Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Morning Coffee:: We Are the City

For the last few months, a select number of BC bands have been vying for the grand prize ($150,000 duckets) and the of Peak Performer. Friday night the announcement gave the nod to We Are the City, narrowly beating terrific bands like Bend Sinister and The Left.

Similar contests have been run across Canada - Hollerado recently pocketed 250K - but this one really seemed to help bands build a long term model for success. Obviously winning 150K is fantastic for any young band, but the whole Peak Performance idea shows bands how hard work and creative marketing can help them get heard, get noticed, get signed and get on the road. Blogs, tweets, videos, free demos for anyone wanting to listen; this contest has really highlighted how the digital age is changing the music model and showing that even though people might not be buying as many CDs, we still love and support music.

So congrats to We Are the City, and hopefully this piano rocking anthem will jump start your day.

MP3:: We Are the City - There are Tiny Beasts in the Ground

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Posted at 9:36 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quick Hitters:: Yukon Blonde Everything In Everyway

I’m still suffering the affects of the Polaris Hangover – literally, figuratively, visually (my eyes are still burning and my stomach slightly off as a result of seeing Damien’s wedgied ass last night) – but it’s a justified mind numbness. Bloggers are usually pretty independent and quick moving, unconcerned with other people’s opinions of a record, so the fact the last few weeks have been dedicated to 10 records and hours of thought and discussion means one thing:

I’m ready to talk about something else.

Don’t get me wrong, the process was interesting as were the reasons people cited for a record, the experience was amazing, Steve and Liisa did a fantastic job and the performances were top shelf, I just need to get some new sounds in my headphones. So as I sit at the airport, seemingly as far away from last night as I am from home, the new EP from Yukon Blonde is a nice blend of shimmering guitar and harmonies that help push me through the stale air and hours passed in Terminal 3.

The Kelowna poppers fuse 70’s pop with 60’s grit and somehow the effort never seems formulated or contrived. Streets sparkles like an earthier Fleetwood Mac or maybe a more Canadian Midlake, taking advantage of a bit of gritty guitar that tops a thick bass line to take some of the sheen off the affair. Tapes Forever Be Tapes display vocal interplay worthy of The Sea and Cake that helps you overlook some of the guitar wankery that tries to derail the track.

I’m interested to see how a full length would play out from the band, as some of the ideas and sounds they seem to prefer might not work as the number of songs starts to build. Heavy guitar solos seem to show up and sometimes overstay their welcome especially as they push perilously close to cheesiness on Free Your Mind. The simple concept of “free your heart into your mind” sounds like a white kid with dreads-hippie anthem (or something Ras Trent might preach) and the guitar work does seem excessive at times, but with the harmonies, bouncing bass and shimmering notes float you away and help you forget about the weight that often comes with music and life.

The highlight of Everything In Everyway is the subtle power they generate on the album closer. The tribal, didgeridoo-esque hum that starts Nico Canmore sets the tone for the 5-minute affair, but it’s the deft way they handle each layer that is added without overwhelming the gentle crescendo that really makes the song. The banged out piano, drums and guitar surge forward offering listeners the rare treat of a record that ends on its strongest note.

MP3:: Yukon Blonde - Streets

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Posted at 8:46 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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