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

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

BreakOut West announces lineup for 2016 edition

By Regina Sienra

BreakOut West, the festival that celebrates independent music and emerging artists from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Yukon and Northwest Territories is back in Regina for its 2016 edition.

Alongside with the Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA), the 14th annual BreakOut West starts on Thursday, October 13 and runs through Sunday, October 16. Eleven venues across the city will host the shows.

Headlining this year’s lineup are Lexi Strate and Devin Morin. Rah Rah, The Matinee, The Mariachi Ghost, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, The Dead South and Mise en Scene are also part of the 2016 BreakOut West performers.

Visit the BreakOut West site for more information on the festival, wristbands and acommodation. Check out the full lineup below.


Sights of Regina Folk Fest 2016

Pictures by ShonicaR3

The 47th annual Regina Folk Fest, which took place last weekend (August 5-7,) brought a collection of marvellous musicians from across the country and beyond to the Queen City.

The lineup for the 2016 edition, included Sam Roberts Band, The Strumbellas and The Wet Secrets, among others. This festival has been a staple of the Saskatchewan arts and Canadian music for decades and this year’s edition brought further proof.

Here are some pictures of Regina Folk Fest 2016.

The Strumbellas played the Main Stage on Sunday.
Sam Roberts Band, the Saturday headliners.
The Barr Brothers opened the Main Stage on Sunday.
Frazey Ford.
Edmonton rockers The Wet Secrets played a teaser set on Friday.
Supercharged by love: Powerful voices workshop with Terra Lightfoot, Matt Epp and Twin Peaks.


Scenic Route to Alaska releases new single

By Regina Sienra

Edmonton indie folk pop band Scenic Route to Alaska have released a new song called “Coming Back”. This is also the first single from their upcoming record, Long Walk Home. The new album from will be released in late September.

“Coming Back” was produced and mixed by Howard Redekopp, who has worked with The New Pornographers, Hannah Georgas, Fast Romantics and Dear Rouge. The video for this song was directed by Edmonton photographer Cory Johnn.

Scenic Route to Alaska are songwriter Trevor Mann on guitar and vocals, Murray Wood on bass and Shea Connor on drums. The band released their debut, self-titled EP on July 2011, and have toured across Canada and Europe with Warrington, their sophomore album.

Check out the video for “Coming Back” below. The song is available for purchase on Bandcamp, and you can stream it in on Spotify.