There’s one thing you’ll notice as you walk the streets of Toronto during Canadian Music Week this weekend — hundreds of music fans squinting at their schedules, making sure they haven’t planned to see two bands in the same time slot. With more than 700 acts, many worth seeing, scheduling in advance is the only way to avoid getting lost. So, with that in mind, here are a few artists you have to pencil in.
Hannah Georgas (Friday @ 10 p.m.): Drake Underground, 1150 Queen St. West
You probably haven’t heard of Vancouver singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas, but it won’t be long until her name is uttered in the same breath as Feist and Emily Haines. Georgas, whose song You’ve Got a Place Called Home was featured in a Wal-Mart commercial, doesn’t sound like the those artists, but her infectious indie rock sounds are just as confident and mature. Her delicate voice, coupled with her brand of edgy pop is a must-see.
Ghostkeeper (Thursday @ 11 p.m., Bread and Circus, 299 Augusta Ave.)
It’s not every day you hear a band that combines old-timey folk, blues and noise pop, which is precisely why this Calgary foursome is on a lot of people’s CMW lists. The band is difficult to describe — their debut disc stars off with an acoustic White Stripes-like blues tune, but end up veering off into distorted blasts of weird rock. It’s intriguing and unusual, but catchy and accessible too.
Handsome Furs (Friday @ 1:00 a.m., El Mocambo, 464 Spadina Ave)
This husband and wife duo don’t need any more press, but it bears repeating — Montreal’s Handsome Furs are easily one of Canada’s best acts. Led by Dan Boeckner, one of Wolf Parade’s vocalists, the band combine Springsteen-like songwriting with electro fuzz, wailing guitars and frighteningly intense energy. Their live shows are wild — it’s easy to forget that there are just two people on stage — and you’ll be singing their songs long after the gig ends.
Postdata (Saturday @ 8 p.m., Rivoli, 334 Queen St. W.)
If you like haunting melodies and soft acoustics with an East Cost sensibility, then you have to see Halifax’s Postdata. It’s actually a new project from Paul Murphy, Wintersleep’s frontman, but I’d argue that it’s far better than anything he’s put out with his band. His debut disc is littered with bright, inspiring vocals overtop quiet finger-picked guitars and droney keys. Check this out before he returns to his day job.
Rural Alberta Advantage (Saturday @ 9:45 p.m., Royal York Hotel, 100 Front St. W.)
There are many, many fantastic Ontario acts to see during CMW, but if you’re going to see one band from Canada’s most populous province, make it the Rural Alberta Advantage. The group, whose singer hails from Fort McMurray and sings about Alberta, but is now based in Toronto, got their break when one of their tunes was featured on eMusic. Now, people can’t get enough of this trio. Their straight-up indie rock is filled with countless hooks and wild percussion, while even big city dwellers can relate to their songs about small-town Canada.
Bryan Borzykowski is a business and entertainment writer. Follow Metro Music on Twitter @TheMetroMusic