All Photographs by Jan Kucic-Riker

Primavera Sound is an overwhelming and vastly stimulating music pilgrimage made each year to Barcelona, Spain. Over two hundred bands across eleven stages and timetables that schedule sets well past five in the morning make the musical mecca a monstrous undertaking. Fortunately, 140,000 music lovers joined me over the course of the three main days and two satellite events to dance, sing, and even swim at the Parc del Fòrum and Poble Espanyol. The eclectic line-up saw everything from unabashed hip-hop to captivating folk ballads and electronic DJ sets. Though the scheduling and sheer volume of music can make it difficult, somehow we found time to sleep amid the madness.

Getting any rest was a predicament owing to the tension of anti-government protests consuming Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya over the course of the week. Demonstrators voiced their concerns over the political and economic situation in Spain emphasizing the growing problem of unemployment amongst youth in the country. Primavera Sound also overlapped with the UEFA Cup Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United. As a result, the Saturday night schedule saw a two-hour gap in music as fans flooded the Llevant stage to watch the match on enormous screens. Whether or not you were a football fan, Barcelona’s victory was instantly apparent as celebrations ripped through the streets and onto La Rambla well past the closing sets at Primavera that night.

Outside its musical aspects, Primavera held an array of meanings. The festival had its transformative qualities, for instance, the colour and amount of wristbands one donned was the founding rule of social hierarchies over the duration of the week. Wrist apparel, stickers, and swipe cards, clung, stuck, and hung off fans as they hustled across the festival grounds. The photo areas provided amusement by way of disgruntled Spanish photographers who complained of poor lighting throughout various sets. Ultimately, the true meaning dawned as I watched a communal dance break out during ‘Summertime Clothes’ by Animal Collective as they closed out the festival at 2AM on the San Miguel Stage. It is my hope that the following images, sounds, and commentary will help convey the innumerable untellable sentiments of Primavera Sound 2011 with you.

Continue Reading ‘Primavera Sound Festival’ Concert Feature »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

— , June 20, 2011    Comments Off on Primavera Sound Festival 2011

Photograph by Sarah Cass

Welcome back to Ca Va Cool’s best albums of 2009. The first half of our list featured Wolf Parade off-shoots, a band experiencing a grand reunion, and an array of talented newcomers. Our top ten features the heavy hitters, the very best 2009 had to offer. Our contributors battled mercilessly to formulate this list. We emerge bloodied and bruised, confident that these are ten albums that will stand the test of time. Without further ado, here are Ca Va Cool’s top albums of ’09.

Photograph by Annie Powers

Photograph by Annie Powers

10. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Slumberland)

Gather around children and let me tell you the tale of four New York indie poppers who dubbed themselves The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. In their sugar-coated world all songs were dreamy, dense melodies drenched in saccharine sweet vocals and jangly guitar. Lyrics were emotional proclamations with dark undertones disguised beneath cute refrains and gumdrops. Teenage angst, sexual yearning, misdirected emotions, drug analogies and scattered profanities flowed with their overt sweetness and apparent levity in a musical dichotomy; the battle against light and dark arranging itself into aural beauty. Nothing less could be expected from a troupe of troubadours named after a children’s book and channeling broken hearts of the past into a C86 revival. What will become of the courageous quartet in the new year? The story is to be continued. In the meantime, we can lose ourselves in my favourite track about library love from their self-titled debut album released this year on Slumberland Records. — Sabrina Diemert

Continue Reading ‘Best Albums of 2009’ Feature List »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

— , December 26, 2009    2 Comments

3539339495_949036fd1c

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

Fleet Foxes

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.

air_france

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”.

Continue reading ‘Under a Cherry Blossom’ mixtape »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

— , May 18, 2009    4 Comments

Merriweather Post Pavilion - Album Cover

The optical illusion above has probably become one of the most blogged-about pictures of the past few weeks, as the internets have gone crazy for what people are already calling, the best album of 2009. Merriweather Post Pavillion is Animal Collective’s 9th album, and the journey they’ve taken to get to it is fairly incredible and sonically unique. The title of this post is a dedication to one of my best friends, who has been all about Panda Bear, the Geologist, Avey Tare and Deakin (the four animals that make up the Collective) for years. He and I trade music and oppinions all the time, and many people consider us to be pretty much the same person, other than our one resounding difference – our feelings for this very band.

With their last (acclaimed) record Strawberry Jam I remember thinking that if my bread-spread tasted anything like the album sounded, I’d be vomming non-stop. While I did enjoy the bold soundscape, and appreciate songs like Fireworks, Cuckoo Cuckoo, Unsolved Mysteries and Winter Wonderland, I never felt that they were listenable, or that I could listen to them frequently. The music required a simultaneously involved and uninvolved perspective to appreciate, that I just couldn’t access. I gave up on the record, and later came back to it because of Mark’s insistance that this band was years ahead of its time, that music in 30 years would sound like this, and that with each album they were getting more and more accessible.

After listening to their latest effort, I can now say that I agree with Mark. Yes, this might be their most “accessible” music to date .. but by no means is it Britney bitch (by that I mean pop). There are times when I listen to an album and have thoughts rushing to my head to express about it and then there are other times when the music leaves me moved and without words. I thought to myself, earlier today, while listening to the sixth song on the album Bluish, that I hadn’t felt this sensation listening to an album since Arcade Fire’s Funeral.

The album is a fusion of noise pop, freak folk, Afro-tribal, experimental (and a bunch of others that only Sabrina would be able to name and tell you about) which result in a sound that you’re sure to not hear anywhere else. The lyrics are about the complexities of separating man from machine, modernity from the natural and love from violence – you know .. your basic Indie Rock themes … Oh and the Beach Boys comparisons are dead-on.

Dude, you win. We are now the same person.

Tags:

— , January 6, 2009    7 Comments

Tapes 'n' Tapes

In order to mark the end of this momentous month, I figured a diverse mix of one-off love and non-love tunes that I really enjoy would be appropriate. First off is from a band that I have previously repped on this site, Animal Collective.  While I stand by my previous statement that Avey Tare is the weaker singer on Strawberry Jam, I picked up the bands previous release Feels, and was blown away by both the uniqueness of his vocals and lyrics, which give an impression of stream of consciousness despite the evident thought that went into the construction of images and metaphors.  Grass is easily the most ‘single-worthy’ track on the record, and for good reason – its beautiful, jarring, and honest.

Animal Collective – Grass

Next up are the sweet European melodies of a 22 year old from New York, Zach Condon, known also as Beirut.  The most recent long player, The Flying Cup Club, is a solid collection of songs.  The word swoon gets thrown around a lot in reference to different music, but I definitely think it can accurately describe this track, A Sunday Smile.

Beirut – A Sunday Smile

Finally Tapes ‘n’ Tapes probably get a bit more attention than they deserve, but its not completely without warrant.  The Loon contains a few throw away tracks, but the majority of the songs really get me, especially Manitoba.

Tapes ‘n’ Tapes – Manitoba

And now for the explicitly non-love songs.  First comes Man Man.  The word crazy, much like swoon, gets overused to describe music, so I won’t use it here.  Instead, I will say this – I am absolutely terrified of Man Man. Stay away from my house, but make more songs like this.

Man Man – Black Mission Goggles

Lil’ Wayne is a God.  No two ways about it.  I can’t express how serious I am when I say this.  This qualifies as a non-love song cause he took Young Jeezy‘s ‘I Luv It’ and turned it from terrible to excellent (PUNtacular).

Lil’ Wayne – Blooded

Finally, this song is a little old, but nothing says ‘love’ like a song about strippers.  Thanks to The Faint!

The Faint – Worked Up So Sexual

Tags: , , ,

— , March 1, 2008    5 Comments