Pale Lips, a Montreal-based bubblegum punk band, has perhaps the best short biography I have ever read: “drippy mascara slopped rock n roll with sprinkles”. They came exactly as billed for their set at the Ride The Tempo & CMW NeXT showcase at the Silver Dollar Room on Wednesday night, sounding a little bit like a power-pop version of The Ramones. The short version of my review of their set is that the band is absolutely badass. They can shred, they can riff, they can have classic punk-esque gang vocals, but they also have a knack for pop melodies. In all honesty, I think I found my new favourite band. They have a full-length record coming out sometime soon, but in the meantime, you can bide your time with their 2015 EP Got A Sweet Tooth, available on Bandcamp.
The next band on my list was PONY, who was conveniently the next band up at that same Ride The Tempo & CMW NeXT showcase. A band with another clever short bio (the band that would play on a high school roof at the end of a 90s teen movie), PONY is a Toronto-based garage pop band that’s slowly been attracting some buzz. Their songs are cheeky as all hell, and awash in crunchy guitars and booming bass lines. “Don’t Go” is an absolutely awesome song, and after seeing the live, I’m ever more convinced that they’re a band-to-watch out of Toronto (and NOW agrees). The band is currently working on a follow-up EP to their Crushed EP which was released last summer, but you can check out Crushed on Bandcamp in the meantime.
Last but not least, I make a small trek west to catch a set at The Dakota Tavern that came highly recommended to me in Avalanche City. Avalanche City is the indie folk project of New Zealand’s Dave Baxter, and he was playing his first-ever show in Canada. Stepping on the stage with just one-man percussion and a guitar, he very quickly won over the crowd with a sonically-pleasing brand of pop-influenced indie folk. He was promoting a new album called We Are For The New Places, which features a definite breakout single called “Inside Out”. Avalanche City has a sound that’s both popular right now and kind of timelessly endearing, so this is a good time to hop on that bandwagon. Oh, and he earned major points for banter about living on an avocado farm back in New Zealand.