NXNE: Regret nothing, sleep less. The festival fills the city with music until dawn, and we’ve got the best picks to fill your dance card. No matter where your night (or day!) takes you, you’re sure to hear some incredible acts, new and old.
Wednesday, June 13
Eternal Summers – A perfect way to kick off summer, this lady/gentleman duo produce sweet melodies topped with lo-fi qualities that scream Instagram shots.
Where to find them: The Drake Hotel Underground @ 10 pm
Must-Hear Track: I Must Winter
Porcelain Raft – The man behind one of my favourite albums of the year, the nostalgic sound of Porcelain Raft fits steamy summer nights perfectly.
Where to find them: The Drake Hotel Underground, 12 am
Must Hear Track: Unless You Speak From Your Heart
Topless Gay Love Tekno Party – Exactly how it sounds. If it was possible for a band to be even more eccentric than Of Montreal, you’ve got them right here.
Where to find them: The Gladstone @ 1:15 am
Must-Hear Track: Club Banger
Thursday, June 14
Jenny Berkel – Jenny Berkel is the eye before the NXNE storm. Check out her heartstring-tugging vocals à la Martha Wainwright accompanied by harmonicas, horns and an acoustic guitar.
Where to find her: Free Times Cafe @ 12 am
Must-Hear Track: Love is a Stone
Purity Ring – Think Nicolas Jaar, Grimes, Neon Indian and Dirty Projectors – because Purity Ring has played with all of them. With already a massive following behind them, get to Wrongbar early to catch their set.
Where to find them: Wrongbar @ 1 am
Must-Hear Track: Ungirthed
Bran Van 3000 – Come for “Drinking in L.A,” stay for the party. We’ve all heard the much-loved 1997 single by BV3000 but these guys may have more to offer than you think. The rest of Horseshoe’s impressive lineup for the evening includes Ben Caplan & the Casual Smokers, Hooded Fang and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Where to find them: The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern @ 1 am
Must-Hear Track: Do I even have to say it?
Peanut Butter Wolf – Stony dance music from the Stones Throw head honcho .
Where to find him: Drake Underground, 2am
Must Hear Track: Run The Line
Friday, June 15
Eight and a Half – Made up of members of Broken Social Scene and The Stills, Eight and a Half are everywhere, and with good reason-people love their introspective lyrics and synthesized sound.
Where to find them: Yonge-Dundas Square, 7:30 pm
Must hear track: Go Ego
Friends – A female-fronted indie band of hipster babe-arinos, Friends’ sassy post-disco/punk-pop sound is what’s creating all that buzz. Chill at Lee’s after Friends’ set for sweet bands like Oberhofer and John Maus.
Where to find them: Lee’s Palace @ 11 pm
Must-Hear Track: Friend Crush
Brasstronaut – Don’t know about you, but anything with brass makes me swoon. These guys make it happen with their brand of jazz-pop and smooth indie rock. Come early to check out their opening band from Iceland Útidúr for some chamber pop happiness.
Where to find them: The Gladstone @ 12 am (Útidúr begins 11 pm)
Must-Hear Track: Requiem For A Scene
Phèdre – Made up of “three lovers from Monaco, raised in a cave of gold,” Phèdre channels dark lords, playful peacocks and laser dreams. I’m serious, just check out their live shows. Don’t miss the entire Daps Records Showcase beginning with Hussy at 8 pm.
Where to find them: Sneaky Dee’s @ 12 am
Must-Hear Track: In Decay
The Death Set – Trust me, the bruises will be worth it. Expect a chaotic, high energy set from these Brooklyn art punk ninjas.
Where to find them: Wrongbar @ 1 am
Must-Hear Track: Negative Thinking
Sandman Viper Command – Great indie rock from a gang of best friends.
Where to find them: Sneaky Dee’s, 3 am
Must hear track: Midwest Moses
Saturday, June 16
The Flaming Lips, Portugal. The Man, of Montreal and more – Bring a sleeping bag to Yonge and Dundas Square this Saturday. Possibly one of the biggest highlights of NXNE, make sure to see The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne roll onto the streets in his giant hamster ball and prepare to scrub the confetti off your bod for days.
Where to find them: Festivities start at noon, with of Montreal starting @ 7 pm, Portugal. The Man @ 8 pm and The Flaming Lips @ 9 pm
Must-Hear Track: Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Inlet Sound – Dreamy, orchestral pop-rock of the best, best kind.
Where to find them: The Central, 8 pm
Must hear track: Saturday
Bzaryn – Bzaryn is a one-man-band who combines ambient electronic sounds with classically trained vocals.
Where to find him: Sneaky Dee’s, 9 pm
Hooded Fang, Teenanger and Mac Demarco on Bruise Cruise – A festival within a festival… on a mother-effing boat! Post-Flaming Lips set, board the Bruise Cruise at 1 pm for fun dance times ahead.
Where to find them: Bruise Cruise departs @ 1:30 am
Must-Hear Track: Mutant Bear by Hooded Fang
Prince Innocence – Everything you could want in a chill synth-pop band, be sure to catch this BF/GF duo for a little cool down sesh.
Where to find them: Silver Dollar @ 12 am
Must-Hear Track: Girls
Treasure Fingers – If the Red Bull in your system is still in full gear, finish off the Saturday madness with a late set from Fool’s Gold’s electro-disco DJ Treasure Fingers.
Where to find him: The Drake Hotel @ 2 am
Must-Hear Track: Empire of the Sun Remix
Sunday, June 17
Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and Action Bronson – I told you to bring a sleeping bag. Head to Yonge and Dundas Square for your hip-hop fix, featuring Wu-Tang Clan vets Raekwon and Ghostface Killah and NYC gourmet chef-turned-gangsta rapper Action Bronson (also playing midnight, Saturday at The Drake).
Where to find them: Sets begin at 4 pm with Raekwon and Ghostface Killah on @ 9 pm
Must-Hear Track: 2getha Baby by Ghostface Killah
Wannabe – OMG OMG OMG Spice Girls Tribute Band OMG! They do the costumes, the dance moves, the whole deal.
Where to find them: Redpath Stage, Harbourfront, 5 pm.
~ Desiree Gamotin and Haley Cullingham