Victoria has an amazing music scene that fosters the growth of bands and musicians. Maybe that’s why there were so many great local albums that came out this year. Here are just a few of our favourites from 2015.
Tyson’s Favourite Local Albums of 2015
Favourite local album: Hawk And Steel – Anywhere But Here
Anywhere But Here sometimes feel like a breakup letter to Victoria, British Columbia. Often it feels like an album about heartbreak and being trapped in a city too small. A feeling most Victorian’s have felt at some point. I think that’s why the found photographs used in the album artwork work so well. They are from drummer Marshall Wildman’s father, Bill. Who travelled the country in the 70’s and took photos.
Peter’s duet with Julia Knight on “Fire In The Wind” is breathtaking. Despite only being the fourth song of the record it feels like the geographical centre.
This is an album where Hawk & Steel really came in as a band of their own. Focusing on the craftsmanship of every aspect of the albums structure. Anywhere But Here is a refreshing sound in the midst of beach fire jams. The boys aren’t afraid of a guitar solo or two in amongst the pedal steel.
Favourite local album: Mike Edel – India, Seattle
Mike Edel writes songs about baseball. I can’t name another Victorian musician let alone Canadian musician that does that. As soon as I heard “The Closer” off India, Seattle I knew I was going to love this record.
Mike’s approach to making music is exceedingly personal and I think that this record is a very honest reflection of him. The album is emotionally charged with pain and beauty; a genuine human experience. Especially one of a touring musician struggling with relationships back home.
“Blue Above The Green” is an instant classic. It’s a song that perfectly encapsulates the feeling of the west coast summer. The song is a permanent fixture of my playlists for road trips.
India, Seattle was also one of the best local vinyl records I purchased this year. Well, it was sort of the only one I got. Still waiting on that Towers and Trees one…
Bud’s Favourite Local Albums of 2015
Favourite local album: Kathryn Calder – Kathryn Calder
Kathryn’s smooth voice and grand, sweeping harmonies are the stuff of dreams and, when played while I’m trying to do stuff, can yank me out of whatever task I’m engaged in for a bit of closed-eyes head swaying. I had to stop mid-sentence to do just that. From calm escapes like Blue Skies, to more upbeat head-bobbers like Take a Little Time, to gigantic musical constructions like When You See My Blood, Kathryn’s latest album is an excellent showcase of her vocal range and songwriting skill, as well as her band and production values.
Also, I never know what to call albums with no title.
Kirsten’s Favourite Local Albums of 2015
Favourite local album: Towers and Trees – West Coast
If you follow Rocktographers it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that this was my pick. I’m pretty sure that I used the phrase “aural ecstasy” to describe it back when it was released in October, and that still holds true. Ever since the album release I’ve been dying for Towers and Trees to perform these new tracks in Victoria. Alas, they know how to keep their audience waiting and went gallivanting though B.C. and Alberta, leaving their triumphant return to Victoria for January 15th. I’ve been not-so-patiently-waiting. In the mean time this album has been a fixture in my CD player since its October release. Do yourself a favour and get it!
Honourable mentions: Northcote – Hope Is Made of Steel
Lindsey’s Favourite Local Albums of 2015
Favourite local album: Northcote – Hope Is Made Of Steel
Northcote’s Matt Goud has released yet another well-crafted, catchy and thought-out album with 2015 offering, Hope Is Made Of Steel. Though very gritty rock and roll from start to finish, there are hints of Americana weaved throughout. Goud also makes good use of an array of guest vocalists, including Chuck Ragan of Hot Water Music, Vancouver-based pop artist Hannah Georgas and punk rock heavyweight Dave Hause. HIMOS feels like a very nostalgic album, reflecting on relationships and past lives. Standout tracks include the first official single “Bitter End“, “Small Town Dreams” and “Just Kids”.