IPO Vancouver 2012
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Artists From Vancouver
64 Funnycars – China Syndrome’s (see below) Tim Chan and his band from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s had so much fun reuniting for IPO in 2010, they’ve become an active band once more (they’ve even got some new songs!), and we couldn’t be happier! The songs on all three of their albums are characterized by upbeat catchy harmonies with a bit of humor, such as the tongue-in-cheek Beach Boys flavored “AMC Pacer.” Their song “Happy Go Lucky” even peaked at #5 on the Canadian National Campus Chart! They don’t play very often, so you won’t want to miss this!
Aunts and Uncles – This genre-blending quartet specializes in intricate and dynamic baroque indie pop, featuring violin, baritone guitar, upright and electric bass, drums, glockenspiel, ukulele and keyboards, rounded out by strong vocal harmonies. With great control of dynamics and a wide range of influences, this four-piece brings energy and emotion to the forefront of their performances. This is one you will not want to miss!
Laurie Biagini – Constantly writing, Biagini now has three CDs to her credit, filled with her characteristic sunshine harmony pop with some groovy surf and psychedelic undertones. Usually a “DIY” girl recording all the parts herself, her latest disc, A Go-Go Girl in a Modern World, also features a few guest guitar tracks and vocals from fans as far ranging as The UK and Italy, and was chosen as one of the top 25 albums of 2011 on CBC Radio One! Fans of The Beach Boys, The Mamas & The Papas, and The Monkees need to check her out!
The Bristol Scout – Those still lamenting the fact that The Luna Riot have called it quits will be pleased to find that Travis Smyth’s current project is going strong and getting stronger! The Bristol Scout refines, refreshes, and rebirths Smyth’s original musical child. With its dance-y beats, fuzzy/drone-y bass, big spacey guitars and synthy key bits you must stand up! Don’t sit, you can’t sit! The Bristol Scout won’t let you!
Graham Brown Band – Long a stalwart in the Vancouver music scene, this fine singer/songwriter serves up a tasty slice of crunchy alt-country, drawing heavily from influences such as Neil Young, Steve Earle, Tom Petty, and Johnny Cash on his latest CD, Hiwatt, and what you should do is buy it if it’s not already in your collection!
China Syndrome – A band whose songs will remind you of everything you love about power pop! Filled with catchy hooks, bouncy guitars, upbeat vocals and harmonies reminiscent of such greats as XTC, The Replacements, Badfinger, and Guided By Voices, their latest CD, Nothing’s Not Worth Knowing, has been described by venerable indie rock magazine The Big Takeover as an “absolutely solid, songwriter-intensive slab of catchy, muscular Vancouver power pop.” You NEED to hear this band!
Culture Shock – Long before The Irises or The New Black there was Thrill Squad…and before that there was Go Four 3…and before that The Debutantes…but before all of that was Gord Badanic, Rob Tomkow, and Stephen Quinn in a band called Culture Shock. Formed in the early ‘80s, the band was Vancouver’s youthful version of The Buzzcocks, Rezillos, Undertones and Ramones. They recorded 6 songs and released a single, “Forever and Ever” which now sells for over $400 in Japan! 1977 Records in Japan is releasing a Culture Shock CD later this year, and re-releasing the 7″ vinyl single. The band is reforming for one night only, at IPO Vancouver!
Duvallstar-Duvallstar is Siobhan DuVall’s latest creation. Siobhan is the former guitarist for The Bomshells, Bif Naked, and The Widows (with Billy Hopeless). Known for her sophisticated sexy power punk, Siobhan has played the mainstage at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival and Sony Playstation Skatespace in Whistler BC, and has appeared on VH-1 in New York City! One of the most fun bands to watch at IPO Vancouver!
Danny Echo – With influences drawing from the greats like The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Beatles, Radiohead, Oasis, and U2, Danny Echo reverberates with all that is melodic, all that is catchy, and all that is rock n’ roll on his latest full length release, Rock Bottoms Up, and barely tones it down for his recent acoustic EP, Unplugged and Unglued. Smoke machines, projectors, smoking guitars, and fire extinguishers (?!!) have become a part of the visual assault of Danny Echo gigs, making the live show an experience not to be missed!
The Gentle Infidels – The moodchild of songwriter/guitarist/luthier/archer/21st-Century Rennaisance Man Ed Bond, the Gentle Infidels offer intricately woven folk melodies that totally rock! Although Bond’s songs deal with dark subject matter, the music of the Gentle Infidels is honestly emotional and delivered with striking power that separates them from most modern folk-rock acts. Fans of Pentangle or Jimmy Page will want to check out their debut CD, Insolents and Indolents!
Gold Stars Are For Suckers – Glam, powerpop, Motown, bubble-punk, indie rock, and a bit of everything in between – it’s all in there, and it’s all good! With a slightly irreverent sense of humor to their lyrics, and a love for what they do borne of their proud admission of being overgrown children, these four veterans of the Vancouver music scene (including Derek McDonald, of The Orchid Highway, see below) are sure to please!
Johnny Good-Johnny Good draws a very thin line between solo artist and orchestra. Building songs from the ground up live with looping he creates a sound that has been compared to Etta James and Tom Waits having a sonic love child. Johnny Good brings the essence of the old Motown feel and mixes it with the soul of a poet’s eternal battle to depict the over whelming emotion that life throws at us all!
The Irises – A band known for their characteristic melodic splendor with a touch of glam! Their latest CD, Not Good In Bed, “is for the hopeless romantic and is pure rock pop at its best” (Icon Magazine). This is also the current project of Roxanne Heichert and Stephen Quinn, whose band from the late ‘80s, Go Four 3, is still one of Vancouver’s most beloved. Definitely one of Vancouver’s finest bands!
Patrick Jacobson – As the front man for the Vancouver-based powerpop band, The Capitals, Jacobson built his reputation writing endearing, dulcet anthems with crackerjack choruses. He has also co-written songs and performed with The Top Drawers and The Luna Riot and has had the good fortune to work with some of Canada’s music icons, such as Kevin Kane (The Grapes of Wrath), Steven Drake (Odds), and Daniel Adair (Nickelback/3 Doors Down). He’s working on a new full-length album of original material; his first as a front man since The Capitals released Broadcast One. Yay!
The Jardines – The Jardines are Cherelle and Ajaye Jardine, a mother/daughter combo who are a delicious mixture of street smarts and innocence. Their life experiences are meshed, giving the listener an ageless body of work to fall in love with. Their debut self-titled CD was released on the main stage of The Ozone for the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Olympics (not bad!), and their follow up disc, Someone’s Stolen Tuesday, is due out soon, so watch for it!
Jason & The Diatonics – They combine the singer/songwriteryness of Jason Poulsen and musical prowess, good looks and keen olfactory senses of Joel Mohr, Erik Olson and Steph Olson. Their combined badassery delivers a fresh style of acoustic pop that is both accessible and unexpected. Their debut CD, Million Miles of Trouble, features 10 tracks of catchy melodies and whimsical wordplay that will appeal to fans of artists from Jason Mraz to Lenny Kravitz to Brendan Benson and Mates of State, to name but a few!
Art Kenyon – A multi-talented singer/songwriter/producer, Kenyon can been seen gigging around with his own songs/live act, playing with the math-rock band Strange Fruit, and producing other artists with Vox Populi artist development. His songs combine a singer/songwriter ethos with an indie rock intensity, combining diverse influences such as The Beatles, Joy Division, and Silversun Pickups into an amalgamated whole that is uniquely his own!
Koralee – Koralee’s sound has been compared to the likes of Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morrisette, and Marianne Faithfull. She has also been called the Joan Armatrading of the 21st century. Pretty high praise for the girl from Winnipeg who has made the world at large her home…but also pretty well deserved, as she deftly combines world music grooves and distinctive rhythms with pop melodicism and hypnotically captivating vocals with a message of strength. A full-length CD is due out soon!
Dee Long -Yes friends, you can stop rubbing your eyes: this is the same Dee Long who was one of the forces of the great Klaatu! Of course that band’s legend keeps growing with each passing year and convention, but Long has had a (ahem) long and fruitful solo career in his own right. Case in point: his latest CD, Life Afterlife, is a “new” collection of old songs, including a few written up to 40 years ago (!); while some were recorded by Klaatu, others previously existed only in demo form, but Long has taken them all, brought them up to date, and recorded them the way he’s always heard them in his head. We think the insides of his head sound pretty nice indeed!
Paul Luongo -Luongo has been performing ever since he was six years old, which is not terribly surprising considering his father, Peter Luongo, is director of the internationally renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble. Recognized as one of Canada’s finest ukulele players, Luongo incorporates the ukulele as well as the guitar and violin in song writing and performances. Fans of artists from Eric Clapton to Paul Simon and Jon Brion should check him out!
Camille Miller -Born in Germany and raised on military bases all across Canada, she grew up on Motown, Carly Simon, The Carpenters, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and the Rolling Stones. These artists shaped her musical tastes at an early age, and were the voices that put her to sleep at night, and still provide comfort to her as she brings an updated version of vocal grace and soul of yesteryear to her modern pop sound. Just check out her latest CD, Somewhere Near The Truth, and you’ll hear what we mean!
The New Black -Experts agree that although The New Black appears to come from the early (though now virtually extinct) genus “Punk-Pop” (motoramiis melodica officianalis), DNA testing points toward a hybrid from several inter-species cross-breedings, such as The Avengers, Buzzcocks, Blondie and even an early strain of The Pixies. Excited eye-witness accounts from field staff indicate that although The New Black initially appears fairly harmless (and even attractive to some), many were quite startled by its agility, speed and sheer volume. Come check them out for yourself!
The Orchid Highway -A great rock n’ roll band who have for years churned out song after song well permeated in the influences of the ‘60s psychedelic/Brit-pop Invasion. Their songs reverberate with trippy jangle and harmonies galore, but don’t be fooled – their energetic live shows make them one of the most rockin’ bands around! Their debut self-titled CD (available on Rainbow Quartz) is also sure to please the powerpop salivators among you!
Preston and Fletcher -If the Avengers were musicians, they would want to be Preston and Fletcher. Shelley (Preston) and Scott (Fletcher) share a musical conversation with their audiences at every performance, and create a pop history lesson that doesn’t forget the future. Pay attention…there will be a test.
Rocky Jr. -An artist who remembers that rock n’ roll started as the bastard step-child of the blues! His style is reminiscent of great blues-rockers such as George Thorogood or ZZ Top, but with a modern soul flavor similar to Prince or Michael Jackson. His latest band, CAUSE4DRAMA, was recently voted Fan Choice Band in this year’s 99.3 The Fox Seeds Contest, and their Burn, Burn, Burn… EP and their live show are – pardon the pun – smokin’ hot!
Riley Smith -A young singer/songwriter whose songs songs combine the ultra catchy radio friendly hooks of bands like Green Day and Blink 182 with the breezy acoustic folk rock feel of artists like The Eagles and James Taylor, while maintaining the grungy rock edge of bands like Nirvana and Stone Temple Pilots. Look out for his soon to be released debut album!
Robin Stanley -Mainly inspired by the British new wave music revival that happened at the end of the ‘70s, and taking his cue from Ray Davies and Joe Strummer, Stanley’s charisma made him a natural front-man to a number of bands that played at some legendary Vancouver clubs during the ‘80s. He’s been called a “lost romantic,” and his songs reflect life’s mysteries, heartbreak and rewards, which gives them an instant appeal. Case in point: “Make Up Your Mind,” the single from his latest disc, Cosmology, cracked the top 200 on the Adult Contemporary commercial radio charts!
The Top Drawers -Everybody knows that the top drawer is where all the best secrets are kept safe, and that is equally true of the 12 songs contained on The Top Drawers’ latest CD, You’re So Fine. Richly steeped in 1960s Brit-rock flavour, The Top Drawers are intent on reviving the joy, the energy, and the fun of rock ‘n roll!
The Touch & Gos -IPO is proud to host a repeat reunion from yet another of the great cadre of Vancouver pop bands from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s! Friends and in some ways kindred spirits of 64 Funnycars (see above), The Touch & Gos are characterized by sweet female lead vocals, super-catchy hooks, and a machine gun paced drum beat. Loyal fans from back in the day may still have copies of their self-titled cassette (remember those?!) or their limited edition potato print T&Gs boxer shorts!
The Whethermen -Whether you call it “powerpop”, “pub rock”, “frat rock” or even “alt country rock”, one thing that is undeniable is that The Whethemen play music that is catchy, upbeat, and just plain fun! Their debut CD, Evolver, received rave reviews and the song “Fade to Black” off the album was licensed for use by FOX-TV worldwide! Their recently released self-titled release is garnering similar attention, and they’re already at work on a third!
Joel Willoughby -Growing up overseas with globe-traveling parents, Willoughby has lived in war-torn Uganda, and attended an English boarding school in Kenya. There, he met other kids from around the world, played the usual British sports such as rugby and cricket, and was introduced to the influential Brit-pop scene. With such varied life experiences, that well-traveled, world-weary soul can’t help but show up in his songs. His latest album, Rain & Pocket Change, has been featured on college radio throughout North America. Aptly enough, his new single is entitled “Radio Friendly”….and it is!!
Canadian Artists From Outside Of Vancouver
Dave Rave -He began popping very powerfully indeed a near quarter century ago as part of the legendary Canadian bands Teenage Head and The Shakers, and has often been referred to as “The Canadian Nick Lowe.” His latest CD, Live With What You Know, was nominated for a Grammy, as was one of its songs “Anne Marie”!! He’s played every IPO the past two years, with hopefully many more to come. Thank you, Dave!!
Michelle Carter -With her piles of blonde hair, sparkling grey blue eyes, and a sound that pushes the borders of pop music, she’s a force to be reckoned with and will have a career to aspire to for years to come. Her voice has already been heard on the first season of The L Word, as well as on Sony Music (Media Software) Pocket Diva Acid Loop Pack and her debut LP, So Simple! Not one to rest on her laurels, both her latest solo CD, Tequila Nights, and a duet project with Keith Megna, entitled Under The Moon, should both be released later this year! Now based in Los Angeles, this Vancouver-raised lass is making the trek back to her roots to play IPO Vancouver, and we are truly grateful.