The End of an Era? MTAF’s Final Post

•December 28, 2013 • 7 Comments

They say all good things must come to an end.

In May of 2010 I was working in construction, in my first year of university, and devouring new music by the boatload. Not only was I listening to new music, I was constantly seeking it out in hopes of finding my next favourite artist. This blog was born out of this earnest passion and genuine yearning to spread the new ‘indie’ music gospel. I wanted as many people as possible to experience these acts that had rejuvenated my love for music.

When I started up MoreThanAFeeling Music Blog back in May of 2010, I was overwhelmed with the constant discovery of new fantastic music. At the time, I was 100% tuned in to 100.5 the Peak (now 102.7) who were monumental in shaping my new music tastes. New discoveries consisted of Yukon Blonde, Band of Horses, Tegan and Sara, Modest Mouse, The New Pornographers, Library Voices, Fruit Bats, and the list could go on and on. Leading up to these new discoveries, my music catalogue had become decidedly stale. My iTunes library was overflowing with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Led Zeppelin, Guns N Roses, and Pearl Jam.. These are indeed great, legendary bands, but I was craving something new and fresh.

With this little blog that some of you have read here and there, I have had the chance to see some of my favourite acts for free (and write about them). I have had the opportunity to meet and interview some amazing people (Jeff Innes of Yukon Blonde, Hannah Georgas, Steven Page, Plants & Animals), and I’ve made many friends in the music scene, some working in it and some just loving the scene, just as I have grown to. I’ve also participated in various ways in the PEAK Performance Project by volunteering and blogging/promoting the project and its corresponding events. 

What I’m getting at is this blog has done more for me than I ever imagined it would when I started it in 2010. It has done about everything but earn me an income. In the past year, however, I have found my intense and focused passion for music has spread itself out to a few other passions such as personal fitness—running, in particular—as well as craft beer and the craft beer scene (and yes, fitness and beer can be combined interests). As these passions have grown, my focus on music, as well as this blog, has waned. I haven’t been nearly as inspired to write and create content, and I have lost some of the enthusiasm I once had for discovering and devouring new music.

With this shift in focus and wane in passion and after 195 blog posts, I am retiring MoreThanAFeeling Music Blog. This blog has done everything it can for me but I lack the time and the drive to continue it in a respectable and dignified way. My @mtaf_music Twitter profile is full of sports and beer tweets, with music-related tweets spread few and far between. That account has become misrepresentative of its content, so it will be changed also.

I’ll be forever grateful with all of the support from any and all of you who have read this blog at one point or another, and especially for the encouragement and feedback in my vulnerable beginnings creating this blog. I need to emphasize that although my passions have shifted, music will always be a part of my life, and I always welcome any music recommendations and suggestions via the social medias and even in real life, if you so happen to know me.

Again, thank you for your support, and for reading one last time.

Over and out.

-DYLAN

MTAF’s Top 20 Tunes of 2013

•December 21, 2013 • 3 Comments

20. Kings Of Leon – Supersoaker — I’m eating my words from earlier this year after I heard this tune for the first time and said something along the lines of “Do KOL even care about making music anymore?” Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed with Supersoaker, but the hooky, summery tune actually grew on me.

19. J. Roddy Walston & The Business – Heavy Bells — The first time I heard J. Roddy Walston & The Business crush this tune, I couldn’t help but think I’ve heard this voice somewhere before. Turns out I hadn’t, Mr. Walston was simply doing his best Caleb Followill impression, while cranking out Nirvana-esque power chords. It all sounded pleasantly familiar yet remains evermore refreshing. In a world drowning in putrid, disturbing, talentless, autotuned pop filth, this is music to my ears.

18. Volcano Choir – Acetate — I’m not the biggest Bon Iver fan, although I do enjoy some of his tunes. This tune by Justin Vernon’s side project is pretty great. Pretty great indeed.

17. Monster Truck – My Love Is True — What can I say? I’m a sucker for 5+ minute-long, heavy rock ballads. Sue me?

16. CHVRCHES – Recover — I may have posted this song a little higher on my list, but I saw the live performance by this Scottish trio on Jian Ghomeshi’s Q radio show and it was pretty uninspiring. This is a group I most definitely do not aspire to check out live. Great recorded track nonetheless!

15. Aidan Knight – Dream Team –– Although never the most exciting act to watch, Aidan Knight’s musical offerings remain splendid with his latest album, Small Reveal. Dream Team tip-toes out of the gate, building around plucked guitar strings and Knight’s velvet vocals. The song’s second act kicks in near the 5-minute mark of the tune, raising the tempo and splashing watercolour on a black and white canvas.

14. Typhoon – Young Fathers — Hipsters from the birthplace of the trend, singing like they’re from the birthplace of the Beatles. Doesn’t get much better, except for the 13 songs I picked ahead of it.

13. Queens of the Stone Age – I Sat By The Ocean — Josh Homme plays a mean slide guitar in this tune that has quickly become my second favourite QOTSA track.

12. Good For Grapes – Era’s End — The band that should have won the 2013 Peak Performance Project. Say no more. Big things coming for these young folksters from Surrey. And damn, this song. Just damn.

11. Lucius – Wildewoman – The harmonies, the old-timey sounds. The arrangement. Love this song.

10. Foals – Milk & Black Spiders — Late night drive, this song is a requirement. At 3:45, I can’t not turn the song up.

9. Tough Lovers – Kids Go Out — Technically a late 2012 release, but I couldn’t leave it off this list. Hoping to hear more stuff from these Vancouver dudes in 2014, if they’re still around..

8. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young —  Easily the best track from VW’s 2013 Modern Vampires of the City, which is kind of too bad as it was the first single released and pumped me up for a solid album filled with tunes of this tempo, energy and effort. Sadly, this was one of a small handful of good tracks and the only *great* track on the album.

7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Despair — Karen O. ‘Nuff said. (Tune actually starts around the 1:30 mark in the video)

6. Biffy Clyro – Black Chandelier Another Scottish band? This has got to be a first. But well deserved, as Biffy Clyro rocked their way into my Top 10 this year. The early 2013 release of Opposites saw lead off single Black Chandelier get radio play and catch my attention. It’s probably due to the fact it reminds me of some of my favourite 90s rock, but even more so for the fact Black Chandelier is heavy and melodic, which is a guaranteed crank-turner for yours truly. This album also won the Mercury Prize in the UK, and was engineered by Canadian legend Garth Richardson.

5. Tom Odell – Till I Lost — Man, the UK keeps pumping out the gems as Mr. Odell is also from the land of tea and biscuits. It was a legitimate toss up as to which of Odell’s tunes I should put on this list until I saw this live performance of Till I Lost. Piano rock ballads are apparently also my thing. PS – get this album if you dig this track.

4. The Belle Game – RiverFresh out of Vancity, eat your heart out, Toronto. Andrea Lo is a phenom and her backing band ain’t to bad, neither. Don’t get me started as to why this tune isn’t flooding the radio airwaves.

3. Little Green Cars – The John Wayne — I discovered this band thanks to iTunes, purchased their album post haste and fell in love with every track, but this one just a little more. It is intense and I dig it. I dig it a lot. Once they polish their live performance, look out for these guys (and gal).

2. Royal Canoe – If I Had A House The first runner up. The honourable mention. If it weren’t for my #1 track, this’d be it (no shit, Dylan). It’s hard to deny the creative genius and talents of the gents of Royal Canoe, and I would never try to do so. This gem of a tune has some of my favourite lyrics of the year, and it’s a fantastic ear worm. Listen to this tune and try to get it out of your head, it likely won’t happen: don’t you ever think about, think about, think about it.

1. We Are The City – Baptism — *no words; pure reverence*

New Music Review: Royal Canoe – Today We’re Believers

•October 7, 2013 • 1 Comment

Royale Canoe - Today We're Believers

Today, I’m a believer.

My estimations are that the talented folks in Royal Canoe have an awful lot of time on their hands during the long Manitoba winters, locked away in basements, writing and recording music for days and months on end. With the amount of layers and depth in this album, they would have had to.

Assuming that my hypothesis is in fact valid, then it’s not much of a surprise that one of the most interesting, ambitious and creative albums I’ve come across in a long time comes out of Winnipeg. Royal Canoe have released 12 tracks on an LP called Today We’re Believers, and it has my vote. My vote for what? Everything, basically. For the same reason I used those words I mentioned a sentence or so ago: ambitious, creative.

The creative sparks as quickly as the album begins with the title track, Today We’re Believers. A solid bass drum thud carries a tumbling synth line, while lead singer Matt Peters croons a sexy, slow disco falsetto that’s echoed by a vocal effect, turning his falsetto into a low bass rumble. In fact, vocal effects in all forms are dispersed throughout this debut effort. Not since Imogen Heap used the vocoder as the sole instrument for her hit Hide and Seek have I heard vocal effects used as liberally and as equally (if not more so) effectively*.

Hold On To the Metal and Bathtubs are two older tracks that can be found on the band’s older 4-track EP Bathtubs. Just because they’ve been pre-released doesn’t dull their shine. These tracks were precursors as to what to expect with this LP, but I was cautiously skeptical the rest of the album would live up to what those tracks had promised. Skepticism be damned. Today We’re Believers lives up, and then some.

Oftentimes, creativity and experimentation can be an artist’s own worst enemy. Oftentimes, these experiments can come across as pretentious and egotistical. The best part about Today We’re Believers is how it walks that fine line of being interesting, experimental and ambitious without crossing into the barren land of pretentiousness. Yes, there are moments of self-indulgence on this record (see Light), but even then the band reels you in with obscure synths and vocal pings and drones. They’ve even managed to produce a radio-friendly track in Exodus of the Year, where acoustic guitar strums pair with electronic drums, electric guitar hums and some violin string runs. Magical, really. The track actually reminds me a lot of something you’d find on an M83 album, but with that Canadiana flair.

I’ve failed to mention the lyrical content on this LP, due in large part to the musical brilliance, but the lyrics play their own special role. Some of my favourite lyric moments are found on Exodus of the Year:

Most of my friends got the fuck out
In the exodus of the year
Now it’s just me and you in dim winterlight
Straining ourselves to hear
Those three stupid words I haven’t said
While calling you out at night

Shaking in the cold oh so gallantly
The advantage of withholding your honesty

There’s that cold, dark, Winnipeg imagery.

Considering the levels of experimentation on this LP, it’s no surprise that even elements of old-school hip hop are found. Track 6 is called Button Fumbla and is no doubt about as close the gents in Royal Canoe get to spitting rhymes to a funky beat. I’m actually pretty impressed with how many words Royal Canoe found to rhyme with ‘tumbler’ (ie. mumbler, humbler, fumbla, rumbler, stumbler, grumbler). Another solid track.

The album takes a short turn for the worse with Show Me Your Eyes, but it’s only “for the worse” when the track is compared to the rest of the album. I’m not certain what it is, but the something about the melody just doesn’t vibe with me on this track. Next.

Birthday keeps the party rolling along with bassline stabs and snare drum punctures, along with some eerie background noises most likely derived from some synth pitch bending. The track preludes what I believe to be both the funkiest and atmospheric tune on the album, Nightcrawlin. At first, all we hear are drums and Peters’ voice. Again, singer Matt Peters falsetto is harmonized with another low octave vocal effect giving off a spooky effect. As the song builds, more and more instruments are introduced. In the bridge, a soothing, reverb-soaked vocal line breaks up the dark mood, but only for a moment. This song gives off so much imagery. By the time it kicks into full gear, I can’t help but picture this song playing in a soundtrack to some sort of uncomfortable, highly suspenseful scene in a show or film. Too bad Breaking Bad is over, I would have pitched this one for a scene or two.

Stemming and If I Had A House round out the album, along with the aforementioned Light. Stemming is a sleek, slow and sexy jam, bringing yet another mood to the musical table. Stemming flows right into Light for another bizarre twist that works well (which is more or less the theme of the album). The final track If I Had A House is among the standouts on the album. Carrying one of the best beats on the album, and a helluva lot of attitude, it’s easily one of my favourites. With the chorus line mockingly repeating “Don’t you think about it, don’t you ever think about it,” I can’t not think about it. The song runs a solid 6 minute and 28 seconds while the final 2.5 minute are a sheer electronic indie jam that I usually have to listen to three or four times to really soak it all in.

And let it be known, I’m listening to and reviewing this album completely sober.

I would fear listening to something like Today We’re Believers while on any kind of mental enhancement or stimulant. It’d probably trip the shit out of me. And that, if you’re not sure, is a compliment in its most sincere form. Listen to this album. It’s easily one of the best of 2013, and I’m not just talking about Canadian releases. It’s so good it inspired me to write a blog post for the first time in nearly 2 months.

Closing out this review with some more lyrical content as found on If I Had A House:

I wore a fire in the pouring rain
Didn’t stop, didn’t drop, didn’t roll with it
I broke a sweat and then I broke it again
Understand – no man’s got a hand in controlling it

-DYLAN

*Random Access Memories notwithstanding

Good For Grapes Release Stellar New Video

•August 22, 2013 • 2 Comments

Good For Grapes

The PEAK Performance Project always seems to bring the out the best of every band that gets involved in it. This year’s Top 20 finds the young and talented Good For Grapes fighting tooth and nail with the other 19 finalists for one of those coveted final 3 spots. As part of this year’s project, each band has to create a new music video for one of their tunes, release it, and try to get as many views on YouTube as possible.

Just before the 20 bands hit the dusty road to Rockridge Canyon for their week-long PPP bootcamp today, Good For Grapes released their new music video for their resplendent tune Renminbi Tips. I don’t like to play favourites, but when a band reaches out on a personal level, puts out a compelling video accompanied by a great song, they’re making it awfully difficult not to.

I can’t imagine how hard this video would have been to shoot. Check it out:

 

-DYLAN

Fast Romantics Announce Afterlife Blues LP Release

•August 1, 2013 • 2 Comments
(via fastromantics.com)

(via fastromantics.com)

Back in 2011, I was contacted by a gentleman by the name of Matthew Angus who just happened to be pushing his band, Fast Romantics’ most recent EP, Kidcutter. Not really knowing what to expect and not expecting much at all, I agreed to take a listen to the EP. Their Bandcamp bio claimed their sound was somewhere along the lines of Elvis Costello and Arcade Fire kicking the crap out of each other, with Fast Romantics’ sound rising in their ashes. Or something along those lines. That may not be word-for-word, but you get the idea.

Well, as it turns out, they weren’t fooling around.

I was immediately ensnared by Angus’ vocal talons and melodic soar. I knew writing a review of Kidcutter was going to be anything but a chore. It was one of the more enjoyable reviews I’ve written, as a matter of fact, which is why I’m so eager and excited to write this post today. I’m excited because I’ve been teased with the potential release of this album for over a year now since I got the chance to sit down with Angus on a cold, rainy January night in Vancouver in 2012 after he’d previously met with producer Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara, New Pornographers, 54-40) discussing the album’s recording. Then not 6 months later, the first single Funeral Song was released In the summer of 2012, and I kept eagerly thinking, “Anytime now, Romantics, anytime now.”

We’re well into the summer of 2013, and even though it hasn’t rained on the west coast in over 30 days now, the Fast Romantics dry spell seems to be over. They have announced a brand new album exquisitely named Afterlife Blues and produced by Howard Redekopp with a release date of October 8th, just prior to Canadian Thanksgiving.

Fast Romantics - Afterlife Blues LP

Fast Romantics – Afterlife Blues LP

The band has also started a Pledge Music campaign, asking for fans not to donate money, but to pre-order their album so they can raise funds to fund CD printing, touring and promotion for their upcoming release. Fast Romantics are “fiercely independent”, so they’re doing this thing without any label’s help, which can add up pretty quickly.

If you want to pre-order Afterlife Blues, you’ll really be helping them out. And let’s face it—you’ll be helping yourself out. This is an album I’ve been telling people to look out for. One spin of Funeral Song and I just had this feeling. It won’t disappoint.

So help out! Click the link below and pre-order the album for a few bucks. Or a lot of bucks. You can get a lot of cool stuff, including the gratisfaction in knowing you helped out a band who worked their asses off to bring you top quality music!

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/fastromantics

Cheers pour maintenant!

-DYLAN

Summertime Mixes: Don’t Be Shy – Birds of Canada

•July 6, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Birds of Canada blog creator and CIVL Radio‘s music director—not to mention a fellow Fraser Valley music blogger/connoisseur—Adam Roper, has put together some of his favourite summer jams in a compilation he as simply dubbed Don’t Be Shy after a track of the same name found on the compilation from local band Hrdwtr.

Stream it below or go check it out for yourself on Adam’s Bandcamp site[DID I MENTION IT’S A FREE D/L?]

Happy summer!

-DYLAN

#PPP2013 Top 20: The Lion The Bear The Fox

•June 20, 2013 • 1 Comment

Three furry animals = three furry, talented gents.

Christopher Arruda, who has been through the PEAK Performance Project ringer back in 2010 is back, but he’s brought along a few familiar faces to those in touch with Vancouver’s music scene. Respective talents in their own right, Cory Woodward and Ryan McMahon make up the other two thirds of The Lion The Bear The Fox. If you’re wondering which musician is which animal, your guess is as good as mine, but it doesn’t really matter once you hear these three gents harmonize and reinvigorate the genre that is folk rock.

Allow me the privilege to introduce you to The Lion The Bear The Fox.

The Lion The Bear The Fox

The Lion The Bear The Fox

 

Cheers!

-DYLAN