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CMW 2016 – Editor’s Top 16

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CMW 2016 – Editor’s Top 16

Canadian Music Week is here Toronto! We’ve narrowed down our top 16 based on what we’ve seen in 2015/16. There are a few surprises, let us know what you think: Twitter and IG: @angrymusicguy @thescenemag

Check out our Electronic Artists Spotlight

Prateek Kuhan
Mon. May 2 @ 7:00pm – Fred Perry (964 Queen St W) *Free in-store
Tue. May 3 @ 11:00pm – The Paddock (178 Bathurst St)
Wed. May 4 @ 9:00pm – The Supermarket (268 Augusta Ave.)
Thur. May 5 @ 12:30pm – The Porch (250 Adelaide St. W)  *AB Co. + Planetary Group Day Party

With the release of his debut album, In Tokens & Charms in 2015, Delhi-based singer-songwriter Prateek Kuhad firmly established himself as one of the frontrunners in the Indian independent music scene, and has been quickly building buzz across the globe. Kuhad will make his Canadian debut this May in Toronto at Canadian Music Week.


Ozone Mama
Tue. May 3 @ 9:00pmpm – Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen St W)
Fri. May 6 @ 11:00pm – Cherry Cola’s (200 Bathurst St)

Ozone Mama is a guitar-powered rock and roll band from Hungary with its roots in Golden-Era classic rock. Their easy-listening rock-vibe gives a fresh facelift to the classic rock of the 60’s and 70’s. The core members of the Budapest-based four-piece met in 2005 at university and quickly formed a band based on their shared love of vintage rock. The group won the 2012 Hungarian equivalent of a Grammy ’Fonogram’ with their successful debut album ’The Starship Has Landed’. Following the critical acclaim of the album, their ’Freedom EP’ was released after a successfull Kickstarter campaign in 2013. The same year they won the Hard Rock Rising – Battle Of Bands Contest as the local finalist.

After playing at the biggest local festivals – Sziget Festival and VOLT Festival – and opening for acts like Monster Magnet (USA), Airbourne (AU) and The Darkness (UK), Ozone Mama has drawn rave reviews and a rapidly growing fan base. The band has also gained both local and international recognition due to their soulful music and electrifying live performances.


The Standstills
Wed. May 4 @ 12:00am – Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W)

What everyone already knows, is that The Standstills compose a story being brought down to its core, stripped of all inessentials and rendered as art. Like rugged, spare soulful prose, their craft is Hemmingway meets John Lee Hooker, over-driven.

What everyone doesn’t know, is unlike other bands, The Standstills actually helped the Aliens construct the pyramids!  They’ve done Absinthe with Van Gogh, they drove Robert Johnson to the crossroads, they drank wine with Jesus Christ, they fed pigeons with Nikola Tesla, and they played the roles of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong for the moon landing, which was filmed in Hollywood studios on July 24th 1969. They have been there, they have done that!


The Julian Taylor Band
Wed. May 4 @ 11:00pm – Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W)

The Julian Taylor Band is a culmination of long-lasting friendships and a collective of accomplished musicians from the GTA, all fluent in different musical cultures and in virtually every genre. With frontman Julian Taylor’s direction, the band consistently delivers soulful performances and strives to re-contextualize “soul music,” not as another genre that can be put into a box defined by racial precedent or sound requirements, but as a medium that truly speaks to the soul. Lead singer and songwriter Taylor, is of both West Indian and Native Canadian descent, born and raised in Toronto. He began his music career as a teenager, playing at open stages around town and has honed his massive skills through hard work and a passionate, tenacious attitude. The band shares his approach and the result is solid, unabashedly positive performances of soul, rock and R&B fusion – or rather, a form of modern rhythm and blues infused with rock ‘n’ roll.


Le Trouble
Wed. May 4 – @ 11:15pm – The Burdock (1184 Bloor St. W)
Sat. May 7 – @ 10:15pm – Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W)

Formed in 2012 after a fluke meeting between Quebec-born guitarist/songwriter Maxime Veilleux and charismatic Australian singer Michael Mooney at a recording studio, the quintet quickly drew the attention of U.S. based labels, premiered their debut EP “Reality Strikes” on Spin Magazine, and landed a performance slot at Osheaga Festival all within the span of a year. Following a fleeting brush with the American pop machine that would have destroyed most bands, Veilleux, Mooney alongside guitarist Bao-Khanh Nguyen, bassist Garrett Dougherty and
drummer Jesse Gnaedinger, struck a deal with like-minded Indica Records to release their debut LP.

Le Trouble is currently lining up Canadian tour dates and have been confirmed to perform at the KOI Music Festival alongside Tokyo Police Club, The Strumbellas and Sam Roberts. The band recently announced they will also perform at uber-cool Hellow Festival in Mexico featuring Flaming Lips, Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, DJ Shadow, AWOLNATION and more.


Wed. May 4 @ 12:00am – Underground Garage (365 King St. W)
Thur. May 5 @ 10:00pm – UG3 (77 Peter St.)

Since its April 14, 2015 release, Autopilot’s Desert Dreams has debuted on the National Top 50 Earshot charts, been well received by CMJ reporting stations across the USA, and spent several weeks in heavy rotation on Sirius XM’s Iceberg Radio.  The record has earned Autopilot showcases at festivals including Canadian Music Week, Indie Week, and AYE Fest, and warranted three months of touring Canada and the USA over the summer and fall.

Since 2005 this Saskatoon band has been a dedicated touring act. Autopilots has set sail all across the United States and coast to coast in Canada playing a variety of venues from small clubs to major festivals including Canadian Music Week, MoSoFest, Junofest, the Cathedral Village Arts Festival, Indie Week, and AYE Fest. Autopilot has shared the stage with notable artists including Hollerado, You Say Party!, Sylvie, David Usher, Highkicks, The Albertans and The Tontons.


Ivory Hours
Thur. May 5 – @ 1:30am – Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen St. W.)

Ivory Hours is a sassy alt-pop trio from London, Ontario. The band was formed by Luke Roes (Vocals/Guitar) in 2012 and features Chris Levesque (Bass) and Thomas Perquin (Drums).

It’s been a big year for Ivory Hours. Amidst constant touring, the London, Ontario natives hit the studio to record their debut full-length album ‘Morning Light’ – a collection of infectious pop tunes co-produced by Dan Brodbeck (The Cranberries, Dolores O’Riordan) and mastered by Joao Carvalho (Lights, Stars).

After releasing the album on June 9th 2015 the band went on to win 102.1 The Edge’s ‘Next Big Thing’, garnering their first commercial airplay for the single ‘Warpaint’. Within weeks they announced their grand prize win of the Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artist Mentorship Program. Shortly after the band announced a national tour for spring 2016.


Basic Nature
Thur. May 5 – @ 8:00pm – Smiling Buddha (961 College St.)

Basic Nature is a prairiegaze duo from Winnipeg, Manitoba. Their musical influence for their debut album Circles & Lines stems primarily from Slowdive’s album Souvlaki and have been compared to different groups including Lush, Beach House and Warpaint.


The Undivided
Thur. May 5 @ 9:00pm – The Great Hall (1087 Queen St. W)
Sat. May 7 @ 11:00pm – The Paddock (508 Queen St. W)

Driven by a desire to create the kind of noise people simply have to stand up and hear the most exciting- not to mention anthemic- rock act to emerge from South Wales in decades has arrived and not a moment too soon.

Inspired by the political, message-heavy words of fellow countrymen Manic Street Preachers, the instrumentation of Idlewild, and the penchant for melodic pop sensibilities evident in the likes of Mansun and Peace, The Undivided make music that’s impossible to ignore. Soaring guitar chords launch from atop punishing riffs, shuddering bass lines carry the rhythms forward, and sledgehammer drumbeats underpin this combination of harmony and electricity.  This will be their second appearance at CMW.


Coleman Hell
Fri. May 6 @ 6:30pm – The Grand Ballroom Sheraton Centre Toronto (123 Queen St W)

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Canada, raspy-voiced, genre-mingling dance popster Coleman Hell is a producer/singer/songwriter based in Toronto, Canada. After a stint as half of the Thunder Bay hip-hop duo Burnz N Hell with Joey Burnz in the early 2010s, he co-founded the Toronto artist collective Sideways, which also included Shan Vincent de Paul, La+ch, and Michah.

Coleman Hell has crafted a genre-defying Monster of a hit with his affecting single “2 Heads.”  The mesmerizing track slips the bonds of your standard ‘relationship’ song immediately upon first listen, wowing bloggers and electro-music fans after repeated plays as it passed the 13 million global streams milestone on Spotify and topped music aggregators Hype Machine and Indie Shuffle soon after its release.  Now, “2 Heads” pokes a hole in the denser pop stratosphere as one of the more provocative offerings of 2015; Or, as one astute reviewer pegged it – destined to be this year’s surefire ‘pop festival hit perfect for the edges of summer.’


Jeff The Brotherhood
Fri. May 6 @ 12:00am – Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen St W.)

Wasted On The Dream is the record the Orrall brothers of Nashville has been building up to since they first formed JEFF The Brotherhood in 2001. It’s a van-rocking, bong-rattling slab that authentically captures their fiery mixture of 70s hard rock, 80s punk, 90’s grunge and indelible pop melodies.

Jammed in between some well known Canadian talent at the Dine Alone records showcase, Jeff The Brotherhood will be the unknown highlight of the night.

JEFF the Brotherhood was initially due to release their second album for Warner Bros., Wasted on the Dream, on March 10, 2015. However, on February 17, 2015, the band announced that it had been dropped from the label and would instead release the album on March 24, 2015 via Infinity Cat.

The band was named one of SPIN magazine’s “must-hear acts” at 2011’s South by Southwest festival,one of SPIN magazine’s “best spring tours” of 2011and one of the “Best of What’s Next” by Paste magazine in 2010.

BBC Radio’s Zane Lowe has sung the band’s praises, calling them “super endearing garage rock” in an interview. Hypnotic Nights reached No. 1 on the CMJ Radio 200 Album Chart on August 14, 2012. The band appeared on the NPR program tiny desk, where they played a four song set.

Studio albums

I Like You (2002)
The Byzantine Empire (2005)
Castle Storm (2006)
The Boys R Back in Town (2008)
Heavy Days (2009)
We Are the Champions (2011)
Hypnotic Nights (2012) US No. 198
Wasted on the Dream (2015)
Global Chakra Rhythms (2015)


The Honest Heart Collective
Fri. May 6 @ 11:00pm – The Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Ave.)
Sat. May 7 @ 11:00pm – Rivoli (334 Queen St W)

Two brothers. A flicker of fire. An insatiable need to write together and an affinity for Irish whiskey. The Honest Heart Collective was born out of a no holds barred approach to putting the music first and a rotating cast of musicians made permanent. Decked out in denim and ripped jeans, the Thunder Bay, Ontario natives are described as “passionate, spirited, feel-good, anthemic rock music” by Grant Lawrence of CBC.


Fri. May 6 @ 9:00pm – Drake Underground (1150 Queen St W)
Sat. May 7 @ 10:00pm – Supermarket (268 Augusta Ave)

Repartee want to make you dance. In fact one publication says they can make you dance ‘without giving a f*ck about how foolish you look’ (the Muse). Repartee were formed in the summer of 2009 when Meg Warren (vocals) got tired of singing opera and decided to start making her own music. Enlisting the talents of some of Newfoundland’s greatest rock and pop musicians (guitarist Robbie Brett, drummer Nick Coultas-Clarke and keyboardist Josh Banfield), the band quickly went from the grimy bars of Newfoundland to sharing the stage with the likes of LIGHTS, Tegan and Sara, Dragonette, Arkells, and more.



Sat. May 7 @ 9:00pm – Drake Underground (1150 Queen St. W)

Rococode is the Vancouver, Canada based indie pop duo of Laura Smith and Andrew Braun. Their music weaves a lush tapestry of synths, guitars and soundscapes around duelling boy/girl vocals and heavy bass and drums.

They released their debut album Guns, Sex & Glory to much critical and press acclaim in early 2012. The record was produced by Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas) and mixed by John Congleton (St.Vincent, Polyphonic Spree). As bands do, they took to the road and spent the better part of the next 18 months touring Canada and the US in various capacities.

In October of 2015 they released Panic Attack, a five song EP including a modern take on INXS’s Never Tear Us Apart and a remix by Vancouver electro darlings HUMANS. The single quickly reached number 1 on CBC Radio 3 and saw spins on commercial radio across the country. The EP showed up on CMJ College Charts in the US and cracked the top 10 in Canadian College in the first week of 2016. They supported the release with several showcases at CMJ Music Marathon and live dates throughout Western Canada



Sat. May 7 @ -2:00m – The 300 Club (300 College St. – Formerly Rancho Relaxo)

ONFIILM is a new DIY post punk duo from Ottawa, Canada, founded by musicians Jordan Craig (vocals, guitar, violin) and Aaron Sager-Yung (guitar) in 2014. At first spin of their new, seven-minute blazing track, “Shade,” it’s not out of the realm of probability that some listeners could think they might be listening to a previously unreleased demo from Jane’s Addiction. But it’s not. It’s ONFIILM.


Sat. May 7 @ 8:00pm – The Hideout (484 Queen St W)
Sat. May 7 @ 10:00pm – Supermarket (268 Augusta Ave)

XPRIME delivers the kind of rock-pop songs you want to sing and dance to, packed in an explosive performances. Fresh off a big 2015 playing OSHEAGA, EDGEFEST and signing their first record deal, the band looks to a bright 2016 with a new album on the way. They’ve made a name and living for themselves by playing their original music and beloved classics all over Ontario, Quebec and Eastern Canada.


*BONUS (if you read this far :)*
Bad Child
Sat. May 7 @ 8:00pm – Studio Bar (824 Dundas St W)
Is this Kitchener kid the next Chet Faker?



The Scene