SOUNDTRACKING | Local Band ‘The Shilohs’ Celebrating New Album With Chinatown Gig

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by Grady Mitchell | On Thursday, June 19th, The Shilohs will be celebrating the release of their latest, self-titled album with a show at Fortune Soundclub. The jaunty, jangly twelve-track record – a time-capsule throwback to 60s and 70s pop – combines the work of three talented songwriters – guitarist Johnny Payne, bassist Dan Colussi (who founded Scout’s Soundtracking column), and guitarist Mike Komaszcuk – alongside drummer Ben Frey.

It’s rare to find a band with songs that sound so wildly different and yet all, somehow, perfectly their own. The guys lean on no tropes, and you’ll never experience deja vu with a moment you swore you heard just a couple songs back. That diversity comes from the triple-threat of lyricists and their variety of styles. Johnny’s songs are typically more personal stories, he says, while Mike’s are more philosophical, and Dan’s fall somewhere in between.

The lyrics are written solo, but a Shilohs song doesn’t become a Shilohs song until it’s brought to the studio and everyone puts their mark on it. Even then, each track has a final, even more rigorous test: touring. Back home some songs may get canned altogether while others get overhauled, but only after surviving the gauntlet of live shows will they make the album. For this record the band wrote almost 20 songs before narrowing the count to twelve.

Thursday’s release party will also feature a performance by COOL and a set by Big Tiny. In July, the boys embark on a tour across the US with The Fresh & Onlys. For more information, visit their site.

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VANCOUVERITES | Grant Lawrence Reading Radio’s Palm And Having Nirvana Sleepover

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by Grady Mitchell | Grant Lawrence gets things done. He’s a musician, author, longtime CBC Radio 3 host, and human archive of Canadian music. That’s a mouthful, so when people ask what he does he typically says, “I’m a broadcaster.” Since his interests and talents are indeed broad, the title fits well…with a little interpretation. But whatever it is he’s doing at a given moment, it probably involves music. Take, for example, his upcoming gig as host at the CBC Music Festival this Saturday at Deer Lake Park with headliners Tegan & Sara and Spoon.

Grant’s musical obsession started in high school. “The easiest route to art when we were teenagers was to form a band,” he says. His was called The Smugglers, and over the next 15 years they released eight albums and toured worldwide. Meanwhile, teenaged Grant worked as a concert promoter, booking acts like Fugazi and Nirvana (who crashed at his parents’ place). Next, he worked A&R at Mint Records before joining the crew at the CBC, where he remains today.

Just about the only things Grant’s done that don’t directly incorporate music are his two books, Adventures in Solitude, about the misunderstood culture of Desolation Sound, and The Lonely End of the Rink, a memoir about Grant’s lifelong, sometimes good but often rocky relationship with hockey. There’s an explanation for that, Grant says. “If you work at Burger King full-time, Monday to Friday, chances are Saturday night the last thing you want to do is eat a Whopper.” The books, which both hit national bestseller lists and won the BC Book Prize for Book of the Year, were a chance for Grant to tackle a topic outside music.

Despite forays into other mediums, it’s in the studio at CBC that Grant feels most comfortable, and he doesn’t plan to abandon it anytime soon. Although critics have predicted the death of radio since the invention of television, Grant remains unfazed. While terrestrial radio (the ones with knobs and buttons) will likely phase out, the medium will simply move into more digital channels, as it already has with satellite radio and podcasts (of which CBC was one of the earliest adopters). Radio works because of the curatorial aspect; it’s word of mouth, amplified. “We sift through the hundreds and thousands of songs,” Grant says, “so you can hear the dozens of really great ones.” He’s always got his eye on Vancouver talent, and these days he’s excited about bands like The Courtneys, The Ruffled Feathers, Needles//Pins, and Blanket Barricade.

To learn more about Grant, visit his site, and check him out this Saturday at the CBC Music Festival in Deer Lake Park.

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ZULU REPORT | All Of The Awesome Sounds That You Should Be Listening To This Month

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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 – which is self-explanatory; The Gig – or the ‘must see’ show of the week; and The Glance – which details the best live acts that are on the immediate horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy…

THE TRACK

MAC DEMARCO Passing Out Pieces

Where does Montreal/Vancouver’s Mac Demarco go from here? His music career is climbing to new heights as gigs in support of his latest groover Salad Days have been bumped up into bigger and bigger venues and are constantly selling out. Curious journalists are lined up to pen in-depth documentaries exploring his wildman history, his love of smokes, and his devil-may-care approach to keeping things light. Video crews give him a microphone and set him free lapping up his wise-cracking ways. Mac is the man of the moment for sure and for that he is awesome. Salad Days is easily one of the finest records of the year and it’s nice to see an Emily Carr guy doing so well. So again, where will he go next? Check this video – Mac’s acting skills are really ripening on the vine…

THE PLAYLIST

HAMILTON LEITHAUSER I Retired

The Walkmen are on an indefinite hiatus. Lead singer Hamilton has already produced a solo album that sees him fleshing out his brooding post-punk aesthetic with songs that weave together folksy styles with doo-wop silhouettes. His signature vocal tone remains intact as he muses on life after the big band fireworks!

WHITE LUNG Face Down

Bombing around LA and Santa Monica in a light blue Volvo 240, our heroes White Lung prove that the VHS camera is nowhere near being played out. This year is a huge one for White Lung – they are releasing Deep Fantasy on a major indie (Domino Records) and touring for months straight, all while constantly updating their fascinating Instagram feed.

MORRISSEY World Peace Is None Of Your Business

Morrissey has always had a message, an opinion, and a style of his own. Art is anything you can get away with, and the Moz has always gotten away with it. Here’s a cool spoken word promo for his new album. The message is pretty clear. Bonus points: Nancy Sinatra holding a briefcase of flowers.

BORIS Vanilla

Everyone’s favourite Japanese noise rockers Boris are prepping a new release of heavy heavy tunes. They are rumoured to be coming to Vancouver too, which will be good. I can see all the fog machines at L&M getting rented that weekend. If you’re into power trios that make use of blazing leads then this is your flavour…Vanilla!

MIREL WAGNER Oak Tree

Dream dream dream sweet dreams! Londoner Mirel Wagner is known for her haunting and hushed folk ballads. Here’s the first cut from her forthcoming Sub Pop release – and as one would think it’s a stripped down acoustic ode that carries a ton of tension. The classic black and white, single light source photography is perfect here!

FUCKED UP Sun Glass

Fucked Up have a heavy new album. This video feels like a tribute to Suicidal Tendencies. Damon is in prime form. The slow motion smoke shots are particularly intense. Heavy and grouchy, Fucked Up are back and at Fortune August 15th .

THE GIG

THE SHILOHS | Album Release Party Thursday June 19th at Fortune Sound Club

Things are happening fast for Vancouver’s charming classic pop quartet The Shilohs. In a short time they’ve been out on the road touring with American indie-rock stalwarts Real Estate, performed a couple showcases in Austin for SXSW, hooked up for more US shows with fellow jingle-janglers The Fresh And Onlys, and most importantly – released their sophomore LP for local Light Organ Records. Man, they’ve even been name-checked in Rolling Stone and Spin! They have momentum, and are currently ‘on top of their game’ with a swaggery carefree attitude that finds them chewing through their catalogue of intellectual rock songs with fervour and a rare sort of instinctual nerve. This is their record release show…a lot of bigwigs will be there, their families will be there, and their friends drinking their beer will be there. The pressure will be on. Time to nail it!

A deeper look at Vancouver’s gigscape for JUNE is after the jump… Read more

SOUNDTRACKING | Greg Bevis Of Holy Oker & Bear Mountain On The Challenges Of Pop

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by Grady Mitchell | Greg Bevis believes that pop music can and should challenge listeners. Decades ago, artists like Elton John and Fleetwood Mac were able to make hugely successful pop music that also had substance. These days, besides a few exceptions, that’s clearly not the case.

When Greg says pop music can be challenging, he doesn’t mean in an esoteric or bizarre sense. He simply believes a pop song can have more going on that a catchy hook (which abound on Holy Oker tracks). That idea took shape during his time at Toronto’s Humber College, where he studied jazz. Humber, which offers students access to a studio, is also where he began writing and recording Holy Oker songs.

Greg thinks certain records demand repeated listenings. “My favourite records I didn’t love until the third time I heard them,” he says, citing Jeff Buckley’s Grace as example. When you spend time with a song, Greg says, it’ll reward you with quirks and secrets. He pulls up Otis Redding’s Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay for me and points out a one-time piano lick that starts at 2:08 and ends three seconds later. Tiny moments like that can make an entire record for him.

The depth in Holy Oker songs comes from the dichotomy between the upbeat instrumentation and the forlorn lyrics. Greg describes them as “dark but hopeful.” He pictures a song as a house that a listener moves through; some rooms are close and dark, others are open and bright. “If it’s too sad, nobody’s going to listen to it,” he says. “But if you disguise it with a pop melody, it’s sneaky. I like that.” It asks more of the listener, but the rewards are greater, too.

In between scoring films and recording a second album for his other band, Bear Mountain, Greg will release a Holy Oker single in September on Boompa Records. To learn more about Holy Oker, visit his website.


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SOUNDTRACKING | “Gold & Youth” Prep For Local Gigs, Huge Tour, And Cold New Album

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by Grady Mitchell | Although local band Gold & Youth rightfully profess to make music perfect for midnight drives through urban streets (like a nighttime cityscape, their songs are largely dark but dotted with light), they’ve described their first album – released just over a year ago and entitled Beyond Wilderness – in more geographic terms, calling it their “desert record.” Both are apt descriptions. The album is at once slick and woozy, underscored by a gleaming technological edge. That digital character is balanced by the organic interplay between the baritone of singer/guitarist Mathew Lyall and the velvet, faraway voice of Louise Burns, who also plays bass and keys.

Just last week the band began writing the first songs for a follow-up record. Although they’ve barely started the process, the evolution of their sound post-Wilderness is already apparent. When asked what landscape embodies these nascent recordings, guitarist Murray Mckenzie answers without hesitation. “Tundra.” The sound is still desolate, but this time it’s colder, too. Drummer Jeff Mitchelmore says their new songs contain a darker, heavier energy with a strong shoegaze influence, especially in guitar. Where the recording of the first album was unstructured, now the band plans to write and record more purposefully.

But before they plunge into a second album the four are embarking on their largest tour yet. First they’ll cross the States alongside The Jezabels. Then they’ll work their way back across Canada on their own. For Vancouverites, they’re playing The Imperial on June 9th as well as the Pemberton Festival in July. These two shows will be your final opportunities to see them live for some time, for as soon as they’re finished they plan to hole up and complete a cold, dark, and beautiful record to satisfy the aimless drives of metropolitans everywhere.

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ZULU REPORT | All Of The Awesome Sounds That You Should Be Listening To This Week

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by Nic Bragg | From Kitsilano’s Zulu Records, we once again present our weekly Scout feature, the Zulu Report. Within, you’ll find The Track – the song on heavy rotation in the shop this week; The Playlist – which is self-explanatory; The Gig – or the ‘must see’ show of the week; and The Glance – which details the best live acts that are on the immediate horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy…

The Track

OLD MAN CANYON Wiser

In 15 years this little guy is going to look back on this video and remember the big adventure he had in Vancouver. Local folk outfit Old Man Canyon give us this report’s highlighted track – an old timey campfire charmer loaded with vocal harmonies and rich acoustic instrumentation. Wiser recalls the mellow glow of fellow north-west beardos Fleet Foxes, as well as a little band called Bon Iver, making Old Man Canyon a local band to watch. As for the video – well, it’s a pretty romantic adventure for a tiny tot in Vancouver while his folks are asleep. Check it!

The Playlist

BESTiE Foolish Hearts

This the way to do this. Act fast. Make things cheap. Move quick. Don’t think about it too much. Vancouver’s BESTiE have taken that mantra to everything that they have produced and as a result are always busy forwarding their sonic vision.

WYE OAK Glory

Baltimore’s Merge Records-endorsed Wye Oak have moved on from the confines of being a guitar and drums duo to create a more ethereal synth-based pop sound. Their new album Shriek is getting tons of praise and Andy and Jenn are planning a pretty extensive North American tour to support it. This lead-off single is pretty sugary…

CLOUD BOAT Carmine

There are a lot of Laundromat videos out there. I think it must be a pretty cheap location for scouts – especially at night when only the members of London’s Cloud Boat are washing their clothes. If you are looking for a new dreamy UK band that pushes the 80’s trajectory to chilling effects then you should give this one a turn.

NENEH CHERRY Everything

One long shot. One long location. One legendary reclusive performer vamping to her first new recording in way too long. Add it up, Neneh Cherry is back and posed to push her charismatic presence even further. Shot in stark black and white by acclaimed French fashion photographer, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, this video works well on so many levels…

NEIL YOUNG Needle of Death

Neil covering classic British folk troubadour Bert Jansch is already something worth checking into. Add to this the fact that it is the debut of Jack White’s instant video-o-graph booth – a live video booth poised to feature intimate acoustic shows direct to the internet – and Young’s fans will certainly be delighted. Consider this an echo to Neil’s ‘Needle and The Damage Done’…gotta love the scratchy vocal vibe.

OWEN PALLETT Song For Five and Six

Owen P. has always had a penchant for big ideas. After scoring all the strings for early Arcade Fire albums he pretty much wrote his ticket – programming theatre, large European festivals, and massive concertos of his own Final Fantasy music. Throughout this he’s always managed to keep things arty and keep us guessing. Here he collaborates on some gorgeous new work for the National Ballet School. Cool!

DIANA Strange Attraction

Toronto’s synth-pop DIANA are heading back in the studio to craft their follow up to Perpetual Surrender. Before doing so they banged out another video for Strange Attraction and one that features the acting skills of Carmen Elle! Blissed out beats and freaky masks make the morning after pretty surreal.

REAL ESTATE Crime

Funny or Die’s Tom Scharpling directs the latest meta heavy video to support Real Estate’s massive new normcore pop release Atlas. This video is getting tons of attention…

THE GIG

WAXAHATCHEE – BILTMORE CABARET Friday May 23rd

On tour to support their second record Cerulean Salt, Alabama’s enigmatic art-folk rockers Waxahatchee have scheduled a stop at the Biltmore! Fronted by Katie Crutchfield, Waxahatchee are a band that has roots in the punk houses and DIY spirit of Birmingham’s indie scene. Previous to Waxahatchee, Katie and her twin sister Allison originally performed as a duo under the name P.S. Elliot, self-releasing their records, booking their tours, as well as contributing to fanzines such as International Girl Gang Underground. Today, their songs garner comparisons to the early careers of Cat Power, Elliot Smith, and a whole host of singer songwriters who have shaped lo-fi acoustic bedroom rock. This will be an early show – Friday night at the Biltmore. Be sure to check out one of America’s budding indie names!

A deeper look at Vancouver’s gigscape for the rest of May is after the jump… Read more

HEADS UP | Local Band “Smash Boom Pow” Ready To Tease New LP At The Fox Cabaret

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by Grady Mitchell | Vancouver band Smash Boom Pow consists of brotherly duo Zane and Ulysses Coppard, on drums and guitar/vocals respectively, alongside bassist and producer Tobias Schuch. The band’s emphatic name is echoed in their dark, woozy riffs and punchy, hip-hop-infused percussion. Every Smash Boom Pow song is an amalgam of the three musicians’ divergent tastes — Ulysses cites John Frusciante, The Strokes and Radiohead as influences, Zane has The Roots in mind every time he sits at his kit, and Tobias pulls from darker acts like Nine Inch Nails and The Dead Weather.

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Their music sounds like all and none of those bands. The drums are low and heavy, stalking with a deliberate, irresistible pace. Tobias’s bass runs deep and smooth, allowing Ulysses’s crackling guitar and fervent vocals to arc overhead. The boys perfected that sound last year, while recording for their upcoming LP. In fact, they loved Smash Boom Pow’s new direction so much that they wiped every trace of their previous material from the internet. It was a bold move in an age when general practice is to smother fans in minute-by-minute content. But, Ulysses says, “when we started working on the new material for the LP it became clear really, really fast that it was gonna be way tighter than the old stuff.”

Their track A Girl (above) is a good place to start, and those who want to hear more won’t have long to wait. The band has a slew of west coast concerts planned for the coming weeks, including a May 1st show at The Fox Cabaret with Tough Lovers, and the release of their first, as-yet-untitled LP on June 20th at The Remington.

GOODS | Music Direction Playlist For Casual Southeast Asian-Inspired Noodlebox Eatery

Scout Series ~ Noodle Box ~ from Music Direction on 8tracks Radio.

The GOODS from Music Direction

Vancouver, BC | Music Direction’s branded playlist this month highlights the playlist work they do for Southeast Asian-inspired fast casual restaurant Noodlebox. Noodlebox began as a food cart in Victoria, BC’s Chinatown in 2001. They’ve grown up since then, expanding into Vancouver and Calgary. Working with Music Direction, Noodlebox has been able to further solidify their in-store atmosphere by incorporating a very specific – often locally inspired – eclectic sound. Get the full tracklist and details about the company after the jump… Read more

SCOUT LIST | Ten Things That You Should Absolutely Do Between Now And Next Week

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by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. You can also check it out in the Globe & Mail, from our calendar to theirs…and yours!

NERD OUT | If you’re walking around downtown this weekend and you notice an increase in the number of adults cruising around in full-on superhero / anime costume, that’s probably because Fan Expo Vancouver is on. The day will include special celebrity guests, panels, comic dealers, workshops, and lots and lots of really awesome costumes.
Apr. 18 – 20 | Various times | Vancouver Convention Centre (1055 Canada Place) | $20-$69

FOUNDATIONS | The Emily Carr University of Art + Design Foundation Show will line the walls of the ECUAD Concourse Gallery with works by first year students. Sure the show is an opportunity for new students to bring their family and friends down to see what’s been keeping them so busy over the past eight months, but it’s also an opportunity for the general public to size up the next wave of emerging art, design and media makers, and even place bets on their futures by purchasing their work. Pop down to Granville Island for the opening reception on Thursday night. This show continues until April 27.
Opening night | Thu, Apr. 17 | 7 – 10pm | Emily Carr University of Art & Design 
Ongoing |  Apr. 19 – 26 |  10am -6pm daily | Emily Carr University of Art & Design | DETAILS

RECORD STORE DAY | It’s Record Store Day on Saturday so independently run record stores across the city are fixin’ to help you celebrate. Expect in-store performances, record releases, sales and the coming together of people who love music. Hit Red Cat Records, Neptoon and Dandelion on Main, Zulu Records on 4th Avenue, plus Vinyl, Noize, Beat Street, and Highlife for all sorts of record-related fun. Oh, and let’s not forget the classical grooves at Sikora downtown! Tip: Neptoon Records in particular has a full roster of performances planned, so skip over to their website to see their impressive line-up (running from 11am through until 7pm).
Sat, Apr. 19 | All Day | Various Locations Around Town | Free | DETAILS

CREATE | Looking for some artistic inspiration? There’s a Gastown gig going this Friday called ‘Late Nite Art’ that might be just the ticket. It’s not your basic “still life” class, but rather an evening of creativity and collaborative art-making lubricated by music, food and discussion. For this edition of Late Nite Art, “a facilitator, a chef, an artist, and a photographer combine forces to create an intimate, socially conducive environment and produce an engaging and entertaining night.” No previous experience needed. Just bring your imagination. Ticket price includes workshop, dinner, tax, and a tip.
Fri, Apr. 18 | 7:30pm | Archive at Revolver (325 Cambie St) | $35 | DETAILS

FILM | The David Cronenberg retrospective continues at Pacific Cinematheque. From early experimental features like Crimes of the Future and Stereo to well known blockbusters like Crash, the selection of 13 full length films and four shorts was curated by the Toronto Film Festival and will be presented over the next few weeks on the big screen. Dark, smart and tense, Cronenberg films are consistently provocative, so spreading a retrospective out over time is probably better for everyone! You can catch films in this series at various times and dates over the next month. This long weekend, for example, you can catch The Dead Zone, The Fly, Naked Lunch and M. Butterfly.
Now – May 2 | Various times | Pacific Cinematheque (1131 Howe St) | DETAILS

EXPLORE | The Vancouver Natural History Society is leading a walk through the shoreline of Stanley Park this Friday. As Nature Vancouver explains, “Spring often yields seasonal finds such as barnacle-eating nudibranchs, or their eggs, and bryozoans on kelp. The seaweed should not be too extensive yet, allowing a good look at the cobbled areas. We will also be looking for the presence/absence of seastars after 2013′s devastating seastar wasting syndrome.” Sounds fascinating, right? So pull on some sensible footwear, pack a rain slicker just in case, and head to Stanley Park to stuff your brain full of all sorts of science.
Fri, Apr. 18 | 12noon | Children’s water park at the north end of Stanley Park | DETAILS

BRUNCH | What are long weekends for if not lazy brunches? Our suggestions: gather some friends and hit Lynn Canyon for an early morning hike and then stop in at North Vancouver’s Tomahawk Restaurant for Yukon-style bacon and eggs or fluffy french toast. Over on the East Side, Yolks (in the old Brave Bull site at Hastings and Clark) is the perfect Easter brunch venue with its easy pastel blue and yellow colour palette and, well, eggs. Try a build-your-own poached free-range egg sandwich and a manmosa (fresh squeezed orange juice and Parallel 49′s Hayfever beer). At Railtown’s Ask For Luigi, Chef J.C. Poirier has transported the simple Italian spirit of their evening service to a brunch menu that includes house-made bread with jam and taleggio cheese, frittata with pancetta and potatoes or tomatoes and mozzarella, and waffles with apples, hazelnuts and tiramisu crema.
Tomahawk | 1550 Philip Ave | Sun-Thurs 8am-on, Fri-Sun from 9am | DETAILS
Yolks | 1298 East Hastings St | Mon-Fri (8-3pm); Sat-Sun (9-4) | DETAILS
Ask For Luigi | 305 Alexander St | Sat-Sun 9:30 – 2:30pm | DETAILS

4:20 | On the 20th day of the 4th month (that would be this Sunday), thousands of people gather in, on, and around the Vancouver Art Gallery to celebrate one of BC’s strongest industries: marijuana. Pot cookies, smoking tents, bongo drums, naked people and dreadlocks…expect it all. The first reefers are lit early in the day and the cloud of blue love gathers all day, reaching it’s zenith in a storm at 4:20pm. If you’re driving through downtown, take caution around the VAG parameter, as there may be a few slow moving pedestrians to avoid.
Sun, Apr. 20 | 4:20pm | Vancouver Art Gallery | Free (or $5 a joint)

EAT LOCAL | Pick up provisions for the long week at the Farmer’s Market this Saturday. Locally grown fruits and veggies, fresh eggs and artisan cheese, baked goods and preserves, picked, coffee, honey and wild salmon – it’s all at Nat Bailey Framers Market. Get over there and buy local! These are the last days of the Winter Farmer’s Markets. After next Saturday’s market (April 26) we wait for the first of the regular spring/summer season farmers markets to start up. Yaletown starts May 1st and Trout Lake and Kits open May 10th + 11th respectively.
Saturday, March 19 | Parking Lot – Nat Bailey | Free | DETAILS

TOTALLY BAKED | The Bakers Market is on this weekend. Load up with artisanal breads, scones, cookies and cakes out at the Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre. We’re guessing this weekend will see all manner of Easter-themed goodies like pastel coloured macaroons, madeleines, cupcakes and marshmallows, plus lots of gluten free and vegan options – the whole shebang. It’s like a dreamy dessert buffet or the biggest bakery you’ve ever set foot in.
Sun, Apr. 20 | 11am–3pm | Moberly Arts & Cultural Centre, 7646 Prince Albert | DETAILS

Check the Globe & Mail every Thursday for our Special Weekend Edition of the Scout List

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late-may-2009-169Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives in beautiful Strathcona and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy (but faithful) camera.

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VANCOUVERITES | At Home With Amber Webber And Josh Wells Of “Lightning Dust”

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by Grady Mitchell | Lightning Dust is the brooding music made by Amber Webber and Josh Wells. Originally a side-project from their main band, Black Mountain, it has since become a full-fledged undertaking of its own. From their first release, a self-titled album in 2007, through 2009′s Infinite Light and last year’s Fantasy, they’ve moved progressively from a chiefly folk sound to a more shadowy electronic hybrid.

This combination of analog and digital is best displayed on tracks like In The City Tonight and Agatha off their most recent album, both of which feature glittering keys intertwined with rich, orchestral strings. Amber’s vocals are ethereal and delicate – a nice change from singing in Black Mountain, where, she says, “I’m wailing it the whole time.” Lightning Dust songs have a cavernous space to them, a resonance granted by their lofty, meditative sound.

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That gradual transformation was intuitive, influenced by their evolving tastes. “When the songs were written,” Josh says, “it’s what was most exciting to us at the time.” As for the increasingly electronic bent of their sound, well, now is the time, Amber says. “When I’m forty-five I won’t necessarily want to be doing a synth-pop record, but I’ll certainly still be playing the guitar.”

One of the facts musicians generally accept as a downside of Vancouver – its relative isolation from record industry hubs like Toronto, New York, and LA – the two see instead as an advantage. With the industry somewhat removed, they hold Vancouver as a place uniquely suited for musicians to experiment. Alongside many bands in the city’s vibrant music scene, they’re living proof that that’s true.

OTHER INTERESTING VANCOUVERITES

ZULU REPORT: All The Awesome Sounds You Should Be Listening To This Week…

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by Nic Bragg | From Kitsilano’s Zulu Records, we once again present our weekly Scout feature, the Zulu Report. Within, we provide The Track – the song that is on heavy rotation in the shop this week; The Playlist – which is pretty self-explanatory; The Gig – the ‘must see’ show of the week; and The Glance – which details the best live acts that are on the immediate horizon. From our ears to yours, enjoy…

THE TRACK

BANKS Brain

Los Angeles is the place to be if you want to cut a smooth operator-style modern R&B record. LA-based electronic soul singer Banks teams up with fellow Hollywood producer Shlohmo to create a broodingly spooky new track that somehow defines the new genre of ethereal mood music currently blowing up. Jessie Ware, Finister, Kid A, SZA, and more tread the same dark late night chill diva vibe as Banks, but the push coming behind her self-titled debut release indicates that she might be a name to watch in 2014. This highly cinematic clip makes the most out of a dark colour palette and a series of hypnotic shots of Banks shrouded by a veil. Obviously there’s more below the surface!

THE PLAYLIST

THE BLACK LIPS Justice After All

As the intro notes, The Black Lips are the pride of Atlanta’s Five Points hood. Together with their pals Deerhunter they have established the strip by the Variety Playhouse as more than just a place to find cheap booze and good times. The Black Lips seem to embody the fucked up spirit of American rock music at present. Underneath The Rainbow now out on Vice Records is pretty great!

S. CAREY Crown The Pines

As a member of Bon Iver, S. Carey’s new release ‘Range of Light’ is going to get a lot of airplay. He’s kind of been in the shadow of Justin Vernon for a long time, so it will be nice to see his more orchestral oeuvre get the attention it deserves.

THE WAR ON DRUGS Under Pressure

Everyone knows how much we dig Philly’s War on Drugs – they played a smoking in-store show at Zulu last year! Here’s some live footage of the first track off ‘Lost in The Dream’ – it shows just how much they have upped their game! If you saw their sold out show at The Biltmore the other day, you know just how lucky you are!

EX HEX Hot and Cold

Merge Records is like a family record label. Having previously released supergroup Wild Flag featuring Mary Timony, they also put out her latest effort as Ex Hex. With its crunchy riffage and tons of bouncy beats, this track is a who’s who of Washington D.C. punk legacy – and yes, that’s The Make Up’s Ian S. going out on a dinner date with Mary!

CHROMEO Jealous

Chromeo are back! The electro vibe is alive and well. This new track seems to channel the Daft Punk thumbing bass pretty well. Time to lease a sweet ride and hit the open road.

THEE OH SEES The Lens

If you’re a fan of lo-fi animation you will certainly want to sit through this mellow new cut from John Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees. Dreamy spaceman imagery galore!

THE GIG

GOAT w/ HOLY WAVE – RICKSHAW THEATRE Tue Apr 15

Psychedelic freak rockers Goat hail from the musical hotbed of Gothenburg, Sweden. Well, in actual fact they claim to trace their roots to a tiny town in northern Sweden that has a history steeped in voodoo worship and a common ancestor who was a famous witch doctor. With this in mind they will put a spell on you, and seduce your minds with their deep and trippy interpretations of ‘world music’ – a universal musical language that combines all forms of music into a fusion of art-rock, tribal rhythms, afrobeat, kraut groove, and lush hedonistic freak folk. Imagine Eddie Hazel as leader of Sun Ra’s Arkestra working through the ecstatic moments of a Damo Suzuki jam while the burnt daydreams of Vashti Bunyan breeze by… Sounds like a dream, right? Or maybe more like a nightmare? Hmm. Regardless, the element of spectacle will be on display on the Ides of April as Goat are known to perform in elaborate wardrobe (think exotic beaded garb). Openers Holy Wave from Texas should get the night off to a good start. Their music is pressed by the people who put on the legendary Austin Psyche Fest.

Take a deeper look at Vancouver’s gigscape for the rest of January after the jump… Read more

GOODS | Guest Playlist A “Music Direction” Collaboration With Artist Jasper Sloan Yip

Guest Playlist ~ Jasper Sloan Yip ~ from Music Direction on 8tracks Radio.

The GOODS from Music Direction

Vancouver, BC | For this March playlist edition, Music Direction has teamed up with local, award-winning musician Jasper Sloan Yip. The team recently met up with Jasper at their Railtown studio and the idea of a playlist collaboration was born. The playlist is built around the inspiration for his album Foxtrot (2013). Here’s what Jasper has to say about it:

“In some way or another, each of these songs influenced the outcome of Foxtrot. Each song contains a tone, rhythm, texture, lyric, or some other unnameable thing that caught my ear and gave me something to chase. And though I likely never caught whatever it was I was chasing, I am indebted to each of these songs nonetheless (or at least my album is). But who wants to catch up with the thing they’re chasing anyways? Don’t we all know how that ends?”

Enjoy! Get the full tracklist and details about the company after the jump… Read more

SCOUT LIST: 10 Things That You Should Absolutely Do Between Now & Next Week

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by Michelle Sproule | The main objective of this website is to scout out and promote the things that make Vancouver such a sweet place to be. We do this with an emphasis on the city’s independent spirit to foster a sense of connectedness within and between our communities, and to introduce our readers to the people who grow and cook our food, play the raddest tunes in our better venues, create our most interesting art, and design everything from what we wear to the spaces we inhabit. The Scout List is our carefully considered, first rate agenda of super awesome things that we’re either doing, wishing that we could do, or conspiring to do this week. You can also check it out in the Globe & Mail, from our calendar to theirs…and yours!

FERMENTATION | Vancouver’s R&B Brewing and the crew at The Bottleneck on Granville Street (right below The Commodore Ballroom) are joining forces to host Beer Feast this Tuesday nigh, which will see Todd Graham of R&B pair a selection of beer with a four course dinner prepared by Bottleneck chef Hugh Carbery. The theme of the evening will be ‘fermented’, so think pickled, smoked and cured meats, cheeses and pickled veggies and – of course – beer. Not bad for a Tuesday night!
Tue, March 11 | Doors 7pm/Dinner 8pm | The Bottleneck (870 Granville) | $60 | DETAILS

WINNOW WEDNESDAY | Gastown’s East Van Roasters make their chocolate from scratch. And when they say “from scratch,” they really mean it. The tiny shop imports, roasts, winnows (removes the papery shell surrounding the bean), and grinds 22kgs of cacao beans for every batch of their house-made chocolates. It’s an involved process and downtown eastside social enterprise relies on the hands many employees and volunteers to get the job done (particularly when it comes to removing the shells from the freshly roasted cocao beans). This Wednesday night you can pull up a chair and learn about chocolate making while you help to winnow. Those willing to donate their time and energy to the noble cause of hand-processing chocolate will be given a cup of tea or house-roasted coffee as well as salty chocolate chip cookies and EVR brownies to snack on. Hang around until the end and you can take some cacao shells home to make tea with.
Wed, March 12 | 6:30-8:30pm | East Van Roasters (319 Carrall) | Free | DETAILS

EXPLORE | Standing proudly at the north end of Burrard Street, Vancouver’s Marine Building, which opened in 1930, is certainly one of the most iconic and stunningly beautiful heritage buildings in the city. If the doorway is any indication of the level of craftsmanship and style of the offices inside, just imagine how impressive it must be to set foot in the art deco-styled penthouse! Next week you will have an opportunity to do just that. On the night of Wednesday, March 12th, the Heritage Vancouver Society will lead an informative tour of the building’s jaw-dropping lobby and gorgeous penthouse. Tickets aren’t cheap, but this will be money well spent, particularly because your 100 beans counts as a donation to the Heritage Vancouver Society (tax receipts will be issued) and there will be a reception that includes wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Wed, March 12 | 5:30-8pm | Marine Building (355 Burrard) | $100 | DETAILS

FILM | The Pacific Cinematheque is running a series of classics that have been meticulously restored by the UCLA Film and Television Archives. In the age of digital, well, everything – the opportunity to watch a film in it’s original 35mm format has become increasingly rare. Don’t miss out on experiencing this medium the way it was intended: 35mm film projected on to a big screen with a bag of popcorn in your lap. Restored films include everything from film noir and comedy to silent films, thrillers and documentaries). This Thursday you can catch Cary Grant in The Thirty Day Princess (6:30pm) and W.C. Fields in International House (8pm). The UCLA Festival of Preservation screenings continue with more shows (Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World on March 20 and Mantrap on March 26).
Thu, March 13 | Various times | Pacific Cinematheque (1131 Howe St) | DETAILS

EVIDENCE | There’s a show on at The Robert Lynds Gallery that I’m interested in checking out. Site[d] is a mixed media series by artist JG Mair that documents details of East Vancouver ‘sites’ by taking them out of their physical context and presenting them in stand alone vignettes, a process that lends the work a somewhat archival feel. The idea (as the artist explains) is that these details “provide a lingering glimpse of the transitory state of the urban fabric. Each work suspends time and space revealing a landscape trapped between decay and growth.” Beyond the larger issues of such as land-development and displacement the collection conveys the depth, history and personality of place. Site[d], the works of JG Mair, has been curated by Michael Bjornson and continues until mid-April.
Now through April 12 | 1639 West 3rd Ave | Free | DETAILS

SCRATCH | Scratchboard is the process of creating drawings and illustrations by using a sharp tool to remove layers of dark clay or ink to reveal a light lower level. Think of it this way: remember when you scribbled a mess of coloured crayon on paper and then covered all of the colour with back crayon so that you could use your fingernails to remove the top layer of wax to create stunning works of kindergarten art? Well, scratchboard works on the same principle but it’s much more refined with results that can look like highly detailed (think beautifully precise linocuts and etchings). This is really the kind of thing you need to see rather than read about, so head to the Hot Art Wet City gallery on Main Street this Friday night to catch the opening of Scratch, a show of new scratchboard artwork by local artist Andrea Hooge. Then you’ll understand. Bonus: Brassneck is only a few doors down and it’s almost always a guarantee that there will be a cool food truck parked outside. To recap, that’s art opening, craft beer and cheap good food. Sounds like a fine Friday night on Main Street.
Fri, March 14| 7pm | Hot Art Wet City (2206 Main St) | DETAILS

LAUNCH | Sad Mag is a cool local magazine that celebrates independent art and culture in Vancouver. It’s issued on a quarterly basis and contains some seriously compelling pages packed with images (film or Polaroid, nothing dig­i­tally manip­u­lated). This Saturday night they’re hosting the launch party for their latest issue (no. 15) Grit & Gristle. This issue will “explore eat­ing and drink­ing in Van­cou­ver, Sad Mag style. We’re inter­ested in the Dive bar, the hole in the wall eatery and new and inno­va­tion foodie things hap­pen­ing in the city: GRIT + GRISTLE. It’s kinda dirty, gritty, but won’t give you food poi­son­ing, we promise. We want to get between your teeth. Chew the fat about Vancouver’s new, strange or fas­ci­nat­ing culi­nary caveats.” Sounds pretty bang on to us! The opening party will include original artwork and photography from the artists who contributed to the magazine.
Sat, March 15 | 7-10pm | Make Studios (257 E. 7th Ave) | Free | DETAILS 

EXPLORE | At the Dr. Sun Yat Sen gardens this month, anthropologist and photographer Evelyn Nodwell is showing a selection of photographs taken during her travels to the villages and small towns of Guizhou Province in China. This Saturday presents a fantastic opportunity to check out Nodwell’s photos because not only will the artist be in attendance, but she will also be joined by National Geographic photographer Sam Abell. The two will have a walking conversation of her works as they are displayed in the Garden’s gallery. Sam Abell has a forty-year photographic career under his belt, including having one of his images (have a look) named one of the 50 greatest pictures ever made at National Geographic. He’s also a bit of an expert on gardens so this is likely to be an interesting event.
Sat, March 15 | 2pm – 4pm | Dr. Sun Yat Sen Gardens | Chinatown | DETAILS

WINTER FARMERS MARKET | Stay strong, take your vitamins, and eat well by loading the fridge with fresh, local food. Shoot over to 30th and Ontario to get your fill of fruits and veggies. Look for kale, crispy apples, leeks, beets, potatoes and squash, as well as goodies like baked goods, preserves and local honey. Yay farmers!
Sat, March 15 | 10am – 2pm | East Parking Lot Nat Bailey Stadium | DETAILS

CULTURE | Opera Pro Cantanti is performing Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi Sunday night. From Opera Pro Cantanti: “While families at war swear eternal hatred, two young hearts are inextricably bound in love. The result is tragedy at its most poignant. With soaring melodies, glorious harmonies and a timeless theme, I Capuleti e i Montecchi is one of Bellini’s true masterpieces.” The setting of the Cambrian Hall makes this community scale performance intimate and thoroughly enjoyable. Plus Don’t Argue Pizza is just down the block for post performance pizza and beer.
Sun, March 16 | 7pm | Cambrian Hall (215 E 17@ Main) | $18 (not including pizza) | DETAILS  

Check the Globe & Mail every Thursday for our Special Weekend Edition of the Scout List

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late-may-2009-169Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives in beautiful Strathcona and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s shops and streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy, and uncooperative camera.

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GOODS | The Biltmore Set For St. Patrick’s Day Shindig With “The River And The Road”

The Biltmore Cabaret is located at 2755 Prince Edward Street in Vancouver, BC | 604.676.0541 | biltmorecabaret.com

The Biltmore Cabaret is located at 2755 Prince Edward Street in Vancouver, BC | 604.676.0541 | biltmorecabaret.com

The GOODS from The Biltmore Cabaret

Vancouver, BC | Come down to the The Biltmore Cabaret, kick up your boots and swing a shaleighleigh with us for a St. Patrick’s Day Party featuring The River and The Road playing their first Vancouver city show of 2014 with Mike Edel, Greg Drummond & Twin Bandit! After crossing an ocean, leaving a hemisphere, and a long stint hitch hiking across the American Southwest, singer/guitarist Andrew Phelan made his way to Chicago with the looming need to cross into Canada for work. He had two flight choices—Montreal or Vancouver—and flying west was cheaper. Once there, he found a healthy contest in singer/banjo player Keenan Lawlor, who had been playing around Vancouver for the previous eight months. Keenan had moved across water to forge a new path, but in his case, it was the Georgia Strait instead of the Pacific Ocean. In the beginning the two butted heads, seeing in each other the greatest competition for the attention of an East Vancouver open mic audience. Competition turned to collaboration, busking, and living on scraps together to make their musical existence possible. After several months as a duo, they recorded their debut eponymous twelve-track album. In the spring of 2012, the band emerged as a dynamic four-piece with the addition of drummer Cole George and bassist John Hayes. Learn more after the jump… Read more

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