Photograph by Yuula Benivolski

Photograph by Yuula Benivolski

The twenty albums included in our Best Albums of 2009 list can only cover so much of the music we’ve enjoyed, so to share some more of our favourites from the past year, we present the Ca Va Cool Mixtape for 2009, just in time to close off the year. As always, we thank you for reading and hope you stick around in the new decade. Happy new year.

Download | The Ca Va Cool Mixtape 2009

01. A.C. Newman – Submarines of Stockholm
02. Yeasayer – Tightrope
03. Dog Day – Happiness
04. The Very Best  – Warm Heart of Africa feat. Ezra Koenig
05. Think About Life – Havin’ My Baby
06. Beirut – My Night With the Prostitute from Marseille
07. Tegan and Sara – Someday
08. The Thermals – Now We Can See
09. Timber Timbre – Demon Host
10. Engineers – Song for Andy
11. You Say Party! We Say Die! – Laura Palmer’s Prom
12. The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing
13. Fanfarlo – Luna
14. Julie Doiron – Nice to Come Home
15. Kurt Vile – Freeway
16. Freelance Whales – Ghosting
17. Japandroids – Young Hearts Spark Fire
18. The Raveonettes – Last Dance

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— , December 31, 2009    1 Comment

You Say Party! We Say Die!

When your music scene appears to be dying, sometimes all you can do is party. Abbotsford, British Columbia’s new wave quintet You Say Party! We Say Die! burst into the Canadian music world four years ago, putting the dance into dance-punk with riotous live performances and toe tapping tunes. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of shows, albums, and promotion for the humble five, who were recently featured on CBC Radio 3 as October’s Artist of the Month.

But it hasn’t been easy. Three years back, bassist Stephen O’Shea was denied entry at the U.S. border due to improper identification, and as a result is banned from return until 2011. Worse yet, during an exhausting 2007 European tour, tensions ran high and climaxed with a nearly band-ending bar brawl in Germany. Despite fights, emotional exhaustion, and fragile health conditions, the group powered through to the ends of the continent and back. After a life changing visit to China and taking some time to reconnect with themselves, their communities, and each other, YSP! WSD! spent nearly a year carefully crafting their latest release on Paper Bag Records, XXXX. Summarized on the album cover as a cryptogram of love, the record represents new perspectives, fresh starts, widened musical ranges, and of course, lots of heart.

Lead vocalist Becky Ninkovic stopped to chat with Ca Va Cool and filled us in on the details of her recovery, her voice, and her excitement for the future of YSP! WSD! Don’t miss Becky and the band at the Phoenix, Toronto on November 20 with openers Little Girls and Think About Life.

You Say Party! We Say Die! – Laura Palmer’s Prom
You Say Party! We Say Die! – Dark Days
You Say Party! We Say Die! – Monster

Sabrina: Whereabouts are you on your tour?

Becky Ninkovic: We’re in Quebec City right now. Just sitting at the bar, having a cider, eating some olives.

Sabrina: How many cross-Canada tours has the group done at this point?

Becky: This is our ninth!

Sabrina: Wow, you must have it down to a science by now.

Becky: You would think so, and for the most part we do, but there is always things that come up, and it always turns into a bit of an adventure. We started up on rough footing because I was sick with a pretty severe flu. The first week had a bunch of difficulties. But it was good in a weird way. It brought us closer and showed us where we all stood with each other. Now we’ve broken through that, my voice is strong, we’ve got this real positive attitude going on. It has been the most relaxed tour we have ever had now.

Continue Reading ‘You Say Party! We Say Die!’ Interview »


— , November 17, 2009    2 Comments
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

Continue Reading ‘Halifax Pop Explosion’ Concert Feature »

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— , November 8, 2009    4 Comments