Best of bands 2013: Kōban

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      Null, the debut LP by goth-laced postpunk duo Kōban, is like a lonely stroll on a frostbitten, coffin-black night: slightly spine-chilling, darkly mesmerizing, and deliciously mopey. It’s a pleasant surprise, then, that bassist Brittany Westgarth makes such a chipper interviewee. The only explanation is that she and guitarist Sam Buss trade off both vocal and brooding duties in the band.

      Best local release other than yours:
      “I loved the Cascadia EP Level Trust. It’s really heavy and has a kind of grunge-punk feel. But then the vocalist Sasha [Langford] has this beautiful, gentle voice, and it juxtaposes with the music really well.”

      The year’s best gig:
      “Last Halloween, there was a Halloween covers night at 360 Glen. Members of local bands were doing the Wipers, Television Personalities, the Urinals, and it was awesome. The bands were so good at doing their own versions of those songs. My favourite was the Minutemen cover. Jarrett [Evan Samson] from Tough Age and Watermelon did the best D. Boon ever.”

      Your house is on fire. What album are you saving?
      “Sam and I both agreed on 1000 Hurts by Shellac, in terms of how our music has been influenced, how we started getting into music, and how important Steve Albini’s projects have been in our lives. It’s powerful, and it says something. It speaks to me in a lot of ways.”

      Chip Wilson’s paying, so where’s dinner?
      “Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House [777 Thurlow Street], ’cause we thought that if we’re doing a photo shoot here, we might get free food. It’s just so fancy. Like, the waiters pull your chair out for you and put a napkin on your lap. I don’t know if it’s my favourite, but I’d love to go there one day.”

      We’re reshooting the video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”. Who’s your topless costar?
      “I didn’t wanna leave anyone out or make anyone jealous, so Sam and I decided on all three members of Cowards. But if they’re gonna be in this video, they’re gonna have to be playing handball.”

      Let’s make this city more fun by opening a venue. Where?
      “The sugar refinery [123 Rogers Street] is one of my favourite buildings in the city. It’s got this really old brick, and it’s so beautiful. But it’s also kind of creepy, ’cause at night there are trains going by. It reminds me of New York. But also, anywhere with an indoor skate park. I’ve always wanted to play with a bunch of preteens skateboarding around me for some reason. I think that’d be funny.”