The Absent Sound puppet masters wield a musical arsenal creating huge dramatic worlds of sound with organic chants, colossal guitars, hypnotic off-rhythm record scratches, beats, loops, synth and organ drones. After a long hiatus it is a grand a sight to see them grace the stage once again.
Andy Shauf is known for honest, self-reflective songs, captivating lyrical works of fiction and an intimate live show. He explores unsettling stories with themes of uncertainty, curiosity and spirituality. Shauf has quickly proven why he is one of the most intriguing emerging songwriters in Canada.
Raw and abrasive Animal Lover channels an immense vitriol and energy with which they seem to attack their instruments. The squealing guitar's harsh cut and ringing harmonics are fleshed out by the band's expert dynamic. These jazz-drenched punks are one of America's finest offerings to the world of feedback and noise.
Look out for these guys because they are flying high! Squealin’ guitar tones and bristling bass crunches are complemented by pointed falsetto whispers and rollicking drums for a truly angst-filled, grandiose videogame-y experience.
Grab your Hortons and warm up for the truffle shuffle, B.A. Johnson is coming to your town to help you party down. Sweeter than Feist and more colourful than a Hamilton Ti-Cats boogie van, Johnston wants to put his Baracus in your A-Team. Fast food, ‘80s pop culture and barbarian warlords are all fair game when this waffle-lovin’ Juno-winner throws his weight around.
Largely conceived at the kitchen table, BABA YAGA is a haunting electronic project incorporating hip-hop rhythms, ambient textures and spliced vocal samples. The resulting communion, from the mind of producer Trevor Friesen, is at once deep and surprisingly danceable.
The dream of the ’90s is alive in Winnipeg. Neo-shoe-gaze duo Basic Nature featuring Lizzy Burt and Claire Bones is all sorts of dreamy - lush with washed-out guitars and groove-inducing beats carried along by a voice so drenched it appears to echo straight from your dreams
Camp David is the overtly sexual alter ego of Glass Random’s Dave Shaw. Armed with a copy of Lou Rawls’s Greatest Hits and a cheap bottle of wine, Camp David breathes strange new life into his warped brand of kitschy synth pop.
Playing music with an urgency and sophistication beyond their years, it is tempting to place bets on just how far Cannon Bros.’ talent will take them. With expert level proficiency on their instruments, compelling lyrics, catchy melodies and great songs, the sky is the limit. Think Pavement meets Yo La Tengo or early Replacements meets an edgier, less religious version of The Carpenters.
The Catamounts are a surf-rock revival band comprising Graham Epp, Grant Trippel, Andy Rudolph and Michael Henderson Castle. While relying on classic surf-rock influences to inform their delivery, tone and aesthetic, The Catamounts expand the surf-rock paradigm to explore the contemporary musical canon, often hinting at tendrils of western pop, jazz, prog, baroque and even Greek Rebetiko.
Dark, sensual and hypnotic, ambient-electro-industrial artist Cloudfight creates an all-encompassing sound that propels and caresses the organic form. Cloudfight’s newest, Kill All Humans, is a post-apocalyptic love story built on lush keyboards, industrial drumbeats and nocturnal activities.
Taking musical cues from industrial, punk and German progressive movements, Conduct expounds on the inhumane nature of existence, anxiety and the impulses behind inaction. Conduct has synthesized a unique and slanted approach to the four-piece rock outfit. They have created an angry polemic against the complacency that pervades modern life and are unafraid to stand nakedly angry for what they are confident is right.
Gold Mountain is a band and always has been. They make music to make you dance, think and love. Folk, pop and rock influences are heard through each unique musical journey.
Hana lulu creates gliding synth arrangements anchored with up-tempo rhythm and pulsing bass lines. These well-crafted pop songs feature poetic honesty and are showcased best by Hana lulu's electric live show and powerful stage presence.
With a shared love of minimal wave and synth pop music from the '80s, Holiday Monday strives to contribute to a genre with roots in home production, science fiction and disco dancing.
A refreshing dream pop chandelier, the slow unfolding solitude inside the summer, chords hanging in a warm shoegaze veil.
Gliding through lazy East Coast-inspired anti-pop gems, Human Music brings you all the sunshine-y kick-back anthems your sweet tooth can handle. Washed in the swirl of '60s style guitars these low-key, reverb-drenched numbers will have you reaching for the bong and asking the whereabouts of the next cool party.
The bludgeoning weight of KEN mode's post-hardcore sound features gouging saw-toothed guitars, technical swirling strings and whirlwind drumming. With a healthy dose of dissonant math-rock and grotesquely staggering sludge, KEN mode has been a mainstay on the local scene for years and has long since proven the legendary status of their live show.
Fronted by local celebrity Hart Koepke, Lukewarm is a psychedelic punk band descended from the astral junk orbiting our fair planet. Taking its cues directly from the mother ship, this trio attacks with chaos, poise and valour. If this is the future, beam me up.
Straight out of Saskatoon drift THE MOAS with their billowy guitar wafts, zoned vocal hosannas and highway rhythms. Sonia sings and plays guitar halfway to heaven, Chad does Fender Jaguar swerves and sways, Jeff hits the skins and rolls like thunder, Sarah drones and dreams, and Scott rides the bass strings like John Wayne rode a horse: HARD.
Micah Visser writes brutally honest songs steeped in nostalgia and late-teen confusion. Inspired by cold winters and late nights, his music is sometimes hopeful, sometimes hopeless, but always sincere.
Mise En Scene
Comprised of road-worn six-strings and broken drumsticks, Mise en Scene exudes an undeniable energy. The music is clamorous and captivating, with hints of everything from ‘60s pop and alt-country to early punk and garage rock. This duo commands attention and can instantly ensnare an idle pair of ears, dragging you to the sticky dance floors of your favourite sweaty dive bars.
Brutal winters indoors and sweet prairie summers outdoors are what mothered the beginnings of Odanah. Their guitar-driven melodies and lush harmonies remind the listener these folks can laugh, cry and sing and it’s okay to do all at once sometimes.
One of the most heavily buzzed bands of the year features Dan Boeckner, the former front man of Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs. Operators has developed a knack for impossibly crunchy, immediately dance-y electronic rock that’s not afraid to preen and sneer as it shows off. Dirty bass lines and swooning synthesizers get down and nasty as the Operators work their magic.
Tim Hoover and Curran Faris make music out of guitars and electronics. This collaboration was born out of a mutual love for intricate pop, electronic and experimental music. Together, their instrumental music creates chilly atmospheres and textured soundscapes with the formality and structure of dance and hip-hop music while incorporating the looser, more improvised sounds of noise and drone.
The Party Dress
You’ve never experienced garage rock like this before! Imagine corpses suspended from the rafters and a smorgasbord of genetic experiments gone wrong. This perfect mix of hazy carnage and sleaze-riddled beauty is as sexy and horrifying as your favourite red dress dripping in blood.
The sound of elevation throbbed into a vertical sky, Powder Blue navigate the same sonic playground as influences Spacemen 3, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Cure. Guitar rock for northern lights and dark side mantras muttered in the drowsy light, these folks know how to get you off with minimal chords played to maximum effect. Like they say, "it's a sci-fi hurricane kinda groove."
Rayannah uses loop pedals to layer her voice, breath, synths and percussion. What started with a loop pedal and hours of messing around with R&B hits grew into a drive for writing, discovering new textures and bending noise into music. Born and raised in Winnipeg, Rayannah has taken her pedals across Canada and launched her European debut in Lille and Paris, France.
Quality as a live act and commitment to the stage is unquestionable. Their talent, passion and laid-back style draw in new fans at each performance and the catchiness of their songs and intimacy of their lyrics often lead to full-blown crowd sing-a-longs. The home-style brand of rock ‘n’ roll varies from folk-tinged ballads to upbeat rockers with an occasional hard-rock scream thrown in for good measure.
Slow Leaves is the recording name of Winnipeg's Grant Davidson. He has garnered a reputation for his honest lyrics and stirring voice as well as his intimate stage performances and confessional storytelling. His country-tinged folk music is deeply rooted in the genuine and honest, rich in melody and sung from the heart of downtown.
Found in clinical studies to be emotionally stimulating to spasmatics and compulsive wankers, power-trio SLURS takes stabs at power punk, pop punk and rock 'n' roll garbage. Longtime mainstays in the local scene, this group of grown-ups are the enlightened and the ignorant - and true champions of ever evasive ding dong music.
Smoky Tiger emerges from the jungles of Winnipeg for face-melting, kitten-petting, side-splitting, nutmeg-induced genius! Formed in the cold, dark tundra, Smoky Tiger has made mere mortals tremble and the skies split asunder. Claiming to be a representative of the supernormal realms that govern all creation, the Smoky Tiger will transport you to worlds never imagined.
Born of a dragon-mother and cat-father, SMRT is a deceased alt-pop-punk/indie-black metal/art rap vocalist. A true pumpkin pie bad boy, his influences include Slayer, Thor and the episode of Archer where he drinks a bunch of melon balls really low on blood. Punk is dead, and so is he.
This is the soundtrack to your mid-life crisis. While the rest of your lifelong friends were living peaceful, comfortable lives, these boys were cross dressing and slamming Ritalin into their posterior. Their songs are loud and their shorts are short. Surprise Party is robotic psychedelia for the head banger you never were.
What do you get when you cross high-energy punk rock with influence from ‘90s pop-punk masters of the past? Triggers will do their best to show you. Formed in December 2013 and followed up with a debut release in February, these guys have had the opportunity in less than a year to grace the stage with Winnipeg's finest, and have shared bills with the likes of A Wilhelm Scream and Direct Hit.
You’re invited to Tropic Harbour, a utopian space constructed by Mark Berg for peace of mind. These bedroom pops are unabashedly dreamy: mashed earworms and mint-infused hooks blend with swooning guitar knits. The result is a levitating tincture; a distillation of a pop pantheon that runs the course from Youth Lagoon and Wild Nothing all the way to Cocteau Twins and The Beatles.
Tattooing their personality onto the music scene, Tunic wrestles and refines their angst into something haunting. In a genre not known for subtleties, they are a locomotive straight through your skull. Breaking down the polished sound of aggressive rock Tunic is raw, confrontational and loud.
Hypno-folk pioneers TWIN features David Fort's abstract, counter-rhythm songwriting that clashes in deep harmony with Moon Eye Sun’s love/hurt relationship with the violin. TWIN tells the vibrant open tales of the urban wilderness and industrial netherlands.
The Unbelievable Bargains
The Unbelievable Bargains are a trio of pals from Winnipeg. They write songs about what they know, and what they know is mostly animals and food. No metaphors here - they love good old rock 'n' roll almost as much as a good deal or a kindly dog.
A rock 'n' roll duo unlike any other, Vampires’ influences come from traveling alongside enormous glass plates found in sprawling downtowns, where scenes of entire skies can be captured in one pane. What started as a playful conversation about music and art quickly became a sincere vessel of enthusiastic and delicately written songs.
Formerly the lead singer, songwriter and guitarist of From Giants, Jaymie Friesen continues to use her musicianship and poetic storytelling to tell of beauty, brokenness and the truth of our humanity. The humility and honesty of her artistic spirit lingers long after the last chord.
The Will To Power
Emerging from the bloodied hardcore mosh pits of Winnipeg’s basements, The Will to Power blends a mix of ethereal electronic soundscapes and new wave. These newcomers to electronic music transcended the mediocre drone of dance club speakers to become champions of Winnipeg's dark wave scene.
Yes We Mystic
Yes We Mystic grabs ideas and aesthetics from all over the map and ventures to morph them into something entirely different. They take their favourite bits of folk, rock and R&B, hurl strings and mandolins together with synthesizers, pedals and samples, and come up with music that can mellow and groove, but also climb to towering, frenzied heights. Throwing opposites together creates a space; Yes We Mystic prides itself in living in such spaces.
Cheer up gloomy Gus, The Zorgs are here to provide you with high-concept slacker punk to get your heads a-boppin' and bodies a-rockin'. Formerly the Zags, The Zorgs still feature the same amount of bubble gum, post-punk and distorted guitars - as well as that cheeky sense of humour.