Tag: Vancouver BC

New Video: JOVM Mainstays ACTORS Releases a Sultry Dance Floor Friendly Bop

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut It Will Come To You, the acclaimed Vancouver-based JOVM mainstay act ACTORS — currently Jason Corbett (vocals, guitar), Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals), Kendall Wooding (bass) and Adam Fink (drums) — quickly established a brooding yet anthemic post-punk sound centered around icy synths, angular bass lines, squiggling guitars and Corbett’s reverb-drenched croon.

Since the release of their full-length debut, the Canadian post-punk outfit had been busy: Until pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions put touring on pause, ACTORS had been on a relentless touring schedule to support the album, including a stop at the long-shuttered Brooklyn Bazaar for a headlining set at 2018’s A Murder of Crows Festival. Interestingly, during that same period of time, ACTORS’ frontman Jason Corbett has become an in-demand producer, who has worked with the likes of BootblacksUltrviolence, SPECTRES, and others.

The Vancouver-based JOVM mainstays’ highly-anticipated sophomore album Acts of Worship is slated for an October 1, 2021 release through Artoffact Records. Recorded and produced at Corbett’s Jacknife Studio, the album reportedly finds the Vancouver-based pushing their synth-driven post-punk sound in a much more dance floor friendly direction while retaining the brooding melancholy and massive hooks that have won them attention across the international post-punk scene.

In the lead-up to the album’s release, I’ve written about two of the album’s previously released singles:

  • Love U More,” a single that can trace its origins to the band being on the road: While traveling the Autobahn at 190km per hour (about 120 mph), the song’s opening synth melody looped through Jason Corbett’s head. The song itself is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular and reverb-drenched bursts of guitar and a relentless motorik groove in one of the act’s more sensual songs to date.
  • “Only Lonely,” Acts of Worship‘s second single, a song that Corbett explains is indebted to Roxy Music — in particular “The Space Between” “Dance Away” and “Love Is The Drug.” And much like the sources that inspired it, “Only Lonely” manages to express a similar yearning and vulnerability.

Acts of Worship‘s third and latest single “Cold Eyes” continues a relatively new run of dance floor friendly bangers. Centered around buzzing bass synths, twinkling synth arpeggios, a relentless motorik groove, Corbett’s breathy vocal delivery dueling boy-girl harmonizing for the song’s rousingly anthemic hook, “Cold Eyes” is all leather, lace and late night come on.

“‘Cold Eyes’ was written and recorded in one day. Sometimes that just happens and it ends up being the band’s favorite song on the new album,” ACTORS’ Jason Corbett says in press notes. “We can’t wait to play it live!”

Shot in a cinematic black and white, the recently released video for “Cold Eyes” employs a relatively simple concept: we see the individual members of the band dancing to the song while occasionally playing their respective instruments. As ACTORS’ Jason Corbett notes, the band’s current lineup perfectly reflects the balance of masculine and feminine energy contained within the songs.

The members of ACTORS had planned a Fall North American tour to build up buzz for the album and them to support it; but those plans have been put on hold because of pandemic. Hopefully, they’ll be able to reschedule those dates.

New Video: Redman Contributes to Posthumously Released Third Version of Phife Dawg’s and Illa J’s Loving Ode to Montreal

Born Malik Izaak Taylor, the legendary and beloved Phife Dawg was a co-founder of the multi-Grammy Award nominated, multi-platinum selling, equally legendary and beloved hip-hop act A Tribe Called Quest. Along with his work with Tribe, Phife Dawg was a solo artist, who collaborated with lengthy lists of acts and artists including Fu-Schnickens, Diamond D, Chi-Ali, Black Sheep‘s Dres, De La Soul‘s Trugoy and countless others, eventually releasing his solo debut album, 2000’s Ventilation: Da LP.

If you’re a hip-hop head, you’d remember that the members of A Tribe Called Quest — Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad — reunited in 2006 to help Phife Dawg with mounting medical expenses as a result of complications with diabetes. They co-headlined that year’s Bumbershoot Festival and played a handful of sold-out across across the States, Canada and Japan, including making appearances at the 2K Sports Bounce Tour. According to Phife Dawg, the members of the beloved hip-hop had planned to release an album to finish-off their six-album contract with Jive Records.

008, A Tribe Called Quest was the headlining act for that year’s Rock the Bells tour. Taylor, who had been dealing with complications from diabetes over the past decade, wound up receiving a kidney translate from his wife. At the end of the that year, Q-Tip released his long-awaited sophomore album The Renaissance, which he followed with the release of 2009’s Kamaal The Abstract, which had been shelved for over seven years.

Tribe co-headlined 2010’s Rock the Bells and that year, Taylor had planned to release his highly-anticipated sophomore album Songs in the Key of Phife: Volume 1 (Cheryl’s Big Son); however, continued health issues delayed the release of the album. In 2013, it was reported that Phife had went back to work on his sophomore album, which was re-titled MUTTYmorPHosis. During that same period, the tense relationship between the act’s co-founder was famously documented in Michael Rapaport’s 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.

rs of A Tribe Called Quest reunited to perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of the act’s debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. In what would be the last few months of his life, Taylor had been incredibly busy: he had finished his long-anticipated sophomore album, now titled Forever, collaborating with a collection of trusted, All-Star producers and artists. Additionally, Tribe had secretly gone into the studio to work on what would be their sixth and final album We Got It From Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service. Tragically, Taylor died as the entire group were finishing the album; the remaining members finished the album and posthumously released the album, as a tribute to their co-founder.

ily and estate will be finally releasing Phife Dawg’s long-awaited sophomore album Forever later this year. “He worked really hard to complete his album before he transitioned, and he was ready to share an album that was near and dear to his heart with his fans,” Taylor’s family says of the album. “His fans meant the world to him.” So far, one single has been released from the album, “Nutshell, Part 2,” featuring Busta Rhymes and Redman — and as a taste of the album, it’s a classic New York hip-hop banger, in which three legendary emcees spit bars and trade zingers over a subtle DJ Rasta Root reworking of a J. Dilla production.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “French Kiss Deux,” which found the beloved and legendary “Five Foot Assassin” teamed up with Vancouver-based production duo Potatohead People and J. Dilla’s younger brother Illa J on a tribute to one of my favorite cities, Montreal that featured the two emcees trading verses admiring the city’s beautiful women and scenery over a subtle Potatohead People remix of the original. The end result is a vibey J. Dilla-like Golden Era hip-hop production centered around shimmering Rhodes, reverb drenched horns and twitter and woofer rocking beats. It’s an infectious, feel good banger — that for me brings back some fond memories of the Quebecois city.

Phife’s estate released a new version of French Kiss, “French Kiss Trois,” which features a new guest verse with the legendary Redman, who helps to build upon a loving ode to Montreal. The third installment came to life when Redman heard “Deux” back in May and fell so deeply in love with the song that he desperately wanted to become a part of a new version of the song.

Redman’s guest verse sees the legendary emcee alternating between hilariously crude while joking about finding a girl that would be comfortable enough to fart in the tub near you, and ask if she wants to watch wrestling or boxing. But simultaneously, Red manages to paint a loving picture of a strong, confident, down to earth woman — the sort of woman that straight men would consider themselves profoundly lucky to find. Maybe that woman can be found in lovely Montreal, right?

“It’s dope to see the evolution of this song, from the first version on my album Illa J to Phife’s version, to 6 years later Potatohead people doing a sick remix of the track, and now Redman adding a verse to it, with Ali Shaheed on the mix,” Illa J says in press notes. “It’s an honor having a track with 2 hip-hop legends on it, this one will always be a special joint for me.”

“When Red called my phone and told me that he had ‘French Kiss Deux’ on repeat, I knew what was coming next,” Dion “Roots” Liverpool adds. “Hedidn’t even have to ask me and I was excited. Once he sent me a video of his computer and pressed play, I remembered yelling really loud!!”

day Dion called and said that Redman had French Kiss on repeat and immediately wrote a verse, I was excited. Phife would be going crazy with Red being on this song,.”Phife’s wife Deisha Taylor shares. “Anytime you hear Redman on any track you know it will be dope. The atmosphere and energy shifts when he is on any song or walks in the building.”

“As soon as I heard the song, I played it back-to-back 100 + times. I had to hit Potatohead People and Dion to tell them I was writing a verse,” Redman says. “Being in the music video was amazing, and I know I’m doing it for Phife. I don’t think he gets enough credit, so God made this my mission to help best way I can.”

Executive produced by Phife Dawg’s longtime friend and collaborator, Dion “Roots” Liverpool and co-directed by Redman, Tony Reames and Konee Rock, the recently released video for “French Kiss Trois” follows Redman and Ill J in Montreal, admiring and hanging out with the city’s beautiful women — at beautiful locations. The video, features some gorgeous animation of Phife and a special guest appearance from Phife’s widow Deisha Taylor, lovingly reminiscing over photos of her husband. The video ends with the group coming together to celebrate and honor Phife’s life and work.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays ACTORS Release a Oliver Stone-Inspired Visual for Dance Floor Friendly “Only Lonely”

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut It Will Come To You, the acclaimed Vancouver-based JOVM mainstay act ACTORS — currently Jason Corbett (vocals, guitar), Shannon Hemmett (synth, vocals), Kendall Wooding (bass) and Adam Fink (drums) — found the band quickly establishing an anthemic yet brooding post-punk sound centered around icy synths, angular bass lines, squiggling guitars and Corbett’s reverb-drenched croon.

ainstays have been busy: Until the pandemic put touring on pause, the band had been on an extensive touring schedule to support the album, including at stop at the long-shuttered Brooklyn Bazaar for a headlining set at 2018’s A Murder of Crows Festival. Simultaneously, Corbett has been busy as an in-demand producer working with a number of post-punk acts including fellow JOVM mainstays Bootblacks and Ultrviolence.

ober 1, 2021 release through Artoffact Records. Recorded and produced at Corbett’s Jacknife Studio, the album reportedly finds the Vancouver-based pushing their synth-driven post-punk sound in a much more dance floor friendly direction while retaining the brooding melancholy and massive hooks that have won them attention.

Late last year, I wrote about “Love U More,” a single that can trace its origins to the band being on the road: While traveling the Autobahn at 190km per hour (about 120 mph), the song’s opening synth melody looped through Jason Corbett’s head. The song itself is centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, angular and reverb-drenched bursts of guitar and a relentless motorik groove in one of the act’s more sensual songs to date. The band’s Shannon Hemmett describes the song’s atmosphere as “standing alone on a shadowy street. I see the flash of a cat’s eyes in the dark. I am hunting and hunted, recognizing that tension that lives inside me, and all of us. This track embraces the bittersweet moments of loss with the ancipatoon of new possibilities.” 

“Only Lonely,” Acts of Worship’s second and latest single is a brooding yet sensual song featuring glistening synths, a disco inspired baseline, metronomic four-on-the-floor, rousingly anthemic hooks and Corbett’s plaintive delivery expressing aching yearning and vulnerability. Arguably one of the Vancouver-based act’s most dance floor friendly songs, the song as Corbett explains is indebted to Roxy Music — in particular “The Space Between” “Dance Away” and “Love Is The Drug” come to my mind as reference points.

“‘Only Lonely’ pumps with a bass grind that harkens back to top tier Roxy Music. It finishes with a flourish of arpeggiated synths that’s the icing on the cake. Dance floor approved,” Corbett says.

The recently released video is indebted to Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers and continues a run of visuals that sees the video’s obsessed and deranged anti-heroes drive across surreal landscapes to find the members of ACTORS, brutally torture them while dancing around the room. It’s disturbing much like the source that inspired it.

New Video: Vancouver’s Aversions Release a Hallucinogenic Visual for Tense “Famous Last Lines”

Led by frontman Sam Coll, the Vancouver-based post-punk act Aversions is a band that manages the difficult balance between having legitimate day jobs, and attempting to live the axiom of art interlacing life. Sonically, the Vancouver-based act’s work features muscular riffs, angular bass lines and thunderous drumming paired with Coll’s takes on a variety of topics big and small — while alternating between exalting and disparaging the many contradictions of their hometown.

io Rain City Records and self-recorded and -self-engineered the sessions live-off-the-floor with friends. The four songs they recorded together were mixed by Jordan Koop at The Noise Floor and mastered by Jack Shirley at the Bay Area-based Atomic Garden. Their latest single, “Famous Last Lines” is the first release from those pandemic-restricted sessions.

muscular riffs, angular bass lines, thunderous drumming and Coll’s shouted lyrics, the taut and uneasy “Famous Last Lines” finds the members of Aversions darting between forceful thrash, anxious thrum and desperate howl — all while sonically recalling fellow Canadians Preoccupations and METZ. The band explains that the song lyrically explores the disconnect between our memory of a thing and its true nature, using commonly misunderstood “last lines” of famous works of art and literature to illustrate the idea. Thematically, the song questions what true ownership really is: of ideas, associations and objects themselves.

The accompanying visual is a hallucinogenic fever dream that draws from horror movies, dystopian sci-fi and believe it or not, Peter Gabriel.

Vancouver-based electro pop duo Carbon Mass — multi-instrumentalist and producer Sina Lankarani, and vocalist and guitarist Tim Clariddge — can trace their origins to a chance meeting back in 2016. And since their formation, the members of Carbon Mass have been busy developing and honing their sound while writing and releasing material that the duo say is informed by Radiohead and David Bowie‘s Blackstar.

The duo’s latest single “French Call Girl” is a carefully crafted song centered around shimmering guitar, atmospheric synths, skittering beats, a motorik-like groove, a soaring hook that serves as an chilly bed for Claridge’s plaintive, Thom Yorke-like vocals. And while their sound continues to sound informed by Radiohead and Blackstar-era Bowie, to my ears, I also hear JOVM mainstays Palace Winter‘s Nowadays album. In other words, hook driven and breezy pop that’s paired with sobering thematic concerns.

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New Video: Old Man of the Woods Releases a Gorgeous and Meditative Visual for “Dissolve”

Miranda Elliott is a Richmond, VA-based singer/songwriter, producer and creative mastermind behind the lo-fi, ambient pop project Old Man of the Woods. Elliott describes her creative process as the alchemy of shit into sustenance, deriving the project’s name after a dark, scruffy mushroom that survives by — well, turning shit into sustenance. Interestingly, Elliott’s Old Man of the Woods debut, last year’s Dissolve EP according to Various Small Flames’ Jon Doyle “blurs the line between the personal and the natural world, conjuring a vivid and sometimes eerie soundscape as damp and rich as the woodland floor.”

Elliot’s forthcoming Old Man of the Woods’ full-length debut is slated for release later this year. In the meantime, the Richmond-based artist has managed to be rather busy; her Dissolve Remixed EP marks the first time she has collaborated with others: Richmond-based artists monad and OK HUNNEYS, as well as Totally Real Records labelmates SUPERORDER contribute remixes of Dissolve EP material.

Along with that she has collaborated with Roman Betanzos and Gabriel Güieros, visual effect artists based in Vancouver and Montreal on the video for Dissolve EP’s title track “Dissolve.” As for the song, “Dissolve” is a slow-burning and meditative track centered around Elliott’s plaintive vocals and atmospheric synths that — to me, at least — seems to evoke mist gently rising in the forest.

The recently released video can trace its origins back to when Betanzos and Güieros reached out to Elliot through Bandcamp, detailing how “Dissolve” to them sounded like the coastline of British Columbia. Interestingly, the video follows a humanoid wisp of mist through a lush and damp forest landscape, much like the ones seen in the Pacific Northwest. For Elliot, it reminded her of a surreal hike in Berlin, where she had actually forgotten that she wasn’t in Virginia and took note that “all woods feel like home.”

New Video: I M U R Releases a Sultry Pop Banger Rooted in Self-Doubt

Formed back in 2015, rising Vancouver-based indie electro pop act I M U R (pronounced I am You Are) — founding members singer/songwriter Jenny Lea and guitarist and producer Mikey J. Blige and producer/multi-instrumentalist Amine Bouzaher — have firmly established a unique sound that’s a cinematic yet sultry and catchy blend of alt R&B, avant-pop and contemporary electro pop paired with lyrics that tackle personal and often uncomfortable subjects like addiction, recovery, female sexuality, self-reflection, vulnerability and strength, partially inspired by Lea’s early, near-death experience and the strength and resiliency she gained from her recovery.

Since their formation, the act has released a growing batch of critically applauded material:

2015’s debut EP Slow Dive, which featured “Trippin’ On Feet”
2017’s full-length debut Little Death, which featured standout tracks “FFL” “Little Death” and “Breathless.” “Breathless” was featured in SyFy’s Wynonna Earp Season 2 and Freeform’s Good Trouble Season 1.
2018 saw the release of the Thirty33 EP, which featured “Miss You Hate You,” “Should Be” and “Afterglow.” All three of those tracks featured in a number of TV shows including Netflix’s Snowpiercer, Pretty Little Things, Wu Assassins and Workin’ Moms.

Adding to a rising profile, the act has amassed millions of streams globally, which has lead to the band landing on the Spotify Viral 50 Charts. They’ve won an Electronic Music Artist of the Year Award at the 2019 Western Canadian Music Awards — all while receiving critical applause across the blogosphere, including this site. Around the same time, the Canadian electro pop act managed to maintain a busy touring schedule: The act toured in India in 2018. The following year, they made the rounds of the North American festival circuit with stops at Shambala, Bass Coast, Capitol Hill Block Party and Winnipeg Jazz Fest, while playing shows in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego.

2019 saw the release of two more singles “Fever” and “Lips, Tongue and Teeth,” which I managed to write about on this site. Much like countless acts across the worlds, the pandemic put their touring plans on an indefinite pause; but the act used the newfound free time to write and record their highly anticipated album My Molecules.

Slated for a June 25, 2021 release, My Molecules will reportedly be a deeply personal journey into Lea’s life, centered around a thread of undeniable realness for anyone who’s experienced love, loss, lust and everything else in between. My Molecules’ second and latest single “Sad Girls Club” further cements the band’s penchant for genre-defying yet infectious pop: sonically the song meshes skittering trap beats, Quiet Storm-like R&B and contemporary electro pop in a sleek fashion. Thematically, underneath its club friendliness, the song is one part unvarnished confessional and one part messy cry at your own party because everything is fucked up.

“Sad Girls Club” was inspired by the first month of quarantine, when all of Lea’s daily distractions ground to a halt, and a lot of her personal demons reappeared. Self-doubt, depression and addiction patterns in her life bubbled up when she felt purposeless and adrift. Writer’s block became a harsh reality. “Sad Girls Club was my break-through from the block, but also by expressing my fears in a tangible way, it helped to pull me out of the mud,” Jenny Lea says in press notes. She goes on to explain that “Sad Girls Club is about the trickery our subconscious mind plays on us when we’re feeling low. It’s about Self-deprecation, unworthiness, and being burdensome.” I M U R’s Amine Bouzaher adds “Ironically, a lot of negative thoughts combined to create an epic, dark banger, and we were able to pour all of those feelings into the production of the track. It’s always amazing to see what incredible art and positivity can come from channeling negative thoughts and feelings.” The Canadian act’s Mikey J. Blige encapsulates the overall vibe of the song, by saying “It’s ok at any age to feel like an emo kid that loves pop music AND trap music.” 

Directed and edited by Sterling Larose, the glitchy visual features Lea laying an iron on herself and at other points wearing roughly 80 pound boat chains to symbolize the emotional weight and heaviness of doubt, depression and addition can have on a person. The tattoo that she gets the video is a real tattoo and the footage of her in the shower was part of an hour-long shower she took after. “I think it was the heaviness that sometimes comes along with being real and being honest,” Lea says. “Just because you’re being honest doesn’t mean that it’s gonna be a happy ending Disney princess movie.” 

Born Malik Izaak Taylor, the legendary and beloved Phife Dawg was a co-founder of the multi-Grammy Award nominated, multi-platinum selling, equally legendary and beloved hip-hop act A Tribe Called Quest. Along with his work with Tribe, Phife Dawg was a solo artist, who collaborated with lengthy lists of acts and artists including Fu-Schnickens, Diamond D, Chi-Ali, Black Sheep‘s Dres, De La Soul‘s Trugoy and countless others, eventually releasing his solo debut album, 2000’s Ventilation: Da LP.

If you’re a hip-hop head, you’d remember that the members of A Tribe Called Quest — Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad — reunited in 2006 to help Phife Dawg with mounting medical expenses as a result of complications with diabetes. They co-headlined that year’s Bumbershoot Festival and played a handful of sold-out across across the States, Canada and Japan, including making appearances at the 2K Sports Bounce Tour. According to Phife Dawg, the members of the beloved hip-hop had planned to release an album to finish-off their six-album contract with Jive Records.

In 2008, A Tribe Called Quest was the headlining act for that year’s Rock the Bells tour. Taylor, who had been dealing with complications from diabetes over the past decade, wound up receiving a kidney translate from his wife. At the end of the that year, Q-Tip released his long-awaited sophomore album The Renaissance, which he followed with the release of 2009’s Kamaal The Abstract, which had been shelved for over seven years.

Tribe co-headlined 2010’s Rock the Bells and that year, Taylor had planned to release his highly-anticipated sophomore album Songs in the Key of Phife: Volume 1 (Cheryl’s Big Son); however, continued health issues delayed the release of the album. In 2013, it was reported that Phife had went back to work on his sophomore album, which was re-titled MUTTYmorPHosis. During that same period, the tense relationship between the act’s co-founder was famously documented in Michael Rapaport’s 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.

In 2015, the members of A Tribe Called Quest reunited to perform on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the release of the act’s debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. In what would be the last few months of his life, Taylor had been incredibly busy: he had finished his long-anticipated sophomore album, now titled Forever, collaborating with a collection of trusted, All-Star producers and artists. Additionally, Tribe had secretly gone into the studio to work on what would be their sixth and final album We Got It From Here . . . Thank You 4 Your Service. Tragically, Taylor died as the entire group were finishing the album; the remaining members finished the album and posthumously released the album, as a tribute to their co-founder.

Taylor’s family and estate will be finally releasing Phife Dawg’s long-awaited sophomore album Forever later this year. “He worked really hard to complete his album before he transitioned, and he was ready to share an album that was near and dear to his heart with his fans,” Taylor’s family says of the album. “His fans meant the world to him.” So far, one single has been released from the album, “Nutshell, Part 2,” featuring Busta Rhymes and Redman — and as a taste of the album, it’s a classic New York hip-hop banger, in which three legendary emcees spit bars and trade zingers over a subtle DJ Rasta Root reworking of a J. Dilla production.

“French Kiss Deux,” Forever‘s second and latest single finds the beloved “Five Foot Assassin” teaming up with Vancouver-based production duo Potatohead People and J. Dilla’s younger brother Illa J on a tribute to one of my favorite cities, Montreal: Phife and Illa J trade verses about some of that city’s beautiful women and scenery over a warm and vibey neo-soul meets Golden Era hip-hop production centered around shimmering Rhodes, reverb drenched horns and twitter and woofer rocking beats. Simply put, it’s an infectious, feel good banger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The four-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated multiplatinum New York-born MC and member of A Tribe Called Quest’s highly anticipated album, Forever, is slated to be released in 2021. Prior to Phife’s tragic 2016 passing, he spent time working on this album, partnering with trusted collaborators and assembling a catalog of songs representative of his art. Of the upcoming album’s release, Phife’s family stated that “He worked really hard to complete his album before he transitioned, and he was ready to share an album that was near and dear to his heart with his fans. His fans meant the world to him.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Art d’Ecco Releases an Incisive and Withering Look at Online Dating

Art d’Ecco is an enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter and grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett. In 2018, he emerged as dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam rock with the release off his full-length debut Trespasser.

Since Trespasser, the British Columbia-based art rocker has been busy: he played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Continuing a busy period, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed British psych rock act Temples right before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

Released yesterday through Paper Bag Records, the Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on two-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album finds d’Ecco further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic sees d’Ecco and his backing band pushing the sonic boundaries of glam rock as far as they can, as the material draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including 50s pop, psychedelia, , Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

In the buildup to the album’s release, I wrote about four of In Standard Definition’s previously released singles:

“TV God,” a synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths. 
“Head Rush” an infectious boogie that owes a sonic debt to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths. 
“I Am The Dance Floor,” a shimmering and strutting disco take on glam rock that may remind some of Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night,” Echoes-era The Rapture and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy. 
“Desires,” a jangling and densely layered glam anthem that sonically is a slick synthesis of Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Gary Numan and The Cars. “A tale born inside the dark underbelly of old Hollywood, then repackaged and reimagined as a rock and roll tragedy,” d’Ecco said of the song in press notes.. “’Desires’ is about the entertainer at the end of their career — soon to be phased out by the next wave of rising talent, and shifting audience tastes. For the old guard, this spectre of change is a constant existential threat that will challenge their ability to keep up with the times and to remain relevant in this brutal industry of show business.”

In Standard Definition’s fifth and latest single “Good Looks” is a shimmering and slickly produced synthesis of classic rock, New Wave and glam influences — i.e., think Queen, David Bowie, Gary Numan and The Cars — with the song being centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, four-on-the floor, crystalline synths arena rock friendly hooks and punchily delivered lyrics, But underneath the rousingly anthemic hooks, the song is a withering look at the artificiality and superficiality of online dating: The song specially points out that while we’re swiping left and right, we’re not actively taking part in the world.

New Video: Art d’Ecco Releases a Stylish and Noir-ish Visual for Anthemic “Desires”

The mysterious and enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter now known as Art d’Ecco is a grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett; but in 2018 he emerged as a dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam rocker with the release of that year’s critically applauded, full-length debut Trespasser. 

Since the release of Trespasser, the Canadian art rocker has played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Last spring, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed UK-based psych rock act Temples right before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

Slated for an April 23, 2021 release through  Paper Bag Records, the Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on two-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album will reportedly find the acclaimed Canadian art rocker further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly enough, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic pushes the boundaries of glam rock, as it draws draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including elements of 50s pop, psychedelia, Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

So far, throughout the year I’ve written about three of In Standard Definition‘s previously released singles: 

“TV God,” a synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths. 
“Head Rush” an infectious boogie that owes a sonic debt to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths. 
“I Am The Dance Floor,” a shimmering and strutting disco take on glam rock that may remind some of Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night,” Echoes-era The Rapture and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy. 

In Standard Definition’s latest single “Desires” is a jangling, densely layered, glam rock anthem centered around rousingly anthemic hooks, blasts of twinkling synth arpeggios, soulful horn blasts, an angular bass line, strummed rhythm guitar and shimmering guitar solos and punchily delivered vocals. Sonically, the song is a slick synthesis of Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Gary Numan and The Cars — all while being carefully crafted. “A tale born inside the dark underbelly of old Hollywood, then repackaged and reimagined as a rock and roll tragedy,” d’Ecco explains. “’Desires’ is about the entertainer at the end of their career — soon to be phased out by the next wave of rising talent, and shifting audience tastes. For the old guard, this spectre of change is a constant existential threat that will challenge their ability to keep up with the times and to remain relevant in this brutal industry of show business.”

Directed and edited by Brandon William Fletcher, the recently released video for “Desires” is a stylistically shot, noir-is black and white visual that features d’Ecco and his backing band performing the song — but underneath the stylish surface, there’s this sense of an artist fearful of being phased out by an indifferent and bored audience and industry. Certainly, as you get older in an industry that often values beauty and youth before wisdom and experience, those fears become increasingly real — and the desire to be relevant more desperate.