CMWist: Saturday Preview
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CMWist: Saturday Preview

Photo of The Breeders by Chris Glass
To all the slackers who swore they’d go to something CMW this week; to those who aspire to hear some maple-leaf music; and to the die-hard, loyal attendees; we have an announcement—tonight is last call. While a couple shows are saved for Sunday, this is the last full night to take in a few of the 500 artists in town, and what better way to finish it off than with a big bang?
Tonight’s line-up includes a Grammy-nominated rapper who released his first album in 1993, the American supergroup of 1993, the Canadian supergroup of 2008, and some other groups who we think are just super. And if you’re a superfan, we’d encourage you to keep reading for interviews with The New Pornographers, The Besnard Lakes, and Young Galaxy!

The Big Ticket

So what’s with all the early-90s nostalgia tonight? We just don’t know—neither KRS-One nor The Breeders are from the great north, but we’re sure they’re both here to help us celebrate the great Canadian music scene.
KRS-One, a.k.a. “Kris Parker,” “The Blastmaster,” and “The Teacha” drops beats at The Opera House tonight at 11 p.m., but arrive early (may we suggest two hours early) if you want to see another five acts for the thirty-five bones you’ll be dropping.
Moving over to The Phoenix—and the other side of the 90s hit spectrum—The Breeders, including Pixies songstress Kim Deal and her twin sister Kelley, will cannonball on-stage at 8 p.m. Their fourth album, Mountain Battles, is set for release early this April.
The New Pornographers and Tokyo Police Club headline tonight’s 8th Annual Independent Music Awards, affectionately know as the Indies. Also set to play are The Besnard Lakes, Young Galaxy, Attack in Black, and The Cliks. Conveniently enough, we’ve transcribed some acceptance speeches from three of the evening’s performers. Here’s what we heard from bassist John Collins of the New Pornographers.
Photo of the New Pornographers by Marina Chavez.
Describe your sound in ten words or less.
What other shows are you going to catch at CMW?
I’ll know when I get there and not before.
How do you pick what songs to play for a shorter set?
We usually just try to play our current favorites from the last record and toss in some crowd pleasers from the previous records. Our own familiarity with the old tunes plays a big part in that decision process. We can only dust off and polish so many of the old ones before someone gets cranky and we have to stop cramming. We always seem to try and revive at least one random neglected oldie so we can pat ourselves on the back.
What are you working on right now?
Right now nearly everyone in the whole band is making a solo record.
What’s your favourite song right now?
Anything off the Frightened Rabbit album. Or maybe, whatever Big Business just did.
What’s your least favourite part of touring?
Hearing about other peoples least favorite parts of touring, day in and day out, as I meanwhile try to enjoy living my life, a life that is a full-on carbon copy of the one they find so distasteful.
What’s your favourite place to play in Toronto?
On a warm summer day you just can’t beat a gig on the sidewalk in front of Rotate This. On a frigid, windy Saturday night in January I can’t think of a nicer spot then on a ten foot stage in Nathan Phillips Square. On any other day I’d settle for Maple Leaf Gardens.
Photo of the Besnard Lakes from Joanne Huffa.
Besnard Lakes guitar player Steve Raegele regaled us with a few words of his own, too.
Describe you and your sound.
As much as we might like to think we sound a certain way, it’s in the ear of the beholder. According to those in the know, we are the world’s most perfect hybrid of Pink Floyd and The Beach Boys. Genetic engineering has come a long way.
What other shows are you gonna catch at CMW?
Who’s playing? Can you recommend anything? I met a guy on a film set this week who’s in a band called The Mission District [proud recipients of Perez Hilton praise, they play The Annex WreckRoom tonight at 9 p.m.]. I should probably try to see what they are like. Mad props to Evan. Word.
How do you pick what songs to play for a shorter set?
Well, most of our songs are, like twenty minutes long, so we just pick one and go with it. Our regular set is about four hours long. “Thomasina” is about three minutes, though. It always seems to get a great reaction from the kids. Maybe we should take the hint.
What are you working on now?
Individually, we are all quite busy with our own projects and musical endeavors. I’m rehearsing for a jazz type improv record that I’m on. Nicky is setting things in place for a record of her music. Olga’s been busy playing drums with the World Provider. I don’t even want to know what kind of trouble Kev’s been into. And Rich’s hair requires quite a lot of upkeep. The new record is quietly gestating in Jace’s fertile mind. If I understand him correctly, we’re gonna throw down a bunch of beats and basically rip off Justice. Epic songs are fun, but all we wanna do is dance. In all seriousness, the new record should be cool. I can’t say anything more than that. Justice will just rip us off.
What’s your favorite song right now?
Hmmm. I think it’s still “Hearts” by Marty Balin. It haunts my dreams.
What’s your least favorite part of touring?
Everything except stepping on stage and playing. Driving across America is a world of hurt. Though, hanging out at Dealy Plaza in Dallas with a Kennedy assassination witness was pretty cool. I like it when stuff like that happens.
Where are you staying while you’re in Toronto?
I don’t know, actually. Someplace awesome, I hope. I know it’s a hotel. I’m kind of on a need-to-know basis here.

The Up-and-Comers

Photo of Young Galaxy from Victoria Tavares.
Last, but certainly not least, Young Galaxy blessed us with some wisdom from their pool of universal knowledge.
Describe your sound in ten words or less.
Like a giant ice cream castle you live on top of.
What other shows are you going to catch at CMW?
Honestly, Toronto Raptors vs. Supersonics. But the Besnard Lakes are good friends, we’ll make a point of seeing them. And our friends in the New Pornographers. We’ll probably just hang out for that. If we had a chance we’d see So Called at the Drake. Crazy Jewish guy who has an accordion and a piano.
How do you pick what songs to play for a shorter set?
We usually pick the ones that are a combination of a the most popular or the ones we enjoy playing the most. But in a situation like this where there’s an award ceremony we try to cover the spectrum of songs that might be known best and the spectrum of songs that are represent the different flavours of the band as well. We don’t put too much thought into it, maybe spend one rehearsal talking about it.
What are you working on right now?
Right now we’re working on a photoshoot, I’m getting my makeup done. We’re working on a new record, we’re six songs into new album we’re recording in Montreal. We’re working on finishing the record by the end of April and having it out before end of the year. We also just have our new video, for “Come and See.” It may or may not feature the moon blowing up.
What’s your favourite song right now?
I’m into this song “Blind” by Hercules and Love Affair, featuring Antony of Antony and the Johnsons and it’s this great throwback Giorgio Marauder-esque disco thing with arpeggiators and it’s just great.
What’s your least favourite part of touring?
The food. No exercise and shitty food everywhere you go. It’s so weird but the funny thing is Canada is considered to be an amazing cultural place but once you leave Toronto or Vancouver everything in the middle is like Tim Horton’s. It’s just devastating because I like wholesome food, I’m not getting any younger here. If I gotta eat iceberg lettuce sandwiches from Tim Horton’s with some mangy old beef stew. Oh god, the thought of it makes my stomach turn.
Where are you staying while you’re in Toronto?
We’re only staying for the one night, so we’re gonna stay at the hotel, the Royal York. That way we can get super drunk and just stagger upstairs. Normally we stay with friends, we all have friends in Toronto. We scatter around the city and take in various breakfast spots. It allows us a little time to not have to wake up in a hotel every day, it’s nice to wake up in someone’s home. They have cats and good coffee. Little creature comforts like that help.