Discorder CITR-FM (Radio station : Vancouver, B.C.) 2010-10-01

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Jordie Yow
Lindsey Hampton
Debby Reis
Sarah Berman, Liz Brant, Steve Louie,
Debby Reis, Alec Ross, Mine' Salkin,
Parmida Zarrinkamar
Maegan Thomas
Sarah Berman
Steve Louie
Reilly Wood
Debby Reis
Corey Ratch
Bryce Dunn, Debby Reis
Debby Reis, Maegan Thomas
Brenda Grunau
Student Radio Society of UBC
Kate Henderson
Dear Discorder:
Happy October! By now you should have settled into
Vancouver's dreary weather and had time to think about
your costume plans for the end of the month (I'm thinking
E. Honda personally). Halloween is coming around the
bend and in this vein we have an article on the horror movie
influenced witch house genre for you (on page 12) to pair
with a pair of costumed screamers, Myths, a duo of local
girls who make some dark music fitting for this month (on
page 10). You can see them on horseback on the left hand
side of our cover. On the right hand side of our cover you
will find Fine Mist, one of our favourite dance parties of a
totally different variety. Check out Jay Arner's skinny bare
chest. It's the best Also the article is on page 8.
Getting back to costumed girl duos though, you should
check out our article on Bash Brothers, a live band who
dress to impress. Dress to impress people who like silly
outfits that is. Post-rock/jazz/whatever artists, Fond of
Tigers, have a new album for everyone to listen to and
they discuss it and their addition of vocals to their music
with Maegan Thomas over a beer at the Railway club on
page 16. Wawes' Nathan Williams chated with one of our
writers before he played last month and they talked about
his newest album and his new band mates on page 14. If
you are a fan of the folk trio Daniel, Fred & Julie, then our
entertaining interview with them is a must read on page
18 (I'm looking at you Ben Lai, host of Thunderbird Radio
Hell and CiTR's Shindig.)
Speaking of Shindig, have you gotten a chance to go
down to the Railway Club to watch CiTR's battle of the
bands? You should. Not only is it an excellent opportunity
to check out some new music, but it's also held on beer
and a burger night and the burgers are tasty and you can
get any beer on tap! It's also cask beer night so you can get
a fancy pint of cask beer and a burger for just $10!
In other excellent local music event news, the Victory
Square Block Party reappeared this year after taking a one-
year break. Chris-a-riffic was in attendance and was around
for the whole thing to write about it (page 37). Two of our
intrepid reporters made it down to New Forms Festival to
catch some of the highlights of the experimental music fest
and you can read about that lovely festival on page 13.
Finally you should check out some of the nifty movies
that will be playing at the Vancouver International Film
Festival. We have reviews of two documentaries Strange
Powers: Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields (on page 7) and
the David Byrne tour diary Ride, Rise, Roar (on page 6). If
you get the chance you should view both of them and our
sponsored film For Once in My Life, the uplifting tale of the
Spirit of Goodwill Band, 28 musicians with a wide range
of severe mental and physical disabilities, as they prepare
for the concert of a lifetime.
Enjoy your month,
Jordie Yow
Andrea Bennett, Sarah Berman, Katherine Boothroyd, Nathaniel Bryce, Sarah Charrouf, Chris-a-riffic, Bryce Dunn,
Simon Foreman, Dan Fumano, Tony Kess, Kamil Krawczyk, Aaron Levin, Doug MacKenzie, Andrew Kai-Yin MacKenzie,
Kaitlin McNabb, Olivia Meek, Ashley Perry, Maegan Thomas, Jasper Wally, Sally White, Andrew Wilson, Brad Winter,
Jordie Yow
Merida Anderson, Melanie Coles, Tyler Crich, Patrick Cruz, Sylvana D'Angleo, Robert Fougere, Kate Henderson,
Steve Louie, Ryan Walter Wagner
Sarah Berman, Simon Foreman, Steve Louie, Andrew Kai-Yin MacKenzie, Debby Reis
©Discorder 2010 by the Student Radio Society of the
University of British Columbia. All rights reserved.
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&r CoVi P-ENM^lU
Something for the Fan Mist in all of us. If you are not already a member of
the Fine Mist fan club you ought to check out this article to find out why you
should be come one.
tt 10 /MYTHS
Quinne Rodgers and Lief Hall are Myths a dark, screamy beat heavy duo from our
city that are breaking new ground in sounds that people want to listen to.
A whole article about the newest genre terminology, explained in great detail. If
that sounds a little on the nerdy it is, but witch house is a fascinating new blend
of dark, electronic music focussing as much on imagery as on a sound.
The events Body and the Opposite of Fear from the always challenging experimental music festival reviewed.
Have you heard Wawes new album King ofthe Beach yet? If you have you should
read this article in which Nathan Williams discusses his bands newest endeavours and if you haven't you should go listen to it and then come back and
read this article.
We are awfully fond of Fond ofTigers, who allowed us to interview them over
a few brews in the Railway Club.
Check out this retro roots revival group featuring three of Canada's most prolific
and talented musicians. They're funny, too.
Bash bash bash. Check out the hilarious, riotous, grrrl punk of Bash Brothers:
the Best Live Band in Nanaimo.
The party that is one of the best things that ever happened to Vancouver is
visited by Chris-a-riffic and he tells us what he saw.
Vancouver International Film Fest reviews of Ride, Rise, Roar and Strange
Magic: Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Fields
by Patrick Cruz
Sylvana D'Angelo
Steve Adamyk / Miesha & the Spanks / No Problem / Seven Story
Redhead / Sun Wizard
A new column syndicated from Weird Canada. Read more info on
what it is in the intro, but know that ifs about old Canadiana bands
King-Beezz and the Brazda Brothers.
Ahna / Bear in Heaven / Crocodiles / Rodney Decroo / Luke Doucet & the White
Falcon / Flash Palace / Factor / Land of Talk / Library Voices / the Magician & the
Gates of Love / Minotaurs / PS I Love You / Search Parties / Shapes & Sizes
Boris / Calvin Johnson & the Hive Dwellers / Man Man / the National / Rae
Spoon / Vampire Weekend
J_ OrkesfiCJ hiforCf Upcoming Shows
Friday, October 15, 2010 8:00pm
1 the Western Front 303
East 8th Vancouver
I   'ofthe'  v""
Ticket Information
$15.00 Regular
~ 12.00 NOW Members
5.00 Students
Tickets can be
bought online through
PoyPa! at www.noworchestra.com
and at the door {cash only).
Canada's Adventures at War
Orkestra Futura under the direction of Coat Cooke
vilth special guest Kedrick James and visuals by Krista Lomax
Online @ The Cultch or call 604.251.1363
www.noworchestra.com ■mmmm
VISA  0*°g**S"
For Once in My Life (USA, 90 min.)
Jim Bigham and Mark Moorman's alternately insightful and inspiring
documentary follows the 28 musicians and singei»i-rall with varying
but severe mental and physical disabilities—belonging to the Spirit
of Goodwill Band in the run-up to die biggest concert of their lives.
Winner; Audience Award: Best Documentary, SXSW 2010.   <FORON>
Fri. Oct 1,10:45am, Cinematheque
Thu. Oct 7, 6:40pm, Granville 7 GENEROUSLY SPONSORED BY
Sat. Oct 9,12:00pm, Granville 7
Strange Powers: Stephin
Merritt and The Magnetic
Fields (USA, 89 min.)
"The thing that makes you realty
want to watch a Magnetic Fields
documentary—aside from the fa&t
that it's about a brilliant band...—
is that the genius behind Magnetic
Fields, Stephin Merritt, is so prickly... in interviews that no journalist has ever gotten an accurate
picture of him."—The Stranger.
Until now, that is... Kerthy Fix
and Gail O'Hara direct.   <STRAN>
Sat. Oct 2, 9:45pm, Granville 7
Sun. Oct 10,11:00am,
Vanci ty Theatre
Love Shines (Canada, 80 min.)
Douglas Arrowsmith directs this
candid portrait of Ron Sexsmith
recording his 12th studio album
while engaging witJh the leg-,
endary musician's paradox: low
record sales, amidst awards and
praise by luminaries like Elvis
Costello, Steve Earle, Feist and
Daniel Lanois, all of whom
appear here. <L0VSH>
Fri. Oct 8, 9:30pm, Granville 7
Sat. Oct 9, 3:30pm,
Vancity Theatre
Fri. Oct 15, 3:45pm,
Vancity Theatre
American Grindhouse
(USA, 80 min.)
Featuring interviews with directors
Joe Dante, Allison Anders, Herschell
Gordon Lewis and Larry Cohen,
among others—-as well as a feast
of florid film clips from films like
.1913% ode ro~yv$|le slavery Traffic
in ^ow/^-^FJijah Drenner^s eo®e&
tainaig chronicle of z-grade movies
"is a lively and stylish look at the
history of illegitimate cinema."—-
Hollywood Reporter <AMERI>
Sat. Oct 9,10:00pm, Granville 7
Mon. Oct 11, 3:20pm, Granville 7
Film Infoline: 604.683.FILM
Find a Program Guide
Visa Advance Sox Office
Vancouver international Film Centre,
1181 Seymour St. (Noon-7pm)
Visa Charge-By-Phone line:
604.685.8297 (Noon-7pm)
VIFF.ORG (24hrs)
Adult $12
Weekly Matinee $10
Senior $10
Passes & Discount ticket
packages available
£ jfr<**\
;!'Women tread the line between disc*
''ttmlgrrt Retime to grasp, but this i
?%!&■*" -bbc *****
S£3i*N Portrait ittustrationa &
^^££r brawlscapes by Cttnton
I   K SI. John.
Hety fuck's Graham jAjL
Waish interrogates (s~£S&Z§
■ Contributions from Ghostkeeper, Cody Fennett,
I No Mar* Shapes, Jennifer Castle, Jameson .
Simpson. Mare ftfmmtr &mors.   V
Prank c»8s, n<$M§^
soup, gotdenft^^.
Merinonites, and five
references to Oprah
Canada    #*«$r    ^ STST
Screen Times: Oct. 4, 9:30 p.m. (3) Visa Screening Room (a.k.a Granville 7) //
Oct. 10, 2:30 p.m. (cD Granville 4//Oct. 12, 6:40p.m.(g)Granville4
the summary of Ride, Rise, Roar in VIFF's 2010 guide, the Hollywood Reporter is quoted as saying that "Stop Making Sense is a
tough act to follow, but David Byrne gives his younger self a run
for his money..." I'm not sure that's an entirely fair comparison,
but it's certainly an unwise one. Stop Making Sense, Talking Heads'
1984 Jonathan Demme-directed concert film is often cited as the best ever
made. Had Byrne and rookie director Hillman Curtis been trying to one-up
the classic, the result would have been disastrous. Really, anything mildly
Stop Making Sense-like in this film would have been disastrous.
Ride, Ride, Roar chronicles Byrne's "Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno,"
the tour that followed the pair's album Everything That Happens Will Havven Today,
with a focus on the interpretive dance concept of the live show. As you might
remember from the Queen E show, or at least from the Colbert Report, Byrne
had dancers onstage for the tour, and he collaborated with choreographers
he's apparently been a fan of for up to a decade. That focus was a good choice,
keeping the narrative mostly on what was, all said, the most interesting thing
happening on stage. The sound, meanwhile, was phenomenal. My god, has
that man still got it! Byrne's voice sounds as good belting out "Burning Down
the House'' as it did in '83, a welcome surprise. Musically, the best moments
came in the extended outros a few songs were lucky enough to receive, like
the razor-sharp "Houses in Motion." Byrne has made up for a lack of guitar
showmanship with quality solos in the songs that called for them, so he's still got
the guitar locked too. The dancing, though, was the star, and quite entertaining
on some songs, such as the highlight of the film and best track on the album,
"I Feel My Stuff." But, I can't honestly say I didn't find the dancers distracting
or unnecessary from song to song, or that my mind didn't occasionally wander
to Stop Making Sense, a film I've already pointed out it was smart not to emulate.
And therein lays my bone to pick with this film.
One of the first musicians I was ever really passionate about was Brian
Eno, and Talking Heads are one of my all-time favourite bands. So, naturally,
a phrase like "Songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno" gets my heart racing. I
think to myself that this the closest we'll ever get to a big final lap-style tour
from Byrne, and I couldn't be happier. But then, it comes, and... dancers and
tutus? Where's the fun in that? I'm only 18, and I've never seen David Byrne, or
Talking Heads, or anyone related. Am I spoiled? Was I wrongto get a litde angry
when two of the choreographers interviewed admitted they had never heard
"The Great Curve" prior to working on it? Or when another talked about how
cool and interesting it was to use a simple polyrhthym in the choreography of
"I Feel My Stuff," apparendy oblivious that it was Talking Heads that popularized
polyrhthyms in Western music.
I watch Rise, Ride, Roar, and what I see more than anything is a good tour
that is just waiting to be blown out of the water. Who knows, maybe he can
cycle down the aisles, make something explode, and sing "Book I Read" next
time. That's the kind of spectacle I know David Byrne is capable of, and that's
the show that spoiled, pessimistic me would rave about for the rest of his life.
We might even hear "Wanted for Life." 11 STRANGE POWERS:
Screen times: Oct. 2,9:45 p.m. (p) Granville 1 // Oct. 10,11:00 a.m. @ Vancity Theatre
■L ■ 2006,1 installed Last.fm's music cataloguing software. I
Wfk II will explain why this is relevant to a review of Strange Poiv-
lu ers: Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic Field's which is screening
« In at the annual Vancouver International Film Festival. Last.
I v fm's software is designed to monitor and keep track of
records of the music you've listened to.
I installed this software for the purposes of self-reflection and a love of
statistical data. It has not particularly disappointed me, but the primary reason
I am bringing this up is that it quickly became apparent that I listen to the
Magnetic Fields more than any other band.
The Magnetic Fields are a prolific band that started in the late '80s and
proceeded to release an album every few years. They consist of their leader
Stephen Merritt, who is the primary focus of Strange Powers and the leader of
the group; Claudia Gonson, who manages the band, acts as Merritt's best
friend/platonic life partner, plays piano and sings; John Woo (no relation to
the Hong Kong action movie director) who plays guitar, banjo and mandolin;
and Sam Davol who plays cello. Their music, if you are not already familiar, is
perhaps best described as art pop. I use this description even though Merritt
specifically takes issue with it in the documentary because there is really no
other way to describe his music simply.*
Anyhow, when I installed Lastfm, the deep truth I learned about myself
was that when I am wallowing the music I usually the music I wallow in is
the Magnetic Fields. When times are good I listen to lots of different types of
music, but when I am wallowing there is no finer music for a breakup or bout of
depression than the Magnetic Fields. Their groundbreaking three-disc 69 Love
Songs is probably best, but they are all excellent for this purpose. What Lastfm
taught me was that despite what I thought at the time, the Magnetic Fields were
my favourite band, or at least they were the band I listened to the most.
I tell you all this so that you understand the context when I say that Kerthy
Fix and Gail O'Hara's Strange Powers is an excellent movie.
Though the movie boasts such celebrities as Peter Gabriel and Sarah
Silverman commenting on their love for Stephen Merritt and the Magnetic
Fields, it's Merritt himself who is the deserved focus of Strange Powers. The film
centers around his life, his past, his songs and his relationships, and paints
him as an enigmatic and intriguing performer who can be both charming
and standoffish.
It is probably his prickly personality that necessitated the ten years Fix
and O'Hara spent shooting this documentary. The movie paints a portrait of
a man who does not easily open up in social situations and does an excellent
job of showing how his career has been hampered by his eccentricities. He's
had difficulties with labels and A&R reps who think that his songwriting
ability can translate into a top 40 hit, but ultimately found that his music is
too academic or arty to appeal to the mainstream. He even refused to play the
first Magnetic Fields show—simply sitting in a corner while Gonson played
with another early member of the band. On the other hand, you also see how
his eccentricities have aided him by helping him cultivate a fan base that revels
in his odd experimentations with pop music.
The most appealing part of the movie is really for the devoted fan. In it you
get to see a lot of the Magnetic Fields songwriting process: Merritt's unfinished
notes with lyrics that will eventually be songs, Merritt introducing Gonson to
the metre of "In an Operetta,'' Merritt giving direction in studio to how they
should be playing songs on Distortion (Woo uses a coin to strum the guitar so
it sounds less natural).
Ifs fascinating, especially if you know all the songs, which tie the whole
movie together, from the half-formed ideas that eventually become familiar
studio and live versions.
I Though knowledgeable fans will get the most out of this movie, it will still
be interesting to those who are unfamiliar; Merritt is a quirky character who
provides a weird enough persona throughout the movie to keep newcomers
to the Magnetic Fields curious and the music that plays over top of the film is
regular and well placed.
If you are a fan of the Magnetic Fields, make an effort to see this movie, and if
you want to bring a friend along who has never heard of them, don't worry about
whether they'll be bored to tears while you geek out They'll enjoy themselves.
*In the longer form you could say that the music of Stephen Merritt is a series obliterate, slightly avant
garde, self aware rrinterpretations of the love song written with humour, sarcasm and intellect, but
art pop is a much better shorthand term. Merritt's lyrics are simultaneously deep and clever and the
sonas can be both hilarious, sad and heartwarming. Sometimes all three! || BY DAN FUMANO
Happy release date!" exclaimed one of Jay Arner's friends, embracing him in a big, congratulatory hug near the wooden bar
. a| the Rail way CluJ^ * ■ T
^ J^Tuesday, Sept 14, the official record release date for
-V^ubl^)»trrt|i|f, the first album from Fine Mist the synth-pop
duo of Arner and Megan McDonald. Ifs an exciting time for
them, their friends and their fans. Over beers at the Railway
that night, McDonald and Arner enthusiastically share about a number of
topics: the genesis of the record, their past and future together, their creative
process, ponies and Gossip Girl. *
McDonald and Arner have been friends, roommates and bandmates for
years, playing together in a series of bands (such as Poison Dart and International
Falls) around Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest Fine Mist, however, is the
first project where both of the accomplished songwriters have collaborated
closely, which began a fruitful creative partnership.
"When we started writing songs together, we wrote a lot of stuff really
quickly," explained McDonald, whose day job sees her running a therapeutic
horseback-riding centre for people (particularly children) with mental and
physical disabilities (Arner volunteers there sometimes, too).
Amer continued, "I would write all the International Falls songs. She would
write all the Poison Dart songs and we never collaborated so it was a lot slower.
But when we started to collaborate, we were really cranking it out"
The way they answer questions and tell stories by trading off sentences is
perhaps indicative of this simpatico wavelength they share. McDonald picked
up that thread again, explaining how Arner "Starts out with a beat and some
chords... then I'll record, and make a melody and lyrics over top. Sometimes
I'll sing something that doesn't fit with it and Jay will change the music to suit
it. Sometimes he'll get me to change what I'm doing, and we go back and forth
like that Basically there's a whole bunch of tracks on our computer, and when
I feel like working on it, I'll go and listen to them and make a song."
Both members want to go against what Arner called "the perception of
the electronic duo: girl singer and guy producer. I think it does Megan a big
disservice to call her a 'girl singer'—she plays guitar and drums and other
instruments, and she's a great songwriter... I think we make the music in a more
'songwritingly' way as opposed to from an electronic music perspective.''
For most of Fine Mist's existence, the project has been largely "electronic"—
songs composed and recorded on a computer and live performance where
McDonald's expressive, brassy singing was accompanied only by Arner's
backing vocals, some synths and an iPod playing the backing tracks.
Recently, however, Fine Mist has left the iPod at home and played a handful
of shows with a full band, including some choice opening slots for touring acts
such as Hercules & Love Affair and Bom Ruffians, as well as local favourites You
Say Party! "The full band is great," said McDonald. "They're people we spend
a lot of time with anyway, and they're really amazing musicians."
The current performing lineup is Joseph Hirabayashi (keys) and Elliot
Langford (bass), both of the SSRIs, with Patrick Geraghty from Role Mach on
keys and Arner on drums.
The livej&sjramentation definitely adds a new element and depth to Fine
Mist's live performance, but it was with tons of "iPod shows" around town as a
duo that earned them their especially dedicated local fan base. Based solely on
the strength of the singing and their songs, and their ineffable, undeniable stage
presence and charisma, Fine Mist has garnered their own legion of supporters,
known collectively and affectionately as "Fan Mist" "They call themselves Fan
Mist' How adorable is that?" exclaimed an obviously pleased McDonald.
Now, Fine Mist's debut album—their very first physical release for that
matter—will see an independent release thanks in part to some help from
one of their devoted fans: local music writer/blogger/fan Quinn Omori, who
commented that "they seem to have the kind of fans who are really passionate
about their music, which is really cool for such a small band—and I'm definitely
one of those."
Omori, who has contributed to Discorder and Exclaim! in addition to ranning
his own music blog (From Blown Speakers), is candid when explaining how
his involvement came about: "I was drunk."
"I knew they had this great album and no way to put it out" Omori said.
So, one drunken night last winter, he "just grabbed Megan and said: 'I want
to help you guys put out this record!'"
McDonald held him to it, and Omori helped provide some of the financial
backing needed for the pressing of 50b (and change) vinyl copies of Public
Domain. Omori enthused, "It's a great record. So if great music sells, we're
gonna get the money back anyways."
Though some of these Songs are totally new, a few will be familiar to local
music fans, who have been passing around rough demos for a couple of years
now. "Those were rough versions, so I'm really happy that people will be able
to hear these new, real versions of the songs," said Amer, also pointing out that
as of that day (the album release date), listeners can stream the entire album
on the CBC Radio 3 website, where it's still available.
True to Omori's words, the album is chock full of excellent songs, including
the standout dance anthem "Stop or Start," the heartbreaking yet bouncy
"Because it's the Ocean" and the epic "Murder Murder," which culminates
in a huge percussive crescendo featuring drumming from Japandroids' Dave
Prowse and members of Basketball (the only live instrumentation on the album,
apart from synthesizers).
With the excellent Public Domain now seeing the light of day, Fine Mist already
have a second album in the pipeline, as well as a split single and a remix album
(featuring Fine Mist tracks remixed by the likes of Babe Rainbow, Architecture
in Helsinki and the No Kids/P:ano/Gigi pop-rock maven Nick Krgovich). On
top of this, they're planning on "getting out of our comfort zone" to get on
the road for some short bursts of touring dates. So every indication is that for
2011, Fine Mist (and Fan Mist) will continue to grow. f| ;i  *:
K«S <
s.  *'      •*'*%
. V^fiwir ...
Pop culture has taken a decidedly darker direction in the past few
years. This trend has manifested itself lately in a widespread
fascination with the occult Cryptic, creepy videos like Jay-Z's
"On to the Next One" have been accompanied the pervasive
Jay-Z-as-Illuminatus theories. Clothing labels like Mishka and
Actual Pain have brought horror-movie imagery to the mainstream. Witch house, championed by buzz magnetsSalem and
Mater Suspiria Vision, is the nascent boutique genre of 2010.
We're starting to see effects of this shift close to home. One group that's
reacting to this change is Myths, which recently emerged from the ashes of
seminal Vancouver noise-punks Mutators. Ostensibly, they're products of
the witch house movement, and to an extent, they embrace that label. Yet they
insist their vision is radically different than other groups under witch house's
black umbrella.
Of the two members of Myths, Lief Hall and Quinne Rodgers, neither had
heard about witch house until it was brought up in our interview. I couldn't
blame them. Their music, while employing a couple common tropes of witch
house—wavering acid synths and pounding drum-machine beats-^steers clear
ofwitch house's syrupy drone. They also display a fondness for vocalizing that
most witch house artists lack. Their experiments marry the panicked shriek
of Mi Ami's Daniel Martin-McCormick with the pained wail of AIDS Wolfs
Chloe Lum. In other words, they sing harsh.
But as I described some of the main qualifiers of the witch house scene: the
abstract symbolism, the focus on visuals, the intuitive creation method—they
found plenty of thematic commonalities. They make an active attempt to harness
the power of the symbol—"They do have a power behind them, and people need
to take it back," said Hall. They see visuals as central to the art they create—"It
almost affects people more than audio a lot of the time," said Rodgers, who
also acknowledges how art needs to be spontaneous and intuitive. "Meaning
evolves through creation," she said. "With art, it just feels right, and creates
meaning that we didn't necessarily know about"
But there's a certain idiosyncrasy to their creation method. While they play
up these elements in their art, they also shy away from total abstraction. "We
totally think through everything we do. Everything has absolute meaning and
purpose. Everything we do is meant to be examined. It's there for the purpose
of creating a dialogue."
It's difficult to decipher any clear themes in Myths' musical cacophony. If
anything, their music suggests a surrender to the abstract. "You're not real;
you're not really real," they howl on "Deadlights." But it's hardly fitting to
take lyrics like that at face value. There's more to Myths than croaked-out
lyrics and fuzzy synths. Although they insist that every aspect of their art is
carefully managed, it's tough to imagine they carefully thought through their
shrieking patterns.
They differ from many witch house artists as well, in that they get out of
their bedrooms once in a while to play live. In fact, while most witch house
acts are content to hide behind a mask of online anonymity and drop EPs on
Mediafire every now and then, Myths has one piece of public material to their
name, a four-track mini-CD that is exclusive to their merch table. While they
have a clear musical vision that, on some level, they try to carefully craft, the
spontaneity of their live performance is their raison d'etre.
Their relationship with witch house is most curious upon examining their
relationship to witches. While witch house's view of witches owes its greatest
debts to Dario Argento's lurid Mother ofTears trilogy and occult Hammer gems
like The Devil Rides Out, Myths has a personal connection with witches: Hall's
mother is Wiccan. Although she didn't start researching Wicca until a couple
years ago, she draws most of her perspective on the occult from Wicca's earthy
neopagan roots rather than Argento's cryptic evil—although she does admit
to being a big Suspiria fan.
Over the course of the interview, Hall is most enthusiastic when discussing
how Myths attempts to deconstruct darkness. She cites an American study that
found children to have universally negative, fearful perceptions on witches and
ties it to a fear of strong women. It's times like this when that clarity of thought
Hall mentions really shines through. Myths might make abstract music, but it's
certainly rooted in concrete ideas. Both Hall and Rodgers have strong feminist
ideals, and when taking this into context, their elaborate act, complete with
stage costumes, improvised noise and larger-than-life imagery, kind of starts
to make sense. They're trying to reclaim the idea of witches. They're trying to
recontextualize darkness.
"Everything we used to sing about was so negative. We deal with negative
issues, but we try to create a positive response to them. The music might not
come across as positive, but it's about addressing issues, seeing things for what
they are, knowing you're strong enough to deal with them, or whatever."
"Or whatever-" this lack of verbal clarity is what I've come to expect from
Myths—and thafs not necessarily a bad thing. Myths may not be able to
articulate their grand vision on stage, but whatever indeed. Their resistance to
conventional classification makes their vision all the grander. jj|
m April, Salem was the coolest band in
theworld. TheirWaterand Yes I Smoke
Crack EPs have garnered them taste
maker fans like Diplo of Mad Decent
and Fader Magazine. As their first
big show, a marquee SXSW performance, loomed,
the buzz in the air was pretty much white noise.
Then SXSW came around, and they performed...
kind of. The crowd seemed to expect grandiose club
music a la the distended Salem remix of Gucci Mane's
"My Shadow." They certainly didn't expect Salem's
near-catatonic performance, which consisted of
lead John Holland rambling catatonically drugged-
up rhymes into a microphone while keyboardist
Heather Marlatt laconically smoked cigarettes in
the corner of the stage, playing a few keys every
now and then.
"All these words that I say, they don't mean shit
They don't mean shit 'cause I ain't shit" mumbled
Holland. Not even the most ardent Salem fans could
deny the "performance" was an abject disaster.
Many decided Salem was some kind of practical
joke, an elaborate fraud to trick those buying into
hype over talent
Then some months passed, time healed a few
wounds and Salem released a new single. It was
called "King Night," and it was the title track of a
LP that was released late September to great fanfare.
It sounded like its title: majestic and dark. A return
to apocalyptic form.
The single conveniendy dropped right as the G20
took place in Toronto. It was the perfect soundtrack
to the popular footage of broken windows, riot
shields and burning cars. Hip young video editors
at news agencies caught on—"King Night" was
featured on multiple apocalyptic news montages.
Suddenly, Salem was back; their SXSW performance
a weird blip in popular memory.
But now Salem has competition. Buzz has
been building all year for a new breed of musician
following in their wake—"Salem's lot" if you
, will. These acts are largely collected around a few
prominent new labels: Disaro, Tri Angle, Bathetic
and Fright Among them: 0O0OO, Pink Priest Mater
Suspiria Vision and Balam Acab.
Critics have looked for a number of terms to
capture this new sound, and two have emerged:
"witch house" and "drag." But not all of Salem's
lot follows this formula. Many acts have exclusively
white-people influences: the neo-gothic Tearist
and White Ring, and the synthy Fright label.
Mater Suspiria Vision prefers to mutilate '90s club
standards for their popular Zombie Rave mixtape
series. William Cody Watson, who genre-hops as
Pink Priest, cites Three 6 Mafia and Prurient as equal
influences. Watson is sceptical about any sort of
musical cohesion present in witch house:
"These bands can sound similar, of course, but
one band may be more on the noisy side, one might
be more classic industrial, one more pop-oriented.
Just hearing their songs, blank-slate-style, it could
be, like, four different scenes. But it's when the
imagery comes in and you see that classic 'witch
house' aesthetic—the spaced out sans serif fonts,
the triangles, the crosses—that you know what
you're ultimately dealing with."
Watson has many creative tricks up his sleeve.
He starts his Actual Pain mixtape with novelty twee
hit "Brand New Key," for example, but his musical
vision ultimately comes down to a marriage of syrupy
Southern hip-hop with the lurid horror imagery of the
filmmakers Dario Argento and Kenneth Anger. This
is the case for many acts self-identifying as "drag."
"It's definitely such a weird meshing of such
drastic things," said Watson. "I have to say that
when you look at it at first, it might not totally
make sense... but when it's done right, it's fucking
perfect, mashing up chopped-and-screwed with
goth synth and horror movie aesthetic."
Watson, and other more hip-hop friendly
groups, including Salem, embrace "drag." While
Salem is one of the few "drag" acts not from the
South, they've managed to capture the woozy
sounds of regional black youth in their home
turf around Michigan, including Detroit jit and
Chicago juke. While they may have been the first to
get tagged as "witch house," they've never used the
term themselves. It seems most likely that people
heard the name Salem, thought of witches, and
then latched on to the whole dark undercurrent
running through pop culture.
"There's an undeniable amount of focus on
dark images, occult images, cult-based imagery,"
acknowledged Watson. "It's everywhere, and I think
witch house has maybe, in a way, come from this
even bigger thing. Listening to black metal was
suddenly hip. Everyone name drops the Illuminati.
It became this weird sub-mainstream, suddenly
mainstream, yet still underground mindset"
UK pop culture magazine Super Super discusses
this dark cultural wind in their "Generation Cult"
issue. But they give the idea of a cult mentality a
curiously positive spin. "No more me statements,"
they wrote, "but an ear and an eye for the collective
Don't be fooled. Witch house, drag, and the
as-of-yet unlabelled music in the scene, although
highly personal, is not a "me statement." Many
artists in this scene work independently, sure, but
it's a far cry from outsider music. There's a strange
sense of community that takes place, not through
local pockets, but through the waves and radiation
of the Internet "There's definite communication,"
Watson said. "When I enjoy the music, regardless
of scene, I'll contact them."
There are also bandwagon jumpers, some of
which are pushing the scene to new levels. Mater
Suspiria Vision, who emerged in Salem's wake and
gleefully gobbled up labels like "witch house" and
"drag," create a confusing, compelling and creepily
self-aware vision of the scene. They understand
the genre tropes and inflate them to bizarre levels.
"Mater Suspiria Vision has created their own beast"
Watson opined. "In some intense way they've
impacted the scene as much as the forefathers."
It's interesting to see the scene embrace artists
who could have been written off as bandwagon
jumpers. It speaks to the cult-like sense of
community and a strange respect for this universal
occult vision. More telling, perhaps, is that many of
these artists have never met Witch house is far from
a locally oriented scene. Significant communication
takes place online. Few are jriends per se. Yet there is
a community, bonding over triangles, crosses and
spaced out sans serif fonts.
Critics are eager to write off witch house as a
passing fad. It has certainly caught on quickly, but
it's more than a trend. There's a disturbingly sincere
quasi-religious quality to this bizarre worship of
dark symbols, dark images and dark feelings. While
the slow, droney, distorted synths common to the
genre, and omnipresent on Salem's King Night,
will sound passe' in a year or so, the artists that lead
Generation Cult have tapped into something deeper.
They're finding voices, identities and community
in the fuzzy mess that is modern music. Until now,
modern music and outsider music have been on the
same level. But we're starting to see modern music
coalesce—not quite around a scene, but around
a feeling. ||
10:30 p.m.: The doors open for what promises to be a bone-rattling extravaganza, headlined by three rising dubstep practitioners from the U.K.. Distorted
warbles and paranoid tremors emanate from massive speakers alongside the
back-lit, oblong stage, while the early-birds explore various exhibits strewn
about the cavernous venue's many rooms. Some people play chess on a picnic
table that can move along tracks on the floor via an attached pedal mechanism;
others lounge upon cushions within a huge gramophone.
11:00 p.m.: Wearing a face-covering gas mask and flailing his torso is Blue Daisy,
whose tones are dark and glitchy. He busily twiddles knobs and flips switehes
on his mixer to cue or alter modulated beats and melodies. Samples of Daft
Punk or Dizzee Rascal occasionally creep in, but in a completely deconstructed
form, fused with the artist's own crazed creations. Crackling rhythms overlaid
with infinitesimal snippets of Lil Wayne's "A Milli" close out an almost seamless set The crowd is still rather sparse.
12:00 a.m.: "Manchester is in the fucking building." Ilium Sphere starts out
sedate and atmospheric, with airy synth washes and smooth pulses of bass.
12:15 a.m.: I buy some Doritos from the bar and wander away from the stage
for a while. When I return, the music has gotten more elaborate and the tempo
has increased. Blue Daisy, now shirtless but with gas mask still in place, is
acting as a hype man while Ilium Sphere crafts his wonky grooves. The music
feels very space-age—if there was a club in the moon base in 2001: A Space
Odyssey, this is probably what they'd play.
12:50 a.m.: Ilium Sphere apologizes for persistent equipment troubles. No
one seems to know he had any.
1:00 a.m.: Brighton's Slugabed has about four times as much equipment as the
other artists. His low wobbles and heavy use of hip-hop styled vocals whip the
dance floor, mostly full at this point, into a writhing frenzy.
1:30 a.m.: The party is finally in full swing, and is scheduled to continue until
at least 3 a.m., but I'm too addled by fatigue and low frequencies to stay to the
end. As I step outside, the streets of Gastown seem unusually quiet tonight
What is a rave? There is something about a rave that goes beyond words. It's
not just a party, it's a proper contemporary cultural asset and an unforgettable
experience. Your typical club party is not a rave. Until people leam, there will
always be a market for false versions of packaged culture, but it's not the real
thing, trust me. It's not worth the money. When a Vancouver DJ who is internationally known for digging up disco records that are worth more than your
car drops Sa-Ra and people freak out before a Detroit legend takes the night
to another level, you know that you got what you paid for.
At the W2 on Friday September 17, Scott W, Jason Lev, and Omar S DJ'd a
party for the acclaimed New Forms Festival called Body, and people freaked
out I've never been to a real rave before, I admit. It's a little before my time,
but I imagine that interactive art sharing the stage with international DJ talent
with amazing sound can be a proper and well-timed return to rave parties. I
could tell because of the way that people were dancing. If you look at old school
rave videos, you'll see what I mean. Groups of friends were exchanging excited
glances, making the goofiest faces you've ever seen, starting at the ceiling in
awe and just plain getting sweaty. Body was a real rave.
I missed Scott W, although I heard good things about it Jason Lev's set, as
usual, can't be described with words. I can only say that he played some really
great Chicago house, with varied tempos and feels, including a hip-hop song
that took everyone by surprise, a custom unreleased edit and disco records that
incited cheers—arguably records that he broke himself in Vancouver. Omar S
had a more structured and regular house sound, which at first I was about to
dismiss (foolishly). I distinctly remember a few moments that inspired me:
a track that repeated a staccato soul horn melody over and over again, beats
phasing in and out sounds entering and leaving the soundscape. Instantly,
one note in the melody changed, and the loop rapidly transformed into a
sinister hook that made me and everyone around me gasp, cheer, smile and
dance even harder. At another point he was playing a stripped down beat with
no bass for about two minutes. Then, boom, boom, boom! Three kicks blow us
out of the water. Eight bars later, sure enough, boom, boom, boom! Everyone is
freaking out Eight bars later, boom, boom! Only two this time! It's ludicrously
simple, but when a DJ can break it down to making people react to moments
like that, it brings people closer together.
I almost forgot: the art! I was told that the team worked all day and all
night to get the projections right The room seemed as though it was flying
through a interdimensional worm. Nicolas Sassoon setup six church window
shaped projections, filled with a shimmering digital green and blue light
pattern. Shawna McLellan set up "the tubes," a fabric and fan process where
people were able to cool off while goofing around inside jiggling fabric tubes
attached to fans.
All in all, it was unforgettable to say the least. ||
hile the majority of twenty-four-year-olds fall under the
categories of unsure students and entry level employees,
Nathan Williams is embracing a delayed adolescence:
drinking, partying and sporting a hairstyle with short
sides and a dominant lofckof hair flowing down the front
of his face, the combination of a mop and a mohawk.
If you were to see it, you'd understand However, the
difference between Williams and other glossy-eyed slackers is that he is also
touring the world with his band Wawes, who have already generated a large.
devoted following.
Wawes has also accumulated a substantial amount of gossip concerning
incidents between Williams and former drummer Ryan Ulsh, and additional
drama concerning the relationship between Williams and a member of the
Black Lips. We as music aficionados should not be interested in the stories,
but interested in the music, which is what this will primarily be about.
I caught up with Williams, and his band mates, Stephen Pope and Billy
Hayes, over the phone the day before their show at the Biltmore for a quick,
but very entertaining conversation. They were sitting in the greenroom of
Neumo's in Seattle, Washington, waiting for the beer to arrive. Williams was
in a playful demeanor and as far as I can tell, he is just your ordinary 24-year-
old California burner, with an extraordinary job.
For Wawes, right now is a time of musical growth, having grown from a
d.i.y. solo project of Williams' to a full trio. After meeting Pope and Hayes,
the late Jay Reatard's backing musicians, in San Diego Williams started a
friendship with them that eventually led to something more. "We talked about
playing together someday, but at the time they were with Jay," said WUliams;
Shortly after a split from Reatard in October 2009, Pope and Hayes joined
Wawes as the rhythm section. This essence of musical growth is signified
in the sharing of songwriting on the third album. While Williams wrote all
of the songs on his first two albums, King of the Beach features two songs by
Hayes ("Convertible Balloon" and "Baby Say Goodbye") and one song by Pope
("Linus Spacehead")
In addition to artistic growth, King of the Beach is an improvement in sound
quality. Having recorded Wawes and Wavvves in his bedroom, Williams earlier
work has much more of a lo-fi sound, while King of the Beach's studio sound
brings along a clearer*presence in their music. The improvements in quality
can be partially attributed to veteran producer Dennis Herring, the man behind
Modest Mouse's Good News/or People Who Love Bad News and We Were Dead Before
the Ship Sank, as well as the Hives' The Black and White Album. Herring placed
the boys on an actual recording schedule that was weird at first for Williams,
but still provided a happy medium between making music, and sneaking off
into the bushes for some herbal therapy. The result was a polished anthem
of hazy summer days filled with energetic sounds coming from Williams '65
Fender Mustang.
Before the set release date, King of the Beach was leaked on to the net, which
led to a mutual decision by both the band and their label Fat Possum, to stream
the album in its entirety on the Fat Possum website. "The album had already
been leaked, so we said 'Why not?'" Giving fans official free access to an album
is a surefire way of establishing strong relations with fans, especially at a time
when artists rely more heavily on touring and audience turnouts.
Their shows are a blend of high energy, mosh pits and copious amounts
of sweet sexy skunky sweat Their show at the Biltmore was the same, after
arriving on stage fashionably late, Williams, Pope and Hayes laid into the crowd
with a non-stop barrage of fuzzy noise pop.
In between playing touring and recording, Williams and his friends still
find time to unwind. Whether it's playing video games (he's been playing a lot
of FIFA '10, but Metal Slug 4 and 5 are among his favourites), smoking weed or
listening to other artists' work (Curren$y, Small Black and Abe Vigoda being
some of the music on his current rotation).
Wawes are enjoying their successful run, which can be attributed to
favourable reviews by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Paste, Discorder [ed. HahaJ
and other reputable music magazines. However, a substantial amount of the
credit can be attributed to Williams himself, who il|wo years has delivered
three solid albums. With no signs of stopping (Wwes is currently on tour,
ending the last seven shows with French pop supmtars Phoenix), we can
expect much from the young Californian, who is riding his own wave to indie
King of the Beach is out now and can be found at all your favourite record shops. ^
14 ).
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Discorder: I've noticed more of both a brightness and a darkness, an
aggressiveness, on the new album. Does that sound accurate? Was this
your purpose?
Stephen Lyons: When I was listening to it played back through the speakers, it
sounded pretty chaotic, but also maybe a bit more musical than our previous
[albums]; not that the other albums weren't musical, but there seemed to be
more melody, maybe, and more directness. A more chaotic directness... I feel
that the "brightness" and "darkness" that you mentioned, all those things have
always existed in some form or another throughout our whole time [as a band].
Each album is just a different angle looking in on what we do; either of those
[previous albums] could have been taken from a different angle and revealed
different things. This album is just sort of another angle looking at what we do;
it doesn't feel like a radical departure. It's more just a different presentation of
some of the things that we've been working on for a long time.
D: There is obviously one radical thing on this album, which is the introduction
of lyrics.
SL: That is the biggest thing, yes.
D: You said once [in SoundProof] you might start singing to "upset the
relationship with the audience." Was that your thinking behind adding lyrics,
or did the songs just call for them?
SL: That song ["Vitamin Meathawk"] really did. We had been playing it for a
while without lyrics. But it always needed some lyrics, I thought. I thought of
it as sort of a pop tune, and I tried a bunch of things out at times, and some
things were working. And then when we did that collaboration with Sandro
[Perri], he's a pro at it, so we gave it to him and he came up with [the lyrics].
Yeah, so all that work I did on my own was kind of a waste of time.
But, yeah, the thing about upsetting the relationship with the audience, I think
it's also more about upsetting our relationship with how we play, our habits
and norms as musicians. A lot of what we've been doing these last couple of
years has been taking a look at, what are the regular ways we make music.
There is a default that everybody has... when the same people get in the same
room, which we do, on occasion, there are certain defaults you get into. So
I guess I think a lot about trying to shift the way we think about things, the
way I think about things, and so the lyrics are part of it And things like [our
16 collaboration with] Secret Mommy, kinda challenging the way we look at our
music, and other people's music... and how to make music.
D: So the name Continent & Western, obviously it's a pun on country
and western.
SL: A lot of the songs, when we're working on them, we refer to them as this
or that... like "Vitamin Meathawk" was kinda the "pop song." You have these
genre definitions that are funny more than anything else. They don't really
fit. Like, "Country and Western" is "we play both kinds of music," country and
western. And obviously you've read the articles; everybody's spending half an
article trying to define the music we play.
D: I probably won't do that. There are only so many adjectives for "hard
to define."
SL: By adding "Continent," it changes the scale and weight of that phrase,
and also shows how ridiculous that phrase is. And it kinda grows out of [the
track "Continent & Western"]: part of it has a country feel and part of it has
an African feel.
D: Do you think that the idea of scale, changing scale, applies to the album
in general?
SL: I think scale is something we always talk about. We have [musical] phrases
within phrases, longer phrases, overarching things, modules within them. I
think everything we do is looking at scale and relation. From that perspective,
it seems applicable.
D: When you listen to this album, or Fond of Tigers in general, the phrasing
seems lyrical, even when lyrics aren't present.
SL: I've always been a real word person. Writing, reading, stuff like that.
Somehow... maybe I just put that into the phrasing without it necessary being
explicidy lyrical. Implicit lyrics, throughout the rest of it? Usually when I write
anything, I don't write one part that I'm hoping will [become] another part,
I just write as a big jumble. And the rest of the band [picks] at this car wreck
of things. So in there I think there are all sorts of things, and the phrasing, it
could be sublimated lyricist
D: Do you find the experience of playing a jazz fest different that playing a
"rock show?"
J. P. Carter: Every time we play a jazz fest, it's like playing a rock show anyways
... doesn't really feel like a "jazz audience."
D: Is the feeling that it's not a jazz show but a rock show is that because of
the audience that comes?
SL: I think it's more the programming because jazz people don't really see us
as jazz, rock people probably do, but jazz people don't really.... So they put us
with more rock bands. Like [opening for] Deerhoof, DeerhooPs not jazz; we're
not jazz. We're both playing the [same stage at the Vancouver] Jazz Fest you
know? The only thing that makes it feel like a jazz fest is there are a few guys
with fanny packs and floral shirts on. They come out of the woodwork at all of
the shows! That's the only thing [with jazz festivals we've played] it is a slightly
different audience. Yeah, all those jazz fest shows haven't been very jazzy.
JPC: There's all those fans that are into our experimental stuff, and a lot of
people seem to enjoy our music, come to our shows. They're kinda jazz fans
in a weird way, you know? They like the kind of jazz that is not traditional. The
spirit of it is adventure, and that's the jazz part of this band.
SL: I like that we've played a lot of situations to a lot of different people. It gives
us many different looks into [our music]... If we only played a certain type of
club, with certain types of bands, and really codified what we do, it would be
limiting, and that's not what we're about, at all. So we've played with Shad,
Tortoise, the Grande Mothers.... I like it
D: Do you think that the same diversity is reflected in the music you listen to?
All: Yeah.
D: What is spinning for you right now, what are you listening to? Besides
Continent & Western of course.
JPC: I was pretty stoked when we opened for Deerhoof because they're one of
my favourite bands, contemporary bands. So I like listening to them.
SL: I listen to a lot of hip-hop, mosdy.
Morgan McDonald: I was watching some NW.A videos the other day.
SL: I used to listen to a lot of N.W.A, and then sometime in the late '90s I got
jumped on Granville Street and punched out by this gang of dudes, and the
sentiments in the N.W.A started not feeling like, "Oh, lef s just throw on some
N.W.A and do the dishes and enjoy your life."
D: Did it get real? It got too real?
SL: It got real real. It got reel to reel, and it played back in my mind. It chipped
my tooth, and bent my nose out of shape. That's why I snore on tour, and when
I'm not on tour, too....
MM: I am definitely a big fan of the early Tortoise and was happy to play with
them. I bought some Debussy, listening to some good orchestral stuff. ... I
have a collection of'80s vinyl that always keeps me entertained.
D: How was collaboration with Sandro and Matts [Gustaffson]? What was they
flavour they brought?
SL: It wasn't so much that we called them out of the blue; it grew out of things
we did. Last year's Jazz Fest, we played together with Matts, and we felt good
about it... He has a sort of firey [way]. He's pretty full on, so he joined us and it
felt... really natural. Same thing with Sandro, like "Oh, there's this other guy in
the band." Itwasn'tlike cold calling, we knew that [the] chemistry was already
there. It felt right.... We'd had a few experiences lately that were interactive,
so it seemed like a natural part of what we'd been doing. So, Matts just sorta
did what he did with us last year, just ripping baritone sax.
MM: And they're good collaborators too, they know how to enter into something where there's a dynamic and some history, I don't think they stepped
on anyone's toes.
SL: Yeah, both of them were really gracious people. They both have a very
distinct, strong ego in what they do. Matts [has] been doing his thing so long,
and same with Sandro,... so they're not stepping into things thinking they
have to be dominant or subservient. They were very level. We felt that we were
on the same level of the "hierarchy."
D: Going back to the album, do you have conceptions or expectations or hopes
for the album? Do you have hopes for what people get out of it?
JPC: In making music I never think about that, I realized, because after a show
people say, "Oh I loved the show," and they're saying why, explaining why, and
I'm thinking, "Oh yeah, that is what we were trying to do." So I never go in
thinking anything, except in the broadest sense of making music. I think that
with this band, though, it seems like it's such an animal unto its Own when
we create the music.... There are seven of us, that's just the nature of it. We
don't think about how the audience is going to receive it
MM: I think the lyrics will be an entry point for a lot of people. It will open a
door to listen.
SL: I don't think that was the intention. I think that I want it to be something for
people to really engage with, and maybe that's becoming [a] harder and harder
thing to get from people. It's very easy to disengage as quickly for people. I
want it to be a fairly total experience—I mean, it's like that for me. I feel certain
things while playing musk that I wouldn't mind other people feeling, when it's
an interesting, transcendent feeling. Ifs like the universe starts vibrating a little
bit and you're not thinking about anything else. It's very immersive, n
Calm Down Ifs Monday and Shotgun & Jaybird; and Julie Doiron, leader of the Julie Doiron Band, member of Eric's Trip and frequent collaborator
/$$^$%0^M^$i^ Downie, Herman Dune and the Wooden Stars. These three artists began a collaboration last year in the garage of Squire's
Sackville, N,B. B^i^Jt^l^boration "unlike any previously heard from these fine and versatile musicians" according to their MySpace page.
Hie musk recorded thatsummer, over just a few days, was folk music—and notjust any folk music—but the old timey "public songs for singing
together* kind of folk music that I grew up with in the deep woods of East Texas; although, there were definitely distinct stylistic differences.'
After iftdr concert at the Biltmore Cabaret, I met up with die titular trio outside the'tsain entrance of the club where, over some cigaretei® said
congm^&mM from exiting fa^ We had an i&tsmatebut still light-hearted kterv^f*~-fitting for their music and performaiK&* that nigfit
Fred: We'll do this [motions to Daniel
and himself] no sense talking to her.
She doesn't know anything about
this anyway
Julie: I just happen to be there—I'm
not even... I'm just a figment of everyone's imagination on this project...
OK go ahead and start the interview.
Andrew: Alright, my first question is
about the first thing that popped into
my mind when I heard your band's
name—it reminds me of Peter, Paul
& Mary. Was that intentional?
Fred: Negative.
Daniel: Naw, they probably just had
the same idea as us.
Julie: They were put together by someone, weren't they? We put ourselves
together—well I jumped in. [laughs]
(1 put a large X through the Peter, Paul &
Mary note and Fred pats me on the back]
Fred: I like your style, man. We're going to get along fine, [everyone laughs]
Shoot brother, shoot.
Andrew: So there's quite a good description on your MySpace page about
your band and how it formed and in it
you guys talk about how your record
is "a record of folk music, three part
harmonies, guitar picking and strumming. Songs of romance, justice, murder, loafing, complaint, horses and
gambling. Old songs, in the public
domain." Did you guys have any sort
of method or rubric for figuring out
which ones to pick? Because there are
just so many to choose from.
Fred: There's a myriad, in fact. Uh,
well, no; although Dan did come up
with the majority of the ideas for the
record. It's mostly Dan here driving
the project.
Dan: I'm just using their fame to skyrocket myself to success.
Fred: [laughs] Pretty much.
Julie: I'm glad you finally said
it. [laughs]
[everyone laughs]
Fred: Unbelievable.
Julie: Bingo.
Andrew: Fair enough.
Fred: No, Dan doesn't even like us
that much, [chuckle]
Julie: He barely puts up with us.
Fred: We don't really get along.
Julie: Yeah, don't even talk to himl
Fred: No, no. Dan's the guy! [pats Dan's
Julie: We're just kidding! Of course,
we love Dan very much.
Fred: Yeah.
Julie: Without him we would be lost,
or at least I would be.
Andrew: So there was no particular
reason you chose the songs you did?
Dan: They were just the songs that
looked like they were the easiest ones
to do. They were the ones that rhymed
and stuff already—for the most part,
when I started ... after that we got a
little more creative.
AndrsW: Alright. You guys obviously
have a lot of passion for folk music.
That was really evident in your show
and on your record.
W Dan and Fred: Thank you.
Andrew: How did you each form this
interest in these songs, especially
these kinds of "story-telling" songs
that you seem to focus on?
Dan: Well, you can really only write
about your boring life for so long,
you know? Then there comes a time
Random fan: Hey guys nice show!
Fred: Thanks!
Dan: —whether it's permanent or not
it's important to look elsewhere, you
know, for inspiration. I'm sorry, for
some of that I was talking without
really listening to what I was saying...
because that guy... but I think that
what I said was...
Fred: He was a nice guy.
Dan: Yeah he was.
Fred: Totally nice guy.
Andrew: You basically said that...
Andrew and Fred: ...you can only talk
about your boring life so long before
you have to look for inspiration elsewhere.
Dan: Yeah.
Julie: For me, because it was mostly
Dan's project I wasn't a part of picking the songs or anything, but for me,
my biggest passion in general is just
singing harmonies and singing along
with people, so it kind of could have
been any songs. I really trustDan and
Fred, though, and that's why I really
enjoyed singing on this particular
record. I just love singing.
Andrew: So for the two songs on the
album that you have written, what
kind of inspiration drove those?
Dan: Depression. Living in a shitty city.
That type of song, really evoking and
being evoked through me because of
the shitty situation I was in.
Andrew: When you got together to
make the album did you start off with
the new material or did you write it
as you were recording and working
through the public domain songs?
Dan: Yeah well like, probably like 60
per cent of that record we wrote as we
... went through them and then there
were a couple of them that I already
had arranged when I got there. So, the
two songs that I wrote were written
already and a few of the other songs
were already "generally" arranged.
Julie: Yeah, they would be out in the
garage doing this stuff and I had my
kids around so I was like, making
dinner and lunches and stuff, and
basically they would work on the arrangements and they would say "OK
Julie, we're ready" and I'd go in and
kind of sing it along with them once
and then we would record it. It was
very quick.
Andrew: Do you like that way of working?
Julie: I do, that's how I work on most
of my records. I tend to, because a lot
of times, the people I work with are
really busy and so when you finally
have a week off, you do it as fast as
possible. I don't have much trouble
coming up with the harmonies on
the spot so it really isn't any pressure
for me.
Andrew: I've noticed that you do this
thing when you sing, where you move
your head and "phase" your voice in
and out of the mic's range.
Julie: Oh yeah.
Andrew: Was that something you
were taught or something you do
Julie: I think it has come from experience. I like the idea of having the
volumes change and having some
kind of dynamic control. Since I'm
not playing guitar or anything, it's
my only recourse for me to dabble or
experiment with the idea of it being
louder or quieter. That sort of thing,
especially if I'm about to go loud, I'll
move back and kind of swell into it.
It's a way of "mixing" myself.
Andrew: What lead to you guys doing
this at all?
Dan: Uh, I just wanted to make a
record with Fred because we had
toured together before and bonded,
so I asked him if he wanted to and he
was into it and when I went out there
Julie was there and we just... made
the record. We didn't even really know
what it would sound like.
Andrew: Was it your idea to put the
chairs on the dance floor?
Dan: Actually the chairs were the [Biltmore's] idea.
Andrew: Oh, it was the venue's idea?
Fred: Yeah.
Andrew: I thought that it was a very
good idea and it uh, really tied the
room together,
[everyone laughs]
Fred: Did it not? The rug—that rug
really tied the room together did it
not? But the chinaman is not the issue here, dude. Thafs not the preferred
Andrew: Speaking of nomenclature,
folk music—what memorable experiences have you each had with
folk songs, hootenannies and hoe-
Fred: Whelp, you can come down
to my kitchen any day of the week
and that's what it sounds like. Minus Dan of course, except for when
he's in town. Or when Julie's in town.
And there's a good bunch of people
in Sackville, where we recorded the
record, who sound just like that Well
maybe a little bit different more of an
East Coast style of folk music which is
impossible to explain. "Folk music"—
what is it? I guess it has more of a
"fisher's" type sound but the fact that
we recorded on the East Coast has
nothing to do with the songs picked or
the subject matter. East Coast music,
kitchen party type of music, is completely different If you want to come by, or
if anybody wants to come by, they can
come to my kitchen on 19 Kirk Street
in Sackville, N.B. Ifs always ready for
a good round of music.
Dan: I grew up with folk music, my
parents play folk music. So there are
lots of experiences.
Andrew: Any musicians that stand out
in your mind?
Dan: That I liked?
Andrew: Yeah.
Dan: Well it always changes. Right
now all I listen to is George Jones.
He's not a folk artist; he's a straight
country artist... and thafs prettymuch
all I want to listen to at all times.
Andrew: You all have multiple projects going at once. How do you juggle
them and what do you think the future
of this particular project will be?
Fred: I don't reckon there is necessarily a future for this band. It will go as
long as it has to go and thafs pretty
much it. We never imagined touring
this act in the first place whilst recording. This is just a bit of extra after the
recording. As for the first part of the
question, I guess with time schedules,
everybody's availability ... that just
seems to work out. We're also willing
to work as well, as musical players, as
musicians as the public deems us. It
will go for a certain amount of time
and when ifs over ifs over. We'll just
let it go and there it was.
Daff: Don't worry about it.
Fred: Yeah, there's no point really.
Dan: We'll let it die gracefully.
Andrew: Is there anything you want to
say to the readers of the Discorder?
Fred: Personally?
Andrew: Using this interview as a vehicle for your message.
Fred: Yeah, don't waste water! There's
no point in wasting water because
we need water. If you can get around
wasting water, you're OK. Do not use
it wantonly. Ifs a precious resource,
more precious than gold in so many
Dan: Buy the Minor Threat djscogra-
phy, which is on Dischord Records.
Andrew: Should we include Julie in
Dan: She would probably say—
Fred: Yeah, let's guess what she'll say.
She'll say, "Watch your step."
Julie: Be grateful.
You can read our review of their "concert at the Biltmore on discorder.ca.
Daniel, Fred & Julie's self-titled album is available from You've Changed Records.
Daniel Romano has a new solo album out from You've Changed Records called Workin'fbr the Music Mm.
Fred Squire also has a new solo album coming out soon from Blue Fog Records. t|
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(Eclectic) 9-iopm
The one and the only Mon-
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Join us in practicing the
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Hosts Downtown Stacee
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Your favourite Brownsters,
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An indie pop show since
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(Eclectic) 3>4pm
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Explore the avant-garde
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From new electronic and
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Vancouver's only live,
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Join host and author
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Hands relies on simple
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We embrace music that
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Vancouver's longest
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Oct 4: Tonight we celebrate
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Parker and was one of the
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Speak Low.
Oct ii: Two important
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here with the pairing of
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called Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers urith Thelonious Monk.
Oct. 18: Another birthday
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Here is his award-winning
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See Monday for description.
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From backwoods delta
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www.synapticsandwich.net A simple urgent bassline and a riotous
drum beat start at the same time as
these words:
R "When I was born I had a party
hat on /1 had a party hat on when I
came out of my mom."
This is how Bash Brothers' "hit"
song "Party Hat" goes. It's a song about babies
partying in a maternity ward. It's a narrative set
to punk about a baby that was so good at partying
(in the keg stands and loud music sense of the
word) that by merely being born, she kicked off
an amazing party. It's a gem, both because of the
brilliant simplicity of its aggressive punk rock nature
and because of its sheer ridiculousness.
The song was written by Kristjanne Vosper
and is a good example of the simple but brilliant
songwriting that the duo churns out Her band
mate Lindsay Coulton recalled the song's creation
as something that almost was not a song for Bash
Brothers. When the song was originally written
Vosper "shopped it to her other band and they were
like, 'that song is stupid'... I was so glad that they
thought that song was stupid because we got it"
Bash Brothers are a punk duo who are are
mostly from Nanaimo, B.C. although they've
also been based out of Vancouver and Ladysmith
throughout their time together. They've had a
rather long meandering existence. "It's almost
nine or ten years now," recalled Coulton on the
phone from Nanaimo.
"Party Hat," like most of their songs, started
as a joke.
"Usually we're just sitting around talking and
then one of us will say, 'You know what would be
really funny?'" Vosper said over the phone from
Prince Rupert, where she is currently working
counting dead fish for the government The two
of them were kind enough to line up a couple phone
conversations for interviews, which had a certain
deficit that Vosper pointed out
"You don't get any of our—," she paused while
searching for the word.
"Banter?" I asked.
"—friendship," Vosper finished.
Which brings up a very good point. This duo
has a tight, long-lasting friendship. They have
been friends since they met in grade 9 and started
practicing in Coulton's mom's basement "Lindsay's
kind of amazing because she always laughs," said
"We're just kinda blessed with the land of
friendship we have, and we pick up without skipping
a beat," said Coulton.
Bash Brothers was formed out of a number of
desires, but one that Vosper expressed was to go
where other bands weren't quite willing to go.
"You go see a band and you feel the riff in your
heart, but it's not quite enough," she said. "It's not
bombastic enough or ridiculous enough."
With Bash Brothers you don't feel like they're
holding back. Their music is hard riot grrrl punk,
but ridiculous to the extreme. They sing about how
awesome it is to see Andrew W.K. (an influence that
is impossible to ignore), how one of their aunts gave
them smelly soap, and they've got a new favourite
about a trash-eating bear.
They are mostly a live band who has toured much
of the B.C. Lower Mainland and Alberta, playing
at last summer's Sled Island. They are devoted
to putting on a show that both entertains and
challenges what people expect them to be.
"Kristjanne would wear this hilarious sexy
basketball outfit with booty shorts and I would
wear like, an Indian chief costume," Coulton said,
recalling one of their early shows. "Sometimes we
would wear sundresses and then pour blood all over
ourselves... to make it harder or grittier."
Although they are still dedicated to performing,
they have toned it down a smidgeon, but still tend
to do something of the costumed variety during
"I feel very strongly about face paint," said
Vosper about their current trends in performance
dress up. At Sled Island this involved eye black and
a mishmash of football garb.
Very aware of how a two-girl duo can be
pigeonholed, Coulton said they make a conscious
effort to not just be a couple of "cute girls."
The band has a number of recordings under
their belt and plan to release more in the future.
A 7" was released on Nanaimo's frvdty rcrds
(pronounced frividity records) and then re-released
by NoiseAgonyMayhem as their 2009 Tour EP.
"He actually made that record for us free of
charge," Vosper said ofNoiseAgonyMayhem's David
Read. When he heard that they were leaving on tour
without any merch, he insisted on pressing them
some copies of their 7".
"[A friend said] we have horseshoes up our
asses, but don't say that" said Vosper, worried
about the crudeness of the statement "You can say
that if you want. I don't care. Well, I do care, but I
said it. So, you can say it I wouldn't want you to lie
to the readers of Discorder."
Though they record their music, Bash Brothers
think of themselves primarily as a live band.
"It's not the land of music that you put in your
stereo and do your homework to," said Coulton.
"It's better live."
They are planning a tour through Vancouver
to Alberta and then back, so try to check them
out when they come through in late October
or early November for a good dose of hard,
ridiculous music.
To check out their music and upcoming shows
visitwww.myspace.com/bashbashbash. ||
26 . < [i i   r   °- **- UNDER REVIEW//
Ahna is a local two-piece drone violence
band that has just released their first
self-titled LP. Recorded in the dead of
winter by Jordan Coop, the record is as
intense as the crushing rainfalls that
will soon envelop this city. Graham
Christofferson (bass, vocals) and
Anju Singh (drums, vocals) have put
the album out on their own small,
independent label, soldierpumps. It
follows, and is influenced by, their 7"
The Confederation of the Cult of One.
The vinyl release of Ahna features
a locked groove on either side of the
record, so that one end feeds into the
next beginning. There is no start and
no finish. Rather than resolving at the
end, the album cycles deeper into the
cold, nebulous recesses of Singh and
Cristopherson's collective psyche.
The album proceeds slowly. Loads
of feedback is met by a slow, pounding
drum beat. Throughout the course of
Ahna, these droned-out sections are
broken by a fury of rapid drumming,
bass riffs and screaming. Still, Ahna
never loses its focus or its careful
construction of an emerging style of
music that combines, in the very best
way, drone, metal, punk and noise. I
suggest picking up the vinyl before the
darkness of winter settles in.
—Sarah Charrouf
{Hamerspes Records)
October 2009 brought Beast Rest
Forth Mouth by Brooklyn's Bear in
Heaven, and this fall brings a re-
release of that album, packaged
with a disc of remixes. Beast Rest
Forth Mouth: Remixed puts the album
into the studios of a diverse team of
musicians, including the Field and
Justin Broadrick (a.k.a. Jesu).
The original album was a layered
piece of psychedelic pop, full of
synthesiser arpeggios and floating
melodies driven by insistent, interlocked rhythms. Dense, melancholy,
outlandish soundscapes change key
and direction at a moment's notice.
You can hear strains of Can in the repetitive synth lines, anchoring drums
and the way the band works together
as a mechanical unit. But the album is
far from a Krautrock throwback with
modern synth tones—this is forward-
looking experimental pop—and it
captures a kind of sci-fi desolation
feel that is not without hope.
As forthe remix album—drastically
different as it may be—it manages
to re-invent without clobbering the
original tracks. Even BRAHMS'
techno-house rendition of "Fake
Out" uses the source material in an
interesting way. The Field's version
of "Ultimate Satisfaction" captures
the haziness of the original, while
stripping the tune down to one chord
and implanting a booming kick drum.
He augments the tension while taking
away the close, crowded vibe. A few
other tracks implement the same
basic four-on-the-floor rhythm, like
the High Places remix of "Drug a
Wheel," the grinding plod of which
is transformed into a cool, grooving,
spacious experience with a throbbing
kick and reverbed congos.
My favourite remixes however,
would be Twin Shadows' remake of
"Lovesick Teenagers" and Studio's
redo of "You Do You." Both take the
melodies of the originals and change
the feel completely, cutting out the
beautiful clutter of meandering synths
and setting what's left against sharp,
funky rhythms that are minimal in
Since BRFM was such a maximal
album, each remixer had the luxury of
sifting through its multitudinous layers
to find the perfect "raw" material.
When you hear the original ideas in
the new setting, it's like hearing the
same song for the first time, but by a
different band. It's a great listen that
takes you all over the map, as well as
exposingyou to ten artists you may not
have before known.
—Doug MacKenzie
(Fat Possum)
First there is nothing. Then, dark
ambient frequencies, an electro
beat, synths, tight drums, guitar
fuzz... Beautiful. After about two   1
minutes, we finally hear the first  I
vocals from the lead track off of the   1
Crocodiles' sophomore effort Sleep   1
Foreuer, foreshadowing the musical
journey your speakers are about to
undertake. Hailing from San Diego,
the Crocodiles have produced a
perfect stew of guitar fuzz, ambient
noise, catchy choruses and punk-pop
The lead track "Mirrors" is one of
many gems on this record. The song
builds beautifully to a crescendo of
noise and melody. "Hollow Hollow
Eyes" continues the balancing act
combining echoes, feedback and
reverb elements while keeping every
other note discernible. The title track
of the album is a highlight with a
super catchy chorus and more of
that Crocodile stew—ditto for "Billy
"Hearts of Love" adds xylophones
to the mix and the finisher, "All My
Hate and All My Hexes Are For You"
closes out the journey of ambient
disorder with an electro beat and
more of a stripped down feel while
adding a synth motif that sounds like
it was played on a classic 1970s electric
Sleep Foreuer is extremely tight given
the looseness of background flutter.
There is a sense of polished noise and
the record is sure to surprise many old
fans while attracting new ones. It will
be interesting to see if they can duplicate
this perfection and balance into their
live show. Nevertheless, the studio effort
is an instant hitand grows even stronger
—Slauko Bucifal
(Mayan Chorus}
Sometimes cheap "sounds like this
other, preexisting band" comparisons
are the best way to go for record
reviews, and I will begin by giving
an abridged list of bands/artists that
Flash Palace sound kinda like: die
Books, Adas Sound, Explosions in the
Sky. If you like any of these bands, you
will be very pleased with Flash Palace's
new EP, Some Misinterpreted Sunsets,
and should purchase it immediately.
28 It's available as a cassette, for
audiophiles with access to old stuff,
and download, for those of us who
don't see any intrinsic or nostalgic
value in outmoded technologies.
While Flash Palace play within a
similar genre explored by the artists
listed above, these comparisons don't
detract from the band's ability to create
innovative rock collages. On Some
Misinterpreted Sunsets, the Vancouver
quartet construct complex post-rock
jams, with dreamy, layered vocals that
drift in and out of the tracks.
These songs are interspersed with
electronic elements, like the glitchy
drums and pulsing electronic bass on
"sasa," which sounds like a blissed-
outreinterpretation of both minimal
techno and seething dubstep, as
the song progresses. Considerable
craftsmanship has gone into this
album, as evidenced by the seven-
minute "Seventy Lives," which is
all looping guitar, ethereal vocals
and unexpected transitions. Some
Misinterpreted Sunsets is both cerebral
and nostalgic, and goes beyond
simple comparisons to works that
may have influenced its creation.
—Tony Kess
pake Vour Inc.)
Straight out of Saskatoon, Canadian
producer Factor has just dropped a
fresh set of beats with Lawson Graham,
a tribute to his late grandfather. Not
only do these songs stick to their hip-
hop backbone, the 18 tracks explore
a diverse collection of sounds and
melodies that can appeal to anybody,
regardless of music preference.
From the opening instrumental
to the disc-closing title track, Lawson
Graham is an exceptionally well-
crafted hip-hop album. Factor has
enlisted a wealth of talent, including
familiar artists like Moka Only, and
some more obscure talent, such as
2Mex and Nomad. Factors work is
covered in rich textures, colourful
beats, and excellent vocal work from
all contributors. This is most definitely
a sonically rich release, with mellow,
guitar-driven tracks (such as "Not
What They Seem") to the obligatory,
club-worthy dance tracks (both "Went
Away" and "They Don't Know" come
to mind).
The highlight track is easily
"Missed The Train"; it is absolutely
relaxing, charmina and undeniably
enjoyable with Gregory Peppers
soothing singing. The subtle guitar
work really lifts the soft vocals and
the otherwise melancholy lyrics. This
depth of musicianship is accentuated
by upright pianos, soft acoustic
guitars, majestic strings and some
nostalgic singing that is reminiscent
of an old gramophone recording.
A clever aspect of the album is the
addition of retro effects (such as the
grainy, "old school" sound found on
many tracks). The closing track, for
example, develops on a moody style
that feels very much retrospective of the
sounds present in the day of Factor's
grandfather. The production ends up
being fantastic, with no overpowering
instruments or vocals; the effects are
well done and are not over the top,
but rather beneficial to the complete
sound of the album. However, lyrically,
the disc teeters between meaningful
and just plain silly; phrases like "You
ever feel like you got ripped off I At
the grocery / It sure does suck" really
ruin the otherwise melodic piece of art
Factor has envisioned.
If Factors grandfather was alive
today, hed be more than proud of his
grandson for this stellar release.
—Kamil Kratuczyk
is a nice change of mood. But as
much as Cloak & Cipher is an enjoyable
experience, and one that is obviously
personal to the artist, I missed the
sonic and lyrical (and distincdy
feminine) clarity, wit and disposition
they have delivered in the past
—Maegan Thomas
(Saddle CmeJc)
Land of Talk's newest offering, Cloak
& Cipher, is much more contemplative
and softspoken than their previous
records. And this seems to be the
purpose of the album: a sonic breath
and a moment of rest Hopefully,
this rest is a palate cleanser, a space
between, and not a permanent
downshift Because apart from "The
Hate I Won't Commit" and "Hamburg
at Noon," which have more punch,
and the title/intro track, which
functions as a well-wrought transition
from the last album, Cloak & Cipher
is on the wrong side of languid. It
drifts into the realm of listlessness;
the songs mush together rather than
cohere. While I don't need hooks, I do
need memorable. I want songs stuck
in my heart
The disc itself arrived to Discorder
with a release that, among other
poetics, noted that "songs fade out
fall apart, linger unresolved." This is
certainly evident, and so perhaps my
reaction is a matter taste rather than
an indicator of how successful this
effort is. And indeed, when listened
to in rotation with their other works,
Library Voices is an eight-piece outfit
hailing from Regina, Saskatchewan,
where good times can seem hard to
come by to B.C. outsiders (what with
the 40-below weather, landlocked
plains and scorching summers).
However, upon listening to even one
millisecond of their new release,
Denim on Denim, one can immediately
assume Regina is the birthplace of all
things danceable and upbeat in the
indie pop music world.
The follow-up to 2008's Huntina
Ghosts (& Other Collected Shorts), Denim
on Denim expands the band's already
sugary sweet pop reputation into a full
blown diabetic persona with bubbly
synthesizers and guitar riffs and
anthemic sing-a-longs. Paring down
more experimental and quirky touches
for straightforward instrumental
matches and harmonies, songs like
"Insider Trading (On Outsider Art)"
and "Drinking Games" may lose this
quirky edge, but in torn become more
accessible works of pop gold in the
process. The radiant "Party Like it's
2012"—glorified in an awesome La
Blogotheque video—is an infectious,
toe-tapping song of dancing drums
and handclaps and is positively the
29 standout hit.
One criticism: Denim on Denim can
tend to feel monotonous at points
in its pursuit of everything upbeat,
therefore, giving it a repetitious
feel. However, when Library Voices
begin their expansive Canadian tour
dates beginning mid-September and
spanning all the way through October,
one can assume this non-stop
positivity will be met with nothing
but feet on the dance floor and hands
in the air.
—Kaitlin McNabb
{Six Shooter Records}
Steel City Trawler, Luke Doucet's fourth
solo album, finds him mining all
kinds of classic sounds, and putting
his Gretsch White Falcon [ed. That's a
guitar originally released in 1955 known
for ifs visually disctinct white body.]
to work in a batch of new songs
that range from stomping, country
rock to quiet fingerpicked acoustic
pieces. There's even a rewed-up
version of Gordon Lightfoot's 1974
hit, "Sundown" with a trashy, Neil
Young-like guitar solo.
In fact, from the Keith Richards
licks in "Dirty, Dirty Blonde" to the
"Lust for Life" riff in "Thinking
People," Doucet seems inspired by
the classics faore than anything else,
and has never been as far from his
past with Vancouver's freaky surf-
punk purveyors Veal. That said, Steel
City Trawler is a collection of solidly-
written songs that would appeal to
the listener with a taste for twangy,
cleanly produced pop-rock.
Doucet's playing is worth
mentioning; he intersperses plenty
of tasty licks into the proceedings,
adding interest and not distracting
from the songs' progressions. He's a
great player, and not too proud to do a
one-note guitar solo when it's called
for, as in "Dusted." All the songs have
a planned-out thoughtfulness, and
show a maturity that comes through
in the arrangements and the way all
the instruments work together.
Steel City Trawler works best on
its quietest track, "Magpie." This
song has what you need—dynamic
fingerpicking, textural electric
guitar reverberating distantly in the
background, two-part harmony on
the vocals and gripping key changes
that really hold the listener's attention.
There's a sense of restraint and space
that contrasts with the fullness of the
other songs.
There's plenty to listen to on Steel
City Trawler. While it's unlikely that
anyone who doesn'talready appreciate
rootsy rock music will find a whole
lot to like, it's a detailed album with
many layers to each song. One gets the
sense that it could be heard many times
before all its details are experienced.
—Doug MacKenzie
The Magician is a far cry from the
balding "illusionist" that probably
showed up at your eighth birthday
party. Though he has been known to
bust out a card trick or two at his live
shows, Nathan Moes (and his new
backing band the Gates of Love) are
the real deal.
Drawing noticeable influence
from Belle & Sebastian, the Unicorns,
Ben Folds and the Flaming Lips,
the Langley quintet's follow-up to
Moes' debut EP Who Will Cut the Grass
When I'm Gone? is a work of honest
showmanship, sans smoke and
"Banner Year" begins with regal
trumpet trills and accelerating piano
keys, building up to a harmonized
choral arrangement that might make
Brian Wilson smile. After a short intro
courtesy of an electric organ and egg
shaker, "A Gentleman's Harvest"
busts out the record's catchiest croon:
"Oh, you don't even know."
"The Lions" is a half-whispered
lament followed by the theatrical,
sway-inducing storytelling of "Take
a Trip." All four tracks burst with
character despite straightforward
arrangements. The singles, available
for download at $2 apiece, anticipate
the release of the band's forthcoming
full-length album in 2011.
—Sarah Berman
The Thing Dy^GueTpn, Oritarios
Minotaurs is one of those albums
that ought to grab attention from
the get-go. The first track, "Caught
In The Light" is a slinky little number
that warrants turning the lights down
low and dancing naked in the kitchen
with your favourite other. Then just
when you think its time to hit the hay,
"Get Down" kicks in seamlessly and
messes you up with its chunky warm
horns and sly beat. This is slick as ice,
groove-heavy music that belongs to all
the dance crazy light-footed fairy folk
in the world. With their quirky rhythm
and horn-heavy vibe they could rock a
stage at Shambhala just as easily as the
mainstream stage. Casting respectful
nods to African rhythms with a bit
of indie-rock roots thrown in for
fun, Minotaurs' music is tricky, sexy,
smooth-like-jazz and ultimately a very
easy pill to swallow. Singer Nathan
Lawrs voice taps into an almost Thom
Yorke-like timbre and glides flawlessly
alongside gorgeous instrumentation
such as on tracks like "Lazy Eye"
which is jumpy and flighty while
"Crystal Cave" plods along like an old
ghost: hissing, frothing, howling and
stomping its way through a strange
feverish dream. The Thing is one heck
of a good album that got me moving
in the first few notes, and an album
that rightly should put the Minotaurs
on the map as a definite go-to funky
party band.
—Nathaniel Bryce
Ontario could produce a hip
experimental rock group that would
instantly blow every listener's mind
with the first track? Well, its export
PS I Love You has done just that with
their new album Meet Me at the Muster
Station—and then subsequently melted
every listener's face with the rest
Instrumentally, this album is
an upbeat affair, but one that uses
fast-paced drums, shredding guitar
lines and quivering screams and
shouts reminiscent of the Cramps
rather than sugary sweet vocals and
cutesy keyboard melodies. The whole
album absolutely reeks of swagger
and coolness. Songs like tide track
"Meet Me at the Muster Station" and
its other half, "Meet Me at the Muster
Station (Pt.2)" exemplify the distorted
shoegaze feel of the band with
droning synthesizers set to melodic
guitars and precisely timed vocal
quips. Hardcore feedback, screechy
guitar lines and heavy drums best
heard in "Butterflies and Boners" and
"Get Over" are done with effortless
grit and edge but never become so
overwhelmingly hard as to resemble
dissonant noise music. The opening
guitar line of "2012" is bang-on in its
catchiness, immediately filtering into
lead singer Paul Saulnier's passionate
wailings and musings begging people
to wonder "Will we ever live to see
our dreams?"
The album's eclectic mix
of sounds, rhythms, feels and
instruments—almost like a musical
grab bag and whatever comes out is
unique, catchy and played so hard
with so much energy that it develops
a personality all its own—provides
the originality that is much needed
in the musical landscape of indie
rock. This is a standout debut album;
one far deserving of PS I Love You's
acquired and growing cult status as
well as its newfound place on repeat setting in CD players and computers
—Kaitlin McNabb
^Northern Electric)
that comes from the gut and sticks to
the guts like glue.
Rodney Decroo has been airing
out and exercising musically some
real gritty ghosts these past few years,
and with each release, he solidifies
himself as one of Vancouvers more
accomplished songwriters. The music
he writes comes from experience. There
are no tall tales told or odes to the latest
dance club hits accentuated with lasers
and hot keyboard strikes in this body of
work. Instead the listener is invited to
peer into a former hard lived life flush
with struggle, pain, self-medication,
introspection and redemption. Call
these songs a means of healing for
a man who has experienced enough
blues to sink the ship of most "seen-
it-all" shoegazer bands.
Queen Mary Trash is Decroo's
fourth album and probably his
best yet. Beauty and venom co-
mingle nicely over 90 minutes and
there is barely a dull moment to
be had. A more "rocking" album
than his last Mockingbird Bible,
Queen Mary is still served up with
ample amounts of alt-country
and delicate folk ramblings for
balance's sake. Stand out tracks
are the frustration fueled "You
Ain't No One" that just rips it up
while "Everything Is Taken From
Us" is heartbreaking and as real as
it gets. With 24 songs, this album
is a lot to digest but like a good
gripping novel, digesting this
music is a fantastic way to spend
your time.
—Nathaniel Bryce
Search Parties full length LP, The
Post, is an experimental endeavor
thatcombines punk, spoken word,
alt-country and folk, to name a
few. Unfortunately, the experimental
nature of the album comes off
sounding more unpracticed than
anything else, and the wide variety
of genres gives it a disjointed feel.
The opening track, "Monologue
for a Street-Preacher, Vancouver,
01/10" sets the tone for what is to
come, beginning with a chorus
before devolving into the eerie, guilt-
inducing sermon of a madman. A
word of advice to anyone recording
spoken word: hydrate.
There are a few diamonds in the
rough and singer/songwriter Harlan
Shore is undoubtedly a powerful
storyteller. "Have a Little Faith in Me"
is a verbal journey across B.C., likely
to strike a chord with anyone who has
taken the beautiful but lonesome drive
through the Interior. Incorporating
cello and strong male harmonizing,
this is the album's stand out track.
"Winter" opens with instrumentals
that could easily be the backing track
to a sweet romantic scene in a movie,
while "2 Waltzes" has an impressively
intense crescendo finish. Those gems
Continually Updated,
[collectively] by promoters,
musicians, venues, labels,
managers, and YOU!
are not enough to make up for songs
like "Baby" which consists of flat vocals
and sluggish drumming.
If the band didn't appear to take
themselves so seriously it would all be
much easier to digest, but the off key,
off tempo sound does not seem to be
at all tongue in cheek. This is not a case
of charmingly out of tune dissonance.
It just doesn't work.
—Sally White
(Asthmatic Kitty)
The msidt^cover of the album instructs
listeners that "This recording was
intended to be played loudly." Do
yourself a favour and duly oblige.
Florence & die Machine could be an
immediate comparison as lead singer
Caila Thompson-Hannant draws you
in during the opening track "Tell Your
Mum." This track could be mistaken
at-a-glance for Arcade Fire's "Black
Mirror" except for the overly peppy
guitar. A rather upbeat start gives way to
the raw "Sing Them Songs"—a guitar
riff and solo that woos listeners to
boost that volume a bit higher.
Thompson-Hannant has another
particularly enticing acoustic wonder,
"Too Late For Dancing"—a title and
song befitting a warm summers' eve.
The four-piece band hailing from
Victoria, B.C. Shapes & Sizes are the
only Canadian band to be signed
to Asthmatic Kitty Records, which
immediately bestows musical cred.
It is a rather notable change of pace
from their previous, more raucous
'07 release Split Lips, Wmmng Hips,
A Shiner. However, it remains to be
seen if this departure from their
original ideals will lead Shapes &
Sizes to greener pastures.
Candle To Your Eyes maintains
an airy, sensual tone throughout
and is perhaps their most cohesive
album yet.
—Ashley Perry
OCTBb ie
August 221 The Rickshaw Theatre
So, how popularare Boris anyway? Aren't these supposed to be our sludge rock
overlords, only leaving their island fortress (Japan) on rare occasions to destroy ears
continent-wide? The same three people who brought Pink, Akuma no Uta and Heavy
Rocks into the world? And yettMpdidn't even sell out the Rickshaw. Well, I suppose
it was the loss of everyone who went to see Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova from
the movie Once instead, because they missed out on a fantastic show.
Openers Red Sparrowes did a fine job with their hour. Their songs were long,
complicated instrumentals, like a mellow version of the post-/sludge metal Pelican.
It was only around halfway through their set that their sound really clicked, though.
"Oh, they're a post-rock band!" And sure enough, Wikipedia calls them post-
rock, with former members of Isis. So there you go. The only real complaint to
level against them, as it was hard to argue with their musicianship, was their
distractingly cheesy background video. That's a shame too, because it was nice
to have something to look at from time to time (no matter how depressing^ art
school it was). The crowd, at least didn't seem to mind, given the surprisingly
raucous applause generated.
Boris seems to be in the middle of a change that no one's really talking about
Over the past two or three years, starting perhaps with "Floor Shaker" (the infamous
lost-an-ear song), Boris has moved further and further away from their already
unconventional drone/doom toward newer, more melodic sounds. This show,
and, it seems, this tour, is Boris' way of showing off the album's worth of tracks
they've discreetly released on split EPs and as singles since Smile.
Walking on in a yellow-orange lit smokescreen, drummer Atsuo began the
show with a large gong smash at the back of the stage. "Farewell" and its slow,
dreamy wall of sound would be a sign of things to come for the rest of the show.
Michio Kurihara, a frequent collaborator of the band and along for the tour, and
was given a proper musical introduction a song later. "Rainbow," from Kurihara
and Boris' first album together, was a great platform for an applause worthy—and
applause receiving—feedback solo. Sung by Wata, and legitimately jazz-like, the
song was also the first quiet anomaly of a night that had many. Following that
were more fresh tracks, with selections from the recent Japanese Heavy Rode Hits
singles series included, and a beefed up "Statement" being the only exception
in mood. This sound came to a head with "Akirame Flower," a song that was
memorable enough on the split EP on which it made its debut, but turned into a
shoegaze masterpiece live.
With the blissful tones of the show having culminated, Boris began its lastlap
with the nighf s most energetic section, playing "Pink," "Korosu," and "1970"
one after another, for a concentrated blast of face-melt "Korosu" sounded
the best of the three, with solos from both Kurihara and Wata, and a gong-led
transition into "1970." Having nodded their heads to the hard rock of their
past, the band closed with a take on the untitled last track of Smile. Touching
on elements of the rest of the show (vocals from Takeshi, slides and E-bow,
solos with feedback and phasers), the music built on itself with volume and
delay and gong until reaching its peak with feedback reminiscent of dog
whisdes. Atsuo was first to leave the stage, with a characteristic call to arms
from atop his drumkit (he was the one who opted for a gold sequined vest and
jeans over black-on-black, after all). Soon after, as the now-blissful noise so
characteristic of this strange show died out, he was followed out by the rest
of the band, and cheers of approval.
—Jasper Wally
August 27 / The Malkin Bowl
What began as a rainy day left nothing but the lovely scent of damp pine as Vampire
Weekend and Beach House were greeted back to Vancouver for the first of two
flawless sunny nights at Malkin Bowl. The Dum Dum Girls stoically swaggered
through their cover of the Rolling Stones "Play With Fire." These beer-swilling
girls embody bona fide rock. Their slick, reverb-soaked pop cut through the early
crowd of teenagers.
As Beach House tookjthe stage, the hipsters moved in temporarily taking
over the gaggles of teens. Through a heavy veil of bangs, singer Victoria Legrand
enraptured the audience with "Used to Be." After their third song she teased the
happy but mellow crowd for looking very relaxed, before breaking into "Norway."
Flashing double peace signs and robot arms throughout, Legrand finally warmed
them up, proving her virtuosity as a front woman. The highlight of the night was
"Zebra," when the last of the summer sunshine mixed with the pulsating yellow
stage lights, creating a perfectly wistful atmosphere.
In their first night back on tour after a three-week rest Vampire Weekend started
with a few numbers from their newest album Contra before riling the crowd up into
a full sing-along with "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa." While they sounded clean and
catchy from the get go, it wasn't until halfway through the show that they pushed
passed their studio sound and got a real dance party going. During "Cousins,"
even the drunk fiat bros and sorority sisters took a break from taking Facebook
pictures long enough to acknowledge the music emanating from the stage. I've
rarely seen a happier bassist than Chris Baio who unabashedly danced and grinned
his way through the entire set The band debuted "I Think Ur A Contra" live for the
32 first time, beautifully encompassing the amphitheatre with what sounded like a
whale song before plunging it into total darkness. Closing with a raucous encore
of "Walcott," complete with Jerry Lee Lewis piano stylings, a happy crowd was
turned loose into Stanley Park.
—Sally White
August 31 / The Biltmore
The first time I saw Rae Spoon, he was playing an acoustic guitar and a banjo
for a group of about 30 in my friend's backyard in Guelph, Ontario. It was an
intimate setting and an intimate show,—my version of what it'd be like if you
were in the audience at a Jon Bon Jovi concert and he made eye contact with
you and you swooned. ^p£*
The Biltmore's Aug. 31 show launched Spoon's new album, Love is a Hunter,
as well as Vancouver-based Cris Derksen's new offering, The Cusp. Katie Caron,
a Hamiltonian at heart, opened up the show. I caught the last few songs while
having my bag searched twice and being ID'd by three different Biltmore
bouncers. You should check out her Greenbelt Collective website instead of
relying on my sketchy impressfofiil,-*/:
Spoon followed Caron; his set focused on more recent songs from his
repertoire, including "You Can Dance" and "U-bahn," written while in Berlin,
and included on Love is a Hunter. "I decided to write electro songs," Spoon said
as he pressed a button on his laptop, "but this one came out kind of country
anyway." And while the influence of Spoon's time in Europe can definitely be
felt in his newer songs, the core of what made Superioryouareinferior so earnest,
heartfelt and politically resonant is still presentIftljlMMirt'Hiinter—as it is in
his approach to shows.
During "Love is a Hunter," Spoon shared future plans for a video that
would include Mariah Carey; while introducing "Joan," he paused to talk
about his inspiration for the song—another trans person [ed. If that confused
you, you should know that Rae Spoon is a/emale-to-male transaendered person.] he'd
met in Germany whose life experiences had been similar to his own. Spoon's
between—or during-song banter is as personal now as it felt in the backyard
in Guelph several years ago. (Cue swoon.)
The only let-down of Spoon's set was when his voice gave out during the
encore—Superioryouareinferior's "We Become Our Own Wolves"—and he had
to leave the stage halfway through. Heartbreak!
I wasn't very familiar with Vancouver-based Cris Derksen's music before
she hit the stage on Tuesday with a cello and a tilted ball-cap. Derksen is a
classically-trained cellist and UBC grad who's played with Tanya Tagaq and
Kanye West, among others. Her style is reminiscent of Final
Fantasy, layering energetic cello playing with looped electronic
sounds and aboriginal instrumentation. Cris played solo and
was joined for a few songs by opera singer Melody Mercredi,
Marta Jaciubek-McKeever (of E.S.L. and Fan Death) as well as a
mesmerizing young aboriginal dancer, who spun in time to the
rhythms and melodies in Derksen's instrumental pieces.
Derksen's strongest and most innovative songs were the
latter kind; the instrumental numbers that focused on weaving
disparate organic and electronic sounds building and pulling
and tugging until they hit crescendo and catharsis. Even though
I wasn't initially completely bowled over by parts of Derksen's
set, her music has really grown on me—I've become way more
familiar since the Biltmore show, listening to The Cusp at work
and prompting everyone around me to ask about what die shit
it is and where they can get their hands on it.
—Andrea Bennett
September 8 / The Historic Theatre @ the Cultch
The combination of Calvin Johnson & the Hive Dwellers with Brazil's Garotas
Suecas (fresh from an energetic, crowd-pleasing daytime performance at
Bumbershoot) playing at the Historic Theatre at the Cultch was in my mind
just too much to fathom.
Unfortunately, Garotas Suecas could not get over the border (heard that one
before), so local band Cloudsplitter (Dave Gowans of Buttless Chaps, Red Cat
Records) gladly agreed to play at the last minute. Cloudsplitter, under the most
brightest of white stagelights, delivered a wholesome feel of dreamy psychedelic
guitar sounds with full-on deiay effects and a fully loaded pedal board. The early
comers to the show politely applauded to this as well as one litde kid in the
audience who was dancing by the side of stage floor in joyous approval.
At the intermission, more folks poured into the theatre finding their assigned
seats. A fantastic performance by the influential indie rock legend Calvin
Johnson, formerly in Beat Happening, Cool Rays, the Go Team, Dub Narcotic
Sound System and founder and owner of K Records was in the making. Johnson:
with his undeniable charisma and his band—the Hive Dwellers put on a show
that was non-stop entertainment and he made the audience feel as though they
were a part of it. His semi-interpretive dancing is worth commenting on. As my
friend Crystal put it "It's kind of like if dad-who-doesn't-usually-drink-very-
much got into the sauce and started dancing at the family barbeque. It could
be kind of embarrassing but when you watch Calvin do it it*s like watching an
alluring foreign creature enticing you with a mating dance."
He had a commanding but honest stage presence. His rhythms were beatnik,
folky, bluesy, with comical, but poetic lyrics. The show was quiedy amplified
with no microphone, but definitely his infamous droning vocals projected
throughout the theatre. The drums were minimal, muted and effective, and the
bass was delightfully funky.
The Historic Theatre at the Cultch is a theatre with assigned cushioned seats,
velvet curtains and an usher who formally welcomes the crowd and introduces the
band. Johnson said he asked for the lights to be turned on to have a less formal
vibe bi r s iil mentioned during the show "You are all so attentive," which I think
made tijm <Jiiow ple*oaady awkward at times. Johnson's faux seriousness, jokes
and stage banter were charming. Johnson sold interesting mix tapes that he made
himself, along with an array of records from his record label, K Records.
—Olivia Meek
$qtembir§ / The Malkin Bowl
Aside from the fact that there isn't a refreshing alcoholic beverage to be had
on-site, the Malkin Bowl is one of the more pleasant outdoor venues in our
fair city. The rain that had been promised held off and at 7 p.m. on the dot, the
Walkmen took to the stage. Belting out a rousing version of "In the New Year",
Hamilton Leithauser proved yet again what an amazing vocalist he really is.
Their brand of Americana/indie is as gende as it is raucous. The Walkmen's
set was littered whh gems such as "We've Been Had" and the ever gorgeous
"Canadian Girl." It seemed a litde odd that they were the support band for the
bill as they hold their own and then some. If you haven't already, please check
them out. You won't regret it
It was hard to top the Walkmen, but the National did just that With the
sun projecting orange onto the dusty clouds above, the National launched full
throttle into their set
"The Runaway" was captivating, beautiful and so gende. "England" was
performed with wonderful intensity.
As always, Matt Berninger's baritone voice commanded attention. With
Aaron and Bryce Dessner spot on for every song, it was a night of musicianship.
The horns and violin were wonderfully arranged courtesy of Padma Newsome
of Clogs. Everyone on that stage knew what they were doing and it showed.
The banter in between songs was particularly amusing. Before launching
into "Slow Show" Berninger's revelation that the wedding favourite is more
about his manhood than sweet dumb love was hilarious. Their continuous
profession of their love for the Walkmen endeared them further to an already
appreciative audience. It is really hard not to fall in love with the National. They
are themselves with no pretense.
And as prompdy as it started, the show was over at 945 p.m. A wonderful evening.
—Kathcrinc Boothroyd
September g / The Rufcsfeiu/
The Rickshaw is an absurd and surreal place in and of itself without the added
touch of a band like Man Man. It is an old theatre displaced on the historic and
run down streets of East Hastings, where the charming aspects like ripped out
seating and eroding walls are nothing new. In short, it was the perfect setting
for a band as mind-boggling and unreal as Man Man.
The opening act Let's Wresde were young ("We appreciate being able to
drink in your country"), nervous and having a rough night They blew an amp,
broke a bass string, were constandy restarting and suffered from a sloppy
drummer. Sparing this night Let's Wresde seem to be a decent outfit but—as
much as this may hurt Vancouver scenesters—they were too British punk for
their own good. The audience, minus the mosh-pit, didn't latch onto the
songs, therefore quickly losing interest and leaving Let's Wresde to apologize
and then ask for a place to sleep that night If it were a better night for them,
they might have had a few more offers, but as it stood the audience waited for
them to disappear and quiedy anticipated Man Man.
White clouds billowed out of the smoke machine and five men casually
dressed sauntered onstage and began reorganizing the setup and tuning
instruments. A confused hush resonated in the crowd: was this their new
performance style? Minutes went by as each individual left and the stage became
bare again. Finally, through the smog, five men appeared dressed in coordinated
white outfits and splattered war paint—the show was about to begin. To the
untrained eye, Man Man seem like a bunch of crazed foolish sycophants
relendessly pounding any instrument in their sights and mindlessly screaming.
Oh, the ignorance. Man Man is the musically astounding, lyrically attuned,
instrumentally gifted reincarnates of Tom Waits and Frank Zappa (if Waits
were to you know, die [ed. Bite your tonaue!]). Synchronized jumps, costumed
men throwing handfuls of feathers and suitcases full of odd trinkets are just
the surface layer to the 50 foot core of exploratory genius that is Man Man.
The show was a nonstop onslaught of saxophones, keyboards, euphoniums,
xylophones, drums and kazoos accompanying raging songs like "Hurly Burly"
and "Push the Eagle's Stomach."
The show was all business; Man Man may be characters of themselves
but by no means is their performance taken lighdy. Each song was Carefully
crafted and linked to another; at one point, equipped with individual drums,
a song broke into a fitful drum circle, each member spontaneously bursting
into a choreographed rhythmic detour that made the crowd wail and scream.
Song after song, Man Man pulled out all the stops—a trenchcoat-clad Honus
Honus climbing the stage walls to sit above the crowd drinking Maker's Mark
and singing, duelling xylophones having a showdown during "The Ballad of
Butter Beans" and keyboards played with a saxophone, I mean literally with a
saxophone. At the end of a short set the audience—still standing/crowd surfing/
moshing—was absolutely positive they would be back to deliver an incredible
encore. Surely enough, two minutes later the band in a matter-of-fact stance set
down and ripped through an encore almost as long as their initial set
Comprised of now infamous tunes like "Van Helsing Boombox," the
encore was everything it should be. It was energetic and loud to start, but
slowly softened and sobered up towards the end, signalling the finish of what
is possibly one of the best shows I have ever seen.
—Kaitlin McNabb
ifWdaj Wt.\rt 8pmJ,
// Saturday October 2nd - Biltmore Cabaret \\
:)C©nN mmmcM Wf jenn cju^rr
>•'. ^Wed October 20th - It Jam® Hailed ;
Greetings vinyl lovers! There's a good batch of wax to get to this
month, starting off with Vancouver's own Sun Wizard, purveyors of
languid country jangle with just a pinch of early '80s power pop, as
evidenced by the two tracks, "Quit Acting Cold" and "Tambourines."
Singer Malcolm Jack has a lilting, hiccuping quality to his voice not
unlike an early Tom Petty or Dwight Tilley while the yin to Jack's yang, James
Younger, hits the right bright notes with aplomb. The rhythm section of Frank
Lyon and Ben Frey don't rock the boat too much, instead keeping things sure
and steady and soothing while offering fans of Band of Horses, the Byrds and
the like something to tap their toes to. These two cuts aren't available on their
most recent EP, so fans should snatch this one up.
Country jangle of another kind is next up, thanks to Calgary's femme fatale,
Miesha Louie and her Spanks, which is just Stuart Bota on drums. As we've
noted in the past, Miesha's firebrand voice and gritty guitar will spill the drink
and break the hearts of anyone within reach while the machine gun rattle of
Bota's drum attack ignites the tracks found on this recent single, "Mean Face"
b/w "Fuck Around," And much like the aforementioned b-side, Miesha & the
Spanks certainly do not—and they don't intend to slow down the roots-rockin'
rumble anytime soon.
Calgary also lays claim to the mod-explosion of Seven Story Redhead, a
band I recendy discovered while trolling that crazy thing we call the Interweb.
Four songs adorn a recent EP (available on disc too, but the vinyl is more eyecatching, if not for the 3-D cover, than the go-go gal who go-goes down for
the count after some serious shakin' I assume) and you will want to "Shake It
Out" after hearing the tunes herein. The tide cut is a primed and ready to blow
up example of early Who-isms while "Beast With Two Backs" cops some Brian
Jonestown Massacre licks but turns the volume up to n. "Foolish Schemes
(From The Underground)" and "Don't Wanna Know" mine some fertile punk
rock soil and would nestle nicely between Clash and Count Five records most
assuredly. Check this out
Calgarian connections continue with our next act No Problem, who recently
inked a lucractive deal (read: copious amounts of booze, babes and blow) with
Handsome Dan (of the Spastic Panthers) in the back alley behind the French
Maid to releasjetheifclebut EP, Your Eyes. Your eyes will definitely deceive you,
however, upon glancing at the mugs of the members of this Edmonton outfit
as Sam the Eagle and Peter Boyle are among the photos (ironically, in an art-
imitating life sort of way, singer/guitarist Graeme does in fact look like Gary
Busey circa his DUI days!). But, don't let that sway you from checking out these
tracks of fast and bulbous punk rock riftery, remembering the halcyon days of
American hardcore, a Id Circle Jerks or Zero Boys in their prime. With songs
about money-grubbing banks ("Debts") and psychotic ex-girlfriends ("Your
Eyes") it's no problem for these guys to make for short stabs of fist-pumping
good times; a solid effort here from a solid band.
Finally, as the good times must end inevitably, so shall we with this column
and our last entry courtesy of Steve Adamyk and his band of merry-makers
from Ottawa. Studious readers will remember it was only a couple of months
back that we drooled over his last single, and no sooner had the spittle dried
from my chin than he unleashed yet another piece of power pop that leaves me
gobsmacked. All the tracks have the hooks aplenty, and the formula of short,
sweet and to the point is what works best. Take "Satellite" for instance, barely
a minute long, but with a keyboard-laced chorus it works wonders. "Hit The
Ground" is the favourite, with its 'sos-bubblegum inflected feel, but it's hard
to choose. With another single and a full-length on the way, any followers of
the current Canadian power pop scene (Statues/Mother's Children/Varsity
Weirdos et al.) will want to add this guy their collections, pronto.
That's all folks!
Sun Wizard: uuviv.sumvizardmusic.com
Miesha & The Spanks: Transistor 66 Records ivtuiv.transistorffa.com
Seven Story Redhead: myspace.com/sevenstoryredhead
No Problem: Handsome Dan Records ivuuv. handsomedanrecords.com
Steve Adamyk: Red Lounae Records 1vw1u.redloun5erecords.de
Departures was a radio program hosted by Marcel Dion on CJSR FM
88.5 in Edmonton, Alberta between the years 1978 and 1991. The
program, highly inspired by the legendary Alien Soundtracks program
on Vancouver's Co-op Radio, contained a diverse mix of vintage and
new-at-the-time left-field and fringe music and was the first and
only of its kind in Alberta. On top of curating a weekly program, Dion helped
found the Borealis Electroacoustic Music Society (BEAMS) and released one
or two compilations of avant-garde music in Alberta. Departures Revisited is a
column we are syndicating from the Weird Canada website, which is inspired
and dedicated to Dion's early efforts at establishing Alberta and Canada's weird
musics. Thankyou, Marcel! You can find the original entries of these complete
wi± streams of the recordings discussed at www.weirdcanada.ca.
King-Beezz - Found and Lost b/w Now (Quality)
Edmonton, AB // Originally Released: 1966
The King-Beezz's third single is the toughest polyvinyl artifact from Edmonton. "Now"'s snarling, wrangled guitar leads, put-me-down harmonies and
screaming, postured ad-libs trash every punk archetype in the purest teenage
pursuit of attitude. On the A-side, "Found and Lost"'s jangly, loner lament,
bass-walkery and bedroom percussion craft a brilliant bizarro pop-psych excursion into the recesses of vintage fringe culture. Just ridiculous stuff. 'Twas
the bees-knees (!) finding a copy complete with the glorious Quality company
sleeve. A full history of die King-Beezz can be found at www.kingbeezz.com.
IlieSta^BfOt^rs-The Bimda Brothers {Dominion)
)7f QHfjQrigimliu Meased: x$?3   -
^^b^setwo^^sswnTb^pie^DroTemigrate to Ontario andrelease an album
celebrating the pastoral scenery of their new home. With dikk, stilted Ruskie
accents and strange instruments (Cordovox?) they weaved 12 streams of folk-
rock textures in dedication to our unique landscape. Their foreign perspective
is the album's greatest strength; take their journey and visualize the vast
industrial heartland through outside, lysergic eyes. The resulting innocence,
both serene and moving, place the Brazda Brothers alongside other nationalized
fringe-folk canon whose trails into uncharted territory shaped our anomalous
soundscape (Riverson, Ptarmigan, PCC, etc). The band claims that 5,000 copies
were pressed, but the number of known copies states otherwise. Released on
a budget label concerned mostly with fiddle and children LPs. I flipped my lid
when I found a sealed copy of this! i|
111 truly missed it. I have no idea what it takes
to put on a show like that, especially in a
I town that is such a stickler for permits .
and such. So when lastyear's free concert
on Hastings had to be scrapped, I was
B bummed. I hadn't missed one yet. I was
honoured to play at the third one. I love the vibe. I love the children belonging
tomembersotDanasrunnmgaround like lunatics. I love the cops mosdy leaving everyone alone. I love the community of artists, comedians and musicians
hanging out together. And no sprinklers this year!
The clouds were so dark and angry looking the day before that I thought a
downpour like the last Block Party in 2008 was inevitable, but the weather held
quite nicely. I just wanted to say that I loved all the bands playing. There was
criticism from a few of my friends that the bill was a little light on the heavy
and experimental, and heavy on the light and poppy. But most of us were there
to catch up with old pals and perk up our ears when our friend's band hit the
stage. I thought it was a good mix.
Sex Church
I'll never ever see Sex Church play with Apollo Ghosts again, so it was nice to
see. Levon, Sex Church's singer, began the Block Party with the line "We're Sex
Church, and we're cursed." I didn't know if he was alluding to the fact that they
had to start the whole show right at 2 p.m. to a smattering of folks. But they
made the most of it. I always liked Levon as a front man with his former bands,
Master Apes and Ladies Night, so I thought it was a great beginning.
Ora Cogan
If there was a band that was truly cursed that Sunday, it migathsve been Ora
Cogan and her band. There's no bigger pain in the ass then having the mic
feedback on you for your whole frickin' set Cogan was visibly shaken by the
show, but she's a pro. I bet she destroyed at her very next performance.
Makeout Videotape
Holy crap. That front man, Mac DeMarco, is loony. I have never seen anyone
more comfortable on stage than that guy. The last time I saw him was two years
ago at Music Waste and I thought the exact opposite. I thought "their MySpace
songs rule, but it's pretty rough seeing them live," I really enjoyed them this
time around. They added a third member and it was great
Lord Beginner
I have seen all of Lord Beginner in other bands, which is very common in
Vancouver and Victoria. Together, they gel quite nicely, but their sounds were
a little too slow and cautious for my tastes. However, they played Well and I
always love the way Mr. Patrick Beattie plays that organ.
Apollo Ghosts
What do I say about a band that I've seen 75 times? Great songs. Great front-
man. Great use of bike in a performance. They have been threatening us all
with the idea that their Victory Square performance might be their last show
ever. I still don't believe it. We'll see.
The Tranzmittors
The Tranzmittors were up next and they delivered what they always deliver.
It's called the goods. Apollo Ghosts got a chunk of the crowd up for their set
and Tranzmittors kept them up with their rock 'n' roll sound that bounced so
nice outside. Most of the children there belonged to this band.
The Pack A.D.
I had no problems with them ending off the show. They work so bloody hard. In
between the songs, singer Becky Black joked about getting ready to be on tour
forever, and ifs kind of true. I hear it in their songs. They're becoming so skilled
and Black's voice is just so striking when she really belts it That a capella tone
she sometimes brings out is so effective. I wish them well on the road!!
Charlie Demers
Comedy and improv have been recent additions to the past couple of Block
Parties, and I don't know if if s working. The best reaction a comedy segment
got was during Emmet Hall's Bubble Orchestra when, after about a thousand
attempts, a giant bubble was formed and the crowd went ballistic. Charlie •
Demers, however, had the toughest time by attempting to do 20 minutes of
stand up fighting through both the tuning of Tranzmittor guitars and four
guys having the loudest conversation right in front of him. I felt for him. I read
his book, Vancouver Special, and I was looking forward to how he was going to
handle the situation. It was rough. He tried to make a go of it, but it was like
he was treading water in a boiling pot! I never thought the toughest crowd to
perform in front of was 500 drunken "hipsters"1, but it must be up there.
Thanks to Cam Reed and the whole crew that made the show go pretty
smooth. Thanks to all the bottle collectors, especially the one who waited
a whole minute behind me while I finished my beer. Thanks to the weather.
Thanks to the grumpy sound guy. Thanks to Toby from Canadian Content
Improv. Your handling of that flasher was the best comedy of the day. Here's
hoping this Labour Day tradition isn't a bi-annual thing.
37 for. ft^e for staflon members]
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319 W Hastings St
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Modern Diner
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439 W Hastings St.
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LABEL         :||M
 ARTIST       j||g;
Rodney DeCroo*
Queen Mary Trash
Northern Electric
Fond of Tigers*
Continent &
Drip Audio
King of the Beach
Fat Possum
Black Mountain*
Wilderness Heart
Off the Hip
2010 Sampler
Off the Hip
Fine Mist*
Public Domain
Play Guitar*
Shields and Don't
Worry About Death
Youth Club
Eamon McGrath*
Peace Maker
White Whale
Everything Dies*
Public Strain
Flemish Eye
System Shakedown
Renegade Rocker
. ft ^-':
B. A. Johnston*
Thank You For
Being a Friend
Just Friends
The Green
Hour Band*
Coming of Clockwise
Think About It
Joshua Cockerill*
The Trick...
I'm Learning To Do
Joey Only
Outlaw Band*
Transgression Trail
High Art for
the Low Down
The Vaselines
Sex With an X
Sub Pop
Rhinestone River
Whiskey Face*
Our Past is Bronzed
Monster Head Room
The Black Angels
Posphene Dream
Blue Horizon
The Golden Dogs*
Coat of Arms
Los Saicos
Quest For Fire*
From Paradise
Tee Pee
14 j
Jenny & Johnny
I'm Having
Fun Now
Matthew Dear
Black City
Nii Sensae*
TV, Death
and the Devil
Something That...
That Does Not
Rae Spoon*
Love is a Hunter
Saved By Radio
The Shilohs*
Magic Kids
True Panther
Deep Wireless 7: Radio
Art Compilation
New Adventures
In Sound
Best Coast
Crazy For You
Mexican Summer
D. B. Buxton*
Dirty Dance Party
Litde Whore
The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Sex Church*
6 Songs By
Sex Church
To Rococo Rot
Justin Rudedge*
The Early Widows
Six Shooter
The Budos Band
The Budos Band III
A Vacant Lot
Drip Audio
Tame Impala
Iron Maiden
The Final Frontier
White Lung*
It's the Evil
Kill Matilda*
Caleb Klauder
Western Country
Tomas, Jason
Phillips, Bivins
Dragons Eye
Sajia Sultana*
Bengali Winter
Needs More Ram
Personal &
the Pizzas
Raw Pie
1234 GO!
CiTR's charts reflect what's b
can be found at fine independ
Luke Meat. If you ask nicely h
een played on the air by CiTR's lovely DJs last month. Recc
snt music stores across Vancouver. If you can't find them, g
:'ll tell you how to find them. Check out other great campu
rds with asterisks (*) ar
ive CiTR's music coordii
s/community radio chan
e Canadian. Most of these excellent albums
latorashoutat (604) 822-8733. His name is
$ at www.earshot-online.coni.


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