Vancouver bands serve up the sounds of a booming city

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      Our favourite local acts give us the dirt on their desert-island discs, favourite gigs, and secret crushes

      Difficult as it might be to believe today, there was a time when the average person’s iPod didn’t include everything from experimental screamo to cosmic country to indie hip-hop to reggaefied hardcore. The big reason for that, of course, was that no one had invented the iPod back in the ’80s. Seriously, your grandparents were rocking Sony Walkmans back then, and in all likelihood their Maxell II C-90 cassettes were pretty much devoted to one genre of music. The metalheads didn’t mix with the punks in olden times, and the new romantics didn’t have much time for the rock fans.

      The beautiful thing about where we find ourselves in 2009 is the way this all changed. And one of the great things about that is that if you love music, you have good reason to be proud of Vancouver’s thriving live-music scene, where artists of all stripes are making us wonder when the hell Rolling Stone is going to declare us the new Seattle. Or at least the new Montreal.

      Check the sidebar (and the interview below) to find 12 of our favourite local acts, all of whom have released great records over the past year. We grilled them about where they’d love to dine out on a certain music mogul’s dime, where they’d love to open up Vancouver’s next great live-music venue, and who gets them thinking “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

      Prophecy Sun

      Let’s just get things out into the open: Prophecy Sun (and yes, that’s her real name) loves cats. Her debut disc, appropriately titled Cats Paws, was recorded at home with all five of her felines running around the makeshift studio. The singer even sets up a collection of hand-sewn calicos in front of her before she plays. It’s borderline obsessive, but considering the result—an eerily hypnotic collection of vocal loops that pile cutesy kitten meows atop spectral moans—it sounds like Prophecy’s cat fixation has paid off handsomely.

      Best local release other than yours
      “Lightning Dust, Infinite Light. I like the lilt of her [Amber Webber’s] voice. The vocals are really soft and chanty.”

      Most mind-blowing concert of the year
      “Sitting in the pews at St. James Hall while listening to Mount Eerie [May 16]. Their sound was amplified because of the way the space was set up. St. James is all big and cathedral-like. I was sitting there sewing cats and listening to them play. It was really cool.”

      We just found Bruce Allen’splatinum card. Where are we eating?
      “Budgies Burritos [44 Kingsway]. It’s got lots of vegan options. I’d like to buy everybody burritos and then I’d like to get a truckload of mangoes to go with them.”

      With apologies to Katy Perry, who would you like to wake up in Vegas with?
      “I’d choose Joshua Stevenson from Magneticring. If I was to wake up with somebody they’d have to make some cool sounds, and he makes cool sounds.”

      We’re going to a desert island. What record are you bringing?
      Garlands by the Cocteau Twins. There’s just something about their dissonant vocals. I could listen to the second track, ”˜Wax and Wane’ over and over again.”

      The city has given you a blank cheque. Where are we opening a live-music venue?
      “I’m a big fan of old buildings, car lots, and parking lots. I’d take the old car lot across from Blim [the old Coastal Ford building, 3333 Main Street] and turn that into a venue. I think it would be a great place to have live variety shows.”