March 11th, 2012 | Published in Featured Articles
Old Banners photo courtesy of artist website
A Vivascene Music Review by Jason Motz
Drunk Souls, Revolution, (Indie) 2011.
Okay, so it’s March 2012, but sue me. Good music knows no bounds such as time. Whether this dropped in 1911 or yesterday, Drunk Souls’ Revolution is a warm spray of summery reggae vibes with a hard dash of gravelly funk. Based out of France this ensemble plays a fiery blaze of proper reggae with an indelible ear for hook, melody and pure Rasta goodness. This klatch of songs is celebratory, exotic and infectious. Standout tracks include the show stopping ‘Human Race’ and the sublime ‘Jai fait un reve’. Is it too late to update my top picks for 2011? My One Word Review: Jah!
Soul of my shoes: 2011 EP.
Here’s another that came my way several weeks ago. Were it not for a semi-monthly binge of Pete Townshend (courtesy of the excellent Quadrophenia box set), I’d have bumped this with more regularity. Quirky, poppy instrumentals make up the bulk of this EP that may be short on tunes but has charm to spare. ‘Isa Bluette’ is disarmingly effective; a bright, brittle melodic structure with a wounded, vulnerable vocal delivery that would have made Vic Chesnut proud. The rest of the material is engaging, worthy of an hour spent on a loop. My One Word Review: Delightful.
Old Banners: Old Banner (Indie).
Watch your behinds, Fleet Foxes. The hipsters could have a new roots hero here. Old Banners are not reinventing the wheel with their self-titled debut, but they are toiling in fertile soil: Gentle, folk-tinged pop music. Easily one of the most listenable bands I’ve heard in a while, the Dallas natives’ debut is charming, low-key, and perfect for autumn weekends. ’2nd Gnome eats for free’ is sure to be a crowd sing-a-long favourite. Clocking in at roughly forty minutes, Old Banner is a short long-player that will stay with you long after the last chord has been struck. See also the stellar ‘A Fisherman’s Tale’, with its swooning strings and ebbing accordion. My One Word Review: Earthy.
Watch: “A Fisherman’s Tale”
Humans: Traps EP.
Vancouver’s own Humans will be at SXSW later this month. If this EP is any indication, they should knock some lights out. ‘Hell Me’ kicks things off with more than a faint echo of old school Martin Rev-style electro beats. As the pace picks up, so does the anticipation for more from Humans. ‘Possession’ sounds like a long lost New Order club cut. Putting the electric back in electrifying, Humans relish in 80s textures without sounding trite, cloying or pastiche. Humans could be the new pop heroes of 2012, at least on my iPod. Hypnotic as LCD Soundsystem, but with a greater grasp of brevity, Traps is an intellectual and funky EP that is totally synthetic. ‘De Ciel’ and the title track round out the best of this EP. My One Word Review: Stellar.
Watch: Humans “Green Couch Session”