Tag Archives: Hopscotch 2017

August 18, 2017 — “I am a Chicken” by Mourn

Mourn

If you only listen to one song today, make it “I am a Chicken” by Mourn (2016, from the album Ha, Ha, He.).

Mourn is an indie rock quartet from Barcelona. The band of teenagers formed in 2014 and they released their eponymous debut later that year. Last year, they released their sophomore album Ha, Ha, He. via Captured Tracks in this country. I remember that I had the album on my radar last year, simply because of their affiliation with Captured Tracks, but I didn’t know anything about the band. I still know very little about them. Then, I saw them on this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival lineup, and when I started doing my Hopscotch homework, I got excited about it.

They say that they’ve been influenced by the Chicago brand of post rock — bands like Tortoise and The Sea and Cake. They also say that they’ve recently found a new influence in Throwing Muses. Any time a band says that they’re influenced by the Muses, I become very, very interested in them. If I’m honest, I don’t really hear much of a Muses sound in their music. Instead, I’m reminded in a lot of ways of the amazing Tsunami. Specifically, the stuff from the first side of Deep End. In a completely different way, I’m reminded of Bully, whose album Feels Like was my seventh favourite album of 2015, and whose show I was shut out of at Hopscotch 15. Oh, and since I’ve brought it up, Bully has a new record coming out on October 20. This isn’t about Bully, though.

In today’s song, I hear a lot of Tsunami, but Mourn’s sound is much better and their production values much higher than those of Tsunami. For some reason, Tsunami wanted their records to sound really muddy, and that was something that always disappointed me very much; they were an incredible band to see live, but their intentionally poor production values make listening to the records much less fun. This isn’t about Tsunami, either. This is about “I am a Chicken”. This is that song:

“I Am a Chicken” by Mourn

Speaking of disappointment, I really like the repeated line “Sorry to disappoint you”. And the layered vocals. Those are my two favourite bits about the song. There’s a really abrupt ending, and it’s not exactly because it segues into the next song on the album. It only sort of segues into the next song. It’s just the way it is.

Tonight’s song is a bit on the short side, and in fact, the entire album clocks in at a very tidy 26:05. Punk rawk.

You can buy Ha, Ha, He. as a download via Bandcamp here, or in physical formats via Captured Tracks here

Mourn is playing on the Friday night of Hopscotch, the second night of the festival. For the first time, the fest will run for four nights. They have the 11:00 slot at CAM, which is a long hike from the rest of the festival footprint, but there’s a lot of great stuff going on at CAM this fest. I don’t have a scheduling conflict in that slot, so it’s a safe bet that I’ll be there.

The Hopscotch Music Festival is in just three weeks. Check out the lineup, the schedule, and the ticket options. As usual, I’ll be there all weekend.


August 16, 2017 — “Wall Watcher” by Sunflower Bean

Sunflower Bean

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Wall Watcher” by Sunflower Bean (2016, from the album Human Ceremony).

Sunflower Bean is an indie rock trio from Brooklyn. They’re young, but they’ve been around the Brooklyn DIY scene for a while. They formed in 2013, and after a series of singles and EPs, they released their debut long player last February on Fat Possum Records. Their sound has elements of dream pop, fuzzy indie rock, psychedelic rock, hard rock, and others. I read a quote from frontwoman Julia Cumming (vocals/bass):

You’re allowed to obsess over Black Sabbath as well as The Cure… It’d be boring if everything was one way or the other

.

Certainly, each of their songs sounds totally different to the others, and some have different sounds within the same song.

I had never heard of this band until I started doing my preparation for the 2017 Hopscotch Music Festival, and now I’m pretty excited that I’ll be seeing them there. They’re playing on Thursday September 7, the first night of the festival. That’ll be a busy night for me, and their set will be the last of the night over at The Pour House. It’s often packed to capacity in there during Hopscotch, but it’s always fun.

Anyway, here’s one of the songs from the debut album:

“Wall Watcher” by Sunflower Bean

It’s part late aughts commercial radio alternative, part late nineties college radio alternative, and still part something else. I’m reminded a little of that song “Tick Tick Boom” by The Hives. I’m also reminded of the first record by Veruca Salt. There’s also something that reminds me just a tiny bit of The History of Apple Pie. And yet, it’s still got its own vibe. And I like it.

Here also is the video for the song:

You can order the album on your choice of format from the Fat Possum store here.

The Hopscotch Music Festival is in just three weeks. Check out the lineup, the schedule, and the ticket options. As usual, I’ll be there all weekend.

Again, if you’re going to Hopscotch, Sunflower Bean is playing on Thursday at 12:30 at the Pour House. There’s actually four different venues I want to be in at that same time, so I can’t say for sure that I’ll be at Pour House, but the Sunflower Bean set is very much on my radar.


June 15, 2017 — “Lake House” by Beverly

Beverly

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Lake House” by Beverly (2016, from the album The Blue Swell).

Beverly is an indie pop/dream-punk band from Brooklyn. The front of the band is Drew Citron (vocals/guitar). She started the band a few years ago with the magnificent Miss Frankie Rose of Vivian Girls and Dum Dum Girls fame. With that lineup, Beverly released the 2014 album Careers, which was my #26 album of the year. Since then, Frankie Rose has left the band, and Citron has enlisted Scott Rosenthal (bass/guitar), who is better known as a producer who has worked with Crystal Stilts among others. I think he also had something to do with the technical stuff on Careers. Citron and Rosenthal are often joined by Kip Berman out of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but he’s not an “official” member of the band.

Beverly is currently on tour supporting Berman and the Pains, who have a new record out in September. Speaking of September, Beverly will be performing at this year’s Hopscotch Music Festival in September. There’s a lot for me to look forward to this year, and of the “small print” bands, this is one of the first things that caught my eye the first time I looked at the lineup.

The band’s second record —The Blue Swell— came out last spring, and if I had bothered to make a list last year, it would have been at least in my top 20. It may not have done so well with the press, but I love it. This is one of my favourite songs from the album:

“Lake House” by Beverly

You can buy The Blue Swell via Bandcamp here, or you can buy directly from Kanine Records here.

You can check out the tentative Hopscotch lineup here, and ticket information here.


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