Wednesday was just a warm-up. Now things are starting to get serious.
Forget compasses, GPS, or helpful Sherpas. From June 11 to 17, Torontoist is here to be your guide to everything NXNE.
Hopefully everyone had fun on the first (real) night of NXNE 2012, but now the hard work begins. The next three nights will feature more bands than you can reasonably shake a stick at. Here are our picks for this evening.
Brooklyn-based band White Rabbits’ last album, It’s Frightening, was produced by Spoon’s Britt Daniels, and there’s an immediate kinship with Daniels and his band when you hear them. But there’s something else, too, especially evident in thd latest album Milk Famous: a darker undercurrent, a sense of urgency. While it’s clear they share Daniels’s love for distilling a song down to its essence, there’s something slightly unhinged about the Rabbits. Think of them as a Dark Phoenix (with all that the comic book reference implies).
Go if: You like your rock and roll clipped and precise, and a little disturbing.
Houston’s B L A C K I E—he’s very particular about the way it’s written—doesn’t necessarily want you to like his music. He just wants to make sure you’re paying attention. He was described by the New York Times as “a one-man noise ordinance violation.” He combines elements of hip-hop, metal, punk, dubstep, and straight-up yelling; and he uses a homemade 5,000 watt sound system. We can’t guarantee his NXNE debut will be any good, but it will certainly be interesting.
Go if: You want your fillings knocked loose.
NXNE is perfectly timed for Whale Tooth (or perhaps it’s the other way around?). Their new album and first full LP, Search Party, just started streaming this week on Rdio. The band has impressive rock and roll chops, and a powerhouse in lead singer Elise Legrow; we’ve never seen a bad set from Whale Tooth, and don’t expect they’re going to start now, while promoting a new album.
Go if: You’re into fast-paced rock and roll with a frontwoman who can belt with the best of ‘em.
We all remember that first time we heard “Drinking In LA.” We spaced out for those few minutes of sheer fantasy daydream. The original brainchild of DJ James Di Salvio and E.P. Bergen, the collective has frequently welcomed a wide variety of singers and musicians into its fold. While they may be a little more under the radar these days, it would still be a stretch to call Bran Van a true one-hit wonder when they have continued to release well-received albums as recently as 2010.
Go if: You want to relive that first fantasy moment and let the Montreal collective take you to that heightened state once again with their distinct blend of trippy electronica.
Not too much is known about this Brooklyn band, but that’s mostly because they only released their debut album last year and their second this year (both to critical acclaim). Though they frequently bounce between genres—rock and punk for example—there’s one thing you can expect from their live show: be prepared to be hit with their sound—hard (if the inevitable mosh pit hasn’t broken somebody’s nose by midway through their set, the audience is doing it wrong).
Go if: You’re looking for something loud enough to knock you into next week.
Dildoniks first rose to local infamy when they began playing shows out of the back of a U-Haul truck in the Annex. Since then, the instrumental surf-punk trio has developed a reputation for high-energy live shows and songs that manage to be catchy without lyrics. On top of that, it’s three in the morning, you’re drunk, and the band has the word “dildo” in their name. What more do you want?
For those of you who don’t feel like running around all night, we’ve taken the liberty of selecting the evening’s best single-venue line up.
It would be hard to ignore the enticing prospect of spending the night at The Rivoli, where a group of buzz bands are slated to kick NXNE into the next gear. Anyone who attended CMW likely remembers the Arts & Crafts showcase, topped off by Dan Mangan’s performance, as a highlight of the festival. For NXNE, the label has packaged together a line-up that includes Canadian content in Gold & Youth (11 p.m.) and Still Life Still (1 a.m.), while also featuring England’s Zulu Winter (midnight). Get there early and you can treat yourself to local talent Rival Boys (9 p.m.) and Bishop Morocco (10 p.m.)
Go if: You’re the sort of person who’s likes to talk about how they liked bands before anyone else was into them.
The Whale Tooth preview was inadvertently omitted when we first published this article; it has since been added.