July 18-27, 2019 | Capital Plaza (108 St. & 99 Ave.)
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Jesse and the Dandelions are a 5 piece psyche-pop band based in Edmonton Alberta, led by Jesse Northey (Producer, Engineer).

With Jesse and the Dandelions’ production values maturing alongside the content, their upcoming album Give Up The Gold (2018) is enriched with classic synth and guitar textures that pays respect to the past, while forging their own path forward. String sections, a cacophonous blend of noise, and heavily layered vocal harmonies push accessible pop hooks into more psychedelically complex and intriguing harmonic territory that rewards repeat listeners by continuing to engage them.

“True Blue is a thoughtful, evocative album that grows in appreciation on successive spins. In the simplest terms, it’s a dreamy pop record that ventures into the realm of the psychedelic.

Highlighted by compelling, layered instrumentation, coded ethereal lyrics and the occasional jangly guitar—True Blue leaves a lingering effect that is challenging and satisfying.  Elegant harmonies drift throughout the record, summoning memories of late Beatles records crossed with early ’90s college-radio lyrics” – Vue Weekly

The band has been very active in Western Canada with success on CBC and campus community radio, as well as great opening slots for bands like Attack In Black, Hollerado,Said the Whale and July Talk. Highlights have included showcases at Breakout West,Canadian Music Week, JUNOfest, Sled Island, over 100k Spotify spins for True Blue, and the inclusion on Spotify’s Modern Psychedelia Playlist.

Jesse and the Dandelions consists of Jesse Northey(Guitar,Vox) Conner Ellinger (Drums) Daniel Sedmak (Bass), Travis Sargeant(Guitar) and Dean Kheroufi (Keys).

Published in Entertainment Listings

Long before Vancouver’s Said The Whale became a JUNO Award-winning, radio chart-topping indie rock band, it was an exploratory songwriting experiment led by high school friends Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester. Now, a decade since their 2007 formation, they have taken the project back to its freeform roots while simultaneously venturing forward into uncharted art-pop territory.

As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide is the group’s fifth album, and it was recorded amidst a period of turnover. Following the success of 2013’s hawaiii, which spawned the Canadian rock/alternative number 1 hit “I Love You,” bassist Nathan Shaw and longtime drummer Spencer Schoening both left the lineup. Now operating as a trio — with frontmen Tyler and Ben and keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown — the group briefly considered making separate solo records before ultimately deciding to enter the studio with no preconceptions and no concrete plan.

“It’s a return to how Tyler and I used to make music, which is just experimenting with anything and everything,” Ben remembers. “We started out using Casio keyboards and drumbeats on our computers, and then we turned into a rock band. This is a return to being free to make anything.”

Recording took place in various Vancouver studios, with We Are The City’s Cayne McKenzie serving as producer and helping to guide the record’s organic synth textures and unpredictable structures. Arrangements were chopped up until they became unrecognizable from their original form, scratch vocals were soaked in effects and used in the final mixes, and assorted song fragments were gutted and stitched together. The sessions were briefly interrupted by the birth of Tyler’s son, and Jaycelyn got married and had to record some of her parts while on honeymoon in Southeast Asia.

And yet, regardless of the piecemeal recording process, the result is the most focused album of Said The Whale’s career to date. Thick bass grooves and shimmering electronic tones unify the album and permeate the space once reserved for guitar strums. “This is the most cohesive record we’ve ever made, between my songs and Ben’s songs,” Tyler says. “Musically, there was more collaboration than ever before.”

Previous Said The Whale records highlighted the contrast between Tyler’s eclectic rock influences and Ben’s salt-of-the-earth folksiness. Here, their styles become one: Ben-sung lead single “Step into the Darkness” rides a giddy drum loop towards its towering pop chorus, while Tyler’s “Confidence” sets soul-searching lyrics about the harsh realities of adulthood against a sublime backdrop of dance beats and deconstructed synth stabs. “Emily Rose” is an aching tribute to a friend who passed away in a car crash, and “Heaven” is a bittersweet eulogy propelled by swaggering blasts of electronic bass.

Despite the album’s many adventurous sonic forays, it remains true to the spirit of Said The Whale’s classic work. At its core, As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide is a singer-songwriter record, guided by introspective lyrics and alchemical group harmonies from Ben, Tyler and Jaycelyn. “This is our most personal, earnest record for sure,” Tyler says. “Even the upbeat songs are lamenting and sad.”

After so much change and uncertainty in recent years, Said The Whale has emerged as a unified force. While some listeners are bound to see the overhauled sound as a reinvention, it’s really just the latest step forward. They’ve evolved, but the DNA is the same, and the group’s musical partnership is more fruitful than ever.

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Wares is the name for the noisy, driving, power pop sounds made by Edmonton songwriter Cassia Hardy. Emerging in 2013 with a series of bedroom recorded EPs, Cassia quickly established a reputation for her captivating live sets. Early Wares performances would often see Cassia and her too-loud guitar wading into the crowd, lyrics screamed over squalls of feedback suddenly cutting to whisper quiet refrains. Nonstop west coast touring, a profile in Noisey, and opening spots for groups like U.S. Girls, Metz, and Cloud Nothings, soon brought Wares to the national spotlight.

More recently, Wares’ eponymous debut on Double Lunch Records has enjoyed widespread acclaim from critics and long time listeners.  Recorded by Calgary’s Lorrie Matheson, Wares takes years of roadworn songcraft and distills it to a dynamic forty minutes of music, full of sudden turns. From lovelorn campfire strumming (‘Out All Night’), to grimy punk riffing (‘What You Want’, Keeping Me Awake’), to rumbling waves of synth drone (Dirt), Wares could easily have been a confounding listen. Yet throughout each track, Cassia’s deft lyricism and knack for arranging keep the music focused and engaging. Currently taking the form of a four piece band for live shows, expect new sights and sounds from Wares as they tour the country this summer.

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Published in Entertainment Listings