Best of Vancouver 2013: Vancouver's music scene burns bright
Whether you’re a gloomy goth, a hirsute folkie, or some paint-splattered, rap-obsessed art punk with delightfully insane hair, Steve Albini is apparently the man. This is just one of the many highly fascinating facts to emerge from the Georgia Straight’s annual Best of Bands feature, in which we approach acts which released gold-star records over the past 12 months, and then get those who sing for them to hold forth on topics including best local releases and who among their Vancouver musical peers they’d like to see in the buff.
As often happens, our favourite homegrown acts for 2013 do a fine job of name-checking many of our other favourite homegrown acts. Besides flattering the Straight’s unwavering good taste, it proves yet again that our talent pool is deep and wide enough to embrace itself in some kind of mutual citywide reach-around. Truth is, you could make a point of never leaving Vancouver—or never seeing an out-of-town band at the Commodore or Biltmore—and you’d still have roughly 365 great nights of your year covered.
Whether it’s distaff garage rock, “cold punk” (whatever that is!), or some of the most vital and flavourful heavy rock on the planet (as if some small portion of the city’s shared brain has triangulated its inspiration out of San Francisco, Detroit, and Birmingham, England, in the early ’70s), Vancouver is obviously the place to be. And we clearly respect our forefathers. New Order, Minutemen, Television, and Portland proto-grungers the Wipers? You are all revered by people half your age, at least as much as Kanye, Foxygen, and whatever else kids are supposed to like these days.
Meanwhile, we’ve learned that Tojo’s gold-plated and paparazzi-infested sushi joint on West Broadway retains its magical hold on musicians who can only dream of producing the down payment it takes just to walk through the door of the place. And in other news, billionaire Chip Wilson is not nearly as well known as he probably thinks, Jimi Hendrix is just as influential as ever, and, perhaps best of all—amid everything from blue-collar rock to fake kiwi-pop, mutant Americana, and time-warping power psych—Vancouver is still mercifully short on emo-roots doofuses trying too hard to sound like Mumford & Sons. Bravo, people. Oh, and Louise Burns? You are clearly everybody’s darling.