Ovrld on the Road: Indie Week Canada

by Nate Abernethy


We heard our buds Moonlight Social were embarking to the great white North for a Indie Week, and we tagged along to check out the local scene with them. Indie Week is a massive sprawling event across Toronto with bands from every corner of the globe trekking out for a celebration of indie, unknown and on the verge of breaking out musicians. Bands compete for the chance to headline on the other side of the pond at Indie Week Ireland in the spring. It’s a beautiful and brilliant coming together of bands that desire and deserve the exposure on a global level. It was a packed festival with standout acts at every corner as well as some bands who seemed perpetually stuck in a late ’90s post rock phase (seriously, can someone explain Toronto’s obsession with this?), but who was the best of the best that stole our hearts?

Indie Week Canada

Moonlight Social


How could we not include the Austin standouts? They repped ATX hard with performances alongside the festivals top billed acts and closed out Saturday night to the drunkest congregation of people I’ve ever seen squeezed into one bar. Luckily lead singer Jennica Scott posses a voice that can pierce even the thickest bar noise as the sea of drunks shouting over one another died down and attention turned to the stage. Even with the full band, Moonlight Social still remains a duo at its core with Scott and fellow singer Jeremy Burchard maintaining a sound that never drifts into the pop country that plagues the radio waves but feels classic, with an odd yodel thrown in for good measure. Moonlight Social is still at their best when they’re straddling the genre lines, releasing a more raucous romp stomp sound than the skin crawling podunk country detractors of the genre generally revile. The group has clearly honed their sound throughout their travels, although I couldn’t help but wonder what magic the addition of an organ could bring.



Holy fucking shit. Just wow. I knew I was in for a treat just by the word of mouth The oOooh Baby Gimme Mores have generated within the last year as they busted out of the Toronto scene, but nothing could prepare for just how good they are. The first thought that immediately leapt to my mind was that if fellow AfroPunk favorite and Austin locals BLXPLTN never pair up on a bill with these dudes then all hope is lost. A dancepunk group with a super fuzzed out garage bass, jamming keys, a helluva frontman slanging his guitar left and right and an explosive human drumming machine holding it all down. The band not only embraces the surrounding chaos but seem to thrive on it. After a particularly rowdy moment amongst the moshing crowd, lead vocalist and guitar player Dez McFarlane called for giant group hug like a patient party maestro conducting a sea of exhilarated drunken followers… but only after an epic energy building countdown to the hug like a rock n roll NASA launch. The moment encapsulates everything The OBGMs are about: connection, love, maybe a bit of drunkenness and above all else a shitload of fun. There’s not a single weak point in the group, with shining minimalist intros that showcase the controlled power of original duo McFarlane and drummer Cola Humphrey. To theatrical complex compilations as keyboardist Jem Roberts displays flair and versatility while bassist Joe Brosnan furiously fingers his strings and dances around like a flamingo with his leg caught in a cable. I racked my brain for bands that reminded me of them before I gave up and accepted there is no one like The OBGMs.



I have a soft spot for the Dutch. I like your beer, I like your women and your chocolate ain’t too shabby either. That said, I headed into Brussels electro duo Soldout’s intimate show with little expectations other than they would likely be super friendly folks. I waltzed in right as they concluded their first song and a small but riveted dead silent crowd burst into applause. A steady and carefully constructed positively groovy duo that has the ability to alternate between an airy ballad superior to early Grimes’ days or disco dance club tracks that will have you bounding up and down as it endlessly builds and builds and builds. Soldout possesses a certain “ultra cool” quality with a slick neo-noir feel that would feel at home alongside a Johnny Jewel score. Coincidentally their Pet Shop Boys cover featured in the film Puppylove made me long for their involvement in any future drooling Tom Hardy scenes. With stateside shows this week at CMJ Music Marathon in NYC alongside our good friends East Cameron Folklore, this innovative pop duo shows no signs of slowing down.



Duos are all the rage, the scale of what you can do with just a guitar and drums or keys and vocals or two sticks and a synthesizer has radically changed, but it takes tremendous talent to truly stand on their own two legs so to speak. Halifax band Cousins has created a radical spectrum of jangle rock noise with touches of surf and psych that surpasses duos, trios and four pieces. With guitar warps that feel like you’re entering the Twilight Zone and a kung fu pedal board that slams the stage with a full bodied unpredictable sound, Cousins dares to deny your expectations. It’s hardly easy listening with a guitar tone that is out of control and out of this world, but bridled percussion that favors body swaying head boppers over onslaughts of head banging serves as a constant safety rope back to reality. Melodic and minimalist with an adept audio geek construction that transforms the duo into any form it wants, Cousins has raised the bar for duos and full bands alike.

Nate Abernethy is a magical sprite we captured and forced to write for us and sometimes also loan out to Loser City and Comics Bulletin. He somehow also wound up with a twitter account @NateAbernethy