If you’re starving for some new bands and the hottest tracks of the moment, check out my show New Indie Music on CJSF Radio! Every other Thursday from 6–8 PM I’ll be spinning new indie rock, pop, electronic, and a bit of hip hop.
Tonight’s show will feature rising stars such as Iceage, Youth Lagoon, Wu Lyf, and Pictureplane, I’ll be doing a spotlight on this year’s excellent Polaris Prize shortlist including winner Arcade Fire, and I’ll have some brand new tracks from the likes of Thom Yorke, Wild Beasts, Wavves, and Florence & The Machine. I’ll post the complete playlist in the comments after the show. If you need more reasons that that to tune in, be assured that I’ve been told I have a great radio voice!
You can tune in TONIGHT from 6–8 PM at 90.1fm, or listen to our live stream at cjsf.ca. If you can’t tune in for the show, it will be up as a podcast for a week after the show on cjsf.ca: go to the program guide, and navigate to the Thursday 18:00–20:00 slot (If you download it more than a week after, you’ll catch Pop-O-Pie Planet hosted by our very own station manager Magnus Thyvold — great show, and recommended listening as well!)
I’ve designed my logo and poster as a nod towards the timeless United Airlines logo design by Saul Bass, as well as the fantastic poster design by Shawn White for Vampire Weekend at the Sasquatch! 2010 music festival. Click the pic for a big version.
CJSF is a volunteer-run campus and community radio station broadcasting from Burnaby Mountain. Check out the website for our super-diverse program listings here: cjsf.ca
Let’s put things up front: Dan Mangan puts on one of the best live shows out there. Everyone, Vancouverite or otherwise, is urged to see him at the next possible opportunity. Which might be a bit difficult, since he managed to sell out two shows at the Vogue weeks in advance, and did the same back in May. Dan Mangan, for those unaware, is a Vancouver based indie-folk artist, which doesn’t sound particularly impressive, but Mangan has such stage presence and charisma that I doubt anybody could have walked away from Saturdays show without a smile, or a tear. He gives a damn about the music, and the performance, and the audience.
Opening up the show was The Crackling, followed by Burning Hell, with the members of The Crackling also playing as Mangan’s backing band later in the show. The Crackling played folk with excellent acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and cello work, and got the audience in a charged up mood. Their frontman Kenton Loewen was charismatic and talkative, and set the mood nicely for Burning Hell up next.
With Mathias Kom hoisting a ukelele, and backed by cello and a synth/guitar/glockenspiel/other-assorted-gadgetry, Burning Hell joked and played catchy, witty, and plain funny songs about love, death, and life. Their work is energetic, funny, and plain fun, and are highly recommended. The audience loved every minute of it; Burning Hell could easily have been the headliner from the volume of the crowd.
Dan Mangan finally took the stage with a revolving lineup including the members of the Crackling as well as a six-piece brass and string section. Mangan and his band could rock out with “Road Regrets”, and bring tears to eyes with “Fair Verona”. Veda Hille joined Mangan for a beautiful version of “The Indie Queens are Waiting”, and the last song “Robots” had the entire Vogue singing along. The mark of a true performer though, is that even the breaks between songs were enjoyable, with banter between the band, stories and jokes earning smiles on every face in the theatre.
If you haven’t heard anything by Dan Mangan yet, here’s his video for “Robots”. If it doesn’t melt your heart, you might not have one to begin with:
Small Black played the Media Club back in April with Washed Out, just off the release of their five song debut EP. They now have a full lengh called New Chain, and I was thrilled to see the band coming back to the Media Club so soon after seeing them last.
Opener was Young Prisms, starting well after 10 in a chilled-out Media Club last night, Local Natives playing in the background. Young Prisms was, in a word, noisy. Playing lo-fi shoegaze, something in their work strikes a familiar chord, but I can’t quite place it. A more energetic My Bloody Valentine, perhaps, or a less energetic No Age or Times New Viking. Band members cycled on and off the stage, layering drawn out vocals with driving, hazy guitar work, dripping with echo and reverb.
Young Prisms are from the San Francisco area, and you could almost hear the music filtered through sun and salt drenched air. While here in Vancouver, in the cold November air and with the coming rain, Young Prisms guitars became something you could almost curl up and fall asleep to, If you don’t go deaf first. The Media Club is a small, small low room which gets very, very loud. As a side note, one of the best shows I’ve ever seen was the Thermals playing the Media Club, but it actually hurt near the end of the set, and my ears were ringing for days. Lesson learned: this time I came with ear plugs.
Next up was Class Actress, 80‘s synth dance sounds behind the singing of Elizabeth Harper. Elizabeth reminded me of Emily Haines from Metric, if not in looks then certainly in attitude. A more sultry Emily, a glamorous La Roux. If you’re a fan of La Roux, in fact, you will probably enjoy the stripped down electro dance of Class Actress. It wasn’t my style, but give her a bigger production budget, and I think Class Actress could become a force to be reckoned with.
Small Black’s New Chain hasn’t captured the hearts of indie fans as much as the EP, but the secret is in the live show. The Brooklyn four-piece injected electric energy into the album material, which while not sleepy, is certainly more controlled and toned down. I couldn’t help but grin at the slam of the bass beat in my chest (and I couldn’t stop staring at keyboardist Ryan Heyner’s tiger t-shirt). The songs took on an energetic, danceable beat, and the room responded in kind. The band played through choice tracks off New Chain, as well as the favourites from the EP, and gave each song a new spin. I missed the ear-piercing treble guitar from Weird Machines, but the new bass lines definitely made me move.
Despicable Dogs, from the EP, was the highlight song of the show and the crowd favourite. There were no misses, either. Encore song Photojournalist, the first single from New Chain, was a great cap to the evening, dreamy and setting a lasting mood for the ride home. It looks like even with a four-piece lineup rather than the five of last show, Small Black have stepped up their live game.
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