Bliss Club's debut defies corporatism
Bliss Club (Independent)
The future of music will be handmade. Well, maybe not, but with the big-business side of music facing an uncertain future, it’s nice to come across something that runs counter to the corporate model in every way imaginable. The debut release by Bliss Club does just that. You can download all six songs for free at their website advance, but if you’d rather have a hard copy, that hits stores on Tuesday (October 8). Well, it hits one store, at any rate, namely Red Cat Records. There are only 100 copies, and each is unique, with a sleeve hand-assembled from photos cut out of old issues of National Geographic.
All very cool, and so is the music. Bliss Club is headed by Ian Johnston, whose solo work as Shaky Snakes I have previously reviewed for the Straight. For this project, Johnston collaborated via email with Sarah Common, whose drowsy-Sunday singing is a perfect complement to his own. All the Shaky Snakes signifiers are present: unhurried tempos, pastel-hued washes of synthesizers, a general glo-fi aura of sleepy melancholy. The emphasis here is more squarely on the vocals, though, with Common and Johnston duetting on numbers like “Venables & Clark”. That standout cut is a bittersweet account of East Van love gone sour that takes a turn toward the surreal at the end as Johnston casts a wary eye on vultures who have been following him around the city: “They’re trying to steal my song.”
It’s hard to blame them, really, but someone ought to introduce those buzzards to a little thing called the Internet.