11 acts not to miss at Canadian Music Week

We may be nearing the end of May 2nd here but in Toronto, they’re just waking up and getting started. This week, Canadian Music Week kicks off for another year with a stellar and diverse number of artists from around the globe set to showcase in venues through the city over the next few days.

Always a melting pot for musical discovery, we take a look at a selection of at CMW-bound artists set to do their thing!



Adelaide songwriter Chris Panousakis has already been cultivating quite the following for himself in Australia, touring successfully alongside the likes of Dustin Tebbutt, Mikhael Paskalev, and Little May; his music oozes rich story telling and blues fused with delicate folk tones that makes Timberwolf such an endearing live performer. Having made a solid impact on audiences at home and abroad with his debut EP, Flux, Timberwolf comes to CMW with a brilliant live show and a mindset focused on impressing in Toronto.


May 6th | The Dakota Tavern @ 9pm
May 7th | Horseshoe Tavern @ 3:30pm
May 8th | Cameron House – Back Room @ 10pm

Photo: Emma McEvoy


Talented singer-songwriter HOWQUA heads to Toronto from Melbourne, having been capturing attention through 2015 with his honest and compelling live shows. Winner of the ‘Victorian Voice of the Year’ award at last year’s AU Review Live Music Awards, HOWQUA has been reaping in the acclaim from all corners. HOWQUA spent most of 2015 touring outside Australia and he actually made his debut international performance at CMW last year, coupled with an extensive tour through Canada. We look forward to see what he brings as he returns to a familiar stage.


May 5th | Cameron House – Back Room @ 10pm
May 6th | Supermarket @ 7.45pm



It started as a solo project by Jonathan Bates in 2010 in response to his frustrations that came with holding a band together. The LA musician became quickly hooked on the fuss free process of creating electronic music with just a computer and with minimal equipment. His latest album, Trágame Tierra, includes multiple notable guests features such as Norwegian singer/songwriter Susanne Sundfør, Dhani Harrison and 1980s pop poster-girl Debbie Gibson.

The album was written six months after the death of his father where he sought to indulge all his creative impulses to redefine himself. Moving on from darkly romantic songs that were predominantly tied together with ear-shattering walls of drums and keys his new music presents icy Scandinavian-leaning beats, near-country acoustic warmth and more live instrumentation.


May 8th | Adelaide Hall @ 11pm



Alberta Cross is the musical project of Petter Ericsson Stakee and since 2005, he and his bandmates have been winning hearts over five impressive albums (so far). Currently based in Brooklyn, Albert Cross are presenting their latest self-titled album at CMW, an album that closely reflects the journey of Stakee as an artist, as he distances himself from the distracting machinery of the record industry and starts afresh. The album is inspired by his secret late-night jams at his friend’s bar in New York City that were largely loose and lacking in structure. Their new music promises instrumentals of horns and strings that are designed to pull the listener inside and take you on an intended journey.


May 4th | Phoenix Concert Theatre @ 8pm
May 6th | Horseshoe Tavern @ 9pm



The five member electronic, folk and pop band from the US only started making music together in early 2013, but they have achieved success on various music charts quickly. Their first album Young climbed to #13 on the iTunes singer/songwriter chart. Their second album Until I Live also earned spots on the iTunes’ Pop Chart and Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart. Just this year, their lead single “Monsters of the North” was announced as a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition for both the AAA and Unsigned Only categories. The National Parks are no strangers to impressing live crowds having played in 50+ cities in 17 different states.


May 4th | The Dakota Tavern @ 1am

Photo: Mike Classof
Photo: Mike Classof


The UK indie rock band have just released their self titled debut EP that features 5 tracks of the kind sugar coated guitar pop songs that feel equally at home in a 1950s disco as they do at a present day house party. It is definitely a sound that injects fun to the atmosphere. The EP was produced in part in London by Dreamtrak (Foals, Swim Deep, Cymbals) and also at Tuff Gong in Jamaica with the legendary Sly And Robbie. The Magic Gang have toured the UK with acts such as Wolf Alice and Courtney Barnett, but it will be their first time performing in Canada.


May 4th | The 300 Club @ 10pm
May 5th | Handlebar @ 1am
May 6th | The 300 Club @ 11pm

Photo: Eric Roberts
Photo: Eric Roberts


The Winnipeg duo are bringing some shoegaze-y goodness to CMW this year. Their debut record Circles & Lines have drawn comparisons to the likes of Slowdive and Beach House, though from the music Claire Bones and Lizzy Burt‘s material comes a unique brand of music simply licked with influences of the above. Talented songwriters, masterful guitarists and musicians showcasing a great ability for arrangement and constructing soundscapes enticing you to get lost in, Basic Nature are anything but what their name may suggest.


May 5th | Smiling Buddha @ 8pm

Photo: Damien Melchiori
Photo: Damien Melchiori


The Melbourne five-piece have been smashing through the local scene with a dynamic and arresting live presence and with their Below Empty & Westward Bound record, they’ve established themselves as ones to watch. Aggressive, melodic and chaotic all that the same time, DARTS have struck upon a formula for songwriting and live performance that is working extremely well for them; it will be interesting and exciting to see how they go introducing themselves to the Canadian audiences!


May 4th | Bovine Sex Club @ 11pm
May 5th | The Great Hall @ 8pm
May 7th | Horseshoe Tavern @ 1.15pm
May 7th | The Garrison @ 3pm
May 7th | Smiling Buddha @ 9pm



Bonnie Wandgarden is one of my new favourite ladies in this game called rock and roll. Banding together with four other ferociously talented psych-rockers, Death Valley Girls come packing some serious heat. Coming out of California, the band oozes some old school rock grit with glimmers of shine reflective of their environment now. The band has been continuing to form their live shows over the last few years and we can’t wait to see them eventually Down Under. For now though, CMW awaits…


May 6th | Phoenix Concert Theatre @ 10.10pm
May 7th | Hard Luck Bar @ 11pm



South London’s Fat White Family will be out our way for Splendour this year (along with some hotly anticipated headline shows), introducing themselves to Aussie fans with their impressive sophomore album, Songs For Our Mothers. They’re bold, brash and unashamedly confrontational with their music – we love it.


May 6th | Lee’s Palace @ 12am
May 7th | Velvet Underground @ 12am

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Maillot has over a decade of performing experience behind her and her talent shines on record too. Her debut EP Just Another Girl dropped in 2012 and after spending the next few years continuously performing and refining her craft off the road songwriting, Maillot has formed her much anticipated sophomore release in Time, due out next month.


May 2nd | Cameron House – Back Room @ 9pm

Find out more about Canadian Music Week HERE.

Article contributions by Sosefina Fuamoli.


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