As Canadian Music Week floods Toronto with the best and the loudest talent from across the country, here’s a breakdown of some can’t-miss indie-rock acts.
The Wooden Sky
Friday, March 22, 9 p.m.
Kool Haus (132 Queen’s Quay East)
This might be a bit over the top, but we’re just going to say it anyway: The Wooden Sky is to music what Southern Ontario Gothic is to literature. The band has gone through a number of hairstyle and name changes over the years—we first heard Wooden Sky at the Tranzac in 2007 under the name Friday Morning’s Regret, back when frontman Gavin Gardiner more closely resembled Buddy Holly than Jesus—but at its core, the acoustic, folk, bluegrass, and country collision that defines the group is no less haunting. Tracks like “The River Song” from 2009’s If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone, ring with the disturbed vulnerability of waking from a nightmare. Nonetheless, the Trinity Bellwoods–style banjo playing (don’t even pretend you don’t know what we’re talking about) is as foot-tapping as Gardiner’s vocals are tantalizing. His singing is like a sexier take on Kurt Cobain, set to fiddle.
Tuesday, March 19, 10:20 p.m.
The Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen Street West)
Originally a folk duo, Inlet Sound hunkered down throughout most of 2012 in a northern Ontario studio with producer Laurence Currie, known for bringing us everyone from Holy Fuck to Wintersleep to Sloan. On The Romantics, the group’s debut EP, the sparse, snowbound tranquility of that creative backdrop resonates, seemingly light years from the record’s sweltering, frenetic creative origins during the summer of 2011. It’s as if the woods of an Ontario winter had become the band’s fourth member.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Comfort Zone (480 Spadina Avenue)
During last year’s Canadian Music Week, Mozart’s Sister, the electro-pop undertaking of Montreal’s Caila Thompson-Hannant, left us wanting more. Thank the crazy kinetics of Thompson-Hannant’s performance for that, to say nothing of the brief, blitzing nature of her music itself. Tracks like “Don’t Leave It to Me” undulate with a writhing, sensual restlessness. Thompson-Hannant’s voice leaves every last follicle standing at attention. Previewing her work, it’s easy to forget that this is a solo project, not the efforts of a collective. She likes it that way. “The computer has changed everything,” she told the Montreal Gazette. “I think there are more women involved in music stuff now. You don’t need to be in a band with guys to make music.”
Thursday, March 21, 8:30 p.m.
Tranzac (292 Brunswick Avenue)
Thursday, March 21, 11:30 p.m.
El Mocombo (464 Spadina Avenue)
Even Intergalactic Lovers’ best press does disservice to the the depth of the group’s style and content. Vocalist Lara Chedraoui’s smoky, introspective vocals can be hard to pin down to a specific genre, and the same can be said for the band at large—something the melodious Belgian power-poppers likely owe to the diversity of their respective backgrounds. Radio-friendly singles like “Fade Away” and “Howl” all propel this indie experiment’s growing success, but in finding the soul of the Lovers’ work, it’s tracks like “Drive” that stand out. Listen to the lonely, plaintive meandering of Maarten Huygen’s slide guitar over Chedraoui’s minor-key singing and tell us you don’t hear it.
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