Friday, August 18, 2006
slang of the city: a poll of local favourites

Inspired by I (Heart) Music's 33 Hottest Bands in Canada poll, I put out the call via email last week to some folks asking them to put together a list of their favourite local acts. Eleven responded (and I did one) and the results are tabulated below. Everyone made a list of (up to) ten bands, with ten points to first, nine to second, and so on.

I hesitate to call this "best" or "hottest" list or anything like that, as its mostly for fun and its far from exhaustive. Hopefully it a) introduces you to some local acts you haven't heard and b) generates some friendly discussion though. There was surprisingly little consensus after the first eight or so artists, and 64 different acts got a nod of some sort, proving something that most of you probably already knew: that the local scene is both diverse and awesome.

Most blogs leave you a link to buy a band's record online, I never do. Nothing against InSound, but in my humble opinion it's much better to either trek your way down to one of the city's many fine independent music retailers or head out to a show and get the album straight from the source... although, however you want to do it, I do strongly support putting some money in the pockets of these fabulous artists in some way.

Some things to note:
- "local" was very loosely defined. Some people included the Island, others didn't. I didn't specify either/or, although I'm sure if I'd said it counted a lot of ferry commuting bands would've received more votes.
- Some people separated Black Mountain and Pink Mountaintops, some people didn't. Their individual votes were really close anyhow, so everything worked out... but just so you know.
- I swear I didn't rig the winner. In fact, I had Bejar at #1.

A big thank you to the pollsters: Sean from Beyond Robson, Andrew from Red Cat Records, Shea from AMS Events, Ed from CJSF, Rob from Vanmega, Pinder from Deftone, Hanson from My Indie World, David and Jordie from Discorder, Ben from CiTR/Shindig!, and Graham from Regulate the Voice.

I didn't ask all dudes, but apparently the women I asked don't like me or something.

And with that, the top 23 (it would've been 20, but as you can see there was a tie) local acts...

23-17. (9 points each)
Basketball (formerly Raking Bombs)
These kids marry their previous influences of Mars Volta style-prog rock to Liars-style percussive Krautrock. (Sean)

Bend Sinister
If Mars Volta covered Queen. (Sean)
download: Through The Broken City


Channels 3+4
Vancouver needs more noise bands that don't suck. (Pinder)
spazzzzzzzzzzzz. (Sean)
Channels 3+4 play 'the Kids' on September 2nd at the Columbia

Maplewood Lane
Vancouver's answer to The Innocence Mission. Gorgeous dream-pop delivered prettily. I'm just a sucker for a voice like Rebecca Rowan's. (Hanson)
download: Candian Winter

16-12. (10 points each)
Geoff Berner
download: Whiskey Rabbi
Geoff plays the Railway tonight! (Friday the 18th)

Ghost House
Ghost house are at the Waldorf tonight with Fun 100 and Joel and the Last of the Neighbours.

Hank Pine & Lily Fawn
Their debut album is a two disc long ridiculous rock opera that sounds more like something Zappa or the Pixies dreamed up bringing in some of the areas most talented artists. Their ability to find so many collaborators is impressive, but it's the bizarre and hilarious stories their music tells that really gets me. (Jordie)
download: Angel on the West Wing

No Luck Club
Their second album happiness was great and memorable. (Ed)

The Parallels
While they do the angular indie rock thing like many other bands they bring a 1950's style aesthetic to their work (this is in contrast to the norm of using 70's - 80's influences). Their sound is kinda bluesy, kinda jittery, and kinda urgent. (Rob)

11. Run Chico Run (11 points)
download: Clockwork Crows
The Chicos are at the Media Club on August 26th.

...and the top ten

10. Blue Grey Dots (14 points)
From what I can tell these guys are young, but have a purposefully reckless synth-rock sound that more seasoned groups would strive for. "Turtles" will be on my best of 2005 list. (Rob)

9. 3 Inches of Blood (15 points)
In metal it's so easy to dismiss a band for the vocals alone. If they suck, they'll either eat the mic and do the Cookie Monster thing, or bury the vocals low in the mix. But in 3 Inches of Blood the vocals stand out the clearest. Cam Pipes (apparently his real name too) has one of the best metal vocals I've heard in years. This is really an under-rated metal band. The nerdy, but sincere, lyrics about orcs and stuff make me smile every time. How can you not like a song where the first line is "In the year 4055, Wykydtron came to life". And if you don't like Deadly Sinners, you don't like metal. Enemies of metal: your death is our reward. (Pinder)
Loud and fun. (Shea)
download: 3 Inches of Blood - Deadly Sinner

8. P:ano (17 points)
Lords of the dark twee carnival. (Sean)
P:ano always make me smile. (Ed)
P:ano open for Vashti Bunyan at Richard's on September 1st.

7. You Say Party! We Say Die! (22 points)
These kids do dance-punk with the reckless abandonment of early Pretty Girls Make Graves. The result is the catchiest espousing of leftist politics I've ever heard. (Hanson)
download: The Gap
YSP!WSD! are at Richard's on October 7th.

6. They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (29 points)
Oompah stomping craziness sets them up as one of the most unique sounding bands in town. This is the last of the local bands that I'd say I actually love. Everything below this on my list is not something I'd be willing to marry. (Jordie)
download: Emptyhead
They Shoot Horses play the Vic Square Block Party on September 4th. (No word on the rest of the lineup yet).

5. Destroyer (45 points)
It usually takes a couple years before declaring an album as solid. It takes me about 2 days for Destroyer records. And in that time I've declared a new "favourite song on the album" about 6 different times. (Pinder)
Bejar is the best songwriter in the city. (Shea)

4. The New Pornographers (46 points)
Yeah, you might've heard of these guys. They're kind of good if you're into music. (Hanson)
Possibly the most individually talented band in the city. Hard not to like. Success shouldn't knock them off this list. (Shea)
Any other songwriter writing indie pop songs as good as this? Nope. (Pinder)
download: Mass Romantic
The NPs are doing a two night stand at the Plaza on October 21st and 22nd.

3/2. Pink Mountaintops/Black (48/46 pts) Mountain
Obvious choice. (Sean)
If there is a definitive East Van sound, this is it. (Shea on Blk Mtn)
Ironically, I've never seen my number one choice live so this position is based on the strength of their records. Which are pretty damn good. I can't count how many times I've listened through their self-titled. (Jordie on PM)
Obvious enough/Less obvious, but still pretty obvious. (Ed on Blk Mtn/PM, respectively)
When I heard the new PM album, I thought McBean had mixed up his Pinks and Blacks. Instead of songs about fucking, there were songs about war and drugs. So I ignored it for a while but came back to it a couple months ago and am really enjoying it now. Just took a while to ditch the expectations. Black Mountain is still doing it's thing really, really well. They just put out a 7" on Suicide Squeeze that has 2 new songs that no one's really heard, but are some of the best they've done. (Pinder)
download: Pink Mountaintops - New Drug Queens
download: Black Mountain - Druganaut

1. Ladyhawk (54 points)
Ladyhawk is THE Vancouver band I most want to be HUGE. "The Dugout" is still my top contender for Song of the Year. (Pinder)
Crowd sing alongs before releasing an album! (Shea)
No hipster irony here, these guys pour their hearts out. Part Foghat, part Weezer, these Kelowna ex-Pats are the best thing to come from the interior since, I don't know, probably wine. (Sean)
download: The Dugout
download: War
Ladyhawk play 'the Kids' at the Columbia on August 26th.

The other 41 bands that received votes, in no particular order:
Vancougar, Raised By Wolves, Joel and the Last of the Neighbours, Hejira, Mohawk Lodge, Secret Mommy, the Salteens, Catlow, Gangbang, the Battles, Anemones, Memphis, Neins Circa, the Buttless Chaps, David P. Smith, the Organ, the Doers, the Winks, Josh Martinez, Bella, the Be Good Tanyas, Blood Meridian, Swank, Trail vs. Russia, Neko Case, Nomeansno, In Medias Res, Loscil, Book of Lists, Leeroy Stagger, My Project: Blue, Rose Melburg, Leeroy Stagger, Loscil, Carolyn Mark, Pride Tiger, Circlesquare, the Weather, Rob Wilson, Robosexuals, the Safety Show, and Frog Eyes.

now playing: Slow - Have Not Been The Same



Sweeeeeeeeeeet. Thanks for doing this, Quinn.

By Anonymous vanmega, at 9:26 a.m.  

What Hanson said about the New Pornographers is so true. I am into music and I do think they're kinda good.

By Anonymous Jordie, at 10:03 a.m.  

van-city represent! i wonder if other canadian music blogs will pick this up...

By Blogger Hanson, at 1:40 p.m.  

people need to discover mother. what a good band! and they've only ben together a year or two.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:51 p.m.  

What, no Bella or Young and Sexy?

By Blogger Michael, at 7:08 p.m.  

any word when new pornographers tickets are on sale?...cause it wasnt least not at scratch

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:13 p.m.  

Cool idea Quinn!

By Anonymous Sean, at 12:52 a.m.  

NP goes on sale next week

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:47 a.m.  

"van-city represent! i wonder if other canadian music blogs will pick this up..."

Oddly enough, last week I started planning for an Ottawa version of this same poll! Weird.

Very cool list! I love how the top five bands are basically members of two collectives.

By Anonymous matthew, at 1:28 p.m.  

BOO on In Medias Res not being in atleast top 20. Their album is one of my all time faves.

By Blogger Peter, at 11:17 p.m.  

Awesome list! I really love that it's local and was done by bloggers. :-) I put a link to it on my blog, so I could pass it on...

By Anonymous Adri, at 9:11 p.m.  

i'm kinda surprised that yukon, international falls, precious fathers, calamalka, octoberman, fond of tigers, and shapes and sizes didn't get any votes.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:30 p.m.  

great aunt ida? romance? that's the beauty of these lists is it forces you to think of how many great bands are in this city.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:52 p.m.  

fond of tigers, karen foster, precious fathers, peggy lee band...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:23 p.m.  

thank god Panurge wasn't on the list, if it wasn't for R3 who seems to have some misplaced hard on for Panurge no one would ever hear of them.

Vancouver does need more noise bands that don't suck, but Vancouver also could use some noise bands that don't sound like every other noise band with a microphone and a keyboard.

spittin venom today! (sorry)

nice list

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:08 p.m.  

dude, how come I wasn't asked? You can bet Ladyhawk would've been my #1 pick.

By Anonymous josh, at 2:11 p.m.  

babies, babies, babies. The Doooooooers!

I do also have a hard-on for that They Shoot Horses disc, tho my experience of them live was a little yes, a little no. But absolutely The Doers and Great Aunt Ida.

By Blogger Spitz, at 6:45 p.m.  

Where is Mother?

By Anonymous Sam, at 4:13 a.m.  

Panurge are one of the most underrated bands in the world and you need your mouth washed out with soap.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:22 p.m.  

check this rad band out, saw em the other night. rffin stoner rock

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:17 p.m.  

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upcoming shows
2/8 Twin Sister, Eleanor Friedberger, and Ava Luna @ the Media Club
2/9 David Choi @ the Rio
2/10 Secret Chiefs 3 and Dengue Fever @ the Rickshaw
2/13 White Buffalo @ the Media Club
2/14 The Ballyntines and Pleasure Cruise (TT) @ the Biltmore
2/18 Grimes w/Born Gold @ Fortune (early)
2/18 Cruel Young Heart, Young Liars, the Oh Wells, and Matiation @ the Dodson Rooms (AA)
2/18 Cursive w/UME @the Media Club
2/19 The Asteroids Galaxy Tour w/Vacationer @ Venue
2/20 Veronica Falls w/Bleached @ the Media Club
2/26 DJ Krush @ Fortune
2/29 Trevor Hall @ the Media Club
3/6 Slow Club w/Signals @ the Media Club
3/7 Cloud Nothings w/Mr. Dream @ the Media Clubr
3/8 Islands @ the Rio
3/10 Memoryhouse @ the Waldorf
3/17 William Fitzsimmons @ the Biltmore (early)
3/18 Magnetic Fields @ the Vogue (AA)
3/21 Plants & Animals>/b> @ the Rickshaw
3/22 Drive-by Truckers @ the Commodore
3/23 White Rabbits @ the Biltmore
3/23 Loney Dear @ the Media Club
3/24 Sharon Van Etten and the War on Drugs @ the Biltmore (early)
3/25 Nada Surf and An Horse @ the Rickshaw
3/27 The Ting Tings @ the Commodore
4/5 House de Racket @ the Electric Owl
4/6 Chairlift w/Nite Jewel @ the Electric Owl
4/7 Heartless Bastards @ the Media Club
4/8 Metronomy @ Venue
4/8 Gotye @ the Vogue (AA)
4/9 Cults @ Venue
4/10 First Aid Kit @ Venue
4/10 Andrew Bird w/Laura Marling @ the Vogue (AA)
4/13 The Odds and the Grapes of Wrath @ the Rickshaw
4/14 The Joel Plaskett Emergency @ the Vogue (AA)
4/24 School of Seven Bells w/Exitmusic @ the Electric Owl
4/26 Justice @ the PNE Forum (AA)
4/27 M83 @ the Vogue (AA)
4/27 Yukon Blonde @ the Commodore
4/28 Neon Indian @ Venue (early)
5/6 Delta Spirit w/Waters @ the Electric Owl
5/9 Yann Tiersen @ the Rickshaw
5/11 Great Lake Swimmers w/Cold Specks @ the Commodore
5/12 The Boxer Rebellion> @ the Biltmore
5/27 Coeur de Pirate @ Venue

AA = all ages
DG = @damaged goods
DFTK = @dirty for the kids
FJW = @fake jazz wed
EN = @easy now
GD = @glory days
HL = @higher learning JH = @junior high
JY= @junkyard
RRPP = @rocknroll pizza party
SD = @shindig
TT = @toonie tuesday
NW = @no worries

more shows
the biltmore
the railway
the red room

club action
culture club
damaged goods
east van soul club
glory days
ice cream social
no more strangers
wild zero

local favourites

mostly music
a day in the life of...
a reminder
chipped hip
duncan's donuts
expressway to my skull
goodnight neverland
hero hill
the indie files
my indie world
radio zero
the skinny
weird pop vancouver
winnie cooper

red cat

formed a band
the abramson singers
black mountain
the clips
fine mist
no gold
nu sensae
twin crystals
white lung

dj kicks
betti forde
cam dales
dg djs
expendable youth
john cougar
paul devro
tyler fedchuk

everything else
beyond robson
chez nous presents
linds & nicola
ryan walter wagner
safe amplification site society
the straight
twee death
urban diner
vancouver is awesome
vanity presents

everywhere else

brooklyn vegan
copy, right
feed your habit
for the 'records'
good weather for airstrikes
gorilla vs. bear
i am fuel, you are friends
i (heart) music
largehearted boy
mad decent
mcnutt against the music
more cowbell
music (for robots)
my old kentucky blog
the outernet
palms out sounds
pop (all love)
rock, paper, pixels
said the gramophone
soul sides
songs: illinois
weird canada

you ain't no picasso

cbc radio 3
coke machine glow
glorious noise
schedule two
tiny mixtapes




on repeat
i'll make you a tape
one song
promo pile

previous posts
some hearts are true
jackie's dressed in cobras
some things you lose, some things you give away
small children in the background
"we've got one more, and then it's time for some s...
the greatest
the private press
you and i are gonna live forever
crank heart
think i was blind before i met you


mp3s are for preview purposes, if you like what you hear, buy it at your favourite indie record store. please don't direct link to photos. click for more.

writing by Quinn
unless noted

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