The Canadian music community can be pretty close-knit. For instance, did you know that Phil Shearing, singer/guitarist from Paddle to the Sea, once had Hollerado play on his lawn while on tour. He passed a hat around while his friend gave them smores. This is just one example the comradery of Canadian bands, helping each other out.

More than just being about the music community, Canadian Music Week is an expression of how healthy, vibrant and eclectic our homegrown music industry is — and one of those local bands that stands out when we talk about Canadian Music is Paddle to the Sea. Perhaps one of the hardest working bands I know.

Paddle to the Sea features: the aforementioned Philip Shearing (vocals and guitar), Jeff Bulgarelli (vocals and bass), and Shawn Murray on drums and vocals.

The three-piece just released Insert Home Delete End a very impressive album filled with power-pop and grinding grunge. You can describe their music as a reinvention of the raw 90s sound. Give a listen to Castaway and Butter You Up.

Paddle to the Sea will be taking their wild horse and pony show to the Bovine Sex Club in Toronto, for a Tuesday April 18th show with will also feature: Lauren Spike, The Huaraches and The Extorverts. I had a chance to speak with them before they left for the show:

If you’re in Toronto this week check out their latest show  Tickets are available online or you can buy them at the door here’s the Facebook page for more information. Also give a listen Paddle’s newest tracks Arrow and Skipping Stone on BandCamp.


Montreal’s own Milo McMahon graced the back room of Toronto music hot spot The Cameron House for an energetic Canadian Music Week set on Saturday.  Along with drummer Mike Beaton (yes, that’s his true surname) and bassist/back-up vocalist Stephen Court (it was only his third gig with the band and he absolutely killed it), the trio that carries the lead singer/songwriter’s name played a collection of songs both new and those that have been released on Milo’s EP Big City Hustle.


Milo’s music touches primarily on rock and roll and alt folk, but being raised in Ireland, he is also able to intersperse the odd Celtic song into the mix.  He is a charming lad, singing with passion about topics including life, love, isolation and persistence.  His band is also wildly talented, and together they make a powerful mix of good sounds and good times.  Milo cranked out some wicked guitar solos, adding some interesting dissonances, and Stephen played some really tasty bass lines.

The group have been touring Canada pretty extensively over the past few months, and are now on reprieve to get back in the studio to record a new record.  Here’s Milo’s video for “Big City Hustle”:

Be on the lookout for more Montreal shows later this year.  His music is available for purchase via his website.

terra lightfoot

Terra Lightfoot (no relation to Gordon Lightfoot) performed as part of the Sonic Unyon CMW showcase on Saturday night at Cherry Cola’s. Lightfoot is playing as part of a trio these days, and the band led by this musical powerhouse lit the place up, performing many new songs which will be featured on an album she’s currently working on. Somewhere during the first song, everyone’s attention shifted to the stage, where she held it until the last note.

Her rich and powerful voice are perfect for the indie folk music she writes. Influenced by blues pioneers like Robert Johnson and Leadbelly, Lightfoot’s music reveals these influences as well as rock, country and more. She blends these together into a truly personal style that allows her to finger-pick some songs (she’s proficient at this) and blast out full and powerful chords in others. Yes, she’s quite the guitarist!

She effortlessly transitions from ballads to energetic rock tunes to country-infused numbers, including one she dedicated to the Carter Family. The mellow, perhaps melancholy sound quality of her voice doesn’t seem like it would fit with the sheer power she wields, yet it’s a wonderfully surprising combination that makes her voice unique. She has excellent control.


In 2012, Lightfoot won three Hamilton Music Awards including Best Female Artist, Best Female Vocalist and Best Alt/Country Album of the Year. Lightfoot has toured Canada three times, overseas once already, and is now in the midst of recording an album with her other band, the Dinner Belles, while preparing her sophomore album under her own name. So, she’s making waves both at home and abroad.

Lightfoot’s voice and guitar are the focal point within the band. Here is one of her newer songs, ‘Moonlight’, performed with her talented trio for Exclaim! TV.

Photos by Stephanie Beatson.

flash lightnin

The bar was full to capacity two hours before they hit the stage. So full I couldn’t risk losing my spot near the front to get a drink at the bar for fear that I’d never make it back again. And so, drier than a nun during mass, I took in what turned out to be one of the best live shows I’ve seen in quite some time.

Flash Lightnin’ are a local Toronto band made up of Darren Glover (guitars/vocals) and Darcy Yates (bass), and I’m still trying to figure out how I didn’t find out about these guys earlier. Formed in 2007, they paved their way via a residency at the Dakota Tavern. Their first EP, 2008’s Destello, captured their energetic live show and earned them opening slots for Eagles of Death Metal, Metric and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

They recently returned from a tour opening for ZZ Top. They have released two full-length albums since, including Flash Lightnin’ and their very recent For The Sinners. ‘Flash Lightnin’’ the song has been featured in blockbusters Thor, Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows and The Last Stand.

Their set began with them cheersing the crowd with shots. From the very first note, I understood what everyone had so eagerly waited to see. Their music is gritty, raw and real. Gritty, but also incredibly technically proficient. Glover is one amazing guitarist, not only because of the speed and accuracy with which he performs very difficult solos, but because the solos in each song are noticeably different from all the others, tastefully crafted specific to each song. It was really something to see (and hear).


In addition to the guitar work, the songs are also fun and well written. They have interesting rhythmic fills and changes, aided by the masterful playing of Daniel Neill on drums at this show. I should mention that despite Neill not being a regular band member, the threesome was super tight, a testament to the skill level of each musician. Neill timed and executed each fill with perfect rhythm, and between the three of them, every shot was bang on. The energy that the band established with the first chord was maintained through their entire set and Glover, obviously at home on the mic, worked the crowd like a seasoned pro.

People in the audience kept buying them more shots, and more yet. By the end I was amazed that Glover was still able to perform his flawless guitar solos. It was such a great show that I didn’t care that the drunk guy in front of me kept spilling his beer all over me, or that practically every person in the room had nasty BO. I can’t say a single negative thing about this band or this show.

So if you’ve been living under a rock, as apparently I have, and have not caught wind of this band yet, it’s time to peek your head out and take notice. Here’s ‘Flash Lightnin’’ (the song) performed by the trio last month at a show they opened for ZZ Top.

Listen to those tasty drum fills and the guitar solos, especially the one towards the end of the song. Oh man. So good.

Photos by Stephanie Beatson.

oh susanna

Oh Susanna is a veteran in the Canadian music scene by now, but this was my first time seeing her perform. I knew she was a prolific songwriter, excelling at story-telling tunes, but I had no idea how talented she really is until her CMW set. Or how deep her roots within the scene go. She’s also brilliant and adventurous. She had the idea a while back to reach out and ask her musician friends on Facebook to write songs for an album that will be comprised of said songs.

She played many of the songs at this show, and even had a six-song sampler for the upcoming record that she gave out, including tracks by Joel Plaskett, Royal Wood, Keri Latimer, Ron Sexsmith and A. Presley, Jim Bryson and Melissa McClelland. What an interesting and brave project. The album will be called Namedropper.

The album was initially planned to be out last fall, however Oh Susanna was diagnosed with breast cancer and began chemotherapy, hence delaying the progress with the album. In fact, the CMW show, part of the Sonic Unyon showcase, was her first in about a year. I’m happy to report that it went swimmingly and she looked great; so cute with short hair (there’s a definite resemblance to Natalie Portman).


Her country folk music has ample sweetness and a touch of sass. At this show, the songs she played by other writers took her away from the country feel a little bit and more into rock and pop styles, which she seemed at ease with. Her voice is as strong as ever; she has a clear and strong tone that sounds a lot like Emmylou Harris. Her song ‘I’ll Always Be’ was recorded live on the Mike Bullard show a while back, and highlights the pure tone in her voice, as well as the control she maintains throughout her wide vocal range. It also reveals that sass I mentioned earlier.

Photos by Stephanie Beatson.

dinner belles

Dinner Belles are a country folk group based in the Hamilton area. Performing as a six-piece band for their CMW set (guitars, bass, drums, mandolin and keyboards), they ended up playing a more electric set than usual due to technical difficulties with the pick-up in one of the acoustic guitars. It worked well, since it was Saturday night and the crowd was pretty revved up already.

Everyone was loving the music. A dance floor started up in front of the stage, led by a couple really drunk dudes who were literally falling over each other while trying feverishly to dance (it was amusing… for a while).  It was incredible that they managed to fit six musicians on the small stage, especially considering the drum kit took up about a third of the available space.


Each band member brings something different and important to the mix and each is a proficient musician in their own right. Combined, their power increases ten-fold, like when the Power Rangers combine and make Megazord, an unstoppable force. Being a pianist myself, I was especially enamoured with the work of Greg Brisco, who danced across the keys like nobody’s business and is one of the most talented and FAST keyboardists I’ve seen in a long time.

The main vocals and harmonies are often shared between Brad Germain and Terra Lightfoot, though the others often assist as well (especially Scott Bell). Lightfoot is able to explore her higher (falsetto) range in this group compared with the lower range she tends towards in her solo music. Their voices complement each other like peanut butter and chocolate.

The sense of community fostered by this group is absolutely contagious. People in the audience, once strangers, began dancing together. Boys were twirling girls, girls were twirling girls, boys were twirling boys, and everyone was singing along to the choruses. We begged for an encore, but the schedule was too tight to allow any additions. I’ll post one here for you instead. My favourite song of the night was this sing-along ditty, ‘Til The Dawn’, performed in the barn they rehearse in. The lovely Kennedy Sharon Bell, young daughter of bassist/singer/songwriter Scott Bell, makes a guest appearance.

Photos by Stephanie Beatson.

the tallest tree

The Tallest Tree are an indie group from Dundas, Ontario and it took me most of their set before I realized that the two young ladies are actually Dawn and Marra, who have performed around the GTA for the past few years including at the Hamilton Music Awards. Joined by a rhythm section in The Tallest Tree, the group is led by the talented Dawn and Marra, whose artsy and creative songwriting is heightened by their sweet voices often singing in harmony. They incorporate interesting instruments into their music, often switching between them when playing live, Barenaked Ladies-style.


For their CMW set at Cherry Cola’s –which was part of the Sonic Unyon showcase — they used an accordion, ukelele, guitars, bass, drums and tambourine. They also did a song using body percussion (see photo below) and another with fake trumpet where the bassist imitated the trumpet sound with his mouth.  Quite an inventive group!

They certainly don’t use variety as a crutch; their music is well written, interesting and has a delightful playfulness about it. This might be a strange connection, but at times it reminds me of the movie Juno. It has a certain childhood innocence mixed with quirkiness that just makes me smile.

This video of Dawn and Marra with some friends for ‘Not on Top’ was shot as part of the Southern Souls collection of videos.

Photos by Stephanie Beatson.

Julian Taylor Band

Julian Taylor wrote and toured for years with Staggered Crossing, and yet found that despite working hard and constantly touring, there was just not enough profit in that side of the business. [I will resist the urge to go on a tirade about how almost no one wants to pay for original music anymore, and so musicians trying to pave their way using their own voice often end up living on welfare or worse… playing in cover bands so you can afford rent (jokes, well not really…)].

After the band broke up in 2007, Taylor spent time playing top-40 hits. He began writing and performing under his own name while continuing to play cover songs, eventually forming the Julian Taylor Band. Persistence and hard work definitely do pay off, though his immense talent certainly helps! Julian Taylor Band has released seven albums to date. Taylor has also had ten top-40 hits and has shared the stage with some big names including Blue Rodeo, Jeff Healey, Nickelback, Collective Soul and many others. He was also invited to perform at the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City and in Vancouver. Not too shabby!


The band played at the Shangri La Hotel on Wednesday night for the second of their CMW performances, following a show at the Hideout on Tuesday. They began with a set of strictly original tunes, introducing covers as the night progressed, playing four sets to not only CMW attendees but also the hotel guests. His music is sexy. There’s no better way to put it. You can dance to it, you can sing to it, and you can do lots of other things to it too, wink wink!

His voice reminds me of Stevie Wonder, both in the tone and delivery, though his style ranges from soul to R&B, from funk to rock, and touches other genres like pop in between. The band also emits great energy and it’s absolutely impossible to not groove along when they’re playing. Check out what I mean here with ‘This is Zero to Eleven,’ the second single of their 2013 EP.

The band recently released a full length album called Tech Noir which is available on iTunes as well.

Photos by Stephanie Beatson.

julian taylor band

Greetings from Toronto! Canadian Music Week, moved to May this year (no doubt due to weather…), is upon us! Here are a few recommendations for bands that are part of the festivities this week.

The festival begins Tuesday night, and though it’s not as busy as the rest of the week, it does feature Low Hanging Lights, an electric folk/rock band with definite punk influence. They capitalize on raw, “live show” sounding music, so you know they’re going to sound just as good — if not better — live. They play at Baltic Avenue at 11 p.m.

On Wednesday, Julian Taylor Band is playing a free show in The Lobby Lounge at the Shangri La Hotel at 8 p.m. Julian Taylor is an accomplished artist and frankly, I’m surprised he isn’t more well known. He has released seven albums, has ten top-40 hits and has played over 2000 live shows in the last decade. He and his band put on electrifying live shows that kick it on all levels. He can sing, man can he sing, and is backed by a group of stellar musicians. He also writes hooky songs with great riffs, and did I mention he’s a total babe?

Meredith Shaw is playing at midnight on Wednesday at C’est What. Her song “Hardest Goodbye” was chosen as CBC’s song of the week in March and she’s had a couple tunes from her latest release (also Hardest Goodbye) featured on CBC Radio 2 over the last several months. She’s creating some serious buzz, so come check out what she’s all about.

There are several interesting acts featured on Thursday. Megafauna, a group from Austin, Texas, are playing at 9 p.m. at the Bovine Sex Club. They’re here promoting their recent release, Maximalist, an album that aims to unabashedly bring their supercharged music to the greatest heights. They’re hella hooky songs also boast rhythmic shifts, syncopation and fuse musical styles into something unique that could fall somewhere under the category of rock. They’re innovative and in a sea of hundreds of bands and acts this week, we need that.

Flash Lightnin’ is also playing Thursday, at The Dakota Tavern at 11 p.m. Their brand of gritty rock is just awesome. Recently back from touring with ZZ Top, they just released their album For the Sinners, so grab a beer and check them out. Seriously. They know how to rock.

Le Trouble are playing twice this week, once on Thursday at 11 p.m. at The Hideout, and again on Friday at Handlebar at midnight. Their music is a blast of punk energy with power-pop melodies and danceability. The pianist in me grins delightfully that they have keyboards. They’ll also be playing in Montreal at Osheaga (August 1-3).

Also on Friday, Robyn Dell’Unto and Donovan Woods are both playing at The Vault at 8 p.m. and 10:15 p.m., respectively. Dell’Unto has released two records of sweet and touching pop songs, and is backed by some truly amazing musicians. Juno nominee Donovan Woods is a character. His songs are not only catchy, but also clever and often hilarious. He has this awkwardness on stage that is irresistibly charming. If you enjoy acoustic music and singer-songwriters, you won’t want to miss this night.

Papillon, out of Montreal, plays three times this week; at midnight on Thursday at Cherry Cola’s, at 2 a.m. Friday at the Dakota Tavern and at 10 p.m. on Saturday at the Bovine Sex Club. They’re a fun, energetic rock band and I’m glad they’re bringing some Montreal flare this week.

Also on Saturday, Oh Susanna and the Dinner Belles are playing at 11 p.m. and midnight as part of the Sonic Unyon showcase at Cherry Cola’s. Oh Susanna is a narrative songwriter whose expressive voice carries you into a dreamworld created within her songs. She has been touring regularly since releasing her sixth album Soon the Birds in 2011, and most recently headed to the Yukon with Justin Rutledge and Kim Beggs. She has a lovely voice and is an enchanting performer. The Dinner Belles are an endearing group of acoustic musicians with a southern sound and beautiful harmonies. With roots, country and folk influences, it’s no surprise that the band typically rehearse, write and even perform in a barn filled with antiques and other unusual items. I dare you not to tap your toes along with their music.

Yes, indeed! There is much to keep busy with this week. Look out for show reviews coming soon.

Marysia Florczyk


The last night of Canadian Music Fest, after having gone to bed at 11am that morning, one can say I was not in the best of shape. So with almost no sleep it was any wonder I found myself dozing off to some folk music band. I had to go take an emergency disco nap to keep going. It was 10pm and none of my Forget The Box colleagues believed I’d wake up from that nap.

I gladly proved them wrong, when to everybody’s surprise that I showed up right on time at The Garrison to catch the Yardlets’ set. It was the first time I got to see this, now four-piece, band from Montreal. They play a very raw, in-your-face garage rock; the type of music that would fit well in a dive bar like Barfly or  but wasn’t as suited to the Toronto venue.

My only criticism was that they could use a bit more energy on the stage; if they’d been jumping all over the place they could have communicated with the crowd better. But they’re still a new band and they’re still learning how to interact with their screaming fans. The bassist, Marysia Florczyk is a recent addition to the group and we’ll see how she helps their sound evolve.

Recently they were joined by Sebastien Grainger formerly from Death from Above 1979 in studio, which will probably be help get them on the hyped band map.
Montreal people, you’ll be able to catch them live @Divan Orange on April 21st. They’ll be playing with Aunty Panty! and Man Legs (Calgary).

Yardlets Marysia Florczyk

Marysia Florczyk

Marysia Florczyk

Marysia Florczyk




Photos by Chris Zacchia
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One thing I remember about last year in Toronto was all the amazing metal and punk shows I randomly came across during Canadian Music Week. Here’s is guide to this year’s CMW for those of you who like it loud, fast and distorted:

Arkam Awaits
Besides having a really cool name, these Guelph natives really know how to rip metal chords in your eardrum. Awaits represent the best of Southern Ontario metal. Expect to see large, familiar crowds begging for more!

These guys are the sound of growing up, without all that growing up nonsense! Punk is alive and well in Toronto, as Bathurst brings a unique perspective to T-dot punk.

Careers in Science
Another fun, fast punk band from Toronto with Influences from mainstream punk to American hardcore and 80s underground. If you like sweet, catchy new wave-influenced riffs with your punk, be sure to listen to these boys.

Hailing from Niagra, Ontario, Crutch have a deafeningly unique style of loudness. Having played in venues like The Opera House, Rockford’s House of Rock and the famed Lee’s Palace, they are becoming widely known for putting on one awesome live performance!

The Dirty Mags
Loud and ferocious, the Dirty Mags are punk on a bender. Signed to Toronto’s local White Girl Records after forming in 2010, their sound is fast, high octane and fun, but don’t ask these boys to borrow money because most of their songs are about being broke.

Let me ask you a simple question: do you like electroshock therapy in the form of music? What you see is what you get with these Barcelona men. Get ready for the biblical tribulation in your ear!

Endast will make you taste the blood running down your nose from moshing too long. I know because that’s what happen to me the last time I saw their show! After a few hours after seeing these Montreal metal kings, you will still be hearing them in your head. Prepare for internal metal recordings.

Endless Dark
Imagine the sounds of volcanoes erupting, shattered glaciers and melting fjords. That’s the only way to describe this youthful metal band from Iceland. These boys are on the cutting edge of metal and with their soon to be released COLD, HARD DECEMBER they hope to take the Canadian Metal Scene by storm!

Do you like to listen to metal while chowing down on sushi? If so, then japaneese 80s hair metal band Fade is the band for you. They are looking forward to making their first splash in Canada. Fade have had sucess in the Japaneese scene and so we wish them well as they tour the Artic Tundra, also known as Canada.

Forever Came Calling
From California, Forever Came Calling are an irreverent group of punk kids who just want to ding a few ballads for an audience. Known for their fast and highly enjoyable ditties, this is one band you might want to check out.

Goddamn Robots
Goddamn Robots are four guys from different bands (Seconds to Go, The Junction, Crash Parallel) who still find a way to disappoint their parents by playing punk music for no money, but their overdrive sound does impress.

Greater Than Giants
These Edmonton dudes are just out to have a great time. Looking forward to bouncing my head around to their catchy new punk tunes.

I Call Fives
These New Jersy punks were formed in 2006, but now after touring and partying their hearts out, they’re ready to settle down… nah, just kidding!

Impeding Doom
Are Impending Doom the harbingers of the apocalypse? Maybe. They are indeed bringers of pure metal light. There’s not a lot of Christian metal bands, but they are certainly one of the best Christian metal bands to see and are also definitely one of the most sucessfull bands at this year’s CMW, selling over 70 000 records worldwide.

Job For a Cowboy
Job For A Cowboy are a heavy powerhouse metal band who have had great success over the past few years. Their EP Doom reached the top 100 of the Billboard charts and they are one of the leading metal bands at CMW.

Phat Jesus
With members coming from Montreal and Nova Scotia, this group of guys like to blast out fat rhythms and employ only the most honest of beats, mixing punk, psychedelic and funk elements.

Little City, a Toronto based band, is an interesting collective of diverse musicians who bring a variety of talent that is a true replicate of what Canadian music brings to the table in 2011. They are, repeat, one of the best upcoming folk/pop groups in our country. After randomly coming across Little City live at the Velvet Underground in Toronto during CMW, I picked up a copy of their EP, The Going and The Gone. We played it on repeat the whole way back to Montreal. It’s absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t stop saying, “This EP is so nice. It’s so nice. So, so nice.”

Like said, it was one of those bands you greatly stumble upon (and not via and don’t exit the venue two minutes later. During their set they pulled out an array of instruments ranging from mandolin to violin to the norm. The lead guitarist heroically jumped on the 4 foot wide speakers, which spewed out from the stage and gave it to the audience like he was the Slash of folk. If you got a chance to look away from him, you noticed that all the other members look like they were in their own worlds. Think of it like this… they are the planets in their music universe that work together to create this white blanket over the world (which is us the audience).

Now, let’s talk EP. Little City’s EP screams, actually sweetly sings, MONTREAL. Of the five songs that grace the EP, two of them chant about Montreal’s Plateau

and how it’s everyone’s escape city a place where

your heart wanders free and your spirit…well, it lives.

And the lyrics. OH BOY. I’m not sure who wrote the

words to their songs, but holy shit they are soul sinking. We’re talking poetic songs, with twisting words that mean more with the music than your mom’s wedding ring.

Check out, Rise Up and Bright Glow (both can be found on their MySpace). And for the other songs, well, you’re just going to have to buy the EP. If you’re folk/pop junkie, it’s worth every music-ear dollar.

Make sure to grab the EP and check out Little City in a town near you. For now, just enjoy the poetry music that your mind and ears will consciously absorb.



Photos 1. and 2.

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Like Jerry mentioned there are a lot of surprises at CMW, and like I’ve said, the best way (I think) to find a band is to stumble upon them. Meet Racoon Bandit, an east coast gem that will no doubt win you over with their killer, energy packed, live-in-the-moment performance.

Racoon Bandit @ The Dakota Tavern
Racoon Bandit, a PEI based folk/country sounding group, made up of four perfectly honest and modest gentlemen, played at the Dakota right after Alcoholic Faith Mission. Wow. I can’t believe how easily they reproduced an east coast, foot stomping, beer drinking party. I’m sure you’ve heard of these kitchen parties us east coasters have. Well, that’s what it was like: modest musicians, with great smiles, doing what they love as they switch instruments, politely and excitedly talk to the audience, all while making your feet move and bringing your spirit alive (I miss it sometimes).

When they took the stage, everyone made their way to the front- you didn’t want to be left on the sidelines. It might have to do with the fact that they’re so earnest and genuine with their music, and live set. You honestly felt like every bone in your body had been awoken from your winter blues slumber. You were so happy and so thrilled to be in their presence, as they were yours. They made you feel like it was one of the best times of your life (and honestly, I’ve always said the best Canadian music comes from us west and the east coasters). At one point an audience member got up and started playing tambourine with them, fuelling the already happening dance party at the Dakota- all thanks to Racoon Bandit. They really wanted you to be there and you really didn’t want it to end.

During their set Roger Carter (drums/vox/keys) and Fraser McCallum (vocals/rhythm guitar), took turns singing as Scott Gallant (bass fish) and Adam Gallant (vocals/guitar) played to our hearts content. Fraser also rotated between guitar, vocals and an old, wooden piano that looked like it should have been in a dirty, smoked filled blues bar. That’s another thing- I haven’t heard any good folk/blues/country since I’ve been living in Montreal, and that night was the first time since last May, that I heard the sounds of ocean spilling out over the crowd and bringing them back in with the music. It was incredible. It was exactly the dose of pure joy I needed to remember why I’m so proud to be from the Atlantic Region of Canada.

Racoon Bandit will be playing at the East Coast Music Awards, which are being held in Charlottetown between April 13-17. Check out their newly released album, Into the Hills. We also caught up with the relaxed, easy-going group the next day to get the down-low on Into the Hills, their show at the Dakota and how they’re more like an artistic collective of individuals oppose to a simple group of musicians.

CMW day two: success.

Toronto is rocking with music and I’m having a great time! The rain hasn’t let up, but anything’s better than the ice blizzard back home. At least I get plenty of great bands to look forward to. Here are a few bands that I got to see last night. Hopefully I will make it. With all this great stuff going on, getting pen to the page and writing is harder then is sounds. Let me tell you about some of the great shows I got to see last night…

Endast @ The Bovine Sex Club

Celebrating Bovine Sex Club‘s 20th Anniversary, a legion of metal bands and their hardcore fans came out. Especially great to see were metal bands from across Canada. Endast at the Old Bovine Sex Club was a show that really got me into the mood of the festival celebrating the best from many different genres of music. Metal is my secret crush.

Bovine Sex Club is a venue comparable to Foufounes Electriques in Montreal, except a lot smaller. It does however feature the same derelict style you’d come to expect in a place that is a local watering hole for many musicians and music patrons.

The show exhibited the raw awesome power that we’ve come to know and love from Canadian metal. Endast did not disappoint. They played many songs from their latest album Black Cloud and played one of my favorite songs Pray for Rain. After Endast, a few other great metal bands came on to close up the show including Assassinate the Following from southwestern Ontario who had some great licks. The singer Brandon was awesome and showed an incredible level of intensity.

Photos & Video by Chris Zacchia

Check out more photos of Endast here.

Barr Brothers @ The Dakota Tavern

What a great band. Sometimes you find a special band in a place where you didn’t think anything special would happen. But I have to say, after last night’s performance by the Barr Brothers at The Dakota Tavern, they were great but I was done. We arrived late to the festival and after running around like a crazy person all night, these guys were the perfect serenade to end the night.

Brad Barr (lead singer) joined with Sarah Page (harpist) to make some beautiful melodies and perfect vocal harmonies. The band is also made up of members that use to play with Lhasa. With elements of country and folk, this is one band that if you have a chance to, you should check out. When they played The Devil’s Harp my heart sank, one great, great whiskey drinking song.

Photos by Chris Zacchia for more: Barr Brothers

We’re going on a trip – a music trip! Music trips are the best. Remember when Jim Morrison went on his crazy psychedelic desert music trip? Or that time you drove four hours to a music festival in the back of the woods and ended up lost for three days and woke up in a hammock with random, but awesome songs in your head? Oooooohhhh shit. Actually pretty sure I just watched The Doors biopic, read too much about the Burning Man Festival and went to Evolve. Plus, I hate camping and deserts, so good thing this music trip is in Canada’s largest city, Toronto (I’m all for the concrete jungles)… and I only go outdoors to go somewhere indoors.

So, the last couple of articles we wrote about CMW focused on the basics, the FilmFest and The Indies. This week we’re gonna give you the goods on who we’re seeing, why we’re seeing them and how you too can stalk us. But before we do that let me explain a little mind set issue I have with the love of my life, and why I’ve gotta stop being such a selfish music tool (how would you draw that? A screw driver with an iTunes logo? I dunno man).

I’ve been in a serious relationship with music since I was about eight. Let me explain. When I fall for a certain band it’s because they’ve been able to please me by nailing these elements, all together, perfectly in my spirit. Dude, it’s the lyrics, lead vocals, simple yet interesting instrumentals and overall sound. That’s what gets me. Saying this, I rarely put my music on for people, it’s something that I keep to myself – like a treasure. Maybe I’m afraid no one will like it?

Well, think about it this way: you may not like my music and I may not like yours, but music is like dating or being in love. You like your music (person you choose to be with/obsession) because it suits aspects of your personality, fashion and lifestyle. It represents everything you are from the inside of your lungs to the outside of shoes. You date your music. You obsess over it. You long for it. You listen to it every day. It’s one of the only things that can rip you apart, pull you together or sail you off into the sea of happiness without ever physically touching you. Just like a human being, music breathes life into us.

Okay, enough of my emo talk. Let’s get back to business. So, because I don’t mind sharing my music choices virtually here’s a list of some of the bands I’m going to be seeing at CMW. Some I know and some I don’t. Some I’ve listened to, some I’ve never even wanted to…until now. The best way to find new music is to stumble upon it and that’s why when I was making my selection I wanted a balance of old and new. Friends and foes. life and death. OKAY! I’m done. Here’s my expected list (oh don’t worry, random music surprises will also pop up along the way):

Dinosaur Bones
March 11 @ 11PM
Lee’s Place

Toronto based band, Dinosaur Bones, have been flying on my radar since POP Montreal. I’ve never given them my ear time until now. I’ve been preached to about them for a while and I’m finally ready to let them in and see what this fuss is all about. Oh, and of course I did some research about their third and latest album, My Divider.

Fever Fever
March 12 @ 12AM

By far Fever Fever is the show I’m looking forward to the most. Fever Fever stems from the UK and is seriously awesome. I love brit rock. I love Fever Fever. They’ve got this early Brit grunge element that stings you by surprise leaving you wondering why you’re only hearing them now. Think The Raincoats.

Gentleman Reg
March 9 @ 9PM
Gladstone Hotel

Oh Arts & Crafts you never fail me! Gentleman Reg, part of the Arts & Crafts crew, is an interesting artist. His music style has bits of The Smiths mixed with Cat Power. It’s as i**** as it gets with a bit of lo-fi (I’m not saying the “i” word anymore, hence the asterisks). He and his music career run deep in the i**** circle in Toronto, for example he’s in ShortBus. His music is well produced, so I’m hoping his live set can live up to his loud-volume-headphone worthy songs.

March 11 @ 2:30AM
Horseshoe Traven

Halifax based Gloryhound is a band I’ve been meaning to see for a while. Having grown up with drummer, Shaun Hanlon and seeing/meeting the rest of Gloryhound from my various party adventures in Haliwood (um, Halifax), Gloryhound has come a longggggg way. This year they have three shows at CMW and are booked for a Montreal show on March 24 by eventko. I’m really looking forward to seeing an old friend while also hearing how they’ve grown musically.

The Wilderness
March 10 @ 8:30PM
Horseshoe Traven

Holy Manitoba! The music coming out of the coldest city in Canada is truly taking over the Internet radio airwaves. The Wilderness, Manitoba based, sounds like Interpol mixed old Cold War Kids songs and my ever favourite The Smiths. Check them out.

The Russian Futurists
March 12 @ 5PM
Bonvine Sex Club

Awh yes, The Russia Futurists, a name we’ve all been hearing (I think). This Toronto based band has been charting the charts for months. Their electro, lo-fi music has been praised by Peter Buck of R.E.M and members of Blur. They’re also a Pitchfork favourite. I’m hoping that their live set is better than their latest album, The Weight’s on the Wheels – like I said, live just has more life (literally).

Paper Lions
March 12 @ 11:30PM
Lee’s Place

I almost forgot about Paper Lions, which is very silly of me. Paper Lions hail from P.E.I and have been laying pretty low since their 2004 debut. Thankfully this group is never a disappointment and their pop music is as addictive as cigarettes. Oh yes. They’re good.

This is just a short version of what’s to come. Stay tuned for the next part of this CMW series. In the meantime check out the full schedule including venue and band listings. Oh yes, and don’t forget to get your wristband (best option!!!).

Cool beans.

Coming up this week we have We Are The City and another CMW artists piece.

Canadian Music Week runs from March 9 to 13 in Toronto. There’s over 800 artists and 55 venues, which equals five nights of crazy, wandering lost downtown in TO trying to find my next show.


Throughout the coming weeks I’m coming to be doing a series about Canadian [New] Music Week. The articles are going to focus on artists performing, venues you should know and events that you want to attend. Part two tells you about The Indies. We’ll also be keeping you in the loop about CMW 11′ Film Fest.


Alright friends, how have you been? Last month we dropped a quick note about CMW 11′, which runs from March 9 to 13 in beloved Toronto, and I’m just wondering how your planning is going (interrogation about to happen)…

Have you bought your tickets or wristband (better option)? Got your rideshare on Craigslist?

Planned what you’re gonna say to your boss (Conjunctivitis or pinkeye it gives you two days clear!)?

Mapped out Toronto, putting X’s and O’s on all the venues you’re gonna hit and bands you’re gonna see?

Signed up for a‘s account and booked couches?

Oh geez, I’m giving myself anxiety. That’s a lot of planning. You know what though? I believe you can do it and should. It’s gonna be a wild, yet a semi-professional ride. Anyway, enough questions. Here’s the dish of what’s up with the 2011 The Indies awards (see playlist for hints).

Create at


Thumbs up and pats on the back – The Indies

Alright, I’m trying not to say the “i” word anymore but since it’s in the title I’m gonna have to (oh man). Every year CMW presents awesome awards to Canadian and international artists in the independent music sector. It’s a high-five they can keep on their shelf in honour of their achievements. Let’s be honest, everyone loves to be acknowledged and promoted by someone else. The nominees and categories where announced on Monday, February 17. After browsing through the selection here’s some award categories and artists I’m hoping will take that honour and high-five back to all of us for supporting their music (though if it were up to me it’d be Broken Social Scene for every one. But that’s kind of biased)…

Album of the year? I’d be happy to see Tokyo Police Club’s Champ (Dine Alone) or Caribou’s Swim (Merge) win. These two artists seem to put in the effort to evolve, recreate and keep their own music credible to themselves. Truly very different types of music, but both equally acknowledgeable and great albums that I can listen to on the drop of a hat without shouting, “TURN IT OFF! I can’t listen to this crap anymore. NO MORE.”

Group or duo of the year…hands down…should go to Broken Social Scene (BBS). BBS are the foundation of Canadian independent music and artists. Over the years they’ve done a lot of shit. Seriously, let’s do a quick break down – they’ve played with everyone from Tom Cochran to Land of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell, helped shape the music careers of bands like Metric, Apostle of the Hustle and Feist (who was an original member). They’ve created their own label (Arts & Crafts), which is run by Kevin Drew (lead vocals), and contributed to the Canadian political environment by hosting events centred on raising awareness for social, environmental and economical issues plaguing Canada today. And their music is fucking awesome – unique, ever-changing and one step ahead of everyone. Really, they’re group of the decade not just year.

Broken Social Scene – 7/4 (Shoreline) by cityslang

We all love to dance and this paragraph is about asking, “Who makes you really wanna dance the most?”. All the nominees in the electronic artists/group of year make me want to dance. But two stand out – Chromeo and Crystal Castles. Montreal’s Chromeo mixes sweet dance beats with good lyrics and works closely with bands like Halls & Oats to learn how to better their music style by adding elements of the past and repurposing them for future additions. Dude. And Crystal Castles’s new single Not In Love with Robert Smith just makes my heart beat. I’m gonna cross my fingers for either or. Like come on, who doesn’t like Robert Smith or the fact that the lead singer of Chromeo, Dave 1, has a Romantic French Literature degree from NYC University? Honestly, intelligence is just too hot to handle.

Next topic? The lovely and yet underrated category of Francohone artsits. This year’s nominees include:

  • Bernad Adamus
  • Karkwa
  • Les Trois
  • Marie-Mai
  • RadioRadio

I’m a big fan of RadioRadio. They put on a good show, they’re hiliarious guys and the music jumps around and mixes with a variety of genres. But, we all know Karkwa grabbed the Polaris Music Prize this year, so it might just got to them. I’m still gonna send telepathic “win-waves” to RadioRadio. I mean, They’ve got a good combo going, even better than the number six at Wendy’s. mmmm Wendy’s.

International single of the year should go to The Black Keys, Tighten Up…close runner up? Mumford and Sons, Little Lion Man. I was reviewing some of the other bands and thought to myself, “Wtf? Money truly may outweigh talent for some.” BUT, each to their own. Back on topic – The Black Keys just do it for me – really. They’ve got a kind of electric, rock, blues thing going on that just makes you want to sexy dance around your house and on the sidewalk as you groove down the streets. Let’s just tighten up and give them the award, because if this “The Dirty Heads” band wins I may just have to throw a pen at someone’s head (REALLY? LIKE REALLY?).

Here’s an interesting category you may have overlooked – Children’s artist/group of the year. Have you noticed how awesome the music is in the world of little people (and I don’t mean what you think I mean). Look at Yo Gabba Gabba, that dude is awesome. He has the kids dancing to MGMT, rockin’ out to Of Montreal and some random additions like Apples in stereo. So it only seems appropiate that this category be included, and here’s who’s standing out:

  • Andrew Queen
  • The Monkey Bunch
  • The Kerplunks
  • Peter Lenton
  • Rik Barron

Oh and yes there will be performances during The Indies. So these are the artists who will be performing live during the event: Janelle Monae, Shad, Hollerado, Bombay Bicycle Club, Hannah Georgas (awesome, awesome, awesome), and Desperate Union. And for those of you “without” pinkeye, you can tune into XM Satellite Radio’s, The Verge for a live broadcast of The Indies.

Here’s where you can peruse the full list of selected nominees and their proper categories. While you’re doing that make sure to grab your tickets and check out the full list of artists playing at CMW Music Fest this year and the various other fun stuff going on!

In my next edition of the CMW 11′ article series I’m gonna give you another playlist, some bios of local, national and international artists and sneak peak of where….Secret!

Oh shit, I almost forgot to talk about the party (insert evil laugh). TRICKS! Word is…or word has been said…or they’ve mentioned…the best party of the year is after The Indies awards. We’re gonna dig a little deep and get you the goods on this tip and make sure you know exactly the validation of this piece of information (sweet rhyming action in this sentence).

Cool beans. Check out the FTB events calendar for up-coming events. Jenn Grant & the WAWA show in pen next week.


CMW photos courtesy of & The Monkey Bunch photo courtesy of