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A Two Way Monologues NXNE Primer Part 1

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I have a serious NXNE fever cranking up right now, so I wanted to share with you some picks for the festival. Full disclosure: TWM has five showcases during NXNE, so there is a bit of a bias there–and aside from that, tons of our friends are playing. So ingest a grain of salt and then read on to find some of the best under-the-radar (or semi-under-the-radar) acts to see at the festival. Nothing beats finding the next big thing or an amazing band that nobody seems to know about. You’ll find plenty of those below.

WEDNESDAY JUNE 18TH

Bella’s Bartok
Rancho Relaxo at 10 PM

A folk collective with perfect pop sensibilities combined with a Klezmer influence, this is basically about as much fun as you can have with your pants on.

Decent Lovers
The Rivoli at 9 PM

This addictive electro-pop outfit out of Providence has some of the most hook-laden songs I have heard in the festival entire lineup. Check out “Keep it Together” and try not to play it 10 times in a row.

Dirty Frigs
Smiling Buddah at 9 PM

Credit where it’s due: Mark Pesci has booked a huge NXNE at the Buddah. Dirty Frigs play psychedelic pop with raw undertones–they’re one of the best bands in town right now.

Fevers
The Boat at 11 PM

Relive The Boat’s glory days with some sultry electro-pop out of Ottawa. Fevers describe themselves as early Metric meets Pet Shop Boys,and they have a second play at the Rivoli on Thursday at 8 PM.

Glory Glory
The Drake at 9 PM & Rancho Relaxo Fri at 9 PM

Glory Glory play the Drake as part of the Halifax Pop Explosion Showcase, which should be rad as all hell. The band has changed and mellowed a lot over the years. At one point they were very Nada Surf to me and then they delved into some heavy post-rock stuff, but now they have mellowed out with some new wave indie-pop jams that might be best listened to by a beach or under a tree while staring up at the clouds.

Monomyth
The Handlebar at 8 PM

If you can get going for 8pm then you should seriously consider seeing Monomyth out of Halifax. They’re full of delicious indie-pop goodness courtesy of the excellent Mint Records. Taken from their bio: “The Halifax four-piece carries on the hallowed East Coast tradition of janglophile pop with a smirking sense of humour, stadium-sized hooks, and starry-eyed harmonies from the barbershop of broken dreams.”

Olivia & the Creepy Crawlies
Rancho Relaxo at 9 PM

This six-piece ukulele-fronted folk outfit is from London Ontario, a hotbed for under-the-radar folk music for the last decade or so. With a lineup including everything from banjos to telecasters, Olivia & the Creepy Crawlies play quirky upbeat folk that will get you bouncing around where ever you are.

Technical Kidman
Baltic Avenue at 10 PM

“It’s a hypnotic electronic-meets-shoegaze wall of sound” kicks off their bio, and that is a great description of what you get. Technical Kidman are a force to see live, one of my favourites in years. When they played Rancho they literally left my jaw on the floor. With the right breaks this band could be absolutely huge. You can catch them Wednesday or Thursday at 1 AM at the Dakota Tavern–an absolutely bizarre venue for them, which could be cool or a disaster.

THURSDAY JUNE 19TH

Federal Lights
Cameron House at 8 PM

Last year we had Federal Lights play at Rancho for the festival, and the night ended with one of our bartenders getting smashed in the head with a stolen bottle of liquor he was trying to retrieve. If I am still recommending Federal Lights, that says that they played an incredible set. Based out of my beloved Winnipeg, Federal Lights play that driving impeccable indie pop that makes you feel like you could float on a cloud.

Odonis Odonis
The Garrison at 1 AM

Odonis Odonis play with as much visceral energy as anyone going right in Canada, and the live show backs it up and then some. The Garrison is the perfect venue to catch them, and honestly I would go see them 100/100 times there over Dundas Square anyhow. I could listen to the guitars alone in this band for hours at a time.

Molly Thomason
The Hideout at 9 PM
Just reading now on the NXNE website that Molly Thomason is 19 years old blows my mind. It was at least three years ago now when the Cheap Speakers played with “this insanely talented singer/songwriter in Antigonish”–that songwriter was Molly Thomason, and in the years since she has established herself as one of Canada’s brightest rising musicians.

The Pizza Underground
Lee’s Palace at 10 PM

I was inches away from being the first person to bring the Pizza Underground to Toronto–but it fell through for a variety of reasons, and now NXNE has them. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s fucking awesome that NXNE brought the pizza-loving hipsters to the Big Smoke for several plays. It might be the best slice you’ve ever had in your life, or it might be that end-of-the-night Pizza Pizza you eat because you’re drunk.

Lux Deluxe
Rancho Relaxo at 11 PM

Here’s a second great band from Northampton playing Rancho for NXNE. I am seriously going to have to look into that music scene, because everything I have heard is fantastic. They play diverse electro-pop, and its strongest element might be the brilliant composition. This is a great pick for fans of Future Islands.

Another City
Rancho Relaxo at 1 AM

Another City has been off for a few months, which means they are all full of piss and vinegar and ready to rip NXNE and Rancho a new one. I never grow tired of watching the dynamic between Sarah’s classically trained vocals and Benj’s aggressive style, while Kyle dazzles on guitar and Steve drives them forward with some of the more intense drumming in the city.

Language Arts
Silver Dollar at 10 PM

Once upon a time, TWM was the first promoter/venue to ever bring Language Arts to Toronto. Now the band is finally getting its serious due, signing to Maple Music and releasing a record called Wonderkind last year. Frontperson Kristen Cudmore’s quirky vocals are unforgettable, and the album would be one of my picks for the Polaris Prize this year.

MIMICO
Baltic Avenue at 12 AM

A lot of you don’t know Baltic Avenue yet–which is a shame because it is a great space and is booked by David Marskell of the Indie Machine, one of my best friends in town. He has outdone himself this year for NXNE, and MIMICO might be his crown jewel. Stole this from the shortest bio on the NXNE website: “Wandering, spaced-out psychedelia. Eerie corridors, sinister instrumentals, and ever-growing, throbbing heights.”

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Brothers of North – Stolen Cars (Review)

brosofnorth

Leaving Toronto for Newfoundland has really re-opened my mind to listening to and consuming as much music as possible. I feel weird saying that, having been a promoter for the last seven or eight years, but seeing upwards of 20 acts a week really made it hard to get into it at home, hearing as much new stuff as I used to. Sure, I’d listen to bands for bookings–but when acts put out a new record, I never had the chance to truly absorb it the way I once would have.

But since I arrived here, I’ve been listening to bands like I did back in the day. One of the first bands I’ve been spending a lot of time with are Brothers of North, and I could sum up their debut EP in one word: WOW. This band really has limitless potential. Would I be remotely surprised if Brothers of North burst out to become one of the biggest indie-rock bands in Canada? Not at all. I knew they had it in them the second they opened up for the Cheap Speakers at the Horseshoe Tavern, and this EP re-affirms it in a huge way.

There has to be a certain amount of belief in your own band to record an EP like this. They’ve clearly spent considerable time (and expense) rehearsing and recording to make sure it sounds top notch. The vocals are gorgeous and are mixed exactly as they need to be at all times.

Take, for instance, the way the band closes out the last minute on “Robbery”–building up instrumentally and baiting the listener along, all the while expecting a massive vocal part to come back for the finish, only to eventually fade out and leave the listener wanting more. That is some next-level shit right there!

And well, “1990’s” has that nostalgic-as-all-hell and addictive lyrical quality to it that begs for radio airplay and/or music video play. Although I must admit, they do have a pretty awesome Blue Jays reference in there that might render me completely unable to dislike the song. That said, I’m quite sure the song is brilliant.

I like to gamble on things. I like to gamble on shows, I like to gamble on bands, and I love to gamble on sports. Upon arriving in Newfoundland, I decided to check out their Proline system–what with the football season coming up. I was shocked to find out just how much more advanced it was then the repressive Ontario system. One of the things you can do is bet on teams who will win the Super Bowl. It’s called a Future Bet. If the Toronto music scene had such a bet, Pup, the Balconies, Dinosaur Bones, the Darcys, etc. would be the favourites. Brothers of North might be something like 80 x 1 to be Canada’s next big band. I’d drop a nice bet with those kind of odds. They have that much potential.

Catch Brothers of the North at the Handlebar on Saturday Sept 14th as a special guest of the Cheap Speakers at their video screening party. Also joining them on the bill are Sam Taylor & the East End Love and The Fires Of. Full details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/226456974178444/

Cheers,

Dan Wolovick

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Relax Folks — American acts are still coming over the border!

A few days ago, in the midst of my move, outrage broke out over the new border laws related to American and other international artists crossing the border to play Canadian shows.

In the past the law was set to charge $150 per band member, up to a maximum of $450, to come into the country to play shows. Under the new rules, that charge would skyrocket to $275 per band member, without a cap in sight. This began with an article written in the Calgary Herald–which while informative, was at best poorly researched and at worst grossly misleading. 

When my good friend Jimmy Cain of Champion Lover posted the article on his Facebook page and tagged my friends and me in it, my immediate comment then was: “Be interesting to see how this plays out. Most venues haven’t even been paying the old fee with exemptions.”

Today, in talking to a band I have coming over the border later this month and assuring them it was all systems go despite the new law, we came across this article, which essentially confirms my above quote. 

Music-exempt venues are still music-exempt venues. If you are a venue grinding it out all year every year doing nothing but booking live music to make your ends meet, then you don’t have to worry about the new fees. If you are a venue trying to have your cake and eat it too, so to speak, then you are in a different situation. And even then, you can get around it by joining the American Federation of Musicians for less than the cost of one member of a band crossing the border to play one show per year. Or by having an agent book an entire tour, that agent only has to pay the fee once upfront for all of the shows.

In other words: relax, folks. I get that it’s hard not to get reactionary when seeing huge numbers being bandied about in our music industry, but it’s always wise to do some fact checking and not rely on one article in Calgary for all of your information. As Dan Burke says in the linked article, “Its business as usual here.” Personally, I have been booking American bands for years and will continue to do so. Pass it on.

Cheers,

Dan Wolovick

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Two Way Monologues reaches back to TWMFEST for one last chapter at the Ranch!

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Two Way Monologues aka Dan Wolovick’s 7 year run as the booker/promoter at Rancho Relaxo is coming to an end at the end of June. To celebrate/mourn this momentous occasion TWM is turning back the clock 5 or so years and bringing back TWMFEST from June 27th-29th at Rancho Relaxo. When the last band hits the stage at 1:00 am on the night of the 29th it will be quite literally an end of an era.

Over the 3 day festival 18 bands will play with doors at 7:30 and bands on the hour from 8 pm with last act on at 1 am. Each night carries a $10 cover or all 3 nights for $20.

Over the last 7 years Two Way Monologues has put on upwards of 2000 events at Rancho Relaxo including such acts as AWOLNATION, Dinosaur Bones, Still Life Still, Parlovr, Amos the Transparent, Honheehonhee, the Darcys, Giraffe Giraffe, Whale Tooth, Schomberg Fair and so many more. Two Way Monologues has been proud to help break new acts from Toronto and Canada in general and that tradition will continue with TWMFEST and carry over to our next chapter at Handlebar in Kensington Market!

Upon completion of the festival Two Way Monologues and good friends GreenShades are moving our operation to The Handlebar where they will book all Saturdays, half Thursday/Tuesdays and Sundays to begin. After 7 years to say we are excited to write a new chapter is a massive understatement. But, before any of that TWMFEST aims to put an epic ending to our run at Rancho Relaxo. As of now these are the confirmed lineups and time slots:

Thursday June 27th
Two Way Monologues & GreenShades Present Thursday:
Dildoniks (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dildoniks/196745723702037?ref=br_tf)
Old World Vulture: (http://oldworldvulture.ca/)
Yeast Lords: debut show!
Set times and 3 more bands TBA

Friday June 28th
Two Way Monologues & THE iNDiE MACHiNE Present:
The DGB @ 1 AM: (https://www.facebook.com/theDeeGeeBee)
Dream Jefferson @ 12 AM: (http://dreamjefferson.bandcamp.com/)
The Damn Wolovicks @ 11 PM: Toronto super band with surprises in store!
Different Skeletons @ 10 PM: (http://differentskeletons.bandcamp.com/)
Duck Duck Goose @ 9 PM: (http://www.duckduckgooseband.com/)
Carlo Meriano @ 8 PM:  (https://www.facebook.com/CarloMerianoMusic?ref=br_tf)

Saturday June 29th:
Two Way Monologues Presents:
The Cheap Speakers @ 1 AM: (https://www.facebook.com/thecheapspeakers)
The Skirt Chasers @ 12 AM: (https://www.facebook.com/SkirtChasers?ref=br_tf)
Paint @ 11 PM: (http://www.thepaintsite.com/)
Goodnight, Sunrise @ 10 PM: (https://www.facebook.com/gnsrband?ref=br_tf)
The Natural Shocks @ 9 PM: (http://www.thenaturalshocks.com/) original lineup reunion set!
Bron Halpin @ 8 PM: (https://soundcloud.com/bronhalpin)

For any press inquiries or for guestlist spots or any more information contact dan@twowaymonologues.com.

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An Important Announcement

Hey friends,

I write this today with something of a heavy heart, but also filled with excitement. It has been a weird few weeks for me, which you might have noticed from my online behaviour. Here is the explanation behind that. Continue reading

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Check out a demo from CHAMPION LOVER on this week’s Kangaroo Court podcast

CHAMPION LOVER

Now that we’ve recovered from the insanity that was June, we’re back to regularly featuring sports-loving musicians on the Kangaroo Court podcast. We think this feature adds a lot to the podcast, and puts a unique TWM spin on it, so we’re pretty stoked to have it back. We’re extra stoked that it returns this week by featuring Jimmy Cain of awesome new Toronto band CHAMPION LOVER. Continue reading

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See You Next Wednesday Episode 19 — New Single From Tearjerker Plus DIIV Album Review!

We’re coming to you from Greg‘s hot, sweaty new apartment to give you a 50cc injection of hilarity! Too far?

Anyway, we talk about Fishbone again — their live show and their documentary — as well as Ted and the Spin Doctors in Film Roulette. Then we review the new album from DIIV called Oshin. We finish up with some good old fashioned Hero Swap: Cage Match. Buckle up for safety.

Closing us out is the new single from Tearjerker “Word”. Watch the video at www.vimeo.com/45078575

Cage Match is going to be on-going, so please argue with us on  TwitterFacebook, and iTunes.

Direct Download: SYNW_19_MAIN.mp3

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