Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Preview: Black Lips show moved to Rickshaw

After Vancouver beats Boston for the Stanley Cup on Wednesday, head down to the Rickshaw for the afterparty! Black Lips are playing, tickets are a still available, and I have a feeling this show is going to be insane!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Five Weekly Video Mix, Vol. 5

We're back with another episode of the best music videos we've found around the world this week! Check it, we found some really unique ones on this round.

5We start things off with Tom Vek, a multi-instrumentalist from the UK who dabbles in freakish experimental rock. Apparently he has a massive underground following over there. I should point out that Tom Vek is the presenter at the beginning, not the pulpishly sweet transvestite lip-syncing his vocals.

4Oh look! An “in the club” hip-hop video that actually has some fucking style! This is how they do it in Malaysia. Malaysian producers Goldfish and Blink bring the electro disco beats with Malaysian singer Ze! and Malaysian rapper Altimet on vocals. I'm hooked.


DJ Fresh drops a kick-ass skate video for his drum and bass track “Louder”, featuring Sian Evans. Not a new concept, obviously, but who doesn't love a good skate video? This one is fantastic, and it has a hell of a summer vibe.

2Damn, this video is a nightmare. I.R.O.K. shows us what would have happened if Rainbow Arabia had gone the low-budget stock footage route with their “Omar K” video. I'm not sure why, but I think Diplo should give this guy a call. I think it's because the song has kind of a jungle dancehall vibe, and when I watch the video, I think, “Nobody knows who this guy is, but he just singlehandedly made a video more awesome than all of Major Lazer's shit combined.”

1How do I describe this video without spoiling it? Let's just say, some may find it controversial, but I couldn't help laughing my ass off! It definitely goes bloody overboard a few times, but those were the parts that made me explode with laughter. Kids really are never as innocent as we think they are.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

80s Goth icons take over Vancouver!

Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance

Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins had just taken the stage when I arrived at the Venue nightclub for an ethereal night with some 80s icons. I have to be honest here. Robin's solo work is good, and I enjoy ambient music when I'm in the right mood, even when it lacks vocals, but it was utterly lifeless to see on a stage. There was nothing interesting about watching three old men standing motionless on a stage, playing downtempo, ambient new age music for a crowd of misfits from the 80s; ex-goth kids reminiscing and fooling themselves into cheering for their idol, but not his music. Every song would finish the same as the last, to the crowd's drunken shouts and overzealous applause. But then, for one brief moment, things turned around with a song that picked up the pace. Crashing drums and chaotic noises brought Robin's set to an unexpected climax, finally coaxing a roar of genuine cheers and applause from the audience. By this time, I had found a seat at the back of the venue, so at least I could kick back and relax for the last few songs.

Robin Guthrie - Warmed by the Winter Sun

Brendan Perry of Dead Can Dance took the headlining spot, and the polar opposite direction from Robin's set. The five-piece band had an instant energy, playing synthy rock ballads with Perry's powerful voice at the helm. The guy looks like a tough biker, bald and in his 50s with a goatee, so when they opened with the still-unreleased track “Tree of Life”, I was a little shocked by the raw power of his voice, even in falsetto! If you don't know his voice, think Nick Cave or Leonard Cohen but with a gothic rock band playing world beats. It's been over a decade since the last albums by Brendan Perry and Dead Can Dance, so he spent the first half of the set playing a mix of songs from Dead Can Dance's library and several of his own unreleased songs that I assume he wrote in the years between his 1999 solo album and his new album, Ark. Remarkably, when I look at my notes that I marked for each song, it's the unreleased songs that really stood out in the first half, with the exception of Dead Can Dance's “A Passage in Time”, in which is a nice ballad on record, but lacks lustre when compared to Perry's powerful live rendition.

The second half of the set began with a new song, “Icarus”, followed by a fantastic cover, where Robin Guthrie joined the band, taking lead guitar for Tim Buckley's “Song to the Siren”. Finally, the band got on to playing some of the best tracks off the new album Ark, with “This Boy” and “Wintersun”, and closing with “Utopia”. The band left the stage to the most genuine cheers of the night thus far, returning for the inevitable encore of two more Dead Can Dance tracks.

Brendan Perry - Babylon

The tour is finished now, but check out Robin Guthrie's new album Emeralds and Brendan Perry's new album Ark, both out now!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Five Weekly Video Mix, Vol. 4

5Finnish duo LCMDF brings a cool retro-styled video for their synthy pop tune “Future Me”. No plot, just a seaside Polaroid adventure.

4Alex Winston braves a haunted cathouse in this video that starts off a little odd but quickly turns to freakishly bread-flying-out-of-a-toilet weird.

3The Sound of Arrows have earned themselves a reputation for melodramatic synthpop tunes and videos to match, but somehow they continuously straddle the line between campy and just awesome.

2Xuman's video for “Side by Side” is a dark and haunting narrative of a night at the museum, but not everything is as lifeless as it seems.

1The Supermen Lovers present one of the most kick-ass animated music videos I've ever seen. Two computer screens take a chance on love while they soar on an adventure through the clouds.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Foster the People serenades Vancouver at secret acoustic show

Foster the People plays to a sold-out crowd tonight at the Vancouver's much-too-small Venue Nightclub, but to warm things up, they just played a secret acoustic warm-up set this afternoon! The Peak announced the location this morning, so I rounded up some friends and we converged upon the closed-off street in front of The Peak's own headquarters at 8th and Helmock. Foster the People was hanging out at the station, poking their heads out a few times from the third-floor balcony, while getting ready for a chilled acoustic session.

We had almost two hours to kill, so we hung out on the sidewalk with the growing crowd of fans, radio staff and curious passersby. When the clock struck 1:00pm, the band was briefly introduced, and I looked around to see a massive crowd had formed, filling the street and sidewalks.

It's a warm Tuesday afternoon and there was just a bit of light rain as they began. The band asked, “Who skipped school to be here?” One half of the crowd cheered, and the other half roared when they asked, “And who's dodging work right now?”

The set was short and sweet, just an acoustic warm-up before tonight's show. They played their three big hits, “Houdini”, “Helena Beat” and of course, “Pumped Up Kicks”. They also slipped in “Color On the Walls”, a new one from the album that they introduced as a song for 4 year-olds. Frontman Mark Foster took the lead with his guitar, giving us warm acoustic renditions of songs that are usually led by keys and synths. There was a different kind of energy in the crowd, as we all watched a band we love, doing a different kind of performance than what we usually get to see.

It was an intimate serenade, from high upon the balcony to Vancouver on the street below. Afterwards, the band graciously came down to meet some fans and sign autographs, while The Peak staff gave away some tickets to tonight's show. Thanks to The Peak for kicking off our summer with a fantastic little block party!

Vancouver photographer Billy Bob Koruna was there this afternoon, shooting for us. He sweet-talked his way up to the balcony during the set and was the only photographer to get a few quick shots up close.

The street had to be shut down for the large crowd that showed up for the secret show.

Vancouver musician and actor Kaboom Atomic enjoying the show.

Foster the People's frontman, Mark Foster.

Cubbie Fink, bassist.

Mark Pontius, drummer.

Foster and Fink.

Signing autographs and meeting the fans

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A night of haunting dreams at the Vogue Theatre with Lykke Li

Lykke Li
Grimes started the show with her solo act, a beautiful mess of raw synthesizers over crushing drum tracks. She has only been making music for a few short years, and has no training in musical theory or even reading music, so the way she expresses herself in her music sounds unnatural, and yet she's quite a natural at it. She began her set with “Crystal Ball”, feeling out the crowd; her nervousness showing with a few missteps in the timing of the tracks she was mixing together. By the time she got through the second and third songs, she had pulled it all together and the crowd was on her wavelength, dancing to her dark electro beats and basking in the glow of her ethereal vocals. It was like a gothic dance version of Enya. No, I'm kidding; I kept thinking that and then giggling because technically it's an accurate description, but it sounds fucking ridiculous. Grimes killed it. I didn't think many people knew her, but she is a born-and-raised Vancouver girl, and damn, did Vancouver show her love tonight! I don't know if it's the venue or if it's the bands they host, but the opening acts seem to get a lot more love at the Vogue than they do at other venues.

Grimes - Vanessa (YSI)

The lights went dark, and the sound of drums began to pound over ghastly drones, like a new age circus horror show. Flickering bursts from the strobe lights began to illuminate a dozen narrow curtains dangling from the ceiling, which were billowing wildly like trees in a pitch-black thunderstorm. A thick stream of endless smoke rolled over the stage and through the crowd, when suddenly everything screeched to a halt. The lights came on and Lykke Li was already into the first verse of “Jerome”, a creepy-sounding but warm and tingly track off her new album, an unexpected but perfect complement to the startling introduction.

The band all wore black suits, with Lykke wearing a black bodysuit and a long black coat. They powered through what seemed like hit after epic hit, though some were songs off the new album that not many people knew yet. A few songs in, they did a beautiful cover that I recognised instantly. I noticed I was singing along with every word, but it took a second before it hit me; it was “Velvet”, a stunningly gorgeous song by UK dream pop band The Big Pink, whom I actually saw here in Vancouver last year.

There were so many highlights in Lykke Li's set, and most of them, surprisingly, weren't even the popular tunes off her first album. “We will live longer than I will. We will be better than I was. We can cross rivers with our will. We can do better than I can. So dance while you can.” That is the soothing and sublime chorus of “Love Out of Lust”, which the band turned into one hell of an epic ballad. A few songs before that, Lykke finally got her hands on an instrument, when the lights came on to reveal an autoharp on a platform in front of her, which she used to accentuate the usually unplugged acoustic song, “I Know Places”. It's really simple: just push the button for the chord you want and then sweep a finger across the strings, but it gave the song such a radiant sound!

Nearing the end of the set, Lykke took a short break while the band played an instrumental excerpt from The Knife's “Silent Shout”, another one I instantly recognised, but embarassingly didn't figure out til later. It felt quite out of place, and sounded nothing like the rest of her set, but I really can't complain when it's such an awesome song. They changed it up a bit, making it grow more chaotic than the original. Finally, they closed with Lykke introducing “Get Some” as a party song to dance to, as if we weren't already an hour into our dance party with her! The song definitely has a funkier drum beat than the rest of her catalogue. And that was the last piece of Lykke Li's perfect setlist formula: end it with a fucking BANG!

Oh yes, there was definitely an encore, but I think I've already been quite thorough, so we'll leave that as a surprise, in case you get a chance to see Lykke Li soon. She has a half dozen more US gigs left before doing what all respectable European musicians do in summer: hit up all the massive Euro festivals that we're all so jealous of here in North America!

Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers (YSI)
Lykke Li - Get Some (YSI)

Lykke Li is promoting her sophomore album Wounded Rhymes. Grimes is promoting her 2010 debut Halfaxa and her new split LP Darkbloom, with d'Eon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Five Weekly Video Mix, Vol. 3

5The Gift shows us their take on the classic let's-run-away-together-and-fuck-shit-up storyline. I really like this one, but I would have done the same thing he did at the end of the video, if she kept insisting on wearing that black wig.

4Afrobeta can pick up the slack that Frankmusik has left in the electroclash scene. Peaches' leotards, glamourized Hyper Crush-style, with a tinge of that glitchy electro sound from Eastern Europe that we stumble upon occasionally (see Bedük), and the girl is just good enough at rapping and yelling that she leans more toward catchy than ridiculous.

3Patrick Wolf is famous for calling Mika a ‘twat’ in 2007, and for his subsequent appearance on the British panel quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, but he also happens to be a fantastic genre-defying musician. He lives in a magical rainforest that grows inside his own home, as seen in the following video. Here is an excited red star, to draw more attention to how great this video is. ★!

2If you haven't seen this, you probably live under a rock, in Saskatchewan, AND in space. His name is Tyler, The Creator, and he's Pitchfork's latest shock rap sensation. The thing with shock rap and other shock entertainment, is that legions of posers fail at it, but among them are a few mad geniuses. Tyler is one of those deranged masters of things that offend, disgust and insult the soft-skinned people who charge the outcries that, ironically, make shock rock and shock rap successful.

1It feels wrong to say anything funny or sarcastic about Monarchy's new video. It's just too awesome. It's like when people joke about how slow motion makes things melodramatic, when really, they usually just make things actually dramatic. I really don't get the cupcakes, though, but even they add to the enigma of this video.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Night of Noise with Sleigh Bells and Neon Indian

Sleigh Bells
Vancouver's Vogue Theatre last night was host to a night of noise. The double-bill of Sleigh Bells and Neon Indian, along with opening act Oberhofer, all had a noisy lo-fi sound, whether it was filtered guitars or pounding electro drum beats. Each band came from a different branch on the tree of noise, and all three are fairly new, each with no more than one LP under their belts.

Oberhofer kicked things off with a summer vibe, their set decorated with tropical plants and the four-piece band rocking shiny shelltoes. These guys had a massive stage presence, right from song one, kicking things off with “o0O0o0O0o”, a song whose title might be the best way to describe the band. Their style is all over the place, but they began with some catchy rock tunes and a high-energy, lo-fidelity pop sound. It only took me a few songs to realise that Oberhofer has this unusual habit of ignoring the urge to play a catchy chorus, instead using pop music's catchiest vocal sound ever discovered, the sound of “ooo-ooo-ooo”, into every song.

By mid-set, however, they had swung over to an instrument-focused noisepop vibe, with the energy of a punk band. A song finished, and there was silence, when suddenly a piercing shriek exploded through the theatre, giving everyone a start, and so began the chaotic intro to “Haus”. It was like they were saying, “Wake the fuck up and listen to us!” except everyone already was. The song eventually became cohesive and even catchy whenever they got to the chorus of “I wanna build a house with you, a house with you”, but then the sounds would break apart into a chaotic cacophony of smashing drums and shimmering riffs, only to reform for the next chorus. Oberhofer is fantastically unpredictable and has a hell of a stage presence, for such a new up-and-coming band.

Oberhofer - I Could Go (YSI)

Neon Indian was up next, and their set definitely gave me mixed feelings. I think they were sort of co-headlining with Sleigh Bells, but it made sense to have the weird, eclectic band play before the band with the big stage show and more danceable tunes. They're quite an experimental band, which I love, delving into the new genre of chillwave with a four-piece band playing synths, drums, bass guitar, and frontman Alan Palomo on vocals and keys. As is natural with chillwave, due to it's similarity to shoegaze, everything was covered in a layer of noise, and the vocals took backseat to the instruments. However, on record the band still makes some damn catchy singalong tunes, but on stage, everything was just buried in too much noise. I knew a bunch of their songs already, but I couldn't recognise a single tune they played, with the exception of “Deadbeat Summer”, their biggest hit, and that was only because they introduced it and tried in vain to get the crowd to sing along.

I love experimental music, but if your songs have a fairly “pop” vibe, you shouldn't be turning your live set into a new experiment. Best case, you'll alienate all but your biggest fans. The music I heard from Neon Indian last night was good, and it was interesting, but it sure wasn't the same band that's in my headphones, and that was disappointing.

Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer (YSI)

Sleigh Bells was a shocker. They hit the stage hard and fast, with a massive wall of Marshall stacks and pillars of lights behind them. Sleigh Bells is a Brooklyn duo, a boy guitar/girl vocals band, backed by earth-shattering drum tracks. Not unlike a certain two-piece rock band I also reviewed recently. What I really didn't expect was the hardcore, as they opened their set in darkness, to the screams of the sweaty crowd and the screams of Black Sabbath's “Iron Man”, which transitioned into their own “Crown on the Ground” as the lights came on. Sure, let's rile up the crowd into a riotous horde in the first fucking song, right? Actually, I fucking love when bands do that. Alexis and Derek came onstage, Alexis rocking a red Sleigh Bells/Slay Bells jersey. Like the bands before them, Sleigh Bells is definitely an experiment. On record, I had only gotten a small taste of what they can do. On stage, they rocked militant electro drum beats, with a variety of raucous synths and wailing guitar riffs.

Alexis was like a trashy grrrl version of Alison Mosshart; fresher and more down and dirty. They played all their best songs, with Derek leaving Alexis alone onstage for the few songs that didn't feature him on electric guitar. Their setup with Derek on guitar, Alexis on vocals, and a backing drum track reminded me of The Kills, who have the exact same setup, but their aggressive vocal tendencies and raging electro beats actually reminded me of when I saw Atari Teenage Riot live. Sleight Bells was like a bizarre combination of the best parts of The Kills and Atari Teenage Riot, with explosive results. Sleigh Bells definitely slayed.

Sleigh Bells - Crown on the Ground (YSI)

Sleigh Bells, Neon Indian and Oberhofer all have more US tour dates in the next few weeks, together and apart. Don't miss them!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Monday Five Replacement Video Mix: Vol. 2

Well, I got distracted by all the pandemonium of last weekend's official worldwide Judgement Day Rapture (which was postponed, btw), and I posted a quick Rapture Video Mix on Friday, before running off to find out God's favourite ice cream flavour. So, since there wasn't really an official Friday Five, here is the replacement Monday version. Volume 3 will be back on Friday, later this week, unless the world is again stricken by another false catastrophe, in which case I'll be eating Heavenly Hash and listening to Blondie and Britney Spears all weekend, again.

Oh, I'm going to start putting arbitrary numbers on the videos, like it's a countdown. The order isn't significant, thought it might be one day.

5Since this is only the late replacement mix, we'll start things off on a dull note with “Step On” by the Happy Mondays, one of the worst music videos ever made for one of the best songs ever made. Watch as they dance like noodles and take their sunglasses off, only to put them back on again.

4Young people running through fields and playing games seems to be the winning formula for indie/electronic music videos these days. Here's Starfucker's interpretation of the concept. Whenever I introduce Starfucker to a friend, they ask who it is, and I say "Oh it's Starfucker," and then I always hesitate for a second, wondering if I said the FUCK part too strongly, and have offended them. But those awkward moments aren't the only reason Starfucker is one of my favourite bands. Just watch the damn video. It's sort of cool.

3“I said I was a musical genius. I repeated it until it became meaningless. Because you assumed I was joking, and then you thought about it like, ‘He's not joking!’” The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales, who has adds a new prefix to his name with every project, is getting ready to release the world's first orchestral rap album. Upon watching this video, my thoughts were, “This is so horribly bad that it might actually work, simply because he knows how crazy he is, and that makes all the difference.” For those who don't know Gonzales, he is famous for being Feist's roommate and for once besting Andrew WK in a piano battle, after distracting him by tossing a gold chain at him.

2Krissi Moses, yeah we have no idea who she is, and neither does most of the internet. Sticking with today's theme of sub-par music videos that have some redeeming quality to them, “You're Forgettable” a forgettable girl-power, man-eating tune with a surprisingly hilarious and sexy video. Krissi herself plays the lead, a vengeful bitch disguised as a vacuous trollop.

1And last, we have a weird video by Teams vs. Star Slinger. The track is a semi-catchy tune that's mostly just a DJ being a little too self-indulgent (oh god, I've just accidentally had it on repeat while I was formatting and editing this article. Now I hate this track!), but it's a cool soundtrack to the video, about an odd little alien man who's just trying to fit in, in our world. Does it spoil anything if I say there's an unexpected ending?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Rapturous Playlist for Judgement Day

Judgment Day is now upon us! Let's put on some celebratory tunes while we await the big moment!

Post a comment if you think of any songs I missed!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SK & Friends: Summer Beach Party Mix

Photo by Kyle Kruchok
Silence Killer is proud to present a brand-new feature series, SK & Friends, where we round up a themed selection of music recommendations from our friends and our favourite bloggers, artists and DJs. This round we asked each participant to recommend an interesting song they would like to hear on a late summer afternoon at a beach party. Summer is only weeks away, so sit back and relax while we cure your spring fever!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yelle à la Commodore avec French Horn Rebellion

French Horn Rebellion started the night with smoke rolling over The Commodore's empty stage, while their dramatic intro played. When the two brothers from Milwaukee, Robert and David, took the stage, they made a few waves, gestures, taps on the decks and keyboards, and a fever began to spread through the quickly growing crowd on the dancefloor. They aren't entirely a band, or entirely a DJ duo either, but whatever they are, they are the type to give the audience a banging first impression. There's an odd thing about synthpop music: on record, it usually sounds chilled and relaxed, but even without changing much, the same songs live on stage become massive floor killers. It always shocks me a little every time. In the first few songs, David manned the tables while accomplished Robert played the French horn, running all over the stage and through the crowd, pumping up the audience like an overcaffeinated aerobics instructor. The band's antics and their pounding synth beats turned a small crowd that seemingly had no idea who French Horn Rebellion were, into a mass of dancing bodies. Perfect warmup for Yelle.

French Horn Rebellion - Up All Night
Previously: French Horn Rebellion - Beaches and Friends (Hey Champ Remix)

Yelle's bandmates, GrandMarnier and Tepr, took the stage first, dressed like big-game hunters on a safari, pounding their floor toms to the beat of “S'éteint le soleil”. I have no idea why this is the closing track on their new album Safari Disco Club. It's the perfect intro. A tall mass of foliage, shaped a little like a slender French woman, swept onto the stage and began singing. Further into the song, the lights went out and the music paused for effect, and when the lights flashed back on, Yelle's ghillie suit was gone, leaving her dressed in her trademark leopard skin. A few songs into the set, the band played “Ce jeu” and “La musique”, the second-biggest hits from the old and new albums. This is when it became apparent that the band actually reworks every song for the live show, not only giving them steadier, more danceable beats, but they also make sweeping changes to the instrumentation. Every song is essentially a remix, produced for the live show with GrandMarnier on drums and Tepr on keyboard and synths. It was a great effect, keeping the beat consistent to keep everyone dancing, even though they took a few brief breaks between songs to banter and introduce the next songs.

Going into the show, I was curious how the language barrier would affect the show, since every Yelle song is entirely in French, except when it's natural to borrow phrases from English, like the chorus of “Safari Disco Club”, the title track off the new album. Not many audience members were seen singing along during most of the show, but Yelle's French lyrics had no effect whatsoever on the energetic link between the band and the audience. After a funky Zapp-esque detour, where Tepr and GrandMarnier played sans Yelle, the band soared through more of their new material, finishing the set with the one song everyone knew the words to, as they shouted the simple chorus of, “Les animaux dansent dans la Safari Disco Club!” (For those of you without the basic elementary French that most of us have here, even in English-speaking Canada, it means, “The animals are dancing in the Safari Disco Club!”)

Sometimes, when an act leaves the stage, the crowd's cheering will rise and fall until they return for an encore. Yelle's audience, on the other hand, ROARED. GrandMarnier was so excited, he ran across the stage twice, first shooting the crowd with his camera, then pumping his fists in the air on the way back, which only charged up the crowd even more. I'm still kicking myself for not knowing enough French and enough Yelle to identify all the songs they played, but they played one more, then finished with the one everyone was waiting for, “A cause des garçons”. Et la concerte fini avec un grand éclat!

Yelle - Safari Disco Club
Previously: VIDEO: La retour de Yelle

Yelle's tour continues down the West Coast USA in May, after which they're heading back to Europe then Japan for the summer. Check out Yelle's new album Safari Disco Club and French Horn Rebellion's The Infinite Music of French Horn Rebellion, both available now!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Five Weekly Video Mix: Vol. 1

Presenting, our first-ever weekly feature! Five new music videos every Friday! This week we've got a sweet selection of weird and creative videos we've discovered lately.

NewVillager - Lighthouse
Experimental freak-pop madness. Love it.

Amanda Palmer - Map of Tasmania
If you're old enough to know what a map of Tasmania is, you probably won't like this video.

Chilly Gonzales - You Can Dance
It's like a classy version of Benny Benassi's infamous “Satisfaction” video.

Little Comets - One Night in October (One Guitar Version)
English indie rock band plays one of their first hits with all four band members on ONE acoustic guitar! It sounds incredible.

Lights - Second Go
I feel so reluctant, recommending anything by a mainstream teen idol popstar like Lights, but she was actually cool for a few brief moments before becoming famous, like Owl City and Kesha were. Watch her get down and dirty in this one-take video!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Peter Bjorn and John win three thumbs up from Vancouver

Bachelorette started the sold-out night at Vancouver's Venue nightclub with some minimal homemade electro folk, which sounded like it would have been almost relaxing to listen to on record. Her stage setup, however, was poorly calculated. Either I'm getting old, or it was just too LOUD. Everything—beats and vocals—were overdriven and overcompressed, far beyond the “we're too loud because we think people like hearing damage” level. It sounded like it was intended to give the audience a mass aneurysm. I didn't set up the sound equipment at Venue tonight, so I can't direct blame, but it wasn't the soundman. He's the usual awesome guy who does the sound at Venue, and PB&J sounded great. However, to give her some credit, Bachelorette does sound good on record. I just checked out her song “Blanket” and it sounds great. Have a listen:

MP3: Bachelorette - Blanket (YSI)

Peter Bjorn and John took the stage, after a lengthy dramatic intro of a catchy instrumental beat that I couldn't identify, leading off the night with “May Seem Macabre”, a song I seem to have overlooked on their new album Gimme Some. I've always been only a casual PB&J fan, and I always thought of them as an indie pop band, but “Macabre” made it instantly clear that they are more of a rock band that happens to have delightful pop tendencies, probably stemming from their Swedish roots. Everything that comes out of Sweden seems to have a deliciously glistening pop quality to it. From the very beginning with ABBA to today's Swedish scene that includes the likes of Robyn, Lykke Li and The Tallest Man on Earth, they all have roots in their own given genres, but they all have this undeniable quality that gives their music a different kind of "catchiness" and makes them sound a little happier and content than the rest of the world's musicians. It makes me think of Sweden as an isolated land of enchantment and fantasy.

The boys made it clear from the start that they are not a regular rock band, though. Sure, they have wailing riffs, heroic guitar moves, and a ridiculous "theme" of nonconformity (Peter suited up, Bjorn wore leather and John dressed like a homeless), but while exuding an energetic, larger-than-Sweden stage presence, they looked way too happy to be just a rock band. They pushed through a slew of fan favourites, mostly off the new album and the previous, Living Things. They hit most of my favourites, including “It Don't Move Me”, “Tomorrow Has to Wait” and “Second Chance”, but then they started throwing in some more rock-oriented songs, a few that got a lot more close-your-eyes-and-feel-it shoegazing than I expected. They closed the set on one of the reverberating dramatic numbers, “I Know You Don't Love Me”, but it was far from the end.

They left the stage, and the crowds cheers rose and fell in waves for a few minutes while the guitar tech retuned Peter's guitar, making it obvious that they weren't finished. Peter rambled back on stage, harmonica and microphone cupped with both hands over his mouth. This was the first we'd seen of his harmonica, so the crowd went wild when they realised he was playing an all-new harmonica version of “Nothing to Worry About”. Bjorn and John joined him on stage, then Peter decided to join the crowd, grabbing my shoulder for support as he hopped off stage left. He made his way through the crowd, tangling his microphone cord all over the audience while everyone joined him on the chorus of “Doing this thing, this type of thing, put a little money in this type of thing, I got nothing to worry about!” The boys went for the extra-large encore, with another 3 songs after “Nothing to Worry About”, then left the stage once again.

The audience was bewildered when the lights didn't come back on and the tech came back on stage to retune again, but who wasn't down for more? The waves of cheers began again, eventually bringing the band back on stage for a second encore. They started with “Stay This Way”, an odd number off their previous album. Then, Peter began whistling a familiar tune that brought the audience to an instant roar. The song from countless television programs and adverts, the song that brought the art of whistling back into the international spotlight: “Young Folks”, the biggest hit of their career. Instead of playing their hit song like a repetitive chore, they went all in. Peter rejoined the audience while Bjorn and John backed him up from the stage, and by the end of the song, even the soundman was applauding. They finished with one more song, “Lies”, to come down and wrap up the show.

I already loved Peter Bjorn and John, going into this show, but there is so much more to this band than I ever knew. Three thumbs up.

MP3: Peter Bjorn and John - Second Chance (YSI)

Lead single off the new album, Gimme Some

MP3: Peter Bjorn and John - Nothing to Worry About (Van Hammer Remix) (YSI)
Funky disco remix of the lead single off their previous album, Living Things

Peter Bjorn and John are promoting their new album Gimme Some (highly recommended!) on the final West Coast leg of their tour, after which they head back home to Europe to hit up the summer festivals!

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Kills & co. crash the Commodore

The last time The Kills headlined in Vancouver was in 2008 at Richards, so their newfound fame brought a lot of curious new fans to their sold-out show at The Commodore last night. I think people were expecting a regular rock gig, so they were only mildly excited by the jarring noise of openers The Entrance Band and Cold Cave.

The Entrance Band are a three-piece psychedelic rock band with a lot of credibility in the alternative scene, having toured with many oddball-but-now-famous artists like Devendra Banhart, Cat Power even Sonic Youth. I only caught their last few songs since the show started early, for some reason, but they were fantastic.

The Entrance Band - Lookout! (YSI)

Cold Cave really blew me away, though. Literally. LOUDEST KICK DRUM EVER (as I said on Twitter last night). One part synthpop, one part new wave, and three parts crashing, scratching, grinding, piercing NOISE. These guys were off their shit, and for the right crowd (myself included), they would have had the dance floor bouncing, but honestly, they were so loud my teeth hurt, which is probably why no one was dancing.

Cold Cave - The Great Pan Is Dead (YSI)

The Kills, well, they killed it. I wonder how many times that's been said. Alison Mosshart dominated the stage. She is one hell of a rockstar. If you don't already know, the band is basically Alison and her guitarist, Jamie Hince. No bass player, no drummer, just the two of them and a full setlist of smashing drum tracks that sound like they came from a Casio keyboard that was just put through a meat grinder. Alison strikes me as someone who would be flattered to be compared to Siouxsie Sioux, and that's exactly what was going through my mind during the show. Their set leaned a bit too heavily on the new album though. Only 2 or 3 of the 8 songs they played from the new album got the crowd excited, and I'm sure a lot of their fans, like me, were disappointed that they left out “Cheap and Cheerful” and “Last Day of Magic”, two of the biggest fan favourites. Despite the missing songs, Alison has a reputation for her energy on stage and together with Jamie (who really deserves more spotlight, what with his magic fingers and all), they rocked the Commodore.

The Kills - Cheap & Cheerful (listen and tell me how they could skip this one!) (YSI)
The Kills - Satellite (off the new album, Blood Pressures) (YSI)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Need moar dubstep

Silence Killer needs more dubstep, am I right?

It's a narrow genre, so it doesn't impress me if it sounds like every other dubstep track, but I've been finding some really great tracks lately.

Jamiroquai - Blue Skies (Flux Pavilion Remix) (YSI)

More to come...

The Sound of Arrows

In case you missed it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother Mother and Brasstronaut brandish originality at the Vogue

I'll begin with a bold statement: Mother Mother and Brasstronaut are two of the most original bands in the history of Canadian music. Brasstronaut, the surprise opening act for Mother Mother at the Vogue tonight and a staple of Vancouver's indie music scene, is an ever-changing collective of jazz and rock musicians centred around pianist/vocalist Edo Van Breemen and trumpet player Bryan Davies. Tonight was my fourth time watching Brasstronaut perform, and they never fail to impress. When musicians reach the peak of their musical ability and instrumental skill, often one of two things will happen: either they become a studio musician, recording with other bands, or they form some sort of collective or supergroup with other similarly skilled musicians. This fosters a whole new level of musical creativity (or chaos?), well beyond what your average pop, rock, or even jazz band are capable of. It's how new genres are born. I feel like I've still fallen short of describing Brasstronaut to you, so here, just check them out.

Brasstronaut - Slow Knots (YSI)

Mother Mother takes a slightly different approach with their originality. Instead of an eclectic smattering of genres and experiments, they begin as a rock band, twisting their sound in every possible direction. They have three vocalists, brother-sister duo Ryan and Molly Guldemond and newcomer Jasmin Parkin. The ladies sound nothing alike—Jasmin's voice is strong and powerful, while Molly's is soft and graceful—but they both harmonise stunningly with Ryan's strikingly dynamic voice. Ryan's voice, even while speaking, has an interesting sound, almost like he has some unique accent that no one can pinpoint, because when you listen for it, you don't hear an accent.

It's not just the vocals in the band that are diverse. The band composes their music in an entirely different fashion than your average rock band. You know how music has rules, like which notes and chords belong in a song, based on what key the song is in? Yeah, throw that out. In some songs they'll seamlessly jump from one key to another between verses and choruses, and then back again. Then, as if by magic, in the next song they'll throw out all the rules entirely and play progressions of chords that aren't even progressions, in the sense of "repeat these three chords for the whole song", and out-of-key chords that just happen to all work together. You know how rock, pop, hip-hop and basically anything popular has a fairly predictable verse-chorus-bridge structure? Yeah, throw that out, too. The band has choruses in most songs, but every song is a ride of unpredictable madness, yet somehow it's all cohesive—that's the key point. Mother Mother takes all these idiosyncrasies and makes music that sounds like nothing we've heard before, yet is so fantastic that everyone shows them love, including mainstream radio DJs, indie music bloggers/hipsters/snobs, and the hundreds of teenage girls that were at the (all-ages) show tonight.

After a description like that, it's a given that Mother Mother has fantastic production on their albums, surprisingly helmed by lead singer/guitarist Ryan Guldemond. It takes extraordinary skill to translate songs seamlessly from studio to stage without rearranging and changing the feel of the songs, especially when, like Mother Mother, they're infinitely more complex than your average rock band. Ryan and his band made every song sound "live" tonight, not trying too hard to replicate the sound of their records, but not straying too far from what was already a perfect formula. It took me a few songs to get over the fact that they didn't have the physical energy that I usually expect from a good rock band, but they're just not that type of band. There's really no need for dance routines and witty banter when you're a musician who is simply driven by music.

This was my first time seeing Mother Mother, and I've been waiting a long time. Having lived in Vancouver almost 2 years now, I finally got my first chance to see the band I've been listening to since long before I moved to their hometown. They played nearly all my favourite songs (I have a long list) from their three albums, and loads more, totaling a long setlist of well over 20 songs. One of the highest points was in the second half of the set, when they played their new single “The Stand”, followed by “Body of Years”, a hit from their previous album. I read once, from Ryan Guldemond, that the latter was inspired by the Pixies' “Gouge Away”. So, in an interesting turn of planning and coincidence, the band followed “Body of Years” with a cover of “Gouge Away”, which was all the more fitting since the Pixies themselves were actually performing down the street at The Commodore, at the very same moment tonight!

So, that was a fairly technical review, but in my defense, music that is not only complex, but also catchy and sounds fantastic, is fun to pick apart. If you got through my whole review, then either you're not a technical person when it comes to music and I explained things well, and you'll start noticing things that never caught your attention before, when you listen to Mother Mother... or, you are technical with music and I held your interest right up to the conclusion of how mindblowing fantastic Mother Mother is. Check out their new album Eureka (and their other two albums!) Here's the video for “The Stand”, the lead single off the new album, and an mp3 of “O My Heart”, which was featured here in Vancouver at the fireworks and laser light shows during the Olympics, and is the title track off their last album.

Mother Mother - O My Heart (YSI)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mogwai at The Commodore: Cancelled!

I was just writing a concert preview for Mogwai's show at the Commodore this Friday, when I stumbled upon the unfortunate announcement on their website. Apparently they had some visa problems. The band says they hope to be back in Vancouver as soon as they can.

The instrumental rock band holds legendary status in their scene, as one of the most influential post-rock bands of the 2000s. The band rejects the label post-rock though, which I have to agree, is an overanalytical name for such a broad genre. In many cases, I might rather just call it shoegaze, since there are a lot of identifiable similarities between post-rock and shoegaze, and shoegaze generally has more charm, in both nomenclature and musical stylings.

I have to admit, I had to push myself a little to understand why Mogwai chooses to leave vocals out of most their songs. Their guitarist, Stuart Braithwaite says, “I think most people are not used to having no lyrics to focus on. Lyrics are a real comfort to some people. I guess they like to sing along and when they can't do that with us they can get a bit upset.” You really have to just put on a Mogwai album for awhile and sit back; then suddenly it hits you that vocals would really just get in the way of their music.

Without further ado, here's a couple samples of what we'll all be missing this Friday. Keep an eye out in case they reschedule, because a Mogwai show in Vancouver is not to be missed. In the meantime, check out their new album Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will, from which these two tracks were taken.

Mogwai - Rano Pano (YSI)
Mogwai - San Pedro (YSI)

Is it just me, or does it sound like Mogwai was listening to O Children's “Dead Disco Dancer” while they wrote “San Pedro”?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Architecture in Helsinki Gets a Contact High

Architecture in Helsinki is back! In late 2008, just over a year after their last album, they released “That Beep”; it caught my attention as I kept hearing it in clothing stores everywhere (??) and I hoped it was the sign of a new album on the horizon. But, time went by and I thought maybe they did make a new album and it got lost in some record label's internal warfare or something, like I've seen happen to many a good album. I still have no idea what happened, but here's “Contact High”, the lead single (technically the second single) off their new album, Moment Bends. Which, by the way is amazing—see the preview below...

Architecture in Helsinki - Contact High (YSI)
BONUS: I just posted the guitar tabs for “Contact High” at UG.

And here's the video, weird and modernist, a perfect fit for the song.

Album Preview
The new album, Moment Bends, plays like they brainstormed some ideas and settled on “let's make it sound like a greatest hits package, except all the songs will be new and ridiculously catchy.” It feels like almost everything on it could be a radio single, but at the same time, all the songs have a different feel, almost like they were from different eras. For example, I'm listening to “B4 3D” right now and it's kind of a mellow 80s ballad with synthy basso profundo vocals. Now I'm listening to “Escapee”, an almost excessively catchy twee-ish tune, despite the fact it has no real chorus. And now I'm listening to “Desert Island” which has dominating synths and an (obviously) tropical feel to it, with a surprising climactic build at the end.

There's enough catchy songs to spready over a decade of albums. They should have called it “Greatest Hits of This Album”. Moment Bends drops everywhere next week, on May 3!

Architecture in Helsinki is touring at home in Australia and then North America over the next couple months. They're stopping in Vancouver on June 5th and I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two Door Cinema Club at Venue

Two Door Cinema Club, young indie rockers and one of the best things to come out of Ireland lately, made their way to Vancouver's aptly named Venue, a music venue that's done a great job of helping the Biltmore pick up the slack left by the closing of Richard's on Richards, but has as much character as its name. Whatever, no one goes to a rock show for the decor, though it does enhance the mood a bit. I don't know why I'm even mentioning this, but I guess I've been going to the Biltmore and Commodore more lately, both of which have a bit of character and history to them.

Speaking of history, Two Door Cinema Club released their debut album Tourist History last year, after making the rounds on music blogs when they signed with the French fashion-label-gone-record-label Kitsuné two years ago. They became a staple of the Kitsuné Maison at the same time Kitsuné was becoming a staple on the bleeding edge of new music trends. Now they've jumped the puddle to North America and have just finished up their first headlining tour here, ending at Coachella.

Two Door Cinema Club's unique glistening electric rock sound is formed around guitarist Sam Halliday and his magical fingers. Have a listen and see (hear) what I mean. It was recorded at the same studio as Phoenix's last album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, and produced by Cassius, who is also responsible for Chromeo's latest album.

The show got off to a mellow start as the young band members, on their virgin American tour, carefully worked the crowd. Bands always seem surprised at how many fans they have up in Canada, but Vancouver always brings it. By the fourth or fifth song, the band had left the awkwardness behind and found their groove. Singer Alex Trimble seems like a shy ginger kid at first, but damn, in the world of indie rock, his voice is transcendent. He is the only ginger with a soul.

During the show, I kept thinking about what I was going to write, when in the world of music, Two Door Cinema Club isn't all that unique and doesn't really stand out in any way. By the end, I realised the way they stand out is not by doing something different, but by doing what they do and being amazing at it. It was like when my friends ask me, “Why do you always order a burger when we go out?” “Because I like burgers and this place does them really well.” I was well satisfied.

If you're in the UK or Europe, check out Two Door Cinema Club at your nearest summer music festival, including Reading and Leeds, Radio 1's Big Weekend, Isle of Wight and Glastonbury.

Ok, I was just about to give you a sample of Two Door Cinema Club, but I literally just got a message as I logged in, saying my posting of their song “Something Good Can Work” from over two years ago was just deleted for infringement. So, sorry Kitsuné, I love you guys and I know you love when we share your music—music blogs got you where you are today—but apparently IFPI doesn't approve.

So here's a sweet remix and a video instead. Disco electro treatment by Mustang and a nice summery video of Two Door Cinema Club's first hit.

Two Door Cinema Club - What You Know (Mustang Remix) (YSI)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Foals, Freelance Whales and The Naked & Famous at The Commodore

This will not be a concert review of Foals, Freelance Whales and The Naked & Famous.

It's good to be back, Vancouver! I've been on a break, and I was going to return the other night with a (hopefully) fantastic review of one of the Commodore Ballroom's best lineup s this year: Foals, Freelance Whales and The Naked & Famous. But, the night before the show, I was informed that the people organizing the show had cut the entire guestlist. They gave me no explanation, so I imagine they had somehow determined that insulting the press was worth a few extra ticket sales. So, I got to miss one of my most anticipated shows of the year, while my friends, who bought tickets after I introduced them to the bands, went to the show without me. Them's the breaks when you're dealing with the jerks who run the music business. (Except publicists! I love publicists. Their job is literally to make everyone happy; bands, fans, record execs and journalists.)

Now that you know why I don't have a live review for you, there are still three bands that deserve your attention, so I'm going to give them some track reviews instead.

The Naked & Famous - Girls Like You (YSI)
I really should be introducing you to this Kiwi indie rock band with “Punching in a Dream” or “Young Blood”, the two songs that earned them many fond comparisons to MGMT. But, I have played those songs to death, so here's one with a little less radio flavour and a little more beauty. “Girls Like You” builds slowly over three verses before it hits the epic chorus of Thom and Alisa harmonizing with “Don't you know people write songs about girls like you?”

And, here's the really random, low-budget video they made for “Punching in a Dream”.

Freelance Whales - Generator ^ First Floor (YSI)
This band has a lot of variety, blending each song into a different ratio of electropop, indie synth-rock and folk. I suppose I would call them baroque pop—a rock band that likes to use tingly synths and folk instruments like a banjo, a harmonium and a glockenspiel. This song is famous from a Starbucks commercial, so not much more needs to be said. It's unique and it will stick in your head.

The sequel, “Generator ^ 2nd Floor” has a strange and enchanting video. Check it out.

Foals - Miami (YSI)
I still have no clue what "math rock" means, but I'll speculate that the geniuses of Foals devised a secret formula for creating a raw, sexy beat. The “Miami” video is less than sexy, but in a cheeky way. But, I can't show you the video here, due to the bumbling executives at Warner Music Group, so you'll have to find it on your own.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Morcheeba at The Commodore

The radiantly beautiful Skye Edwards took the stage, calm and cool, with no dramatic effect, and went straight into Morcheeba's biggest fan favourite, “The Sea”. She has made an elegant return to Morcheeba and, despite the turmoil that saw her two-album and 7-year departure, she seems to have hardly skipped a beat. The second number detoured the show into an unexpected reggae medley of “Friction”, a track from their second album that most casual fans would not likely know, but I think the intended effect was to warm up the crowd with a danceable beat, and it worked wonderfully.

They continued cruising through the hits collection with “Otherwise” and “Never An Easy Way”, reminding the crowd of their glorious reign over downtempo electronic music in the late 90s and early 2000s. And then, it was time to show the crowd that Morcheeba, indeed, has not skipped a beat since Skye's return. Morcheeba has a reputation for, with every new album, adding at least a handful of what the fans would call “classics”. Their new album, Blood Like Lemonade, clearly follows the trend. First, Skye and the band hit us with “Even Though”, which sounds a lot like old-school Morcheeba. Then, after pleasing the Vancouver crowd with a great cover of “a song about drugs” by Arlo Guthrie (yeah, I had to look it up—it's “Coming Into Los Angeles”), they officially introduced the new album with the title track, “Blood Like Lemonade”. Morcheeba's sound has evolved minimally over the years, with the exception of the two albums absent Skye Edwards, but “Blood Like Lemonade” and then “Crimson”, made it crystal clear that Morcheeba is not just riding on the coattails of their own past success.

“Crimson” was really the peak of Skye's slow crescendo that night. She sang the chorus, “Hellbound, hopeless for you” with wave after wave of fiery passion in her voice. To be honest, I was so mesmerized, I decided at that moment, that this woman has just taken her place among what I consider the most transcendent voices in music. Then, after bouncing a few old non-hits off the crowd for the older fans, it was time for some crowd participation as Skye led us into “Beat of the Drum”, from the new album, which turned out to be the most aggressive and powerful song of the night. The crowd chanted “TO THE BEAT OF THE DRUM!” while Skye egged us on until we were louder than our Seattle rivals at the previous tour stop.

The band closed with the “Blindfold”, a beautiful track off their second album Big Calm, and one of my favourites. The instant it was over, the band slipped away behind the curtains and the crowd erupted in a roar like nothing I have heard at The Commodore before. The band returned quickly and graciously showered us with a triple encore. The encore was essentially a medley, blending the acoustic “Over and Over” through to a mash up of “Be Yourself” with Lady Gaga's “Just Dance”, followed by “Rome Wasn't Built in a Day”, which featured a Bond themed intro, with Skye singing “From Russia with Love”.

Morcheeba - Even Though (Mustang Remix) (YSI)

Morcheeba - Blood Like Lemonade, starring Robert Forster

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Darwin Deez at The Media Club (Vancouver)

People call him a hipster, but when Darwin Deez and his merry band of misfits took the stage, it was quickly apparent that they are actually a group of awkward guys who lose all inhibition when they are in their musical element. There is no Bohemian snobbery, just some really catchy guitar-based pop songs and some whimsical numbers of interpretive dance to famous songs, scattered throughout the Darwin Deez live set.

He only has one album under his belt so far, so he played everyone's favourite song, whether it was the apologetic love poem of “Up in the Clouds”, the clever de-personification of his new uninhibiting lady friend in “Radar Detector” or the dark wishes of endless annoyances upon his non-friend in “Bad Day”. As the show progressed, the dance numbers slowly faded into awkward yet entertaining stage banter, with Darwin repeating his catchphrase, “It just got Coldplay in this bitch!” after every song, and asking us how we say “Cheers!” in Canadian. By this point, his guitarist was loosening up and throwing in all sorts of seamless, yet out-of-key, riffs into the songs. I have a thing for bands that have the ability (and the balls) to throw out the musical math, and the Darwin Deez band has it in spades.

Near the end of the set, Darwin introduced his new rap mixtape Wonky Beats, entirely sampled from Willy Wonka and featuring Das Racist. All his band members participated, dropping beats and raps over the wonky beats. Cole the Guitarist even performed a continuation of Das Racist's hilarious “Shorty Said” — “Shorty said she wants to have a twosome/That's gruesome.” When they finally left the stage, the crowd shouted for an encore while Darwin and his band struggled between their nonconformity (encores are such an overdone routine) and the pressure of their fans to give them one last goodbye, which they did.

Darwin has a few US dates left before he heads to the UK and Germany, followed by an extensive Australian tour in April. His self-titled debut has been out for nearly a year, but is now getting it's official US release through Lucky Number on February 22nd! Cop it at your local record store!

Darwin Deez - Candyman (feat. Donovan Deez) (YSI) from the Wonky Beats Mixtape

Previously: Darwin Deez Q&A

GIVERS at The Biltmore

GIVERS were just starting their new single, “Up Up Up” when I arrived. It was love at first listen back in 2009 when I was among the first to hear and write about them, but this was love on a whole new level. Some bands are great on record and still manage to multiply their energy tenfold for their live show. The song began with an insane drum intro, then frontman Taylor Guarisco's vocals crashed in like a hurricane, rolling his eyes back and jumping around like a mad cowboy.

They started with their lead single, and things only got better from there. Tiffany Lamson, the other side of GIVERS' boy/girl vocal team, wowed the crowd with her dynamic vocals and instrumental ability, quickly jumping from drums to glockenspiel to ukulele. Halfway through the set, a couple of members from headlining band Ra Ra Riot came onstage to accompany GIVERS on violin and electric cello. Unless I missed it at the beginning, they didn't play my favourite, “Ceiling of Plankton”, which was the only downside to one of the tightest and most creative live shows I have ever seen.

This was the last show of their tour with Ra Ra Riot, but check them out at SXSW in March and Sasquatch in May! You can download their debut EP and a new promo for their upcoming debut LP at their Bandcamp page.

GIVERS - Saw You First (YSI)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Darwin Deez Q&A and Tour Preview

Darwin Deez is best described by random YouTube comments. Watch one of his music videos and you'll find comments like “i feel so much more hipster after watching this video”, “hes so retardedly happy” and “This guy is definitely Moss of The IT Crowd.”

He has just started his first headlining tour in North America and we'll be seeing him on Monday at The Media Club in Vancouver. Before his tour kicked off, we wrote him to answer a few questions.

SK: Hey Darwin! Glad to have you here on Silence Killer, if only by email. I understand you're back home in North America for another tour. How was the UK tour with Little Comets?
DD: Love those guys so much. They are so so so sweet. And manly. We had a good time prank calling their music biz contacts at 2 am in a Travelodge. And they rock.

SK: A lot of bands are terrible at describing their own music within traditional genres. Tell me about your music, using big and unusual words.
DD: It's heliocentric and electrochemical...not. Ummm, it's minimal. If i say it's minimalistic is that a bigger word? It's simple and funkadociously fresh. I don't like big words, I guess. I like to be very clear and specific as much as possible! I always just call it homemade, authentic indie pop/rock.

SK: Math time. ____ + ____ = Darwin Deez. First things that come to mind. Don't say MGMT + Yo Gabba Gabba. Those are mine.
DD: Thriller + Dismemberment Plan?

SK: Where do you go when your creative parts are in need of new inspiration?
DD: I don't know. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I guess. My parents' house, in other words.

SK: I think your jheri curl/pornstache combo is a perfect fit for the Deez steez. Do people ever make awkward comments about it, or tug your curls to see if they're real?
DD: Thank you! It's something. I like the way they both frame my face so I've kept them. And it's good to be recognizable in this business. And yes comments, and yes tugging.

SK: What do you do in the "green room" to prepare yourself before your set?
DD: Eat Asian food, I guess. And hope it doesn't sit too heavy in there while I'm dancing around like an idiot!

SK: Often when I go to a concert, the band says that they love the audience and it's their favourite place to play, but sometimes I think they just say that to every audience. What is your actual favourite place you've played?
DD: Seattle. But Vancouver was also a great show (that's the stage persona talking). We were opening for Bishop Allen and Throw Me the Statue last year and we actually got encored. As an opener!

SK: Tell me one popular band/singer/musician you're into right now, and one not-popular one. Then tell me your favourite album of 2010.
DD: One popular band I'm into is the Floyd. I'm having a moment for Dark Side of the Moon this week. A not popular one is my friend Jacob Ciocci's noise band, Extreme Animals. My favorite album of 2010 is Shut Up, Dude by Das Racist. Their first mixtape. Genius.

SK: I love your lyrics. You definitely stand out, lyrically, amongst the bands I'm into right now. What is the cleverest line you've written?
DD: Sweet, thank you! I think it might have been this rap couplet: “Rayanne Graf takin' a spray tan bath with Ray Bans on / the gay man's gone / for Christmas / Ricki / chasin' Angela Chase / wish she / was my so-called wife.” But you have to be a My So-Called Life fan to get it. Maybe “You are a radar detector...[because] you are always looking out for me.” That one's for everybody, but again you have to be familiar with an uncommon piece of electronics to get it!

SK: That's all! Any parting words for my readers and your fans?
DD: Please come to our show in Vancouver and check out myspace.com/friendsband and listen to “Friend Crush.” This band of our buddies will be gigging with us and it's one of my favorite songs of 2010. It's actually worth visiting myspace for!

Darwin will be at The Media Club in Vancouver on Monday, supported by Fol Chen, followed by twenty US dates, ending in New York City. Pick up his self-titled album anywhere or come see him live! I hear he likes dancing.