CD releases picnics and other wholesome fun

A cynic might say that this is a rough week if you’re looking for big-name bands. We’re in a bit of a lull between the June double-header of Sled Island and the Calgary Jazz Festival and not yet into the late July/early August onslaught of the Calgary Folk Music Festival Rock the Bells Afrikadey Virgin Fest and the Calgary Blues Festival.

An optimist would see things differently: It’s actually the perfect time to up your local music intake. Start with the Heat-Ray CD release this Saturday July 18 at The Marquee Room. Featuring members of Hot Little Rocket Lotus Galaxy and Shiver Heat-Ray focuses on propulsive energy hazy distortion and pure volume — think My Bloody Valentine without the navel-gazing. The band will share the stage with fellow My Bloody Valentine aficionados The Summerlad and Lethbridge electro-garage rockers The Square Waves .

Next assuming the weather forecast holds out help The Bownesians launch its new EP in style at their Baker Park barbecue on Sunday July 19. The show will be bookended with sets from The Bownesians plus performances by Gypsy Grass The Smokin’ 45s and The Rembetika Hipsters — the kind of surf-rock bluegrass and rockabilly that should work perfectly alongside burgers and lawnchairs.

That evening occasional Necker Bil Hetherington will show off his slightly softer side at Local 510 along with backing band The Asian Tigers . Hetherington’s 2007 solo album Through the Sunspots was one of the year’s better local releases a surprisingly sweet take on Cheap Trick-style power pop with a hint of twang. Or there’s Axis of Conversation at Vicious Circle: The art-pop sextet just put out a new 7-inch and they’re eager to share it with Calgary crowds.

Rounding things off local singer-songwriter Ryan Bourne will be at The Palomino this Tuesday July 21. Formerly of funk-jazz-rock-etc. combo Interstellar Root Cellar Bourne has been keeping a low profile but he’s looking to put out a new album this fall and has been working with the likes of Jay Crocker and Chris Dadge so expect to be blown away. Toronto Afrobeat all-stars Mr. Something Something will also be there which makes this one pretty irresistible.