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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Topic: Canada

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May 1, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Lots to love about The Courtneys | Concert preview

The Courtneys

Vancouver’s The Courtneys, from left: Courtney Loove, Sydney Koke, Jen Twynn Payne. Photo by Andrew Volk.

The eponymous 2013 debut from The Courtneys, who headline Barboza Thursday, was an archetypal indie success story — made on a shoestring budget and released on a tiny label (Hockey Dad), reaching an audience through good old-fashioned word-of-mouth.

“It’s taken on a total life of its own,” says singer-drummer Jen Twynn Payne, speaking via Skype from her Vancouver apartment.

As with any great pop record, the best track on “The Courtneys” tends to be whichever one is playing at the moment — tight musicianship matched with tough-but-sweet hooks.

“We have this idea of perfection of a song,” Payne says. “We throw a lot away.”

“All the components have to fit together,” adds bassist Sydney Koke, “and if they don’t, we’ll ditch it.”


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Barboza, Canada, indie

April 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

The scattered sounds of Chad VanGaalen | New recordings

Chad VanGaalenChad VanGaalen, ‘Shrink Dust’ (Sub Pop)

Chad VanGaalen lives an artist’s dream.

Thanks to grants from the Canadian government — coupled with a Sub Pop distribution deal — the singer, songwriter, animator and producer has issued new records and video clips with minimal interference since 2005.

But with such freedom one shoulders the burden of oversight alone.

His latest offering, “Shrink Dust,” out Tuesday, is a self-described country album, leading one to wonder what exactly the Calgary native considers country — or how potent the psychedelics are north of the border.


Comments | More in Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: Canada, New Recordings, Sub Pop

February 18, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Conscious punks Propagandhi to shred Seattle | Concert preview


Propagandhi, from left: Chris Hannah, Dave Guillas, Todd Kowalski, Jord Samolesky. Photo by Mandy Malazdrewich.

Ever notice how many comedians come from Canada? Our northern neighbours have always been outspoken — not just in comedy, but punk rock as well.

Exhibit A: D.O.A. Part of the genre’s late-1970s first wave, the Vancouver trio spent three-plus decades writing the book on political sounds with a black-comedic streak.

Exhibit B: Propagandhi, which plays a sold-out all-ages show Wednesday at Neumos. Although the Winnipeg band’s name is a nostalgia trigger for anyone raised on ‘90s skate-punk, it was slightly out-of-step with that scene.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Canada, Neumos, punk

November 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Elegant dream-pop from Canada’s Besnard Lakes | Concert preview

The Besnard Lakes

The Besnard Lakes, from Montréal, perform live Tuesday at The Crocodile in Seattle. Photo by Jessica Eaton.

A Montréal-based group led by a husband and wife, given to cinematic arrangements and yearning melodies, recently released its fourth album — and it’s a masterpiece.

The Arcade Fire’s “Reflektor,” right? Wrong.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Canada, post-rock, psychedelic

September 4, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Enigmatic Godspeed You! Black Emperor headlines Showbox SoDo | Concert preview

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Québécois experimentalists Godspeed You! Black Emperor perform live in Seattle Thursday night. Photo by Eva Vermandel.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor doesn’t write songs. The Montreal collective, which plays Showbox SoDo Thursday, writes instrumental pieces. Evocative swells of sound more rooted in classical than rock music, they’re beautiful and terrifying, like soundtracks to movies not yet made — or life itself.


Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Canada, experimental, post-rock