IPO Vancouver 2013
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Artists From Vancouver
Ajaye – “Ajaye” is Ajaye Jardine, who Vancouver music fans know as half of the mother-daughter country-pop project, The Jardines! Her solo work is quite different, delving into the electro-pop arena, but just as cool! If you’ve seen Ajaye play in The Jardines, be ready for something else entirely…and you will love it just as much!
Beautiful Thieves – If you love both angular indie-rock as well as powerpop, then you’ll definitely want to check out this power trio! Their songs blend both strong melodic hooks and shifting rhythms that fans of artists such as Arcade Fire, Alkaline Trio and Green Day are sure to enjoy. Check out their Time To Leave EP, and you’ll hear what we mean!
Laurie Biagini – Constantly writing, Biagini now has four 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, both her latest disc, Sanctuary of Sound, and its predecessor, A Go-Go Girl in a Modern World, also feature a few guest guitar tracks and vocals from fans as far ranging as The UK and Italy. A Go-Go Girl in a Modern World was even 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!
Hawk Bjorn – Born and raised amidst the bounty of riches known as Swedish pop, and heavily influenced by the British harmony pop of 10cc and ELO, Bjorn’s music will certainly speak to many a pop fan! His Life Insurance CD blends soft pop harmonies with orchestrated powerpop reminiscent of mid ‘70s radio, and will appeal to fans of bands from ELO to Queen to Abba to The Beach Boys! (Yes, it is THAT good!)
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!
CAUSE4DRAMA – The latest project led by the inimitable 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. CAUSE4DRAMA, was recently voted Fan Choice Band in last year’s 99.3 The Fox Seeds Contest; and their Burn, Burn, Burn… EP and their live show are – pardon the pun – smokin’ hot!
The Digz – The Digz are an entertaining, high energy, and easy listening pop band that gets audiences singing and dancing from the moment they hit the stage. Led by Paul Luongo, whose father, Peter Luongo, is director of the internationally renowned Langley Ukulele Ensemble, and who himself is recognized as one of Canada’s finest ukulele players, the band incorporates the ukulele as well as the guitar and violin in their music. Fans of artists from Eric Clapton to Paul Simon and Jon Brion should check them out!
Duvallstar – Duvallstar the creation of Siobhan Duvall, former guitarist for The Bomshells, Bif Naked, and The Widows (with Billy Hopeless). Known for her sophisticated sexy power punk, Siobhan has played the main stage 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! This year’s IPO show will be extra special, as it’s also the release party for their hot new single “Hey, Love”!
Edmonton Block Heater – Their 2011 CD, Mars, Massachusetts, has all the jangle and spank you’d expect from a power pop trio – big guitars, hooks, harmonies and handclaps – but with a broader palette and bigger ambitions, taking excursions into folk, country, R&B, and even Latin sounds! It’s a mature, confident set of 14 songs guaranteed to rock the house Saturday night and tend to your hangover Sunday morning. Their brand new EP, Rover, is similarly diverse, and will appeal to fans of twangy powerpop, folky softpop, and muscular rock!
elle-ectric – Having explored several musical writing styles – from jazz to folk to hip hop to house to top 40 – elle-ectric now concerns herself with creating art for art sake. The songs on her upcoming EP, The Queen Of Mars, draw inspiration from her lovers, dirty rock and country guitar riffs, as well as her folk style soul, and combine this with passion and grit to create her own unique cinematic soul meets gritty country rock style. Fans of Lana Del Ray, Metric, and Joni Mitchell will love this stuff!
Melissa Endean – Combining strong lyrical images and sticky pop hooks with hints of her background of growing up surrounded by country and bluegrass (her grandfather performed with the legendary Johnny Cash!), Endean is a force to be reckoned with in her own right, and has release two full length albums which have received world-wide radio play. Her 2009 single “Let it Go” topped Eastern Canadian music charts for six successive weeks, peaking in the #2 position. Definitely one of Canada’s rising stars, so come check her out now!
Paul Gibbons – The lead singer of beloved Vancouver popsters The Rye Catchers is back with a solo career and a crop of songs well steeped in the Brit pop tradition. His latest CD, Out With The Introspect, is chock full of The Beatles’ melodic inspirations, blasting out with the power of Oasis’ stadium thunder, and touched by some ‘80s new-wave grooves and tones. Check it out now!
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!
Isobel Trigger – A powerful indie-rock quartet (in which no one is actually named Isobel), Isobel Trigger delivers dynamic, high energy performances filled with pounding beats and catchy, expressive melodies. Drawing comparisons to Florence and the Machine, The Cranberries, No Doubt and Metric, this band is about delicate innocence meeting howling distortion; soft whimsical lyrics and sweet shiny tones building and crashing into powerful crescendos. It’s like Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf all in one!
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!
Jason & The Diatonics – They combine the singer/songwriteryness of Jason Poulsen and musical prowess, good looks and keen olfactory senses of Joel Mohr, and the brotherly love of 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! They’re working on a sophomore album, which should be available just prior to their IPO appearance, so watch for it!
Louder Than Love – “Louder Than Love is one of the most-acclaimed bands on the local indie scene, drawing praise all around, even being declared the city’s best in a recent poll” (24 Hours Vancouver) Louder Than Love incorporates everything from hard rock riffs and acoustic folk arrangements,to pop vocal harmonies and dirty blues guitar solos. Fans of artists from The Beatles to Steely Dan to Red Hot Chili Peppers will all find something to love on their recent EP, Coming Around, so check it out now!
Mustache Fable – The band’s debut album, Saving Earthworms from Sun Scorched Death, “…echoes inspirations from wrinkled mountains in different corners of the globe to reflections of society from the comfort of a bedroom. You’ll hear cheerful, uke-infused, folk-esque sounds ringing throughout the album in both English and Spanish. It has a sound of its own and sets a bright tone that blends well with the lyrics. Harmonies ring throughout, peppered with an odd sprinkling of piano, bass guitar, trombone and violin…” (CD Baby). One of Vancouver’s most enigmatic and engaging artists!
Niska Napoleon – With a stage presence that can stop people in their tracks, a voice that makes you wonder “did she just do that?” and songs that can stir up emotions you didn’t even know you had explain why Napoleon is becoming a force in the indie music scene. As a front woman for Victoria based ska band Rocky Mountain Rebel Music (RMRM), she has also garnered fans across the nation and multiple accolades, including a recent nomination for “Female Vocalist of the Year” from The Vancouver Island Music Awards. Fans of Sheryl Crow and Jewel will definitely want to check out her highly anticipated solo album, The Napoleon Collective, which is due out soon, so watch for it!
The Oh Wells – If you like ukulele-infused indie pop and/or nerdy-girl-wins-the-heart-of-the-cool-guy-by-being-smart-and-different high school movie love stories, then you will LOVE The Oh Wells! The songs on their EP, Not That Girl From Transformers, will charm you with their catchy melodies and lyrics that sound like they were originally written in a diary! Fans of Gwen Stefani and The Corner Laughers should definitely check them out!
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 & Fletcher – If the Avengers were musicians, they would want to be Preston & Fletcher. They share a penchant for hooky melodies, insightful lyrics and British sports cars. Their songs have as many twists and turns as a Rallye Monte Carlo where the drivers are Bacharach, Lennon and McCartney, Aimee Mann and Jon Brion. As you read this they are putting the finishing flourishes on what promises to be an extraordinary debut recording, which we can hardly wait to hear!
Jillian Reece – A Vancouver Island- based singer-songwriter with a voice like you have never heard. Delivered with a magical melange of flourish, control, subtlety, power and precision, Reece’s voice will make a simultaneous beeline for your memory and your heart in the first few melodic syllables you hear. Her music is a mix of soulful country and pop that will appeal to fans of Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, and Martina McBride, to name but a few!
S.K. Robot – With three distinct songwriters, S.K. Robot creates harmony and hook laden infectious pop-rock that sounds at once both fresh and familiar. They proudly proclaim they are the bastard children of Debbie Harry and Robert Pollard implanted with the beating heart of Alex Chilton, and un-apologetically POP! Check out their brand new debut self-titled CD, and hear for yourself!
Riley Smith – A young singer/songwriter whose songs combine the ultra catchy radio friendly hooks of bands like Green Day (for whom he once opened!) 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. His debut album, Lockley Road, was three years in the making, and was well worth the wait!
Thrill Squad – IPO is proud to host a reunion show for another of the classic bands featuring the pop-tastic pairing of Roxanne Heichert and Steve Quinn, originally of Go Four 3, and currently of The Irises, in their guise from the mid-‘90s! Thrill Squad delivers pure guitar-based powerpop: melodic, raucous, and meant to be played loud! The title of their classic full length CD, It’s Party Time!, says it all!
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 Walk-Ins – Featuring members of The Top Drawers (see above), The Unknown Soldiers, and Captain Dust, the band has conspired to create a new musical concoction that seems strangely familiar, yet somehow alien. Mixing blues, rock and ‘60s pop in a musical blender, seasoned with a hint of grunge and a dash of grit and grind, The Walk-Ins strive to bring delicious music to hungry ears. Yummy!
Michael Wood Band – Animated guitar, driving rhythms, and an infectious groove power this refined alternative rock offering, providing a showcase for Wood’s fresh youthful vocals and perceptive lyrics. Their debut CD, Occupy This, has been garnering rave industry reviews, recently earning them recognition as one of Victoria’s hottest bands of 2013 by Monday Magazine, and getting radio play nation wide. Complement this with a live show that has been described as “pure energy,” and it’s easy to see why they seem destined to be one of Canada’s hottest acts, and are one band you will not want to miss!
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 played every IPO for three years running (that’s a total of 50, folks!) before taking a brief hiatus earlier this year. Join him on the 2nd stop on his IPO journey! Thank you, Dave!!
Michelle Carter – Though originally from Kamloops, BC, she’s become a force to be reckoned with in the LA music scene (and in the industry at large, as she frequently travels to other locales, such as Austin and Nashville), 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, she’s got both a solo CD and a duet project with Keith Megna that should both be available soon! IPO is happy to welcome her back to play once again in her original stomping grounds!