Vancouver music release roundup - January/February

Album releases aren't what they were a few years ago—especially so because many artists skip hard copy and jump straight to digital releases. But what's going on in Vancouver these days with those releases? We kick off a discovery in all genres…

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Title: Night EyesSAVVIE's Night Eyes album art
Artist(s): SAVVIE (Savannah Leigh Wellman, vocals) featuring Matthew Rogers, bass, guitar; John Sponarski, guitar; Brendan Krieg, drums; JP Maurice, vocals; Michelle Faehrmann, cello
Genre: Indie Rock / Pop
Label: Tiny Kingdom Records
Sample: "Without You"
Notes: It comes as no surprise that music industry veteran Savannah Leigh Wellman aka SAVVIE steps into her leading role with confidence. But it's refreshing that her years of experience result in originality. Though buzzy guitar amplifiers easily bring the Black Keys to mind, SAVVIE's songs are less paired down, combining digital with the analog. Her dynamic voice colours the record with emotional wisdom, cradled by crackling distortion at both its sustained highs and sultry lows. -NL


Title: PEP (Piano and Ehru Project), Volume IIPEP, Volume II album art
Artist(s): Nicole Ge Li, erhu; Corey Hamm, piano
Genre: Contemporary Classical
Label: Redshift
Sample: Vol. II, no 5 - "Homage to Liu Wenjin" by Keith Hamel

Pianist Corey Hamm and Nicole Ge Li's erhu comprise PEP, which stands for "Piano and Erhu Project". Ya’ll know what piano is but erhu is a Chinese violin (two-stringed fiddle), which makes these two odd bedfellows from the get go.

The foremost feature of this album is the originality of its compositions (which is good, because the world doesn’t need another clever transcription of Gollywog’s Cakewalk to justify combining two such disparate instruments). PEP performs works by both Canadian and Chinese composers, featuring with a large number of new works by Vancouver composers such as Dorothy Chang, Keith Hamel, and Remy Sui. PEP sets our expectations of New Music against sounds often associated with traditional music and in doing that provides something that is fresh as it is unique.

Note: On March 28, PEP will premiere more new works at Sonic Boom Festival Vancouver! -JH


Title: SASSICAIASea and Sky's SASSICAIA album art
Artist(s): Sea and Sky (François Houle, clarinet; Jane Hayes, piano)
Genre: Contemporary Classical
Label: Redshift
Sample: "Nocturne" by Jacques Hétu

I don’t know if it was Chinese New Year celebrations at the Symphony or the St. Louis Blues playing the Canucks that ate up the audience for the François’ CD release concert at Pyatt Hall (March 2), but the handful of people who turned out were treated to the very outer limits of performance techniques so far as clarinet and piano repertoire go.

Pianist, Janes Hayes and clarinet, François Houle performing a mix of works from their two recently released CDs: Sassicaia and Zarabandeo. Where Zarabandeo explored traditional repertoire, albeit with an Hispanic flare, Sassicaia ventured out much further (although it’s Houle’s lightening quick musical reflexes and Jane’s masterful chamber music chops that made both the live performance and the CD outstanding). -JH


Title: Should The Light Go OutShould The Light Go Out album art
Artist(s): Twin River (Courtney Ewan Bromley, vocals, guitar; Andrew Bishop, vocals, guitar; Dustin Bromley, drums; Malcolm Jack, bass; Rebecca Law Grey, keys, percussion, vocals)
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: Light Organ Records
Sample: "Bend To Break"
Notes: Immediacy often lacks subtlety: it's hard to deliver any message quickly without tripping over your words and making frantic hand gestures. But on their debut LP, Twin River have already smoothed out their kinetic outpouring into a wistful, though wilful wash of sound. The amount of reverb on this record will dominate the listening experience for some, but for others, it's canyon-esque sonic palate will be a welcome alternative to the compressed loudness on most current recordings. A highly recommended listen. -NL


Artists / labels / PR:

Are you releasing music in the coming months? Submit your CD or electronic copy for mention with the following information:

  • Title
  • Artist (including names of band members and what instruments they play)
  • Genre
  • Label
  • URLs to songs and cover art (that we'll link to)
  • Or an electronic press kit containing these items

To submit your recently released Vancouver music, or to get a mailing address for sending physical copies, contact us.

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