Sure, there are the obvious hot tickets: Neko Case, Tegan & Sara, M.I.A., King Khan & the BBQ Show, but the best thing about Canadian Music Week (aside from the fact that it's been moved from March to the much more pleasant month of May) is the opportunity to discover new acts you've never heard of or just never got around to seeing. We've done the heavy lifting for you - here are 10 under-the-radar-ish picks for CMW 2014. (See cmw.net for ticket info.)
1. NO AGE
Experimental Los Angeles punk duo signed to Sub Pop.
Hard Luck Bar (772a Dundas West), May 9, midnight, $15; and Virgin Mobile Mod Club (722 College), May 10, midnight, $20.
2. THE 6TH LETTER
Raz Fresco-collaborating Toronto emcee whose NorthernPlayalisticGetHighMuzik
Volume I mixtape is the perfect smoking soundtrack.
Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), May 8, midnight, $10.
3. KENNEDY CULT
Saxy, 80s-ish alt-pop four-piece from Peterborough.
Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Wednesday (May 7), 10 pm, $20.
4. JON BATISTE AND STAY HUMAN
Jazz-fusing four-piece whose frontman is a member of the famous New Orleans Batiste family of jazz-makers.
Horseshoe, May 8, 11 pm, $15.
Aussie-born local electro solo artist with Mouth Full Of Teeth album dropping in June.
Painted Lady (218 Ossington), Wednesday (May 7), 9 pm, $10.
Mysterious Nina Simone-, Jon Hopkins- and Brian Eno-inspired Galway girl full of ambient soul.
Czehoski (678 Queen West), Tuesday (May 6), midnight, $10; and Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre
Hotel (525 Bay), May 9, midnight, free.
7. Pkew Pkew Pkew (Gunshots)
Toronto punk rockers with ultra-sweaty shows.
Silver Dollar (486 Spadia), May 10, 10 pm, $10.
8. RED MASS
Montreal rockers. Mac DeMarco collaborators. Psych, electronic and metal mashers.
Silver Dollar (486 Spadina), May 8, 1 am, $10; and Hard Luck Bar (772 Dundas West), May 9, 11 pm, $15.
9. MARTA PACEK
Melbourne alt-country singer affiliated with Australian rock legend Mark Seymour.
Johnny Jackson (587 College), Wednesday (May 7), 10 pm, $10; and Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre Hotel (525 Bay), May 8, 12:50 am, free.
Dan Boeckner's latest electro-pop project, playing Dan Burke's prestigious triple-header slot.
Silver Dollar (486 Spadina), May 8-10, midnight, $10.
The best way to experience the fest is with a five-day, $75 festival wristband - in which case you can scrap the ticket price or cover charge. But be warned: the wristband grants you access to most shows, but you still have to wait in line if the venue is at capacity, and certain shows (Neko Case, for example) offer only limited wristband access. Plan ahead!