The leaves are turning green, flowers are blooming and if you live in Toronto the smog is slowly starting to settle in; all signs of spring. With the warmer weather and themes of renewal, growth and romance on the horizon, Ca Va Cool presents a seasonally fitting mixtape. Whether you head outdoors for a weekend escape or you find yourself strolling through the park on a lunch break, take a moment to enjoy the following bands that have clearly nailed the spirit of such a lovely season.
Download | The ‘Under a Cherry Blossom’ Mixtape
01 | Fleet Foxes – Sun It Rises
Fleet Foxes are a five-piece group from Seattle with soothing guitars and mesmerizing vocals. ‘Sun It Rises’ is also the opening track on their acclaimed self-titled album released last June. The variety of carefully plucked acoustic arrangements accompanied by Robin Pecknold’s voice have the ability shake the deepest slumber as Fleet Foxes scoff at hibernation. The band is currently on tour and they’ll be making two stops in Canada – Montréal and Toronto on August 3 and 4, respectively.
02 | Air France – June Evenings
Based in Gothenburg, Sweden, the blissful electronic duo of Henri and Joel produce rhythmic pop music that quickly carries you away. ‘June Evenings’ off their No Way Down EP is analogous to sensory overload from the sounds of birds chirping to imagery of the first rays of sunshine peering through your bedroom curtains. The group is yet to release a full-length album but to their credit, the music they have produced to date is as close as anyone has reached to dream pop perfection. To quote Air France, “Give in, it’s spring”.
03 | Friendly Fires – Jump in the Pool
The United Kingdom’s Friendly Fires are a pick-me-up if there ever was one. The group’s synth-pop and signature dance vibes exude from their eponymous album released in September 2008. The opening track ‘Jump in the Pool’ was produced with the help of Paul Epworth, while the rest of the album remained in full artistic control of the band. A track appropriate whether you are a dancing up a storm or just looking to cool off, warm weather and Friendly Fires go hand in hand.
04 | The Most Serene Republic – Sherry and Her Butterfly Net
The Most Serene Republic from Milton, Ontario are a seven-piece group with a colourful sound that is kept surprisingly modest. Their sophomore album Population was released on Toronto’s Arts&Crafts label following their debut Underwater Cinematographer. The heavily piano and violin influenced ‘Sherry and Her Butterfly Net’ presents a near orchestral feel with well-layered vocals. Find a field with tall grass, some Monarch Butterfly’s and chase away this spring courtesy of The Most Serene Republic.
05 | The Dodos – The Season
Together Meric Long and Logan Kroeber are The Dodos, originating from San Francisco. ‘The Season’ stems from their latest album Visiter released last year on French Kiss. Logan’s training in West African Ewe Drumming adds a lively tone to Meric’s drawling guitar throughout the track, not to mention the addictive twangy vocals. The band will be coming through Canada early in July making stops in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montréal.
06 | Ohbijou – The Woods
A native Torontonian band, Ohbijou produces folk music on a grand scale. The seven-piece ensemble released their debut Swift Feet for Troubling Times featuring the track ‘The Woods’ a curious piece that employs a foot-tapping drum line and adventurous banjo. The group is scheduled to release their follow-up effort Beacons June 9th and will couple the release with appearances at Toronto’s Opera House and Guelph’s Hillside Festival in late June and July.
07 | Horse Feathers – Curs in the Weeds
Justin Ringle headlines the folk band from Portland better known as Horse Feathers. ‘Curs in the Weeds’ eloquently discusses the passing of time and inherent change accompanied as such through beautifully phrased lyrics such as, “Lover of things, won’t you agree, how the winter could bring, the darkest of spring?”. This track is from their second album House with No Home released on Kill Rock Stars label after their debut Words are Dead.
08 | Animal Collective – Grass
Animal Collective began in Baltimore, the band creates music difficult to describe – even for closed captioning. From their sixth full length album Feels many of the euphoric crescendos associated with the band are presented in an earthy fashion as heard on ‘Grass’ amidst discordant shouts and bouncy melodic undertones. The band finished their Canadian rounds this May supporting their latest album Merriweather Post Pavilion.
09 | The Tallest Man on Earth – The Gardener
The Tallest Man on Earth is Kristian Matsson of Dalarnaq, Sweden. The satisfying sound of tremulous guitar chords paired with Kristian’s off-note vocalizations have made imperfections something to strive for. His debut album Shallow Grave was accompanied by a tour with Bon Iver throughout late 2008 and received a warm reception. ‘The Gardener’ was also recently presented as a Take Away Show by La Blogotheque.
10 | Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away
Based in Brooklyn and Philadelphia, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is a spirited group back by the strained vocals and jangly guitar strings of Alec Ounsworth. The groups last release Some Loud Thunder was in 2007 and their eponymous debut sporting ‘Let the Cool Goddess Rust Away’ was released two years prior. The self-released album was distributed by their bassist Tyler Sargent mailing copies out of his apartment and considering it has sold approximately 200,000 copies to date speaks volumes about the playful band. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is currently on hiatus as band members pursue side projects.
11 | Joanna Newsom – Peach, Plum, Pear
Joanna Newsom is a Californian harpist and composer. Newsom first learned to play the Celtic harp and has since recorded two albums. ‘Peach, Plum, Pear’ from The Milk-Eyed Mender has been covered by Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy; the track contains jumpy melodies and Joanna’s insight through phrases such as, “I have read the right books, to interpret your looks”. The sharp, seemingly untrained vocals are in juxtaposition to the refined and experimental sounds of the harp creating a vivid contrast. After all, peach, plum, or pear spring time with Joanna Newsom is a delicious treat.
12 | The Decemberists – July July!
The Decemberists are a five-piece baroque pop group from Portland. From their debut album Castaways and Cutouts ‘July July!’ inspires nostalgic memories of careless sunny days. From “Crooked French Canadians” to old beaten paths and lingering ghosts the song has all the ingredients necessary for a summer adventure. The band will be venturing through Vancouver, Montréal and Toronto in early August. Leaving you with the entirety of July to keep this fitting song on loop.
13 | The Weakerthans – Sun in An Empty Room
Sunroofs and spring are synonymous, as such Winnipeg’s Weakerthans know how to celebrate when the snow has melted. ‘Sun in an Empty Room’ off their latest album Reunion Tour takes the perspective of a man who is in the process of moving out of an apartment that was once filled with furniture, now left with only rays of sunlight. For an idea of their live show check the Concert Feature on The Rolling Tundra Revue, the band will be visiting Vancouver in mid-July for the city’s Folk Festival.
14 | Ryland Bouchard – Bye Bye Love No. 3
Ryland Bouchard of Portland rounds out the spring playlist in a romantic fashion speaking of lost loves in a simple and poetic fashion. Aside from having an outstanding beard, Ryland’s charming folk ballads can be found on his boxset Seeds released by Swim Slowly Records. The track, much like spring ends far too quickly. If you’re looking for more of Ryland you can find his Take Away Show here.
Download | The ‘Under a Cherry Blossom’ Mixtape
Tags: Air France, Animal Collective, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Fleet Foxes, Friendly Fires, Horse Feathers, Joanna Newsom, Ohbijou, The Decemberists, The Dodos, The Most Serene Republic, The Tallest Man on Earth, The Weakerthans