Collage Party – Suki And Me

“Music & Lyrics” is a 2007 romantic comedy about a washed-up former pop star attempting to revive his career. Alex (Hugh Grant) is down on life, struggling to be content without his former glory. He is painfully overshadowed by the greater overall success of his old bandmate, Colin (Scott Porter),  whom he used to share frontman duty with in their 80’s pop group, PoP! Alex is asked to write a hit song for a rising pop star but he is unsuccessful in doing so. That’s until he realizes that Sophie, a woman who waters his plants, has talent in penning lyrics. Sophie (Drew Barrymore), a former creative writing student strained from an unsuccessful romance with her English professor, initially refuses. Alex coaxes her into helping him by using a few quickly-chosen phrases she has given him as the basis for a song. Over the next few days, they grow closer while writing the words and music together, much to the delight of Sophie’s older sister, Rhonda, a huge fan of Alex’s work.

Anyways, by the end of the film Alex gets the girl and the success while his former bandmate Colin needs to get surgery due to years of over-dancing.

Walter TV – Appetite

Walter TV is a Montréal via Vancouver psychedelic pop outfit, with a strong “effection” for and mastery of heavy Planet Caravan style U-Vibe vocal EFX and digi-delay. Though the band’s main-stayers Peirce and Joe have recently found themselves backing up the ever-elevating Mac Demarco, they still managed to find the time to put together an album. In small clubs with sleeping sound men and Beringer boards, the “effectiveness” of the band’s experiments are often lost, not to leave out drywall reflections and drunkenness, (and I’ve seen them several times). However, owing to the nature of the studio (even if your studio is more of a shit-shack), otherwise harsh elements can be reigned in and presented perfectly, and Walter was able to do that here.

The collection covers a fair amount of musical ground, ranging from the Amen Dunes-esque, delay guitar arpeggiated-psych, into more hard hitting indie rock rompers, a few slow stingers, all with stand-out, weirdo pop hooks and the signature underwater vocalizations. For those who tend to tread the tightrope that lies between the totally accessible and the totally avant-garde, this album will definitely suit your Appetite.

Mac Demarco – Rock & Roll Night Club

Today marks the release of Mac Demarco’s Rock & Roll Night Club on revered NYC label Captured Tracks, and although Jim already covered it long before it was “Pitchfork validated,” I feel that I need to reiterate: for the occasion, and for my own personal relief and closure.

In a post I made back in July, I talked the logistics of Makeout Videotape, about how the high art that I considered it to be was ever contrasted by the band’s extreme silliness, and how I thought that because of this, they were inadvertently trumping themselves. However, I sort-of half missed something. I was right about the fact that it’s hard for someone like Mac, with a captivating, yet extreme stage persona, to win the hearts of unacquainted listeners. Yet, when the listener takes the plunge knowing more-or-less what to expect, they are most likely going to like it, get into it, buy the record, and become a fan. This is true even with something like Rock & Roll Night Club, a release that was ACTUALLY an inside-joke intended for friends’ enjoyment, and the most overt expression of Mac’s humor to date (as opposed to the Makeout Videotape releases, where the music itself is usually sincere.)

Last December, when Mac released Makeout Videotape’s debut full length record, Ying Yang, I listened to it, and then again, and then again and again and again (I cannot believe how many times I listened to it, you almost forgot you were listening to someone you had as a musical peer since you were 16 years old–crazy Mac–just some other kid in Edmonton playing R&R and not giving a shit. I didn’t really think, or care much at the time when Mac first left Edmonton for Vancouver, but he sure did became a powerhouse in his time away.) All year, after countless listens, observations of the album’s plentiful pleasures and lo-fi nuance, I kept on thinking to myself, Makeout Videotape is the hidden gem of music today if there is one. Ying Yang was of all things, underrated. The fact that there was no label, there was no wax, no hype, no BNM, it all bothered me.

That’s where Captured Tracks, Pitchfork, and whoever else is going to help push him into the upper echelons of “indie rock” come into the picture. Rock & Roll Night Club is by far not Mac’s greatest work to date, but that is not at all to say that is without merit. For what it is, it is perfectly realized, and with all the attention surrounding it these days, it surely will not miss the boat. Ironically, Ying Yang is still a masterpiece and still a back burner, and R&R NC is again, a joke, but now that Mac has the big guys behind him, his next great work will not go unnoticed.

I can’t say how happy I am, it all just says to me that although it isn’t always instantaneous, if something is great, it will be discovered. There will always be those who believe, some of them have the means to spread the word (and the word this time is “blue-jeans.”) Oh and also, CALLLLLLLLED IT!

Album will be available soon in Edmonton at blackbyrd myoozik, or order it online from Captured Tracks (come’s with a T-Shirt and an Only You 45)

Ghost Pines – EP

Ghost Pines is the musical project of 21 year old Joel Blanken of Hamilton, Ontario. Lying somewhere between the England in 1982, and New Jersey in 2012. Ever alternating between the Minor 7th 2, and the Major 7th root, Ghost Pines drifts easily from funky, energized indie rock rhythms to smooth and dreamy guitar scapes, and then back together again. Garageband-lofi with enough digi verb to make morrisey roll over in his grave (lol), this modest little EP will likely make you a little happy.

Kris Ellestad – No Man is Land

No Man is Land Cover ArtIf the Righteous Brothers had an extra brother, and were born in this generation, Calgary AB, and wrote beatle-caliber future folk songs, I think it would sound a lot like Kris Ellestad’s most recent release, No Man is Land (but what the hell do I know.) I shared the stage with him and his band 2 days ago at makeshift korean pizza place venue, and they blew my ass out of the water. WAIT, before that, the venue was on a 1912 train car, and Kris and his boys performed unplugged in an old concrete tunnel, illuminated by the trains power lamp, and they blew my ass out of the water. This album needs to be put out on wax, so I can buy it on wax. I get jealous when music of this caliber comes out of my own general region. Catch this guy on tour before he starts opening for fleet foxes or bon iver or some OC shit like that… seriously.