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Photography, Music, Film, Hitchhiking, Craft Beer – Cultural Pugilist

Tag: Polyvinyl

Alvvays Ride Perfect Summer Pop Song Wave

Alvvays Ride Perfect Summer Pop Song Wave

Alvvays Ride Perfect Summer Pop Song Wave

Like a 90s Prime Time Soap Opera Cast…

“You should be an American!” is never a good way to start off a conversation. But that’s how the imaginary interview goes in my head. Me, perusing the map of Nova Scotia, wondering why my American history course was so inadequate, thinking, Why isn’t that a part of Maine? and People actually live there who don’t fish? The summer camps must be awesome! Yes, I am from California…

Alvvays, a Canadian quintet who have just dropped their debut album on the musical world, seem to have the likes of all us ready to faint at the first lovely gasps of the Molly Rankin singing on “Archie, Marry Me”. Like an uplifting mix of the brightest spots of Teenage Fanclub and Belle & Sebastian with flourishes of Camera Obscura but with clear and melodic, but loud guitars, Alvvays seem to be catching the perfect wave at the peak of summer. Admittedly it’s an east coast, Canadian wave. But these days, what with Canada having hegemony over the US of A in terms of authenticity, it translates. Two of the fivesome, Rankin and Kerri MacLellan grew up as next-door neighbours in Cape Breton. Seems like the by turns practical and sentimental Scottish love of the the sea is alive and well in the Canadian heartland of Prince Edward Island too, where Alec O’Hanley, Brian Murphy and Philip MacIsaac hail. Just another reason to move to Canada. Or if they won’t let you in, at least the other Portland.

Recorded at Chad VanGaalen’s Yoko Eno studio and mixed by Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile), the album is distributed by Polyvinyl, who lovingly say, “Convening in Toronto, the group have been making music since dusk or maybe dawn, when stars were appearing or fading off. As a result, their debut self-titled album is both sun-splashed and twilit — nine songs concealing drunkenness, defeat and death in tungsten-tinted pop that glitters like sea glass.”

I don’t know about all that. We’ll wait for the sophomore effort to comment on such import as tungsten-tinted pop and glittery sea glass. Their first album, if a bit truncated and wobbly in the middle bits, does promise that there is hope for the children of fisherman past, if only all of us would trust in the sea.

Alvvays Ride Perfect Summer Pop Song Wave

Alvvays Ride Perfect Summer Pop Song Wave

Alvvays (Polyvinyl, 2014)


Aug 05 – London @ Birthdays
Aug 06 – London @ Rough Trade East
Aug 09 – Kingston, ON @ Wolfe Island Festival
Aug 16 – Montreal, QC @ La Vitrola
Oct 20 – Cambridge, UK @ Junction 2 &
Oct 21 – Liverpool, UK @ Kazimier &
Oct 22 – Dublin, Ireland @ O2 Academy &
Oct 24 – Birmingham, UK @ The Institute &
Oct 25 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club &
Oct 26 – Newcastle, UK @ Riverside &
Oct 28 – Brighton, UK @ Komedia &
Oct 29 – London, UK @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire &
& w/ Real Estate

Japandroids at SXSW

Japandroids – Shugo Tokumaru – Harouki Zombie at SXSW

South By Southwest is much more than music. It’s a festival that’s takes over the heart of Austin, Texas, centered around the Austin convention center, and is going on now (March 8-17). Imagine a 10-day TedTalks presentation with both feature-length and short-film, conventions, tradeshows, interactive technologies, all converging in one of the best foodie cities in the Americas. It, in the words of the SXSW site, “offer(s) the unique convergence of original music, independent films, and emerging technologies.” Plus lots of great food. And beer.

Three great reasons to go:

Japandroids – Shugo Tokumaru – Harouki Zombie at SXSW

Japandroids:

03/12 The JanSport Bonfire Sessions @ Viceland (401 Cesar Chavez St) – 11 PM
03/13 Vans SXSW Showcase @ The Mohawk (912 Red River St) – 7:30 PM

Japandroids at SXSW

Japandroids at SXSW

Shugo Tokumaru:

3/12 Terrorbird Party @ Red 7 (611 E 7th St) – 4:40 PM
3/13 SXSW Day Stage @ Austin Convention Center (500 E Cesar Chavez St) – 12 PM
3/14 Brooklyn Vegan Party @ 603 Red River – 1:30 PM
3/14 We Listen For You & Sonablast Party (1106 E 11th St) @ 3 PM
3/14 Polyvinyl Records Showcase @ Red Eyed Fly (715 Red River St) – 11 PM

Shugo Tokumaru at SXSW

Shugo Tokumaru at SXSW

Harouki Zombie:

3/13 Saddle Creek Records Showcase @ The Parish Underground (214 E 6th St) – 1 AM
3/14 Polyvinyl Records Showcase @ Red Eyed Fly (715 Red River St) – 10 PM

Harouki Zombie at SXSW

Harouki Zombie at SXSW

New Music - of Montreal & Harouki-Zombie

New Music – of Montreal & Harouki-Zombie

Asking too many questions never got anyone any answers. Beyond the dull what is the meaning of life and why god why asking questions to yourself whilst sitting alone in a room is more a kind of mental masturbation leading to nowhere. Might as well put some music on that snazzy Bose Digital SoundDock on your desk and ask yourself why it doesn’t sound like vinyl. Which merely begs yet another question: what to play?

If for no other reason that you should be dancing as much as your still young legs can, but you kinda want to rock some funky dance-punk in your skinny jeans, then the latest of Montreal release Daughter of Cloud is exactly what the existential doctor prescribed. 17 tracks of rarities ranging from the days of 2007 yore circa the epic Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? through to 2010’s False Priest, the album is in realty two—the first nine tracks one of unreleased material and the subsequent eight a compilation of tracks previously released on hard-to-find 7”s. Thematically and stylistically as disparate and off-the-wall as rarities albums are, there is a cohesive element to Kevin Barnes iconoclastic meanderings. Simultaneously serious and jovial, an earnest self-consciousness pervades every note, be it tongue-in-cheek electro-funk, pretty twee-pop, or glib dance-punk. Even if it doesn’t make your foot tap and head bob, the lyrics on “Sails, Hermaphroditic” (If I could Dr. Frankenstein (Dr. Funkenstein) the world (if I could change your mind) / Start this bitch anew / I would change the shit out of you) are enough to make you laugh at the world, and your useless self-conscious stall tactics.

New Music – of Montreal & Harouki-Zombie

Rather than arranging the songs chronologically, Barnes sequenced the tracks to take you through a whirlwind of images slap-painted with raucous fury and tinged with fragile emotion. Beginning with genre-mashing up-tempo beats and guitars the 56-minute album eventually dissolves into softer shades and straightforward songs, yet still features the trademark of Montreal cadence-switching sensibility. Even their most accessible single, “Tender Fax” has moments of irreverence, as if it just can’t stand to be three full minutes of radio candy. On the penultimate track, “Noir Blues to Tinnitus” Barnes explores the idea of sound within the human ear without a corresponding external sound, i.e. imagined sound or better put, the noises / voices in our head. It might be a confusing, glam-rocky and hallucinatory place, but listening to the sounds play out from Kevin Barnes’ head is always new and exciting.

New Music - of Montreal & Harouki-Zombie

of Montreal Group Compilation

Much like Harouki-Zombie’s debut EP Objet Petit A, the new project from Orenda Fink (of Saddle Creek’s Azure Ray) and Nina Barnes (of Montreal’s chief album artist). The title track is an immediately infectious beat-driven female whisper-fest that elicits images of dark subterranean European clubs where effortlessly stylish singles dance unselfconsciously in stroby lights. “Soldier’s Gun” continues in this vein while stepping up the tempo and heavy breathing in sexy foreign tongues. Polyviynl Records simultaneous release of Daughter of Cloud and Objet Petit A is no coincidence. There is much crossover. Firstly, Nina Barnes is Kevin Barnes partner in art, music and marriage. Secondly, the male Barnes has penned and lent his production skills on the stylistically similar yet more light-hearted third track, “Vacated Hunters”. The final track “Swamp Theme” is a dancy, trip-hop ode to zombie swagger in double-time. In the era of the portable, the EP would not be complete without not one, but two dark and house-y “Objet Petit A” remixes (digital only).

Daughter of Cloud is available on CD, 2xLP (cyan or black vinyl), cassette (purple tape), and digital formats. Objet Petit A is also available as limited edition hand-numbered purple 2×7″ + MP3. Better not to ask why, just find an online garage sale, buy a vintage turntable and follow the link to the vinyl. It comes with the MP3, so you can still maintain your minimalism.

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