Archive for the femme Category

The Echo Friendly – Same Mistakes

Posted in daily, femme, music journalism on May 7, 2012 by bex0r

you know how sometimes a song just fits perfectly with a certain moment, memory or movie scene? last night’s episode of Girls summed up with this incredible piece of John Hughes’ inflected 80’s shoegaze mastery and it just worked.

the thrumming guitar, repetitive melody, shuffling rhythm and unrepentantly girlish confessional lyrics all make it the perfect placement for a series like Girls, and one that made total sense for this episode in particular. I wonder if Lena Dunham or Judd Apatow chose it or if she has a person doing supervision for the series? (hint hint artists!)

This is *the* show for 2012, and I can only imagine how fast this relatively unknown boy-girl duo are going to blow up because of this tidy little placement. With no full album release and just a handful of catchy alt-pop singles, they join a healthy number of artists who are getting major exposure through internet/TV placements and making it big right out the gate still relatively early in their careers.

check out the echo friendly on tumblr, bandcamp, or tweet @theechofriendly

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Girls Rock Camp Fundraiser – Wise Hall April 7th 2011

Posted in femme, music journalism, reviews, rock & roll, writing with tags , , , on April 28, 2011 by bex0r

Now in it’s third year, Girls Rock Camp presented a show and tell of its cumulative success on Thursday night at the Wise Hall in East Vancouver. Although prominent BC artists Carolyn Mark and Vancougar were given top billing, the real headliners of the show were the actual attendees of the Girls Rock Camp. Numerous campers showcased the skills and songs learned while attending this amazing not-for-profit program, which was founded by local music mentors who saw an opportunity to enrich the local community. Part of an international organization, the program’s mandate is to provide space and opportunity for young girls and women to explore music making with all its associated plethora of benefits—increased confidence, self-sufficiency and joy.

Joy was clearly evident on Thursday, from the faces of the dedicated organizers, to the parents in the audience and most of all, the kids on stage rocking out. Playing tunes ranging from Ani Difranco to Nirvana to original compositions, it was hard not to be impressed by these young talents. A photo slideshow accompanied by a soundtrack recorded during the first camp displayed just how the camp affects young musicians. Photos of pre-teen girls holding drumsticks (some probably for the first time,) brought a smile to many faces. Along with the photos were testimonials from campers declaring how safe, secure and relaxed they felt in the camp setting. It was hard to not be convinced of the value of this program when seeing firsthand the results of its efforts.

Not to sound glib, but one could only describe this kind of program as radical. While it shouldn’t be considered “radical” to empower girls to make music, this was the takeaway from the evening. In a world where young women are actively discouraged from picking up drumsticks, electric guitars and making noisy, raucous sounds, it’s a breath of fresh air to see a group actively giving girls the tools and space to engage in rock. Free from the distraction and competition of boys, who tend to dominate in music classes, performances and the scene in general, it was clear that girls not only have the ability, but the motivation to engage in rock when given the opportunity. It’s so important for young girls to realize that they are capable of being more than just token lead singers, objects of physical beauty or pawns for the music industry to exploit at will.

Also impressive was Girls Rock Camp’s dedication to breaking down social barriers in their partnership with the Urban Native Youth Association. This year they will be holding ten spots in reserve for First Nations youth wishing to participate in the Girls Rock Camp, which will run July 4 through 10th at the Urban Native Youth Association headquarters (1618 Commercial Drive). Open to girls ages 8 through 18, the camp supplies the instruments, instructors and healthy meals. Costing $300 per child, it might seem unaffordable for some, but subsidies are offered for those in financial need. The campers perform a showcase of their talents on July 10th at the Rio Theatre (1660 East Broadway).

Witnessing the achievements of this amazing organization has made a believer out of this reviewer; the value and enrichment this provides to the youth of our communities cannot be stressed enough. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to donate, volunteer or attend the grown-up version of Rock Camp, called “Ladies Rock Camp,” May 6 – 8th at the Waldorf Hotel (there’s still one spot left!) This will include a showcase on Sunday night at the Waldorf, which will be open to the general public. To donate to Girls Rock Camp Vancouver, or to get more information on sending your girls to camp, please surf to: Girlsrockcampvancouver.ca .

Review: Crystal Castles March 7th, Commodore Ballroom

Posted in drugs, femme, reviews, rock & roll, writing with tags , , , on March 9, 2011 by bex0r
Crystal Castles

Credit: Alfred Hermida

Ballsier than Joan Jett, punker than Siouxsie Sioux, and louder than Shirley Manson – Alice Glass, along with producer Ethan Kath, performed a punishing set on March 7th, 2011 at the Commodore Ballroom.

Crystal Castles, who perform a mix of goth-psych rave, glitchy thrash-rock and anthems for the 8-bit Nintendo generation, assaulted the crowd with subterranean bass, ear-shattering beats/glitch, and a perfectly choreographed light show that often resulted in painful sensory-overload (as observed by the dozens of techno-seekers frantically escaping the crush of bodies). For those tough enough to withstand the onslaught, CC delivered a truly mind-blowing set of material from last year’s Crystal Castles (II) and debut release Crystal Castles (2008).

Kath apologetically opened the show with an announcement that Glass had broken her ankle. His bandmate is infamous for staging last-minute hi-jinks before, during and after performances, often appearing intoxicated, passing out on stage, physically assaulting fans or just straight-up refusing to play (which Kath seemed to be momentarily insinuating with his pre-set disclaimer).

Crystal Castles

Credit: Alfred Hermida

There was a pregnant pause in the audience while gossip flew from group to group through the haze of pot smoke. Would she play? Had she in fact, hurt herself? According to Wikipedia, Alice Glass broke her ankle on January 18th while in Tokyo, but continued the tour on crutches, ignoring her doctor’s orders. While the crowd hung in suspense, Kath gave a huge grin and confessed Glass would play anyways, prompting an explosive crowd reaction as they launched into their first song and scorched many a retina with a near-nuclear light show.

If Glass was still suffering from her injury, it didn’t stop her from taking a mid-set break to launch herself into the crowd, surfing high above adoring hands. Nor did it stop her from delivering what is one of the most amazing performances by a lead singer ever witnessed at the Commodore. This woman is a revelation to modern music. While more hot mess than Winehouse, flakier than Courtney Love and with a penchant for on-stage antics that would give Karen O a run for her money, Glass truly delivers the musical goods when it comes to giving her fans what they want – and sometimes more than they can handle.

It’s a shame the night was tainted by the loss of both the bass and drum channels for about five minutes during the climax of Crystal Castles’ encore. Many of the previously ecstatic concert-goers began heading for the exit, while the hardcore fans looked about at each other helplessly, wondering “What the hell is going on?”

Possibly the bass and drum channels were overloaded, as the sound was very low-end-heavy, often drowning out the subtleties of Glass’s vocals and Kath’s more delicate synth lines. But what was lost in subtlety was more than made up for in sheer intensity, turning this concert into a kind of perversely enjoyable endurance test: too loud/bright to withstand, but too good not to. Exactly what one should expect from Crystal Castles, when so many bands worry about alienating potential and current fans – CC just doesn’t give a fuck.