Sunday, 27 September 2015

Discoggs 21 - BreakOut West Special

I was lucky enough to be in Western Canada last week, as a guest of Alberta Music and as a speaker at the BreakOut West conference. Not only did I get to see dozens of bands perform across Calgary, Edmonton and Victoria, but I also got to get to know lots of the artists as part of panels and mentoring sessions. Here are some that particularly struck me for one reason or another.

Here's a Spotify playlist version (slightly amended - c'mon artists - get yourselves on Spotify!)

Boreal Sons - Coward
Intelligent piano-art-rock from Calgary. With excellent taste in clothes ;)

Attica Riots - Love, Sunshine and Hysteria
Earworm alert. This comes on like Arcade fire having a party with the Vaccines. So much fun live, and lovely folks to boot.

Yes We Mystic - Wood Wheel
A dizzy mix of cello, samples, pedals, synth and folk.

HIGHS - Handsome Man
Regular readers will know about these guys. From Ontario, rather than the West (they played as part of Rifflandia festival, rather than the Western focussed conference). This is the first cut to be released from the new record, as recorded this summer in London with Luke Smith. It deserves to be huge.

Double Fuzz - Big City Lights
The most entertaining drummer I've ever seen live. For sure.

Port Juvee - Revenge
Like The Strokes taking on The Killers in an arm wrestle.

Samantha Savage Smith - Devilman
There's something a bit Billie Holiday going on with this voice, it's got a hint of jazz, but somehow a little slacker-sensibility.

Mabaleka - Crashed Upon The Waves
Young brothers writing pretty, classic country folk.

Isobel Trigger - Dust and Bones
Vocal that reminds me of Katy B, the promise of dancefloor filling bounce and that driving thing that people love when they're...erm...driving. Classic stuff.

Paul Cournoyer - Yukon
Paul's record was nominated for Francophone recording of the year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, and rightly so. Good to hear someone celebrating their roots and proving you don't need to be in Quebec to do it.

Post Script - Dear Marie
Beautiful 3 piece folk band from Edmonton. Steph has just the most beautiful voice. Delicate and multi layered, backed up with stand up bass and a nod to French-Canadian roots. The album's out on October 15th. You should pick it up. Oh, and watch their 'Elevator Sessions' on YouTube too.

Insanely good garage pop from Vancouver. These guys have already toured the UK this year but we'd like them to come back soon (please?!?). You know you've found something special when there's a crowd crowd surfing in the rain and taking the mic to sing every word back to the band. A rampaging, squally mess of a show. Just wonderful.

Joe Nolan - Tightrope Dancer
Joe is the real deal. He's got heartworn highways written all over him and he's only in his early 20's. A touch of outlaw, a touch of heartbreaker, an old soul in a young man. Just wonderful.

Chad VanGaalen - Peace on the Rise
Chad's not quite of this planet, which made watching him in a church all the more interesting. A hint of Mac DeMarco, an obvious SubPop link and an asthetic that can only be described as 'on acid'.

Hayden - Troubled Times
I was introduced to Hayden through The National's curation of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. A multi instrumentalist geniuswith a fascinating history. This is an explanation/introduction:

The Wet Secrets - Nightlife
6-piece, smart, fun, garage pop, dressed as a marching band and capable of absolutely destroying your house party I would imagine.

Scenic Route to Alaska - Paris
Indie folk power trio from Edmonton. They played as a three piece for the first time last week (having previously been a quartet) and nailed it first time.

Bend Sinister - I'm The One Leaving You
Bend Sinister have the dubious honour of being the only band I saw last week who needed an ambulance rather than a splitter van when they left the show. Poor Matt the bass player valiantly played on after injuring himself before passing out from pain. Now that's what I call rock n roll...

Close Talker - Heads
Beautifully complicated indie rock from Saskatoon. On a sharp upward trajectory.

Nat Jay - Can't Getcha Out
Another nominee in the Western Canadian Music Awards, Nat is a singer songwriter from Vancouver. And a bloody good one too. This is a pretty perfect slice of pop.

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