Tag Archives: Sackville

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"

Shotgun Jimmie – “Transistor Sister”

“I ain’t saying everything out there is great, there’s a lot of stuff I like and a lot of stuff I hate. Spend some time with the good, let the bad slip away; it’s all about how you focus your attention.”

These words of wisdom come from “Masterpiece”, a key track on the new album “Transistor Sister” from New Brunswick’s own Shotgun Jimmie. Released in March 2011, the album has been making waves across Canada and beyond, creating a worldwide fan base and stirring up impressive critical attention. “Masterpiece” sums up the art of creating music, the tricky balance act between creating “shit” and creating something great, and lucky for Shotgun Jimmie, “Transistor Sister” is great.

On first listen, it’s easy to mistake Shotgun Jimmie for an early ’90s happy-alternative band. With a raw and chunky sound that gives off a somewhat “who cares” attitude, his songs have an almost-grungy feel, not quite the Nirvana with whom the term is usually associated but a more poppy mix of Can-Rock superstar Sloan and bands like Modest Mouse and The Pixies, even early Weezer or Everclear. For fans of this genre, Shotgun Jimmie hits it right on. Short tracks and catchy tunes keep short attention spans happy, while Jimmie’s happy-go-lucky charm makes smiles unavoidable. It is a toe-tapping and clever good time, and while Jimmie’s voice can’t quite be compared to that of an angel or classic singer, it is his normal guy talent and attitude that make him so much fun to listen to. He sounds like someone’s buddy, just goofing around at a party, and that is the perfect way to be.

There are definite high points to this album. Starting off with an almost Beck-like track (“Late Last Year”) the album includes a variety of songs with different tones and stories, and it’s nearly impossible to choose a favourite track on this album because there are so many good ones. Standouts include the super-cute “Suzy”, “King of Kreuzberg” and “The Haze”, although there are a number of other fantastic songs to choose from as well.

Some people might not be so keen on the album’s shorter instrumental songs (“Confidence Lodge Stairwell Recording #1” – 0:17; “Piano” – 0:28; “Refrain” – 0:44; “Bar’s Open” – 0:19) but it is a happy reward that the longer tracks are fantastic.

Shotgun Jimmie’s next album can’t come soon enough. Whimsical, charming and experimental, “Transistor Sister” fills a void in the music world that other artists can’t quite reach, and it is his originality and nostalgic reflections that make him loveable. Listen to his album, and then listen to it again.

You can learn more about Shotgun Jimmie here, where you can also enjoy some tracks and do a bit of shopping. Check back for tour dates as well, because his is a show you don’t want to miss.

Shotgun Jimmie - "Transistor Sister"