Vancouver musicians begin 2013 on the right note

We’re only a few weeks into 2013, but some local musicians have already abandoned their resolutions

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      You no doubt had the best of intentions. Perhaps you even vowed to change as far back as Boxing Day, when you sat on the couch for nine hours straight watching America’s Funniest Home Videos reruns, washing down Sailor Jerry rum balls with shots of Baileys Crème Caramel liqueur mixed with straight-from-the-bottle swallows of Avalon Dairy eggnog. The goal? To break all of your bad habits in the new year, whether we’re talking smoking crack in the workplace toilet stall, eating Pringles for dinner four nights of the week, or whacking off every time you find yourself alone in the carpet section of Home Depot.

      And you know what? You’re not alone. To prove that New Year’s resolutions are sometimes hard to keep, we asked some of our favourite local musicians what they were determined to do better in 2013. Then we asked them how, 24 days into January, things were going on the sticking-with-it front. Not surprisingly, more than a couple of them had already failed miserably in their attempts to live better lives. We can relate, and not just because we’re currently sitting on the couch with a garbage pail full of rum balls, a Texas mickey of Baileys Crème Caramel, and three bottles of Avalon Dairy eggnog that seems to have curdled sometime around January 5.

      Parker Bossley sings and plays guitar for the Gay Nineties, whose Coming Together EP is as sexy as the title makes it sound, consisting of four tightly arranged indie-rock tunes that are equal parts swoon and swagger.

      New Year’s resolution: “To be more like Lance Armstrong.”

      How’s it going? “Well, I’ve been juicing for a few weeks straight now, and ‘doping’ as they call it in the game. Biceps are starkly visible, but with my new calf implants I can no longer wear skinny jeans. As the girth of my forearms grows, my Livestrong wristbands stretch out and some have fallen off. Dubstep music has gone from novelty to necessity. As a young child, my father never taught me how to ride a bike, so I have adopted rollerblading around the seawall into my training regime. I do feel sexier wearing spandex. I have pneumonia due to excessive chills. Some days as I’m blading, people yell that I should ‘suffer for my lies’, but I just put some Anal Cunt on my headphones and blade by them extra quick, always training, never flinching. Live strong, Vancouver.”

      Billy Pettinger—better known to her fans as Billy the Kid—finds the sweet spot between after-the-gold-rush rock, alternative piano pop, and guitar-powered Americana on her latest, Stars, Exploding.

      New Year’s resolution: “Coffee. Stop. I had a $400-a-day soy latte habit that had me begging for change in Pigeon Park. I sold everything I owned. I don’t even own an amp anymore. When things got really bad, I could be found hanging around the 7-Eleven near the Railway Club. Someone suggested one of those Keurig single-coffee-cup things, but I’d just stand in front of it doing coffee shot after coffee shot.”

      How’s it going? “Pretty decent. I drank 10 cups of tea yesterday. I am no longer shaking like a meth addict, and I sleep two hours a night instead of negative eight. I think cutting down on all those genetically engineered soybeans is really hindering the psychic powers I began developing, though. And I miss being able to see through time. Other than that, I recommend Chocolate Rocket from David’s Tea.”

      Matthew Moldowan sang for the criminally obscure 16mm, but he and that band’s bassist, Jeffrey Josiah Powell, are now making seriously great alt-pop as Fine Times. The duo is signed to Light Organ Records, which suggests that there is some justice in the universe.

      New Year’s resolution: “I’m an agoraphobe. Not too long ago, my girlfriend asked me, ‘If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?’ I replied without hesitation: ‘Home.’ Needless to say, I need to get out more. Travel. Meet new people. At her behest, I’ve made it my New Year’s resolution.”

      How’s it going? “The band is hitting the road for South by Southwest and Canadian Music Week in March, so I suppose that’s an early sign that I’m making progress. That being said, I may very well suffer a nervous breakdown in the process.”

      Buckman Coe makes you wonder what the hell you ever saw in Ben Harper with his gorgeous new EP, Crow’s Nest, which rolls out everything from sun-baked reggae to string-swept soft-pop balladry.

      New Year’s resolution: “To stop dating crazy young women. To stop giving a damn about the environment and people, and start eating meat again.”

      How’s it going? “Big fail so far. I suspect I am only attracted to crazy young women—the sane ones aren’t kinky enough, and the old ones are wrinkly and smell funny. I went on a grizzly bear trophy hunt in the Great Bear Rainforest and left all my crystals, medicine pouch, and ganja behind. Luckily they had bacon sandwiches for lunch, and I was able to hold that down quite well—even swamis dream of bacon. And then the moment of truth arrived: I had this big old bear in my sights, but then I started weeping over my rifle like a damn baby. After the shame, I locked myself in my apartment for days with a sweet young thang calling herself Azamsita, which I think means horny in Sanskrit.”

      Tricia McAloney fronts Cupla, the bluesy, riff-heavy outfit founded by her brothers, twins Bill and Bob, for whom rocking the fuck out is clearly a family affair.

      New Year’s resolution: “I have found singing in a band to be profound, but truly lack the time and motivation to invest in social media. So, as a testament to Cupla’s fans, I have vowed to connect more on Twitter and truly let them into my life.”

      How’s it going? “My last tweet was four days ago! I’m thinking this may be an epic fail.”

      John Sponarski writes songs with Harold Donnelly in Portage and Main, whose new album Never Had the Time will fit smashingly into an iPod playlist alongside Neil Young, Green on Red, and the Old 97s.

      New Year’s resolution: “I want to repair more and do more building instead of buying. I guess my New Year’s resolution is to be more self-reliant. I can hardly fix myself a ham sandwich, let alone a leaky faucet or a busted headlight. Now, I’m not saying I wish to become some sort of Bob Vila, but rather I’d like to start taking on these challenges when they arise instead of paying money that I quite frankly don’t have for someone else to take care of them for me.”

      How’s it going? “Well, to be honest… Not so good. I have already paid to have my car fixed, my amp fixed, my guitar fixed, and even a couple of pairs of pants fixed. Hell, if I had known I was going to fall off the bandwagon this early in the year, I would have finished last year off with a bang and paid to fix the outcome of the PEAK Performance Project too!”

      Andrew Lee Barker and his Mete Pills bandmates have got your post-emocore fix if you’re the type of person who wonders why in the hell no one these days is making the kind of music Dischord and Touch and Go put out in the ’90s.

      New Year’s resolution: “This year’s New Year’s resolution is to get my New Year’s resolution published in a local entertainment magazine. I want to see comments like ‘What the hell is a Mete Pills?’ and ‘I’ve never heard these fucking bands! What’s with this lukewarm, limp-wristed dogshit?’ (See last year’s New Year’s comments.) I feel like if I could get into just one entertainment magazine, say the Georgia Straight, for example, I could cross this New Year’s resolution off of my list and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Also, since I only have one New Year’s resolution this year, I’ll have a lot more time to kick back and take it easy, which, coincidentally is my New Year’s resolution for 2014!”

      How’s it going? “It’s coming along great—I’ve just had my New Year’s resolution published in the Straight!”

      Emily Bach plays violin for psychedelic garage rockers Dirty Spells, who make you want to hit the road in a 1967 Rambler, a handful of mushrooms and a Thermos full of brown-acid-spiked Kool-Aid in the glove box.

      New Year’s resolution: “Jesus—resolutions do not work for me. I’m so contrary that I’ll even—especially—defy myself. If my weekly resolution to ‘never drink again!’ is any indication, it’s over before it began. But life is good, I’m super-happy and healthy, so, since you asked, I resolve to change nothing and keep doing exactly what I’ve always done.”

      How’s it going? “You’re not the boss of me! Sorry. Actually, early estimates look like 2013 is set to exceed 2012 in overall radness. Dirty Spells released our EP Greetings From Hangover City early last year, and this year we’re just getting ready to release a full-length album—find it soon at I predict at least double the shows, tours, swag, music, videos, hot dates, and parental approval of last year.”

      Jonathan Truefitt sings and plays guitar with Earlstown Winter, a quartet that delivers 24-karat alt-country gold on its just-released album Jasper.

      New Year’s resolution: “Stop writing so many sad songs. They all tend to be about alcohol, rainy Vancouver streets, and broken hearts. I should try some happy and inspiring themes like recreational sports, keeping fit, sunny days, lattes, things like that.”

      How’s it going? “Ugh, terrible. So far, the only song I’ve written is about a yoga instructor who breaks up with his barista girlfriend, gets addicted to energy drinks, and ends up jogging so fast on the seawall he falls off it and drowns.”

      Dave Cotton makes malevolent six-string magic with Seven Nines and Tens, Vancouver’s best post-black-metal instrumental shoegazing band—and quite likely its only one.

      New Year’s resolution: “I apologize, dear Georgia Straight, for I have deviated from the rules and listed not one but two resolutions. 1) Lobby with enough force that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has no choice but to start producing “Heritage Minute” infomercials again. 2) Play the Commodore Ballroom.”

      How’s it going? “1) Moderately so far. I feel it’s important that the dubstep-loving youth in Wawa, Ontario, are in the know as far as the first time the Tragically Hip played Maple Leaf Gardens or what Don Cherry takes in his Tim Hortons, don’t you? 2) We came oh-so-close to playing the Ballroom with Mogwai in 2012 but were usurped by the ridiculously talented Chad VanGaalen. If you work for Live Nation and are reading this—I got what you need.” 




      Jan 24, 2013 at 1:54pm

      What the hell is post-emocore?

      Mike Usinger

      Jan 24, 2013 at 2:03pm

      I don't know. Ask John Lucas.


      Jan 25, 2013 at 4:46pm

      This article is a great reminder why it's better to know as little about musicians as possible.

      John Lucas

      Feb 4, 2013 at 4:00pm

      Well, wigman, "emocore" was a style of music that folks used to listen to back in your grandparents' day. The word is a portmanteau of "emotional" and "hardcore", and... oh, for fuck's sake, is Wikipedia broken or something?