2019 TD JazzFest Headliners Announced

2019 TD JazzFest

The Victoria Jazz Society is pleased to announce the first 2019 TD JazzFest headliners in the Marquee Series at the Royal Theatre and McPherson Playhouse!

2019 TD JazzFest VictoriaTwin bill: Raul MidÓn and Lionel Loueke & Laila Biali

McPherson Playhouse | Friday, June 21 – 7:30pm | $49.50 & $37.50

Raul Midón has recorded 10 CDs and earned Grammy nominations for “Best Jazz Vocal Album” three years in a row, from 2017 to 2019. Midón last appeared at TD JazzFest in 2010, and has collaborated with such icons as Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder and Queen Latifah. Midón sings with a soulful tenor voice and plays guitar in a way that can hold any audience in thrall.

Hailed by Sting as “one of the most inspiring musicians on our planet today”, Benin-based guitarist Lionel Loueke plays a dazzling combination of African folk roots and contemporary jazz, and was last seen in Victoria at the 2013 TD JazzFest as a decade-long member of Herbie Hancock’s band. These virtuosos will perform separately, then combine forces as an unforgettable duo.

Closing the evening, CBC’s Saturday Night Jazz host and JUNO nominee Laila Biali performs hits from her 2018 self-titled CD and crafts a uniquely catchy and sophisticated jazz-pop sound. Don’t miss this perfect twin bill of both great guitarists and evocative singer-songwriters!

2019 TD JazzFest VictoriaThe Suffers plus Aaron Scoones

McPherson Playhouse | Sunday, June 23 – 7:30pm $39.50 & $27.50

Following their compelling late night TV debut on Letterman in 2015, the electrifying eight piece wonder-band The Suffers instantly hit home with their audiences. Exploding onto the scene with their dazzling EP Make Some Room and their critically heralded self-titled debut in 2016, the 2018 release Everything Here proves to be the band’s most bold statement yet. Hailing from Houston, Texas, The Suffers have got everything you need and there’s no need to look further – a dash of reggae, splash of jazz, pinch of salsa, hint of rock ‘n’ roll and a dollop of hip hop and funk – and more simmering inside their magical Gulf Coast soul. This thrilling ensemble is led by the relentlessly soulful Kam Franklin, the singer-songwriter, activist and writer whose vocal range and passion make her shine as an undeniable force.

2019 TD JazzFest VictoriaPatricia Barber Trio plus Marc Atkinson Trio

McPherson Playhouse | Monday, June 24 – 7:30pm $39.50 & $27.50

Chicago’s Patricia Barber, who last played TD JazzFest in 2013, is a unique singer-songwriter-pianist who straddles the junction of jazz and blues. Notwithstanding Barber’s technical finesse on piano, it’s her songwriting, intriguing arrangements, and low-register vocals that are at the centre of her music-making. Starting in the ‘90s with Modern Cool and Café Blue, Barber emerged as a confident stylist whose cerebral take on life was idiosyncratic and often sardonic. Known for her cool intellectualism, a hip performance style more cabaret than concert hall, and being a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship Award in the category of Music Composition, Barber is a one-of-a-kind artist with dozens of impressive recordings.

2019 TD JazzFest VictoriaJoey Alexander Trio plus Quinn Bachand

Royal Theatre | Tuesday, June 25 – 7:30pm $58.50 & $43.50

There have been many prodigies in the world of jazz, but very few can compare with the crazy-talented, Indonesia-born pianist/prodigy Joey Alexander. He became an overnight sensation when Wynton Marsalis invited him to play at Jazz at Lincoln Centre at age 11, closely followed by a CBS 60 Minutes feature alongside Marsalis in 2016. By 14, Alexander had released two Grammy-nominated CDs. These days, he continues to evolve by leaps and bounds. His newest CD, Eclipse, shows off his powerful gifts as a composer, arranger, and bandleader. Even the critics and festival bookers normally skeptical of young prodigies are won over by the musical maturity underlying Alexander’s extraordinary technical facility. He celebrates his 16thbirthday at his debut performance in Victoria.

2019 TD JazzFest VictoriaAn Evening With Jacob Collier

Royal Theatre | Friday, June 28 – 7:30pm $58.50 & $43.50

British singer, multi-instrumentalist, and production wunderkind Jacob Collier went viral on YouTube, catching the attention of Quincy Jones. His 2016 album, In My Room, won 2 Grammys and a Jazz FM Award. This album led to collaborations and performances with Herbie Hancock, and Pharrell, as well as a TED Talk, a BBC Proms concert and more. In January 2018, Collier wrote Djesse, a universal wonder featuring contributions from a global cast of Collier’s musical inspirations. It is one of the most audacious recording projects to emerge this decade from someone who is already established as one of music’s most brazen new minds. Jacob Collier doesn’t merely embrace globalism; he lives it, sings it, arranges for it through songs that fightfor something—music and its power to remind us of the connections we all share, the humanity of being alive at all. He last played solo at TD JazzFest 2017, but is joined this time by a band for an awe-inspiring performance that is sure to both dazzle and electrify.

Stay tuned! Complete TD Victoria International JazzFest 2019 artist line-up available mid-April!

www.jazzvictoria.ca

Rock Ambleside Park 2019

Rock Ambleside Park 2019

Rock Ambleside Park 2019Rock Ambleside Park 2019. GSL Group, Ambleside Live and Rock 101 are pleased to announce the complete daily schedule for Rock Ambleside Park music festival, which is scheduled for August 16-18 at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver.

Single day tickets will go on sale tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and are $60.00 for the Friday and $70.00 each for Saturday and Sunday (plus taxes and service charge). Patrons are encouraged to buy their tickets early as last year’s event saw both the Saturday and Sunday sell out. Also, still available for purchase are both 3-Day Passes and VIP Passes.

Schedule

SATURDAY, AUGUST 16, 2019

TIMEBAND
6:00 – 7:00 pmStreetheart
7:15 – 8:15 pmHeadpins
8:30 – 10:00 pmHoneymoon Suite

SATURDAY, AUGUST 17, 2019

TIMEBAND
3:30 – 4:30 pmPat Travers
5:00 – 6:15 pmSass Jordan
6:40 – 8:00 pmSAGA
8:30 – 10:00 pmTom Cochrane with Red Rider

SUNDAY, AUGUST 18, 2019

TIMEBAND
3:30 – 4:30 pmThe Romantics
5:00 – 6:15 pmDavid Wilcox
6:40 – 8:00 pmQuiet Riot
8:30 – 10:00 pmBlue Oyster Cult

ROCK AMBLESIDE PARK 2019 is again has partnered with Vancouver’s Rock 101 and Ambleside Live to bring you this one-of-a-kind event. Ambleside Park, one of the most picturesque settings in Vancouver, was the site of last year’s third annual classic rock festival that hosted 11 iconic Classic Rock acts that featured Nazareth, Trooper, Loverboy and many more. The inaugural classic rock festival, in 2017, included Randy Bachman, Platinum Blonde and April Wine among others. In previous years it has also hosted concerts by Kenny Chesney, Ed Sheeran, Tegan & Sara and Lilith Fair. The festival grounds will once again offer food trucks, drinks, and VIP access. Patrons are permitted to bring in their own lawn chairs for the event and come and go to the beach with in-and-out privileges. See www.rockamblesidepark.com for further details.

More information at rockamblesidepark.com

Victoria Beer Week March 1 – 9

Victoria Beer WeekPick up your tickets: Buy Here

Victoria Beer Week is a nine-day festival showcasing BC craft breweries in unique event settings. With a focus on education and diverse craft beer selection, VBW 2019 will feature more than 40 BC craft breweries at venues throughout the city.

The Victoria Beer Week Society is a non-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate various beer-related events at locations around Greater Victoria. We aim to educate and build “beer ambassadors” out of craft beer newcomers and seasoned beer geeks alike, as well as to increase business for all facets of the BC craft beer industry, including breweries, pubs, liquor stores, restaurants and home brew supply stores.

Check out the complete schedule of events from VictoriaBeerWeek.com

Morgan James plays Elements Casino in April

MORGAN JAMES

Morgan James plays Elements Casino in April. Former Post Modern Jukebox voice is “…a phenomenal talent whose feel for classic soul music is bone deep…This woman is on fire.” – The New York Times

plus ELISE LEGROW

Morgan James 2018 Jazzfest. Image BradEdwards.ca

Date: Friday, April 5, 2019 – 8:00pm (doors open 7:00pm)

Venue: Platinum Room @ Elements Casino, 1708 Island Hwy

Tickets: $32 advance/VJS members/students | $37 at the door (service charges may apply)

ALL AGES ~ On sale Monday, January 14

Available: Victoria Jazz Society Office no service charges (977 Alston St. or 250-388-4423),

and the Royal & McPherson Box Office (250-386-6121 or online at www.rmts.bc.ca)

See images from Morgan James’ last visit to Victoria from BradEdwards.ca

Morgan James plays Elements Casino in April. Throughout her spectacular career, singer/songwriter, and Broadway actress Morgan James has taken on beloved roles and songs to give them her unique perspective and make them her own. She rocked the stage as Christ herself in an all-female version of Jesus Christ Superstar, took on a full-album acoustic cover of D’Angelo’s Black Messiah, and brought the critics to their feet with her cover of Joni Mitchell’s classic Blue album. She has recorded and toured internationally with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox, which performed at TD Victoria International JazzFest 2017, and covers pop songs with a vintage jazz twist. Most recently, James released a video in which she put her signature spin on the Nirvana grunge rock classic “Lithium”, and her cover of Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” is a YouTube hit.

In addition to James’ own studio albums, Reckless Abandon and Hunter, she has released a live tribute to her idol Nina Simone, Morgan James Live. Now, James has set her sights on the Beatles’ White Album. While each song is performed in its original key, James provides a soulful vibe and feminine flair to these classics. Released in October, 2018, The White Album cover was timed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original release, which happened November, 1968. James’ current tour across Europe, Canada, and the U.S., White to Blue, celebrates both the Beatles’ White Album and Joni Mitchell’s Blue album.

Morgan James first appeared in a “stunning” performance in Victoria at TD JazzFest 2018. Opening the evening will be the fiery singer-songwriter Elise LeGrow. For a night of dazzling energy and pure artistry, this powerful combination of two sensational female voices is not to be missed at the new entertainment venue at Elements Casino, the Platinum Room.

Kansas – Point of Know Return 40th Anniversary Tour

Kansas – Point of Know Return 40th Anniversary Tour

Kansas – Point of Know Return 40th Anniversary Tour will be touring select cities this fall and spring celebrating the 40th Anniversary of their massive hit album

Kansas - Point of Know Return 40th Anniversary Tour

Point of Know Return. To celebrate, for the first time in history, the band will be performing the album in its entirety. The tour will showcase more than two hours of classic KANSAS music including hit songs, deep cuts, and fan favorites.

Kansas – Point of Know Return 40th Anniversary Tour
April 24 | Orpheum Theatre Vancouver
601 Smithe St, Vancouver, BC V6B 3L4

Ticket information can be found at www.kansasband.com.

https://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/1773174

 

In 1977, KANSAS followed up the success of Leftoverture by releasing the album Point of Know Return. Containing the smash hit and million-selling single “Dust in the Wind,” along with fan favorites such as “Portrait (He Knew),” “Closet Chronicles,” and “Paradox,” Point of Know Return became the band’s greatest selling album. The album peaked at #4 on Billboard’s Album charts, reached sextuple-platinum status with more than six million copies sold, and had three Billboard Hot 100 singles.

“After the success of the album Leftoverture, it was hard to imagine when we released Point of Know Return that this album would be even bigger, but it was,” comments KANSAS guitarist, and original member, Richard Williams. “From the album artwork to the song ‘Dust in the Wind,’ the album Point of Know Return is really ingrained in Rock N Roll history and even in popular culture. The past two years we have done around 80 select shows performing the album Leftoverture in its entirety. We have been blown away by the positive fan response. Our hope is that fans will enjoy this Point of Know Return Tour just as much, and hopefully even more! “

Throughout the tour, live shows will not only culminate with the album Point of Know Return performed in its entirety, but KANSAS will also perform classic hits, deep cuts, and fan favorites. The band has not publicly performed some songs in the more than two-hour KANSAS musical event in decades, if ever.

KANSAS lead vocalist Ronnie Platt adds, “I often joke that I cannot be in charge of putting together a set list, because there are too many songs that I really want to perform. These shows, though, will be about as close as it gets. Of course, there will be hits like ‘Carry On Wayward Son,’ but to know we will be performing songs that KANSAS has not performed live for twenty or thirty years, or even ever, that is just really exciting. It is going to be a lot of fun.”

Kansas – Point of Know Return 40th Anniversary Tour full tour schedule

Victoria International Jewish Film Festival

Victoria International Jewish Film Festival4TH Annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival To Screen Films from Six Countries. The fourth annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival will bring the diverse world of Jewish cinema to the capital city Nov 3-6 at The Vic Theatre, 808 Douglas St.

Of particular note in this year’s Festival is the powerful docu-drama Who Will Write Our History followed by a discussion panel on the theme: The Courage of Remembering , and the Festival’s opening night film, The Cakemaker followed by a reception at the Union Club. Tickets & Festival Passes on sale now!!!

The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas St. Victoria BC V8W 2B6
November 3 – 6, 2018 7:00PM
$13 adult, $10 senior/student, $25 opening night
More info: http://www.vijff.ca

For more information visit vijff.ca

The annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival (VIJFF) — launched in 2015 in Victoria, BC, Canada — aims to enhance our audiences’ enjoyment of films with Jewish themes and related content from around the globe. We celebrate these films as explorations of Jewish culture and as artistic expressions of broadly shared human values.

The Festival’s main objectives are:

  • to exhibit films with Jewish themes which are not readily available at commercial cinemas;
  • to create a sense of community by bringing together film lovers who are interested in, or wish to know more about, Jewish culture;
  • to enhance appreciation of film artistry in a variety of different genres and styles;
  • to provide a venue for independently produced films that explore the complex realities of Jewish cultures, history, religion and identity around the world.

The Victoria International Jewish Film Festival is a project of the Jewish Community Centre of Victoria, British Columbia. The Centre has been providing programs and services in Victoria and throughout Vancouver Island since 1988. The Centre welcomes the community to its 4th Annual Victoria International Jewish Film Festival, to be held November 3 – 6, 2018 at The Vic Theatre on 808 Douglas St.

VIJFF Organizing Committee:

  • Dahlia Beck
  • Lindsay Block-Glass
  • Earl Chochinov
  • Ethel Chochinov
  • Sandra Glass
  • Larry Gontovnick
  • Sydney Kalef
  • Andy Muchin
  • Anne Petrie
  • Ronit Reis
  • Alan Segal
  • Maurice Yacowar

VIJFF Events and Marketing Coordinator: Deborah Bricks

VIJFF Director: Lincoln Z. Shlensky

The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas St. Victoria BC V8W 2B6
November 3 – 6, 2018
7:00PM
$13 adult, $10 senior/student, $25 opening night
More info: http://www.vijff.ca

Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road Vancouver

Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road VancouverElton John Farewell Yellow Brick Road Vancouver

Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, is one of the most highly acclaimed and successful solo artists of all time. With his songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, Elton has written some of the greatest songs of our time including ‘Rocket Man’, ‘Your Song’, ‘Daniel’ and ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’. He has achieved 38 gold and 31 platinum albums, has sold more than 300-million records worldwide, and holds the record for the biggest selling single of all time.

Elton is the third most successful artist in the history of the American charts, behind Elvis Presley and The Beatles. He has had 56 top forty singles in the United States, a total second only to Elvis Presley. He achieved seven number one albums in a three-and-a-half-year period from 1972 to 1975, a period of concentrated success surpassed only by The Beatles. Over the five decades since his career began in 1969, Elton has over 4,000 performances in more than 80 countries to his credit. He continues to record and to tour the world, performing both solo and band concerts, and usually plays around 100 concerts each year. Currently he is on the ‘quest for 100 countries’ – aiming to play concerts in as many countries as possible.

Following the critical and commercial success of Wonderful Crazy Night in 2016, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Elton’s phenomenal songwriting partnership with Bernie Taupin. Elton’s enduring legacy and relevance across the worlds of music, fashion and entertainment continues to burn as brightly as ever and 2017 also saw Gucci unveil their Spring Summer 2018 collection designed by Alessandro Michele and inspired by Elton’s inimitable style, referencing original items taken from the style icon’s archives.

Elton also appears as himself in global box office Number One sensation Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

Elton John Farewll Yellow Brick Road Vancouver

September 21 – Rogers Arena Vancouver: https://www.facebook.com/events/537485836694536/

September 22 – Rogers Arena Vancouver: https://www.facebook.com/events/263339647649116/

September 27 – Rogers Place Edmonton: https://www.facebook.com/events/319063245342769/

September 28 – Rogers Place Edmonton: https://www.facebook.com/events/243488006336427/

Farewell Yellow Brick Road Vancouver and other  Canadian 2019 tour dates: Ticketmaster

Sept. 21 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
Sept. 22 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
Sept. 27 – Edmonton, AB @ Rogers Place
Sept. 28 – Edmonton, AB @ Rogers Place
Oct. 1 – Saskatoon, SK @ Sasktel Centre
Oct. 2 – Saskatoon, SK @ Sasktel Centre
Oct. 4 – Winnipeg, MB @ Bell MTS Place
Oct. 5- Winnipeg, MB @ Bell MTS Place
Oct. 22- Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena
Oct. 23 – Toronto, ON @ Scotiabank Arena

Colin James at the Royal Theatre Victoria March 17

Colin James at the Royal Theatre
Victoria March 17

COLIN JAMES
Miles To Go Tour
With guest Marty O’Reilly

Sunday, March 17
ROYAL THEATRE, Victoria
All Ages / Reserved Seating
Doors: 6:30pm / Show: 7:30pm

Facebook Presale: Wed, Sept 26 at 10am – Thu, Sept 27 at 10am
Password: TOUR
Public on Sale: Saturday, Sept 29 at 10am
Get Tickets: https://livemu.sc/2O2uxhN

Tickets: $45.00, $59.50, $85.00 (Incl. GST) + s/c

-Colin James Online-
Website: https://www.colinjames.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColinJamesMusic/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/colinjamesmusic
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colinjamesmusic/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ColinJamesMusic

Colin James at the Royal Theatre
Colin James at the Royal Theatre Victoria

Renowned singer and guitarist Colin James has announced his 2019 Canadian tour, in support of his 19th album release Miles To Go. Kicking off in Victoria, BC, on March 17th, Colin and his band will travel across the country, stopping in all major cities and concluding in Halifax, on April 19th.

Reflecting James’ recent work on Miles To Go, and it’s chart-topping predecessor, 2016’s Blue Highways, the tour will showcase his take on his best-loved blues numbers, as well as songs from his illustrious catalogue.

With Colin’s previous shows garnering outstanding acclaim, fans can look forward to equally terrific performances next Spring.

“… James hits it out of the park showing how you can bring home the gold consistently in a genre that most people marginalize. Killer stuff from a modern master.” Chris Spector – Midwest Record Entertainment

Tickets for the Miles To Go tour are on sale this coming Friday, September 28 at 9am.

Just some of the western dates for 2019

March 17 – Victoria, BC – Royal Theatre

Details: http://barsnbands.net/listings/events/54392/

Stay on top of Victoria live music and concert news at: https://playinvictoria.net/music-news/

THE KING AND I at The Royal Theatre January 2019

THE KING AND I 
Sail Off On A Lavish Voyage To Broadway’s Golden Age

THE KING AND I at The Royal TheatreTHE KING AND I at The Royal Theatre: NETworks Presentations LLC announces that the national tour of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I, based on the 2015 Tony Award ®–winning Lincoln Center Theater Production, will make its Victoria premiere at The Royal Theatre for 7 shows, January 2-6, 2019 presented by BROADWAY IN VICTORIA.

THE KING AND I at The Royal Theatre: Tickets go ON SALE, FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th –10AM!  To purchase tickets, visit www.RMTS.bc.ca, call 250-386-6121 or visit the Royal or McPherson Theatre Box Offices. Ticket prices start at $113.50. Casting will be announced at a future time.

THE KING AND I at The Royal Theatre January 2 – 6: Two worlds collide in this “breathtaking and exquisite” (The New York Times) musical, based on the 2015 Four-Time TONY Award®-Winning Lincoln Center Theater production – Including BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL and BEST COSTUME DESIGN.
One of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, THE KING AND I boasts a score that features such beloved classics as “Getting To Know You,” “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello Young Lovers,” “Shall We Dance” and “Something Wonderful.”
 
Set in 1860’s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. THE KING AND I is “too beautiful to miss” (New York Magazine).
 
BROADWAY IN VICTORIA brings this lavish production featuring a cast and orchestra of 44 to the intimate Royal Theatre.  Its the largest Broadway musical ever presented in Victoria.
 
✭✭✭✭✭! (out of 4)  Grand and Glorious! — TIME OUT NEW YORK

Just Announced: Yukon Blonde/The Zolas – December

Yukon BlondeAtomique Productions and The Zone at 91-3 present…

Yukon Blonde & The Zolas
plus guests
Thursday, December 6
Capital Ballroom
Doors: 8:00 PM
19+

Advance tickets: $25.00 – Available at Ticketweb.ca (bit.ly/YKBZLSVIC) and Lyle’s Place

“Be the reference.” That’s the mantra Yukon Blonde tacked up on the studio wall during the sessions for their fourth album, Critical Hit, and it emboldened them to rip up the indie rock playbook and embrace a synth-dazzled new sound that’s easy to love but difficult to pigeonhole. Now a decade into their career, Yukon Blonde are following no one except themselves.

Critical Hit began at a literal crossroads: after a tour, singer-guitarist Jeffrey Innes flew to Madrid to be with the woman he had met on tour in Spain, while his bandmates James Younger (bass), Brandon Scott (guitar), Rebecca Gray (keyboards) and Graham Jones (drums) headed back home to Vancouver.

This kicked off an artistic free-for-all, as Jeffrey spent the better part of the next year and a half wandering Madrid, penning lyrics in art galleries and chronicling the rise and fall of his relationship. “Everybody in Madrid was so inspirational,” Jeffrey remembers. “There are folk singers on the street and everybody believes they’re an artist. Being there, the pressure was off for writing music. I didn’t feel like I was writing for anything — I was just happy and inspired to make music.”

James also visited Spain — he initially stayed in a haunted 15th-century farmhouse across from Gibraltar, and then he joined Jeffrey in Madrid. Together, they worked on songs that were unabashedly pop, but without clear sonic reference points. Disco beats mingled with achingly nostalgic keyboard tones, while bittersweet breakup lyrics were sung in euphoric harmony.

“We would be at a cafe in Madrid, smoking and drinking beers, listening to demos and deciding what songs were going to go on the record,” James reflects. “Nothing was different except the location was completely absurd and amazing.”

The band reconvened on Canada’s West Coast, in a house on Galiano Island where they laid down the initial demo tracks, many of which ended up on the final record. They then took these tracks to Toronto with producer Thomas D’Arcy (Hannah Georgas, July Talk, The Sheepdogs) and captured two songs in Vancouver with Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat, Mounties). The tracks were mixed by super-producer Tony Hoffer (Beck, M83, Phoenix).

The resulting 13 tracks push the envelope of 2015’s On Blonde even further, doubling down on that album’s electro-pop influences while still retaining the five-piece’s live spontaneity. Pop anthems like “Crazy” and “Summer in July” channel romantic longing via sublimely twinkling synths, while James takes the spotlight for the soulful falsetto vocals of “Cry,” and Brandon’s mournful “Dear Nancy” is laden with organic strings. “The Bluffs” and “Feeling Digital” are full-blown dance bangers that are guaranteed to explode during sweat-drenched shows. Although the band had written several straightforward radio singles during the sessions, these were left on the cutting room floor in favour of richer and melodically denser material. For the first time, Jeffrey shares frontman duties, with James and Brandon each singing two songs.

www.yukonblonde.com/
www.twitter.com/yukonblonde
www.instagram.com/yukonblonde

The Zolas – “Bomb’s Away” – www.youtube.com/watch?v=snnEkfZ4y5w

The Zolas
The Zolas

Anyone who caught on to the slow-burn success of 2012’s desolately hook-laden Ancient Mars could sense that something in The Zolas was threatening to bubble over, and after a year of recording, 2015’s Swooner (Light Organ Records) shows an alternative pop collaboration at the top of their creative game. Original members Tom Dobrzanski and Zach Gray have been joined by another longtime duo Cody Hiles and DJ Abell and this is the first album they’ve completely self-produced at Dobrzanski’s Monarch Studios in Vancouver.

Swooner marks a major departure from both the cabaret rock of 2009’s Tic Toc Tic and the atmospheric minimalism of Ancient Mars. This time around the band dove headlong into vibrant, experimental pop, stirring modern production into the influences that surrounded them as kids growing up in the ‘90s.

“This is the most ‘us’ of anything we’ve done,” Zach observes. “It’s fun to be in an era of music where people are ready to appreciate messed-up combinations of influences, and we had a good time pushing that.” Even just in the rhythm section you can hear these mispaired influences crop up in unexpected places. Drums that revolve from Queens of the Stone Age to Dr. Dre, bass textures evoking The Pixies or Kraftwerk. Instrumentally the album features flashes of grungy hard-panned guitars, Prince-like synth flourishes, eurodance vocal samples, watery electric pianos and arpeggiators, all of which feel shockingly comfortable in their new homes.

Swooner moves on from Ancient Mars’ lost love and nostalgia into a cross-section of conversations between a generation of friends about life in 2015; the balancing act we all reckon with between fun and dread. “This album is about how fucked up it feels to step out for a cigarette and a quiet moment at a party, read about disease and climate catastrophe on your phone, finish your cigarette and go back in to dance,” says Zach. “Songs about pre-drinking in your apartment, party drugs in Europe, political arson, jerking off to internet porn, pure love in a group of friends, being single and how great it is, being single and how much it sucks, finally realizing what you want to fight for and then getting distracted. It’s the realest, most fun album we’ve ever made by far.”

www.thezolasmusic.com/
www.twitter.com/thezolas