2009 was another banner year for music in Manitoba, and although it seems impossible, 2010 could very well trump it. Here are five local acts you should keep your eye on.
If they weren’t a super-group, we’d call them prodigies.
The band, who played their first live performance together back in September, is a revelation of pop gold.
Founded by dance-pop wunderkind and Waking Eyes/Pets mastermind Matt Peters as a side project almost four years ago, Royal Canoe, now with its nothing-but-the-hits lineup of Joey Penner (The Waking Eyes), Matt Schellenberg and Bucky Driedger (The Liptonians) and Jeff Bruce (Jicah, The Nods), has come full bloom.
Co-op Mode, their debut album, is a near-perfect mix of pop ballads and unstoppable hooks, courtesy of Peters and his Royal crew.
From infectious songs like How Do You Like My Body? and Me Loving Your Money, it’s hard to think of a band in the city who deserves its indie-dance-pop crown more than these five men.
As the band works on its sophomore release this year, while continuing to wow audiences with its brilliant live show, the sky, it seems, may just be the limit for this vessel.
Kingdom of Sleep
In the local scene, there appears to be a rise in the number of sludge metal bands, a sub-genre of metal mixing the monolithic riffs and plodding pace of doom metal with the abrasiveness and vitriol of hardcore punk. Nobody is doing it better than newcomers Kingdom of Sleep.
With a solemn nod towards such classic bands as Acid Bath, Crowbar and Eyehategod, Kingdom of Sleep features members from such local luminaries as C*nt Punisher and Annelid and will be a force to be reckoned with.
Thickly-played riffs from the trio of guitarists are churned out at a groove-laden mid-pace, the machine-gun drumming keeps everything running like clockwork and the triple-vocal assault incites a caustic anti-zombie sermon.
This is exactly what was needed to keep the momentum going in the local metal scene, and this local five piece will, undoubtedly, do big things in 2010.
The songwriting duo of singer-guitarist Micah Braun and drummer Jeff Bruce (both of The Nods) has been expertly crafting ditties as Jicah for about a year.
Their self-recorded and released debut dropped last summer, turning ears and bobbing heads to their catchy, diverse songs.
Come fall they added Joey Penner (bass), Majche Bunjalowski (guitar) and Brian James (keyboards) to the band, allowing them to play a plethora of shows throughout the fall and record over 40 more songs.
Being a fresh band with great music, they are still deciding the appropriate course of action, so what 2010 will look like for them is uncertain right now.
However, you will see those songs whittled down to about 12 gems and released on an album, and they will also continue to hit the stage with their zinger of a live show.
The next one is on Saturday, Jan. 30 when they play as part of the Buddy Holly tribute show, Winter Dance Party, at the Park Theatre.
With a golden voice to match her golden hair, you’ll be hearing a lot from pop singer-songwriter Jodi King in 2010. When she releases her debut full-length in a few short months, it will be the culmination of years of hard work.
Singing since she was a child, the 27-year-old began collaborating with other songwriters after high school and settled into her own brand of female acoustic pop. Since then, she’s released two EPs: 2007’s The Acoustic EP and last year’s Street Lights, which featured a Kanye West cover and a handful of songs that will appear on the full-length (tentatively titled Your Reason).
She’s also toured across Canada with her backing band, The Wolves – a group that includes Quinzy drummer David Pankratz and King’s husband, former Attics bassist Chris Rademaker.
King just finished shooting the video for her song Your Scars in Los Angeles last week. She’ll return to Winnipeg in the spring for a CD release show before embarking on more touring with The Wolves. You won’t want to miss it.
What happens when half of your band decides to quit after two promising years of performing across eastern Canada, releasing two highly acclaimed EPs and playing the NXNE ‘09 showcase?
You change your name and record a new album. At least that’s what Matt Austman and Darcy Penner of Salinas decided to do after their previous band The Furr lost half its crew.
With the help of Winnipeg producer John Paul Peters, the duo spent the better part of last fall crafting an indie-rock opus at Private Ear Recording. In keeping true with The Furr’s sound, Salinas plays melodic, catchy sing-alongs gleaning alt-rock tendencies.
With the release of the debut album this March, followed by an eastern Canada tour, this year marks a fresh start for a band that’s been steadily gaining notoriety before the minor setback.
If you want to be part of the Salinas success story, you’ve got a shot: Austman and Penner are still looking for a keyboard player/guitarist and a drummer to round out the band.
Published in Volume 64, Number 16 of The Uniter (January 21, 2010)