Shit You Should See At 2012's Canadian Music Week

They say there are 350 bands playing Canadian Music Week this year. In 35 different venues. Not to mention all the films, panels, parties and other events that take place during the five day festival. So, in other words, we're about to get put through a rock 'n' roll ringer of drunkenness, exhaustion and musical awesomeness. Just like we did last year, The Little Red Umbrella will be hitting the clubs till we drop, posting photos and reviews as we go. You'll find all our coverage here (including the already-posted CMW preview edition of our Songs You Can Dance Around Your Apartment To podcast). And we'll be tweeting it up, too. You can follow us @LittleRedU.

During the afternoons, the place to be is clearly the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music on Queen Street West near Trinity Bellwoods. Our little red friends at the Young Lions Music Club have co-organized a follow up to their Live Near Bellwoods sessions from last year, 100% free to anyone, with acts like Rouge, Army Girls, ALX and Paradise Animals playing short, stripped down sets.

But in case you're not sure what to see at night, we're posting some of the stuff we're most excited about below.

You can also check out the full schedule here. Individual tickets for most of the shows are on sale here. And you can buy a wristband ($75 for the whole festival; $35 for one day) here.

Michael Rault (9:30pm) at The Great Hall (in the basement)
Will Currie and the Country French (11pm) at the Rivoli  

Over the last few years, CMW's Wednesday night has been getting better and better. It used to be pretty quiet, a chance to rest up and get ready for the craziness to come, but there's no way we're missing it this time around. Edmonton's Michael Rault made our Polaris ballot last year thanks to an album full of retro garage rock and clap-along, single-worthy hits. So we're raaaather excited to see how his raw and fuzzy tunes translate live. (Our guess: pretty fucking awesomely.) And we've already seen Will Currie & The Country French play a few times, which means we know for a fact that they rule in person. (And what better time for them to play "Tommy Douglas" than NDP leadership convention week?) They'll be bringing their upbeat, piano-based, sort of vaguely Ben Folds-ish indie rock to the Rivoli at 11pm.

Rault's also playing Sunday night, if you're still standing by then.

MP3: "It'll Hurt You, Too" by Michael Rault
MP3: "Lay Right Down And Die" by Michael Rault
MP3: "Surprising Me" by Will Currie and the Country French
MP3: "Tommy Douglas" by Will Currie and the Country French

Adam and the Amethysts (8pm), Galaxie (11pm), Martha Wainwright (midnight) & The Dears (1am) at the El Mocambo
Modern Superstitions (10pm), Topanga (midnight) & Sandman Viper Command (2am) at the Silver Dollar
Parks & Rec (10pm), Honheehonhee (midnight) & Modernboys Moderngirls (1 am) at Rancho Relaxo
Army Girls (10pm at Parts & Labour)
The Pack A.D. (11:30pm, The Horseshoe Tavern)
Hands & Teeth (midnight at Sneaky Dee's)

If you're thinking of buying a wristband for just one night of the festival, you might want to make it Thursday's. There are waaaaay more fantastic bands scheduled than one person can possibly see, including three stacked showcases happening all at the same time.

At the El Mocambo, it's "La Belle Province" night, with some of Quebec's best taking the stage, including indie poppers Adam & The Amethysts, lovely singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright, and two of our other Polaris Prize picks from last year: raucous fuzz rockers Galaxie and sweeping Montrealers The Dears.

Meanwhile, a bunch of great local bands will be playing another pair of clubs near Spadina and College. At the Silver Dollar, it'll be all dance-happy indie rock with Modern Superstitions, Sandman Viper Command and a group we've pretty much had on repeat for months now: Topanga. At the very same time, just around the corner at Rancho Relaxo, we're going to be sure to catch the quieter, folksier Parks & Rec (who we discovered a couple of years ago at the Toronto Streetcar Sessions), the ambitious indie-ness of Honheehonhee (who we recently interviewed), and the upbeat rock of Modernboys Moderngirls (who've recently added Streetcar Session mastermind and occasional little red contributor Milan Schramek to their ranks).

If running around all night is more your style, Thursday will also find Army Girls playing Parts & Labour after their recent buzz-worthy set at the Wavelength festival, hard rocking White Stripes-y duo The Pack AD at the Horseshoe, and the boy-girl indie pop of Hands & Teeth at Sneaky Dee's .

MP3: "Prophecy" by Adam and the Amethysts
MP3: "Piste 1" by Galaxie
MP3: "Requin Tigre" by Galaxie
MP3: "Yesteryear" by The Dears
MP3: "Go Between" by Modern Superstitions
MP3: "Visions of You" by Modern Superstitions
MP3: "Lionheart" by Topanga
MP3: "Oh Yeah, It's Fusion" by Sandman Viper Command
READ: Our interview with Sandman Viper Command
MP3: The Toronto Streetcar Sessions live EP by Parks & Rec
READ: Our review of the Parks & Rec at the Toronto Streetcar Sessions
MP3: "We Only Go" by Honheehonhee
MP3: "A Is For Animal" by Honheehonhee
READ: Our interview with Honheehonhee
MP3: "My Baby Says Boy, Don't You Ever Leave Me" by Modernboys Moderngirls
MP3: "The Power" by Army Girls
MP3: "Haunt You" by The Pack A.D.
MP3: "Sirens" by The Pack A.D.
MP3: "Hunting Season" by Hands And Teeth
MP3: "Shine On" by Hands And Teeth
READ: Our interview with Hands And Teeth
READ: Our review of Hands And Teeth at North By Northeast 2011

Paradise Animals (11pm), Bear Hands (midnight), Dinosaur Bones (1am), Rouge (2am) & Sheezer (3am) at Sneaky Dee's
PS I Love You (10pm) at Lee's Palace
The Cowgirl Choir (10pm) at The Comfort Zone

Thursday night might boast the greatest number of great bands, but if there's one show all week that we're most looking forward to, it's the Young Lions Music Club showcase Friday night at Sneaky Dee's. Things get going at 9, with the shoegazers in Paradise Animals and Brooklyn-rockers Bear Hands playing at 11 and 12, followed by the tight-jeaned '70s rock of Dinosaur Bones. This, however, is the most important thing: Whatever you're doing earlier in the night, make sure you're at Sneak's by 2am. That's when two of the most enjoyable live bands in the city will begin partying into the wee hours of the morning. Last year, Rouge (hypnotic dance rock) and Sheezer (all-female Weezer cover band) teamed up for what was easily one of the greatest live shows we've ever seen. (Seriously. We wrote a thousand words about it; it was that good.) This year, they're back and We. Could. Not. Be. More. Excited. Certainly not without doing long-term damage to our nervous system. And we've saving that for Friday.

If you're looking for something to check our earlier in the night, you can't miss with the searing distortion of PS I Love You or the heavenly country tunes of the Cowgirl Choir. They're both playing shows at 10pm.

MP3: "High Society" by Bear Hands
MP3: "N.Y.E." by Dinosaur Bones
MP3: "Destruction" by Rouge
READ: Our review of Rouge at Canadian Music Week 2011
READ: Our review of Rouge at North By Northeast 2011
VIDEO: "El Scorcho" by Sheezer
READ: Our review of Sheezer at North By Northeast 2011
MP3: "2012" by PS I Love
READ: Our review of PS I Love You at North By Northeast 2011
VIDEO: "Jolene" by The Cowgirl Choir
READ: Our review of The Cowgirl Choir at North By Northeast 2011

The Balconies (10pm) & ALX (11pm) at The Garrison
Sandman Viper Command (10pm) & Whale Tooth (11pm) at Lee's Palace

We don't mean to mix our animals metaphors, but the folks over at the Young Lions Music Club have been busy bees this year.  Not only have they organized the Friday night showcase and daytime events at the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music, but they've also put together a series of curated shows. The Saturday night edition features bands picked by Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning. And among them are two of T.O. most crush-worthy acts: The Balconies and the new Allie Hughes disco project ALX.

Speaking of bands we'd be groupies for if we weren't way too shy and sexual repressed to ever do such a thing, Whale Tooth are opening for The Inbreds at Lee's Palace on Saturday night, too. And right before them, Sandman Viper Command (who were also one of our Thursday recommendations) do their own garage-rocky thing.

MP3: "Kill Count" by The Balconies
READ: Our review of The Balconies at Canadian Music Week 2011
READ: Our review of The Balconies at North By Northeast 2011
MP3: "I Will Love You More" by ALX 
READ: Our interview with Allie Hughes
READ: Our review of Allie Hughes at Canadian Music Week 2011
MP3: "Oh Yeah, It's Fusion" by Sandman Viper Command
READ: Our interview with Sandman Viper Command
MP3: "Hibernation Song" by Whale Tooth
READ: Our review of Whale Tooth at North By Northeast 2011

The Elwins (11pm) & Topanga (midnight) at Rancho Relaxo 

If your liver hasn't shriveled into a quivering, helpless lump by Sunday night, you are 1) not doing Canadian Music Week right, and, 2) probably going to want to head to Rancho Relaxo. The Elwins are one of the buzz-iest Toronto bands at the moment, thanks to their happy-catchy indie tunes and the rollicking album release party they threw at the Burroughes Building just a few weeks ago. And if you've missed Topanga's shout-along set on Thursday night, you'll have this second chance to catch them. Which you should.

MP3: "Dear, Oh My" by The Elwins
MP3: "Stuck In The Middle" by The Elwins
READ: Our interview with The Elwins
MP3: "Lionheart" by Topanga

Once the festival starts, you'll be able to find all of our coverage right here. And again, you can check out the full schedule here, get individual tickets here and buy a wristband here.


Photo: Whale Tooth (by Adam Bunch)

Posted by Adam Bunch


frank said...

the montreal showcase on thursday is at the el mocambo

CodyMcGraw said...

thanks, Frank. All changed.

karisi said...

Can I make a suggestion? Up and coming artist Sherman Downey (and his back up band the Silver Lining) are definitely worth checking out! I've seen them a bunch of times. You won't regret it.

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