Local love — Best albums of 2011
Think Bryan Adams, Theory of a Deadman and, ahem, Nickelback are the be-all-and-end-all of Vancouver music? Think again. Thanks to local record stores, online resources, increasing radio play and a steady stream of live gigs, Vancouver and B.C.-based bands aren’t just the open secret only hardcore music geeks know about. In fact, this has been such a stellar year for our music scene, we couldn’t narrow down our top picks and instead turned the task over to the bands themselves. Welcome to the first of our three-part, year-ending series, Local Love, wherein local bands pick their favourite local albums of 2011.
Describe yourself/your sound: Catchy, melodic, indie-pop, with many twists.
Your pick: My favourite BC record put out this year is by a new Vancouver band called Drawn Ship. The record is called Low Domestic. It’s amazing! The lead singer, Lyn Heinemann, is a dear friend of mine.
Describe yourself/your sound:I front the recent breakout lo-fi group Pleasure Cruise, and keep my country whiskey-soaked as a solo artist.
Your pick: I recommend Louise Burns’ Mellow Drama, released on Light Organ this past spring. A beautiful solo debut meant for old souls with dear hearts. Heavy on both vibe and verb, Louise is an artist that sings in colour.
Describe yourself/your sound: Defined by our combination of haunting female lead vocals, endearing harmonies, folk-inspired mandolin and brazen horns.
Your pick: Destroyer’s Kaputt sounds like how I sometimes picture Vancouver — a young woman so beautiful in fleeting moments, but most of the time drowned in rainy melodrama. My favourite song of the album “Poor in Love” is a tribute to the young people finding love despite how much it costs to live in this city. The album as a whole is a tragic experience in musical soft-core pornography and is inherently entrancing.
THE BELLE GAME
Describe yourself/your sound: Orchestral indie-pop band with twists of noise, folk and art-rock.
Your pick: Destroyer’s Kaputt (Ed's note: see above for image). It’s one of the best produced albums we’ve heard in a long time. We love how Dan Bejar uses iconic ’80s sounds with sophistication and humour; almost like a black comedy. It’s free-form pop music that makes you want to watch Dynasty with your cat, and get physical like Olivia Newton John all at the same time.
Describe yourself/your sound: Reminiscent of the beauty and darkness of what was, music for trick or treating or reading books.
Your pick: Dead Ghosts ST/LP is our choice for this year’s best local album. Everyone can appreciate classic ’50s pop rock ‘n’ roll as well as good neo-garage country twang. This particular slab of vinyl surpasses many cut-of-the-cloth bands, ever since that little old band from Atlanta, GA, arrived on the scene. Also proving that Vancouver has more great bands than people know, but fortunately for Dead Ghosts they are a household name on most U.S. and European vinyl junkies’ record shelves.
Describe yourself/your sound: Folk/rock band with songs filled with heartfelt melodies that tell stories of love, loss and hope
Your pick: The Hidden Sayings Of Maria in the Shower because I went to [Maria in the Shower’s] CD release party at The Waldorf in May and it was a stellar show! A diverse album that’s sprinkled with vibrant songs that have a traditional approach that are poignant and uplifting. It’s better to just
experience them for yourself.
CARLY RAE JEPSEN
Describe yourself/your sound: Heart-on-sleeve pop about life’s biggest curiousity — love — and all the complications that come with it.
Your pick: Bruise by Adrian Glynn. It’s Tom Waits meets a young Bob Dylan. Perfect for a bubble bath and a bottle of red. I’m drawn to how heartbreaking “Blue Belle Lament” feels. Sigh.
Last week Hannah Georgas, Jody Glenham, Ruffled Feathers, The Belle Game, Mode Moderne, Redgy Blackout and Carly Rae Jepsen offered their thoughts on the best local albums in 2011. Welcome back for the second of our three-part, year-ending series, Local Love, wherein local bands pick their favourite local albums of 2011.
Describe yourself/your sound: Equal parts arty and accessible, sexy and sweet, bad-ass and beautiful..
Your pick: Cardiography by David Vertesi. This album has beautifully understated production supporting David’s magnetic baritone. It presents a collection of heartfelt songs in a very real and organic manner. It sounds and feels close to home.
Describe yourself/your sound: Roots-rock band whose songs evoke memories of camping trips, late-night campfire jams, and the open road.
Your pick: The British Columbians’ Made For Darker Things. They’ve been making the kind of noise we love for a few years now. Made For Darker Things is the kind of album you can put on both when you’re gearing up for a back alley brawl, or simply when you have a thirst for a stiff drink and a desire for a secluded moment of reflection. They’ve created a rich, and dirty landscape, and we’ve witnessed them pull it off live on stage too.