Posts Tagged ‘Vancouver’

Sam Lynch is a Vancouver based singer-songwriter and musician, who makes wallflower hush-rock songs that will stare you down and slow your breathing. Her debut album “Little Disappearance” is out now via Birthday Cake. Since the release of her 2017 single “Mess You Made” and 2018 EP “Light and Lines”, Lynch has been gathering a dedicated audience by way of her confessional song writing and emotionally evocative live performances.

I’m sitting at my kitchen table as I write this, the same spot where so many of my songs seem to start. I’m thinking back to a year and a half ago, sitting at this table, scribbling down my thoughts and fears before flying to Montréal to begin my first studio recording process—it feels like a lifetime ago. this record captures some of my biggest and smallest moments from the past few years of my life. in the widest sense, this collection of songs circles around various forms of loss—loss of self, loss of memory, loss of time and youth; the experience of moving through your days, but feeling like little pieces are going missing as it’s all happening. yet, through recording these songs, I have begun to understand that loss can be so much more than heartbreak: a clearing, a catalyst.this record holds a dissolving resentment, a release, a fading memory, a changing reflection; a little disappearance. thank you, endlessly, for giving these songs a place to land. my words look puny in relation to the gratitude I feel. xx

“Good Year” off Sam’s album ‘Little Disappearance’—out now via Birthday Cake.

Vancouver art collective Crack Cloud have shared their debut album “PAIN OLYMPICS”, marked by album highlight and lead single “Ouster Stew.” It was self-produced and written and recorded in Calgary and Vancouver between June 2017 and December 2019. The group’s previous release was their 2019 single “The Next Fix,” which followed their exceptional 2018 self-titled EP. Earlier this year, Paste featured them in our list of 30 Canadian artists you need to know in 2020. In comparison to the tightly-coiled, guitar-driven post-punk of their self-titled release, “Ouster Stew” is more colorful and eccentric—adding synths and saxophone into the mix. Lead singer Zach Choy’s (the group are adamant not to call him a frontman, doubling down on their decentralized model) vocals are positively waggish as their guitars squawk with an art-rock-meets-funk vivacity.

Like Psychic TV before them, Crack Cloud have a philosophy, and one that they are not afraid to wear on their sleeves. While their anarchic, phantasmagorical visuals, heavy use of symbology, and seemingly never-ending cast of colourful collaborators have often invited cult comparisons, this really does the collective no justice.

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There is no apocalyptic death drive here; no cult of personality; no hierarchy of power. While frontman and lyricist Zach Choy is in many ways the face of the group, the collective is one founded on equality, and in his cryptic lyrical blending of poetics, polemics and personal experience, Choy is truly the mouthpiece of something far larger than himself. Nowhere else is this more apparent than on the album’s first single, ‘The Next Fix.’ What begins as a caustic, claustrophobic account of addiction swells into a sprawling, euphoric hymn as Choy is joined by a choir of seemingly endless celestial voices. Less a cult then; more a church. Listening to this song or watching its accompanying self-directed video is a truly spiritual experience, and in its building, jubilant movement it offers a glimpse of Crack Cloud’s most vital message: using community to turn adversity into hope.

This isn’t just bravado; its a story born of deep, personal experience. Crack Cloud operate on the frontline of Canada’s out-of-control opiate crisis, mobilising and organizing in Vancouver’s harm reduction programmes.

The group themselves have had their fair share of trauma, and the collective LP offers its members a vital vehicle for rehabilitation and recovery. As the tagline on the album’s back cover makes clear then, this is absolutely ‘based on true shit.

Part Three of the “Pain Olympics” 2020 series, made DIY by the Crack Cloud Media Collective

The Story of The Written Years starts here, Almost exactly 7 years ago, I moved into a little all-white-but-still-grungy Burnaby basement with one of my best friends Kane and started writing & demoing the songs that would be become our first (self-titled) album. The songs started out solely as a way for me to get things off of my chest, to help digest both the isolation and wonder I felt being in a new and much bigger city than I had grown up in. We were still green as hell (and I think that little album is a reflection of that) but we were lucky enough to have some people believe in us early on. Our producer Ryan Worsley helped make us sound larger and more grandiose than the 3 piece that we were (our good friend Kodie Krogh being that third). I can’t thank that record enough for what it did for me – if I didn’t have that outlet and if I didn’t put all those frustrations and anxieties on paper, I can guarantee that I would not be the same person that I am today. We were also fortunate enough that someone by the name of Brian Dyck witnessed our very very first show and was eager enough to fight for a spot in the project. It turns out that that couldn’t have been a better thing because Brian came to be someone who really helped take the project’s sound and live show to where it ended up last year. So many hours and late nights him and I spent pouring over..over a bright grey Ableton screen trying to dial in the perfect synth sounds for this record. Together (this time, our good friend Alex Richardson included), we worked for years on a release that we really believed in, despite some of my own voice loss issues and still learning the ropes. Alex also really stepped forward as a writing partner for me and helped me take my melodies to a place where I hadn’t been able to on my own.

The result was a record that we re-did a couple times over but ended up saying everything we felt like we really needed to say, lyrically and as musicians. We didn’t try to make a pop album, it’s dark at times but was its own catharsis for me. I talk so much about the frustrations I had with the type of lifestyle I was living and the shitty places I felt like I was relying on for emotional support. I wrote about how helpless it can feel to lose your voice – something I depended on so much as a form of expression.

I’m sure the amount of times we went back up to bat with this thing is a running joke in the Echoplant studio, it definitely is among ourselves. The reality is that those guys put a lot of time and hard work into it. Not only Ryan but also Matt DiPomponio, his assistant engineer, was an absolute source of energy and enthusiasm for us. He never complained once, despite the demanding schedule, and always had a way of making things feel effortless and fun, despite the immense stress that we were actually putting ourselves under.

Until now, I was admittedly scared of putting this 2nd record out. Maybe on some level because it means finally calling it “finished” after so long but also because we’ve continued to grow so much since then. It’s a tough part of my life to reflect on and I admit a lot in it to where such transparency and vulnerability can feel a bit unsettling for me.

But with this comes something positive. It means that it makes sense to finally put this record out that so many people worked so hard on. it’s a batch of songs about desperation, about a longing I had to change myself and reclaim parts of myself that I had lost. If there’s one feeling I think we always managed to capture well, I think that’s the one of nostalgia and these 10 songs are full of that. It felt appropriate to call it “A Cinematic Goodbye” as a send-off to the project as a whole. To boot, we all pretty much live in different cities now.

The 10th track was one of the last written and was where I felt I finally found some acceptance. The ending to this story never had to be a resolution, but it just needed to be a coming-to-terms with what I was fighting. That not-so-little 5 1/2 minute piece of music really summed up for us everything we wanted to do at the time. It doesn’t conform to any real expectations and really just says everything we felt we needed to. The bass line in there is honestly one of my favourite things ever and the drums go through like 10 different beats but I love every one of them. I remember the last vocal session we had, it was at about midnight the night before and I hadn’t finished these lyrics yet. I had a near panic attack and took a few-hour walk only to come back and hit Save on the final lyrics by 4:30am. Slightly delirious the morning after, Matt and I finished the vocal tracks and finally sat back after such a long week. I think I called my brother right after in some sort of exhausted victory lap.

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Anyway, I’m sorry this whole thing has been so long but I wanted to give this record and project its proper due. There’s one other person that I would really like to thank here and that’s an incredibly thoughtful and motivational manager by the name of Jeff Ojeda. Jeff had only been on board in the final year but had brought such a level of care and expertise for the project that we never could have asked for. He also did such an amazing job of linking us up with more people that have helped us further our vision, including JVP who blew us away with his mix of Superficial Feeling. I guess I’m just kidding though because there really are so many other people that I should thank – people that helped us out with some beautiful additions on the record and during our live shows (Laura Genschorek, Benji Klassen, Siobhan Lauzon, AJ Buckley, Elliott McKerr, Julia Huggins, Michael Cumblidge, Kelsey Huggan, Emma Song-Carrillo, Sheena Truong, Mitch Walford, Jamie Smail, Ryan Morey, Ryan Eno, Matt Thomas, Cam Nicklaus, Richard Mitchell, Tyson Sulley) or lent us their advice & skills (Sebastian Galina, Murray Ash, Kevin Lim).

So for those following the story, hopefully this doesn’t end up being a total “goodbye” from us. Anyone who’s ever attended a show, bought a copy of our record, bought a tee shirt or just believed in us in any way: thank you so so much, we cannot express how much that stuff meant to us and really kept us working hard. We love you.

LOVE //
Wade, Kane, Brian & Alex
Written Years  Released October 9, 2020 The Band: Wade Ouellet – Vocals, Words, Guitar, Keys
Kane Enders – Drums, Percussion
Brian Dyck – Bass, Keys
Alex Richardson – Guitar, Vocals

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage, people playing musical instruments and night, text that says 'JAPANDROIDS MASSEY FUCKING HALL Digital 6.26 Vinyl 10.2 ANTH'

Canadian garage rockers Japandroids shared their first live album, “Massey Fucking Hall”, recorded at the aforementioned iconic Toronto venue from their 2017 tour with Cloud Nothings. “We’ve actually recorded a number of shows over the years, and for one reason or another, they just didn’t turn out,” drummer David Prowse explained. “We both like where this show catches us. We are at a bit of a crossroads in some ways between the band that put out Post-Nothing back in 2009 and where we are going. This setlist captures the first three albums really well and shows how much we’ve changed since those Post-Nothing days. We still have the energy but we have better command of our instruments and our voices. It feels a little less off the rails but still has a ton of momentum.

After playing the last of their 200 shows in more than 40 countries in support of their critically acclaimed 2012 album Celebration Rock, Japandroids took a much needed break to rest and recover after their last show in November of 2013. The band would not play again for three years. This month, they made their triumphant return to the stage, playing intimate shows in Vancouver, LA, Toronto, London and NYC, in which they treated fans to their favourites from Celebration Rock and Post-Nothing, and previewed a handful of new, unreleased songs. 

Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, was written clandestinely throughout 2014 and 2015 in Vancouver, Toronto, New Orleans, and Mexico City. It was (mostly) recorded by Jesse Gander (who had previously recorded both Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock) at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, BC (September-November, 2015). One song, True Love And A Free Life Of Free Will, was recorded by Damian Taylor during an exploratory recording session at Golden Ratio in Montreal, QC (February, 2015). 

Like Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock, the album is 8 songs. This is because 8 songs is the standard template for a great rock n roll album: Raw Power by The Stooges, Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen, Marquee Moon by Television, IV by Led Zeppelin, Horses by Patti Smith, Paranoid by Black Sabbath, Remain In Light by Talking Heads, Master Of Puppets by Metallica, etc.

Like Post-Nothing and Celebration Rock, the album was sequenced specifically for the LP. On Near To The Wild Heart Of Life, side A (songs 1-4) and side B (songs 5-7) each follow their own loose narrative. Taken together as one, they form an even looser narrative, with the final song on side B (song 8) acting as an epilogue.

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Back in October we played at Massey Hall. It was surreal to play such a beautiful and historic venue. The people at Massey Hall filmed and recorded the entire show and have put together this mini concert documentary, which shows some of the songs we played that night along with some clips from an interview we did right before the show. It’s a pretty cool document of an unforgettable night.

Band Members:
Brian King & David Prowse


Try to resist a unit that Brooklyn Vegan described as “a whole band made of Jimbos from The Simpsons.” If Danger Mouse was the last straw for you with Parquet Courts, here’s the Stooges to their Velvet Underground, an all-spikes sarcasm brigade formed around the holy mission to Make Indie Angular Again on 2018’s deliciously discordant Seeing Green and 2019’s slightly craftier Club Nites. Just check the Archers of Loaf grunge-bursts that punctuate Dumb’s “Submission” or the manic Beefheart-sliding-on-a-dessert-cart-into-a-wall spree of “My Condolences.” And they even mock their own revival with an anti-anthem called “Slacker Needs Serious Work.”

The only time Dumb break g/b/d allegiance is to stick a gloriously honking sax solo at the end of “Beef Hits,” revealing their most furious song as their silliest, as most angry dweebs boil down to anyway.

Less than a year since they signed to Mint Records for 2018’s Seeing Green, Dumb is already back with a new full-length, Club Nites — this time with even more neuroticism and indignation. Club Nites is a collection of narratives drawn from the nightlife ecosystem.
Released June 7th, 2019

Dumb – Club Nites From the album “Club Nites” available via Mint Records.

 

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One of Canada’s most promising post-punk groups, Crack Cloud is a mixed-media collective based out of Vancouver, BC. Modelled around harm reduction philosophy, Crack Cloud operates as a rehabilitative outlet for a revolving cast of multi-disciplinary artists across Canada. ​Vancouver DIY art collective Crack Cloud (which also features members of N0V3L) emerged in 2018 with their self-titled debut EP, an idiosyncratic collection of post-punk, art rock and synth-punk with bold personality. The following year, they returned with a new single, “The Next Fix,” an intensely rhythmic, beautiful funk-pop song, which was written to remember those they’ve lost to suicide and drug overdose. The group formed over shared beliefs in the power of harm reduction, local organizing and DIY art communities, which leads one to believe they’re far more than just a band—they’re a chosen family.

Like Psychic tv before them, Crack Cloud have a philosophy and one that they are not afraid to wear on their sleeves – while their anarchic, phantas- magorical visuals, heavy use of symbology, and seemingly never-ending cast of colourful collaborators have often invited cult comparisons, this really does the collective no justice.
There is no apocalyptic death drive here; no cult of personality; no hierarchy of power. while frontman and lyricist Zach Choy is in many ways the face of the group, the collective is one founded on equality, and in his cryptic lyrical blend- ing of poetics, polemics and personal experience, Choy is truly the mouthpiece of something far larger than himself. nowhere else is this more apparent than on the album’s first single, ‘The Next Fix.’

What begins as a caustic, claustrophobic account of addiction swells into a sprawling, euphoric hymn as Choy is joined by a choir of seemingly endless ce- lestial voices. less a cult then; more a church. listening to this song or watching its accompanying self-directed video is a truly spiritual experience, and in its building, jubilant movement it offers a glimpse of Crack Cloud’s most vital message: using community to turn adversity into hope. this isn’t just bravado; its a story born of deep, personal experience. crack cloud operate on the frontline of Canada’s out-of-control opiate crisis, mobilising and organizing in Vancouver’s harm reduction programmes.

The group themselves have had their fair share of trauma, and the collective offers its members a vital vehicle for rehabilitation and recovery. as the tagline on the album’s back cover makes clear then, this is absolutely ‘based on true shit.

Part One of the PAIN OLYMPICS 2020 series, made DIY by the Crack Cloud Collective,

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

Japandroids

Japandroids records are few and far between, but then again they’ve always been more of a live band. Over the course of just over a decade together, the Vancouver duo have only released three albums and a series of loose early singles, all of which translate equally well to their electric live set.

On June 19th, that live energy will be widely accessible for the first time on streaming platforms, as Japandroids will be releasing a full LP of live recordings spanning their entire career (again, that’s only three albums, but still). Massey Fucking Hall, named after the Toronto venue where the hour-long setlist was recorded, will be released in June with a vinyl release slated for October 12th.

“We never thought we’d have the opportunity to play at Massey Hall,” drummer David Prowse shared in a press release. “It’s the most legendary venue in Canada by far, but it didn’t seem like a natural spot for a band like us to play. It’s a 100+ year old seated theatre, which isn’t the usual type of spot you expect to see Japandroids. Honestly, when we got off the stage that night, I remember feeling a sense of relief and exhilaration, but the whole thing felt like a bit of a blur. It was a very emotional show for me. We were both pretty nervous getting up on that stage.”

The band is also offering a taste of what the LP has to offer this morning with a pre-release single of their Post-Nothing track “Heart Sweats,” one of Japandroids’ favorite live staples. “It’s just got a great sense of momentum and never fails to get me hyped,” Prowse added of the single. “During that tour we were playing it second or third in the set. It consistently feels like the moment in the set where I just get that sense of ‘oh yeah we’re cooking now,’ and everything just locks in and we’re ripping through the rest of the set.”

Sometimes, you just have to laugh. As Japandroids thrashed through their perennial set closer The House That Heaven Built at Toronto’s fabled Massey Hall back in 2017, Brian King did just that. “That song went off, and the kids in the front couldn’t help themselves any longer,” the guitarist recalls. “They started climbing up and trying to stage dive. You have to remember, you don’t stage dive at Massey Hall.”

You can hear him cracking up as clear as day on Japandroids’ new live record, which feels like a culmination of sorts for King and his drummer bandmate Dave Prowse. After almost 15 years of kicking out jams that cross Hüsker Dü’s bullish melodicism with the wastoid barroom rock of the Replacements, Massey Fucking Hall is an out and out ‘Look at me, ma!’ blowout for the Vancouver duo.

“Heart Sweats” by Japandroids from the album ‘Massey Fucking Hall,’ available June 19th.

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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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Courtney Gavin, of the Canadian indie rock outfit The Courtneys, has joined forces with multi-instrumentalist Connor Mayer to launch a new band called Gum Country.

Los Angeles-based duo Gum Country are releasing their debut album, Somewhere, on June 14th via Burger and Kingfisher Bluez. This week they shared another song from it, “Tennis (I Feel OK).” The band features vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Courtney Garvin (The Courtneys) and multi-instrumentalist Connor Mayer. They describe their sound as “harsh twee.”

In a press release Garvin says the song is inspired by her love of tennis: “Kinda goofy, but in all honesty my relationship with tennis is so meaningful to me on a spiritual level. It’s my meditation practice. The game makes you present, you’re repeating movements, and finding a rhythm. And it’s so creative. I think all athletes are artists. Plus you get to be outside, getting exercise, hanging with friends and all of those things are so good for you. So the song is pretty much about how tennis just makes my life better. I love tennis. If anyone reading this wants to play (after the pandemic) please hit me up.”

Previously Gum Country had shared the album’s title track, “Somewhere,” via a video for the song.

Speaking of the title track, Gavin commented, “I wrote ‘Somewhere’ a couple years after moving to LA. It’s about leaving a place that you are comfortable in and landing in a strange new one, and discovering what parts of your identity remain and which were left behind. The first line I wrote was ‘haven’t felt this way in a while, I can’t think straight can’t hide my smile, I guess this is gonna be my life for a while’, and then it was just a process of unravelling that thought. I think the song could be about the range of emotions that come with any big change, and ultimately settling on a mellow excitement for vulnerability.”

The duo began in Vancouver, where they quietly made lo-fi four-track recordings in an apartment. Then they relocated to their current home of Los Angeles. There they recorded the album with Joo-Joo Ashworth at Studio 22. A press release cites the following as influences and reference points: Stereolab, The Replacements, The Breeders, Beat Happening, Yo La Tengo, Meat Puppets, and The Magnetic Fields.