Posts Tagged ‘Woodhands’

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.

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Heart Of Gold

Chromewaves co-presents Paper Bag Records showcase at SXSW 2010

Photo By Todd DuymTodd DuymI can appreciate that relations between Canada and the United States might be a bit strained today, following last night’s Olympic men’s hockey gold medal game – or at least between Canada and the dozen or so Americans who care about hockey – but perhaps this gesture of musical ambassadorship will help ease tensions a little bit.

When I head down to SxSW each year, going to see Canadian acts is usually near the bottom of my list of things to do. Not because it’s not worthy of my attention – far from it – but living in Toronto, I get more than my share of opportunities to see the best of Canadian talent so to fly all the way down to Texas to see those same acts seems… inefficient. But that in no way, shape or form means that I don’t heartily endorse those who aren’t so fortunate as to live in one of the major hubs of Canadian music to take the Sx opportunity to see said acts – so with that in mind, I’m very pleased to be co-presenting the official Paper Bag Records showcase at SxSW this year.

The show will kick off at 8PM with Montreal’s CFCF, though he’ll be handling DJ duties rather than performing pieces from his album Continent. Then it will be the one non-PBR act on the bill, Toronto’s choral-gospel blues choir Bruce Peninsula at 9PM, followed by Montreal electro-pop outfit Winter Gloves at 10PM. Toronto lo-fi rock outfit Little Girls showcases their debut Concepts at 11 and then it’s an all-out electro-rock dance party to wind things out, first with Woodhands and their latest Remorscapade at midnight and Vancouver’s disco-rock heroes You Say Party! We Say Die!, who are finally allowed back into the US following some immigration misunderstandings a few years ago, just in time for them to introduce their latest xxxx to America. Update: Well, my description on how the night will arc won’t be quite right – some set times have moved around, and it will now go: CFCF @ 8, BP @ 9, LG @ 10, WH @ 11, WG @ 12, YSPWSD @ 1. Everything else remains true.

To those headed to Austin in mid-March, the Paper Bag showcase will be taking place on Thursday, March 18 at Speakeasy, located at 412 South Congress Ave at West 5th St. And to those not, some/all of the acts on the bill may be coming to you. YSP!WSD! are making the most of their US visas with dates all over America through March before coming back to Canada including an April 2 date at the Horseshoe. Woodhands are crossing the continent through April, including a hometown show at the Opera House on March 13. Bruce Peninsula are making a couple of US stops en route to Austin and have a handful of Ontario dates in the Spring, including a March 25 show at The Garrison. YSP!WSD! are featured are Blogcritics and Sentimentalist. Uptown and See talk to Woodhands.

MP3: You Say Party! We Say Die! – “Laura Palmer’s Prom”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”
MP3: Little Girls – “Growing”
MP3: Winter Gloves – “Factories” (alternate)
MP3: Bruce Peninsula – “Crabapples”
MP3: CFCF – “Monolith”

Also noteworthy on the SxSW front is a day show taking place on Thursday, March 18 at the Flamingo Cantina on East 6th St at Red River and co-presented by Team Clermont and my associates at MBV Music. That show, which kicks off at noon, will feature Venice Is Sinking, Jeremy Jay, Collections Of Colonies Of Bees, Jookabox, Dengue Fever and Califone. Plus a special guest headliner whom, if it’s who I’ve heard it might be, will be a hell of a finish. So yeah, drop by. Have a drink. It’ll be a good time.

MP3: Califone – “Funeral Singers”
MP3: Dengue Fever – “Sober Driver”
MP3: Jookabox – “You Cried Me”
MP3: Collections Of Colonies Of Bees – “Flocks 1”
MP3: Jeremy Jay – “Breaking The Ice”
MP3: Venice Is Sinking – “Compass”

Okay, back to now and not Spring Break. There’s a new video available from Love Is All’s forthcoming Two Thousand and Ten Injuries, out March 23. They’re at the Horseshoe on April 3.

Video: Love Is All – “Kungen”

jj have a new video for the first single from No 3, due out March 9. They’re at the Phoenix on April 4.

Video: jj – “Let Go”

To anyone curious as to what Jonsi has in store for his two night stand at the Sound Academy on April 30 and May 1, check out this video about the making of his stage set. His solo debut Go is out March 23.

Ca Va Cool interviews Shout Out Louds. They play The Mod Club on May 8.

The Hamilton Spectator has a feature piece on Owen Pallett, who plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on April 8.

Volume 8 of The Line Of Best Fit’s Oh! Canada mixtape series is now up for grabs.

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Set You On Fire

Chromewaves co-presents Billions showcase at Canadian Musicfest 2010

Photo By Yannick GrandmontYannick GrandmontIt’s a bit eerie, but with the exception of an in-store in a couple weeks, details noted further down, I’ve got nothing going on in the way of live music for more two weeks until Canadian Musicfest starts on March 11. And that’s really just fine with me, because the double-shot of CMW/CMF and SxSW was exhausting when I was a younger man – these days, I am going to need the downtime to rest up in order to survive that gauntlet of concert-going, airport-hopping and breakfast taco-eating.

And to help minimize the impact of club-hopping during CMF, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be co-presenting the Billions showcase at Canadian Musicfest, taking place March 12 at Lee’s Palace, meaning that not only will I be able to associate myself with a super-solid lineup of Canadian acts (and one foreign one), I’ll be able to plant my ass in one place all night. Made of win.

The decidedly Montreal/synthpop-heavy lineup kicks off at 9PM with electro-poppers Winter Gloves, still riding the wave of their 2009 debut About A Girl, then Toronto’s Russian Futurists will preview their new album The Weight’s On The Wheels, out this Summer, at 10PM. At 11PM, The Acorn, having been squirreled away for the last while working on their new record No Ghost, will come of hiding to show off what to expect when the album arrives in or around May. Plants and Animals, whose new record La La Land arrives April 20, will take the stage at the stroke of midnight and then come 1AM, Think About Life will have you thinking about both having a disco-punk dance party and how not to get killed by getting caught in the middle of a disco-punk dance party soundtracked by last year’s Family. And, if you’re still standing after all that, Oklahoma ‘s The Uglysuit will usher in last call with the beautiful orch-pop of their 2008 self-titled debut. That is, unless Lee’s has also got 4AM extended drinking hours during Canadian Music Week. You’d think I’d know this but odds are I’ll have dragged myself home well before whether or not the taps are still flowing are an issue.

So while there’s options a-plenty for CMW/CMF – the schedule has really filled out the last few days and I’ll be doing a further preview closer to the festival’s start – I humbly submit that if you’re looking for a one-stop smorgasbord of tunes for Friday night, that Lee’s will be the place to be. And to help make up your mind, I’ve got a pair of passes to give away for the show – to enter, email me at contests AT with “I want to Think About Canadian Music Week” in the subject line and your full name in the body. Contest closes midnight, March 5.

MP3: Winter Gloves – “Let Me Drive”
MP3: Russian Futurists – “Paul Simon”
MP3: The Acorn – “The Flood, Pt 1”
MP3: Plants & Animals – “Tom Cruz”
MP3: Think About Life – “Nueva Nueva”
MP3: The Uglysuit – “Chicago”

Ca Va Cool and Chart talk to Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes about their new album The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night, out March 9. They headline the Thursday night of the Chart showcases at the Horseshoe for Canadian Musicfest on March 11, taking the stage at 12:10AM. As is always the case with the ‘Shoe during CMW/CMF/whatever, early arrival is recommended/mandatory.

Same goes for Two Hours Traffic, who are on at the same time on the Saturday night, March 13. But if you don’t get in and need a dose of maritime power-pop, note that they’ll be back on April 3 for a show at Lee’s Palace, tickets $13.50. They’ve also released a new video from their Territory record.

Video: Two Hours Traffic – “Noisemaker”

Chart talks to Paul Banwatt of The Rural Alberta Advantage and Woodhands about how he manages to balance drum duties in two bands, simultaneously blowing up right now. Woodhands are playing the Opera House on March 11 and the RAA at the Indie Awards at the Royal York on March 13. Vue has a feature piece on Woodhands and The RAA have been keeping a tour blog of their journey out west for the Olympics at Exclaim.

The Indie Awards will also feature a performance from Constantines, whose Daytrotter session went up for grabs last week and taught QTV how to play “Young Lions” on guitar.

Also offering a QTV a guitar lesson is Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton, who teaches them – and the whole internet – to play “Knock Knock”. The Concordian and Ottawa Citizen also have interviews with Hamilton.

The Montreal Gazette talks to Stars, whose presently untitled new album is apparently set for release in the first half of 2010.

Broken Social Scene have revealed the final details about their forthcoming album – Forgiveness Rock Record, their first proper album in almost half a decade, will be out on May 4 and you can get the first MP3 from the album, a 7-minute sprawler called “World Sick”, in exchange for your email at their website. Broken Social Scene plays the Toronto Islands on June 19.

The other big May 4 release from a Canadian supergroup is, of course, Together from The New Pornographers. The first MP3 from the album has been made available and is the almost-title track from the album.

MP3: The New Pornographers – “Your Hands (Together)”

Chart talks to Zeus, whose Say Us gets a release this week and is streaming until March 1 over at Exclaim. They’ve also scheduled an in-store at Soundscapes for 6PM on March 6 and will play Lee’s Palace on March 10.

MP3: Zeus – “Marching Through Your Head”
Stream: Zeus / Say Us

Canadian Interviews talk to Basia Bulat.

Thick Specs interviews Julie Doiron. Her current project Daniel, Fred & Julie, featuring Doiron, Attack In Black’s Daniel Romano and former Shotgun & Jaybird-er Fred Squire will bring their self-titled debut to the Horseshoe on April 15.

MP3: Daniel, Fred & Julie – “The Gambler And His Bride”

Anyone wondering about the set list for Fucked Up’s show at the Opera House this Friday need look no further than the back cover of The Chemistry Of Common Life – the band will be playing their breakout record in its entirety. And probably some more stuff on top of that.

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The Street Noise Gives You Away

Woodpigeon and Betty Burke at The Drake Underground in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI don’t really want to have to quote myself, but I kind of have to point to my writeup of Woodpigeon’s last visit to Toronto for NXNE 2009 to reinforce the fact that in all the times I’ve seen them perform – four or five as of this show – it has been an almost completely different band and/or configuration and as such, a markedly different personality. The one constant, of course, is singer-songwriter-bandleader Mark Hamilton – and while you’d think that his gleaming, folk-pop compositions would be another thing you could count on, this show proved that they’re not nearly as immutable as you might think.

Support for this show and many of the others on this eastern Canadian jaunt came from Betty Burke, whose name might be new but whose face is familiar to Toronto. Fronted by Maggie MacDonald, recognizable from countless local bands and art projects over the years but mainly known as one of the longest-serving Hidden Cameras, I’m sure there was a complex artistic-cultural mandate behind the project but to my ears, they cultivated a pretty straight country-rockish vibe highlighted by the vocal interplay between MacDonald and guitarist Holly Andruchuk and MacDonald’s between/during-song banter.

I’m rather used to Woodpigeon sounding louder and rockier live than on record – I actually prefer it that way, being able to enjoy the delicate nuances of their music in the comfort of home and the more dynamic versions in the clubs. That said, I was still surprised by how this current lineup of the band rendered the material from Die Stadt Muzikanten and Treasury Library Canada. That they’d do things louder was kind of a foregone conclusion, but rather than simply rearranged, some songs were completely re-imagined. Most notably, the keyboards were tapped to handle some key guitar parts, resulting in “Denial In Argyle” being given a swinging, New Wave-y vibe and “Piano Pieces For Adult Beginners” being transformed into a pretty convincing rendition of sixties-ish psych-rock. Kind of hard to imagine, but there they were.

The price of doing things in an all-new way, however, was paid with precision. I couldn’t say how long this particular configuration of the band had been playing together, but it was clear some gelling was still needed before this could be considered a really cohesive unit. There wasn’t anything really specific that was off, just a sense that they could – and hopefully would – sound better as the tour progressed. On the second night of the road trip, some slop was probably to be expected. By the same token, the guest appearance from Gentleman Reg to cover Jamie Fooks’ parts on the duet “Our Love Is As Tall As The Calgary Tower” wasn’t as sublime as it probably should have been, with Reg appearing to have some difficulty hearing himself. But considering that without him, we probably wouldn’t have heard the song at all, I’ll take it. And that largely went for the show – considering how infrequently they make it over to this part of the country, slightly imperfect Woodpigeon is better than none at all.

The Whig-Standard talks to Woodpigeon’s Mark Hamilton.

Photos: Woodpigeon, Betty Burke @ The Drake Underground – February 11, 2010
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Morningside” (live)
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Knock Knock”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “A Moment’s Peace For Mary Christa O’Keefe”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Love In The Time Of Hopscotch”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Oberkampf”
MP3: Woodpigeon – “Lay All Your Love On Me”
Video: Woodpigeon – “A Moment’s Peace for Mary Christa O’Keefe”
Video: Woodpigeon – “…A Given”
Video: Woodpigeon – “Home as a Romanticized Concept Where Everyone Loves You Always and Forever”
MySpace: Woodpigeon
MySpace: Betty Burke

MusicOmh talks to Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras, while Clash gets some background on their recently-released video for “Underage” from director Scott Cudmore.

Video: The Hidden Cameras – “Underage”

Check out a new track from Woodhands’ new record Remorscapade. They’re at the Opera House on March 11.

MP3: Woodhands – “Dissembler”

PitchforkTV has the debut of the new video of their favourite Torontonian electro-pop act, Diamond Rings. He’s got two Canadian Musicfest shows coming up – March 11 at The Garrison and March 12 at The Silver Dollar.

Video: Diamond Rings – “Wait And See”

Spinner talks to Bruce Peninsula, who are making their inaugural visit to the US in March en route to SxSW. Upon their return, they’ll play a hometown show at The Garrison on March 25, tickets $10.

Sloan have put their digital b-sides compilation B-Sides Win up for sale at their website.

And yes, I did indeed miss every single night of Wavelength 500 – real life won out. But the celebrations sounded epic – check out BlogTO for coverage – so I guess I’ll just say congratulations, farewell and hopefully see you soon.

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Duck Duck Goose

Review of Woodpigeon’s Die Stadt Muzikanten

Photo By Wilkosz + WayWilkosz + WayUnder normal circumstances, it’d be logical to consider the record that followed a band’s breakthrough album through the lens of how those successes might have affected their creative process and output. You can’t quite do that in the case of Woodpigeon’s newest record Die Stadt Muzikanten, however, because even though its predecessor Treasury Library Canada was the album that brought the Calgary outfit national recognition via the Polaris Prize long list, Muzikanten was already completed and in the can before the Treasury roller coaster ride began.

That makes the growth in sound and style from one record to the next that much more natural. The basic Woodpigeon recipe hasn’t changed much – Mark Hamilton’s compositions continue to be exemplary folk-pop rendered with delicacy in a widescreen scale, but this time the songs are delivered with more confidence and verve than before and are simultaneously more musically rangy and focused. Relative to what’s come before, Muzikanten is both louder – “My Denial In Argyle” is an unqualified rocker while “The Street Noise That Gives You Away” is epic in scope – and softer, with record closer and Jamie Fooks duet “Our Love Is As Tall As The Calgary Tower” one of their loveliest moments to date. Though it’s Hamilton’s vision that defines Woodpigeon, the record wouldn’t be nearly what it is without the contributions of his ever-expanding cast of supporting players, whose ability to bring to life the sounds in his head can’t be overstated. In particular, the backing vocals of Annalea Sordi-McClure and Foon Yap are a persistent, angelic choir hovering overhead throughout. Much of the charm of Treasury came from how it felt like a perfectly-matched collection of individual, snowglobe-like vignettes – Muzikanten pulls all those vignettes together into a single wondrous diorama, alive with song.

CMJ, Log Driver’s Waltz, Spill, The Record and Xtra all have feature pieces on Woodpigeon, who kick off their tour of Ontario and Quebec this week. They play the Drake Underground this Thursday, February 11, and will do an in-store at Soundscapes on February 14 at 5PM. Die Stadt Muzikanten will be released in the US on March 9 and in Europe on April 19.

MP3: Woodpigeon – “Empty-Hall Sing-Along”
MySpace: Woodpigeon

Beatroute and Spill have features on Woodhands, who are playing the Opera House on March 11.

The Wooden Sky are profiled by Beatroute and The Manitoban. They’re at the Horseshoe on March 13 as part of the Chart showcase for Canadian Musicfest.

Southern Souls has posted a video session with Forest City Lovers, of which one of the songs is “If I Were A Tree” and thus continues the “wood” meme running through the first bit of this post. Hey, I make my own fun.

Beatroute and The Winnipeg Free Press talk to The Rural Alberta Advantage, who will be performing on March 13 at the Royal York Hotel as part of the Indie Awards at Canadian Musicfest. Yeah, the Indie Awards. That’s right.

Chart talks to Zeus, whose Say Us arrives February 23 and who will be at Lee’s Palace on March 10.

Spinner talks to Laura Barrett about how she found herself opening up for The Magnetic Fields on their current North American tour, which stops in at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre tonight.

Vue, Alive Sydney and The Gateway have feature pieces on Dan Mangan, who has two showcases (at least) at Canadian Musicfest this year – March 11 at The Great Hall and March 12 at The Courthouse.

Ottawa X-Press and Aux interview Basia Bulat. She has an in-store at Soundscapes on February 16 at 7PM.

The Montreal Gazette, The Globe & Mail and PopMatters have interviews with Owen Pallett, whose next hometown show is April 8 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Good news for those who were still in diapers the last time Thrush Hermit were an active band – a third reunion show has been added to go along with their two sold-out gigs at Lee’s Palace – there’s now a dry, all-ages matinee show scheduled for March 28 at 4:45PM – tickets are $17.50 and go on sale Wednesday. Joel Plaskett has also just announced details of a Thrush Hermit Complete Recordings box set coming out in time to coincide with the reunion tour and consisting of all of the band’s albums and EP as well as a wealth of rare and unreelased material and a DVD. Seven discs in all, and suitable for kids of all ages.

Sloan announced via Twitter that they will be releasing a digital compilation of all their official b-sides this week, aptly entitled B-Sides Win.

The Sadies give Exclaim a guided tour of their equipment.

NOW and The National Post pay tribute to Wavelength, whose weekly concert series wraps up for good this weekend with the 500th show blowouts.

Updates could be slim/intermittent/non-existent this week – woke up to a laptop with a DOA logic board, so until that gets fixed, I’ve got my work machine (which is for work – ahem), my iPhone and my 7-year old Windows machine which is going to be pressed back into emergency service. Sounds like fun, right? Right? Wrong.