One of the biggest challenges for indie musicians is getting their music into the hands of fans and record stores, which is why there will be much rejoicing all over the country when Weird Canada's Wyrd Distro launches on February 15. The not-for-profit online store will carry physical releases and "ephemera" from emerging Canadian musicians and act as a one-stop shop for consumers and record stores. To celebrate, free parties will take place in every province and territory, and a commemorative Wyrd Distro mixtape in cassette and digital form will be available opening weekend. Keep your eye on weirdcanada.com for more details.
Baby, it's Coda inside
The club at 794 Bathurst, formerly the Annex Wreckroom, has been in flux for the last few months due to a change in management, but finally some confirmed news is trickling in. The venue is now called CODA and has been remodelled and upgraded with a powerful sound system. Footwork's previous owners are operating the space, with Art Department headlining the inaugural session on Saturday (January 18). The goal: to make CODA T.O.'s "temple of sound." codatoronto.com.
Tattoo Rocks no More
In other live music venue news, Tattoo Rock Parlour at 567 Queen West is getting a makeover of its own. Now branded Tattoo Queen West, it will see fewer rock acts blazing across its stage. Recently hired talent buyer/booker Justin Kwan instead appears to be focusing more on R&B and hip-hop. Soulful Malaysian singer/songwriter Yuna headlines on January 30; a J Dilla tribute happens February 7; Drake's guitarist, Adrian X, plays February 11; and rap supergroup Slaughterhouse headline March 25. tattooqueenwest.com.
Drake comes thru
Saturday evening, January 11, was the inaugural Drake Night at the ACC as the Raptors took on the Brooklyn Nets. And having the hip-hop megastar rooting for the team courtside was just the tip of the iceberg. Every ticket-holder was gifted a long-sleeved Raptors/OVO T-shirt on entry; Drake played announcer and introduced the players with cheeky panache (he called coach Dwane Casey "dashingly handsome"); and at half-time he joined his official DJ, Future the Prince, for a short but sweet set before giving out a couple of pairs of his brand new OVO Jordan sneakers to lucky audience members.
All that excitement sure got the fans pumped - and apparently gave the team a lift. The division leaders handily beat the Big Apple visitors 96-80.