Canadian Music Festival: 13th SiriusXM Indie Awards (Part I)

Here is Cold Specks’ “Winter Solstice” to ease you into a chilly Wednesday:


What: SiriusXM Indie Awards, Canadian Music Festival
Who: Metric, Matt Mays, Diamond Rings, Yukon Blonde, Cold Specks, The Wooden Sky,       Canailles, & Cadence Weapon (just about as Canadian a lineup as you can get)
Where: Kool Haus, 132 Queens Quay East
Price: Wristband – by this point, in your head it seems like you’re getting in for free
Bonus: You’re looking for a bonus when you’re seeing Metric? Entirely unnecessary.

[Apologies for the untimeliness of this post: I have been lax in writing about the Canadian Music Festival, since I went to Montreal to visit my brother for the long weekend. My bad.

I fell in love with the city all over again, and three days is really not enough time to visit a place. I have great things to say about Toronto most of the time, as anyone reading this blog knows by now, but damn, Montreal… I left a piece of my heart there several years ago. But more on that trip soon.]

As part of the Canadian Music Festival, the 13th annual Indie Awards were held at Kool Haus, which has a different atmosphere than last year’s venue, The Royal York Hotel. Quite the opposite, in fact, but I think it worked better this year. Seemed bigger. Less… stuffy? I don’t know much about the Indie Awards, and the host’s drawn out introductory anecdote about losing his virginity definitely didn’t make me care more about them, but it was a solid line up and definitely one of the shows to see for CMF.

Hannah, Mink and I went obscenely early because we were worried about not getting in because of the limited wristbands, but everything worked out. The standing for 6 hours thing got kind of old by the end, but what’s pleasure without a little pain, especially when it comes to seeing live music, eh?

The frustrating thing about having so many damn performances is that they were very short in order to fit them in – that meant that we got to hear one or two songs for the majority of the artists, and were subjected to really annoying banter in between. So, you didn’t really get a true feel for the group if you didn’t already know them. I know – why am I complaining about the set up at an awards show that seems pretty standard? I’ll stop whining and get to the good stuff (but in keeping with the awards, I’ll keep it short. Wiki, be my guide through my admitted ignorance of what’s happening these days on the Canadian music scene):


Cadence Weapon

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Cadence Weapon is a rapper from Alberta, and apparently we’re the same age. Except he’s super talented and I’m… well. That’s depressing. He played a couple of songs to a still-mostly-empty room, which is too bad because I probably would have been way more into a longer show. Cadence Weapon won the Rap/Hip-Hop Artist of the Year Award, so props!

Check out Cadence Weapon’s music here.



Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Canailles is awesome, and it was only slightly unsettling to switch abruptly from rap to a large group of adorably dressed Quebecers playing rousing French folk-indie-cajun hybrid music. Again, a couple of songs is not really enough to get a good sense of a band, for me, but it brought me back to the lazy, hazy summers of drinking wine in the parks of Montreal and listening to impromptu music-making for hours. (Will we ever get that feeling back, stupid April winter?!)

If you feel like reading about Canailles and their album, Manger Du Bois, in French, have at it. Canailles won the SiriusXM Emerging Artist of the Year (French) Award. Félicitations!

You can check out some of their feel-good music here.


The Wooden Sky

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

The Wooden Sky is from Toronto, so they probably felt right at home playing Kool Haus. They played that comfortable indie rock that you would probably hear at a party where you expected a lot of people to show up but it just turned out to be a handful of people you really like and that’s kind of better than a house party, sometimes (or, you know, all the time). They won the Folk/Roots Artist or Group of the Year Award. Toronto, represent.

Also, they just released an album called Every Child A Daughter, Every Moon A Sun. The name makes me uncomfortable for some reason (as does their band name! so claustrophobic!), but that shouldn’t deter you from checking it out.

The Wooden Sky is playing in Toronto again on April 4th at The Horseshoe Tavern.


Cold Specks

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

Despite the jarring mix of genres between each performance, when Cold Specks started singing and playing her guitar, I got that creepy chill on your neck when you think that someone’s whispered your name but you know you’re alone in the room. And I mean that in the best possible way. I know nothing about this woman, but her voice is magnificent.

Apparently Cold Specks deals in the doom soul genre. I normally hate pigeonholing musicians into genres to describe their music, mostly because I am so terrible at it, but I love that phrase. So apt.

Cold Specks was nominated for Songwriter of the Year, Soul/R&B Artist or Group of the Year, and Artist of the Year. She won the Female Artist of the Year Award. If you’re listening to that song at the top of this post, you know why. I guess good things really can come from Etobicoke.

I have yet to listen to her recent album, I Predict A Graceful Expulsion (2012), but I will. So should you, if the ‘doom soul’ genre intrigues you.

Up next, Part II of the SiriusXM Indie Awards show, including Yukon Blonde, Diamond Rings, Matt Mays and Metric!


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