Tag: Vancouver BC

New Video: Acclaimed Canadian Producer Sleepy Tom Releases a Sultry and Swaggering New Single

Cam Tathem is a Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based DJ, producer and electronic music artist, best known as Sleepy Tom — and with the release of his 2013 debut EP The Currency, which featured lead single, EP title track “The Currency,” Tathem quickly received attention both nationally and internationally; in fact, by the following year, the Canadian DJ, producer and electronic music artist  played at the Squamish Valley Music Festival and went on to remix tracks by Zeds Dead, Martin Solveig and Diplo, with whom Tatham would later collaborate on Tatham’s 2015 UK chart topping single “Be Right There.”  

“In My Head,” is the first batch of new material from the acclaimed, chart topping Canadian electronic music artist, and sonically its a subtle but noticeable refinement on the sound that first caught international attention the finds the producer collaborating with Youngblood — it’s still dance floor friendly, the sleek and sensual production is both  that finds the modern and unfussy consisting of thumping beats, arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line but ultimately, it’s centered by deliberate attention to crafting a sultry hook to create a song that radiates a Giorgio Moroder-like sensuality but while managing to be simultaneously radio friendly and old-timey. 

Directed by Sophie Jarvis, the recently released video visually nods at film noir and Alfred Hitchcock as it possesses a sweaty, anxious paranoia — rooted in the very real possibility that someone or something is following you and that something horrible could happen just around the corner. As Jarvis says in press notes “’In My Head’ navigates the consuming nature of paranoia, shifting between one woman’s hyper-aware state in the aftermath of a murder, and her fragmented memory of the crime itself. Shooting on 16mm film and using innovative lighting techniques, we externalize her state of mind in surreal and unsettling ways.” Adds, Tathem, ““I wanted to create a visual for In My Head that reflected the narrative of the song, but also led the story to an exaggerated alternate-ending. Alexis’ voice holds this retro quality throughout the song so the throwback design Sophie produced fit perfectly.”

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Last year, I wrote about the Vancouver, BC experimental pop/electro pop act I M U R, and as you may recall, that with the release of 2015’s debut EP Slow Dive, the Canadian trio,  which is comprised of Jenny Lea (vocals, keys), Mikey J. Blige (live production, guitar) and Amine Bouzaher (electric violin, bass) have received attention in Vancouver’s underground scene and elsewhere for a sound that draws from 90s R&B, 90s soul, contemporary electro pop in a rather unique fashion. Interestingly, that EP at one point landed at #5 on Spotify Global Viral Charts.

Building upon a growing profile, the Vancouver-based pop trio has received attention and praise from a number of national and internally known media outlets, including Vice NoiseyExclaim!, Hiphop Canada, Beatroute Magazine and Winniecooper.net, who listed the trio as one of Vancouver’s Top Acts to watching out for in 2016. They’ve also played at a number of festivals across their native Canada such as  Shambhala Music Festival, World Ski and Snowboard Festival,Astral Harvest, Center of Gravity and Rifflandia.

Last year, the members of I M U R released their full-length debut Little Death, and the album further cemented their reputation for crafting material that thematically explores and focuses on extremely dark subjects — namely drugs, booze and sex, as well as the prototypical pop themes of heartache, resiliency and intimacy with a fearless lack of inhibition. Interestingly, the slow-burning “Miss You, Hate You” the first single off the trio’s forthcoming THIRTY33 EP is a deeply intimate account of Jenny Lea’s personal struggles with addition rooted around the duality of her life — both as an addict and as a former addict. As Lea explains, “This was a very important but difficult song for me to write. I’m opening up about a very private part of my life in hopes to connect with others that might be struggling, and to let them know that they’re not alone.”

As the trio mentions via email, the track was self-recorded in the bedroom of their temporary Montreal apartment last spring, and sonically the track is centered around a sparse production consisting of shuffling beats, swirling and undulating electronics paired with Lea’s sultry jazzy and confessional delivery; in some way, the song is late night secret, whispered among friends or lovers — with the understanding that while it won’t get out of that room, that it’ll make you much closer.

Comprised of Jason Corbett (vocals, guitar), Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals), Jahmell Russell (bass, vocals) and Adam Fink (drums), the Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based post punk act ACTORS have developed a reputation for a decidedly modern take on the familiar post-punk sound, in a way that some critics have compared to The Soft Moon, Cold Cave and others.

Building upon a growing amount of buzz surrounding the band, their forthcoming full-length debut It Will Come To You, is slated for a March 9, 2018 through Artoffact Records, and from album singles “L’appel du Vide,” and “Slaves,” the band reveals an album featuring slickly, produced, hook-driven material that’s reminiscent from  4AD Records-era post-punk and New Wave with an urgent yet cinematic bent. The album’s third and latest “Face Comes To Glass” will further cement the band’s growing reputation for hook-driven, cinematic and moody post punk; however, the track finds the band employing atmospheric and shimmering synths along with angular bass and guitar chords, which makes the song subtly nod at John Carpenter soundtracks.

The Canadian post-punk act will be touring throughout their native Canada, the States and Europe throughout 2018. Check out tour dates below.

Feb 1 – Vancouver, BC @ Astoria
Mar 10 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw (It Will Come to You album release show)
Mar 22 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
Mar 23 – Boise, ID @ Vista Bar
Mar 28 – Sacramento, CA @ LowBrau
Mar 29 – Oakland, CA @ Golden Bull
Mar 30 – Los Angeles, CA @ La Cita (Part Time Punks)
Apr 2 – Eugene, OR @ Old Nicks
Apr 3 – Olympia, WA @ Crytatropa
Apr 4 – Everett, WA @ Obscurus
Apr 6 – Portland, OR @ Tonic Lounge (Out from the Shadows Festival)
Apr 12 – Vancouver, BC @ Astoria (Verboden Festival)
May 10 – Paris, FR @ Le Supersonic
May 11 – Lille, FR @ Le Bobble Cafe
May 17 – Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Strand
May 18 – Copenhagen, DK @ Stengade
May 19 – Hamburg, DE @ Gruner Jager
May 20 – Leipzig, DE @ Wave Gotik Treffen Festival

Adrian Underhill is a Vancouver, British Columbia-born, Toronto, Ontario-based singer/songwriter, who has a number of stints in indie rock bands in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, before the low-key release of his solo debut EP in 2012; however, sometime after that, Underhill completely revamped his songwriting process, employing keyboards, synths and drum machines, which found him gravitating towards a slinky R&B-inspired pop sound but paired with a simple and very direct, earnest lyricism.

Describing the writing process for forthcoming album, CU Again, Underhill says “I sat with a keyboard and one drum machine and tried not play much with production ideas. The tunes have a classic, 70s songwriter vibe, even though we ultimately pushed the production into a very different realm. This simple, direct way of songwriting is me at my best.”

The recording sessions for CU Again found the up-and-coming Canadian singer/songwriter collaborating with British electronic production Kindness (also known as Adam Bainbridge), best known for his work with Robyn, Solange and Blood Orange with the renowned producer and Underhill working on electronic elements in Montreal before they went to Los Angeles for at three-day session with a live, funk supergroup that included JOVM mainstay Dam-Funk (drums) Keith Eaddy (bass) and Brandon Coleman (keys). And the end result finds the material being a seamless blend of Kindness’ electronic production with warm, organic instrumentation as you’ll hear on CU Again‘s swooning “Weather,” which pairs a looped and chopped keyboard sample with stuttering and skittering drum programming, arpeggiated synths and Underhill’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics on how time changes people and their moods, like the weather.  What makes the song interesting to me is that it walks a careful tightrope between sincerity and playfulness, familiarity and complete strangeness.
As Underhill adds, “On ‘Weather’, I love how the production came out. Adam (Bainbridge) took my original demo and just kinda warped it and morphed it, almost like a remix, adding new drums and changing the keyboard sounds I had played. Then we added the live piano and synth bass from Brandon Coleman (Kamasi Washington) and Keith Eaddy (DāM-FunK). In the end it’s quite playful and strange – it’s a great combination of sounds.”

New Video: The 80s and 90s Inspired DIY Visuals for Jordan Klassen’s 60s Psych Pop-like “Dominika”

Jordan Klassen is a Vancouver, British Columbia-based chamber folk singer/songwriter, who over the past decade or so has developed a reputation for crafting critically applauded material that’s been considered “unsentimentally sincere” and “whimsically hopeful” — while focusing on his own life experiences; in fact, the Curses EP was a collection of brooding pop that explored mental illness and vulnerability, continuing themes he explored and wrote about on 2016’s Javelin.

Interestingly, Klassen’s recently released full-length effort, Big Intruder thematically explores growing up and making adult decisions, addressing the doubt and caution that become excuses to avoid any sort of actual commitment and unsurprisingly, the album not only finds Klassen increasingly moving away from the whimsical soundscapes that first won him attention — with Klassen embracing a more band-like approach than ever before; in fact, album single “Dominika” finds Klassen’s sound taking on a decided 60s psych pop and 70s AM rock sound.  

The recently released video is a gloriously low-budget, DIY affair. And as Klassen explains of the video, “For the ‘Dominika’ video I wanted to make something that was playful like the song; silly in an honest way. We were inspired by a lot of late 80s/early 90s music videos where it felt like the artist just shot a bunch of footage of them hanging around and lip syncing.”

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.

 

 

Late last week, I wrote about New York-based dream pop duo The Dream Eaters. And as you may recall, the duo, comprised of  Boston, MA-born, New York-based composer and songwriter Jake Zavracky and Vancouver Island, BC-born, New York-based vocalist and musician Elizabeth LeBaron can trace their origins back to 2015. As the story goes, after playing and touring in obscurity in both his hometown of Boston and New York, Zavracky had decided that it was time to give up music, and for a period do time he was working in a Brooklyn dive bar, where he met LeBaron, another bartender, who at the time had recently relocated to New York. Discovering that they were both musicians, they found an instant connection and began collaborating together — although initially, Zavracky had written songs for LeBaron. However, when Zavracky and LeBaron realized that their harmonies helped to create a truly unique sound, while drawing from dream pop, shoegaze, psych pop, folk and indie rock, they recognized that the best thing would be to be write, record,  and perform together.

Initially writing and performing as Jake and Elizabeth, the duo saw a rapidly growing profile; however, as they began to further refine their sound, they felt that it was necessary to rebrand themselves, eventually taking up the name The Dream Eaters. And as The Dream Eaters, Zavracky and LeBaron released their self-produced debut EP Five Little Pills, an effort which has proven to be the precursor of the bare-bone production and sparse yet hauntingly gorgeous sound of their soon-to be released full-length debut, We Are A Curse‘s first single “Dead On The Inside.” Sonically speaking, the duo pairs LeBaron’s lilting and effortless vocals with gently strummed folk-like guitar and chiming percussion with a soaring hook which displays the duo’s stunning harmonizing. And while bearing a resemblance to Moonbabies’ Wizards on the Beach, the song manages to sound as though it draws from Nick Drake and Crosby, Stills, and Nash-era folk. While thematically speaking, the song as the duo explained focuses on coming unmoored and getting lost, and walking around with the realization that you’re living in a murky, anxious and unforgiving dream, evoking what many of us feel living in this surreal political climate; and while being a gorgeous and understated protest song, there’s an underlying sense of resolve and determination to survive and overcome the dark days ahead.

Interestingly, “Neanderthals,” We Are A Curse‘s second and latest single wasn’t originally meant to be on the album — and according to Zavracky is a revised and altered version of a song that he had originally written towards the end of the Bush Administration. After the 2016 presidential election the song seemed sadly relevant again, and ultimately came together very quickly. And as Zavracky explains the song starts with a very pessimistic us vs. them mentality but takes on an optimistic, sort of “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” type of sentiment. “It’s mean to be more inspirational aha negative by the end,” Jake Zavracky says. Elizabeth LeBaron adds that over the past couple of months, the song has grown and developed a much deeper meaning, even after they had finished it. “When we decided to record this song, the Women’s March was breaking records all over the world and this song felt like an anthem. ‘They won’t make us crawl / They’re all neanderthals’ are words that I think will resonate with anyone who is against the “archaic” ideologies being pushed by the new administration,” LeBaron says. However, sonically speaking, the duo pairs shuffling, trip hop-inspired beats with their gorgeous harmonies, twinkling keys and a soaring, anthemic hook to craft what may be the most strident and forcefully political song they’ve released to date.

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Ultrviolence Return with the Stark and Lonely Visuals for New Single “Guillotine”

Throughout their history together, the Calgary, AB-based indie rock/darkwave/New Wave/post-punk act Ultrviolence have developed a reputation for adhering to old-school DIY principles and for frequently ignoring the clichés and dictates of the music industry machine. And over the past couple of years, the band has caught the attention of the blogosphere — and in particular this site, for a sound that seemingly draws from Joy Division, Interpol, Viet Cong 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 member, collaborating with several members of Vancouver, BC-based indie rock band ACTORS. Produced by ACTORS’ Jason Corbett, the project’s much-anticipated follow-up to Black Sea EP, Forty Knives EP finds Jespersen and the band’s new lineup building upon the moody, post-punk sound that first caught the attention of this site and the blogosphere while thematically evoking the dark and seemingly unending solitude that arises when one allows themselves to be completely isolated from the world.

“Guillotine,” Forty Knives’ first single is a hauntingly moody and atmospheric track, which finds the band pairing jangling guitar chords played through reverb and delay pedal, shimmering synth chords, a propulsive bass line and a metronomic-like drumming paired with Jespersen’s equally moody baritone vocals. Interestingly, with my 38th birthday being yesterday, this particular song evokes something profoundly familiar — 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. And as a result, the song possesses a visceral ache.

The recently released video for the song nods at Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and INXS’ “Need You Tonight”/”Mediate” as the video features a man on the side of the road, holding cardboard signs with the song’s lyrics; however, this man is hitchhiking with a sense of desperate urgency.