Saturday, November 29, 2008

When Was The Last Time You Discovered Something New?

I'm not sure how well this video works as an advertisement - it hasn't compelled me to sign up for Sirius Satellite Radio - but it does have an emotional resonance that I enjoyed on its merit as a short music video. It's a breathtaking combination of music and images. It's a series of images that focus on the joy of discovery such as a newborn's birth into the world, browsing through records in a records store, and a junior high pair's first dance. The music is an instrumental snippet of a song entitled 'A Blueprint' by now defunct UK band Fear of Music. The instrumental snippet of the song in the commercial does give an impression of Coldplay though their MySpace samples speak otherwise as their music has more of a British rock swagger overall.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

The Constantines new 7" single, "Our Age" b/w "Fuckin' Up" (Neil Young cover) is out through Arts & Crafts today. It's also been confirmed that the band's appearance on the Beautiful Noise television program will air on SunTV on Christmas Eve(December 24).

Also available (digitally) through Arts & Crafts today is Feist's The Reminder: Bonus Content which features remixes and duets with Mocky and Constantines. The physical edition (ie. the original album packaged with the bonus content) will be out December 2.

Continuing the Art & Crafts theme, CHARTattack reminds us that Los Campesinos release their sophomore album, "We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed" today and taking it one step further are offering a free MP3 download of the title track.

Via Stille Post comes the news that Slim Twig and The Acorn's Rolf Klausener will take part in "View Points: Inside The Musicians Studio" at Harbourfront on Wednesday December 3, 2008 at 7 pm. It's a discussion series folks. It will be hosted by Toronto journalist and DJ, Denise Benson. Tickets are $5 at the door or available in advance online.

The following day of their intimate gig at Lee's Palace on December 4, Franz Ferdinand will drop by Edge 102.1 FM studios for a chat on December 5, time TBA.

Mark your calendars as Dan Burke's annual Jesus and Mary Chain tribute show is scheduled for December 17 at The Velvet Underground. Interested bands please check out contact details over at Stille Post. I went to this a few years back and it was fun.

According to Pollstar, Beastie Boys DJ, Mix Master Mike will be at Brant House (522 King Street West, Toronto) on January 9.

Land of Talk have announced a three-week run of dates starting January 14 in Powell’s hometown of Guelph, Ontario, and running through February 7 in Vancouver, British Columbia. They'll be in Toronto for a show at Horseshoe Tavern on January 15 with openers Zeroes and Little Scream.

Glass Candy return to Toronto at Wrongbar on January 23, tickets $15.00. Via Soundscapes. Show or DJ gig? Anyone?

NME ponders why there are so few good Strokes cover version, although are own Basia Bulat (and her rendition of "Someday") does make their shortlist.

If I do ever make it to Halifax, I won't have a chance to visit The Marquee Club as The Coast reports that it is closing for good. A sad day for Haligonians I'm sure. I wonder if Sloan will make it back before then. As a nod to the venue, check out the following:

Video: Sloan - The Marquee And The Moon - Live @ The Troubadour, Los Angeles (Oct 1, 2008)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Everything's Gone Green

New Order - MovementOdds ands ends for this Sunday afternoon - I've been under the weather as of late and haven't felt much like going to shows in any case but that'll change in December.

So I got all excited about the recent New Order Factory-era double-disc reissues and picked up 4 of the 5 albums (with "Technique" the only one I haven't decided on) but it does come as a surprise about the print errors and audio glitches that diehard fans have found throughout them. There's a message board thread that details the 300 errors and counting fans have so far found and while I've only had a chance to listen to the bonus disc of "Movement" (I love the 7" mix of 'Temptation' btw) I haven't perceived the audio pops that the message board thread indicates on some songs (but then I'm listening to the CD through crappy computer speakers). Pitchfork reports that that the grievances have reached back to the New Order camp, both the band and the record labels (Rhino and Warner Bros. UK), and that they're now in the process of correcting the problems, so for the moment hold on to those CD's until that time that a replacement procedure is in effect. Or as the Pitchfork writer writes, perhaps these inferior versions might become ultra-rare and be worth something someday.

Matt Pond PA has been MIA recently but recently have announced they'll be releasing a free EP(digital?) next week cheekily entitled "The Freeep". They've also recorded a song for the Guilt By Association Vol. 2 Compilation - it's a cover of My Chemical Romance's 'I'm Not Okay' - the song is available now on iTunes and the physical CD will be released February 17; you can also stream the song here. Via Alternative Press.

Grab a free digital 7-song sampler of Mint Records artists over at eMusic (registration required). Via Mint Records.

Good-bye to Hannah Simone (as she leaves for greener pastures), probably my favourite of all the MuchMusic on-air personalities right now if only because she hosted The NewMusic.

Tickets just in at Soundscapes for the two-night D'Urbervilles stint at Tiger Bar on December 12 and 13, tickets $8. Rounding off the bill the first night will be Katie Stelmanis and Mantler with Bocce and Slow Hand Motem rounding off the second night.

A little Broken Social Scene-ster action takes over The Dakota Tavern in December with Jason Collett setting up a residency(dubbed a Basement Revue) on December 2, 16, 23, and 30. Kevin Drew takes his turn once(lazy bum) on December 9. Tickets for each show are $15, via Soundscapes.

Opening for many of Lykke Li's upcoming dates (including the Feb 6/09 date at the Phoenix in Toronto) will be fellow Swedes Wildbirds & Peacedrums. Via The Windish Agency.

And just a few words regarding the print format - anyone know why the winter edition of Magnet Magazine isn't out yet? Also the most recent print issue(Dec 2008) of Spin has a good interview and history of Echo and The Bunnymen that does indicate the band's working on a new album. I've been delving into their back catalogue with more interest and am wondering if their later output is any good ("Evergreen" & "Siberia" I've read are decent).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Lakes Of Alberta

Who knew that Tokyo Police Club keyboardist Graham Wright had his own solo material? Ok I didn't, and maybe you did. Chartattack reports that Mr. Wright's released his solo debut "The Lakes Of Alberta" EP today; you can stream it or download a lower quality MP3 version of the album for free over at his website - for $5 you can also download a higher quality version of the album in various audio formats. TPC fans might be taken back by the acoustic folkiness of his solo material but I like it enough; if TPC's US label Saddle Creek releases this I won't be surprised. TPC play some Canadian dates in December including the Jingle Bell Rock tour at Sound Academy on December 12 and 13.

Hopefully, those of you going to one or both of the Broken Social Scene [oh, I just noticed their new URL not-to-mention their revamped website] shows at Sound Academy November 27 and 28 stop off at that Loblaw's on Queen Quay on the way to the show as the band will be accepting non-perishable food donations on behalf of the Daily Bread Food Bank. [via Pitchfork]

According to Pollstar it seems like Thornley is one of the bands playing the Horseshoe Tavern on December 5 as part of venue's 61st Birthday. Oh, way to burst my bubble.

Femi Kuti brings Afro-beat to The Opera House on January 15.

Annuals with Jessica Lea Mayfield and What Laura Says Thinks and Feels play the El Mocambo on January 24.

The red-hot Lykke Li will be back in Toronto for a show at Phoenix Concert Theatre on February 2.

Thievery Corporation move on up from their usual Toronto digs at The Opera House for a show at Kool Haus on February 21. They will be promoting their recently released 5th album "Radio Retaliation". Via Beggars Group Canada

As I've been reeling about the recent New Order reissues (I picked up "Movement", "Power Corruption, and Lies", and "Brotherhood" last week), it's also exciting to hear about the Factory Records 30th Anniversary boxset coming out. Rhino Records will be releasing this 4-disc / 63-tracks set and it's suppose to come out January 12 in the UK. Domestic release? Full details over at Pitchfork

Belle and Sebastian's "The BBC Sessions" (single and double-disc versions) is out today - full CD listening party over at Spinner this week. Hear a brief interview with Steve and Chris reminiscing about their trips to Manchester and London. No forseeable new album so "The BBC Sessions" will have to tide us over for now. Perhaps they'll release a surprise Christmas single like they did last year?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Human Giant

Toronto's Blue Peter play their last show ever November 27 at Tattoo Rock Parlour, tickets $15. Openers are Slave To The Square.

An unknown entity to me until a day or two ago, Niagara-On-The-Lake roots band The Done Me Wrongs will be opening for Stars at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on December 13.

Human Highway (Jim Guthrie and Nick Thorburn) take to the stage at Tranzac on December 16 to promote their debut album "Moody Motorcycle" out on Suicide Squeeze, advance tickets onsale now for $10, $12 at the door. Further info at Stille Post. Also on the bill are The Magic (couldn't find a hyperlink for them). Look forward for a music video for the band's first single "The Sound" by the end of the year.

According to Brooklyn Vegan , MTV "Human Giant" comedian Aziz Ansari is taking his "Glow In The Dark" comedy tour on the road making what I presume is a rare stop in Toronto for a date at The Mod Club on January 30 in the new year.

Cut Copy are back in T.O. for a show a Circa on March 20 of '09 with openers Matt & Kim and is also suppose to feature a "special surprise DJ". Via Pitchfork.

Courtesy of Stereogum, for a limited time only, you can purchase Guided By Voices' "Bee Thousand" in MP3 format for only $3.99 US through Essential. PS. President Elect Barack Obama posts a comment at the Stereogum link above about 8 or 9 comments down. ...Ok, it's not Obama, but it was funny reading it. Update: Ok, MP3 downloads through only available to US residents apparently(according to J.S. in the comments). Everyone else can go screw themselves...well that's how I interpret it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The 500

The Pitchfork 500 (book)Out today in book stores is "The Pitchfork 500: Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present" which compiles Pitchfork staff's 500 favorite songs from 1977-2006. I'm looking forward to reading the individual commentaries although if you'd like to take a gander at the list From Closer To Near has it up [via It's Not The Band I Hate...]. Along this line I'd also highly recommend a few books by Garry Mulholland - "This Is Uncool: The 500 Greatest Singles Since Punk And Disco" and it's follow-up "Fear Of Music: The Greatest 261 Albums Since Punk And Disco", both interesting reads. I've barely scraped the surface of both books actually but what I've read is great. I just found a used hardcover mint copy of "Fear Of Music" recently and I picked up a copy of "This Is Uncool" earlier this year at Chapters for about $6.99 (I think Chapters might still have it but otherwise keep your eyes out for it anyway).

I got an e-mail that Eagles of Death Metal poster boys Jesse “Boots Electric” Hughes and Joshua “Babyduck” Homme will be at The Bovine this Wednesday night for a DJ set. No cover charge, although I won't guarantee no line-up.

A reminder that the first annual Toronto Nu Jazz Festival goes down November 13 to 15 with shows at Revival, Supermarket and The Opera House. Check out the promo video. It kicks off with UK's The Herbaliser at Revival on November 13, tickets $18 in advance or $25 at the door. Check out the rest of the schedule and ticket info at the link above.

If the temperature isn't already an indication that winter is just about upon us, then well there's no going back now that the City of Toronto's confirmed a couple of their winter Special Events schedules. The Calvacade Of Lights takes place November 29 to December 31 with it going city-wide this year with lighting displays in twenty neighbourhoods and tourist attractions. The Opening Celebration takes place November 29 at Nathan Phillips with a holiday concert that features several performers including Serena Ryder. In the new year from January 30 to February 12 is the annual WinterCity Festival, music-wise which will feature a few free concerts at Nathan Phillips Square - Thunderheist and Shad on January 31 and The Stills on February 7.

Gentlemen Reg will be opening for Stars on December 12 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Parkdale troubadour Justin Rutledge will embark on his "Incredible Shrinking Tour in promotion of his new album "Man Descending". He'll be touring opener Jenn Grant for a few Ontario dates (Waterloo, Hamilton, Kingston) before heading west, then will swing back to Ontario at the end of the month for shows in Guelph and and Peterborough before ending this second Ontario leg with 5 dates in Toronto at "...decreasing capacity venues across the city, starting at the Horseshoe Tavern, then moving to Hugh’s Room, the Dakota Tavern, the Cameron House, and culminating in a final night at the diminutive Not My Dog..." in Parkdale. Toronto dates take place from November 28 to December 2 respectively. Full details including openers for each night at Six Shooter Records.

American Laundromat Records drops an indie feast of Cure-loving goodness with a 16-track CD titled "JUST LIKE HEAVEN - A TRIBUTE TO THE CURE!" being released in the new year on January 27. You can preview tracks over at the label website by launching their radio player. Participating artists' comments can be read here.

And please take a moment of silence at 11 am to recognize our armed forces and fallen soldiers this Remembrance Day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lucid Dreams

Franz FerdinandBy now common knowledge to most (I posted the news at Stille Post over the weekend), Franz Ferdinand will be playing an intimate show at Lee's Palace on December 4. Tickets are onsale November 13 at 10 am through Ticketmaster only, tickets $25. I'll be at the Neil Young and Wilco show at the Air Canada Centre that night. As Chromewaves hypothesizes there should hopefully be some 'proper' North American tour dates in the not-too-distant future - 'proper' meaning the band likely playing a big-ass venue like Kool Haus or God-forbid Sound Academy or Ricoh Coliseum. Shudder. The band's new single "Lucid Dreams", to appear on their forthcoming album "Tonight: Franz Ferdinand" can be heard/downloaded over at the band's website.

Coming up quickly, Casiotone For The Painfully Alone will be playing a show in Toronto on November 15 at 6 Nassau (a venue in Kensington Market). Via Stille Post]

As part of the 2K Sports Presents The Bounce Tour, Q-Tip and The Cool Kids will be at the Phoenix on December 5. Tickets $24.50. [via REMG]

The Russian Futurists have been confirmed to open for Stars for their December 11 show at Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Tropics have been added to the bill at the Horseshoe Tavern on December 11 with the previously announced Love Is All and Crystal Stilts(man, I swoon every time I hear "Shattered Shine"). [via Against The Grain] On a side note, as Brooklyn Vegan points out, Love Is All 's new album "A Hundred Things Keep me Up At Night" will be released November 18 (no longer November 11) through What's Your Rupture and you can listen to the new Love Is All album plus watch Halloween-themed videos for each song over at What's Your Rupture's YouTube Page.

Though still unconfirmed there's a few dates at the Horseshoe Tavern I'll be keeping my eye on. November 25 will be the 15th Anniversary of The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite. December 5 and 6 will celebrate the venue's 61st birthday - details are to be announced this Friday November 14. The venue website promises a few 'special guests' on November 25 while if last year's celebrations were any indication, hopefully the venue's birthday celebrations this year will be decent if not outstanding.

What has recently been confirmed for the Horseshoe include a visit from German-Danish indie rockers 18th Dye on December 2(part of the no-cover Nu Music Nite) - I remember reading about them a while back with their Matador-released "A Tribute To A Bus" though I never really got around listening to them much but I like the alternately spacious and crunchy guitar indie rock I hear over at their MySpace. The Skydiggers bring their down-home country rock to the Horseshoe for their annual Christmas shows on December 19 and 20, tickets $25.00 onsale today. As usual, The Sadies ring in the new year on December 31 with their annual New Year's Eve show at the Horseshoe, tickets $20.00.

Up the street from the Horseshoe, Elliott Brood will ring in the new year on December 31 at Lee's Palace.

Everyone's favourite hardcore-concertgoing / indie-listing / music blogger Jennifer Polk is profiled over at BlogTO.

Finally some Neko Case news as her most recent Travelogue update was on the night of the election (just prior to Obama's win) as she comments on the goodwill expressed by Canadians in the studio she was recording in cheering on Obama that night. On a purely musical note she mentions being at the end of the recording process, which means a new album sometime in the future!

Tomorrow, the double CD reissue's of New Order's "Movement", "Power, Corruption and Lies", "Low Life", "Brotherhood", and "Technique" will be in stores! Pitchfork goes to the task of reviewing them.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Yes We Can

Barack ObamaIt's been a few days now since Barack Obama became President Elect of the USA and I couldn't be happier. It's beginning to sink in and it'll be interesting to see how thinks play out over the next four years. I noticed during the broadcast of Obama's rally at Grant Park in Chicago the night of the election, after the national anthem was sung, they showed an Obama promotional video on a video screen set to The National's "Fake Empire". By and large it was only the instrumental portion of the song playing and there's no denying the hopeful and uplifting sound of the instrumentation. As I found out, the promotional video was out prior to the election, and The National played an Obama rally recently in Cincinatti. However, on another level, with the song's various meanings (in particular, it's political interpretations), lyrically it's an appropo choice when viewing the song as a denouncement of the state of the union (in the US under George W. Bush), especially the lyric "We're half-awake in a fake empire".

Video: Barack Obama rally @ Grant Park in Chicago (Nov 4, 2008) (ffwd to 2 min 10 sec)
Video: "Signs of Hope and Change" (Obama promotional video)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Fucked Up Weekend

concert review: Fucked Up, Final Fantasy, $100, Vivian Girls @ Sneaky Dee's (Toronto, Ontario), October 30, 2008

Final Fantasy @ Sneaky Dee's: photo by Michael Ligon

One of the most stacked indie rock bills took over Sneaky Dee's last Thursday night kicking off a 'Fucked Up Weekend', as you may well know was a series of shows local hardcore act Fucked Up were playing at Sneaky Dee's and a few other venues over Halloween weekend to celebrate the release of their new album "The Chemistry of Common Life" out on Matador Records. The Thursday night show at Sneaky Dee's was dubbed by some as 'indie night' to the distaste of others, but it was right up my alley. Ok, I'm an indie rock wuss. After a bit of confusion at the door trying to find my name on the prepaid list I finally got in.

While I'd already been running a little late, the confusion at the door only guaranteed that I'd missed first opener, Toronto's Katie Stelmanis' set in its entirety. There was a bit of a delay it seemed as Brooklyn's Vivian Girls worked out the kinks during their soundcheck - they would later reveal they had border troubles, I believe they didn't have their own instruments with them and were borrowing someone's instruments. Finally getting things worked out, the female trio donned their witches hats in honour of Halloween, hats which they'd picked up at Walmart, and sped through a set of garagey indiepop tunes. Reminiscent of bands like The Aislers Set (yes!), and Black Tambourine (a band whose music I've been indulging in recently), the noisy thrashy mix of bass guitar, guitar and drums was sometimes a little overwhelming, but when the ladies' pretty vocal melodies rose above the din, it was all worth it. Breaking a few guitar strings(without time to restring) could have perhaps ended the set early but the girls continued onward.

Local urban country outfit $100 kept the Halloween festivities going as they came out in face makeup made out to look like heard wounds. Playing a robust, twangy country sound perhaps the best part was vocalist/lyricist Simone Fornow. Wearing an old Van Halen band shirt, I really enjoyed Simone's twangy vocal delivery that had a particular zeal in my opinion, and although she never necessarily belted out like say Neko Case, her vocals felt very comfortable. As she'd gaze across the audience with the mic in one hand and a foot resting up on the monitor, at that moment that her eyes seemed to affix to you, you could feel her connection. The band themselves were tight and overall they were an invigorating jolt to my country music tastes which for the past year or so had been somewhat dormant.

As Mr. Owen Pallett aka Final Fantasy's last few hometown gigs have been in venues larger than Sneaky Dee's like the The Music Hall and The Great Hall, it was a real treat to catch him in the intimate confines of Sneaky Dee's. No fancy visual projections, nor band accompaniement this time, it was just Owen (wearing a Lakers jersey) on vocals, violin and looper. Playing mostly new songs from his EP "Spectrum, 14th Century" and some others, Owen's choirboy vocals and melodic, almost percussive violin arrangements were both in top form. A few minor glitches apparently and Owen did acknowledge a slip at the end of his last song with the timing of the looping track ending perhaps being a bit off. But such imperfections just added to the charm of the performance.

Maybe I should apologize now because I wasn't necessarily going to stick around for Fucked Up, although I did end up staying for their whole set. I've already established my indie-rock wussness above. I like my loud rock n' roll as much as the next person, but I'm not that keen on hardcore in particular, part of it being that the youth culture associated with it(ie. slam dancing, moshing, whatever kids are doing these days) is just something I just feel out of touch with me being in my, ahem, thirties. I was pleasantly surprised that Fucked Up! surpassed my preconceived notions of hardcore being all gutteral vocals and primitive guitar work, by adding melodies, thrilling guitar riffs and drum fills, and at times approaching an early-Clash sonic influence. Within such a sonic stew of musical mayhem, the gutteral vocals were like a punch in the face, feeling like an assault on all your senses. An intense mosh pit formed at the front of the stage at times with only a select group of brave souls choosing to infiltrate that circle while the rest of us chose to take safer ground. Did I mention I'm an indie rock wuss?

Stuart Berman has review of the show over at Eye Weekly.

MySpace: Vivian Girls
MySpace: $100
MySpace: Final Fantasy
MySpace: Fucked Up

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My Top 10 Hottest Canadian Bands/Artists of 2008

    Shad @ Virgin Festival 2008
Shad @ Virgin Festival 2008: photo by Michael LigonOnce again Matthew at I(Heart)Music has conducted his annual poll of Canadian bloggers for their top ten hottest artist/bands of the year and again I've happily participated. I found it more difficult this year to compile a list although not because of a lack of Canadian talent - on the contrary there's an abundance of talent to choose from. My definition of 'hottest' is not merely a barometer of artists' success/achievements(e.g touring, new release, record label signing) this year but also factors the connection I made to the music whether that be seeing them live or listening to their music. For example, I've been a long-time fan of Feist and there's no doubt she was probably more successful than ever this year(what with her Juno Awards sweep and appearance on Sesame Street just to name a couple of things) but overall I had more of a distant connection to her music this year. With my definition of 'hottest' established the only thing that made it difficult to compile my list was that I've been a little negligent this year in keeping up with Canadian music either in seeing live shows or checking out new releases. I could have forseen having included bands like Holy Fuck and Bruce Peninsula on my list but I'm not too familiar with either nor have I seen either of them live. In the end, I came up with ten artists that I connected to on some level this year, some already on the path to success and a few who I hope to see on next year's top ten list. My top 10 below, including commentary:

1) Shad (Myspace)
I'd been impressed with this talented London, Ontario MC since seeing him perform in 2006 at the Brigantine Room at Harbourfront, bringing the house down with his lyrical flow and freestyle. I haven't yet listened to his 2008 Polaris Music Prize-nominated album "The Old Prince", although I'm assuming it's every bit as good as his song "The Old Prince Still Lives At Home", whose Fresh Prince-inspired music video is one of the best music videos of the year. A dynamite side-stage set at this year's Virgin Festival only adds to his musical hotness this year.

2) Cadence Weapon (Myspace)
His 2008 release "Afterparty Babies" has been winning me over with each listen, an entertaining pastiche of samples, beats and Rollie's playful lyrics. Signing with US label ANTI- this past year, it's just another disappointing reminder that talented Canadian artists seem to have to be acknowledged elsewhere before their home country takes notice.

3) Katie Stelmanis (Myspace)
To quote myself regarding Katie's performance at The Great Hall in Toronto back in April (opening for Jens Lekman), "The performance was equal parts stark, dramatic vocals, approaching-on-threatening drum arrangements, and somber minor-key melodies." I also saw her perform with a full band back in April March during Canadian Music Week and likened it to a theatrical experience - full of drama and atmosphere. One of the more unique musical experiences of the year.

4) Two Hours Traffic (Myspace)
The next generation in east coast hook-filled power pop and maybe the best band to ever come out of Charlottetown, PEI. I haven't yet listened to their Polaris Music Prize-nominated album "Little Jabs" although I did pick up one of their old EP's but I was immediately hooked when they played an infectious instore set at Sonic Boom Records in Toronto during NXNE.

5) Land of Talk (Myspace)
All respect to fellow newly-signed Saddle Creek roster-mates Tokyo Police Club and Sebastian Grainger, but Land of Talk are the best of that bunch. With a new album "Some Are Lakes" finally released and vocalist Elizabeth Powell's new part-time gig as part of Broken Social Scene, things are heating up for them.

6) Final Fantasy (MySpace)
The go-to guy this year having conducted/arranged the string arrangements on the debut album of UK duo The Last Shadow Puppets, and teaming up with Swedish crooner Jens Lekman and UK psychedelic outfit The Flowers of Hell for live performances, this was in addition to his own hectic touring schedule. As a lead up to his next full-length "Heartland", he also released a couple of EP's, one ["Spectrum, 14th Century" EP] which I've heard and have found to be a worthy addition to his catalogue.

7) Great Lake Swimmers (MySpace)
They deserve a spot in the top 10 if only for the fact that they've toured like madmen throughout 2008, in Toronto alone since the summer having opened up for Robert Plant/Allison Kraus at Molson Ampitheatre, played a TIFF-related event at Yonge Dundas Square, opening for Goldfrapp at The Music Hall, and playing an intimate show at Lee's Palace just recently. A concert special they filmed last year at the Phoenix will be screening at selected Cineplex Odeon theatres starting November 5. 2008 was a good year for them.

8) Laura Barrett
Toronto kalimba-playing, whimisical-voiced musical artist Laura Barrett released her debut full-length "Victory Garden" this past September but also collobarated with Toronto turntablists iNSiDEaMiND (offering her ethereal vocals on their track "The Tiniest Spy") and continued to perform live with The Hidden Cameras (as she did during the band's homecoming performance at this year's Pride). A true underdog winning fans with every performance.

9) The Coast (MySpace)
Once purveyors of anthemic pop rock music, they've loosed the reigns with their most recent album "Expatriate" toning the atmospherics down and sounding more natural in the process. Still those melodies remain. It seems like it's been non-stop touring on this continent this year for the guys and the new year'll bring them to the UK for more tour dates and hopefully greater success.

10) Olenka and The Autumn Lovers
Barely out of the gates in terms of buzz within the indie scene, I anticipate things picking up with the release of their debut full-length coming out soon. My favourite discovery of this year's NXNE, lead vocalist Alexandra Krakus exudes a natural charm and exquisite vocal style(not to mention an interesting foray into her native Polish), breathing life into her band's gypsy-folk creations.

Update[Nov 3/08]: The rest of the vote-getters.