Canadian Music Fest: must see, part 1

It’s that time of year again. Festival season is upon us. All the fundraisers and Kickstarter campaigns are wrapping up and thousands of fans, bands, and media folk are making their final preparations for their respective fests and it all kicks off midweek with Canadian Music Week and Canadian Music Fest (I’m still not entirely sure where the differentiation lies). And I’m all set to go: flight booked, hostel reservation made, media accreditation confirmed.

For those of you headed to Toronto for the fest this week, I’ve taken the liberty of preparing a few posts highlighting some of the acts I am most excited to see and a couple I was heartbroken to cut due to scheduling conflicts. As if you needed more things to work into your schedule.

Toronto, ON
Performing: Painted Lady, Wednesday @11:00 P.M.

It was about a year ago when I first encountered Snowblink as the opening act for fellow Toronto boy, Owen Pallett. I was awestruck by their sound and remained entranced for the full 45 minute set. Every chord—every pitch—so deliberate and perfectly placed, while other two-piece acts make an impression by making a lot of noise, Snowblink succeed in the intimate intricacies of song structure. I even began an email interview with them which never ran because I am rubbish with email interviews. I should probably apologise when I see them on Wednesday.

Brooklyn, NY
Performing: Hard Rock, Thursday @9:00 P.M.

The Thursday 9PM slot gave me a lot of trouble as I was working on my media guest list form. There are fully four three star bands (according to the arbitrary guestlist triage rating system I was forced to develop) playing in that time slot. And, as I, contrary to popular belief, can only be in one place at a time, I was forced to cut several top priority bands in one hack job. And Xylos were, by far, the band I was saddest to see go. I hope they’ll forgive me. And I hope some of you will attend their showcase in my stead or a show on their current tour and report back to me.

Some Community
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Performing: El Mocambo (upstairs), Thursday @10:00 P.M.

Do you all remember a few years back when Apple used that one CSS song in an iPod commercial. Well, apparently there’s a lot more of that stuff going down in Brazil than Apple was keen to let on. And it’s a good thing, too, since CSS seem to have fallen off the radar for the time being. But Some Community will be in Toronto this coming week and their particular brand of art pop, falling somewhere between punk and funk, is not to be missed.

Reykjavik, Iceland
Performing: Rancho Relaxo, Thursday @11:00 P.M.

I don’t even know where to begin with Bloodgroup. In my CMW listening notes, I’ve written the words ‘electro nerdgasm’ followed by something like half a dozen stars. The rating is probably slightly exaggerated, but watch the video and I think you’ll see where I’m coming from. Something about the Iceland outfit (and fellow supporters of Friday night highlights YUNIOSHI) sent me reeling. Is it possible for a single individual to have simultaneous nerdgasms? Because Bloodgroup are ticking all my boxes.

Brandt Brauer Frick
Berlin, Germany
Performing: Drake Underground, Thursday @Midnight

An electro-acoustic trio out of Berlin, Germany, Brandt Brauer Frick are another one of those bands who owe a lot to marquee minimalists like Phillip Glass and Steve Reich, but are about as willing to be relegated solely to the classical side of the divide as the defiant likes Mason Bates (aka DJ Masonic) or Gabriel Prokofiev. The music: loads of layered ostinato and polyrhythms and just about every other cool rhythmic trick you ever learned in music theory (and some others you didn’t learn).

Aaaand, here’s a bonus version of Bloodgroup’s ‘My Arms’. Like I said, nerdgasm.


3 thoughts on “Canadian Music Fest: must see, part 1

  1. Canadian Music Fest is the festival portion (the shows, aka, the fun part) of Canadian Music Week, which also includes the Canadian Music Conference (the schmoozy part at the hotel). Missing from this list: USS and Hollerado, two of Canada’s tastiest and indiest bands.

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