**Unfortunately Margaritas Podridas has had to cancel their appearance at Sled Island 2023. The replacement headliner is The OBGMs.
“This is rock music that hits differently. It’s Kurt Cobain shit. It’s Jimi Hendrix shit. It’s the Steve Jobs of this rock shit.”
That’s vocalist/guitarist Densil McFarlane talking about his band the OBGMs, recently tapped as one of SPIN Magazine’s top-50 rock bands, and their Polaris short-listed album, The Ends. If he sounds like a man who doesn’t lack confidence, that’s because he doesn’t. “The whole album is about not being bashful and just going out and getting it,” he says. “A lot of people who do music sink into self-deprecation, but we’re comfortable telling people how we feel about ourselves—good and bad—and the good is: I don’t think there’s a band that does what we do on a record.”
METZ guitarist-vocalist Alex Edkins released his debut album as Weird Nightmare on Sub Pop last year, and hoo-boy, it makes a lot of sweet, sweet racket. Filled with vocal styles that METZ fans will recognize (and love), it’s a blown-out affair full of sugary melodies swimming in molten distortion that lands genre-wise somewhere between shoegaze and pop-punk. Whatever you call it, it’s one hell of a fun ride.
Fun-but-freaky art-rockers La Sécurité make music for studio freaks cutting loose at a basement party. All wiggles and itch, the band layers bouncy bass lines, overheated synths and guitar yelps for an adrenaline-laden trip through outré rock styles.
Culture and tradition meet percussion-forward electronic beats via amiskwacîwâskahikan’s ASKO. Band founder Marek Tyler is a contemporary Indigenous drummer, offering the harmonious music of ASKO to celebrate his community and family. Rounded out by collaborators Cassia Hardy (Wares) and Matthew Cardinal (nêhiyawk), ASKO’s sonic cornucopia of bright synth and bottom-end bass is definitely music to feel in your heart.
Finally, something good to come out of the pandemic. Trapped in a house together, Sick Puppy decided to write a stupidly catchy song about John Belushi, included on its five-song EP, Haunt the Hill. Crunchy riffs, relatable lyrics about surrogate boyfriends, all neatly packaged in two minute tunes. Fun as hell.
They had us at “some trans dykes kickin it” in their Instagram bio. Add punk/country songs ranging in theme from the Jackass movies to heartfelt tracks about the “butch lesbian experience,” and it’s an easy sell. Throw some spikes on your cowboy hat and party on, partner!
What began as the outsider-synth solo project of Gwen Morgan (Uncanny Valley) has grown into a quintet featuring guitar, bass, drums and even more synth. Together, the band makes nervous, jittery music that brushes up against coldwave, no wave and post-punk but never really blends in with a single genre.
Together for more than a decade, this trio finally released its first EP last year. Recorded at OCL Studios, it features the three musicians — Hannah and Lennon Owl Child, and their cousin Erin Manyheads — paying tribute to their Indigenous heritage while also offering a more raw rock sound and approach.
This group of veteran musicians/ex-record store employees blend grunge, shoegaze and post-punk to familiar-but-fresh effect. Tracks like “Green Glass” and “Pot Of Gold” from the band’s forthcoming debut album showcases how groove, distorted riffs and the understated vocals of chief songwriter Rochelle Bulmer become much more than the sum of their parts.
ILLHumanNation is a vocal-forward, six-piece hip-hop group often layering sultry guitar parts and heartfelt melodies with classic hip-hop beats to share messages of hope. Bringing illumination to an ill human nation is at the core of IHN’s mantra, and through conscious rhymes and choruses, they’re working on healing one listener at a time.
The footage of Bat Scratch’s 2022 debut basement show was an instant viral hit, due in no small part to the primal energy of its 7-year-old singer, Robbie. The crushing flurry of riffs and non-stop beatdown drums unleashed by this rabid punk collective is precise, exhilarating, and as satisfying as chocolate milk.
Calgary-based songwriter A.N. crafts intimate and profound bedroom-pop gems that can be heard on her debut EP Forbidden Fruit. Pensive and thought-provoking, the artist’s haunting melodies and sentimental lyrics are paired with lo-fi guitar strums — working equally well through headphones and on stage.
About Sled Island
The Sled Island Music & Arts Festival is a five-day, multi-venue festival taking place June 21 – 25, 2023. For more information, visit SledIsland.com.
Everyone has the right to feel safe and included at Sled Island. All festival attendees agree to abide by Sled Island’s safer spaces and inclusion policy, which can be found at SledIsland.com/SaferSpaces.
Sled Island acknowledges Calgary as the traditional territory of the Blackfoot and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, which includes the Siksika, the Piikani, the Kainai, the Tsuut’ina and the Ĩyãħé Nakoda First Nations, including the Chiniki, Bearspaw and Wesley First Nations. Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.