We’ve been fans of the Vancouver-born, now Brooklyn-based Ancient Babes for quite some time now. Last year’s Futuristic Demon was phenomenal and #5 on our top EPs list for 2014. Thankfully, we have another spectacular addition to their oeuvre this year with the amazingly titled My Cool Music. Building from where lead single “R.I.P. Maury Garner” leaves off with slow chillwave almost-rock ballads, the EP also features some immaculately dense arrangements and note-perfect instrumentation.
My Cool Music is certainly another great notch on Ancient Babes’ belt, and they’ll always be on our radar as long as they keep pumping out stuff like this.
Back in July, we got some sad news: Ladyfrnd, one of our favourite Vancouver electro-pop projects, had called it a day. They released their final EP Farewell, and we thought that was that.
Well, thankfully we have one more Ladyfrnd experience to sink our teeth into with (presumably) their actually final release, a spectacular remix EP of that last record. Featuring remixes of some of Vancouver’s finest, including Gang Signs and Humans (both of whom include Peter Ricq, one of the key players in Ladyfrnd), Ryan Wells, and many more. Most of the reworkings double-down on Ladyfrnd’s inherent etherealness and minimalism, but the whole EP is a hazy, slow motion dance party that is well worth your time.
Farewell Remixes is out tomorrow on Hybridity Music.
Okay, so Maarten Bayliss knocked our Silent Socks off a few months back, with one of the most incredible videos we’ve seen this year, for the hard-hitting “Controlled.” Not to mention the most glorious website known to musiciankind. So naturally, we’re interested in everything this Vancouver character has to show us. And his next single, “Both Ends Broken” certainly doesn’t disappoint. It’s a brooding electronic pop track with some great bass and percussion work, and a powerfully raw vocal delivery. Amazing stuff!
You can grab “Both Ends Broken” for free from Maarten’s Soundcloud. No word of a release on the horizon, but we hope there’s one in the works!
We introduced you to Unalaksa, the band formed by Zachary Gray and Edo Van Breeman on the set of a vampire movie, last month. Now that it’s October, they’ve released their debut, self-titled EP, which opens with this gem. It’s not nearly as spooky as vampires and Halloween’s month would suggest, but a sense of melancholy and unease permeates through the song until the plucky string resolution at the end.
Thankfully, this project doesn’t seem to be a one-off; they told Noisey that they’re planning future releases together. In the meantime, you can find their whole four-song EP on iTunes.
This band has one of the best origin stories we’ve ever heard. Zachary Gray – who you may know from Vancouver band The Zolas – and Edo Van Breeman were playing a fictional band in a vampire movie (Afflicted, in case you’re interested). The budget was too small to rent a sound stage to fake a concert, so they went out to real bars to film improvised music.
Well, something clicked. The pair got along so well musically that they’ve made an EP as Unalaska that will be released this October. Van Breeman is a film score composer, which you can certainly hear underneath Gray’s poppier leanings. This suitably cinematic single moves through choruses full of reverb, bouncy guitar melodies and some delightfully deep bass, with light synths throughout. We’re certainly on board.
Fake Tears, we’re very happy to be making your acquaintance. A new synthpop duo from Vancouver, featuring production from blog fave Jay Arner, Larissa Loyva and Elisha May Rembold have an impressive backstory. Lovya has played as a live member of How to Dress Well and Destroyer, but is maybe best known to us for her solo work as Kellarissa. So perhaps unsurprisingly, their debut LP Nightshifting is very fully formed for a band’s first record, nine solid tracks of unabashed straight-up synthpop. “Second Wind” is one of many highlights, a high-energy track that is unrelentingly hooky.
Rich in texture and melodic subtleties, Mesa Luna‘s latest piece “Don’t Let Go” offers a new sound to add to Vancouver’s ever burgeoning forward thinking electronic music scene. From the opening drums to the wailing guitar ending – this is a must-hear track. The duo of Justice McLellan and Alex Cooper have developed a sonic palate all to themselves, one that we cannot wait to hear more of in an upcoming EP they are preparing for NBD Label, set to be released in late October.
File this under excellent unexpected news: Gang Signs are releasing an album! We’ve long been fans of the Vancouver trio, whose members include Peter Ricq of Humans, but we haven’t heard much from them since their amazing and sinister minimal synth jam “Prequel.” Turns out there was a good reason. Geist, their first-ever full-length album, will be out October 2, and the first two singles suggest this could be one of the best albums of the year. Taking cues from dark UK pop acts like the XX and Factory Floor, the tracks feature subtle guitar and unison vocals, over some incredible minimal synth grooves. Brilliant!
Vancouver’s Chandra Melting Tallow has been perhaps better known for her performance art and multi-media work, but she’s been secretly at work for the last five years crafting a unique and experimental take on electronic pop as Mourning Coup. All that work has culminated in a wonderful debut record, Baby Blue, which came out a couple of weeks ago. There’s a lot of breadth to the album, ranging from the plaintive synth ballad “Saturn Sakura” to epic noisy drone odyssey “Somnium,” but if we had to pick a favourite, it’s the uptempo nearly-album-closer “Burn One for the Saints,” which seems to capture Mourning Coup at her poppiest while simultaneously incorporating the noise elements and experimental textures found throughout the record.
To recap: Baby Blue is a remarkable album, from one of the most talented experimental pop talents in Western Canada. It’s available digitally or on vinyl from Mourning Coup’s Bandcamp, and you should really look into it.
The last we heard from Teen Daze, he had released a pared-down ambient record on his bandcamp. But it seems that a lot has happened since then, as his next album Morning World is due out on the illustrious Paper Bag Records. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to those following along since he always seemed well connected, composing remixes for the likes of Young Galaxy, You Say Party!, Jay Arner and many others.
The sounds on the latest single is unlike anything we’ve heard from the prolific Vancouverite. “Along” is a densely layered prog-pop masterstroke and certainly an interesting direction. I mean, the comparisons to Pink Floyd not withstanding, we love it when a band takes a chance like this, and expected nothing less from Teen Daze. As an added bonus, they’ve released the original demo as a b-side for the single, so you can hear it in its nascent stage too.
Morning World is out August 7 on Paper Bag.