My musical hero Ben Cook of Toronto’s Marvelous Darlings, Fucked Up, The Bitters, blah blah blah is finally releasing a new full-length EP under his solo power-punk pseudonym Young Guv(and he’ll be joined by his sometimes-backing band, The Scuzz). Looks like the album EP will be called A Love Too Strong, and it drops on July 24th. Should be pretttttty cool.
This year’s NXNE festival was phenomenal. The movies and conferences could’ve maybe been just a little, tiny bit better, but the bands were a knock out of the park. My only complaint would be that there were too many awesome bands. I had to make some tough choices. But that’s what a great festival should be like: an overbundance of awesome. And that’s what this year’s NXNE was. And the amazing weather didn’t hurt either. Here are are writeups for each day of the festival:
What a fucking day. This was probably the best day of the festival, as well as the most exhausting, and the most painful, since I had to sacrifice seeing Chad Vangaalen and my beloved Handsome Furs for reasons of practicality. On the other hand, the bands the Gold Soundz crew did see were pretty fucking awesome.
Marc: First event of the day was the Bruise Cruise, presented by M For Montreal and Brooklyn Vegan. Assunta and I got to the boat at like 1:30, got on, got some free food, beer. The thing set out onto the lake; the wind was blowing, the sun was shining, everyone onboard was cool and hip and enjoying themselves. It was basically like hipster heaven on Earth, and hopefully noone takes offence at my using that term, as I full endorse hipsterness or the hipster movement or whatever. What I mean is the entire boat thing was just plain awesome in every sense.
First band we saw was Montreal’s francophone garage-rockersJesus Les Filles. They were pretty awesome. Great songs. Solid performers.
Unfortunately we missed Uncle Bad Touch (despite my being a fan of “Mikey of Priestess“). We needed a good reason to leave the breezey, beautiful deck of the boat to come to the hot-as-fuck lower part – so that band didn’t make the cut but we made sure to come down for Young Governor‘s set. If you read this blog much, you know my fandom of all things Ben Cook (Fucked Up, Bitters, Marvelous Darlings) is borderline ob/excessive, so yeah, it was an awesome set. They stuck to the faster, punkier songs that make up most of the Young Guv output (“Summer Girl”, “Virginia Creeper”), but it would’ve been nice to hear some of the softer stuff (“Married Man”, “To Burt”) just because its also awesome…and those are some of my favourite songs. When are we going to get a full album of this stuff!?!? Soon please…
Assunta: I only saw the two last songs of Ty Segall‘s set. People holding bottles or cups full of water were throwing it everywhere – it was dripping from the ceiling, off the bodies in the crowd, it was pretty crazy. One band member went crowd surfing and basically got sandwiched between the people and the low-hanging ceiling, and at one point about 10 people stormed the stage and just went berserk. So yeah, pretty fun set to watch.
Marc: Once I got off the boat, I ran to the conference centre at the Hyatt to catch So You Want To Found A Startup, Eh? with Tara Hunt, the CEO and co-founder of Buyosphere.com. Although I only caught the last 20 minutes or so of the conference, Tara came off as a really personable, charming, knowledgeable (and pretty cute) woman, and what she told the crowd was actually helpful, not just obvious, such as good books to read, things to consider about presenting to potential investors, programs in Canada designed to help web startups, as well as many other things, many more of which I’m sure I missed.
From there I ran my ass off to get to Yonge and Dundas to catch DOM‘s set only to find out that they cancelled a half hour before they were supposed to go on. WTF DOM! You guys are bums. So I grabbed a burrito and waited around until the next set.
Cults went up next and gave a decent performance. Though just a bit overhyped, they’re a pretty good band and they gave a pretty good performance to a crowd that seemed to have a ‘yeah, they’re pretty good’ vibe.
After Cults, I ran home to make dinner and write about Friday’s NXNE happenings. That took about two and a half hours, forcing me to miss the Flemish Eye/Weird Canada showcase at The Great Hall that I wanted to check out before Wild Nothing at Lee’s Palace. But oh well – I went straight to Lee’s and luckily got to skip the line with my press pass and go straight in. Wild Nothing was great. I actually listened to Gemini again today and it felt a little limp in comparison to the surprisingly lively show the band put on. Not only did a real drummer help, but even lead singer Jack Tatum – who writes all the moody gems and whom you’d expect to be kind of mopey – was relatively lively in his own semi-awkward way.
Twin Shadow played after and was fucking amazing. The room was packed, lead singer George Lewis was having a great time, getting into the songs, making jokes (“We want to thank SXSW for having us!”), the band was raging. It was just a great, great set. Even fucking Brendan Canning and Allie Hughes were dancing behind us!
Crazy. And then after the set, Lewis was writing on T-shirts, joking around with people, for the whole night he was kind of like the most popular kid in art school.
Closing off the night for us was another bunch of shoegazers, this time Toronto’s Memoryhouse. Since I last saw them at our launch party show Wintergaze, they’ve beefed up from a three-piece to a bad-ass quintet, losing a bit of the intimacy but gaining some serious muscle and tightening up big time. I loved it. Especially my personal favourite track “Heirloom”, which sounded fucking awesome, improving on the recording (which is great also) by giving it some serious balls. Although I will admit I like the sparser version they do of My Bloody Valentine‘s classic “When You Sleep” more than the rock band-y one they did last night.
So, the way I was doing things before, this should be the June Mix and it should contain a bunch of cool tracks that came out in the month that just ended, May. I decided that was a little confusing though – the June mix shouldn’t contain May music, it should contain June music, right? So I’m switching the system right now.
The (Real) May Mix featured below is a little bit of a weird bag. It’s got a lot of lo-fi rock, but some electronic-y stuff. It makes for a bit of an interesting contrast, but I think it’s all really cool music, so, yeah, it’s down there if you want to check it out.