Our picks for best of the fest at New Music West

2007.03.7 :: the westender

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New Music West, the West Coast's largest new music festival, runs today

(May 3) through Sunday, featuring over 200 bands at 25 venues, plus special showcases and industry conferences. Here are some of our top picks.


We haven't been able to find out very much about Vancouver's own Abernethy, other than that it's led by singer-songwriter Joseph Abernethy, whose melancholic voice is the intriguingly dour counterpoint to a fistful of sprightly melodies that betray a love of 1960s lite psychedelia (Zombies, Kinks) and its current-day progeny (Essex Green, Belle & Sebastian). His/their recent disc, College Grove, is a beaut. Saturday at the Chapel,

10 p.m.


This Toronto duo's MySpace page lists influences as disparate as Radiohead, Jay-Z, and Sun Ra, but their soulful, laid-back pop isn't the unfocused avant-garde frappe such a collision would suggest. Standout track "Let it Go" reminds us of early Esthero, before she so spectacularly lost the plot. Saturday at Bar None, 7 p.m.

Junior Major

Two bug-eyed women in primary-coloured op-art dresses and plastic jewelry (and a dude on drums) who love Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the B-52's and look like they're having an absurd amount of fun. We haven't yet been able to figure out if they're the shameful contrivance of some invisible Svengali or the best party band to come out of this city since it-makes-no-difference. Check the video for "Surface Socket" at MySpace.com/JuniorMajor and make up your own mind. Thursday at the Penthouse, 9:45 p.m.


Torquil Campbell, best known as frontman of Stars, divides his time between Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, and, it often seems, most of the rest of the world. Memphis, the duo he makes up with New York-based friend Chris Dumont, is named for a city both of them have rarely, if ever, visited. Campbell's love for romantic, literate pop is as much in evidence here as with his more famous band, but we wouldn't be the first to argue that many of his best songs wind up with this project. Sunday at the Red Room, 8 p.m.

Volcanoless in Canada

They look like they've just stumbled drunkenly out of the Roxy at 3 a.m. (granted, they are from Saskatoon), but this hard-gigging quintet (12 gigs in the month of May alone) filters avowed influences like Jimmy Eat World and Saves the Day through a sieve of instrumental discipline as tight as Chicago post-rock trailblazers Tortoise. Saturday at the Penthouse, 10 p.m.


While in Buffalo Springfield and during the first months of his solo career, Neil Young pursued an expansive, complex strain of symphonic rock that sounded like folk songs set adrift in outer space. Welkin, the six-year-old vehicle for Vancouver's Geoff Birch, sounds like what might have happened if Young had continued on that path. Friday at the Chapel, 11 p.m.

View the complete New Music West schedule at NewMusicWest.com.


Montag, who was profiled in last week's WE, has cancelled his New Music West performance scheduled for tonight (May 3) at Backstage Lounge.

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