Archive for music

SXSW 2014 Top 10 Must-See Artists

Posted in looking ahead, music journalism, playlist, rock & roll, sneak peak with tags , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2014 by bex0r

So it’s been a few weeks of combing Soundcloud, Pandora and Spotify playlists for what I consider to be the “must see” bands of South By Southwest this year. As it’s the first year I’ll be attending (after wanting to go for about eight) I think the pressure is even greater to make it count, get the most out of my free ticket as possible. Who knows when I’ll be able to afford to go again? (wishful thinking/potential goal: every year!)

Even if you’re not going it’s a great opportunity to find out about stellar up and coming acts you might not have heard yet. For me, it’s a 50/50 mix of never-before-heards and dear friends 🙂 I’ve put together a playlist of my favorite tracks from this year’s roster of talent announced so far –  so let it stream while you browse my list! If you like what you hear, please return the favor with a follow on Soundcloud or a comment.

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Your Weekly Playlist – Vol.3

Posted in electronic music, playlist, rock & roll with tags , , , on March 28, 2012 by bex0r

Phew! What a week! Tons of new music and  craziness going on right now- post-SXSW and CMW always results in a ton of new bands and artists to check out. Here are some tracks that caught my ear this week…

Your Weekly Playlist

1) Desto – Can’t Take it (Forthcoming)  [EDM]

2) Bassnectar x Beats Antique –Voodoo (Download) [Dubstep, EDM]

3) The Pharmacy – Dig Your Gave [Indie, Grunge, Psych]

4)  Synkro – I Miss You (Download) [Dark, Minimal, Ambient, EDM]

5) Bassnectar feat. Lupe Fiasco – Vava Voom [Dub, Bass, EDM]

6) Sharon Van Etten – One Day (Download)  [Indie, Rock]

7) HUMANS – Horizon (Nautiluss Remix) (Download) [Indie, EDM]




8) Ben Howard – Under the Same Sun [Indie, Folk]




9) Wake! Owl  – Wild Country [Indie, Folk]

10) Lady Danville – Operating [Alt, Indie, Rock]

11) Visitor Seven – UYIO [Minimal, Tech, EDM]

12) Niki & the Dove –  Tomorrow [Indie, Rock]

Mix of the Week

13) Maya Jane Coles BBC Essential Mix (Download) [Deep House, EDM]

Submit your tunes for Your Weekly Playlist!
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your sounds

Your Weekly Playlist – Vol. 2

Posted in electronic music, playlist, rock & roll with tags , , , , on March 21, 2012 by bex0r

Back for another week of solid chunes!

Just a reminder, if you want to be considered for inclusion on Your Weekly Playlist, submit to my personal Dropbox here.

Send me your sounds

Here’s what’s jammin’ up my aural receptacles this week…

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Your Weekly Playlist

Posted in electronic music, journal, music journalism, reviews, rock & roll with tags , , , , , , , on March 14, 2012 by bex0r

Due to the nature of my job and proximity to music all day, every day, all year long- I’m constantly coming across new indie acts and great songs you should be listening to.

I think it would be rude not to share the wealth, no?

so from now on I’m going to be posting a new feature, “Your Weekly Playlist” every Wednesday. It won’t be genre specific, but just anything that is good and current that I think people should know about.

Have a listen and if you think your stuff compares, you can submit your tunes to me in my Soundcloud dropbox.

Send me your sounds

so here’s what’s stuck in my earholes this week:

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The Black Keys at Deer Lake Park, June 27, 2011

Posted in journal, music journalism, rock & roll, writing with tags , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by bex0r

Sure they’ve won a bucket of Grammy awards, have a platinum-selling album, have graced the cover of every major music publication in the civilized world, and probably scored more sexual favors than Stifler’s mom, but here are the real reasons why you should see The Black Keys live (if you weren’t among the 2000-odd folks at Deer Lake Park this evening).

•    You might get to rub shoulders with Danger Mouse (!!).
•    You may witness (as I did) eight security guards take down one hapless stoned hippie during the blazing finale to old school Keys track “I’m Busted” (oh the irony).
•    You’ll enjoy a refreshingly DIY-style stage and lighting design which oozed a unique, effortless cool and distinctly different character than the usual high-end LCD/smoke machine jazz (yawn).

•    You’ll hear throwbacks to early Black Keys years with the duo performing their songs as they were meant to be played (strictly two brothers, two instruments, and pure raw, unrestrained rock and roll magic on “thickfreakness” and “Girl is On My Mind”).
•    If you happen to hear Otis Redding’s version of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” play before the show, you can glibly inform the clueless teenagers next to you that no, that’s not Mick Jagger.
•    You’re guaranteed to get a decent second-hand buzz from merely standing in the general vicinity of the mosh pit.
•    If the beer garden sells out of beer before the band even goes on, you can pay some chick $20 for the warm flat Granville Island Pale Ale she was triple fisting (but thanks Live Nation for capping beer sales—this is a responsible move more concert promoters need to ape).
•    While still a little awkward and disjointed at times, tracks like “Howlin For You”, “Long Gone” and “Everlasting Light” played with a full backing band sound MASSIVE, lush and pack a visceral punch. Having a backing band also means guitarist Dan Auerbach has the lead to pull out those amazing extended solos without having to hold down the rhythm guitar line.

•    You’ll get to see the largest disco ball to likely ever grace a rock & roll stage (I can imagine the bragging rights that go along with that but I’ll steer clear of the obvious “big balls” pun here).
•    You’ll be listening to one of the greatest rock and roll bands to come out of the States, well – pretty much ever.  And that’s something actually worth bragging about.

If you reside somewhere other than Vancouver, keep your eyes out for The Black Keys in your hometown as they journey across the country this summer!

An open letter to City officials regarding Red Gate eviction

Posted in activism, art, drama, friends, politics, rock & roll, writing with tags , , , , , , on June 3, 2011 by bex0r

    Subject:     Don’t kill one of Vancouver’s last independent cultural spaces
    Date:     June 3, 2011 11:16:52 AM PDT (CA)


Dear Mayor Robertson, Ms. Andrea Henning, Honorable City Council Members and Esteemed Department Directors,

This week the Red Gate, one of the Downtown Eastside’s most beloved cultural performance and exhibition spaces, was given a 30-day notice to vacate by the City of Vancouver Building Inspections Branch.

After seven years of operation at 152-156 W Hastings St, hosting everything from art exhibitions to dance performances to music production workshops to affordable artist studio space, this greatly needed cultural resource has been asked to close its doors and turn its back on the local community that has come to rely on it.

As an artist and musician as well as an employee of an arts-sector industry association, I cannot stand by while venues continue to be shut down, despite due diligence and effort on behalf of venue owners to comply with archaic city building and event regulations. The Red Gate and its operators have heard and met every reasonable demand of the city with regards to operating under the law within Vancouver. Furthermore, they provide an immeasurable and critical link of support to local artists and musicians, as well as the stimulation of grassroots industry and business in the DTES.

If the City of Vancouver chooses to enforce this notice of eviction it will leave a gaping, dead hole where there once was a lively, colorful and open space to gather and participate in emerging cultural communities.

On behalf of myself, my friends, colleagues, musicians and artists of Vancouver I’m requesting you halt the eviction order and give Red Gate a reasonable chance to meet the demands of the City Building Inspectors as well as the general respect of an open, two-way dialogue with City officials.

Yours in good faith,

Rebecca Apostoli
Program Administration Assistant
Music BC Industry Association
Address: #530 – 425 Carrall St. | Vancouver, BC V6B 6E3
Phone: 604.873.1914 | Fax: 604.873.9686
Email: | Web:



Arrah and the Ferns Review

Posted in reviews, rock & roll, writing with tags , , , , on February 20, 2009 by bex0r

Arrah and the Ferns – Evan is a Vegan (Standard Recording Company, 2007)


Emo Philips

It was to my dismay that upon recently discovering this quartet from Muncie, Indiana, I learned that they infact had already broken up!
Alas, the sweet sweet sounds of Arrah and the Ferns are no more, but rather than dwell on the negative, I prefer to look at the glass as half-full.
They released a gem of an album, which it is my pleasure to now share with you.

AATF span the pop spectrum from the Beatles to Burt Bacharach to the B-52’s with their campy combination of cheerfully up-beat keyboards, crisp electric guitars and 50’s style swing rhythms.
The perfect blend of ear-pleasing pop hooks and kitschy lounge lizard throwbacks are offset by grunge-tastic guitar solos and a distinct sound that ranges from organic folk to post-studio pop.

Evan is a Vegan mixes immaculate pop compositions with skillful low-fi production values to affect an authentic indie garage sound. Arrah’s pitch perfect vocal takes keep it from sounding amateurish or low quality and the discriminating instrument selection avoids a sound that is overdone or contrived.

Their catchy sing-along chorus hooks are paired with unpretentiously ironic and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, resulting in a guilt-free pop listening experience equally suited to chilling out solo or cutting a rug with some chums.

The lyrics of Arrah are a pleasant mix of bittersweet girlish confessions paired with mature insights into love, work, death and the nature of human relationships.
A commentary on the trials of everyday life, the album brings to mind moments spent wandering down sunlight-dappled paths through birch woods, complete with birds singing and cute furry animals.
Far from being saccharine sweet or annoyingly optimistic, Arrah drops the odd strangely macabre line of poetry that leaves the suggestion of a slight edge and self-awareness missing from most lyrical pop compositions.


“If I’m alive this time tomorrow, then I’ll have more time to kill. maybe we could rearrange the furniture?”

A stand-out track for me from the album is “Bernadette,” featuring a distinctly bluegrass good-time feel (care of Arrah’s “banjolin,” a hybrid combination of banjo & mandolin!) reminiscent of sunday front-porch jams, home-brewed moonshine and charmingly rural square dances.

Also of note is their (now-defunct) website, prominently featuring unicorns and rainbows… two supremely cool aesthetic motifs.
Unfortunate as their dis-banding is, I feel their defunct status strangely adds to their indie credibility, placing this group well within the undefinable and highly elusive “cache of exclusiveness.”


You can visit their myspace or head over to Standard Recording to purchase “Evan is a Vegan”

happy listening! ;D