In the 1980s, Vancouver was a bit of a hot bed for alternative music. Punk, Post Punk, New Wave and New Romantic acts were the toast of the town. At venues like The Town Pump, Luv A Fair and The Commodore, local acts would play to large crowds every weekend and were as much celebrated as any touring act of the day. Right in the middle of all this were The Gathering. The band formed in 1985 and almost immediately were performing onstage with luminaries of the scene.
There are those nights where you and hundreds of your closest friends are all gathered in the dark, dancing together to a band or a DJ, and then all of a sudden it’s not just you and them but it’s us. A collective mass pulsating to the music. A singular organism moving to and within every single note that is playing. This is what DOOMSQUAD is all about. The Toronto-based dance act wants to push the idea of what identity is.
Emmett Hall is a busy guy. You’ve probably seen him onstage around Vancouver as the musical director for award-winning improv group The Sunday Service, on his own performing at various comedy events, or even possibly with his band, the electric and eclectic Revered. The trio, consisting of Hall, producer Pietro Sammarco and guitarist Ken Lawson, just unleashed their sophomore album With Some Amusement yesterday, June 3rd, and recently released the video for lead single “Grey In The Face” as well.
Natasha Thirsk aka Catlow has been crafting some of the sweetest pop music for a while under her own name and previously with Vancouver luminaries The Dirtmitts, and now, partnering up with her new label File: Under Music, Thirsk is readying the vinyl release of last year's impeccable EP Main Of Nowhere. The six-track record showcases Thirsk’s wonderfully effortless ability to craft interesting vocal melodies that will live in your head for days all the while being backed by of some of Vancouver’s finest musicians.
It seems that no matter what your background, most people seem to have a universal experience when it comes to what it was like for them in high school. Sam Tudor isn’t exempt from this. His new song and video for “Joseph In The Bathroom,” off his wonderful album Quotidian Dream, details just this. The last in a trilogy of videos conceived and directed by Tudor’s collaborator Lucas Hrubizna, it's an affecting look at the emotions felt during this turbulent time in every teen’s life.
While there have been countless reunion tours -- welcome and unwelcome -- over the last decade, there are still some bands from long long ago that are managing to create vital new work. It’s been six years since their last release but one of these bands is 90s fuzz rockers Sebadoh. The brainchild of Jason Lowenstein, Lou Barlow and Bob D’Amico is set to release a new album, Act Surprised, on May 24th and it’s shaping up to be one of the funnest spring releases.
There’s a certain kind of charm when a musician decides to forge their own path and start to create music that is just on the other side of what the mainstream would accept as traditional. Take Zane Coppard, a drummer from Victoria who has performed with such luminaries as Louise Burns, Dralms and Smash Boom Pow. His new project, dounpour, is Coppard’s “no frills” approach to music making. Coppard says the project's intention is to create music for the sake of it, like how a child would approach creating music.
Vancouver’s music scene is awash with delightful little secrets, secrets that hopefully won’t remain that way for too much longer. One of these delights is spazzy art rock band YEP. YEP channels the wonderful space between Deerhoof and Balitmore’s dearly departed Ponytail, and is sprinkled with some DEVO for good measure. Their new single “Sport” is a extremely good example of this and the recent video is a great companion to the song. Directed by Flavourcel Animation Collective, “Sport” is a psychedelic journey into the high stakes world of road bike racing.
With the sun staying out a little bit later and those beautiful cherry blossoms blooming all over the city, Vancouver is getting poised to enjoy another one of their wonderful summers. As if on cue, the sisters of locally-based band Harlequin Gold have decided to release another in a string of sunny singles. The O’Brien sisters have dropped the new track “I Was Your Girl” and it’s an extreme earworm. There is something special about hearing the duo sing together. It’s something that seems inherently easy for sibling-based bands and it's quite the treat.