Definitive Records asks interesting Vancouverites to scour their sonic-led memories to pull out the three albums anchoring their musical tastes.
For today’s edition we speak with Tristan Young, general manager at Kitsilano’s Oakwood Canadian Bistro. Tristan, who also co-hosts his own music podcast, Beats on Repeat (which you can find on iTunes and Stitcher) was thrilled to share with us three of his favourite tracks. Listen up…
LCD Soundsystem | “Sound of Silver”
“From their landmark release Sound Of Silver, everyone will tell you ‘All My Friends’ is the best song from this album. While that’s ostensibly true (‘All My Friends’ after all is pretty much the best song of that decade), ‘Get Innocuous’ is more of a thrill, and more emblematic of their pursuit to merge punk, electronic, rock, and pop into one kaleidoscopic amalgam. Icy cold and dis-compassionate percussive streaks mix with hypnotic multiplying sequencers and other worldly synth. When James Murphy actually starts singing it sounds like he’s being processed through a pressurized echo chamber and it sounds awesome. “Where once you had believed it, now it see it’s sucking you in”, continues to be one of the coolest lines ever. The way the syncopated beat briefly doubles up on itself after the first climax is amazing. Nancy Wang is, as always, the secret weapon; her stoic but firmly domineering vocal sequence at the end builds so much anticipation and tension. As the track precipitates on anticlimactic sputtering out she finally closes with the dead pan but utterly energizing order, “Get Innocuous”. She could read out a grocery list and it would be captivating. Pro tip- to The Long Goodbye live version of this track for an insane Pat Mahoney drum solo.”
Sleater Kinney | “The Woods”
“Coming from their 2007 release The Woods, which is one of the best rock albums of this generation, ‘Jumpers’ is a bit anomalous. Almost hermetically sealed within the core of an album characterized by bangers that are uplifting, defiant, and you know- fun, this track is a startlingly direct rumination on mental trauma and a visceral close up on the nature of suicide. The guitars are ragged, anxious, rueful even. Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein’s delivery is breathless and staccato, conveying insurmountable levels of stress and anxiety that manifest themselves in explosive outbursts; you’ll never hear a Mark Twain line, “the coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent…” screamed at you with such raw, unadulterated charisma. The writing throughout occupies that liminal space between achingly poetic and unsettlingly literal- “My falling shape will draw a line between the plough of sea and sky, I’m not a bird I’m not a plane”. You almost have to readjust to the frighting realism of the song’s conclusion as they scream with a morbid sense of finality, “four seconds was the longest wait”.”
Empress Of | “Me”
“Empress Of – or Lorely Rodriguez – is undoubtedly one of the most talented and exciting names in pop. The manner in which she communicates her idiosyncrasies, anxieties, and regrets with such clarifying confidence is mesmerizing. There’s no better example of this than ‘Standard’ from her 2015 record, Me. The melodic backbone of a female choir brimming with solidarity is a perfect setting for Rodriguez to explore ideas of income inequality and material resentment. She elucidates her position not just from moralistic grandstanding but also frustration with herself that, yes that life style does look appealing. Rodriguez is a talented writer that draws from a wellspring of experiences as a Latin America growing up in LA, but it’s the monolithic grandeur she is capable of producing that truly amazes. The sheer force of her phrase, “What do you see in the mirror when you’re feeling restless, do you see a man who isn’t there/ living for the sake of living, I can promise that no one cares” makes for one of the best delivered vocal sequences I’ve heard in years. The slick production transitions the peculiar and non linear keyboard trickery into a torrent of granular and eroded synth further hardening her tirade. Rarely can a song begin so capriciously only to quickly calcify into a statement that truly feels definitive.”