Summer catch-ups! And a summer mixtape for you.

You can tell when it’s summer here at Now Playing Radio, because that’s apparently when we fall behind on web updates. It always seems like there’s just so much amazing happening that one can hardly keep up. But keep up we shall – or we’ll at least strive to do.

Right off the bat: make sure you check out Feverfest this weekend, featuring some of Ottawa’s best, brightest, and most buzzed-about bands hitting the stage at both the Clocktower Pub and Irene’s on Bank Street in the Glebe. More information about Feverfest can be found here – and don’t forget about some of the sweet acts hitting the Jazz Festival this weekend, including Destroyer, the Barr Brothers, and Adam and the Amethysts. More info about the downtown Ottawa festival right here.

We’re still hoping to post the audio from our last few months of sessions and interviews soon, but in the meantime, we’ve assembled a small-but-mighty mixtape of some of our favourite 2012 summer jams by some killer Canadian artists, all centered on a healthy blend of synth-pop and garage-rock. (From PS I Love You and Stars to Dream Jefferson and Silkken Laumann and plenty more…) All you need to do is one of two things:

1) Head on over to our Facebook page, give us a “Like,” and shoot us a message saying you’d like to get your paws on the playlist. We’ll send you a download link and you’ll be set!

2) Follow us on Twitter, and shoot us a message or tweet at us saying you’d like to snag the mixtape, and we’ll DM you the link!

We’ll be spinning some of these sweet tunes live in studio on next week’s show, too so be sure to catch that – Wednesday, 1pm, ‘Til then!


Post #100! We’ve got a sun-drenched summer playlist for you.

To celebrate our 100th post and the absolutely killer weather this weekend, we’ve got a sweet, sun-drenched summer playlist just for you. Crafted through CBC Music — seriously, you can go make a billion playlists there for yourself — we present to you a sweet mix featuring The Elwins, Hooded Fang, The White Wires, Library Voices, Japandroids, Topanga and Reversing Falls — check it out right here.

More goodies to come, including our live session with Faraway Neighbours that aired this past week! And be sure to tune in this week when we chat with one half of Toronto indie pop-punk rockers Topanga!

March 21st show rundown with Papermaps, JUNOfest weekend and new SONG OF THE WEEK!

CMW may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the action has stopped — no, siree. This weekend is JUNOfest in Ottawa, which means terrific acts from Ottawa and everywhere else in this fine country will be packing the city’s venues tonight and tomorrow night, in advance of the actual JUNO awards on Sunday night. We weren’t able to set up our own show rundown, HOWEVER if you head over here, you’ll see info for every show, complete with times, venues and lineups — and you’ll likely recognize many artists from right here on Now Playing Radio. We encourage you to head out and soak up as much incredible music action as you can!

We’ll post the rundown from this week’s LIVE show a little later on, but for now, feel free to check out more info about our funding drive right over here. We’re just about at our halfway mark and still have PLENTY of terrific prizes left! Get in touch if you’d like to get your hands on some goodies — we’d love your support!

So back to the March 21st show! Here’s what we spun:
Rich Aucoin – P:U:S:H
Doldrums – Parrot Talk
Wildlife – Matches
Dream Jefferson – Vampyroteuthis
The Darcys – Peg
Brett Caswell & The Marquee Rose – L.O.V.E.
Papermaps – Reunion
The Elwins – Larry Pastorus
Adam & the Amethysts – Prophecy

Of course, we also got to talk to the wonderful Dean Marino of Toronto band Papermaps, who are actually playing in Ottawa TONIGHT at Zaphod’s with Fire + Neon and Aardwulf — tickets are $6 and doors are at 8pm! Check out our chat below (right-click to download):

And funny that Dean had mentioned working with Tokyo Police Club and The Elwins previously, as a rad new little project between some of their members + pals cropped up earlier this week, a song from which just had to be our SONG OF THE WEEK this last week of March. GSJF effectively stands for Graham (Wright, of TPC and solo endeavours), Spencer (MacEachern, of The Fabulous Yawn), Joe (Manzione, who, among other projects, has played in Wright’s Good Times Band), and Feurd (of The Elwins) and the group quietly released a free, six-song digital EP that they recorded themselves over the course of a day — just this past Monday, in fact.

I spun a track on the show this week and haven’t been able to stop listening to the jangly, acoustic goodness ever since. “Messages” in particular, a tune by MacEachern, is infectious with its honesty, lyrical simplicity, and adorable vocal-backed and jingle-bell laden percussion. I can’t help but think it could be featured on the indie-fanatic soundtrack of a Diablo Cody lovelorn-romantic-comedy flick.

GSJF – “Messages”

Listen if you like: stripped-down, simple and honest indie tuneage; percussion punctuated by jingle bells and “ba-ba-ba”s; any of those acts mentioned above, seeing at folks from them are part of this.

Be sure to download the entire EP — it’s free and absolutely worth it. Until next week — enjoy JUNOfest if you’re in Ottawa!

Now Playing Radio’s official guide to Canadian Music Week 2012 – Part Three: Friday the 23rd

Alrighty, CMW show-goers.We’ve hit the halfway point. Two nights down, three to go. We’re keeping the rundowns short again as day three is yet another whirlwind of activity – though if you want to check out daytime sessions, we strongly encourage you to check out Sonic Boom’s in-store lineup and the Young Lions Music Club/Live Near Bellwoods Living Room Sessions. We checked out Kalle Mattson, Samantha Savage Smith and Louise Burns there at the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music yesterday, and it was a wonderfully intimate setup. Best part about both of these? No wristbands needed, both events are absolutely free.

Tonight’s shows near College and Spadina:

MEGAN BONNELL, 8pm, El Mocambo upstairs (464 Spadina, at College). Sounds like: a softer, piano-driven Jenn Grant. Listen to “Lowell, MA.”

GREAT BLOOMERS, 8:30pm, El Mocambo downstairs (464 Spadina, at College). Sounds like: folk-tinged indie-rock that Gordon Lightfoot himself has thumbsed-up. Listen to “Young Ones Slept.”

GREY KINGDOM, 9pm, El Mocambo upstairs (464 Spadina, at College). Sounds like: the lovechild of Iron and Wine and John Denver. Listen to “Haunted.” (Saw him last night with full backing band; huge Now Playing Radio stamp of approval.)

JAMES AND BLACKBURN, 10pm, Rancho Relaxo (300 College, near Spadina). Sounds like: indie prog-rock, even a little reminiscent of ’90s rock. Listen to “We Have No Names For Anything.” (Ottawa hometown boys, highly recommended by Now Playing Radio.)

JOSHUA HYSLOP, 11pm, Free Times Cafe (320 College, near Spadina). Sounds like: soft singer-songwriter acoustic jams a la Joshua Radin. Listen to “Nowhere Left To Go.”

FIRE + NEON, 12am, Rancho Relaxo, (300 College, near Spadina). Sounds like: throwback-but-updated synth-driven disco-rock. Listen to “Everybody’s Going.”

DINOSAUR BONES, 1am, Sneaky Dee’s (431 College, at Bathurst). Sounds like: earnest indie-rock — the closest thing to the Strokes Toronto’s got right now. Listen to “Ice Hotels.”

ROUGE, 2am, Sneaky Dee’s (431 College, at Bathurst). Sounds like: dark dance/synth beats. Listen to “Modern Lovers I.”

SHEEZER, 3am, Sneaky Dee’s (431 College, at Bathurst). All you need to know about this band is that it’s some of Toronto’s raddest lady musicians covering the best tracks off Weezer’s Pinkerton and Blue albums. Rivers Cuomo-approved, and we approve ’em too. This is one show you won’t want to miss. Listen to their entire killer set from New Year’s Eve at the El Mo here.


Now Playing Radio’s official guide to Canadian Music Week 2012 – Part Two: Thursday the 22nd

Here it is! Part two (we hope you liked part one!) of our recommended-shows guide for Canadian Music Week 2012, all Now Playing Radio-approved. (We’ve had to cut back on the descriptions as we’re just so tight on time! But we’ve still provided the all-too-necessary YouTube links.)

Best bets for Thursday, March 22nd:

Daytime sessions

Some positively terrific ones happening today:

1pm: JF Robitaille at Sonic Boom (782 Bathurst, at Bloor). Acoustic singer-songwriter hymns from la belle province. Listen to “Modern Love Song Pt. 1.”

2pm: The Balconies at Sonic Boom (782 Bathurst, at Bloor). Family-fronted indie power-pop/rock. Listen to “Kill Count”.

2:30pm: Kalle Mattson at the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music (821 Queen Street West). Young-but-wise indie rock, sometimes softer and Wilco-influenced, other times swelling with horns. Listen to “Thick as Thieves.”

3pm: Samantha Savage Smith at the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music (821 Queen Street West). Electric guitar and arresting vocals from a solo singer-songwriter from Calgary. Listen to “You Always Come to Mind.”

4:30pm: Teenage Kicks at the Toronto Institute for the Enjoyment of Music (821 Queen Street West). Toronto-based honest, youthful rock that’ll make you want to know all the lyrics. Listen to “Middle of the Night.”

Route 1: The Bloor/Bathurst corner

GREAT BLOOMERS, 7pm, Sonic Boom in-store (782 Bathurst, at Bloor). Toronto-based, Gordon Lightfoot-approved folk-tinged indie-rock. Listen to “Young Ones Slept.”

CHAINS OF LOVE, 8pm, Sonic Boom in-store (782 Bathurst, at Bloor). West coast retro-sounding garage-soul, perfect for fans of Best Coast. Listen to “In Between.”

ZACHARY LUCKY, 9pm, The Central (603 Markham, near Bloor/Bathurst). Earnest acoustic stylings from Saskatoon. Listen to “Our New Home.”

THE FABULOUS YAWN, 10pm, The Central (603 Markham, near Bloor/Bathurst). Honest narratives woven into indie-rock songs that bounce off a variety of influences, backed by a sweet band. (Spencer MacEachern joined us on the show earlier this year.) Listen to “Pushing Mountain Blues.”

WILDLIFE, 12am, Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor West, just east of Bathurst). Modest Mouse-esque indie pop-rock jams from Ontario. Listen to “Stand in the Water.”

Route 2: Sweet sounds ’round College and Queen

JF ROBITAILLE, 8pm, Sneaky Dee’s (431 College, at Bathurst). As mentioned earlier: Acoustic singer-songwriter from la belle province who we’ve seen perform at the Black Sheep Inn before — and we were blown away. Listen to “Modern Love Song Pt. 1.”

JOSEPH ARTHUR, 9:30pm, Horseshoe Tavern (370 Queen West, at Spadina). Not Canadian, but hey — remember “Honey and the Moon” from season one of The O.C.? Of course you do. Yeah, that’s this guy. Listen to “This is Still My World.”

THE BALCONIES, 11pm, Cabin 5 (225 Richmond St. West, near Queen and John). If you haven’t seen these guys live before, you’re missing out. The aforementioned family-fronted indie power-pop-rockers know how to whip up a crowd. Listen to “Kill Count”.

THE DEARS, 1am, El Mocambo (464 Spadina, at College). These legendary Montreal rockers are guaranteed to be a treat. Listen to “Thrones.”

More highly recommended shows:

REVERSING FALLS, 8pm, Silver Dollar (486 Spadina, at College)

THE STRAIN, 9pm, The Piston (937 Bloor West, near Ossington)

ADALINE, 10pm, The Piston (937 Bloor West, near Ossington)

GREY KINGDOM, 11pm, Sneaky Dee’s (431 College, at Bathurst)

HONHEEHONHEE, 12am, Rancho Relaxo (300 College, near Spadina)

THE LOVE MACHINE, 1am, Sneaky Dee’s (431 College, at Bathurst)

Check back tomorrow morning for our part 3 of recommended CMW shows for Friday night (and day)!


Hey lads and lasses — our fabulous, four-hour, live, best-of-the-year show is on air now! To get your request in, comment here, tweet at us @nowplayingradio, hit us up on Facebook or CALL IN LIVE: 1-613-562-5967! Extra bonus: if you call in, we might just give you a prize (rumour has it there’s a Chad VanGaalen LP kicking around the studio)…

Tune in live online from anywhere in the world by clicking here or going to!

Don’t remind them that their names rhyme… Nov. 30 show rundown, featuring The Details!

You’re always guaranteed a fun time with The Details. Whether it’s their penchant for finding innovative ways to share their music (bathroom sessions, anyone?) or their undying love for their hometown Winnipeg Jets, there is no shortage of things to talk about with Sean, Shaun, Jon and Keli. I mean, they even kept talking to me after I jokingly smushed all their names together. Their sarcastic laughs are one of my favourite parts of our chat, which you can listen to below (or download by right-clicking here):


They also chose some really great songs to play (well, the first song was my pick):

The Details – Vulture Mechanics
Kalle Mattson – Thick as Thieves
Royal Canoe – Nightcrawlin’
Adaline – Rebels of Love
Feist – Get It Wrong, Get It Right
Bry Webb – Rivers of Gold
Wilco – Open Mind [WEEKLY IMPORT]

Thanks again to The Details for joining me as they passed through Toronto — we hope to see those guys make their way back through Ontario again very soon. (Oh, and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter.)

And hey, speaking of Toronto, Ontario, Inlet Sound (or, more specifically, Michael Wexler from the band) will be joining us on today’s show. Be sure to tune in at 1pm on CHUO.FM (or stream ‘er live right here).

“He was singin’ in the choir.” – Nov. 23 show rundown, featuring Kalle Mattson!

We’ve had the Kalle Mattson boys on the show previously, but this time around was especially a treat as it was lovely to see familiar Ottawa faces in the big city of Toronto. KM is currently wrapping up a tour with The Details (who — surprise! — will be joining me on next week’s show) and their last joint show is in the nation’s capital tomorrow night. But earlier this week, I got to chat with Kalle, Rory, Théan, Kyle and JF (yup, the last two are “newbies”) about skipping class to tour Ontario, garnering thousands of hits from around the world on their rad stop-motion music video, and catching each other falling asleep in the car.

Listen to an edited version of the show below, or right-click here to download.

And the tracks they picked to spin (well, minus their own to start the show, which I selected):

Kalle Mattson – The Shore
The Wooden Sky – Call If You Need Me
Wilco – Black Moon [WEEKLY IMPORT]
Olenka and the Autumn Lovers – Motel Blues
The Darcys – Shaking Down The Old Bones
Doug Paisley – No One But You

So don’t forget: they’re playing Zaphod’s tomorrow with Winnipeg indie-rock quartet (and also pals of the show) The Details. And in case you’re like me, wanting to support practically every band playing in the city tomorrow night and are willing to bounce between downtown venues, you should also absolutely check out more pals of the show The Elwins, playing at the Avant Garde Bar with Behind Sapphire and Acres of Lions; The Darcys, Amos the Transparent, and Trevor James and the Perfect Gentlemen at the Live Lounge; and BA Johnston and Wax Mannequin at Irene’s Pub on Bank (more info about all of these over on our Ottawa listings page).

I know. It’s ridiculous. Ridiculous in the best way. Undeniable proof that awesome things happen in Ottawa. So get out there and support local and Canadian music folks — there’s absolutely no excuse not to.

“Ragu in the mouth!” – Nov. 16 show rundown, featuring The Elwins!

They all like pie, they all like Tokyo Police Club, and they all are just chock-full of talent: The Elwins, Toronto’s de-facto poster boys for the city’s independent music scene, survived a blown tire on the highway to meet me in a Yorkville pub to hang out and put together a killer show for this week. We talked about their summer camp tour, their Movember project (and general affinity for making awesome Youtube videos) and their plans for the next little while. They also hand-picked a slew of great tunes (I stuck the TPC in there, myself, for good measure):

The Elwins – Stuck in the Middle
Bran Van 3000 – Astounded
Islands – J’aime Vous Voire Quitter
Tokyo Police Club – Gone
Dr. Ew – Let’s Make It Legitimate
Zeus – Are You Gonna Waste My Time
The Heavy Blinkers – Try Telling That To My Baby
T H O M A S – Triumph

The Elwins wanted to snap a photo together: of course I couldn't resist. Matt, Travis, Feurd, yours truly, and Chris.

You can download the podcasted version of the show (sans most music — so it goes, folks!) here or stream it below:

The Elwins will join more great friends of the show, Old Crowns, for a show at the Piston in Toronto TONIGHT with Jane’s Party — and for our Ottawa listeners out there, they’ll be at the Avant Garde Bar with Behind Sapphire on Saturday, November 26th (check out our Ottawa Listings page for more info). Be sure to check them out — you won’t be disappointed.

Be sure to tune in week, when we’ll be joined once again by a fantastic band in downtown Toronto — keep your eyes peeled to our Twitter feed to find out who!

Rundown: Nov. 9 show, featuring hotshotcasino!

I was thrilled to have the boys from hotshotcathedral hotshotcasino join me in the good ol’ four-one-six the weekend before last. I feel like they brought little pieces of the capital city with them: stories about the U of O campus, updates on great shows happening in the market… all of that jazz. Toss in some deep discussions about the looming end of the world, “doctors of love,” and a documentary appearance, and you’ve got the episode of Now Playing Radio that aired Nov. 9. In the hours leading up to their first Toronto show in months, Pascal, Gregg, Julien and Seb each picked a couple of songs to play and I tossed in a few more recent tracks for good measure:

Kalle Mattson – The Shore
Hotshotcasino – Ghosts
James and Blackburn – Loose Leaf
Newkid – Thunderbirds
We Are The City – Astronomers
Brasstronaut – Slow Knot
The Fast Romantics – Cool Kid

And to celebrate this fabulous new show format — more interviews with bands that aren’t just run-of-the-mill interviews, folks! — I’m posting a podcasted, slightly shortened version of the show RIGHT HERE for your listening pleasure. This episode features one full-length song as well — download and enjoy our conversations mixed in among the sweet sounds of Toronto-by-way-of-Ottawa’s James and Blackburn, or stream ‘er right here:

And in more super-thrilling news: on this week’s show, Toronto’s THE ELWINS join me to not only spin some sweet tunes lovingly picked out by Matt, Feurd, Travis and Chris, but we also chat about how they spent their summer (playing summer camps!) and I press them on which dessert is best. Be sure to tune in this Wednesday at 1pm EST to find out the result of our heated cake versus pie debate (if you’re in Ottawa, you can tune in to 89.1 on the FM dial; livestream anywhere in the world via CHUO.FM by clicking right here). ‘Til then!