If scheduled wisely, this year’s experience can serve as a nice segue into the WorldPride onslaught a week later. For the music fans who prefer a little something queer or transgressive, we delved into the schedule with gaydars set to full power and put together this cheat sheet of NXNE acts who are either queer-identified or whose music has queer appeal.
Kirin J Callinan
The Australian musician explores the more terrifying aspects of masculinity on his debut LP, Embracism, with equal amounts of minimalism, ferocity and homoeroticism. His music has been compared to early Nick Cave — another menacing Aussie performer who also crossdressed in his formative years.
Wed, June 18, midnight, The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St W
The New York rapper, producer and dancer has become a cause célèbre in the music press as an out gay rapper, but his sneering and clever rhymes and futuristic sound is the real story. After releasing a steady stream of mixtapes and EPs, he signed to indie XL/Terrible Records, which put out the EP Hey earlier this year.
Thurs, June 19, 7:15pm, Vice Island: House of Vans, 333 Lakeshore Blvd E
Fri, June 20, 11pm, Mod Club, 722 College St
Fri, June 20, 1am, NXNE Festival Village at Edward Day Gallery, 952 Queen St W
88 Days of Fortune presents Leaders of the New School
DJ Sassy Black (aka Cat from Seattle hip-hop group THEESatisfaction) and Brooklyn MC Latasha Alcindor help local underground music collective 88 Days of Fortune celebrate their fifth anniversary.
Thurs, June 19, 9pm, Weldon Park, 569 College St
Hard-working Toronto queen Regina the Gentlelady’s synth-pop outfit will no doubt bring the glamour to the annual west-end backyard barbecue’s lineup.
Fri, June 20, 4:45pm, 159 Manning St
If each NXNE band were a movie, Xiu Xiu would be the bleak, impenetrable art film. The LA-based duo’s latest LP, Angel Guts: Red Classroom, delves into racialized sex, double penetration and criminality, among other confrontational topics.
Fri, June 20, 7pm, 159 Manning St
Fri, June 20, 10pm, The Great Hall, 1087 Queen St W
Guitar virtuoso Annie Clark’s eponymous fifth studio album is one of the best-reviewed records of the year so far. Following impressive performances on Saturday Night Live and at Nirvana’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she will add some much-needed female power to this year’s list of NXNE headliners.
Fri, June 20, 9:10pm, Yonge-Dundas Square, Yonge and Dundas streets
My Darling Fury
Fronted by singer Danny Reyes, the Richmond, Virginia, four-piece makes dreamy, emotionally charged post rock. Their album Licking Wounds came out earlier this year.
Fri, June 20, 11pm, Handlebar, 159 Augusta Ave
Kelela opened for Solange in Toronto last year, but NXNE marks the inventive R&B singer’s first local appearance since the release of her otherworldly Cut 4 Me mixtape on queer-friendly label Fade to Mind.
Fri, June 20, midnight, Wrongbar, 1279 Queen St W
Sat, June 21, 9pm, Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St
Courtney Barnett’s double EP A Sea of Split Peas stood apart for its swirling guitars, conversational charm and wit, and non-traditional approach to songwriting. It earned the Australian singer, songwriter and guitarist comparisons to vintage Bob Dylan, a deal with indie label Mom + Pop and a performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Fri, June 20, midnight; Sat, June 21, midnight; and Sun, June 22, 10pm, Silver Dollar Room, 486 Spadina Ave
Fans of Riot Grrrl-era punk should have Perfect Pussy circled on their NXNE itineraries. The Syracuse-based noise punks are fronted by the fearless and incendiary Meredith Graves, whose honesty — in interviews and in song — has helped the group transcend buzz-band status.
Fri, June 20, 1am, Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St W
Idgy Dean is the psychedelic dream-pop alter ego of Brooklyn musician Lindsay Sanwald. Her forthcoming debut LP Ominous Harminus is a heady concept record about “apocalypse optimism,” or “the renaissance after the Black Death,” as she puts it.
Fri, June 20, 1am, Handlebar, 159 Augusta Ave
Sat, June 21, 8pm, Baltic Avenue, 875 Bloor St W
Lakes of Canada
CanLit fans might want to check out this Montreal choral folk-pop band whose latest is a concept album based on Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. They plan to play it in full at NXNE.
Sat, June 21, 10pm, Tranzac Club, 292 Brunswick Ave