Ottawa·LIVE MUSIC

Face to Face, Jean-Michel Blais perform in Ottawa-Gatineau

Punk, bluegrass and instrumental piano make up Jessa Runciman's best bets for new music hitting local stages in the coming days.

Punk, bluegrass and instrumental piano are all on tap at local venues

Veteran California punks Face to Face give a concert at The Bronson Centre on Thursday. (Joshua Wilkins)

Face to Face @ The Bronson Centre on Thursday, 7 p.m., $28.50

It's been 25 years since Face to Face officially formed.

Fronted by founding singer-guitarist Trevor Keith, the group has seen a few lineup changes since its early years — not to mention a four-year hiatus in the mid-2000s — and its members have shared their talents with outfits like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Saves the Day, and The Offspring.

Face to Face's latest album, Protection,is proof that the band's brand of So-Cal punk remains consistently melodic and heartfelt. They'll perform new and old songs at The Bronson Centre on Thursday night, alongside local openers Crusades and The Valveenus.

Jenny Whiteley @ NAC Back Stage on Friday, 8 p.m., $25

Jenny Whiteley performs songs from her new album at the NAC on Friday. (Ali Eisner)

On Friday, more new music comes in the form of a homecoming show by Jenny Whiteley. She returned to the region this summer after a year spent in France — and she hasn't wasted any time in the months since getting back.

In September, Whiteley released her latest album, The Original Jenny Whiteley. It finds her heading back to her roots, performing live-sounding renditions of songs she grew up watching her dad and uncle play in their group, The Original Sloth Band.

Whiteley has made those songs her own — and you'll hear that when she plays them in an NAC Back Stage concert alongside opener Kristine Schmitt.

New Swears @ Zaphod's on Saturday, 8 p.m., $10

Ottawa's New Swears celebrate their Dine Alone Records debut with a show at Zaphod's on Saturday night. (Shawn Cross)

Laid-back valley twang. Raucous, harmony-laden power-pop. You'll get both from Ottawa's New Swears: four self-proclaimed "funboys" with a penchant for parties and confetti cannons.

The band has just signed to Dine Alone Records — home of The Sheepdogs, City and Colour, and Wintersleep — and they'll seal the deal with a full-length record next year. In the meantime, New Swears has just put out a 7-inch, with a release show set for Saturday night at Zaphod's — and it's their live show where these guys really shine.

Expect human pyramids, cascading silly string, and harmonizing guitar solos so tight they could make Thin Lizzy run for the hills. NOBRO and Puffs kick things off.

Jean-Michel Blais @ The Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, 8:30 p.m., $20

Montreal pianist Jean-Michel Blais performs at The Black Sheep Inn on Saturday. (Isis Essery)

A show featuring Her Harbour's haunting voice is already enough to warrant a drive to Wakefield — but when the local singer-songwriter takes to the Black Sheep on Saturday night, autoharp in tow, it'll be alongside headliner Jean-Michel Blais.

The Montreal pianist has just made his label debut on Arts & Crafts with a minimal instrumental album, Il. Written over two years by way of daily improvisation on his piano, Blais recorded the album in his apartment with just a Zoom recorder.

While the piano is the only instrument you'll hear on the record, Blais inadvertently caught the sounds of the apartment itself: a bird outside, the snap of a camera, the intake of his breath. The resulting compositions are timeless, beautiful, and full of life. It'll be compelling music to see live.

About the Author

Jessa Runciman

Associate Producer

Jessa Runciman is an associate producer with CBC Ottawa, and an avid music fan and show-goer. You can follow her on Twitter @jessarunciman.

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