Sled Island Post-Mortem July 5, 2010

Sled Island started hitting it’s stride right when I left it’s host city. I think if it had matured to what it is today, I would have been less likely to move away. Not much less, but a bit. The “island” bit of the title is it’s most appropriate, standing as this weird island, isolated in the calendar with the disintegration of the Calgary Jazz Festival and with a long stretch before the Calgary Folk Festival (who are really bringing it these days, even at the expense of their theme). The year is relatively dead, aside from a smattering of events spread so thin as to be nearly invisible.

Sled Island makes no sense really. I had a lot of fun living in Calgary, but for most people, the city is a “wasteland” (to quote Japandroids), a partially deserved qualification. But for a weekend in July, it’s the home of arguably the best music festival in the Pacific Northwest, if not the entire West Coast. Plus it gives me an excuse to eat my parent’s food for a weekend.

What I Saw, And How Good It Was (in chronological order, starting Thursday afternoon):

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Vancouver Choice Cuts 2009 December 8, 2009

Originally in Beatroute Magazine. Choice Cuts is a list of the top local albums of the year, and these are the ones I did reviews for.

Pink Mountaintops – Outside Love


Always defying shoegaze, the ever-inventive Pink Mountaintops issued the intensely layered and evocative Outside Love to a storm of praise. Equal parts rousing and introspective, late album standout “The Gayest of Sunbeams” closes out one of the year’s best with a track that’s as infectious as it is skillfully written.

You Say Party! We Say Die! - XXXX


The Abbotsford five-piece has finally decided on a sound, ditching dance-punk textures for a little more shine and gloss. Becky Ninkovic’s vocals ring clear over their tested formula of charismatic guitars and punchy beats. Howard Redekopp lends his expertise to craft a sound that remains fresh and vital.

Yukon Blonde  - Everything in Everyway


A massively promising EP from an already exciting band, veteran go-to opening act Yukon Blonde showcase their talents in this new offering. Thesis track “Nico Canmore” showcases a method and energy that excites and leaves you wanting more. The band formerly known as AlphaBaby is all grown up.

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Live Review – Sea Wolf/Sara Lov October 6, 2009

I canʼt say I have ever seen a crowd sit on the floor through an opener. Sara Lov, playing with a backing band of an LED adorned turntable and a single piece of vinyl had the crowdʼs attention as she opened Sea Wolfʼs unofficial album release party, but through no fault of her own she couldnʼt get them to their feet. Her closing number, an oddly understated cover of Arcade Fireʼs “My Body In A Cage” did little to embolden a crowd content with their view from the dance floor.

Sea Wolf is releasing their second LP, White Water, White Bloom after a wave of success that saw them charting on the Billboard Heatseekers list and finding their music accompanying commercials and Augusten Burroughs audio books. The set had a steady mix of new and old material, with the prior works standing out against the denser, moodier tracks of White Water.

Their show at the Media Club marked the availability of their new record. Frontman Alex Church raised his glass of wine to the audience, saying “this is a celebration”, his choice of beverage highlighting the fact this celebration would be more dinner party than hootenanny.

The crowd let the often haunting melodies wash over them and the band was more than happy to entertain a quieter than average rock show. The new material they tried out displayed the requisite innovation over invention of a sophomore effort, and the audience was generally receptive. The biggest reactions were for Leaves stand out “Black Dirt” and the breakout “Youʼre A Wolf”, the former done with an energy and emotion that trumped the album recording. Always listenable and sometimes inspired, Sea Wolf showed the faithful that their new endeavors will prove just as intriguing as their last.

As appearing originally in Beatroute Magazine.

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