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August 18-31
VOL.14 ISSUE. 26

Bring The Noise

Charles Cassino
Published Thursday January 8, 05:56 pm
2015 looks to be a banner year for local music

Photo Credit: Illustration by Evgenia Mikhaylova

2014 was another banner year for local music (and the really cool thing is that we’re saying that pretty much each and every year these days!). Several high-profile records dropped from a diverse array of groups — from the intense indie-isms of Close Talker to the collab-happy singles series helmed by wizard producer Factor, to name just a couple. 


Meanwhile, sludge-mongers Shooting Guns made waves with their soundtrack to the nationally-revered Wolf Cop movie. Several new groups (such as Little Criminals, The Pistolwhips and Gunner and Smith) realased their debut albums, while crafty rock veterans The Ultimate Power Duo, Economics and New Jacobin Club all continued to make their collective marks. 


So yeah, 2014 was damn exciting for local music — and from what we’re hearing already, here’s betting that 2015 is going to be even better. Here’s why:




They played only a handful of shows over the past year, but Acronyms is coming out with all guns blazing in the new year. Featuring members of local groups such as Young Benjamins, Pirate Fridays and Castle River, the four-piece is realeasing SIMPLECOMPLEX, their debut seven-song EP, this month. Combining complex rhythms and tightly wound guitar lines with tense melodies, Acronyms takes an earnest and visceral approach to songwriting, yet isn’t afraid to let everything quaver a little. Currently planning a spring tour, the group is destined to make waves throughout Western Canada.




For the past few years, frontman Jordan Kurtz has been building up both a live reputation and a catalogue of recordings under the moniker Fisticuffs. Having completed several tours, in addition to high-profile local appearances, Kurtz suddenly pulled the plug on the name and rechristened his group “Dream Country” — and the multi-member folk-pop band’s debut album is now ready for release. Working with veteran musician/producer JP Maurice at Blue Light Studios in Vancouver, Dream Country combines smooth instrumentation that wends itself around Kurtz’ harmonious storytelling. Tours and album release shows are in the works, say sources.




They played their debut show only a few months ago, but indie-jam four-piece Susan has already made a serious mark on the Saskatoon scene. Playing on stages ranging from the hardwood floors of local record shops to a New Year’s Eve appearance, the group has already amassed a sizeable buzz around their off-kilter guitar jangle and drone-ish take on vocal melody. So now that people are paying attention, it’s the perfect time to fade back and take a break, right? Well kinda, but not really. While their guitarist plans on dropping out to Europe for the next few months, the rest of the band plans on working on a new batch of recordings (which will hopefully see release this spring) while they figure out their next live incarnation. 




Playing a well-received set at Calgary’s Sled Island festival last summer, along with several appearances around Saskatoon, Phalec Baldwin has maintained a consistent presence thanks to their combination of unsettling pop hooks and morbid lyrics. Their last release, the four-song cassette EP Street Meat, caused a stir with occult flourishes laid throughout a solidly lo-fi foundation. With a handful of new songs already written, the group plans on heading back into the studio soon to lay down the tracks for their next release. Rumour also has it that the band may be changing their name in the new year — less dick jokes, say sources. 




During their recent stint at Amigos, punk-noir group BellaDonnas and the Temps tore apart the room with their thunderous take on shit-stirring, stomping guitar-rock. They’ve recently released a four-song EP, and the group seems destined to make a name for itself. With lead vocals that alternate between soaring and snarling, the three-piece combines gritty rhythms with a penchant for straight-ahead barreling punk rock. Here’s hoping they hit the stage again soon.




Along with building a reputation for a live show that combines the spectacle of science with angular guitar riffs and simmering percussion, indie-rock four-piece Future Forests started off last year with the release of several well-received singles — so is it safe to say a new album is in the works? Yup, says an insider, who confirmed that the band is looking to get back into the studio before this summer. Fans can expect a new video and another single as well, in addition to more live shows and hopefully some festival appearances. 




The new kids aren’t the only buzzworthy item on this year’s agenda, as lots of scene veterans also have designs on dropping some high-profile releases. Local hip-hop label Phonographique has several releases in the works, including a new disc from the party-rap-loving Hustle and Thrive; drone-pop group Dumb Angel (the brainchild of Shaun Mason) has an epic release planned for the not-so-distant future, along with plans on more touring; rumours have it that Slow Down, Molasses will also finally drop their own full-length LP; Also, remember when Saskatonian Reignwolf hit the stage with Black Sabbath earlier this year? It was nothing short of epic, but it left us with at least two lingering questions: when is Mr. Wolf releasing his album, and is a local headlining show in the cards anytime soon? We shall see… 

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