The incredible indie explosion: Slow Learners
Slow Learners—singer-guitarist John Johnston, bassist Sean Hawryluk, and drummer Penny Jo Buckner—sound like they pen their jilted punk-pop anthems in a dank and mould-ridden East Van practice space covered in Nirvana and Jawbreaker posters. On its incredible “Grocery Store”/“Your Friends” 7-inch, the trio combines fuzzy, broken-speaker melodies with raspy vocals that suggest an evidently self-loathing Johnston lives on a strict diet of du Maurier cigarettes and warm cans of Cariboo Genuine Draft.
Best local release other than yours:
“I want to say Needles//Pins’ 12:34 LP. It’s a really fun, summer-ish record. I just think Adam [Solomonian] writes great songs. The title track is probably my favourite, but they’re all really good pop songs.”
The year’s best gig:
“Master Musicians of Bukkake at the Biltmore [May 17]. It was really psychedelic. I like when bands put an element of performance art into their show. I just dug the masks, and all of the band dressed up in these sheik costumes—they had turbans and sunglasses on. It was weird: they were so serious, but it was funny at the same time. It was really good.”
What classic never leaves the turntable?
“Big Star’s #1 Record; that one’s one of my all-time favourite records. Again, it’s got really good pop songs, but there’s a dark tension to a lot of it that I really enjoy. I’m terrible with song names, but let’s go with ‘Thirteen’ [for favourite song].”
Where are we impressing your out-of-town friends?
“Sha Lin Noodle House [656 West Broadway] has these really slammin’ green-onion pancakes and really good, thick cutting noodles. It’s not crazy expensive, and I have taken people from out of town there.”
Like LMFAO, who’s sexy and knows it?
“Going back to Needles//Pins again, I’m going to say Tony Dubroy. His sultry bass grooves just make me want to gear down right on the spot.”
Uncle Morty left you his fortune. Where are you opening a venue?
“If they re-opened the Brickyard [formerly at 315 Carrall], I’d be okay with that. It had good sightlines, and it retained a scumminess to it. A lot of venues now, they’re trying to appeal to a gentrified crowd and a rock ’n’ roll crowd at the same time. I think Vancouver needs a dive bar. Let’s just bring back the Brickyard.”