Bands Worth Watching


I think most people in Vancouver know N//P are the real deal. Their debut LP came out last year on Mammoth Cave Recording Co. (and is sold out but getting repressed soon on La-Ti-Da Records) and it’s just front-to-back phenomenal. One of my favourite things about them is that their lyrics might be about getting drunk, partying and girls but they somehow write good, smart lyrics about getting drunk, partying and girls. I will try my whole life to write a song as perfect as “Drop It,” but I will fail. I honestly don’t think there are many bands in the entire world better than these dudes.

Shawn Mrazek Lives!

My glib capsule summary to sell this band to people is “The Velvet Underground if they were in rehab,” like Lou Reed has remembered what’s good about life and wants to remind you. Well, he hasn’t, but Shawn Mrazek has. Shawn has drummed in a ton of notable Vancouver acts over the years like The Doers and The Evaporators, but this time he’s on guitar and Rose Melberg’s playing drums and the whole lineup is just perfect. There’s no posturing in this band, what you see is what you get, and that’s rare anywhere but epecially Vancouver. I’m going to be talking about them a lot, I feel, when people ask me what’s good in Vancouver.

N. 213′s Group Vision

When I first saw this band live, I wept. Yeah, I’m a sensitive guy, leave me alone. This was the solo project of Nxc from Vancouver stalwarts/inspirations Shearing Pinx, but these days he’s doing this project with a full band, and it’s absolutely unreal. My friend Tom (who I used to play with in Korean Gut) is their drummer and when he plays he just looks like a bad photoshop blur effect. They’re so savage and intense without a hint of aggression. Cathartic music.

Aquarian Foundation

To totally take a left turn: Aquarian Foundation, My friend Jay Arner turned me onto this stuff. Super crazy glitchy electronic stuff…maybe? This is so far afield of what I tend to write about, that I’m embarrassed to describe it for fear of coming off like your dad explaining techno to you. (“It’s so funky!!!”) All I know is it bleeps and boops and I think it’s top-notch. These guys are part of a group called Mood Hut, who are doing a lot of interesting stuff right now around town.


They got to open for Black Flag! Although these days, I don’t know if that’s a compliment or an insult. Two members of this band used to be in a group I adored called No L.A Kill and their third member is in the equally-amazing Koban, so I was prepared to love them from the start but then they exceeded my expectations. Lié blow me away with just how good they are every time I see them. This is pitch-black music: bleak, bleak stuff, like the coolest death rattle you’ll ever hear. They just assail you at their shows, and their stage presence is so unique, I’ve never seen a 3-piece dynamic quite like it.

Also this has nothing to do with them, but I’m sneaking in recommendations for The Courtneys, Young Braised and Gal Gracen just because I can.

Next page: Venues Of Note and Post-Show Hangs