Vancouver musicians reveal their New Year's resolutions

Like the rest of us, Vancouver’s musicians started 2012 with good intentions; here’s how they’re doing so far

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      Trust us: we’re not going to sit here and judge. After all, who among us hasn’t started off a new year with the grandest of intentions and then completely blown it by noon on January 1? Remember when you vowed you were going to stop eating deep-fried chicken skin rolled in bacon and brie cheese? When you swore that you’d only have a drink every second hour of the day, and limit your boozing to days with the word day in them? And when you promised yourself that you’d use those yoga pants as more than a default pair of pajamas when the laundry has piled up? That’s all right, neither do we. Now that the new year is officially under way, we decided to check in with some of Vancouver’s finest up-and-coming musicians, asking them what they promised to do differently in 2012 and, more importantly, how they’ve succeeded or failed. Try to not to smirk, even if you really want to.

      Shirley Gnome has something in common with Hank Williams III, namely that she’s on a major mission to put the cunt back in country.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “I’m trying to have better sexual health. I’m too lax, and I am just swimming with disease. Condoms can be a real drag, y’know? In the heat of the moment, who wants to start laminating? So my New Year’s resolution is to have every gentleman caller who squires me about town to put on a condom right at the beginning of the date. Then, when our special time inevitably arrives, we are good to go.”
      How’s it coming along? “It was harder than I thought, referring to both penises and my resolution. Not sure if I was clear earlier. Anyway, I’m pregnant.”

      Laura Smith sings and plays keyboards with Rococode, a band whose quirk-filled take on indie pop positions it as the Vancouver music scene’s Next Big Thing.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “The impending release of Rococode’s debut, Guns, Sex & Glory, is fast approaching. As I currently don’t really have any nasty habits to quit, or any good habits to start, my resolution for the year is to get the record out into the world best I can and work hard on all that follows. Recording and releasing a record is much like having a baby, or so I’d imagine: you get the same ups and downs; it’s emotionally challenging, physically strenuous, mentally challenging, fulfilling, joyous, terrifying, life-changing, causes sleep deprivation, and so on.”
      How’s it coming along? “It’s Day 5, and so far so good! Lots of time spent in front of my computer must mean I am being productive, although I might need to look into that program that temporarily blocks social media from your desktop. But in all seriousness, things are happening, there’s lots to do, and so far it’s been easy to stick to my resolution.”

      Christa Couture does a sublime job of meshing ornate chamber pop and elegant folk on gold-star songs like "Sad Story Over".
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “During a family Christmas dinner, I looked around and noticed everyone there was using a portable device. I Tweeted my dismay and decided my new year’s resolution would be to make time to unplug and connect—to spend more time with people and less with electronic devices.”
      How’s it coming along? “I’ve been making big strides with one relationship already this year, if Siri counts. We talk every day, and while she won’t give me a straight answer when I ask ‘Do you love me?’, I feel more connected than ever.”

      Ian Johnston makes dream-hazed bedroom electronica under the banner Shaky Snakes.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “My resolution is to grab 2012 by its majestic ivory horns and ride the winged beast into the slow-mo neon night. I have been hiding in my apartment making songs for too long, and this will be the year where I step out and perform these songs for real people in real places. Also, stop smoking these stupid cigarettes.”
      How’s it coming along? “It feels like things are all coming together. Stuff is happening. I’m working with a great drummer and we should be ready to go in a month or two. Cigarettes? Not so much.”

      Ashley Robyn fronts the seven-piece funk-soul demolition crew known as Jackie Treehorn.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “To be good to my body, on all levels. You gotta treat that body right. You gotta love that ol’ thang. Be good to your body, baby, cause your body is so good to me.”
      How’s it coming along? “I am sticking to it like cookies on an ungreased pan. Oh, man, I could go for some cookies right now.”

      Jess Hill sings spare and haunting folk songs, almost all of which mention either birds or flowers, and sometimes both.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “To remain single for the duration of 2012.”
      How’s it coming along? “So far, I am a success story, but who knows what February holds? Cupid is just around the corner. I’m sure some ‘silly and dangerous kissing’ will tempt me throughout the year, and only time will tell if I can refrain from wearing my heart on my sleeve and heading for the altar before the end of 2012. Hopeless romantics and kissing bandits are everywhere!”

      Jenna Priestner makes a retro-tinted garage-pop racket as the singer-guitarist of scrappy two-piece Mobina Galore.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “To be positive more often and only do things that make me happy.”
      How’s it coming along? “Pretty good, but I still have two crappy jobs, two rents to pay, so I’m broke, and my drummer is on my ass to write new songs by tour time in February. Wait a second, that doesn’t sound very positive, does it? Come to think of it, I guess it’s not going so good.”

      Adriane Lake makes gorgeously textured, gossamer electronica perfect for chilling out on rain-drenched West Coast afternoons.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “This year I resolved to not make a resolution, since that’s usually a guaranteed disappointment. Historically, I’d pick something ridiculously ambitious. For instance, working out like a maniac—something totally unsuited to a desk nerd like me. Or, for example, I’d pick something slightly unrealistic, like washing my cat’s teeth daily. Now, if my resolution was to read the web a lot, send more Tweets, and sing in the shower, oh I’d be so covered.”
      How’s it coming along? “Not as well as you’d think. Already I’ve decided to take vitamins, wear sunscreen, worry less, and sleep more. My brain’s crammed full of ‘shoulds’, fuelled by the resolution-oriented displays and magazines that invariably follow my postholiday debauchery. Literally overnight, the candy displays are replaced with self-help books, the gift-wrap section is full of treadmills, and everybody’s running yoga membership specials. It’s pressure. I had to at least take my vitamins.”

      Ben Rowley handles the vocals and keyboards for heavy-riffing, psych-soaked upstarts Free City Collective.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “I’ve become increasingly wary of Facebook this past year. I find the increasing amount of access we have to people’s lives rather unsettling. Where’s the mystery? Where’s the pursuit? The intrigue? There’s often a profound and rewarding sense of discovery unveiled through the once-basic art of conversation, and my goal for 2012 is to dedicate more energy to human interaction, while expending less on the flourishing rat race we commonly refer to as ‘social media’.”
      How’s it coming along? “Well, this super-rad girl added me yesterday, so I creeped her timeline. But I swear to God, she’s my soulmate. Like, she posted this Ariel Pink video on Tuesday, and she’s super-obsessed with Oscar Wilde, and her status yesterday was a Carl Sagan quote, and she lived in Belize for like, 10 months, and we have, like, 50 mutual friends, and she has this super-hot Monroe piercing, and green eyes, and…”

      John Lee sings and plays guitar with the straight-outta-the-garage B-Monster. He also drops a lot of F-bombs.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “For 2012, B-Monster will remain one of Canada’s 100-percent fucking beardless rock ’n’ roll acts, stick the wailing wall of sound right where it fucking counts, continue live theremin lessons at every fucking gig, and pursue change in Canada’s fucking rock ’n’ roll credentials abroad by joining forces with other like-minded, über-cool Vancouver bands. We’re here to blow the fucking doors off.”
      How’s it coming along? “Am I sticking to it? Too fucking right.”

      Phil Maloney slams the skins for hook-studded pop rockers Fighting for Ithaca.
      What was your New Year’s resolution? “To overcome my sphenisciphobia—a fear and loathing of penguins. I don’t know what it is about those smug little bastards, but they really make my ass twitch.”
      How’s it coming along? “Failed. In, like, two hours. Fans sent me some penguin stuff, and I just can’t shake the feeling that they’d be those pricks that sit next to you on the bus reeking like fish and not even giving a fraction of a fuck.”

      Steve Mann provides Philoceraptor with jagged-edged guitar and vocals, contributing to a sound that will resonate with anyone who ever wished ’90s indie rock and ’70s punk would have a baby.
      What was your new year’s resolution?
      “It’s a little unoriginal, but my resolution was to get back into shape. There is a lot of glory that comes along with being the hard taco–eating champion of Vancouver—two years running via Two Parrots—and rocking through life on the cheapest of beers with Philoceraptor. However, this lifestyle in combination with my 9-to-5 desk job and December’s cycle of gluttony and sloth leaves me feeling like a real sack of shit. It also doesn’t help that you could dare my drummer, Phil [Jette], to run a marathon mid-smoke and he could drop it and do it.”
      How’s it coming along?
      “I’m not doing too badly thus far. I caught the plague and didn’t eat anything but vitamin-C drops for four days. I also found a website called, which logs your workouts and translates them to experience points, raising your levels and recommended workout difficulty along with them. It taps into my inner gaming nerd that feels far more rewarded by meaningless numbers than real-world results. The urge to wrap myself in a blanket of Vancouver’s darkness and hibernate also seems to be decreasing.”

      Kaine Delay and his Left Spine Down cohorts are on a mission to give the genre of industrial-tinged rock a jolt of serious voltage.
      What was your New Year’s resolution?
      “I resolved to never eat meat again.”
      How’s it coming along?
      “I started off with a double cheeseburger and it went downhill from there. Now I can't stop. You gonna eat that steak?”

      Geoff Birch’s voice and six-string skills are the earthy heart of Welkin’s expansive, cosmic rock.
      What was your New Year’s resolution?
      “I made a New Year's resolution to spend as much time as humanly possible skiing in the mountains.”
      How’s it coming along?
      “So far so good. Playing some shows with my band is getting in the way a bit, but being able to ski right from the door of my cabin helps balance things out.”




      Jan 12, 2012 at 1:51pm

      i've never heard of any of these fucking bands, who picks these people? god i hate this stupid towns penchant for indie rock and ignoring anything metal or hip hop. nobody cares about this lukewarm, limp wristed dogshit.

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      John Lucas

      Jan 12, 2012 at 2:26pm

      @DAVID: the fact that you've never heard of any of them is exactly why we're writing about them.

      With regards to your second point, there are two or three "indie rock" bands in this article, along with electronica, punk, garage rock, country, folk, and funk-soul acts. We have included metal and hip-hop in previous multi-artist features (see links below) and we will no doubt do so again, but we don't give preferential treatment to any particular genre.

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      Jan 18, 2012 at 5:07pm

      @David - Maybe you should be brush up on the difference between Indie and Independent. If you spent as much time as time as the Straight checking out local music you would be only slightly less ignorant from what I gather.

      Did you even read the Shirley Gnome article? She is a Country singer. Last time I checked country and Indie are two different things.

      Try reading Discorder or Beatroute if your so frustrated by the Straight.

      That is all.

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