Tag Archives: garage pop

Apollo Ghosts – “Landmark”

Fun, loose, and sing-along-friendly are what first come to mind when listening to Apollo Ghosts’ latest album, Landmark. Yet, within the 15-song offering are embedded main songwriter Adrian Teacher’s honest, personal, and often moving words about home, friends, insecurities, love and losing love.

Their follow-up to 2010’s Polaris Prize long-listed Mount Benson, Landmark was written in Sackville, New Brunswick, and recorded in the band’s hometown of Vancouver, B.C. As on Mount Benson, Apollo Ghosts demonstrate their penchant for catchy bass lines and jangly guitar hooks, and quick, to-the-point songs, most of which clock in at the 1:30 to 2:00 mark. However, Landmark has a much more organic, garage rock feel than its predecessor, perhaps due to their DIY approach and the influence of the eclectic Sackville arts and music community.

The album’s opener, “What Are Your Influences?”, is a welcome introduction to Landmark with its happy, toe-tapping riff and the celebratory gang vocal yelping as Teacher muses, perhaps, about the fast pace of an artist’s rise to notoriety. Offerings like “Weekend Paradise”, “Paralysis of My Long Clerkship”, “I’m In Love with the USA” and “Newcastle” brim with the same feel-good, upbeat energy and memorable hooks that one can’t help but bop their head along.

There are moments on Landmark that aren’t sunny, however. Teacher reveals his most vulnerable and honest moments on songs like “So Much Better When You’re Gone” and “Will You Forget Me”. On the former, bearing its unvarnished honesty in the title, Teacher sings about the end of a relationship, vowing to keep his heart even if it means giving up all the shared possessions. On the latter, the album’s closing song, the band ends on a beautiful refrain of harmonies that declares “There’s no memory at all, there’s an island.”

Like good songwriters do, Adrian Teacher allows the listener inside to experience his emotions, thoughts and memories on an intimate level. Yet, on Landmark, Apollo Ghosts make sure you have a great time along the way, leaving their delicious garage pop melodies stuck in your head; which is a good thing.

For a preview and to purchase Landmark, check out Apollo Ghosts’ BandCamp and Facebook sites.

Apollo Ghosts - "Landmark"

Long Weekends – “Don’t Reach Out”

Alongside the finely tuned and smoothly orchestrated sounds of modern rock and the uniformity of pop culture sits a growing trend of grungy garage pop. This isn’t the depressed sound of ’90s grunge or the bouncy castle version of rock, but somewhere in between, a reverb-filled and natural expression of good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. It sounds amazing, and a great example is the fantastic and hugely talented Long Weekends.

Another brilliant product of the Halifax music scene, Long Weekends has exploded onto the radar with a collection of super catchy tracks. Their 2011 collection “Don’t Reach Out” shows off strong song-writing and raw performance talent, pointing to the future of rock and helping to pave the way for bands with similar ambitions. They’re nothing too fancy; it’s not a masterpiece created by spot-on timing or attempted industry pandering. If anything, it’s Long Weekends’ lack of perfection that makes them stand out, creating an honest, real, and really interesting sound you swear could be coming from your neighbour’s garage.

Their sound has been compared to Jesus & The Mary Chain, Mission of Burma, and The Archies, and it’s easy to see where this comparison comes from. The music is completely guitar-driven, and although each piece of the band contributes to the music really well, it’s the guitar riffs that drive the tracks forward. A good example of this is “Quarter Sticks”, a slower but fun track with muted vocals and repeated guitar goodness. It’s refreshing for vocals to play a background role without overshadowing or fighting for attention, and by forcing the listener to pay attention to the actual music, Long Weekends does something unique and cool.

You’ve probably never heard anything quite like Long Weekends before. For a great sampling of their sound, check out their Bandcamp page. The track “Don’t Reach Out” is one of the best, totally repeatable and worthy of some public displays of air drumming. Listen to samples of all the band’s tracks, and better yet, download them to love them more. The downloads are free (if you want them to be. Love them a lot? Throw them some cash).

Long Weekends takes the sound of the past and is bringing it to the future. Check out their website, go on and like them, and keep the garage sound a-growin’!

Long Weekends - "Don't Reach Out"