When it comes to music festivals, North By North East is a playground for indie music fans to see their favourite bands, discover new artists and dig up some hidden gems. NXNE, now in it’s 20th year, takes place in Toronto and features music, film, music, comedy and art.
Concert venues all across the city have schedules stacked from day until the wee hours of the morning with bands from all over including Danny Brown, St. Vincent, Spoon, Mac DeMarco, Future Islands, Pusha T, Ryan Hemsworth and more (you can view the full lineup here). From rock to folk to pop to electronic and rap — NXNE offers quite the eclectic mix with something for everyone.
One Toronto-based garage-pop band that is an absolute must-see is Army Girls. When it comes to this band, less is more. Army Girls is comprised of only two musicians, but their music iss as well-crafted and textured both musically and lyrically as any four-piece act.
Carmen Elle (vocals and guitar) and Andy Smith (drums) have been regulars in the Toronto music scene. Elle is currently the front person of Diana and formerly was in Austra while Smith is part of Doldrums and Heartbeat Hotel. While both are young, they have a rich musical history with experience to boot. Despite being around since 2010, they have only released the Ben Cook (Fucked Up) produced EP Close To The Heart and the 2012 single “Twice”.
If you’re going to NXNE this month, add one (or both) of Army Girls’s showcases to your schedule. They’ll be playing at MiO Squirtcar on Wednesday June 18 at 12:30am and at Lee’s Palace on Friday June 20 at 9pm. Who knows, if you haven’t heard Army Girls before, you may love them and they may be that hidden gem you were looking for.
And to gear you up for their shows, here’s a Southern Souls-produced video of Army Girls performing their tune, “Barkin’”.
Photo of Army Girls: Mixtape/Jonathan Briggins