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Polaris Prize announces performers for the 2016 Gala

By Regina Sienra

The Polaris Music Prize has announced both the performers and the members of the Grand Jury for its 2016 edition. Seven out of the ten shortlist nominees will play at the gala, which will take place on Monday, September 19 at The Carlu in Toronto.

Andy Shauf, Black Mountain, Basia Bulat, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessy Lanza, U.S. Girls and White Lung will perform that night. Grimes and Kaytranada, who are also shortlist nominees, will be attending. PUP won’t be part of the ceremony because they will be on a month-long European tour. The Toronto band has a show in Austria that day.

The members of Grand Jury – which will be voting for the 2016 Polaris Prize winner on the night of the gala – are:

Adrien Begrand (freelance)
Lisa Christiansen (CBC Radio One – Vancouver)
Del Cowie (CBC Music)
Howard Druckman (SOCAN Words & Music)
Lana Gay (Indie 88)
Carla Gillis (NOW Magazine)
Andrew King (Canadian Musician)
Lisa Lagace (Turn The Record Over)
Trevor Risk (Ion Magazine)
Joni Sadler (CKUT)
Fateema Sayani (Ottawa Magazine).

Limited balcony tickets to the gala are available on Ticketfly.

polaris short

Are you tuning in to the Polaris Prize gala on September? Who are you rooting for? What songs are you hoping to hear that night? Let us know in the comments.

John K. Samson is back with a new record – and some old pals

By Regina Sienra

John K. Samson will be back this October with an album that may feature more Weakerthans’ sounds than we had hoped for. Winter Wheat, Samson’s second solo album, is coming out on October 21st. The album will feature The Weakerthans’ drummer Jason Tait –who also co-produces the album alongside musician Christine Fellows, Samson’s partner– and bassist Greg Smith.

“Strangely, this album is technically more like a Weakerthans record than my first solo album”, Samson said to A.V. Club. “But in other ways it feels very different. It is a bit of a sprawler at 15 songs, which is unusual for me, and is mostly acoustic and spare, and was recorded in home studios over a really long Winnipeg winter.”

Both Tait and Smith joined John K. Samson on stage at Brandon Folk Fest in late July. There, the Weakerthans’ singer performed some new songs that will appear on Winter Wheat.


The title for Samson’s second solo album comes from a song inspired by Miriam Toews’ A Complicated Kindness and was created for an event called “Torn From the Pages”, which took place on May 2015.

A.V Club is also premiering “Postdoc Blues”, first single from Winter Wheat. In this song, Samson explores how technology is altering the way we interpret the world. You can pre-order the album here.

UPDATE: The Winter Wheat track listing has been announced as well:

1. Select All Delete
2. Postdoc Blues
3. Winter Wheat
4. Requests
5. Oldest Oak at Brookside
6. Capital
7. 17th Street Treatment Centre
8. Vampire Alberta Blues
9. Carrie Ends the Call
10. Fellow Traveller
11. Quiz Night at Looky Lou’s
12. Alpha Adept
13. Prayer for Ruby Elm
14. VPW 13 Blues
15. Virtute at Rest

Who are you calling a loner? An Op-Ed From A Guy Who Is Definitely Not an Ed.

By Tom Westoll

I don’t know how you consume the majority of your music, but I have been appreciating albums on vinyl as the main staple in my musical diet for about the last two years. The reason that I have renewed my interest in albums is in the experience. Listening to the whole thing from start to finish – honestly, what better way is there to actively listen to an album, than on vinyl?

For me, my preferred way to support artists I like is to buy their record. I barely go to shows these days. Why? Dunno.

I do know that I love listening to records though, and I love supporting the things I like. And one of the things I like is music made by fellow Canucks. It gives me a sense of pride, I don’t know why though. Perhaps it’s the same gene that makes me choke back a tear when I’m watching Hockey Night In Canada and the Timbits commercial with Sidney Crosby in it comes on.

I’ve got records by The Sheepdogs, Lisa Leblanc, Chixdiggit, The Crooked Brothers, The Sunparlour Players, Arcade Fire, The Creeps, Cold Warps, Doug & The Slugs, Michael Rault and of course BA Johnston, to name just a handful of Canadian albums, that I have and were not made by a guy named Neil Young. I listen to them all the time. I’m always on the lookout for more that will compliment my collection.

Which is the other reason I am thoroughly enjoying the Vinyl Renaissance. I love the experience (there’s that word again) of being at record stores and flipping through albums. I started this habit of frequenting record stores as a young teen, although in my small hometown, aside from the pawn shops, there were only two CD and tape stores. Going to The City was an occasion, and one that had to include two stops – the skate shop and the record store. I could pass hours at a record store. These days I max out at like, 30 minutes, but oh, what a glorious 30 minutes. Maybe I get some finds, maybe I come out empty handed. It’s the feeling of music stores that I like.

So as I scrolled through facebook today and saw the article posted by Exclaim.ca, “Vinyl Collectors Are Middle-Aged Loners, According to New Study” , I thought “Middle Aged Loner? Trend Hopping Teen? Not me!”

Then I got to thinking. Sure I own a Crossley record player, but I’m not a teen like the article suggests. Far from it. I’m also not a perpetual bachelor (I’m quite happily married, thank you) with a record collection that encompasses half an entire living room wall like one of my best friends (Love you man). So I can’t be a middle aged loner, can I?

Maybe I am, increasingly so. Which is why I’ve taken to buying records rather than going to shows for the most part. Loner is a harsh word though. I can handle middle aged (although I would love it if my mathematical middle age didn’t come for another 10-15 years). But loner? C’mon!

How do you consume music? Are you a record collector? Why do you like it in that format? Are you nostalgic or forward thinking? Live music over records? Tell us all about it in the comment section.

The Weekend Word Weave – Coffee

Welcome to the Weekend Word Weave. Each week we will put together a playlist of songs whose titles contain our theme word, which for this weeks list was “Coffee”.

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons”
T.S. Eliot

I wonder where the world would be without coffee. Asleep probably.

Shout out to the following readers and collaborators for their help:

Coffee by Arkells (Reginula)
There Might Be Coffee by Deadmau5 (DarBarSpecial)
One More Cup of Coffee by Frazey Ford (DarBarSpecial)
Second Cup of Coffee by Gordon Lightfoot (Shonica)
Coffee Girl by The Tragically Hip (DarBarSpecial)
No Coffee by Betty Bonifessi (DarBarSpecial)
Kapuskasing Coffee by Justin Rutledge (Shonica)
Coffee Soaked by Jody Glenham (Russ Gordon)
My Coffee’s Getting Cold by Sharon Gudereit (DarBarSpecial)

Honerable Mention
Mr. Coffee by Lagwagon (Tom Westoll)

Let us know in the comments below which songs with Chocolate in the title should we include in next weeks playlist, along with words you think we should try to build a list around in future.



That night in Toronto: The Tragically Hip @ Air Canada Centre. 08.10.16

By Jennifer Durley

Last night I stood in a crowd of about 20,000 people as we shouted in unison “at the hundredth meridian, where the great plains begin” like our lives depended on it. What a bunch of hosers.

Sometimes concert experiences – especially at large venue ones – are marred by the poor behaviour of other concert-goers. Not tonight. We weren’t there just for ourselves. We were there for Gord Downie. For the Tragically Hip,  a band we hold dear. For songs that have defined our Canadian experience.

We greeted the band and the opening chords of “The Luxury” with deafening cheers, but the moment Gord began to sing, we stopped to listen. Our cheers ebbed and flowed around his voice like waves. Not one word he sang or spoke would be drowned out by our noise. They were far too precious.

Sure, there were times when we all joined in to sing the anthems of our lives (“Gift Shop”, “Ahead by a Century”) – if we could manage it through the tears. And while many of us came to tears several times over the course of the night, the overall vibe was of energy and love. The source of the emanation was on stage in a shiny suit, givin’er.

I don’t proclaim to be anything more than average knowledge of the Hip’s catalogue. There were a number of songs that I couldn’t name, some that I’d forgotten about, and some I’d never heard before. But some, oh, but some that pierce the heart of me (“Flamenco” (!) “Poets”, and “Grace, Too”).

This band! This band that walked us through the valley of the shadow of death with a haunting and beautiful performance of “Wheat Kings”, and then restored our souls with “50 Mission Cap”.

This band that played their first set in tight configuration like they were on a small club stage.

This band that rocked out hard but ended the show with hugs.

This man! This man who with strength, courage, humility and an unparalleled depth of showmanship gave us a performance we’ll never forget.

This man who drank in our love and then poured it back out for us.

This man who brought poetry into our lives in a way no one else could ever have done.

Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

Check the full setlist for this show here. Have you attended any shows of the Hip’s “Man Machine Poem” tour? How many times have you seen them live? What’s the best memory you have related to them? Let us know in the comments and you’ll be featured in next Friday’s post. 

Japandroids are back on the road

By Regina Sienra

Japandroids, the loud duo from Vancouver, have been pretty much missing in action since the end of the extensive world tour for Celebration Rock (2012), their second album. Guitarist Brian King and drummer David Prowse visited over 40 countries in a span of 21 months.

Without hints of any new release, and King moving to Mexico City, things have been quiet on the Japandroids front – until now. The band just announced an international fall tour that will have a stop in Toronto and a four-night residence at The Cobalt in Vancouver.

Is this a warm up for a new release? Let’s cross our fingers. Check out the tour dates below.

10.5 – The Cobalt. Vancouver, BC
10.6 – The Cobalt. Vancouver, BC
10.7 – The Cobalt. Vancouver, BC
10.8 – The Cobalt. Vancouver, BC
10.11 – The Echo. Los Angeles, CA
10.15 – Horseshoe Tavern. Toronto, ON
10.20 – Birthdays. London, UK
10.28 – Knitting Factory. Brooklyn, NY
0.29 – Knitting Factory. Brooklyn, NY
11.25 – Caradura. Mexico City, Mexico