The April music round up

The Besnard Lakes
You Say Party! We Say Die!
Oh My Darling
Yukon Blonde
We Are Wolves
Plants and Animals

You Say Party! We Say Die!

Wednesday, April 7 · Royal Albert Arms
Don’t let the unnecessarily long (and somewhat ridiculous) name fool you, You Say Party! We Say Die! are serious about their craft. What began as a gaggle of teens jamming out in their parents’ basements eventually became a real band signed to Paper Bag Records, a label that boasts the likes of Broken Social Scene, Tokyo Police Club and Stars. Years of touring has finally paid off, as YSP!WSD! recently had the privilege of playing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in their native British Columbia.

Though their newest LP XXXX has been out in Canada for over half a year, a recent unbanning of the bassist from the United States has prompted a 2010 re-release. The disc is influenced by a collaboration with producer Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara, The New Pornographers), giving the rambunctious group a tighter, darker sound in an attempt to cast off comparisons to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

If you missed them when they played the Albert in November, have no fear. You Say Party! We Say Die! are expecting to play another sold out show on Wednesday, April 7. All students looking for a place to have a beer and dance off the end-of-year stress, search no further.

Oh My Darling

April 16 · West End Cultural Centre
with special guests The Good Lovelies

Local bluegrass band Oh My Darling will be releasing their latest record In the Lonesome Hours Thursday, April 1. The foursome has been perfecting their calm collaborative take on the genre since before the release of their first self-titled EP in early 2009, which was subsequently nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award later that year. This all-girl band gets around and it shows: from gracing the mosquito-infested walk ways of the Winnipeg Folk Festival last summer, to playing to crowds at the Festival du Voyageur and performing on CBC Canada Live, Oh My Darling has become an essential part of the folk-roots scene in Winnipeg in a very short time. The quartet is currently on a cross Canadian tour to promote their new full-length disc. Folk, bluegrass and roots music has always been a staple in these parts, and Oh My Darling continue that rich tradition. It’s old fashioned and simplistic, but not without its chic beats. They will host the official release of Lonesome Hours later this month at the West End Cultural Centre.

Yukon Blonde

Tuesday, April 20 · Lo Pub
with special guests In-flight Safety

Known in the West for its new laid-back pop sound and wavy hair, Yukon Blonde is becoming better known in the East as their acclaimed song Wind Blows has been getting a fair amount of airtime on MuchMusic. Their cross-Canada tour last year attracted the attention of Bumstead Records, who has worked with well-known Canadian artists such as K.D. Lang. The band is made up of Jeff Innes (guitar, vocals), Brandon Scott (guitar, vocals) and Graham Jones (drums, vocals). They released their much anticipated self-titled debut album late last year and have enjoyed riding its growing success.

“We’re definitely gonna be busy till 2025. I think we just gotta keep our sticks on the ice and our heads in the game,” Innes said over the phone last week, speaking like a true Canadian.

The band is currently touring across the continent, in an exhausting run of shows, which won’t let up until later in May.

For more information visit their website at


We are wolves

Wednesday, April 21 · Royal Albert Arms
with special guests Parlovr

“This is going to suck,” I leaned over to a friend, who had insisted I check out what I understood to be the next big hipster bullshit hucksters, We Are Wolves. They had a few things going against them, in my mind: they were from Montreal, played punk disco electro garbage and they had a Wolf reference in their name. But within 30 seconds of this trio hitting that Albert stage, I knew I was in for a surprise and some possible humbling as my buddy frowned at me and I uncontrollably started to twitch to the beat. Spearheaded by the chunkiest staccato bass lines, picked to death by Alex Ortiz, the sinister lower register was driven by an intense percussive thwap that left me gobsmacked.

What the hell was I watching?

I was not expecting such a vicious attack, stabbing this dancing fool with Devo new wave while bludgeoning me with AmRep bottom end. The synth lines were simple and overdriven, making it sound more like a sonic weapon than a dance floor accessory. They keep the Wire close and the Six-Finger Satellite even closer, confronting those watching with in-your-face beats and undeniable riffs that easily made me think of AC/DC’s emotional power to make you clench your fist and scream “rock-n-fucking-roll!” at the top of your lungs while high-kicking your way to get another pint at the bar.

We Are Wolves are currently on tour in support of their third release Invisible Violence, which was released earlier this year.

Plants and Animals

Wednesday, April 28 · West End Cultural Centre
with special guests Said the Whale

Trying to categorize Plants and Animals’ eclectic sound is like trying to fit a square peg into a triangular hole. It’s just not possible. Changing styles from song to song, the Montreal-based trio prefers to record their lush sound on tape, making their records sound like they could have been made in 1972.

Comprised of Warren C. Spicer, Matthew “The Woodman” Woodley and Nicolas Basque, the trio has come a long way from making epic instrumental folk music. From the get-go, the band’s Polaris-nominated debut album Parc Avenue has you hooked. It’s catchy as hell and, if it’s any indication of what’s to come, their follow-up, La La Land, which is set for an April 20 release, should be just as great. Promising it’ll be louder and tougher due to the band’s rediscovery of electric guitars, amplification and fuzz pedals, fans will have the chance to judge for themselves when the group makes a stop in Winnipeg on their North American tour.

Having just come off the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, the boys have a busy spring ahead of them, and it’s certainly worth experiencing their big sound in person to see it’s not just a bunch of studio wizardry at work.

The Besnard Lakes

Wednesday, April 28 · Royal Albert Arms
with special guests The Absent Sound

I am certain that I saw this band five years ago at this same venue: an unassuming quartet that chimed and mumbled their way through a thoughtful waterfall of sonics, bathing an audience that was left gasping for air at their culminating tsunami of expansive waves, left to tread water in a sea of LSD for your ears.

Their sophomore release saw band leader Jace Lasek open his pipes to unleash soaring falsetto melodies that would set up harmonies with his bassist wife Olga Goreas, harmonies that would make Phil Spector weep. Being the owner of Montreal’s Break Glass Studios has given Lasek free reign to indulge his most selfish whims, resulting in a Top-Ten List no-brainer come next December.

…Are the Roaring Night (Jagjaguwar) delves deep into shoegazer psych pop with superbly lush arrangements and orchestrations supported by a number of guests, as well as guitarist Richard White and drummer Kevin Laing. Lasek’s time recording contemporaries like Fly Pan Am, Wolf Parade or Wintersleep has given him that breadth of experience to give himself the royal treatment, something he does not deny his band one bit.

Interesting note: Openers The Absent Sound recently cut five tracks with Lasek and the results excellently capture the new vocal space-pop leanings of this local quartet.

Be there early to catch this mind-blowing evening of music.

Published in Volume 64, Number 24 of The Uniter (March 25, 2010)

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