Articles tagged with Hannah Georgas

Hannah Georgas – “Enemies”

Hannah Georgas
Below is the new Hannah Georgas tune “Enemies.” It’s an electro-leaning track that will appear on her self-titled album, due out this fall.

Go to Exclaim! to learn more and read my interview with Hannah.

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Just like you were on the day you were born

Echo echo echo echo
Remember when I posted a song by the Hope Slide? Well, here’s another spinoff of the now-defunct Hinterland. Drawn Ship is a minimalist rock duo from Vancouver, and below you can hear the slinky, ominous “Glass Eye.” This one features vocal harmonies from Hannah Georgas, which is a good match, since that her voice sounds distinctly similar to frontwoman Lyn Heinemann.

The track comes from the Drawn Ship’s upcoming Low Domestic, due September 6 through Scratch. Go to Exclaim! to read my recent interview with the band.

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Talking shhh about you

This picture is already pretty funny without one my witty captions
This month, Vancouver songstress Hannah Georgas is on the front cover of Exclaim! and I’m one step closer to being proven right. Her debut LP, This Is Good, came out this past Tuesday, and it’s a diverse collection that ranges from dancefloor-ready new wave to eerie folk.

Lead single “Bang Bang You’re Dead” is perhaps the goofiest, most upbeat song of the bunch, with its 8-bit electro beats and bubblegum synth hook. There’s also a faint undercurrent of menace, mainly thanks to the fact that it’s a bitter breakup song featuring a group of children repeatedly yelling the titular phrase during the chorus. Despite having such immediate pleasures, this tune is actually a grower. Each time I listen to it, the chord progression gets under my skin a little deeper, and I notice more of Hannah’s vocal nuances.

The song is currently the single of the week on iTunes, where the whole album is just $6.99. It’s also available on vinyl, if that’s your thing.

MP3: “Bang Bang You’re Dead”
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Come prepared with some thick skin

Don't just lie there, prove me right!
Lester Bangs once wrote a how-to on becoming a rock critic, and he offered the following piece of advice: to pick an obscure artist and then “build ‘em up real big, they’re your babies, only you alone can perceive their true greatness, so you gotta go around telling everybody that they’re better than the Rolling Stones, they beat the Beatles black and blue, they murtelyze the Dead, they’re the most significant and profound musical force in the world. And someday their true greatness will be recognized and you will be vindicated as a seer far ahead of your time.”

Hannah Georgas is that for me. When I first stumbled upon her in concert back in December 2008, I became instantly convinced she was going to become the Hugest Thing Ever. Next Feist? Fuck that. I told anyone who would listen that Feist was going to be the old Hannah.

Hopefully my vindication is just around the corner. She’s going to be releasing her first full-length in April and, journalistic hyperbole aside, it’s pretty sweet. The album is called This Is Good, and the first video is the chamber folk creep-out “Thick Skin.”

Download the tune below and head over to Exclaim! to read my recent interview with Hannah. And be sure to peep the song’s video, featuring the songstress crawling around wearing nothing but her, uh, thick skin.

MP3: “Thick Skin”
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I can’t stop the blushing

What do you mean you hate my embroidery?
February 13 is a bad day for a breakup. Not really worse than any other day of the year, I suppose, but I’m using it as an excuse to substantiate my hatred of Valentine’s Day.

Then again, maybe Valentine’s Day isn’t all bad. It recently inspired Vancouver singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas to record a love song, “The Right Time,” which she has now released as a free download just in time for the big day. It’s a sugary piano ditty, featuring Tyler Bancroft of Said the Whale on vocal harmonies, and its charmingly romantic lyrics make it perfect for your Valentine’s Day playlist.

Amor eterno, you guys.

MP3: “The Right Time”
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Hannah Georgas looks to fulfill her potential

Hannah Georgas & Mark Watrous - The Quarter EP
Whenever I’ve talked about Hannah Georgas, it’s always been in terms of her enormous potential. This isn’t to devalue what’s she’s already done, as The Beat Stuff is an excellent debut, containing two bona fide show stoppers (“The National” and “All I Need”). But while the EP rarely strayed from pleasant folk pop, her explosive live show showed that there was much more to her than just another songstress in the vein of Sarah Harmer or Kathleen Edwards.

Georgas recently issued The Quarter EP, a split 7″ with New York-based rocker Mark Watrous, previewing two songs from her upcoming full-legnth, This Is Good. Both tunes break the mold of her previous recordings, suggesting that her potential may soon be coming to fruition.

The spiky “Chit Chat” bears the stamp of Mother Mother‘s Ryan Guldemond, who co-produced the album with Howard Redekopp. Setting fiery post-punk rock outs against a shimmering bed of strings, Georgas verbally eviscerates an ex-boyfriend, her singing alternating between a whisper and a manic yell. “Deep End” is breezy, banjo-driven pop with a group-sung chorus that’s bound to get stuck in your head after only one listen; with lyrics that describe a conversation across a fuzzy pay phone line, it evokes the intimacy of her EP with grander production and catchier melodies. Both tunes bode well for This Is Good, which is due out sometime early next year.

The Mark Watrous side of the EP isn’t quite as compelling as Georgas’s, lacking the same memorable hooks and unique vocals. Still, “Pull Your Train” is a pleasingly atmospheric take on backwoods blues rock, while “The Cellophane Ceiling” is a strange fusion of distortion-soaked punk and jittery prog.

The Quarter EP is out now via Hidden Pony.
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Danny Michel @ the Biltmore Cabaret, 5/28/09

To call Danny Michel a singer-songwriter only tells half the story. Not to sell the man’s music short—his lyrics are quirky and memorable, and his guitar playing is borderline virtuosic. But at last night’s show at the Biltmore Cabaret, many of the most memorable moments came between songs, as Michel regaled the captivated audience with stories and jokes, and even noodled with brief snippets from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. With his charming stage presence, he recalled the ever-affable Hawksley Workman, his face plastered with a perma-grin throughout the hour-plus set.

Armed with only his guitar and a loop pedal, he created surprisingly dynamic arrangements by overlaying his songs with hand drumming (playing on the body of his guitar) and harmonized vocal scatting. This allowed him to show off his chops with numerous extended solos, at one point including an interpolation of the theme from James Bond. He recalled the husky voice and retro sensibilities of M. Ward, with songs that ranged between dusty folk noir ballads and countrified rockabilly. The stand-out was “Whale of a Tale,” a series of outrageous lyrical boasts, including “I discovered a dinosaur,” and “I once broke out of prison.” Michel closed out the set with a cover of Elvis‘s “Song of the Shrimp,” a bizarre tale of crustacean murder that was the perfect end to an eccentric set.

The show was opened by local singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas, who played a brief-but-stunning acoustic set with Robbie D., a multi-instrumentalist from her band. Without a rhythm section to support her noisy tendencies, Georgas’s vocal freak-outs were more restrained than usual, placing the focus on her lyrics rather than her arrangements. “All I Need” was sombre and haunting without the propulsive dance rock climax, and the usually-sneering “Chit Chat” was similarly mellowed-out. Nevertheless, Georgas’s bandmate provided enough dynamics to keep things unpredictable, switching between electric guitar, banjo, ukulele, and shakers, as well as providing backing vocals. Ryan Guldemond of Mother Mother joined the pair on guitar for “Love Sick,” a new tune culled from Georgas’s upcoming full-length album. Based on the quality of it and other new songs, the LP is going to be one to watch out for when it’s released early next year.

Carolyn Mark also played a set, but I had just run into some friends, and wasn’t paying much attention. Whoops. It was undeniably pretty, but nothing really caught my attention, aside from when she sung a vocal solo while gargling a mouthful of water.
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Mother Mother @ the Commodore Ballroom

This show was a major coup for local music. The Commodore Ballroom is the biggest and best rock club in Vancouver, with a capacity of 900 (according to this website). So when Mother Mother announced that it would be playing the Commodore along with Said the Whale, Hannah Georgas, and Gang Violence, some eyebrows were raised. But the show sold out—weeks in advance no less—meaning that the street outside the venue was littered with scalpers and assorted poor saps asking around for extra tickets.

Dance punk trio Gang Violence got things off to an energetic start, with feedback-laden rave-ups that evoked You Say Party! We Say Die! and the Rapture. Rob Andow was particularly impressive, splitting duties between guitar, keyboard, and synthesizer—often all within the same song. Unfortunately, the set got derailed after only a few songs when the synth malfunctioned. After several minutes of tinkering, the band gave up and abruptly left the stage. It was especially baffling considering the guitar was still in full working order; apparently the group doesn’t subscribe to the “show must go on” axiom.

Things turned around quickly once Said the Whale took the stage, starting things off with an epic take on “Love Is Art/Sleep Through Fire” (a mashup of two songs from the EP Let’s Have Sound). Beginning as a gentle acoustic ballad, the song suddenly exploded halfway through, with heart-stopping crescendos and cascading drum fills. “B.C. Orienteering” was another standout, an upbeat folk song with lyrics that read like a survival handbook for a backwoods game of capture the flag.

During the set, local singer-songwriter Hannah Georgas played Feist to Said the Whale’s Broken Social Scene, joining the band mid-set to contribute backup vocals. The collective also played a cut from Hannah’s upcoming album called “The Deep End,” which featured choppy banjo strumming and dazzling group harmonies.

Mother Mother took the stage near 11, with large screens on either side of the stage showing videos of swimming fish and still-beating hearts, shot entirely in black and red. In previous years, Mother Mother’s arrangements were almost entirely acoustic, but the group’s setup now features a keyboard and a synthesizer, which provided an atmospheric backup for the group’s recent new wave-inspired direction. “Touch Up” was reinvented as a Pixies-style rocker, with a lumbering bassline and sing-song boy-girl harmonies, while “O My Heart” featured squalling electronics and a distorted drum pad. Bassist Jeremy Page doubled as a horn player, offering up a jazzy sax solo during a haunting version of “Try to Change.” But it was the group’s three-part harmonies that stole the show, particularly during a chilling take on “Angry Sea.”

By the end of the show, it no longer seemed so remarkable that the venue was sold out; in fact, it seemed stupidly obvious. The guys and girls of Mother Mother came across as fully-fledged rock stars, every bit as charismatic and overpowering as you’d expect Commodore headliners to be. By selling out and blowing away the Commodore, the group has graduated from its previous status of local secret; Mother Mother, welcome to the big leagues.
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All I need is this right now

It’s hard to describe Hannah Georgas‘s music without selling her short. Take a song like “The National,” the swooning centrepiece of her debut EP, The Beat Stuff. Over a plucked banjo and soothing, wordless harmonies, Georgas describes listening to the National (the band, not the CBC show with Peter Mansbridge as I first imagined) and hoping to reunite with an ex-lover. The song works within a familiar folk pop template without anything gimmicky or even particularly original about it—it’s just a flat-out brilliant song.

It speaks volumes about the strength of Hannah’s songwriting that “The National” doesn’t simply overshadow everything else on the EP. “All I Need” begins with gentle ukulele arpeggios, gradually swelling to a propulsive climax that is the closest the EP gets to breaking the traditional singer-songwriter mold. Hannah even lets loose with a few screams on the song’s repeated coda, “All I need is this right…NOW!” On “Mama’s Boy,” Georgas takes a cue from Alanis Morissette and plays the “woman scorned” card—unlike Alanis, she manages to do it with her dignity intact; its sneering chorus of “I guess it’s easy to get over an asshole” is the best romantic exorcism you could ever ask for.

She also shot a video for the EP’s title track, showing her singing the tune while walking around the seawall in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Spencer Schoening of Said the Whale makes a cameo playing percussion (is that a bucket?) and being generally awesome.

The Beat Stuff is out now via Upper Management. She will be heading into the studio soon to work on her debut LP with producers Howard Redekopp (the New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara) and Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother).
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