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Friday’s NXNE picks: Dirty Beaches, Land of Talk, Writer and more

This year’s North by Northeast features 650 bands, the bulk of which are playing Friday and Saturday night. Needless to say, we’re finding it harder and harder to whittle down our recommendations to a mere five. But even if we could magic our way from venue to venue, there’s only so much music we could take in on a given evening. With that in mind, check out our selections for Friday, after the jump.

1. Concert—Dirty Beaches
Dirty Beaches is a project from Taiwan-born Montreal musician Alex Zhang, who is living proof that musical talent can be developed at any age. Zhang didn’t start playing music until he was 20 years old, and now, at 30, he’s released a debut EP, Badlands, that’s both dreamy and nostalgic. 10 p.m. Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., 416-532-1598.

2. Concert—Cults Is anyone else a fan of David Cronenberg’s film Videodrome? We sure are, and one member of this San Diego band may be as well. Band members Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin appropriately sampled a BBC interview of real cult members discussing the terrors of the outside world on last year’s breakout single “Go Outside.” 12 a.m. Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., 416-532-1598.

3. Concert—Rich Aucoin Rich Aucoin is possibly the only musician who mixes 3-D visuals, Glow Sticks and parachute games into a single show. Far from feeling gimmicky, Aucoin’s sets manage to bring out the wild side in his audience—expect to dance, dance, dance to his high-energy electro pop at this late-night set. 1 a.m. The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St. W., 416-519-9439.

4. Concert—Land of Talk It may be opening for the better-known Stars tonight, but Land of Talk is finally starting to get the critical attention it deserves. The band was just named to the Polaris Prize long list (along with several other NXNE performers) for their album Cloak and Cipher. 8:30 p.m. Yonge-Dundas Square, 10 Dundas St. E.

5. Concert—Writer Another San Diego product in tonight’s lineup, brothers Andy and James Ralphs music fittingly exudes a West Coast vibe. Writer has a hazy lo-fi sound that’s one part surf guitar and one part distorted rock. Check out “Miss Mermaid” if you can’t catch them tonight (oh, and they’re also playing The Rivoli on Saturday at 1 a.m). 9 p.m. Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W., 416-532-1598.

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