It’s that time of year again, when bands and music fans from across the country descend upon Toronto for the 4 day celebration of music known as CMW.

From the young upstart’s first big trip holding high hopes for superstardom (Annex Wreckroom, Hideout), to the touring veterans competing for a shot at some big city coverage to promote their latest record (Lee’s Palace, Horseshoe), to the local heroes thrown together with their compadres for promoters showcasing the Toronto indie scene (Rancho Relaxo, Silver Dollar) to the legitimate stars (Mod Club, Kool Haus) for whom this is a chance to play with the most likely to succeed opening band all backed by major festival hype. Now that you’ve got your $50 wristband in place its time to hit up some of the best showcases this week has to offer. And to make things easier Haley Cullingham breaks it down for you…

Comforting country/folk that will make you feel nostalgic for slow summer days and long summer drives. Playing at The Horseshoe on Thursday, March 12, 8 pm
Wear: Your softest plaid shirt.
Sounds like: Wilco if Jeff Tweedy was taking estrogen injections

Abdominal and the Obliques
Lyrically impressive playground-rap from a two-wheeling Greektown bicycle enthusiast, who talks about bike frames and helmet head the way most rappers talk about guns and the ghetto. Playing at Supermarket as part of Do!Right/Exclaim Music Showcase Saturday, March 14, 9 pm
Wear: Your flyest kicks, and don’t forget to lock your bike
Sounds like: Kid brother of his previous tour-mates, Jurassic 5

An Horse
Australian indie duo with catchy, catchy love anthems. Playing The Tranzac on Friday, March 13th, at 8 pm.
Wear: Your skinniest acid-wash jeans
Sounds like: Shout Out Louds

Award-winning Kanye West tour DJ is sure to make the people dance. Playing March 13th at 1 am in the Circa Main Room.
Wear: Glitter
Sounds like: If Daft Punk got trapped in a 1982 version of Tetris, and then Michael Jackson tried to dance to it.

Basia Bulat
Haunting and melodic Canadian country from a London, Ontario native who looks like a Swedish elf.
Wear: Eyelet lace
Sounds like: The kind of country you would hear if you wandered into the coolest barn dance ever.

Ben Somer
The kind of folk music that cures hangovers, inspires road-trips, and leads to late-night rendezvous. Playing at Global Village Backpackers on March 12th at 1 am.
Wear: Your heart on your sleeve
Sounds like: Kevin Drew with more whiskey.

Torch songs for broken hearts. Playing March 12th at the Eye showcase at The Gladstone: 8 pm
Wear: Extremely broken-in denim
Sounds like: A long, slow night by the campfire

Dance music that is both erotically exciting and threatening. Playing March 14th at the Pop Montreal Showcase, The Drake Hotel, 8 pm
Wear: Your dancin’ shoes
Sounds like: Cut Copy

Chad VanGaalen
This is what it would have been like if the hottest guy at your high school played banjo. Horseshoe Tavern, March 12th, 8 pm.
Wear: Cowboy boots
Sounds like: If Conor Oberst adopted Sufjan Steven’s child and raised him in Nashville

DJ Sega
I like it when my head explodes. Playing March 14th at Drake Underground.
Wear: Neon mesh
Sounds like: A videogame where you’re forced to dance for more lives.

Epic extra-terrestrial dance music rooted in rock and roll. Playing March 11th at The Gladstone Hotel, 9 pm
Wear: A leotard
Sounds like: If David Bowie decided to come back as a female jazz singer

Handsome Furs
Dark, sexy rock and roll. Playing The Horseshoe Tavern on March 13th
Wear: Fishnets and fierceness
Sounds like: The Kills

The Hoa Hoa’s
Delicate, melodic and psychedelic indie. Playing The Silver Dollar March 14th at 8 pm.
Wear: A smile
Sounds like: Okkervil River meets Brain Jonestown Massacre

Holy Fuck
There aren’t enough words to explain to you how much you need to see Holy Fuck live. Fireworks could do it. Maybe. Playing The Kool Haus on March 14th at 8 pm.
Wear: Something you’re prepared to sweat through
Sounds like: Awesome.

Jetset Motel
The kind of nostalgic rock and roll you feel as much as you hear. Playing on Thursday, March 12th at The Silver Dollar Room.
Wear: A vintage dress
Sounds like: Yo La Tengo got kidnapped by The Allman Brothers Band

Library Voices
Prairie-grown indie-rock with the best song titles in the business. Playing El Mocambo on March 14th at 10 pm
Wear: Colourful tights
Sounds like: Los Campesinos!

Mother Mother
Haunting, strange and unexpected metaphorical love songs. Playing Supermarket March 12th at 11 pm
Wear: Bangs
Sounds like: Tegan and Sara with more folks and weirder head-spaces

DJ Neil Armstrong
Slow and soulful wins the race. Playing the Circa Main Room on March 13th at 12:30 am
Wear: Sequins
Sounds like: Smooth jams for the kids today.

Songstresses of Six Shooter Records
A retrospective of the lovely ladies on the Six Shooter label. Sure to please. The Reverb, March 14th, starting at 9 pm.

Team Canada DJs
The coolest bar mitzvah ever. Playing March 12th at Wrongbar, and March 13th at Circa, both at 9 pm
Wear: Low-tops
Sounds like: A much less schizophrenic Girl Talk

Team Rezofficial
Heavy, heavy hip-hop from Alberta. Playing March 14th at Circa, 9 pm
Wear: A hat pulled down low.
Sounds like: Canada’s answer to hyphie.

The Ting Tings
UK indie rock that was the soundtrack to pretty much everything that happened since July. Playing March 14th at The Mod Club, 8:30 pm.
Wear: A mod minidress
Sounds like: Your summer