Counting Crows Come to Town but St. John’s is in the Dark

reubenandthedarkThe town of St. John’s is buzzing about the upcoming Counting Crows concert at Mile One this weekend like we’ve all hitched a ride in one big Delorean to about 1994. Since moving here, I’ve noticed this happens whenever a larger artist comes to town. I mean, Rod Stewart is being dusted off and brought here this summer, to much acclaim–providing he can be cryogenically unfrozen in order to perform.

Believe it or not, since I’ve lived in Newfoundland Counting Crows are one of the first acts to come, with musicians who might not be over 50, that someone like me might remember from their youth. (Strike that; turns out Duritz is also over 50, but you catch my drift.)

It is hard for bands to come play Newfoundland. For someone like John Fogerty it makes sense, but for bands without millions of dollars and/or the ability to command insane guarantees it gets more complex. So a mainlander like me has to change my concert decision-making process. In Toronto would I be stoked to see Counting Crows? Probably not. Certainly not at $60-70. But you learn to recalibrate just a bit, and on that level I am so excited to see a stadium rock show of a band I grew up listening to.

But you know what I am more excited about?

Reuben and the Dark! Holy hell, am I excited about that. When the show was first listed the Counting Crows were touring with a decent indie act on Dine Alone called Twin Forks. I was interested in seeing them–but I am thrilled to see Reuben and the Dark, who also happen to be one of the latest signings to Arts & Crafts. They have an introspective sound rooted in folk and pop, but at times they can actually get quite rocky. It is oddly charming and subtly catchy most of the time, and insanely catchy some of the time. Check out the album opening track “Bow and Arrow” which brings to mind the absolute best of times for bands like Arcade Fire and Band of Horses.

Are Counting Crows fans going to like this? Well, that I am not entirely sure of. Certainly, every track on the Reuben and the Dark record is more vital sounding than anything the Crows have put out this century–but then again, there was a time when Adam Duritz and his band put out a massive indie-folk/rock album that shaped the youth of millions of teenagers like myself. So on that level, perhaps people will be drawn in by this opener.

But if you are going to hear Adam Duritz sing “Big Yellow Taxi” and you catch the opener, you are probably going to be pretty bummed out. Mind you, if you are going for that reason I kinda hate you anyhow. Kidding…not totally kidding.

So people of St. John’s I write this to implore you not be like 80% of people who go to a big concert. Don’t show up after the opener, don’t show up 50% of the way through the opener, don’t show up a song into Counting Crows’ set. Show up early and hear one of the best rising artists in the Canadian music scene right now. Arts & Crafts’ fall has been grossly exaggerated; they are still putting out some incredible music, and Reuben and the Dark is at the forefront of that.

Are the Crows worth the ticket alone? That’s debatable. But if you add in the opener, it is a damn fine value. Don’t believe me? Check the video below. Hope to see you there!

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10 CMW Acts Who I Have (or Would Hang w/) at My House But Are Really Good That You Should See

painttwimfest I get in on Tuesday, so for me CMW begins for me on that day. I know some of you have already seen some amazing acts, as CMW extends to 10 days. Good for you! I’ve always had a struggle making it through 6. Continue reading

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10 CMW Acts Playing at Rancho Relaxo That Should Be On Your Schedule

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This Ship

1. The Fight (Edmonton): playing Tuesday May 5th at 9 PM

All the way from Edmonton, The Fight are on the verge of releasing a new record and debuted a single called “Try” via Exclaim last week. Saying a band has a huge sound happens all too often, and I have a tendency to do it myself, but they have a melodic indie-rock sound that is big enough to play any size stage. Good buzz about this set also.

2. Hogarth & the Sky Vines (St. John’s): playing Wednesday May 6th at 10 PM

The best band to come out of St. John’s since Hey Rosetta? That just might be the case with Hogarth & the Sky Vines. Their new record (soon to be released) is fantastic, their video has been getting a bunch of early hits, and their single is already in rotation at a bunch of radio stations. Come out and see what has the Rock so excited, and let’s have a time together.

3. Go For the Eyes (Calgary): Thursday May 7th at 12 AM

Whenever Go For The Eyes and TWM team up it is a party and a half. Whether it was the first CMW showcase hooked up by The Darcy’s, the time they played with OBGMs before 99% of you know who they were, or this time fresh off an insane New York tour with The Revival. This one is going to be sweaty!

4. Waterbodies (St. Catharines): Friday May 8th at 9 PM

If you are anywhere else but Paint or Waterbodies at 9 PM on Friday then you are what the French call les incompetents. And if you know what that reference is, then you are probably already planning to be there. Come and get loud with us!

5. Love X Stereo (South Korea): Saturday May 9th at 12 AM

I try to get an act from as far away as I can every year, and this year we have Love X Stereo all the way from South Korea. They play electro and synth-infused indie-pop/rock with shoegaze elements, and are rumoured to have a jawdroppingly spectacular live show. Acts like this are what CMW is all about, folks.

6. The Do Good Badlies on Sunday May 10th at 12 AM

This week I heard the lead single “Atlantic Ocean” off the oft-delayed hotly anticipated new DGB record and it made so happy. Bands like the DGB are why I slug it out in the music industry still after all these years. And let’s just say I have scheduled nothing on Monday in anticipation of having a time with this band.

7. This Ship (Halifax): on Thursday May 7th at 10 PM

One of the bands stirring the drink in Halifax is This Ship. Every scene needs a handful of acts working this hard to drive the scene forward. Whether it is booking shows, promoting shows, playing shows, making posters, or whatever, This Ship is right in the mix of it all. Check out their new songs on Bandcamp and come see a band that might even be too cool for Toronto. Challenge accepted?

8. Isle of Ease (St. John’s): on Friday May 8th at 10 PM

Isle of Ease were one of two bands from St. John’s to win a flight to CMW to showcase for the festival, and they certainly deserve it. Managing to create a giant full indie-folk/pop sound with only two people through intricate arrangements and next-level use of percussion, Isle of Ease are known for great songwriting and getting the crowd dancing and singing along.

9. League of Wolves (Saskatoon): Wednesday May 6th at 9 PM

I’m not one to cry over spilled milk–and let’s face it, CBC Searchlight is a popularity contest. But if it weren’t, there is a good chance League of Wolves would have won. Ah well. They’ll have to do it the hard way–like touring from Saskatchewan to Quebec and back for the second time in 2015. But this time it’s in support of a monster new record that, if there is any justice in the world, will make touring a lot easier next time.

10. The Killer Wails (Toronto): Saturday May 9th at 10 PM

Need some ferocious psych garage-punk in your life? We’ve got you covered with The Killer Wails. Ever since I heard this band’s demos, before they perhaps had ever even played a show, I have been a massive fan. Watching the progression from afar has been awesome but watching it in person will be that much better. See you there!

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10 Awesome CMW Bands Worth Adding to Your Schedule

likeamotorcycle 1. South of Bloor (Toronto): Friday May 8th at The Cameron House at 11 PM

Okay, full disclosure: I’d totally hang out with these guys at my house but I ran out of spots up there. Also, when you compare yourselves to Maritime in your CMW profile that goes a long way with me. South of Bloor are as good as it gets when it comes to emerging indie-pop/rock in Toronto and something tells me the room will be slammed for their set.

2. Julia Why? (Australia): playing Thursday May 7th at 11 PM at Bovine Sex Club and Friday May 8th at 12:55 PM (afternoon) at the Rivoli

If you are a fan of Sleater-Kinney style indie rock, then you are probably a fan of Julia Why? If you are a fan of free food, amazing music from Australia, and a set time that is in the afternoon and not interfered with by any other bands than I suggest you go see them at the Rivoli. That’s my plan.

3. Goodbye Honolulu (Toronto): playing Friday May 8th at Silver Dollar Room at 10 PM

Goodbye Honolulu are an emerging act playing fuzzy garage pop/rock with that stick-to-your-ribs addictiveness that bands spend years trying to hit. These boys got it in their first go round. It is no surprise, then, that Dan Burke–who has quite a set of ears for this style of music–has them playing one of his Silver Dollar shows.

4. Aldo (Brazil): playing Saturday May 9th at Underground Garage at 12 AM

This band sent me the hands-down best email inviting me to their showcase or to do a show that I received during this year’s lead up to Canadian Music Week. The sacrifice and hardships bands like this make to come from countries like Brazil is really inspiring. If you are a fan of LCD Soundsystem and electro-inspired dance pop, then you are going to want to find Aldo during the fest.

5. Archie Powell & the Exports (Chicago): playing Friday May 8th at Hard Luck at 9 PM

There’s a weird feeling somewhere between pride and disappointment when a band like Archie Powell & the Exports, who you handpicked to play to a really impressed crowd a few years back at a festival show at Rancho, level up a few times and are no longer available to your room. But that’s for me and my therapist to deal with. You can just go to the Hard Luck and party down.

6. Like A Motorcycle (Halifax): playing Saturday May 9th at Rivoli at 11:30 PM

I found this killer Halifax punk quartet, recently expanded from a trio, the other day while researching acts for Halifax tour dates I am booking. I’ve been rockin’ their stuff ever since. I’ve never loved seeing punk at the Rivoli–but then again I’ve always loved seeing East Coast acts, there so what wins out?

7. Murder Murder (Sudbury): playing Wednesday May 6th at 9 PM at Dakota Tavern

The Dakota Tavern’s lineups seem to have a lot more teeth this year than in years past. I like that. Don’t get me wrong: they always have stacked lineups and the place is jammed, but this year they’ve got that bite that gets someone like me excited. In this case Murder Murder also happen to have my vote for the finals of CBC Searchlight–rad as hell band.

8. Rusty (Toronto): on Friday May 8th at Bovine Sex Club at 2 AM

So there comes a time when a band has played enough reunion shows without putting out new material that it starts to lose a bit of steam…and well, that time might be coming for Rusty. But have no fear, a new album is in the works from Rusty and everything is right in the world again. “I hit top speed I smoke the dragon…”

9. Scattered Clouds (Hull): playing Handlebar on Thursday May 7th at 11 PM

Now this is a perfect band for Handlebar. The venue has developed a strong reputation for being a great spot for avant-garde indie, which is probably why Wavelength puts on so many shows there. Well, that describes Scattered Clouds perfectly. Want to see a disturbing clown-based video? They have that too.

10. Steve Maloney and the Wandering Kind (St. John’s): playing The Paddock on Saturday May 9th at 11 PM

Full disclosure, I’ve never been to the Paddock. It could be nice, it might be the worst–so look into that. What won’t be the worst is the music because Steve Maloney is a songwriter so talented that being in Newfoundland, with the difficulties that come along with that particularly related to touring, has not been an obstacle for him. Great band, and by Saturday you are going to need a relaxed set like this. Trust me.

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TWiMFeST 2015: Fitter, Happier, More Productive

twimfbbanner twimfest2015Hey everyone,

As you might have noticed, lately things have been getting livelier on the TWiMFeST front. We’ve selected Toronto dates (Nov 4th8th) and are starting to look at venues. What we know so far is that we’ll be at the Gladstone Hotel and Rancho every night. We intend to add a lot more venues than that, but right now we are deciding which and when. That information should come soon. Continue reading

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Strength of Indie Music Means More Action in Music Betting

The ever-changing industry is now open to some serious bets

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In the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of growth in the indie music scene, and this strength means that the very structure of the music industry has changed as well. While in the past, artists from major labels were sure to dominate the charts, the same can no longer be said for certain, and this has introduced a whole new aspect to the music industry: music betting.

You’ve probably played a few games of music betting yourself, and right around the time of awards shows like the Grammys, there are various ballots already circulating. However, music betting is also done is wider circles, with some people actually making money off of them. There are usually two forms of music betting: betting on who will top the charts, and then betting on who the recipients of various awards will be. This comes as no surprise, as in these days, nearly everything has been wagered on, and Betfair shows that even General Elections have seen their own fair share of wagers.

However, betting on awards nights is nothing new, as it is revealed that Johnny Avello, the Director of Race and Sports Operations for the Wynn Las Vegas, has been sending out “for-entertainment-purposes-only” lines for betting on the Grammys for years. “I’ve been doing the Grammys for quite a while. They’re never easy. It seems like there are more opinions on music than there are on movies,” Avello said. “The way I do my odds, I do my research, talk to some music people in the business, and I put all those thoughts together and rank [nominees] from one to five. Then I have to figure out how strong the favorite should be.”

Music betting, as with any other form of entertainment betting, hasn’t gained much of a following because the general idea is that “you can’t bet on something where at least one person already knows the results”, and as The Star has said, awards nights like the Grammys have already becoming formulaic. Thanks to the rise of indie music, however, there are still some upsets. A few years ago, Fueled by Ramen band fun. beat out artists like Kelly Clarkson and Frank Ocean, and with so many indie artists now proving to be mainstream favourites, it’s not unlikely that other awards shows will see a surge of them too. The changes in the indie music industry mean that there are now more chances of upsets in award winners and chart toppers, and this has opened the doors for music betting.

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Two Way Monologues Presents Road to Canadian Music Week Finals Mixtape

road-to-cmw-mixtape-cover

One year later, and here we are again with the second annual mixtape for the finals of Road to Canadian Music Week. This winter we’ve spent Tuesdays and Thursday nights winnowing down approximately 70 acts to 24 finalists. And over the next few weeks we’ll turn those finalists into four winners–two bands and two solo acoustics/duos–to be sent to Toronto for Canadian Music Week. Continue reading

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