Category Archives: nxne

A Two Way Monologues NXNE Primer Part 1


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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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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10 Things I Learned at NXNE from the Perspective of the Promoter/Sponsor at Rancho

10: Champion Lover is a name that Toronto is going to have keep on its radar in the weeks and months to come. Yes, this band is composed of ex-Black Devils Brigade members, but that is where the comparison ends. They are both heavy, but Champion Lover are way noiser, more experimental, and a much more intense listening and watching experience. If they build on this first show, the sky is truly the limit. Continue reading


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Two Way Monologues and the Indie Machine NXNE Preview Podcast

Dilly Dally

Disclaimer: Despite our best efforts we unknowingly recorded this podcast with a faulty USB cable. Despite Ryan’s best efforts, he sounds very loud and David and I do not. So listen loudly, as loud as you can, and don’t worry — Ryan normalized the songs so they won’t be way louder than the dialogue or anything.

NOW, click the embedded Soundcloud link below and listen in to a preview of the Two Way Monologues and the Indie Machine showcase we are putting on for NXNE on Friday June 15th. A song from every band playing is included, plus some info and of course some back and forth. You will hear tracks from Ramona, Haunter, Foam Lake, Paint, Double Fuzz, Dilly Dally, Doom Squad, AND Lonnie in the Garden. So strap yourself in and get ready for an awesome 45ish minutes of Can-Rock podcast goodness. Continue reading

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NXNE Schedule — As up to date as can be!

Amos the Transparent

Here’s what you need to know about NXNE at Rancho Relaxo. There will be programming till 2 or 3 am on Weds, till 4 am on Thurs-Sat, and till 3 am on Sunday — so we haven’t filled the entire schedule yet. But we’ve filled more than almost any venue on the list so far, so I take pride in that. The Thursday showcase is a co-promotion with GreenShades. Friday we share the night with the Indie Machine, and Sunday we do it with the great guys at the See You Next Wednesday Podcast. Set times are subject to change but I will make any changes necessary as they happen. Continue reading

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New Schomberg Fair album and national tour coming up in June

The Schomberg Fair -- Providence

It’s no secret that we love, love, love the Schomberg Fair. It’s partly because they’re great guys, it’s true, but it’s also because they’re just a great band — with quality songwriting and playing, solid recordings, and a face-melting live show. It’s really been a pleasure to see them grow and evolve over the years, into a group that really stands out as its own among the Canadian musical landscape. Fans of the band — or newcomers to the movement — will get a new chance to check out where all that work has taken them when they release their new album on June 5th. Continue reading

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First wave of Rancho NXNE bands announced!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls — the first wave of NXNE bands to play the TWM shows at Rancho Relaxo have been announced.  The majority of these bands have been picked by TWM in conjunction with NXNE, and I’m pretty pumped up on what we are going to bringing you.  What I can’t tell you, is exact time slots or what night yet because right now that is all in a state of flux.  But here they are in alphabetical order: Continue reading


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Limblifter debut to be released on vinyl via We Are Busy Bodies!

I just found out some crazy news from Exclaim and wanted to share it with all of you!  One of my all-time favourite Can-Rock bands — and well, quite frankly, bands in general — Limblifter will be re-releasing their debut on vinyl for the first time ever.

We can thank We Are Busy Bodies, a Toronto-based imprint ran by Eric Warner, for this development. I could get all indie-hipster pretentious and tell you how the second and third Limblifter albums were even better than the debut — they were, but that short-changes what was an excellent debut album and will be a tremendous addition to any Canadian music historian’s vinyl collection.

Perhaps even more exciting than this is the news that Limblifter will be reuniting (with a slightly different band) for at least two shows: one for NXNE at the El Mocambo as part of the We Are Busy Bodies showcase, and one in Hamilton.  No word as of yet how different the new lineup will be, but the fact remains if both the Dahle brothers are still involved they are going to whip us all into a frenzy a la Rusty in 2011…but probably even better than that was.

In the meantime, a trip down memory lane is just a YouTube click away.

Colour me stoked!

Dan Wolovick

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