Whether you’re throwing down moves at a solo kitchen dance party or dreaming about getting sweaty at a live show (remember those?), you need the sounds of stellar opening acts to soundtrack your hot summer nights. Chris Wilson, Director of Brand Partnerships + Programming, shares his top picks.
Yves Jarvis (website)
If your musical tastes run to the weird and wild, tunes by this Montreal-based psych-pop impressionist (real name: Jean-Sebastian Audet) will hit the spot. Jarvis is a fusion master, combining electronic elements with lush folk, R&B and charmingly elliptical lyrics. Coming June 25: Banned by The Lightman Jarvis Ecstatic Band, a collab album with singer-songwriter Romy Lightman.
They’ve been called the future of R&B — and with good reason. The Toronto-based R. Flex is an emerging artist par extraordinaire, turning out smooth, soulful, electro-infused tunes to get sexy to. Our current fave track: Tulips, a slow burn of queer desire and longing, delivered steaming hot in a dreamy falsetto.
What do you get when an all-women, Toronto-based musical ensemble with diasporic connections to the Philippines combines analog drums, synth and electronic grooves with traditional atonal kulintang instrumentation? Answer: a heady, avant-garde hybrid unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. (Spoiler alert: it’s super-danceable, too.)
Epic barely begins to describe the Two-spirited trans-Algonquin artist known as Kìzis. Her latest album, Tidibàbide / Turn : Four Spirits in Motion, is an ambitious work that takes listeners on a journey of more than 30 tracks spanning an astonishing three and a half hours. Flowing from introspective synth to Algonquin drumming to spoken word to techno, you’ll be entranced from beginning to end.
James Baley (website)
Simply put, James Baley is one to watch — distinctive vocals, emotional vulnerability and shades of 70s and 80s soul filtered through a thoroughly modern aesthetic lens. Baley’s stock-in-trade is his undeniable onstage charisma, but don’t worry — at-home listening provides a satisfying bounty of slow jams and heart-melting lyrics.