Year-end round-up—Vancouver albums you might have missed part I

Chamber-pop band Gentle Party released Jouska in March.

In what has become an annual tradition, Inside Vancouver has tried to dig up as many below-the-radar releases from Vancouver artists as possible. We found quite a few—so many that we’re dividing this post into two parts. The first, this one, covers albums released between January and June of this year. The second, which goes live Dec. 29, covers the second half of the year.

The list skews heavily towards rock, pop, country and folk. There are probably many electronica, hip-hop and metal records that we’ve missed. If you know of any, please let us know in the comments section.

The main qualification for making this list, besides relative obscurity and a release date between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 2017, is length. The release must be either at least 10 songs or over 30 minutes. Otherwise, the list would be overrun with EPs, which are more plentiful than full-length albums. Thanks to all who suggested albums, including Mark Bignall, Ford Pier, Nancy Lanthier, and David Rust.

We have however included a few EPs, mostly based on the fact that we were already aware of them. We’ve also included a list of higher-profile reissues, as well as a couple of re-releases. We hope you enjoy the list and discover some new Vancouver talent.

Louise Burns, Young Mopes (Feb. 3)—Although Burns is an established artist, Young Mopes hasn’t received the attention it deserves. The Vancouver-based singer/songwriter/producer’s third full-length is unfashionably catchy, jangle-y indie-pop. Visit Light Organ Records for more info.

Louise Burns covers the Blue Nile’s “Downtown Lights” on her 2017 album Young Mopes.

Viper Central, The Spirit of God and Madness—Bluegrass with nods to country, Western Swing, and modern Canadian folk.

Gentle Party, Jouska (March 4)—According to Gentle Party’s bandcamp page: “Cello, violin, harp and a voice collaborating on original music and pushing the traditional boundaries of each instrument, individually and as a collective.” Local music scribe Alexander Varty called this debut “incredibly self-assured.”

Rodney DeCroo, Old Tenement Man (May 3)—Old Tenement Man is the latest from Vancouver singer/songwriter, poet and playwright Rodney DeCroo. It includes perhaps his most commercial song yet, “Lou Reed On The Radio“.

The Judys, The Very Best of the Judys (April 11)—Formed in 2014, The Judys are comprised of musicians from Vancouver bands such as Jazzmanian Devils, The Roswells, The Living Deadbeats, The b-sides, and Bug House Five. The album’s quirky rock draws on disparate influences.

Peregrine Falls, s/t (May 12)—From the Peregrine Falls bandcamp page: “Gordon Grdina and Kenton Loewen tease out the heavy-handed improv with sticks and guitar strings. Lacerating riffs curl out like black smoke, drums tumbling erratic like a head-on locomotive collision. Witness inspired expertise in form of mathy sludge.” This is the duo’s first full-length, following a 2014 EP.

Sick Boss, Sick Boss (May 26)—A sextet of Vancouver musicians contribute to this mix of composed and improv pieces that have been edited and experimented on. Debra-Jean Creelman and Molly Guldemond, known for their work with Mother Mother, contribute vocals to some of the tracks.

Buster Brown & the New Resolutions (June)—Vancouver studio vets record an album of guitar-based instrumentals ranging from hard-edged jazz-rock to Americana ballads. Led by guitarist Andreas Schuld (Long John Baldry, Schuld & Stamer), the band also features drummer Pat Steward (The Odds, Bryan Adams), bassist Norm Fisher (Jann Arden, Bryan Adams), and keyboardist Graeme Coleman (Skywalk). Find out more at brouhaharecords.com. (Note: the band plays Pat’s Pub 3-7 p.m. Dec. 30.)

The Circus in Flames, Outside America (June 2)—itunes link.

Ron Samworth, Dogs Do Dream (June 16 )—Composer/guitarist Ron Samworth’s latest is inspired by the dream life of dogs. According to beatroute.ca:  “Combining spoken word narration and freeform jazz compositions, Dogs Do Dream is a suitably bizarre listening experience. The narration provided by Barbara Adler is vivid and at points uncompromising… The largely improvised interplay between Samworth and long-time collaborators including Peggy Lee (cello) and Dylan van der Schyff (drums/marimba) is commendably cohesive in terms of creating a mood and atmosphere to accompany the narration. Dogs Do Dream is a willfully difficult album but its creative premise is undeniably avant-garde.”

Tavis E. Triance & the Natural Way, A Brief Respite from the Terror of Dying—Solo singer/songwriter project from former member of the Royal Mountain Band and Spoon River. “It harnesses his (Triance’s) love of themes of darkness, absurdity and the unbridled madness of men, and imbues it with a lyricism and a swagger,” according to bio.

Needles//Pins, Good Night, Tomorrow (June 30)—Self-described “power-trash.” Good Night, Tomorrow is the band’s third full-length.

Coming soon: part II, July-December 2017.

Some notable EPs:

Ghost Thoughts, Purple Period (Feb. 10)—Each track is sung by a different female voice. The singers are from female-fronted Vancouver bands like Fake Tears and Supermoon.

Coalmont, The Hallowed Grey Vol 1. (March 13)—Husband/wife singer-songwriter duo playing Americana-folk.

Prairie Cat Is Cary Pratt (June 5)—An EP of seven songs from Vancouver singer/songwriter Cary Pratt.

Leah Abramson, Songs for a Lost Pod (Nov 3)—An ambitious project that comes with a graphic novel.

The Milk Crate Bandits, The View from Out Here (Nov. 7)—New Orleans-jazz influenced tunes. The View from Out Here follows an EP about East Vancouver from earlier in the year.

Sumner Brothers, In Remembrance of Wolf (Dec. 15)—An album of eight covers, dedicated to Vancouver musician Elliot C. Way and his deceased dog Wolf. Includes songs by Bruce Springsteen, The Tragically Hip and Warren Zevon.

Reissues:

Slow, Against the Glass—Re-release of eight-song album from influential ’80s band. Slow is best known for causing a scene at Expo 86 and for its song “Have Not Been the Same”.

Art Bergmann, Remember Her Name—Re-release of the third, 1991 album by Vancouver singer/songwriter Art Bergmann. The record features some of his best-loved songs, including “Message from Paul”, “Faithlessly Yours” (a MuchMusic hit in the early nineties) and “If She Could Sing”.

High-profile releases from Vancouver artists in 2017 included: Mother Mother’s No Culture; Destroyer’s Ken; The Courtneys II; Teen Daze (two albums, Themes for a Dying Earth and Themes for a New Earth), Pack A.D.’s Dollhouse; Belle Game’s Fear Nothing; The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer’s Apocalipstick; Geoff Berner’s Canadiana Grotesquica; and Peach Pit’s debut, Being So Normal.

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