There are 1000 bands playing NXNE this year, and this is the first time I’ve heard of Tourism Toronto championing the growing festival and music scene here as a major attraction. So, before NXNE becomes the monster that is SXSW, you might enjoy some of its remaining intimacy — and the fact Canadian bands still rule the schedule. Get a wristband here, and consider the following Can-con acts.
1. Montreal jealousy
The name Majical Cloudz aside, singer-songwriter Devon Welsh’s “existential meta-pop” is a serious contender. He has a deep, anguishy voice, and is now signed to Matador. Yet another act lifted by Grimes’ magical touch and Montreal label Arbutus in his humble beginnings.
Majical Cloudz plays Saturday June 15 @ BLK BOX, 12 a.m.
2. Retro, B-movie
We’ve been following grimey post-punks Ell V Gore – fronted by local scenester and Pretty Pretty label head Elliot Jones – for a while, and they’ve finally released their debut EP, Sex Static. Already lauded by a bunch of music-snob sites, the EP’s out this month on Bad Actors, label of Fucked Up’s most prolific member Ben Cook.
Ell V Gore play Blk Box June 13 at 11 pm and the Garrison June 16 at 10 pm
Saskatchewan’s critically acclaimed Shooting Guns invite you to sit back, light one up, and hallucinate (or meditate) on their thick, slow-grind, doom metal, while the world implodes around you.
Shooting Guns plays Friday June 14 @ The Hideout, 10p.m.
4. Earnest rhyme
Montreal’s Jai Nitai Lotus is all about producing and rapping over “timeless” music. He’s got jazz, he’s got soul. He’s experimental and intellectual, and at age 31 he’s just coming into his prime.
Jai Nitai Lotus plays Thurs. June 13 @ Nocturne, 12am
5. Heavy, raw
Nü Sensae, shrieking garage punk duo from Vancouver, whose sophomore release “Sundowning” made them critic darlings last summer.
Nu Sensae play Friday June 14, 12am, @ Parts n Labour
6. Precious, artsy
Lush, looping vocals define the new project of Braids singer Raphaelle Standel-Preston — called Blue Hawaii, who Polaris prize jurors have taken note of with the release of their debut album on Arbutus records. The Montreal label’s showcase at The Comfort Zone will also feature up-and-coming mustachioed crooner Sean Nicholas Savage.
Blue Hawaii play Thursday June 13 @ Comfort Zone
7. Blogger-friendly, ADD
Halifax producer Ryan Hemsworth has caught the attention of U.S. rappers and the electronic music elite over the past two years for his ablility to tactfully remix everything from Backstreet boys to Danny Brown. Plus, he’s apparently moving to Toronto this weekend, so let’s give him a warm welcome.