still find it pales in comparison, it’s getting pretty damn good up here; all we need is a better infrastructure for tracking and disseminating information about them. There’s a list of officially-endorsed/recognized day shows at NXNE.com and BlogTO has rounded up some more events. And Unofficial NXNE is also good.

And if I’m allowed a bit of self-promotion, I’m one of the photographers with some work on display at the #Hashtag Gallery this week for Live @ NXNE, a photographic exhibition of NXNE artists, past and present. The exhibition runs till June 27 but the opening party thing is Tuesday night at 7PM. Drop by, have a look. If you like.

And remember – particularly if you’re planning on getting around via transit or taxi or otherwise street-bound vehicle, College St. is closed Friday and Saturday nights from Bathurst to Shaw for Taste Of Little Italy and Queen St. W is closed between Beverley and McCaul on Friday and Saturday nights to set up for the MMVAs.