The 2013 Polaris Music Prize long list is, probably, the most diverse list yet. Just about every genre and region of the country is represented in one form or another and it includes both established acts with multiple previous Polaris mentions (Besnard Lakes, Metric, Tegan and Sara) and newer acts who are still working to build an audience (Kobo Town, Kid Koala, Purity Ring).
I would ask you, at this point, what you think but next week I'll be doing that in elaborate fashion. You'll get your chance to start nominating albums for NxEW's 5th annual Shadow Polaris (including albums missed on the official Polaris long list). So put your thinking caps on and stay tuned.
The 40 albums on the 2013 Polaris Music Prize Long List are:
A Tribe Called Red Nation II Nation
Alaclair Ensemble Les maigres blancs d'Amérique du Noir
ANCIIENTS Heart of Oak
The Besnard Lakes Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO
Louis-Jean Cormier Le Treizième Étage
Mac DeMarco 2
Evening Hymns Spectral Dusk
Hannah Georgas Hannah Georgas
Godspeed You! Black Emperor 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
Chilly Gonzales Solo Piano II
Jim Guthrie Takes Time
Hayden Us Alone
Zaki Ibrahim Every Opposite
KEN mode Entrench
Kid Koala 12 bit Blues
Kobo Town Jumbie in the Jukebox
Pierre Lapointe Punkt
Lee Harvey Osmond The Folk Sinner
Les soeurs Boulay Le poids des confettis
Corb Lund Cabin Fever
The Luyas Animator
Majical Cloudz Impersonator
Danny Michel with the Garifuna Collective Black Birds Are Dancing Over Me
AC Newman Shut Down The Streets
Old Man Luedecke Tender is The Night
Lindi Ortega Cigarettes & Truckstops
Peter Peter Une version améliorée de la tristesse
Purity Ring Shrines
Rah Rah The Poet's Dead
Daniel Romano Come Cry With Me
Colin Stetson New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light
Suuns Images du futur
Tegan and Sara Heartthrob
Al Tuck Stranger at the Wake
Whitehorse The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss
Young Galaxy Ultramarine
By now you are being inundated by NxNE events, but if you get the chance you should really check out Olenka and the Autumn Lovers. They have been one of my favorite acts for years and on Thursday, June 13 you get two chances to see them and grab the new 7-inch 'It's Alright'
The first one is easy, it starts at 4 in the afternoon in Trinity Bellwoods park (that means that even if you didn't buy a wristband you can still check it out for free). As an added bonus, one of the best voices in Canada, Maylee Todd will be on right after Olenka. Check out the Facebook Event page for more details.
If you can't make it to the park, you'll have another chance at midnight. Olenka will be playing at the Great Hall sandwiched between Coeur De Pirate at 11pm and Del Bel at 1am. Trust me, this is the best thing you can do with a Thursday, even in Toronto.
The festival shines a spotlight on emerging artists. The theme of this year's event is "terrain", giving the bands performing a chance to explore their roots while redefining the parameters of their genre or discipline.
Other events include workshops with important Canadian music industry insiders and artists, the FashionClash urban fashion show featuring designs from up and coming Toronto designers and DJ and dance crew battles.
The winner of the SoundClash Music Award finalists will also compete for three cash prizes totaling $10,000, the chance to perform on the 'Front's WestJet main stage as well as a one-hour vocal consultation from Donna Flynn, one-hour music career development consultation from Musi Artist Development and a Music Ontario membership.
The finalists include Brendan Philip, KASHKA, The Thing Is, Program, The Jessica Stuart Few and Grounders. The winner will be determined by the combination of jury selection and public votes. The winner will be announced in mid-August and will perform at the Hot And Spicy Food Festival at Harbourfront at the end of August.
Montreal Electro-punk-dance-pop duo UN have announced the dates of their summer tour.
Kara Keith and Jen Reimer is also offering a free stream of their debut album UN Titled. Check 'em out on the following dates;
Friday, June 14th, 10pm - Sneaky Dee's
(M for Montreal showcase) @ NXNE, Toronto
Friday, June 21st, 6pm - Alexandria Centre
@ Sled Island, Calgary
Saturday, June 22nd, 2pm - CJSW live on air
@ Sled Island, Calgary
Saturday, June 22nd, 10pm - Hi Fi club @ Sled Island, Calgary
Friday, August 2nd, after dusk - @ Electric Eclectics, Meaford, Ontario
Saturday, August 3rd, 3:30pm - Scène de l'Esplanade @Festival Mode & Design, Montreal
Calgary-via-Toronto indie rockers Fast Romantics have shared a free stream/download of the track 'Funeral Song' from their album Afterlife Blues.
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra are giving two lucky winners an action-packed weekend in Toronto starting Friday, June 14th.
Music fans can enter to win passes to Audio Blood's NXNE Lot party on Friday June, 14th, followed by a pair of tickets to the Late Night: Arabian Nights event, including tailgate party and after party on Saturday, June 15th. If that weren't already enough, we're also throwing in a pair of Steam Whistle brewery tour passes!
The TSO goes late night with Rimsky-Korsakov's orchestral showpiece Scheherazade! The music is based on the exotic Arabian Nights story, in which Sultana Scheherazade enchants her husband with tales of intrigue in order to save her life. Yuja Wang also dazzles the audience with the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1.
Join them after the concert for an audience-wide party featuring live music from electronic pop artist Digits.
To enter, just email firstname.lastname@example.org with the Subject: TSO-Twenty-Something and list off your favourite place in Toronto! It's THAT easy!
Toronto synth-pop band First Rate People have shared a free stream of the track 'The Dark Age' from their forthcoming debut album, due out later this year, release date TBA.
Shane McAdams, whose art has appeared in Vogue and the New York Times, designed the cover art for the single.
The band draws on a diverse range of influences that includes pop, electronic and R&B. Their first single caught the ears of Pitchfork and La Blogotheque. They spent 2011 touring the US and Canada with Born Ruffians and were praised as "the best band in Canada" by the Guardian in 2011. They also received praise from the likes of Jens Lekman, Chad Valley and Matt Beringer of The National.
They spent 2012 writing their debut album, premiering the single 'You Won't Get This Joke At All' via Interview Magazine, check it out here. The album was mastered by Milan Schramek at Lacquer Channel in Toronto
Hard to believe that June is once again upon us. This means one thing, festival season is mere weeks away. Before I get too far into this week’s Sound Check I want to apologize to everyone expecting weekly posts. I’m in the midst of a move and will have more time to write once it’s all said and done. Just one more week to go and all will return to normal right on time for festival season.
Suds an evening of toe tappin’, handclappin’, grin creating FUN
Late last summer I was invited to the launch of the 2013 summer season at the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque. That season launched last week and I was happy to be part of it. The first performance on the schedule for this season is the 60s musical soap opera “Suds”. If you are anywhere near Gananoque over the next two weeks make this a must see show, if you aren’t make plans to head to Gananoque to take this one in. “Suds” follows Cindy (Alison MacDonald), a lovelorn Laundromat attendant and her two guardian angels, Marge (Kristin Galer) and Dee Dee (Tracy Michailidis) in their quest to restore Cindy’s lovin’ feeling. What follows is an evening of toe tappin’, handclappin’ fun that will embed a grin on your face for hours after the curtain closes. At the launch last fall Playhouse artist director, Ashlie Corcoran said she chose “Suds” to open the season because it would get the audience humming the tunes as they walked to their cars…well Ashlie, I saw the show on Thursday night and I’m still humming the tunes. You still have plenty of time to catch Suds, it runs Tuesday – Saturday at 8pm with matinees Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2:30pm until June 22. Visit www.1000islandsplayhouse.com or call 613-382-7020 for tickets and more information.
Coming Festivals and Events
June is upon us and festival season is about to go into high gear. Sound Check will take in as many as possible this summer and give you an insight into where the hottest acts will be taking to the stage. Just a taste of what’s still to come this summer.
- Tall Ships Brockville – June 14-16 – www.tallshipsbrockville.com
- 1000 Islands Jazz & Blues Festival – June 15-22 – www.facebook.com/1000IslandsJazzBlues
- Kingston Jazz Festival – June 14-29 – www.kingstonjazz.ca
- Ottawa Jazz Festival – June 20-July 1 – www.ottawajazzfestival.com
- Ottawa Blues Festival – July 4 – 14 – www.ottawabluesfest.ca
- Boots & Hearts Music Festival – August 1-4 – www.bootsandhearts.com
Feature Act – River City Junction
River City Junction is a blues-rock band based in the 1000 Islands Region of Ontario. This group is scheduled to kick off both the 1000 Islands Jazz and Blues Festival (free show in the Brockville Farmers market on June 15) and Ottawa Bluesfest (July 4). I recently came across them on a cold Saturday afternoon performing at a sidewalk sale in Brockville. The streets were quiet at this sidewalk sale, the cold fall like weather didn't help and many performers played to empty streets, that is until River City Junction started. Suddenly the cold didn’t matter and people started to gather as this trio really turned up the heat.
For more information visit them at www.rivercityjunction.com, watch for an upcoming behind the scenes piece I'll be doing on River City Junction at Bluesfest later this summer.
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The band are currently on the road in support of their John Raham (Be Good Tanyas, Frazey Ford, Po' Girl) produced sophomore album LeBoeuf. They're touring across the country in a station wagon named "John Candy".
“When we recorded the first album, we were brand new and we just got in the studio and recorded and mixed the whole thing in three days – quick and dirty," frontman and namesake Steve Brockley said in a statement. "On this one, after spending the last couple years on the road together, we felt we owed the new material the best possible opportunity to come alive. We took the time we needed to capture the songs without chasing them away.”
For an idea of what to expect, check out this video of the band performing the song 'Letter' at the Dakota Tavern in Toronto here. The track 'Classic Car' from LeBoeuf is streaming for free, give it a listen below;
Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon (aka Rollie Pemberton) has unveiled two new tracks and a remix.
While Pemberton was in Toronto for Canadian Music Week 2013, where he snagged a Rap/Hip-Hop Artist Of the Year Trophy at the SiriusXM Indies, he teamed up with Shad and Skratch Bastid for the track 'Homie', which will appear on Shad and Skratch Bastid's forthcoming EP The Spring Up, due out in June, release date TBA. Give it a listen below;
Be sure to catch him on the following dates;
Vernon, BC black metal band XUL have unveiled the dates of their upcoming cross-Canada tour.
The band is currently offering a free stream of their 2012 debut album Malignance, give it a listen here. It's also available for PWYC. They're currently working on the follow-up that's expected out this year, release date TBA.
Check 'em out on the following dates;
May 30, 2013 – Vancouver, BC – Funky Winkerbeans w/ Terrifier, Harvest The Infection, Excrutiating Pain
June 3, 2013 - Calgary, AB – Dickens Pub w/ VAALT, NETHERIEL, DESOLACE, DEATH ASSEMBLY
June 4, 2013 – Medicine Hat, BC – Liquid Nightclub – w/ Endast, Autaric, Desecrate Scripture, Out of The Ruins
June 5, 2013 – Regina, SK – The Club w/ Autaric, Desecrate Scripture
June 6, 2013 – Winnipeg, MB – The Zoo w/ Skeletonwitch, Anciients, Endless Chaos
June 12, 2013 – Toronto, ON – Bovine Sex club
June 13, 2013 – Montreal, QC – Katakombes
June 14, 2013 – Oshawa, ON – The Diezel Room – w/ Pagan Ritual, Livid & The Blood Thirsty, Primalfrost
June 15, 2013 – North Bay, ON – Granite Club
June 21, 2013 – Winnipeg, MB – The Windsor Hotel – w/ Noire, Wilt
June 22, 2013 – Saskatoon, SK – The Fez
June 23, 2013 – Edmonton, AB – DV8 w/ Körperlose Stimme, Runeblade
June 24, 2013 – Prince George, BC – The Artspace
July 19-20, 2013 – Armstrong, BC – Armstrong Metal Fest
Eccodek also offered up their remix of the track 'The Seafarer';
It's Doctor's first fully instrumental album, it came following three years of soul searching after she left The Cliks and ended a relationship. The album also explores the theme of moving forward as well.
"Any journey is not about the places we go," Doctor explained in a statement. "It's the paths we take, the feelings we have and the people we meet along the way. The places we visit everyday tend to blur and become part of the background: unnoticed and unappreciated."
She composed the melodies for the album on an LED light sound pad with light patterns being repeated and triggering tones.
The winners of the 2013 SiriusXM Emerging Artist of the Year award are no strangers to the road, playing over 100 shows in 2012 and sharing the stage with Two Hours Traffic, Hollerado, Matt Mays, Yukon Blonde and The Trews.
The band worked with producer Jon Drew (Fucked Up, Tokyo Police Club) on the 11 track effort, streaming for free here. They also unveiled the Amir Azimi-directed video for 'Sign Of The Times', check it out here. (Skip to video number two.)
And be sure to catch 'em on the following dates;
May 21 – Café Dekcuf – Ottawa, ON
May 22 – The Mansion – Kingston, ON
May 23 – E-Bar – Guelph, ON
May 24 – Red Dog – Peterborough, ON
May 25 – Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ON
May 28 – APK Live – London, ON
May 29 – Phog Lounge – Windsor, ON
May 30 – Maxwell’s Music House – Waterloo, ON
May 31 – Paddy Flaherty’s – Sarnia, ON
June 1 – Mansion House – St. Catharines, ON
June 5 – Seahorse Tavern – Halifax, NS
June 6 – Tide and Boar – Moncton, NB
June 7 – Hunter’s Ale House – Charlottetown, PEI
June 8 – Lava Vodka Bar – Fredericton, NB
June 12 – The Exchange – Regina, SK
June 13 – Palomino Social Club – Calgary, AB
June 14 – Doc Willoughby’s – Kelowna, BC
June 15 – Media Club – Vancouver, BC
June 18 – The Queens – Nanaimo, BC
June 20 – Avenue Theatre – Edmonton, AB
June 21 – Vangelis – Saskatoon, SK
July 1 – Canada Day Celebrations (Prince Arthur’s Landing) – Thunder Bay, ON
They will collaborate with NeXT for a showcase at The Silver Dollar on June 14. The event will feature hotly buzzed MTL band AroarA with the Toronto contingent being represented by Decades, Alvvays and more. Complete line-up is below;
8:00pm - AroarA
8:45pm - déVah String Quartet
9:00pm - Synjga
9:45pm - déVah String Quartet
10:00pm - Alvvays
11:00pm – Decades
12:00am - Mikal Cronin
1:00am - Jef Barbara
2:00am - Foxtrott
3:00am - Fill Spectre
A week later, they'll head to Calgary where they'll collaborate with MailChimp for a showcase at the Commonwealth Bar + Stage. The best part? The first 100 people there will receive free food and drink. Line-up for the gig is below;
The band also unveiled the details of their summer tour, check 'em out on the following dates;
05/25 - New Westminster, BC @ Uptown Live
06/30 - Port Renfrew, BC @ Tall Tree Music Festival
07/11 - Quebec City, PQ @ Le Festival D' Ete
07/12 - Montreal, PQ @ Casa Del Popolo
07/13 - Toronto, ON @ Harbourfront Center w/ Born Ruffians
08/16-18 - Salmon Arm, BC @ Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival
08/30-9/01 - Rock Creek, BC @ Ponderosa Arts & Music Festival
Martha Wainwright has announced the dates of her Canadian tour in support of her 2012 album Come Home To Mama.
This time out, Wainwright will partake in the Fan Experience; a VIP ticket package and ticket pre-sale provider that works with a wide variety of artists to offer fans premium tickets as well as unique artist encounters. The "Martha experience" will include one reserved ticket in the first 5 rows, or one general admission ticket with VIP early entry, a post show meet-and-greet with a photo-op, a digital download of Trauma, the soundtrack Wainwright recorded for the Radio-Canada TV show of the same name, and an exclusive 7-inch vinyl single and tour laminate.
Dates are below and the Fan Experience shows are bolded;
Jul 4 - Montréal, QC - Théâtre Maisonneuve (Montreal Jazz Fest)
Jul 27/28 - Guelph, ON - Hillside Festival
Oct 16 - Gatineau, QC - Salle Jean-Despréz
Oct 17 - Ottawa, ON - National Arts Centre- Studio Hall
Oct 19 - Meaford, ON - Meaford Arts and Cultural Centre
Oct 23 - Mont-Laurier, QC - L'Auditorium de la Polyvalente St-Joseph
Oct 24 - Saint-Therese, Église Sacré-Coeur
Oct 25 - Châteauguay, QC - Pavillon de l'île
Oct 27- Saint-Jérôme, QC - Salle Antony-Lessard
Nov 4 - Whitehorse, YK - Oddfellows Ballroom
Nov 5 - Dawson City, YK - Klondike Institute of the Arts
Nov 13 - Victoriaville, QC - Pavillon Arthabaska
Nov 14 - L'Assomption,QC - Théâtre Hector-Charland
Nov 15 - Beloeil, QC- Centre Culturel de Beloeil
Nov 16 - Sainte-Geneviève,QC - Salle Pauline-Julien
Nov 20 - Sherbrooke, QC - Centennial Theatre Université de Bishop
Nov 21- Trois-Rivières, QC- Salle Anaïs-Allard-Rousseau
Nov 22- Quebec City,QC- Palais Montcalm
Feb 7 - Saint-Hyacinthe, QC - L'Espace RONA
Feb 8 - Montmagny, QC - Salle Edwin-Bélanger
Feb 28 - Alma, QC - Salle Michel Côté
Mar 1 - Shawinigan, QC - Salle Philippe-Filion
Mar 4 - Waterloo, QC - Maison de la Culture de Waterloo
Mar 6 - Drummondville, QC - Centre Culturel de Drummondville
Mar 7 - Laval,QC - Maison de arts de Laval
It’s #MusicMonday as they call it on social media which can only mean it’s time for another instalment of Sound Check. This week’s blog has a special Canadian theme to it for a few reasons. Firstly this post marks the first post that will appear on www.nxew.ca, secondly a huge free music festival announced a stellar Canadian line-up on the weekend and thirdly one of the most famous astronauts in recent history, Canadian Commander Chris Hadfield leaves the International Space Station after almost 5 months in orbit.
May 24 – Ritornello Festival, Saskatoon SK
May 25 – Ritornello Festival, Saskatoon SK
May 28 – The CYRK, Winnipeg, MB
May 29 – The Artful Dodger, Regina, SK
June 1 – The Streaming Café, Kelowna, BC
June 2 – The Armstrong Inn, Armstrong, BC
June 3 – Duncan Garage Showroom, Duncan, BC
June 5 – Lucky Bar, Victoria, BC
June 6 – Raw Canvas, Vancouver, BC
June 8 – Wunderbar, Edmonton, AB
Armed with plenty of indie rock credentials, one ivy-league classical music education, and the literary prowess of their vaguely Björk-like lead vocalist, Plumes announced their arrival on the Canadian indie scene last year with an album that NYC’s Deli Magazine called “a Baroque masterpiece.”
Now, they’re premiering their sound live for the first time in Western Canada. And the tour kicks off with a classical music engagement at the Ritornello Chamber Music Festival in Saskatoon – a gig that will see them combine the more heavily classical numbers from their set list with Bartok, Luciano Berio, and Arvo Pärt.
The ensemble marries indie pop and vocal chamber music with the clever lyricism of ex-Flotilla vocalist Veronica Charnley to create epic, cinematic and sometimes dreamy compositions that often have an art song-like quality to them.