Articles posted in April 2010

The southern tip of your body

Awkward boners dot com
I haven’t yet jumped onto the Grizzly Bear bandwagon (I tried, but no), but bassist Chris Taylor did have a hand in producing the Morning Benders‘ impressive sophomore album, Big Echo. I reviewed the disc a couple of weeks ago for the Georgia Straight, although the article doesn’t appear to be online.

Album opener “Excuses” gets the collection off to an orchestral start with old-timey strings and campfire guitar strumming, its gauzy production evoking Soft Bulletin-era Flaming Lips. It’s not quite as punchy as some of the album’s other tracks, but it’s got a woozy daydream vibe that gets things off to pleasant start.

MP3: “Excuses”
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I don’t blog or Twitter

That title is a lie. I actually have both a blog (you’re on it) and a Twitter. But this seemed like a good chance to plug my Twitter, since I don’t have very many followers yet, and it’s making me feel like I’m sitting at the uncool table in the cafeteria. This is the same reason I switched schools after grade five, except we have the internet now.

The title is actually a line from “Yaa I Get It,” the new single by Kenya-born/Canada-raised rapper Shad. I interviewed him over the weekend for Chevrolet On Scene at the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival, and our conversation including a tangent about Lost, which is always a favourite subject of mine.

This single comes from his upcoming album TSOL (‘lost’ backwards), due out May 25 via Black Box.

MP3: “Yaa I Get It”
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It’s so sexy to be living in America

Guys, the camera is over here
I was only out of town for eleven days, but in that time, Dom seems to have blown up. That is if getting props from Stereogum and Pitchfork counts as “blowing up,” which, let’s be honest, it does. Much of it is thanks to the new single “Living in America,” a patriotic-but-probably-ironic electropop ditty about the joys of doing the thing that the title says.

I don’t like this one quite as much as the previous Dom tune I posted, but if you’re into obnoxiously catchy indie pop anthems that sound like Republican Party jingles, this one could be right up your alley.

MP3: “Living in America”
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Tired of the constellations

Sitting is always better
The TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival is over, so I’m back in Vancouver and will recommence blogging as usual. Over the past ten days I’ve done a ton of blogging for Chevrolet On Scene, including reviews of around 50 bands and a bunch of interviews.

One especially memorable interview was with Kelowna’s We Are the City, the prog pop trio that won the $150,000 grand prize in the PEAK Performance Project earlier this year. The total conversation was only a little over 10 minutes, but it covered everything from a male model named Vick to sitting down while you pee.

Here’s We Are the City’s celestial new single, “Astronomers,” which starts off as a sombre piano ballad before transforming into a swirling noise freakout two minutes in.
MP3: “Astronomers”
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In between it all

Guess who's Travolta in this Fight Club reinactment
As I discussed last time, I’m currently in Whistler at the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival, blogging like crazy for Chevrolet On Scene.

I caught Vancouver’s City of Glass this afternoon, and I’ll be checking them out again tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to sit down with them for a quick chat as well.

I’m here for another week, so I probably won’t be updating this site until I’m back home. Head over to Facebook to see what I’ve been up to. In the meantime, here’s “Big Ideas,” a haunting post-punk throwback from City of Glass.

MP3: “Big Ideas”
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Quentin Tarantino, I hope you’re sitting down

Don't you hate it when you're peeing on a wall and eleven people interrupt you?
Over the next two weeks, the updates here will be sporadic (or possibly non-existent). From now until April 26, I’ll be covering the TELUS World Ski & Snowboard Festival for Chevrolet On Scene. You can get get the play-by-play of the festival over at Twitter.

Here’s a song from one of the many bands playing at the festival, Five Alarm Funk. A Vancouver-based funk ensemble, the band is renowned for delivering some of the city’s most unforgettable live shows, including the last night at Richard’s on Richards (RIP).

While it’s impossible for a studio recording to fully capture the energy of the group’s euphoric live performence, the Latin-infused “Gorilla” does a pretty damn good job. If Quentin Tarantino is listening, he’s about to have his mind blown. Opening credits?

MP3: “Gorilla”
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At the movies, drunk and young

Armed Police
Tokyo Police Club got a raw deal with its debut album, 2008′s Elephant Shell. It was a solid record with plenty of memorable tunes, and had it come from almost any other band, it would have been celebrated as an outstanding debut. After the sensation that was the 2006 EP A Lesson in Crime, however, the band experienced an undeserving backlash and the album received middling reviews.

Hopefully listeners expectations will be a little more realistic heading into the group’s upcoming LP, Champ, due out later this spring. Take a listen to the new single “Breakneck Speed,” which, despite the title, is darker and moodier than TPC’s usual fare. It’s got a massive hook in the form of a reverb-soaked guitar lick, which enters around the one-minute mark. It’s a solid start for what promises to be one of the must-hear albums of the next few months.

Head over to Exclaim! to read my news story about Champ.

MP3: “Breakneck Speed”
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You will be my friend

The Hunter S. Thompson costume remained incomplete
The chiillwave has reached Canada. Even Guelph, which, let’s be honest, itsn’t exactly a summer paradise. That’s where the glo-fi duo Mathemathic comes from, although you’d never guess it from the band’s debut single “Breaststroke.” It’s a blissed-out wash of flickering systems, laid back electro beats and sighing vocal harmonies. The sleepiness is inescapable, with each lyric so drawn out that the refrain of “it’s alright” seems to take the pair an impossibly long time to sing.

The track comes from Mathemagic EP, which came out last week via Paper Bag.

MP3: “Breaststroke”
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I live in a graveyard

Bringing Harlem to the Wild West
Austin, Texas duo Harlem is in the wrong place at the wrong time. The band has managed to achieve modest success with its straightforward garage punk sound, and the new LP Hippies is receiving excellent reviews. Had the group come out of New York ten years ago, however, its easy to imagine that we would be mentioning Harlem in the same breath as the Strokes or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Band members Michael Coomers and Curtis O’Mara aren’t quite as stylish as many of their lo-fi contemporaries (maybe they should borrow Vivian Girls‘ reverb pedal), but Hippies still has plenty of enjoyable tunes. Here’s the lead single “Friendly Ghost,” a retro blues rocker with Casper-referencing lyrics and a whole lot of cymbal crashes.

MP3: “Friendly Ghost”
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I’m gonna leave by morning

If only Ghostkeeper could be this mellow on record
It’s been two years since I was first introduced to Ghostkeeper‘s Children of the Great Northern Murkeg, but I still can’t decide if I like the album or not. The jury’s also out on the band’s new self-titled disc, which takes the band’s quirky blues rock sound into a more complex, experimental direction.

The album offers little in the way of grooves or hooks, sounding constantly on edge with twitchy guitar licks and ramshackle drumming. Frontman/namesake Shane Ghostkeeper sings in a hiccuping croak that’s more percussive than it is melodic.

Check out the single “By Morning,” a brittle blues rocker that suddenly slows down a minute in, just when you expect it to rock out. Despite the disorienting structure, the song features warm soul harmonies that are about as close as the band ever comes to a moment of bona fide pop prettiness.

Of course, Ghostkeeper has been getting some awesome press as of late, so apparently not everyone is so undecided as myself. Listen to the single below and decide for yourself.

MP3: “By Morning”
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