BURNING BRIDES at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), Saturday (June 10), 1 am. $10. 416-777-1777.
Dimitri Coats, frontman for brooding garage rock metallists the Burning Brides, is coming off of a nasty divorce. Not from his beloved bassist, Melanie Campbell, whom he affectionately describes as the rock 'n' roll Bonnie to his Clyde, but from their label, V2 Records. The band's relationship with the company, which from a promotion standpoint essentially left them at the altar, was short-lived
"We're free agents now," says Coats from Los Angeles. "When you sign with a big label, they make a lot of bull-shit promises, but mostly the problem was a lack of communication."
Rather than let things get ugly in a bitter dispute, V2 wrote them a substantial kiss-off cheque, which the Brides used to record a new album, Hang Love.
Talking about his unreleased opus, Coats sounds cool and confident. Like, if the music biz were a card game, he'd be sitting on a royal flush.
"Hang Love is going to be the album that defines us and puts us on the map," says Coats boldly. "We knew we were going to have to reinvent ourselves.
"I'm proud of our last album [Leave No Ashes], but this one is cutting the fat. It's still dynamic, but the style and mood are different."
Although the Brides, with new drummer Pete "the Demon" Beeman, have yet to find a proper suitor for Hang Love, Coats isn't about to jump blindly into a relationship with whoever comes courting.
"It's like shopping for an apartment or finding a new girlfriend," he says. "We don't want to go through the same thing twice."
Cindy Archer and the Moving Target at the Cadillac Lounge (1296 Queen West), Saturday (June 10), 9 pm. $10. 416-536-7717.
She's been kickin' around the Toronto scene for years you might know her from her well-loved Duet Nights but Cindy Archer's recently released self-titled record is actually her debut. "I recorded a record with my band Bluebird about five years ago and the band broke up right at the end of that, so it's been sitting there doing nothing," says Archer.
Produced by John Critchley of 13 Engines, Archer's new record offers up eight alt-country tracks, lotsa twang and heartache.
"Even happy people like sad songs," she laughs. "I just enjoy that vibe, that feeling, especially for country music. I've got a few barn-burner, honky-tonk, sort of Loretta Lynn-y kind of songs as well."
And if the tunes are all Archer, the album still features a long list of guest artists including Dottie Cormier, Clayton Denwood and Neville Quinlan.
"I'm just so grateful to all of them for coming out and doing it. Everyone in the Toronto roots community really supports one another and lends other musicians their rhythm section."
A few of these folks will be joining her onstage as the Moving Target. Then it'll be time to tour the record.
"I'd love to go to Australia. I'm from England (as she says this the barest trace of an accent peeks through), so England's a definite possibility. I'd like to do some barn parties in smaller towns around here where someone feeds you barbecue and puts you up in a tent.
"That's my dream come true."
Rot 'n' roll
THE DEFECTORS at Bovine Sex Club (542 Queen West), Saturday (June 10), 1 am. $10. 416-504-4239.
Could it be that one of nxne's most American-style rock 'n' roll bands is coming to us from Denmark? It's true the land of Hans Chris-tian Andersen and cheese is home to five garage rockers in leather who sing about girls and parties and fast cars. Taking their cues from punk, as well as 50s rockabilly and 60s beat psychedelia and garage rock, the Defectors churn out authentic Detroit-style rock loaded with growling vocals and horror-flick Farfisa.
"Late-70s punk rock was something some of us experienced when it happened in the UK as young kids, though," says Defectors organist Martin Budde. "In the 80s underground, a mixture of all these genres began to evolve. I'm thinking of such bands as the Cramps, the Fuzztones, early Miracle Workers, Gravedigger V, Stomachmouth and so on."
And, in a rite common to all kids curious about music on the fringes, he discovered it "all right there at your local underground record shop. I guess it was the answer for a lot of youngsters to all the crap music that was on the radio in the 80s and 90s," Budde explains.
So, with rock 'n' roll glamour all over them, could you label the Defectors bad boys? "I don't think we see ourselves as bad boys in particular well, just a little," Budde laughs. "We like cigarettes, cool cars and naughty girls and to have fun.
"If that makes us bad boys, then we like it a lot!"
pop 'n' soul
KINNIE STARR at the Horseshoe (370 Queen West), Saturday (June 10 ), 10 pm. $12. 416-598-4753.
Kinnie starr is ecstatic when i suggest that her latest disc, Anything (MapleMusic), sounds tailor-made for mainstream radio success. It's a sur-prising response from a fiercely indie performer. "Man, I've been doing this for 10 years, and I'm tired!" moans the West Coast pop chameleon from a phone booth on the corner of Davie and Granville. "I've definitely been trying to write better songs with that ear-candy element that's essential for radio."
Anything's combo of power pop hooks, slacker-paced rhymes, summertime melodies (some courtesy of Tegan & Sara's Tegan Quin) and breezy beats is absolutely accessible, but if you're thinking Starr's abandoned the sludgy crunch of her earliest rap-rock experiments, relax.
"I have side projects on the go that are totally like Kyuss; I just don't have to put them on my album for Maple, know what I mean?" she says. "But fuck, crank up the amps and give me a couple of big bong hits and I'm there."
And she's still able to sneak the same socially conscious critiques into even this smooth-groove album. Alongside innocuous singles like the feel-good title track and breakup anthem La Le La La, you can hear affecting stories of her Mohawk auntie's tacit acceptance of assimilation and shout-outs to polyamory.
"I consider myself an invisible native person, because I pass as white, and as a bi person I have the same experience in the queer community, even though I hate the word "bisexual,'" she adds. "I know a lot of natives are like, "Shut the fuck up what do you know about being native?' cuz I can walk down the street and nobody can tell I'm part Mohawk. But it's wrong to assume that that gives me an investment in assimilation.
"It puts people like me in front of the gun so we can challenge the system."
THE OLD SOUL at the Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen West), Saturday (June 10), midnight. $12. 416-598-4753.
the old soul deal in an odd but exciting brand of ecstatic, over-the-top pop music. The opposite of the introverted indie rocker cliché, Luca Maoloni plays densely arranged sing-alongs that exude a reckless and unrestrained joy. The live experience amplifies the good-time vibe: a lineup that varies from five to nine members cram onstage and put on a party as if hangovers didn't exist. Synths, horns, piano, guitar, tambourine, accordion and more bounce off each other cheerfully.
That contagious energy managed to attract some major-label interest last year, which ended up with Universal agreeing to distribute their debut album, released on Maoloni's Hand of God label.
"Everyone was telling me not to do it, but I needed to find out for myself," Maoloni explains from his Toronto home. "I've been playing in bands for a while, so when something like this actually came up I had to consider it. For them, it's more of a future thing; they're not really pushing us to do anything, which is nice, and doesn't happen that often. It's actually worked out pretty good so far, although I'm not making tons of money. It just frees me up to not have to deal with a lot of bullshit."
That free time has led to 10 new songs getting recorded for what was originally going to be just an EP, which Maoloni hopes to release as a limited edition in July.
"It's sort of one of those odds-and-sods albums. Like a B-sides album from a band who don't have any A-sides. Compared to the last album, it's simpler and more song-based, but it's not a collection of outtakes or anything like that."
JF ROBITAILLE at the Art Bar (1214 Queen West), Saturday (June 10), midnight. $8. 416-531-4635.
for all the recent rumbling de picting Montreal as an indie rock utopia, the city's never been the most welcoming place for singer/songwriters sans backing band at least not anglo ones. Expat Montrealer JF Robitaille discovered that to break out in the city's English-speaking indie scene, you've either got to trick crowds or take off.
"As long as I've played music I've done solo shows with invented bands like the Social Registry that were basically just me and whoever else happened to be around," explains the Brooklyn-based thinking person's troubadour. "I used to get a lot of opening slots for larger visiting bands based on my demos, but bookers aren't thrilled at the thought of an acoustic singer/songwriter warming up for 2,000 people."
Though Robitaille has now shed his Social Registry name and rotating cast of bandmates, he's still crafting beautifully restrained, intelligent pop songs like those he's released on his long-awaited The Blood In My Body EP (out on New York label Rhythmbank Entertainment). Poetic but strikingly masculine, Robitaille's tunes land him constant comparisons to songwriting heroes like Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen (whose Famous Blue Raincoat he covers on the disc).
That's fine by him.
"I definitely want to work in the tradition of songwriting. It's my only real interest in terms of the music business. I stopped wanting to be a rock star when I was 20."
Robitaille, who's just scored a weekly residency at David Cross hangout Pianos, says the move to New York was the best choice he ever made.
"People don't support local bands in Montreal till they get the thumbs-up elsewhere. Those stories you hear, like, "Oh, I saw the Arcade Fire when they were playing for 20 people'? That tiny a crowd is consistent, even after a band gets popular."
Smell of success
Stinkmitt at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina), Saturday (June 10), 2 am. $10; and at the NXNE closing party at the El Mocambo Sunday (June 11), after 9 pm. Wristbands only. 416-777-1777.
Betti forde's enthusiasm for Stinkmitt crackles like Pop Rocks candy over the phone from home city Vancouver. She's optimistic about the hiphop trio's future their upcoming gig on San Francisco Pride's mainstage and their new record, aptly titled The Red Album (Teenage USA). "All things with Stinkmitt come from joking around. There's the White Album, the Black Album and aha! of course, we should do the Red Album! The original idea was to put together a compilation of female artists writing songs about their period. You know" rag songs."
One of the new songs on the record is called Crime Scene. "We're getting older and noticing that it just gets heavier" it's a crime scene down there!"
I'm not surprised to learn that Stinkmitt own the URL www.boysgonewild.ca.
"Male fans always want to whip it out for us," laughs Forde, telling me about an episode with an over-eager and under-endowed fan in Portland that inspired the seductive new track Fotograph.
"He comes into our dressing room and says, "Do you want to sign my dick?,' so Jenni (Craige) signed it and said, "Oh my god, it's the smallest I've ever had! I held it in my hand like it was Triscuits!'"
The new album is the first to include singer and producer Mr. Bigstuff, of Tom Green's Check The OR fame, on all tracks. Sneak-peak songs betray an older and more musically innovative Stinkmitt, but rest assured, the raunch and wit remain.
Stinkmitt's all-time fantasy tour-mate is Toronto's own symbol-turned-Bridle-Path-resident, of course. "Prince, if you're reading this, you're on the guest list!"
Twilight Hotel at Fox & Fiddle (106 John), Saturday (June 10), 10 pm. $8. 416-593-0449.
Twilight hotel's dave quanbury and Brandy Zdan are the first to admit that their relationship is in trouble. "If you look at all the husband-and-wife duos of the past 40 years, it's not looking good for us," says Zdan on the phone from her hometown of Winni-peg. "Most of the time it ends up with fighting and anger of some sort."
So far, though, their union musical and personal has been anything but rocky.
Zdan and Quanbury have been a couple (they're not married yet, but they "might as well be") for four years. They met around a campfire at the Trout Forest Music Festival in Ear Falls, Ontario.
"It was quite romantic," says Zdan with a lovesick laugh. They both came to the festival solo, but after a few songs around the campfire, they left as a duo.
It wasn't long before Zdan and Quanbury, former guitarist for popular Winnipeg rock outfit Tequila Mockingbird, realized there was more to their relationship than just romance. They started jamming together, creating rootsy, old-school country, eventually taking their twosome on the road.
Now, with Twilight Hotel's girl-boy vocals and bluesy jams in high demand (they recently wrapped up a 40-date, two-month tour across North America), they're trying to avoid the fate that has befallen so many other musical couples.
"We just incorporate new things every night and keep things interesting," says Zdan, who quickly clarifies that she's talking about her music. "We keep our egos in check, write individually and enjoy playing together. It's as simple as that."