Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

Bookmark and Share

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]

Author of blurbs, curator of playlists, and booker of shows, Alan Ranta has been plugging away at that music writing and programming thing since 2004. His brutally honest critical opinion has appeared in such publications as Exclaim!, CBC Music, PopMatters and Tiny Mix Tapes, and has been enlisted to help judge the Polaris Music Prize, Pazz & Jop, and Juno Awards. Based in East Van, he graduated with a BFA in music from Simon Fraser University in 2012. He's also a social media plague, cat whisperer, socio-political haranguer, Canucks fan, and one of the last remaining cowboys.

6 May 2011
How we see things is affected by how we say things. This mix is a reflection on formerly prominent methods and modes of communication, such as the typewriter, cassette tape, and radio. Enjoy your cultural evolution.
13 Mar 2011
Don't panic! Set your faces on fun, 'cause this mix boldly goes where man has fun galore thanks to way-out tracks from Leila, Sufjan Stevens, Blockhead, AMP Live, the Cinematic Orchestra, and more!
20 Feb 2011
Through dedication to their scene and aesthetic, Bay area label Muti Music is on the brink of greatness. Unwavering commitment to their form is demonstrated by the dependable quality of their consistent releases. Dig it.
23 Dec 2010
The holidays are full of dreadful music being pumped from every speaker in every commercial business. May the latest from Soundscape provide you with a pleasant respite of solace, a bit of shelter from all the pop star vanity and pseudo-comedic novelty albums that attempt to penetrate your earholes from every angle.
Now on PopMatters
PM Picks
PopMatters' LUCY Giveaway! in PopMatters's Hangs on LockerDome

© 1999-2014 All rights reserved.™ and PopMatters™ are trademarks
of PopMatters Media, Inc.

PopMatters is wholly independently owned and operated.