Over the past weekend, I (Heather Gardner, Head of Music Supervision + Licensing) had the pleasure of being invited to attend the annual Durango Songwriters Film & TV Showcase in beautiful Ventura, California, and now that I’m back in Toronto I’m slowly digesting the incredible amount of music that I had the opportunity to hear over three days by the beach.
I can’t wait to find homes for these fantastic tunes in future projects, and need to share the love by posting just a few of my favourites for your listening pleasure (in no particular order!).
As an official sponsor this year, I on behalf of Vapor, attended the 2013 Great Escape Festival in Brighton this past weekend. Tagged as Europe’s version of SXSW, I spent three days listening to music related panels, mingling with fellow industry delegates, and of course, watching up and coming artists perform some kicks ass sets.
With 3000 delegates, 100+ speakers, and over 350 bands traveling far and wide to get to Brighton to entertain me with their music, I feel it’s my duty to reflect and share who I thought were the breakout acts at TGE.
1. John Newman Already being a huge fan of Hackney, London sensation, Rudimental, I first heard John Newman’s voice featured on the band’s hit single,”Feel the Love”. Sounding similar to a Motown record but with a twist, John Newman’s soulful voice had my attention instantly. With the success he received from his collaboration with Rudimental, John went on to create what is now his soon to be released debut album.
Performing 5 tracks, including his first single “Love Me Again”, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he sang and shimmied to each song.
2. Little Green Cars One of the best things about a festival like Great Escape is that I always seem to stumble upon my next favourite band. Whether they are the band on before the one I’m there to see, or I decide to choose a venue and stay there all night, it’s usually by accident that I see the band I’m in love with for the next month or so. This is how I came to know the 5-piece band from Dublin, Little Green Cars.
I’m not sure if it was the vocal harmonies that got me, or the fact that they have hints of Mumford and Sons (one of my favourite bands) in some of their tracks. But, either way they have a sound that cannot be ignored.
3. Brolin Cundo Every so often, I find I need to give my ears a rest from the music so that the ringing from the speakers can stop. A few other delegates and I decided to sit and enjoy the Brighton sun, but within a few moments, the sounds of Brolin Cundo pulled us all into what looked like a family’s living room (but was really the Double Denim Showcase). In this intimate venue, with room for about 25 people to stand comfortably, we listened to this UK musician/producer (who fancies wearing a mask during his set) perform a few tracks off his EP including my favourite, “Reykjavik”.
Other notable performances include: No Ceremony
ON AN ON
It’s near impossible to go anywhere without hearing the highly addictive smash hit ‘I Love It’ by Swedish duo Icona Pop, thanks in large part to the song now soundtracking worldwide television commercials for the brand new Samsung Galaxy S4. We’re so excited to have music supervised this campaign and to turn even more listeners on to this duo on the rise. Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo are the ladies behind this project that are turning heads with their mood transforming anthems.
This is just the beginning for Hjelt and Jawo, with their debut album being released this year and a continuous busy tour schedule. Thanks to the teams at Warner Music/Atlantic Records, Universal Music Publishing, Kobalt Music Publishing and Various Artists Management for working with us to pull it all together. We can’t wait to hear what these gals come up with next!
Our International Music Rep extraordinaire, Sari Morein, has made the journey across the pond and is now handling all things Vapor from London, England.
I had the pleasure of attending a unique event this weekend that combined all things creative– It was none other than the 2013 Made in Shoreditch Fashion Show! Hosted by Offbeat Live and Made in Shoreditch Magazine and with guest celebrities Mischa Barton and Eliza Doolittle, this event featured everything from photography to fashion to what I care most about…new music!
Standing amongst what seemed like a sea of East end hipsters and fashionistas, we oohed and ahhed as each model stepped onto the runway debuting one of the 10 designers’ collections. I may love clothes, and may be labeled a shopaholic by friends, but the music licensing side of my brain took over that night. The creators of the show wrapped the catwalk around the stage, so whether it was a soulful, pop rock or a funkadelic sound, the models tailored their walks to bands’ beats. It gave us audience members a show for the eyes and the ears.
So who were the fresh new bands performing that night?
The night kicked off with the heartfelt sounds of: James Craise. He fell into his destiny of singing and songwriting when his mother became sick and he returned home to be with her. He put pen to paper during that time and ended up with a slew of powerful ballads that wowed the crowd. James Craise Soundcloud
As people continued to shuffle and squeeze in, the venue started to heat up, and so did the music. The other notable performance was by: Rufio Summers. Hearing hints of Jimi Hendrix and Justin Timberlake in his performance, Summers stole the show. Running onto the catwalk and doing a little strut of his own, he shared four songs that combined rock and roll, pop and blues. Rufio Summers Soundcloud
And finally, my night ended after hearing a GREAT cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” by funk rock fusion band: The Thirst.
We at Vapor hope you’ve planned to sit yourself in front of your television tonight (or at least set your DVR’s!) for a hot date with the season finale of Seed! Over the past thirteen episodes, we’ve had the honour of filling the world of TV’s newest dysfunctional family with tunes, and tonight’s finale is no exception.
If you tuned into episode 109, “Rebel Without Lamaze,” a few weeks ago you would have heard the sunny sounds of A B & The Sea’s ‘Down and Around’. Tonight we’re bringing you even more from our artist of the week with their song ‘Suzie’.
Hailing from Wisconsin, long time friends Koley O’Brien (vocals, guitar) and Joe Spargur (guitar) founded A B & The Sea in 2009 and headed to sunny California where they were eventually joined by Troy Lawton (drums), Ben Laatsch (bass), and David Hunt (keyboard).
Since making San Francisco their home, this surf pop sensation has shared the stage with the likes of fun., Fitz & The Tantrums, Best Coast, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and Tokyo Police Club, while being compared to a mix between Foster The People and The Beach Boys. Their debut LP Constant Vacation, released in 2012, has the boys delivering infectious hooks and dreamlike harmonies making you fantasize about a summer adventure on the West Coast. We can’t think of anything better as we finally leave winter behind.
Follow the band on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and listen to more from A B & The Sea below, with their video for ‘In The Sunshine’ and their debut album stream via Bandcamp.
Our International Music Rep extraordinaire, Sari Morein, has made the journey across the pond and is now handling all things Vapor from London, England.
London. The city that eats, sleeps, and breathes music. Especially this week!
Best Music Event of the Week:Record Store Day, of course!
Considering I purchased a record player a few years ago, I always thought it was important to celebrate and participate in Record Store Day back in Toronto. And, although I did not shlep my record player to London, I wanted to see how “into the day” people got here on this side of the pond. Whether you were in the East end at Rough Trade East, or in Soho on Berwick Street, tons of music lovers of all ages spent their sunny Saturday afternoon enjoying some live performances, while sifting through vinyl to purchase at the various record shops participating in the event. With notable performances from DJ Weekend Offender, Frank Turner, and The Strypes, it was difficult for pedestrians not participating in the day to not stop and enjoy the sweet sounds blaring the streets of London.
Best Gig of the Week: Autre Ne Veut I have been hearing about this band from Brooklyn since a friend of mine told me, “Sari, you must see this band perform” at SXSW this year. Sadly, I didn’t get to. So, when I saw they were going to be in London for not one, but four shows in a row, I knew I had to make it out to at least one of them! Somehow managing to sound even better live than he does on the album, front man Arthur Ashin had wowed the sold out crowd by the time he reached the second verse of the new single, “Play by Play”. Ashin and his band mates decided to forget the forced in between song banter that most other bands thrive on, and instead just performed their debut pop-soul album from front to back, leaving us audience members in awe.
To put it simply, I should’ve listened to my friend as this show is definitely the best one I’ve seen to date.
Best Track of the Week: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk ft. Pharrell
Whether you are on the tube, on the double decker bus, at a pub or walking on the streets of London, everyone has at least one ear phone in their ear. And you can bet that this week, every ear piece was blasting this song. For those who have managed to ignore all social media sites (as they’ve all been promoting the heck out of this song), it’s time to take a listen now. And for those who have had this track on replay, well why not listen to again:
How time flies — we’re now less than a week away from our annual Independent Music Showcase! We are looking forward to seeing you on April 24th and can not wait to catch live performances from the amazing bands on this year’s lineup: Yukon Blonde, Eight and a Half, Kashka, and Nightbox.
This week’s featured band, Vancouver based Yukon Blonde, spent the most part of 2012 on the road touring in support of their sophomore album Tiger Talk. Since its release, the band has graced over 200 stages in North America and Europe including sharing the spotlight with The Jezabels on their tour across the US and The Sheepdogs across Canada. They also performed at major music festivals SXSW, Osheaga, Edgefest, NXNE, and Ottawa Folk Fest, to name a few.
Considered an adventurous step in Yukon Blonde’s career, Tiger Talk has proven to be a success garnering widespread critical acclaim. The album has since been long listed for the 2012 Polaris Music Prize, the lead single ‘Stairway’ was featured in promotional campaigns for the Toronto Blue Jays, and an alternate version of ‘My Girl’ appeared in a Canadian Tourism campaign. To top that off, the band has even been name-dropped on an episode of How I Met Your Mother!
2013 is looking bright for Yukon Blonde, having just wrapped up the last leg of their tour this spring and a Juno nomination in hand for Breakthrough Group of the Year. The acclaim couldn’t be more deserved, and we’re thrilled to share their music with you next week.
Only 13 days remaining until Vapor’s annual Independent Music Showcase on April 24th featuring performances by 4 incredible bands; Yukon Blonde, Eight and a Half, Kashka and Nightbox! If you like numbers, here is some more noteworthy math for you: Justin Peroff of Broken Social Scene + Dave Hamelin and Liam O’Neil of The Stills = this week’s featured band, Eight and a Half.
This trio was formed when all three members (then good friends) realized that they shared a desire to create music that was distinctively different than the big anthems their primary bands were known for. Following Broken Social Scene’s completed Forgiveness Rock Record Tour and The Stills’ disbandment in 2010, the sideline project of Eight and a Half became a very real, powerful and solid formation.
In April of 2012, Eight and a Half released their much-anticipated self-titled debut album. Exploring something new with a synth-heavy intimate sound, their label Arts & Crafts describes the project’s outcome perfectly: “Eight and a Half’s self-titled album simply dazzles. It is a record marked by endless textures: hums, pings, washes, drones, cascades, sounds skittering, snares banging, the feather-soft gorgeousness of an incredible vocal melody, and more.”
Our International Music Rep extraordinaire, Sari Morein, has made the journey across the pond and is now handling all things Vapor from London, England. We’re excited to share her weekly adventures on our blog!
Prior to my move to London, I was unaware that theatre was such a main attraction (seeing as how many people, including myself associate theatre with New York). Within minutes of getting off the plane, I was bombarded with dozens of posters and billboards promoting plays like The Book of Mormon, Jersey Boys, and Viva Forever…yes, that is in fact a play about the Spice Girls!
There was one playbill poster that really caught my eye though. It was simple, and there was one impactful tag line that read, “His music needed one thing. Her.” It was none other than Once– a stage adaptation of the 2006 musical film, Once, about an Irish guitar player and a Czech piano player (Glen Hansard and Market Irglova) falling in love through music. I was instantly sold and within a few hours I purchased a ticket for that night’s performance.
With it being a winner of 8 Tony Awards including “Best Musical”, this play gave us audience members EVERYTHING we needed and wanted: some Irish humour, some raw emotion, and some damn good music. Glen Hansard and Marketa created all the music and lyrics, and even had the heartbreakingly beautiful, Academy Award winning song “Falling Slowly” strummed throughout the entire performance as if it were the theme song. The result of that? Well there was not a dry eye in the house.
If you enjoy the sounds of the violin, the mandolin, the guitar, the cello, and the piano being played together on one simple set with the accompaniment of some mind-blowing voices, all to tell a story about love– then go and see this gem of a show.
Vapor’s annual Independent Music Showcase is only a few short weeks away! We are so excited about this year’s lineup and cannot wait to see you on April 24th. Get ready for a fun time filled with great performances from Yukon Blonde, Eight and a Half, Kashka, and Nightbox.
This week’s feature, KASHKA, will surely wash away your winter blues and get you pumped for a warm spring. KASHKA is the ongoing “folkpoptronica” musical project of Toronto based songwriter Kat Burns. The project originally began in 2009 as a way to produce new songs outside of her previous band (and Vapor favourite!) Forest City Lovers’ umbrella. After a couple of digitally released singles recorded with the help of James Bunton (Ohbijou, Light Fires) and a few live shows, she realized it was time to take this side project into the spotlight.
While completing a songwriting residency at Toronto Island and with the production and programming assistance of James Bunton the two collaborated to complete Vichada, the first full length offering from KASHKA. Filled with summery pop songs and released on limited edition cassette, Vichada is a throwback to the new-wave music with a contemporary kick.
2013 has seen Burns hunkered down in Candle Recording Studio nearing completion to the follow up of Vichada entitled Periphery. The record will explore a more orchestral sound and will touch upon themes of family history, loss and travel. Produced by Leon Taheny (Dusted, Rituals, Bruce Peninsula), Periphery is well on its way to solidifying this new sound for KASHKA.