Yes, Sled Island is fast approaching, and it’s a madhouse of amazing talent from all over the world. But just because the best from the rest of Canada, the toast of the States, and the cream of the worldwide crop is here, it doesn’t mean you should skip any of the local folks. There’s some amazing local talent playing this year’s Sled, and here’s the quick and dirty list of everyone you ought to check out in their own backyard. (We went through the whole lineup as it shows online, and pulled out 71 local acts!)
There’s the soft house funk of Advances, the jazzy stylings of Aleem Khan, the chaotically unstructured sounds of Ancient Snake, and the indie delight that are the Astral Swans.
How about the heavy sounds of The Basement Demons (who are cooler than you were at that age), the sexy-cool “booty wave” of Beach Season, the experimental guitar from Bitter Fictions, the highly danceable punks of Blü Shorts, the crackly, crisp punk of Bog Bodies, the gleeless, glorious gloom of the Burnt Shrines, or the unfathomable sound of Burro?
Or perhaps you prefer doom metal, like Chieftain? Indie love and lovelorn songs from Child Actress? Chron Goblin‘s energetic and frenetic take on stoner rock? Electronic music like Chuurch? Or maybe the rhythmic punking of Crack Cloud?
There’s also Dream Whip, the ones who mix garage punk with sugar; Dri Hiev, who make punk even louder; Empty Heads, who sound like a mix tape after you lend it to fifty people; and The Ex-Boyfriends, who sound like a party that you’d hate to be next door to, but love to be invited to.
Or maybe your tastes run more towards the joyful indie-ness of the aptly named Feel Alright; the raw rave rhythm of Form; the softer side of experimentation that are the Friesen/Waters Duo; or the classic punk sound of Gawker?
You may have noticed that we’re going alphabetically here. These bands are from Calgary and start with the letter H: the harmonious Hermitess and her harp, as well as hip and happy HexRay.
Don’t forget your doses of ukulele and folk from L.T.Leif, group hug and harmony from Lab Coast, fun rock from the LoveWaves (formerly the Pygmies), quasi-country beats from Lucid 44, screech punk from Lunatique, and pure punk anger from Lung Cancer.
If not that, then surely the club vibe of Mark Adam, the cloudy punk feel of MASKS, the hip hop flow of MAXJULLIAN, the nostalgic synth sound of Melted Mirror, the snugly soft pop of Milk Toast, or the unsettlingly comforting hold music of the Monroeville Music Center.
Getting sick of this banter? Fine, just make time to see Night Committee do their indie thing, No River bring the alt to alt-country, former Vailhaleners Nobaby slow things down a bit, Norwegian Icebreaker get loud to make up for it, and Numenorean paint it black.
Think that’s a lot of local music? We haven’t even talked about the electronic melodies from OAKK, the audio meeting the visual courtesy of Orthicon, the darker side of punk that is PMMA, the hollow sound and full punk of Postman, the speedy popping of Pre Nup, and the apres-hardcore sway-punk of Prepared.
Resilience Under Burden Inspires eXcellence is the hip hop artist Rubix. Rusty Meeks vs Esette is a dance party. Your R&B/Soul/Rap/Jazz binge comes from Sargeant & Comrade. Post-punk + echoing vocals = Shattered. The Shiverettes still hate Stephen Harper. Sinistarr picked Calgary over Detroit to house his electronic roots. The fiercest hip hop will be Sinzere Sings. Fun music that you won’t really understand? sitstill. Sleepkit will sync their synth to your heartbeat when you watch old sci-fi/horror films. Slo Dance is more than meets the ear. The Smalltown DJs are a required part of any healthy Sled dance party. The sunniest summer band will be Sunglaciers. The Synthetiques joue de la bonne musique punk/indie.
Terminal Head is just some good old punk-vibes-in-a-garage-rock-voice. Tiny Shrine is a chance to just stand still and enjoy the music. Ultra Gash is authentic nu-nostalgia punk. Untrained Animals are catchy, even if you claim not to like electronic music.
Last but not least, you ought to go support the growls of Vaalt, the calm of Valiska, the noise of The Weir, the gloom of Witchstone, and of course, the unexpected from Yankee Yankee.