As promised earlier, in the run up to Breakout West Steve, James, John, Mason and I will be doing pre-festival posts giving you a heads up about some of the talent that’s going to be gracing Regina stages this weekend. You could label them “critic’s picks” if you wanted, but it’s not like we regard the bands as head-and-shoulders above other acts that will be in town. Just that their showcases are ones we’re looking forward to checking out. That’s how I’m approaching it anyway.

ROCOCODE (Friday: Artesian on 13th, Midnight-12:45 a.m.; Saturday: The Exchange, 11-11:45 p.m.) Based in Vancouver, this four-piece indie rock group features ex-Said the Whale member Laura Smith, along with drummer Johnny Andrews and bassist Shaun Huberts (a.k.a. Tegan & Sara’s rhythm section) and guitarist Andrew Braun. Earlier this year they released their debut CD Guns, Sex & Glory. I reviewed it, in fact, and gave it 3.5 out of five. In light of songs like “Empire” and “Weapon”, I suggested, the album had the aura of realpolitik about it, but on the personal level instead of between countries.

FOAM LAKE (Friday: City Plaza Stage, 5 p.m.; Saturday O’Hanlon’s Pub, midnight-12:45 a.m.) I reviewed this band’s last album too. It was released in November 2011 and was called Force and Matter. Comprised of four brothers: Paul, Barrett, Tyler and Kalen Ross, Foam Lake are based in Saskatoon. They’ve been pretty busy lately, playing showcase gigs in Los Angeles and Barcelona as part of SaskMusic promotions, and I’m anxious to see how they’ve honed their live show through touring. 

BELLE PLAINE (Friday: The SCES Club, 9-9:45 p.m.; Saturday: Artesian on 13th, 10-10:45 p.m.) Belle Plaine needs no introduction to prairie dog readers. When she released her first full-length Notes From a Waitress this spring, we had a feature article by Vanda Schmockel. In addition, she’s been named Best Vocalist twice in our annual readers’ poll. Since she released her album, she said in an e-mail, Belle’s been on the road a fair bit, touring from Quebec to Vancouver Island. For these dates, she’ll be joined by Elizabeth Curry on bass, Jeremy Sauer on keys, Anna Rose on backing vocals and Jody Mario on drums, and she’ll be playing songs from Notes from a Waitress along with an earlier EP Hello from Belle Plaine, plus a new song and a sweet cover. For more information you can visit her website.