The Great Escape 2012: Canada House

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This time next week, Brighton will be overflowing with muso types as the town hosts its annual musical love-in, The Great Escape. Bands will be performing in whatever space they can find big enough to fit them, fans from all over the world will flock to find new music, and we’re fairly sure that a hefty amount of beers will be consumed too. We’ll be there and Canada House will be there too, for the first time. Presenting the cream of Canada’s musical crop, our good friends from Canadian Blast as well as various of their partners will showcase the newest and most exciting talent currently being heard by our Canadian neighbours. Read on to find out more about some of the bands playing, and to hear a playlist of the exciting sounds to come.

Slow Down, Molasses

Thurs 10 May: ‘Western Canadian Showcase’ presented by Alberta Music and SaskMusic @ The Blind Tiger Club, 12:00 – 12:30PM

Who are you and where are you from?

Slow Down, Molasses and we are from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Tell us a little about your latest release.

Our last full length album is called Walk Into The Sea. We recorded it over 16 months in various studios and homes in Saskatoon and brought in many of our friends to help out on it. Canadian indie legend Julie Doiron sang on a track and James Bunton from Ohbijou mixed the album.

What is the most memorable show you have played?

Playing End of the Road Festival last year was pretty incredible. It is a great festival and we played 3 sets in the span 12 hours, including playing the final set of the entire festival an hour after Joanna Newsom finished on the main stage. It was a crazy, exhausting day, but it was such a blast and the crowds were incredible… and the night before we all got watch Mogwai play, which makes us all pretty happy!

What can we expect from your show?

Our shows always vary, as we tend to expand and contract our line-up depending on who is available, but for this spring’s UK tour we are playing as 5 piece. To help create the wall of sound that we present on the record every member of the band except the drummer has at least one delay or looping pedal.

What plans do you have for 2012?

We are in the process of finishing recording a new album right now and we hope to release it by the end of the year. In the mean time we are touring as much as we can including shows throughout the UK in May, before coming home to Canada to play a few festivals including MoSoFest here in Saskatoon, for which a couple of us are also the curators. Once summer ends it is starting to look like we’ll be back in the UK/Europe for more touring.

One song by a Canadian artist you wish you had written or played on?
Sweeter by Julie Doiron. A perfect, simple, raw song. She can sing it a cappella and it still hits harder than most songs out there.

The Town Heroes

Fri 11 May: ‘Bangers and Mosh’ presented by Music Nova Scotia @ The Blind Tiger Club, 13:00 – 13:30PM

Who are you and where are you from?

We’re a two-piece alternative rock band called The Town Heroes. My name is Mike Ryan, I play guitar and sing, and Bruce Gillis plays the drums. We’re both originally from a small island on the northern tip of Nova Scotia called Cape Breton, but now live in the city of Halifax… which just voted us as the best band in the city. We’re pretty excited about that!

Tell us a little about your latest release:

Our latest release is a 13 song LP called Birds and Fear. Lyrically, with both of us being from small, close-knit communities, the songs are about home, leaving, and what you see once you left. Musically, our 90’s alt-rock influences shape the songs. We had three different songs from the album charting in the top 3 on eastern Canada’s radio charts, won a province wide song-writing competition for “Hit Potential”( which also appeared on various different compilation discs) and have toured the album steadily for the last year.

What is the most memorable show you have played?

This is a tough one. We’ve played lots of great, and lots of not so great shows that are all memorable in their own way. One recent one that stands out is when Bruce dressed up as a priest at a show and there happened to be a real priest in the audience.  The real priest wasn’t too happy and told us it was a sin. Bruce forgot to bring any extra clothes so afterwards had to walk around wearing his priest outfit while the real fella condemned our ill-fated souls.

What can we expect from your show?

Our live show is basically two pals rockin’ out, getting sweaty, making as much noise as two people can make and, all the while, enjoying every second of it.

What plans do you have for the rest of the year?

For 2012 we’ll be releasing our sophomore album Sunday Movies, we’ll be shooting a video for every song on the album, touring most of Canada, and hopefully getting back over to the UK to play some  more shows.

One song by a Canadian artist you wish you had written or played on?

We wish we wrote the song ‘Grade, Too’ by The Tragically Hip. It’s lyrically incredibly well written, very punchy and no matter how many times we hear it, we can’t get sick of it.

Canadian Influences:

By Mike Ryan

When I was in grade 8, Inverness Academy in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia held its annual career day. Universities, community colleges, and various different educational institutes filled the school, each hoping to convince the surplus of young, eager minds why theirs was the best. In the cafeteria that day, a 3-piece alternative rock band, the now defunct “Arlibido”, was getting ready to play. Just as I took my first bite of sweet and sour meatballs, they started. They had energy, they were tight, the songs were punchy and filled with hooks. And the most amazing part about it was that they wrote and played their OWN songs! I thought that they were the coolest three guys I ever saw. They were a young band, touring around, writing music, seeing the world and making a living doing something they loved. I thought to myself that there couldn’t be anything in the world that was better that. Up until that point I played music and loved it, but I never thought of all the beautiful possibilities that could arise from it. When asked by the principal of the school what advice they had for any musicians aspiring to make a career out of it, they joked “don’t do it!”. Well, sorry guys, I took the bait and couldn’t resist. Thanks for helping show a small town kid that anything’s possible and opening my eyes to the world of songwriting and indie rock!

Gold & Youth

Sat 12 May: ‘Northern Lights’ presented by FACTOR @ The Blind Tiger Club at 15:15 – 15:45PM

Who are you and where are you from?
We are Gold & Youth from the Western seaboard. Aka Vancouver.

Tell us a little about your latest release
We’ve been playing together for four years now, and as what you now know as Gold & Youth for just over a year. Our first record is coming out later this year…

What is the most memorable show you have played?
Indonesia. We played a giant stadium in tropical heat and smoked cigarettes whilst doing so. More of a vacation, I’d say!

What can we expect from your show?
Blood sugar sex magic! And chest pounding beats.

What plans do you have for 2012?
London, The Great Escape, a few shows back on the West Coast and NXNE in Toronto… Tour, tour, tour, etc… And some writing and recording.

One song by a Canadian artist you wish you had written or played on.
The Dead Man soundtrack by Neil Young.

Canadian Influences:

Wolf Parade – Shine a Light

Someone recently pointed out that I use the word “heart” in nearly every song. I blame Dan Boeckner for this. He’s from a small town on Vancouver Island just north of where I grew up called Lake Cowichan, which is somewhere I used to go a bit when I was younger. Aside from the summer, when the place fills up the vacation home owners, it’s an eerily quiet place with a bit of a Twin Peaks vibe. I don’t know him at all, but being completely familiar with the context of his youth can really make his songs seem devastatingly honest. Vancouver Island is a really tranquil place in a lot of ways, but for the restless hearts there’s also this sort of quiet desperation of watching life slip by while you’re just standing there on some isolated rock. I always felt a little embarrassed trying to articulate that sentiment, since it always just felt like a shitty episode of “first world problems” but when you hear Dan in full Dylan Thomas mode, raging against the dying of the light so to speak, it all just sounds so noble and universal and raw that you’re forced to confront the fact these are real emotions, no matter how insignificant you want them to be. Also, I remember hearing this song and thinking “this could be a Springsteen anthem, but that’s impossible because Springsteen is cheesy and lame” and then slowly coming to terms with the fact that “oh my god, maybe Spingsteen is actually fucking awesome?” quickly followed by “fuck, I’m getting old.”