The first Youth Lagoon album, Year of Hibernation, lived up to the potential of great pop music to affect people by wrapping the listener up in nostalgia and hopeful optimism. Seeing Youth Lagoon’s Trevor Powers playing these songs live is less important than the collective experience that is shared with everyone in the audience. That comes when you feel everyone around you moving to the same slow rhythm of the echoing bass drum as Powers builds layers of reverb to a climactic chorus that fades to a piano loop.
In an era of manufactured success, Palma Violets are in the midst of a natural ascent to stardom.
Natives of south London, Palma Violets just released their first album 180. To say their album was well received would be an understatement. 180 blew away the British press and won the quartet the title of NME’s best new band of 2013. Their early success has drawn comparisons to the Arctic Monkeys and White Stripes – some impressive company for a new band.
In one of its many past lives Vancouver's landmark Orpheum theatre, as some remember, served as one of the cities' foremost old movie houses. Embodying that spirit the Vancouver Bach Choir has brought back the old time horror movie to its old home at the Orpheum. In a one time only concert the Choir led by maverick conductor Lesley Dala the classic movie was blended with chamber music in a new and exciting way, the 1925 silent version of the Phantom of Opera (based on the terrifying 1920 french novel by Gaston Leoux of the same name, not the story from the broadway musical).
On March 27 Doldrums rolled through Vancouver at the Biltmore with supporting acts Sean Nicholas Savage and Agor (one half of Blue Hawaii). The bands come from Montreal and share the label Arbutus Records, which is home to a wave of artists doing crazy new things with electronic music and that was introduced to the rest of the world when Grimes took over with her album Visions. Doldrums is coming off of positively reviewed shows at Austin’s SXSW and hype for his debut album, Lesser Evil.
On April 20, CJSF 90.1 FM in collaboration with CiTR 101.9 FM will be broadcasting live from Record Store Day. Both stations will be at record stores all around Vancouver broadcasting live performances and interviews with participating artists.
I saw B-lines, Spectres, and the Danish group Iceage play at the Biltmore on March 20th. It was everything I expected, and that’s that.
The Biltmore was not very busy for the first two bands, housing roughly the same forty people one always sees at a B-lines show. However, when I took a look around after Iceage’s first tune I was definitely impressed by the audience’s size for a Wednesday show. People definitely seemed more curious than excited for Iceage.
Vancouver gets its fair share of awesome hip hop shows, but I sure hope this city felt privileged for hosting this event. Joey Bada$$ and pretty much the whole Pro Era crew are so cool right now. The eighteen year old rapper has only been making waves internationally for about a year but he attracts a crowd so intense you’d think he’d been doing this for years. Or, at least that’s what the audience at the Vancouver show seemed to be acting like
The Commodore Ballroom was packed but subdued as everyone waited for their fix of Wu. The crowd was a nice mix of Hip Hop fans and people who only come out for Wu-Tang.
Vancouver loves its chamber pop. Let’s be clear about that. If your band has an eclectic range of instruments and a folk mentality, you’re going to fit right in. It’s tiresome and redundant, especially when only a few of these bands take any risks that are worth listening to. But the Ruffled Feathers are restorers of the faith; they are a team of musicians who are quirky enough to really push the boundaries of their potential. At the Bitlmore Cabaret on March 7th they broke the monotonous drone of Vancouver folk pop in gigantic way.
It’s not easy to get Vancouverites dancing, but on February 26th Toro y Moi did their best to turn around Vancouver’s reputation of “No Fun City”.