Mike Bell’s Top 5 Sled Island 2018 picks for Wednesday

Mount Eerie, Central United Church at 8:30 p.m.

The first of two Mount-themed Sled acts (other being Kimble), Washington State artist Phil Elverum’s project is a lilting and lovely indie folk way to ease into this year’s festival. The venue is fitting, too, with a church the perfect place for the former The Microphones frontman’s quiet, personal confessionals and contemplations. Again, the best way to dip your toe into the cool pool that is Sled 2018.

Gone Cosmic, Palomino (main floor) at 9:30 p.m.

You can’t get much more super than this Calgary supergroup, featuring members of the city’s reigning stoner rock crew Chron Goblin and a metal man from Witchstone, who are fronted by a former siren singer for soul-soaked stars The Torchettes. It works. It works in a spectacularly gnarly and boombastic, rifftastic, fantastic Joplin blues-rock way. Only a couple of shows into this unholiest of holy alliances, with an album due next fall, you’re gonna wanna say you saw them when.

Thundercat, The Palace Theatre at 10 p.m.

He’s worked with last year’s guest curator Flying Lotus, Institutionalized thrashers Suicidal Tendencies and won a Grammy as part of Kendrick Lamar’s award-worthy composition and performance of These Walls. All of that is cool and interesting and all, sure. But songwriter, musician and producer Stephen Lee Bruner is an artist who, when he does his own thing, does something pretty magical. Soul, jazz, funk, electro and pop, his tunes are laid-back and out of left field with a serious, serious getup, getdown, groove.

Michal Rault, Ship & Anchor at 11:30 p.m.

This former Alberta boy and his sunny, shiny, shimmering soulful ’60s and ’70s retro-pop return to the region for what should be a pretty wonderful show. There’s a trippy and superfun psych flavour to his latest offering It’s a New Day Tonight that recalls Matthew Sweet at his sweetest, but still has enough bite to bruise not bloody. Have a pint or two of Ship Guinness to make the goodness go down that much better.

Mary Timony Plays Helium, Royal Canadian Legion No. 1 (main floor) at midnight

She is a guitar goddess who can shred like no other. She has a voice that should have every hummingbird in the area heading her way. And she’s returning musically to where it all began. Alt-rock icon Timony has already attended Sled with her newest project Ex Hex, but for this show she’ll revisit the band that made her a name in the rightest of righteous circles in the ’90s, Helium. They didn’t last long, but left a mark with their dream-kiss of a melodic punch. Expect the same to end evening No. 1 at the No. 1.

(Photo of Gone Cosmic courtesy Mario Montes.)

Mike Bell has been covering the Calgary music scene for the past 25 years with publications such as VOX, Fast Forward, the Calgary Sun and, most recently, the Calgary Herald. He is currently the music writer and content editor for theYYSCENE.com. Follow him on Twitter/@mrbell_23 or email him at mike@theyyscene.com. He likes beer. Buy him one.