All Photographs by Jan Kucic-Riker

All Photographs by Jan Kucic-Riker

For those unfamiliar with Halifax, the timid Canadian city performs an annual Megatron-like transformation at the end of each October. Barrington Street goes from mildly intoxicated and raucous to Amy Winehouse on amphetamines with a megaphone. Venues crank subwoofers from comfortable thumping to post-tracheotomy Barry White levels. Mornings involve waking to find a group of five Icelandic men sleeping on inflatable mattresses in your living room. This metamorphosis has occurred for nearly the past seventeen years earning the title of Halifax Pop Explosion. Boasting over 125 acts through the five-day period, Jesse F. Keeler, Gregg Gillis, and Brian King sightings between classes become a commonplace occurrence. Donair pizza, glow sticks, countless layers of clothing, and failed midterms fuel the East Coasts celebration of music.

The festival took place in just over a dozen venues across the city, ranging from theatres and halls, to clubs, pubs, and even a couple of churches. Coincidentally, Halifax claims the highest rate of bars per capita in Canada and as such, there was no shortage of settings to get cozy and personal with the musicians – and Alexander Keith. With most locales within walking distance, reasonable taxi fares, and hospitable residents getting around was painless. This was of paramount importance as the headliners, MSTRKRFT, Final Fantasy, Japandroids and Girl Talk, each played sets within the last two days, driving even the most organized hipster to scheduling psychosis. The packed agenda caused certain acts to have up to five openers and sets running late into the night. Here are a few photos, tracks, and intimacies shared at Halifax Pop Explosion 2009.

Japandroids – Wet Hair
You Say Party! We Say Die! – Dancefloor Destroyer
MSTRKRFT feat. N.O.R.E. – Bounce

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— , November 8, 2009    4 Comments

Photograph by Brittany Shepherd

The newest members of the “difficult band to Google” club, Toronto’s Little Girls (Josh McIntyre) has been making indie waves, recently signing to Paper Bag Records. Always a fan of the one man band, especially one that falls within the murky waters of the post-punk revival, I’ve had their Tambourine EP on repeat and am constantly mesmerized by McIntyre’s fuzzy vocals and dense sound. All the more exciting is that the first full-length album, Concepts, is set for release today on Paper Bag Records.

The Toronto native, from the “admittedly dull” Beaches area, took a time out before his sound check at the Velvet Underground show last week to chat with Ca Va Cool about his music, his past, and the key to a mind-blowing live show.

Little Girls – Youth Tunes
Little Girls – Heinz (Artery Cover)

Sabrina: It’s all been moving pretty fast for you, hasn’t it?

Josh McIntyre: Yes. I literally recorded the songs in January or February, and a mere four days later there were labels talking to me.

Sabrina: Was it because you posted your tracks on Gorilla vs. Bear?

Josh: Yeah, it was sort of a fluke-type thing. I used to read that blog, I still do. I randomly went to the comment section and posted the little MySpace URL, just as a joke really. After that, stuff just started happening.

Sabrina: So, where were you a year ago, in contrast?

Josh: A year ago? I was working at the H&M on Queen Street West. It was the worst.

Sabrina: To support the music habit, or life in general?

Josh: Life in general. I guess a bit of both. I was doing my other band called Pirate/Rock. I was playing the drums and singing a little bit. Little Girls is really just a side project, just my own little thing.

Sabrina: Well, it has turned into quite the project. A few sold out EPs and now Concepts is about to hit the shelves. What was the concept behind your debut album?

Josh: A lot of people have been asking about this, and it’s not exactly a concept record. It’s just a record of all of my songs, from the beginning to now. It’s a collection of, well, I’m not sure what the right word is for this…

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— , October 13, 2009    4 Comments