Neko Case

With The Alialujah Choir
April 15 @ Vogue Theatre

Neko Case || Photo by Jon Vincent

Neko Case || Photo by Jon Vincent

The legendary Neko Case graced the Vogue Theatre on the evening of Wednesday, April 15, a night which also played host to a slew of other events around town, yet still filled the theatre. Her performance was accentuated by the Vogue’s great lighting and deep stage. Dark lyrical themes from the Alialujah Choir and Neko Case filled the space in front of a backdrop of green eels seen on the cover of Case’s new album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You.

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Viet Cong

Viet Cong (Flemish Eye/Jagjaguwar)

vietcong

Rising from the ashes of esteemed lo-fi psych-rock group Women — which was tragically cut short by the death of frontman Christopher Reimer — Calgary post-punk outfit Viet Cong have a lot to live up to, and their debut self-titled album does just that.

Running a quick 37 minutes from beginning to end, the record shifts between the comfort of commercial indie rock and the confused paranoia of experimental noise. With their lead single “Continental Shelf” — easily their most accessible and poppy track — nestled right in the middle of the album, the song’s catchy vocal melody and shimmering guitar lines prove that Viet Cong can produce a radio hit without compromising their distinct, industrial sound.

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Jons

Serfs of Today (Self-Released)

jons

The DIY aesthetic encourages, if not champions, a special level of intimacy between a musician and their listener. The wall of separation between the artist and their audience is all but shattered on records which communicate universal emotion with poignancy. Jons’ second album, Serfs of Today, almost achieves this feat, faltering only when the otherwise strong songwriting shows inconsistencies.

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Vancouver Noise Fest V

April 18 @ Various Venues

Worker || Photo by Matthew Power

Worker || Photo by Matthew Power

For many Vancouverites, residing in a place that is consistently ranked among “The World’s Most Livable Cities” is a point of pride. This is not the case for fanatics of noise, industrial, and power electronics. Attendees of the fifth annual Vancouver Noise Fest gathered together on April 18 to celebrate the subversion of this would-be auspicious title.

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Polarhorse

Data (Self-Released)

polarhorse

The worst thing about Data, Polarhorse’s seminal new recording, is that there isn’t more. Continuing the work that guitarist Adrian Yee contributed to now-defunct Vancouver band The Barcelona Chair, Polarhorse is a fantastic blend of all the “-rock” sounds: post, prog, math, and experimental.

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Sumac

The Deal (Profound Lore Records)

sumac

There are few recent innovators of heavy music as accomplished as Sumac’s guitarist/vocalist Aaron Turner. His impressive output is revered within the heavy metal pantheon and includes, but is not limited to, pioneering work with the now defunct post metal outfit Isis and the eccentric doom entity Old Man Gloom.

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Faith Healer

Cosmic Troubles (Mint Records)

faithhealer

A certain kind of nonchalant coolness oozes out of Cosmic Troubles, an album concocted by Edmonton-based artist Jessica Jalbert and engineered by Renny Wilson. If you’re a supporter of the musical styling of the bygone era of the ‘70s, you’ll find lots to vibe with in this album.

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SNIT

“It sucks that all those amazing independent venues in people’s basements are just gone now. It feels like Toronto with all those new venues moving in.”

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Photos by Jaqueline Manoukian

This is a band that you look for, not one you stumble across listening to the radio.  Vancouver darkwave group SNIT’s new release, Optimized, is an introspective album. Its songs radiate an odd binary feeling of being both over the moon, yet still trapped by clouds. Reflecting some of the more shadowy areas of the city, Optimized pops and gnashes its teeth, like little forceful bursts of anger. As guitarist Trevor puts it, SNIT is sulkily “purging a lifetime of guilt, frustration, and pain.”

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The Write Stuff: Advice on Canadian Grant Writing

"I think it's really important that artists are empowered with the tools and become educated so that they can be more supported or self-managing"

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Photo by Marissa Hooi

Getting music grants in Canada is a tricky business. It can be a real struggle for artists to actually receive the funding provided by the government and affiliated government bodies. Rebecca Apostoli is well aware of this fact, and with her new book “The Canadian Grant Writing Guide for Musicians” she hopes to help artists address the matter. A performer herself, Apostoli has held positions with such organizations as Live Nation Canada, Access to Music Foundation, and the Music BC Industry Association, before becoming the founder and CEO of Music Grants Canada.

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Wand

With VEXX, Chastity Belt
April 11 @ The Cobalt

Wand || Photo by Lauren Ray

Wand || Photo by Lauren Ray

Going to an early show at the Cobalt is confusing. When getting there two minutes before the first band is supposed to go on, and finding yourself staring at an orange drum kit while desperately not trying to make eye contact with the dozen or so people who are also there unfashionably on time to pre-drink or set up camp, is there a social code?

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