Bands overlap, lines never end and impulsive club jumping gets you stuck on the streetcar in traffic. That’s why Metro wants to make your Canadian Music Week easier by presenting the ten acts you don’t want to miss this weekend. Ladies and gentlemen, our dance card:
Silver Dollar Room, 10 p.m.: Take the orchestral ambience of Grizzly Bear, vocal breeze of Charlotte Gainsbourg and pop flare of Lily Allen and you’ve got Essex, England’s Gemma Ray. Her dark, cinematic songs smack of refined vocal strength against a mature pop background that’s miles beyond the U.K.-produced pop tarts of late.
Drake Underground, 10 p.m.: Vancouver’s latest folk-pop feme has been riding high off her 2008 EP, The Beat Stuff, a sunny collection of tunes on love, nature and longing. Now, just in advance of her anticipated full-length debut in April, Hannah Georgas stops by with guitar in hand to show off her catchy melodies and quirky but sweet voice.
Global Village Backpackers, 11 p.m.: Balancing a rich assembly of strings and harmonies with his deep, honest vocals and eloquent songwriting, Victoria’s Aidan Knight creates humble, full-bodied folk-rooted pop. Although new to the scene as a solo artist, he’s racked up performance experience backing his West Coast friends and serves to be a lasting name. Catch Knight in this wildly small venue while you can!
The Mountains and the Trees
Central, 12 a.m.: While its lineup seems in constant flux, that’s no reason to discount the intimate sound of St. John’s band, The Mountains and the Trees. Jon Janes is at the centre of this folk rock forest, writing and singing the songs, and adding guitar, drums, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, harmonica and more ... small in numbers, but grand in effect.
Plants and Animals
Lee’s Palace, 12 a.m.: Nominated for the Polaris Music Prize and Juno awards, Plants and Animals has broken folk waves both in music scenes north and south of the border with its blend of roots and elements of classic rock. The cross-country trio boasts two members from Halifax and one from Montréal, and will release its long awaited sophomore album in April.
Wrongbar, 2 a.m.: Toronto’s Jeffrey Addison and Gavin Rough are the nonsense pseudonym TMDP. The electronic duo reflects a fresh chapter in the city’s synth-heavy scene, fashioning retro disco additions to its fluid dance beats. The band’s on-stage laptop prowess electrifies electro, off the cuff.
Mod Club, 7:30 p.m.: Between releasing and relentlessly touring a career-making triple album in 2009 and reforming his hit ’90s alt-rock outfit Thrush Hermit for a reunion tour this month, Canada’s renaissance rocker Joel Plaskett takes time to showcase his songwriting. Steeped in nostalgia with a bit of style, Plaskett builds personal narratives that flow seamlessly from folk, to pop rock to alt-country.
Horseshoe Tavern, 8:30 p.m.: Yukon Blonde layers harmonies like it’s 1968. This optimistic folk rock band from Vancouver makes music using an aged CSNY-like sensibility, contemporizing it in the vein of Fleet Foxes. Crafting polished song after song, Yukon Blonde is the stuff of full-bodied earworms, welcome to nest.
Drake Underground, 11 p.m.: It would be a shame to pigeonhole Toronto-via-Winnipeg collective Grand Analog simply as hip-hop. The genre-bending band fronted by Odario Williams throws jazz curves, rock riffs and reggae skanks into its eclectic mix, producing tunes anchored by the groove.
Lee’s Palace, 12 a.m.: Responsible for such classics as Gay Bar, Danger, High Voltage! and Naked Pictures (Of Your Mother), Detroit darlings Electric Six define tongue-in-cheek. The six-piece rock band smashes dynamic funk, disco and a touch of punk into their oft-comic songs, and boasts a live performance accentuated by frontman Dick Valentine’s animated stage antics.