There’s been a complicated history of arts publications, both on and offline, in Prince George over the last decade. The latest (and best funded) venture into this landscape is The Scene PG. Published by the daily newspaper Prince George Citizen, it currently functions as an online band directory/coming events calendar and a biannual glossy distributed freely around town. I was approached in my capacity at CFUR Radio to write some short reviews of local musicians. Even though writing about music is like dancing about architecture, I went for it. The results are below (and since this is the internet, I added music):
Electronic-based music is undergoing something of a renaissance in Prince George. If the terms “house” “dance” or “electro” still make you think of glowsticks and white visors, it’s time to take a second look. While Afreakwent sticks to the minimalism pioneered in the ’90s, influences of the heavier dub and breaks movements add enough momentum to keep things interesting. http://soundcloud.com/afreakwent
The Concerns of Royalty – the Concerns of Royalty
A few people might remember the Concerns of Royalty as a two-piece band with a small EP that displayed a man being carried off by a large chicken on their front cover. They’ve since added a rhythm section and keyboards, but the dreamlike quality of that image remains. On their new, self-titled release the band explores a beefier sonic landscape that allows the timeless pop quality of their songwriting to shine through. “Telescopes” is the most fully-realized song on here, slowly building into a full-on competition between keyboards and electric guitar to see what sticks in your head the most. It’s one of the best songs of 2010, full stop, no “local” qualifiers, and the fact that other tracks like “Almost There” come close should be reason enough to check these guys out. http://concernsofroyalty.com
Wisconsin Dream Guitar – Vision Drums
The only reason you haven’t heard of Rob Dunlop is because he rarely releases anything under his own name. From Big Old Eyes to Maple You Know to Wisconsin Dream Guitar, he is the most consistently experimental singer-songwriter to emerge from the city over the last decade. Don’t let the “experimental” tag scare you off though– these are highly listenable tunes. And while Arcade Fire may have spent 2010 being raved about for an album about growing up in suburbia, don’t forget they’ve spent the last five years experiencing life as an international, jet-setting band. Wisconsin Dream Guitar forges inspiration out of suburbia not as a nostalgic memory but as a reality of life— people still live in these places, and sometimes they want art about it, too. This provides it. Highly recommended. http://wisconsindreamguitar.tumblr.com/
Cera – Swan
Cera – “Braid”
Individually, the members of Cera (Jamie Bell, Ryan Goertzen, Gordon Price and Justin Arding) have made just about every kind of music imaginable. Collectively, they create tightly crafted rock songs that have won them a large following in Prince George and beyond. The greatest challenge with this EP is translating their infectious live show into a recorded project. Fortunately, they more than meet this goal, most triumphantly on “Braid,” recorded at Third (the venue) with fans providing gang vocals. These are songs designed for a high-energy live set, not adapted for them. http://www.myspace.com/cerarock
sparethelove spoilthechild – “The Fallacy” (demo)
Equal parts heavy metal and melody, sparethelove spoilthechild are a welcome addition to the local scene. No recordings (yet), but they have been making a reputation for themselves opening for numerous local and out-of-town acts. Bonus points for having one of funniest Facebook pages around. http://www.facebook.com/STLSTC
You can check out the full magazine here.
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