Articles posted in November 2011

Marine Dreams – “Fold the Sky”

Marine Dreams
Marine Dreams is the solo moniker of Attack in Black‘s Ian Kehoe. Just yesterday (November 15), he released his self-titled LP through You’ve Changed Records. Go to Exclaim! to read more about it.

The drums on album cut “Fold the Sky” sound like they’re being playing by a real drummer, but the verse beat is so hypnotically repetitive that it could easily be replaced with an electronic beat. The arrangement loosens up as it goes along, and the result is a scrappy power pop song with echoes of early Sloan.

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Said the Whale – “New Brighton”

Said the Whale
Vancouver’s Said the Whale has always specialized in organic-sounding folk and breezy pop rock, but this latest tune just might be the band’s most intricate yet. Recent EP title track “New Brighton” contains the usual chiming guitars and honeyed melodies we expect from Said the Whale, but there are also some prog-tinged scale-ups and -downs, and one hell of a dissonant chord right around the one-minute mark. Adding to the song’s off-kilter charm is the fact that the lyrics are apparently sung from the perspective of a microbialite in BC’s Pavillion Lake.

Of course, there’s also a killer, harmony-laden chorus hook. Duh.

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Surfer Blood – “I’m Not Ready”

Surfer Blood
After tapping into the indie music world’s penchant for ’90s nostalgia with last year’s Astro Coast, Surfer Blood recently released a new EP called Tarot Classics.

“I’m Not Ready” is a song from that EP that has been a live standout since I reviewed the band’s show for Exclaim! last year. Its harmonized guitar licks dive and swoop, tracing a winding melody that’s both unpredictable and blissfully catchy.

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Blackout Beach – “Beautiful Burning Desire”

Blackout Beach
I’ve never been totally won over by Carey Mercer. I’m not a big fan of Frog Eyes, and his songs were my third least favourite part about Swan Lake (behind the band name and the production style on Beast Moans).

His latest album as Blackout Beach intrigues me, however. First off, it’s got an amazing title: Fuck Death. And then there’s the single, “Beautiful Burning Desire,” which has some appealingly weird-ass atmospheric synths. It’s a good track, although I’ve got to admit that my favourite parts are the dreamy instrumental sections, as opposed to the bits where the emphasis fall on Mercer’s hiccupy vocals.

Go to Exclaim! to read my announcement about the album, which comes out on November 15.

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Cloud Nothings – “Should Have”

Cloud Nothings
It’s that time of year again: I’ve begun compiling best-of-2011 lists for some of the publications I write for. One album that’s been ranking near the top of my lists is Cloud Nothings‘ self-titled LP, a record I didn’t even bother to blog about when it came out back in January.

Okay, so I’ve been a little slow on the uptake, but I’ve finally been won over by songwriter Dylan Baldi’s ecstatic slab of giddy pop punk. Here’s the album stand-out “Should Have,” which somehow makes me nostalgic about turn-of-the-millennium-era blink-182, even though I never really cared for that band at the time.

Go to Exclaim! to read what I wrote about Cloud Nothings’ next album, Attack on Memory, due out early next year.

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The Shilohs – “Sister Rose”

The Shilohs
The Shilohs put their debut full-length, So Wild, on Bandcamp a while ago, but the collection still isn’t officially available because the band doesn’t have a label. Someone sign this band and put it out already!

If any label reps happen to be reading, listen to the sunny album cut “Sister Rose” below. It’s got warm, ’60s-tinged pop harmonies and twangy country rock guitar licks. This is good stuff that deserves to be on wax.

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CONTEST: Arkells – “Kiss Cam”

As I wrote about yesterday in an Exclaim! news story, Arkells are on tour in support of their recent album Michigan Left. The band will be coming to Vancouver on November 11 for a show at the Commodore Ballroom.

Watch the video for the single “Kiss Cam” below. The song is a swinging, soul-tinged rocker that laments a breakup and longs for the days of kissing in the bleachers with a stadium full of people watching. As for the video, it features a lot of slow motion shots and a distinct lack of making out.

On that note, it’s contest time! I have three prizes to give away courtesy of Universal Music Canada. The grand prize is a signed seven-inch vinyl single (containing the songs “Kiss Cam” and “Whistleblower”) plus a poster and a CD. Two runners up will get a copy of Michigan Left on CD.

To enter the contest, just retweet the post right here. Three winners will be chosen at random. The contest is open from now until Friday afternoon (November 11) at 2 PM PST.

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Tassels – “Gone”

In addition to writing, taking photos, playing in the now-defunct Kidnapping and generally being a ubiquitous presence in Vancouver’s art scene, Sean Orr records hard-to-classify, homespun electronic music under the alias Tassels.

His track “Gone” blends haunting synth atmospherics and hazy vocals with a tightly-wound beat that’s energizing despite being a little too jittery to dance to. It’s inventive stuff, although not nearly as skewed as some of his other material. Listen below.

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Real Estate – “Green Aisles”

Real Estate
Sophomore slump? Real Estate has never heard of it. The band’s recent Days LP is the follow-up to 2009′s excellent self-titled effort, and it doesn’t disappoint.

Here’s the album standout “Green Aisles,” a dreamy jangle pop tune that praises “wasted miles,” “aimless drives,” and “our careless lifestyle.” This manifesto on laziness has got one of the year’s best choruses.

I interviewed bassist Alex Bleeker for this week’s Georgia Straight.

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Bummer High – “Cough Syrup”

Bummer High
Bummer High includes members of Indian Wars and Timecopz (who I blogged about recently), and the band’s EP Lost Highway is a satisfying slice of infectious garage rock. Below, listen to the swampy stomper “Cough Syrup,” which is laced with snaky spy riffs and psychedelic noise. The reverb-soaked vocals are so woozy and dead-eyed that they sound like they were sung after a few swigs of the titular beverage. Bravo.

Lost Highway is available on cassette through Green Burrito Records.

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