Posts Tagged ‘British Columbia’

Dan Bejar’s Destroyer returned with their new album “Have We Met” via Merge Records. Have We Met caps off an arc begun almost a decade ago, when Dan Bejar released his landmark album Kaputt and entered the most accessible, acclaimed, yet no less eccentric chapter of his career. Informed by the claustrophobic atmosphere of our times, Have We Met is cerebral and absurd even by Bejar’s standards. Bizarre scenes and non-sequiturs abound. Bejar often sounds like a man slowly unravelling over greyscale, icy synth backdrops. But in the epic swell of “Crimson Tide,” was the first I heard from this album and is an immediate Destroyer classic! the new wave pulse of “It Doesn’t Just Happen,” or the sneakily catchy refrains of “The Man In Black’s Blues,” Bejar crafted apocalypse music that’s every bit as transporting as it is discomfiting.

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“Have We Met” settles into disquieting grooves and atmospheres by employing the sounds of 80s soft rock and adult contemporary in ways that often feel slightly off-kilter. However, while Dan Bejar may twist a traditionally comfortable sonic palette, it is never distorted to the point of being abrasive or unapproachable. Furthermore, his lyrics may grimly reckon with the ending of things hope, love, and life as we know it

Released January 31st, 2020
The Band:
Dan Bejar: vox, synthesizer
Nicolas Bragg: guitar
John Collins: bass, synthesizer, drum programming, granular synthesis

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The rock canon has many anti-heroes, Black Mountain being the latest. In the past, Can’s ‘Tago Mago’ established that the only rule in rock and roll is that there are no rules. Delinquent proto-metallers Black Sabbath demonstrated that you can make a lot from not that much. Now Black Mountain teach us that you don’t have to be afraid of the past to move bravely into the future

This single continues in the vein of last record Destroyer, with a more mechanized, sterile ’80s sound, with a b-side more in the ’70s freak rock style of the earlier albums. “Echoes” was kicking ‘round for years before Randall Dunn took the IV production reins and transformed it from its original Gene Clark tailcoating.
The b-side, “Flux”, is Black Mountain’s Turkish psych homage. It’s original title may have been Flounders In A Turkish Bathhouse.”

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Released May 1st, 2020

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Vancouver five-piece Blessed unveiled their debut album “Salt” last year, and it’s a moody, shape-shifting album with a treasure trove of interesting sounds. Pulling from psych, krautrock, industrial, math rock and post-punk, Blessed are intense and evocative, and every time you think they’ve played their final sonic wild card, they present another. Formed in the early winter months of 2015 in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley, Blessed were born from a shared creative objective. From the start, its original four members found themselves naturally amalgamating elements of Post-Hardcore, Minimalism, New Wave, Krautrock, and Punk. To date, Blessed has released one single with Toronto’s Buzz Records (Weaves, Dilly Dally, Greys), and two critically lauded EPs. The Fader wrote of the EP II: “Dominated by the high-fructose riffing pioneered by Deerhoof, giving way to a darker, propulsive jam that’s just as chaotic, yet well-controlled.”

From this marginal yet supportive scene, Blessed built connections with a broader community. Their unparalleled work ethic took them on a set of tours that was ambitious for any band, but mostly unheard of for one without a full-length release. Together, they played 225 shows across North America, including stops at Sled Island, SXSW, and supporting slots with acts ranging from Preoccupations, The Courtneys, Chastity, and The Austerity Program. Meanwhile, individual members found time to tour Europe, and start side projects touted by The Needle Drop.
Band Members:
Mitchell Trainor,
Drew Riekman,
Reuben Houweling,
Jake Holmes,
Matt Mckeen,

Blessed’s single “Disease” off their debut record “Salt” coming out on April 5th.

Dan Bejar started Destroyer as a solo home-recording project in the early to mid-nineties. Exploring and overturning genressuch as glam, MIDI, yacht rock, & even underground Spanish independent artists, Bejar was proclaimed “Rock’s Exiled King” 

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Originally released August 28th, 2015

Dan Bejar: vocals, midi marimba on track 8
Ted Bois: piano, yamaha d-50 on track 3
Nicolas Bragg: electric guitar
David Carswell: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, midi tuba on track 4
JP Carter: trumpet, effects
John Collins: bass
Joseph Shabason: saxophones, flutes
Josh Wells: drums, congas, bongos and various percussion

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Vancouver’s Dumb make whimsical slack rock that’s anything but. The band’s cool, campy outlook is both anxious and chill, enveloped in jittery rhythms and bright, fervent riffs. When Dumb settle down a bit, like on the driving “Mint,” they are no less biting. The sprightly single has dual meaning, playfully referencing both money and the Dumb’s new label, Mint Records. “The song ‘Barnyard’ is about a character who is walking along a highway towards an event that they don’t want to attend, becoming delusional in the process. We also wanted to make this a danceable song”

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Band Members
Frankie Rossino
Shavonne Ronnie
Hully Muctab
Pistol P

Releases June 22nd, 2018
written and played by DUMB 

Sub Pop Record’s latest introduction to the world, Jo Passed brings psych rock from a north-of-the-border region better known for more traditional indie. Pink Floyd and Sonic Youth are touchstones here, as this eclectic release establishes Jo Passed as the latest band to watch on a label that is known for bands to watch.

Jo Passed originally consisted of Jo and his friend and drummer Mac Lawrie. The two moved to Montreal together, and toured the far-right corner of North America. After Jo’s return to Vancouver, multi-instrumentalist Bella Bébé joined the band in January of 2016, and multimedia artist Megan-Magdalena Bourne joined on bass, after working on a video for the song “Rage” (from Jo Passed’s ‘Out’ EP). The nicest thing anyone has ever – ever – said to Jo Hirabayashi, frontman of Jo Passed, is that his band’s debut album sounds like “fucked-up Beatles”. ‘Their Prime’, the full-length follow-up to Jo Passed’s two EPs, ‘Up’ and ‘Out’, does sound like fucked-up Beatles. It sounds like Lennon and McCartney discovered Can and Neu!, and maybe a little Sonic Youth and XTC along the way. It demonstrates that timeless knack for dreamy melodies – chord progressions that sound like they were created in a land far, far away.

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The Orange Kyte is an experimental music project with a manifesto to release music in various shapes and forms varying in fidelity and approach but always drawing heavily from a love of ethereal tones, fuzz, reverberation and all things psychedelic. Introducing Stevie Moonboots and a revolving cast of collaborators and cohorts, musical and otherwise. Vancouver, British Columbia’s The Orange Kyte is an exercise in boundless sonic tomfoolery with an emphasis on mind expansion and continuous evolution.

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Vancouver all girl trio The Courtneys are exponents of a catchy harmonic new wave pop, whilst also being home to some very gnarly guitar textures. Their sound is fat and driving, and, on “Minnesota,” Courtney Garvin’s guitar manages to sound like an overdriven keyboard. Vocalist Jen Twynn Payne is also the band’s drummer and she keeps the rhythms lean and uncluttered. The highlight is the closing “Frankie,” where Twynn Payne’s sad autumnal vocal melody is kept in motion by a precise motorik groove.

There may be trace elements of Sonic Youth or Joy Zipper in their sound, but over the spread of this album, The Courtneys create their own distinct world. Sunshiney slacker pop with just a pinch of melancoly that could have featured on one of my cool older sister’s pre-grunge mix tapes from the early 90s. Both this and their debut album are absolute gems

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released February 17, 2017
The Band
Crazy Courtney: Bass + backup vocals
Classic Courtney: Guitar + backup vocals
Cute Courtney: Drums + lead vocals

Flying Nun Records 

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The Courtneys II arrives as the band themselves are on something of an ascent. In the three years since their self-titled debut, The Courtneys have signed with their dream label renowned New Zealand giant Flying Nun and have netted slots opening for Tegan and Sara and mac DeMarco. In that context, II feels like a collage of moments, the band reviewing the highs and lows of their journey so far, with their eyes fixed firmly on the horizon.

A rarity in contemporary surf rock. Where their counterparts—and, for that matter, their forerunners—are chiefly concerned with both brevity and blown-out instrumentals, The Courtneys are deliberate and unabashedly heartfelt. Underneath all the fuzz and reverb on their second album, The Courtneys II, there are honest displays of emotion.

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On the blissful “Tour,” the band is determined to remain optimistic, even during long periods of “slacking off and hitting the open road.” “If it’s in your heart, you’ll find a way,” they sing, “who you are and who you wanna be can take a long time.” Songs like “Virgo” and “25” use buoyant, punched-up slacker pop to explore feelings of isolation and the headaches of having a crush. And it’s not all growing pains and heartbreak; on “Lost Boys,” the trio schemes to find a vampire boyfriend with whom they can ride off into the sunset.

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Crazy Courtney: Bass + backup vocals
Classic Courtney: Guitar + backup vocals
Cute Courtney: Drums + lead vocals

Flying Nun Records

The melodies are lush and there’s an even broader use of the synthesizer here than this multi-instrumentalist’s debut. Some might claim it’s excessive. I might say “relax!”. Excellent modern record. Unforgettable songs with smooth vocals, conveniently jammed in under a half hour for your commute. Full disclosure: Jay’s our friend, and he asked me to say “this rocks”. Fuller disclosure: He asked me about the Bee Gees not long ago, so I’m curious where that will lead.

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Written and recorded by Jay Arner
Performed by Jay Arner and Jessica Delisle