Best of Vancouver 2012: The incredible indie explosion
If the past couple of years have proven anything, it’s that the Vancouver indie-music scene has exploded in a way that’s nothing short of incredible. Remember the late ’70s and early ’80s, when the idea of a non-major-label act being played on commercial radio—or getting a gig somewhere other than a rodent-infested skid-row community hall—was flat-out unfathomable? That’s all right, neither do we.
Apparently, though, that’s the way it once was in this town, with underground acts ranging from the Pointed Sticks to Slow to the Scramblers to the Nasty On all having one thing in common: they never totally got their due. Man, how things have changed. These days, you’ve got the likes of Dan Mangan and Mother Mother (who have both appeared in the Straight’s annual Best of Bands feature in the past) packing Vancouver’s most fabled soft-seaters, namely the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the Orpheum. Loverboy is no longer the only local act that gets regular airplay on FM radio, and local heroes like Black Mountain and the Pack a.d. (who have both appeared in the Straight’s annual Best of Bands feature in the past) have no problem filling mid-size venues like the Commodore and the Rickshaw. And don’t even get us started on how much indie aficionados right across Canada have shown that they love Said the Whale and Hannah Georgas (who, ahem, have both appeared in the Straight’s annual Best of Bands feature in the past).
What’s all this mean? Well, how about the fact that Vancouver’s music scene is hotter than hell in August, to the point where the bands that live and play here are no longer just toiling in the shadows, but are instead getting as much attention at home as they are far beyond our city limits. And when we say attention, we’re not just talking about actually making enough from their art to afford something other than Kraft Dinner and generic beer at least once a week, but finding themselves lauded by both fans and respected media outlets across the continent. Including the music fans at the Straight.
As in past years, we’ve rounded up 12 of our favourite local acts—everyone from punk troublemakers to Americana shitkickers to noise-rawk renegades—and asked their singers the kind of things that enquiring minds want to know. Including which Vancouver artists made their favourite records over the past 12 months, where they’d open their dream venue, and who’s sexier than those Afro-sporting jackasses from LMFAO. Their answers were nothing less than this: incredible.