by Daniel Colussi | Photo: Steve Louie | In the interest of providing you with the best and brightest music that this city and the world has to offer, I give you the second all-original Scout playlist (the first is here). This mix was curated by one of Vancouver’s most fervent lovers of music, Mark Richardson – Music Waste programmer, Color Magazine Music Editor, and host of CiTR’s long running Pop Drones program (Wednesdays at 10 am). This mix is thirty minutes of primo cuts from some overlooked, underdog titles of 2012 that you may not have encountered before. It spans the broad terrain of modern pop and features acts from various reaches of the globe – Australia, NY and Victoria,BC (!) are all represented. Do you need to know more? Sure, Mark has kindly provided further clarification and context after the jump. Enjoy.
Parquet Courts | “Master Of My Craft”
Probably my most listened to record of 2012, and I only heard it in December! One of the dudes was in the mostly forgettable Fergus & Geronimo, which had me overlooking a press release that landed in my inbox one day. I eventually gave it a shot and they pulled me in instantly with album opener “Master Of My Craft” and they never let up throughout the oh-so perfectLight Up Gold. Never before has an album revived my faith in indie rock, a genre that has basically had the life sucked out of it by being mis-labeled and watered down so often. Ultra-catchy, quick, snide, and, above all, smart, Parquet Courts deserve your attention if you feel the same way I do about the recent state of so-called indie rock.
Peak Twins | “Only Sun”
Something is happening in Australia right now. Maybe the overheated continent and global-warming warning signifier is causing the kids to take shelter in their garages and bang out some of the best contemporary odd-ball punk and garage before everything bursts into flames. Peak Twins, alongside Total Control, UV Race, Woollen Kits, Lower Plenty, East Link, and too many more to bother listing here, have been steadily releasing a slew of top notch singles and albums, draining the bank accounts of collector nerds who snap up the pricey imports quicker than they can be released. Luckily for those of us on this continent Iowa City-based Night People Records dished this great split release, with the formidable Scott & Charlene’s Wedding (named after some sort of Aussie inside joke based on a soap opera) on the flip. Peak Twins hit a sweet spot between not-so-subtle Phil Spector teenage dramas and primal basement pop.
Freak Heat Waves | “Correction”
One of the stand-out “new” bands that I had the joy to see during last year’s Music Waste Festival. I had little expectations going into their show at They Live Video, but they had a new fan after they hypnotized that room with their elliptical, kraut-heavy drawl. I had the pleasure of putting on a show for them at Pat’s Pub last December and they were even better than that first time. Head to yer local grocer and grab their self-released debut LP as soon as you can.
King Blood | “Vengeance, Man”
It doesn’t get too much heavier than this one-man wrecking crew from heavy-hitters Snake Apartment, who are on a bit of hiatus right now. Looped guitar lines are intertwined and overblown with fuzz as Mr. Blood shreds on top of it all. Fans of bombed out psych-ers Les Rallizes Denudes oughta do themselves a favour here and giver a listen.
Fabulous Diamonds | “???”
Another great Aussie import, this duo has been slugging it out quietly for several years, having already released two great LPs on Siltbreeze Records. Their third record, Commercial Music, is probably about as close to Commercial as these two have ever gotten. Featuring repetitive organ and tribal drumming, this is probably what it would have been like if Terry Riley fronted a post-punk band.
U.S. Girls | “North On 45”
U.S. Girls (aka Megan Remy) has been a bit of a puzzle to me since her debut LP, released 2008 on the great Siltbreeze Records label. While her earlier releases were much more experimental, her last few have seen her make some big leaps in production, practically going straight pop on her newest LP, Gem, though it should be no surprise she took this direction, as she once covered Monica & Brandy’s “The Boy Is Mine”. Produced and partially written by her new musical partner, Toronto’s Slim Twig, Gem is a damn near a perfect record of retro-futuristic pop that has to be one of 2012’s most overlooked.
Koban | “Down In The Well”
These two have been at it in Vancouver for about three years now. The duo, who is also a couple off the stage, began as kind of dark surf outfit with the regrettable name Mantaraygun. A quick name change and a slant towards UK post-punk gave Koban some traction around town. A pretty killer seven inch single and a 4 way split single.
Daniel Colussi is the Music Editor of Scout Magazine and a contributing writer to Ion Magazine. A veteran employee of Zulu Records and tuneage aficionado, he DJs on an infrequent basis (about four times a year) and is a musician around town who plays in several ensembles.