Every season, the Vapor Music licensing department puts together samplers featuring the songs that they’re loving at the moment. Although today is unseasonably spring-like for mid-February, we’d like to present the tunes that David and Heather are digging right now. Take a listen, and enjoy!
Sometimes, everything happens for a reason — especially in love and war. Armistice, today’s Artist of the Week, whose name means “a temporary suspension of hostilities by agreement of the warring parties truce,” is a perfect example of this.
When Vapor and Coca-Cola teamed up in 2009 to create the Canadian version of their “Open Happiness” song, we had no idea that we’d be playing matchmaker. Little did we know that two of the three artists we selected to work on the project would not only begin working together musically, but release an EP and (fitting with the Valentine’s season!) become a real-life couple. We feel just like Cupid knowing that Jay Malinowski (of Bedouin Soundclash) and Beatrice Martin (better known by her stage name of Coeur de Pirate)’s first meeting at Studio Vapor has turned into much, much more.
A year and a half later, Martin has lent her vocals to a track on Bedouin Soundclash’s most recent album, and her partnership with Malinowski has grown into the full-fledged musical project titled ‘Armistice’. In another happenstance of perfect timing, their debut self-titled EP was released this Valentine’s Day week. Recorded in Los Angeles with the assistance of backing band The Bronx’s Mexican mariachi stylings, the result is unexpected, eclectic and heartwarming combination of sounds – the perfect tunes to accompany cold-weather snuggles with those you love.
“Western spaghetti meets swingjazz and doowop inflected voices,” wrapped up in Coeur de Pirate and Bedouin Soundclash’s quintessential indie pop/singer-songwriter styles.
“Coeur de pirate’s Beatrice Martin and Bedouin Soundclash’s Jay Malinowski are the new duo Armistice. If someone out there is filming a spaghetti western that ends with hand-holding — instead of a shootout — at sundown, get these two to write the soundtrack.”
“The unusual duo’s first release is an eponymous five-song mini-album that can best be described as singer-songwriter fare with a Mexican mariachi vibe. It is set to hit virtual and bricks-and-mortar stores on Tuesday. The disc is an endearing collection that marries the folkier side of Malinowski’s songwriting style to Martin’s oh-so-Euro vocals with a Mexican spaghetti-western flavour thanks to the presence of the Bronx, an L.A. punk band with mariachi leanings.”
— Montreal Gazette
Watch the Behind the Scenes video for the recording of Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness”
Many of today’s musicians fall into one of two categories: they’re either trying to re-create sounds from our past, or pushing the envelope to create sounds yet-to-come. Not one to be boxed into a title, today’s Artist of the Week does both tasks simultaneously.
Mixing elements of ’60s rock, psychadelia and experimental tones/textures with folk elements, Akron/Family “manage to make even the most familiar refrains– like the sing-the-vowels opening of “A AAA O A WAY”– sound deeply strange” — after all, All Music Guide does describe their style of music as “freak folk”. All three members of the band play several instruments and sing, redefining the traditional rock’n’roll trio and allowing them to create an eclectic sound that never ceases to sound both classic and futuristic at the same time.
Akron/Family released their latest album, ‘Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT,’ this week in North America, and their tour hits Canada over the next few weeks, with dates in Montreal (Feb. 19), Toronto (Feb. 20) and Vancouver (March 25) — a definite do-not-miss experience for music fans looking for something undeniably unique.
“Gawky and deeply enjoyable”
Similar Artists: The Winks, Tyler Ramsey, Langhorne Slim, Devendra Banhart
“…Akron/Family II really captures a feeling of happiness and at the same time melancholy, and that’s what makes it beautiful: those two feelings at the same time.”
— Dusted Magazine
“[Akron/Family II] plays like a sci-fi novel: Listen long enough and you’ll hear volcanoes, old trains, purple lights, and Detroit summer, all tangled up with snippets of found sound and goofy lyrics about worms. There are plenty of global influences here, from Brazilian fuzz to Japanese noise, but Akron/Family’s always been most interested in repurposing ancient American folk music, and they pull from Harry Smith’s famed Anthology of American Folk Music as much as anything else…Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNTis a curious collage, but its eclecticism ends up being one of its greatest assets. Organic and jubilant, it successfully weaves psych, world, rock, and folk traditions into something new and endlessly compelling.”
Nova Scotia’s Rich Aucoin has been described as a “connector” — at his live shows, his connection to his audience is second to none, but Rich also uses his role to connect musicians. His EP Public Publication is described by ChartAttack as “a musical scrapbook compiling over 500 musicians, friends and fans from across Canada on tape. It’s wildly ambitious but refined and well-crafted at the same time.” Now, Rich is making even closer connections as he embarks on his Rich Aucoin & Friends tour. Each tour stop features different acts based on geographic location, bringing even more great music to those lucky enough to catch Rich live.
For your listening pleasure, we’re offering a free download of Rich’s track “Brian Wilson is A.L.i.V.E. (All Living Instantly Vanquish Everything)” — go and get it here! Then, put on your dancing shoes and head out to one of the shows below to see Rich Aucoin where he is the most revered — on stage.
Feb 1 – New York, NY at Pianos
Feb 2 – Toronto, ON at the Drake Hotel
Feb 3 – Montreal, QC at Petit Campus
Feb 4 – Ottawa, ON at Cafe Dekcuf
Feb 8 – New York, NY at Pianos
Feb 11 – Halifax, NS at Canada Games Opening Ceremonies
Feb 15 – New York, NY at Pianos
Feb 16 – Toronto, ON at the Drake Hotel
Feb 17 – Montreal, QC at Il Motore
Feb 18 – Ottawa, ON at Cafe Dekcuf
Feb 19 – Waterloo, ON at the Starlight
Feb 22 – Brooklyn, NY at the Knitting Factory
Feb 23 – Toronto, ON at the Drake Hotel
Feb 24 – Halifax, NS at Grand Parade Square
Feb 25 – Fredericton, NB at the Capitol
Feb 26 – Saint John, NB at Peppers Pub
“Uplifting college rock with an impressionistic day dream feel, it inspires and delights…He is a Canadian musician on the go, and fills the synth-pop genre with a new appreciation.”
— Ear Shot
Similar Artists: ELO, Dr. Dog, the Unicorns, and a little Daft Punk
“Rich Aucoin is so much more than just a musician. He makes really great pop music…He attempts projects nobody else would even think to try, and he not only sees his ideas through, he exceeds expectations.”
— Coke Machine Glow
“Rich Aucoin’s music is best experienced live first and foremost, but this isn’t to say that Public Publication isn’t a great capsule of what Aucoin is capable of onstage — minus the balloons, confetti and dancing around. Just imagine all of that while listening to this EP.”
— Chart Attack
Rich Aucoin on MySpace
Watch Rich Aucoin’s 3-D video for “PUSH”
Watch clips of Rich Aucoin’s 2010 Live Tour
Follow Rich Aucoin on Twitter
‘Like’ Rich Aucoin on Facebook
Rich Aucoin and Friends Tour event on Facebook
Few band names could be more fitting for this week’s temperatures than Winter Gloves. The indie rock quartet from Montreal has been gaining attention both in Canada and beyond since the release of their debut, About A Girl, in 2008 (the band was even named Best New Artist that year by iTunes Canada). Last fall, the band released their sophomore full-length album, All Red, to critical acclaim, and toured both the United States and Canada, securing their spot as one of the country’s most talked about groups.
As temperatures plummet and the snowbanks rise, there’s no better time to crank the tunes and have yourself a little dance party to the music of Winter Gloves – they’re the perfect cold-weather accessory for the season!
“An infectious soundtrack to help dance your way through…the stumbling process of growing up.”
— Pink Mafia
“While it may come off as fun, poppy and the perfect counterpart to an evening of dance and drink, a depth is present in each song that reflects the band’s personal and musical evolutions — whether through their seemingly simple lyrics or throughout the album’s varying melodies.
Winter Gloves’ ability as a live act has already been cemented, having developed some of the record’s tracks during previous shows. But what will be interesting is the way the group plans to bring All Red to the stage: with songs this energetic, the typical “stand, nod and judge” audience will end up both out of place and out of touch.”
— Chart Attack
“Montreal outfit Winter Gloves have a knack for creating incessant pop music that gets heads shaking and toes tapping. The foursome are following up their 2008 debut album About a Girl with their sophomore full-length All Red, which is loaded with catchy hooks and choruses to get stuck in your head all day long.”
Happy New Year! In 2011, we resolve to keep bringing you the best music from Canada and beyond, and exposing you to new talents as we discover them. We love sharing our favourites!
We want to start off the year close to home with alt-rockers The Midway State. These Canadian boys have been taking the world by storm since before the release of their debut album in in 2008. They’ve toured alongside the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, Silversun Pickups, Jimmy Eat World and K-OS (among others!), have been nominated for two Juno awards, won two Much Music Video Awards, and have even recorded a duet with Lady Gaga.
2011 is set to be another big year for The Midway State – the band will be releasing their second full-length album (whose first single “All Anew” is now available on iTunes) and have recorded an exclusive cover track of Spandau Ballet’s “True” for the upcoming feature film Textuality. Starring Sex and the City‘s Jason Lewis, Young People F*cking‘s Carly Pope and Will & Grace‘s Eric McCormack, Textuality is a feature film about modern day mobile relationships and the dangers of texting while dating.
“True” is perhaps one of the best-known songs from the eighties and was a massive hit; it charted highly around the world and used prominently in the John Hughes film Sixteen Candles. The Midway State’s version (which you can listen to right here) is a modern re-interpretation, bringing the band’s signature style to the (yet-to-be-released!) classic tune. We wanted you to be the first to hear it!
As always, contact David Hayman if you’re interested in licensing the track for your own project.
“Piano-driven pop/rock that glistens with refined melodies, raw emotion, and massive sing-a-long hooks”
— Band Weblogs
Similar Artists: OneRepublic, Keane, The Fray
“Holes [The Midway State’s debut album] is an invitation and confirmation, inviting you in and asking you to stay awhile. You’ll want to stick around and hear The Midway State’s stories in song.”
— Wildy’s World
“Holes is not a lighthearted romp in romance; it shows the dirty, the happy and the confusing side of love. This album is a must buy for fans of OneRepublic, Keane and the Fray. But what separates the Midway State from these other artists is their versatility; each track is a slightly different sound, yet is still unified and has the stamp of the band.”
— Toronto Music Scene
The Midway State on MySpace
Watch The Midway State’s video for “Never Again”
Watch The Midway State perform “Change For You” acoustic
Follow The Midway State’s Nathan Ferraro on Twitter
‘Like’ The Midway State on Facebook
The stress of the holiday season can start to take its toll on even the best of us, but few have it as bad as Michael Fitzpatrick, lead singer of Fitz & The Tantrums. In the band’s song ‘Santa Stole My Lady,’ Fitzpatrick sings:
“I got Santa under my tree
He was flirting with my honey, trying to take her from me.
Hey, don’t be fooled by this fairy tale
Watch out or he could do this to someone else
He took my girl and he made me cry
And that’s the way I feel about Christmas time.”
Ouch, now that’s betrayal! Luckily things are looking up for Fitz & The Tantrums. After being signed by Dangerbird Records earlier this year, their debut album was released in August and has been garnering critical acclaim ever since, even reaching the #20 spot on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.
We’re sure Fitz’s lady will come crawling back to him once the band hits rockstardom – an occasion that is sure to be sooner rather than later.
“Soul-influenced indie pop”
Similar Artists: Nouvellas, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Amy Winehouse
“To answer the question inherently presented by anything retro, this band’s debut represents a true revival, rather than an exhumation; Without heart, you’re just a zombie, and Fitz & The Tantrums are not lacking anything in that category.”
“The LA-based band, signed to Dangerbird Records, has flipped the classic 60s sound, adding some Cali-flair to their recordings. It’s light, bouncy, and just downright catchy.”
— The Couch Sessions
“…simply put, LA based Fitz & The Tantrums are good ‘ol revival rock with an authentic analog sound and vocals that come from the heart.”
— New Band Day
Fitz & The Tantrums on MySpace
Watch Fitz & The Tantrums’ video for “MoneyGrabber”
Watch Fitz & The Tantrums perform “Breakin’ The Chains of Love”
Follow Fitz & The Tantrums on Twitter
‘Like’ Fitz & The Tantrums on Facebook