All Photographs by Jan Kucic-Riker

Halifax Pop Explosion is a marked change from the summer festival scene. While there are no beer gardens, Keith’s is never in short supply. The festival swaps the colossal stage of Toronto Island for the warmth of packed bars. Rather than tents, picnic blankets, and sunscreen, festivalgoers arm themselves with scarves, mittens, and umbrellas. Music-lovers inherit a mosaic of stamps connected with permanent marker that forms an impromptu tattoo to symbolise their nights of barhopping. The festival is a mere secret whispered between bus stops as fans travel from one venue to the next. Scheduling is made more complicated by coat-checks, ID checks, and checking out that girl from your ecology class dancing next to Dan Boeckner. Halifax Pop Explosion did not provide the scenic beauty of Sasquatch, the free American Apparel underwear of Osheaga, or even the toddlers sporting oversized ear protection of Toronto Island. What it did provide however, was an unadulterated intimacy. An intimacy only felt in the Pack A.D.’s spittle as they belt out songs no less than two feet away from you or the Handsome Furs spiritual cleansing and confessional at St. Matthew’s Church. The following is a record of those intimacies at HPX2010.

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— , November 5, 2010    1 Comment

Most mixtapes are tied together with a cohesive theme, some on the topic of love for a special someone, others with fury for that bad day. Some mixtapes are lush with clever wordplay and focus on connections in the lyrics, titles, and hooks of songs. We make mixtapes to wake us up, to bang our head to at parties, to celebrate a change in season, to commemorate a break-up, or dance to while cleaning our house. I considered all these options while piecing together complex lists of tracks and sifting through records searching for songs that would convey a sought after message. Finally, while speaking to a friend about my dilemma, he offered a simple solution “People just want to listen to awesome music,” he said, “put together a mixtape with new jams you enjoy and don’t worry about the concept.” So this mixtape is to you friends, treasure these thirteen tracks knowing that I’ve spent the past few weeks dancing in front of the air conditioner, lip-syncing on the bus to work, and vacuuming the house wearing only underpants to.

To those personal friends I share music with regularly and are away for the summer, I miss your presence and your concert update text messaging is appreciated, I look forward to many future iPod swaps, coffee house exchanges, and shout-out-loud new release celebrations. To those readers I haven’t been fortunate enough to meet yet, if you enjoy Ca Va Cool and find yourself twisting and shouting to this bunch of tracks know that we’ve already made the first step to a super-best-friendship. So whether it’s a bad day, a blossoming romance, or just a picnic in the sun, remember to spread the love and share, because sharing is caring. Without further ado, Ca Va Cool says cheers to friends, summertime, and awesome music.

Download | Dear Friends Mixtape

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— , August 7, 2010    2 Comments

The first ever Ca Va Cool mix includes some highlights from the writers’ favourite albums, EPs, and singles of 2007. Pretty representative of what was important this year in indie pop, rock, and dance (indie being a sound, attitude, and aesthetic, rather than commercial means). This was a team effort, and you know what they say about herd mentality: it’s never wrong.

01. Spoon – The Underdog
02. Shout Out Louds – Tonight I Have to Leave It
03. Tokyo Police Club – Box
04. The Teenagers – Homecoming
05. The Shins – Australia
06. Radiohead – House of Cards
07. Basia Bulat – I Was a Daughter
08. M.I.A. – Paper Planes
09. The New Pornographers – My Right Versus Yours
10. Panda Bear – Comfy in Nautica
11. The National – Slow Show
12. Miracle Fortress – Maybe Lately
13. Two Hours Traffic – Stuck for the Summer
14. LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends
15. Jens Lekman – The Opposite of Hallelujah
16. Handsome Furs – Handsome Furs Hate This City
17. Feist – Past in Present
18. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.
19. Stars – Window Bird
20. The Cribs – Moving Pictures
21. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Satan Said Dance
22. Black Kids – I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You
23. Band of Horses – Is There a Ghost
24. Arcade Fire – The Well and the Lighthouse
25. Au Revoir Simone – Sad Song

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— , December 25, 2007    4 Comments

Arcade Fire

Ca Va Cool is no Family guy, but some have complained that I haven’t written a post in a while, and that makes me feel all warm inside. Am I a lazy bastard? Some would say yes, but I’m gonna go with maybe. How could I have used part of this summer to watch marathons of horror movies with friends and not update this site which I love so dearly? I’m a man of action, so rather than explain my “absence”, I’m gonna start updating this site as much as it deserves. And since I’m going back to university in September, this is pretty much guaranteed, as Ca Va Cool is my favourite study break. So without further ado, I give you my summer music recap…

Arcade Fire‘s second album Neon Bible gets better every time I listen to it. Every review talks about how its such a deep artistic record like the first one. It is, but the reason I like it more and more is that it reveals itself to be a rocking record more and more.  “Keep the Car Running” and “No Cars Go” are just plain good rock songs. They build, they’re upbeat, and they’re even pretty danceable (although those may all mean the same thing). Arcade Fire even even gets radio play with them. But that might just be because I live in Canada.

Arcade Fire – No Cars Go

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— , August 5, 2007    Comments Off on Summer 2007 Music Recap