Posts Tagged ‘Cadence Weapon’

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Repatriated

The 2012 Polaris Music Prize shortlist looks a little like this. Or a lot.

Photo By Liam MaloneyLiam MaloneyAnd then there were ten.

Yesterday, atop the roof of the Drake Hotel amidst record-breaking heat, the short 2012 Polaris Music Prize short list was announced, dashing the hopes of thirty artists and allowing ten others to begin imagining just what they might do with the $30,000 prize that awaits one of them (the correct answer being: gold plate all of the things). And it’s an interesting group, to be sure.

Some will complain about the lack of a francophone artist – which also surprises me considering the number of strong contenders on the long list – and the heavy 416-ness of the list – 4.5 from Hogtown – but as far as gender and genre splits go, it acquits itself pretty nicely. Usually I can look at the short list and immediately eliminate at least a few of them from serious consideration of winning, but this year it’s a lot tougher to do so – I can envision how many of these records could garner enough support from the grand jury, whomever that ends up being, to have sufficient numbers to come out on top. All of this is speculation, of course, and only those in that creepy-ass Freemason room in the Masonic Temple on September 24 will know exactly how it goes down. But until then, and even though most will save their handicapping until the week before the gala, here’s my thoughts on the short list with points for and against.

Cadence Weapon / Hope In Dirt City (Upper Class Recordings)
Edmonton’s former poet laureate second appearance on the short list comes for a stronger record than Breaking Kayfabe and a higher overall public and critical profile. However, the narratives around the other nominees are almost all stronger and more compelling, and whatever merit Dirt City has, I don’t think it’s going to be front of anyone’s mind including the grand jury.
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning

Cold Specks / I Predict A Graceful Expulsion (Arts & Crafts)
That Al Spx is a compelling talent and Expulsion an impressive debut that doesn’t just rest on the power of her voice is unquestionable. But whether it goes far enough in establishing her as having a strong artistic vision of her own rather than just exploring styles of the past, at least at this point in her career, is still up for debate.
Video: Cold Specks – “Blank Maps”

Drake / Take Care (Universal Republic)
By far the “biggest” – at least in terms of mass appeal, record sales, fanbase – artist to make the short list since the Polaris was created, Drake is in rather a unique position, and one that I can’t really argue for or against. Sufficed to say that while I don’t care at all for what he does, millions of others do – and statistically that certainly increases the odds of a sympathetic grand jury. If he does win, I’m pretty sure we won’t be seeing any, “Who the hell is Drake” Tumblrs.
Video: Drake – “Marvin’s Room”

Kathleen Edwards / Voyageur (Maple Music)
There’s no question that Voyageur is the strongest album of Edwards’ career and she’s an eminently likeable artist, but I have trouble arguing it’s the grandest artistic statement our country was able to turn out this year. That said, with the most of the short list decidedly genre there’s a lot of room for something to come up through the middle (of the road) and take it all. If half the jury has gone through a break up recently, then it’s as good as hers.
MP3: Kathleen Edwards – “Change The Sheets”

Feist / Metals (Arts & Crafts)
Many/most assumed that Feist’s latest would at least make the short list even before the album was released – that’s how much people assume that Feist would do something great. So it’s interesting how polarized the response to it has been, with some thinking it’s the deepest record she’s made and others the dullest, but neither side of the argument seems to be that passionate about it.
Video: Feist – “The Bad In Each Other”

Fucked Up / David Comes To Life (Matador)
Despite a few opportunities, we’ve yet to see an artist repeat as Polaris winner and as much as I think Fucked Up are deserving – not for nothing did they top my first ballot and everyone loves the band if not their music – I don’t know if David will have won enough hearts and minds so convincingly to overcome the innate, “they’ve already won!” sentiment that everyone will feel if few will admit.
MP3: Fucked Up – “The Other Shoe”

Grimes / Visions (Artbus)
Perhaps the most heavily-favoured act, at least amongst people I know, there’s not an artist on the list who sounds more absolutely of the moment than Claire Boucher and her chirpy electro-pop. My concerns about this record are that the songwriting is kind of slight and that which is in fashion will, by definition, fall out of fashion and I don’t know that Visions has the sort of weight or timelessness that I’d like to think that the best album our country has to offer would have. However I don’t expect people will hear those concerns as they’ll be too busy dancing. Probably the odds-on favourite to take it all right now.
MP3: Grimes – “Oblivion”

Handsome Furs / Sound Kapital (Sub Pop)
This one’s an interesting entrant, what with the band having announced their dissolution just before the deadline for submission of the first ballots. Not to say that it didn’t have a lot of support before that happened – it almost certainly did – but dominating the news cycle for those few days and reminding every music critic in the country that the band had an eligible record and that it was kind of great certainly didn’t hurt. Now the question is whether or not Dan Boeckner and Alexis Perry can and will put their differences aside to show up at and perform at the gala. Drama!
MP3: Handsome Furs – “Repatriated”

Japandroids / Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl)
There’s a lot of affection for this duo, who went from the verge of splitting up to releasing one of the best pure rock records that this country has seen in a while, and I expect they’ll peel some loud guitar votes from Fucked Up and “if only Springsteen was Canadian” votes from Handsome Furs by being more accessible and immediate than either, but will they be able to sell party as art and get every fist in the grand jury room pumping in unison? I have my reservations.
MP3: Japandroids – “Younger Us”

Yamantaka//Sonic Titan / YT//ST (Psychic Handshake)
I mentioned that Fucked Up topped my first ballot but I should note that by the time second ballots were due, YT/ST had taken the top spot. As Radio Free Canuckistan pointed out in his Polaris preview, a year ago no one had ever heard of this band and now they’ve shortlisted without any appreciable PR effort – just word of mouth from those who’ve heard the record or seen the show – and no label is really unprecedented. They’re certainly not for everyone – if you don’t buy into their “Noh-wave” manifesto, then they probably come off as kind of ridiculous – but despite being the most outside and difficult act on the short list, they’re clearly for more people than anyone might have expected. Certainly, no one can argue they don’t have artistic ambitions or that they’re boring, and they have momentum. So. Much. Momentum.
Video: Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – “Hoshi Neko”

While we’re talking Polaris, aux.tv has an excellent oral history of the prize from organizers, jurists, and nominees, and The National Post got some reactions of shortlisters after discovering that they were. And if you’re interested in seeing some of the nominees live in Toronto, you’re in luck – Cadence Weapon is at Lee’s Palace on July 21 opening up for Liars, Cold Specks is at The Great Hall on August 8, Drake’s annual OVO Fest hits The Molson Amphitheatre on August 5, Fucked Up play Fort York as part of Riot Fest on September 9, Yamantaka//Sonic Titan headline the first day of ALL CAPS! on Toronto Islands on August 11, and Grimes has just announced a date at Lee’s Palace on September 21, tickets $20 in advance.

Some were surprised that Dan Mangan didn’t make the shortlist; he’ll have to drown his sorrows in a cross-Canada tour with The Rural Alberta Advantage that stops in at the Danforth Music Hall on October 25, tickets $32.50 to $39.50. And if you feel inclined to point out that that room isn’t much bigger than the ones that each act has just about filled on their own last year (the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Phoenix, respectively), I would say that you were correct and point out, in return, that they currently have an off day the following night. You do the math.

MP3: Dan Mangan – “Oh Fortune”
MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “North Star”

Sarah Neufeld, aka violinist for current Polaris champs Arcade Fire, also does a solo thing and she’ll be bringing that thing to The Drake Underground on November 10, tickets $12. Read these pieces at The Georgia Straight and The Province from a west coast tour in May for an idea of what that thing is.

Video: Sarah Neufeld – “Scalpel/Stradivarius”

Pitchfork has details on the new album from Diamond RingsFree Dimensional will be out October 23.

The Line Of Best Fit has made a new song from The Wilderness Of Manitoba available to download, but it comes not from their new album Island Of Echoes – we continue to have to wait to hear an official sample of that – but from the Delaware House EP they’re releasing overseas to coincide with a European tour. The album is out September 18.

MP3: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “The Ark”

Exclaim talks to Evan Gordon of The Magic.

The Line Of Best Fit has released a new Oh Canada! downloadable maple-flavoured compilation.

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Celebration Rock

Japandroids and Cadence Weapon at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangThere’s a point in the arc of the breakout band where long-time fans who’ve supported and encouraged the artist through those early days find themselves in the odd position of rubbing elbows not with the faithful but newbs and tourists, interested not in hearing the songs that soundtracked crucial points in their life but that one tune they heard on the radio. For fans of Vancouver duo Japandroids, that time has come and for those in Toronto, that specific moment was Saturday night where on the strength of their second album Celebration Rock, they not only proved they could play clubs the size of Lee’s Palace, but jam it to the gills. And I report on this not as one of those die-hards but one of the newbs.

It wasn’t quite the top-40 scenario sketched out above, but it is true that while I didn’t care for the duo’s 2009 debut Post-Nothing, I was wholly and unexpectedly taken with Celebration Rock and its righteous classic rockism. And I was hardly the only one as the band’s story has turned from having almost called it quits prior to making this record into being one of the most talked-about rock bands of the moment, to say nothing of a spot on the 2012 Polaris Prize longlist with more than reasonable chances of making the short. Yeah, they’re having a pretty good year.

And if they needed someone to discuss the spotlight with, then they could do worse than their tourmate Rollie Pemberton, aka Cadence Weapon, who had himself made the Polaris long list with his third album Hope In Dirt City and who had previously shortlisted with his 2005 debut Breaking Kayfabe. The bill had just completed tours together in the UK and US and as Japandroids guitarist explained as he took the mic before their set, he’d taken to introducing Cadence Weapon to their audience as a way of explaining why a crowd who’d come to see a white noise rock band was about to be warmed up by a hip-hop artist. He did, however, also acknowledge that this was their first show together in Canada and that Cadence Weapon probably didn’t need any hype man in his home country; indeed, to hear Pemberton tell it on Dirt City, he “don’t need a fuckin’ hype man” at all.

In any case, Pemberton performed as though he was thrilled to be playing to audiences where he didn’t necessarily have to justify his presence. His set was part performance, part conversation where he would offer some backstory, some anecdote or otherwise just chat between songs – good for engagement, not so great for pacing or keeping the momentum going. It did get going though, thanks to the crowd getting more and more into it as the show progressed, and while the spartan beats that work well on the Dirt City recordings sounded a bit thin in the live setting, that was more than offset by the amount of energy and expression that Pemberton threw into the performance.

Building momentum wasn’t any kind of problem for Japandroids’ set. Though some have cited Celebration Rock‘s unrelenting pace as a shortcoming – not unreasonably – it was nothing but a positive for their live show, as after another short introduction by King, he and drummer David Prowse – not David Prowse – burst out of the gates with “The Boys Are Leaving Town” and basically didn’t let up with the fist pumping adrenaline or hand clapping anthemicism for the next 80 minutes or so. This was my first Japandroids show ever – see above about newbiness – and even though I’d seen two-piece acts before, the massiveness of their sound was really impressive. The dual Fender Twins/Marshall full stack/Ampeg SVT backline that King plugs his Telecaster into sound massive and also looks it – perfect for doing guitar hero poses in front of, particularly when you’ve got a fan situated sidestage providing windswept hair effects (and cooling things off, of course) to go with the Springsteen-approved white button-down and blue jeans look.

You couldn’t escape the Springsteen-ness of the music, either. Though the older material still sounded a bit generic to my ears, the Celebration Rock stuff translated as well from record to stage as impressively as you could hope, particularly with hundreds of fans singing along. Sweaty and rank fans, certainly – I had to flee their churning mosh pit after four songs – but absolutely devout and unquestionably enthusiastic. And young. Their new record may be a celebration of rock but it’s also a celebration of youth, and I can appreciate how while it just sounds like a great rock record to me, it can connect on a much deeper level to their demographic. It was quite something see; I just didn’t need to be in the middle of it anymore.

If his emcee role earlier in the evening wasn’t a hint, Brian King made it clear pretty quickly he liked to talk to the audience when he wasn’t rocking their faces off, explaining the songs, recounting tour stories, and thanking the fans. You definitely got the sense that he wasn’t taking their recent successes for granted and was genuinely grateful for it all; I’ve little doubt that this is going to be a momentous couple years for the duo as the record propels them forward – it’s good to see that they’re going into this with the right attitude.

It was amusing to hear him call album closer, “Continuous Thunder” a “slow jam” but I suppose that relative to most everything else in their repertoire, it was the thoughtful, contemplative mid-tempo number. They closed with their cover of The Gun Club’s “For The Love Of Ivy”, warning in advance that there would be no encore as they intended to give it their all. The same could have been said about their entire show and no, they weren’t kidding. Intense.

The National Post was also on hand for a review. The double bill has rightfully been leaving quite a trail of press clippings in their wake. There’s Japandroids features at The Phoenix, Denver Westword, Post City, Vulture, The Montreal Mirror, Cleveland.com, and The New York Times while Pemberton talks to The AV Club, The Grid, The Winnipeg Free Press, The National Post (who also take him shopping in Toronto), The Montreal Gazette, and The Edmonton Journal.

Photos: Japandroids, Cadence Weapon @ Lee’s Palace – June 23, 2012
MP3: Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built”
MP3: Japandroids – “Young Hearts Spark Fire”
MP3: Japandroids – “Wet Hair”
MP3: Japandroids – “Heavenward Grand Prix”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Get On Down”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Conditioning”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”
Video: Cadence Weapon – “Sharks”

Billboard talks to Neil Young and director Jonathan Demme about the Neil Young: Journeys documentary that’s coming out June 29. Young leads Crazy Horse into the ACC on November 24.

And just announced as openers for that Neil Young show and others on the tour – ladies and gentlemen, The Sadies.

MP3: The Sadies – “Another Year Again”

Over at The National Post, Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage explains why opening up for The Tragically Hip at Burl’s Creek on Canada Day next weekend is such a big deal for him. He also talks to The Barrie Advance about the show.

Ragged Gold, the debut album from Guelph disco-pop brother act The Magic is out this week and available to stream in its entirety, along with track-by-track band annotations at DIY. They’re opening up for Hot Chip at The Sound Academy on July 15 and will play their own show at The Theatre Centre on August 10 as part of Summerworks.

MP3: The Magic – “Door To Door”
Stream: The Magic / Ragged Gold

Edmonton’s Purity Ring have released another taste of their forthcoming debut Shrines. They’re at The Music Hall on July 6 supporting Dirty Projectors and are featured by The National Post and Spinner.

MP3: Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”

Macleans has posted the full Q&A of their interview with Don Pyle of Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet, whose reunion hits Lee’s Palace on July 14, and Exclaim has a video of one of their comeback gigs at St. Alban’s Boys and Girls Club.

MP3: Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet – “13”

DIY has a video session with and aux.tv some video commentary from Al Spx of Cold Specks. She leads her band into The Great Hall on August 8.

Opening up that show is Snowblink and they’ll be previewing material from their just-confirmed new album Inner Classics. It’s due out September 11 and details on the release can be found at Exclaim, and a first track can be downloaded below.

MP3: Snowblink – “Black & White Mountain”

Each Note Secure chats with Great Lake Swimmers, opening up for Blue Rodeo at The Molson Amphitheatre on August 20.

Stars have revealed details of their next album – it will be called The North, be out September 4, and at least one song will sound like this. As for details of their next tour…

MP3: Stars – “The Theory Of Relativity”

…They will be hooking up with Metric for a cross-Canada tour that brings them to the Air Canada Centre on November 24. Not quite stadium love, but arena ain’t bad. The Globe & Mail and eMusic have feature pieces on the band and DIY and The Line Of Best Fit chip in video sessions. And another track from Synthetica has been made available to download.

MP3: Metric – “Clone”
MP3: Metric – “Artificial Nocturne”

Spinner gets a preview on the visual and audio direction that Diamond Rings will be taking with his second album; a video for the first single from it was just released.

Video: Diamond Rings – “I’m Just Me”

The Grid chatted with Dan Bejar of Destroyer ahead of last weekend’s show at The Opera House.

Chains Of Love have released a new video from Strange Grey Days and if you head over to Nylon, you can grab another track from the album to download. Note that it’s uncompressed so have some disk space open…

AIFF: Chains Of Love – “Mistake Lover”
Video: Chains Of Love – “He’s Leaving With Me”

Daytrotter has a session with Kathryn Calder.

CBC Music solicits PS I Love You frontman Paul Saulnier’s five favourite songs of the last 20 years.

The Take chats with The Elwins.

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I Never Woke Up

Review of Snailhouse’s Sentimental Gentleman

Photo By Anneke HymmenAnneke HymmenMontrealer Mike Feuerstack isn’t anything resembling a household name but if you’ve got records from Belle Orchestre, Angela Desveaux or The Wooden Stars in your collection – and you probably should – then you’ve got his name in your liner notes. But if not, then you probably don’t have anything from his solo project Snailhouse and that’s a shame – but one you can easily rectify with his new album Sentimental Gentleman when it’s released on May 24.

In his other bands, it’s his virtuoso musicianship that’s on display but with Snailhouse, his songwriting chops take centre stage. There’s still plenty of tasty guitarwork throughout, but it’s largely of the laid back variety as it’s in support of his gently rootsy tunes. Thoughtful and introspective, it’s not the sort of record that attracts your attention with frantic arm waving, but an easy demeanour and welcoming smile. And while there’s plenty other shinier and more immediate roadside attractions on the musical landscape, those who take the time to investigate Snailhouse’s low-key charms will be rewarded with a thoughtful and understatedly witty collection of songs that won’t necessarily change your life, but will certainly make it more pleasant for a half hour or so, and moreso with each visit.

Exclaim is currently streaming the whole of Sentimental Gentleman. Snailhouse is just wrapping a tour of Europe and will kick off a North American leg next week with a date at Toronto’s Dakota Tavern on May 26.

MP3: Snailhouse – “I Never Woke Up”
MP3: Snailhouse – “Sentimental Gentleman”
Stream: Snailhouse / Sentimental Gentleman

Joel Plaskett has announced the released of a rarities compilation entitled EMERGENCYs, false alarms, shipwrecks, castaways, fragile creatures, special features, demons and demonstrations, due to hit stores on June 14 – Chart has details and as a teaser, here’s one of the tracks from it. Plaskett will play a free show June 10 at Metro Square as part of the LuminaTO festival.

MP3: Joel Plaskett – “When I Go”

The release this week of Diaper Island, the latest from Calgary’s Chad Vangaalen, has brought the media a-calling. Check out features at The Globe & Mail, NXEW, Paste, The Calgary Herald and Exclaim. Van Gaalen headlines The Great Hall on June 18 for NXNE and a new MP3 and video from the album have just been released.

MP3: Chad Van Gaalen – “Peace On The Rise”
Video: Chad Van Gaalen – “Peace On the Rise”

Austra is getting similar attention for her just-released debut Feel It Break. There’s interviews at NOW, hour.ca, Resonancity, Clash, aux.tv and Chart. Austra has a sold-out show at Lee’s Palace tonight.

Timber Timbre have released a new video from Creep On Creepin’ On.

Video: Timber Timbre – “Black Water”

Also with a new video – Montreal’s No Joy, from their debut Ghost Blonde. Their NXNE showcase is June 17 at The Horseshoe.

Video: No Joy – “Maggie Says I Love You”

Little Scream gets in on the “hey I have a new video” meme with one from The Golden Record. hour.ca has an interview with the artist, who plays The Mod Club on June 14 opening up for The Antlers.

Video: Little Scream – “Red Hunting Jacket”

And from The Wilderness Of Manitoba is a new clip from When You Left The Fire.

Video: The Wilderness Of Manitoba – “Orono Park”

Great Lake Swimmers’ Spinner about his contributions to The National Parks Project, the documentary film which pairs Canadian musicians with Canada’s national parks. A release show for the soundtrack, featuring many of the artists who contributed, happens tonight at The Royal – tickets are $15. Here’s one of the performances from the film, featuring Cadence Weapon, Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton and Laura Barrett in a teepee in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. Click through to video number four. Also check out interviews with the film’s directors at NOW and Torontoist.

Video: Laura Barrett, Cadence Weapon, Mark Hamilton – “The Humble Fawn”

And similar-sounding but not at all related is The Parks Canada Experience, which is notable because a) it’s funded by our tax dollars and b) it will be throwing a party at the foot of the CN Tower this Saturday, May 21, which will feature free performances from Malajube and Apostle Of Hustle, amongst others. It runs from 11AM to 7PM. For more specifics on the what and the when… I don’t know, contact your local MP.

MP3: Malajube – “Synesthesie”
MP3: Apostle Of Hustle – “Perfect Fit”

I’ve been waiting ages for a Kathryn Calder live date in support of her excellent solo debut Are You My Mother and when one is finally announced – it’s in conflict with not one but two other must-see shows. Which is to say that when she’s playing The Tranzac’s Southern Cross Lounge on June 10, I will be at Okkervil River at The Phoenix having already given up seeing Weeping Tile at Lee’s Palace. Life is so unfair.

MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Arrow”
MP3: Kathryn Calder – “Slip Away”

Fucked Up have been added to the NXNE lineup with two shows on June 16 – one free engagement at Yonge-Dundas Square early that evening and another late-nighter at Wrongbar. They’re also opening for Foo Fighters at The Air Canada Centre on August 9. David Comes To Life is out June 7.

MP3: Fucked Up – “Ship Of Fools”

Also added to the NXNE lineup, despite having just announced their own August 1 show at The Horseshoe, is Handsome Furs. They will preview new record Sound Kapital at The Garrison at 1AM on June 18.

MP3: Handsome Furs – “Radio Kaliningrad”

And in addition to his set at Yonge-Dundas Square on June 17, Diamond Rings will be at Wrongbar at midnight on June 18. This, of course, is all in addition to his set opening up (again) for Robyn on June 3 at Echo Beach.

MP3: Diamond Rings – “Something Else”

Diamond Rings has also started up a remix series wherein he’ll release a new remix each Tuesday leading up to the June 21 US major label reissue of his album Special Affections. The first entry is a track from Miracle Fortress, whose own Was I The Wave? just came out Stateside this week – there’s a new MP3 from it available to download to mark the occasion. Spinner talks turkey with Graham Van Pelt.

MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Miscalculations”
MP3: Miracle Fortress – “Raw Spectacle” (Diamond Rings remix)

Sloan’s 20th anniversary video back-pat series rolls on, now including installments for “Underwhelmed medley”, “Your Favourite Sloan Lyric”, a rendering of “People Of The Sky” by Owen Pallett and “Sloan’s influence”. Sloan play The Mod Club on June 22.

Rolling Stone is streaming an unreleased Neil Young song circa the mid-80s, due to appear on the Archives release A Treasure, out June 14.

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Straight Up The Dial

Wavelength turns 11, throws a party

Photo via MyspaceMyspace Toronto’s venerable Wavelength might have closed out their weekly showcase series last year in favour of intermittent events throughout the year, but they’ve not given up their tradition of throwing a killer birthday party or five. As they’ve done in years past, Wavelength Eleven (or event #515 if you’re keeping track) will commandeer venues around this city from February 16 through 20 and fill them with many of the finest acts the city and outlying regions have to offer, spanning all styles and genres, frequently on the same bill.

I missed last year’s festivities but hit up one of the 9th anniversary shows in 2009 and it’s interesting to see that one of the undercard acts at that show – Hooded Fang – has already graduated to headline status. This they’ve done on the strength of their debut Album, released last October to considerable praise. And indeed, it’s an impressive first effort that reflects the remarkable rate at which they’ve improved as a band since first making noise in late ’08/early ’09 – I saw them three times over the course of 2009 and each time, most flaws I’d have pointed out for the time before had been sorted without diminishing the amount of fun they were clearly having on stage. Album‘s orchestrally-inclined power pop still tends a bit more to the precious/twee side of things than I’d like and can feel a bit samey over the course of its dozen songs, but the degree of songwriting, musicianship and genuine joy it captures is undeniable. As was clear in each of those live reviews from 2009, big things seem an inevitability for this crew.

Hooded Fang will be closing out the Saturday night of Wavelength Eleven at The Great Hall. The rest of the week’s events look like this – tickets for the Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows are $11 while Wednesday and Sunday are PWYC. There is also a $33 all-access passes available. Check in at Wavelength for descriptions of each act. aux.tv has an interview with Hooded Fang.

Wednesday, February 16 @ Teranga – Anagram, Bruised Knees, The Guest Bedroom, The Jim Storie Juniors
Thursday, February 17 @ The Music Gallery РKite Hill, Eiyn Sof, Gordon Grdina’s East Van Strings, Not The Wind, Not The Flag
Friday, February 18 @ The Steam Whistle Roundhouse – Woodhands, Minotaurs, Pat Jordache, Romo Roto, Doldrums
Saturday, February 19 @ The Great Hall – Hooded Fang, Maylee Todd, Little Girls, Eric Chenaux Electric Trio, Grimes
Sunday, February 20 @ The Garrison – Lullabye Arkestra, Neon Windbreaker, Simply Saucer, Ghostlight

MP3: Hooded Fang – “Laughing”
MP3: Hooded Fang – “Mutant Beart”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: Eric Chenaux – “Warm Charleston”
MP3: Little Girls – “Growing”
MP3: Lullabye Arkestra – “We Fuck The Night”

In other just-announced live music happenings – guitar goddess Marnie Stern and prog-rockers Tera Melos will be at Wrongbar on March 8 as part of an extensive North American tour.

MP3: Marnie Stern – “For Ash”
MP3: Tera Melos – “Frozen Zoo”

We’re still some ways out from having a Canadian Musicfest schedule to pore over, but you’d be just silly to not keep staying at the Opera House all night – that’s the Billions showcase – circled on your calendar. The lineup will read like Land Of Talk, Hollerado, Cadence Weapon, Isis (ex. Thunderheist) and Little Scream, so while club-hopping is part of the CMF experience, there’s something to be said for staying put all night.

MP3: Land Of Talk – “Quarry Hymns”
MP3: Hollerado – “Americanarama”
MP3: Cadence Weapon – “Real Estate”

And I’m very excited that Sharon Van Etten, after many visits in a support capacity, will be playing her first headlining show here at the Drake on April 12 with Little Scream supporting – there’s a recording of her show at the Bowery in New York City last week up at NYC Taper. You may recall that her epic was one of my favourite albums of 2010, and she’s already started work on the follow-up with Aaron Dessner of The National.

MP3: Sharon Van Etten – “Love More”

The New Zealand Herald talks to The National’s Matt Berninger about their breakout year of 2010.

There’s a new video from Retribution Gospel Choir’s album 2.

Video: Retribution Gospel Choir – “Your Bird”

The Skinny talks to Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam about his new record Kiss Each Other Clean, due out January 25.

Superchunk’s Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance discuss their visual artistic pursuits with Design Sponge.

Inara George of The Bird & The Bee chats with Spinner.

Pitchfork has a feature interview with Dan Bejar of Destroyer. His sax-y new album Kaputt arrives January 25 and he plays Lee’s Palace on March 31.

The Line Of Best Fit and NOW talk to Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns about their new, nude video for “Dead Deer” from Spirit Guides. The band are currently out in the wilds of Ontario somewhere recording their next album, already dubbed Spectral Dusk – the proceedings are being documented on their Tumblr.

Video: Evening Hymns – “Dead Deer”

Diamond Rings’ John O’Regan discusses the therapeutic aspects of music with Spinner. He’s at the Sound Academy January 26 opening up for Robyn.