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  • WEDNESDAY, MARCH 05, 2008

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Today we fix our gaze on everyone’s favorite little label to the North, and the rather epic gathering of bands they will be hosting down South. Perusing their ever expanding artist roster, it’s pretty safe to say Toronto’s Arts & Crafts label all but owns the highly heralded, Canadian indie scene (Broken Social Scene, Stars, Feist). Of course, a recent rush of new signees (Los Campesinos!, Phoenix) suggests the label hardly intends to limit themselves to their country’s borders. This year A&C will showcase five of their bands at The Parish on Saturday March 15th. We’ve got plenty of info to wade through, plus an Arts & Crafts SXSW compilation for download, below. – David Pitz

Arts & Crafts SXSW Showcase: March 15th, 2008:: The Parish

The Most Serene Republic – 9:00PM
In the summer of 2005, The Most Serene Republic burst onto the indie music scene with their dense art-rock debut album, Underwater Cinematographer. The group of friends from Milton, Ontario have been described as indie-rock androids – drawing strong comparisons to The Flaming Lips, Postal Service and Broken Social Scene. Their latest work, Population, was self-produced by the band in Toronto over the last year, and inspired by the sprawling suburbs of their hometown. Musically, they sound as grandiose as ever. On Population, they showcase their prog and jazz influence, while building on the unique sound they carved out on Underwater Cinematographer.

The Constantines – 10PM
Constantines’ music, as well as their thundering and inspired live shows, have continually earned the band a loyal following from both music writers and music fans alike, drawing comparisons to The Clash, Bruce Springsteen, Fugazi and Nick Cave. The band has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe since the release of their self-titled debut album in 2001, and have shared the stage with the likes of Foo Fighters, The Weakerthans, The Hold Steady, and Guided by Voices, to name a few. On April 29, 2008 Arts & Crafts will release the Constantines fourth studio album – Kensington Heights – the follow up to 2003’s Shine A Light and 2005’s Tournament of Hearts.

Jason Collett – 11PM
If you missed Jason Collett on his last tour with Canadian songstress, Feist, now’s your chance to see him perform at this year’s SXSW Music Festival. Collett rolls into Austin just prior to his U.S. Tour. Go here for all the dates. His new album, Here’s To Being Here, is a throwback to a time when booze-soaked guitar-rock and poignant acoustic numbers decorated the dials of FM radio. The album was recorded and produced by Howie Beck and features guest performances by fellow Broken Social Scene member and Apostle of Hustle front man Andrew Whiteman, as well as long time friend Tony Scherr (Norah Jones, John Scofield), and Liam O'Neil (The Stills) to name a few.

Los Campesinos! – 12AM
Cardiff, Wales based septet, Los Campesinos! release their debut full-length album, Hold On Now, Youngster… in North America on April 1. The album, recorded last summer outside of Toronto with producer David Newfeld, features eleven songs, including the first single off the record, “Death To Los Campesinos!” and the acclaimed, “You! Me! Dancing!,” which made Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Songs of 2007. Los Campesinos! have quickly taken the music world by storm. They formed in 2006 while the band’s members were still at the University of Cardiff. They released the Sticking Fingers Into Sockets EP in July of last year, making their debut North American appearance at Lollapalooza in Chicago shortly after. The band returned in the fall of 2007, heading West to Los Angeles and San Francisco, and East to Boston and New York. Enthusiasm and hysteria broke out wherever they traveled.

The Stills – 1AM
The Stills, comprised of Tim Fletcher, Dave Hamelin, Oliver Corbeil, Liam O’Neil, and Julien Blais, formed in Montreal in 2000. Soon after, the band temporarily relocated to New York and was one of the first signings to Vice Recordings. The Stills rose to prominence in 2004 with the release of their break-through debut album, Logic Will Break Your Heart. In 2006, Dave Hamelin put down his drumsticks and shared guitar and vocal duties with frontman Tim Fletcher for their sophomore album, Without Feathers. Long considered to be extended family, in late 2007, Arts & Crafts signed the band to a worldwide recording deal. Once again working with producer Gus van Go, The Stills’ new material, beginning with the anthemic lead single, “Being Here,” conveys a rejuvenated, reinvigorated sense of being. Look for the Stills new album coming this May.

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MP3: Arts & Crafts:: "SXSW Sampler"

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