Groovin’ a Fresh Path Through the Victoria Funk Scene

background copy

11-member funk collective The New Groovement to funkify the Canoe Brewpub this month

Ever wondered what a funk-hip-hop-rap sandwich tastes like? Well it’s all stacked together in the 11-member funk collective The New Groovement, who return to the Canoe Brewpub for a tasty night on February 23rd.

If you’re still curious what kind of experience you’ll be in for, the band puts it like this in their bio: “If James Brown and Run DMC had a love child this would be it.” Formerly entitled The Victoria Dream Team, The New Groovement has been hip hopping and funkifying Victoria hotspots for almost a year now, lead by drummer “Groovin’ Reuven Sussman.”

I recently sat down with lead vocalist Theresa Pasaluko to talk about the upcoming show and her own experiences with the band.

“I met Reuven at a Halloween party last year” she recalls. “I had been singing by myself for like, six hours, totally in the zone. I’m pretty sure I was just drumming on my legs in the corner. I had bruises on my thighs from keeping the beat,” she laughs, sifting through this undoubtedly wasted memory. “Reuven came up and asked if I wanted to be the singer for his funk band. I did.”

The name Victoria Dream Team didn’t stick for too long. “I had to make him change it when I joined the band,” Theresa smiles, sipping her Strongbow. “It reminded me of an old-folks lawn bowling club!”

The New Groovement has made their way around town livening up such venues as Lucky Bar, Upstairs, and Logan’s, even pioneering Victoria’s first Funk Fest last year.

In terms of favorite venues, Pasaluko names Lucky Bar and Canoe Club. “They are super intimate and just an overall good time. Also, they lend to the main demographic we seem to appeal to – probably around ages 20-30.”

The New Groovement released their first EP, literally entitled The EP, back in April of 2012 at Logan’s Bar. “It was totally packed, everyone loved it!” Pasaluko recalls. Encouraged by the success, the band will perform the live debut of their first full album on Saturday the 23rd.

The Canoe Brewpub is located at 450 Swift Street – just look for the pub with the most visible dancing through the windows.

Baltimore’s Dream-Pop Twosome Grace Vancouver

beachhouse

 As a brisk fall evening set over downtown Vancouver, dream-pop duo Beach House took to the Commodore Ballroom stage for one of three Canadian stops on their 2012 Frightened Eyes tour. Baltimore’s babely Victoria LeGrand and counterpart Alex Scally, along with touring drummer Daniel Franz mesmerized a willing crowd on October 1st with their 90-minute set of spellbinding vocals and reverberating instrumentals.

 When opener Dustin Wong had build anticipation to near tangibility, LeGrand and Scally took the stage, swathed in the darkness of a venue that easily adapted to the dream-like experience. Opening with Wild, off their 2012 album Bloom, for which the tour was meant to promote, Beach House featured tracks from both the aforementioned album, and as well 2008’s Devotion and 2010’s Teen Dream.

Each song blended seamlessly into the next, from “Gila” to “Used To Be” to the hypnotizing keyboard progressions in “Lazuli.” Subsequent to the show, some fans reported this to be flaw, casting the set list as difficult to tell apart; I alternately assessed the succession as smooth and fitting to the overall experience of the evening.

The one thing I would have requested was more interaction from Victoria, who mesmerized the crowd with each resonant vocal and swing of her curly mane. However, she addressed the audience only twice, remaining a silhouette illuminated solely by flashing lights.

The show reached a cathartic climax as Beach House launched into “Take Care.” Delicate, ethereal lyrics floated to the crowd, tangled in Scally’s nostalgia-filled guitar plucking. Luckily staked out against the stage, I took in the glass-eyed expressions of hazy disbelief around me, and the feeling of a striking, collective heartache.

Returning to encore with Bloom track “Myth”, the duo rendered the audience a single entity enveloped in experience. Jarring colored lights flashed in conjunction with the bass, hitting fans square in the chest as Victoria crooned, “You can’t keep hangin’ on / To all that’s dead and gone.” As the lights dimmed, the audience arose from their dream-like state; ready to walk out into the fresh new season Beach House had so beautifully debuted.

Rachel Rasmussen

5 Neat Music Sites

Top 5 music links

http://www.birp.fm/

Birp.fm is a cool site because it offers a new playlist at the beginning of every month. You can stream these online and they are also offered as free torrents. They are consistently good and I’ll often download them to get the month rolling with some new tunes. Not only do they highlight bigger, well known bands, they throw in small-scale artists that are just starting out. They blend right in and it offers some great opportunity for new mucians. I havn’t really explored the rest of the website but they also have a blog, interview section and more.

http://hypem.com/

I don’t go on Hype Machine as much as I used to but it’s still a good resource for finding new music. I stopped using it so much because it features a lot of remixes, covers and DJ’s which I don’t listen to that often. What’s neat about the website is you can create an account to create playlists and keep track of the songs you like. You can choose between whats popular now, what’s being featured, or sort by genre. Also, the website has a simple, aesthetically pleasing layout.

http://www.indieshuffle.com/

I go on Indie Shuffle when I’m feeling lazy and have no particular music preference in mind, because it’ll usually play tracks I’m content listening to. When you select a song to play, it automatically continues to play songs from the genre, which can be nice or kind of annoying depending on your mood. What’s cool about the website is that it offers “songs of the day” which are usually really good.

WordPress.com

There is such a variety of music blogs on WordPress you are bound to find a few that you like if you are willing to do a bit of digging. By putting in tags of music genres that you like, you can be linked to a number of great blogs. I follow one, for example called Universal Wax: Music & Visual culture. It has exposed me to a lot of music I never would have listened to, specifically budding artists from other cities or countries. Universal Wax favors synthy-electronic tunes at times, but their reviews are worthwhile to read. If I’m really in the mood to uncover a new artists, I’ll usually spend some time reading wordpress blogs.

Soundcloud.com

Soundcloud helps me out when Youtube doesn’t have what I’m looking for, which is pretty often. Also, soundcloud often gets recordings before a lot of other online mediums because artists upload directly to their own soundcloud accounts. Soundcloud is cool because it also allows you to torrent certain songs for free.

Review of Mac DeMarco’s “2”

Mac DeMarco: 2
Release Date: October 16th 2012
Label: Captured Tracks

The suburban degenerate with the sultry croon, Montréal based Mac DeMarco reaches a new maturity of theme and sound with the release of his debut full-length, 11-track album, 2. Just six months after signing with Captured Tracks to release his EP Rock and Roll Nightclub in the spring, Mac is back at the ripe age of 22 with an album that establishes his ability for honest, sincere song making.

While RNRNC seduced listeners with its greasy guitar progressions and steady lo-fi beats, its themes remained hidden among Mac’s plentiful irony-laden vocal drops. 2 mixes DeMarco’s indie pop rock sound with just the right amount of psychedelic cheesiness and throwbacks to romantic 50’s crooning.

It’s an escapist album from banality, lulling the listener into a waking REM dance party with songs like “Dreamin” and “My Kind of Woman.” Each track conjures a type of wistful nostalgia, and Mac’s voice floats effortlessly along his signature twangy guitar progressions. The mark of sincerity comes from the sense of universality DeMarco achieves, singing to the constants he finds amongst the trivialities of everyday experience: family, women, and his Viceroys.

Rachel Rasmussen

Desert Island Discs

The 5 Albums i’d like to have with me if I had the misfortune of being stranded on an island!

Feist: The Reminder

If I got stuck on an island, I would automatically assume it was the island from LOST, and naturally be TERRIFIED. I would thus need Feist to soothe my soul. It was a huge toss up between “Let it die” and “The Reminder” because there are songs that I desperately love on both. I even almost chose Metals because it blew me away so much but I had to choose an older album for nostalgia’s sake. This album makes me think of important people and it makes me think of perfect rainy days. “The Reminder” has a song for every emotion, from “How my heart behaves” to “Past in Present” to “Brandy Alexander.” Heartbreaking to spunky to just straight chill music. “Steam from the cup and snow on the path, the seasons have changed, from present to past.”

Beach house: Teen dream

I chose Teen Dream above Beach House’s other albums because it has managed to provide something new each time i listen to it, while still holding on to the same things I love about it. “Norway” “Walk in the Park” and “Lover of Mine” make me think of winter, of hibernating indoors, and evenings spent pouring over assignments. “Used to Be” “Silver Soul” make me think of summer times. I love the entire sound of this album and how vague and yet beautiful the lyrics can be. I can listen to this album when I’m in any mood.

Dawes: Nothing is Wrong

I haven’t known Dawes for the longest time but I automatically fell in love with just about every one of their songs. They have a different sound from bands I would normally listen to, but Dawes somehow finds a way to put everything in the simplest terms. Nothing is sugar coated, but super earnest. If you need advice in literally any aspect of your life, listen to Dawes.

Radiohead: The Bends

I’m probably going to be depressed that I’m stuck on an island so I might as well embrace it and wallow to “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Black Star.” Also, “The Bends” has been my morning alarm song for a year now, so I think hearing it would give me incentive to get up every day. Overall it’s just a great album that I never get tired of.

Wu-Tang Clan: Wu-Tang Forever

Buut I don’t want to be down all the time, so I need some hip hop. Desert Islands aint nothin’ to fuck with and neither is Wu Tang, which will get me through the hard times of catching fish with my bare hands and going to the bathroom in holes. This album’s got 27 songs so it provides some good variety and listening time.