Articles posted in May 2011

Go on and break my heart

This is not one of those arty porn blogs
Last night, I attended what very may well have been the last Wolf Parade show ever. I’ve already written about my mixed feelings regarding Wolf Parade side projects, so I’ll have to see whether Dan Boecker and Spencer Krug can hold my attention with their other projects. Go to Exclaim! to read my review of the band’s farewell gig.

Here’s the latest from Boeckner’s band Handsome Furs. “What About Us” is a synth-spiked electro rocker that combines the songwriter’s usual aggressive sound with ’80s synthpop and minimal techno. It’s my favourite of Boeckner’s non-Wolf Parade songs yet.

This comes from Sound Kapital, due out June 28 through Sub Pop.


 
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The black and endless sky

Good morning, Ms. Maki
Kate Maki has a unique non-musical résumé. According to Wikipedia, she has a degree in neuroscience, and her press materials say that she’s a “grade school teacher by day, songwriter by night.” I’m not quite sure how a neuroscientist becomes a grade school teacher, nor how a grade school teacher becomes a songwriter, but in any case—her songs are an awesomely authentic take on classic folk.

With its bare-bones recording style and gorgeous home-spun harmonies, her song “Lose My Mind” could easily pass for a traditional folk standard. This is from her new album, Moonshine.

Thanks to The Broken Speaker for the stream.


 
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Initial here and sign

I look like you. All of you.
The new Sloan album is awesome. Call me crazy, but I think The Double Cross holds up against classics like Twice Removed and One Chord to Another. Okay, there’s nothing quite as unforgettable as “People of the Sky,” but as a whole, the band’s songwriting is as strong as ever. Incidentally, I have been told that I “look like Sloan.” The whole band?

Below is the shape-shifting opener “Follow the Leader.” It’s got plenty of hooks but no real chorus.

Read my review of The Double Cross at the Georgia Straight.


 
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Satellites spying on us from space

Captured on Stalkercam
I’ve always been a fan of Graham Wright‘s stripped-down acoustic solo tunes. The Tokyo Police Club keyboardist is gearing up to release an album called Shirts vs Skins on June 28, and the lead single is more rocking that I’m used to hearing from him. Entitled “Soviet Race,” it’s based around a repetitive guitar figure and an explosive chorus that’s steeped in gritty guitars and Cold War imagery. I’m not sure that I like this as much as Wright’s folksy material, but it’s still an intriguing preview of the new disc.

Go to Exclaim! to read my preview of Shirts vs Skins.


 
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Loved or fucked or whatever

Go Jays!
In preparation for a big BeatRoute feature, I’ve spent the last couple of days listening to a shit-ton of Vancouver indie bands who will be playing the city’s massive Music Waste festival next month. Perhaps my favourite discovery is woolworm, a fuzz-loving four-piece with a penchant for lower case typography.

Below you can check out the band’s eponymously-titled song “woolworm,” which comes from the EP no caps. It’s a gorgeously mucky indie pop ditty featuring sweet boy-girl harmonies doing battle with dirty-as-hell guitars. If you’re a fan of melancholic underground bands from the ’80s and ’90s, this one will hit the spot.

Get the EP from Bandcamp.


 
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You make me the best

Music Waste photo by Kate Henderson
It’s free music time! The Vancouver duo Blanche Devereaux is giving away the EP Siamese Twins on Bandcamp for the price of nothing. The six songs draw on noise-soaked garage rock, beach-ready surf and ’50s pop.

Below is the lead track, “Hot Mess,” which is way better than the Chromeo song of the same name (although that La Roux cameo is pretty sweet). This showcases the band at its most noisy, with a screamed chorus and jagged guitar solos.


 
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When we were high on drugs

Yeah, a bit moon-y
I’ve always been of the opinion that Wolf Parade is better than any of its members’ many side projects. Still, Spencer Krug has released a handful of killer tunes over the years (“Stadiums and Shrines II” with Sunset Rubdown, “All Fires” with Swan Lake), so I’m always interested to hear what he’s up to. Today I wrote an Exclaim! article about his latest Moonface release, Organ Music Not Vibraphone Like I’d Hoped.

Listen to the eight-minute, electro-laden single “Fast Peter” below. Just like the album name suggests, it’s an organ-based tune with peppy lo-fi beats and Krug’s usual tense vocals. It’s not quite “I’ll Believe in Anything,” but it’s an awesome groove that’s carried by its uncharacteristically straightforward lyrics.

Thanks to One Thirty BPM for the stream.


 
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I can’t stand a single thing you do

Waging war at your house party
Transcribing an interview with five different subjects is a bitch. In the case of Indian Wars, however, it was well worth it, since these Vancouver dudes know their way around a catchy garage rock tune.

Check out the interview in the Georgia Straight, and go to Exclaim! to read a preview of the upcoming album Walk Around the Park.

Listen to the LP track “Took a Trip” below. This one delivers a circular guitar riff with plenty of drawling sass and gritty garage energy. It’s a lot more polished that the last time I head from the band.


 
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Slip into the same old dream every night

Magical Mystery RV
Today, Chad VanGaalen released Diaper Island. I reviewed the album for Color Magazine, so pick up a copy next month to read my words of praise. Chad’s obviously one of our country’s best songwriters, so you’re going to be picking this one up, right? Right? Peer pressure for a good cause.

Listen to the tranquil “Peace on the Rise” below. It isn’t the best song on the album, but it’s still a lovely tune. This would be a campfire ditty if only it weren’t played on dual electric guitars with drums and a whole whack of reverb.


 
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I wish you’d be with me

Music Waste photo by Kate Henderson
Here’s another band with a reverb-soaked, lo-fi take on Phil Spector‘s patented wall of sound. It’s Vancouver’s Chains of Love with the catchy retro pop tune “Breaking My Heart.” Get lost in the jagged guitars, plinking pianos and plaintive vocals below.

I hadn’t heard a lot about this band until a couple weeks ago, but they keep popping up in conversations and in emails from publicists, so there’s clearly some buzz brewing.

Get more Chains of Love from Bandcamp.


 
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