Kalle Mattson, Pony Girl top music picks in and around Ottawa

Kalle Mattson @ NAC Fourth Stage, Thursday

With a Polaris-nominated album, viral music video and successful international tours already under his belt, Kalle Mattson was ready to take his sound somewhere new for his latest album, Avalanche. Still rooted in masterful songwriting and personal lyrics, the record's six songs see more electronic elements and poppier hooks backing Mattson's folky, John K. Samson-esque lilt. As he told CBC Radio's All In a Day earlier this week, there have been accusations that he's "turned his back on folk music" — but criticisms like that assume folk can't be flexible. Avalanche is proof of Mattson's growth as a songwriter — and his potential to be one of the country's better-known musicians. He'll be at the NAC Fourth Stage on Thursday night. 7:30 p.m., $25.

Technical Kidman @ Happy Goat Coffee, Friday

If you haven't been to Happy Goat Coffee, it's worth a visit to the warehouse-style roastery and retail space on Laurel Street. With the loss of a couple of music venues around the city in recent months (The Daily Grind, Mugshots and Neat), it's a fitting gap-filler and vibrant hub for arts and cultural events. On Friday, you'll see Technical Kidman there — a Montreal rock band with a driving dance beat, pushing electronic psychedelia and dark, dramatic vibes. Thei band's new album, Something Stranger Coming On the Horizon, was apparently inspired by going through a box of VHS tapes of old Quebecois TV commercials, which gives you a sense of the band's eclectic sound. Technical Kidman marks the album's release Friday alongside local Gatineau innovators Scattered Clouds, plus Zones and Heathers. 8 p.m., $8.

Royal Ottawa @ Irene's, Friday

Royal Ottawa (not the mental health facility) has a history dating back to the early 80s, when Ottawa's Phil Hogarth was in Ireland studying theatre. He ended up meeting a couple of Dublin musicians and forming what became Bugs Harvey Oswald, opening for the likes of The Ramones, The Fall and Bauhaus. Despite disbanding within a few years, the group got back together in the mid-90s with a fresh sound and a different name. As Royal Ottawa, they aren't so much punk as smeared-sounding, melodic folk-rock. Their new album, The World We Know, was recorded in a studio the band built, then given a Midas-touch master at Abbey Road Studios. For $20 at the door, you can get a copy of the LP with your admission to Royal Ottawa's show at Irene's on Friday night. Without the record, it's $10. 9 p.m.

Pony Girl @ St. Alban's Church, Saturday

That's not it for release shows. Local music fans who have been waiting for a follow-up to Pony Girl's debut album will get what's coming to them this weekend. For Foreign Life, the electronic-infused art-rock band, cut down its roster from what could be 10 musicians, at times, to a still-hefty lineup of six. Meanwhile, the band's sound has swelled and matured, playing on the dynamics of loud and softer moments for a well-groomed soulfulness that still has teeth. Pony Girl celebrates the launch of its new album on Saturday night inside the ever-atmospheric St. Alban's Church. Her Harbour is the opener. 8 p.m., $10.

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