The Hour Has 22 Minutes

The Canadian front 2007

Quick! What's the capital of Canada? Wrong. It's not Toronto. Who's the prime minister? Nope. He's not even French. American ignorance of our northern neighbor has been documented extensively, but no one did it as well as Canadian comedian Rick Mercer. In an attempt to "satirize" our, um, "perceived" stupidity, Mercer conducted man-on-the-street interviews for his feature "Talking to Americans," a regular segment on the political-satire television show This Hour Has 22 Minutes. You know as well as we do, it doesn't take much to make us Americans look doltish.

Mercer had governors, Ivy League professors, and presidential candidates – we'll let you guess who – congratulating Canada on joining North America, counting its number of states, and signing petitions to stop the slaughter of polar bears. Ask any American to name a handful of Canadian musicians, however, and we'll start spouting. At least we have our priorities straight.

This year's South by Southwest Canadian roster reaches even higher numbers than last year, with more than 100 acts making the trek. Perhaps it's due to the Canada Council for the Arts and its support of working musicians, or maybe it's the increased attention given to the homeland of indie darlings Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene. It doesn't matter why. We're just glad they're here.

Chromeo
Chromeo

While Broken Social Scene relishes a much-deserved touring hiatus, various indie rock side and solo projects carry on. BSS and Stars chanteuse Amy Millan roots last year's Honey From the Tombs, BSS guitarist Andrew Whiteman travelogues in Apostle of Hustle, and BSS contributor Ohad Benchetrit spaces out with his instrumental post-rock outfit, Do Make Say Think. Add epic Montreal Arts & Crafts labelmates the Dears and Young Galaxy, and things really start getting incestuous.

And there's more indie rock where that came from: Vancouver's drunken Castle Project, the New Pornography Immaculate Machine, and Paper Bag labelmates Uncut and Tokyo Police Club, whose bouncy, rhythmic debut EP buzzed last year. All-French boppers Malajube tout 2006's Trompe-l'Oeil, and all industry eyes are on Jagjaguwar baby Ladyhawk, led by Black Mountain's Duffy Driedriger, who trends toward the popular bar rock and is no stranger to a Pitchfork promise.

Jagjag cousins the Besnard Lakes slip the Beach Boys a hit on new release The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse, but Fat Possum trio We Are Wolves still holds the noisiest band in Canada trophy. Montreal metalheads Priestess roll in the sludge, but these kids can't touch Canadian supergroup the Tragically Hip when it comes to longevity. Twenty years later, the Hip's alt-rock arena is Transistor 66 Record Co.'s garage with Winnipeg, Manitoba, buddies Hot Live Guys (be careful on that Web site) and American Flamewhip, whose guitarist, Damon Mitchell, moonlights in ...

... Haunted folk-rock quartet Nathan, Keri Latimer and Shelley Marshall's Nettwerking tool. Patrick Watson plays the creepier Jeff Buckley to Dan Mangan's Damien Rice, but Watson can't touch Mangan's live ode to MySpace. Torontonian Luke Doucet hits the mark between indie pop and country with his "country vérité" and honey-dipped voice, and he credits Melissa McClelland, with whom he helps out on slinger duty, with opening the door. Her old-timey Thumbelina's One Night Stand redefines the folk genre. Jill Barber was fortunate enough to tour with seminal Torontonian Ron Sexsmith last year, and here he drops his latest, Time Being (V2). The biggest acoustic surprise comes from Yep Roc folk jubilee Rock Plaza Central: Trombone, banjo, guitar, trumpet, violin, mandolin, bass, drums, and accordion make for one joyous sound.

If RPC doesn't sound familiar, 10-year-old power-pop labelmates Sloan surely will. Their eighth album, Never Hear the End of It, hit shelves last year. On the other end of the spectrum, the young brothers Erickson (not that Erickson) summon the Kinks in Winnipeg's unsigned Inward Eye. Victorian psych-poppers Jets Overhead leave the kitsch to more made-up troupes, and the female contingent holds its own with Vancouver's Asthmatic Kitty experimental-pop troupe Shapes & Sizes, led by Caila Thompson-Hannant's guttural strength, and Montreal all-girl poppers Pony Up. Hamilton, Ontario, chamber-pop sixpiece A Northern Chorus hits climactic, and Think About Life's Graham Van Pelt finishes out the pop category with his solo go, Miracle Fortress, an indie/electro amalgam that presents Five Roses this month.

Van Pelt's slow, layered textures are no match for the dance floor. Electro is coming in strong this year with everything from Absolutely Kosher mainstays Frog Eyes and their experimentations to Montreal's highly regarded found-sound guru Amon Tobin. Along with some of the more interesting party people (see "Crazy Canucks," above), "the only successful Arab/Jew partnership since the dawn of human culture," Chromeo, gets down on the funky dance floor with May Vice release Fancy Footwork, the sophomore LP from childhood friends Dave 1 and Pee Thug.

While Dave 1, aka Dave Macklovitch, sticks to the clubs, his blood brother and master turntablist A-Trak travels the world as Kanye West's touring DJ. Must be rough. Fellow craftsman Kid Koala brings Your Mom's Favorite DJ (Ninja Tune) to town, but these two are holding down a lost art. Old-schoolers like Buck 65, who returns this year, had words against hip-hop, and acts like Josh Martinez and experimental hip-hop quintet Pawa Up First are leaning on technology more and more. Experience comes from MCs like Winnipeg's Grand Analog, whose Calligraffiti drops soon, and Nova Scotia's Classified, who suffers from a geography problem. The new blood is in indie hopper Cadence Weapon, Rollie Pemberton's alter ego, and Somalian political rapper K'Naan, who'll blow your mind if you give him a minute. It's the new generation. These are the kids who can and will change the world.

And now for today's lesson. The capital of Canada is Ottawa, in the province of Ontario, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper was sworn in on Feb. 6, 2006. Don't worry. We didn't know either. end story


Crazy Canucks

We'll start the name game here before Vice picks it up.

My!Gay!Husband, Vancouver: House-music remix DJ

Lesbians on Ecstasy, Montreal: Taking back the dance floor

Les Breastfeeders, Montreal: French Sixties garage rock

CPC Gangbangs, Montreal: Razor-shredded punk rock

Shout Out Out Out Out, Edmonton, Alberta: Infectious dance music

Call Me Poupée, Montreal: When two worlds collide

Fucked Up, Toronto: Good, old-fashioned punk rock

Holy Fuck, Toronto: Electronica without hard drives


North Americana

The best roots rock coming out of the Great White North for SXSW 07.

Lynn Miles, Ottawa: Alanis Morissette's vocal teacher.

Serena Ryder, Peterborough, Ontario: Huge voice, little girl.

AA Sound System, Edmonton, Alberta: Electronic roots hit Wilco.

The Mohawk Lodge, Vancouver: Coldplay meets Ron Sexsmith.

Ray Bonneville, Montreal: Part-time Bostonian roots veteran.

Krista L.L. Muir, Montreal: Lederhosen Lucil hoards the ukulele.

Leeroy Stagger, Lethbridge, Alberta: Contemporary Springsteen.

Kim Beggs, Whitehorse, Northwest Territories: Yukon carpenter loves Lucinda.

Cara Luft, Winnipeg, Manitoba: The Wailin' Jenny's solo now.

Carolyn Mark, Victoria, British Columbia: Mint's folk-pop diva.


CANADA

AA Sound System (Edmonton, Alberta) Rio, Wed., TBA; www.aasoundsystem.com

Cadence Weapon (Edmonton, Alberta) Copa, Thu., 12:15am; www.cadenceweaponmusic.com

The Cape May (Calgary, Alberta) Lamberts, Fri., 10pm; www.flemisheye.com/thecapemay.php

Shout Out Out Out Out (Edmonton, Alberta) Beauty Bar Patio, Thu., 10:30pm; www.shoutoutoutoutout.com

Smalltown DJs (Calgary, Alberta) Karma Lounge, Sat., 10pm; www.myspace.com/smalltowndjs

Leeroy Stagger (Lethbridge, Alberta) Light Bar, Sat., 1am; www.leeroystagger.com

Chad VanGaalen (Calgary, Alberta) Lamberts, Fri., 11pm; www.flemisheye.com/chad.php

The Awkward Stage (Vancouver, British Columbia) Light Bar, Thu., 11pm; www.mintrecs.com

Castle Project (Vancouver, British Columbia) Lamberts, Fri., 9pm; www.myspace.com/castleproject

Frog Eyes (Victoria, British Columbia) Habana Calle 6 Patio, Sat., 1am; www.absolutelykosher.com/frogeyes.htm

Gown (Nanaimo, British Columbia) Mohawk, Fri., 9pm; www.yod.com/gown.html

Immaculate Machine (Victoria, British Columbia) Light Bar, Thu., 1am; www.immaculatemachine.com

Jets Overhead (Victoria, British Columbia) Molotov Lounge, Sat., 8pm; www.jetsoverhead.com

Ladyhawk (Vancouver, British Columbia) Mohawk, Thu., 12mid; www.ladyhawkladyhawk.com

Lions in the Street (Vancouver, British Columbia) Club de Ville, Sat., 12mid; www.lionsinthestreet.com

Dan Mangan (Vancouver, British Columbia) Tap Room @ Six, Sat., 9pm; www.danmanganmusic.com

Carolyn Mark (Victoria, British Columbia) Light Bar, Thu., 10pm; www.carolynmark.com

Josh Martinez (Vancouver, British Columbia) Copa, Thu., 10pm; www.frontside.ca

Melissa McClelland (Toronto, British Columbia) Light Bar, Fri., 11pm; www.melissamcclelland.com

The Mohawk Lodge (Vancouver, British Columbia) Lamberts, Fri., 8pm; www.myspace.com/mohawklodge

Mother Mother (Vancouver, British Columbia) Momo's, Sat., 11:30pm; www.mothermothersite.com

my!gay!husband! (Vancouver, British Columbia) Elysium, Thu., 1am; www.mygayhusband.com

Ox (Canada) (Vancouver, British Columbia) Ale House, Sat., 8pm; www.oxmusic.ws

Adrienne Pierce (Vancouver, British Columbia) Light Bar, Fri., 9pm; www.adriennepierce.com

The Yoko Casionos (Vancouver, British Columbia) Molotov Lounge, Sat., 9pm; www.yokocasionos.com

Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup (Vancouver, British Columbia) Lava Lounge Patio, Thu., 8pm; www.tincupmusic.com

American Flamewhip (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Mohawk, Sat., 1am; www.myspace.com/americanflamewhip

Grand Analog (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Copa, Thu., 9:15pm; www.myspace.com/grandanalog

Hot Live Guys (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Friends, Fri., 9pm; www.hotliveguys.ca

Inward Eye (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Momo's, Sat., 8:30pm; www.inwardeye.com

Cara Luft (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Creekside @ Hilton Garden, Wed., 10pm; www.caraluft.com

Nathan (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Light Bar, Fri., 10pm; www.nathanmusic.ca

Scott Nolan (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Jovita's, Sat., 8pm; www.scottnolan.ca

Novillero (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Light Bar, Thu., 12mid; www.novillero.net

Paper Moon (Winnipeg, Manitoba) Co-op Bar, Wed., 12mid; www.papermoon.ca

Chris Colepaugh & the Cosmic Crew (Moncton, New Brunswick) Ale House, Sat., 1am; www.colepaugh.com

Mark Bragg Band (St. John's, Newfoundland) Co-op Bar, Sat., 8pm; www.markbragg.com

Jill Barber (Halifax, Nova Scotia) Creekside @ Hilton Garden, Fri., 9pm; www.jillbarber.com

Buck 65 (Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia) Spiro's Amphitheatre, Thu., 11pm; www.buck65.com

Classified (Halifax, Nova Scotia) Zero Degrees, Wed., 10pm; www.classifiedlive.net

The Grass (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia) Copa, Wed., 10pm; www.thegrass.ca

Ruth Minnikin (Halifax, Nova Scotia) Creekside @ Hilton Garden, Thu., 11pm; www.ruthminnikin.ca

Windom Earle (Halifax, Nova Scotia) B.D. Riley's, Fri., 12mid; www.windomearle.com

Wintersleep (Halifax, Nova Scotia) Ale House, Sat., 11pm; www.wintersleep.com

Kim Beggs (Whitehorse, Northwest Territories) Creekside @ Hilton Garden, Sat., 10pm; www.kimbeggs.com

A Northern Chorus (Hamilton, Ontario) Buffalo Billiards, Wed., 10pm; www.anorthernchorus.com

Apostle of Hustle (Toronto, Ontario) Habana Calle 6 Annex, Fri., 12mid; www.arts-crafts.ca/apostleofhustle

Howie Beck (Toronto, Ontario) Ale House, Wed., 1am; www.howiebeck.com

Blackie & the Rodeo Kings (Toronto, Ontario) B.D. Riley's, Wed., 9pm; www.rodeokings.com

Jim Bryson (Ottawa, Ontario) Creekside @ Hilton Garden, Fri., 10pm; www.jimbryson.org

The Cliks (Toronto, Ontario) Momo's, Sat., 10:30pm; www.myspace.com/thecliks

Crystal Castles (Toronto, Ontario) Beauty Bar, Wed., 1am; www.myspace.com/crystalcastles

The Diableros (Toronto, Ontario) Molotov Lounge, Sat., 11pm; www.thediableros.tv

Die Mannequin (Toronto, Ontario) Molotov Lounge, Sat., 12mid; www.myspace.com/diemannequin

Luke Doucet (Toronto, Ontario) Light Bar, Fri., 12mid; www.lukedoucet.com

Peter Elkas (Toronto, Ontario) Whisky Bar, Wed., 10pm; www.peterelkas.com

Fucked Up (Toronto, Ontario) Lamberts, Thu., 12mid; www.lookingforgold.blogspot.com

The Golden Dogs (Toronto, Ontario) Molotov Lounge, Sat., 10pm; www.thegoldendogs.com

Holy Fuck (Toronto, Ontario) Beauty Bar, Wed., 12mid; www.holyfuckmusic.com

K'naan (Toronto, Ontario) Momo's, Sat., 12:45am; www.thedustyfoot.com

Lynn Miles (Ottawa, Ontario) 18th Floor @ Hilton Garden, Thu., 9pm; www.lynnmilesmusic.com

Amy Millan (Toronto, Ontario) Habana Calle 6 Annex, Fri., 11pm; www.arts-crafts.ca/amymillan

The Old Soul (Toronto, Ontario) Parish II, Thu., 8pm; www.theoldsoul.com

Picastro (Toronto, Ontario) Red 7, Fri., 8pm; www.picastro.net

Raising the Fawn (Toronto, Ontario) Momo's, Sat., 9:30pm; www.raisingthefawn.com

Rock Plaza Central (Toronto, Ontario) Dirty Dog Bar, Fri., 9pm; www.rockplazacentral.com

Justin Rutledge (Toronto, Ontario) Light Bar, Fri., 1am; www.justinrutledge.com

Serena Ryder (Peterborough, Ontario) Cedar Street Courtyard, Fri., 9:30pm; www.serenaryder.com

Ron Sexsmith (Toronto, Ontario) Bourbon Rocks, Fri., 12mid; www.ronsexsmith.com

Sloan (Toronto, Ontario) Dirty Dog Bar, Fri., 12mid; www.sloanmusic.com

Small Sins (Toronto, Ontario) Antone's, Thu., 9:30pm; www.smallsinsmusic.com

Tokyo Police Club (Newmarket, Ontario) Beauty Bar Patio, Sat., 12mid; www.tokyopoliceclub.net

The Tragically Hip (Kingston, Ontario) Antone's, Sat., 12:45am; www.thehip.com

Uncut (Toronto, Ontario) Ale House, Sat., 12mid; www.thenewviolence.com

Nathan Wiley (Summerside, Prince Edward Island) Creekside @ Hilton Garden, Fri., 1am; www.nathanwiley.com

A-Trak (Montreal, Quebec) Beauty Bar, Fri., 12mid; www.djatrak.com

The Besnard Lakes (Montreal, Quebec) Mohawk Patio, Thu., 8:30pm; www.thebesnardlakes.com

Bionic (Montreal, Quebec) Dirty Dog Bar, Sat., 10pm; www.bionicland.com

Ray Bonneville (Montreal, Quebec) 18th Floor @ Hilton Garden, Thu., 10pm; www.raybonneville.com

Call Me Poupée (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's Rooftop, Thu., 9pm; www.callmepoupee.ca

Champion (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's Rooftop, Thu., 11pm; www.djchampion.net

Chromeo (Montreal, Quebec) Flamingo Cantina, Thu., 1am; www.chromeo.net

CPC Gangbangs (Montreal, Quebec) Lava Lounge Patio, Wed., 10pm; www.cpcgangbangs.com

Creature (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's Rooftop, Thu., 10pm; www.thereisacreature.com

Dandi Wind (Montreal, Quebec) Beauty Bar, Sat., 9pm; www.dandiwind.com

The Dears (Montreal, Quebec) Stubb's, Thu., 11pm; www.thedears.org

Do Make Say Think (Montreal, Quebec) Soho Lounge, Thu., 1am; www.cstrecords.com/bands_domakesaythink.html

Grimskunk (Montreal, Quebec) Molotov Lounge, Sat., 1am; www.grimskunk.com

The High Dials (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's, Thu., 8:30pm; www.thehighdials.com

Karkwa (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's, Thu., 9:30pm; www.karkwa.com

Kid Koala (Montreal, Quebec) Parish, Sat., 10:45pm; www.kidkoala.com

Land of Talk (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's, Thu., 11:30pm; www.landoftalk.com

Lesbians on Ecstasy (Montreal, Quebec) Exodus, Sat., 11:10pm; www.lezziesonx.com

Les Breastfeeders (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's Rooftop, Thu., 1am; www.lesbreastfeeders.ca

Malajube (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's Rooftop, Thu., 12mid; www.malajube.com

Miracle Fortress (Montreal, Quebec) Hideout, Wed., 8pm; www.myspace.com/miraclefortress

Mobile (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's, Thu., 10:30pm; www.mobiletheband.com

Krista L.L. Muir (Montreal, Quebec) Ale House, Wed., 9pm; www.myspace.com/kristallmuir

Pawa Up First (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's, Thu., 7:30pm; www.pawaupfirst.com

Plaster (Montreal, Quebec) Parish, Sat., 8:45pm; www.plasterband.com

Pony Up (Montreal, Quebec) Flamingo Cantina, Wed., 10pm; www.ponyup.ca

Priestess (Montreal, Quebec) Town Lake Stage @ Auditorium Shores, Sat., 4pm; www.priestessband.com

Shapes & Sizes (Montreal, Quebec) Emo's Lounge, Thu., 11:30pm; www.shapesandsizes.ca

Skratch Bastid (Montreal, Quebec) Zero Degrees, Wed., 8pm; www.skratchbastid.com

Amon Tobin (Montreal, Quebec) Parish, Sat., 12:15am; www.amontobin.com

Patrick Watson (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's, Thu., 12:30am; www.patrickwatson.net

We Are Wolves (Montreal, Quebec) Maggie Mae's, Thu., 1:15am; www.wearewolves.net

Young Galaxy (Montreal, Quebec) Habana Calle 6 Annex, Fri., 10pm; www.younggalaxy.com

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Broken Social Scene, Rick Mercer, Sloan, Ron Sexsmith, Amon Tobin

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