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Welcome to Soundscape. Our mission is to go one step beyond criticism and shine a light certain corners of music, from specific labels and genres to cities, recurring lyrical themes, and whatever else piques PopMatters interest. In the great tradition of the mixtape, we are going to present these explorations with their actual sound, rather than our customary language.

Up first in the series is a look at the soundscape of the only city in Canada that matters West of Regina… Vancouver! I decided now was a good time to try and piece together a selection of the city’s finest folk and indie rock (along with a couple oddball electronic and hip-hop artists). This is the time because, after the 2010 Olympics, there will be no music in British Columbia for several years—care of a 92% cut in arts funding over the next two by the province’s Liberals—so I had to get it while the getting was good.

I am very excited to have been given the nod to use tracks by local legends Destroyer, You Say Party! We Say Die!, and Geoff Berner. What’s more, one of my favorite bands at the moment worldwide, Black Mountain is represented with the rock epic “Tyrants”, and Secret Mommy’s “Cleaning” proves why he is in possession of one of the most unique sounds in electronic music today, somewhere between glitch, folk, comedy, and sampledelica. Dan Mangan is a man to watch as well, turning a lot of heads south of the border on the back of the surprising Nice, Nice, Very Nice.

I must thank Mint Records especially for helping to put this together, for without them, this mix would hardly pass for anything truly resembling a Vancouver mixtape. My apologies for the odd Victoria band on here, but they’re on Vancouver Island, so I think they should count anyway. Besides, Frog Eyes are too good just to keep floating out there on that dirt raft. Anyway, just in case you are not visiting Vansterdam before the 2010 Olympic games, this should give you a good taste of what the local music community was like.


Soundscape - Vancouver [MP3]


01 Young & Sexy - “The City You Live in Is Ugly” (Stand Up for Your Mother, 2002)
- Start time: 0:00; Links: Mint - Young & Sexy

02 You Say Party! We Say Die! - “Dancefloor Destroyer” (Lose All Time, 2007)
- Start time: 3:47; Links: Paper Bag - You Say Party! We Say Die!

03 Duplex! - “Alive” (Worser, 2009)
- Start time: 6:54; Links: Mint - Duplex!

04 Geoff Berner - “No Tobacco” (Klezmer Mongrels, 2008)
- Start time: 10:08; Links: Jericho Beach - Geoff Berner

05 Destroyer - “The State” (Trouble in Dreams, 2008)
- Start time: 14:23; Links: Merge - Destroyer

06 Black Mountain - “Tyrants” (In the Future, 2008)
- Start time: 18:18; Links: Jagjaguar - Black Mountain

07 The Organ - “Don’t Be Angry” (Thieves, 2008)
- Start time: 26:16; Links: Mint - The Organ

08 Dan Mangan - “Tina’s Glorious Comeback” (Nice, Nice, Very Nice, 2009)
- Start time: 30:05; Links: File Under: Music - Dan Mangan

09 Secret Mommy - “Cleaning” (The Wisdom, 2006)
- Start time: 32:44; Links: Sublight - Secret Mommy

10 The Slew - “100%” (100%, 2009)
- Start time: 39:48; Links: Pudget Sound - The Slew

11 Frog Eyes - “Caravan Breakers, They Prey on the Weak and the Old” (Tears of the Valedictorian, 2007)
- Start time: 43:27; Links: Absolutely Kosher - Frog Eyes

12 Said the Whale - “False Creek Change” (Islands Disappear, 2009)
- Start time: 50:59; Links: Pop Machine - Said the Whale

13 P:ano - “Dark Hills” (Brigadoon, 2005)
- Start time: 53:03; Links: Mint - P:ano

14 They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? - “One Last Final Push” (Pick Up Sticks, 2007)
- Start time: 57:18; Links: Kill Rock Stars - They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Total Running Time: 1:00:11


Soundscape - Vancouver [MP3]

Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.

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