Articles posted in August 2010

Rise up again, like a ghost

Small Black goes into hyperdrive
Earlier this year, Small Black reissued its stellar EP, which I wrote about here. Now, the band has a full-length, New Chain, due out in October. Go to Exclaim! to read my story about the album.

Here’s the first single, “Photojournalist,” which tones down the band’s shoegaze leanings in favour of a more straightforward synthpop sound. It’s got a dance-friendly beats, breathy vocals and a wash of pillowy electronics. Pity about the cover art. I keep looking at the image, expecting to see some sort of double meaning, or a picture hidden in the background. Sometimes a chain is just a chain.

MP3: “Photojournalist”
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Surrender to me

Post-picnic stomach aches all around
I’m back on the west (aka best) coast and I’m jet lagged as shit. The only good thing about jet lag is that I wake up at the ungodly hour of 6:30 AM and get an early start on the news.

That includes a story about the upcoming Wild Nothing EP, Golden Haze. Head to Exclaim! to read it and click below to listen to the title track. “Golden Haze” pretty much says everything about this woozy dream pop tune. It comes courtesy of Pitchfork.

I love the press shot to the left. They band members all look super-serious, but they’ve got empty Tupperware sitting next to them. It’s like a picnic that suddenly got really intense.

MP3: “Golden Haze”
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Don’t you fall back on us

Shane Turner goes into overdrive
This has been the least relaxing vacation ever, since I’ve spent the past week writing full-time. On Friday I did a big interview, and the article should be published next week. I’m not going to say any more about it in case I jinx it.

On Thursday, the Georgia Straight published my article about Shane Turner Overdrive, a Vancouver-based pop rocker who also plays in fanshaw and Woodpigeon. Here’s catchy a tune from his stellar self-titled debut called “Age 25-29 Hairline.” It pairs a peppy beat with eerie organ nd moody vocals, as well as some gorgeous harmonies from fanshaw’s Olivia Fetherstonhaugh.

MP3: “Age 25-29 Hairline”
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Feel the ripples of the tide

This dude definitely loves the 1990s
Matthew Mondanile plays guitar in Real Estate, and is the sole member of Ducktails. Go to Exclaim! to read my article about Ducktails’ upcoming album, due out in the fall.

The first single is called “Hamilton Street,” and it’s another jangly, hazy summer jam from Mondanile. Unlike much of his Ducktails work, this one has vocals. It’s a good idea to listen to this one now, since the hot weather will be gone by the time the album drops.

On a semi-related note, everyone should go here to listen to the DuckTales theme song in Finnish.

MP3: “Hamilton Street”
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Drink from the fountain

My doppleganger
Everyone should listen to Vancouver multi-instrumentalist Jay Arner. To make things easier, I have broken my argument down into three parts:

1) He plays synth in Fine Mist. I recently posted the band’s awesome new single.

2) He writes stellar solo songs and posts them for free on his blog. Here’s the soaring “Uncoverers,” which comes from the digital EP Bird of Prey (download the four-song collection here). It features Jay Ferguson from Sloan on backup vocals.

3) He a lot like me. Seriously. Here’s me. Here’s him.

MP3: “Uncoverers”
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A taped-up poster on a wall

I’m currently staying with my grantparents in London, ON, so my internet access over the next week will be spotty. I’m pretty sure this neighbourhood only just learned about the internet (it’s a series of tubes).

Here’s “Please Be Kind,” the new track from Colleen and Paul, aka Collen Hixenbaugh, formerly of By Divine Right, and Pail Linklater, who plays in the Pinecones. It’s an acoustic pop tune, but with different instrumentation, it might have been a dancefloor-filling new wave rocker. It’s easy to imagine the chorus reworked as a Metric song, with its soaring falsetto, haunting harmonies and steady groove.

MP3: “Please Be Kind”
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We can dance if we want to

Here’s some sweetass beats from the late, great J Dilla. His estate just released the EP Donut Shop, which you can download for free from Stones Throw if you sign up for the newsletter.

Donut Shop has got some new beats, some instrumental versions of previously-released collaborations, and a cover of “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. Not exactly the first band that comes to mind when I think of J Dilla, but it’s a pretty cool tune, with some fantastic synth sounds. There’s no vocals, but that’s not a problem, since you’ll probably find yourself singing it in your head anyway.

On a side note, I think Men Without Hats’ website was designed sometime around the time “The Safety Dance” first came out. It’s pretty amazing.

MP3: “Safety Dance”
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Feels so good, it must be bad for me

The Book of Sex is short and interesting
There’s no beating around the bush with the Vaselines. Forget innuendos or suggestive metaphors: they tell it to you straight. Their upcoming album has the self-explanatory title Sex with an X, which is also the name of the new single. It contains lines like “Feels so good” and “I’m going down,” along with a raunchy refrain of “Let’s do it, let’s do it again.”

With its mix of sex, Scottish pop and crunchy guitars, this song manages to encapsulate all of my interests in three and a half minutes. Download the track below, and while you’re at it, check out this awesome cover of “Molly’s Lips.”

Sex with an X comes out on September 14 via Sub Pop.

MP3: “Sex with an X”
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Turn around, I got your back

Jamaica, we have a bobsled team
Oh man, I’m so happy that there’s a band called Coolrunnings. Sanka, you dead? Ya mon.

“I Am You” comes via Pitchfork, and it’s a hazy electropop tune with just a hint of lo-fi noise. Although the repetitive beat and swampy production sound ominous at first, the synth that enters just after the two-minute mark turns it into a sweetly sentimental daydream, steeped in John Hughes-style nostalgia.

I did some sleuthing and found a picture of the band over at I can’t tell you how close I was to using this picture instead.

MP3: “I Am You”
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A week and a half in your heart

Fine Mist on a cosmic voyage
Here’s one of my favourite dancefloor-fillers of the year so far. It’s called “Start or Stop” and it comes from Vancouver electropop duo Fine Mist. Producer Jay Arner’s infectious beats and buzzing synths provide the perfect counterpoint to frontwoman Megan McDonald’s dramatic vocals, as she vents her romantic angst and concludes, “I should just drink instead.”

Go to Exclaim! to read my recent interview with Arner and McDonald and get the scoop on their upcoming album.

MP3: “Start or Stop”
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