Best-of ’11:: Rich Aucoin We’re All Dying To Live (Public Publication EP/Over The Top LP)

Originally, I wasn’t going to do anything with the debut LP from Halifax’s electro-pop star, Rich Aucoin. And when I say anything, I mean the record was on my desk for weeks and I hadn’t even pulled off the plastic wrap. It’s not that Rich isn’t talented, genuine or creative; the effort he puts into his tours, performances and general musical existence is second to none and the decadent results have charmed fans all over the world. No, the problem was I didn’t think his new songs would move me at all.


Not to get all Danny Glover, but honestly, when it came to Rich I thought I was getting too old for this shit. Parachutes. Glow-sticks. Teenagers freaking the fuck out wearing 3D glasses. I know I’m closer in age to routine prostate checks than I am late night rave-ups in abandoned warehouses, but Rich’s evolution launched him into the stratosphere and I’m happily and firmly planted on the ground. We were moving in completely opposite directions.


I remember seeing the genesis of Rich’s now legendary live show - he played in the Music Room with movie clips projected on some bed sheets that fell down during the performance and he stashed his trumpet in the support beams - and Shane and I both thought he was onto something. Would he be the next Halifax act to escape the restrictive confines of the East Coast? Rumors of his record were everywhere and grew in stature like that of William Wallace. He’s got two hundred guests! No, it’s four hundred! No, five! But nothing was released.


The record was done - or at least people said it was - but it was in the can for long enough to think it got felony sentencing, but to his credit, Rich didn’t stop. That live show grew and grinded out small wins each time Aucoin took the stage. It became more precise and over time it started becoming as much an event as a concert. The fact he grew from bed sheet movies to crowd surfing - on an actual surfboard - at Festivals in Iceland and being featured in Rolling fucking Stone is as much as you need to know about seeing Rich perform. He reached the levels of The Flaming Lips… and that was why I didn’t want to listen.


The Lips were one of my favorite bands years ago. The early records were amazing and without sounding cliche, they changed my musical life. I started hunting down more experimental sounds and my library went in countless new directions but somewhere along the line, the Lips became more about the gimmicks than the music. Twenty-four hour songs. The plastic bubble. The drugs and lunatic fans; all of these things seemed to be more important than writing great songs.


Without listening to a note of We’re All Dying To Live (Public Publication EP/Over The Top LP), I assumed the same of Rich. Was he too concerned with standing out? Would the songs suffer? Without question, the answer is no. I was driving to the hospital and my iPod was dead, so I grabbed his record and threw it on. Within seconds, my opinion of Rich changed. Aucoin is more than an infectious live performer. W.A.D.T.L. is huge in scope, but executed perfectly. Remarkably, the 500 guest never upstage Rich’s song writing and his vision is pure and crystal clear. There are moments of tenderness, restraint, subtlety spliced into the endless moments of poppy bliss.


Rich doesn’t abandon fans that don’t want to sweat it shoulder to shoulder with teenagers tripping on E, he offers them a hand to make sure they still feel connected. Sure, he builds some Justice or Daft Punk beats and the synth-ony is going to be the soundtrack for endless parties, but this one-man show also offers Arcade Fire like anthems, infectious guitar riffs, gritty interludes, Pink Floyd inspired openness and ambient headphones concoctions.


I’ll be the first to admit, I underestimated Rich’s song writing ability. We’ve been fans for a long time here, but Aucoin manages to reign in an idea that could have spiraled out of control and created something magical. So many film makers and authors find their idea and spend years floundering and failing but when it comes to music those failures result in colossal failures like Chinese Democracy. Rich successfully collaborated with his closest friends, his peers and united not only the audience but the entire hard working, DIY Canadian music community. He talks about his communal shows, but Rich has reminded us that the music community can come together for greatness. All it needed was a white pants wearing shepherd.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3:: Rich Aucoin - It




This entry was posted on Friday, November 25th, 2011 at 10:41 am and is filed under 2011, Canada, Halifax, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Best-of ’11:: Rich Aucoin We’re All Dying To Live (Public Publication EP/Over The Top LP)”

Herohill » Blog Archive » Video Hits:: Kalle Matson, Rich Aucoin & Ox December 8th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

[...] talking about amazing, Rich Aucoin’s new video for It off of his celebrated full length debut We’re All Dying To Live… is that and then some. Directed by Noah Pink and produced by Shut Up & Colour Pictures, the [...]

Leave a Reply