How much material can one band write about baseball? A lot, evidently. Singer Evan October founded the Isotopes back in 2007 and, following a smattering of short-form releases, the band—which also includes drummer Trevor Uppercutz, bassist Justin Safely, guitarist Matt Shatters, and announcer Rad Jockstrap—made its full-length debut with this year’s Nuclear Strikezone. Its rousing pop-punk anthems are catchy enough that they will even appeal to those who aren’t fans of baseball (although that definitely helps).
Best local release other than yours: “The best local release of the past 12 months is Nervous Talk’s [self-titled] full-length LP. There’s a lot of punk bands out there that aren’t writing very good songs, and these guys are excellent at songwriting, and it really stands out to me as easily the best punk-rock album out of the city this year, including our record.”
The year’s best gig: “ToyGuitar at the Cobalt [on June 20] was by far my favourite show that I was at this year. They’re from San Francisco, they’re on Fat Wreck Chords, and they’re a really cool rock ’n’ roll band.”
Best album ever: “I’m going to have to go with Screeching Weasel’s My Brain Hurts. It’s a really well-written record. Lyrically, it stands out both as really good and also ahead of where punk in general was at that time, which was 1991, I believe.”
Francesco Aquilini’s paying—Where’s dinner? “What’s Up? Hot Dog! [2481 East Hastings Street]. If we’re going out as a band, we like to keep things thematic, and there’s no better place in the city to watch a baseball game and have a hot dog. All of their ingredients are really topnotch, the dogs are good, the menu is great, it’s a very cool rock ’n’ roll–based environment, and there’s a huge projection screen on the wall and they just play baseball games all day.”
In the spirit of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “I Really Like You”, who do you really, really like? “Carly Rae Jepsen is local, so my first choice would obviously be her. I think she’s gorgeous and I would relish the opportunity to let her know that in person. I hope she’s a Georgia Straight reader. I’m sure she is from time to time when she’s in town.”
You won Lotto Max. Where’s your club opening up? “That bingo hall at Main and 11th [Planet Bingo, 2655 Main Street]. We’d take that place over and rename it SkyDome. The floors will be turf and we’ll do 81 shows there a year, so if you’re a punk band coming through Vancouver, you know you’re going up against the ’Topes.”