A bad singer has ruined many a good band. A great one can make almost any group of musicians transcendent. Here are three you can't miss.
Alvvays is the new dream-pop band by Molly Rankin, daughter of the late John Morris Rankin from the Rankin Family, and Alec O'Hanley, former guitarist in Charlottetown's Two Hours Traffic. Their recent opening slot for Wintersleep in Halifax made many take notice, but we've been waiting to hear more from Rankin ever since her assertive, wise-beyond-her-years delivery and wistful melodies bewitched us back in her solo singer/songwriter days.
Friday, June 14, 10 pm, Silver Dollar, NXNE wristband or $15.
The Montreal duo of Andrew Whiteman (Broken Social Scene, Apostle of Hustle) and Ariel Engle first attracted critical attention at last year's Polaris Prize gala, when Leslie Feist included Engle and a handful of other superb singers in her performance. Feist has also called their music "ghost science faux folk." Made with fretless goatskin banjos, cigar-box guitars and Mellotron samples, the music is as beguiling as Engle's voice is commanding.
Friday, June 14, 8 pm, Silver Dollar, NXNE wristband or $15.
Coeur de Pirate
Béatrice Martin, the tattooed French-singing 23-year-old - and new mom! - who goes by Coeur de Pirate, has a youthful, incredibly expressive voice that stays light but never gets cloyingly breathy. At NXNE, she'll take a break from diaper duty and designing clothes for 3 Suisses to play indie pop tunes from her award-winning 2012 album, Blonde. Sure to be a festival highlight.
Thursday, June 13, 11 pm, the Great Hall, NXNE wristband or $20.