Music

Love and Electrik

I meet up with Love & Electrik on a Friday afternoon on Granville Street, the main strip of Vancouver’s nightlife industry. Our destination is one of the last vestiges of a seedier, less-commercial Downtown Vancouver, a filthy arcade sandwiched in between a pizza-by-the-slice place and the Vogue Theatre. I have a bottle of whiskey and five dollars in quarters. They arrive with their entourage, managers Jeff Herrara and Aidan Wright from The Hastings Set, ready to go. We are so punk.

Gwar

GWAR is a theatrical thrash metal band, formed in a former milk bottling plant by a group of art students in Richmond, Virginia in 1985. They’ve been nominated for two Grammys, seen multiple line-up changes, been shot at, arrested, sponsored by golf companies and charged at by skinheads, all the while spewing chunky fake blood, semen and vomit over adoring fans at their live shows for the past 25 years. And that is basically why they are nearly a household name. It is hard to find someone my age who is unfamiliar with the legacy of GWAR.

Chad VanGaalen

For a self-proclaimed homebody, Chad VanGaalen is surprisingly difficult to get a hold of.

Sally Shapiro

She answers the phone with a chirp and a lie. “This is Sally!” she says, in that cheery Swedish accent that suddenly makes the air brisk and the daylight blonde. But Sally isn’t her name. Not right now, at least. Sally Shapiro is the moniker she uses when she becomes the Italo disco princess that released 2006’s Disco Romance, an album of equal parts dreamy and dancey Eighties-inspired pop tunes. On the phone, she is but a humble office worker in the Swedish town of Lund (she’s never divulged her real name).

The Sonics

Never meet your idols. Something that’s been said by me (or to me) so many times in my urban second life that it’s beginning to sound like a bile-producing cliché. I’ve listened to local, professional defencemen crassly put down the quality of women in my city, I’ve nearly got in a fist fight with a certain action star’s famous “Entourage” and I’ve seen a “black eyed” rap (or “rap”) star pass out in his own throw up. In hindsight, none of these people were MY idols, they were yours, or at least they were the idols of the people whose bubbles I was respectively trying to burst.

The Juan MacLean

If you haven’t yet heard of The Juan MacLean you’ve probably been sitting in a nuclear bunker waiting for shit to hit the fan or eroding in Middle America. With their latest effort, The Future Will Come, released in April on the acclaimed DFA records, The Juan MacLean are now touring, leaving kids from city to city whistling their tunes. If you like to dance to robot-tinged lyrical content and club/dance songs with actual melodies and instruments you will probably be into them.

Passion Pit

The music industry, more than any other, is known for its constantly changing astrology. There are those few stars that have found a permanent home in the shifting constellations of music history—indelible pinpricks in the sky, whose perfectly coiffed and carefully managed images take years to arrive down on Earth. And even after they die, or disband, or otherwise go gently into that good night, their fame lingers like a beacon, their traveling reservoir of light not yet up. But more often, new artists are nothing but shooting stars. They appear suddenly and vanish just as suddenly.

Dinosaur Jr

One way to understand the story of Dinosaur Jr. is to consider the way of the mighty albatross. They learn to fly together, but inevitably break apart, returning to their roots only when they’ve reached maturity. Sound familiar? The band’s bassist, Lou Barlow, declares, “I wouldn’t be in this band, I wouldn’t be working as Dinosaur Jr. right now if I hadn’t gotten better at picking my battles.”

 

Buraka Som Sistema

Rolling African plains, herds of galloping Zebras heading towards a watering hole, chants of the Massai in the distance. What does this have to do with Buraka Som Sistema? Absolutely nothing. Buraka Som Sistema are the first wave of Kuduro producers to gain worldwide notoriety. Hailing from Lisbon and Angola, the foursome have picked up some loyal and high profile followers like Diplo, Switch, Hot Chip and M.I.A. who count themselves among the legion of BSS fans.

MTV Europe Award nomination… CHECK!

…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

Everyone likes …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. If you like indie music, you like them. If you like metal, you like them. If you like radio-friendly music, you like them. So if everybody likes them, why aren’t they on North American FM airwaves? Sometimes those in charge have no clue as to how to market a band with potential and a massive following. If you’ve got a hammer, everything looks like a nail, and Trail of Dead are a white hot rivet, holding up a futuristic ivory tower full of music’s fist pumpers and noblemen.

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