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Music News

Music News Digest: Ottawa's Capital Music Awards, Tokyo Police Club Headlines Hamilton's Because Beer Fest

Our weekly news roundup also includes items on the HER Music Awards, the Juno Songwriters' Circle and an important jazz venue bought by the city of Victoria.

Pony Girl

Pony Girl, who leads the list of nominees at the Capital Music Awards

Francois Mittins

Awards news

Nominees for the Ottawa's 5th Annual Capital Music Awards have just been announced. Heading the list with five nods is Pony Girl, followed by Beau Nectar, with four. Other multiple nominees include Grey Brisson, Mimi O'Bonsawin, Commotions, JOLY and Hannah Vig. Five of the categories are open to the public, with voting open now until April 11. See the full list of nominees here.

Produced by The Ottawa Music Industry Coalition and presented by Kinaxis, the Awards will take place on May 16 at the Bronson Centre Music Theatre in Ottawa. Hosting will be Juno-winning artist Angelique Francis, and she’ll perform alongside Pony Girl, Amanda Rheaume, J Morris and LeFLOFRANCO, with The Lionyls serving as the house band under the musical direction of Brian Asselin (The Commotions). Early bird tickets are on sale here until March 25.


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– Singer-songwriters LU KALA and Shakura S’Aida are the two recipients of the 2023 Her Music Awards, sponsored by Anthem Entertainment and supported by The SOCAN Foundation. The recipients were announced at an in-person celebration at the George Restaurant in Toronto, on Mar. 12, and they each receive a $5,000 cash prize. Five $1,000 cash prizes for Her Music Honourable Mentions were also awarded, to Angelique Francis, Jessica Sparvier-Wells, NADUH, Sinzere and Skye Wallace.

“The Her Music Awards celebrate exceptional women who are not only trailblazers, but also empower through their music,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, Executive Director of SOCAN Foundation. The program is designed to celebrate and support female-identifying Canadian music creators on the verge of taking their creative careers to the next level. More info here.

– Submissions for the 2024 Western Canadian Music Artistic and Industry Awards are now open, with a March 22 deadline. More info here. Submit here.

– Canadian independent label MDM Recordings has announced the third annual Henry Armstrong Award (HAA), a bursary and mentorship program created to develop, elevate, and support the diverse talents in the Canadian Indigenous music community. The winner receives a $10,000 bursary along with a tailored mentorship program of professional development services. Submissions are now open here, closing on April 26, with the winner announced on National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21. The 2023 HAA winner was Edmonton-based Métis singer-songwriter Kaeley Jade.

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Festivals news

– Juno Week events in Halifax are now ready to roll out. An annual highlight is the Juno Songwriters’ Circle, and this year's edition takes place on March 22 (7:30 pm - 10:00 pm) at Light House Arts Centre. A stellar lineup of 2024 nominees presenting their material in stripped-down fashion comprises Begonia, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Jeremy Dutcher, Leith Ross, Luna Elle, Matt Andersen, Rêve and William Prince. More info and tickets here.

– Canadian rock heavyweights Billy Talent, Tokyo Police Club and PUP are the just-announced headliners for Hamilton’s Because Beer Craft Beer Festival. Produced by powerhouse Hamilton music company Sonic Unyon (the folks behind Supercrawl), the fest will run July 12-14 at Pier4 Park, on the city’s waterfront. Rounding out the lineup are Cancer Bats, Chastity, Dizzy, Cuff the Duke, NOBRO, Daniel Romano’s Outfit and Status/Non-Status. Advance tickets to Because Beer are now on sale. Weekend Passes are available for $98 (+fees & taxes), with Single-Day tickets for $45 (+fees & taxes). Tix here.

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Industry news

The City of Victoria has bought the building that houses Hermann’s Jazz Club and the View Street Social for $3.95 million, CHEK News reports. “This purchase demonstrates Council’s commitment to preserving and investing in music spaces downtown as reflected in our 2023-2026 Strategic Plan,” said Mayor Marianne Alto. Just days prior, it was announced that Hermann’s Upstairs would be closing permanently as of March 31. Hermann’s Jazz Club and View Street Social will continue operating on the ground floor of the newly purchased buildings at 751-753 View Street. Hermann’s Jazz Club has been operating since 1981, making it possibly Canada’s longest-continuously operating jazz club.

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– May 11th, 2024 marks the 20th anniversary of Thornley's breakthrough debut album, Come Again. In honour of this milestone, 604 Records is releasing a vinyl version for the first time, accompanied by a digital re-release featuring previously unreleased rarities, distributed by Warner Music Canada. The album's lead single, "So Far So Good," went gold, launching Ian Thornley's post-Big Wreck career. The group reunites for its first live performance in 15 years at Toronto's Danforth Music Hall on May 11. Tix here.

Bif Naked has been nominated for a Screen Award for Best Supporting Performance, Web Program or Series by The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. This is for her work in the new CBC Gem original series, I Hate People, People Hate Me.

– For the third year in a row, the Mundial Montréal team, in collaboration with Women in Music Canada (WIMC), will be hosting a "Made in Canada" reception and showcase at Tallinn Music Weekin Estonia on April 4.

- Highly-regarded non-profit org ArtsCan Circle has announced the creation of The Indigenous Youth Guitar Residency Program. Eligible artists are Indigenous Youth living in remote, northern communities aged 16-25, and the winning applicant participates in a one-month residency this summer supporting the making a guitar by hand under the mentorship of Sergie De Jong. As part of the program, master guitar maker Grit Laskinhasdonated an acoustic guitar with special inlay art. More info here.

- An annual highlight of the Toronto club concert calendar, Jaymz Bee's Caravan of Music returns to The Old Mill on April 11. Put together by Vesuvius Music and jazz impresario Bee, the event serves as a fundraiser for Canadian music industry charity Unison. 24 bands and over 100 musicians perform in 12 rooms of the historic venue, in styles including jazz, blues, swing and R&B/soul. Artists featured will include Errol Fisher, Blackburn Brothers, Swingshift, Jay Douglas, Laura Hubert, Sam Broverman, Irene Torres, Genevieve Marentette, Bill King Trio, Tony Quarrington & Zoe Adams, Ori Dagan, Barbra Lica, Danae Olano and more. Tickets available here.

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- ADVANCE House is headed to Halifax for Juno Awards weekend. On Friday, March 22 at Tribe Network (1717 Barrington St.), the non-profit org gathers to celebrate the contributions and achievements of Black music, business professionals and creatives. Tickets here.

Artist news

Belfountain is the new indie-folk-rock project fronted by singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist and Juno-winning producer Chris Graham (Tia Brazda, Splash N’ Boots). He has just released a debut single, “Give It Up,” to be followed by an album, Some Hearts in June. The single features such A-list guests as Colleen Brown, Chloe Watkinson, Quisha Wint, Davide DiRenzo and Joel Visentin. Graham plays an album release concert at Burdock in Toronto on June 22, followed by national touring in the summer.

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– Stylish Toronto rockers The Conscience Pilate were local faves back in the '90s. Mainman Neil Leyton now lives in Portugal and reunion gigs are rare, but the band plays The Dakota Tavern on March 21, with Night Finger in support.

– St. Louis-based rock/soul singer-songwriter-guitarist Jackson Stokes has been making a splash Stateside, and he brings his band north of the border for its Canadian debut at Bridgeworks in Hamilton, March 30. Opening up is local rock band Mount Nemo Rattlers. Tickets here.

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AP Dhillon smashing his guitar at Coachella
Instagram/Coachella

AP Dhillon smashing his guitar at Coachella

Music

AP Dhillon Drops Off Coachella's Second Weekend

The Punjabi-Canadian star has faced backlash in Indian media and on social media for his guitar smash on weekend one, but the festival says he's cancelling due to scheduling conflicts.

AP Dhillon is leaving the California desert behind. Coachella announced that the Punjabi-Canadian star will not appear at the festival's second weekend as planned, citing scheduling conflicts. The festival announced it in a follow up tweet to one announcing that rapper Kid Cudi has been added.

While Dhillon's first-weekend performance was well-received by the Coachella crowd and many of his supporters, he's also had some backlash due to how he closed his set, which has been widely covered by media in India.

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