Ensure you’re following our pals over at the Gridlock Festival (@gridlockfest) on Twitter, as they have an announcement scheduled for Tuesday, March 1st to announce 10 more bands & 5 comedians for the Festival.


DIIV, American Football, TR/ST, Wintersleep, Baths, Lower Dens, Lowell, Beach Slang, and more announced for inaugural Gridlock Festival  …tickets on sale NOW

DIIV, American Football, TR/ST, Wintersleep, Baths, Lower Dens, Lowell, Beach Slang, Peach Kelli Pop, Sean Nicholas Savage, Southern Shores, Partner, Vogue Dots, beauts, and Dance Movie are among the acts announced for the inaugural Gridlock Festival, which takes place in Halifax, NS from July 8-10, 2016.

Passes for the three-day festival are on sale now.  Regular advance passes are $100. Day-of passes will be available for $120.

Gridlock Festival is a new, outdoor tented festival taking place on the grounds of Spatz Theatre/Citadel High School. The event’s bar partner is Stillwell, who will serve up East Coast craft beer, local wine, and spirits. The festival grounds will also feature a food truck alley and provide additional space for pop-up retail vendors.

Additional acts for the festival, including comedians and after party entertainment, will be announced in the new year.

Steeped in the shoegaze tradition, Brooklyn’s DIIV masterfully blends a multiplicity of textures, lyrical themes, and moods bringing to the fore tidal waves of shimmering guitar and weaving bass lines. Their new album, Is the Is Are, due in February 2016 via Captured Tracks, is an ambitious double album focused on the band’s dark and honest dynamics.

Reunited after fifteen years, Chicago’s American Football began as a studio project for guitarist/bassist Mike Kinsella (Owen) and his friends drummer Steve Lamos (The Geese) and guitarist Steve Holmes (also of The Geese). The band’s only full-length album, 1999’s American Football, garnered accolades for its plain-spoken and confessional lyrics, varying time signatures, and refined musical approach. Their performance at Gridlock Festival marks the band’s first ever Canadian show.

The dark electronic pop project of Toronto’s Robert Alfons, TR/ST recalls acts such as Depeche Mode and Joy Division with his mix of sinuous synth pop and deep vocals. His latest album, Joyland (Arts & Crafts), streamlines a dance-inspired direction incorporating house and acid techno influences to create a revitalized darker feel.

Halifax-bred, Montreal-based fog-rock pioneers Wintersleep are a JUNO Award-winning band on the cusp of releasing their latest album, The Great Detachment. Recorded live-off-the-floor, the new record adds an organic and transparent aural aesthetic to their storied catalogue. Overwhelmed with a musical warmth, it is a call to their fans to assemble and sing along to tunes borne from reflection and changing technology.

For mercurial L.A. music-maker Will Wiesenfeld, Baths has been a long time coming. The 21-year-old has spent the better part of his days living amidst “pleasant” and “unremarkable” in the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley, so perhaps it’s due to a general lack of local inspiration that Wiesenfeld’s own work has never fit into a prefab box of its own. Over the last six years, under the handle of [Post-Foetus], Wiesenfeld has gainfully explored the intersections and outer reaches of both electronic and acoustic music. With Baths, his eclecticism finds its greatest focus yet, in a hail of lush melodies, ghostly choirs, playful instrumentation and stuttering beats.

On Escape From Evil, Lower Dens’ Jana Hunter emerges: cerebral and hot-blooded, rash and incorruptible, and, crucially, possessing of a loud, clear voice. The album sees Hunter stepping up and taking center stage, and emboldening every aspect of the band.Escape From Evil is a cinematic, tonally rich work. The sounds are clean and warm. The pulse of the album is strong. Melodies are potent and songs are physical. Lyrics are direct, frank confrontations with life’s common crises.
A beacon of imagination, femininity, and confidence, Lowell creates affirmative dream-pop brimming with freedom and rebellion. Celebrated by music (Rolling Stone), fashion (NYLON), and mainstream (New York Times) media alike, Lowell bridges socially conscious music with the dance-floor. Equal parts art-punk brat and sex-positive pop icon, she has carved a singular, inclusive groove, coasting songs of significance on barrier-breaking melodies and protest-party vibrations.
Beach Slang has built their hype the old-fashioned way, void of any gimmicks or marketing teams. Part punk, part pop, and all catharsis, a feeling of youth and vulnerability lie at the core of the Philadelphia band’s music referencing the ghosts of The Replacements while keeping one foot firmly rooted in the present.
Peach Kelli Pop is a minimalist bubblegum, pre-Chysalis Blondie, Japanese cartoon pop, zero-grit band channeling the catchiness of Hunx and his Punx and Nobunny. The solo effort of Allie Hanlon (The White Wires), the LA-based group is laser focused on short, sticky pop songs about made-up dances, summertime, and having fun.
Sean Nicholas Savage is a master of tenderness, reflection, and projection. In contrast to his usual introspection, his latest, Other Death, is immediately more upbeat, uptempo, confident, inspired, and delivers more consistent pop singles than any of his previous records. Savage is not playing to the middle. It is a release that is his most brave, free and loud.
Imbued with a deep sense of all things tropical, Toronto’s Southern Shores marry a joyous celebration of clever beats and rhythms that conjur summer wanderlast year-round. Like “an expensive, quality cocktail” (The Recommender), this “is music that not only wants to soundtrack your vacation, it wants to be your vacation” (Pitchfork).
Partner is the “mature” effort of Killer Haze alumni Lucy Niles and Josée (Choder) Caron. The duo is genre-defying and terrifying: part musical act, part teenage diary, and 100% queer, Partner is unflinching in its exploration of intimacy, friendship, sexuality, drugs, and the existential predicament of being a lesbian barista in the year 2015.

Vogue Dots is a collaboration between producers Babette Hayward and Tynan Dunfield. Formed in the nadir of winter, their songs juxtapose pastoral sensibilities with busy, precise pop. Encapsulating electronic fixations with surrealistic edges, the result of Vogue Dots’ dynamic is nocturnal; filled with swooning emotional and throbbing meticulous layers of dark, beautiful noise.

From the opening chiming distorted chords of “After All,” beauts surge ahead with unbridled fervour. Sacrificing trendiness for energy and chops for ferocity, the band channels the sweaty, anthemic summer drive of groups such as Japandroids and The Hold Steady, while wearing the influence of acts such as Wolf Parade and McLusky on their rolled-up sleeves.

Dance Movie is a nerdcore scuzz rock band from Halifax. Its second album was produced by John Goodmanson (Bikini Kill, Blondie, Wu-Tang Clan, Harvey Danger), after he finished the Sleater-Kinney reunion album. It is a big, catchy rock record in the vein of Wild Flag, its sister band Ex Hex, and early Rilo Kiley. It will be out one of these days.

For more information about Gridlock Festival, visit

About the author


A proud and over-caffeinated husband, father, runner and writer. I've written for the local weekly The Coast for over a decade and have since taken to creating and writing for HAFILAX for even longer. I hope you enjoy the musings of a guy who has loved music for the better part of 4 decades, and has an album of concert tickets to show for it.