Tag: Calgary AB

Emerging Vancouver-based indie pop act Vox Rea — siblings Kate Kurdyak (lead vocals, piano, guitar, bass), her sister Lauren Kurdyak (vocals, piano) their childhood friend Kaitlyn Hansen-Boucher (vocals, percussion) and Mitchell Schaumberg (vocals, piano, guitar, bass) can trace some of their origins back to when the Kurdyak Sisters and Hansen-Boucher singing in choirs together as children.

Lifelong academics at heart, the Kurdyaks attended a small liberal arts schools in the mountains, where Kate studied philosophy and Lauren studied ecology. And while at the school, they met Mitchell Schaumberg and started playing school parties under the name BEEF. Although they started the band as a lighthearted endeavor, the trio quickly realized the creative chemistry they all shared, and would later meet up all over the world for late night, liquor-fueled writing sessions that would eventually comprise Vox Rea’s earliest material. But more on that later. . . .

The Kurdyak Sisters and Hansen-Boucher formed the indie pop trio The Katherines, which released their full-length debut To Bring You My Heart back in 2017 through 604 Records. The album amassed over one million Spotify steams with songs off the album appear on a number of prominent playlists including New Music Friday, Pop All Day, Hot Hits Canada, Indie Pop Chillout and the Canada Viral 50 chart. The Katherines were featured in a number of major media outlets including Vice, MTV, Vancouver Sun, the National Post — and they’ve performed on morning shows in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver.

Accompanied by a top-notch backing band, the members of The Katherines have toured across Canada and have made stops along the national festival circuit. including Rifflandia, NXNE, Juno Fest, Canada Day Vancouver and Denim on the Diamond, among others. And adding to a growing profile, the trio had songs appear on TV shows like Orphan Black, Reboot and The Order.

The Vancouver-based quartet’s latest project together Vox Rea is a bit of a sonic and stylistic departure. Citing influences that range from Arcade Fire to Friedrich Nietzsche, the members of Vox Rea, the act’s full-length debut chronicles a group of artists trying to come to terms with their generation’s place in the larger human story — and thematically, the album’s material touches upon addiction, self-doubt. lust, identity. independence and grief. And as a result, the album can be seen as a soundtrack to the confusion and euphoria of coming of age in a world seemingly on the verge of annihilation. The band’s unique brand of noir pop finds them crafting material that features classically inspired string arrangements, three part harmonies, brooding atmospherics and a seamless mesh of digital and analog while underpinned with raw emotionality.

Written in collaboration between the Kurdyaks, Hansen-Boucher, Schaumberg, Luca Fogale, Begonia, and Joël, their Connor Seidel, Tim Buron, Derek Hoffman and Joel Stouffer-co-produced Vox Rea full-length debut was written in apartments in Vancouver, Toronto, Berlin, Montreal and Boston — and was recorded during a snowy winter in the Quebec forests.

Vox Rea’s latest single “Dose Me Up” is a slow-burning, atmospheric ballad centered around a stunningly gorgeous lead vocal and three part harmonies, twinkling piano, brief bursts of shimmering guitar, stuttering drumming and electronic plinks and a soaring hook. Sonically speaking, the track may draw comparisons to Cloud Castle Lake‘s gorgeous Malingerer, PJ Harvey and others but with all the sturm und drang of one’s 20s.

New Video: AMAARA Releases a Cinematic and Expressive Visual for “Desert Storm”

Kaelen Ohm is a British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and award-winning filmmaker. As an actor, Ohm is known for roles in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, NBC’s Taken, MGM’s Condor, Lifetime Network’s Flint and several others. Ohm is also the creative mastermind behind the the multimedia project AMAARA. Interestingly, upon receiving the news that she was cast as a series regular in the Netflix original series Hit and Run, Ohm left Calgary with six songs off her forthcoming album Heartspeak completed. (Of course, much like everything else Hit and Run was impacted by COVID-19: the series’ first season was filmed in NYC last fall and they were filming in Israel when pandemic-related quarantines put this on hiatus, four weeks out from wrapping up thee season.)

Officially released today through Lady Moon Records, Heartspeak continues her ongoing collaboration with Reuben and the Dark‘s Brock Geier, and the album is the result of ten days of stream-of-consciousness-based songwriting, recording and production in Geiger’s bedroom studio. The material can trace its origins to the British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and filmmaker sitting at the piano or with a guitar first thing each morning until a song was found — with the two collaborating on production and instrumental work, spending each day laying down tracks. But at its core, the album’s material was written as the culmination of life-changing heartbreak and the end of a marriage, and was a result is a deeply lived-in meditation on love, grief and self-evaluation. 

I’ve written about two of the album’s singles so far: the slow-burning and brooding “Awake” and the shoegazy Mazzy Star and Lightfoils-like “Gone,” both of which came from a place of lived-in grief and heartache, in which each narrator learns to accept them as a natural part of life that have to be lived with and through. “Desert Storm,”  the album’s third single is an brooding track that has two clearly delineated sections: a sparsely arranged introduction with twinkling keys, that slowly builds up into a brooding and cinematic bit of synth pop with thumping beats, fluttering synths; but the song is held together by atmospheric electronics and Ohm’s achingly plaintive vocals.  Much like the previously released material, “Desert Storm” is informed by heartache — in particular, life altering moments that wound up deeply changing us and the paths our lives will take. And while in the middle immeasurable pain, we don’t see that what we’re going through at that moment is profoundly important. 

Directed, produced and edited by Ohm, the incredibly cinematic visual is shot in the middle of the desert and features the Canadian-born artist expressively dancing with a collective of acclaimed dancers including Denzel Chisolm, Sohey Sugihara, Alekz Samone, Sarah Francis Jones dancing an expressive, hip-hop tinged moves choreographed by Tatiana Parker. Each and every moment from the dancers feels like a cathartic release of something previously pent up. 

New Video: AMAARA Releases Two Gorgeous and Dreamy Videos

Kaelen Ohm is a British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and award-winning filmmaker. As an actor, Ohm is known for roles in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, NBC’s Taken, MGM’s Condor, Lifetime Network’s Flint and several others. In 2018, Ohm appeared in Charles Wahl’s short film Little Grey Bubbles, which premiered at ten Oscar qualifying festivals worldwide, including SXSW. The film was featured as a Staff Pick on Vimeo, earned best actress and best short film award nominations and received widespread praise from critics and blogs across the globe. 

Ohm is also the creative mastermind behind the the multimedia project AMAARA. Upon getting the news that she was cast a series regular in the new Netflix original series Hit and Run, Ohm left Calgary with six songs off her forthcoming album Heartspeak completed. Hit and Run was filmed in New York last fall and was filming in Israel and  was put on pause, four weeks out from wrapping up their first season as a result of COVID-19 quarantines and social distancing guidelines. 

Heartspeak, which continues her ongoing collaboration with Reuben and the Dark’s Brock Geier, is the result of ten days of stream-of-consciousness songwriting, recording and production in Geiger’s bedroom studio. Written completely by Ohm, the material can trace its origins to the British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and filmmaker sitting at the piano or with a guitar first thing each morning until a song was found — with the two collaborating on production and instrumental work, spending each day laying down tracks. Written as a culmination of a life-changing heartbreak and the end of a marriage, the album’s material is a meditation on love, grief, freedom and self-evaluation. 

Slated for an August 14, 2020 release through Lady Moon Records, Ohm and Geier have released two singles from the album. “Awake,” a slow-burning and brooding single centered around shimmering guitar, twinkling keys, a soaring hook and Ohm’s plaintive vocals — and “Gone,” a decidedly shoegazey track featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats. And while respectively bringing Mazzy Star and Lightfoils to mind, both tracks come from a place of lived-in grief and heartache, accepting them as a natural part of life that one experiences and learns to live with — and through. 

The accompanying videos were directed and by Ohm. “Gone” employs a simple concept of Ohm performing the song by herself in the desert — but the video features a cinematic sweep that makes its creator seem tiny. “Awake,” features Ohm traveling a surreal and unusually empty New York. And while capturing the experience of wandering New York during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a commentary of on how the jarring experience of realizing one’s own illusion of perfection can be an awakening experience. 

The acclaimed New York-based electronic duo and JOVM mainstays Sofi Tukker — comprised of Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern — have been widely celebrated for an inclusive, global take on electronic music that thematically is centered around self-empower, unity and liberation. The debut single “Drinkee” received a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Dance Recording — and they continued an extraordinary run of success with their full-length debut, Treehouse receiving a Grammy Award-nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album.
Building upon a growing international profile, the duo’s releases have gone Gold or Platinum on every continent on this planet, excluding Antarctica. They’ve played sold out shows and festival stops across the planet, and they’ve performed on some of the world’s most beloved shows including Italy’s X-Factor, the UK’s Sunday Brunch, Russia’s Late Show and Japan’s BuzzRhythm, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and most recently Good Morning America.  Additionally, the duo have a long-held reputation for being passionate activists, who have raised funds an awarenesses for a number of different causes including Planned Parenthood, The Trevor Project, and March For Our Lives.
Slated for a September 20, 2019 release, DANCING ON THE PEOPLE EP is the duo’s much-anticipated follow-up to their highly-successful full-length debut. And the EP’s latest single “Purple Hat” is a joyous, club banger that stars with a breezy Brazilian Tropicalia intro before quickly turning into a thumping club banger centered around tweeter and woofer rocking low-end, a funky, strummed and looped guitar line, an enormous, crowd pleasing hook and Bhangra-like percussion while Hawley-Weld and Halpern trade vocal lines about a wild and joyous party, in which the attendees let go of pretense and facades and let their freak flags proudly flow. It’s a joyous song that says “come all, be yourself — and most important, shake that ass and show ’em what you working with!” Considering the hate and opposition we’ve been inundated with over the past few years, this song feels necessary.
“We wrote ‘Purple Hat’ the day after our first Animal Talk party,” the duo explains. “We started throwing these parties to bring back the wild and inclusive dancing vibe to the nightclub experience. Tuck was literally wearing a purple hat and a cheetah print shirt, people were climbing on top o people, it was over-sold and sweaty, our favorite people were packed in the booth, everyone was loose AF and feeling themselves. It was wild. Every Animal Talk party since then has been like that, and we wanted to capture that raw feeling in a song. If there was a song that included everything we are about, this would be the one.”
The duo will be embarking on a lengthy North American and European tour that they’ve dubbed The R.I.P. Shame World Tour to support the release of their new EP to close out the year. This tour, Hawley-Weld and Halpern are on “a mission to kill shame one loose dance party at at time.” Up-and-coming Aussie dance pop act Haiku Hands and DJ/producer LP Giobbi will be opening for the acclaimed JOVM mainstays for all of their North American tour dates, which includes an October 24, 2019 stop at Avant Gardner’s Great Hall. You can check out the tour dates below, along with a link to buy tickets. 
This tour finds the duo supporting the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization decided to building better lives for millions of Americans affected by mental illness and their local affiliates. $1 from each ticket sold during each US stop will go to support NAMI and heir programs and services through PLUS1. For the Vancouver show, $1 from each ticket sold will go to support Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA)’s Native Youth Health and Wellness Centre, providing culturally-relevant, welcoming, accessible health and wellness services to Indigenous youth. The centre is a safe, accessible health clinic, where Indigenous youth can feel comfortable seeking support for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. And in Calgary, $1 from each ticket sold with go to a local organization that supports mental health initiatives, bringing dignity, equity, and access to communities who need it.
Tour Dates:
North American Headline Tour
10/2: Calgary, AB @ The Palace
10/4: Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
10/6: Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
10/7: Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo
10/9: Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
10/10: Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Expo Hall
10/13: Tucson, AZ @ The Rialto Theatre
10/15: Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
10/16: Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater
10/17: Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
10/19: New Orleans, LA @ The Joy Theater
10/21: Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West
10/23: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
10/24: Brooklyn, NY @ Avant Gardner Great Hall
11/17: Mexico City, MX @ Corona Capital
European Headline Tour
11/20: Dublin, Ireland @ Vicar Street
11/22: Manchester, UK @ Gorilla
11/23: London, UK @ Electric Brixton
11/25: Frankfurt, DE @ Gibson Club
11/26: Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
11/27: Rotterdam, NL @ Maassilo
111/28: Paris, FR @ Elysee Montmartre
12/1: Hamburg, DE @ Markthalle
12/2:  Cologne, DE @ Carlswerk
12/3: Munich, DE @ Technikum
12/5: Vienna, AT @ Arena Wien
12/6: Bern, Switzerland @ Bierhubeli
12/9: Zurich, CH @ Harterei Club
12/10: Brussels, BE @ Botanique Orangerie
​​​​​​​12/12: Berlin, DE @ Tempodrom

New Video: Watch Up-and-Coming Canadian Act Mauno Go Through a Bizarre Endurance Test in Visuals for “Vampire”

The Halifax, Nova Scotia-based band Mauno’s forthcoming album Really Well is slated for an August 2, 2019 release through Tin Angel Records, and the album, which was recorded at Chad VanGaalen’s Calgary, Alberta9-based studio reportedly finds the band — Eliza Niemi (vocals, bass), Nick Everett (vocals, guitar), Scott Boudreau (guitar) and Adam White (drums) — exploring the creases in intimacy, authenticity and labor and their preoccupations with the nature of creative labor, relationships and the self under capitalism. But while rooted in serious, daily concerns, the band notes that their critiques are filtered through a lens of the absurd, which gives them a playful, ridiculous air. “There’s something about humour and laughter that is very subversive and deeper than I think a lot of people realize,” the band’s Eliza Niemi says in press notes. “With these songs, I was trying to sort of dance on the one.” Adds the band’s Nick Everett, “There’s a double meaning to everything. You have to leave space for people to think. Where is the place for the listener if they’re not going to contribute their own thoughts or their own interpretations?” 

Really Well’s latest single “Vampire” is a slow-burning track centered around shimmering guitars, shuffling drums, plaintive vocals and a soaring hook that recalls 120 Minutes-era like alt rock while being a playful and uplifting song that focuses on the pride and utter ridiculousness of being in creative labor in a capitalist world. 

Directed by Max Taeuschel, the recently released video stars the band’s songwriting duo Eliza Niemi and Nick Everett in a bizarre endurance test, in which they’re challenged to continue performing the song while exhausting themselves on stationary bikes. Shooting the duo over an uninterrupted hour or so in an empty gym, the video’s surreal and absurd quality is a bit of an unsettling contrasts the song’s uplifting tone, Interestingly, the video also serves a deeper metaphor for being a musician and promoting your creative work — in other words, you work hard and never seem to feel as though you’re going anywhere. 

HERO is an up-and-coming Calgary, Alberta, Canada-born, Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based electronic music producer, multi-instrumentalist and electronic music artist. With the release of “Dirty Work” and “The Juice” off his forthcoming Dirty Work EP, the Canadian electronic music artist and producer emerged into prominence both nationally and elsewhere. “Dirty Work” received praise from the likes of MTV Latin AmericaComplexbooooooom tv and others while, “The Juice” was featured in an episode of HBO’s Insecure; in fact, the song was so well received that they actually wrote HERO into the script, with a character referring to him as “the black Daft Punk.” 

Certainly, with “Stay the Night,” the reference to the Canadian producer and artist as “the black Daft Punk” sounds and feels incredibly fitting, as the sensual and retro-futuristic club banger recalls Homework and Discovery-era Daft Punk, as its centered around a propulsive and sensual groove, arpeggiated synths, vocoder-fed vocals and an undeniable, infectious hook. 

 

 

New Video: The Cinematic and Dreamy Visuals for Rueben and the Dark’s Anthemic Album Single “Dreaming”

Led by primary songwriter and creative mastermind Rueben Bullock and featuring multi-insturmetnalist and vocalists Shea Alain, Brock Geiger, Ian Jarvis and Dino Soares, the Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based indie folk act Rueben and the Dark have […]

Born Elizabeth Lowell Boland, Lowell is Calgary, Alberta, Canada-born singer/songwriter and up-and-coming pop artist, who spent time living in Carcross, Yukon Territories, near a mountain that once offered passage to gold hunters — and was also once a preying haven for wolves; the up-and-coming pop artist has also spent time living in Massachusetts, Ottawa, Georgia and Calgary, before splitting her time between Toronto and London, UK.

Early within her career, she won the attention of Martin Terefe, who has worked with KT Tunstall, James Blunt and Jason Mraz; Sacha Skarbek, who has worked with Lana Del Rey, Adele and Miley Cyrus; James Bryan, who has worked with Nelly Furtado and The Philosopher Kings; and Paul Herman, who has worked with Dido.  The quartet of songwriters and producers invited them to London’s Kensaltown Studios to write with them; however, what they all worked on wasn’t in sync with Lowell’s vision, so they scrapped what they had and started over again with the end result being her I Killed Sara V. EP and her full-length debut, We Loved Her Dearly, which was released on renowned indie label Arts & Crafts Records. Both efforts received attention for songs, which openly focused on topics like sexual abuse, rape, abortion, women’s rights, the lack of LGBTQ rights, as well as our cultural ignorance about (and simultaneous) obsession with homosexuality.

Ultimately, Lowell’s first efforts were fueled by the need to empower her and her listeners to challenge gender conventions and inspire freedom from social limitations, rules and misogynists’ abuse of power, and to celebrate and uphold individuality — and while those are understandably heavy and urgent subjects, the up-and-coming pop artist pairs that with accessible, downright radio friendly melodies and upbeat vibes. Much like Fela Kuti and others, she’s used music as a weapon — suggesting as they did, you can challenge social norms and speak truth to power while dancing. Interestingly, Lowell remained friends with Terefe et. al. and it lead to her working with Terefe as a member of his band Apparatjik, and to her mini album If You Can Solve This Jumble. Following that, it lead to four days of writing and recording with A-ha’s Magne Furuholmen, Coldplay‘s Guy Berryman, Mew‘s Jonas Bjerre and Terefe, who she joined onstage at 2012’s Roskilde Festival.

After the release of her full-length debut, Lowell took up residency in her own studio space, where she began writing for other artists, including Icona Pop, Dragonette, Netsky, Grandtheft and Bulow, and where she also spent time working at writing, producing and practicing her craft, as well as guitar and piano (which she is classically trained), so that she could be ready for a self-financed UK tour, where she was backed by a drummer. Since then, she’s played showcases at Canadian Music Week, CMJ, Sled Island, and performed at David Lynch’s Club Silencio in Paris, headlined in Oslo and Copenhagen, opened for Chad Valley in Berlin, Padova and London; and opened for The Raveonettes in Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid.

Lowell’s sophomore effort Lone Wolf was recently released on Friday, and the album’s material focus on the power an influence of youth — particular as a teenager, but from a more mature viewpoint; from someone, looking back on their own youth as an adult, who isn’t too far removed from it. And as a result, the album thematically focuses on self-discovery while retaining the upbeat, anthemic and dance floor friendly production that has won her attention.  In fact, the album’s first single “War Face” is an infectious and soulful track centered around an arrangement featuring bluesy guitar, handclaps, a propulsive battle rhythm and an infectious shout worthy hook that brings to mind The Black Keys and Alice Merton, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Calgary, AB-based indie rock/darkwave/New Wave/post-punk act Ultrviolence. And throughout their history, the band has developed a reputation for purposefully adhering to old-school DIY principles, for frequently ignoring the clichés and dictates of the music industry machine and perhaps most important, for a sound that draws from the likes of Joy Division, Interpol, Preoccupations and others.

Since the release of last year’s Black Sea EP, the band has gone through a massive lineup change with Nate Jespersen (vocals, bass), the sole founding and original member, collaborating with several members of Vancouver, BC-based indie rock band ACTORS on the project’s much-anticipated, Jason Corbett  (of ACTORS) produced follow-up to Black Sea EP, Forty Knives EP.  Forty Knives finds Jespersen and the new lineup building upon the moody, post-punk sound that first caught the attention of this site and the blogosphere — while thematically focusing on the dark and seemingly unending solitude that arises when one allows themselves to be completely isolated from the world.

Guillotine,” the EP’s first single was a hauntingly moody and atmospheric track in which the band paired jangling guitar chords played through reverb and delay pedal, shimmering synths, a propulsive bass line and metronomic drumming with Jespersen’s equally moody baritone vocals. And interestingly enough, the song managed to evoke the lingering and embittering ghosts and ill-feelings of a particularly dysfunctional and/or ambivalent relationship; the awareness of time passing by and of the built-in regret that you’ve squandered the most valuable and important commodity you’ll ever know — time;  and that feeling of stepping away from the wreckage of a lengthy relationship and not quite knowing what to do next or how to even go about it. The EP’s second and latest single “Shadows of the Thief” is a swirling and jangling song held together with an angular and propulsive bass line paired with Jespersen’s crooning baritone. And while nodding at Joy Division, Interpol and Preoccupations, complete with a rousing and anthemic hook, the song possesses a subtly bitter yet dreamy and lonely undertone.