January 12th, 2010
Historically, the first month of the year marks a low note for new music releases, which means our boom box plays like a broken record. But that was the Noughties and we’re in a new decade where good discs rush right out of the starting gate.
The first is Vampire Weekend’s Contra. Out today, the shiny, happy album is the auditory equivalent to an amphetamine. Lead singer Ezra Koenig’s Paul Simon-like tenor combined with afro-beats and peppy percussion banished our winter blues on the spot.
Contra ($9.99) at iTunes.
January 5th, 2010
We’ve never been terribly fond of math, but culture math is another story. For instance: New Year + cold weather = cool new music.
And the recent record we’ve got on repeat is our girl crush Charlotte Gainsbourg’s latest, IRM. Written and produced by Beck, the album is decidedly more alt than her last, and here Beck’s electronic eclecticism and quirky percussion lends itself well to Charlotte’s breathy vocals. Case in point, the title track, short for "Imagerie par résonance magnétique," which we know as MRI in English, incorporates Charlotte’s crooning over the pulsating sounds of a medical machine and drumbeats. It sounds weird, but it works.
The rest of the rhythms that fuse French and English, including a cover of the French Canadian Jean-Pierre Ferland’s song “Le chat du café des artistes,” are par excellence.
$16.99 at HMV, www.hmv.ca
December 24th, 2009
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring… who are we kidding, we’ll be wrapping presents well past midnight.
And to make the last minute hubbub brighter, Zaac Pick, a friend and singer-songwriter (his tunes recently appeared on episodes of One Tree Hill and The Ghost Whisperer) has given us a free Christmas track to share. Appropriately, it’s “Silent Night.” Click here to download the song.
A happy and peaceful holiday to you and yours from all of us at Vitamin Daily Vancouver.
November 18th, 2009
Before the boombox becomes all Bing, all the time, make a play for the cool croons of London’s latest “it” band, The xx.
The fledgling foursome’ debut album, xx, has been racking up high marks from music reviewers, and deservedly so. A little like early Cure, but more sensuous, their sound is hard to describe and when it is, it’s explained as blend of pop, soul, new wave and even R&B. We wouldn’t be surprised if one of their tracks, like “VCR” or “Hot Like Fire” (a surprising Aaliyah cover), ended up on a future Sofia Coppola film soundtrack.
You can be sure when they open for another buzz band from Britain, the Friendly Fires, at the Commodore next Thursday all our city’s “it” kids will be there.
Download xx ($9.99) on HMV Digital.
October 14th, 2009
If Gloria Estefan’s “Conga” is as Cuban as you get, it’s time to tune into Alex Cuba.
The Cuban-born Canadian has two Juno awards to his name and has collaborated with the likes of Nelly Furtado and Jason Mraz.
His new self-titled album doesn’t hit stores until October 27, but we’ve procured a free and advance track, “Solo Tu,” just for Vitamin Daily readers. Click here to download the song.
We think his rhythm is going to get you.
August 26th, 2009
We’ve got our own Badu on this side of the border.
A Vancouverite now living in Toronto, Zaki Ibrahim takes eclectic elements and shapes them into a richly soulful sound. Her first EP, fittingly titled Eclectica (Episodes in Purple), is an ambitious blend of R&B, hip hop, electronic and jazz that landed the singer a Juno nomination this year.
Chill yet uplifting, it’ll set just the right vibe for that end-of-summer BBQ.
Available on iTunes.
July 29th, 2009
A few of Vancouver’s finest creative-types across the genres of art, comedy and music have forged a brand new four-day festival in clubs across the city to make the middle of August that much hotter. We’ve scanned the line-up of mostly local talent to help you plan your inaugural Olio Festival experience.
Thursday/Gastown: Start with laughs at The Lamplighter courtesy of Nardwuar and comedy acts Bronx Cheer and The Sunday Service. Then toss a coin—heads it’s indie rock at the Red Room with The Paper Cranes and The Clips, tails it’s club music at the hands of Piper Davis and DJ My!Gay!Husband!
Friday/Main Street: Art start the night with short films and paintings at the Grace-Gallery, then head up to the Anza Club for retro-inspired acts The Whitsundays and The Choir Practice, and another helping of art by Ronan Boyle.
Sunday/Granville: Closing night is made easy for you with one big DJ dance party at Venue, so rip it up right.
Olio Festival, August 13-16, 2009, $25 four-day pass at www.oliofestival.com
July 15th, 2009
When it comes to music festivals, we get around. And while we have yet to do the beloved Glastonbury, there’s a touch of England to be had on our own turf.
With love from Briton Richard Branson, the Virgin Festival is back in B.C. and the bill is a bounty of Canadian greats (Our Lady Peace, Metric and Broken Social Scene) and American all-stars (The Roots, Sonic Youth and Ben Harper & Relentless7), with a couple of Commonwealthers (Jarvis Cocker and Gomez) thrown in for good measure.
We may be a Glastonbury virgin, but we get around.
July 2nd, 2009
Press play on our summer song list, chosen by our music lovin’ editors. And the beat goes on…
Julie Whelan, Toronto guest editor
Sure “Ahead of my Time” by the Teddybears (featuring Daddy Boastin) is played in a commercial, but you’ll be pounding the hot pavement to the infectious electro-rock beat all summer long. Preview at www.amazon.com
Maria Tallarico, Managing editor
More gated community than ghetto, hip hop breakout Asher Roth’s single “I Love College” makes the under-25s get down like a certain white rapper before him (we mean Eminem, not Vanilla Ice). Advisory: explicit lyrics. Preview at www.myspace.com/asherrothmusic
All songs available on iTunes.
June 10th, 2009
IKEA isn’t the only great Swedish export.
Since we first heard The Cardigans’ sweet-voiced lead Nina Persson sing “Lovefool” on the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack, we’ve been smitten. While that band is no more, we can still indulge our girl crush. Her new musical endeavor, A Camp, just dropped an EP of classic cover songs yesterday and take the stage at Richard’s tonight.
There’s also a Canadian component to her act—playing keys on tour is Toronto singer-songwriter Emm Gryner. Now that’s girl power.
A Camp, Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at Richard’s on Richards, 1036 Richards St., Vancouver, 604-687-6794; tickets $15 at www.ticketmaster.ca