Vamp's Sled Island 2016 picks
By: Amber McLinden & Kennedy Enns
Below are Culture/LGBTQ editor Kennedy and Current/Profiles editor Amber’s top picks for Sled Island. In between watching as many bands as we can you can find Amber volunteering with the pass pick-up crew at the Fairmont Palliser and Kennedy taking pics with her media pass for The Reflector. Come say hi!
Is there any question why Vamp loves Peaches? The boys want to be her, the girls want to be her and Vamp wants to be her. From her well known single “Fuck The Pain Away” to her most recent album, RUB, it seems glam-rock and shock queen Peaches can’t stop making waves in the music world. That’s not all that Peaches has to offer though, beyond her music, we dig Peaches for being the strong, independent, successful women everyone aspires to be. Don’t forget to check out as many of the acts she’s selected for Sled this year as you can. As the guest curator, it seems as though everybody should be obligated to see her show at Flames Central Saturday, June 25th at 11:30pm.
Another shared favourite of Vamp, Angel Olsen creates music that could easily land a place on anyone’s favourites list. Indie, folk, and singer-songwriter are all descriptors that can be used to explain Olsen’s music. Her powerful lyrics and vocals drive the music, and create an auspicious and calming, yet very powerful sound. Some of our favourites include Lights Out (just when you thought you would turn all your lights out it shines/ some days all you need is one good thought strong in your mind). Angel Olsen is what Mac Demarco would sound like if he was good at writing and a woman (which we can say because we both love Mac Demarco too). Come sway along to Angel Olsen with us at Central United Church Wednesday, June 22nd at 9pm.
Amber’s Picks (see Amber’s full sled schedule here)
Sled categorizes this all-girl band as “garage-rock/stoner-pop”, which is fitting for their reverb-heavy, grungy, yet somehow still light songs. These girls make music that you can jam out to while still absorbing the cultural commentary that is threaded through their songs. Listen to some of my favourites, including James Dean (Oh boy, when I fuck you, you make me feel like a prostitute/ yeah, when you fuck me, I make you feel just like James Dean) and Pussy Weed Beer (self-explanatory), and you’ll understand what I mean. Listen to their music while lounging by a pool and smoke a joint, or join Vamp at Broken City Wednesday, June 22nd at 1am (Thursday morning) to jam out with Chastity Belt live.
Dream-pop indie band TOPS is often described using the word “kaleidoscopic”. This four piece band produces music that feels like a feather brushing against your cheek. Soft, serene, and dreamy, TOPS makes pop music the best way you can. Jane Penny, TOPS frontwoman, told Dummy Mag “I’ve had people tell me that have [album Picture You Staring] already that they’ll listen to Destination and Driverless Passenger when they’re going to sleep after they come home from a party, or in the morning when they’re coming down or whatever from going out. I feel like it has a certain level of warmth that can be good for that.” Some of my favourites include Way to be Loved and Hollow Sound of the Morning Chimes. Come float on the dream-pop cloud with TOPS and Vamp at Broken City Thursday, June 23rd at 12:30am (Friday morning).
BLANKA is on a short list of bands that step outside of a certain genre for me. Going against some of my other picks, BLANKA can be described as experimental post-punk. The indie element of their music softens the often rough edges of these genres, which is why BLANKA lands a place on my Sled Island picks. Check out Y A S U D A here, and enjoy my favourite track, titled Somewhere. Step out of my comfort zone with me at Commonwealth Tuesday, June 21st at 12am (Wednesday morning).
Although I’ve never done it, I feel as though Vulva Culture’s music is what someone on codeine must feel like. Sled coins their music as “druggy slowcore”, but it could also be described as a pessimistic take on dream-pop (nightmare pop?). This is truly the kind of music that conjures up images of depressed teens everywhere slow dancing, or angsty indie movies. Their bandcamp bio describes the group as “a corpse of truly devastated Haligonian souls, who’ve together found beauty in their tears and wickedness in their blood”. Cry with me while listening to one of my favourites, Supermoon, or check out their newest single, Hydromorphone. Check them out with us at Tubby Dog Saturday, June 25th at 5pm.
In case you haven’t already noticed by the rest of my picks, I thoroughly enjoy lo-fi, which is why The Avulsions fits well into this list. They have only two songs to their name, VIRUS and The End (you can buy The End on their bandcamp for the low price of $1,000), both which live up to the descriptor “nihilistic goth-pop”. Listen to any song by this trio, and you’ll wonder if you’re still on earth or in some sort of space-based horror movie. Join us and The Avulsions Saturday, June 25th in the Local 510 parking lot at 8pm.
The Basement Demons
Have you ever wondered what a band would sound like if nobody knew how to play their instruments and was made up of underage kids? Enter The Basement Demons, a Calgary based band made up of siblings and cousins whose ages run from nine to 20 years old. Come watch “three angry little girls” and a dude tear up Tubby Dog Friday, June 24th at 8pm with what can truly be described as “sludge rock”. Check out The Basement Demons on bandcamp here.
Kenn’s picks (See Kenn’s full schedule here)
Partner has released only four songs online, two of which can be found on their bandcamp and the others on their Youtube channel. But they are proof that you don’t need a ton of songs to be great. Their song The Ellen Page features the star herself in the video and is a great lesbian anthem (People say that I talk like Ellen Page/ I guess that makes sense since we come from the same place/ But it’s more than just a regional thing ‘cause if it’s 50 percent Maritimes it’s 50 per cent lesbian). They describe themselves as “part musical act, part teenage diary, and 100% queer” and are a fun break from the “dryer full of razor blades” acts that Sled promises. Come hang out either at 12am on Wednesday at Broken City or 9pm on Thursday in the Local 510 parking lot.
Glad Rags are a modern day riot girl band. Singing about topics such as rape, sexual harassment and eating disorders. Their topics sound serious but Glad Rags are “unapologetically female and unapologetically fun”. They’re a killer feminist punk girl band to add to your list if you already haven’t. Sing along with Vamp either at 8:30 on Wednesday at Broken City or Thursday at 8pm in the Local 510 parking lot.
Calling her tunes “sad bastard jingle jangle” Edmonton’s Marlaena Moore is everything you want from a “preoccupied, sunny-headed, blossom-singing, sorrow songstress”. Her confessional album “Gaze” talks about love, break-ups (and about masturbation) and is beautifully vulnerable. Catch Marlaena Moore at 8pm at Central United Church on Wednesday night or Thursday at 6pm at the Palomino.
The first time I saw Dream Whip they opened for La Luz and Shannon and the Clams at the Palomino and they stole my heart. This dreamy, indie pop, all girl band is from Calgary and is well worth listening to. Support your local artists and check out Dream Whip Thursday at 11pm at the Legion downstairs or Saturday the 25th at 1:50pm in the Olympic Plaza.
together PANGEA and The Seth Bogart Show
I have loved everything Burger Records has put out since I discovered them so it’s no surprise that both Seth Bogart and together Pangea made it onto my list. Though shocker! They’re not a girl band. together Pangea is “weird, fast and loud” and Seth Bogart from Hunx and his Punx fame is dreamy, romantic and 60s inspired. Though very different you can catch them back to back at The Legion Thursday night from 12 until 2am. Or together Pangea Friday at 9pm in the Local 510 parking lot. If I wasn’t in a summer class I’d also totally be at the Seth Bogart DJ Set Friday at 3pm at Broken City.