by Nic Bragg | From Kitsilano’s Zulu Records, we once again present our monthly Scout feature, the Zulu Report. Within, you’ll find The Track – the song on heavy rotation in the shop this week; The Playlist – our selection of videos; and The Gig – the “must-see show” on the horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy…
VIET CONG Continental Shelf
Vancouverites are probably still suffering from ringing ears after Viet Cong played the Beatroute anniversary show a couple weeks back. Loud, noisy, yet also somehow dreamy and full of texture, this group (led by ex-members of Calgary’s Women) know how to create an intense wall of sound that is both alluring and at times viscerally assaulting. Their debut record comes out in early January and is probably one of 2015’s most anticipated albums. If this song is an indication of what’s to come, then Viet Cong’s production choices are spot on. [ed. note: video slightly NSFW]
JOHNNY de COURCY Wind Chimes
Johnny is releasing his new LP Alien Lake at the end of November. It’s another recording coming out of the same mysterious Alien Lake Recording Studio (outside Kelowna) that has already spawned Dada Plan. The LP is being released by Ben and the good people at Neptoon Records. Expect it to make some noise across the country as de Courcy and his band seem poised to support the record and get out on the road. Alien Lake is an involved listen that deserves close inspection; there’s lots to unpack including some nice juxtapositions of classical piano, 60’s west coast pop-isms, and heavier, more fuzz-faced freakouts. Kudos to local filmmaker Owen Ellis for this nicely shot vid.
NILS FRAHM All Melody #2
A couple weeks ago they loaded a baby grand piano into the Imperial Club for the arrival of Berlin-based virtuoso Nils Frahm. Having studied to be a classical pianist under a protégé of Tchaikovsky’s, Nils has taken his compositional skills to the next level by mixing in his love for old school drum beats, tape echo, and a warm blend of Juno 6 and Fender Rhodes keys. The result is a hypnotic sound that is super tight and focused in its melodic interplay, yet also spacious, open and drifting as it slowly percolates and transforms. This in-studio performance video captures Nils perfectly.
ANGEL OLSEN Windows
Moving on…Here we have a new song from St. Louis’ upstart Angel Olsen. Jagjagwaur released her album last February, but decided to bulk it up with a deluxe version for year end, so if you missed out on “Burn Your Fire For No Witness” you now really have no excuse. Featuring a bunch of extra tracks as well as more video content, Olsen’s Pitchfork-endorsed sound is now really gaining critical attention. Expect this release to be on a bunch of 2014 Top Tens. The video? It’s like your Tumblr feed come to life…
BONNIE PRINCE BILLY New Rich Black (Tusks)
Regular readers of this column over the years will recognize that I have a soft spot for the work of Will Oldham. His voice instantly transports one to that moment in the summer night when things are warm, comfortable and soothing. Over the course of the last 20 years Will has been one of the most consistent songwriters in America, and has established a songbook that is well respected. New Rich Black Tusks comes from Oldham’s 2014 release “Singer’s Grave a Sea of Tongues”, which has a really relaxed and elegant late night vibe thanks to some sweet mandolin and violin leads. The last couplet of this song says it all.
DEERHOOF Exit Only
San Francisco’s Deerhoof keep getting louder and louder. Their new record Las Isla Bonita is a real riff-heavy serving that allows vocalist Satomi plenty of room to screech. If you listen to it on headphones you may suffer the same fate as Michael Shannon’s manic self in this video. Good to see that Deerhoof are not taking themselves too seriously.
JAY ARNER Broken Glass
Vancouver is a good city to disappear in. Jay has lived his secret life here for so long now. He goes about his ways. He buys his groceries, ice cream, and other necessities just like everyone else. But once in while he gets together with his band and flies over to Europe to assume his other life. Check out this cool version of Broken Glass recorded at the Great Escape in Brighton.
White Lung | December 5th at ELECTRIC OWL
Vancouver’s own White Lung have had an extremely busy year. Touring constantly for the last nine months in support of their first release for Domino Records, the crew has steadily honed in their bombastic noise rock vibe into a more and more precise and explosive show. A friend just caught them at a dive bar in Berlin and mentioned that they have come a long way since their early shows here in town at Scratch Records’ defunct InterUrban Gallery. December 5th is their homecoming show and honestly, the Electric Owl seems like a pretty tight spot to see them in. Zulu has been selling tickets at a steady clip, but in true Vancouver fashion it will probably be in the last couple of days that people finalize their plans and get in line to see Mish and Co. bring it all back home.