by Grady Mitchell | Vancouver quartet Frankie, comprised of singer/guitarist Francesca Carbonneau, keyboardist Nashlyn Lloyd, bassist Samantha Lankester, and drummer Zoe Fuhr, have pioneered their own new genre based on their distinctive style of dark, folky music. They’re calling it “twinkle rock”.
That’s not to say everything in the Frankie universe sparkles. The delicate beauty of Francesca’s voice and the intricately woven instruments masks the dark core of their music. “It’s kind of like when a dream interferes with a nightmare, and all of that happens in one song,” says Zoe. The collision between those two extremes – the immense possibility of dreams with the nocturnal tortures of nightmares – is where twinkle rock happens.
In various ways, almost every Frankie song embodies this. Powder, despite its light and airy instrumentation, lays out an emotional spiral and some none-too-healthy methods of coping. The frantic pace of Someone Once mimics the story of mental decay it spins, just as the steady, forbidding rhythm of Painted Birds amplifies a tale of romance gone dark.
Formed in December 2013, the band has faced most of the challenges arrayed against a new act, compounded by the stereotypes facing an all-girl group. “You have something to prove,” the band agrees. Most common is the genuine, post-performance surprise that audience members show at their live shows. But those kinds of reactions just motivate them to work harder. “We can’t just be cute up there,” says Nashlyn. “We have to be good.”
The momentum they’ve built over only six months is a testament to that, and shows no signs of slowing. On Saturday, July 26th the band will play a show at Sitka on West 4th. They have two festivals scheduled later in the summer: Edge of the World on Haida Gwaii on August 9th, and another at Ponderosa Festival at the end of that month. After that, they plan to hole up for the Fall and get an album done. For more from Frankie, check out their website.
Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to pick the three albums that anchor their musical tastes. Today we hear from Theo Lloyd Kohls, owner of The Dunlevy Snackbar, which is open Tuesday through Saturday evenings on the DTES for all your snacking/sipping needs.
Pulp – Common People | LISTEN | “In middle school, JC [lead singer Jarvis Cocker] was my JC.”
Serge Gainsbourg – Initials BB | LISTEN | “I was 18, she was 24, EYES WIDE OPEN.”
Gil Scott Heron – Winter In America | LISTEN | “A Father, a Sage, an Artist. Bless your soul.”
by Grady Mitchell | On August 2nd at The Electric Owl, Vancouver quartet Shimmering Stars will offer a sneak peek of their second album, Bedrooms of the Nation, coming out August 13. Compared to their first record, Violent Hearts, Bedrooms is a vast, howling sound. Guitars are stacked atop each other – sometimes fifty tracks on a single song, says guitarist and singer Rory McClure – to build a swirling hurricane noise. This change of direction throws back to the band’s early days. Before it was an album, Bedrooms of the Nation was the group’s original name, back when they played louder, brasher punk.
The Stars are fascinated by the music of the fifties and sixties, particularly the gap between what the artists sang and how they lived their lives. Acts like The Beach Boys spun some wonderful harmonies, but their lives were anything but. “The parameters around pop music at that time were very limiting,” Rory says. “You couldn’t say what you actually felt or were experiencing if it didn’t conform to pretty traditional themes. So I was always curious: what would they write if they were actually free to write about what they wanted?”
Probably something a lot like a Shimmering Stars song. The sock hop influence shows up in the blended harmonies and bouncy melodies that appear in even the most shadowy tracks, a sort of through-line piercing the noise. Even when a song like Shadow Visions launches into a thunderous third act, it’s guided by a jaunty guitar line and a ghostly bah-bah-bah backup vocal. Much like the night sky, there are speckles of light among the dark (if you’ll forgive a guy a True Detective reference). Mixing pop techniques with experimental elements is nothing new, they say. They point out guys like Frank Black and Kurt Cobain who built experimental sounds around a core pop sensibility. “I think no matter how dark or noisy the music gets,” drummer Andrew Dergousoff says, “Rory’s got a secret, guilty pop affiliation.”
“You can indulge the fringe styles,” Rory adds, “but it’s got to have a melody.”
Lyrically, things are as dark as they were on Hearts, but the songs take an angle more philosophical than personal: “Things that expand beyond my own, sad-bastard experiences,” Rory says. The mood lightens as the album progresses, culminating in the cathartic closer I Found Love.
The addition of bassist Elisha Rembold allowed Brent Sasaki to switch to guitar (his playing style, according to his bandmates, “has been described as ‘nervous piano.’”) Not only did that free them to write chunkier songs, but markedly improved their live performances, too, the band agrees.
That’s something you can decide for yourself on August 2nd. Until then, you can hear a few tracks off Bedrooms of the Nation here.
The GOODS from The Biltmore Cabaret
Vancouver, BC | The Biltmore Cabaret presents RAM ON, a tribute to Paul McCartney’s “Ram” with Sprïng and members of Synthcake, plus special guests. Sprïng is a neo-psychedelic band based out of Vancouver. In March of 2014, they released their debut LP entitled Celebrations and are currently playing shows both locally and abroad in support of the release. On the July 7th – to celebrate Sprïng member Joseph Hirabayashi’s birthday – they will be paying tribute to former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney’s Ram, an eclectic, eccentric, and manically infused super Beatles record released in 1971 (a cult favourite among McCartney fans). Joining Sprïng will be Lana Pitre and Kristy-Lee Audette of Vancouver locals Synthcake. The band has dubbed the project “Sprïngcake” and is excited to be joined by Spencer Owen and Classic Rick. Learn more after the jump… Read more
The following gallery represents everything we Instagrammed in the last 30 days or so…
Chocolate Fuck Up | Delicacy | An aesthetically imperfect dessert that restaurant staff get to eat because the pastry chef is too proud to send it out to a paying customer. It could be anything from a slice of cheesecake with a raggedy corner to a leaky tiramisu. They are violently pounced up as soon as they are announced.
Usage: “Damn it! I got a Chocolate Fuck Up over here if anybody…holy shit settle down!”
Diner En Blanc | Event/Phenomenon/Spectacle | Literally, “Dinner In White”. An annual al fresco summer supper that sees thousands of serial Instagram abusers paying money so they can dress exactly alike in order to best physically express their collective disdain for the individual. The evening ends with a mass synchronized ejaculation of short-lived sparklers that symbolizes everyone’s empty return to flawed personal realities. A performance study on irony. An Orwellian warning. A farce.
“Nothing frightens me more than the prospect of living the nightmare that is Diner En Blanc…”
Yogafart | Noise/Phenomenon | A loud fart overheard by many in a quiet, crowded place that no one reacts to because of the awkwardness of the shared embarrassment. Coined in an East Van yoga studio where practitioners regularly let loose with mid-pose flatulence.
Usage: “Dude, this girl let out the biggest Yogafart at the library today. Everyone was silent and so embarrassed for her that you could hear her face turning super red…”
Stab Night | Event | Any major fireworks event that takes place at English Bay, drawing over 250,000 people into the West End, among them thousands of suburban young men who neither know how to drink responsibly nor talk to women coherently so they violently turn on each other to vent their sexual frustrations.
Usage: “Fuck no, I’m not going to stab night! Are you crazy?”
Lumberjoke | Pejorative/Slander/Subculture | An inexplicable subculture of mostly young men who dress up like lumberjacks even though they’ve never cut down a tree or set up a tent in their lives. The basic uniform includes a checkered flannel shirt, woolen cardigan or vest, cuffed denim trousers, thick-rimmed glasses, a pair of unscuffed Red Wing leather boots, a toque or flat-brimmed baseball hat, full-sleeve or neck tat, an extra short-back-and-sides brill-creamed haircut complete with burly beard, and a copy of Kinfolk Magazine.
Usage: “It’s fucking incredible how Gastown went from Lumberjacks to Lumberjokes in under a century. Now that’s progress…”
Over Town | Place | What people on the North Shore call Downtown Vancouver.
Usage | “I’m headed Over Town. Need anything?”
The GOODS from The Chinatown Experiment
Vancouver, BC | The Chinatown Experiment is set for July with five new pop-up shops. There’s a full line up of one-of-a-kind shops in Chinatown this month. The space begins as part architectural installation and part café, and then transforms into a street art gallery, a women’s clothing store, a hand-crafted Japanese knife shop, and finally into a home for the new collections of five Montréal-based designers. As always, expect a dynamic storefront showcasing the unexpected. To stay on top of it all, like The Chinatown Experiment on Facebook for updates.
July 2 – 16 | FARADAY CAFÉ | Social artist Julien Thomas and Hughes Condon Marler Architects (HCMA) are opening the first coffee shop that repels wireless signals. In a space devoid of cell phone or digital connections, the team hopes to create personal ones instead. To achieve their desired effect, the team has completely enclosed the café in mesh that shields electromagnetic signals while producing a distinct visual form. They’ll be serving a rotation of artisanal coffees by donation (Heart, Bows & Arrows, Ritual, & more) and will be home to events. Expect pop-up dinner parties Wednesdays at 7p.m., afternoon DJ sets on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays starting at 3p.m., and even a storytelling night on July 15. Open daily 10am – 6pm, closed Sundays. Follow them on Instagram for daily updates. #faradaycafe
June 17 | STREET SCRIPT: DEBUT GALLERY | Street Script is the intersection of Art & Hip-Hop. Local street artist & designer MEGA is presenting her debut gallery ‘The Vapours’ for one-night only exhibition. Her hand-painted, classic hip-hop lyrics can be spotted in the streets of Gastown and Chinatown. Through lyric design and illustration, MEGA is creative a movement that transcends cultures and generations. The gallery will feature all brand new original pieces by MEGA. DJ Icy Touch will be spinning fresh cuts for the evening with collaborative works by The Dark, Doug Weir, and JB. Bonus: Watch this short film about MEGA & StreetScript. The show goes from 7pm to midnight. Arrive early; it’ll be a packed house. #streetscript
July 18 – 20| LUCKY BABE POP-UP SHOP | The local online women’s clothing brand is launching soon and has put together a pop-up shop to celebrate. For their first release, expect leggings and clutches in store. It’s the first foray into fashion for founder Mafidon (Lucky) Osaigbovo. Although, fashion has always been in the family and largely influenced by the women in the West African born Mafidon’s family, starting with this mother and sister. A percentage of proceeds from the pop-up are supporting the Salvation Army. Open Friday, 4pm – 9pm and Saturday/Sunday 11am – 7pm. #luckybabeshop
July 22 – 27| KNIFEWEAR: HAND CRAFTED JAPANESE KNIVES | The chef-owned independent Knifewear opened in their doors in 2007 and already have fives stores across Canada from Ottawa to Kelowna. For the first time ever, owner/knife-nerd Kevin Kent is bringing Canada’s first Japanese knife shop to Vancouver with a one-week pop-up. Expect to find hundreds of knives from more than 40 of the best Japanese knife brands including, Masakage, Fujiwara San, and Moritaka Hamono. They’ll also have chef-curated cookbooks, beautiful made in Canada Larchwood brand cutting boards, and exceptional kitchen gadgets. There’s also the classic shave shop with high quality shaving gear; straight razors, safety razors, soaps, aftershaves, badger and horsehair brushes. “Cooking is the new rock and roll,” Kent says. “And the new black leather pants are Japanese knives.” Open daily 11am – 7pm. Follow them on Facebook for updates. #knifewearpopup
July 28 | THE STOWE: SERIES 3 LAUNCH | Montréal-based The Stowe is coming back home for the launch of their Series 3 collection. Founded by designer Molly Spittal, The Stowe began out of a desire to produce beautiful, functional accessories. Using carefully selected materials sourced in North America, the studio reflects the values of traditional craftsmanship and classically designed products to compliment one’s life. The Stowe is joined by Box Agency, representing five exceptional designers from Montréal including Ursa Minor, Little Houses Clothing, Assembly Home Goods, Elaine Ho Jewelry, and Amanda Moss. Open by appointment only. Industry may contact Box Agency at info [at] agenceboite.com
July 29 onwards | OPEN BOOKINGS! | Do you have an idea in need of a storefront? Get in touch with us email@example.com for your pop-up shop, exhibit, or gallery.
The GOODS from The Cinematheque
Vancouver, BC | To celebrate the brand-new, 50th anniversary restoration of The Beatles’ epochal first film, A Hard Day’s Night, The Cinematheque is hosting an all-ages Opening Night on Friday, July 4th to kickoff their exclusive, one-week engagement. In store: refreshments, a special performance by in-costume cover band The Fab Fourever (dancing in the aisles encouraged!), remarks by rock documentary scholar Michael Baker, and a screening of newly restored, pop culture milestone. Lace up your black boots, leave that moptop intact, and mosey down to The Cinematheque for a night of Beatlemania! Doors at 6:30pm. Get more info here… Read more