It’s that time of year again: the sun is shining, the patios are open, and Canadian Music Week is about to take over Toronto. This year’s festival features over 1000 bands spread out across 60 venues throughout the city. The bars close at 4 AM, but the music is endless. For the first time, CMW has expanded their domination of the city to 10 days from May 1st to 10th, attracting massive international artists including Noel Gallagher, Of Monsters and Men, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. As well, the festival has a ton of great established Canadian artists such as Billy Talent, Monster Truck, Lights, k-os, The Trews, and hundreds more. Here’s just a taste of some of the lesser-known bands on their way to Toronto:
Betty and Oswald
Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Betty and Oswald will be representing at the CMW 2015 Australian Showcase – a premier focus of this year’s festival. With constant lyrical imagery, the band portrays feelings of sunsoaked solitude. The playful chemistry between Claudia Aphrodite (Betty) and Pete Sot (Oswald) provides a contrast for the dramatic disparity within the songs themselves. There is an overwhelming sense of calmness and angst, regret and harmony, love and despair. Each of these is blended to create the unique sound that is Betty and Oswald. The band utilizes an immense array of instruments and audio techniques in their songs (including an accordion, kazoo, and megaphone), and it is refreshing to see such a collection of sounds presented in a modest fashion. Both lyrically and musically, Betty and Oswald create an ambiance that could be the soundtrack to the best or the worst day of your life.
Halifax natives and Toronto locals Bloody Diamonds bring a collection of loud, intense, riff-based songs and wailing vocals that invigorate everything that blues, punk, and metal music have in common: pain, anger, distress, and a voice that will not be silenced. Brought together by vocalist Sarah Elizabeth and guitarist Jake Seaward, the band combines distorted, in-your-face blues with haunting vocals that range from powerful to delicate. Seaward’s guitar prowess is reminiscent of riff-based rock from the early 1970’s. With a heavy touring schedule since their formation in 2011, the band has spent the last few years thrashing their way across North America, leaving a collection of head-banging fans in their wake.
Busty and the Bass
A collection of nine like-minded musicians, Busty and the Bass met while attending McGill University in Montreal. The band combines elements of funk and soul music to create a sound perfect for an upbeat dance party. The addition of electronic vocals and rap verses blends Busty and the Bass into a supergroup unbound by the restrictions of genre or style. With a great deal of local success, including being named the winner of CBC’s “Rock your Campus” competition, the band has gained a following with their unique sound and energetic attitude.
The Party on High Street
West Coast Canadians The Party on High Street combine acoustic funk and ska rhythms with catchy rap-rock verses and hilarious stories to make every show a party. Perfect for a sweaty basement venue or a bonfire in the middle of nowhere, The Party on High Street will get everyone in attendance on their feet and moving. If that’s not enough, their quirky stories are sure to win over even the most cynical concert-goer, especially gems such as “when will the cops understand, if we were smuggling drugs, we wouldn’t dress like a band.”
Montreal rockers The Muscadettes show us what happens when hard-hitting rock music hits the beach. Fronted by twin sisters Chantal and Kathleen Ambridge, the band has a lo-fi sound that melds perfectly with the garage/grunge vibe. Most of the intense, guitar-heavy songs ring in at less than three minutes, which nails the take-it-or-leave-it attitude the band personifies. Ambridge’s vocals conquer the fast-paced drums and electric guitar with a sense of nonchalance, creating a sound of a band that is set to explode, both literally and figuratively.
CMW Wristbands are just $75 until April 30th – you can buy wristbands and check out the full lineup and schedule here.