Tag: Polaris Music Prize

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Rich Aucoin Returns with an Ode to Resilience in Our Dark Times

Throughout the better part of this year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist Rich Aucoin, and as you’d likely recall, Aucoin has spent time as collaborator and guest musician in his older brother Paul’s band Hylozoists before quickly developing a reputation an an attention grabbing solo artist. In fact, Aucoin’s 2007 debut EP Personal Publication was a concept album conceived and written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas — and he supported the effort with a cross-Canada tour made entirely by bicycle to raise money for  Childhood Cancer Canada.

After completing the tour to support Personal Publication EP, Aucoin joined his brother’s band and toured with them; but as the story goes, because of a sudden shift from regular and extremely strenuous exercise to virtually no exercise, Aucoin eventually suffered through a debilitating iron deficiency. Once he recuperated, Aucoin went on yet another solo tour in which he ran partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. During both of those early solo tours, Aucoin spent time writing 2011’s full-length debut We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. Aucoin’s debut was long-listed as a nominee for 2012’s Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013. Building up on a growing profile, the Nova Scotian producer and electronic music artist released his critically applauded Ephemeral back in 2014.

Released earlier this year, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in about four years, and EP singles like the sprawling and propulsive “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle”  and the jangling guitar pop meets synth pop  “The Fear.” further cement Aucoin’s reputation for crafting infectious and anthemic yet thoughtful pop. The EP’s latest single “The Dream” is a slow-burning and wistful track that pairs the Canadian producer and electronic music artist’s tender falsetto over a production centered around twinkling and plinking keys, bursts of handclaps,  and a propulsive and strutting bass line. And yet, the song manages to evoke something the narrator longs for the deep down, he recognizes he might not be able to fully achieve it; that sometimes you get what you need and not what you want. But there’s a hopefulness that suggests that sometimes just having a dream is necessary to survival. As Aucoin explained in press notes, “‘The Dream’ is a song about the contentment we can feel at an individual level when daydreaming or imagining a different world. It’s not about the achieving of making that world come to reality but looks at the various therapeutic benefits from such an endeavour. Whether it be imagining a time where you are not heartbroken, in an estrangement, or in conflict with the changes in your life, that power to picture yourself beyond the given moment is a useful tool for accepting the way things are and getting to that new spot, ‘The Dream.’”
Directed by Mike Bromley, the recently released video for “The Dream” was filmed in Los Angeles and it follows Aucoin, who plays an aspiring actor, and although he does suffer through some early rejection, he continues to be persistent — and with a smile, no less as he strives for the dream he wants to achieve. 

New Audio: New JOVM Mainstay Rich Aucoin Releases a Dreamy, New Single

Now, over the first few months of the year, I’ve written quite a bit about the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist Rich Aucoin. And as you may recall, Aucoin has spent time as a collaborator and guest musician in older brother Paul Aucoin’s band Hylozoists before developing a reputation as an attention grabbing solo artist. Aucoin’s 2007 debut EP Personal Publication was a concept album conceived and written as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The Canadian artist supported that effort with a cross-Canada tour entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. Upon completing his solo tour, Aucoin joined his brother’s band and toured with them; but because of a sudden shift from regular and extremely strenuous exercise to virtually no exercise, Aucoin eventually suffered through a debilitating iron deficiency. Once he recuperated though, he went on another solo tour, running partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

During both of his early solo tours, Aucoin spent time writing and recording the material, which would comprise his 2011 full-length effort, We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. We’re All Dying to Live was long-listed as a nominee for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize — and the video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” won a Prism Prize in 2013. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the Canadian electronic music artist released his 2014, critically applaud album Ephemeral. 

Released today, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in over 4 years, and the EP features the sprawling and propulsive club banger “Release”, the swooning M83-like “The Middle”  and the jangling, club banging electro pop and indie rock amalgamation, “The Fear.” The EP’s latest single “The Dream” is a slow-burning track in which Aucoin’s tender falsetto is paired with twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, bursts of handclaps, bursts of mournful horns — and in some way, the song seems to evoke something that the song’s narrator longs for, but deep down knows he can never fully achieve; in fact, there are countless times in which it seems as though much of what you’ve desired or felt you deserved is often out of reach, and that such things leave lingering and embittering reminders. 

Interestingly, as Rich Aucoin explains in press notes. “‘The Dream’ is a song about the contentment we can feel at an individual level when daydreaming or imagining a different world. It’s not about the achieving of making that world come to reality but looks at the various therapeutic benefits from such an endeavour. Whether it be imagining a time where you are not heartbroken, in an estrangement, or in conflict with the changes in your life, that power to picture yourself beyond the given moment is a useful tool for accepting the way things are and getting to that new spot, ‘The Dream.’”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you would have come across a couple of posts featuring the Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist Rich Aucoin. Aucoin has spent time as a collaborator and guest musician inches older brother Paul’s band Hylozoists before developing a reputation as an attention grabbing solo artist; in fact, his  2007 debut Personal Publication EP was a concept album designed as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He supported that effort by going on a cross-Canada tour entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. After he completed his solo tour, he rejoined Hylozoists on their town; however, because of a sudden shit from regular, strenuous exercise to virtually no exercise, Aucoin eventually suffered through an iron deficiency. Once he recuperated, he went on another solo tour, running partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

During both of his early solo tours, Aucoin spent time writing and recording the material, which would comprise his 2011 full-length effort, We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. The album was long-listed as a nominee for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize, with the music video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” winning a Prism Prize in 2013. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Aucoin then released his critically applauded, 2014 effort Ephemeral. 

Slated for a March 16, 2018 release, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in over 4 years, and as you may recall the EP’s first single “Release” featured live drumming from Broken Social Scene‘s Justin Peroff in a sprawling yet propulsive, club banger that draws from house music and boom-bap era hip-hop, centered around laws of arpeggiated synths. The EP’s second single “The Middle” was swooning track that may remind some listeners of M83, as it possessed a soaring hook that evokes an earnest and swooning yearning.

The EP’s latest single “The Fear” continues in a similar vein as its predecessors as it’s a jangling and rousingly anthemic instrumental track consisting of propulsive drumming, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, jangling guitar and chopped up vocal samples — and interestingly enough, the track manages to be a trippy synthesis of club banging electro pop and anthemic indie rock.

Aucoin’s PRESS ON tour to support Hold EP will feature him bicycling from city to city to raise awareness for mental health — with the Canadian artist raising awareness for mental health by bicycling from city to city and donating 100% of the tour proceeds to Mental Health America and The Canadian Mental Health Association. The tour will include an tour opening stop at Brooklyn’s newest venue Elsewhere. Check out the tour dates below.

 

Tour Dates:
2/27: Brooklyn, NY @ Elsewhere
3/26: Los Angeles, CA @ Bardot
4/6: Phoenix, AZ @ TBA
4/11: Flagstaff, NM @ The Hive
4/19: Albuquerque, NM @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge
4/26: Amarillo, TX @ The 806
5/3: Oklahoma City, OK @ The Root
5/4: Norman, OK @ Opolis
5/11: Little Rock, AR @ TBA
5/16: Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone
5/23: Nashville, TN @ TBA
5/31: Knoxville, TN @ Birdhouse
6/20: Washington, DC @ DC9
6/23: Baltimore, MD @ The Crown
6/26: Philadelphia, PA @ PhilaMOCA

New Video: The Vivid Animated Visuals for Rich Aucoin’s Swooning, New Single “The Middle”

Rich Aucoin is a Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist, known as a collaborator and guest musician of his older brother Paul Aucoin’s band Hylozoists — and as an attention grabbing solo artist. Aucoin’s 2007 debut effort, Personal Publication EP was conceptualized as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which he supported by going on a cross-Canada tour entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. After he completed his solo tour, he rejoined Hylozoists but during a sudden shift from regular exercise to virtually no exercise at all, the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based electronic music artist and musician suffered through an iron deficiency. But after recuperating, he went on another solo tour, running partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.

During both of his early solo tours, Aucoin spent time writing and recording the material, which would comprise his 2011 full-length effort, We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan‘s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party‘s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band‘s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. The album was long-listed as a nominee for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize, with the music video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” winning a Prism Prize in 2013. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Aucoin released his critically applauded, 2014 effort Ephemeral. 

Slated for a March 16, 2018 release, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in over 4 years, and as you may recall the EP’s first single “Release” featured live drumming from Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff in a sprawling yet propulsive, club banger that draws from house music and boom-bap era hip-hop, centered around laws of arpeggiated synths. And while reminding me (to my ears, at least) of The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method and others — but underneath the club banging swagger, there’s a zen-like tranquility. The EP’s latest single “The Middle” is a cinematic yet dreamy and contemplative track that will immediately remind most listeners of M83, as it possesses soaring hook that evokes an earnest and swooning yearning. 

The recently released video by Meags Fitzgerald features hand drawn drawings, animation and live action in a way that emphasizes the both the themes and the lyrics of the song in a vivid fashion. 

New Video: The Lush and Meditative Visuals for Rich Aucoin’s “Release”

Rich Aucoin is a Halifax, Nova Scotia-born and based electronic music artist and indie rock artist, known as a collaborator and guest musician of his older brother Paul Aucoin’s band Hylozoists and as an solo artist. His debut effort, 2007’s Personal Publication EP was conceptualized as an alternative soundtrack to How the Grinch Stole Christmas and he supported the release by going on a cross-Canada tour entirely by bicycle to raise money for Childhood Cancer Canada. When he was finished with his solo tour, he joined Hylozoists on a tour, but after a sudden shift from regular exercise to visually no exercise at all, Aucoin suffered with an iron deficiency; however, after recuperating, he went on a solo tour, running partial marathons between stops to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. 

During both of his early solo tours, the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based musician recorded the material, which would comprise his 2011 full-length effort, We’re All Dying to Live, an album that featured over 500 guest musicians, including Sloan’s Jay Ferguson, You Say Party’s Becky Ninkovic, The Meligrove Band’s Michael Small and Rae Spoon. The album was long-listed as a nominee for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize, with the music video for “Brian Wilson is A.L.I.V.E.” winning a Prism Prize in 2013. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Aucoin released his critically applauded, 2014 effort Ephemeral. 

Slated for a March 16, 2018 release, Hold EP is Aucoin’s first batch of new, recorded material in over 4 years, and the EP’s first single “Release” which, features live drumming from Broken Social Scene’s Justin Peroff is a sprawling yet propulsive, club banger centered around layers of arpeggiated synths and thumping beats. Interestingly, the track finds Aucoin drawing from house music, and boom bap-era hip-hop in a way that’s reminiscent of The Chemical Brothers, The Crystal Method and others — but underneath the club banging swagger, there’s a zen-like tranquility.

Directed by Dave Hung, who may arguably be best known for his work on Kanye West’s “Famous,” the recently released video for “Release,” was filmed on four separate occasions off the coast of Nova Scotia, and features a suit-wearing Aucoin laying in the water, repeating the mantra of there being no shark attacks in Nova Scotia — while the video crew flew drones overhead, safely on shore. Primarily based around one, long and deeply meditative, photographic shot, the video manages to posses a creepy air as it forces to viewer to wonder if the video’s protagonist was at peace — or if he were dead. 

New Video: The Intimate and Dreamy Visuals for Cold Specks’ “Wild Card”

With the release of her first two critically applauded and commercially successful albums I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and Neuroplasticiy, the Canadian-Somali, Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein and her solo recording project Cold Specks received both national and international attention, and unsurprisingly her first two albums were nominated for the Polaris Music Prize with her her debut effort receiving  a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year. In between a busy period of writing, recording and tour, Hussein also managed to be a hotly-desired collaborator, working with the likes of Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, Swans and others.

After spending a portion of 2015 and 2016 touring to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to Toronto, where she began work on her recently released third, full-length effort Fool’s Paradise, an album in which Hussein exploring her identity as a Canadian-Somali woman, as a Black woman in a world brutal to Black people, as an artist and as the daughter of immigrants, who fled their homeland, and as someone surviving the best she can in difficult circumstances  — and the album’s first single “Wild Card” is largely inspired by the refugee experience. “There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home,” Hussein explains. “My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.”

Produced by Jim Anderson at Toronto’s Easy Life Studio, the single features Arcade Fire‘s Tim Kingsbury playing bass on a hauntingly sparse arrangement and melody. Certainly, the latest track will further cement Hussein’s reputation for being an fearlessly uncompromising and emotionally direct; in this case, the single possesses a subtle but palpably weary ache underlined with simple yet profound joys — the profound joy of being treated kindly when you are “a traveler, a man from far away,” as Paul Salopek once wrote. But along with that, there’s a deep connection that one has for a place whenever you’re far away, and I can recall in many instances when I’ve traveled abroad, finding myself inexplicably bonding with a fellow American with familiar places (even those I’ve never been before) holding a mythical weight to them. 

Created by Mac Boucher and Gnarly Bangs, the recently released video for “Wild Card” manages to nod at the videotapes her parents recorded that depict their lives with a country Hussein never knew and cheap homemade videos of people noodling around with a video recorder — and as a result, the visuals emphasize the song’s uncommon intimacy. 

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Cold Specks Returns with a Spectral and Heartbreaking New Track Off Forthcoming Third Album

With the release of her first two critically applauded and commercially successful albums,  2012’s I Predict A Graceful Expulsion! and 2015’s Neuroplasticiy, the Toronto, ON-based singer/songwriter Ladan Hussein, best known as Cold Specks received national and international attention as both albums received Polaris Music Prize nominations and a Juno Award nomination for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, with the release of Graceful Expulsion! And in between writing, recording and touring, Hussein collaborated with Moby, Joni Mitchell and Herbie Hancock, Swans and others.

After touring throughout 2015 and 2016 to support Neuroplasticity, Hussein returned back to Toronto, where she began working on her third full-length album, Fools Paradise, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through renowned Canadian indie label, Arts & Crafts Records. Now, as you may recall Fool’s Paradise’s first single “Wild Card,” was a slow-burning and atmospheric song, largely inspired by the refugee experience and an act of unusual kindness to a stranger from far away. As Hussein explained in press notes “There was a man in my family’s store, a new refugee, who had travelled from Somalia to Canada. By water and by foot he had travelled half way around the world to establish a better life for himself and his family who were still at home. My mother had never met him before. He was a complete stranger from a familiar place. She took him to a local restaurant, fed him and found him somewhere to stay. I was astonished by her selflessness and kept humming ‘I’ll be there for you. Don’t know why’.”

The album’s title track and second single may arguably be some of Hussein’s most deeply personal song, as the song — and of course, in turn, the album — finds the Somali-Canadian singer/songwriter focusing on and exploring her identity as the daughter of immigrants and as a black woman in a world that’s relentlessly hostile to black folk, while also focusing on finding the resilience to survive through difficult times. Interestingly, “Fool’s Paradise”  manages to further cement her reputation for crafting moody and slow-burning pop but while revealing an aching longing and vulnerability paired with  steely resolve.

“New Moon,” Fool’s Paradise’s third and latest single was produced and mixed by long-time collaboration Jim Anderson at Toronto’s Easy Life Studio and features a sample from Jim-E Stack.  Sonically speaking, Hussein’s imitable vocals, which convey heartache, longing and desperate desire for clarity are paired with a sparse and atmospheric production consisting of undulating synths, stuttering beats, swirling electronics and what sounds like a mournful horn sample. As Hussein explains press notes “The song is a document of a lost year. It was all very strange, beautiful and manic. I found myself developing these intense relationships with strangers and cities. I kept looking up at the moon for some sort of clarity. It would help me measure my lost time, fleeting desire, and frantically plan for the future. Each phase carried more weight. I guess it explores the aftermath of heartbreak. I had to learn to detach, self-care and whisper sweet nothings to myself over and over again.” And as a result, the song evokes that sense of struggling to find both stability and oneself when life has thrown you for a complete and devastating loop.