Tag Archive: We Are the City


Pumping On My Stereo*

It’s been a while since I last posted something, so I thought it would be fun (or at least easy) to write about of what I’ve been listening to lately. I’m not keeping any strict rules here. The albums can be new or old, Canadian or not – they just have to be in my rotation of current listening.

Teen Daze – Beach Dreams

I got this album off the Teen Daze Bandcamp page a few months ago when it was offered for free. Since then I’ve been hooked on the song Let’s Fall Asleep Together. The song starts off with a super summery harmony and is just dreamy pop the whole way through. I’m pretty sure you are in fact supposed to listen to this album while on a beach. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Teen Daze.

 

 

 

Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some

Outside of the song Young Folks I never really got into Peter Bjorn and John. That may have changed the moment I saw them on Conan last month. That night they performed Second Chance, a song off their upcoming album Gimme Some. I’ve had Second Chance stuck in my head pretty much for the past two months straight. I don’t know why this song hasn’t hit the radio airwaves yet, but I’m calling it now: this is going to be the earworm of the summer.

 

 

 

The National – High Violet

I admit: I hadn’t heard a single track from the National until just a couple weeks ago. I know, I fail as a hipster. This was one of the best albums of 2010 according to… well, everyone really. In any case I’m glad I finally clued in. I still haven’t had the chance to sit down and listen to the album all the way through in one go, but my favourite tracks so far are Afraid Of Everyone, England, and Bloodbuzz Ohio. (Versa may have a cover of Afraid of Everyone in the works. It involves me singing backup, you’ve all been warned.) Here’s a fun extra: Aaron Dessner of The National appears on Q with Jian Ghomeshi and shows us all how to play the piano part to England (video).

 

 

The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

This is definitely one of my favourite albums of 2011. The last Decemberists album, Hazards of Love, didn’t really win me over. It wasn’t bad, I just never really got into it. I’m glad the band took a different direction on this album. Calamity Song is one of my favourite songs this year.

 

 

 

 

Explosions In The Sky – The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

I think I may have found a new favourite band. This album clocks in at just over 45 minutes, contains only 5 tracks, and has no vocals. I think the word I’m looking for to describe The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place is “epic”. My stand out track is The Only Moment We Were Alone. I’m definitely going to pick up another Explosions In The Sky album on my next trip to the record store.

 

 

 

We Are The City – High School

It’s hard to believe this just came out yesterday. I picked up my copy of High School back in January when the boys played a show here with Aidan Knight. Parts of High School pick up right where the band left off with their debut release In A Quiet World, and parts head in a bit of a different direction. It all fits together quite well though, and the first single Happy New Year is incredibly catchy. You can download Happy New Year off of any number of music blogs, including this one I found here.

 

 

*Internet points to anyone who gets the reference here.

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OK, the guilt is really setting in. It’s been two months and I still have to report on two more days of the Rifflandia festival. Stupid work and life getting in the way. Anyways, here goes:

Day 2 of the Rifflandia festival started off early by checking out Treelines at the Victoria Events Centre. Their new EP Young Man received some heavy play on my stereo this summer, so this was one of the sets I was most looking forward to at Rifflandia. The first song I caught from them, Summer Song, had just that morning been awarded the title of the CBC Radio 3 Song of Summer for 2010. The fool that I am, I showed up a few minutes into the set and ended up missing my favourite song, Ghost Towns. That’s just one more reason for Treelines to make a quick return to Victoria I guess. This was actually the first show I had been to at the Victoria Events Centre, and let me just say that this venue has really got some potential. It was a pretty good space to see music, with some good sightlines, and it had a bar even though it was an all ages venue (a double win!). Back to the music though. Treelines put on one rocking set chock-full of energy. I think the almost full venue of people would have agreed with me on that. The band did not disappoint my high expectations for this show; I can’t wait to see Treelines again.

Treelines at the Victoria Events Centre

Up next at the Victoria Events Centre was a local band, The Wicks, who played some laid back country. It was nice to hear a local band I hadn’t heard before, but after that rocking set by Treelines I couldn’t sit down and give the Wicks the attention they deserved so I decided to move on. I did pick up their EP before I left though, so I’m looking forward to giving it a listen through.

The Wicks at the Victoria Events Centre

At this point I moved over to see another local band, Maurice, at Market Square. This was clearly where the party was going on, with the beer garden lineup growing by the second. The whole set culminated with one unforgettable moment of the festival in which the bass player Mark leaped off a stack of speakers. The next day it was revealed that he sprained his ankle – ouch! As proof, the band posted some photos up on their Facebook page of a pretty bruised and swollen foot.

Yukon Blonde were up next at Market Square and to put it bluntly, they rocked the joint. I was impressed that the band’s great harmonies transferred so well from the album to the stage. At this point Market Square was almost at capacity, and everyone seemed really into the show. I would not be surprised if Yukon Blonde walked away with more than a few new fans that night. Near the end of the set Aidan Knight and the boys of We Are the City joined the band on stage for a song.

with Aidan Knight and We Are The City

Yukon Blonde at Market Square

At this point the night was in full swing and I went from one capacity crowd to another to see Aidan Knight at the Metro. Even with my media pass I got stuck waiting out in the hall for this massively popular show. Luckily I was able to make it in partway through first song so all worked out. For this set Aidan and his band played a mix of  old songs, new songs, and songs from his most recent release Versicolour. After catching him a few times this summer with the Malahat Revue it was nice to see him play such a well rounded collection of material. Partway through the set Aidan asked how many of us saw him at last year’s Rifflandia festival. Considering this was such a breakout performance for him, I was surprised that the answering applause was so quiet. I guess this just goes to show how the love for Aidan Knight has spread so much in the past year. This evening Aidan was joined by a five piece band which was a nice expansion from his solo set at last year’s Rifflandia festival. The band grew even more for the song Knitting Something Nice For You when they were joined by the boys of We Are The City and by Matt Kelly of Treelines. The crowd leaped to their feet for this number, and they even got the clapping part of the song down without any prompting. To finish off the night Aidan asked the crowd to have a seat, at which point he expressed how genuinely happy he is to just be playing music. He also gave the Rifflandia organizers a heartfelt thanks for bringing something so great to our city, and mentioned some of the amazing shows he had seen so far. The band finished the night off with Jasper, and though the crowd started off sitting it didn’t last long. By the end of the song everyone was on their feet singing along, and Aidan finished the whole thing off from somewhere in the middle of the crowd.

Aidan Knight at the Metro

When I left the Metro there was a long line to see Men Without Hats. I grossly underestimated how popular that show would be and I’m quite interested to hear how that it went. Since I was in the area I decided to make a quick stop at the Alix Goolden Hall for Great Lake Swimmers. There was a long, long lineup to get in. Before the show the crowd was a little on the rowdy, restless side which made me think this show would be a disaster, but everyone quieted down as soon as the band took the stage. Unfortunately, things were running about 15 minutes late so I decided to only stay for two songs: She Comes To Me In Dreams and Everything Is Moving So Fast. If I had to hear only two songs from the Great Lake Swimmers, those are two pretty good choices.

Great Lake Swimmers at the Alix Goolden

To finish off the night I headed over to Sugar to catch the last half of Shout Out Out Out Out’s set. Once I got inside the club I was greeted with one sweaty dance party that was well underway. The whole crowd was basically jumping up and down for the entire show. Somehow or another I managed to navigate through the mass of people to get up to the front row where my friends were camped out. This was such a great way to wrap up the evening and get out all my extra energy from seeing so many hours of amazing music this weekend. Shout Out Out Out Out’s show was another one of my most anticipated sets of the festival and with two drummers and three bass players (insert double rainbow joke here), you can surely imagine that they did not let me down. In fact, the band said that it was probably their best show in Victoria so far. The crowd was so riled up by the end when they demanded an encore that the band decided to play Forever Indebted, a song that they claimed to have not played in a long time. This is one of my favourites from them, and it was such a great way to end the night.

Shout Out Out Out Out at Sugar

Now, I know this is supposed to be a music review, but after the show we wandered down to West Coast Waffles on Broad Street. I only found out that weekend that they have late night hours. They served up some amazing after show food that was such a nice change from the old standby of pizza, and they even had a mix CD of Rifflandia artists on the stereo! En route to West Coast Waffles my group ran into Zach from the Zolas and members of Treelines. I must say, it’s been a real treat so have so many musicians in town, and to have them hang around after their shows are over without needing to rush for the ferry, giving us the chance to chat with them while wandering the streets. Also spotted throughout the weekend were members of We Are the City and Aidan Knight.

Shout Out Out Out Out at Sugar

Up next in Day 3: Rich Aucoin, Diamond Rings, (a failed attempt to see) Times Neue Roman, Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, Hey Rosetta, The Dodos.

Rifflandia Recap: Day 1

Sunday Buckets at Market Square

Hometown boys Sunday Buckets kicked off year three of the Rifflandia festival Thursday night at Market Square. The stage started off with a few technical problems, but they were quickly fixed and the show was underway. Despite the rain and the early time slot the band had no problem drawing an audience and they seemed really happy with the turnout. Near the end of their set the band threw some merch into the crowd, including copies of their new album. So far, it was a pretty good start to the festival.

Brasstronaut at Market Square

Up next on the Market Square stage was Brasstronaut. If you know me, it’s no secret that I love this band. I can’t wait for the day that people here know them well enough so that I’m not the only weirdo in the crowd singing along to all their songs.

Edo Reminding Us to Vote for the Echo Prize

This was my third time seeing Brasstronaut in Victoria and it seems that their audience here grows each time. I was glad to see that the technical problems from earlier in the evening just meant that the set times were shifted by 15 minutes, rather than having someone’s set cut short. One moment I found kind of funny was when the trumpet player Bryan Davies hit that high note at the end of Six Toes and raised his arms in triumph to celebrate. (You can see that moment at the end of this video.) The band tried out a new song that for now is untitled.

Sam Davidson of Brasstronaut

Before leading into Hearts Trompet the keyboardist and lead singer Edo van Breemen gave us all a gentle reminder that the song is nominated for the fan decided Echo Songwriting Prize and that we should all go put a vote in. If they win, the band plans to put the $5000 towards their upcoming European tour. Brasstronaut closed their set with Slow Knots. I swear, if the album version hasn’t won you over, you need to see them play it live.

I decided to stick around Market Square for a few songs of the next act Grand Analog. Brennan Saul of Brasstronaut joined in on drums for this set. The crowd was instantly into what Grand Analog had to offer and without much prodding everyone was dancing and waving their hands in the air. Throughout the first few songs Grand Analog hinted that he brought his kazoo with him, so I knew that I had to hang around for a bit. The now capacity crowd at Market Square did a fine job of the call and response in Electric City. (“Music makes the world go round, world go round, world go round. Music makes the world go round, we ain’t going nowhere.”) During a break in the song I Play My Kazoo, Grand Analog and his DJ took turns showing off their dance moves. (Air kicks! Handstands!)

Grand Analog at Market Square

About halfway through Grand Analog’s set I decided to try make it to Club 9ONE9 for the last part of We Are The City’s time slot. Unfortunately because the Market Square stage was running 15 minutes behind schedule, I underestimated how late it was and I made it just in time to hear the last chord from We Are The City. Darn. The band currently has no upcoming shows scheduled, so I really hope I didn’t blow my last chance to see them for the next few months.

When I started the evening I wasn’t too sure what to see in the 10:30 time slot. With many venues filling up for the evening I decided to head over to the Metro Theatre and check out local band Forestry. The only thing I knew about Forestry was that they were featured in CFUV’s magazine Renegade Radio this past year and I picked this show based purely on that fact. This is why I love festivals like Rifflandia. Not only do I get to see numerous bands that I’m already a fan of, I also get bands that I might not otherwise be prompted to see live. As it turns out, I really liked Forestry. If Band of Horses ever come back to town these guys would make for a great opening act. The two bands seem to write songs from the same manual where they start off quiet and by the end everyone is rocking out. I was not the only person to rush to the merch table right after Forestry’s set to pick up their album.

Lee Ranaldo at the Metro Theatre

Since I was already at the Metro Theatre I stuck around to see a few minutes of Lee Ranaldo. I mean really, how could I pass up the chance to see one of the founding members of Sonic Youth? Even as the stage was being set up you could tell that we were all about to witness something unique; in darkness a guitar hung from a wire in the middle of the stage giving the appearance of floating midair. Even though Ranaldo is heralded as being one of the greatest guitar players of all time, not once did he play the instrument in any sort of traditional way. Lots of effects were used, and everything from a bow, to fingers, to a drumstick, to a handheld media device was used to get sound out of the instrument. The theatrics of the performance provided just another level to the set. Ranaldo not only played the guitar, he danced with it, sometimes swinging his partner wildly across the stage as video images flooded the backdrop behind him. This was truly an unforgettable performance.

Lee Ranaldo at the Metro Theatre

I finished off the night back at Club 9ONE9 for You Say Party. I arrived partway through their set, but was just in time to catch the band launch into Laura Palmer’s Prom. The night played out much like their set at the Live At Squamish Festival a few weeks prior, and I mean that in the best possible way. The dance floor was in full swing the entire time, and there was a good mix of new songs and songs from their most recent release XXXX, with some old gems sprinkled in for good measure. The band finished off their set with Like I Give A Care, and left the stage with the crowd calling out for an encore. With the applause not letting up after a good couple minutes, lead singer Becky came back on stage and said “aw, thanks, that was our encore”, smiled, waved and left. We were out of luck that night, but what a great way to end Day 1 of Rifflandia.

You Say Party

Up next in Day 2: Treelines, the Wicks, Maurice, Yukon Blonde, Aidan Knight, Great Lake Swimmers, and Shout Out Out Out Out.

I’ve posted some new (old) photos up on Flickr! These shots are from back in April at the 560 Club in Vancouver. Because one just isn’t good enough the club had a series of opening nights, one of them being the indie night with Library Voices and (the inaugural Peak Performance Project winners) We Are the City. Highlights of the evening included when all the members of Library Voices jumped on stage with sparklers during We Are the City’s set, and when I snapped a picture of the setlist from Library Voices.

Library Voices Setlist

As for more current news on these bands, Library Voices are about to embark on a cross Canada fall tour with Bend Sinister and Paper Lions. The tour kicks off on September 16th in St. Catharines Ontario. From there the three bands will wind their way across the country with stops in Ontario, Quebec, PEI, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia before turning around and making their way back through Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC. The whole thing wraps up in Vancouver BC on October 29th. This tour is sponsored by the good folks at CBC Radio 3.

Upcoming stops in British Columbia:

October 23rd 2010 – Kelowna, BC – Habitat (Western Canadian Music Awards)

October 26th 2010 – Victoria, BC – Lucky Bar

October 27th 2010 – Duncan, BC – Cowichan Theatre

October 28th 2010 – Tofino, BC – The Legion

October 29th 2010 – Vancouver, BC – Pit Pub

A full list of dates can be found on the band’s MySpace page.

Library Voices

On August 13th, We Are the City made the sad announcement that David would be leaving the band to pursue other interests. The split sounds amicable though with the transition being slow – David will stay with the band until they find someone who is the right fit for them and he will play in the remaining shows of 2010. According to the released statement the band has plans to write new material this fall and winter with a new album in the works for 2011, so there is no hint that We Are the City is slowing down anytime soon.

Upcoming tour dates:

September 4th 2010 – Squamish, BC – Live at Squamish Festival

September 23rd 2010 – Victoria, BC – Rifflandia Festival

We Are the City and Library Voices