SONG OF THE DAY // The Shins “40 Mark Strasse”

SONG OF THE DAY // The Shins “40 Mark Strasse”

The newest offering from The Shins has made me very, very happy. I started listening to their retro-style indie pop back in 2004 during my first year of university, and many of their tunes eventually became anthems and the soundtrack to my life at several points.

As for this song, I just think it’s really pretty. Hope you do too.




Is it all so very simple
And horribly complex
You’re suffering
And there’s nothing coming next

Your mom smokes in the kitchen
Her voice a cutting drown
They’re creeping out, you pass the bar
Your father’s second home
That leaves you on your own

Nights I’d often watch you
Float across the ground
Out the gate to the motorway
What secrets have you found?

You had to know I wanted
Something from you then
Too young to know just what it was
Something more than a friend
Is that you at the end

Well, you play in the street at night
You blow like a broken kite
My girl, you’re giving up the fight
Are you gonna let these Americans
Put another dent in your life?

My mother says your dirty
They’re gonna find you dead
But have you got that final chapter
Written in your head

Cause every single story
Is a story about love
Both the overflowing cup
And the painful lack thereof
You got the heart of a dove

But you play in the street at night
You blow just like a broken kite
My girl, you’re giving up the fight
You’ll have to lose all them childish notions
If you’re gonna let these American boys
Put another dent in your life

You play in the street at night
You blow just like a broken kite
My girl, you’re giving up the fight
You’ll have to lose all them childish notions
Are you gonna let these Americans
Put another dent in your life?

Transmission 08

Transmission 08

 The first night of the 3-day Vancouver rock show took place at the Biltmore Cabaret. Two years ago this was probably the most depressing, dilapidated bar along the Kingsway corridor, but since the renovations, it has been hosting some of the hottest bands on the local music scene.

Twin Crystals started off the show with their huge, bombastic electro-heavy sounds.  The digital punk-rock trio hybrid are best described as the kind of band that crafts tunes catering to an ADD-riddled generation – fast, catchy, and loud as hell. Drummer Jordan Alexander pounded his set with a superhuman like determination, while frontman keyboardist Jesse Taylor repeatedly screamed “Go to sleep! Go to sleep!” before languishing in a pool of psychedelic, distorted sound waves.

Sandwiched between two heavy acts, Said the Whale came on quickly and entreated the audience to a warm plethora of sounds that were both soothing and invigorating. Playing fresh tunes from their re-released album Taking Back Abalonia, the indie quintet brought a late summer glow to the show. Caught somewhere between the coolness of the Shins and the spiritual ferocity of Broken Social Scene, Said the Whale was the best act of the night. 

Ladyhawk was the most anticipated act at the Biltmore, but afterwards there was a sense of disappointment. In the alleyway leaving the show one could overhear the conversations amongst the hipsters, one of whom was describing a Ladyhawk as “a huge plaid beardo  bro down.” 

Day two was tremendously impressive. More flavour and variety of sounds were played at the gutted-out Storyeum basement in Gastown. Aside from being a bigger, newer space, the venue had two stages going on either side of the building which allowed for smooth set changes and less waiting time for the rest of us.

Prairie-raised Wendy McNeill played music for the heartbroken, using a variety of unusual instruments ranging from the accordion to tiny music boxes. McNeill’s free spirit filled the dark venue as she sang songs about deception and illusion, begging the audience with thoughtful, voyeuristic lyrics such as “tell me what it’s like/ when no one’s watching,” while polishing off her experimental indie folk sounds with the clear “ching” of a triangle. 

Another memorable act of the evening was Pacifika, an alternative rhythmic latin group, that incorporates subtle undertones resonating from their acid jazz influences. Adding tremendous sensuality and softness to the blend, the trio combined dub, electronica and heavier beats while sweeping through the eclectic sounds of latin America over nylon-stringed guitars. Anchored by Toby Peter, a rather dominant bass player, singer Silvana Kane’s voluptuous voice added balance and feminine intimacy to the set list.

On the other hand, Woodhands‘ performance was blistering, deafening and amazing. With just two bodies on stage , the electro-pop duo filled the second stage space with relentless energy and impressive musicmanship.  Vocalist Dan Werb showed his mastery of two electric keyboards, synths and drum machines, while intermittently dancing around the stage without the slightest indication of fatigue. “Chocolate” Paul Banwatt drummed demonically, adding more depth and fervour to the huge electro, heart-thumping beats. 

Despite its quasi-corporate sponsorship, Transmission succeeded as a celebration of independent and local Vancouver artists who decorate the music scene across the whole gambit of genres. From the high strung, teched out electro fiends, the plaid-sporting greaseballs, or the quiet bookish types, this three-day show had something for everyone.