Best of bands 2016: The Ballantynes

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      To be frank, it’s a travesty that the “organ-wailing, hip-shaking, and tambourine–shimmering” sixsome the Ballantynes hasn’t already been included in our Best of Bands roundup. Since dropping their first release in 2011, frontman Jarod O’Dell (keys, guitar, vocals) and fellow band members Vanessa Dandurand (vocals), Jennifer Wilks (keys, vocals), Corey Poluk (guitar, vocals), Max Sample (bass, vocals) and Micheal McDiarmid (drums) have established themselves as one of the city’s sweatiest live acts—because, as O’Dell once pointed out in an interview with the Straight, “everybody fucking loves soul music.” Serving up a solid set of dance-floor fillers, the Ballantynes’ shows are more concerned with making sure everybody is having a good time than hitting every note. If you want to hear the band at its technical best, however, you can just take a listen to its latest release—a cassette tape of eight of the band’s singles—which proves that everything sounds better when accompanied by a good rotary organ. Or so O’Dell says.

      Best local release other than yours: I was having a bit of a time answering this question. I’ve listened to so many great songs from groups this year, but I couldn’t hold on to one. Thankfully, Jennifer Wilks talked me off a ledge by offering a sample of songs, so I’m going to say Adrian Teacher and the Subs’ “Emily Carr Punks”, from the album Terminal City.

      The year’s best gig: Cobalt Karaoke. Say it’s farce and you’re not entirely wrong, but I’ve watched more honest and gut-wrenching performances on that stage this year than I have at any classic venue.

      Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes is paying. Where’s dinner? Ramen with a velvet-cloud broth… The sweetness of perfect ceviche… Rich, spicy pollo taco… No, we’re not going to a restaurant. We’ll take our stack of bills and hit the grocer.

      We’re road-tripping. Who’s on the stereo? We’re just back from being on the road recently, and I noticed a strange shift in our soundtrack for this one. Sirius XM scored our travels with its curious and repetitive playlists. Corey [Poluk] was offering a deeply emotive take on “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. I spent a lot of time in the back with headphones and Carly Rae Jepsen keeping me company.

      Like that Weeknd song, who makes you feel like you can’t feel your face? Good—it’s time to discuss all those artistic types that I’d like to know in a Biblical way. I’m going to say Christian Pelech. He’s a consummate performer and a tremendous dresser. He’s been in the ditch with me and helped me out in the morning.

      You’re a creative type. Where are we opening a venue? The Pacific Ocean. No? Okay, fine, but isn’t the water such a tremendous part of this city? Wait—I’ve got it. The MPV Constitution: Vancouver’s paddlewheeler boat. It would be a bobbing venue on the waves.

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