It may have been Sarah Assbring 's studio hookup with fellow Swede Jens Lekman that initially put the Gothenburg songbird better known as El Perro del Mar on hipster radar, but touring as an opening act for Calexico and José Gonzalez has certainly enhanced her blogosphere profile. While Assbring has neither the attention-grabbing hook of a harp nor the fortuitous Devendra Banhart connections, she does have a gorgeous voice and a knack for writing engagingly melancholic tunes that makes her a swoon-inducing threat to Joanna Newsom's fragile reign as indie It girl. El Perro del Mar's Toronto debut at the Mod Club (722 College) March 5 promises to be a memorable event. $15. 416-870-8000.
Those gutted by the fact that Brazil's legendary Os Mutantes decided to skip Toronto on their recent reunion tour may find some solace in knowing that Tropicalia movement co-founder Gilberto Gil will take a few days off from his day job running Brazil's culture ministry to make a rare local appearance March 15. Of course, these days Gil is more likely to be heard covering feel-good Bob Marley tunes than reprising his old Tropicalia-era faves like Bat Macumba, Procisso or Domingo No Parque, but it would be delightful to hear him bust out a few bars of Volkswagen Blues or Back In Bahia. Here's hoping. Massey Hall (178 Victoria). $49.50-$69.50. 416-872-4255.
Justin-fy my love
Inquiring minds are dying to know: is "bringing sexy back" actually just code for "dumping Cameron Diaz in order to get down with Scarlett Johansson"? Regardless of who's claiming his plus-one status, supposedly single Justin Timberlake will be busting out his boy-band-finessed dance moves and crooning sweetly to a stadium of wide-eyed tweens, 20-somethings and MILFs when he touches down at the Air Canada Centre (40 Bay) January 30. Positive role model support will be provided by perpetual girl-power powerhouse Pink , who, if her Kool Haus gig last summer is any indication, might just upstage her Alpha Dog headliner. $64.25-$124. 416-870-8000.
After unceremoniously bailing on last fall's scheduled show, flamboyant crusaders Scissor Sisters return to Toronto March 7 for a makeup gig at the Kool Haus (1 Jarvis), accompanied by sidekick DJ Sammy Jo . Unfortunately, Sir Elton John's Captain And The Kid tour left the city in a cloud of dust months ago, and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos has no known plans to be in town, so Scissor frontman Jake Shears will have to be creative about choosing surprise duet partners. May we suggest a dalliance with local pop whiz Thom D'Arcy , of opening act Small Sins ? Jake, honey... you won't regret it. $26.25. 416-870-8000.
The folks at AD/D Events are bringing Texas-born Detroit-based minimal techno star Matthew Dear to Footwork (425 Adelaide West), February 24. Over the 00s, Dear has emerged as an exciting new figure in dance music, bringing a warped pop sensibility to minimal's stark, fragmented, abstract funk. Past Toronto appearances have all been top-notch, so anticipation is running high among local tech heads. Check www.addevents.com for details.
Kevin Hedge , best known as half of seminal soulful house duo Blaze, will be making a rare Toronto appearance Friday (January 19) at the Mod Club Theatre (722 College), DJing as part of a Mixed Signals/Boogie Inc co-presentation. The veteran producer and DJ is also currently co-owner and president of legendary dance label West End Records, and overseeing their impressive back catalogue of classic anthems. Expect a mixture of deep house, disco, soul and more. Check out www. mixedsignals. ca for more information.