November 6th, 2013
Arcade Fire's highly anticipated album, Reflektor, is dramatic and reinvents what we have come to expect from the band.
Some will be hate it and some will love it, we are amongst the latter. It’s our favourite sounds from the band since its debut in 2004. They had a lot to live up to after their 2010 Grammy-winning album The Suburbs and with its dance-rock vibe and songs like Here Comes the Night Time and Joan of Arc, we think they managed to do it.
Basically, it rocks our world. —Sara Samson
$11.99 on iTunes.
September 12th, 2013
Dolly Parton and dive bars: Music City can convert any city girl into a bona fide honky tonk woman.
If you’ve been watching ABC’s Nashville then you might recognize the Hutton Hotel. Frequently featured on the show, this boutique hotel is a luxurious place to rest your head after a busy day breaking in your new cowboy boots. Both eco and dog friendly, the Hutton Hotel is packed with country glam; practice your best Carrie Underwood impression under the rain shower and then dash the 10 minutes down to Broadway for some good time honky-tonk. 1808 West End Ave., Nashville, www.huttonhotel.com
Live life like a country song with a trip out to The Loveless Cafe. It has the down home, Southern cooking you’ve been looking for, complete with a plate full of biscuits and homemade jams to start. Breakfast is served all day in case you were out all night boot stompin’, or gather your friends for a family style meal anytime. While you wait for your table, pop into the Hams & Jams Country Market for a delicious cup of coffee on the house. Now, that’s Southern hospitality. 8400 Tennesse Hwy, Nashville, www.lovelesscafe.com
No trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Go beyond the exhibits and buy a museum membership to gain access to the Poets and Prophets and Nashville Cats series, honouring the songwriters and session musicians who have helped create today’s country superstars. These behind-the-scenes looks will give you the inside scoop (and gossip!) on country royalty. But don’t forget to add on a side trip to the RCA Studio B where Dolly Parton first recorded “I Will Always Love You.” Because when it comes to country music, Dolly knows best. 222 Fifth Ave. S, Nashville, http://countrymusichalloffame.org
While major acts roll through Nashville on a daily basis, it’s the up and comers that truly make Nashville a music city. Cause A Scene Music is the place to catch a glimpse of stars on the rise. Check their schedule for house concerts featuring hot new bands and singers. Mingle with them afterward and find out what their song really meant. As a bonus, you’ll get to see some stellar music venues a little off the tourist radar. www.causeascenemusic.com
April 24th, 2013
Sometimes it's Britney and sometimes it's indie - our music taste really runs the gamut.
And sometimes, we just want some good tunes to wind down to. Calgary's Boreal Sons aptly-named latest album Bedtime Briar has the perfect combination of four songs that drifting off a little more melodic.
Sweet dreams guaranteed. —Kait Kucy
Boreal Sons, www.borealsons.com
April 4th, 2013
Jurassic 5 will be bring the nostalgia, Phoenix will bring their new album, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will bring, one can only hope, socks. What will you bring to Coachella? A playlist made up of these five favourites.
Theirs is the kind of 1980’s-influenced music Sofia Coppola would put on a soundtrack. And speaking of stars, their video for Paradise features Michelle Williams. www.myspace.com/wildnothing
For something even more laid-back, this British singer-songwriter’s guitar-heavy sound is perfect for backyard BBQs. www.benhowardmusic.co.uk
This Canadian duo is beloved by critics. And for good reason. They’re like a more relaxed, more listenable Crystal Castles. http://purityringsongs.com
The Vancouver native’s album topped many “best of” lists last year. If you haven’t yet been playing pop-y synth-y Visions on repeat, now’s the perfect time to start.
PS: Our Vancouver editor Anya Georgijevic will be blogging, tweeting and instagramming her way through the first weekend of the festival. Watch this space for all the denim cut-offs you can handle.
October 23rd, 2012
Prairie boy Andy Shauf clears away the cobwebs of autumn with his crisp clear voice showcased on his shiny new album, The Bearer of Bad News, debuting early November.
Exemplary instrumentation and musicianship collide to create a mellow and somber collection of melodies that speak volumes about Shauf’s vision and creativity as a songwriter.
The piano and clarinet infused with Shauf’s daydreamy voice in Drink My Rivers is absolutely breathtaking – expect to put this song on repeat. In fact, expect to put the whole album on repeat as you head out on a mountain roadtrip this winter. —Kait Kucy
Catch Shauf on November 7 in Calgary at The Lantern Church in Inglewood. $12 at the door, www.andyshauf.com
September 14th, 2012
The former bass player of one of the 1980s most popular indie bands, The Smiths is making his Calgary DJ debut this Sunday at one of Calgary’s best rock haunts, The Republik.
Get a taste of what Andy Rourke is listening to these days via his NYC radio show Jetlag (listen live here) and get your dancing shoes ready for a night on the floor as he spins live along with several local deejays.
Just leave the legwarmers at home this time. —Kait Kucy
Tickets $19.95, The Republik, 219 17th Ave SW, Calgary, www.primeboxoffice.com
July 23rd, 2012
It is that time of year again; the running of the tarps, the amazing food and the main event - sweet, sweet folk music. Our top-three must see acts of the festival:
Justin Townes Earle (July 26, 3:20 p.m., 6:30 p.m.)
Son of the legendary Steve Earle and a bona fide Tennessee native, his modern take on traditional roots and blues will keep your toes tapping in the fresh green grass.
Beirut (July 29, 7:35 p.m.)
The eclectic layers of the multi-instrumental act bring forth romantic images of being whisked through a dark Paris side street and leisurely picnics along the Spanish Riviera. The mixture of accordion, piano and strings ultimately creates a beautiful composition of daydreamy Euro-Baroque tunes.
Chris Isaak (july 26, 8:50 p.m.)
The king of crooning will be taking over the stage on Thursday evening in his flashy embroidered suits. Singing ballads from his recent release of Sun Studio covers and the heartfelt classics that made us fall in love with him in the first place, Chris Isaak will be kicking off the festival in the best way possible.
July 26-29, Calgary Fold Music Festival, 414 Memorial Dr. NE., Calgary, 403-233-0904, www.calgaryfolkfest.com
June 12th, 2012
Time to pump up the volume: summer concert season has arrived! Here’s 5 Sled Island acts we’ll be watching.
The Antlers: Hailing from NY, NY Peter Silberman and his band will have you swaying and swooning with their mesmerizing synth folk-pop sound.
Oh No! Yoko: You've probably never heard anything quite like Oh No! Yoko and that is a good thing. With two shows during the fest, their fresh modern surf pop will keep you dancing all night long.
The Evaporators: Fans of MuchMusic will recognize Nardwuar the Human Serviette rocking out as frontman. The Evaporators are just one big happy punk rock party. Expect high energy and hilarious lyrics.
Camp Radio: You won't be able to get enough of Camp Radio's upbeat power pop melodies - thankfully they are playing three shows throughout the festival.
Hooded Fang: Adorable in every way, Hooded Fang is a retro-inspired garage rock band from Toronto guaranteed to get you up to the front and doing the twist. —Kait Kucy
Full line up available online. Sled Island, www.sledisland.com
May 9th, 2012
You know that feeling you get when a great song kicks in as the credits roll at the end of a movie? That satisfying swell of energy that makes you want to go forth and do something fun.
That’s the feeling that comes from the songs of The Heartwicks. The indie band recently released three songs on its Black EP with fist pumping classic rock tunes.
These are cruising tunes. Roll down your window, turn up the volume and drive down the open Alberta roads with The Heartwicks providing your soundtrack. —Jaelyn Molyneux
April 26th, 2012
Some people do it all. Take Leonard Cohen, for example. He’s a Canadian icon, poet, artist, novelist, music and singer-songwriter, and writer of “Hallelujah” perhaps the most covered Canadian song of all time.
He’s also a visual artist. The Art of Leonard Cohen is on display at Axis Contemporary Art in the gallery’s new location on the second floor of Art Central. Cohen’s images collected from 40 years archival drawings and journals have been reproduced on watercolour paper with each of the 100 editions stamped with a personal seal by Cohen himself.
Behold a slice of Canadiana. —Jaelyn Molyneux
Til May 14, Axis Contemporary Art, 203, 100 7 Ave. S.W., Calgary, 403-262-3356, www.axisart.ca