Welcome to NXNE Best Bets!
With North by North East on the horizon, we’ve put together a list of 20 artists you don’t want to miss at this year’s festival. Taking place in Toronto from June 14th to 19th, the annual festival is set to feature some of the world’s best artists of today and tomorrow.
North By Northeast is returning for the first time since before the pandemic, and the lineup is definitely worth the wait.
Check out our NXNE Best Bets below.
NXNE Best Bets:
Queer singer-songwriter Brooklyn Doran is headed to the Dakota Tavern on June 18th to deliver some of her staple folk tunes. Known for striking a perfect balance of song and storytelling, this set is sure to be full of well rounded tunes and vulnerable lyricism.
dwi, who is known for being the bassist from the Zolas, is bringing a solo project born out of isolation to The Garrison on June 18th. When the world stopped due to the pandemic, Dwi decided to use the time to create something deeply personal. The show is sure to be a moving experience, as dwi sings of childhood, addiction, environmentalism, and politics.
Lenny Bull is all about a powerhouse, pop-rock, guitar-centric sound. Her music strikes the perfect balance between infectious anthems and hard-edged, gritty rock tunes. Make sure to catch her stunning pop rock tunes at the Steamwhistle Taproom on June 18th.
Head to the El Mocambo Starlight Room on June 16th to catch Toronto pop-rock artist Loviet. “The album’s nostalgic thread pulls together a generational gist wrapped in poetic power that anyone can relate to,” Loviet explains of 777. “Romanticized teen memories, inner battles won and lost, and the existential sparring with the future.”
Montreal pop-punk five-piece Dear Youth are headed to the Bovine Sex Club on June 17th. The band won Best Music Video for their song “Who You Are” at the Paris Music Video Underground Festival in 2020 and were named one of Alternative Press Magazine’s Top 10 Pop-Punk Bands from Canada, so this is one show you won’t want to miss.
2020 Rocksearch champions Foolproof are set to also play the Bovine Sex Club on June 17th. Made up of Jesse Boulay, Paige Kopp, and Nate Moore, the power trio will bring their high energy performances to the stage.
Bealby Point is inspired by their favourite beachside vacation spot in British Columbia. The band is made up of lead vocalist Jack Armstrong, bassist Jordan Studer, lead guitarist Clayton Dewar and drummer Zack Yeager. Catch their nostalgic tunes at the Baby G on June 16th!
Check out Black Pontiac at The Garrison on Thursday, June 16th. The Vancouver Band is inspired by artists like Cage the Elephant and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They’re sure to bring some amazing live energy to the stage, fusing pop, funk, and hip hop into one.
Kingston post-punk outfit The Meringues are headed to the Bovine Sex Club on June 18th. “A Meringues show is must-see,” their bio explains. “As the band tears through each song, they seem in constant danger of going off the rails. There’s more than just random chaos though. The Meringues have a focused energy, enveloped around songs with catchy, memorable melodies and lyrics that are bitingly fierce.”
Alt-pop-funk-rock outfit Blue Kubricks specialize in subverting genres. Based in Leeds, the band have honed in on a pretty unique, yet playful signature sound. Catch their killer tunes at The Garrison on June 18th.
Hamilton five-piece indie outfit CAPITOL is made up of brothers and best friends: Josh Kemp, Robert J. Kemp, Wes Lintott, Matt Lintott, and Chris McLaughlin. They’re sure to bring together tunes from their 2021 EP All the Rest of My Heads and 2019’s Dream Noise to the stage on June 16th at The Baby G.
Made in the midst of the 2020 pandemic lockdown, Gentle have gone from a DIY project to a full blown post punk, dream pop act. Looking at themes of internet culture, life in the middle class, and mental health, Gentle channel the sounds of artists like Alex G, Chastity, and Japanese Breakfast. Catch them at The Baby G on June 16th.
Vancouver, BC’s Bookclub is made up of a group of bestfriends. Together, they create a unique brand of energetic smart pop, honing in on the sounds of yacht rock and angsty 80s Brit rock. You can catch them twice during NXNE: once at Handlebar on June 17th and once at Horseshoe Tavern on June 18th.
Head to Handlebar on June 17th to check out a set from Joshanda, a rock project originally created by singer-songwriter and producer Adil Azhar. The genre-bending alternative outfit looks at themes of mental health, love, heartbreak, religion, dreams, and more.
Iran-born, Toronto based Parmida Kakavand (she/they) will be bringing their project Päter to the stage at Clinton’s Tavern on June 17th. They’ll be playing tons of tunes from their sophomore EP, WHEREFORE WEEP I THEN?, a subversive collection of unrequited love songs.
Montreal alt-rock power trio Radium Moon are bringing their raucous energy to the Bovine Sex Club on June 16th. Co-fronted by Sandrin Chouinard on vocals and bass and Brandon Muir on vocals and guitar, their signature sound is rounded out by the heart-stopping rhythm of drummer Raphael Poletti.
Since forming in 2018, Napoleon have really solidified a name for themselves in the Toronto Music Scene. Performing alongside acts like Single Mothers, Cancer Bats, and Like Pacific, Napoleon also bring a pretty rowdy energy to the stage. Check it out at the Bovine Sex Club on June 17th.
The High Loves
Toronto pop-rock outfit The High Loves are made up of lead singer and guitarist Noah Monckton, lead guitarist Marko Stojanovic, keyboardist Jeremy Ugro, drummer Jaden Spanier, and bassist Jake St Jean. They blend dance-worthy hooks with catchy guitars and 80’s-style synth lines for a bubbly, energetic sound. Check them out at the Cameron House on June 18th.
Living Room for Small
Toronto’s Living Room for Small started out recording many parts and sounds in bandmember Nathan Léon’s living room – hence the name. “Being from Brighton, England, I feel as though my writing is heavily inspired by many of UK’s Pop, Indie and Alternative artists that are currently in circulation right now,” Owen Tester explains. “The 1975 being the biggest influence.”
Born out of longtime collaborators Andrew Favviolo and Logan Shaw’s work together, Moving City weave together the sounds of 70s rock and roll with the soft sounds of modern folk. Their addictive tunes are sure to get you ready for their show at the Dakota Tavern on June 18th. Catch them at the Baby G on June 16th.
You can also check out some of NXNE’s playlists of the artists that are playing the festival below. Or, take a listen to our NXNE Radio here.