Canadian Music Week: Ben’s Top Picks
Canadian Music Week has snuck right the hell up on me again and as I’m writing this, it’s fairly late (about 4:10AM on May 6, 2019) I can hear the echoes of music fans celebrating and taking full advantage of the city-wide extended 4AM last call, and it sounds like Canadian Music Week is off to a great start.
If you didn’t hit up a concert or two last night – no worries – Canadian Music Week has six more days of life packed into it.
Last night (May 6, 2019) Television performed at The Phoenix for CMW’s Official Opening Night Kick-Off party to overall Canadian Music Week’s full lineup of shows feature bands from Canada as well c artists from all over the world.
When planning Your Canadian Music Week here’s a couple of quick tips. 1. Accept that you can’t see everything. 2. Prioritize not only the bands you want to see but also the location. Keeping this in mind out of all the performances happening this year – here are the ones I’m actually going to go try and see, still some are a lost cause.
Pro Tip: Cannabis is legal in Canada and pairs well with music.
I promise you’ve never heard of W3APONS – neither had I – but you probably will shortly. W3APONS is some good ol’ indie rock from Saskatoon. They have a sound that is reminiscent of Toronto’s own Fast Romantics – but will a little more hope in their lyrics and a little less self loathing. Overall a great sound and one I’m pumped about stumbling upon. W3APONS are playing at Dave Bookmans No Cover Nu Music Nite at the Horseshoe Tonight – Tuesday May 7, 2019.
- Moon Vs Sun
Another one I’d never heard of – and another one I’m excited about. You know everyone involved already, but you’re probably totally unprepared for the pretty music that comes out of this iconic Canadian duo. Four-time Juno winner Raine Maida (from Our Lady Peace) and two-time Juno winner Chantel Kreviazuk are making a 2019 splash with this new project. Moon Vs. Sun is absolutely beautiful and genuinely takes what I like about both these artists in their own right and smashes it together in a perfectly pleasant way. Thanks for laying off the high-pitch-shouting Raine. Moon vs. Sun is performing at the Great Hall on May 7, 2019.
- Judah and The Lion
These guys are coming in all the way from Nashville – so no, they are not Canadian – but they are good so, bite it. There’s a lot going on when you listen to Judah and the Lion – the sounds are simple and complex all at once. Judah and The Lion sound like an Indie band from 2014 – but interesting. Judah and The Lion are playing at Hideout on May 7, 2019
I’m from Toronto so any chance to see this band I instinctively jump at. If you haven’t heard of Monowhales that’s ok – welcome to Toronto. They are great, go check them out. Monowhales is a unique sound that straddles the lines between indie music, alternative music and synth-rock. The Toronto band describes their music as upbeat and feisty – I like feisty – that works. Regardless The Monowhales always put on a upbeat and very memorable show! Monowhales are performing at the Horseshoe on May 8, 2019
- The Lemonheads
The Lemonheads are arguably the biggest band in all of CMW and for the most part – no one has any real idea who they are. Let me put The Lemonheads in perspective. Remember the pop-punk version of Mrs Robinson from American Pie 2? That was The Lemonheads! Have you seen Big Mouth on Netflix? Their song My Drug Buddy was featured in that – in fact this band’s has a massive IMDB page and their music has also been featured in films and TV shows like: There’s Something About Mary, The Wolf of Wall Street and a little NBC show from the late 90s’ called “Friends”. So, arguably the biggest band at CMW – Suck on that Dandy Warhols. The Lemonheads are performing at Lee’s Palace on May 8th, 2019.
- Madame Psychosis
I was introduced to Madame Psychosis earlier this year I reviewed their new single I Just Wanna Be Myself. Madame Psychosis reminds me a bit of PINK! If she took herself and life a bit less seriously and the guitare a bit more seriously. I haven’t had the chance to see Madame Psychosis yet in person so I’m aiming at making this the show my inaugural Madame Psychosis experience.
- The Dandy Warhols
I’ve been looking forward to writing about this band since I knew they were playing at CMW and that I was writing this article. I’ve loved The Dandy Warhols since their first album in 1997 and their song about heroin addicts. I’ve seen The Dandy Warhols on a number of occasions and they never disappoint! The band is from Portland, Oregon which makes them slightly more hipster than you could ever hope to be. Not only does this show feature one of my favorite bands – it also features an opening the Cosmonauts – an awesome little indie band from NYC. The Dandy Warhols and Cosmonauts are playing at Danforth Music Hall on May 9, 2019.
- The Darcys
Formerly of Arts & Crafts – now independent – The Darcy’s are an indie-alt-pop-duo from Toronto, Canada, and always put on a great show. The duo’s electro beats a groove-tastic lyrics are a welcome musical switch up from the usual Canadian Music Week soundtrack. A show with The Darcys at the helm slows right down (in a good way) and provides a very cool energy. Check out their song ‘Just Here with My Friends’ Featuring Leah Fay. The Darcey’s are performing at Mod Club on May 9, 2019.
- Grown Up Avenger Stuff
All the way from South Carolina Grown Up Avenger Stuff is a pretty interesting sound that hangs out very much in the alt-rock indie music world but each song seems to have been given its own bit of special attention. Like if at the end of writing their album the band thought the whole thing sounded too generic – so the immediately re-wrote each track to make it more interesting. Maybe I’m just infatuated with this bands name, that happens sometimes. Grown Up Avenger Stuff are performing at Cherry Colas on May 11, 2019.
- Sex Laser
If you have a band and you didn’t call it Sex Laser you’ve failed at life. That’s all. Sex Laser first only got my attention because the name made me laugh out loud legitimately and retained my attention because when I listened to their music I actually found it totally compelling. This band is another one on my list that breaks the indie music mold. The music is melodic and complex – a mix of electronica and indie rock – Sex Laser doesn’t just live up to the name – this music literally fires a sexy energy weapon right at your face. Sex Laser is performing at Paddock on May 11, 2019.
This Edmonton band was super popular in 2010 with their breakout hit Uncontrolable and so they should have been – that song was dope. They are playing a show on May 11 at the The Rec Room – which is also cool because there are a whack load of video games to keep you occupied between sets!