Articles posted in April 2011

The only one who loves me full-on

Hell of a shot
If you haven’t heard of Rebekah Higgs yet, don’t be surprised if she starts cropping up everywhere soon. She recently signed with Hidden Pony, a small label with a stellar track record for success (Said the Whale, Hannah Georgas, Jeremy Fisher, Imaginary Cities). Now that she’s on board, Higgs is likely to start receiving similar hype. Incidentally, the photo attached to this post is one of my favourite press shots I’ve seen in a while.

Here’s the bouncy pop waltz “Little Voice.” I took the stream from The Broken Speaker.

Go to Exclaim! to read my article about Higgs’s recent signing and her upcoming tour.

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Let the blood run dry

Storming the Castle
A year or two ago, I saw Jennifer Castle open for Chad VanGaalen. At the time, she went by the name Castlemusic. Now, she’s ditched the moniker but is using Castlemusic as the title of her new album.

Listen to the sparse and haunting ukulele ditty “Neverride” below. Clearly she’s got a penchant for combining two words into one.

Go to Exclaim! to read my article about Castlemusic, which is out now via Flemish Eye.

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Deer knives around you

Lining up in order of happiness
Lower DensTwo-Hand Movement was one of my favourites from last year, so I’m not quite sure how I missed the fact that the band put out a new single on Record Store Day. Here’s the woozy A-side, “Deer Knives,” an excellent shoegazing cut that’s drenched in jagged guitar fuzz.

Speaking of Record Store Day, go to Exclaim! to see my list of the ten most exciting releases that came out on April 16.

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No one, nobody, not much to speak of

This Is Photobomb
I initially dismissed the Luyas as being pretty but forgettable. Now that I’ve given their new album, Too Beautiful to Work, a proper listen, I’ve changed my mind. Yes, there are atmospheric moments that get a little directionless, but there’s also some good songwriting to sink your teeth into. Just check out the title track, “Too Beautiful to Work.” It begins with an angular keyboard motif that sounds a bit like a skipping CD before a the drums and vocals come in and transform it into a solid (if slightly skewed) pop tune.

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I never meant to cause you pain

Jumping from a tiny crane
As I write this, I’m sitting in the brilliant sunshine on the front porch of a farmhouse in rural Langley, BC. From where I sitt, I can see two horses and four dogs. Beside me, there are faint blood stains on the wooden boards from where I cracked my head open on the overhang next to the door. It’s pretty spectacular, except for the blood stains.

Here’s a lovely track by Montreal songstress Little Scream. While much of her recently-released The Golden Record (out now via Outside) is made up of ethereal, St. Vincent style rock, “The Heron and the Fox” is a relatively straightforward folk track. Okay, there’s a little more reverb than you’d expect from an acoustic ballad, but it’s still relatively stripped down.

Go to Exclaim! to read my preview of The Golden Record.

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Baby, you and me

If you needed any convincing that ’80s nostalgia is still relevant, here’s proof. It’s a gorgeous synthpop track called “Believer” by John Maus. The vocals and beat are both low in the mix, which is dominated by chugging bass and gorgeous twinkling electronics.

I posted the accompanying video today at Exclaim!, and also wrote an album preview for the forthcoming We Must Become The Pitiless Censors of Ourselves.

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I really loved him

Spent so much on the camera they couldn't afford a photographer
Okay, I was kind of let down by Cultsprevious single from their upcoming LP, but this one is a total winner. It’s called “Abducted,” and it’s a lovesick rocker that’s steeped in atmospheric reverb and impassioned vocals. It scales back the ’50s influences in flavour of gut-busting drums and heartbroken anger.

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I’m just living in chaos

PS I love you band
My fondness for PS I Love You is well-documented, so naturally I’m pretty excited that the band just recorded a cover of Madonna‘s “Where’s the Party.” This fuzz rocker isn’t my favourite thing the band has ever done, but it’s nice to hear the duo going in a more atmospheric direction with the guitars. The last minute-plus is sheer chaotic, beautiful noise.

This song is from Paper Bag‘s new tribute to True Blue. Go to Exclaim! to read more.

And speaking of PS I Love You, Polaris season is almost upon us. Just saying.

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With your fist clenched tight

Soft rock will rise again
Tomorrow (April 19), BeatRoute will be sponsoring a performance by Los Angeles’s Young Hunting at the Biltmore in Vancouver. It promises to be a stellar lineup, as locals Louise Burns and Aunts and Uncles are also playing.

Below is the ultra-chilled-out “Into Yr Mind,” which traces a line between dream pop and soft rock with its pillowy harmonies, smooth guitar licks and sultry horn swells.

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The world’s on fire

Rococode has some caché in Vancouver. One of the two main members, Laura Smith, used to play in Said the Whale and also released a solo album. The duo’s upcoming album, Guns, Sex and Glory, was co-produced by Mother Mother‘s Ryan Guldemond and mixed by John Congleton, who has worked with David Byrne, Black Mountain, St. Vincent and countless others. The backing band includes Shaun Huberts and Johnny Andrews, who also play with Tegan and Sara.

Preview the band’s album below in the form of “Weapon,” an apocalyptic rocker with buzzy synth leads, tight two-part harmonies and atmospheric production.

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