by Helga Urknit
A review of Calgary's local bands
|Calgary Brand Bands
By Aurora Tapp
When asked to define, “Indie music,” I draw a blank. Honestly, I have always associated the genre with underground clubs, cheap CDs, and sensitive boys dressed in American Apparel. So this week, my goal was to take a closer look. My assignment: to research bands native to Calgary. I was given a list of various local bands, a MySpace account, and a blank document on Microsoft Word. I took a break from Lil’ Wayne and Rihanna, and opened my ears to the less commercialised.
WoodPigeon, self-defined as, “Disturbing psychodramas and bleak narratives coated in honey,” is exactly that. Reminders of both babyhood lullabies and nineties one-hit wonders, Grandmother Goose meets The Presidents of the United States. Although, admittedly, it grew on me. Particularly because, like watching Titanic, my reaction was less than cold-hearted. The lyrics are soft and melodic, which as a sap, I grew almost hypnotized by la la la’s and sounds of xylophones. I managed to contact the Scottish lead singer, Mark Hamilton, and asked him to shed some light on the origin and focus of the band. While WoodPigeon is a Canadian band, they are yet to be signed to a label in their own country. They do, however, have labels in Japan and Europe, where they just finished touring. He seemed to have the intention on only expanding his international influence. My overall impression of “Canada’s best kept secret?” A crutch for both heartbreaks and cheerful reminiscing of a quieter time in our lives. “Life and love inspires me most of the time,” Mark Hamilton said, “That and the amazing people around me.”
I also managed to get an interview with Sea Level Rise, another local band, who has played with WoodPigeon. It had a similar sound, though the presence of guitars and drums is a little more apparent. Very soft, but still edgy, as if some boys living on a farm playing banjos just moved to NYC and bought some leather jackets and an electric guitar. Overall, I liked it, but if you’re not into droning on about simple things in a slow, melodious tone, you probably won’t care for Sea Level Rise. Brock Geiger, the lead singer, started the band in eighth grade, and they’ve been playing in Calgary (and only Calgary) ever since. “Hopefully the more shows played in the city, the more exposure we'll gain and be able to take our music else where.” With any luck, they will soon.
Next on the list, respectively, was The Consonant C, who has performed alongside the two above. Just as soft, but honestly, I found it pretty annoying. Girls whining filtered through technology, or eight year old’s voices, I can’t decide which. I recommend this to anyone who likes off-track, almost spiritual sounding music. What I listened to took me back to when I was a little girl at church. Or a funeral, but to each his own, I suppose I like the boys better.
Given, I still can’t define Indie for anyone, but now I have a better idea. I suggest that anyone who gets tired of the same thing everyone’s listening to on Vibe, they take a closer look. I found some music I actually can get into, and think about how much money I’ll save on concert tickets!