N2D Did Movember

Thanks for donating to a great cause. I might keep it.

Is it really worth taking a month to raise awareness and money for the often ignored issue of men's health, specifically prostate cancer?

Yes. Yes it is. And we thank all of you who donated to the cause.

We here at N2D congratulate our own writer/stuntman/photographer Russ Gordon who threw his face into the ring as a member of the prestigious CBC Radio 3 #Movember team. The team raised $7400 as this goes to post. Not too bad, eh?

Don't stop now. Get involved. Stay involved.

Get checked. It's YOUR ass, don't just sit on it.

Show Alert: Austra w/ Young Galaxy and Tasseomancy

Tues., Nov. 29
The Crofoot - Pike Room, Pontiac

Tasseomancy's Ulalume is available
as a waterfall candle + vintage matchbook
+ digital download package.

Hopefully you don't feel broke from all that Black Friday consumerism, because you'll want to Feel It Break tomorrow night (Nov. 29) as one of the year's best lineups of Canadian indie talent plays Metro Detroit. Tasseomancy (Toronto) opens with otherworldly, label-defying music from their August album, Ulalume, then join headliner Austra ("ow-stra"). Fronted by powerhouse vocalist Katie Stelmanis, few bands in Canadian indie this year have generated as much buzz as Austra (Toronto). Their debut release Feel It Break was barely out a month before making the Polaris Prize short list, and went on to strong short list contender.

We're also looking forward to another opportunity to see/hear Montreal's Young Galaxy (2010 @ Call the Office), who've had back-to-back albums on the Polaris long list: Invisible Republic and this year's Shapeshifting. With Young Galaxy, you don't just get buzz, you get The Buzz in My Flesh.

Show Alert: That's Just Swell

Current Swell
Fri., Nov. 25 - London Music Hall Lounge
Sat., Nov. 26 - Villains Beastro, Windsor
Sun., Nov. 27 - Paddy Flaherty's, Sarnia
*All shows with Michou

Currents in a river can run stronger than the surface suggests, until you wade in and find yourself going for a ride. Fans of Victoria, B.C.'s Current Swell have been flowing along to the band's eclectic rootsy rock music for more than five years. Now, after winning the top prize of $100,500 last week in Vancouver's PEAK Performance Project and with a month-old album that reached #1 on iTunes Canada singer-songwriter charts, Current Swell is poised to break the surface. And that's just swell with them.

"We're pretty stoked," said vocalist and lead guitarist Scott Stanton about winning in an interview with N2DS2W on Sat., Nov. 19. "There's an insane amount of buzz in town. I haven't stopped smiling."

That buzz hits London, for the first time ever Windsor, and Sarnia this weekend as Current Swell play back-to-back shows with Windsor's Michou (who took home Artist of the Year from the 2011 Verge Music Awards). "We're really excited for our first Windsor show and playing with Michou," said Stanton. "Sarnia has drawn the biggest crowd for us out east, almost like a hometown show. We played a smaller bar and it was packed with fans who knew all the words to our songs."

Stanton said fans were already singing along to songs off of the band's fourth album, Long Time Ago, at shows immediately after its release in Canada on Oct. 25 (U.S. fans will have to wait until January). "The response has been unbelievable," he said, even though despite its title, Long Time Ago is a departure from its predecessors. "In the past, we jumped all over the place as far as genres, reggae, blues, folk rock," Stanton explained. "This one is different in that it's very cohesive. We wrote a lot of songs, then distilled them down to five we knew had to be on the record, and then picked the rest to make it the most cohesive. We're very proud of it."

As they should be; the album is thoughtfully and beautifully crafted, with a mellow front porch-music vibe that sheds the surf-rock label frequently used to describe their earlier work. Stanton said he and songwriting partner Dave "Davers" Lang are most partial to the emotionally-charged "Brad's Song" (see video below) written in memory of a friend who passed away. "Family and friends remember a loved one who's died by looking at pictures," Stanton said. "I get to remember Brad every time I sing that song."

Veterans of Canada, U.S. and Australia tours, Current Swell has opened for Bedouin Soundclash, K-OS, K'Naan, Ron Sexsmith and even the Beach Boys. They've played on stages at the Ottawa Bluesfest, the 2010 Olympics, Junofest and Rifflandia. Far from peaking, Stanton says "We put tons of thought into what we'd do with the money" from the Peak Performance Project. "It was simple for us. We knew we wanted to invest it back into the band and push our music around the world."

Current Swell is: Dave "Davers" Lang (guitar and vox), Scott Stanton (guitar and vox), Aaron "Ghosty" Wright (bass), Chris "Chrispy" Petersen (drums) and Dave St. Jean (percussion, trombone; not touring with the band due to other commitments). Additional tour dates: Nov. 30 @ Nicky Zee's, Fredericton, NB; Dec. 1 @ Baba's Lounge, Charlottestown, PEI; Dec. 2 @ Pavilion, Halifax, NS; Dec. 3 @ Manhattan's, Moncton, NB (all shows with Michou).

Show Alert: Phog Lounge becomes the House of Wax

It's crystal clear to us: Windsor's Phog Lounge becomes the House of Wax tonight (Fri., Nov. 18) as one of our favorite performers, Wax Mannequin, brings his unique vocals, lyrics and delivery of progressive pop/folk back to Canada's Best Live Music Venue. We love his quirky show and his fifth full-length album, Saxon (2009), even more.

Also playing:

B.A. Johnston (Hamilton). We're not sure how to describe Johnston, but we're pretty sure "conventional" won't be one of the adjectives we'd use. Check out some of his album song titles on his website.

Blues guitar wunderkind Kess Carpenter

If you can't make it to Windsor, Wax and B.A. Johnston will be at the Black Shire Pub in London tomorrow (Sat., Nov. 19).

Crissi Cochrane CD Release Party

Songbird Crissi Cochrane is set to release her new EP, Pretty Alright, this Fri., Nov. 18 at FM Lounge in Windsor. Gin and tonics will be on special, Crissi will be giving away her trademark cupcakes and there will be prizes.

Pretty Alright, the six-song follow-up to 2010's Darling, Darling, was produced by Crissi and Michou frontman Mike Hargreaves and mastered by Michou bandmate Stefan Cvetkovic.

From Crissi's CBC Radio 3 artist page:
"Opening with the daringly bold "I Won't Try To Break Your Heart" and flowing into warm and intimate songs, Pretty Alright proves Crissi is a dynamic vocalist - by turns vivaciously energetic and unassumingly sweet. The home-recorded EP emanates a warm, quiet confidence, making it the perfect complement to autumn and winter months."

Mike Hargreaves and Mary Stewart open.

Bucky Awards 2011

CBC Radio 3 presents the 6th annual BUCKY AWARDS.

The Buckys are nominated and voted on by listeners and honour the very best in Canadian independent music released during the current calendar year.

#BuckyAwards is the official hashtag.

Vote HERE for the categories below.

The bottom 2 nominees in each category will be eliminated on Friday, November 18. 
Voting will continue until midnight PT on Sunday, November 27.

  •     Best Song
  •     Most Canadian Song
  •     Best Vocals
  •     Best Live Act
  •     Best Reason To Learn French
  •     Best New Artist
  •     Best New Band Name
  •     Best Lyric
  •     Sexiest Artist
  •     Best Video

The 2011 CBC Radio 3 Bucky Awards Gala will be broadcast live on Wednesday, December 7 during Grant Lawrence Live  from 11:00am to 2:00pm PT - 2:00pm to 5:00pm ET.

Show Alert: Memoryhouse and 1/3 of a Mouse

Monday, Nov. 14

Mister Heavenly @ The Crofoot's Pike Room
w/ Mr. Dreams and Burning Ponies

Memoryhouse @ Magic Stick Lounge
w/ Indian Guides

Maybe you'd like to keep the weekend going. Maybe your weekend never got going, and you want to make up for it. For either case, we prescribe one of the two great-- and very different-- Canadian indie shows in Metro Detroit tonight, Nov. 14. You know you want to go.

Put together one member of Islands and the fabled Unicorns (Nick Thorburn), one member of Man Man (Honus Honus/Ryan Kattner) and one member of Modest Mouse and The Shins (Joe Plummer) and you get a supergroup: Mister Heavenly. You also get some super heavenly music as a result. They only had three ground rules: a) Keep it short; b) Keep it simple; and c) Keep it rooted in some semblance—harmonic, lyrical—of classic doo-wop. (from the Mister Heavenly website).

Put together a musician inspired by the neo-classical and modernist modes of the past century (Evan Abeele) and a photographer-videographer who focuses on the blurred boundaries of the moment, of memory, and of what will manifest (Denise Nouvion) and you get Memoryhouse (Guelph). "Their music seeks"-- and indeed finds-- "this blending of the contemporary with the forgotten, the traditional and the technological, the visual and the aural, within the sonographic landscapes of pop music. Listen.

Show Alert: Imaginary Cities are real

Fri., Nov. 11
Phog Lounge, Windsor
CJAM Pledge Drive, $7 minimum donation at the door

w/ Child Bite (Ferndale, Mich.) and Menos Mal (Windsor)

It's not your imagination: add Imaginary Cities to the growing list of notable bands coming out of Winnipeg. In less than a year, the duo's debut Temporary Resident (Feb. 2011) has climbed campus radio charts, landed on the Polaris Prize long list and won Pop Recording of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. If you hear a little Motown in their bright alt-pop infused with soul and R&B, it might be because vocalist Marti Sarbit used to sing in a Motown cover band; jack-of-all-instruments Rusty Matayas is an alumnus of The Waking Eyes, and also plays with The Weakerthans. A night of great music for a great cause.

catl: Looking for a London herd

catl     [kat-l] 

noun (used with a plural verb)

1. Three-piece band from Toronto described as "dirt blues", "swamp boogie" and "scuzz blues."
2. Pure floor-stomping juke-joint blues.
3. Ass-shaking, punk-influenced rock ‘n’ roll.

Photo/Alyssa Faoro

We caught part of their set opening for Elliott BROOD on New Year's Eve in Toronto. We cleared our early schedule on Day 3 of NXNE 2011 so we did not miss a note. Now London gets to experience what we have been telling people all year. Can't. Miss. catl.

catl are attempting to establish a residency at one of London's best known clubs for flat out kicking it up, Call the Office. It would behoove you to get out there this Sat., Nov. 12 and see what we and others are talking about.

 "These Torontonians’ rough-hewn scuzz-blues joints and pained acoustic laments make you wanna gulp down a 26er of Wild Turkey, sweat buckets and put your fist through something. Unhinged fun."  – Ben Rayner, Toronto Star

"...these songs sound like they were custom-built to melt your face, slap your soul, and rock your socks off." -- Vish Khanna, CBC Radio3 "Track of the Day" 1/11/11

catl ~ Russ Gordon/N2d Images
catl ~ Russ Gordon/N2D Images

Show Alert: Sloan Double Cross Detroit

XX marks the spot for veteran alt-rockers Sloan, finally playing St. Andrews Hall on Fri., Nov. 11 after an October date was rescheduled. (Galore open at 8 p.m.; Sloan go on at 9:15.) Good things really do come to those who wait, as Jay Ferguson explains in an email to their fans:

"See, I’ve always been a big fan of the live bootleg LPs that began to appear in hip underground record stores in the 1970s and into the 1980s. So, here's our very own (legal) tribute to that tradition. Packaged in a heavy duty white jacket, it comes with hand numbered, risographed wrap around outer sleeve, photocopied insert and pressed onto luminous green marbled vinyl!"--Jay Ferguson


"It" = a limited edition of 300 hand-numbered copies of Is That All I Get?: Live September 20th, 1993
originally recorded live to cassette in Winnipeg, MB. The bootleg doesn't officially go on sale until Nov. 14, but
Sloan will have a "very limited amount" of pre-sale quantities at their Detroit show. It's also the perfect time to pick up their latest album, The Double Cross.

Show Review: Great Lake Swimmers Fill The Ark

Pop quiz: What Canadian indie bands have drawn the biggest crowds out of all the shows we've attended in the Detroit area?

There's no prize for the correct answer, so we'll make it easy: the New Pornographers and Sam Roberts Band (at the Crofoot Ballroom and St. Andrews Hall, respectively; they have approximately the same capacity-- around 1,000-- so we'll call it a tie). Now, think you can guess which one of the following was the next most well-attended show (all were near sell-outs): Hot Hot Heat, Destroyer (both in the Crofoot's Pike Room, capacity 250) or Great Lake Swimmers?

We wouldn't have guessed Great Lake Swimmers (GLS) either. But nearly 375 people (venue capacity) paid to see them at The Ark in Ann Arbor on Thurs., Aug. 25. Why the great turnout? The Toronto-based GLS is a perfect fit for The Ark's folk-centric programming and they've played there before, so Ann Arbor's musically cultured community shared our appreciation-- objectivity be damned-- for a band making some of the most beautiful folk music on the planet.

It's a complete package lead singer/songwriter Tony Dekker has been refining for almost 10 years. Poetic lyrics full of evocative imagery set to gorgeous melodies, Dekker's floating tenor and a supporting score tuned to the great key from GLS' current lineup-- Eric Arnesen, Bret Higgins, Miranda Mulholland and Greg Millson. Within the 17-song set in a rare soft-seat setting for N2D, we were treated to a sampler from GLS' four LPs plus a generous preview of the follow-up, due sometime in 2012, to the Polaris short-listed Lost Channels (2009). In general we like to see bands put a little different spin on their established sound/catalog. In the case of GLS, we didn't hear any need for improvement.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images

The Train Of Thought Tour Is Rolling

Ghettosocks, Muneshine, Timbuktu and Jeff Spec have taken to the rails as VIA RAIL presents the Train Of Thought Tour.

Tour dates are posted here.

Stay tuned here as we'll continue to update the tour as it rolls along, or follow the Train Of Thought Tour band page on Facebook.


Nickelback? Really? While this Canadian living here in Metro Detroit appreciates a Canadian rock band playing at halftime, we truly believe that the NFL and the United Way could do much better.

Our intent here is not to bash nor jump on the hate wagon for Nickelback. There are plenty of folks out there willing to do that and signing the petition to find a new halftime performer.

Our message is very simple.

If you are going to bring a band from our closest and most friendly neighbouring country into Ford Field to perform at halftime, perhaps do a more thorough job of selecting the right band. There are plenty of talented Canadian bands (find many more here) that would benefit from the exposure of a nationally televised halftime show.

We have a couple of suggestions.

There's a band from Hamilton, ON (close to DET) called Arkells that are promoting their new album called Michigan Left. The title track is about Detroit. While Arkells have not sold 45 million records since their inception, I bet that the halftime crowd would appreciate the music.

If it's a "proven record seller" that the halftime
Sam Roberts Band  ~  Russ Gordon/N2D Images
producers want, why not consider the Sam Roberts Band? Here's a band that love Detroit and have played Detroit and wrote the song "Detroit '67."
From a 2009 Detroit Free Press article, Sam explains his fascination with Detroit.  "When I was a child we'd take trips in the family station wagon and pass through Detroit on the way to visit an aunt in Indiana. I was always wide-eyed whenever we came across the Ambassador Bridge. It was almost a moment of mythical transformation. One moment you're in Canada and then you see the Motor City skyline and you're in The United States of America. Your world changes completely, and Detroit was like the gateway to that for me."

The 'Keet Tweets

Follow Bob the Budgie on Twitter at
A lot of things make Bob, our parakeet/budgie (short for budgerigar), tweet, burble and chirp: the birds outside, the hair dryer, running water-- and Canadian indie music. But some songs really get him singing. Here's what Bob the Budgie likes on CBC Radio 3 this week.

Moonface: Return to the Violence of the Ocean Floor (Bob loves Moonface)

The Details: Reunion Souvenirs

Jeremy Fisher: Jolene

The Elwins: Stuck in the Middle

Show Alert: The Mark Inside, Explode When They Bloom and a prodigy

Thurs., Nov. 3 @ Phog Lounge

Don't let this show be a blip on your radar. Just because you don't see any "big" names doesn't mean this lineup isn't stacked with big talent. For $7 (that's only $1.75 per band) you'll get:

The Mark Inside (Toronto): riding on only one full-length album (Static/Crash), a couple of EPs (including their latest, False Flag) and a couple of hits ("Carousel," "Sweet Little Sister"), this bluesy alt-rock band has been leaving their mark for more than a decade on the strength of their live shows.

Explode When They Bloom: according to their Facebook page, this will be the last show for the year from this staple of the Windsor indie music scene. Get your fix of "wailing guitars, thunderous vocals, and a groovy rhythm section that won't quit" now.

Learning: the latest project from Murad Erzinclioglu ((wh)y.m.e.)            

Kess Carpenter: Stevie Ray Vaughan reincarnated as a 15-year-old girl. We heard a recording of her playing when she opened for The Pack a.d. and The Locusts Have No King a couple of weeks ago. Amazing.

Show Review: Detroit-- Fucked Up again

Stay clear of the mosh pit at a Fucked Up show and you can avoid blood or broken eyeglasses. But there's no escaping Canadian indie's version of "Reach Out and Touch Someone." No matter where you stand, lead singer Damian Abraham will bring his microphone and sweaty charisma to you. The rest of the band-- Jonah Falco, Mike Haliechuk, Sandy Miranda, Josh Zucker and Ben Cook-- hold down the fort and turn up the volume on poetry and philosophy, opera and opining, set to a score of some of the best punk rock around.

Fucked Up (Toronto)
Fri., Sep. 30 at the Magic Stick in Detroit. 
Wavves (San Diego) and Mexican Knives (Detroit) opened.

Photos: Russ Gordon/N2D Images