5 Acts to See at Sled Island 2017

WORDS: Brett Fillmore

Summer is officially here, and what better way to kick it off than Calgary’s very own Sled Island festival. Who should you check out at this year’s edition?

Land of Talk
From: Montreal, PQ
Playing: Saturday, midnight at King Eddy
For fans of: Cat Power, Blonde Redhead

After a four-year hiatus, singer/guitarist Elizabeth Powell (who goes by the stage name Land of Talk) returned to music in 2015 and this year released her first full-length album since 2010, Life After Youth—a departure from Land of Talk’s previous direction. Then again, the band’s sound and band members have always been in a constant state of flux. Powell’s recording sessions for the band’s three studio albums have featured members of Bon Iver, Besnard Lakes, Sonic Youth, Stars, and Arcade Fire.


From: Tokyo, Japan

Playing: Central United Church, Thursday at 8:30pm

For fans of: Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky

MONO remains among the best post-rock bands around. The guitars are nothing less than atmospheric, and they’re often combined with cinematic orchestral strings. There are never any vocals, but the music is so dynamic you won’t miss them. If you’ve ever hunted down a really good soundtrack after you saw a film, this band is for you.

Cloud Nothings
From: Cleveland, OH
Playing: The #1 Legion, Thursday at midnight
For fans of: Japandroids, Parquet Courts

Noisy, energetic, and unapologetically lo-fi, Cloud Nothings are abrasive enough that they make you often forget how melodic and lyrical they are. Frontman Dylan Baldi is the key to piecing together the band’s poppiness with its punkiness.

Flying Lotus
From: Los Angeles, CA
Playing: The Palace Theatre, Saturday at 11pm.
For fans of: Caribou, RJD2

If you don’t already know, Producer/DJ/Rapper/Musician/Badass Steve Ellison (under the stage name Flying Lotus) made his name blending jazz-tinged hip hop with experimental electronic music. Amazingly, the music may only be the second-most unique thing about his shows. Essentially performing from within a massive sculpture, Flying Lotus’ music is accompanied by a mind-boggling array of cutting edge visual effects, including a dizzying blend of lasers and projectors that has been dubbed “3D projection mapping”.  

From: Birmingham, AL
Playing: Central United Church, Thursday at 8:30pm
For fans of: Milky Chance, Juliana Hatfield

Katie Crutchfield (who goes by the stage name Waxahatchee) will be playing this set without her backing band, and you can expect that flying solo will only add to the ambience. The show will take place amongst the dusty stained glass and creaky wooden pews of an old sandstone church, an intimate and sepia-toned venue that will masterfully suit her soulful delivery and confessional lyrics.

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