Best of bands 2016: Jay Arner

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      Jay Arner might be the most approachable popsmith in Vancouver these days. In addition to the inviting, cherry-cheeked power-pop sounds of his sophomore set, II, the guy also playfully coughed up his contact info on the record’s digits-revealing “Personal Line”. If you want to shoot him a friendly text, or have a crank call routine you’re dying to use, try 778-240-4529.

      Best local release other than yours: Playland by Supermoon. I’ve seen the band play 30 times this summer [on tour]. It’s poppy. They got really good at playing medleys on tour; we kept trying to do that but we never pulled it off. I recorded their first tape, and I’ve had Playland since the test-pressing stage.

      The year’s best gig: Sexy Merlin at the Lido [on June 4], during Music Waste. He just moved from Toronto, and I think it was his first show here. No one ever moves from Toronto to Vancouver, so there was a high novelty factor, and the music was so good. He’s a very good drummer, so it’s percussion-heavy. He just plays drums and sings. Very percussive dance music.

      Hootsuite’s Ryan Holmes is paying. Where’s dinner? We’re going to go to Panago on Broadway [1278 West Broadway], and I’m going to take a large with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and black olives. I don’t like sharing pizza, necessarily, I’m a bit of a hog. I love all the pizza in town. I’ve given Don’t Argue a shout-out in the past, so I’m just trying to spread it around a bit. Vancouver’s a great town for pizza.

      We’re road-tripping. Who’s on the stereo? On our last tour, overall, we listened to Sparks, but I think my favourite album of the trip was Naughty Boys by Yellow Magic Orchestra. I’d never heard it before. I listened to Yukihiro Takahashi’s Neuromantic a lot, and didn’t know he was in YMO. I came at it backwards and discovered this guy I thought was a solo artist has a sweet band with a ton of albums, which was exciting. I have all their albums now.

      Like that Weeknd song, who makes you feel like you can’t feel your face? Tommy Tone (aka Tom Whalen)! You don’t often know what his band is called from month-to-month, but he’s made two albums now as Tommy Tone. He wears many different pairs of sunglasses, often at the same time; he’s got a really nice wig; and a track jacket. You put those things together… Phew!

      You’re a creative type. Where are we opening a venue? Catfé [88 West Pender Street]. Two people in the band are allergic to cats, but those same two bandmates have worked there. They would love it, to spend more time sneezing there. I would not invite any humans, and I would just play music for the cats. There’d be a lot of hissing—it would be exactly like playing Montreal.