Photograph by Yasmeen Ghebari

Photograph by Yasmeen Ghebari

Amidst all of this holiday season craziness, here is a list of favourite things that happened at the Halifax Pop Explosion 2012, the twentieth anniversary of the festival, for you to ponder how awesome the festival is and why you should probably attend it next year.

of Montreal

Not sure if you guys all know (you probably do) but of Montreal is fantastic live. Hands down one of the more entertaining shows I’ve ever been to. I found myself giggling uncontrollably a number of times throughout their concert, which included body suits, pretend action fights, and lots and lots of balloons. When two guys in bodysuits unleashed long, tied-together balloons from between their legs (resembling a number of things…) I was quite taken aback at first, but it was absolutely hilarious and the balloons created some unbelievable fun in the crowd. More magic was added with Kevin Barnes adorning the stage in lace and vibrant make-up, which, when paired with the psychedelic lights and their funky pop music, made for a lively and delightful show.

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— , December 24, 2012    2 Comments

Photograph by Annabel Mehran

The year 2009 will be remembered for many things, including the divorce of Jon and Kate Gosselin, Tiger Woods’ infidelity, and of course, the introduction of Keyboard Cat. But aside from those momentous events, some decent music was released. As the year draws to a close, we here at Ca Va Cool continue our list-making ways to bring you our favourite albums of 2009. Through an intense, scientific process, we have distilled the vast amount of quality releases into an essential brew of twenty such albums. Old favourites share space with relative newcomers in the first half of our list.

Sunset Rubdown

20. Sunset RubdownDragonslayer (Jagjaguwar)

Spencer Krug has solidified his position as wizard of the indie world with the release of Dragonslayer. Conjuring up mythical beasts and inspiring a belief in whimsical folklore, all while contorting vocals entangled with punchy keyboards. Dragonslayer is Sunset Rubdown’s white rabbit in the top hat. The witty experimentation paired with outstanding hooks forms an album that is both accessible and multifarious. Dragonslayer compiles an unparalleled consistency as the eight tracks serve as standalone sensations while weaving an outlandish fairytale. The record has the capacity to immerse listeners and encourage exploration. Sunset Rubdown uncovers a new adventure with each thumping refrain of ‘Idiot Heart’ or the possessed chanting of ‘You Go on Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)’. The quintet’s unpolished finish on the album prides itself on the kinks in their armour and much like a good fairytale, each scrape, bruise, and bump has its own merit when fighting dragons. — Jan Kucic-Riker

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— , December 21, 2009    Comments Off on Best Albums of 2009, Pt. 1

Photograph by Justin Hollar

Much of the music I have enjoyed this past year comprises of two themes: reclusiveness and forests. Whether it is the Antler’s account of loss and isolation on Hospice, Animal Collective’s earthy tones on Merriweather Post Pavilion, or the burly heir of everything rustic and secluded – Bon Iver, all uphold the premise that forming any sincere art must revolve around woodlands and solitude. Logos though not overtly dressed in plaid and flaunting a frost-laden beard exudes a familiar sentiment. Bradford Cox, the voice behind Deerhunter, returns to his solo project Atlas Sound to release his follow up to last year’s therapeutic shoegaze spectacle Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel. 4AD and Kranky Records will release Logos in Europe on October 19 and in North America on October 20.

Logos comes off as dynamic collage of sounds fusing together to form an interesting pattern – much like the aforementioned plaid garb. The record ties together a broad range of influences imparted upon Cox:

“My last album was a bedroom laptop type thing. Very introverted. Logos is an album that was recorded all over the world. It’s not about me. There are collaborations with other musicians. The lyrics are not autobiographical. The view is a lot more panoramic and less close-up. I became bored with introspection. Each song on the album has a similar story. That might be my favorite thing about the album. It’s a collection of songs. There are little scrapbook details everywhere.”

Atlas Sound – Walkabout feat. Panda Bear
Atlas Sound – Criminals
Atlas Sound – Shelia

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— , October 3, 2009    1 Comment

The Big Pink

Seasons heavily affect the kind of music I listen to. For a few summers now I’ve turned to synth-driven electro, rock and pop to guide me through a variety of romps, walkabouts, dance parties, swims and trips. Synths feel like bright happy colours. I don’t really care about their rampant over-usage of anything and everything from indie to hip hop these days. They still make me giddy and amplify my summer experiences more than either Bang or Olufsen could. In this vein I’ve put together a playlist of lovely synth-esque music which I hope will be a nice companion to your Summer adventures.

Download | The ‘Summer in Synths’ Mixtape

01 | Gold Panda – Quitters Raga

One of the most interesting songs of the year so far, Gold Panda sample the distinct sounds of a sitar and fuse choral raga chants with gimmicky DJ chops and skips over top of a steady hand clap rhythm. It’s world music gone nutty, and while it may not be the best song to play at a party, it’s a nice headphone banger.

02 | The Big Pink – Dominos

“These girls fall like dominos,” Robbie Furze repeats on the British duo The Big Pink’s fourth single – wishful thinking, at least for this guy. The song’s got anthemic qualities and is sure to help the band blow before disappearing into Much Music’s “One Hit Wonders” territory. Good luck Big Pink, and thank you for this song that Blink 182 and MGMT are somehow both going to wish they’d made first.

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— , August 12, 2009    11 Comments