We’ve been picking best bets for Canadian Music Week, which is taking place at venues across Toronto until this Sunday, May 13. But why take our word for it when you can listen to their music? Check out some exclusive and one-off versions of music by artists playing the festival this week below, and while you’re at it subscribe to #NOWplaying, our ongoing playlist of fresh new music from the city.
TiKA and HMLT: GARY
Toronto R&B/pop singer TiKA and Mississauga brother artist/producers HMLT prove you can catch lightning in a bottle twice. Another team-up after the gorgeous All Day, All Night, the new collaboration GARY boasts another soulful groove that feels untethered from modern trends, and we’re premiering it here.
According to HMLT, they made the beat with TiKA in mind but never actually told her about it. She came across it in their Instagram story and contacted them right away. In the words of Kaytranada, “swing gotta recognize swing.”
“HMLT and I have a really beautiful and authentic musical relationship that I’m grateful to have found because it’s difficult to find producers who hear what you hear in your head,” says TiKA. “I’ve been leaning in a direction where I only want to create timeless and nostalgic classic sounds.”
“Whenever we collaborate, the process always feels natural and organic, allowing the music to come out that way,” HMLT agree. “Especially for this song.”
HMLT and TiKA play at the Drake Hotel at 9 and 10 pm respectively as part of CMW on Thursday, May 10. Good chance you’ll hear GARY debuted live there. More show info here, and listen to the song on your streamer of choice here.
Chippy Nonstop: Choice Mix
Another of our best bets, DJ/producer Chippy Nonstop, has a new Choice Mix that just debuted on Red Bull Radio, and it’s an hour of intense and driving techno, zwaito, house, Bollywood, batilda, reggaeton and dem bow sounds. The hour-long mix sounds like the score to a nail-biting political action thriller and starts with a news clip from BBC about people who were displaced from their homes in America (the Toronto-based artist was deported from the U.S. herself, so it makes sense she’d include it).
“I had just come back from a music festival in Mexico City and I was coming down from the high of hearing loud music for four days straight and meeting new people,” she says. “I made this mix to make that feeling come back.”
Chippy Nonstop opens for CupcakKe at the Mod Club on Thursday, May 10 at 8:45 pm. More info here.
Don’t Bother: Fuck The Rebel
Montreal punk duo the Famines have a publishing arm/record label called Pentagon Black, where they’ve been releasing “paper compilations” – a digital download code attached to artist-designed postcards – that unite DIY bands across Canada’s underground scenes. The latest, Pentagon Black Compilation No. 4, is billed as a “phone comp”: they asked 19 bands from Vancouver to Halifax to record unreleased tracks live onto their phones (no multitracks or overdubs). The 500 postcards feature original art by illustrator Lisa Czech and the only way to get one is by sending $2 and postage to thefamines.bandcamp.com/merch or from one of the bands on the comp.
Luckily for you, one of the bands, Toronto’s Don’t Bother, is playing the Pleasence X Mint CMW showcase, and they’re also one of the few that’s uploaded their song for streaming (full disclosure: the group includes NOW contributor Mark Streeter). It’s called Fuck The Rebel, and yes, it’s about Ezra Levant’s far right website. As you might expect, the raised-fist punk stomp is perfectly suited to the new-school lo-fi-ness of its recording. Listen below.
Don’t Bother kick off Pleasence/Mint’s CMW blowout at the Garrison at 5 pm on Friday, May 11. More info here.
New live videos from Casper Skulls, Begonia, Pony and more
The new “multi-faceted artist discovery platform” Audiotree North is launching at CMW, and if that sounds like 21st century jargon, these videos should give you a sense of what it’s all about. The platform is launching with six live videos shot at the Great Hall, all from Canadian artists. Of those, Toronto musicians Casper Skulls, Pony and Begonia are playing the music. Check out their videos below:
Audiotree North’s launch happens Friday, May 11 at the Horseshoe with Ought, Casper Skulls, Begonia, Pkew Pkew Pkew and Pony. More info here.