If you were ever around to hear the grizzled vets of Vancouver’s music scene talking about their glory days at the Japanese Hall before finally nodding off in a dingy corner of the Marine Club, you’re probably under the impression that our city was something of a musical wasteland after the brief and beautiful first-wave punk years.
And indeed it was. There was a time when being a musician in Vancouver meant a lot of lonely seven-band Tuesdays at some downtown shithole, and not much else if you weren’t Sarah McLachlan.
But things are different now. We’re still playing in shitholes (some of them are great shitholes), and the war on red tape drags wearily on, but the rooms certainly aren’t empty anymore. Indeed, ever since Neko Case, the New Pornographers, and Black Mountain fanned out across the earth like an unstoppable armada of good taste, back in the swinging oughties, Vancouver has blossomed into the music town we always hoped it could be. And as this year’s annual list of the Straight’s favourite insurgent musical acts proves once again, things are only getting better.
In these 12 articles, you will meet feral punks, mysterious electro-enigmas, hardcore lunatics, and purveyors of everything ranging from chiaroscuro Americana to garage rock to sweet and lovely dream pop. Those who sing for our batch of talented young beauties get to nominate their own hometown favourites, while holding forth on such important matters as the best places to get royally stuffed, who made a great record this year, and, most importantly, which local colleague they’d most like to show up on YouPorn with. It seems, all things considered, that our little wasteland has never looked quite so sexy, or sounded quite so wonderful.