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I grew up on one religion, Dave Monks. The soundtrack to all of my memories switch between A Lesson In Crime and Elephant Shell. So when Tokyo Police Club finally released the single “Not My Girl” earlier this year I could finally breath again knowing there was more music to come. In honour of the bands ten-year anniversary since their debut album A Lesson in Crime the four-piece New Market natives are releasing a two-part LP, Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness (Parts 1 & 2) Fun fact: the title is a pun on the Smashing Pumpkins seminal 1995 album.

Part one is set to release this Friday, April 8th. The best way to describe the five track EP is new era TPC. Their previous album Forcefield, released in 2014, was an ode to lost love and their lost sound. To me, that’s the beauty of Tokyo Police Club. They purposely shut out the countless microtrends of indie rock. And in case you have noticed, indie rock is basically pop now and Tokyo Police Club has embraced the bubble gum alternative glam feel perfectly through Melon Collie Part 1. I’ll be the first to admit that this is not Tokyo Police Club’s best album but I think that is part of its charm. It’s quirky and upbeat nature makes us crave the next song. Each song takes it time to unfold. Lead single “Not My Girl” is built on layers of anticipation ending with an epic guitar solo and overcoming chant. Each song is its own anthem. “Losing You” is the millennial relationship all wrapped up into a quick verse that hits too close to home for many of us. In a recent interview with CBC Music Monks describes the album as “capturing the moment and being ourselves. It was this spontaneous feeling of, ‘These songs are rad, let’s put them out.’” This approach has worked to their advantage, yet again. Tokyo Police Club screams youth, they are constantly producing music that never grows old. Melon Collie and the Infinite Radness is just another example of Tokyo Police Club expressing their talent in such a raw and fearless way.

Check out Not My Girl and PCH on their soundcloud- Full EP released on Friday!

// Mel

 

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The North

Ounce in my Boxers

Born Alone Die Alone

 

I’ve been pretty keen for this album to come out for a while. We’ve had Toronto Rapper Guapo of the Saints play several of our Vault house shows over the years and I recall some of the tracks on Trembling being performed at the shows so its cool to see things come full circle ya know? As usual Guapo’s erudite lyrics and quick-witted metaphors and similes had me laughing and having those ‘ah’ moments you get after hearing a particularly clever line.

This album has a decidedly more hip-hop beat than his last project McGillmatic which worked with more dub and electronic beats. The album has 19 tracks which are all pretty solid which is something to say given that this is his 4th mixtape. I’m not much of a songwriter and I have trouble writing in a journal more than six times in a year but to create 4 mixtapes with 12+ songs on each one that all slap deserves a bow and a lil’ flourish. Anyways I haven’t written for the blog in a while since I finished uni but to crawl out from the crypt to do a write up for this album is something for which I definitely have ganas. 

Enjoy!

 

-Cam

 

Check out the rest of the album out on Soundcloud right here: https://soundcloud.com/guapoguapoguapo/sets/trembling

AND

Download and call all these tasty tracks your very own here:http://www.mediafire.com/download/bcl36u93thuf30e/%2BTrembling%2B.zip

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I’ll return to an album for a whole variety of reasons. Some out of nostalgia, some to curb a craving, others to build a mood. But I can never quite put my finger on why I return to Beyond Wilderness‘ from Canada’s own Gold & Youth. It usually just feels right.

Gold & Youth’s first foray into the music sphere began before their debut 2013 release. Members Matt Lyall, Murray Mckenzie and Jeff Mitchelmore explored a side project earlier known as The Racoons which produced a single record ‘Islomania’. When that project faded, the members brought on Louise Burns from Lillix and secured a record deal with Arts & Crafts in 2011. From here, the band began writing what would become the soundscape known as ‘Beyond Wilderness’.

Beyond Wilderness‘ feels vibrantly unsaturated. Both full of colour, but overwhelmingly grey. Synthesizer textures have an airy feel, rarely punching out aggressively in the mix, but always thoughtful in their form. Guitar is often layered heavily, providing soft melodies, almost out of tune at times. Vocal harmonies explore both the higher limits of Burns and the depths of Lyall, with Mckenzie providing a consistent range throughout. Some tracks have quite a dark feel and others bright. Their mix rarely spotlights any one instrument, but rather blends them into a comfortable textured sound. It’s a melancholic, but rich sound. One that echoes and rings across every track – no doubt inspired by the mountains and ranges surrounding their home base in Vancouver.

A personal favourite on the album is City Of Quartz, which features a rapidly oscillating drum pad overlain with a euphoric lo-fi guitar line that dances through the chorus effortlessly. Something I think would impress the Lo-Fi champ DeMarco himself. If your looking for an anthem on the album, look no further than Jewel. Also carried along by a constantly evolving drum track, this song instead focusses on a story which builds and builds. Burns calls out over the track, “Down on my knees, nothing to lose… so won’t you tell me what to do?”. Her sound in many ways reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s Régine Chassagne in ‘The Sprawl’. Another honourable mention is the records second track Little Wild Love, which showcases Lyall’s vocal style perfectly, two tracks mixed uniformly: one which rings out high intensity, the other low and soft.

Little Wild Love:

However if you only give this band a once-off, throw on Time To Kill, which could be considered an emblem of the group. It showcases much of what I love about this band: the eloquently somber backbone, the finished melodies,the textured keyboard and tranquil yet powerful vocals. A great addition to any ambient indie mixtape:

Few albums I know go in as many directions as this one – gripped me quite like this one has. I’ve logged over 38 hours with Gold & Youth and needless to say I’m eager for more. From updates online, the band seems to be busy at work in the studio with no real word on a release date. Keep with The Vault to hear our first thoughts when it drops.

– Nick

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Jesse Gold’s debut album circles around the theme of a beautifully broken heart. There is no doubt this Toronto bred artist has snuck up on your instagram explore page, or suggested soundcloud listens. From covering Kanye to Carrie Underwood, Gold really knows no boundaries and that remains evident throughout “On Our Own”.

The singer/ songwriter takes a more pop country side of things during the debut track “Pretty Girl” and continues with that theme throughout. It is evident just by the titles of these tracks that this album is dedicated to lost love and the struggle of losing someone. Gold still manages to take an otherwise depressingly honest lyrical layer and pair it with summerlike melodies making us confused as to how we can enjoy his pain so much. Overall, On Our Own proves to be an impressive and unapologetically honest LP and one that will undoubtedly be playing through our stereos over this holiday season.

-Mel

Jesse Gold has now released two videos for the singles Pretty Girl and Holding My Breath, both directed by his talented older brother Daniel- what a sibling duo.

© Chris Graham Photo 2015
© Chris Graham Photo 2015

Library Voices is a group of childhood friends formed in the basements of Regina. LOVISH, their second full length LP is set to release this Friday, November 5th. The album opens with the line “All of your heroes, they’re all assholes/but that don’t mean you should piss on your dreams” This theme continues for the next forty or so minutes while the once ten piece, now six piece band somehow both dances and stomps on your heart while shit talking our present world just enough for you to love it. LOVISH, a much darker album compared to their last LP, Summer of Lust is a reflection on a confusing and cynical outlook on love and life. Most, if not all artists struggle with the theme of love. Library Voices grasps the theme of loss and acceptance of losing love during youth in a refreshing way, making a beautifully broken heart something that we long for.

With their preppy and polished sound in their past, Library Voices has released an album full of concise indie hooks, saxophone and analog synths. This guitar centric 11-song affair is nothing less than an unapologetically honest work of art. Well still staying true to their up-tempo vibe the band describes the album as “our stab at bastardizing classic rock.” There is something so very raw about Library Voices to me; I have never heard something that makes me want to run through damp dimly lit street while dancing, laughing and crying all at once. LOVISH truly is an out of body experience. The band recorded this album in in an old funeral home, which is evident in their new more grungy sound. My recommendation to you for the perfect first listen is turn the lights down and the volume up- scream, cry, get high, do it all.

– Mel

Stream the album on CBC until Friday:
http://music.cbc.ca/#!/blogs/2015/10/First-Play-Library-Voices-Lovish

Taking Flight

Ryan Hemsworth is a man who should need little introduction, coming out of Halifax he has been pushing the boundaries of downtempo electronic music for years.  His most recent collaborative EP Taking Flight, which he created with Seattle based producer Lucas, is no exception.  The album is distinctly Ryan Hemsworth yet at the same time it is not.  Although it has all of the Ryan Hemsworth calling cards including his unmistakable attention to detail and the delicacy of his melodies, it is difficult not to hear the influence Lucas has had on Taking Flight.  It undeniably follows Lucas’ hazier aesthetic and utilizes a lot of the static textures that Lucas often employs.  Their styles combine and play off each other well and the result is very high quality laid-back electronic music perfect for a rainy day.  ‘From Grace’ is certainly the most robust track with vocals that serve as rhythmic texture, overlaid by a drum kit that comes in and out of pulsing focus.  The final track on the album ‘U Remain’ is more typical of Ryan Hemsworth.  It builds throughout and finally explodes in frenetic textures about half way through before fading back into relative quiet.  Although the album is by no means a masterpiece and does not push either artist’s musical boundaries the two artists synergize very well and Taking Flight is still a great piece of production that deserves a spot on your more relaxed playlists.

 

Ryan Hemsworth, Lucas – From Grace

 

-Stephen

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The Sheepdogs released their first EP in 2011 and have been on an unbelievable incline since. With the success of Learn & Burn going platinum and numerous Juno wins the band really had a lot to prove with their newest release, Future Nostalgia – at least for me. Their self-titled album was released back in 2012 and for the past three years has been the soundtrack to most things I do. Personally, I didn’t think there was a song that gave me bigger feels than “The Way it is” and was nervous to listen to their latest full length LP since their loss of guitarist Leot Hanson.

That is until I listened started listening to Future Nostalgia and its entirety this morning. Producer and front man Ewan Currie really stayed true to the Saskatoon retro rockers vibe. The 18-track album intimidated me at first but quickly got me addicted all over again to their modern but classic-rock style. The album promptly opens with a banger titled “I’m Gunna Be Myself” that really channels early 70’s nuances and is followed by numerous other rock hits such as “Downtown” and “Take A Trip” that are clearly influenced by God’s such as Zeppelin and Joplin.

My personal favourite is the down-tempo ballad “Jim Gordon.” The wistful back porch vibe of this track is almost unbearable. It throws me into nostalgia for a time that I haven’t even experienced. The final 6 tracks from this record flow together almost too heavenly to create a soulful and cohesive melody, closing the album to perfection. This is a method the five piece practiced in Learn & Burn as well. The title really does say it all, this is an album that will never age.

– Mel

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Po Lazarus are a four piece group out of Montreal with a two song demo and a self-titled five song EP under their belt.  They easily blend folk rock and blues and weave the two together well with a ukulele the lead singer plays melancholically, it gives their music a tropical yet serious feel that suits the genre well.  Couple Weeks Time is quite a treat, it features a surfer vibe and more laidback cadence then their other songs.  The highlight of the strong EP is certainly the soulful If You Are Alone as it really epitomizes the band and their abilities, it climaxes at the end as the entire band sings the chorus together before a clean yet hectic guitar solo.  Po Lazarus is playing at the Vault’s Back-!-Yard Festival on September 12th and promises to be an interesting and fantastic show, see you there!

 

-Stephen

 

Po Lazarus – Couple Weeks Time

 

Po Lazarus – If You Are Alone

 

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Chance the Rapper has taken a completely different approach with his latest release, Surf. Unlike in Acid Rap where Chance was put on the spotlight, there is an emphasis on his collaboration with Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment in this album, which gives off a different vibe in terms of the rhymes, arrangements and flows. For those of you who don’t know, Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment is just an alias of 21-year old trumpeter Nico Segal, joined by other members Peter Wilkins, Nate Fox and Greg Landfair Jr.

The opening track Miracle highlights Chance’s ability to take on an interesting beat coupled with a complex lyrical flow. This first track sets up for a wicked record, which features a bounty of rappers and singers such as BoB, Janelle Monae, Busta Rhymes and more. The rest of the track-list showcases the versatility in his style and how the genre of rap can combine other musical genres. From instrumental-only numbers to spoken word flows to jazz-fusion tracks, Surf is a refreshing album that is inclusive of all audiences.

Chance the Rapper’s combination of jazz sounds, pop jingles and hip-hop influences is emphasized in this 16-song record. If you haven’t already, go check it out and did I mention? It’s completely free on iTunes!

-Freddy

Go Slow

Bassically

Up-and-coming artist Tei Shi has just blessed listeners with her new EP, Verde. Having only released her first single a mere 2 years ago, Verde makes clear that Tei Shi has evolved into a respectable and entertaining recording artist. It is safe to incite that Verde is her most interesting and ultimately most impressive collection to date.

Although originating from Argentina, Valerie Teicher has spent most of her life moving across North America. Through cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, and now New York, Tei Shi has experienced a vast mosaic of musical culture, undoubtedly contributing to her distinct sound. This sound, too, has itself adapted to a more mainstream, poppy vibe, while still maintaining the airy, ethereal qualities of her 2013/14 releases.

This accumulation of musical experience has led Tei Shi to embody the epitome of current experimental pop music. With a soft, echoey tone, Tei Shi’s voice makes a quick comparison to big-name female artists such as Jessie Ware, Purity Ring’s Megan James, and the HAIM sisters. This voice overlays a series of distinct sounds throughout the EP as well. From internal, liquid-like rhythms, to offbeat bursts of synth, to the chambered bravado of some of her slower tracks, Verde truly exemplifies Tei Shi’s diversity within her genre.

If there is one thing that stays constant throughout the EP, it is that these vocals work with whatever they accompany. With such an organic blend in production, Tei Shei’s voice truly acts as an instrument in itself.

Although the EP is really set to drop on April 14, Verde has been premiered on Hype Machine until it’s official release. Peep some of the EP’s hits above, and make sure to stream the full collection at http://hypem.com/premiere/tei+shi.

This is one EP that you will not want to miss.

– Spencer