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

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.


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.

Give it up for Summer Lights Festival, Brandon, MB’s new music celebration

By Regina Sienra

Brandon, Manitoba, just keeps getting cooler. After a captivating edition of their long-running Folk festival – which featured a Weakerthans reunion – a new festival is coming to the city of 46,000 inhabitants. The first edition of the Summer Lights Festival is happening on Saturday, September 10th.

The lineup features the likes of Said The Whale – who will be hopefully releasing a new album before 2016 is over –, Joel Plaskett, Terra Lightfoot and Attica Riots. Other performers include Slow Leaves, Begonia, Okay Mann and  local singer Hannah Selyn. There will also be a collaborative songwriting circle featuring some of the performers.

Summer Lights Festival will be sharing venue with Brandon Folk Fest, for the event will be happening at the Keystone Centre Grounds. The festival is offering free camping, along with free, locally made, bannock and honey. Food and craft vendors will also join the event.

Advance tickets are available now for $20 for adults and $15 for students, and you can get them now through their website. Make the most of the summer and part of the country you may not be familiar with yet.

Imaginary Cities teaches us how to say good-bye – for now

By Regina Sienra and Tiffany Leeson

Imaginary Cities, the powerful band from Winnipeg, MB has announced their new – and sadly, last for the foreseeable future – EP Leftovers, which is out August 12th. . The band had been on an hiatus since the ever busy Rusty Matyas threw even more things into his schedule by producing records, joining big bands as a touring member – he just played in a Weakerthans reuion – and pursuing a degree in musical therapy.

Now, the Leftovers EP is just a break before an even longer indefinite hiatus album. The songs on it are unused cuts from their sophomore album Fall of Romance (2013). They left us with this tweet:

“Set my Heart on Fire”is the first track they’ve release as a preview to their 4 track EP and you can have a listen here:

It’s not all about the good-bye-for-now though! Marti Sarbit, the lead singer, has announced that Lanikai, her new project, will be releasing music this fall.