The Wooden Sky March 15th
The title of The Wooden Sky’s fifth full-length album is an abridged quote from Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi novel, Dune: “Survival is the ability to swim in strange water.” It’s a phrase that seems especially apt in 2017, as many of us are still reeling from the previous year. For Gavin Gardiner, the frontman of the Toronto-based indie rock band, the way to understand and reconcile these unknowns — from oil pipelines and refugee crises to his own family’s personal history— is through songwriting. “It’s how I filter a lot of things that come in,” says Gardiner, as he walks through the residential streets of Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood. “For better or for worse, it’s how I deal with things and how I communicate my feelings.” Swimming in Strange Waters is Gardiner trying to make sense of the world. The band (made up of Gardiner, multi-instrumentalists Simon Walker and Andrew Wyatt, violinist Edwin Huizinga and drummer Andrew Kekewich) started writing and recording demos in a small farmhouse in rural Quebec in January 2015, but then put them aside as they embarked on a year-long tour in support of their previous album, Let’s Be Ready. When they resumed work on the album in March 2016, Gardiner says the band caught a severe case of “demoitis”, a condition wherein “you fall in love with the scrappiness of the demos.” So rather than completely re-working them, they decided to record the album in the same way as the demos: in Gardiner’s home studio, using old tape machines and live off the floor.
The resulting album is a sonic maelstrom that sees the band exploring unchartered waters, where textural psychedelia inspired by the Paisley Underground movement melds into quiet, acoustic cyclical guitar melodies, before once again transforming into a bombastic, Johnny Cash-esque rally against the XL Keystone pipeline in Canada. While Let’s Be Ready found the Wooden Sky writing a pure “rock and roll” album, Swimming in Strange Waters sees the band experimenting once again. “I feel like we’re back on track,” says Gardiner.
Begonia March 23rd
As Begonia, Alexa Dirks is bold, brazen with her florid, surprising pop that is tempered with sensitivity and wisdom. Dirks’ first solo output with her 2017 debut EP, Lady in Mind, was well-received, being listed on NPR’s 10 Artists You Need To Know in 2017 and “Juniper” reached #1 on the CBC 2 Music Charts. Noisey wrote that, “Begonia has one of Canada’s most extraordinary voices, and thankfully she uses it to obliterate the misery from this world one live performance at a time.” NPR wrote that Begonia is “the place where where synth-pop meets old soul and scrappy meets sexy.”
April 26th Mappe Of
In the Summer of 2017, Mappe Of marked his debut with the highly acclaimed A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone (Paper Bag Records). The album immediately captivated listeners with its sonic landscape, an ethereal avant-folk tour de force
that belonged to no time or place. From classically-inspired, masterfully performed intricate guitar arrangements to hauntingly beautiful melodies and vocal textures, to lush epic soundscapes, this debut album introduced the world
to a new artist unafraid to annihilate any musical boundaries and chart his own course. A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone quickly garnered wide praise from NPR, Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, and CBC among others, and amassed over 3 million streams on Spotify. Since the release, Mappe Of has toured with Martha Wainwright, Bahamas, Matt Hulobowski, and SYML, and
performed at a number of noteworthy festivals, including Festival D’Été de Québec, Winnipeg Folk, Hillside, and Calgary Folk Festival AND Wolfe Island Music Festival! The live
performances, much like the album, are a sonic world unto themselves, an aural landscape steeped in experience and imagination.
The Great Lake Swimmers June 15th
2018 marks the 15th anniversary of Great Lake Swimmers. Over seven albums, multiple EPs, live broadcasts, and reissues, the Toronto-based project led by singer-songwriter Tony Dekker has established itself as a beloved indie folk act in their native Canada and beyond. The CBC has called them “a national treasure” while their music has taken them around the world, sharing a sound that is at once familiar and distinct, using the tools of folk music as the starting point to delve deeper.
DOORS 9PM 19+