Over 1,000 artists, 60 venues, 6 nights.
Canada’s largest new music festival is in its 31st year of showcasing some of the hottest acts and emerging Canadian artists. While CMW offers seminars, interviews, mentoring and networking for those leading and shaping our industries—for fans with a passion for new and live music, it is simply one of the best weeks of the year.
From March 19-24th, over 100,000 music fans are drawn to the city of Toronto to embark on the week-long path of music discovery that is Canadian Music Fest. Established as one of the largest and single longest running entertainment events, the festival has earned acclaim for introducing such artists as Metric, Crystal Castles, Arcade Fire, Mother Mother, Alexisonfire, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Ting Tings, AWOL Nation, Bedouin Soundclash, and many more.
With such an extensive list of artists, my advice is this: skip the ones you already know you love (they’ll be back) and take the time to find and discover the best of Canada’s up and coming artists. Here are TVD’s Top 20 recommendations for Canadian Music Fest 2013!
MISE EN SCENE
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – 11pm at The Bovine Sex Club
Mise En Scene is a lovely and explosive pop rock duo from Winnipeg, Manitoba. What started as a friendship through a shared interest in painting and the arts evolved into a crowning mix of ’60′s pop, alt-country, early punk, and garage rock.
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – 1am at Lee’s Palace
Toronto, Ontario’s indie pop-rock band July Talk houses a unique girl-guy vocal duo that you will either love or hate. Find charm in the softness of Leah Fay’s voice and appreciation in the unconventional, Tom Waits-esque voice of Peter Dreimanis. This refreshing and modern dynamic bears witty lyrics and instrumentation to deliver the fun.
THE WILL COKE BAND
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 – 8pm at Cabin 5
Will Coke is an acoustic alternative, folk pop songwriter from Toronto, Ontario with a darker sound. With electronic elements and a backing band to perform these songs live, your interest and attention is guaranteed. “If there is still sadness, the hope is for a transformative exploration of that feeling to uplift, inspire, relieve.”
Sunday, March 24th, 2013 – 10pm at Rancho Relaxo
An alternative, psychedelic band from London, Ontario whose sound ranges from instrumental experimentations to carefully crafted vocal-oriented songs, compiled by two drummers, three-part harmonies, soaring guitars, and driving bass. Wild Domestic offers a beautifully orchestrated, loud and powerful, yet soothing sound.
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – 2am at The Silver Dollar Room
Toronto Ontario’s Wicked Witches started as a side project, bringing musicians from varieties of bands together to breathe life into songs by singer/songwriter Matthew Caudle that were unfitting for his main musical project at the time. A surprisingly smooth, infectious concoction of garage rock, Motown, surf, blues, soul, and country to completely confuse (in the best way possible) and move you. Brave, refreshing and more than engaging.
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – 9pm at Lee’s Palace
Toronto, Ontario’s Decades came together in 2010 and have since then evolved from a punk band to a fuller, more well-rounded sound. Decades pull elements of alternative, grunge, indie, garage rock, punk, new wave, and noise together and make it their own. Hard to classify, more than hard to ignore.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 – 10pm at The Dakota Tavern
Willie Stratton hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia and is more than just an acoustic folk act. Three-part harmonies, acoustics, and war drums with an extensive amount of soul and energy. “Willie Stratton is a howling, seething cyclone of god-fearing folk music.”
Friday, March 22, 2013 – 9:30pm at Lee’s Palace
Lowell is no stranger to writing, recording, producing, directing and designing her work herself. An independent, alternative pop act from Toronto, Ontario who has well deserved attention from major publications and blogs, BBC Radio 1 & 6, Absolute Radio, Amazing Radio, Sirius XM The Verge, CBC Radio 3 and rave reviews of international performances. Lowell’s talent and dedication generates fun, inspiring and clever music.
THE MOHAWK LODGE
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – 12am at The Dakota Tavern
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – 11pm at Shaghai Cowgirl
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – 3am at The Silver Dollar Room
Toronto/Berlin based band The Mohawk Lodge are currently releasing their 4th album, their 30 minute take on punk, titled Damaged Goods. “A blurry mix of Springsteen, a teenage Swervedriver, a Repeater-era Fugazi, and Neil Young circa Ragged Glory all come together in Damaged Goods, along with the raw, urgent atmosphere of early-nineties lo-fi rock and roll. This is the music of one man’s disjointed route on planet earth, and when focused into music, it becomes one cathartic, epic voyage.” Need we say more? Don’t miss this.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 – 10pm at Rancho Relaxo
Jung People is a post-rock instrumental duo from Calgary, Alberta. As a band that is heavily inspired by the state of environment vs. humanity, they have dedicated their last EP to animals hurt by or lost to the human path and plan to donate all income from future album sales towards an environmental or animal rights society. Jung People experiment with progressive, indie, and post rock sounds resulting in truly compelling and stunning instrumentation without words.
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 – 9pm at The Silver Dollar Room
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – 1am at Brooklynn
Friday, March 22nd, 2013 – 1:30am at El Mocambo (Upstairs)
The Danks are a four piece pop rock band from Charlottetown, PEI. Their debut album Are You Afraid of The Danks received rave reviews in Canada and charted them twice in CMJ’s Top 200 in the US. While the comparison to the earlier sounds of The Strokes is fair, The Danks evoke such a unique and fun energy that will stay with you throughout. Remember when The Strokes used to be this cool?
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – 9pm at Rancho Relaxo
Toronto, Ontario’s Future History takes the best elements of alternative, folk, and psychedelic rock and delivers them with intense and vulnerable lyrics. Their experimental 2012 release Loss:/Self combined the use of over 50 instruments, devices, and household objects aswell as a 30+ person vocal, stomp and drum circle, resulting in a more than unique sound to set them apart.
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – 10:30pm at The Garrison
Elephant Stone is a psychedelic rock band from Montreal, Quebec. They formed in 2009 and have since released a debut album, a five-song EP, earned a supporting slot on the Brian Jonestown Massacre North American tour, multiple European/UK tours, and showcases at Iceland Airwaves, Osheaga, and SXSW. Elephant Stone induce a moving, psychedelic feel with pop elements that keep you hooked.
REUBEN AND THE DARK
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 – 9pm at The Supermarket
Friday, March 22nd, 2013 – 8:30pm at Lee’s Palace
Reuben and the Dark is an indie folk band from Calgary, Alberta formed by solo artist Reuben Bullock. Scott Munro, Shea Alain and Distance Bullock joined Reuben Bullock to complete the four-piece band that was recently set on a European tour, after being discovered and brought to London by LUV LUV LUV Records. Together, they create an honest and emotional sound with four-part harmonies and sing-along anthems that send chills throughout a live audience.
Friday, March 22nd, 2013 – 12am at The Silver Dollar Room
Toronto, Ontario’s Invasions have a garage, surf pop sound complimented by a mix of early rock and blues influences. Their debut full length, Cult of the Half Moon, was released last November and recorded by the likes of some of Toronto’s most favourable acts including Crystal Castles, METZ, Tokyo Police Club, Fucked Up, and The Arkells. Invasions’ range of sounds and high energy performances promise to attract a wide variety of fans.
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – 10pm at Czehoski
JF Robitaille is a folk pop singer/songwriter from Montreal, Quebec. Over the years he has made his way through Montreal, New York, London, and Toronto playing songs of love and loss, gaining much attention and comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake to name a few. With focus on intelligent and exposed words, Robitaille’s storytelling has a unique way of drawing you in and earning your undivided attention.
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – 8pm at The Drake Underground
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – 11pm at The Annex Live
River Tiber is a dark, electronic project by Toronto, Ontario’s Tommy Paxton-Beesley, tracked and recorded with several instruments, vocals, samples, and sounds. With help from fellow musicians John Mavrogiannis, Thadeus Garwood, and David Lewis, River Tiber brings a creative, blissful and powerful energy to a stage for an unforgettable musical experience.
Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 – 11pm at Global Village Backpackers
Kaptur is the musical project of Riley Jensen from St. Catharines, Ontario. The 2011 EP release titled “Thousands” conveys an alternative, indie rock sound all written, played and recorded by Jensen himself. “Thousands” delivers an even balance of sensitive and infectious songs, keeping you hanging on for more of what’s to come from Kaptur.
Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 – 10:30pm at The Rivoli
Toronto, Ontario based Revelstoke is the clever and experimental folk project of multi-instrumentalist Andrew Seale. Strange, yet endearing and emotional sounds that keep you on your toes. Revelstoke celebrates the weird and abstract and makes it beautiful.
Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 – 10pm at Rivoli
Lyon is an electronic indie pop band from Toronto, Ontario. Together, Lauren Lyon, Japeth Maw and Justin Kwan, compose a perfect combination of memorable melodies, electronic sounds, and honest, accessible lyrics.