It’s that exciting time again! No really, I’m pretty darn excited. It’s North by Northeast this week – Canada’s version of South by Southwest – where hundreds of bands showcases their music around the city and just as many journalists and fans crazily run around (or you know, enjoy themselves).
This year has a lot of promising talent coming through. My only problem is that they all seem to be playing at the same time, thus picking that one to see is extra hard. So while I toil over my schedule, here are nine bands that I definitely don’t want to miss and think that you shouldn’t either.
This is barely skimming the surface, though! To check out who else is playing and when, visit NXNE’s website to see the full schedule.
Thursday, June 17
The reason: Space rock by way of Montreal with two passionate singers. They’ve also released a digital EP this week, called YG No Art.
The proof: Listen to “Long Live the Fallen World”
The schedule: 8 p.m. at the Mod Club
The Mountains & the Trees
The reason: Cute but still very adult upbeat folk by Jon Janes of St. John’s, NL. He’s releasing his debut full-length I Made This For You on August 10th and is just returning from what seems to be a very successful tour in the UK.
The proof: Listen to “More & More & More”
The schedule: 9 p.m. at the Gladstone Hotel
The reason: “Death country.” I think that’s all I need to say. Besides, they put on an amazing show.
The proof: Listen to “Valley Town”
The schedule: 12 a.m. at the Horseshoe Tavern
Friday, June 18
Said the Whale
The reason: They keep lending their incredibly adorable music to commercials, so you know they’ll be easily sold on you. This pop-rock band from Vancouver are really fun to see live and because this is a free show and all-ages, there’s more fun for everyone.
The proof: Listen to “Camilo (the Magician)”
The schedule: 7:30 p.m. at Dundas Square
The reason: The newest attraction to come out of the indie rock scene in Brooklyn is this guy, Sebastian Krueger. His music is grabbing and soulful, which makes him one artist I really want to check out.
The proof: Listen to “In Which I, Robert”
The schedule: 9 p.m. at the Whippersnapper Gallery
The reason: This pop-rock band from Regina, SK just released a fabulous album titled Breaking Hearts. It’s precious, courageous and fun and that hopefully also comes through in their performance.
The proof: Listen to “Arrows”
The schedule: 12 a.m. at Bread and Circus
Saturday, June 19
The reason: Summer-lovin’, barbecue rock. The music seems to promise a great live show, so I can’t wait to see what how this Regina collective utilizes the stage.
The proof: Listen to “Drinking Games”
The schedule: 9 p.m. at the Horseshoe Tavern
The reason: Catchy rock that doesn’t over-use the synth or the electric guitar. This is a very promising act from Montreal.
The proof: Listen to “Black Hand”
The schedule: 9 p.m. at Rancho Relaxo
The reason: She’s gorgeous Georgas! And her music’s great too. Her album This is Good came out in April to much critical acclaim (disclosure, I contributed to said praise). She’s found a way to re-vamp the Canadian pop girl image into something fun, sexy and smart.
The proof: Listen to “Dance Floor”
The schedule: 10 p.m. at the Horseshoe Tavern